Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grey Sunday Morning

Sometimes I love a quiet, grey Sunday morning. Because it's grey, I don't feel guilty getting lost in blogs rather than in the backyard tending to something.

I love the random chain of discovery you can find daily in the creative blogger world. I started this morning following a link from a regular Etsy email, to their Get the Look Decor series. This week they featured the barn turned house conversion done by Maya*Made and her mother. Maya*Made is quite familiar to me--it's from her blog that I was first inspired to collect coffee sacks to create the table runners for the wedding. (Still working on that idea, btw.)

After perusing the goodness on Maya*Made for some time, I linked to Beelieve. Maya had sent a gift package to her--covered in a beautiful bee image she had created. The first post I read on Beelieve was about a painting she had created for a Relay For Life auction, so I was immediately hooked.

While perusing her archives, I found this image:

We shoulda bought the box, Mom! We found a rockin little antique shop in Ashland last weekend. Mom got two new dining chairs and I got an awesome vintage ironing board for use at the wedding, and as a bar on the deck in the future!

And we're sharing these camp cups that reminded us of the chinese serving bowls I grew up with.

And I couldn't pass up this grey leaf mosaic dish.

Anyway, back to the blog chain. So then Beelieve has posted this Lisa Hannigan I Don't Know video. I already love this song (via Starbuck's free weekly goodness), but had never seen the video. But this is the second Lisa Hannigan posting I've noticed on blogs, so I decided to watch this one. So great! I actually choked up at the sight of the closing shot. Gorgeous.

So then I watched a couple more Lisa Hannigan videos--which led me to the realization that she's the woman you always see with Damien Rice, who I love. Remember The Blower's Daughter, from the movie Closer? I still want to cry everytime I hear that song. Ok, so then a bunch more Damien vidoes. Which leads me to Ray LaMontague. Who I also love. Which leads me to his cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. OH MY GOD. So good!

Which leads me to Paolo Nutini. Who I love. (Are you noticing a trend?) Which leads me to Matt Nathanson singing Come On Get Higher, which I first fell in love with when Sugarland covered it. Which leads me to Ingrid Michaelson. Who I love. Which leads me to DMB. No need to even mention that love! (But if you're a DMB fan, follow that last link. It's to the Pandora site where the entire new album is there for you to preview. Two more days!)

Happy lazy Sunday mornings to you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Grilled Flatbread

Speaking of homemade bread, I just stumbled across a new baking project for Raf--grilled flatbreads via Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP. How yummy do these look?! I'm hungry...

Lessons of Homeownership

We're just over 1 week in to actually living in the new home. Lessons learned thus far:

Sometimes it sucks. Like when your friend finds a dead squirrel in your backyard. And then you have to figure out how to take care of it. And this is the reason you purchase your first shovel. Sad day.

Sometimes it's silly. Like when you're in your front yard falling bamboo with a hacksaw. 15 foot tall bamboo that didn't exist when you purchased the house a few weeks ago.

Sometimes it's wonderful. Like when your neighbors bring you fresh baked bread to welcome you to the neighborhood.

And it's always, always, exhausting.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Oregon 150 Challenge

While I threaten it a lot, I'm not sure I could ever actually leave California's sunshine and golden hills. However, I really do love Oregon. (And Washington for that matter, but that's beside the point.) While perusing the goodness on the Sunset website tonight, I noticed an ad for The Oregon 150 Challenge.

Evidently Oregon is celebrating its 150th year and is encouraging Oregonians to show their pride by getting to know their state. Fun idea. Since most of my family lives in Oregon, I think someone should take the Challenge (visit 5 destinations, from different categories, in at least 2 regions, for the chance to win travel packages). I could probably meet the Challenge as fast as they could, but being a Californian, I don't think I'm eligible!

I'm totally digging the web design. Super cute. If only it were more functional/readable. Maybe it's just cause my computer sucks?

New Furniture Design Ideas for Pops

Digging the design of these cozy backyard seats! And the cute little mini table.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fun Songs

A super fun song popped up on Pandora tonight: You Don't Know Me, by Ben Folds with Regina Spektor. Loving it.

Then, a few songs later: Merry Happy, by Kate Nash. This one plays on Pandora for me regularly, but I never get tired of it. The two songs have a very similar, cheeky vibe.
And not to worry. Despite the "I'm irritated and over you" message of both songs, I'm still very much in love with Raf. No hidden meaning here. :)


We did the majority of our move today. We had lots of fam & friends help, so it went super quick this time. So nice. We still have the apartment until Wednesday, though, so we're sleeping here for the next few nights. Figure less dust in the lungs is a positive thing. We're going to try to bust out a few more projects--dust removal at the top of the list, before we start having to sleep in the living room of our new home.

