Once again, I am heading back to Jacksonville, Florida for work. This time it is for 4 weeks. My husband is still down there so the best part is I get to see him. I had a nice break from him for 2 weeks 😉 but as they say: long distance makes the heart grow fonder. True statement. I am excited to see him!
I started out my flying routine by stopping by Starbucks at the airport terminal. I order my usual which is a Grande Green Tea Frappuccino with vanilla bean flavor and a cinnamon raison bagel with cream cheese. Unfortunately, the Starbucks ran out of cinnamon raison bagels so I had to resort to a plan bagel instead. No big deal.
Yummy. Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino is amazing especially if you add vanilla bean powder flavoring. It adds a nice sweet taste. It does not include coffee but still taste good, so if you don’t like coffee this is a drink for you.
As I was waiting for my fight at the terminal, I sat next to some nice guys. They were so sweet and full of energy. They had some very interesting stories to tell. I felt like I was watching a comedy stand up or something because these guys were hilarious. Everyone around was chuckling. They even brought their adorable cat Marlen with them. This cat was meowing like crazy, which added more to the entertainment. Adorable. Effective way to start an early morning, watching a live comedy show. 😊
Every time I fly, I prefer the window seat. You want to know why? I can look out the window and see the beautiful landscapes in the sky. Another reason why I like the window seat is if I get tired I have something to lean my head against and pass out. Hehe. My husband hates the window seat and chooses the aisle seat so he can stretch out his legs and get up easier to use the bathroom. I think he also likes it since he has an easier time escaping when we exit a plane. *Whispers* he doesn’t like flying so whatever makes him happy and calm, I am all for it.
I love this type of sight when flying. I get to see some interesting clouds. Very relaxing.
While up in the air, have to enjoy my diet coke and cookies at 20,000 feet. 😉
I love biscoff cookies so much and I always look forward to receiving these when I fly. I know I can’t be the only one… right?
Enough about flying. Time to get to the good stuff. Places to visit and food to eat in Jacksonville, Florida.
First thing on the agenda:
Bono’s Pit BBQ
Best BBQ I have tasted so far in any restaurant! I love the rustic theme in this place. What makes this restaurant #1 on my scale is once you order, it was super quick to come out to enjoy. From entering the resturant to ordering the food then receiving food it was about 10 minutes! 10 minutes! I couldn’t believe it! I thought fast food was fast but this was super quick. Then I have to consider that most BBQ places have to start early to cook ribs and pork since they are most likely smoking them in some way. It takes hours to cook properly, I know since my husband use to smoke pork shoulders and ribs. Yummy!
Sorry, I forgot to mention what I ordered. I need to stop rambling sometimes. Haha. After looking at the various options on the menu, I decided to order the Bo-Hawg Sandwich with the side of Mac and Cheese.
Doesn’t it look so delicious!? Let me tell you, this was some darn good pulled pork sandwich with sausage and cheese on top. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering just talking about it. Can’t wait to go back to Jacksonville again to try some more options on the menu.
Singleton’s Seafood Shack
When you first drive into this place you might judge it from first impression. It truly looks like a shack from the outside but I promise you the food is amazing. The place has an interesting theme inside (mostly random items placed throughout) and has great seating especially if you have a big group. They have a couple of big picnic like tables that can hold about 14 – 16 people.
One of my co-worker’s ordered the smoke fish dip to share with everyone. Omg, this dip tasted so good (sorry I didn’t get a chance to take a picture because everyone wanted to dig in right away). This fish dip is a great appetizer to start out with.
After looking at the menu for a while I decided to get a grilled shrimp taco and an order of hush puppies.
It tasted sooooo good! Yummy! Oh, I have to divulge I love hush puppies and these hush puppies are by far the best I ever had! I liked that it had a slight sweet taste to them.
I have to admit that the group and myself liked Singleton’s so much that two days later we went back there again for lunch. LOL. This time I choose to go with one of the lunch specials, grilled shrimp basket with fries and a hush puppy.
Once again it was amazing!
Oh, and they have this hilarious hot sauce. From the title of it, I was a little scared to try it. lol.
I was craving sushi so much that hubby finally decided to take me out to a place near the hotel we were staying at. This place was very contemporary and modern. I loved the red booths and seats they had which added a nice vibe to the restaurant.
After looking through the menu I decided to get a Philadelphia Roll (one of my favorite rolls anywhere I go since I love cream cheese) and the other roll I got was called the Rock N Roll No. 2.
The Philadelphia roll definitely had very fresh ingredients which is great and tasted good.
The second roll I ordered, Rock N Roll No. 2 was something different. It was a roll with salmon, crab and cream cheese in the middle but instead of seaweed wrapped around with rice they had thinly cut cucumber wrapped around.
I was super impressed on how this roll tasted. Might have to try a few of their other options that offer a cucumber like wrap.
Hubby ended up ordering a Philadelphia Roll (copying me) and the Rainbow Roll.
Overall, this sushi restaurant is a nice place to stop by and enjoy sushi. Oh, and you must try the cucumber wrap sushi rolls since it is unique and delicious.
At Windy Harbor Golf Club
If you remember from my last post about Jacksonville, Florida I mentioned that my husband decided to take up golfing. Well guess who also decided to take up golfing? Yes, me! I would have never guessed in a million of years that I will take up golfing. When I was growing up I was always a swimmer and into a few sports but not golfing. I will admit that I always thought golfing was super boring until I actually tried it. I guess you should never judge anything until you tried it yourself.
I bought some cheap women’s starter clubs, golf shoes and golf balls. I spent about $280 total which isn’t a bad price starting out.
Here are a couple of pictures of me golfing. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take more pictures and take some videos. I promise I will try to remember the next time I go golfing.
I had a blast. My best hole was hole 11 when I got a PAR on a PAR 5. Nice, right? I will admit that I did get worn out by the time we hit the 14th and 15th hole. I toughed it through but it was hard not to show that I was tired. I just need more practice, take lessons and work on doing some strengthening exercises.
At Windsor Parke Golf Club
I decided after my first time golfing that I really need to take some lessons so I can improve. Luckily for me, hubby and I ran into Nikki Martin, a Golf Pro at Windsor Golf Club, while shopping at local golf store. I only took one lesson, but Nikki taught me a lot and improved my golf swing. I am a fast learner so he was able to teach me many golf basics in a course of an hour. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take another lesson this time around since weather seemed to get in the way. I will be back in Jacksonville, Florida again for work so I can plan to take more lessons with him to improve.
