Monet, Being a Ham in the Kitchen

Monet was wide awake and ready for the day, bright and early this morning. I hadn’t yet had my morning coffee and was struggling to embrace the day as gracefully as Monet had. As a result, I plucked Monet from her crib and gently plopped her directly on the kitchen floor. From there, I quickly looked for the first item that resembled a safe toy. I handed her a spoon and told her to go at it.
Her she sits, still in her sleep sack and dirty diaper, content as can be.


Monet had a grand old time, rolling around on the floor with her trusty spoon. In my defense, just the other day I cleaned the kitchen floor with the Shark Steam Mop. I think it kills something like %99.9 of germs.
The end result was I got my coffee and Monet, well, she got a spoon.

Miranda July Teaches Us How to Make Buttons

I love buttons. Often they are the final perfect touch to a project. I have been known to buy something at a second hand shop with the intention of just cutting off the buttons for keeps when I get home, and discarding the rest of the purchased item.
When a friend of mine mentioned this YouTube video, I instantly checked it out and was smiling ear to ear. You must follow this link to see Miranda July’s “How to Make a Button Video”.
I think this is just what we need to lighten things up on this stressful Monday. Let me know what you think.
Enjoy!
(Note: We are just two commenters away from our first giveaway. You can read about it here.)

The No Cry Caulk Solution



When we finished remodeling our bathroom two years ago, I must say that we did a pretty darn good job. With some great designing and a little help from from the Swedes (Ikea), we were able to squeeze the maximum amount of useful space from the single bathroom we have in our tiny 1920’s bungalow. We removed a clunky vanity and squeezed two sinks onto one wall. We popped out the back wall of the shower to create a bench and added a tall narrow cabinet into what used to be an ill-thought-out shelving area crammed behind the toilet. We also added some great opalescent blue glass tile that brought our tub and shower out of the early 80’s and into the new millennium.

However, there was one black spot in our otherwise gleaming remodel. A bad caulk job stood out like a fresh scar. I’ve learned that caulking can make or break a project, and in this case something was definitely broken. The wavy texture of the glass tiles made the gap between the wall and the tub difficult to fill. I had the bright idea to use some caulking tape that would fill the gaps but I ended up having to finish things up by hand because of the textures. With as much patience as I could muster, I finished the job as best I could. As you can see below the results were less than stellar and all the little gaps were prime spots for water to stand and dirt and mold to build.


Fast forward, it’s now two years later. An idea pops into my head while Im making my twice weekly trip to the hardware store and notice some long right-angles strips of aluminum. Why don’t I trim out the sides of my tub in metal and use clear caulk.

The aluminum did a great job of framing in the tub and filling in the inconsistently spaced gaps. It did take a little work as I first had to dry fit the aluminum, then lay down a bead of caulk to set the frame into. The next step was to fill in the gaps created behind the aluminum due to the wavy tiles. I may have gotten better at caulking in the last two years, but the clear caulking is much more forgiving of mistakes than the white.
If you want to try this on your own tub, you can find the aluminum strips at your local home depot in the hardware section right next to all the nuts and bolts. It is relatively easy to cut down with a hacksaw, and using a miter box to make perfect angles. I also recommend rounding the edges on the outside of the tub with a little sand paper. I won’t say that it was necessarily easy but the results where well worth the effort.

Saying Good-Bye to Our Beloved Charley Harper Quilt

Nursery with Charley Harper Quilt
Well, it’s official, Monet and I have decided to say good-bye to our beloved machine appliquéd Charley Harper quilt for a short while because a local quilt shop called Pipers has asked to display it.
Charley Harper Quilt
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Working in the Mud and the Yuck

It was 50 degrees and sunny in Salt Lake City today, absolutely gorgeous, and I just had the best time working in the yard for the first time since fall. It might surprise some people that I enjoyed myself so much. Did I mention we have a dog who is rarely walked and our yard is only about 500 square feet? And did I mention that I haven’t worked in the yard since fall? Ok, maybe I’ve painted too accurate of a picture now. On top of cleaning up over 50 dog messes, I also shoveled compost, that came in all degrees of decomposition, into the gardens. Then I began turning the beds, mixing in our compost along with a few shovels full of organic turkey manure. I bet some of you think the previously stated enthusiasm was sarcasm. Sincerely it was not. Oh my goodness! This is the exact conversation I had with one of my middle school students today.

Why was I so enthusiastic? I don’t know if it was the sun, the smell of spring, the worms, or the anticipation I felt inside knowing that soon little seedlings would be sprouting out of the ground. Whatever it was, I genuinely felt like I was in my element.
Unfortunately, after about an hour of work, my baby girl woke up, and I was pulled away from my playground of decomposing food and dirt. I ran to calm her cries, and while normally I don’t keep her waiting, today I felt it was best to tidy up just a bit before I plucked her from the crib. I figured she would not appreciate the mud and the yuck all over my hands and clothes as much as I did.

Moments later, Monet and I were playing on the floor, and soon the room smelt a bit like what I was dealing with in the garden. Sure enough, Monet gave me another mess that needed cleaning. Unlike our dogs 50 individual piles, Monet’s mess was of a much grander and more unified scale. Good thing Daddy was home, this was definitely a two person job. You see Monet only poops once a week while Snickers goes once or twice a day. You can choose for yourself which is worse. I’m still undecided
Through all the mud and the yuck, I still had a smile glued to my face. That’s what playing in the sun, the dirt, and with my baby girl does to me.
(Follow the link to see more of our baby Monet)

Valentine’s Day with Daddy

Can I just say that I absolutely love daddy-daughter relationships, especially when they involve my husband and daughter.
Josh got Monet a Valentine’s card and I absolutely melted. After that I didn’t even have to read my card, he had already won my heart that day.
And to top it all off he spoiled me as well with a pretty spectatcular gift. Let’s just say that from now on the photos you see here on this blog will be of much higher quality. Monet and I, we are pretty lucky, I think we have ourselves a diamond in the rough.
I love you Joshua.

