Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Here are a few examples of recent goodness to be found through Design*Sponge Before & Afters:
- This chair has some similar traits to ours. I like that they reduced the number of buttons (whatever you call those). I think we'll be getting rid of the little wickery part under the arms though. Since they aren't a structural piece, I think it might help bring them out of 1964.
- LOVING the cow print here. And the kitchen chairs further down that screen--so great! We are fully intending to thrift the chairs when the day comes to invest in a dining room table. New chairs are crazy expensive and these are just too simple to not DIY.
- This one looks way scarier than ours. Of course this woman is a pro, but whatever.
And pretty much anything that Carpenter Ant is working on makes me hap-hap-Happy! This woman is doing my dream gig--running a little artists co-op and refurbishing furniture out of a studio in the back. I've always loved the idea of opening a co-op, but thought it might be weird if the girl with nothing to sell wanted to run the place! I'd be down to hawk some furniture that I've given new life to though. Now I just need to figure out how it's done!
I'll keep you posted on the progress of this future project. I'm telling myself I won't start until after the wedding. "These chairs have NOTHING to do with the wedding, Brooke!" Besides, if we get the house (we put in an offer today!), we'll need to keep them looking like this so that we can throw a rockin' 60's themed housewarming party! (No joke, I really kind of wonder if these chairs came from that house...)
Thursday, March 26, 2009
As for our first experience, it was:
- A little scary. Lye--EEK!
- A little frustrating. We forgot about our beeswax until after we had already blended the oils and lye, so we just melted it really quick and threw it in. We're a little concerned about there being little beeswax clumps throughout the soap because we're not sure we were able to get it fully integrated at that point, but we figured it was better to add it late than never, considering it was factored into our oil/lye calculation. I also learned that I don't know how to read a thermometer.
- And a little fun and exciting! This is me doing my "we're making soap" dance:
And here's a shot of the final batch. Cross your fingers that we didn't totally screw it up! Btw, this our version of the Energy Soap recipe from the Sage. We just substituted SoapQuick for the oils listed here, but used the same extras (beeswax, rose hip powder, and energy fragrance--mango/papaya/lime--smelled so yummy!)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The good news is, I think I figured out the basic blind stitch process. The bad news is, I had not prepared Peanut properly for blind stitch closure. A blind stitch is supposed to be sewn just inside the fold...which was fine on the beginning edge near where my sewing ended, where the fold still existed. But considering I haven't taken an iron to Peanut's seams in a good 2-3 weeks, there was no hint of a fold left in the middle. And there was NO WAY I was unstuffing this guy to re-iron the opening. So, I said screw it and skipped over to a whip stitch about an inch in. It's visible and ugly, but you know what? I kinda like it. It's like my little stamp making it clear to the world that this was HAND MADE BY BROOKE (who is quite a clueless little sewer).
Saturday, March 21, 2009
So, Raf's been feeling a bit frustrated about house hunting lately. It's a lot of work, primarily on his shoulders, to search day in and day out for something of interest at a price we're willing to pay. Last night we decided to venture out to some neighborhoods we hadn't checked out before, and fell in love with a neighborhood we'd never noticed previously. It's further out commute-wise, which we'll need to consider, but the feeling is right. The good news is, after our drivebys last night and checking them out with our agent today, there are 3 places that are contenders. Thank goodness--the boy is revitalized!
One place in particular stands out. It's an estate sale, and very unique. The person who lived there obviously had a lot of talent and interest in landscaping. There isn't a blade of grass on the property (hallelujah!), nor a square inch that isn't planted, and there are 4 Redwood trees in the backyard (including one huge one encroaching on the back of the house--eek). You step on to the back deck (which is very cool), and it's like you've been swept away to some secret garden in the middle of Humboldt county--which is especially weird because it's in the middle of super dry Livermore, just a few houses off a main street.
The bummer is that it lacks any open dirt for me to start my gardening experimentation, and it breaks my heart to think of tearing up anything that has obviously been so lovingly planted--especially since the look is so cohesive. However, there is one good sized patch, smack dab in the middle of the back that I may be able to work with. It appears to be an interestingly shaped raised bed, currently filled with succulents and some native-looking plants. I'm thinking that we could transplant some of the cooler looking plants into large planters to put on the edge of the deck, then use all that fertile dirt to plant some veggies! The nice part is that the sky above that area is completely clear, so it should get some good sunlight.
As for the interior--it needs A LOT of work. The house was last purchased in 1968, and there probably hasn't been much attention paid to the interior of the house since then. We already know there's some dry rot and termite issues that would require full fumigation. Other than that, it's just super outdated, a little dirty, and doesn't have a feel (or smell) of being lived in. And yet....
There's just something about this place. The minute I saw it's dark little mysterious exterior from the front yard, I was curious. And the moment we stepped inside this morning, we were both immediately smitten, despite the numerous and obvious flaws. The flow of the house just feels good. There's lots of natural light, aided by a few skylights throughout. And it's quite spacious, due to the fact that the garage was converted into a huge living space, which flows completely naturally with the rest of the home. (There's plenty of room to add a garage in the front, if that's something we'd want in the future. In the meantime, there's a rad little carport, assuming it doesn't have to be torn down.)
