Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Show Me a Story" Winner!

Thanks to all who commented for a chance to win a copy of Emily K. Neubuger's Show Me a Story. I truly love this book, and even if you didn't win, I encourage you to grab a copy for yourself or follow her blog tour for another chance to win a copy.

Congrats to Arielle Clementine who said, "i am planning on homeschooling my kids, and feel like this book would be a wonderful way to get them interested in storytelling!"

I'll be in touch, Arielle, to get your copy of Show Me a Story headed to your home. 

Stay tuned for updates on my quilt class and my first-ever quilt block. Spoiler: I didn't die from fear over making it. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introducing "Show Me a Story" by Emily K Neuburger

One of my favorite things about the time I spent at CRAFT was finding and following so many immensely creative folks through their blogs. I love stumbling on new blogs, keeping up with them, and watching them grow over the years, and it's even more exciting to see them make the jump from blog publishing to book publishing. 

Emily with her daughters, Hazel and Leah, telling stories using the Traveling Puppet Theater project from Show Me a Story
One such case is Emily K. Neuburger of Red Bird Crafts, whom I first connected with a couple of years ago after posting about some of her projects on CRAFT. I've followed her work and stayed in touch ever since, and was thrilled to se her new book, Show me a Story, that has "40 craft projects and activities to spark children's storytelling."

The Story Disks project is simple and cute, and will end up providing hours of creative play for kids. 
As a mom, I have to admit that when I've tried to craft with my kids, they don't always jump right on board. They seem to need some kind of additional hook to get going. What I love about Show Me a Story is that the projects have purpose. It's not just about making something cute, it's about making something that you then turn around and use to share creative stories and adventures with others. That bumps the awesome factor right up through the roof for me.

The Storytelling Jar is an adorable project that would look cute on a desk or shelf, and can then be pulled down to use for story telling whenever the mood strikes. 
The projects are mostly pretty simple, and use basic materials that can often be found around your house (even in the recycling bin!) so it's a great book for families to have on hand for rainy days, family activity nights or summer boredom busting. It's also a book that would be a great gift for teachers, because many of the activities would be perfect for the classroom.

Emily's thoughtful and thorough explanations of the mechanics of stories, and her rich prompts help readers jump right in to the story-telling process.
Emily doesn't just provide craft project tutorials in the book, but she also includes incredibly helpful guides for getting kids in the right mindset to fall deep down the story telling rabbit hole. She's prepared rich lists of prompts and explanations that help parents or teachers put the activities in to context for the children. Show me a Story is filled with the kind of projects and inspiration that help create special moments between adults and children, and it's really refreshing to see this kind of take on a craft project book. I like when there is purpose to a project beyond just making it.

If all this resonates with you, you're in luck! I have one copy of Show me a Story to offer for giveaway to an Average Jane Crafter reader. Just leave a comment on this post, telling me how you would use this book with the kiddos in your life, and I'll draw a winner at random on Monday. You have until 9PM CST on Sunday, September 29 to leave your comment. Sorry, contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Hey, wait a minute ... I recognize that name under the quote up there ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Being OK with Being Terrified

straight lines scare me, y'all.
Cutting precise straight lines scares the heck out of me, y'all. 
Last week, I started my first quilting class. I've been meaning to try my hand at quilting for a while, but the right moment hadn't hit me yet. After being invited to teach a hand embroidery workshop at QuiltCon, I decided this was the perfect time. This fall would be the time I finally learn how to make a quilt. 

My initial fabric selection - I thought we needed five fabrics, but it turns out we only needed four. I had to change this grouping up a bit. 
I decided to get my fabrics before the first class, and had a lot of fun browsing through bolts. Though the quilt we'll be making in class isn't my particular style (it's very traditional piecing, and I'm drawn more to the graphic modern quilts) I'm excited to be learning so many techniques, and decided I'd try using more modern-feeling fabrics in the quilt. I figured I need to be in love with the fabrics so I can spend the next eight weeks staring at them, and the next who-knows-how-many-years using the quilt.

Even as enjoyable as shopping for fabric is, though, an unanticipated feeling emerged as I picked up, swapped out and debated different fabrics: terror.

