It’s Here! It’s Here!

I’m not even going to try to be cute with my post title today.  I am much too excited.  My birthday present has arrived (thank you Mom, Dad, and Darrin)!  Want a peek?

That’s right, folks – I got a sewing machine!  Are you as excited as I am?!  Are you as creeped out by the lady on the box as I am?  What is she doing there?  Is she simply a happy sewer?  Is she supposed to have sewn her purple blouse?  Does her photo on the box really move machines off the shelves?  I can just picture it.  A lone shopper is carefully looking over each machine, reading the boxes for details on warranties and accessories.  She stops, her eyes have fallen on the woman in the purple shirt.  “Oh yeah,” she thinks to herself, “this is the sewing machine for me.”  How can she resist that smile, those white teeth, and those hands perfectly placed under the chin?

But, I digress.  The point is, my machine is in!  I first started sewing in 7th grade home economics.  My first project was a pillow.  I can still picture it.  It was a simple white square with “Class of 97” stamped in black across the front.  I then went on sewing hiatus until 12th grade when I took a fashion design and costume making class.  To this day, I’m still shocked that my high school offered this course.  My teacher – shout out to Mrs. San Sebastian – was awesome!  She taught us how to sketch designs and turn those into actual patterns.  Our class ended up designing and making costumes for the school play (An Imaginary Invalid by Moliere).  Fifteen years later and I still remember all these details – that’s the impact this class had on me.  I remember even skipping soccer practice a couple of times (well, it was only conditioning and no one likes conditioning) to stay after school and help Mrs. San Sebastian finish up some details on the costumes.  I learned so much from her.

Since then, my sewing has involved using my mother’s old Singer (I think it’s a Singer anyway) to make Halloween costumes, scarves, and other very simple items.  Now that Darrin and I are homeowners, I feel like the lack of a sewing machine is like missing a tool chest.  We simply must have a machine in order to get things done in our house.  Well, the wait is over!  Want some more photos of my baby?

Side view. What's that you say...7 styles of auto-size button holes?! Yes, please!

60 built-in stitches! Whaaaaaaaat?

I’ve already got a few projects lined up for my new toy.  Check it:

  1. Sew covers for cushions on thrift store chair in living room
  2. Add finishing touches to “curtains” in living room
  3. Make this ruffle t-shirt.
What about you?  Have you gotten anything new recently that you are bursting-at-the-seems-excited about?
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32 and Counting…

Recently, I celebrated my 32nd birthday.  I love birthdays.  People tell me this will change as I get older.  But so far, I still love birthdays.  Throughout my childhood, my mom always made birthdays special.  The day would start with birthday pancakes, the sticky sweet stack topped off with one solitary candle.  The rest of the day involved the birthday girl (I’m one of three daughters) getting to make all the decisions – like choosing what to eat for lunch and dinner, what movies to rent, what flavor of ice cream cake to buy, etc.  It was a day dedicated to the birthday girl.  And even when it was one of my sister’s birthdays, it was still a fun day.  I quickly learned that celebrating others could be just as enjoyable as celebrating oneself.

In honor of my 32nd year, I decided to get a little more personal on this post and share with you 32 things I’m thankful for, can’t live without, love, adore, and simply think are frickin’ cool.  Please note that the following list is random and the placement of an item on the list does not indicate its value in my life.

32 Things I’m Thankful For/Can’t Live Without/Love/Adore/Simply Think Are Frickin’ Cool

  1. My Wish List at Amazon – This thing allows me to “shop” without going over budget.  I’m able to save things for later and go back and purchase them when I’m ready.  It’s also a handy tool at Christmas time.  I simply share the link, et voila, my family members have full access to a list of things I want.  Even if they choose not to buy something from the list, at least it provides them with some inspiration.
  2. The greatest invention: the shower
  3. My fiance, Darrin, and his ever expanding ability to love me.
  4. The young man in this photo and the clever way in which he twisted hate into humor.
  5. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – Pinterest!  This site is just awesome.  There is so much creativity and beauty out there in the world and people share it on this site.  How can you resist?
  6. These two words uttered together: “Auntie Missy”
  7. Mint ice cream
  8. The way my in-laws-to-be have welcomed me with open arms
  9. These boys (Rocket & Jet):
     
