"Faites que le reve devore votre vie afin que la vie ne devore pas votre reve"
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Friday, October 31, 2014

mad hatter's daughter

Halloween is always a very busy crafty time of the year at our house,
and this year, I was not the one doing most of it!
I did some helping but Miss C. came up with all the ideas for her costume
and she did a lot of work.
This year she is the mad hatter's daughter:

Of course the first thing she needed to do was to make a hat.
She saw some tutorial on YouTube and started cutting recycled cardboard boxes.

We recovered the cardboard with some peacock velvet, added some feather
and glued it to a headband.

Once the hat was completed, she needed a top,
she found some fleece that she liked and that went well with the velvet of the hat.
I used the easy top pattern from Sewing Clothes Kids Love,
I purchased the book a while ago and finally used it.
I sewed the Imke Shirt without the hood, but with 2 layers sleeves,
it was fast, easy and it fits her very nicely.
And here are Miss C. and some of her girlfriends,
she had fun editing the pics and putting masks on her friends!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

backyard Halloween decor

With the stone patio done and the pile of wood gone,
we are finally ready to do some backyard entertaining.
And Halloween is the perfect time to have friends over for drinks and snacks.

We built a table out of the old deck,
 there is still some wood left, even after building sheds...
it is about 3' high, perfect height to put down a drink and mingle,
(also great to do some wood work outdoor!)

I decorated it with some cool metal crows, gourds from the front yard 
(the deer ate all the tomatoes, but left these alone!)
terracotta pumpkins, and a neat chalkboard easel
that I built following this tutorial from Shanty 2 Chic,
with the size similar to this easel from Cottage in the Oaks.

For drink, we chose some wonderful mead from The Orchid Cellar, crafted locally in Maryland.
At first I was not so sure about mead, but after tasting a few of theirs,
I am a believer! We came home with 4 different ones, my favorite one is "Castellan",
Mon Cheri's is "hunter", a spicy mead.

Northern Virginia and Maryland have a large number of small wineries, 
at a perfect driving distance from the DC area.

Under the table, I put some crates to dress the large empty space,
I have never blogged about the finish top crate,
I built to store all my baking pans,

Now the only thing left to do is lit the fire,
sit down and enjoy the evening...

Happy day!

link to the StoneGable

Sunday, October 26, 2014

stone patio

Now that fall is here and most of the mosquitoes have moved on,
we are really enjoying our new patio.

For the last couple of years, we had been dreaming of tearing down the old
and large wood deck and replacing it with a nice stone patio.
While we like doing a lot of DIY, we felt it was best to contract out this job.
Considering the amount of gravel, sand, concrete and stone that went into this project,
it was totally justified.

To cut down on the cost, we removed the deck ourselves and recycled most
Because the summer was wetter than usual, the contractor was a little behind schedule,
so we lived with a very slanted ugly patio for a while, 
but that did not stop us from enjoying the outdoors.

I was able to take a few pictures from the inside (recovering from illness)
while the contractors were working.
Apparently they were very pleased with the amount of shade of the backyard,
obviously they are not the ones pick up the leaves right now!

First they filled in and leveled the area with a very large amount of gravel,
then they covered it with a metal grid and attached rebar to the house.

Finally the cement was mixed and the stones were laid.
After a few days of back breaking labor on their part, we had a beautiful patio.

I had to wait a couple of months before painting the wood pieces they installed against the shed,

but now it is done....

And we just love it!
The surroundings are still unfinished but not all projects need to be completed at once. 
I already have ideas for next summer,
and I have all winter to plan it all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

huge progress in the backyard

After taking off the deck during the spring,
(you can see the beginning of the all event here),
we were left with a lot of wood.
At first we thought it was mostly rotten,
but it turned out to be mostly nice wood,
so we decided to keep it and reuse it.

It sat in piles in the backyard until the heat became more manageable
and the contractors were done installing the new patio
(story for another day).

We came up with a few projects but the 2 mostly completed ones are
a wood shed and a bike storage area.

We have quite a bit of firewood from trees that were cut from our backyard and
Until now it had been stacked against the fence,
looking sad and wet!
So we needed something to stack it better and to keep it dry,
much more useful for the winter.
We also needed a new place to store the kids'bike,
we do not have a garage and our little shed is already quite full.
They ride their bike to school everyday,
so an easy access was important, and once again,
it needed to be a dry location,
it rains quite a bit in the DC area!

