Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sad News

Zac's grandmother passed away on Sunday.  We're sad that she's no longer with us, but also happy that she isn't suffering anymore.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers... You can read Grandma's obituary here, if you'd like.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sneak Peak!

Here's a preview of the baby quilt I made for Violet Stricklin, who is the soon-to-be-born daughter of friends of mine, Mina and Taft.

I'm not sure that there have ever been two parents so excited to meet their baby. Taft takes the cake for the sweetest, most excited dad I've ever seen.  Violet even has a blog!

This is one lucky baby, who is going to have the most fantastic nursery any baby has ever had (except maybe Donald Trump's baby. But that's it).

This quilt was different for me because there are so many different fabrics. Some quilting cotton, some decorator fabrics, some felt, some minky. What cool textures for Violet to explore. The back is minky so it will be cozy.

What do you think??

The pink chandelier fabric is the curtains in Violet's room

I'll show you more once I finish quilting it - it turned out really sweet! The pattern came from this book

This quilt has a real "chic" quality to it.  It's perfect for a baby but yet it looks posh with the different fabric textures.  This was definitely a new experience for me, and I'm really happy with the results!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Catalog Living

I discovered this blog through Young House Love, which is also one of my favorite blogs.  Catalog Living is AMAZING.  They take catalog scenes and add the conversation they anticipate would occur if someone lived there.

Some of my favorites:

It broke through the wall during the last big storm and we decided just to leave it.

Elaine was not amused by Gary’s passive-aggressive response to her request to “garnish the cocktails.”

Hi Nancy, it’s Elaine.  I’m going to be a little late for lunch.  I can’t find my hat ormy back-up hat.


Happy 100!

Hi everyone!  This is my 100th post! Can you believe it? It sure didn't take long to get here.

I've put off this post for a few days because I wanted it to be awesome, but it's time to celebrate and move forward!

So - here's a picture of what bloomed in my backyard this week.


is growing these!

Life is good.  My family is in New York this weekend for my cousin's graduation - Happy Graduation Day, Andrea! I hate not being at my Gramma's house when everyone else is!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Updates for you

It's been a busy week around here! Today we took the Summer Camp kids to the zoo.  100 kids + 97 degrees = WHOA.

I didn't get to do too much sightseeing because I was mostly concerned about no one getting lost or breaking a leg. Luck must have been on my side today, because these are the only three pictures I took today:

Zac's dad came to work visit yesterday and the second closet in the bedroom is almost finished! Hopefully after one more trip they'll have it all completed.  They also had time to lay this:

I'll show you more pictures when it's finished...it's the leftover tile from the kitchen in the condo.  Love it.

So that's what I've been up to... how about you??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun derby themed table cover

I promised you a look at Mandy's birthday present, and here it is!

Isn't it adorable?? I used a FANTASTIC tutorial from Melissa at the Polka Dot Chair, and it was wonderful. This came together pretty quickly (only 4 hours start to finish - including quilting and binding) and was fun to make!

The fabrics all came from JoAnn's, and I am pleasantly surprised with them.  I don't usually buy quilting fabric there, but this was the right look, the right price and the right quality.

Here's a closeup of one of the jockey silks:

And the finished project laid on the couch...

It was a hit with the birthday girl, which is really all that matters...

AND - there's enough fabric left over to make one for me.  Anyone else want one??

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy birthday Mandy!

Today is my friend Mandy's 25th birthday... and since she is one of my very best friends, she deserves a special Happy Birthday post!

We met our Freshman year in college, and lived together during our Junior and Senior years.

We look so young!

I was the Maid of Honor in her wedding... and met Zac because he was the Best Man. Does this picture scream "friendship" or what??

Apparently we need to take some more recent pictures!  Tomorrow I'll show you what I made her for her birthday... stay tuned - you'll love it!

Happy Birthday Mandy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of the wonderful fathers out there, but especially to my dad, my Papa,  Zac's dad and Zac's Papa!

Check out what we made my dad for Father's Day.  I was inspired by this idea here. I was a little worried that it would be a lot less cute since we're less cute than these adorable young kids, but it turned out to be a pretty sweet gift!

