25 January, 2010

The Great Couch Renovation

(Check out tons of other fun renovations at Kimba's site, on DIY Tuesday!)

Here is our couch. Pretty, at least pretty back in 1960. Yet it is a hide-a-bed, which provides us with guest space, and it is definitely serviceable and fits our little apartment well.
However, it doesn't match the rest of the room and so my first idea was to get a King size flat sheet, put that over it, tuck it in, and make it work.

Ugh. So tacky.

So the flat sheet sat dormant, in a little corner, for 6 months.

Two days ago I decided that enough was enough and I was going to use the sheet one way or another. Months of mulling over how to cover the massive floral velvety print and keep the hide-a-bed accessible led to a big culmination. It took 12(+/-) hours, 3 days, some sewing, some furniture tacks, some brainpower, lots of patience, hiding the rough edges, but it completely paid off! Here's what went down over in Apartment 101:

I cut off the end of the sheet, and tacked it to the front, complete with pleat (which adds a nice touch I think).
It was a little tricky to pin it up far enough but give clearance to pull out the bed. As I found out, this was the easiest part.
The cushions were pretty easy...not necessarily pretty underneath, especially to fit around the end sticking out. I had no idea what I was doing, so I patched together a pocket for the end, and then made basic pocket corners. An elastic gather holds it in place.
Next were the sides. Looking back, I could have attached them to the removable part of this, but I chose not to. This will lead to figuring out a way to nicely cover the arms.
One square of fabric, tucked, tacked and hemmed.
I needed one King sheet for the cushions, arms, and front, and I used another for the back of the couch.
This was tricky. It involved tugging, folding, pinning, more tugging, straightening, more pinning, and then carefully pulling the whole thing off to stitch seams. They worked on the first try! *Huge sigh of relief*

Up next, after the back was in place, was to attach decorative ties. I like decorative, and I wanted that cute extra touch. It also helps keep things in place.
This is probably my favorite part of the entire couch.
The back is completely covered.

And...*gasp*...you can see where we hide our speaker cords!

Now, drumroll please! After all that process, it was completely worth it! I took our steam iron to it to get out the majority of the creases. (No, I don't wash or iron before I sew, and I know that's probably naughty of me.)



I love it.

2 King size flat sheets, Mainstays from Walmart: $28.00
2 pkg. furniture tacks from Walmart: $2.34
Elastic cording from Walmart: $1.17
Grand Total: $34.41

(I'll be expecting my promo check from Walmart in the mail...)

22 January, 2010

I love those big blue eyes that are so inquisitive.
I love the smile that lights up her face when she's excited to see me.
I love how she sucks on her fingers.

I love how she is more content to play with her hands than her toys.
I love how she loves me to rock her.
I love how she cuddles her teddy bear.
I love how her hair sticks up.
I love how she wiggles in the bath.
I love how she smells when she's clean.
I love how her expressions are just perfectly timed with the most comical of events.
I love her laugh.
I love her mouth.
I love her cute button nose.
I love her long lashes.
I love how she can be so serious and focused.
I love how she purses her lips.

I love how she tucks her hands by her face to sleep.
I love when she squeals.
I love when she tries to talk.
I love how she wiggles.
I love how she gets excited when she's just in her diaper.
I love how she loves to touch daddy's beard.
I love how she focuses intently on things.
I love the way she curles her toes under when she's very excited.

I love how she's a "big girl" and stands up.
I love watching her try to sit up all by herself...already.
I love to simply watch her.
I love how no picture can perfectly capture the essence of my daughter.
I love the way she holds her blankie.

I love how she relaxes and smiles when I kiss her chin.
I love how she cuddles close when she's sleepy.
I love how it is impossible to love her too much.

21 January, 2010

Love...True Love!

Oh, how often I wish things upon myself that I know I would not have! Often the things I wish have to do with my husband, and I'm sure we all know where that gets us, ladies! That's right: absolutely nowhere! It is foolish trifling to try and change a man that you have claimed to love for exactly himself, for it only produces strife. However, I frequently forget that fact.

Scenario: Clothes on our bedroom floor, one or both of us has commented on it.
I say: Darling, can you put these things away for me?
Translated: You lazy slob, I can't believe you actually expect me to pick up after you time and time again!
What should be said:
Darling, I'd love to be able to do everything, but I get frustrated at times. It's very helpful to me when you put your dirty laundry in the hamper right away.

Scenario: 5 loads of laundry all over our bed, it seems to never end, and Scott asks if I can use his help.

