January Spring

01/31/2011

This weekend was January Spring! What’s January Spring, you ask? That’s what Jason and I call the weekend we seem to get every winter, usually in January, where we get a preview of spring and a respite from winter. This past Saturday and Sunday were sunny with highs of 65º. A glorious change from all the snow we’ve had in Nashville this year. (We had 4.5 inches in December and I think it’s been more than that in January.) I left the doors hanging open hoping to lure the warm sunshine into the house!

Here’s a little weekend recap:

Friday night I had dinner with my parents and we saw 127 Hours. It was intense and disturbing so be forewarned if you go. It is inspiring to see how Aron Ralston went through what he did and survived. Talk about a will to live.

Saturday I had the privilege of snapping some last minute maternity pictures of my brother- and sister-in-law. More on that later this week. After that: grocery shopping, lunch outside, a Vanderbilt – University of Arkansas basketball game, and a movie with friends.

Sunday Jason got home—if you’ve been reading this blog for the past 6 months you know how much I love homecomings!—and we enjoyed the warm weather with breakfast outside, weeding the garden (Jason) and a walk with Lucy. After that his family came over to hang out for the evening. We ate tortilla soup and berry delight and played Apples to Apples. Jason and I topped the night off with catching up on the past couple episodes of Modern Family. It was a wonderful weekend!

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By the way… sorry for the unannounced blog hiatus the past couple weeks. I was feeling uninspired after weeks of cold, snowy winter and decided I needed a break. Five posts a week is a big time commitment and though I enjoy it, sometimes I feel like I put too much pressure on myself. So I’m back. I’m not sure if I’m 5-days-a-week back, but I’m here.


Bringing the House Down

01/19/2011

Back in May I wrote about the flood that impacted Nashville and the surrounding Tennessee areas, including our friends and downhill neighbors Leila and Jeremy.

As a reminder, here’s what their house looked like after they purchased it and worked to fully renovate it:

Here’s what the house looked like during the flood:

And here’s the house at almost the peak of flood level. It’s the one on the right. You can see that the water is up to the base of the windows. It eventually made it half way up the window to a level of 4 ft. in the house. The water was too deep (and disgusting) for me to get a picture straight on:

So here we are now, 7-8 months later, and their house is finally being demolished. FEMA regulations required that the house be raised 4ft to be above flood plain. When the costs were evaluated it made the most sense to demo and start over. This process has been long and painful for our friends and it was so good to see tangible forward progress just before New Years.

Demolition was set to begin just around sunrise on a crisp morning:

A quick peak inside before it’s gone; everything of value had been striped out: windows, insulation, wiring, plumbing…

And before the sun was above the tree line, the house was a pile of sticks and bricks:

It turned out to be a bright, beautiful day and brought new meaning to a clean slate for a new year. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on the progress. Soon (once the snow melts…) the foundation will be poured and construction on their new home will begin. I’m hopeful that they’ll be in their new home by the anniversary of the flood.

(CBB)


Phone Photo Friday

01/14/2011


Home Office Part 5: The Cloffice (or Offet)

01/12/2011

What do you get when you cross a closet and an office? A cloffice? An offet? The latter is cute but we’ve been calling it a cloffice ever since a friend made the suggestion. I’m happy to report that this home renovation project is FINISHED. DONE. COMPLETE. We’re undecided about adding bi-fold doors at some point. I kind of like it open but covering it up might be nice too.

Since my last post about the hall-coat-closet-turned-home-office here is what has been done: Jason re-hung my upper monitor (straight and centered this time; I’m a mess without him…), installed an electric outlet, removed the door and widened the doorway, finished my desktop, reframed the doorway and painted the trim, baseboards, hall wall and shelves. Oh, and he also painted a stripe on the floor for me. It was necessary because part of the wood flooring was missing when we removed the wall. But I like that it’s kind of funky and helps to define the space. I touched the cloffice wall paint, cleaned up the top shelf with new matching storage boxes and hung some Command hooks for my bulletin board and computer satchel.

I’m kicking myself for not taking a before picture. POO. Anyway… here are the first four parts of this series in case you missed them:

Home Office Part 1: Small Homes Require/Inspire Creativity

Home Office Part 2: Closet Offices & Inspiration

Home Office Part 3: The Coat Closet

Home Office Part 4: Decorating & Customizing


Nikon CoolPix and a Handmade Wool Felt Case

01/11/2011

Jason got me a new digital camera for Christmas. It’s a Nikon CoolPix S205 that we snagged at Target’s Black Friday sale. I LOVE it!

Someday I’d like a nice, fancy DSLR but the truth is that I don’t really know enough about photography to use anything other than auto-mode most of the time anyway. I love that this camera is 12 mega pixels and it’s smaller than my cell phone. My brother-n-law swears by Nikon cameras and so far I’m really pleased with the photo quality, even with the flash. My old Kodak EasyShare DX6490 was terrible with indoor pictures. The flash blew everything out and without it the pictures were almost always dark and grainy.

It didn’t come with a case or protective sleeve or anything so to protect my little baby, I decided to make a cute little pocket pouch for it. I used olive green wool felt for the outside and light green fleece for the inside. (By the way, this is my first time working with wool felt and I love it! I bought it almost 2 years ago and I’m finally getting around to using it for something!)

