Monday, April 23, 2012

Cute & Crazy Kitties

I've been trying to snap a lot of random pictures of our cats lately, and since they don't always make it into a post, I thought I'd share a lot of them here!
Lion hiding on the top shelf of the closet... no idea how he got there!
Nutmeg is helping assemble Greg's meat smoker
Lion loves tummy rubs!
Inspecting the cabinets before we hung them in the garage

Nutmeg also needed to inspect the cabinets to make sure Lion did a good job
Nutmeg has a weird obsession with the cardboard box of litter, he chews holes in them!
Cats and boxes.....

Old picture of Nutmeg- he was 2 weeks old!

Another old picture! He was only mildly destructive...

Passed out kitten!

He likes to drink out of human cups, so I put water in a coffee cup for him. I swear it wasn't coffee!

Nutmeg hiding in the box, he did this to himself!

So then Lion had to check out the box....

Lion sleeping in my travel bag....

Nutmeg playing with the piping for my sewing project & inhibiting me from getting a good picture!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sewing a Pillow

I made a pillow! Aren't you proud of me?

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we are working on an outdoor project, and that part of it involves sewing. I haven't said exactly what the project is yet, because I think it will look awesome once completed and it doesn't look awesome yet. You can probably deduce that we're making some sort of seating unit with pillows and cushion, and you'd be right!

The pillow I made isn't necessarily for the outdoor unit, but we'll probably use it there. It was a practice run for me to see if I can sew in a straight line. I won't go into great detail on how I made the pillow (even me with no sewing experience can guess how to make a pillow), but I did learn a few things from it:
  1. I'm terrible at hand stitching after stuffing a pillow
  2. I don't sew in straight lines (but I guess they are straight enough)
There's not much I can do about not being able to sew in a straight line- I'll just keep practicing, maybe by the end you won't be able to tell. But most of the project is sewing on the wrong side, so once you flip it, you don't see my uneven seams too much.

The hand stitching part is a problem though. You can see how terribly it went in the picture (the bottom of the pillow), I ended up machine stitching to finish it, since it was already not going well. So I definitely didn't want my cushions (oh yeah, that's what the final project is) to turn out that way.

So other than learning to sew a cushion, I need to learn how to:
  1. Sew a zipper so I don't have to hand stitch
  2. Sew piping (it'll help my seams look better, I hope...)
This whole cushion project is going to take awhile. So stay tuned for updates, I'll try to link everything so you can follow the whole story of this crazy outdoor seating unit!

Part 1: Super Secret Outdoor Project
Part 2: Sewing a Pillow - This Post!
Parts 3-infinity: ????

P.S. The fabric for the pillow is what we are using on the cushions too, I love it! It's going to look great with bright colored pillows!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Veggie Garden- 1 Month Update

