Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Elasticized Tablecloths

Introducing our newest product, a fitted laminated tablecloth that wraps snugly on to your table top with elastic!! In the last year my team and I made a few of these elasticized beauties, but I never made one for myself until now, I didn't know how great they were.

Let me just say that I am totally sold. No more wiggly, jiggly tablecloths! No more fabric on my lap while I work on my laptop. No kids (code for hubby) pushing the tablecloth around during dinner. This tablecloth stays put all day everyday and I love it.
I am really excited about using these outside! My new second story deck is already for spring with it's pretty Tart tablecloth. Let me tell you, this is the only tablecloth that I've ever made that survived 2 days of 20 MPH winds. Any other tablecloth would have ended up down the block after the weekend we had here in Richmond!
I am sure that all the mama's with wee ones will love that little hands won't be able to pull on the tablecloth any longer. You know how toddlers love to practice the tablecloth magic trick! I've so been there! Scary. We are using laminated cotton because its supple, waterproof and family friendly. All our laminates are BPA and PVC free, which is good for kids of all ages.

After making several prototypes I've devised a system that allows you to adjust the elastic from two sides of the tablecloth. This way you can get the tablecloth over the edge and tighten it up as snug as possible. You can then release the elastic mechanism when you want to change to another look. Easy-peasy!

So how do you clean it? Well that's the best part. (Insert cheesy TV announcer voice) Laminated cotton is so easy clean, just wipe it down with a damp cloth and gentle spray cleanser. But, for heavily soiled messes you could drop it in the washer on gentle. If you do so, let me suggest line drying it or tumble drying on low. Be sure to remove it RIGHT AWAY from both machines to decrease the amount of permanent creases caused by the machines and heat. My personal recommendation is to just wipe it down, I have the kids do it. (Every once and a while I need to give the cloths a good mommy-once-over to get it really clean -- I think you know what I mean!)  I've been using laminated cotton tablecloths daily for years and I've never needed to do more than that, even after messy cake decorating and science projects!!!

Check out the fitted table covers at Modern June!! 

Op for Homeschool Teens!!

VaHomeschoolers 2012 Conference Logo

VaHomeschoolers 2012 

Conference and Resource Fair
Excite, Enliven, Empower!

Give a Little, Get a Lot: Volunteer!

March 23-24, 2012
Cultural Arts Center
at Glen Allen

2880 Mountain Road
Glen Allen, Virginia

I don't know if you know or not, but I'm a Homeschooling Mamma! Now that my kids are older (11 and 14) they don't like to be included on the blog, I think they feel a little exposed (don't tell them about the snow day photos, or I'll be in big trouble). Because of this, I don't really chat too much about family life here anymore and that kind of makes me sad. At least I have twitter and Facebook on which to share the day-to-day bits. 

I've long been a member of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. It's my go to website to learn about the in's and out's of homeschooling. And every year they host a conference, a conference I would not miss for love nor money. It's my annual homeschool booster shot, without which I would have quit homeschooling a long time ago. No lie.

Before Modern June got off the ground, I used to volunteer as a Key Leader for the conference. I was the Ice Cream Social and Talent Show hostess. It's funny for me to say that I was Key Leader, as throwing a party is not nearly as hard or important as all the other jobs Key Leaders are required to do. I am awe of these ladies and gentlemen that work so hard to put together an informative and successful conference each year.

Well, I'm back in the mix again. I've taken on a little job to help out this year. Maddie and I will be hosting the Teen Luau on Friday, March 23rd. We'll be planning games and making a limbo set up. I think we need to make a Tropical Photo Booth too!! How fun will that be? 

Here's the 411!! 
Teen volunteers must be 13 years or older and come ready to work. As a heartfelt thank-you to all our teen volunteers for your wonderful support and hard work, we offer you food and fun. Volunteer at the conference and get free admission plus access to the Volunteer Hospitality Room (stocked with complimentary snacks, drinks and a yummy lunch) on the day of the conference.

Teen Luau
Aloha Teens! Teen volunteers get free conference admission and entrance to the Teen Volunteer Luau.  Join us Friday night from 4-6 p.m. for a luau with food, music, games and the chance to mingle with other homeschooled teens from throughout the state. Mix with old friends, and make some new ones! This party is separate from the ice cream social luau and is only for teen conference volunteers.