Here are videos of hubby and I learning from Nikki Martin on how to hit a golf ball in a bunker:
Hmmm… just had a thought. I think my next sewing project I should make my own golf club covers! Stay tuned, I might decide to write a sewing tutorial. Hehe.
North Beach Fish Camp
After 5 hours of golfing, hubby really wanted to take me to a nice resturant to unwind and eat some fantastic food.
Today was my lucky day, the resturant recieved fresh Royal Red Shrimp and were serving them in an appetizer. I never had royal reds before so I figured I will try them.
BEST TASTING SHRIMP I EVER HAD! Omg, I felt like I died and went to heaven when eating these delicious royal reds. They were that good! I found out from my husband that it’s really hard to find resturants that serve or haven’t ran out of royal red shrimp. I wonder why? 🤔 Now I know why I have never heard of them before.
(Apparently its a golf coast thing for this type of shrimp, probably why I never heard of it until now).
Hubby ordered baked scallops for his appetizer.
Hubby let me try one and they were super delicious, definitely an alternative appetizer you can get if they don’t have royal red shrimp in stock. Yum!
For my main course I wanted to try crab cakes. Last time I had crab cakes was when my mom made them when I was a kid. I figured trying crab cakes will be a good choice since I like trying new things on travel.
Super delicious! Sorry Mom but these crab cakes were out of this world good. Nice balance of flavors and the crab meat was divine.
Hubby got the grilled salmon.
Hubby said the salmon was on point and tasted great. He said it wasn’t dried out at all which means they cooked it correctly. He said the seasoning was a perfect mix.
Next up, desert! I got the chocolate turiso. Delicious and rich in taste. I was super impressed and the peanuts add the perfext crunch and taste with the chocolate.
By far the North Beach Fish Camp is one of the best seafood restaurants I have been in. Beautiful decor plus the food was amazing. If you ever visit Jacksonville, Florida you have to go here. I do recommend making a reservation just to be sure since they can get busy quick.
This place is kind of like any fast food burger joint but offer skme interesting options. You kind of can mix and match what you want on your burger or chicken sandwich. It stands out a little bit.
I got the Grilled Bacon Avocado Club with fries.
Tasted pretty good, but the one thing that I didn’t like was that they didn’t tell me they ran out of Avocado and they put guacamole on it. I love guacamole, don’t get me wrong, but it still would have been nice if they would have told me instead of just putting it on my sandwich. What if I didn’t like guacamole? It was still a great tasting chicken sandwich though.
German Schnitzel Haus
A few of my co-workers wanted to go to a German returanut for lunch. I decided to tag along since I never been to a German resturant before and I wanted to try something new.
While waiting for our food, one of the people I went with had some secret skills. She took sweetener packages and built a pyramid out of them.
She has some skills. Lol.
I order the Schnitzel Sandwichwith beer cheese and a Caesar Salad side.
The served my Caesar salad first and it was not the typical Caesar salad I ever tasted. Instead of croutons they put Spatzle which was surprisingly was really good.
This sandwich had pork fried Schnitzel with beer cheese and served on a pretzel bun. I thought is was good except that since the pork was thin and the pretzel bun was huge it wasn’t really proportional. Meaning, every time I took a bite it tasted more like bun and cheese. I had to remove the bottom bun, then it tasted really good. Oh, this was my first time trying beer cheese and it was amazing! I can’t believe I never heard of it until now.
Well that is all I have for now. Until my next trip down in Jacksonville, Florida.
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I received a special request to sew one of Sew Desu Ne’s patterns, Cerberus. Luckily for the requester I bought the Cerberus pattern back in September last year when it first came out on Sew Desu Ne’s Etsy shop. I’ve been waiting for the right time to make one just like all the other patterns I have collected over time. Due to the special request I bumped it up to the top of the list of plushies to make. Hehe. BTW, I have over 30 plushies on my list that I want to make. So many! AAAHHH!!
I was unsure what color scheme I wanted to go with for this mythical three-headed creature but I was thinking a dark gray would look cute. I asked the requester what color she would be interested in and guess what she said? Dark gray! I guess great minds think alike. Hehe.
I dusted off the virtual cobwebs off the Cerberus sewing pattern and went straight to work. I spent the first day cutting my pattern pieces out and then the second day I sewed and stuffed the plush. Here is how the Cerberus turned out:
Cute and cuddly!
I showed the requester this adorable three-headed dog and she was overjoyed. I even mentioned to her that I might make a different color Cerberus, like a brown one so I can offer more options. She suggested to me I should make an Albino Cerberus, in which she would also be interested in that one too. What a great idea! Back to work I went.
Here is the Albino Cerberus:
Here is the Brown Cerberus:
Oh my goodness, my creativity is in hyperdrive now. I have so many ideas flowing through my head right now, like should I make a three-headed black lab version? Or maybe a golden retriever version? Wait, how about a three-headed husky version? So many ideas! What should I do? Have any suggestions? You can comment below if you like.
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I definitely kept myself busy these past two weeks back home. If you read any of my latest blog posts you know I have a very interesting work travel and home rotation. This means less time to do fun crafting or sewing projects when I am home in my craft room. Don’t worry I make due with what time I have. I squeeze as many projects I can without overwhelming myself. So far so good.
You can probably guess from my blog post title what my next project is… hmmm…. yes, a sea turtle plush pillow. I was asked by a friend and colleague if I can make her a sea turtle plush big enough to be like a pillow. She told me that she could never find a sea turtle plush big enough or colorful enough to her liking plus it needed to very soft and comfy. She also mentioned to me that since I am the artist she wants me to design it anyway I want as long as it had many colors. Easy, right? Maybe…
I love having the opportunity to design a plush however I want but the problem is I am afraid of disappointing her if it isn’t to her liking. This is a huge fear I have but I know deep down I will do anything in my power to not disappoint her. I believe I have good taste and a good sense of color selection and matching. I can do this!
I thought of designing my own sea turtle pattern but before I did that I wanted to make sure I don’t already have a pattern in my stash that I might have bought already. The past few years I’ve collected so many different patterns from some of my favorite plushie designers that I may already have a sea turtle pattern. After searching through my electronic files on my computer I found a sea turtle pattern by Funky Friends Factory. Perfect! Pauline, the owner of Funky Friends Factory, creates amazing patterns!