It's been {exactly} one month since we planted our vegetable garden, and as much as I'd like to say that I planned that, I didn't. It's just a happy mistake. The garden overall seems to be doing really well.
And no, you aren't imagining that wooden fence back there, it wasn't there before. A house is just about complete back behind our road, but fortunately, the house is farther down, so we just see the fence and woods.
The store bought better-boy tomato plant is in the back and has grown pretty large, it has lots of flowers and even one mini tomato growing. There's a few smaller tomatoes in this picture too.
This Cherokee Tomato plant is the lone Cherokee seedling survivor, those torrential downpours killed the weakest, and I'm not really sure what happened to the other seedling. But this one has done really well and is almost as big as the store bought Cherokee!
The cucumbers are massive! I have no idea what we're going to do with all of them. Guess we'll be making lots of pickles. Fun process, gross smell! We started with 4 store bought plants, one died, but the other 3 are looking good!
All 3 of the pepper seedlings we planted have survived! We know there is one Bell Pepper and one Poblano Pepper, but we aren't quite sure what the middle one is. The seedlings got mixed up when we were planting, so that one will be a surprise!
We planted 4 zucchini seeds since none our of seedlings made it to transplant time (thanks Nutmeg). All 4 sprouted, but 2 of them didn't last long. These two are getting big and seem to be performing well!
I don't know anything about onions, so I have no idea if these are doing well or dying. At least 1 has died, but a few others seem to have grown another 'leaf', I really have no idea what it's called on an onion.
Like the zucchini, we planted Cherry Tomato seedlings, which are still pretty small. But about 3-4 look like they're doing well.
Broccoli seedlings, planted straight into the ground. Some of the seeds got washed out of the row, so they are somewhat random throughout that side for now. We'll see what makes it, they are still pretty tiny.
The Kale, Butter Lettuce, and Arugula are doing really well! These are the ones we got from Oakhurst Community Garden. They are huge! So are the other lettuce varieties we planted in containers on the deck. They have their big plant sale this weekend, so I'm excited to go check that out and see what they have now!
Melon seedlings (Cantaloupe, Crimson Watermelon, and Orange Watermelon) are still small. They took a lot longer to sprout than the zucchini and broccoli seedlings. Only time will tell.
Not too much is going on with the blackberry plants, they are supposed to be fall bloomers, so we'll have to wait a while to see action there. Something weird is going on with the blueberry plants though, they all bloomed and didn't produce any fruit, so we'll have to research what's going on there.

Stay tuned for another update soon!

40 Love Celebration

We spent a fun filled Easter weekend in Charleston with Greg's Parents this past weekend. Other than Friday, the weather was great, sunny and warm. We got a chance to walk around the battery in downtown Charleston. Beautiful houses and parks galore. If you haven't read Pat Conroy's books about Charleston, you should. Every time we're in Charleston I think about his book South of Broad and of course the classic Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. There's also a "sequel" to Gone With The Wind called Scarlett, not written by Margaret Mitchell of course, but I still found it to be a great read. Okay, I'm done with my books about Charleston review for now.
The Pineapple Fountain
Other than walking around Charleston, we went to the Family Circle Cup on Daniel Island {where Greg's parents live}, it's a WTA tennis tournament. This was their 40th year anniversary of the tournament, and it was also the first women's only tennis tournament back in 1973. Pretty cool history, huh? So it was a big celebration called 40 Love {get it? it's a tennis score}! The original 9 women players were there, including Billie Jean King, and they named the court after her in a ceremony during the celebration. They did a bunch of exhibition matches with John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Tracey Austin, and Renee Stubbs. Several of them wore mikes during the matches, so that's always lots of fun, especially with McEnroe!
The original 9 are in the middle. Ball girls on
the left, and sponsors on the right.
McEnroe got upset, so they put a blanket on him!
Martina Hingis and Tracey Austin warming up for doubles.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Totally Homemade Paninis

We've been really into a make everything from scratch mood lately, so I though I'd share one of our favorites. It's a panini with sourdough bread, mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil pesto! Technically, the tomato and the mozzarella are store-bought, but the tomatoes will be from our garden soon. And well, I'm not going to get into cheese making, so farmer's market mozzarella will have to suffice.

Let's start with the sourdough bread, it's amazing. It takes a total of 2 days with all the rising time, but it's completely worth it. If you've never made it before, I highly suggest trying it, so much better than the store-bought stuff! For sourdough bread, you start with a 'starter', which you have to feed once a week or so to keep alive, then you add flour, oil, sugar, etc to get the dough. I don't know for sure, but I imagine the recipes are different depending on the exact starter.

So onto basil pesto, it's delicious! And it's super easy to make using a food processor. Just toss in a few garlic cloves, then a handful of toasted pine nuts, then a handful of {washed} Basil {preferably from your garden!}. I usually chop it in that order, then add in olive oil until it's the right paste consistency. I mostly do it by taste not so much by amounts.

 Just assemble and you're ready to grill! We assemble our panini in the following order- mozzarella, then basil pesto, with tomato on top. Then grill it in our panini press until golden brown. Delicious!