I say:
Darling, of course I'd love your help folding laundry! Thank you for offering!
I'd rather fold it all myself in the first place, rather than have to re-fold everything you've done wrong.
What should be said:
Darling, I know you don't always do it exactly how I'd like, but the pleasure of your company in this chore makes it delightful!

Scenario: Scott is on his computer working, honestly oblivious to the fact that I am trying to care for a fussy baby, make supper, clear the dining table, straighten the kitchen, and all while realizing how much I could have done earlier in the day, while I was blogging.
I say:
I can't believe he doesn't notice everything I need help with! Why doesn't he offer to help?!
What should be said:
Darling, can you hold the baby for me? She needs a diaper change, if
you don't mind. It would be so helpful for me to get supper on the table. *kiss* Thanks, hon!

Does any of this sound familiar? I know it can happen a lot, and we tend to forget that every relationship is a give and take. Try focusing on how you can give, and don't hold a grudge. (For further reference, read 1 Corinthians 13.) And for the times you are guaranteed to mess up, be ready with an apology and a hug. Now, what about the times he's wrong? Well, that's when you don't take it personally, lovingly address what's wrong, be a servant, and then, when the time is right, sit and talk about it. (Wives, submit to your husbands.) That's hard stuff! But we have to let our men be men and lead, and not complain when they do. No compromise! He's either the leader of your home or your footstool...there's really no in-between.

My top 10 Marriage Rules:
*Be honest with each other, even when it's the hardest choice.
*Be loving in every circumstance.
*Be considerate of feelings, emotions, and each other's pride.
*Be encouraging! No one likes a nag.
*Be optimistic in the hard times.
*Be supportive when he's discouraged.
*Be kind when he's stressed.
*Be understanding when he's frustrated.
*Be a teammate and work together, never against each other.
*Be adoring of your spouse. Let them know they are your favorite person!

I've been challenged on these things lately, and really wanted to share it with all you gals out there. Marriage is a battlefield, so give God the upper hand!

18 January, 2010

Of Birthdays, Travels, and Miracles

We had a great weekend! January 16th was my 21st birthday, and my dear husband made it very special! (We also took no pictures...bummer.)

Celebrating together began January 15th, as we were traveling out of town on the 16th. Of course, shopping was high on my list of birthday priorities. :) Purchases included supplies for making a white jacket, an outfit for Ava from Younkers, and then thrift store purchases of 2 new summer skirts. I love everything I found! We found some great babysitters close by (my parents), who were thrilled to have their granddaughter for the evening. Scott and I ate at Aunt Maude's, a New Orleans feel restaurant, with Cajun type food on the menu. I had Smoked Duck Breast and it was delicious!!! We spent the night with my family, and Saturday morning went for an oil change in the car.

After the oil change we had several hours before we needed to be to our next destination. So, naturally, we killed time at Walmart! :) Ava discovered that carts make great playpens, and I found hot rollers. It turns out that Scott thinks my hair looks fantastic when I use hot rollers, and I will quote him..."I should have gotten these for you months ago!" I love him.

Time moved along, and we realized that it was time to make it to our next destination: Charter Oak. A cute little town with a cute little gym that was the perfect place to surprise a dear girl on her birthday! Bekah's family had figured out how to get her "favorite people" at this gym following a basketball game, and it was so amazing and fun to surprise her! The drive over was amazing as well, with everything coated in Rhyme Frost, glittering as shafts of sunlight pierced the fog and eventually drove it away to reveal a winter iceland in all its harsh, stark beauty.

Again time went quickly, and we prepared to journey to our final destination, Scott's hometown. I love Lincoln, and I love extended family. Seeing all of my family, birth and in-laws, was another incredibly wonderful birthday treat! They took me out to dinner at one of my all time favorite Italian buffets, and I even braved up to let the restaurant folks sing me "Happy Birthday". We spent the night in Lincoln, and enjoyed seeing some of our extended Kratzer family on Sunday afternoon.

Time marched on...and it was soon time to come home. Night had fallen, Ava was tired after not having had a proper nap all day, and we were enjoying traveling back to Iowa with Stephanie following. However, we hadn't gotten too far down the road when we saw a State Trooper pulled over behind a Jeep. Being good drivers, everyone got in the left lane to pass and then resumed normal travel. Suddenly that same State Trooper appeared on our left flank, and put on the lights. Scott pulled off, and we had no idea why we were pulled over. The Trooper came over and very politely pointed out that our headlight was out, and after a brief delay we were back on the road with a fix it ticket.

