The Plaid Post

These may be our guys

Saturday, 31 May 2008 21:19 by sara

I discovered today the birds appear to be hatching. I did a little stakeout and managed to get a few shots of the mom and dad:


Mama Bird was quite happily perched on the edge of her nest, but after a few flashes, Papa Bird was a little more cautious and would not come much closer:

I was mildly concerned about scaring them away from their hatching babies, but they have flown away and come back so many times over the last few days that I ultimately decided it was okay with them. I mean, you can't nest by someone's front door and expect to have a peaceful incubation period.

Nonetheless, I did decide that I would hold off on peering into the nest again, for at least another day.  I took a quick peek this afternoon and definitely saw some Baby Birds in the midst of emerging.  From what I saw, said babies are not all that attractive, so don't expect too many photos. 

In any event, now that we've seen the parents, is there any chance someone can identify these suckers? What is in those eggs?! I was sold on regular old house sparrow, but then I saw Papa Bird and his colorful head/chest and decided we weren't harboring the "winged rodents."

My latest theory is that we're dealing with the House Finch.  I'm still not sure our particular eggs fit in with this theory, though. But, the finch males are red breasted, apparently because of their food. The more red the male has, the better catch he is, so looks like our Mama Bird is a pretty lucky lady. 

Categories:   General
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Tablecloth Curtains

Saturday, 31 May 2008 20:28 by sara

Remember way back when, I mentioned my genius idea to transform some tableclothes into curtains? Ta-Da!


We had been searching for a long, long time for affordable curtains for the living room.  After we decided no one made curtains we both liked for under $100 (per panel!) we started searching for fabric to make said curtains (notably, these curtains cover french doors with large windows on each side, so it was going to take a lot of panels or a lot of fabric, either way).  And we searched for a long, long time.  

Having given up finding fabric that we both liked, we finally returned to a curtain search (thinking, surely by now someone makes an affordable curtain we both like).  And we found ourselves at Target, looking through curtains.  Stumped.  Until I remembered seeing this tablecloth that I loved.


And I thought the dimension were good (60x84), the fabric was good, why not turn said tablecloth into curtains? And so we did.  The tablecloth was nice and wide, so we only needed four to cover the doors .  We hang almost all of our curtains on the ring-hook things, so I didn't even need to sew a pocket along the top. Of course, if you're not a fan of the rings, you could sew a quick little rod pocket at the top--there's plenty of extra length for that.

The tablecloth itself was pretty long at 84 inches, which is usually about the length of a standard curtain panel.  We probably could have hung them as they were, but they were pretty flimsy looking when we did a test-hang.  In any event, we usually like to hang our curtains pretty high, so I went to the fabric store and purchased some decorator fabric in a matching rust-color to add a band at the bottom.  It's a microsuede, so it also adds a little texture to the curtains (which are just a lightweight cotton).

I cut an 11 inch band for the bottom, so once it was sewn on and hemmed, it ended up adding about ten inches to the curtains.  The heavier decorator fabric also added some extra weight, which helps the curtains hang well.  This picture may not show it well, but I used the contrasting rust-colored thread for top stitching along the tablecloth, for a decorative element.   We folded them over at the top before attaching to the hooks, at made sure to line up the bottom band so they'd always look nice and even.  (The hooks are great for curtains like these that are going to be opened and closed a lot.)

Depending on where you're using the curtains, you may want to line them.  These are pretty thin, almost a muslin feel to them, so the sun would probably shine right through.  However, we use them to cover a french door that leads into a courtyard, so during the day the curtains are always open.  At night, they do a perfectly fine job of giving us all the privacy we need. 

Not a bad life for a $13 Target tablecloth. 

Categories:   My Projects | Sewing
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Win-It Wednesday, Friday: Tea Towel Apron revealed!

Friday, 30 May 2008 13:46 by sara

At long last, the tea towel apron makes her glorious debut.  I made a trip to Joann's early this week for wasitband and tie fabric, and I found some perfect matches.  Unfortunately, I lost patience after a 7 minute wait for someone to come to the cutting table, so I abandoned the fabric and decided to make do with what I had at home. I am so glad I did.

The dishtowels came as a set of four. I used two of the other towels as the waistband and ties. I think it came out great.

I did toy with the idea of adding a corn cob pocket (from the other dishtowel), but ultimately decided I didn't want to cover up any of the other food. I also considered adding a ruffle at the bottom, but decided this apron had plenty going on already. Agreed?