Earn Certification Hours
We’re happy to provide certification of service hours and/or letters of reference for your participation (these look great on college and job applications) for teens that volunteer. You deserve it!

Sign-up to volunteer today! Click below to send an email to Volunteers@VaHomeschoolers.org.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Butterfly Garden

My backyard is a blank slate, a nightmare of a blank slate. As is stands right now, it's just a giant mud pit from hell, that still has a few pieces of construction equipment in it. Are you getting a feel for my mood here? 

This yard has a lot of problems, but timing is the biggest one. It's spring (almost), so we can't expect to get grass to take hold. Our baby grass will just burn up in the June sun. But we'll try anyway, I'll happily waste a bag or two of grass seed this spring.

Since the slate is blank, I really want to carefully create some structure in the garden. I want to put up a fence between our yard and our neighbors, unfortunately I can't afford it right now. Janet and I have enjoyed living without the fence that came down when we lost our other tree during Hurricane Irene. She and I created two gardens along our mutual property lines with a stone path that got up easily to each others back doors. But I really want a puppy someday and I don't think she'll like it in her yard all the time. When you have a dog, fences make good neighbors, right? If a fence is going to happen, now's the time. 

Also, I want to judicially pick and choose trees and bushes that will give my landscape 4-season appeal. I want my backyard to have great winter interest. Winter is depressing enough, I want some evergreen's to look at! Again, we all know that you need to plant the trees and bushes in the fall.

So what do we do? Live with a pit of mud and invite the weeds to take hold? I don't think so. 
So here's the plan!! I'll have the contractor set in the fence posts in the next month or so and then when we have the money, Don and I will add the rails and pickets ourselves. The posts will give the yard a scene of it's boundaries. In the mean time, I'm seeing oilcloth party banners strung from post to post!!

This week we enjoyed spring like weather, it was 75 degrees so I had to get outside and do something!! I started creating a curvy line of bricks and wood I've found laying around the yard, to separate the future garden beds from the eventual grassy areas.

But, what are we going to put in these beds this spring and summer?? As I logged on to Pinterest to look through my garden board it dawned on me... BUTTERFLIES, I want butterflies!! I'm going to buy a bunch of wildflower seeds and create a butterfly garden. I am so excited!! I can't wait to get the kids over to the Great Big Green House to pick out our seeds. 

Check out this great website I found, it gives you a list of the butterflies that you get in your state,  here's Virginia!! They also have a list of plants that each butterfly likes best. This will be a great family project, but, don't tell the kids that I'm seeing a science lesson here!! 

Happy end of February, spring is coming!!! 

Memories: Tupperware

Four generations of Tupperware loving ladies!!
The Etsy Blog has a great post about Tupperware this weekend, wow, the memories that I brought back to me are wonderful!! In the center is my Grr, with a very cute little me on her lap!! My Grr is the woman that inspires me every single day to be a loving mother and hard working bread winner. My Grr was a Tupperware and Avon lady!! She was the mother of 7 kids so she had to do what she could to help out. When I was very young she would let me take her sales slips and sort her orders. I really loved that, it was like playing store. 

So instead of spending the afternoon proofing pattern text I sent down the Tupperware memory lane. Did you know that there are 33 pages of Vintage Tupperware listings on  Etsy? I love it!! 

Here's my childhood kitchen:
I have no doubt that my mom still uses this set of measuring cups.
My Grr had these tumblers. I grew up drinking out of these! I want the stirs, real bad!!
But my mom had (has) this tumbler set. You can tell the era just but the color and style.
As a child I had no earthly idea what this funnel was really for. But I used to play with it in the dish water all the time. 
My moms most prized possession, the harvest gold cake carrier!! Of course she had the pie risers inside. She's a pie maker!! I love my mamma's pies!!
I might have to buy this, the green strainer of love, surly my mom won't send me hers!!

Just looking at these salt and pepper shakers I am able to mentally feel what my moms felt like. Back then she fried everything and since these sat on the back of the stove top they felt disgusting. So greasy!! Okay, not all Tupperware memories are pleasant.
Oh, the countless pitchers of tea and Koolade I made in a pitcher just like this. The vacuum seal button was the best!! 
My mother has 4 sisters and countless aunts so when we got together for the holidays it was Tupperware-bowl-palooza! Everyone had the same set of bowls so when it came to clean up time everyone would fight over whose was whose. You don't mess with another woman's Tupperware!
I would fight for a 1972 Easycrisp!! I bet my Mom got this as a wedding gift, that was the year she married my 2nd dad, I was four!
Want. Need. Must. Have! Lettuce Crisper of love! Can't you taste the iceburg lettuce now? 