Well, we traveled on through the foggy atmosphere, and enjoyed quiet conversation. I cannot praise Ava enough...she slept through everything and was so angelic!

Suddenly Scott stiffened...a small SUV pulling a Chevy Suburban on a dolly had come up on our left and wasn't really accelerating or decelerating, just hanging out in their lane. Suddenly they sped up and pulled away, crossing a bridge in front of us. Scott commented on how he wanted to just drive behind them. (I discovered later that his reasoning was because the pulling vehicle was lighter than the one being towed, and he, as all safe drivers should be, was uncomfortable with that.) Sure enough, as the road curved left after the bridge, we could see the trailer starting to sway and weave. The driver was going much too fast, and completely lost control. The driver whipped all over the lanes of traffic before completely skidding into the right shoulder. The Suburban was flung off the dolly and into the left median. Meanwhile, Scott was doing a fantastic job of watching for debris, ascertaining where other drivers were all around him, and avoiding the mess altogether. Drivers around us also did a great job of avoiding the accident, so no one was hurt.

Many thanks...God's divine hand upon us kept everyone safe. The vehicle did not flip, and the Surburban was stopped from crossing into the oncoming traffic by the huge banks of snow. No other cars were involved, and that Officer that pulled us over? Back in traffic, ready to help. Scott called 911 and reported the accident, and we praised God for His protection. Thankfully, the rest of the trip home was uneventful and we had an excellent night's sleep.

Thanks for visiting, for reading, and for being you. Remember...you are God's handiwork, and you have a wonderful purpose on this earth! Praise the Lord for 10 different things today...and then keep praising Him!

14 January, 2010

Home Tour: Ava's Room

So, I've realized just how hazardous everything can seem when a baby is in the picture. Currently, the hassle is Ava's room, which also doubles as the office. This means that her place to sleep, play, dress, etc, is also inhabited by wires and such. I think we need another wall or something. However, I am taking it one step at a time and looking for creative ideas...for now, I'll give you a tour of the updates and such that have been happening...

These are the curtains that used to be in her room. Then we had problems with drafts, and mold buildup, so Scott put plastic over the window. That was great! Only then we had to deal with condensation that soaked the curtains. They were heavy enough that they didn't dry fast, and that left stains and a nasty smell.

Somehow the stains are hard to catch in a photo. So take my word for it.

I was going to make sheer curtains, but when I found these for $14 at Walmart, I couldn't pass it up. Voila! There are many bonuses involved with these. 1) They don't hold moisture, so they don't get musty and soaked. 2) They let in a lot of natural light, so during the day I don't use the electric light in Ava's room at all. 3) They look so pretty with the white lace curtains. Also, the lace curtains now have pink bows tying them up.

What? You say that this shelf has about a hundred safety hazards involved with it???

My plan is to use some of Scott's big flat disk weights on the very bottom, and I moved everything that wasn't Ava safe up, and put a cover over the shelf that has electrical cords on it. So now this will work until we can afford something sturdier.

I just had to show you these shelves...I love them. :)
Ava absolutely loves looking at this dress when she's supposed to be napping. :) It used to be mine, and was too perfect for her room.
The desk was rotated, and there is now an "A" in place of the angel ornament, which moved to the Christmas tree.
The picture I linked to in an earlier post. My goal is to get a different mat to better portray this.
Here's my other problem: Cords right by Ava's bed. I need a screen or something so she doesn't stand and pull on them. Old shutters, hinged together, would be perfect!

Well, as you can see, everything is a work in progress around here. I have a dream to paint my little girls' room pink, with white wainscoting, and white shelves and frames, and delicate rose patterned bedding. But that will have to wait, and I'm content to do so. For now...it's making it safe for a little girl that is probably going to be just like her mommy and daddy and be curious about everything...

11 January, 2010

The Oil Cleansing Method

A friend of mine shared this in a blog, and I wanted to pass it on. I'm going to try it, with Almond Oil, Castor Oil, and a few drops of Lavender Oil. I've already been using Almond Oil on my skin and noticing a difference, so I'm hoping to see a big difference using a tried-and-true method. Thank you, Nikki, for passing this on!

Try the Oil Cleansing Method here:

Conventional...Need Not Apply

Well, as you probably know, this past Sunday was Scott and I's first anniversary. We are so excited to have the joy of celebrating our marriage, and continuing to cherish God's love that has brought us together and binds our hearts still.

Saturday was an eventful day! And the telling of it is another post entirely. My focus for the time being is the fact that Scott brought home a dozen roses after being out for groceries...
"Happy twelve months of marriage, sweeheart!"