I'm very excited with how it came out, and I think the lucky winner will love it.  Meg's tutorial was awesome, and the project was pretty easy to pull together.  It maybe took me two hours, and a lot of that time was spent trying to turn the apron ties right-side-out. Turning is my least favorite thing in the world! Well, maybe.

Ready to win it?! Leave a comment on this post before next Wednesday. All comments will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be posted next Wednesday (along with the winner of the Freezer Paper Stencil T-Shirt).  Next week is a big double winner Win-It Wednesday, so don't miss it! 

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Throwback Thursday: Freezer Paper Stencils

Thursday, 29 May 2008 13:06 by sara

Okay, I admit this isn't that much of a throwback, because it's still very popular right now, but it's something I've been wanting to do and hadn't gotten around to. So, this week, we will be using freezer paper to stencil on shirts. Any shirts.

I can't remember whether I originally read about this on Angry Chicken (the shirt pictured above) or Soulemama (the selection pictured below). Either way, both Amy and Amanda have great posts from a couple of years ago when they went freezer paper stencil crazy.   

My interest in freezer paper stencils was reignited when I read The Creative Family, in which Amanda gives instructions for making the stencils. You can also see her doing a little demo on TV here.

Amy outlines the process in this tutorial, and it looks so fun we're ready to get started.  I even found some freezer paper (a ginormous box, so we're set) at our local grocery store (I came up empty at Target, so don't look there).  You can see a million more finished shirts on Flikr (okay, more like a thousand, but still).  And check out this post from Cucumbersome for some how-to tips (and a really cute fawn).

I have to admit, I was so excited about this project that we already got started.  Vivien painted this very pretty heart. I was surprised how well it turned out, since all of the stenciled shirts I've seen are rather solidly painted. 


Next Wednesday, a lucky commenter will win a custom-made freezer paper stencil shirt. Here's how: leave a comment with (1) your favorite color and (2) your favorite animal/object (within reason, that I can put on a shirt) on this post before next Wednesday.  One random winner will receive a shirt (or maybe a tote bag if you'd rather) with a stenciled animal/object in his/her favorite color.  

Ready, Set, Comment!


Wednesday, 28 May 2008 06:51 by sara

The lucky headband winner is Mymsie!  Be on the lookout for an email from me to confirm the details.  Everyone else, do not despair, tune in later for your chance to win the Tea Towel Apron from this week's Throwback! UPDATE: The apron is coming, it's receiving some last minute tweaking to make it even more fabulous. Trust me, it's worth the wait!

Categories:   Win-It Wednesday
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Tiny bit of Etsy shopping

Tuesday, 27 May 2008 12:16 by sara

I love this little play set from Enna Design Shop. Each doll has her own cottage, and the dolls can stand on their own (unlike some of the felt toys that flop right over). And if you don't share my obsession with little Russian nesting dolls (how could you not?!), look at this sweet Bambi:

Categories:   Shopping
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Exciting Additions

Monday, 26 May 2008 14:40 by sara

Some very exciting developments over the weekend.  The first are the new flowers sprucing up the courtyard. The dahlias I love, because I'm a big fan of full, fluffy flowers.  The people at Lowes were unable to tell me whether these were perennials or annuals, and the tag didn't say either way. I've done a bit of research, and it seems it will depend on our zone. So they might be okay if I bring them inside for the winter. A random shopper at Lowes told me they'd be okay in the winter if I cut them down and put some mulch on them. So, we'll see.


In addition to the dahilas, we picked up some other annuals, two hibiscus trees, and another hanging basket , that I'm thinking I won't hang. All of which join the hydrangea I brought home lat week.   And while we're on the subject of flowers, you must meet the incredible growing rose:


This amazing rose lives by our trash cans, in a very unpretty part of our yard. The area is mostly mud and gets so much rain we had a drain installed a few years ago. This climbing rose is a unbelievable.  It was here when we moved in six years ago. We've done nothing to encourage it's growth, aside from throwing the long vine over the arbor that it grows near. Instead, it's almost like we've been trying to destroy it.  The whole area was dug up with a bobcat when they put in the drain, yet the rose still grows.  It gets a zillion flowers every summer. If I knew what it was, I'd buy thirty more and scatter them around my yard. 

In other news, we finally spent our own stimulus check, for the sake of the economy, of course. I'm breaking into the world of digital SLR's, with the entry level Nikon D40.  I trust you noticed the photos in this post were much improved over previous editions. Expect more original photos from me in future, because I just can't stop clicking.