Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gaining some skeels

The pending move to Tampa has put me into to sewing overdrive here lately. Not so much because of my new found need to make curtains but because I an eager to develop my skills (or skeels, as they say on the street). Without an Emily here this summer to enjoy fashionable new clothes of the homemade variety, I decided to make gifts.
A few months ago, you may remember, I developed an obsession with the blog of one Ms. Ashley Johnston. I was inspired to make many of her projects but got around to only a few, one of which was the making of a seat belt cover to make Emily a little more comfortable during errands and whatnot. But what does that have to do with moving and gifts? Well, I've met some really great people here and, before I go, I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate the ways they taken care of me by giving them something that'll help them care for their kids. So:
The smaller ones are for the skinny double straps of a stroller or carseat while the bigger one is for the regular seatbelt of a big kid in a booster. See, nice and cushy:
I made this set for my replacement at the law office.  She is a precious woman who is just smitten with her two New York-based grandsons. I thought I did okay picking out fun boy material but when I showed Ben, the look on his face said it is a good thing we have a girl!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to annoy me

Visit the U.S Attorney's office wearing scrub pants and a dirty t-shirt.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My first giveaway (of sorts)

Giveaways are apparently huge in the blogging world so I thought I'd get in on the action. Except...well, I don't have anything you guys want. Yet.  But do you know who does? The Etsy Street Team of my dreams: Etsy Wedding Team! Seriously, joining this Etsy team is one of my first year business goals for the business I have not yet told most of you about. But that's for another day.

Here is their giveaway button: Etsy Wedding Team Blog

See by putting this here, I can give you a visual notification of their giveaway and I can enter it myself. And I tell you what, if I win, I promise to have my own give away.  One in which I make you something pretty (and never plain).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

S is for Sarah

I love Sarah. She is among my oldest and best of friends.  I'm not sure if you can tell this about me, but I'm a little high strung. Hold the little and add a side of easily excited. Sarah is just so very very. You know?  Totally easy-going and happy-go-lucky. You could say she completes me, but that might be weird so we'll say she offsets me and call it good.

When I was in the mood to get my craft on, I decided to go to it with a purpose.  And that purpose was Sarah. I needed to make something pretty, but not flashy, with a good pop of color. And so...TaDah!
Turns out, she loves it! And it got to her just when she needed a big fat kick of cheerful.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On etymology

While packing I found an envelope post dated in February with the following scribbled on the back:

E: July sounds like jelly.
J: Yeah? What does August sound like?
E: A kind of wood.

I miss Emily so much.

A space of my very own

In roughly 20 days the chaos that is moving will commence.  I have something like a thousand things to think about. Plus, another thousand things I want to blog about.  I mean, I haven't had a chance to introduce you to The Commodore or tell you about my latest foils in cooking, and my advances in sewing, and all the fantastic books I've been reading. How is it life always gets in the way of good blog content about life? But, to be honest, I can only think about one thing: My. New. Office.

Ben and I have (tentatively) decided that one of the upstairs bedrooms will be designated as the Never A Plain Jane Space for the Production of Pure Delight. Or maybe we'll just call it Mommy's Craftroom. It will be a room of my own with a closet and window, real hardwood floors and space to house my sewing machine, computer, various stuffs from which to make things. I'm pretty stoked.  So while I should be considering whether I want to throw out my old running shoes or move them to Florida, taking pictures off the wall and puttying the holes, or finally doing a blog post on all the places and spaces I've enjoyed this past year in Virginia Beach, what I'm really thinking about is wall color, internet shopping for area rugs and task lighting, and getting caught up in looking at decor porn. And, since I have obviously already given in to my desires here, I thought I should include you in the fun. 

A short while ago I read this article about cool and warm colors on Apartment Therapy which says "cool colors are therefore best in private rooms where concentration, calmness and rest are most important, such as the bedroom, office, and nursery."   I thought about the space I'd be decorating (because, I can't seem to stop anyway) and I looked at the decor porn that inspires me (Botanical Brouhaha, Brooklyn Limestone, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, etc., etc.) and I decided cool colors would be best.

Maybe I should take a page from Mrs. Limestone's book and go with gray or blue-green walls. Benjamin Moore's Silver Sage?  Or I could pick something with more blue:
Coddington Design via Sketch 42 and The Reluctant Floridian
I love that chair. I also love this blue room from the sadly defunct Domino Magazine:
 That family tree mural/photo wall makes my heart stop. Or perhaps, start with the black and white right on the wall as seen in this photo:
It all makes sense, it feels totally me, and then. Then I see these curtains:
They're from Pottery Barn Kids. And they are pink (a warm color). With monkeys. But I love them.  Every time I see them I am totally smitten kitten and I want them. Can't you totally see them fluttering against my Silver Sage walls from shabby chic curtain rods and cinched with lovely sage or almond-colored tiebacks? The playful brown monkeys playing off a rich espresso-stained desk...

