Thursday, July 30, 2009

Project Flashback: Ladybug Crib Set

I was looking through some pictures tonight and I stumbled upon a sewing project from last year that made me smile. I want to share it with you in a feature I will call "Project Flashback".

This flashback is of the crib set I made for my niece, Abby. It was based on the Kids Line ladybug crib set, but I think ours is cuter! ;0)

See the inspiration below:

And here is my take on the design:

(Don't you love how its the exact same crib as the inspiration, only stained instead of painted? Almost like we planned that! hehe)

Our bedding was made with Minky Cuddle plush fabrics (pink with embossed stars and green chenille stripe) and assorted cottons and flannels. (We purchased a coordinating fitted sheet for the mattress.) The ladybugs were made of polka dot flannel and applied using a satin stitch on the machine. The flowers and dragonflies were cut from various cottons, and the trails of the bugs and flower stems were hand embroidered using embroidery floss. We even found pink ladybug and dragonfly print upholstery fabric! That was used for the back of the bumper and the curtain valance. My favorite part is the pillow with Abby's name. It's so whimsical and the style is cute enough to last through her childhood.

To top it all off, I painted two canvas prints to hang in the nursery. I must thank the people who invented paint pens for all their help in creating those perfectly thin lines!

This labor of love was a gift for my brother and sister-in-law for their new little one! When I look back at all that hand embroidery and applique on plush chenille fabric, I think I must have been crazy to attempt it! It was definitely worth it and I love how it turned out! I hope Abby does, too. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009


I spent the weekend at my parent's house and my niece, Abby, came to visit. I got these cute pictures of her sitting in the heirloom rocking chair that my mother refinished. We have pictures of all of us kids in this chair. :)

Isn't she precious?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pantry on Parade

This week we have been working on converting our seldom used "coat closet" (that's what a chair is for--to hold your coat!) next to the kitchen into a full-fledged pantry! It was clever Michael's idea to add some shelves to the closet for storing bulk food items and canned goods. You can see that the single upper shelf was just not doing it for us...

So, after my father cut and glued up some pine shelves for us (Thanks, Papa!) I cleared the closet of its junk and got to work painting. Flat white for the walls to brighten it up (there is no light fixture, alas) and semi-gloss white for all the shelves and supports. Then it was just a matter of putting up the shelf supports (using my hand dandy laser level). Lacking the special battery for my new stud finder (shouldn't it say "batteries not included" on the package!) I resorted to nailing into the wall every few inches in the vicinity of the stud. :) Lucky for me all those holes are now under the support brace. hehe.

Anyway, we now have four fine shelves ready for a plethora of pantry items. There is lots of room for the bounty from our next trip to Sam's. I keep finding things around the house that could live in the pantry--at this rate it will be full in no time. But that of course, is how my Mother's pantry came to be so disorganized! hehe. Mostly I'm just happy to get the cereal off of the floor and the beans out from under the couch. It is nice to be able to see all the food items you have in stock at one glance.

Mmmm... brownies....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Basement Blues

Our first project (after we got settled in) at our new house was to finish out the basement. Our basement boasts a a one-car garage bay plus a work/storage space in addition to a laundry room and den on the other side. The unfinished garage started as a blank canvas with unfinished open stud walls, concrete floor, and an exposed ceiling. The dark, dirty room was not a welcome greeting when we got home. And at night, it was just plain scary-- the single exposed light bulb did not inspire visitors to linger long.

We decided to tackle the project with help from our handy families. My father and I added a new opening in the divider wall to more easily navigate around the car, additional electrical outlets, and three new fluorescent light fixtures. Michael and his bro, Nelson, installed the insulation in an afternoon. Bless them! Next came drywall, peg board, and a ceiling.

After a week of mudding and sanding drywall, we added trim around the doors and gave the whole room a coat of fresh white paint. Then the simple tile ceiling went up with furring strips and molding finished the edge of the room. Lastly, we sealed the block wall with two coats of Dry Lok to prevent moisture from seeping in and followed up with paint to complete the room. Now, our basement is a bright and tidy place to work, play, and store things.

