Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A little sneak peak

This came for James today [well the suit, not the shirt].

It looks a little tanish because of the afternoon light, but it is gray. He looks adorable in it by the way.

Today I Made...

Fabulously unified living room chairs!

They are finally whole! If you read my earlier post you know that I struggled with these two, but all is well that ends well!

They turned out exactly how I would have hoped.

And if you don't remember what they looked like before:

I Need Some Opinions!

Which do you like better?

Monday, March 29, 2010

You only have to listen to my ranting if you want to!

I started another blog. I want to keep this one mostly fun stuff, clothes and DIY mostly, but sometimes I like to just write alot of non-sense. I assume as I get more readers a lot of you may only want to look at pretty pictures so I am separating things.
If lots of words and very little images sounds good to you then you can check out SilvanaKathryn

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A thrifty remodel.

Let me preface this post by saying, I have not had a bath in over a year! More so, the number of baths I have had in the past 10 years is recordable by a few sets of fingers. This is not because I dislike baths, in fact, long soaking baths are one of my favorite things ever. I have simply been unfortunate in the way of tubs.

Somewhere close to 11 years ago my family home burned down. This was post single parent living and we could not afford an appropriate replacement. So for the next 6 years I lived in a home with only a stand alone shower. Then I went away to college and as many might know, was relegated again to showerdom of the dorms. I finally got an apartment with a tiny and I mean tiny green 1950s tub with uncontrollable mold issues. Needless to say my baths were few and far between.

Throughout this entire time line the only bathing I did was when I visited my dad in his grand downtown home. [Is it just my father or are huge luxurious baths a Portuguese thing?]

Finally my husband and I moved back to Fredericksburg this year and are renting a nice little home. In this home are to bathrooms, a small master bath with standing shower and a hall bath with tub. The hall bath belongs to James grandmother, whom I care for full time. That bathroom has become unusable by normal people because no matter how many times you clean it, it is quite filthy within a few hours. All I will say is, at 93, dribbling occurs.

So goes my years of tublessness and so comes my first important project for the new house.
We go to closing [crosses fingers] on the 30th! I have let James know that the bathroom upstairs MUST be upgraded before we move in. I just can't live another year of sub par bathing.

Of course I am a reasonable woman, so I have been collecting the items needed to remodel our bathroom in the most economic ways - Craigslist and the ReStore!

So far I have gotten a large soaking tub [60"x 42"x 24"], an under-mount sink, a vanity base and matching medicine cabinet and a kitchen sink which is unrelated but still great, for $265.
Did I mention both sinks are Kohler?

I am ALMOST more excited about the great deals than the new luxurious bath I will have in a month or so.... Almost.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today I Made...

Nothing... :(

I am a week into a project and had a major road block.

I have two chairs.

They are from the same design era and to unify them I am painting them both and replacing their cushions with matching fabric.

This is what went wrong. I decided to spray paint for a smoother finish. I purchased quality paint and primer. I cleaned and sanded the chairs. I painted the primer - all good. I painted the first coat of paint - all good. I came back a day later and started to paint the second coat - all NOT good.

The second coat of paint acted exactly as a coat of stripper would have. I have stripped things and am familiar with the gooey wrinkled reaction but if you aren't, it looks like this.

I wish I had photos of the actual damage, but I panicked when it happened and started to repair without even thinking of documentation.

I still have no idea what went wrong. But I have since purchased a can of regular paint in the exact same color. I have fixed all the stripped spots sanded both chairs down AGAIN and am in the process of the new paint job.... blegh.

I will hopefully have some images of the finished product within the weekend.

On a happier note, we should be going to closing at the LATEST Tuesday! I have decided that I want the bathroom redone by my birthday on the 13th.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today I Made...

The ever evolving free lamps: Silver edition

So these lamps have a bit of a story behind them. Some years ago, during the summer after my first year of college I worked at our local Hancock Fabrics [for those unfamiliar this is a fabric and home decor store] as their in store design consultant and design side lead. That title sounds spiffy but I only made $6.70 and hour and it wasn't all that glamorous.
It did however have its perks. Besides the joy of spending my hours surrounded by fabric, and the ability to actually help people by imparting my knowledge and expertise of all things fabric, I also got free stuff. Oh yes, free stuff. This is the only job where this has happened to me and I loved it. If a product ever broke or came in damaged and it was under a certain price point is was damaged out of the system. This meant the store would get reimbursed and the product could be trashed. However I was allowed to salvage anything I liked.
This is where the lamps came in. They were in a shipment and arrived with completely smashed up shades and scuffed bodies. They were damaged out and [que choirs of free stuff angels] I got to take them home!