The Race to 100 in Honor of the Winter Games – A Huge Giveaway

In the spirit of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, we at The Artists’ House are inspired to have a little competition of our own. We will be hosting the “Race to 100,” with $200 worth of prizes up for grabs. There are two events, each with a goal of 100 in mind.

The first event is the “10×10 Comment Relay” (this adds up to 100 right). For each 10th commenter who responds to a blog post on The Artists’ House Blog, we will randomly select a number, and award one of those 10 commenters with a $10.00 gift certificate to The Artists’ House Shop hosted by Etsy (www.theartistshouse.etsy.com). At this site you can choose from a variety of gifts ranging from appliqued clothing and felted treasures created by Angela, to jewelry and ceramics hand-crafted by Josh.
The grand prize in our Race to 100 goes to the winner of the “100 Follower Freestyle.” For this event, once 100 followers are registered to our blog, we will be giving away a $100.00 gift certificate to The Artists’ House Shop hosted by Etsy (www.theartistshouse.etsy.com) to spend on any combination of items you choose.
So my friends, be sure to leave those comments and/or register yourself as a follower and let the games begin.
Anyone may register as a follower by clicking on the “Follow” box located in the far right column and following the prompts given. Comments may be left at the end of each blog section by clicking on the word “COMMENTS” in the area just below each post.

Felted Wool Dress

Last week when I was felting sweaters, I accidently threw one into the load that was mostly made of wool, but was also part synthetic. I have had this sweater since high school and while it no longer fit well, I have always hung onto it because of the cute detail on the front. The sweater shrunk up some, but otherwise looked the same. In examining the sweater I decided to cut off the sides of the sweater along with the sleeves in hopes of turning it into a dress for a young girl. After cutting off the sides of the sweater, I tucked the fabric under around the arm holes and then sewed down the sides of the sweater to make the dress. It really was that simple. And the end result were quite charming.




Signs of Spring

This morning I woke up to three inches of snow on the ground, and by noon it had all melted. I love this time of year, when spring starts to push winter out. I can’t wait to get my hands in the soil and see life again in the outdoors. My garden is just begging for me to come out and play.

Inspired By Moths – How to Felt Sweaters

One cold morning in November, I arrived to school in a zombie like state, unaware that I had holes all over the sweater I was wearing. At the time, I was the mother of a newborn, and so I had no idea whatsoever that my sweater bore a keen resemblance to swiss cheese. Fortunately my students were pretty forgiving because they had become accustomed to the reality that most mornings I was a tired, sleep-deprived mess. At first I was completely baffled as to how the holes could have gotten there. Yes, I was tired all the time, as we have already established, but holes in my sweater, how did that happen? After a few bewildering moments my morning coffee kicked in. It hit me. I must have moths. The rest of my day was filled with worry and thoughts of powdery wings and nursing home closets. Finally, I was able to get home and check every single one of my favorite sweaters for damage. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my closet is actually trimmed in cedar and so most of the sweaters that hung in there were safe and hole free. It was the sweaters that I stored downstairs, during the spring and summer months, that had been ravaged by the fluttering beasts. I was immensely saddened by what I saw. Some of these sweaters I have had for 10+ years. I just couldn’t throw them away. These sweaters and I had a history. Click. That was the lightbulb going off in my head. If only I knew how to felt.

And so I asked around, took the advice I received, and did a little experimenting of my own. Here’s what I found…
Step 1: Let me see if I can confuse you from the start. Some people recommended cutting out the seams before you start the felting process. I did this for some of my sweaters, but for others, I wanted to see how they would felt up before taking the shears to the sheep (pardon the pun). For now, just know that you can cut the seams out from the start, or wait and do it after they’re felted.
Step 1 and 1/2: Some people also recommend only using 100% animal-fiber materials like wool and cashmere. While this is mostly true, and I too endorse this idea, I also am of the opinion that it doesn’t hurt to try felting on sweaters that are mostly animal-fibers with just a little synthetic thrown in to save money on a few lamb haircuts. In my experience, some of these felted up nicely. I don’t think felting is an exact science, but rather a fun experiment. Scratch that. It’s not a science, but rather an art.
Step 2: Wash all the items with soap in the hot wash, cold rinse cycle. It is advised that you wash these in a mesh bag as the sweaters will throw off lots of fibers that could potentially be harmful to your washing machine.
Step 3: Dry them in the dryer.
Step 4: Evaluate your progress so far and see if you need to repeat the aforementioned processes for any of the sweaters. Again this is not an exact science. Some of my sweaters needed a second round through the washer before they were fully felted. I could tell because they didn’t shrink up enough. To test some of them I did a cut test, meaning I cut into the fabric to see if it held it’s shape without fraying. You can also just look very closely to see if you can still see the pattern of the knitted stitch.
Step 5: Start planning your project based on how the materials felted up. You might want to use some for applique, others for a bag, and yet others for childrens’ clothing.
Step 6: Check in later and see my felt projects. Maybe they will inspire you to do the same.
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