Oh boy, does this take me back to Easter Sunday!! Every year the Easter Bunny would hide our hand-dyed eggs. Then before mass my mom would make deviled eggs and carefully place them in this container. It was always cold enough outside for her to leave them in the car during church. 
I know my mom had a Jello Mold and I know for a fact she never ever used it, what a shame!

Aw!! These really take me back!! My sister is 12 years younger than me so I remember playing with Busy Blocks with her more than I do when I was of age!!!

Oh man, the toy sorter!! Did you all have one of these? I hope you did, it was the best toy in the world!

Great! Now I miss my mommy and need to buy vintage Tupperware!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweets from my sweet!

My 14 year old daughter, Maddie, made me a very special chocolate for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. She kept sneaking off to the kitchen for day and days. I'd hear the sound of pots and pans and the smell of chocolate coming from the kitchen. I knew she was up to something yummy, I just didn't know it was for me. 

She lovingly filled it with almonds, drizzled caramel and chocolate and topped it with a single white chocolate chip. She's a very artistic and sweet girl. It's the best present I've gotten in a very long time, it's delicious and handmade with love!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Snow Day!

Snow Day? Hmm... maybe snow minute is a better choice of words. Even though is snowed all day and half of the night, it only took about two hours for it all to melt away. Welcome to global warming in the south.
We are not one's to look a gift horse in the mouth so made ourselves a snowman! Even Maddie, with her wicked cold, got dressed (first time in days) and came out to play for a few minutes.
So to our neighbors that poo-pooed our snowman making I say, "Who cares if it only lasted till noon, we love it anyway!" Snow haters!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Feburary Sale

Happy Feburary!

It's OK to give yourself a little something...

It doesn't matter what your into celebrating this cold February, it's all on sale at Modern June and Oilcloth Addict! Enter our Super20 coupon code in at check out and save 20%!! Now through February 29th! Come on and buy that new tablecloth or fabric you've dying to buy, all the excuses you need are right here.
February Holidays and Events:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Great Book: The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos

A couple of weeks ago I bought myself a new book, The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum. I have to say that this book is rocking my world. You might have noticed that I take some really bad photos. Well, I've been blaming my camera for years while dreaming of the day that I can afford a "real" one. Guess what? It's been me along!!

before tweaking in iPhoto

I woke up in the middle of the night all ticked off about a work thing and I was unable to get back to sleep. Instead of tossing and turning I pulled out this book, as I figured that it would help me nod off. Man, was I wrong! I think I read the first 22 pages three times! I was soaking up the information and fighting the urge to get up and grab my camera.

after tweaking in iPhoto

So this morning, between math lessons with my son, caring for my sick girl, and preparing for my Junie's arrival, I stole some time to play. I've never in my life taken a photo with shallow DoF (depth of field, but I did today!

And I can't wait to learn more! We've got new doggie mats to photograph, and it'd be really nice if the photos looked great!! Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reno Update: Week 12 and 13

We've had a round of fantastic weather, we're talking 71 degrees!! So Sander, contractor of awesomness, had his crew clean up the back yard. I was very happy to take the afternoon off and help layout the slates. It was so nice to get my hands dirty.
 Raccoon Tracks!! 
It's a bit woopy-jawed (my fault) so I'm going to tweak the layout a bit and then plant some creeping thyme within the stones.
I can't tell you have much I love being able to get to the shed without jumping through the puddles. Five months with a plywood walk way is a bit much.

As you can see we've got a long way to go! We've got leaning posts, a missing shelter and a big orange earth mover to take care of. We won't mention the lack of grass. Really, don't mention it. Even though it doesn't look like much right now, it's just so much better and I'm ready for spring!!
I was thrilled that the guys helped me clean out the beds. Normally this is my job, a job that hasn't been done properly since Modern June got more intense. They removed all the weed trees that I was fighting a loosing battle with and I removed dozens of sticky vines. When the next round of nice weather comes along I'll dig out the brick boarder, that always helps tidy things up. (Even if your grass is junk)
The following day we had a lot of rain and my son enjoyed playing out on the second story patio. We're are all loving the new wood floor out there, it's a real treat.
Here you can see that our new bedroom ceiling and walls are all ready for paint. No more water damage, better yet no more Dr. Who cracks in the wall. I was really happy to have sleep in a semi-white room for a few nights. It got rid of my desire for a home with white walls. I gotta have my color!!