We got wooden letters from Michael's, and even though Emily got hers in Delaware, we matched.

Close-up of some of the pictures

Since Emily is far away, we gave Dad his gift via video chat:

Beth and Emily

He loves it! :-)

Dad with his gift

Showing it to Em. She likes it too.

Happy Father's Day, Dad, Papa, Kenny and Papa!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Leadership Swag

Quick background: I work for a great nonprofit called Leadership Scholars.We do leadership development training for inner-city kids.  Yeah, I know. Pretty cool job.

We have 100 kids in our Summer Program, with 14 high schoolers / college students who serve as their "Leaders." We also have 10 professional teachers.

Each day we have a morning assembly where the Leaders do an activity to get the Scholars excited, develop leadership skills, have fun, etc.  This is what they did on the first day. I think they just wanted the Scholars to think they were cool... :-) Apparently this is a very popular song, which is why every single kid recognized it and I'd never heard it before. 

Aren't they cute? Oh - and apparently I'm old.  I made a reference during our training week last week and not one of these Leaders remembers when there wasn't a blue M&M.  They also don't know who Punky Brewster is.  Sigh.

What do I not know about curtains??

Ok - I really hope there is some sort of secret curtain club out there of people who know how to buy affordable curtains.  Because I sure can't figure it out.

I really to hang two floor length panels on either side of the window with a sheer panel in the middle. These two windows are the only ones in the house where people can see inside from the street, and instead of messing with blinds, I'd rather just have two sheer curtains that would let light in while providing privacy.

So.... throw out West Elm, Pottery Barn, etc. where curtains cost upwards of a million dollars.  Target will still run me more than $250 for the look!! Even WalMart will be more than $200. Bed Bath and Beyond is out of control expensive. And, my favorite store (Homegoods) doesn't carry curtains. I know. I nearly passed out as well.

I can make them with fabric from JoAnn's for $170.  Which is definitely way cheaper than buying them, but still ridiculous. There are a lot of other things I can get for $170 besides brown curtains.

So what am I missing here?? How can I get curtains without spending tons and tons of money??

This is sort of what I want, with a sheer in the middle:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sometimes, it makes more sense to buy.

I'm a crafty person. I see things and think, "I can make that!"

But I'm also an exhausted Summer Program Director right now and don't have any time to do anything (sigh). So when I saw this beauty at Homegoods today, I knew it was just better to buy it.

It's beautiful. It's a stretched canvas - and it was $12.99!!!

I think this is going to be the inspiration for decorating my sewing room! I love it. And it was cheaper than making it. And a heck of a lot easier!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hoo Are You?

Night Owl Crafting has a fun idea to help everyone get to know all of the other bloggers we stalk read. So fun!


So... here you go! Things you may not have known about me:

1. What is your favorite thing about your dad?
My dad is the best "girl dad" ever.  He has three daughters and swears he never wanted anything different. He would have been wasted on boys... he's so supportive and good at talking about feelings. And making token comments like "Shouldn't you wear a turtleneck under that bathing suit?"

2. What are you favorite smells?
Hands down, dryer sheets. Anything that smells fresh and clean.

3. What is your favorite Holiday?
Thanksgiving. I just love it when everyone is together. And reading the ads planning for Black Friday shopping. And mashed potatoes.

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A little bit of everything. A teacher, a doctor... nothing too specific?

5. How many different places have you lived, towns not houses?
A lot! Suffern, NY -- St. Cloud, MN -- Clyde, NC -- Escanaba, MI -- Centerville, OH -- Lexington, KY -- Cincinnati, OH.  Phew! 7... no wonder I never want to move again!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better... check out the link party to make new friends!

You just won't believe this.

A few years ago, this bad boy was built halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton.

We just refer to him as "Jesus." As in, ring ring, "Oh hi Dad, yeah, I'm not too far away, just passed Jesus." This guy is H-U-G-E.  And looks like a giant paper mache project.

Until last night.  We had terrible storms - like, go down in the basement storms.  And alas, today, Touchdown  Jesus (also known as Big Butter Jesus) is no more.


