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5.29.2009
OK so I am not the most athletic person. Growing up we had all the PE tests at school which I dreaded. The worst was (cue JAWS music)....the mile. Every spring and fall I would beg my mom to let me stay home "sick" on the mile day. Even with tears and promising to clean my room every day she never budged. So I dreaded it for weeks and always came in dead last. My aversion to PE also influenced my choice of high school. Most normal people choose a high school based on academics, athletics, reputation, and maybe even because all their friends are going there. But for me I took into consideration another factor-the fact that a particular school did not require PE (you could take dance instead).....so that is how I found my high school. While my brother and sister played every sport imaginable, I took art. Definitely got the shallow end of the athletic gene pool.

This doesn't even take into account my klutziness. I have successfully broken my foot three times in the last 10 years while not playing sports. The first time was at a amusement park and the second on a trampoline in front of my entire family at my high school graduation party. The third I hate to admit was very recently (like in March). I was salsa dancing, I mean ummm walking down the hall at work and turned to walk into a door and splatted myself. Face plant....in front of a large group of people.....no water or anything else on the floor. In my supportive husband's words "well at least you weren't wearing a skirt. " Yeah that incident did not make the blog.

But in recent years I have tried to overcome my dislike for activity in the name of things like swimsuits and getting old. I have been moderately successful in weight training, running on the elliptical and riding my bike. I actually surprisingly really enjoy my bike. One thing I have still not been able to conquer is running (you know on the pavement). I would try once, my knees would kill me and then that was it. But running a 5K was put on my to do list for a reason. Yeah a 5K is puny but considering where I am coming from, it is progress. So I found the program Couch to 5K. It is prefect for me because it gets you running a 5K in nine weeks so you make slow progress. I also downloaded podcasts for free that tell you when to run and walk so you don't have to worry about about timing yourself or tracking distances. That way your mind can be free to think about how much you hate running and lots of chocolate.

So this is what I see every morning as I get ready. The lone upside of having incredibly ugly wallpapered walls is that you can thumbtack things to them with no worries. So I am on week 3....and yes I am already a week behind. But I blame it on a week of rain. I don't think I will ever be that dedicated to run in the rain. So why am I posting this since it obviously does not fit the "theme" of the blog? Because if I post it I will have to follow-up with it. So since everyone now knows about it, I can't be a baby and just go back to my bike. If I was really techno-savvy I would add something to mark my progress but I don't know if I can figure that out (or if anyone really cares). I am already thinking to extend the 5K to 10K or even a half marathon....until I go running and realize what a long way away that is. But by the 4th of July at least I should be close the the 5K....keep me honest.

Best Anniversary Gift?

Yep that is my awesome husband cleaning the oven one of the crappiest chores after I dropped a pizza and got burnt cheese all over the place. Who needs flowers?

Very thrilled that I snapped the photo

Good Thing Pregnancy Lasts 9 Months...

5.28.2009
...Because that is how long I am going to need to get all the crafty baby projects done. Come to think of it, I might want to start now even though I am definitely not pregnant just to get a head start. There is just so much cute stuff to make for babies.

Here is what I whipped up on Monday for a friend at work. I have never tried quilting before and I saw the kit at Joann's when I was buying fabric for my other projects so I thought I would give it a whirl.
The Front


The Back



So it is not perfect and obviously not a complicated pattern but for a first attempt I pretty happy with it. The longest part was cutting all the squares and then ripping out seams when I read the seam allowances wrong. That part also involved a lot of cursing but I have decided that a seam ripper is my new best friend. Another thing I learned was that satin and faux stretchy fur are very difficult to sew...especially when you are sewing them together. But overall it was quick and easy. Next time I won't even buy a kit, just a couple cute fat quarters and some other fabric for the back.

Four Years of Wedded Bliss

Today is the big 4 year anniversary. It is hard to believe that we have already been married four years. In some ways wedding planning was so much fun, but I am glad all the stress is long over. Then I was too busy searching for flower and centerpiece inspiration pics that that I did not have time to worry about house ones.