In order to use this sea turtle pattern I had to resize it to the size I desired for the project. Good thing is that Pauline has a blog post on how to enlarge or shrink her patterns with multiple options, you can see here. This post is great if you’ve never enlarged or shrunk a pattern before since it includes many helpful tips. I’ve referred to it before a long time ago but I may reference it again if I ever need to use a different method when resizing a pattern. I use the printer option to enlarge the sea turtle plush to 170%, which ended up being the perfect size for a pillow plush.
Now that I have the pattern, I need to figure out my colors. I got a little stuck when trying to figure out what color palate I wanted to go with. I also had to keep in mind that my friend wants the plush pillow to be very soft so my type of fabric gets narrowed down to minky or some faux fur fabrics since they are soft to the touch. Fleece fabrics can be soft too but not as much as minky or faux fur fabrics. I realized very quickly that there is not a huge selection of colors at my local sewing and craft store for minky or faux fur fabrics. Great… What am I going to do?
There are some online stores that have different patterns and colors for minky fabrics but they can be a little costly or take a while before they deliver it. This makes it difficult since I am only home for a short amount of time before I have to go on travel for work. You know what, there is one place I have not looked yet. I have like 8 storage containers underneath my sewing table full of remnant fabrics I have collected over the past few years from my local sewing and craft stores, in which one local store has been closed for over a year now :-(. Who knows, I might find something that will actually work plus I can start using up some of my fabric stash for once.
After looking through all 8 containers, I actually found a colorful minky fabric! Woohoo! Even better, I have a coordinating solid minky fabric color that matches perfectly with the pattern minky I found. Yay, amazing!
Perfect color combinations, don’t you think? I know my friend will love these colors. I plan to use the pattern minky fabric for the shell and nose tip of the sea turtle and the light sea foam green solid minky color for the flippers, tail and head. Oh I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
I don’t think I ever mentioned this before in any of my past posts but I kind of do this thing where I separate cutting fabric and sewing fabric into different days. I discovered a long time ago I would get frustrated or worn out after cutting a lot of pattern pieces that when I would sew the pieces right after I would get even more frustrated. This resulted in many bad sewing mistakes and me having to re-cut pattern pieces. I admit that I wanted to give up a few times and this is not a good feeling to have. I had to come up with a solution so one day I separated my days out. Over time I realized that if I cut the fabric pieces on the first day then sew them together the second day I usually get better results in my sewing. I felt more accomplished and stress free. . I don’t know how to explain it, but it works for me.
Oh, if you are wondering I usually do my embroidery stitch out the same day I cut fabric pieces out too. Sometimes I do end up separating embroidery and cutting fabric into different days depending on how I feel. For this project though I decided not to embroider the eyes since I had these beautiful big blue safety eyes that would work out perfectly for this sea turtle. I bought the safety eyes years ago thinking I was going to use them in a past project but found out that they were too big for it. You can imagine I was super excited to finally use them in a project. You can see for yourself in these photos of the finished sea turtle on how well the safety eyes worked out:
Cute! Look at those baby blue eyes, precious.
You know what? When I look at this sea turtle I think of the sea turtles, Crush and Squirt, from Finding Nemo. Hehe. I don’t know why but it was the first thing that came to mind. If you haven’t seen Finding Nemo, you definitely should. It is an adorable kids movie that anyone can enjoy. You can say it, my mind is a little weird sometimes but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my creative and intricacy of my mind. Makes it more fun and enjoyable.
Well this turned out to be one cute and adorable sea turtle. Oh BTW, my friend loves it! Hooray! Fear of her hating it is over. Now to my next project…
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During my time back home for two weeks, I recieved a special request. A grandmother wanted to give her granddaughter something unique and meaningful for her birthday. She sent me a picture of a drawing that her granddaughter created. The drawing was of a “Peacock Butterly” according to the 6 year old.
Love the mix of colors the child has chosen for this drawing. Good thing is I have these colors in my stash of fabrics. 😉
I accepted the challenge to create a representation of the drawing and make it into a plush form. This was my time to make my own plush pattern instead of using someone else’s. I told the grandmother that I would make a mock up plush first using muslin fabric and send her pictures of it for approval. If she likes it, I will start making the plush using the soft minky fabric.
Here is the mock up I made:
I did not have a pink and blue marker so I used black to show outlines. There are small adjustments that I need to make on the head (like making it a little bit bigger) but other than that it turned out pretty good. The grandmother approved the mock up but asked if I could make the wings not floppy. She wanted them to stick up like the drawing. I agreed and continued on.
To make this plush extra special so I tried my hardest to create the squiggly lines that the six year old drew on the body and repesent them using a satin stitch on my embroidery machine. I had to upload the picture to my embroidery program and trace the squiggly lines to create the satin stitches.
My next task was to figure out how to make the wings stand up. I used white fleece for the wings which the material stands up a little but they can still flop down easily. I looked through my fabric stash and found an ultra firm craft interface that I had left over from a craft project I did last year. This is perfect! I cut two pieces and slipped them into the wings. TADA! The wings stood up.
Here is how the final custom plush turned out:
Isn’t it adorable? I am so proud that this turned out great! Better than I imagine. The grandmother was thrilled and can’t wait to give this to her granddaughter for her birthday in May. I believe this 6 year old will freak out when she sees that her drawing “came to life” in plush form. I know I would if I was a kid again.
I had fun creating this little guy, I have a feeling I might create more custom plushies and design my own plush patterns. Hehe. Exciting!
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First part of this year I will be flying back and forth to Jacksonville, Florida for work. I am rotating with my friend and co-worker so that we both can have time back home instead of one of us down there for 6 months straight. Rotation is: 2 weeks home and 4 weeks on travel which we overlap for turnover time the first and last week of our rotations (if that makes sense). It’s not the best rotation but at least I will be home a couple of weeks at a time.
It is difficult to be away from home, especially since I have my wonderful craft room to be creative in. If only I could transport my whole craft room with me on travel so I can craft on the go. Reality check, that will never happen. I have way too much stuff to Lu\’shaul and my hotel room would be crowded. I will stick with bringing small craft projects on the go like the Butterfly Bracelet I am currently working on while I am on travel.