The reworked fabrics for the quilt. I actually like this grouping better! 
You see, I haven't tried any big new skills lately. I've been pretty darn comfortable with my infatuation with hand embroidery and dabbling in other simple crafts, but I haven't really s  t  r  e  t  c  h  e  d  much outside of my comfort zone recently. Quilting is big, and pretty foreign to anything I've ever done. Sure, it's fabric and sewing, but it's also precision, straight lines, matching points, perfect quarter inch seams*, basting, binding and ... quilting! All these things are not in my usual bag of tricks. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of crafter. I take pride in not worrying if my seams are 100% perfectly straight. Quilting is going to take some time and thought and purposeful action. There will be lots of practicing on scrap fabrics, lots of measuring and remeasuring, and most certainly, without a doubt ... lots of mistakes.

I nerded out and used my light box to make a copy of the quilt pattern so I could color it in with different colorways and decide which fabrics I wanted to use in which ways. Don't laugh - it's super handy! 
I don't shy away from mistakes, and I love learning new things, but when I showed up to my class and realized I was the only one who hadn't made a quilt before (hey, it's an *intro* to quilting class, I didn't think it would be so odd that I hadn't made a quilt before!) I felt the terror creep back up. I'm typically outgoing and enthusiastic in a class environment. Instead, I became intensely introverted and ... I'll say it ... scared out of my wits. My quilt ruler was futzy, my machine borked out on me, and there were a million other little things that just made the evening a bit crazy and uncomfortable ... and terrifying.

I made photocopies of the tracing and then colored them in, swapping my light and dark grey fabrics. I'm a super visual gal, so this helped me get a better idea of how swapping the fabric placement would affect the overall look of the quilt. See? Handy! 
It took a stiff cocktail when I got home to try to relax and remind myself: THIS IS ONLY QUILTING. I need to take my own advice and not stress. I need to have fun. I've said this a million times to my embroidery students: The more you have fun, the more inclined you will be to practice. The more you practice, the better you will get. I need to stick with that, but I'm also kind of ok with being terrified. This kind of terrified is a feeling I haven't had in a long time, and it's reminding me I'm alive and pushing myself. Somedays the routine of family life makes me feel like I'm not doing much of those things. And I'm a process gal, which means - even when terrified - I actually really enjoy the process of being a bumbling idiot with something new, and slowly working to a point of comfort. I think it's a good thing for my kids to see, too. They see too many perfect, edited "final results" throughout media. They need to see some of that raw process (even if it includes a few swear words, I'm not gonna lie).

What has terrified you lately?

* Ironically, I'm the youngest person in the class, but I have the most basic, simple sewing machine in the group. Most of the others have super fancy computerized machines with special settings and presser feet that make precise quarter inch seams a snap. My machine ... notsomuch. But I keep thinking, "come on! Pioneers had flippin' FOOT POWERED machines!" and then I feel better. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Give it up for new beginnings, y'all!

Oh, my dear, sweet little neglected blog. I've missed you.

There has been a lot of change around these parts over the last nine months or so, and that's contributed to my lack of posting. Fortunately, I'm getting back on track, and really looking forward to getting nice and comfy back over here.

Leaving CRAFT was bittersweet.
The biggest crafting-related news around here is that, after four years, I left CRAFT at the end of June of this year. I loved blogging there, and am thankful for all the wonderful people I met and inspiration I found, but after blogging and being editor there, I decided it was time to move on to some new creative endeavors. 
One of my project tutorials for Whimseybox
I am thrilled to be working with Alicia and Bri at Whimseybox, which is based right here in Houston. It's exciting to be even a small part of a new and growing venture, especially when I admire the women behind it so much. I've had fun blogging for them and creating project tutorials (something I hadn't done in ages!) and am even more excited for what the future holds for Whimseybox.

I'm also excited to announce that I'll be teaching at the first ever QuiltCon in Austin next February. I'll be teaching basic hand embroidery in the context of studying redwork in modern quilting. I can't believe I'm part of this incredible event. I mean, hi ... Anna Maria Horner, one of my all-time biggest design inspirations and first fabric designer crush, is teaching in the same room I am right after my class ends. Who wants to place bets on me passing out? If you are interested in the class or QuiltCon, be sure to check it out and sign up soon. As of a few days ago, there were less than three spots left in my workshop. The QuiltCon folks have been amazing and so professional. This is going to be a top-notch event. I can't wait!