...I am not feeling this color! Everyone says I used the same color as the studio but that's not the case, it's actually more green then the studio. It's sssssssoooooooo aqua. Don't get wrong it's a nice color, just not for a bedroom. But it's done and so am I! We'll see if I like it better once I get the drapes up and furniture in the room. Either way, it's not changing anytime soon.
The needed repairs in our bathroom are coming along nice and quick.  The cracked ceiling has been sheet rocked with some fancy bathroom grade stuff (technical talk). This darker ceiling is really weird, I'll never paint a ceiling anything other than white. It's feels like the sky is falling.

Since we had to have the ceiling mucked with anyway, we invested in a much needed vent. How very modern for this 85 year old house. Believe it or not, I've never lived in a home with a vent in a bathroom, it'll be like a hotel bathroom. (rrrrrrrriiiiiiight!)
I have NO idea what color to paint in this room. I know I just said I didn't want an all-white room but I am thinking about it for the bathroom. I think I am just afraid, I feel like I messed up the bedroom and I am tired of making costly mistakes -- even if it's my insurance companies money.

We call the insurance money, Kelson's money. Kelson was our insurance adjustor. We've been saying things like, "If Kelson's not paying for it, we don't need it." We've told the contractor more that a few times, "When Kelson's money runs out, you have to leave!" I love Kelson's money, I loved Kelson and he loved us. He was happy that we didn't want more money than we were due. At the time all we wanted was the tree off our home, a proper roof and a sewer line that was actually connected to the city.

Oh well, even if we just go white, I know that I won't be sorry to see the Martha Stewart two-tone thing go away. It's been the same for 13 years, okay I am pretty sure that I repainted it at some point, tweaking the colors slightly. I can't believe that, we've been here so long. I swear we just moved in and remolded that bathroom. I think Maddie was about 18 months when we finished the room. Amazing.
Photo credit: West Elm
Here's my inspiration. I bought this nice shower curtain from West Elm that is citron and white. I intended to paint the walls a soft slate grey but now I am not so sure. Do you know what I really want? I want to fancy tile on the bottom half of the wall and then use a bright paint color on the top half. Or! How about a solid painted wall on the bottom and some big funky wallpaper on the top?

Oh hell, at this point I am just tired of thinking. I say we paint it all white and then when have the energy to commit I'll do it myself.

All the cabinetry is way past tired, we were so poor when we did the bathroom the first time. I think we paid $125 for the sink and both cabinets. Gotta love the big box special. I guess that it's time to start saving for a proper bathroom reno. At least for another round of big box cheapies.
I just picked this up for the bathroom today at Joannes. Our Joannes is moving so I got the rest of the bolt at 60% off. It's a canvas weight home-dec fabric. I am thinking of having my new stitcher make me a roman shade with this pretty tangerine print. Jonathan spent years working in the interiors business, so even though I've made a few shades myself, I'm 100% sure it would be much better use of my time and money to have him do it. 
The last area with hurricane damage is the ceiling in the stairwell. I am pleased as punch to have the ceiling and walls professionally painted. This is the only way to fly my friends, the only way!! I'll take 13 weeks of plaster dust to have that stairway painted.
 See why? Those dingy walls would have stayed that way for a very long time if it weren't for that mean old tree that just happen to fall and go boom on our house.

There's just a little more work left to get done. They say one more week, so I figure it'll be 2-3. : ) I've been teasing Sander that he'll be here to help make the Easter ham.

I am beginning to have mixed feelings about this whole thing being over and the guys leaving. I'll miss the crew when they are gone. Sander Altman has become a part of my daily life, he's become a family friend. Don and I text him more than anyone else, more than we text each other. Sander and I talk about life, parenting and food all day long. He brings my kids rice crispy treats for crying out loud!!  And when I mentioned my need of a doughnut he brought us all some. I'll miss my new friend when he's gone!!! Poor Don's going to start getting some serious "honey do" lists when this is all over and I no longer have 1-5 guys in the house all day to do my bidding.