Eleven Years

S on SnowdoniaWe take a quick break from our new house decoration posts to note that the Architect and I started dating ELEVEN years ago today. It’s insane to me how long that is. I’ve recently been going through old family photos, and it’s like I’m a child and then BAM! There he is with me.

He said we weren’t going to celebrate, since last year we went on vacation to Vermont and called it our “tenth anniversary goodbye vacation” since after that we were going to celebrate our wedding anniversary. But, he came home from work with some beautiful flowers for me. What a sweetheart.

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So I thought I would post some factoids about our eleven years together and some photos from throughout.

Together, we have lived in seven places–an apartment in his college town for one winter break, DC where we met the Artist, three different places in our last home city, and now two here.

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We traveled to three countries together on our honeymoon: England, France, and Wales. I’ve stayed at home while he’s gone to France, England, Switzerland, and Italy twice.

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We got married when we had already been together for nine years.

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We were in a long distance relationship for five years, during which we went to college. That was when I learned how to have friends and be in a relationship, and I’m very grateful for that time, even though it was difficult.

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When we first got together in high school, we agreed that we would break up if we were still together come graduation. That obviously didn’t pan out, which is wonderful.

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The Architect briefly dated K in 9th grade. It lasted about three weeks, which is 1/190th of the time the Architect and I have been together.

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However, he’s lived with her all but five months of the time he’s lived with me, which means he’s lived with her 93% of the time he’s lived with me.

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I’m sorta running out of number facts, so I’m just going to talk about how cool he is. He designs lots of buildings for lots of architecture firms, and when people come over to visit, I just walk them around and point out all the cool things he’s made.

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He has a really cute giggle and he’s an excellent listener. He always does whatever he can think of to make someone’s day a little better, like bringing me home those flowers even though we said we weren’t celebrating. And he really loves dogs.

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And….one time in high school for twin day he dressed up as me. Doesn’t he look way different now?

Refashion Friday: Overly Colorful Dress

S on SnowdoniaThis dress is another one from the stash of things my mom brought me from the thrift store this summer. Because my mom is the best!

The print is really super colorful, which was too much on this dress. It has that bottom ruffle that I dislike on pretty much every dress ever (why would you ruffle a print this colorful? I don’t know, it’s too much). And the shape was pretty frumpy.

before

I decided to do it without dyeing the fabric as a challenge. And because I wasn’t sure there was any dye that would look good over all of those different colors that also wasn’t black. The best way to make that work was to make this dress into two different pieces that can be worn separately. So! The first thing I did was remove the offending ruffle from the bottom and take the bodice off the skirt. I forgot to take a picture of the spare ruffle piece. But then I took the ruffle, cut it in half, and then sewed the two halves together like this:

ruffle sewn together

 

Then I sewed those two pieces to the bottom of the bodice to make a new waist section. Unfortunately, there was a weird bunching in the back, which was true on the dress in the first place:

bunchy back

I took out that bunching section that was too big and ironed it out. This is too long for across my shoulder blades:

too long back

So I cut out a chunk and sewed it back in. That was the end of the top!

top done

It’s cute, but it’s not really “me.” So I’m planning on donating it right back to the thrift store. But the skirt is cute, and I’m going to keep it. To make it, I removed the elastic from the skirt section and laid it out. I put pins in it to make it more of an a-line shape.

(Sidebar: This refashioning is teaching me a few basic sundress construction conventions, many of which I’m finding are easier to sew than other techniques, but which tend to make a dress that’s quite unflattering. The ruffle at the bottom is one, the two triangles bosom shape is another, and the “make a tube of fabric and throw some elastic on it to make a skirt thing is another. I find that the tube of fabric skirts tend to puff out too much right under the elastic, creating a weird ridge in the appearance of the body line. I much prefer the a-line shape, which widens gradually from the elastic waistband and makes a smoother visual line on the body.)

skirt reshapingI sewed along those pin lines and then made a new elastic casing. I put the elastic back in my new casing with my fun bodkin:

putting elastic back in

 

And then I hemmed it and I was done!

skirt done

Ooooh! Work-appropriate! And way less overwhelmingly colored!

before and after

 

Paint is Awesome

S on SnowdoniaMost of the walls in our new house are renter beige, since we’re renters. The third floor, where the teacher lives, is bright lavender, which is pretty awesome. But we had permission from our landlords to paint, so we decided to do it.

We aren’t painting every room. The living room is bright enough with the purple doors and grass green rug (I guess we should give a little tour of the house one of these days, but it will have to wait until after the paint). I don’t think it’s worth the work to paint the bathrooms or the hallways or the mudroom, and K and the Artist don’t want to paint their bedroom because it’s too big. So we’re painting the dining room, the kitchen, the Architect’s and my bedroom, and K and the Artist’s insanely awesome bathroom.