While I'd like to think I want a sophisticated room with classic colors that'll last me through several moves, I think we can all agree I am still a whimsical little girl. But, internet, I'm still open to your opinions.  What do you think?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to Charm Me

Use the phrase "as the crow flies" when asking directions.  How cute are you!?

Monday, July 19, 2010

On maintaining long-distance relationships

Ben: I love you, Baby. And I miss you.
Emily: I miss you too. A little...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The House Hunt (part last - sort of)

Luckily, everyone who is not me has a level head.  Jessica immediately pulled up local rental listings and Ben handed me the folder with all of our house search notes. We were able to find two houses worth looking at and both were available to be seen that afternoon.

We only made it to one.

Originally, this was not a house that had made it onto our short list despite some pretty great features.  There was just something about the color of this bedroom that made us turn our noses up at the whole house:
But, you guys... This place is amazing. Way better than we ever could have hoped.
Here's the front which is, I kid you not, across the street from the elementary school.  I can walk Emily every day.

And this is the back deck. It and this:
back up to a quiet golf course with plenty of walking trails. Let's go inside shall we? We could use the front door, but wouldn't it be great if there were a staircase up to a balcony right off the master bedroom?

Well look at that! I can already smell the coffee for lazy weekend mornings up here. Ans actually, after seeing it in person, Ben has really taken to that previously off-putting shade of green. We are allowed to paint and I'm sure we'll consider it in a few places, but I can't focus on that right noe because I'm dreaming of this bathroom:

I don't think it is visible, but that shower has more than one shower-head. That bears repeating. THE SHOWER HAS MORE THAN ONE SHOWER HEAD! And after my shower I can pick my clothes out in this cedar-lined walk-in closet:
And put my makeup on at the built-in vanity:
But there is a life outside the bedroom. I mean a girl's gotta eat. And my family could probably do with some food too. I'm pretty sure my Adventures in Cooking are about to become more frequent now that I'll have this to work in:
There's a sprayer on that sink! And those are corian countertops! And that is a tile backsplash!Behind the kitchen you can see the entry into a formal dining room (maybe an office for us?). We can have barstools at the counter and a breakfast table on this side of it where we can gae at the pool

Internet, I never's just so...WE'RE GONNA LIVE IN A HOUSE. We hope.  Things are not final yet, but the homeowners (who renovated this themselves, by the way) loved us and their sweet British real estate agent told us everything looked "brilliant!"

So this, I hope, concludes the house hunt and my next update involving this place will be all about us moving in and making it as much our own as we can.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

The House Hunt (part three)

Rational people would look around the fabulous home they've just found, Think of the horrendous home they saw 24 hours prior, and start signing some sort of agreement post haste. Not Ben and Janice,though. No. We decided that if this house was awesome the house down the street for $200 more a month must be incredible. And if we were going to look at that one, we might as well look at the other three our agent had found for us. Because we are just that smart.

So we got back in the car so that we could look at this:

Yeah those are matching pink counter tops and cheap cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom. The small closets were an added bonus. After that, I pretty much stopped taking pictures which was sort of a shame because I wish I could show you this bad boy:
 This was a beautiful corner lot with a kitchen TO DIE FOR. The granite counters were newly installed and the recessed lights under the cabinets will be a dream come true every time the tenant has to prep a meal.  The pool was also nice and had a door directly into one of the bathrooms. The master bath had a huge window made of glass bricks which made it so very bright. Plus, Ben had made friends with the gecko on the front porch which would bring him to a grand total of one friend, so that was nice.

Unfortunately, it was more than an hour from Ben's work and, to be honest, just didn't do enough to outshine the first house of the morning. So Jessica sweetly called the real estate agent to ask about neighborhood amenities and average utility costs, etc.  We were pleased with everything we heard so we stopped to grab lunch and then put in our application. But...
What the other agent failed to tells us while we were asking all our questions was that someone else had already requested an application and even if we were able to turn ours in before him, he had dibs. Did that dude really just tell us someone had called dibs on our house? Seriously?  While this nightmare of a  conversation was going down Ben was dutifully in another building getting a money order for our application fee so he wasn't there to keep me from throwing a tantrum.  Thank goodness for Jessica, though.  Upon hearing all that crap about "dibs" her face fell like it was her own home at stake.  It was actually very comforting and kept me from embarassing myself with said tantrum.

We tried offering more rent per month, but none of our calls were returned.  Ben and I looked at each other. And at Jessica.  All three of us knew we couldn't settle for any of the other houses we'd seen that day and we were leaving Tampa in just two days.

So now what?

Friday, July 16, 2010

The House Hunt (part two)

We left that first, sad little house after just 15 minutes and I was regretting my whiskey-free coffee. We spent the remainder of the day driving around various neighborhoods to get a feel for the city. Ugh, what an awful idea. There must be a hundred beautiful homes for rent in Tampa. Homes in good school districts. Homes with gorgeous landscaping and ocean views. Homes within walking distance of food and shopping. Homes that run about $5000 a month. Say what!