I try my best to look on the brighter side of things so I have this unspoken rule that when I go on travel I need to try the local food and find places to visit. Well, this trip is no exception. I have to find the best food around and find some activities to do in Jacksonville, Florida. Do you want to know what is going to be great about this trip? My husband is also on travel for work in Jacksonville, Florida too! How about that. This has never happened before, EVER! When we both travel for work we end up in different locations, but the stars have aligned and we are both in the same location! FANTASTIC!
Now with hubby and I in the same location for work, it feels like we are on a mini vacation together. Best part is, we didn’t have to pay for this “mini vacation”. Hehe. Nice, right? We took advantage of this rare occurrence and explored Jacksonville.
First stop, Taco Lu’s. I loved the vibe radiating out from this place. I was mesmerized by the intricate wall decorations and display of vibrant colors! I was very impressed and the Mexican theme was spot on. I knew after I stepped into the place, I was going to enjoy the food.
Before I ordered my husband suggested to me that I should try the tacos. We told me that they have a variety of tacos and offer daily specialty tacos not mentioned on the menu. Interesting… I decided to try the Bangin’ Shrimp Taco and one of the specialty tacos that had Salmon in it (sorry I do not remember the name of it) but I can imagine it will taste good.
As I sat waiting for my tacos to be made, the server placed chips and salsa on the table. The salsa had a nice flavor to it, hint of sweet but with a nice little kick. Note, if you don’t like salsa that is a little bit over mild, you might not like it. I wish I would have asked, but I am curious now if they make their own salsa or buy it somewhere. Maybe next time I go I will ask.
I have to tell you the tacos I ordered were amazing and mouthwatering!
Doesn’t it look delicious? I wish I had a Taco Lu’s where I live so I can go there all the time! I am so jealous! I can’t wait for my return to Jacksonville so I can have more of these tacos!
Before I traveled to Jacksonville for work, my husband spent the past three months exploring. While on travel, my husband got inspired to pick up golfing. It all started when a co-worker took him to Top Gulf in Jacksonville. After that day, he likes to go there every so often to play.
Once I arrived, he desperately wanted to take me to Top Gulf. I was skeptical at first since I know in the past when I was a teenager I sucked at hitting a golf ball at a driving range but when I played here I actually had fun. After a few hits, I progressively got better. I even beat my husband twice! Hehe. Okay, he did beat me the first round we played but I still won the last two rounds. Lol. I might be slightly competitive, just a little. *pinches fingers*
I was also shocked that Top Gulf has really great food. My husband ordered humus as an appetizer. We devoured it so quickly that I forgot to take a picture. 🙁 Just trust me, it is good! I ended up ordering the pulled pork sliders and a side of tator tots to eat.
If you look closely at the picture above you can see the empty plate in the background which once held the Humus hubby and I devoured. Hehe. The pulled pork sliders tasted amazing BTW. I loved the hint of coleslaw they placed in the sliders it was a nice touch of flavor. I usually don’t like coleslaw but I always have to remind myself that I need to try new things. I think the combination of pork and coleslaw was flavorful. Oh, and the tator tots were nice and crispy just the way I like them.
Here is my husband hitting a golf ball at Top Gulf.
The best part about Top Gulf is even if you are horrible at it, you can still have a lot of fun. If for some reason you are not up to hitting golf balls they do have a bar you can sit at or you can play at the pool tables or you can explore the other activities they offer at the facility. I love the upbeat tempo they have here. Definitely a place you can visit for family and friends to have a great time! I certainly had a blast.
Bongiorno’s Philly Cheese Steak and Pizza
This place was a little rough looking inside and too dark for my taste but I didn’t not want to judge the food by the way the place looks like. I ended up waiting about 25 minutes before I got served and they weren’t even busy, not good. I am a very patient person and I didn’t want to get up an leave since I was craving pizza and this was the only place close by. I could have tried getting up to talk to an employee, but I was curious to see how long it would actually take.
When the server finally came by the table, I decided to get a create your own Stromboli. What I didn’t know is they charge for each topping you choose which the menu was very deceiving. I really wanted to get a supreme like Stromboli but that would have cost me about $20! I limited myself to three ingredients: pepperoni, sausage and onion. Don’t worry the cheese is included, thank goodness.
After waiting for another 30 minutes I got a nice delicious looking Stromboli.
Here is how it turned out:
The Stromboli smelt and tasted wonderful as you can see since I took a few bites before I took a picture. The cook did a great job. If only the service could improve a bit then this place would be awesome in my book. I may come back here again to try the Philly cheese steaks the next time I visit but no promises.
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
If you want some amazing Mediterranean food, this is the place to go. I got the lamb gyro with a side of chips and cucumber salad and it was to die for. YUMMY!
When you look at this picture does it make you just want to attack the computer screen to grab it and eat it? I know I would. lol.
I found out that Taziki’s is a food chain but this was the first time I ever heard of it. I wish there was a Taziki’s where I live. I know for a fact that if anyone ever opens one close to me, I will probably go there all the time. Here is another fact, next time I go to Jacksonville I am going to eat here again and try something else on the menu. I’ll keep you posted. 😉
Ruth Chris Steak House
I have to admit I never heard of Ruth Chris Steak House before and I know why, it is a high class fancy restaurant. Oh and very pricey… yeah… If you are wondering how I ended up here, well my husband’s boss and a couple of the high up bosses in the company came to visit the area to congratulate my husband and his team for the hard work they have done in Jacksonville. I felt special since I was invited to join the dinner party and they treated me like I was part of the family.
A nice thing about going to a really nice restaurant, I finally have an excuse to wear a dress! I brought a dress down for Valentine’s Day just in case hubby and I wanted to go out, but we ended up enjoying each other’s company in the hotel room that day. 😉 Good thing I brought a dress down so I had something nice to wear for the dinner party. I have to be honest, I am happy I didn’t have to buy a new dress since I have a few at home that I’ve only worn once or twice.
When we arrived to the restaurant I was amazed. This place looks and feels so romantic and the customer service they provide here is top notch. I had a great time here and it was nice I got to enjoy it with my awesome husband and celebrate the hard work he does.
I am sorry to say that I didn’t take any pictures of my meal here. I wanted to be respectful so I didn’t take any photos. I ordered the most delicious and perfectly cooked petite prime rib and a side of creamy lobster macaroni and cheese. I was in food heaven every time I took a bite. Best tasting prime rib and mac and cheese I ever had so far.