The first room to get a new paint job was the dining room. It had a chair rail, so to save ourselves some work, we decided to just paint the wall under the chair rail and leave the top. That would also make it a nicer transition to the hallway since there isn’t a doorway. Here are a couple of shots of the dining room before paint. 

The first one shows the china cabinet into the hallway up the stairs. You can see our giant purple doors in the living room through the hallway.

dining room before 2

The second picture shows our library. The dining room had this little nook that I can only assume was supposed to house the china cabinet, but it fit our big awesome new bookcases so well that we had to go with it being a cozy library nook. The Architect’s office recently moved, and their new space didn’t need these, so he brought them home with him. They’re huge! They’re eight feet tall! (Good thing our house doesn’t have low ceilings).

dining room before library

So we bought some red paint and got our paint on. And it looks so good now! Like a room that someone put some thought into rather than a renter space with some furniture thrown in. (You’ll have to forgive the haziness with the light in some of these. It was raining out, so I had to turn on the chandelier even though it was too bright). 

The china cabinet view again:

dining room painted 4The library:

library

The window with the Ti Amos in view:

dining room painted 2

And finally, the wall with the awesome art we commissioned from Kyle Fisher:

dining room painted 3Oh, and I should definitely point out the Architect’s tablescape. He’s famous for his tablescapes. A few new friends of ours are moving onto a boat, so they are getting rid of some of their belongings, including this Aalto vase that they gave to us. The Architect has a sense of humor though, so he put a silicone chicken pot holder eating a sprig in it. I love him. He’s awesome.

dining room after vase

The room is so bright and cheery now. Paint is such a good thing for making a space seem like yours.

If you thought last week’s bathroom was cool, just wait

K on treeSo, along the lines of S’ post last week about our move, I’ll be giving you more information about the bathrooms in our house, specifically, how awesome mine is.

The Artist and I somehow managed to end up with the master bedroom, which of course means the best bathroom. Of course we’ll let everyone use it because it would be unfair otherwise, but we’re totally stoked about the new space. Not only does it have a pair of sinks, but it also has a standing shower and a jacuzzi tub.

Not only a jacuzzi tub, but one set into an amazing platform with luxurious space around it.

Eh, voila, the photo:

Yep, you're jealous

 

Dick is quite happy with the standing shower as well.

The only thing we aren’t happy about so far is this bizarre electricity thing that’s happening. We had to buy a washer & dryer, but then the dryer stopped working. We figured we got a bad used one, so we called an appliance repair guy, who said we had too much power coming out of our walls which (possibly) had fried the computer in our dryer. So we had our landlord call the power company, who said it wasn’t their problem, that we had to call an electrician. So the landlord called an electrician, who said there was no problem with our electricity in the house. I guess the new theory is that the electric company is causing power surges in the house, but we don’t know yet, so we’re without a way to was our clothes at this apartment for the time being, which is annoying. Also, hopefully the computer on our dryer isn’t broken because then we’ll just have to buy another one because the cost to fix the computer will be three times what we paid for the used machine.

In happier news, the Teacher is all moved in! Here’s a pretty picture of her new room!!!

Pretty in Purple

New House and New Bathroom Curtain

S on SnowdoniaWe moved to a new house over the weekend. Pardon the dust, it’s piles of stuff everywhere that hasn’t been put away yet and things. But it’s so much bigger and better than our apartment, and there’s room for the Teacher, who’s arriving on Saturday. Yay! We are so excited for her arrival.

So, as you have probably guessed already, you are in for weeks of house project related posts as we get settled in our new space. Today’s project was quick and easy. During the move, our beloved elephant shower curtain got a pull and a hole on it, and was ruined. Sad face.

elephant before

So we went and got a new shower curtain with raindrops on it. We wanted to make sure the colors were similar, since we have a matching elephant soap dispenser. Look how pretty! (Don’t mind the towel on the floor. We have yet to find our bath mats.)

new shower curtainThen, we were left with the problem of the tiny bathroom window. It had an eensy weensy tension rod on it, but no curtains or blinds. Actually, our entire house doesn’t have any blinds. Alas, we needed a curtain because even though the view out the bathroom window is of a roof and some bamboo, I still need some curtains for after-dark showering.

bathroom window

And so I came up with a brilliant and money-saving plan for this window. I made it a new curtain out of the elephant shower curtain! Just a snip and a hem. Done! Except this picture is weird and washed out because cameras don’t like looking at windows that have light streaming in. I did what I could.

new curtain

 

Wee! New house projects! More to come, I’m sure. This house has a lot of firsts for us, so we’re figuring out how to work with them. It has: our first working fireplace, our first third floor, our first half-bath, our first bathroom on the main floor of a two-story house, our first whirlpool tub, our first mudroom, and our first place with FIVE residents. Five people. The Architect’s best friend said we are really starting a commune. Perhaps we are, but I say that old saying about the more the merrier knew what it was talking out. Having lots of people in your house is the best.