Their first iteration, which I unfortunately have no photos of, were in a style and coloring very close to this:

My first reinvention was to paint them white and put a burlap lamp shade on them.

They remained in this sad state for quite a few years.

Now it comes to the present. My husband and I are buying a house and my head is spinning with all the plans for my first home. I have settled on this idea of making our bedroom into a posh hotel room, complete with crisp white linens, heavy black out drapes, deep rich calming blue walls etc. My next thought is, what says "posh hotel" more than Silver lamps and box pleat lampshades!

Have I mentioned I love metallic silver spray paint?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
This stuff is amazing.

More ~Ruffles and Stuff~ love

Disney is having another great giveaway over at her blog ~Ruffles and Stuff~. This time it is for the awesome book "MAKE!"by Cath Kidston. I haven't gotten my hands on a copy [I am entering her giveaway myself] but it looks fabulous. The book seems to be filled with the cutest retro craft projects. If you are like me and love actual vintage craft and sewing project books, you will probably love this.

Pop over to her post to enter yourself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Family Connections

So thanks to the internet, more notably Facebook, I got to have a very fun conversation with my cousin in the Azores.

Marco: se tiverem uma barrinha de ouro a mais nao esquecem deste pobre aqui lol
[translation: If you have a spare bar of gold, don't forget this poor guy lol]

Marco: silvana falas portuges
[translation: Does Silvana speak Portuguese?]

Silvana: hahaha no, well I knew you were asking for something but that's it

Marco: i am wor cansen [I am your cousin]

Silvana: I know

Marco: gold for farmvile bat a dont no wirt ingles [I want gold for farmville, but I don't know the English words]

Silvana: hahaha I will send gold

Marco: tanks

Silvana: no problem

Marco: you are all dora all raposo [you are Als daughter? Al Raposo?]

Silvana: yes

Marco: i am abel son [I am Abels son]

Silvana: oh, I have met you before I think

Marco: i look lik my fadher [I look like my father]

Silvana: yes you do

Marco: i sepec ingles rid bedd [I speak English real bad]

Silvana: Yeah, I know very little Portuguese

Marco: he you chod lorn portuges [Hey you should learn Portuguese]

Silvana: I try

Silvana: I learned Spanish in school and it helps some

Marco: my ancoll i is in canada [is my uncle still in Canada?]

Silvana: My father? No he moved to West Virginia

Marco: ok

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today I Made...

A pretty little recon tank top.

I have been reading ~Ruffles And Stuff~ a lot lately and Disney is making me want some cute girlie things very badly so today I gave into my urges.

This particular tank top is one of the softest most comfy things in my wardrobe. Unfortunately its also very plain and I end up sleeping it in most of the time.
I was messing around in my studio today trying to keep my mind off house buying and I found a pile of doilies I had forgotten all about. Creativity struck and I am very pleased with the results.

Here are the pieces [minus some tiny ribbon that came into the project later]

The nearly finished product

I realized the neck was gaping and the bow was lopsided so I moved the bow to the other side and strung the tiny ribbon into the neckline to gather it. This is the FINAL final product and I LOVE it.

Also if you are interested, she is also having a contest for DIY ruffly cuteness ending April 2nd.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maybe Its My Generation

My sister in law over at Here Is A Brighter Garden just posted about striving for a more simple life.
Reading it made me smile because my mind has been so overwhelmed by the same thoughts lately. Right down to the couple of chickens and a goat.

I can't say for sure if this common feeling is a narrow result of my family history or a reaction to the broad state of affairs in our society these days. I would bet on a pretty even split, at least in my case.

As my husband and I go through the laborious and disheartening process of trying to buy our first home, I am becoming far more certain of what I want for my future. Subtracting a few key points, what I want is my past.