You can read about what happened in the Cincinnati Enquirer.  The statue caused a lot of controversy when it was built because it cost $250,000. Many people argued that there were certainly many people who could have been better helped using that money, which is a fair point.  Jesus did become a landmark though, and it will be strange to drive to my parent's house and not see him. And Twitter was off the hook today with funny jokes about it.  

They're rebuilding, of course. Thank goodness - because a melted Big Butter Jesus just isn't the same...(I know - GROAN! All the jokes today have been that bad!).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh man.

I am EXHAUSTED! A full 14 hours after I left for work this morning, I came home! We had a GREAT day at summer camp, but I spent the whole day worrying that something was going to go wrong. It didn't. No one got lost, no one broke a bone...all in all, a success!

These people, the best Summer Program staff a girl could ask for made my life so much easier today:

They LOVE doing stuff like this...

Group two un-human-knotting.

I have been doing so much SHOPPING for the Summer Program. And buying really strange stuff. If you're curious, the following items have made their way into my shopping cart in the past two weeks:
  1. 20 skeins of brightly colored yarn
  2. 5 chess sets
  3. 4 cases of fruit snacks
  4. 120 one-inch binders
  5. 2 cases of bananas
  6. 22 bottles of hand sanitizer
  7. 3 Flip Cams
  8. 5 Post-it sticky pads
  9. 18 walkie-talkies
  10. 40 copies of Their Eyes Were Watching God
  11. 1 kickball
And that's just some of the cool stuff! Here's to hoping tomorrow goes smoothly and at some point I get my free time back!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Building with Wood - The Big Reveal!

It took a while, but our wooden box is finally finished!

We built it using these plans from Ana at Knock Off Wood - thanks Ana!

Knock-Off Wood

It was a PROCESS. I had every intention of learning to use all the tools, but I ultimately decided to let Zac do the sawing.  It just didn't seem like fun.  I did help measure though, organized our piles and did some hardcore drilling while Zac was at work.

We had a lot of fun working on the box together.  I have a big list of plans to tackle next (dining room table, chairs, wine cabinet, sewing craft table, desk) so it sounds like we'll be spending some more creative time together soon.

So... without further delay - our finished box!

Yay! So pretty!

Holding some of the patio cushions. You know - since they don't all fit!

Straight on view

Close-up of our less than square box.

Cheesy pose!

We wanted to tackle a "beginner" project before jumping onto what we hope will become a family heirloom (dining room table). I can't imagine this one will stay in the family forever, but we sure had a lot of fun building it.  Hope you like it!

You can view the rest of the process here and here.

Explaining my blogging hiatus

Hi friends!

I'm sorry that I've been missing lately!  I have been spending SO much time preparing for our Summer Program that starts tomorrow morning. 100 middle schoolers + 14 high school Leaders + 10 teachers = 1 exhausted me! I can't believe how much work it's taken to prepare for this 4 week program. I think that I'm ready though!

I am also dying to start some sort of craft project! I'm sending my latest quilt to my favorite long-arm quilter tomorrow (Hi Gramma!) but I just haven't had time to start anything new. I really hope that I'm so prepared for the Summer Program that it just runs itself and I stop having so much work!

On a super fun garden-y note, look what I found tonight!


And the cutest baby tomato I've ever seen!

Send me happy thoughts that I haven't forgotten anything major for the Summer Program tomorrow, and with any luck, I'll be back to normal posting this week!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Check out my new look!

What do you think of the new look??

A special thank you to Emily, the Blog Fairy who made my blog look so pretty!

The Blog Fairy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Be Back Soon...

Sorry for my lack of posting.  I've had a CRAZY week getting ready for our Summer Program at work that starts Monday (hi, Ali!).  Like, multiple 12+ hour days crazy.  Oi.

I should be back this weekend... and, there is a big change coming soon to Tara Being Tara, so start getting excited!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My first feature!

I read TONS of craft and DIY blogs, and for the first time ever, I was featured on a link party!


Definitely go visit House of Hepworths - you'll love it. Thanks, Allison!

