Sunday, August 29, 2010

For my spray painting friends...

Anyone else see this in the paper this morning? Happy Sunday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A broken car, two classes and a clean/messy room

This has been quite a week in my life. I had my first two graduate school classes, which went well. They were exactly what I expected, which I guess is a good thing??

A not so good thing is that today I took my car in because it was making a funny noise, and $800 later they had figured out that the roters were being eaten by the caliper which was being eaten by the hydraulics (I think?). Bad news? Car is in the shop until early next week. Good news? I'm driving a rental car PRIUS and it ROCKS! As in, if you offered to let me keep it forever I would do it forever. (Hear that Toyota? Let's talk...).

When we moved in, my sewing room was a dumping ground. I finally got it cleaned out a few months ago, but during our summer program at work I made a frantic last minute birthday present, 10 frantic last minute quilt guild swap squares, and probably a few other frantic last minute things.

I couldn't figure out why my crafting mojo was gone.  I went upstairs to my crafting room. It was a mess. I almost took a before picture for you, but then thought better of it. I spent a lot of time on Saturday organizing and I swear immediately after it was finished, I had so much inspiration! And not only because I re-discovered a few quilt kits and more than a few half finished projects!!

Fast forward to Tuesday, and Zac's dad came to help give my closet a makeover. We have sliding mirrored doors, which I hate first of all because they are mirrors, and most of all because they slide. Once the doors came off, the closet looked twice as big! Side note: if you have any ideas for the 6 mirrored doors we'll have left over after this, send them my way!

The closet is a two day job, and they aren't going to be able to finish it until next week. So all of my clothes now live..... in the sewing room. Sheesh. So much for getting my groove back!

What have you been up to this week??

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blogging advice I've been given (and given)

When I started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. Hence my terrible first few posts. In the past few months I've learned a lot about myself and about blogging, and gotten some great advice from other bloggers. Some of the best things I've learned:
  1. Post every day! This is especially important when you're first starting out. Post every day until writing on your blog becomes a habit, and something that you look forward to.
  2. Take a camera everywhere. At first, I'd get places and think, "This would make a great blog post, but crap, I forgot my camera!" The plus side to this? At the end of the year you'll have countless pictures documenting your small, every day experiences that are really special.
  3. Make blogger friends! When you find new blogs to read, comment on them! When you do, include a link to your blog. Every time someone comments on my blog, I go check out theirs. Chances are, if my blog interests them, their blog will interest me.
  4. Update a lot... but not too often! I have un-subscribed from blogs for a few reasons. First, if you fill my google reader with clutter, I'm taking you off my reading list. Also, I stop following people who aren't interesting or who seem to just write the same thing over and over. 
  5. Keep your controversial opinions to yourself. Unless you're writing a clearly political blog, keep your views under wraps. I've been reading a great crafting blog for a few months, and when the blogger did a "20 things about me" post, one of them was her serious hate for one of our famous elected officials, who I happen to like. Ever since then, I'm less likely to go to her blog, and knowing that about her has soured her blog a little bit for me.
Other rules apply - be yourself. Have fun blogging! What other blogging tips have you found that are helpful to new (or not so new) bloggers??

Oh - and Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous is doing a series about blogs right now. I'm learning a lot... check it out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What do people do all day?

When I was little, this was my favorite book:

I'm not little anymore, but I'm still really interested in what people do all day, and what their workspaces look like. Since I'm interested in yours, I guess I should show you mine!

I work for a really great non-profit called Leadership Scholars. We provide leadership training for inner-city kids in Cincinnati. We're a small 3-person operation, so I get a fancy title and lots of responsibilities. And work with some really fun kids.

Seriously - you know your job is going to be good when this sign is hanging over your desk on your first day:

I'm a social worker, and I coordinate our kids weekly trainings, oversee workshops, develop lesson plans for our curriculum and handle a lot of logistics. I love logistics. I am so good at logistics. 

So here's where the magic happens:

I've had an office in my previous two jobs, but I have to say, I love having a cube. There's something comforting about a small space with bulletin boards for walls. I miss the privacy when talking on the phone, but I like my cube.

