Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DIY Crystal Chandelier and a Lacy Leaf Baby Sweater

Our 'Crystal' Chandelier
I LOVE Chandeliers - especially vintage crystal chandeliers - they are gorgeous!  I would have them hanging in every room if I could get away with it (Alas, yes, I live with a Man :) 

Anyway, in one of my favorite home decor catalogs, Ballard Designs, www.ballarddesigns.com
they sell magnetic chandelier crystals.  Yep, just stick them on, take them off.  They have different ones for different seasons etc.  That sparked an idea, for me, which I'm pretty sure that tons of people have already thought of: why can't I make those?  Especially since the ones they sell are very expensive.

Chandelier Tutorial

I went to my local craft store and purchased small super-strong magnets.  They come in a shiny silver color.  Wish they were smaller, I think you can buy tiny ones online that are really small and would not be as noticeable.  Then I purchased some acrylic strands of sparkly stuff in the after-christmas clearance!  We played with it for awhile to get the drape right, but anywhere you've got metal on your strand it will stick.

This was very fun, VERY inexpensive, and if we tire of it, it is easily removed.  Think of the implications here, you could do this to lamps, candlesticks, sconces - Bling it ON, BABY!!! 

Lace and Leaf Sweater

And here's the lastest to come off my knitting needles, the Lace and Leaf Sweater.  I hate ordering yarn online, since you can't really see it and touch it, and I've made a lot of mistakes there, but I LOVE the yarn that came from Knit Picks called Comfy.  Pima cotton blend, really soft, very washable, and heavenly to work with.  Was supposed to be cream-colored, but I liked the beige even better.

Link to the pattern for Ravelry users is here.  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/leaf-pattern-set-2


On the Needles

I loved this sweater so much that I decided to make another one.  I tried the new Martha Stewart yarn and so far I'm pretty impressed, mostly by the color selection.  It is really, really, hard to find 1950's pale vintage pink yarn!!  Her sense of color is fabulous, and it's nice to see those Martha pastels in knitting yarns!!

Capturing a Moment

I couldn't help but smile as I walked into the Living Room and saw Daniel teaching Charlotte how to dance.  Love those moments!!

Yes, I promised more remodeling before and afters, so stay tuned................

Monday, March 19, 2012

EXTREME Old House Makeover - Living Room

IN the beginning there was a very old house.  It was a charmer, from the OUTSIDE - but the 1970's were not kind to our little, old house.  My sister called it, "The house where the color BROWN came to die."  Brown carpet, brown formica, brown painted wood, and lots of brown wood paneling. 

Did I mention, the previous owners lowered the high celings with office acoustic-type tiles? Now, I'm all for cozy, but that was going a bit far.  I 'get' bell bottoms, and Wonder Woman, and Led Zeppelin, but seriously, did ya not want any light or spaciousness in the 70's people?????

As you enter our home, you are immediately in the Living Room and Dining Room space.  This was the first place that demolition occured - and we had LOTS of family help :)  Seems guys really like to tear stuff up! 

Here's the old Living Room, as it's being torn apart.

My brother, and my brother-in-law are going to town here!  You can see all the brown, and the yucky tiles comming down. 

There was this umm 'lovely' shelf feature - cut through a structural wall, I may add.  It allowed you to sit in the comfort of the LR, and watch someone entering, or better yet, exiting the bathroom.

Once we removed the old celing tiles, we realized their purpose.  VERY FIRST OLD HOUSE LESSON - If it's hiding something, there's a reason why.  In our case, the ceiling was sagging, after nearly 100 years of weight.  Took some leveling out with lumber to get that even again, but it looks great now.

Drywall in the LR.

And here goes, pulling up all the old brown carpet!

Our Living Room has continued to change from that first month of binge-remodeling. But would ya look at it NOW!

The back wall in the first photo is where you NOW see french doors.  They now lead into an office/den. 

Where you see the old curio shelf - that is where the river painting now hangs above the couch.  It's a nice space for some original artwork. 

We sure are grateful to all of our family who helped us those many weeks getting the house ready to move in, and then, of course, the many years after of helping us finish! 

Next post:  Dining room and removal of the chimney.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Old House

We live in an old house.  Sometimes we love that, and sometimes it's a real pain.  We bought this tiny place intending to be finished remodeling in about 2 years.  7 years later, we can say, "Yeah, right".  But along the way, we've sure had some amazing experiences, and though we've remodeled almost the entire house (with a lot of family help), it's STILL a work in progress. 

Here's the archives photo of our home.

Our home was originally built in 1915.  Actually part of the house may be much older than that, since we found some older exterior windows inside the kitchen wall.  But that's ANOTHER story.  Not too many changes have been made to the exterior since the archive photo.  We love the old radio flyer wagon in the front. 

Here's how the house looked when we purchased it.

We were not so fond of the blue trim, so we decided to paint the house.  Funny, notice the toddler bike in front - I guess some things never change.  Anyway, I'm a huge fan of beautiful old white houses, but we are surrounded by them, so we decided to go 'green'. 

Then last year, I impulsively decided to paint the front door black. Of course, Eric jumped in and finished for me. 

Did I mention I'm just a little obsessed with Roses and Lavender???

We have quite a lot of lavender! 

My daughter had a Lavender Party with her friends this summer in the front yard garden.

We love living in this neighborhood.  Quiet, great neighbors, quick walk to town, great sense of community.  We are looking for a larger home, but in the meantime, blogging the remodeling we have done to this place is going to be fun!  More to come, in between finished knitting projects :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A New Blog Title, a New Direction

What began as a test of the blogosphere has knitted it's way into something new for me. I began this blog, not exactly knowing what direction it should take.  I'm used to following a pattern. I thought I would write about my family or the lessons I am learning as a mother. Instead, I find myself wanting to create, realizing exactly how much of each day is dedicated to creating, and to experiencing the simple beauty, the 'loveliness' all around me each and every day.  Knitting, decorating, music, dancing, are all outlets for expressing that creative drive inside of me. 

My life is not easy. If it weren't for beautiful things to look at, beautiful moments, beautiful sensations, and creating things of beauty, I would find it difficult to hang in there sometimes.  I try not to focus on those hard things in my life - I'm a very 'go with the flow' kind of girl.  I try to live in the present moment each day. Though my life may not always be easy it is wonderful, rich and full.

One of my great master teachers on the flute, used to say that ALL of our experiences were necessary to create a well-rounded artist.  She encouraged learning literature, painting, and different forms of art in order to make us better musicians!!  For me, being a mother, is what contributes depth to everything I create or express.

One of my favorite quotes is the following:

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty."  (Deiter F. Uchtdorf, Happiness, Your Heritage)

Knitting is a metaphor for me. I know that it is a very simple, primitive, art form.  It has an unglamorous history of being a poor man's craft - a way of making a living.  For me, it represents, taking natural materials of the earth and fashioning from them something elegant in it's simple beauty.  I hope to knit LOTS of wonderful things in my life, and not all of them from needles and yarn. 

So I look forward to sharing my knitting, my creations, and my lovely moments.  The things that bring me joy.  All things that are 'lovely' to me.