Finally a window seat…

For most of my life I have dreamed of having a window seat.  A place to curl up with a good book, a cup of tea, to dreamily stare out the window…and now I have one!  I suppose it isn’t a “real” window seat if you use a strict definition but I did make it myself and I’m calling it a window seat.  And as with all good do-it-myself projects this one took a few years to find all of the furniture pieces in it and of course it is only recently that we found this house that has the perfect window in it…

Unfortunately I did it again.  I forgot to take a really good before picture so this will have to do:

I found these babies at an estate sale a few years ago.   They were actually not for sale.  They were being used to hold up a piece of plywood that was acting as a table to display a bunch of smaller household items.  The gentleman running the place finally agreed to let me buy them…for $25 each!  They have worked well as storage for toys,games and dress up clothes but as you can see they are in rough shape (see the water stains down the front?).

Next up, I found this Ikea shelf much more recently at the local Salvation Army store for $10.  It didn’t have any other shelves other that the permanent one so we used the leftovers from the closet transformation.  We had to cut them to fit but they work well.  And yes, you guessed it the girls and I painted it white with…say it with me…Chalk Paint!

Then came finding some 2 inch foam at Joanne’s Fabrics while on a trip to the States this summer.  It was 50% off  so I got it for $32.  I wrapped it in batting as per the wonderful instructions I found by Pretty Handy Girl (hands down the best instructions of how to make a seat cushion out there!).  The batting I found at Fabricland during another 50% off sale so add another $15 to the price tag of this project.

Of course we’re going to need some fabric to make the cover with.  Now here is the thing friends.  I don’t know how other bloggers do it.  I have time to craft at night.  Period.  So my step by step pictures will always look like crap.  Truth be told, even in the day my house doesn’t have the best lighting for photography so my lot in life is to take crappy pictures for my blog and you my dear readers get to suffer through looking at them.  Sorry!  Can you just trust me that the fabric doesn’t actually look like that?  Thanks.

Here, this might help…a picture taken during daylight hours…I love this fabric!

There are only 6 pieces of fabric using this method but there is A LOT of pinning.  Made my own piping again using Miss Mustard Seed’s tutorial.  The cover for the cushion is also removable (used velcro for the first time) and therefore washable in the washing machine!  Yay because it is in a high traffic play area!

 

Once I finished the cushion I couldn’t resist taking a photo, I still needed to but up a new curtain rod, hem the curtains, put them up, apply soft wax to the newly painted furniture, take the tape off of the hardware etc…but after working for two nights on this I was ready to say done!

 

****updated November 26th 2012**** and since I wrote this post ages ago and because I still haven’t gotten around to taking a “good” photo of the finished project (and okay maybe it is also due to not hemming those curtains yet…and still not applying that soft wax, ahem), I’m going to post this now.  And it WILL motivate me to finish those things left undone.  Right?  : )

 

What are you making lately?

 

 

 

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Secret Agent Gal

As many of you know Lil’S is into “spy stuff”.  After making her this book as part of our handmade holiday exchange last year her love of spying has only increased.  This summer at the height this spy craze she asked to have a “spy birthday”.  Sure, I thought, that’ll be easy.  And it WAS!  About three months into our planning and gathering of ideas I stumbled upon some great blogs and did I mention Pinterest?  Oh my.

My advice?  Do a spy party at least once in your life.  We had a blast!  But first you need to start with an invitation…

This invite came from a grab bag of my ideas and those of other bloggers.  I want to give credit where credit is due of course so check out some of these great sites:  birthday party ideas (there is a whole list of links to blogs that have done a spy birthday party…have fun going down that rabbit hole!), creative party place,  WillowdayChicken Babies and Frugal Family TImes (I love that both Chicken Babies and Frugal Family Times freely share their ideas and their templates for passports and Agent ID cards – THANK YOU!!).

The invitation really set the tone for the party and there was much anticipation for those invited.  When the “recruits” arrived they saw this on the front steps:

And when they went around to the Milk Door they saw this:

And when they followed the instructions the door opened and they met this guy:

The password (which was written in code in the invitation and a cipher had been included for decoding purposes) was uttered and the recruit was taken inside for “processing” (boots and jackets put away : ).

Once everyone had arrived they were given a debriefing.  They discovered that 1. J and I were real spies and that we were running a spy agency out of our house 2. Dr. Evil had stolen the loot bags and they would need to use their newly acquired spy skills to solve the mystery.  So, first things first…

Each recruit was issued an ID card, a code name and a passport:

I used this template from Chicken Babies for the ID cards.  Instead of using photos we just fingerprinted the recruits with an ink pad.  They also wrote their Code Names on the cards.  To get their Code Name they pulled a colour out of one container and an animal out of another:

It made for some really neat names like Emerald Hawk and if you can believe it, the Pink Panther!!