My file system. Things that I need to deal with are "in," things that just need to get filed are obviously put in the "file" tray and anything I need to read when I have more time gets stuck in the "read" bin.

This is the wall I face when I'm on my computer, so it houses information I reference a lot, like our calendar of events, contact information for our schools and the list of projects my intern is working on this week. The pictures are of our kids - how cute is that?? They're my inspiration pictures for when I'm having a bad day and can't remember why I want to do this kind of work...

To the left is mainly reference information... a calendar (which I love and am someday going to make an incredible quilt from), how to access my voicemail (because I never check it), an envelope for receipts. More pictures of some of the kids that make me smile. The files are the ones I use most often... everything else lives in a filing cabinet.

I don't always have fresh flowers in my office, but I do today since it's my first day of grad school! Thanks Mom and Dad! The mug with my pens in it was a gift from one of my favorite professors in college. I love the saying (Risk more than others think is safe, care more than others think is wise, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible) and I love that it makes me think of her.

So that's where I spend a ridiculously large amount of my time each week... show me what you do all day!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What did you do today?

We took 200 middle and high school students to Camp Joy, which is a FANTASTIC outdoor education center near Cincinnati. The staff there is wonderful, and they have the coolest activities and ideas.

They also have high ropes courses. The students LOVE these. I, however, do not. Anyone who knows me will be totally shocked at the following pictures.

One of our darling students, Raven, was really scared to climb the tower, so I told her I'd be her partner and we'd go up together and come down when we didn't want to go up anymore. Except once we got up there, she was totally fine and didn't want to come down!

Here we are before we tackled the scary bridge:

And this is what I looked like most of the time (25 feet in the air, by the way!):

Finally celebrating at the end!

I have to say, I certainly put myself out of my comfort zone, and I ended up having a lot of fun. Now I'm exhausted! I'm pretty sure the recipe for recovering from today is hot shower + advil + drink + dinner!

Hope you had a great weekend - did you do anything fun?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Things I've Learned from my New-Old House

We moved into our house in March, so it's new to us. But it's OLD. Before you think, oh please, just because it's not brand new doesn't mean it's old, let me put this into perspective for you.

Our house was built in 1872. It celebrated its 138th birthday this year. In the scary-just-like-your-grandparents-old-cellar basement, you can see where the coal chute was.

So yeah, it's pretty old.

This is what we wanted - we wanted a house with character and history and uniqueness. We fell in love with the radiators in each room and found the shotgun style charming. You learn from people who are older and wiser than you, and we've learned some lessons from this house already.

1. Your old house probably isn't level. In fact, it may slope a full quarter inch to the right. This is what's called character. You don't fix this when you re-do the floors. Think of it as 138 years of people living here with love that have caused the strange floor ups and downs.

2. Flat paint is your best friend. Chances are, your walls are chock full of imperfections. Do not, I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to use a high gloss paint. Because it would be faster to just circle every crappy wall spot with a red sharpie.

3. Radiators need to be cleaned. Thoroughly. With lots of scrubbing bubbles and water. Because there's a good chance no one else has remembered to clean them in the past 137 years.

4. When it comes to level, there's a such thing as good-enough. When Zac's dad hung our curtains, I said "Hmm... is that level?" His response after a long day of work: "It's as level as anything else in this darn house!"

Fair enough.

What about you? Do you love the charm and "character" of old houses, or do you prefer new construction? Any lessons learned from living in an old house?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cool blog trick!

This is just too cool not to share.

If you have a blog, visit No, seriously. Go do it right now!

While you're there, you can create an account that will AUTOMATICALLY update your Twitter and Facebook feeds every time you publish a post. Meaning, all of your friends will know your blog is updated, and are more likely to read it, and you don't even have to remember to do it. They also will let you update things I'm not really sure about, like ping.

Technology, thank you for being my friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blog Award!

Oh my goodness - my very first blog award!! I am so excited!!!!

With this great award comes great responsibility, apparently! So, without further ado, let me follow the rules.
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you this award. Thanks Hannah! You can visit Hannah at Young and Crafty.