Every year Derek gets me something off the anniversary list which is a really sweet tradition. This year appliances are on the modern list and flowers are on the traditional list. Since we just bought a new washer and dryer two weeks ago I have a feeling a new fridge will not be waiting for me today. Derek is still trying to convince me that a TV is considered an appliance. Oh well....flowers are nice too. We probably won't do anything spectacular tonight to celebrate since it is Thursday but hopefully this weekend we will do something fun. Our other anniversary tradition is watching the wedding video together so that can be squeezed in tonight. Since we are reliving the day and I cannot upload the whole video (I know you are sad about that) here are some pictures to share of our big day 4 years ago. (all photos from Nordmann Photography)



Hellooo Summer

5.26.2009
Again I have been a bad blogger....but I have an excuse. The last week was crazy at work and I was trying to make progress on the laundry room reno. But after taking the weekend to relax (and make more progress on projects) I am ready to go again.

One of the things I love the most about working in education? May. There is nothing more exciting than the last day of school and I am lucky enough to get to experience it over and over again. Take last Friday, the final bell rings and an euphoric yell rises into the hallways. You thought I was going to say June/July/August didn't you? Well I sadly do not have all that time off so I am going to stick to May. I also love that when everyone comes back (kids and staff) in August that things also look brighter and happier because it is a brand new year. It's like a new years resolution every August....with that new crayon smell to boot.

One of my summer resolutions is to get to the pool more often. When we bought the house last year, a neighborhood pool was on my must-haves list. I was not willing to compromise on it and was so excited when the pool opened last year. Know how many times I went? Zip. I blame it on the kitchen renovation. And the impact the kitchen renovation had on my waistline- too much eating out did not inspire me to want to put on a swimsuit. Since we are (unfortunately) not doing any big renovation this summer I am going to get to the pool....I hope.

Derek got a new smoker for his birthday and spent a large part of the weekend experimenting with it. So we were eating BBQ every day and I will say even though he is a newbie at the smoker thing it turned out quite good.

When we had friends over on Friday I found a new recipe that I wanted to share-Strawberry-Goat Cheese Bruschetta (from Better Homes and Gardens). It was delicious, easy, and the best part looked a lot more complicated than it was. I can't wait to make it again.

Here is the recipe (too lazy to re-copy it)

It is not the healthiest or most economical recipe but I think I will be making it many times this summer.

Hope your Memorial Day Weekend was great! Mine left me with the question of why all weekends can't last three days?

Some Inspiration...

5.19.2009
I have been so busy actually working in the laundry room that I have not had much time to post about it (or anything else). Right now it is a total disaster and all the trim still needs another coat of paint so an after pic is still a little way off. In the meantime I wanted to share some pics I gathered to give me ideas. I was actually surprised how few laundry inspiration pictures I had saved (since I have a slight addiction to saving inspiration pictures) and even more surprised how few pictures were out there when I looked for more. I guess it is not a very glamorous room so not very many people post pictures. Here are some of the ones I stumbled on that helped me design our new remodeled laundry room-

from DecorPad courtesy of Design Inc.

Love the modern feel and the back splash. Also I am very jealous of the sink.


This room is not really my design style but I love the laundry basket storage....each person gets a basket and you can sort it as you fold. My mother had this system while we were growing up and it worked really well...especially if you were a teenager and just wanted to keep all your clothes in your basket so you did not have to put them away in the drawer

flickr find- saucy dragonfly's laundry room

Love everything about this room- the color, the space, the organization, the counter above the front loader...


From HGTV's Rate My Space Nashville 123 here

And those glass tiles and pendant light......


From HGTV's Dream Home 2009

I know that this is not a laundry room (duh), but this was my inspiration for the color scheme. Since our new laundry appliances are white and we already have a white counter in there, we went with the "white and one bright color scheme". Its a technical design term. I got vetoed on this green but I love how the white pops against the bright color.

Crafty To-Do List

5.14.2009
I am the queen of completing 90% of of a project and then stopping to start a new project. It is just so much more fun to start something new than to complete boring details at the end of a project. Even though my craft room is not even started in terms of a remodel, I have been spending a lot of time in there working on my sewing skills. I have bought some books to help me make the jump from sewing straight lines on drapes to actually following a pattern and making clothing. I have been making steady progress but I still have some many more projects on the to-do file and none in the completed file. So hopefully by the end of the month the majority(ok some) of these will be done. We will see.....