Well, that is all I have to share about my first trip down to Jacksonville. I will keep you posted on my next trip down.
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I found out that I will be traveling a lot this year for work. 😯 Not the most ideal for me since my husband already has to travel a lot. When would we see each other if we are both on travel?? I will be flying back and forth to Jacksonville, Florida this first part of the year and lucky for me that is where my husband is working at the moment. That means I will get to see him when I fly down there four weeks at a time (My rotation = 2 weeks home & 4 weeks on travel through July).
Since I will be on travel I figured this is a great opportunity to do a small project. What kind of project you ask? How about a beading project? I realized that I haven’t touched much of my bead inventory this past year. The last time I did a beadwork project was in 2016! Yikes! I guess I’ve been really focused with sewing plushies last year. Hehe.
Beads are portable as long as I plan my project out. If I don’t come up with a realistic plan I will end up with a suitcase full of just beads. Hehe 😉 I have to resist the temptation of packing all my beads… This may be very difficult for me by the way.
I made this beautiful “Teal Embrace” bead embroidery bib necklace back in 2016 which took me weeks to complete. I don’t want to make something this extravagant while I’m on travel so something half the size would be reasonable. What can I make that is not too big and not too small? Hmmm…. Oh, I know! How about a cuff like bracelet? It’s not too small where I would finish it in a few days but it’s not so big that it would be tedious and bulky. Perfect!
All I need to do now is sketch out a design so I have an idea of how much beads I need to bring and style I want to go for.
Now that I have a sketch made, I need to figure out my color scheme. I think I want to stick with teal, black and silver color tones for this bracelet.
As you can see in the picture above, I brought quite a bit of different types of beads with me. I wanted to be prepared just in case I wanted to change a few things in my design as I bead. Anyone who beads understands. Hehe.
Here is the progress that I made during my first work trip:
If you compare this to my sketch, you will see as I was beading I already changed the design a little bit. I found that the silver swirl looks more appealing this way. I wish I would have made more progress during my first trip but I did get a little distracted by my husband. 😉 It was our first time that both of us are on travel for work in the same location. Maybe my next trip down to Jacksonville I will make more progress. Hehe.
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This past week I traveled to Colorado to assist my mom. She had to get knee surgery due to an injury at her job. Luckily, I had an opening in my work schedule so I was able to take time off of work. Yay! Mini vacation! Unfortunately, my husband had to work so he couldn’t come with me but it’s okay I got to spend quality time with my mom and also see my brother.
How long has it really been since I’ve been to Colorado? Good question. The last time I remember visiting Colorado was when my brother graduated from high school. Omg, that was about 6 years ago! WOW! Time just flies by doesn’t it. Well, I am happy I had the opportunity to visit again.
When I flew to Colorado, I realized something: I miss the mountains! The mountains use to be my inspiration for most of my art projects when I was growing up. Oh, how I miss gazing at the mountain scenery and watching as the sun sets behind them. The vibrant colors you would see at sunset is so emotionally calming and relaxing. I do not have a picture of a sunset from my trip, but here is the beautiful mountain view I had from my window seat on the plane while we were landing in Denver:
Breath taking isn’t it?
After I left the airport I messaged my little brother to see if he wanted to meet somewhere. I haven’t seen him in 4 years! Once again, time just flies by… We decided to meet at Jamba Juice near the Town Center at Aurora. Jamba Juice use to be my favorite place to get a smoothie when I was in high school. Where I live now we don’t have a Jamba Juice so getting a smoothie from here after 6 years was a real treat. Of course, seeing my brother was the biggest treat of all.
If you ever have the chance to try Jamba Juice you should try the Orange C Booster Smoothie. It contains Orange Juice, Peaches, Orange Sherbet, Ice, Bananas, C and Zinc Boost & Antioxidant Power Boost. It is delicious! Yum!
After a few hours of catching up we decided to walk around the area. I was tired of sitting since I was sitting most of the day on airplanes. We browsed different stores until we decided we were hunger for some dinner. I asked my brother if there was anything within walking distance. He recommended L & L Hawaiian. Huh, never heard of it. I’m willing to try it out since I like to eat somewhere I can’t eat back home. When I travel it is a rule for me to try new things.
At the L & L Hawaiian, I got the BBQ chicken, beef and macaroni salad plate. The plate normally comes with rice but my brother told me he gets more macaroni salad instead of rice since he doesn’t like eating straight rice. I don’t blame him, because I don’t like eating straight rice either so I copied him and got more macaroni salad. I have to say that this meal was very mouth watering and really savory.
I have to apologize that I did not get a photo of my food. 🙁 Sad, I know but this was because we had to take our food to go since the place was packed around 5 pm! My brother lived close by so we ate our food back at his place. It was here that I got distracted and forgot to take a quick photo. lol
The distraction for me was finally getting to meet my brother’s fur babies! If you saw my post about the three cat plushies I made, these were the cats I was finally able to meet in person. They were precious, well except for Tater Tot. This boy kitten meows at you and paws at you to give him some of your food. I had to be firm with this cutey and say no a lot! hehe. I could not be mad at him since he was too darn cute! Blueberry Jam (Blue) and Toast just stood at a distant watching us eat our food. lol
When I got to my mom’s house she had a surprise for me. She ordered a Plastic Canvas Kissers book, Acrylic Yarn , Clear Plastic Canvas, and Yarn Large-Eye Blunt Needles. If you don’t know what Kissers are they are playful pals that you can open their mouths to hold a small piece of candy (usually a Hershey’s Kiss).
My siblings and I use to make these when we were kids. Our old baby sitter taught us how to make Kissers. What better way to distract energetic kids with some arts and crafts. Kept us quite and entertained for hours, plus we got to eat some chocolate too!
I was super excited to spend time with my mom and craft with her. I know I got my creative crafty side from her. 😉 Making these Kissers were a great way to spend quality time and keep us busy while she heals from her knee surgery. Also, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, these kissers are perfect to handout to friends, family and my loving husband. Hehe. Best part is, eating the Hersey’s Chocolate Kisses!