Oh the frustration.  I'd be lying if I said no tears were shed, but Ben doesn't really like me to talk about him like that. Okay, seriously, I ended up breaking down over some truly amazing Italian food. It might seem silly to stress over a rental home.  I mean, we're not talking about a huge down payment followed by paying to repair broken hot water heaters and keeping up the landscaping for the sake of curb appeal and resale value.  We are renting, sure, but we are hoping to stay in the same house for the entire three-year tour. That means we have to live with our choices for three years and, after a bit, little things can really take a toll on a person. What if the kitchen cabinets don't close all the way? Or the carpet is a wonky shade? Or we hate the way rain sounds on the roof? Or, heaven forbid, the bathroom does not have enough outlets?  None of those are really worth moving all our crap again in a year but oh just think of having to live with something you aren't allowed to fix for THREE WHOLE YEARS. I definitely feel a few tears were justified.

The next morning (Saturday) we were supposed to meet our real estate agent, Jessica, at 9:00. Something went amiss with the route Ben planned so we were running late. Our agent called.  Relief! She was also running late. Because her car broke down. The morning was off to a stellar beginning and I was still lacking whiskey for my coffee.

Jessica had warned us the night before  that all the houses on our original list had rented so we'd be looking at places not previously researched by Ben and me.  On the one hand we'd spent weeks pouring over real estate ads, photos and school rankings.  On the other hand, the ads and photos hadn't turned out to be reliable. But you guys, the first house totally made up for everything. It was in an ideal neighborhood with a highly ranked school. I was instantly in love with, well, look:

 Every room was full of light! Natural light! And do you see those high ceilings? There were tile floors and wood floors and NO CARPET! Plus that last photo? Yeah, that's an office space right off the living room. It is, in fact, separated from the living room and kitchen by a half wall.  That means Saturday morning Ben can play on the computer, Em can watch cartoons, and I can make pancakes AND WE WILL PRETTY MUCH BE TOGETHER! All that, and it was blissfully at the low end of our rental budget.

And then a big fat "not so fast" bit us in the rear end...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Charm Me

Tell me my blog is the place you go for a pick-me-up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The House Hunt (part one)

You know how in novels and Hallmark Channel movies and every advertisement for a Pottery Barn registry some cute newlywed couple moves into a sweet starter home with a charming breakfast nook and wrap-around front porch? Well its all crap. Looking for a new home is harrrrrd. Especially one in a town far far away.

In one month the family will be relocating to Tampa, Florida so find a house we must. Since I don't conveniently have a husband already living in the area to find me a nice house a trip had to be made. A 14-hour car trip. A 14-hour car trip followed by so. much. work.

For example, the real estate ad promised us a "fabulous 40s bungalow" with "[r]eal wood floors,[...]arches, fully equipped newer kitchen, newer master suite with recently redone tile and flooring, one car garage, full size washer/dryer, screened in patio, backyard deck. WILL NOT LAST."

And that ad made it look totally okay:
But do you what actually greeted us at 9:30 Friday morning?

 Do you want to walk into that eager-to-behead-you garage?  It contains the advertised washer and dryer from the LAND TIME FORGOT. How about those recently redone floors? The "newer" tile?  Doesn't it all make your heart go pitter-patter with first home glee? No? Internet, it was just so disheartening.  The white-tiled everything in the kitchen was surrounded by black mildew-caulk. The arched doorways were actually square-ish doorways with bowing frames. Believe me, this house is not going anywhere. I honestly wish it were for sale.  Perhaps that is the worst part.  That sad little house felt like it could really be "fabulous" with the right owners at the helm.  But we are not looking to buy and we cannot live in that house.

In fact, we'd have to wait a whole day before we would be able to see anything we could live in...

How to charm me

Sincerely thank me for doing a mundane household task.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long overdue no 'poo report

Internet, back on June 30 I owed you a two-month update on my no 'poo experiment.  Admittedly, I let you down. I'm sorry.  I did take pictures on the appropriate date - I just didn't post them. I'm long past ready to call the whole adventure an unequivocal success.  Just look:
The back too:
It is all shiny and bouncy even though I only wash it TWO TO THREE TIMES A WEEK. I still struggle with some dryness and frizz for about eight hours after each wash with baking soda followed by vinegar, but, internet, the time I save.  Apparently, I don't use that time for blogging, but I have so much more of it.

Now I just have to see how my 'do fares through the rest of the seasons and keep plugging away at my Locks of Love goal.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Destined to be awkwardly 16 forever

"Amy," I asked, "did you you get new license plate?" To which Amy's husband responded, "Yeah, they came with the new car. That we got in March."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

silver fox

Oh single gray hair, you will rue the day!