Speaking of quilting, I'm starting my first quilting class next week. Yep. I've never made a quilt (well, not an official quilt - I've "quilted" a few small things for fun/practice, but I've never done a whole quilt start-to-finish before). Even though my workshop at QuiltCon isn't so much about quilting (it's a basic hand embroidery class) I didn't feel I could stand up as a teacher there, having never made a quilt. I've read Susan Beal's Modern Log Cabin Quilting book cover-to-cover, and am ready to get some real-life action going in the quilt department. Look for updates over the coming weeks as my class progresses!

I've got some great books and craft goodies to share with you, as well as some fun project tutorials, soon. Thanks for sticking with me - even with my sporadic posting. This fall marks the 5th anniversary of Average Jane Crafter, and I'm so glad to still be crafting and sharing things with you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Secrets For the Week-Long Manicure

My Secrets for the Week-Long Home Manicure
This is totally out of character for me. Really. I am not a girlie girl at all. I kind of feel like I need to pull up the pictures of me as a 4th grader, wearing camo pants and no shirt (because I was a total tomboy and felt like I should be able to run around half-naked) so I can prove my non-girlie nature here. I'm not really in to fashion and I rarely wear makeup, but the one girlie weakness I have is this: painting my fingernails each and every week.

It's important to match your nails to your favorite foods.
When I was in college, I painted my nails all the time - sometimes every other day. I'd use wild colors, but paid no attention to application or care. They were generally a sloppy mess. Once I had kids, my nail-painting habit died off, and I didn't touch the stuff for years. Then I had an embroidery class in which a student carried on about her nail-painting ritual. Her blog was the first place I saw the painted nails trend, and a post she did on her weekly ritual of painting her nails got me completely hooked again. Initially, I was painting them only occasionally. Several months ago, though, I got hooked on a weekly routine of painting my nails every Thursday night while watching 30Rock, Big Bang and Project Runway.

Can't decide on one color? No problem!
My husband teased me about it at one point: "Why do you like doing that so much!?" I stopped for a minute and wondered the same thing. Why - as a non-fashion/beauty interested person - do I bother with painting my nails every week? Here's what I came up with:
  • I love the colors. Sometimes it's as simple as that. For as much black as I wear, I am always drawn to the menagerie of colors available in the nail polish aisle. I have a basket full of colorful bottles, and digging through them is deeply satisfying to the color-hungry part of my soul. Seeing a nice color on my hands every day is - as silly as it sounds - a little pick-me-up. 
  • It's a simple form of self care. The whole moms-neglect-themselves is a cliche for a reason. It's hard to find much time or money to do a little something special for yourself, and my weekly manicures help in that regard. I'm taking time to take care of myself, feel "pretty" and indulge in something that's a bit impractical and makes me feel good. We all need more of that, right? 
  • I can't multitask while I'm doing it. Aside from watching tv, I really can't do much else while I'm painting my nails or waiting for them to dry. After I finish painting them, I sit down on the couch and just allow myself to watch tv for the rest of the evening. I don't do dishes, fold laundry or work on the computer. This is pretty much the only time in the week that I just sit still. That's a beautiful thing! 
I'm always a scoundrel fan.
After digging around on the internet, and buying more beauty products than I'd care to admit to, I settled on a handful of favorites and a routine that give me a nice-looking home manicure that lasts all week.* My frequently-changing manicures have been visible in many of my pictures on Instagram, and I had several friends ask me to post my method and favorite products. There are thousands of nail-painting tutorials on the internet, but most of them are for fancy decorative nails. I haven't had time to do anything like that, nor do I strive to. The basic solid color manicure scratches my itch just fine, but just know that if that's something you desire, it's easily found with a quick google search or look-see on YouTube.

Enjoy the tutorial, and find some way - even if it's not painting your nails every week - to do a little something for yourself that allows you to not multitask while you do it, ok?

The manicure after a week (and this week included cleaning out the garage!)
Here's a picture of my week-old manicure. On this particular week, I'd even cleaned out the garage over the weekend, and the polish still held up nicely. It's not perfect at this point, but for having been on my nails for a solid week, I'd say it's not to shabby, amiright?
Too much nail polish ...
My collection of nail polishes is kind of embarrassing, but not as extensive as some I've seen on the internet ... 