The asking price is already well within our budget...assuming we wouldn't have to sink a good $50k into it...which we would. Thus, conundrum #1. But if we could significantly negotiate on price, I think this just might be exactly the kind of fixer upper we've been looking for.
As for the other 2 houses, one is already beautiful and ready to go. More expensive, but done very nice, and just a few houses down from a huge and beautiful community center that we'd be happy to share a neighborhood with. And the other is on a street we already know we like, but it's on the "wrong" side of downtown, which feeds into the worst school system, so we probably wouldn't stay there for many years. The house is really cozy, a bit on the small side, but I've never seen a more beautiful backyard. It's huge and most of it is nothing but dirt! I had the biggest smile on my face standing back there. The old woman who's moving out used to garden the whole thing, but now she just works one small bed--that was still looking incredibly impressive. I wish we could have that yard in the other neighborhood! Oh, the wonderful world of shopping for a home.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I love the hilarious irony of the universe. I share a name (almost) with this artist, who happens to be a man. And the awesome scratchboard piece above is the first photo I see in his portfolio. Maybe you've noticed the dandelion trend on our Save the Date cards and wedding website?
What are the chances that an artist named Brooke Rogers, teaching at a University in Maryland, is spending his time creating images of dandelions?! Go figure. I love this life!
Now someone figure out how to get a print of this for our wedding gift, please! :)
It only costs $60 to purchase an invitation PDF, plus an extra $15 for any significant design changes (color, paper size/layout, etc). Best idea ever! According to their website, even outsourcing the printing only averages about $80 for 100 invitations. Here are a few fun samples:
Minus the butterfly, in yellow & gray:
Check it out, Mom! I told you we could put the Big Shot to good use!
I'm so thrilled that our First Family is setting this important and hopefully motivational example for our country. I can't wait to plant our very own Victory Garden. Now we just need to find that patch of lawn we can rip up...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
And some new goodness from One Love Photo.
I'm pretty sure there's an old sink attached to the out house in the backyard at our venue. Considering there are sinks inside each of the stalls, this looks like a way prettier use of the outside sink! Except I'd want mine full of huge colorful dahlias!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
As most of you know, we have quite the little card making trio in my family. My mom got my sister and I started a few years ago, and the craft has become an incredible bit of glue keeping us closely connected. Being the enterprising girls we are, my sister and I decided to open our own little Etsy shop, bebe+jays. We already support plenty of hand-crafters on Etsy, so we figured we might as well try to finance a few of those purchases, or at least our ridiculous paper addictions, with our own shop!
Our shop has been open and we've been learning the ins and outs of being an Etsy seller for a few weeks. You may have already noticed my little shop preview over in the right bar of the blog. (Go ahead, look, I'll wait.) I'm very excited to announce that after mentioning our shop in my Facebook status last night, we made our very first sale! YAY! (Thanks Tags!) We're SUPER excited...and super happy that our first buyer was a friend. So many lessons to learn on how to use Etsy after you sell something! I also noticed today that our shop has been "hearted" (added to favorites) by two people we don't know. So cool! Hey, it's the little things, right?
Moral of the story: next time you're in the market for a greeting card, think about supporting your local crafter, and check out our shop!
One of the joys of having the TV off is that music is on. After getting tired of listening to the last 3 albums I bought on my iPod, I rediscovered Pandora. For my mother (who is probably the only reader not familiar with Pandora, and the only reader without any streaming capabilities), Pandora is a free internet radio service where you get to listen to only music that you like. You create stations by inputting artists that you like, and it plays similar music, based on detailed song analysis from the Music Genome Project. If you don't like a song, you can give it a thumbs down and move onto the next. And the best part--there are no audio ads or breaks in the music. So great.
Basically, I've discovered I no longer need cable as long as I have Pandora. I tried to convince myself earlier tonight that it will probably also save me money on constantly buying new music I discover. However, that probably won't pan out for me. After having Pandora playing on a station built off Adele for the last 3 hours, I just heard Warm Whispers by Missy Higgins. Who the heck is she?? Loved her. Must have more. I'll probably have her album by tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I just noticed some news from last August that services like Pandora might have to close due to legislation that raised the royalty fees that internet radio stations have to pay. Lame. Sounds like they're headed to court to fight it soon. Crossing my fingers on that one. I'm thinking they should charge their advertisers more. We've been looking for a iPod player/alarm clock for our bedroom, but I noticed an ad tonight for the Logitech Squeezebox Boom, an all-in-one network music player. (No need to plug in your iPod.) Sold. That's the one. I hope Pandora is getting paid handsomely for that ad.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Instead, I decided to type up all the details and print them out. The concept started with the dandelion image in the corner. I fell in love with the image when I found a pdf stationery kit of it for sale on Little Brown Pen's Etsy shop. I knew that I wanted to go with this specific size/shape, based on the StampinUP! envelopes that are super fun and perfectly sized for STDC info. So, I messaged Little Brown Pen and they were awesome enough to scoot the image around (for a small fee), so that I wouldn't have to waste oodles of paper.