I loved the Plastic Canvas book my mom got. It has 25 designs you can choose from: Deer, Duck, Kitten, Squirrel, Skunk, Raccoon, Dog, Alligator, Clown, Parrot, Zebra, Lamb, Cow, Lion, Monkey, Red Dinosaur, Blue Dinosaur, Purple Cow, Bunny, Duck in Straw Hat, Pig, Bright Monkey, Speckled Dog, Reindeer, and Santa.
I used the Skunk canvas base pattern and the canvas face and mask stitch pattern from the Raccoon to make a Ferret Kisser. Hehe. I kind of made my own color yarn pattern for the ferret and only used the books pattern as a guide for how to stitch the yarn in the canvas. I let my imagination take over, except that I looked at the Raccoon mask stitching guide since I wanted to make sure my ferret would turn out good.
My mom was smart to buy a variety pack of yarn bundles. This way we have more color choices to choose from.
I love it, but the only thing was there was one color that the pack did not included and that was dark brown. The pack had light brown but I wanted dark brown for my ferret kisser’s mask markings. I could always buy dark brown yarn but I figured right now I have an assortment of colors to choose from so I’ll just make a colorful ferret instead. This is crafts we are talking about here and it doesn’t have to be the exact color of a ferret. I decided to make a light blue ferret with royal blue markings.
Below is how the Blue Ferret Kisser turned out:
Isn’t he cute?!! I am so happy that I decided to make a blue ferret. I am definitely going to place this little guy on my desk at work. I will even sneak a Hersey Kiss inside his mouth so I can eat it later. 🙂 Lol.
As I stared at the blue ferret I came up with another idea for the next kisser I was going to make: A fox! I would again have to make my own stitch color theme for the face and the body but I can still use the Skunk Canvas pattern to make it! Hehe. I love my creative side!
Here is the adorable fox I made:
Lovable and Kissable!! If you are interested in making this fox you can buy the book here and follow the guide pattern on the Raccoon or Skunk then use my fox face pattern that I created (PDF):
My mom decided to use the dog pattern in the book since she has two Jack Russell Terriers, Peanut and Oreo. Of course, she was like me and used the base canvas pattern but made her own color scheme and stitch pattern. She wanted the Dog Kissers to resemble her two fur babies.
Here is my mom’s Peanut Kisser:
Here is Oreo Kisser:
My mom and I had a blast making these Kissers! They are so adorable. I can’t wait to make more and come up with more of my own patterns that I can share. 😉
Almost forgot, I wanted to mention that I finally got to meet my brother’s fiance. We went out for dinner at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar where I had the most delicious burger ever! I loved the menu options that they had for different burgers but I decided to create my own burger since I wanted to be adventurist and try new things. Don’t worry this time I took pictures of my meal to share with you. 😉
For the Create Your Own Burger I choose the 7oz beef patty on Multi-grain Bun with cream cheese, lettuce, onion, ketchup, garlic mayo, guacamole and fried mozzarella! I even named this burger the Chris Burger after me. Hehe. Fitting right? Or maybe I could have been a little more creative on naming the burger? Nah, I think it’s the perfect name. Lol.
After dinner my brother and his fiance invited me to game night at their friends place. I was game since they told me that they play off the wall games and I did tell them when I am on travel I like to try new things. Oh boy was I in for a surprise. Lol. Their two friends had so many different games that I have never heard of. Since I was a newbie everyone decided to choose an easier game first.
First up was Exploding Kittens:
This was actually a really fun game. Very different then most card games but I enjoyed it. You draw cards and if you get a exploding kitten card you explode and die (out of the game) unless you have a defuse card which stops the kitten from exploding and you continue playing. There are other cards that you can play to make the game more interesting and strategic. Best part was I actually won this game. Woohoo go me! 😄 I was very sneaky at the end but some of it was also luck. Lol. Warning: Young kids should not play this game since there is some profanity and questionable things that some parents might not want their kids exposed too. I did find that there is a version of Exploding Kittens that is for ages 7+ here.
The last game we played was Betrayal At House On The Hill.
I really loved playing this haunted theme game. It was kind of like Dungeons and Dragons being suspenseful and strategic but you get to build your own haunted house room by room which leads to different designs every time you play. You encounter spirits and omens that indicate what your fate may be at the end of the game. There are two acts in the game. First Act is building your haunted house and discovering items, events and omens along the way until you reach Act Two. In Act Two you discover which one of the group of players is a traitor that you must try to defeat using the omens and items you collected in Act One.
I had a blast playing this game. My brother’s fiance ended up being the traitor and the rest of us were in the group to try and defeat her. At the end our group defeated her and we won the game. Hehe. I guess since I won in both games I am the overall winner for game night. Yay! If I was able to go next week to their game night I would be able to pick the first game to play, but since I won’t I guess my brother will get to choose for me. 😉
My whole trip to Colorado was overall pretty awesome. I ate some great food, played some fun games and crafted some cute Kissers. I say my mini vacation was a hit for me. 😀
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I’ve been contemplating for a while now on how I can use my embroidery program to its fullest potential and create more embroidery designs. I mostly use my embroidery program to create the adorable eyes you see on the plushies I create. I really crave to take the next big leap to machine embroidery and take on a new challenge.
I noticed that one of my favorite plushie designers, Teacuplion, started creating In-The-Hoop (ITH) embroidery patterns. I was very curious and I started researching ITH embroidery. During my research I found a plushie designer, Soapy Bacon, who creates a lot of ITH designs and patterns. I loved her ITH Fox so much that I purchased the pattern. The fox reminded me of a husky a little bit but it didn’t quite look like one. I liked the design of the body and tail but the head was cute for a fox look but not a husky. So I was inspired to create my own husky head using my embroidery program.
Creating an ITH pattern for the first time was no easy task at least for me. I never used my embroidery program to this extent. There were times I would get so frustrated with the program that I ended up having to walk away from my laptop for an hour or so. After many long hours of trial and error I was able to figure out shortcuts and features about my embroidery program that I didn’t even know existed! Some of these features I wished I knew about when I made some of my past projects. It’s ok; learn something new every day and my embroidery program is no exception. Lol.
Once I finally struggled through the embroidery program I was able to create my very first ITH embroidery design! YAY for me! Here is how it turned out:
Isn’t it adorable?! Not bad for first attempt. I liked it so much I thought, maybe I should create more of these but in different colors!!