Home manicure supplies
  • A nice, fine nail file - I picked mine up at a beauty supply store 
  • Target Brand Remover Dip-It Acetone (more on this wonder product in just a second) 
  • Sally Hansen cuticle remover gel - I've used this one, as well as the SH instant cuticle remover. I like them both. 
  • Sally Hansen Miracle Cure - for the base coat. This stuff rocks. 
  • Nail polish in your preferred color (re: brand, I love Essie for colors & staying power. I also love OPI. My favorite inexpensive brand of nail polish is the Sally Hensen Xtreme Wear, which totally holds its own for a less-than-$3 polish) 
  • Out The Door top coat - this stuff is what seals the deal (literally) on a long-lasting manicure. I found it at Target for around $3, but have had trouble finding it there recently. I know you can get it at beauty supply stores, it might just be a little more expensive there. LOVE this stuff. 
  • A good cuticle stick - I like my metal one, as opposed to the wood ones. It came in a little manicure set from Target 
  • Clippers - good for cleaning up gnarly bits around your nails 
  • Nail brush - It's freaky how handy this thing is. I hadn't used one before, but now adore it. 
  • Paper towels to protect your surface and use for quick cleanups
The nail polish remover of the gods ... sorta.
Let's start with removing your old nail polish. Part of why I didn't paint my nails much was because removing the color was a huge pain. I'd have stacks and wads of cotton pads all over the place, and the color would inevitably end up all over my hands. It was an annoying mess. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, this product changed all that.
Nail Polish Remover that looks like a Sarlacc from Star Wars
Remember that stuff from the 80s that was a dip-and-remove nail polish remover? It was like a sponge inside a container and you shoved your finger down in it and rubbed off the color? The color often did the same thing as it does with cotton pads: gets smeared all over your fingers. Because of my experience in the 80s, I was hesitant to try this dip-and-remove from Target. Instead of the old sponge interior, it's full of plastic bristles. Instead of smearing color everywhere, the polish comes off in just a few swipes and leaves your fingers perfectly clean. I nerd out on this stuff big time.
Removing the nail polish - ahhhh! It's eating my finger! Quick, Luke, Save me!
Sure, it looks like a Sarlacc from Star Wars, and yes - I snicker and make 12-year-old boy jokes every time I shove my finger in it - but it works wonders and I'm sticking with it for the long haul.
Removing Polish

Adding cuticle remover
Next, squeeze the cuticle remover gel along your cuticles and let it sit according to the package instructions (it can vary from 15 seconds to 5 minutes)
Pushing back cuticles
Use your cuticle stick to push back your cuticles.

At this point, I like to file my nails. I couldn't get a picture of this part, but it's pretty basic. Just gently shape your nails with the file. I've seen tips about filing only in one direction, but honestly couldn't get that down. Just don't go nuts and don't use too coarse of a file and you should be fine.

Once your cuticles are all pushed back and nails are filed, it's time to hit the sink. Again, I couldn't get a picture of this, but what I usually do is squirt liquid soap in to the palm of my hand and then dip the finger nail brush into it and scrub my nails pretty vigorously under the water. This removes the gel and the residual acetone (that can dry out your skin) and cleans up under your nails from filing. Dry your hands well after washing. You can then use your clippers to clean up any gnarly bits that are left around your nails.
Trimming cuticles and gnarly bits
Paint a nice, thin coat of your base coat on to your nails and let dry. Usually, by the time I finish my second hand, the first hand is dry enough to dive right in to the color coats.
A nice base coat keeps your nails healthy and not so yellow-y.
Now it's time for color. I don't really have any tips for applying color other than be patient and paint thin coats. Globbing the color on doesn't do anyone any favors. Paint one thin coat, wait just a couple of minutes and then go back and paint a second coat. Wait a few minutes and then paint on your top coat, generously, over the whole shebang.
Finished painting - it's a mess, who cares!? That'll clean up.
"But wait!" you say. "Your nails are a total mess!" Yep. And that's just fine. The other advantage to painting my nails at night is that I don't have to worry with cleaning up the edges. The next morning, when I shower, the excess polish comes right off. Usually just the process of shampooing and cleaning is enough to knock most of it off, but sometimes I have to use my fingernails in the shower to scrape off the last remaining bits. It's easy and my fingernails look dandy when I'm done.
After clean up!
And there you have it! That's what I do each and every week for my home manicure. I find that keeping my nails short helps keep them from chipping as much, and the biggest change in how they look during the week is from growth at the base. Otherwise, they look perfectly respectable, I'd say. Have fun and enjoy painting!