After that, it was pretty quick and easy. Cut, corner, file, and adhere a mis-matched array of adorable, coordinating patterned paper to the back. (I just couldn't help myself! It was all just sitting in my supplies looking fun, and irresistible, and already purchased!)
Long story short, I'm pretty stoked. Considering my lack of training, skill and worthwhile tools, I think they turned out pretty darned cute! And very us. And very our wedding. Yay for DIY wedding goodness!
Long story short, mix equal parts (generally 12 oz):
- Frozen limeade concentrate
- White tequila
- Light beer (madness!)
Add ice and you have the easiest, most fabulous margarita you've ever tasted. Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who despises normal margaritas. I only order blended fruity ones, as I can't stand the typical neon green, super sweet number. But whew, this one made me a believer! With a larger than normal Supper Club last night, we dusted 2 of these batches (a full bottle of 1800 Silver) quick! Good news--I was still on the road for flower delivery (aka: work) by 7am!
I know it, Facebook knows it, now we just need to convince Raf to believe it!
Btw, my quiz result said I should be living in Paris. Stupid quiz. I want to live in the country too!
Photo of barn above was taken in Helvetia, Oregon. (The state where our country home would ideally be, though I think I'd prefer the Willamette Valley area.) Found on Flickr here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The only thing we'd note about the recipe is that our cups came out with minimal filling, so we decided next time we'd double the peanut butter batch. However, I think it may have to do with the size of our mini candy liners. Our liners fill a mini cupcake tin's hole. But I just noticed from the photos on Pete's blog that his liners are uber-mini (like a miniature PB cup, rather than the candy bar sized version) and don't come close to filling the tin's hole. Thus--my recommendation is to only double the PB portion if you have the big mini liners (which are still not as big as a candy bar sized liner).
Btw, I used the MaraNatha organic PB that Jordan gave me with the raspberry jam she made for Christmas. I called to ask her if they were death nuts and she assurred me that she'd been eating it at home and wasn't dead yet. I still checked the list. :)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The long story, though, can actually be rather short. Before the movie started, various clips were rolling on the screen, including this video by The Girl Effect. It really says it all.
Powerful, right? And so logical.
Want to change the world? Want to get involved? Want to DO something?
Support communities by supporting women. Educate the girls. Empower the women with micro-loans and legal rights. Here are a few organizations that you may consider supporting:
- The Girl Effect. You just witnessed the movement they're starting. Be a part of it.
- Kiva. Want to know exactly where you're money's going? Kiva facilitates person-to-person micro-lending. You read their stories, pick the one that resonates with you, and donate. Then you can track their progress through journal updates, and re-lend the money after they pay you back! So cool. In the spirit of the day, and what you just learned, do me a favor and choose a woman to lend to.
It's only recently both in my work and with the election that I began to truly understand the power of grassroots advocacy. We, as citizens, are so incredibly powerful in this country. We decide who represents us, and after they're in office, we have the power to shape their decisions. And it can be so easy. A well-timed letter, phone call, or easiest of all, email, to your representatives speaks loud and clear. It may not seem like much to you; you're one in thousands, millions even. But multiply that small gesture by many more caring people, and that's what we call a movement.
It really is as simple as registering for a mailing list, then skimming the emails you'll receive a few times a month. Try not to let them sit in your inbox for too long--most action alerts are time sensitive, based on upcoming votes. Many organizations make it SO simple to act. With ONE, for instance, all I do is click a single button these days. One click. It's amazing.
Please go join an advocacy alert list. Or two or three. And do it for every issue you care about. Concerning global poverty and women's rights, try these:
I leave you with my favorite quote of the evening, from former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
This bride's mom is a ceramic artist--thus the spoon rest placecards--so cool! Yet another craft I'll need to add to the to learn list.
And check out these handmade paper flower centerpieces she linked to from A $10,000 Wedding blog (tutorial link included!) Everything about it is already perfect for our wedding! According to her profile, she lives in San Jose...maybe I can just cruise thru and borrow a couple on our way to SLO! :) Seriously though, how cute would these be on the random "extra" tables (guest book, bar, placecard, etc.)And perusing that same blog a bit further, look what she had just purchased (from Piperlime). I like the style, but maybe too short for the Brigade's taste?
And thru another link to Rockstar Diaries (fun place, full of love), I found this. It's certainly not the first 2 story barn I've seen in wedding photos, but it never gets old. One day, when we have more money (or even better, more space and time) than we know what to do with, I want to build a 2 story barn on our property. We can rent it out for weddings, but in between we'll have the most fabulous family and friend gatherings. It's going to be great. :)
Also, I can't find the source photo, but check out this recent inspiration board. See the photo with the watermelon, croquet and water goblets? I WANT those goblets. I'm totally smitten. I love goblets. Seriously. They're one of my favorite things. And a goblet with a swiss dot--does it get better than that?? I also love watermelon. I think we're going to need to have some big ole watermelons at the wedding. Maybe we can bring out cold watermelon as our late night snack? Hmm...I like that idea.
How about the poppy bouquet on this board. So simple and beautiful.