I grew up living in a twice-the-size-of-the-average-American family. Another child was born, on average, every two years, which coincidentally was also the length of time we spent at any one place of residence. Though, while I lived in well over dozen houses by the time I was twenty, one thing that nearly all these places held in common was their setting - the country, the boonies, the middle of nowhere, twenty miles from the nearest grocery store, etc. I always had land. There was always a creek or a pond somewhere on the property - and realized these were property not simply yards - there were woods, fields, sometimes even livestock, always chickens, always vegetable gardens. I remember harvesting pure white clay from the sides of creek beds to make my own sculptures - always the artist - and building furniture out of logs and scrap wood that I would arrange in my "forest house" - always the designer - and gathering poison berries from the bushes behind the sheds and old walnuts from the hill to dye my doll clothes - always the fashion lover - and these are the best things about my childhood. Have I mentioned I was home schooled? So not only were these the best parts of my childhood, but also common occurrences?

I am sure I always knew I never wanted anything besides a home and more importantly a piece of land that would inspire and allow me to be the person I wanted to be. What I have learned along the way is who that person is. She is a simple person, a mother, a wife, and an artist; the type of person that needs seclusion from others, but also enough space to house dozens of friends and family, the type of person that needs to be proud of her surroundings and yet feel insignificant to the natural order of those surroundings, the type of person who plants the potato, which feeds her family, who save their scraps, that feed the chickens, which lay the eggs, which cook up so nicely with the potato, so she never has to buy breakfast food again.

So here I am, a week of from closing on a nice little raised rancher with a postage stamp back yard and a prime view of my neighbors bathroom window and I am wondering, "what am I doing?" The good answer is planning, investing in an affordable home so that some day down the road we can sell for a profit and buy our little piece of land where my brothers the contractors will build/renovate my little dream home complete with artist studio and huge soaking tub. Unfortunately there is another answer that is less ideal but still holds a tiny bit of truth; I am settling.

My youngest sister - I have realized that due to her age I can no longer call her my 'baby' sister anymore - told me something yesterday that made me happy. She said to me "Silvana, you know what makes you cool? you always want to make things better, you never settle for just good enough." I really want her to be right about me, so I am still striving for a simpler life. Better doesn't always been greater, bigger, wealthier, it just means better.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I am not pretending.

My mother and I had one of those top speed discussion yesterday. That's the kind of talks we tend to have because life is too busy to sit for hours and chat. Our conversations, which never last much more than an hour, will cover at least a half a dozen topics. It's a grocery list of mother daughter bonding.

Yesterdays talk was about, in no particular order, my first-time home buying troubles, her experience working in a mortgage loan office, relationships, OCD and other mental health issues, fitness, my baby sisters broken thumb, becoming a writer, and the fear and indecision about changing careers.

The one thing that has been nipping at my thoughts since the talk is a certain kind of fear that we've both experienced.

We realized we share a tendency to feel like impostors. We have both had times of thinking "I don't know what I am doing, I am just pretending to be..."
All through school and college I remember telling people that I was really good at "bullshitting" my way through writing assignments. I always made A's on essays, short stories, poems and really anything that required me to write. I never took that to mean I was a good writer, just that I was good at faking it.

I felt the same way about design school. I have a sneaking suspicion this is part of why I am 2 years out from graduation and I am not even looking for a job in my field. No matter if it's true or not, I know I am not a designer, I just pretend to be. I am realizing that this is something that has held me back from too much.

I decided today I am not going to dance around titles anymore. Why shouldn't I claim who I am and live it? I have gifts and skills that the average person does not have. I have understood design and art long before I knew what they even were.
Why shouldn't I say I am an artist, if I create art? Why shouldn't I identify as a designer, when I am constantly designing. Why shouldn't I be a writer, while I am at this moment writing?

I have never had trouble claiming all other aspects of who I am. I am a wife, a caregiver, I am a loving and giving person, I am intelligent, well read, witty, and stubborn. I claim my mental issues for what they are, my physical frailties and my failings. So why until now have I felt so false when I claim my gifts and skills?

I sew, paint, sculpt, draft, build, design, write, sing, and cook, so if I do these things, then I am a seamstress, a painter, a sculptor, a drafter, a builder, a designer, a writer, a singer, and a cook.