Both of our constructions were based on the same design,

How to build a wood shed

We roughly followed the plan/directions.
We used corrugated metal sheets for the roof, so the width was limited to 8 feet.
We did not use much wood for the back as it stands close to the wooden fence.

The sides of the bike storage area are more solid than the plan
 as we wanted it to be weather/waterproof.

We are planning on covering the last triangle on the side,
it has been raining a lot lately making it very challenging to complete the project.
But overall the bikes are dry and the firewood looks so much better and drier.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the backyard before
it looks good, but right now it is much better,
and some of the finishing touches will probably take a couple of years.....
Happy day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

updating the kitchen, again....

Last year, I worked very hard on updating our kitchen
by adding details to the island, building taller cabinets,
adding lights, painting the cabinets white,
and adding a baking area.

Well I thought I was done but I was wrong!
Our microwave died, so we were left with a conundrum:
replace it or remove it.
We had already tried to come up with a new location a while ago,
and it had not been successful.
But then "Young House Love" blogged about their pantry update,
and it was exactly what we were looking for.
But before we could relocate a microwave to the pantry,
we needed better doors to our pantry,
we already had an electrical outlet there.
Well I found the perfect post for this on 2 Little Superheroes
Danielle changed her bi-fold doors to French doors.
I followed her tutorial and our hard to access pantry became 
the perfect location for a microwave.
We purchased a white simple microwave
(so much cheaper than over range microwave!)
and tried it out for a few weeks.
It was perfect, easy access with the new doors,
great level for the kids.

But we lost an entire shelf of storage in our little pantry,
so I made a little one about 6 inch deep to store the can food.
We usually only have a few, so we do not need a lot of space.
I also decided to keep the wire shelves, even if I am not a huge fan,
it is perfect to let the heat of the microwave escape.
The added shelf is made of a piece of 1 X 6 pine, painted glossy white
like the rest of the pantry.
It was previously some sort of dirty yellow,
but nothing beats glossy white, clean and bright.

The top shelf is for baking supplies, I love baking and need many different kinds of flour 
(plain, whole wheat, rye, bread, almond meal, semolina....) and different kinds of sugar, 
so they need their own shelf!
Below is the mini shelf for canned food, like black beans, garbanzo beans, some French delicacies, 
a odd can of tomatoes (I like to buy fresh tomatoes and make my own sauce) 
and green beans (same thing fresh or frozen is better!)
Then we have the pasta, bread, couscous, chips,
 ramen (it is a food group at our house!).
Below the microwave, it is our breakfast shelf,
everybody likes different king of cereals, so there are always
a lot of choices, we also store there crackers and dry fruits.
The bottom of the pantry is reserve for the huge bag of rice,
the dog food, the potatoes and any large box of food we have around.
It fits quite well altogether, 
and with the extra shelf we have an easy time accessing the can goods,
they also stacked better on a solid shelf than on the wire shelf!

While we are very pleased with the microwave relocating,
I am way less pleased with the ugliness left above the stove!
So I patched up the hole on the wall,
it is less scary, but still not pretty.

But there is a lot more work to be done:
install a hood, paint the bottom of the cabinets that were hidden by the microwave,
install some molding at the bottom of the same cabinet to tie in with the rest
and tile the back splash.
It seems like a long list, hopefully it will get done before Thanksgiving!

Happy day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

dolls at the vet

Miss C just purchased one of the new AG dogs,
and has made up a cute scene and story she wishes to share with you.
I made some nice scrubs for our 2 doctors,
I followed this tutorial from Arts and Crafts for your AG doll .
The panda ones was done exactly as described,
for the hedgehog, I cut the collar band on the bias.
Both are perfect for our vets!

" I love playing with this doll vet shop I made, it's so much fun.
 I am so happy my mom made all the furniture for me to play with!

here is a really fun craft I did with a chocolate bunny crate from Easter.
I also got a cute bunny for Easter, that Camille loves to play with.
I found a fun little fish tank where fishes grow when water is added.

               Here is the new dog I got! It has really good articulation. It is also a very BAD dog!
        (the new dog can hold a magnet in it's mouth and the clip-board I found has a magnet in the back)

Here I found two little buckets that make awesome bath tubs for the dogs. 
If you put tape on it you can take a x-bow marker and write on it!

And for a closer look at the new dog I got that I will call....:   Jewel!"

Happy day!

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