We need to paint, make a carpet choice and wait probably a couple weeks for it to arrive and be installed before we can turn our attention to the common rooms. So, until the bedrooms are move-in ready, we'll be living on the bare, dusty particle board underlayment in the living room! Ick. The good news--at least it's not the old carpet!

Throughout the course of moving today, it appears that we have imported the nasty little circling flies that have been inhabiting our apartment deck to the house. I found some in the living room this evening. Super annoying. Maybe they just live everywhere around here and came in while we had the doors wide open during the move today.

Then, after getting out of the shower tonight, I walk into the apt living room to find a snail cruising toward the kitchen!?? So weird. I have no idea what it latched onto or where, but we sure have enough at the house that I'm not sorry to see one exported!

While I'm on the subject of the house, I'm pretty sure we're due for a progress update. Let's see, we...
  • Retextured the ceilings. We used a guy Raf's parents had worked with on their new (old) home. He was great, and the price was right!
  • Tore out all the carpets. Great news: the disgusting, unlivable smell is GONE. YAY!! You have no idea how relieved we were that the smell left with the carpets. Side note, though--have you ever removed carpets? It's the most repulsive thing I have ever experienced. I have yet another reason to hate carpeting--the filth that drops through over the years and lives underneath it. ICK! No wonder why people have so many respiratory issues! Hence the dust I've been complaining about. We finally finished the first full sweep of the house tonight, and I'm planning to take the vacuum over tomorrow. I hope it works. Cross your fingers.
  • Began patching holes and cracks. Raf's become quite the pro. Though through the course of patching everything, he's now decided he wants to make all the walls flat, because he hates that the texture of his patches doesn't match the current texture of the walls. Woah huge project at a time!
  • Primered the bedrooms. Raf's brother, Pete, came over one night last week to help him tackle that project.
  • Purchased new (to us) appliances. Got a rockin deal through Craigslist on a very lightly used fridge, washer and dryer. The washer we had at the house was fine, but the dryer is from the 1800s and a bit of a fire hazard. Our agent mentioned something about a "sparking issue" that the PG&E guy pointed out to him...and that was enough for us! And about the fridge--the good news is that it fits in the space in the kitchen. The bad news is you can't have the fridge in place and turn the overhead light off! Ugh. So, once we track down a Skil Saw, we'll be removing the edge of the beloved orange countertops so that there's enough space to operate the ill-placed light switch.
  • Started watering the yard! Some things have perked up considerably. Others, not so much.
  • Cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more. Mom came down to help us work on the house last weekend. It was awesome, except for the two hours on Mother's Day morning when we left her alone during our engagement shoot and she cleaned the entire bathroom by herself. I'm a horrible child. But the bathroom looks great! I'll even use it now.
  • Tore out the old kitchen cabinet paper and replaced it with new non-adhesive washable stuff. Now I won't mind putting my dishes in the cabinets. Once I finish putting in the new lining, that is. This was another project with mom. It's amazing how long this takes to complete, by the way.

That's all I can think of at the moment. But it sure doesn't seem like much for the last week and a half! (Especially considering I took 2 days off this week.) I guess I do need to factor in all the packing on the apt end. We really need another good 6 hours in the day. Especially now that Raf is starting his year-end busy season. (He's sitting next to me working right now.)

Oh! That's what I forgot--we've also been SHOPPING! And, my goodness, it's time consuming! I think we FINALLY picked our style/brand of carpet, now we just need to choose the color. We have a few swatches at the house now, so hopefully we'll have that decision made by Monday. Makes me question all the paint options we tested and narrowed down over the last couple days, though...we totally forgot to consider the floor color they'd be up against. Ugh!

We've also been checking out wood floors for a few weeks now. We thought we finally had it narrowed down to "The One" today...until we decided to stop by one more place on our way home to compare prices. The guy there showed us another brand that has similar styling and construction, but was significantly cheaper than the quote on The One. We took 4 samples to the house today and we're now totally over The One! We're now leaning toward a 7" wide plank with a strong red undertone. The red makes us both nervous--you never know what it's going to look like once you multiply it by 1200sf--but it has really good life to it, so it looks like we've got a strong new contender.

I'm exhausted just reliving the shopping! I hate it. This is why I hesitate to pursue a left-brained career. I feel like I'm always pleased with my end result, but I agonize over the decision making process. The smallest (and largest) decisions take me FOR-EV-ER! I wish I had that natural intuition where I could just walk into a store (without magazine clippings) and say, "I want that one, and that one, and that one--where do I sign?" Oh well. Embrace your own reality, right?

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Love Stamps

Gasp! Have you seen these? I'm in love with the new Love stamps! I didn't care about the stamps for our invitations at all--I was planning to use Forever stamps I had already purchased...until I saw these this morning! Must have them!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good Brew

I had dinner with the girls tonight at Cato's, a fun pub-style restaurant in Oakland. We had the most amazing beer--Tangerine Wheat. Ash totally pegged it--it's like Hef with orange soda. Yum!