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's been that kind of day....

Me: Did you get any of the things done today that you said you would do, like call the Doctor and go to the bank?

Zac: No. I did break the laundry basket, though.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Family Pictures

We went to Lexington on Saturday for an engagement party for Laura and Nathan.  Laura and Zac grew up together, but I'm planning to steal her to be my friend because she is darling. Nathan's pretty great too!

While we were there, we took some family pictures since the Owens have the prettiest backyard.  Here are some of my favorites!

Cousins - Jamo, Jerrod, Zac and Josh

A better shot of the 4 cousins

This is before we started looking at the camera - for some reason I like this shot.

Zac's mom wanted a new computer background - and I think this picture turned out really well!

The boys were taking too long so we snuck in a girls shot

Good looking family!

We had a great visit - sad to see Josh and Steph had back to London tomorrow. We always have so much fun when everyone is together.  

When we got home, we put the last coat of paint on the cushions box, so you'll get pictures of that tomorrow, I hope! This week is really busy for me at work - staff training week for our Summer Program that starts next Monday.  Fingers crossed that all goes well!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I had a brilliant idea this morning. As I was picking up around the house and thinking about the long home to-do list running through my brain, I had a thought. I need to organize all of our closets. We moved in, threw stuff in them, closed the doors and haven't looked inside since. I need to take an afternoon and just ORGANIZE, make storage bins, etc. That sounds dreadful.

Then I remembered the time my mom came to visit and we did that in the condo. She spent all afternoon with me and it made it more fun, gave me more perspective ("Name 2 times you might ever use that. Seriously - throw it out.")and gave me an extra set of hands.

My mom is always willing to come help, but it's hard to get our schedules straight, and there aren't too many ways I can help her back (since her house is seriously immaculate. All the time.).

Here's the brilliant idea. My friend Ashley and her husband are also new homeowners. What if we each made a list of chores/tasks/whatever we wanted to accomplish, and helped each other do one task in each house each month?

Let me say that I love doing home projects with Zac (for the most part), but there are just some things that would not be fun together. Like organizing closets. And spring/fall cleaning. And making pillows. Things that would be fun with Ashley!

I won't feel bad asking her to spend her entire day helping me do something because I'll do the same for her. And - my mom likes her, so we can sucker her into helping too! :-)

Our first task is to each make a list of 12 tasks we want to tackle.  Here's what I've got so far:

  1. Organize all the upstairs closets
  2. Spring cleaning (in the spring)
  3. Fall cleaning (in the fall)
  4. Make this planter (for both of us, of course!)
  5. Make pillows for the bay window bench in the living room
  6. Go through my entire wardrobe and purge, organize, and re-style
What other things would be fun to do together?? And of course, we'll blog the process!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Monogrammed Towel Wrap

I found this cute towel wrap for a steal at Sam's Club a few weeks ago, and snapped it up as a graduation gift for my cousin, who graduates from high school in a few weeks.

I wish I could take credit for the towel wrap, but it came this cute. Ruffle and bow and all! All I did was add the monogram:

I LOVE to applique, and I decided to try something new this time. Instead of using a blanket stitch (like my Gramma taught me!) I decided to try a zig zag. I've had my eye on it ever since seeing some of Heather's cute applique over at Olive and Ollie.  

I set my stitch length to 0.5 and left the stitch width up at 3.5, which is my machine's natural zigzag setting.  Lessons learned:
  1. It is a totally different look than the blanket stitch.  I love the way it adds a lot of depth to the letter.
  2. It seems like it will be a lot more secure than a blanket stitch in holding the letter onto something that is bound to be washed a lot.
  3. Doing corners is ridiculously hard. Or probably really easy - I'm just not sure how?
  4. You should never try a new sewing technique for the first time on terrycloth.  What was I thinking??
All in all, not too shabby! This would be a super easy towel wrap to make, especially if you found a huge towel at Homegoods or a similar store.  You could just chop off one end, and re-attach it as a ruffle, and some velcro and elastic to the top and tie on a cute ribbon.

Or you can buy it at Sam's already "cuted" up and just add the letter...

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