Next they were issued Passports (thanks Frugal Family Times!):

As you can see each passport had a list of the training activities:  Bomb Diffusion, a Laser Course, Voice Modulation, Art of Disguise and Code Deciphering.  As each skill was acquired they received a check mark and handshake.

Bomb Diffusion was the first activity.  We blew up around 24 black balloons.  Two of them had clues from Dr. Evil inside.  The kids took turns popping the balloons until the clues were found (we cleverly made sure one was “discovered” at the midpoint and the second at the end).  Then they worked together to crack the code.  The teamwork was impressive!

Next up was the Laser Course.  We used painters tape and red yarn to “booby trap” the dining room.  The kids LOVED this game and they just kept taking turns over and over again well after the clue was retrieved!

Once the laser course was “disarmed” we took it down and had some snacks.  Before the party Lil’S had helped prepare “truth serum” labels for our drinks:

We played a game of “two truths and a lie” whilst eating.  Hilarity ensued.  It was even funnier when we tried speaking in various accents to pass our Voice Modulation test.

After the snacks we moved on to the Art of Disguise which involved the kids dressing up in costume and sitting down to take a picture of themselves with Photobooth on the computer.  The pics were then emailed to the kids after the party.

Then Dr. Evil threw another wrench in our party!!  A bomb had dropped onto the cake and the kids had to try to blow it out before our cake was blown to smithereens!

After cake (which didn’t blow up because I guess all that huffing and puffing really did put out the spark heh, heh) we set to work decoding the rest of the messages.  All in all 5 secret clues from Dr. Evil were found.  It turns out the loot bags were hidden in plan sight all along!

And some spy gear to take home.  I love the Pop Rocks label “warning: explosives”.  I cannot for the life of me remember which website I saw that on – so sorry!

One of the parents stayed to help out which I was forever grateful for.  We (the adults) had a great time too.  Mrs. Iverson was the youngest guest and surprisingly she didn’t follow the dress code of all black.  She wore a glittering princess gown and a tiara.  We referred to her as “the socialite”.  And really doesn’t every Spy Party need a socialite on the guest list?

Most importantly, this Secret Agent had a fantastic time with her friends and some new spy gadgets to occupy her for a long, long time!

A Solstice surprise

I know that many of you were left wondering after my “This Moment” post earlier.  I must say the story of this doll house is one that really touched me.

I was approached by an acquaintance at KUF who asked if I might be interested in the doll house.  An older gentleman and his wife were looking to find it a good home.  It belonged to their daughter and as she is now 40 years old and has only boys it wasn’t something that would be passed down.  As it happens, I have been looking for exactly this kind of doll house for years!

And so I went to go see it.  It is just so precious.  The gentleman told me about how a friend with carpentry skills made it for his daughter for Christmas many years ago.   He was still painting it that Christmas Eve!  You can clearly see how thoughtful the person making it was.  The staircases, the railings…the perfectly chosen faux wood floors in the living room and bedroom, faux tile in the kitchen and bathroom and the velour “carpet” in the attic.  Even the wallpaper is on a scale that is perfect for this tiny house!

I was gushing with gratitude saying how I promised that my girls would take such good care of it when away he went again to find the accessories.  Accessories?  Oh my goodness, wait ’til you see…

Are you kidding me?  There was a side board for the kitchen, a letter writing desk (which actually works!), a grandfather clock and a cuckoo clock, a market basket, a canopy bed and a lamp that is actually wired for electricity!!

I mean for Pete’s sake!  Look at this phone!

This fireplace!  Have you ever seen anything like it?!  The bucket with the faux wood, the fireplace tools, not to mention the tiny silver tea set and those books!  Those are honest to goodness real books….with pages you can flip!

Clearly I couldn’t wait to set it all up when I got home and look at each and every precious piece.  Dust and all, I put the whole thing together taking notes on what needed repair and what needed doing (a new cover for the bed mattress is in order I do believe).

I would have died to have a doll bed like this as a kid.  Amazing.

So cozy!

Do I even need to tell you how much I love this cradle?  And this stroller?

Yep.  This is the bathroom.  It has a soaker tub.  Goodness.

The bedroom!  Doesn’t it look like it is out of a magazine or something?

Another adorable fireplace and this lamp…clearly, I need to look into wiring and electrical for miniature houses!

And that completes our house tour.  What do you think?  Will the girls love it or what?  I was really and truly touched by this generosity.  The exchange was finished with a handshake and a heartfelt Merry Christmas.  Merry Christmas indeed.  I’ve been thinking of ways to pay it forward ever since.