Future upgrades may include painting the garage door and metal air ducts, a drop ceiling in the garage bay, a painted faux tile floor, shelving for the storage boxes, and cabinetry for all the paint, tools, and supplies.

A special thanks to Hannah and Josh for the ping pong table--we saved it from a future in a landfill after some kids sat on it and broke the frame. Maybe it's not perfectly straight or level, but we embrace it for its uniqueness (and its free-ness). ;)

Anyone up for a game?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Salsa Garden

This year I planted a little salsa garden in a big metal planter on the deck (the only place in our yard that gets enough sun to grow things). Tomato, jalapenos, bell pepper, chives, and cilantro.

On Monday I picked my first bell pepper (and so far my only bell pepper). It was about the size of a golf ball :( Poor little thing. But I cut it up and made quesadillas. Yum!

Today I picked my first Roma tomato! The tomato plant is huge... we are going to be making lots of salsa, pizza sauce, and guacamole, I hope!

As for the cilantro plant, well, I used it all up the first part of the summer and now I can't find a replacement. :( Boo! The jalapenos are holding their own and have finally decided to flower. Perhaps they will produce some peppers, after all. :) I also have a little basil plant that is flourishing. Can't wait to make pesto and Margherita pizza!

Michael also enjoys this little garden, because instead of me talking about typical garden-y things like trimming the azaleas, bugs on my hostas, and what to plant where, I keep talking about all this good food I'm going to make! We have hopes to clear the land in our back yard beyond the woods and have an even bigger landscape garden sometime in the future.

I have learned a lot of lessons this year from my little garden and next year I intend to make it bigger and better in containers on the deck railing. More room for them to grow, more sun and easier to move around. I can't wait! Happy Summer harvest!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dead Like Me

In the quest for television shows that we can watch instantly on Netflix, Michael and I came across Dead Like Me and watched the pilot episode last night. The show got me thinking about things (I am so emo). And today I stumbled across this quote in a blog:

I believe that our mutual fear of death means something much more profound. Affirming, even. It means, although sometimes we forget or may not know, we are happy to be alive. We bitch and moan and rant and rave and throw tantrums and hate ourselves and "loathe our lives" and wish for this and that and if only I could lose ten pounds. If only we could afford that mortgage. If only I could fit in.

But at the end of the day, we want to be here. We want to make it. Make something. Make it better.

~Rebecca Woolf

So true. Just as I am struggling with my own neverending list of wants and neverendingly whining about day to day life, I am searching for a purpose. Something to make, and something to make life better.

If you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must, at the very least, think noisy and colorfully, or you're not alive. ~Mel Brooks

And at the end of Dead Like Me when the little girl ran off to "heaven"--a glowy amusement park at the edge of a foggy wood, I said to Michael, "I don't ever want to go there, even if there is a shiny Ferris wheel... Maybe, though, if you could come, too, that would be okay."

But for now, let's just jump up and down and be noisy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Laundry Room Redo

I love a laundry room. We spent three years in a one bedroom apartment with a washer and dryer stacked in the kitchen. Nothing like folding your drawers on the kitchen counter. :) Not to mention the four years of communal laundry in college, where upon returning to the laundry room you might find someone had neatly folded all your freshly laundered clothes, and on another occasion find your still damp clothes deposited into the trash can in your absence!

My Mama has a little laundry room stuck into the eaves on the back of the house... home to camel crickets and the warm, downy fresh atmosphere of a hot dryer. When we were little and Mama would ask us to transfer the laundry to the dryer, we used to grab a sibling and play "loader". One would scoop the wet laundry out of the washer while the loader had to hold out their hands and catch it, then toss it into the dryer. Now that I am living in my own house, and doing my own laundry, I wish someone would come play loader with me. :) In effort to attract a partner for the game, I decided to spruce up our laundry room.

When we moved into our new home, the laundry room had filthy wire shelves on three walls and a builder basic vanity cabinet with the doors hanging off. A big gold mirror completed the ensemble.

Before we moved in...ick!