1. Finish this dress (I am doing the one without the sleeves)-
So far everything is cut and the bodice is almost completed. This is is my first clothing sewing project ever and I probably really over-estimated my sewing abilities with this being my first but I don't think I have screwed it up....yet.


2. Start this dress

So far I have read the back of the envelope. Need to get moving if I want to wear it before September.

3. Finish What I Wore Skirt-

I don't think this will take me all that long to complete but I want to wait to finish it until she posts the last set of directions so I can do it all in one sitting. Right now it is all pinned.

4. Sew A-Line skirt in this fabric

Hey I bought fabric which is some progress.

5. Make this cute spring scarf (directions found here)
Again I need to get moving because scarves are not that much fun to wear when it is 90 degrees. I am thinking about pink for a color.

6. Make this apron from The Feathered Nest
It probably would have been smarter to start with a simple apron than with dresses...oh well

7. Make this apron from Living Creatively (cause a girl needs a full length one too)

8. Make the Buttercup Bag

9. Finish Family Room Throw Pillows

10. Finish Kitchen drapes
It is going to take awhile to sew seven lined panels. I bought this fabric forever ago and swore they would be done by winter to help insulate the kitchen windows. Now I am saying by July...

11. Finish Scarf-
Finally something I have time to get done since it is not wearable until November-

I need to get busy. Maybe a renovated craft room will inspire me?

Before/After- Powder Room

5.13.2009
I have been a slacking in the posting department lately because of projects at work and the laundry room (posts coming soon I promise). But in the meantime I have another before/after to add to the list-The Powder Room.

THE BEFORE
Don't you love the wallpaper? Fake green wood paneling and angels and birdhouses to top it off? Of all the wallpaper in the house, this was the worst to remove. No matter what you did it came off in pieces about the size of a half a penny. When my parents came in to help us with the reno the weekend after we closed, my mom spent hours and hours in that room and only managed to get a part of one wall off. Good thing it was not a large room (and that my mom has a lot of patience).

Of course there is also honey oak, brass, a shell sink and a ugly light fixture (which missed the picture) to add to the charm. Ignore the sexy picture of me in my home reno outfit......

THE AFTER (Disclaimer- this room is very small with no natural light and so is very difficult to photograph)

Probably the best representation of how the paint color really looks



This picture is now hanging on the big empty wall. Click here to see how I got rid of the brass frame for less than $5.

This project still needs some finishing touches but overall we are happy how it came out. But this room took a lot longer than we imagined it would.

Our original plan involved pulling the honey oak vanity and putting in a pedestal sink or another more modern vanity. But the hardwood floor did not run under the oak vanity and the builder ran the water lines from the floor and not the wall. So those options were removed and we decided that painting it was the best idea. Then my bright idea was to paint the cabinet creme to lighten up the space. After painting the entire thing I decided I hated it because the color was too white. So I got a "creamier" color. Still hated it. So I switched to dark brown and was finally happy.

Then the crown molding saga....

We thought that since we had successfully done crown molding in the office that we could handle the little powder room and do it in a hour or two. Yeah we were really overestimating our abilities. Slight problem....the corners are really not square and even with multiple cuts, a lot of cursing and many trips back to Home Depot over multiple days, we were still not lining up. Our little project suddenly turned into a nightmare. So we cheated and bought the corners (you know the ones that we made fun of on previous visits). They were pricey but worth it (and we learned not to be so confident with our skills in the crown department).

The details-

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Latte
Counter top: Stock granite with undermount sink from Home Depot or Lowes
Faucet- Home Depot
Mirror- Homegoods- $50
Light Fixture- clearance at Lowes-$30 (originally $80)
Vanity- Painted with Ace Cabinet and Trim color matched to SW Black Bean
Accessories- Bed Bath and Beyond

I Think I am in Love.....

5.07.2009
With my new washer and dryer. It took a lot of discussion, shopping and compromising but a brand new washer and dryer were delivered this morning. I really wanted the Electrolux in teal that has a light inside the wash drum, but it cost a couple of hundred dollars more and while I could give you a play by play of our conversation about this at the store I am sure you can imagine it. I will give you a hint...it involves spray paint and a flashlight.