2. Share 7 things about yourself. See below!

3. Pass the award to at least 4 fellow bloggers who inspire you. 

4. Let them know you gave them an award. 
So... 7 things about me you may not know:

I had ten minutes of fame as an MTV news reporter a few years ago.

In my house, Zac does all the cooking.

I was a runner in high school, but haven't run at all since then.

I recently fell in love with GLEE and now I can't get enough.

I'm a lot more excited about being married than I am about wedding planning.

Yogurt is my worst nightmare food. I think it is disgusting. I don't even like it when people eat it in front of me.

Traveling stresses me out, but I'm always glad that I traveled when I get home.

The 4 AMAZING bloggers I want to pass this award to are:

Kim at Newly Woodwards
Robin at The T-Shirt Diaries
Sassy Sites
Leslie at Night Owl Crafting

Yay! Thanks, Hannah... you made my day!

More flower girl eye candy

At this point she wouldn't come out of the dressing room until I confirmed Zac's hair color. She was worried.

I don't even have words for how cute she is. At one point, she hiked up this skirt and marched up to the front desk where two women were working and said:

"Excuse me miss ladies. Do you have this dress in a size that would fit my bunny rabbit?"

Cutest flower girl EVER! The dress was too big for her, and every time she tried to sit down she looked like a giant creme puff. I guess this wedding stuff is fun after all! 

Hanging out at Sweet Charli today!

Hi everyone!

Today you can find me hanging out with Kami over at Sweet Charli! This is my first ever feature, and I'm so excited to be sharing my appliquéd bag tutorial with everyone.


Check out her blog - I promise you'll love it! It's one of my very favorites...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

National Women's Self Appreciation Day

So that's not actually a real day. Katy from No Big Dill made it up. But I think it's awesome and should become a national holiday. She's right - I spend so much time thinking about things I wish were different about myself, and things I want to work on changing, and I forget that there are some things about me that are pretty darn awesome.

So - without further ado, things I like about myself:
  1. I work fast. I can complete things quickly and that helps me get a lot done.
  2. I have an eye for patterns and colors. I can match fabrics for projects that just work.
  3. I love to learn. I love school, I love learning new skills. I love everything about learning.
  4. I fit in most places. While I've never really found myself whole heartedly belonging to one "group" of people, I love that my friends are so eclectic and unique, and that I can be friends with such different people and enjoy all of them.
  5. I make a mean derby pie (thanks for the recipe, Momma Lo!).
Thanks, Katy, for reminding me to think happy thoughts today. What about everyone else? What do YOU like about yourself?

Monday, August 16, 2010

When life gives you lemons...

I was inspired by my blog friend Sunny, who is celebrating her Flammaversary today. A year ago, her house caught on fire. Her sense of humor is amazing - seriously, check it out and you'll see what I mean!

One of her "mottos" just seems perfect for today, so I made her this pretty picture:

Happy Flammaversary, Sunny!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The ultimate "curb appeal"

Have you ever seen the show on HGTV called Curb Appeal? Basically, they transform the outside of someone's house. Something similar happened here on Emming Street today!

Let me back up. We have GREAT neighbors here. Like the best. Two very special neighbors are Suzanne and Bob. They're the type of neighbors who watch our cat while we're away, and who yell "We just put on coffee! Want to come over?" when you go out in the morning to get the paper. They're awesome. Bob is a landscaper, and today over coffee we started talking about our front yard.

Two hours, a trip to Lowe's and $60 later, we went from this:

to this!!

It looks AWESOME!

Zac and Bob went to Lowe's and picked out some plants. Because Bob is a genius, we spent such little money. We have three butterfly bushes that were $2.50 each!! They were marked down because they've already flowered this year, to which Bob said "If we cut them back they'll flower again before fall." He rocks.

Here are so "in process" pics:

So what does this little front garden grow? Glad you asked!

These are liriopes, and I just love how they look. The rock was found in the back of this bed, by the way!

On the left is a knock-out rose bush, and on the right is one of the butterfly bushes. All three bushes have different color flowers.

