Friday, August 14, 2009

In the Place Where There is No Cell Phone Coverage

One of my favorite spots in the whole world sits on the Northern Coast of California. I set out yesterday to meet up with my parents for a weekend of relaxation, too much food, soaking in some sun and staring at the ocean.

On the way up north, the road takes you past the small town of Valley Ford. Have you ever seen Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds? Well then maybe you'll recognize this schoolhouse, which was in the movie:

Next door to the school house was this barn, which was just begging to have its picture taken too:

If you keep going over the hills and west, you get to this delicious spot where you get a first glimpse of the enormous and majestic Pacific Ocean. The white in the distance is the clouds over the water. It stretches beyond where the eye can see:

Just a little further, and you round the corner to Bodega Bay (which is where most of The Birds was filmed) and you can see where the ocean and the bay meet. I head north at this point and keep going at the coast, without going in to "town."

What you see above is the "golden" hills of California in the summer. I laughed when someone first called them that, back when I was a kid. I remember thinking "that's just dead grass, it's not really golden." Twenty seven years later, I have learned to love the look of those hills in the summer. The smell of dry grass at dusk somehow harkens memories of playing with childhood friends in the summer that Ferris Bueller's Day Off came out.

And after this photo is where my cell coverage ends. It's amazing to me that such a place exists. I kept taking photos and sending them to Flickr, but the one of Bodega Bay is the last one that made it up.

I'll post the other photos, along with some of the rugged coast when I'm back in civilization. For this weekend, I'm thinking. I'm thinking about my work and what my real life's work is meant to be. Last night I tried to explain to my mom what I thought that work was. It's somewhere between ministry, crafts, retreats, technology and camp. I'm starting to locate that place on a map. And in doing so I'm finding it's probably out there in the area where there's not much cell coverage yet. Scary, unchartered, unmapped territory. And yet, I'm still totally convinced it's something I will tackle, I will figure out, and God and my beloved family and friends will help me find my way.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My First Sewing Project in a Long Time..A Purse!

Last weekend I bought a sewing machine in an attempt to salvage a slip cover project that quickly took on a life of it's own. Over the past week, I've been reading and looking at blogs and sites about sewing. I figure since I wrangled that slip cover into submission, I could probably take on another project. And that I should, since you know, I bought a sewing machine.

Enter in Sarah at "In my Spare Time." I found her cute and informative blog through Sew, Mama Sew, and really love her free patterns and easy to follow explanations. Ok, so I did make a newbie error of incorrectly attaching the straps on my purse, not once, but twice. But I didn't get mad, I just kept at it. And, I'm pretty excited about how it turned out.

Here's my new purse:
For my next projects, I plan on making a couple of more purses (my sister has already asked for one like mine :) ). I also have three pairs of pants that I need to shorten the hem on. Being 4'10", it was easy justifying this purchase since I need to get everything altered. I also want to make a small clutch with a zipper. After that ... well, maybe I'll slip cover my couch. No, I'm not kidding.

The big announcement, which will be quietly, lovingly placed at the bottom of this post is - my friend Chrissy and I have started our own business, and we launched our new blog last week. Our small fry of a shop is named "Ruby & Caroline" and you can see our site at I'll give more updates in the next few days :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

You're a Gem! A Special Award

Kathie over at My Net Finds was nice enough to hand out this gorgeous award. The only rules are that I'm supposed to share it and post it :) It's down at the bottom, in the footer ... and here goes with the people I think are gems.

I want to say thanks to these folks who have been so warm and welcoming. They share, they encourage, and they make a big effort to get to know bloggy friends. You guys are all gems!

In no particular order:

Liz of Tidbits from Liz
Tabitha of A FiveohFour Uplifting and I Choose Bliss
Sheri of Sheri's World
Adam of Where the Wind
Jessica of Pecannoot
Kate of Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Vineeta of Artnlight
Katey at Let it Be
Sarah at My Spare Time

I hope to have another post today about a couple of exciting new things!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reupholstering a Bargain Chair for the Bedroom

A few months ago, I spied a little chair outside a second hand furniture shop. She was full of potential, and I knew she'd fit in my Civic. With a price tag at $40, I decided to take her home.

Here's a picture of the chair in the living room after I brought her home. Note the nubby rust fabric, and check out the pleated skirt!

This weekend, I purchased 4 yards of fabric at Jo-ann's, in a red and white print to go with the colors in the bedroom. It came to about $21 - the fabric happened to be on sale! I have to say, I went a little out of my comfort zone with this pattern.

When I got home, I cut the skirt off of the chair, and I started making a pattern for the new cover. The pattern ended up being 5 pieces: seat, left arm, right arm, back (inside) and back (outside). I made these by holding newspaper against the chair and tracing the size of the piece for each pattern.

I cut the pattern out of the fabric, and then ... I sewed the cover with my new sewing machine!! It's been ages since I last sewed, but I seem to have retained a decent amount of what my mom taught me back when we used to sew together (Thanks Mom!). I realize this was a pretty big project to tackle, having not sewn anything in probably 15 years.

After the cover was complete, I staple gunned the bottom of the cover to the bottom of the chair's frame to give it a more polished look.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cheap Bedroom Lamp Re-do

First, this is my 200th post! Can you even believe it? Wow - thanks to you guys for stopping by, reading, and commenting. I've really loved getting to know a bunch of new people through the blog.

As you know, I've been focused on "re-doing" the bedroom. I was bad and never really took before pictures, but I'll be sure and grab some afters :)

A couple of weekends ago, I took on the nightstand lamps. Functionally, they were fine. But, check this out - not so cute. Someone pinch me and remind me when I turned 90, please:

OK, so they are not that bad. I bought them at Tuesday Morning about 9 years ago, and I think it's just the colors that are out of date. And the shape of the shade.

I taped off the top, and taped about a foot of the cord, so when I didn't cover those areas with spray paint. I wouldn't recommend the tape I used, it's neon duct tape that I got free from a photo shoot at work. It was too sticky, but I made due since it was free. Here's a side by side view of the two on the patio:

Lastly I wanted a shade that had a more up to date look, but that was cheap. I scored these beuts at Target for $5.99 each. I stuck with white on white, and figured I could add some decorative touches on the shades later once I've narrowed down the over all style of the room.

Here's a side by side of the before and after - and yes, the base is slightly different, although the coloring was the same. Doesn't the new shade make it look totally different?

Total cost of this - about $16 for both. I already had the spray paint, but let's claim it's about $2 of paint. ;-)