Sewing Projects – Pillows

In reading through some other lifestyle blogs, I realized that the possibilities with sewing projects are pretty much endless, even though I’m still a beginner.  It seems obvious, but sometimes you just need a new perspective to see it!  In my marathon JoAnn Fabric trip, I bought some upholstery fabric on clearance and two pillow inserts.  Voila!  A little sass for our otherwise tame and tasteful sunroom. This fabric isn’t really indoor/outdoor, but the sunroom isn’t exposed to the elements; save for bugs and extreme temperatures.

Pillow 1Pillow 3Pillow 2Pillow 4Pillow 5
The sunroom is probably my favorite room in the house – all the windows open up with screens, and it’s nice and breezy.  I have whiled away many a morning and afternoon in this chair!

Befores (and Progress!)

The last weekend in June was all hands (well, my hands) on deck – I had had enough.  Sitting at work on Thursday I started cooking up some grand plans for the yard, and more specifically, the yard in the days to come.  And maybe less “grand plans” than “feasible solo projects.”  I have Fridays through Mondays off (I know, I know…) so I have A LOT more time to do house projects than Ryan does.  This means much of the manual labor around here falls to me.  Which is fine, because then I can be as anal retentive as I want about how things get done.  (So that’s that.)

Here are some before pictures of the yard.  I was so anxious to get started on Friday morning that I forgot to actually take photos before I started working, but I’m pretty sure the idea of “unfinished project” still comes across.

I spent eight hours Friday, four hours Saturday, and three hours Sunday on this portion.  (Ryan was kind enough to help me on Saturday, although the look on his face when we arrived in the backyard and I explained the project was priceless.  Somewhere between hopelessness and disbelief.)

In related news, my hamstrings are killing me.

Have you tackled a big project around your house or yard single handedly?  How did it turn out?
Backyard 1Sideyard 2
A couple of “befores” of the areas to be renovated.  To say we let the weeds go a little too far is an understatement.
Sideyard Progress 2
Backyard Progress 1
After a couple days of tilling and pulling and tilling and pulling and hauling endless bags to the curb, here’s where I’m at. So close. This dirt area is going to get sod, so we have a little more lawn and less weed-pulling.
Satellite Laptop
Anyone that knows me, also knows about our bizarre yard. The previous owners had a couple dogs, a couple kids, and a less-than-perfect reputation for flinging things at-will into the backyard abyss. This means that every time, and I mean every time, Ryan and I do a little landscaping, we find amazing and sometimes puzzling treasures. This may be the most awesome find yet. I posted this on Twitter with the caption “Somewhere, there is a super hero action figure missing his satellite laptop.” If you know this household at all, the fact that I found a miniature laptop is pretty awesome.  Had to take time out from manual labor to snap a picture.
Hosta FlowersDay Lilly Flower
And because staring at all the work left to be done can cause one to burst into tears of frustration, I leave you with these two images.  When the task at hand seems insurmountable, it helps to take in what HAS been completed.  This summer I’ve already spent a considerable amount of time in the front yard making our house look presentable – stopping at the end of a hard work day to take a few pictures of healthy flowering plants made me feel a little better.  If I whipped the front yard into shape, I can do the same with the back.  Just a little perseverance, is all.  (And some serious ibuprofen.)

Photography Sea Legs – Up North

Frankfurt Downtown
In the name of travel and adventure (and visiting family) we headed up north last weekend to Traverse City and Frankfort to see my parents.  My dad is on the mend everyday, and we took a fantastic bike ride around downtown Frankfort and on the Betsie River trail. My family has their priorities in order, however, and our first stop was lunch – at Dinghy’s in downtown Frankfort. I am something of a French Dip connoisseur, and theirs was out of this world.

Dingys Frankfort

I made sure to take my “good” camera on the bike ride, and everyone was pretty obliging as I kept making us stop so I could get good shots.  There was just so much cool stuff to see.  I’m enjoying how much closer I look at things while wondering if it will make for a good photograph or not.  Before things could get overwhelming “Ah! This is all so beautiful/neat/picturesque/cool!”  But with the camera in tow, I’ve (mostly) stopped trying to get the entire view in the frame, because you know, it will never do the experience justice.  The best thing to do is just get a glimpse, a corner, a piece of the action so you can remember the whole thing later.

Bike Betsie Trail BridgeView from Betsie Trail BridgeThere are a lot of great nooks and crannies in Frankfort – and while I’ve been there before, I never realized how much was in the little downtown area. We rode our bikes past a cute bed and breakfast, which Ryan and I decided would be perfect to come back to, just to have a weekend completely without driving, filled with eating, drinking, and poking around.  Not to mention a BEAUTIFUL beach.

Al Ryan Frankfurt Beach
You’ll have to excuse the helmet hair and outfits – hey, we were biking!

Frankfurt Lighthouse
When we got down to the beach, the weather was oddly humid with the overcast clouds on their way out. But farther out on the lake it was still foggy, so you couldn’t distinguish between sky and water, which was kind of eerie.  Everything was completely still.

Mom and Dad Bikes Frankfurt Beach
How cute are my parents?  And how much would you love to live in that house right there?!

Betsie River Mouth Frankfort
There is so much history in Frankfort, I don’t even know the beginning.  Like much of northern Michigan, Frankfort used to be very industrial, and with the Betsie Lake and River right beside Lake Michigan, it seems the city used to be a major shipping port.  This is what adventure does for you – makes you ask questions.  I picture Frankfort in it’s hey-day of the mid-to-late 1800s (or even the 1940s or 50s!).  When we go back, I’ll make sure we stop by the library, which is right on Betsie Lake and see if I can’t find some answers to my questions.  (Sure, there’s the internet, but how much more fun is it to learn the story in the actually setting?)