But there was ample room for our washer and dryer that we bought used (notice the dents on the side) :) and a half bath to boot. The basement room became Bandit's food room, as well. (UP! TO THE FOOD ROOM!! ;)) The sad, neglected little room was begging for a makeover. Those wire shelves had to go! Everytime I stood up from the dryer, I whacked my head on them! And everyone knows that if you have an empty shelf, you will find something to put on it. They were covered in junk!

BEFORE...please note the conflicting decor, mostly leftover from our college days:


After initially painting the vanity black, adding new hardware and an oval mirror, a color scheme emerged. I decided to add some yellow stripes to make the room appear taller, but also warmer and more cheerful. After clearing the room and spackling the many holes from all those shelf anchors, the base color went up on all the walls ("Flax" by Olympic). It took two coats of the pale yellow to cover.

I spent the following day taping off stripes. I calculated the stripe width for each different wall so none of the stripes would have to wrap around a corner--the walls each have a slightly different width of stripe, but not so great that you notice. The taping part was pretty easy (and fun) using delicate painter's tape (for taping on fresh paint only 24 hours dry) and a laser level (LOVE IT!) I did run out of tape though, and had to break until I could get more. :)

The last step was to paint the darker color in between the tape lines. When the second color ("Golden Slumber" by Olympic) went on, I was afraid it was too light and you wouldn't be able to see the subtle stripe effect. As soon as the paint dried and the tape was peeled off, the two tone stripes were revealed!

I read a lot of different opinions about removing painter's tape. Some say to take the tape off when the paint is wet, but that threatens to make a huge mess with wet paint from the tape on your hands, clothes and freshly painted walls!  So, I waited until the paint was just dry and because I only had one coat of paint over the tape, the lines were crisp and clean, no bleed through. There were a few spots where the tape took up the paint over spackled areas, but that was my fault for not letting the spackle dry thoroughly before the first coat. Just a little touch up. :) I love my stripes! I'm toying with the idea of doing the same thing in another room, (maybe the dining room?) except instead of two colors... do it with two sheens. Flat walls with satiny stripes over it.  How glamorous! :)

Lastly, I topped off the paint job with crisp white trim and a freshly painted door to make the colors pop. Goodbye blah beige! After my father and I finished the solid pine cabinet we built to go over the washer/dryer, all that was left was to accessorize! :) A few finishing touches went in—black and white pictures of the kitten, some art, and Laundry letters in case anyone wandering past forgot where they were going. :) I even painted my hot pink laundry basket white with Krylon Fusion spray paint. Good stuff!

Voila! My Cheery Laundry Room:



Future upgrades may include a laminate or tile floor to replace the linoleum, a black display shelf across from the cabinet, a folding counter with space underneath for hampers, new ceiling tiles, new light fixtures, and I intend to swap the washer and dryer so I don't have to unload clothes across the washer door into the dryer.

Anyone want to come play "loader"?

Beach Weekend

We just got back from Nags Head where we spent a relaxing weekend hanging out on the beach. Here are a few pics I snapped at sunset on Friday.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Here's a few shots from last night's festivities! Hope you all had a happy fourth!

Hannah and Josh enjoying some picnic food:

Ka-boom! Tanglewood's fireworks show is worth the wait. However, next year we are hiking in from across the street to avoid the insane traffic jam after the show.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Patriot Kitten

Bandit getting into the spirit of the holiday. :)

Happy Fourth of July!

Welcome to my blog! Here is the place where I will document all the important and interesting happenings in the Horvath household! Get excited!

I want to post some before and after pics of our new house, but that will have to wait till I get my new laundry cabinet installed! In the meantime I will entertain you with our new fitness plan. It's called Couch to 5K. In our case it might be more aptly named "Computer Chair to 5K". But whatever. Today was our first day. You can read all about the program at Cool Running.

Since we managed to survive day 1 (in which we ran a total of 8 mins combined) we will try to stick to the plan and see what happens! Skinny jeans are in my future! :)

Happy Fourth of July everyone! We are going to Tanglewood to picnic with my sister and her husband tonight. Yay, fireworks!