  10. My Dad’s humor.
  11. My Mom’s hugs.
  12. My job.
  13. My big sisters.  
  14. Easy Street Wheat Beer (Why-oh-why won’t O’Dell distribute in CA? Insert whiny voice here.)
  15. Another great invention: The DVR.   So I can record my shows (brace yourselves people, I watch a lot of t.v.) such as: Modern Family, Raising Hope, Glee, Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office, The Soup, Top Chef, Supernatural, Being Human, Royal Pains, Psych, Fairly Legal, Covert Affairs, Suits…I think that’s enough for now.
  16. My friends!!
  17. Harry Potter.  Thank you, J.K. Rowling for such a beautiful series.  I loved the books and will continue to revisit them for the rest of my life.  My mom took me to see the final movie for my birthday and we loved it.  I even cried.  I couldn’t help it; before I knew it, tears were leaking from eyes.  It was just so emotional – the end of an era with characters that I absolutely adore.
  18. Drunk History.  These are hysterical and this one’s my favorite: 
  19. The Richter Center Ambassadors.  I work with these students on a daily basis and they are AMAZING!  When I am depressed by the news of the day just thinking of these students lifts my spirits.  They are young people who are gifted, bright, creative, and are deeply committed to making their community a better place through volunteerism and service.  One day, these students will be leaders in our communities and that fact alone gives me great hope for our future.
  20. Friday night pizza & t.v. with Darrin.
  21. Music.
  22. The fact that Denver will always feel like a second home (especially as long as my BFF Heather is there).
  23. Rock Band (2, 3, and Beatles)
  24. Our home.  It certainly needs a ton of TLC, but it’s ours, it’s definitely unique, and we love it.

    Our home, just after Darrin got the keys. Check out those pink doors.

  25. The fact that I’m a short car ride (2.5 hours or so) from the ocean.
  26. The interwebs (as Darrin likes to call it).  There is so much creativity and beauty out there.  And I’m just a huge nerd at heart.  Through the internet, I’m able to keep learning day-in and day-out.
  27. Photobooks.  I seriously love how I can now dump my favorite photos into a program, pay a fee, and a week or so later I receive a beautiful, professional looking book.
  28. The genius and gift of this young woman: 
  29. Sandwiches
  30. My iPhone and my game apps
  31. Life (as in the gift of, not the game of)
  32. Netflix (though I’m not in love with the recent price hike)
So that’s it.  I’m sure there are things I’ve left off this list.  But, they’ll just have to wait until next year.
What about you?  What are you especially thankful for/excited about/love right now that you want to share?

Check It Twice

So, I’m a list person.  I love lists.  Love them.  I get things done by making lists.  Lists make me happy.  The best part of a list – checking things off.  Often (and I know I’m not the only person who does this), I’ll start a list with one or two items that I’ve already accomplished, just so I have something to check off.  That’s not so wrong, is it?  It simply is one little trick I play to motivate myself.  When I see those extra checks, or a couple of items already crossed out on a list, I start to feel like, “Hey, maybe this mountain of tasks isn’t so hard to climb.”

It is in the spirit of that practice that I’m writing this post.  Today, I’m posting about our kitchen.  We finished painting the cabinets in this room quite a while ago.  But, I feel like I need to add this accomplishment to the top of my list.  Just so I have something to check off on the mountain of things to-do in our home.

Let’s start at the beginning with some before photos.

A view of the kitchen before. Be glad we didn't show you the inside of that oven.

And here’s that same kitchen after we painted.  We settled on green for the outside of the cabinets and blue for an accent color.  We also painted the inside of the cabinets blue, which is a fun surprise when you open them.  We traded out the old hardware for some shiny new chrome ones that felt like they reflected the time period of our kitchen a little better.  During the whole process we became quite the contortionists, twisting and bending to paint the undersides of shelves and make sure we got the paint in to the far reaches of every nook and cranny.

We took a leap and went with some bold colors. We were so sick of the white walls.

And one more before and after.

kitchen before 2

How about that wall paper?

And after:

kitchen after 2

We've since rearranged some of the use of the counter space. But we're still so happy with the colors!

It feels so good to check this off our list.  Makes me want to move on to something else!

What about you?  How do you go about organizing your things to-do?  Do you have any special tricks to get yourself motivated?