Scott knows that half the fun of getting flowers is that I get to arrange them. He always brings home loose bunches for me to get creative with!

When I woke up on Sunday morning, there were my flowers, blooming and fragrant, the perfect start to an anniversary day! We enjoyed worshiping with other believers that morning, and followed church with a cozy lunch with very hospitable friends. 4:00pm rolled around, and we realized that if we were going to do anything special, it should be soon. Our wonderful sister, Stephanie, took Ava home with her while Scott and I took a leisurely shopping time. Younkers yielded a nice top for myself (with money still on my Christmas gift card!), Target was fun for browsing, and Best Buy proved to have the perfect monitor for our master computer. We talked, and spent our time enjoying each other's company and having quality time spent with our best friend.

Well, it soon came time to go get Ava so she could eat. However, we hadn't eaten yet since our lunch was so filling. We weren't really feeling like eating anywhere specific, so we got in the car to come home, and about halfway into our return we saw McDonald's...yes, that was our anniversary dinner!

Now, to me it was the perfect day, because we took the time to enjoy it. No fuss over everything being, "just so", or stressing over having to make memories. We made memories, and it was because a husband and a wife enjoyed being in love.

Thanks for enjoying the memories with me!

Wall Art...For Free!

I found the perfect art for Ava's room here: http://tinydecorblog.com/blog/?p=4474

I printed the balloon and girl one, and it is much better than the monkey picture. I'll show you what I mean in a later post. I've been finding thrifty ways of redecorating, and I'll enjoy showing you everything. :)

09 January, 2010

Teddy said it!

" If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." --Theodore Roosevelt

Ava, my Ava

My sweet girl on a Saturday morning...

08 January, 2010

Waste Basket Makeover

So I have this black metal wastebasket that was in our living room. I say "was", because I realize that my daughter will be crawling before I know it, and trash is not something I want easily accesible. :) I also had a lot of left over white fabric from making Ava's stocking, so I grabbed my hot glue gun and went to work...

I pulled the fabric over the outside of the basket, and randomly gathered it, holding in place with pins. Then I hot glued around the top to hold everything in place.

Next I folded over a liner for the inside...

See? It's not that pretty, but it works for the inside to hide the black metal and the nasty edges on the top. This has been holding trash, so I wanted it completely covered.

You thought the sides looked funny...here's the bottom. Again, I wasn't picky, just wanting it covered. Which it is.

I finished off with ribbon and lace, and used it to hold my nice towels. Spiffy, huh?


Our Thursday night date night turned into a game of Scrabble. It is soooo cold here, and that made going out less appealing. I loved the words we came up with, and wanted to give you a piece of the fun.

Ava was really into the game as well.
This was a part I ended up doing. I was pretty excited. First came, "NOTE", then "TAN" and finally, "ORANGE".

It got even more creative from there:
"qua–adverb as; as being; in the character or capacity of"

"elegit–noun; Law. a writ of execution against a judgment debtor's goods, property, or land, held by the judgment creditor until payment of the debt, as from rents on the land."

"zayin–noun; the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet"

And, the completed board. It got late, we got tired, so I suppose we could have found places for more letters, had better words, etc., but I thought this was pretty good. :) Enjoy!

04 January, 2010

Look Who's 3 Month's Old!

First she found her voice...squeals, coos, jabbering, screaming, and yelling have all issued forth from her lovely mouth.
Then it was her hands...those marvels that hold fingers and hair, play with toys, fit nicely in a mouth, and enjoy bath water.

Let's not forget her feet...those chubby adorable feet that kick and wiggle, looking utterly adorable in the process. The feet that can go bare, in socks, and styling shoes. I love Ava's feet...
Meet Van Buren von Bear. He serves as Ava's size scale for her growth. Van Buren is quite dignified in photos, providing my cute Squeakerdoodle with a worthy picture taking companion.

Now that our big armchair is in the livingroom and very useable, Ava enjoys watching football with daddy.
Ava also enjoys naps...well....sorta. Here she is, cheerfully waiting for mommy to get her up.
Mr. Sanders is a good cuddler.
Meet Dolly. She is way cool and entertaining!
Tummy time...what fun! Er...maybe not so much...
This way is better, mommy!
Of course there is cuddling with daddy and mommy, listening to music and sometimes trying to sing along, talking, smiling, laughing, socializing, and a big favorite: eating.
And that's Ava in a nutshell! Tune in for updates...