Mmmm ... rainbow ...
 *Disclaimer: Your manicure might not last all week. Depending on your level of activity and type of polish, you might have some chips. I'm not saying that your manicure will look exactly the same as it did when you completed it, but it should look totally acceptable if you're using these products and methods and aren't a lumberjack who doesn't wear gloves.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recipe: Booze-y, Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Soup, and playing with Snapguide

Several months ago, my mom visited and made some of the tastiest soup I'd ever had. Better yet, it was fresh and healthy and made my house smell heavenly. I wanted to give it a try a few weeks ago, but - of course - had to add a bit of ... decadence in the form of wine and cream. Either way is delicious, so you can follow the recipe as-is, or omit the wine and cream when you're trying to be a little healthier.
Recipe: Booze-y, creamy roasted tomato basil soup
I'm including the recipe below, but I'm also going to introduce a new app I've been playing with lately so you can easily view the recipe and step-by-step pictures on your iPhone, iPad or desktop. Snapguide is a cool DIY tutorial app that allows you to easily upload pictures right from your iPhone, add text and publish with just a few click. Please note, this is not a sponsored review. I've just been playing on the app on my own and thought I'd share my experience. Screenshots below are from the iPhone app and desktop versions of Snapguide.

Snapguide Phone Shot
Snapguide Screenshot
My "real" camera died a while ago, and my old iPhone (3G folks!) took terrible pictures. Honestly, that plus work constraints meant I wasn't able to crank out fun tutorials as often as I'd like to. I recently finally upgraded my phone, and instantly started wanting to snap away for projects. It's still kind of a pain, though, to upload the pictures, edit, post, etc. I kept thinking there had to be an easier way ... and there is. With Snapguide, you can create a tutorial right on your phone and publish it. I did the one for the soup while my son (literally) sat on my lap on the couch and played a video game on the tv. Aside from a few crashes when I tried to upload more than 3 pictures at a time, it was smooth, intuitive and really easy to use. And reading my tutorial and others is nice and easy - just swipe through each step. I like it!

Snapguide Phone Shot
Snapguide Screenshot
I do wish, though, that they would have an option to embed the tutorial into your web site. If I'm going to create a tutorial, I'd like the traffic to at least be - primarily - to my blog. That will be the kicker. I think for now, my compromise is introducing the tutorial here and then linking over to Snapguide.
Snapguide Phone Shot
Snapguide screen shot
What do you think? Have you tried Snapguide? Check it out and see what you think. I like the variety of projects - food, makeup, home projects .... even dog tricks! I'll be curious to see if/how crafters embrace this new platform...
Snapguide Screenshot
Recipe: Booze-y, Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

(please note, the ingredients and measurements are general here. It varies depending on how much you can fit in your baking dish and what you have on hand. Go flexible, folks!) 

7-8 Roma tomatoes
7-8 small sweet peppers -OR- 2 1/2 red bell peppers
3/4 red onion
1 head of garlic - you'll need 6-8 cloves, depending on how much you like garlic
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Coarse Sea Salt
4 large leaves of fresh basil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry white wine of your choice
1 small can of tomato paste
3/4 of a 32oz box of vegetable broth
Immersion blender (if you don't have one of these, I highly recommend grabbing one from Amazon or Zappos. If you can't, be sure to read about blending hot soups in a standard blender)

Now go fetch the tutorial on Snapguide and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A year later ... the "after" pics of the house renovation!

Front windows of house = Master Bedroom
It's nuts to think we've been in the house for a year now. Nuts because there are still a few unpacked boxes tucked in corners and nuts because the walls are still largely empty. I'm not so great at this whole settling in and decorating thing, but I'm determined to get better.

Family room/backyard
I kept waiting to post "after" pictures, because I felt sure I'd get everything decorated and fixed up so I could show truly done pictures. I finally realized that that's going to take a while, and when I had a surprise visit from the family who used to live here, I decided I'd get the place as spiffed up as I could for them and would finally take some pictures.