These are called astors. They're native to Ohio so they'll grow really well in front of our house. We've got purple, pink and blueish.

I can't remember the name of this tall thing; we transplanted it from our back patio.

So there you have it! A few bags of mulch and this place looks awesome! There's plenty of room to plant mums in the fall, and we'll also plant bulbs so there are surprise tulips in the spring!

I LOVE living here! And I'm very grateful for such wonderful neighbors/friends!

P.S. Someday I'll post pictures of Bob's garden, which is out of this world. We're thinking about starting the Emming Street Garden District...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guess what we're doing today??

These two lovely ladies

are in Cincinnati for our monthly friend date! And our first order of business is trying on lots and lots of potential bridesmaid dresses! 

This lovely girl will be joining us:

and unfortunately, this darling one lives too far away to come with us:

Hopefully we find some dresses that are so lovely, they cause people to say, "Oh - that's a pretty dress!" Right, Dot and Peg?? :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

My happiness project

Maybe it's because vacations are such a great time for reflection, or maybe because we went to the beach and truly had TONS of time for reflection, but I've found myself thinking about a lot of things this week. I'm starting school in a few weeks - how is that going to fit into everything else I have going on? What about this wedding stuff? What can do to make our everyday lives easier and increase our happiness?

I got this book for Emily for her birthday, and because we were together on vacation, managed to sneak it away from her and read it.

I stumbled upon it at the bookstore, but this book is GOOD. I've tried to read Eat, Pray, Love a few times but could never really get into it. Maybe because it seems so unrealistic? Gretchen Rubin had the same problem, and she pointed out that she wasn't unhappy - she just thought she could be happier. I get that. I'm happy, but I know there are things I could do to make myself happier.

The book is great, and her blog is pretty good too. I really loved her writing style and related to a lot of her challenges (I also love gold stars for doing good things and need to shut up and listen more).  I need a few days to think about my commandments and resolutions, but then I'm jumping right in. I'm trying to get Zac involved, though he doesn't usually like stuff like this. Call me crazy, but if I can be happier and focus on my relationship by nagging less, etc., I feel like his attitude will improve just because mine sucks less. Yes?

I'm not planning anything totally crazy - don't worry! But if we made a weekly menu and had some healthy meals prepped in the freezer for nights we get home late, that could make a big difference in my day-to-day mood and patience level.

Stay tuned... I have a feeling this is going to be good!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ever ridden a surry?

We have! While the guys went golfing we rented a surry and headed out to cause some trouble!

What's a surry? Well, it's a bicycle built for 8, of course!

We just pulled over for a quick ice cream!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A very beachy time

We're in Ocean City, New Jersey for a vacation with my family and having a blast.

We had family pictures taken at the beach yesterday...

by this guy!

Em and Beth with "BIL" (their brother-in-law)

My gramma brought me something fun to try on - my mom's wedding dress! What do you think? Should I cancel the dress I ordered? :-) Or do I look like the bride of Frankenstein from a horror movie??

Happy vacation!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wedding Drama, Part I

We committed to a wedding venue (here, if you don't remember) more than two weeks ago. I got the contract emailed to me, reviewed it with Zac and my parents to make sure it was, had the deposit check ready to go, and - got busy. I just never got around to sending it.

I thought it was strange that the lady from the venue hadn't called looking for her deposit, but between our overnight retreat at work and my death plague last week, didn't think much of it.

Until my phone rang. And it was a woman from the Bell Event Centre saying that they'd had a change in management and wanted to make sure that I had a contract, etc.

Enter me going crazy here. What do you mean change of administration? Does this affect the cost? What about the chef? Is anything changing?

A few emails and frantic phone messages later, the new owner explained that everything was staying the same. She was even very understanding of my frantic bride drama. 

Thanks goodness - because I told my friend Clare to mark this date on her calendar in Sharpie... and I meant it!!

Eye candy from our wedding venue, because it makes me excited for April 9:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy birthday Emily!

Happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, kind of funny sister Emily!

From this...

to this...

to this...

to being all grown up and eaten by our sweet baby cousin Mia.

Happy birthday Em - I love you!!

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