Auntie Val--any chance Raf's annual Lost Coast 6-pack can be Tangerine this year?!?!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Engagement Photos

I have so much catching up to do. I know. Sorry. One day I'll have the energy. Maybe tomorrow...the second day I'll take off from work this week. In the meantime, I just got our engagement photos back! Ken's super quick--we just took them on Sunday!!

The shoot was much less painful than expected. We were all over Livermore, including at our house which was cool. I'm glad we had an opportunity to take the photos in our new home, our new hometown--places that are already familiar to us, and that will continue to grow on us for years to come.

I've included a few of my faves here. You can find some more over on Ken's blog. And the whole shebang in a slideshow here. I could live without the world seeing plenty of these, but no complaints from the photog angle--Ken's a rock star. I'm so at ease about that aspect of our wedding day after seeing these. I can't wait to see your smiling faces in shots from our day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Scraping Begins

We got started with scraping later than expected today. Raf's long morning of golf, Lowe's irritations, and this lone piece of wood set us back a bit. This framing will go down in history. Pulling it out resulted in holes in the wall, a broken hammer, a broken light, and a few moments of wanting to kill each other. Raf had to resort to digging out nail heads with a screwdriver to pull this thing out. It was ridiculous--put in with a gun using 3" nails, not to mention a couple unexpected extras through the ceiling! All this to hang a couple light weight screens.

Number one lesson learned today: use screws rather than nails to affix things to your walls--you (or your predecessor) will appreciate it someday!

Once the scraping actually began, it went pretty smooth. It requires more water than I expected, so I'm glad we borrowed Dad's big pressure sprayer, rather than going the spray bottle route. Boy is it a mess!

This is what dinner looks like these days. I'm not complaining though--there's no better place to enjoy a burger than on the awesome deck of your new home!

As for what was accomplished today:

  • Successfully removed the screen frame nightmare.
  • Returned stupid ladder to Lowe's; exchanged for a small scaffolding bench (best move yet), a new hammer, and an awesome ratcheting screwdriver with 12 heads that store in the handle (so I can feel spoiled).
  • Covered most floors in plastic (after traipsing popcorn throughout the house).
  • Scraped the ceilings of the 3 bedrooms.
  • Removed ceiling fixtures in the hallway. Noted severe need to dust the huge heating duct.
  • A bit of backyard exploration and cleanup--pulling fallen limbs and gathering debris.

We also discovered the genius of the 3 week overlap with our apartment--hot tub access! The aches are beginning to kick in, so I expect we'll be taking advantage of that as much as possible over the next few weeks!

Destruction Begins

This it the pile we had created by the time we left last night. We're still merely prepping to scrape the ceilings, but all fixtures have to come down--that stuff is everywhere. Thankfully, something tells me much of it will never go back up! Here's what we accomplished last night:

  • Removed closet doors in all the rooms. (Those things are ridiculous! See that stack in the photo--the doors are 2" thick SOLID wood. I thought I was going to die packing them from room to room--they must each weigh 50 lbs+!
  • Removed the screens and (most of) the framing they were set in. This was a job, as we're trying to salvage most everything just-in-case we care to see it again. I need to pick up a crow bar today to finish pulling the final piece of framing.
  • Removed the ceiling fan and all light fixtures.
  • Removed the framing for the hole to the attic. Yuck is all I have to say about that. We'll need to build a new door cover since this one is covered in popcorn.
  • Tore down that strange, heavy-weight wooden screen/divider just inside the front door.
  • Continued taping all the walls--finishing off the closets was a slower process. We still have the living room to finish, but we ran out of plastic and tape.

I'm off to Wal-Mart and Lowe's this morning for more supplies while Raf finishes golfing in the rain.

Friday, May 1, 2009

3 Month Countdown

I can't quite wrap my head around the idea that our wedding is only 3 months away. Thankfully, many of the big decisions are taken care of. The only huge outstanding item is music. We don't have any. I'm about ready to resort to the iPod. Don't think I'm kidding. It's quite popular these days!

Then there are so many details to take care of in every area. Flowers being the biggest. Invitations being the most pressing. I still haven't visited my dress--I need shoes for the fitting. Thankfully mom is coming to visit next weekend. She thinks we're going to work on the house the whole time, but if I have my way we'll be running wedding errands! This will be the only time she'll be coming here and there's so much we can do!

On the to-do list for the next few weeks:

  • Dress fitting
  • DJ outreach
  • Visit the SF Flower Mart to see if it might be useful
  • Chinatown trip to gather the little things
  • Look up info on how to make a boutonniere and try it
  • Invitation design
  • Rough plan for the rehearsal dinner--food, decor, etc
  • Engagement photo session
  • Table number collecting
  • Escort card design ideas

Help! :)