I made these last year before I got so busy with traveling for work and making Christmas presents, that I never had the chance to make the bodies and tails for these other color husky heads. 😢 Sad, I know. So over the past weekend as I stared at these husky heads I had a bright idea. I’ve always wanted to sell more small items on my Etsy shop to offer more options for buyers and admirers so I thought: How about I make plushie key chains? Sounds like a perfect idea!
Man, when I thought plushie key chain my imagination went wild. I came up with all sorts of animals and characters that I can create ITH designs for. How am I going to figure out which idea I want to make next?? It wasn’t until I let my spoiled fur babies (ferrets) out of their cage to play in their room, that I realized I have to make ferret plush key chains. Why have a neglected the idea and inspiration from my ferrets! I make them items all the time but somehow I never thought to make a ferret plushie. I am so ashamed of myself. Well, I will make it up to them by creating adorable ferret plush key chains!
Here was my first ferret plush keychain:
Gorgeous!! I didn’t stop here. There are so many types of ferrets out there with different markings and patterns that I constructed an assortment of ferret key chains that ferret lovers can choose from that might closely resemble their own ferrets. So I came up with these variations:
Omg, I think I’m going to squeal! They are so charming! I am definitely keeping some of these ferrets hostage for myself. Hehe. Don’t judge, I created them so I can keep a set of ferrets for me to admire and adore. Lol.
I want to take a moment to thank Teacuplion and Soapy Bacon for their inspiration. Without them, I would have never thought to attempt making my own ITH designs. Thank you so much!!
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I will have to admit, I took a little longer to get my Christmas present done for my brother and his fiance. I was so focused on making the 25 adorable reindeer that I only partially made their gifts before I went on my trip to Ohio. I promised both of them that I would finish their Christmas gifts after I return from my Ohio trip. Both of them were understanding and patently waiting for me to finish their gifts.
My brother asked me to make him a plush resembling the Skyrim character, Dovahkiin. Luckily, I watched my husband play Skyrim before and knew that Dovahkiin is the main character in the game. Making this character was going to be interesting since I haven’t attempted a human character before. I love a challenge.
Here is how he turned out:
When I made this character I was over joyed to use some of my scrap fabrics from other sewing projects I have done in the past. Most sewer tend to hoard scrap fabrics and crossing our fingers that one day we will have the opportunity to use them for another project. Well, I definitely felt reassured that it was a great idea to hoard the scraps from the past and not waste them by throwing them away in the trash.
For the first time ever I used fabric paint on a project. I bought a variety pack of fabric paint and used them to add detail on this Skyrim character. I used fabric paint to add the details on the helmet, belt, straps, eyes and mouth. I also used the fabric paint for detail work on my brother’s fiance Christmas gifts I made too.
My brother’s fiance asked me to make her cat plushies that resemble their cats. At the time when I ask back in July they only had two cats, Toast (Calico) and Blue Berry Jam (Blue Russian), but around November they adopted another cat, Tator Tot (Orange Tabby). This means I’m going to make three adorable cat plushies. Hehe.
Here is how they turned out:
Aren’t they just precious!
Here are pictures that they sent me showing their cats next to their associated plushie:
They are super adorable!!
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After a couple of years of living in my new home it was finally time to get the master bathroom a very big face lift. It was very outdated and hubby and I really wanted to make it our own. A very big factor when getting a bathroom remodel done is saving enough money for it. It took us a couple of years and many sacrifices to save up for this project. Did you know it can cost between $5,000 to $20,000 (sometimes more) to remodel a bathroom? Of course there are many factors that can lead to the price to be higher or lower. For example: Size of bathroom, tile price, accents, accessories, labor, etc…
For hubby and I, it ended up costing us about $11,600 in the end. Yes, I know it is a lot of money but surprisingly this is actually about average price. We also saved a lot of money by carefully choosing and scavenging out sales on different types of tile, accents, and accessories or else we could have ended up spending about a few thousands dollars more. We also found a great contractor that didn’t over charge for labor for demo and install.
Oh before I forget to mention, we did this whole remodel in pieces. Honestly I wished I would have documented this in my blog a while back (like last year) and showed progress but somehow I didn’t make the connection. Oh well, that means this will be a slightly long blog entry but I promise it is worth ready the whole thing especially if you are ever considering getting a bathroom remodeled. 🙂
Beware, when it comes to remodeling anything, there is always something that can or will go wrong. For hubby and I, we got a fare share of things that went wrong when it came to getting the master bathroom remodeled but it worked out in the end. Don’t worry I will disclose these events here soon.
We also saved some money by installing and modifying things ourselves before the contractor came. It makes a huge difference in the price.
Where to start first. Ah yes. Paint!
Started out painting the master bathroom. The walls were just plain white and it needed some pop of color. Hubby and I went to Lowe’s awhile back and found a beautiful light teal/green color called Sky House by Sherwin Williams. We later ended up using this color for all the bathrooms in the house. You know what the best part was? The paint was on sale for 25% off at the time we purchased the Sherwin Williams paint! I love saving money when I can.
Note: the lighting in our bathroom makes this color look a little more bluish in tone. You will see in the finished photos. It’s all about the lighting and a good reason to have the sample color with you in the room your painting to make sure it is what you want. That is exactly what we did and it was the perfect color for us. 😄
I ended up painting the master bathroom all by myself since hubby had to go on travel for work but it was fine since I needed something to do on a long weekend. Just so you know it is not always easy to paint by yourself especially when you need someone to hand you something when you are on a ladder. I ended up going up and down the ladder plenty of times. You can say that I got my exercise that weekend. Hehe.
First day I ended up not painting at all since I had to prep the whole master bathroom for painting. I had to tape off sides of mirror, windows, doors, base board, ceiling, lights, shower and tub area. I probably missed something, but just note always buy extra painters tape. I used up 2 or 3 rolls of tape! Yikes! Second day is when the fun began. I got to finally paint! I love painting, it is very calming and soothing. I was so focused that I got it done all in one day with a few breaks. Awesomeness!
When you see the before and after photos at the end you will see that the color makes a huge difference!
Since hubby and I work on advance electronic equipment for work, we were able to change from a single eight light Ballerina fixture to 2 three light fixtures. Hubby was able to rewire the electrical wires easily. This saved us a couple hundred dollars alone. We also got the new fixtures on sale plus we got an additional discount since we are both military veterans. I love saving money!