Smelly Kitty Litter Box - Part 2

So we're getting close to 4 months with our new litter box system. The cats love it (or at least we do!), the basement doesn't smell like a litter box anymore, and (most of) the litter is contained and not spread across the floor! So since it seems to be a success, here's what we've done now:

What we wanted to do was add-
  1. Trim around the outside of the hole
  2. A 'cat' door
  3. Hanging storage for the litter scoop and a few bags
Eventually, we want to add-
  1. A upholstered cushion on top
  2. Touch up the wood where it's been scratched
  3. Possible fix the hinge for the top (you can see that it's bent and destroyed) 

Cat Door
We headed over to Hancock fabric and got a subtle grey vinyl. Cut it to size using the cut out door as a model, then just glued it above the inside of the door. I'm not sure how much it actually helps with keeping smells in, but it does make it look nicer. Plus, the cats don't mind it. It's kind of cute actually, they peak in first to make sure it's not occupied before entering!

Door Trim

So we still haven't done this, we've had some many project going on, it's been impossible to get anything done! It'll happen eventually, so I'll do another update then. Hopefully that update will include a few more fixes/upgrades!

Litter Box Extension

The litter box we had originally put it there would probably be fine for one cat, but we have one massive cat (Lion) and one quickly growing kitten (Nutmeg)! We looked around forever for a storage box, or any kind of plastic box that were the right dimensions (less than 14" wide and as long as possible). Once we determined that no one makes boxes that size, we came up with the idea to get another box the same size as the original, and put them together. This almost doubled the length of the litter box! We tried gluing them together, but as of now, haven't had a great solution to attach them, so now they are mostly secured with pink duct tape. It's worked surprisingly well so far, but we're still trying to think of a better solution!

Litter Box Essentials
  • Litter scoop- Hanging on a hook on the wall near the entrance
  • Litter mat- Since the one we had goes up the walls of the chest, they kept falling over. So we added some garment snaps to keep it in place. Three snaps per side seems to hold pretty well.
  • Plastic bags for used litter- Originally we thought about adding storage inside the chest to hold plastic bags, but we didn't want to crowd them too much. For now we store them in a small trashcan next to the litter chest, but I saw a Pinterest project for storing them that I'll have to try!

Overall, the litter box chest has been amazing! It pretty much contains all the smell and keeps them from spreading litter everywhere.  The only time you really smell something is if your next to it and one of them decides to use it, but even then it's not too bad. Doing normal stuff like having an air freshener in the room helps too, of course.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chalkboard Paint Margarita Glasses

So we've all seen the chalkboard projects on Pinterest, and the one with wine glasses is something I've been saying I was going to do for months now. And since we have left over chalkboard paint from this project, it should be super easy!

So this weekend is my friend Emilee's Bachlorette party, so I decided it would be a fun thing to make for everyone to take home with them, and since we're going to be drinking margaritas, I'm doing a chalkboard margarita glass! And since I wanted it to be at least a little bit of a surprise, I had to wait to post it til now, since I'm going to be headed to Savannah in a few minutes! Super excited! But back to the post....

  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Margarita Glasses (or wine glasses, etc)
  • Foam brush
  • Painters tape (or you could use electrical tape like I did!)
  • Parchment paper

We had a quart of the chalkboard paint leftover,
 not the spray paint, so I went with a dunk and dry approach. To give a little more clarity on that- I taped off the portion I wanted to paint, then dunked it into the can of paint, then drip dried until the extreme excess was off. I also used the foam paintbrush to encourage the paint to drip down. This blog suggested letting everything drip down onto parchment paper before turning upside down to dry, so I did that too.  It worked okay, but it look so long to drip down that the bottoms were starting to dry to the parchment paper. So I ended up scraping some off with the foam brush and trying to smooth it out. They aren't perfect, but they are still pretty awesome!

 My tips-
  • Get chalkboard spray paint, it's got to be quicker and easier
  • Brush off excess paint on the first coat so it drys quicker
  • Don't let them sit on the parchment paper too long or they'll dry and the paint will peel off when you remove them!


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