The visit with them was wonderful. All three kids who grew up here came to visit. It was great fun showing them around, especially because we kept several things from their old bedrooms in tact. The daughter chuckled as I went on about all the "retro" stuff in the house that I loved, because it was all stuff she'd tried to get her mom to get rid of. We both agreed that it was a great thing that she didn't get rid of any of it, because I love it all so much! Just another sign that we were meant to be in this house.

Enough chit chat, y'all just really want to see the insides of the house, right? Let's get to it!

Front door!
The front door is the perfect place to start, especially because it's one of my favorite things in the renovation. I never thought much about front doors, until I came across Crestview Doors. Then doors became all I could think about. My parents got the Langston doorlite kit (and a rad mailbox) for us as a house warming present. My husband had the awesome idea to put the windows down the center of the door, and it was perfect! I sprayed the escutcheon chrome, but we haven't been able to get new doorknobs yet. We painted the door the same soft aqua color that we used throughout the house. I never thought a door could make me happy every time I walk up to it, but this one totally does.

Kitchen after
Man, what a difference ripping out cabinets can make! The space feels so HUGE and open, and it's awesome to come in and be able to see right out to the backyard. LOVE how it turned out.

Kitchen after
Upper cabinets came down, and that made a huge difference. My inspiration for the kitchen was this picture of Frank Sinatra's kitchen Pam shared on RetroRenovation. We kept the original lower cabinets and countertop, and just added new paint and hardware. We put in a new vent hood and open shelving for everyday dishes. I love the tile, and the space feels ginormous - even though it's a galley. I actually really really love the galley. The light fixture over the sink was a $14 IKEA purchase to match the rad original light fixture in the breakfast area.

Utility room - laundry side
The laundry side of the room was also gutted (there was some water damage there) and built out to fit our washer and dryer. There's space to hang clothes and a cabinet for detergent, and a broom closet to the left. We keep our trash can and brooms/mops in there. Cleaning supplies above. It's kind of sad that this is one of my favorite spaces in the house, isn't it? I thought about pulling all the laundry out for pictures, but really - this is how it goes at our house. No need to pretend I stay on top of the heaps of clothes, folks. This is actually tidy for me.
  Utility room - pantry/mudroom side 
We gutted the utility room and redesigned it for maximum efficiency. On this side, we put in a small mudroom kind of area with hooks for bags/coats and drawers for shoes. The three sections of pantry were custom built and outfitted with IKEA slide out shelves that are super handy.

  Living room windows 
The wife of one of Chris' co-workers had the brilliant idea to tear out the bookshelves in the living room and replace them with giant windows to match the rest of the windows in this part of the house. It made total sense and was one of the best things we did for the house. The contractor was able to match the frames almost exactly - I couldn't believe it.

Modular shelves 
Originally in bedroom 1 in the configuration on the left. We moved them to bedroom 2 (son's room) and consolidated them a bit. We *love* them.

 Master bath vanity 
Before, it was just a vanity, but we wanted to have sinks in this space instead of the shower area. The vanity design is based on a popular vanity design from the 60s. I love our metal rim sinks and faucets. The guys installing them just kind of chuckled at me "We've torn a lot of this kind of stuff out of homes, but never put it IN them!" That's just how we roll, fellas. Medicine cabinets above sinks and the cabinets below offer all the storage we need & make up for limited counter space. I actually prefer it this way - I hate having junk out on countertops.

Master bathroom before and after 
This is in the room with the shower and toilet. We moved the sink out to the previous "dressing area" and had storage custom built for the space. The bottom left part is a hamper!

  Master bath shower
I could have gone more 60s and lest 30s in here, but finding affordable 60s-style tile was difficult. I decided to go with the classic subway/black and white action that I've always loved. It also feels weird to show a picture of our shower like this - and not "staged." Check out our shampoo! Look at our washcloths! Ehhhh!

Breezeway from Studio to family room 
Looking back at the kitchen all opened up now.

Aaaaan, the STUDIO! My Happy Place. A needlework wall on one side, space wall on the other. The couch and chairs came from a garage sale (for a steal!) and the work table was traded from a friend for sewing lesson (hey, Lauren ... we need to do those!). Love this space so much! 

There are lots more "after" pictures over on Flickr. Hopefully this will spur me on to getting the place decorated and more put together, but for now it's suiting us just fine. We love it here. The house has been amazing, the neighborhood is awesome, and we're still happy (even happier?) that we got this place.