In other news, our half bath is pretty ridiculously big, especially for the overall size of the house. I have never seen a bigger half bath, even in houses that are much larger than this one. It’s so big, we had to put a table in there for it to make any sense at all. Look at that pretty table the Architect made. And some reading material. The book is called “All My Friends are Dead.” It’s pretty good. The Architect thinks we should replace it with “Everybody Poops.” I’m not sure how I feel about that. Thoughts?

half bath

Two half eggs plus one whole egg

K on treeWe have big news in two half egg land! We have a really close friend we’ve known since elementary school (that part isn’t news). We’ve always been super close, even though S and I moved away after 5th grade. Luckily, our parents saw the value in our friendship and we saw each other at least once a year since then. We even all went to Space Camp together twice.

The big news is that our friend, the teacher, is moving in with us! She’s lived right by where we grew up basically forever, so we are excited for her to try out a new place. We’re getting a new apartment this week and moving in, and she’s coming the weekend after this one, so very soon we’ll have  5 in our house!

Hooray!!!!!

We’re so excited to welcome her into our home and our family because we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years.

Refashion Friday: Work Dress

S on SnowdoniaThis dress has been in my to-be-refashioned pile for almost a year, now. When I first got it, I thought it would make an excellent work dress, but then we moved and I didn’t have a job, so I didn’t have the motivation to work on it. But now I’m employed! And my work has a real dress code (this is my first job to have an actual dress code), so I have to look all professional. The main sticking point is that our skirts have to be down to the knee, and I have a lot of really nice work dresses that are just a bit too short for that requirement. So this little number jumped on up in the priority scale. Please forgive the blurry before photo, from back in our old apartment.

work dress before

Hoo, boy. Check out that baby pink top half. And that weird batwing sleeve thing going on. (You may remember from my Valentine’s dress that I’m not the biggest fan of batwing sleeves). Also, that navy button at the collar was incongruent.

The first thing I did was throw it in a dye bath with a dress from my very first refashioning post. Purple!

purple dye bucket

Once it was done dying, it sat with the rest of my to-be-refashioneds for most of a year, while I moved and made new friends and refashioned some other dresses and whatnot. Come on out, dress!

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was change the shape of the neckline. That round collar with the big navy button wasn’t doing it for me. So I turned it under and stitched.

pinning neckline

Then, I cut off a bunch of the sleeves because they were weirdly long and tight at the end, just to make it easier to work with them. I wanted to move the waistline up, and since there was already a seam on the top of the sleeves, I decided to take it up from the shoulder:

pinning shoulders

And finally, I changed the shape of the armpits.

pinning armpits

And that was it! I must admit, this isn’t my favorite after ever ever, but it’s a work dress, so it doesn’t have to be my favorite item of clothing. Besides that, it’s so very very improved from what it was before that I’ll take it.

purple work dress after

I will look so proper and assistant-y! That concludes this week’s terrible to wearable!

work dress before and after

Ladies Weekend and my new job

S on SnowdoniaWe’ve been so busy visiting friends and family and getting ready to move to an awesome new place next month, and I’ve been so busy starting my new job that we have been somewhat remiss in keeping up with our posting schedule. Alas, life. 

My new job is super awesome. We had a company-wide talent show plus free lunch last week, which was hilarious and very well-done. Plus my new coworkers are great and my office has a sweet view. And I can ride my bike to work. Could it be any better? Probably not.

Except! Ladies Weekend was way better. Ever since the year of my bachelorette weekend, K and my lady friends take a trip for one weekend a year to make sure we’re keeping up with each other. We rotate who to go visit by going in alphabetical order by first name. This year, it was the turn of our friend who lives at the beach. Her parents very generously offered to let us stay at their place, since they were going to be out of town this weekend anyway, and their house is the most awesome house ever. It is immediately on a lake. When I say immediately on a lake, I mean it. The back deck may as well be a back dock. It’s also beautiful and half a block from the neighborhood’s private beach. Which meant it was the first time in my life that I went to a beach that wasn’t totally full of tourists. It was magical. The whole weekend was so relaxing and wonderful. There was a full moon, so we went out to the beach and stayed up late telling stories and dancing under the moonlight. The moon was so bright that we didn’t need any artificial light at all, and it was such a wonderful experience.

We also did a little touristing, which is where my friend fell suddenly and deeply in love.

10557174_693868894346_4467572011137636092_nK and I carpooled for that friend, for whom it was cheaper to fly to our city and ride with us (other friends flew straight to the beach). On our way home, we made a tourist stop at South of the Border. We thought it would be fun and awesome, and it was a little bit. South of the Border is a huge Mexican-themed tourist location just south of the North Carolina/South Carolina border. Because, get it? It’s south of a border and so is Mexico?