Beautiful! The light fixtures are part of the Moen Oxby Collection that we got at Lowe’s. When we bought the light fixtures we also loved the faucets that are part of the collection too. We wanted to buy the faucets but we ended up waiting since we were planning to change the vanity tops. Which brings me to the next step:
Vanity and Vanity top.
Another money saver was not changing the vanity. The vanity was surprisingly in great condition but the vanity top was another story. Yuck!! The vanity top was stained and discolored and it needed to go! After doing a lot of research, hubby and I went with natural quartz. Natural quartz is usually 95% stone and 5% polymer resins and we found that you don’t have to seal it constantly like you have to with granite. Quartz is actually harder than granite and more durable. It isn’t porous like granite so that means you can keep it relatively bacteria-free. Woohoo! Only draw back with quartz that I found is you can severely damage it with excessive heat. That means natural quartz is fantastic for the bathroom (but be careful with your curling iron ladies!) and a little scary for the kitchen if you forget to place a heating pad on a quartz countertop.
Guess which one we chose? Shadow Swirl! (My selection, BTW) This color had elements of gray and tan which would look great with this floor tile we loved (Montagna Rustic Bay sold at HomeDepot).
Hubby and I ordered our vanity top through Lowe’s. We even had them come and measure our vanity to make sure we order the correct size. We plan to install the vanity top ourselves to save more money.
After a few weeks went by the double sink vanity top was delivered directly to our house. We were so excited that we ripped open the box the vanity top was in and we were amazed how beautiful it was. After I calmed down from the excitement I noticed something didn’t look right. I told hubby to grab a tape measure. I wanted to make sure my eyes weren’t tricking me because I swear that the left sink was closer to side edge by a few inches than the right sink to the side edge. Load and behold, I was correct. The right sink was 4 inches closer to the edge, this is not good. Ugh, you got to be kidding me….
We called our local Lowe’s store and spoke to one of the store managers. We explained the situation to her and she said that they would give us a 10% discount if we wanted to keep it or they can pick up the vanity top then order a new one. Guess which option we chose? Yes, we chose to order a new one. This sucks!! Now we have to wait another 2-3 weeks for the new double sink… but this time we measured and ordered the correct size.
When we did get the correct vanity top, it was amazing!! We bought the Oxby Collection faucets that matched the lights. Doesn’t it look great with the vanity top? (Pictured above)
We also ended up buying the Oxby Collection towel bars and toilet paper holder. Beautiful!
After we got the vanity top installed it was the perfect time to give a face lift to the long big mirror. I thought about getting rid of the big mirror and possibly getting two separate mirrors to install underneath the two new lights we have but I changed my mind. Just to buy a very nice framed mirror would cost about $90 each. If you want something more elaborate you are talking a few hundred dollars.
While searching around the internet, I saw that multiple people were framing or tiling their existing mirrors vice buying a new one. I loved this idea since this would save us some money and I love saving money! I went straight to Home Depot and Lowe’s to see if I can find a nice moulding in the Milwork aisles that would work for this project. Load and behold at Home Depot I found a baseboard moulding that both hubby and I liked.
Nice right? Simple but elegant.
I think this makes the mirror look more expensive but it only cost me about $30 dollars total. Hehe.
So the last final step was picking the tile. Well, technically at this point we had already chosen the floor tile already as I mentioned earlier. We bought the Montagna Rustic Bay porcelain floor tile at Home Depot.
I just love that wood look so much. It was also textured so you can’t slip easily at all. Bonus! What was better is this tile did not cost us much. When we bought the tile it cost us $216 dollars total for 120 sqft of tile so that was about $1.80 per sqft. Not too shabby I say.
Hubby and I still weren’t sure what tile we wanted for the shower and tub areas. We didn’t want the same tile as the floor since we thought it would be too tacky for us so hubby did some research. He came across a tile that is porcelain but looks like slate. It perfectly complements with the floor tile.
Also, porcelain tile is much cheaper than real slate and less maintenance. Real slate requires yearly sealing. More work then I need. I rather go with the cheaper and easier option. Lol
We bought this porcelain slate tile at our local tile store called Mosaic. We got 12 X 24 (for shower and tub area) , 3 X 6 (used for accent trim) and 2 X 2 tiles (shower floor). Also, hubby found a mosaic tile that matches the porcelain slate. Awesomeness! We plan to use the mosaic tile to add a strip accent in shower and around the tub area.
Perfect right? Hubby and I thought so.
Demo and Install
Finally we are at the final stretch. Our contractor came with his guys to demo the bathroom. First day of demo went great but second day, well that’s another story. One of the guys forgot to remove the drain and disconnect it from the trap before removing the one piece shower. When he ripped the one piece out he snapped the trap in half. Yeah… it gets better. Same guy ends up putting his size 10 foot through the ONLY hole in the floor and right through the downstairs ceiling above the kitchen. COME ON! Who puts there foot through the 8 in wide hole in the floor where the piping/trap/drain hooks up at for shower. Yeah… that guy.
As you can see from the picture above we have textured ceilings so you can imagine the frustration… Accidents happen which I completely understand and our contractor did the right thing and took ownership of it and fixed the problem. I really felt bad for our contractor because he did a fantastic job on the bathroom and now he has to pay for damages that were done. I think he might of lost a lot of his profits on this job because of this accident. 😔
Also, it’s a good time for me to point out that you should always have a contract when having any big project done by a hired contractor. This gives you a binding contract so if anything goes wrong both parties have something written and signed on paper. I’ve heard horror stories from other people who got screwed over since they didn’t have a contract or paid everything full up front and the job was never completed as discussed. Sometimes you pay partial up front then the rest at the end for a project while other jobs you might have to pay all of it up front. No matter how it is done, always make sure you protect yourself by having a signed contract and everything discussed is written down. Also, do your research on the person and make sure they are truly certified to do the job. (Hubby does his research.)
They did a pretty good job fixing the ceiling but of course we can tell the slight difference. I’m just impressed they were able to match the ceiling pattern pretty closely. They also had to paint the whole down stairs ceiling since it was hard to find the matching color. He attempted but any color he tried made it stick out like a soar thumb so painting the whole ceiling was the only plausible option.
After that fiasco, everything went smoother for the install. So now I will show you before and after photos!
Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you ever had any issues happen during big projects or any good experiences. I would love to hear about them. 😊
Thanks for stopping by!