So I was practical and while they are not red or teal and don't make cool beeping sounds each time you turn a knob like some of the models we looked at.....I still am so excited that they were delivered to my laundry room this morning.

Before:

After:
So shiny and new....

You know what this means.....the laundry room now moves to the top of the list for a organization and design makeover. It is one of the few rooms left with honey oak and now with snazzy appliances in there that is going to change soon.

I have never really watched how a front loader worked and while it is embarrassing to admit, I spent a better portion of my evening sitting on the laundry room floor being amazed by the washer and how little water it was using. I had to keep wiping forehead prints off the window and I am sure if Derek would have been home to catch in me in the act I would been able to add a humorous picture to give you a visual.

So I after buying new HE detergent to go on my new washer, I did two loads of laundry (I swear I only watched the first one). As I was going to bed I went in to the laundry room one last time to say good-night, I mean to double check that there were still no leaks and I noticed something odd.

What's wrong with this picture (besides the dust of course)??

Happy Birthday!

5.05.2009

Yesterday was Derek's birthday and to celebrate we went for sushi (his favorite, mine not so much). While he ate tons of sushi I somewhat enjoyed my cooked chicken teriyaki. I know the sushi waiter was laughing at me. Then as the ultimate birthday celebration we went in search of a new dryer. I know you are jealous of the exciting life we live.

Why a dryer? Are we really that boring? Well Sunday night I was in the middle of finishing two weeks worth of laundry. But as I went to turn on the dryer on the second to last load to get the wrinkles out since it had been sitting there too long....it just buzzed. Almost like a like a car that chugs but does not turn over. We unplugged it, checked the vent, checked the circuit breaker and even gave it a good kick....and still the buzz.

So then the big question....pay to have it fixed or buy a new one? The washer and dryer while relatively new (about 6 years) are the very low end models and were bought off the bulletin board at my dad's office when we were poor grad students. They literally each have one cycle. And the dryer has melted 2 comforters. So you can probably guess my vote......new front loader in a possibly gorgeous color ......or.......pay $75 just to have someone come look at the dryer not including how much it will cost to fix it.

And you know if I get a new dryer (let's say in red for the sake of visualization) doesn't it make sense just to look at the matching washer??? You know just in case.....

*Sorry your birthday post got taken over by dryer thoughts. I also apologize that I did not make you a cake from scratch like I did a couple of years ago....hopefully a picture of it will do. It's not good for you anyway. Maybe I can make it up to you by taking over the laundry....as long as the washer and dryer are red.......

Yeah for Spring!

5.04.2009
Since all my new plants need to have some time (OK a lot) to grow in, I am trying to make myself be patient by enjoying spring bulbs and the pots I have planted. Patience is not one of my strengths so I am going to have to keep looking at these pictures.

We planted tons of bulbs in the front yard last fall. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers and I hope to have even more in the yard next year. I spent hours in the local garden store last fall picking out my favorites and could not wait to see what they looked like when they bloomed this year. Unfortunately bunnies ate the buds off one of my favorites but we still had plenty.
Some pots are still empty but I did plant the three in the planter on the deck last week. Last year I put the same flowers in each pot. Not the best idea. This worked for two of the three but the third pot was shaded so I could not get the dahlia to grow.

So I learned from my mistake and this year each pot was planted with different flowers better suited to the light it will be receiving. I did use a "spiky" plant (the technical term) to unify the three in some way. It probably would also look better if all the plants were the same color, but I could not find what I needed all in one color. If I was patient enough to go to more than one store that might have happened. Next year I will be posting that I learned from this mistake:). Here are the three pots in all their "I need to have time to grow in" glory. (the roses in the black pots still need to be planted in the ground)
Pot #1 (the shady one)-Calla lilies and impatiens
Pot #2- Marigold and Snapdragons
Pot#3- Gerbera daisies and a white annual I can't remember the name of

And even though the roses are not in the ground yet, I am still enjoying the flowers. Nothing is better than fresh cut roses from the garden