Monday, November 24, 2014

A 1940's Stone House Renovation

Last summer Gene and I stayed at a friend’s farmhouse in Pennsylvania. After spending just a night at their house, I realized I wanted a bigger house.

I want to be able to have friends and family stay over…in a bed and not on an leaky air mattress in my tiny living room. I want to be able to have more than 4 people at my dining table… hell, I want a dining room where I can have a dining table. I love my tiny Woodstock cottage and we always planned on growing old there, but having more space would be kinda nice. I would be able to entertain more, and I really like that idea.

So, the search began. Gene and I were looking for a fixer-upper. We love renovating, it’s what makes us happy and well, it's within our budget.

This past June I was searching online and found a beautiful 2 bedroom stone house built in the 1940’s. Included on the 3 acres, was a 1 bedroom cottage and a garage with an adjacent room. Bonus! More room for more guests.

The photos looked beautiful, but after touring the house and taking a much closer look, we realized it had been neglected and needed a lot of love…definition: work. We made an offer and waited and waited and waited. It was a short sale, which we would find out is anything but short. Well, we closed last week and have already starting the demolition.

The property is just gorgeous, with fruit trees, a stone courtyard, stone paths and steps, some leading to nowhere. A sign on the fence says "Storybook". All 3 units have stone fireplaces. We would later find out a stonemason built it all, a rather vertically-challenged stonemason since all the doorways are very low. :)

We're looking forward to the renovation and I hope you'll follow us on our journey. I’ll be posting before & after photos of all the home projects we plan on doing. They’ll be some DIY’s thrown in there as well. We hope to write our own story book and we hope you'll read it or at least look at the pictures!

A Hobbit Door    
Steps to Courtyard


Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Martha Stewart Living Invitation to create with Sprout by HP (part 2)

A week ago I posted about the Sprout by HP event I was invited to by the team at Martha Stewart Living and today I want to tell you all about on my once-in-a-lifetime invitation by Martha Stewart Living to create my own project using the new Sprout by HP!

Martha Stewart Living invited three bloggers to design with this new technology. We would be part of just a few lucky people who would have this opportunity to try out Sprout by HP. How exciting!! It was tough to keep it a secret, but I managed! 

I was assigned holiday wrapping paper and a holiday gift tag using my needle felted animals. I chose my fawn and moose.

I was a bit nervous, especially since this was a new program AND (that’s a big AND) I’ve worked on a PC maybe once in my life…so this would be my second. Let’s hope it goes well.

The design is built around a concept HP is calling “blended reality” that blends the 3D physical world with our 2D digital one.

I got a simple tutorial and I was on my way. Well, it turns out Sprout by HP is super intuitive. Whew!

The HP Sprout has a giant touch mat which is the primary point of interaction and a downward facing projector/camera that scans objects and then lets the user manipulate them in 2D or 3D.

I decided to create a pattern. I was allowed into the Crafts storage area (WOW! I could die happy in there) and it was super overwhelming in a fantastic way, but my time was limited, so I chose a few simple items to help me with my project… some ribbon, bows and gift tags. I placed them on the touch mat and pressed the camera button. I then placed my animals on their sides and took their image as well. 

Viola, in a split second, there were my items on the screen in their full 3D glory. 

This technology also allows the user to remove the background art of your image by outlining the areas you want and don’t want, but I decided to use my images against a white background so there was no need for retouching. I saved all to a folder.

The HP Sprout is so hands-on. 

I located my images from the folder and dragged them from the screen to the touch mat.  

With a tap and a pinch, and a few clicks I was able to rotate, resize and duplicate my images.  

For instance, the ribbon wasn’t long enough, so I just duplicated it a few times to create the length I needed. You can also crop out whatever you don’t like or need. I was also able to flip images like I did with the deer.
I created 3 different wrapping paper patterns and 3 holiday tags

I added a message by selecting the type tool. Here I got the chance to choose a font, color and size. I also chose to hand-write part of message right on the touch mat…and no keyboard or mouse was used. I used the tip of my finger directly on the touch mat to create blue dots for “snow.” All these elements can then be grouped and duplicated to create my pattern…which made it much easier to move around.

I wanted to stay longer and play all day, but my time was limited and there were other bloggers waiting.

I can't wait to hand out my custom-wrapped gifts this Christmas!

Sprout means to spring up, to grow, to develop…so, I look forward to HP developing more and more programs for us creative types! 

 To find more information and happenings about Sprout follow the hashtag: #sproutbyhp

Also, check out what the other bloggers created: inmyownstyle and fatveganbaby

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DIY: Herb Scented Place Cards

Here's a simple, last minute Place Card DIY project.

You'll probably have all the materials on hand come Thanksgiving Day. Like card stock or heavy paper and your typical holiday herbs like Rosemary, Thyme and Sage...even a sprig of dried flowers will do.

I created my cards in a design program and printed on white card stock, but you can simply use card stock in any color and cut into 3 1/4  x  2 3/4 pieces, then fold in half. (I scored mine for a cleaner fold.) Use a hole puncher or poke a small hole in the middle of the fold with the tip of a scissor or knife. Write the name of your guest on the front.

Try using a gold marker for a touch of sparkle.

 Insert your sprig of choice, place your card on the table and enjoy the aroma of the holidays.

TRY THIS on the BACK of the CARD
• Have your guests write what they're thankful for. 

• Write why you're thankful for their friendship.

• Write their name on both never know if the person sitting across from them has the best memory!

• Or simply write "Give Thanks".

Happy Thanksgiving!