Friday, August 30, 2013

Exciting News!

On Monday, we officially and FINALLY closed on our refinance / renovation loan for the house! That only took about forever. There were many reasons it took so long... mostly bank and contractor related. And today, we can officially begin work! But, sadly, nothing is happening quite yet...

I'm totally ready for new siding & windows (and doors!) and a finished basement... I think the outside stuff will be taking place first because you never know when it will suddenly be winter. Our loan stipulates that all renovations must be done by mid February.

Hopefully it all goes smoothly... I'm excited for making decisions and being able to pick out some finishes and colors that we actually like. And don't worry, I will be blogging all about as we go!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

MN State Fair 2013

We try to mix it up from year to year and alternate between the State Fair and the Renaissance Festival. Both are great, but they don't tend to change much from year to year, so I think going to each every year is a little much. I'm almost bordering on every other year as being a bit much...

Anyways, we went over to the wonderful MN State Fair after work on Monday night. It may or may not have been my birthday and there happened to be a band I thoroughly enjoy playing at a free stage. *cough* HANSON! *cough* You may or may not have seen the "sneak peak" over on my instagram.

Last time I took a picture like above, the street was PACKED. It was probably because it was a Monday night and insanely hot out...

For the first time ever, we did a skyride. We bought round trip tickets thinking we would just ride all the way around. Well, we got off at the other end noticing that that was close to where we entered the state fair and walked back to where we got on the sky ride thinking we could just take it back the same direction at the end of the night.

It's always interesting to see something you've seen plenty of times from a new perspective.

The giant slide from above. Something I haven't done since I was a kid.

One of the best things at the fair, CORN! We also enjoyed cheese curds, some Leinie's beer, and potato skins. Nothing too crazy... 

We definitely waited too long to go over to the state. It was crazy packed... We just stood in the back and enjoyed from afar.

Sadly these were the best photos I got, which were both from my phone.

We didn't stay too late. I had to get up early for work and we'd already had a long day... plus it was SO HOT even after dark. 

I have a similar photo of this guy from last time we were there that I took during the day. 

We took the skyride back the same direction and I got this photo.

Really is was a pretty low key evening. Nothing too crazy, just thought I would share some of the photos. Ok, and to maybe brag that I got to see Hanson live on my birthday. For those of you wondering who they are... And for those of you that do...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


My little sister is officially due today! But, personally, I don't think today is the day... Both of us were late babies and she's having a boy. Word is that boys tend to be late. And really, I hope she holds off a day or two because that's what I need to finish this quilt.

I have been working on this off and on, as I have had time, for over a month now. I have the front done, which I'm thinking is the hard part... I just need it to turn into an actual blanket now. I'm not even sure I should call it a quilt either. Really, it's just a bunch of chunks of material sewn together in a way that I made up years ago. Things don't really line up all that well... Maybe I should have taken the time to learn how to actually make a quilt. Too late.

Really, my point in making this quilt is because our grams isn't here to make one. I know she would have jumped on it right away and that quilt would already be boxed and wrapped and ready to go. When my sister was born, I was 6 years old. I was SO excited to finally have a sister. Beyond excited. Let's just say that changed real fast after she was born... sort of kidding. I was an awesome big sister, playing doll house with her when I was 16 years old. Back to the point...

My grams made this fantastic quilt/blanket for my sister. She did her best to make it gender neutral just in case (remember the time when we didn't know gender until birth???). It has a big duck with a giant daisy and a puddle. Nothing crazy. I was so jealous of my new sister's awesome new blanket and I somehow convinced my grandma to make me one too, but with lots of pink of course. My sister loved her blanket SO much it has become a shredded pile of fabric she still loves today. Mine may or may not be close behind...

A couple years before my grams passed away, she traced my blanket because it was in much better shape and because the pattern was long gone to create a second blanket for my sister. I have to say that I'm a little jealous now that she has two and I only have the one...

All three of these blankets and countless other things have all been created on this one sewing machine. I made it my mission to be gram's substitute and use her awesome machine to make her first great grand baby his first family made blanket.

My sister started the room colors off with a bed set she found at target with grey, white, and some yellow. The main blanket (that I'm pretty sure you're not really supposed to use...) is grey and white chevron. Knowing this tiny blanket is too small to last (into adult hood for my sister and I). Chevron seemed like a simple enough pattern and something I believe I came across on pinterest originally. So, I went for it....

It's all gone fairly smoothly with the exception of hitting a sewing machine snag the other day... My needle thread would not catch the bobbin thread. No matter what I did. And I hadn't even changed anything. There may have been a few tears and some swearing, but somehow it is magically working again.

I also whipped together this little guy last night. I though it would be a cute little patch on the back. I wanted to make it a little more unique and maybe a little less so 'just one fairly plain pattern'.

I just used the left over white (really off white) fabric and purchased some embroidery floss in a matching gray color. I found a font on my computer, wrote up what I wanted, and printed it out. I then just put the material in a small embroidery hoop and taped the paper over it, making sure the tape was firmly attached to paper and hoop so it wouldn't come off. I then just stitched over the letters. After I cut / tore away the paper. It isn't perfect, but it isn't really meant to be.

I've got some ironing to do and some more sewing... Wish me luck! Hopefully I can get this wrapped up tonight before baby is here!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Downtown Stillwater

On Saturday, Bill and I decided to go on an adventure. We used to be really good about driving not too far away and exploring something... a winery, a state park, etc. Lately, we've been slacking and I told him that I wanted to do something. He picked Stillwater. The old downtown part of Stillwater is right on the St. Croix river and has a great main street full of shops.