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However, that stringless Tiki guitar in a Mexican-themed kitsch tourist location might tip you off to our problem with the whole experience. See, when K and I hang out with that friend, we get very academic. And South of the Border is about as un-academic as it gets. So we went around problematizing all of the cultural appropriation. Which was BAD. There were terrible cultural stereotyping space-taker-uppers that referenced the entire world. Like Tiki guitars and a drum made out of actual zebra skin (which was $650 and had a tag that was yellowed with age because who goes to South of the Border with the intention of spending that much money on exotic animal hides?). You can also purchase tourist things from places that South of the Border is not in. Such as shot glasses that say Florida on them And there was this cultural monstrosity:

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As you can see, this is a “Leather Tee Pee” that depicts Kokopelli. Kokopelli is a fertility deity from the Hopi, who lived in the Southwestern United States. Tee Pees are from the Native Americans of the Great Plains. These were entirely separate people with entirely separate nations. But of course, at South of the Border, you can just put the god of one native group onto the dwelling of another native group. Because tourism! And all “Indians” are the same! Gross.

 

Family is Awesome

S on SnowdoniaAfter last Tuesday’s awesome news, we got some more great news on Friday–the Artist got a short-term job at a firm that’s pretty darn awesome. And then later on Friday, some rednecks came to town! It’s Ole Redneck and Young Redneck, my brother and nephew. It’s really great to have them coming to visit, since my brother has never been to our house before and my nephew only had once. Usually we visit them when we go back home for Christmas. But my brother had some extra time off work for vacation, so they came on over for the week. We live so much closer to back home since the big move, so we’ve been able to see so very much more of our family.

They had just gotten finished with a quick camping vacation to meet the Duck Dynasty guys and go to a few sites in Louisiana from the show. My nephew got Si’s autograph, which he just loves because Si is basically his hero.

So they came to visit us, and we went blueberry picking, which we do every year around the summer solstice. And then the two rednecks, the Architect, and I went to a dance show that some of my friends were in. Old Redneck had a good time and enjoyed having an experience different from what he usually does.

When we came home, K and the Artist had made some blueberry ketchup (did you know you can make ketchup out of any fruit?) and they made some yummy ham sandwiches with it. Old Redneck dribbled some on his chin, so K helped.

blueberry ketchupYoung Redneck loves video games, so he’s spent a fair amount of time playing them since he’s gotten here. He likes to play games where he can drive cars around. The Artist shows him how it’s done.

vidjergraems

 

On Sunday we had a nice relaxing day and went out and grilled. It was nice. Then yesterday, since everyone but me was at work, the Rednecks and I took a nice, long walk around town for several hours. We stopped off to take a picture with Young Redneck and a sculpture called “Captain Jack.”

Captain JackIt’s been so nice having them in town and getting to spend so much more time with them that we usually get to. Even just a few weeks ago, we went back home for the weekend to visit Mom and Dad for Dad’s 60th birthday. We went for the weekend, which was something we never could have done before, when there were 800 miles between our home and our parents. Dad’s cake had so many candles.

so many candles unlit

It took us a long, long time to light them all.

being lit 2

candles being lit

As we finally got all the candles lit, we got this picture with my dad and all his kids and grandkids. Did I mention there were a lot of candles?

so many candles all the kids

When Dad blew them out, it was a smokesplosion!

smokesplosion

 

 

YAY! What a great day!

K on treeToday, S got some amazing news! She got her dream job! She’s now working as the assistant to the event coordinators at a performing arts center! She’s been wanting to work in the performing arts for a few years and has finally gotten her opportunity! She’s starting early next month and I’m so proud of her!

Let’s take a moment to clap in congratulations for my incredibly smart sister. Yay! >clap! clap! clap!<

She’s very excited because she feels like our recent cross country move has turned out really well. The Artist and I have nearly been here for a year, and it’s time for us to find a new place to live. Though our apartment has been nice, we feel it’s a little small for our family, so we’re looking for a house we can rent. S has been doing a lot of that work because she likes doing research on real estate, and she’s found some really pretty ones. We’ll end up in a much nicer place when it’s all said and done.

In other news, I’m working on a new project that’s going to take months, but I’ve finally started and am very excited. Yay! The Artist made me some pretty text art, and I’ve started knitting a blanket with the text art on it. It’s gonna be awesome when it’s done! But I really haven’t gotten anywhere. It’s using lots and lots of yarn at the same time. I’ve only gotten started, and I’m already using 17 different “balls” at once! I put balls in quotes because mostly what I’m using are small amounts of yarn wrapped around clothespins. That helps keep it from getting too tangled. (Though of course it’s getting pretty tangled anyway).

Here’s a picture so you get a better idea:

Knits McGee!

Happy crafting!