I found a big gray button in my stash that matched the gray contrast stitching (really I was just too lazy to change the thread in my sewing machine) and some green ribbon to make a loop to close it up.

I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m confident it will protect my tiny, slippery little camera. That and making sure I utilize the wrist strap!

Sidenote: I was using a 128 MB memory card with my 7 year old 4 MP camera. It was sufficient for about 100 pictures or 10-15 minutes of video. With my new 12 MP camera, it was only enough for about 30 pictures or a 1.5 minutes of video. I just ordered a new 16 GB memory card (for only $25 on Amazon.com, by the way!) and now I can take over 2,000 pictures or 25 minutes of video. Yay! Also, my 4 MP camera cost over $400 in 2004 but this 12 MP cost less than $100 in 2010.


Snow Day

01/10/2011

Nashville got hit with another major snow storm — the third this winter. And by major snow storm, I mean we got about 2 inches. Thankfully, my office was closed today. I am fully equipped to work from home but since they only allow me to work from home one day a week, I figured, ah screw it. Instead I’ve been cleaning the house, doing laundry and dishes, watching TV,  sketching ideas for the garden and home, and soon I’m going to tackle a sewing project I’ve been putting off for months. Maybe I’ll even cook dinner. It’s been a very nice snow day. 🙂


Phone Photo Friday

01/07/2011

Branson, MO


I Can’t Find My Phone

01/06/2011

When I read what Rachel (my fellow Watkins alum) over at Benign Objects, wrote about I Can’t Find My Phone, I added it to my Bookmarks Bar. I figured I’d never make use of it since I rarely lose my phone, but lo and behold, the night of the Nashville Christmas Parade I hopped in the car and realized I didn’t have my phone. In the process of putting on warm layers for the cold night, it had been buried in a heap of clothes on my bed. I was in a hurry so I popped open my laptop, clicked on the link, typed my number and hit “HELLO?” Problem solved! Now, I must do my duty to pass this useful link on to you: ICantFindMyPhone.com

Save it. You never know when you’ll need it!


2011 Annual Goals

01/05/2011

On December 30th, Jason and I were driving to Branson for a weekend getaway. (Actually, J was working: playing for Guy Penrod; but to me, it was a mini vacation!) Eight hours in the car gave us plenty of time to reflect on 2010, our goals met and unmet; and to dream and plan for 2011. Instead of starting out with a list of home projects like last year, we decided to start with a list of financial goals. In 2010 we filtered most of our nonessential income toward home projects and saved what we could. In 2011, we plan to filter a lot of our nonessential income into savings and investments, and keep a lower, specific amount set aside each month for home projects and repairs.

Our financial goals include a target annual income, retirement savings milestones, general savings targets, getting both of our old cars in good working condition and saving a certain amount toward new replacements and saving for a vacation.

We did, of course, make a list of projects for our home for 2011:

– fence around garden – carried over from 2010’s list

– pergola roof – carried over from 2010’s list

– replace the galvanized steel plumbing pipe from the house to the street (to improve our water pressure)

– get gas run into our house (if the gas company will do it), get a gas range and fireplace

– get 3-5 more fruit trees for our back yard (we’re leaning toward pear, date, cherry … any suggestions?)

– build 1 or 2 more 4′ x 8′ garden beds for vegetables and strawberries

And then, I decided we needed to make another list for big picture goals. Things like:

– read more books

– take more risks

– give more money away

– smile more and make it authentic

What about you? Do you make goals for the year? Resolutions? Do you write them down or just make 1 or 2 decisions that are easy to remember? I’m curious to hear what others do. If you have any great ideas or special goals/resolutions, please share!

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Yearly Goals

01/04/2011

We’re 4 days into the new year and many people have already made resolutions … and some may have already broken their self-vows. A few years ago Jason and I heard about a successful couple from our neighborhood who write out their goals and a gameplan together every year, rather than New Years Resolutions.

At the start of 2010, Jason and I decided to give this a try. He’s very goal oriented and I’m very visual so together we sat down with a little hardback journal and wrote out goals. Our goals for 2010 included a list of home projects and repairs we wanted to complete:

– finish master bathroom renovation – check!

– pergola roof – moved to 2011’s list

– fence around garden – moved to 2011’s list

– install garbage disposal – fell off the priority wagon

– get new tires for our car – check!

– fix car windows that won’t stay up – check!

– refinish nightstand table – fell off the priority wagon

A second list included 2010 financial goals. We listed 4 areas and target amounts we wanted to save for each purpose. We hit 2 of the goals and came halfway to the other 2 goals.

I also made some goals for myself in four personal areas: home, career, family and spiritual. My goals included things like rework my home office, expand the number of designs in my Etsy shop, help more with the gardening and composting more, and stop obsessively planning (AKA worrying).

We’re really pleased how things have turned out this past year, both in terms of meeting goals and in unexpected, unplanned blessings. It has not been an easy year for many people and I know a lot of our Nashville friends are more than ready to forget 2010.

I love the start of a new year and the excitement and potential of a fresh start! Last weekend while Jason and I were driving to Branson, Missouri for New Years (where he was playing), we wrote our goals for 2011. I’ll tell you about them tomorrow.