These first two shots are from driving in. Let's just say traffic was horrible. Times 10.

We finally parked the car a few blocks away from where we wanted to be. Close enough. We were right on Main St crossing the very busy road when this happened...

Evil flip flops. My first thought was to find a place that sold flip flops. Bill did some googling and found something that would have been fairly far to walk to in broken shoes... We just so happened to be across the street from a gas station...

After some searching we walked out with a tube of super glue. Luckily, Bill had a pocket knife on him that day and we were able to slice through the.... um... faux leather. to be able to put the tab of the strap that was once in there back in there... Cutting it open some allowed to put glue both above and below the strap itself.

They held up all day and are still going strong! Way to go smart thinking husband!

We just really spent the time walking around. We checked out a few stores... an antique store, sporting goods store, rare books/maps store.

 We watched the bridge go down from being up... There was lots of boat traffic and I was kind of small that boats didn't need to be very big to make the bridge go up... which was a big reason why traffic was so horrible.

I loved this Jewelers sign. 

I took a few more photos of buildings but they weren't very exciting.

After awhile we had a very late lunch / early dinner at The Freight House. The food was delicious!

It was a great afternoon spent mostly outside walking around. I would definitely recommend it but just beware that if it is nice out, it will be crazy busy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The New Hutch & Other Goods.

These are the goods I recently picked up from FindFurnish. See previous post.

First up, Magazine Rack. It was over at their warehouse sale and pretty much yelled "Pick me, pick me!" at me.

Then I grabbed one of these little wood trays while I was at the warehouse too. It's nothing fancy but they had a bunch and they were cheap. What's cool about it is that it is a local product.

And finally, I bought this Keller Hutch from the store front.

I still need to style the shelves, which may require more shopping... I'm not really sure what to do with them. We've opted to leave the glass doors off of it for now. If you walked close to it, one of the doors would rattle, which is probably easily fixable. At the same time, there was a lot of reflection happening because of a nearby window. So, for now, they stay off.  And that plant really shouldn't be there... it's just up there to be out of the way for the moment.

Shelf styling suggestions and tips are welcome.

Keller | Furniture for Family Dining and Entertaining

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hutch Shopping.

About a week ago, I was definitely up to no good... One of my favorite stores, FindFurnish, was having one of their warehouse sales. So, I stopped over after work in hopes to make it before everything good was snatched up.

(Excuse the iPhone shots...)

We've been sort of looking out for a hutch for the living room for awhile. It was the last large piece that I felt we really needed.

At the warehouse, the only one I really liked was this one. But I knew right away that it was too wide for where it would go. It also had a chunk of wood missing from the bottom left that I was pretty sure I couldn't fix with my limited skills.

Then I spotted this guy by the door and snatched it up. Cute, simple. I liked the idea of the added brass to what we already have in the living room.

I snatched up something else small and went to check out. I was discussing finding a hutch for our living room when they suggested I go check out the store front just a few minutes drive away for a smaller hutch that was thought to be on sale.

I zipped on over there and sure enough. I liked it. It looked like it was in good condition. The price wasn't bad. I texted a photo to Bill and waited and checked out everything else.

It didn't take very long for Bill to measure the space to double check to make sure it would fit and I got the go ahead. It was interesting getting home, because it didn't quite fit in my vehicle and we didn't really have anything proper to tie everything up/closed properly. But it made it home and it's in my living room. More to come!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Sister's Baby Shower.

A week and a half ago, I hosted a baby shower for my sister. It went really well, so I wanted to share some of the decor.

I made the same cake as I did on the 4th of July. I only did two layers in this cake. I had enough circles left over to make a little topper. I used cake pop sticks to hold it up. The cake stand is from our wedding, I think I found it on (it came with a cover). The "N" is from Michael's, it came in a funky green colors, so I spray painted to match my colors. The frame is also from Michael's. I found a bunch and used them to label the food. I did not paint those and just got lucky with the colors. There are two more smaller ones that I didn't get any photos of.

I had enough of the paper garland I sewed together to stretch across the living room quite a few times. I even had extra to put up in the kitchen.

I made "thank you's" for everyone out of little pots from Menard's and flowers from the local flower mart down the street. I used washi tape to just add little thank you notes to each one.

I bought white gift bags from Target and added fun ribbons to them. I just found a multi-pack from Michael's (was by the little frames) that matched my colors. For prizes I used cheap nail polish and some fun things from the "dollar" section of Target. 

Above I was still setting up, but it's the only zoomed out shot I have. I love my green wall, but it really doesn't work well for photos...

The menu consisted of wraps from Whole Foods, cake, some sort of dill pasta salad my mom made, fruit, caesar salad, and lemonade.

I found the fun straws on etsy. The drink dispenser and cake stand it sits on are from World Market. I added some lace to the cake stand to make it pretty with hot glue. I figured hot glue would be easy to pick off. I also put four large glops of glue on the top of the cake stand to help stabilize the drink dispenser and keep it from sliding. The little bird house has been rocking my kitchen table since around mother's day.

I just used lemonade (pre-made to save time) and just added a few drops of blue food coloring.

And finally a shot of the cut cake. I did better this time. Sort of. But I definitely improved from the last cake to this one. Bonus, I even got asked for the recipe!