sitting in a rainy car

be warned. sometimes writing in italics, indicates impending boring-ness.

it’s 4:07 on Thursday afternoon and I’m sitting in a car. the raindrops are drumming gently on the roof and the people walking past scuttle through puddles, trying to avoid them. I’m supposed to be making a grocery shopping list but I think it’s safe to say that I have no idea what to make for dinner and so I sit here quietly waiting… hoping that perhaps if I sit here long enough,  inspiration will knock on my door and I’ll open it up to find a bag full of groceries with instructions and clean dishes afterwards. believe me when I say if I livef by myself I would never ever ever cook. it’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking in itself it’s just the Monday North headedness of such a task force me to tears. And the second half of that last sentence was brought to you by auto correct. right now I’m using a talk to text feature on my phone to write this blog, and I’m finding it not quite inspirational as I hoped. it isnt as though I don’t enjoy seeing what random words my phone will insert for me, that lets be honest-that’s not really the point of writing in the first place.

alright, new topic. thanks very much for your lease Thanksgiving we are looking forward to the long this holiday season ever. ohh my word. this talk to text feature is making me sound really stupid.
that’s it. I’m done, I’m going home. this blog is done.
why on earth I would publish this I have no idea, but I’m partly tempted to, just to help me start writing again. 2012 has been a pretty tough year for me, and I’ve always felt that while quiet waters run deep, sometimes mine just run dry. wow, now I sound like I’m totally obsessed with how deep my waters run. but hey, at least I’m humble about it. this is the most pathetic blog post ever. this talk to text feature is super super lame. also, as an added bonus, I look like a crazy sitting in my car talking to my phone.

And that, my friends was the end of my illustrious career as a phone blogger. I didn’t even have the heart to publish it without coming home and making an honest blog post out of it, but then i remembered that once I said I would make this a blog with no back-spacing and plenty of thinks that I thought. So, i guess the best i can do is include the above section with a small disclaimer about italics. In truth though, italics are usually quite important and should be minded most fastidiously.

I saw some blog post linked on facebook today about words that need to be stricken from common use–mostly because they are overused incorrectly. Now I feel that the occasional use of a word that you don’t actually understand is nothing more than the ramifications of a generation of spell-check children seeing the synonym option and selecting it based on a vague guess involving the context. Such misuse is simply a sign of degrading quality in culture, much the same way that few politicians are actually public servants, or that a 2000 Ford Taurus could even hope to be the restored classic that a 1940 Ford Coupe attains easily. At any rate, my point is that you must accept the following assignment with great brevity. Pick a new word to use today and make sure that you know what it means first. That means you look up the dictionary definition. Guessing is a sin.

Your first word should be fastidiously. Not because I feel that its unique meaning gives it a special value, but simply because the extreme levels of enunciation this word commands, make you stand a little straighter and raise your eyebrows just a bit. The overall effect is one of earnestness, and everyone knows that a little bit of earnest interest in pretty much anything decent can make your world a little bigger. Let’s say you express your appreciation at the fastidious attention to detail that went into your white chocolate cappuccino by the barista at Starbucks. You leave, and the barista smiles to herself because she knows you really meant it–after all, you did look pretty earnest. When she gets off work, the barista puts a little bit more earnestness into her term paper on water transportation methods in third-world countries. Later that week in a study group, a classmate reads that paper just before heading off on a missions trip to Nigeria, and they’re inspired to find a new way to implement the prevention of malaria. Finding a better way to soak the nets in the bug repellent is just the ticket to prevent Akin from getting malaria and continue his education at the local school. Twenty-five years later, Akin is just finishing up his residency in a hospital in Michigan. He’s your new doctor. And just like that, your world got bigger. Did you get chills? Yeah, I thought so.




Warning: the only reason I am making this post is so that I can pin something I’ve done onto Pinterest. I’m just going to assume that if you’re on the internet in the first place, you probably already know what Pinterest is.
Anyway, without having spent an extensive amount of time looking for it, I’m pretty sure this is something I came up with on my own, and not a distant Pinterest memory I’ve forgotten.

Without further ado, I give you: DIY Holiday Spice Candle.
Am I the only one who has a hard time finding realistic spice smells in candles? I thought of this idea after seeing a pillar candle wrapped in cinnamon sticks because the cinnamon sticks release their scent when the candle warms them.
Of course, being the tightwad that I am, I went cheap method and just dumped cinnamon on a candle. Way cheaper, easier, and more spice smells. This is a picture of a vanilla candle from Ikea with cinnamon on top. Smells like fresh snickerdoodles in my house. The other one I tried was ground cloves over a red velvet candle from target. Those red velvet candles smell edibly delicious anyway, but adding your spice of choice makes them fill the house with holiday baking. Minus the mess.


Epic Before/After of an Entire House

Hello Internet. So, long story short–just like the trip to cape cod two years ago, we’re off for a few months to travel the world, namely–Portland. And by Portland i mean Beaverton, which is pretty close to Portland. Anyway, so remember that house that we bought and renovated last spring? Since it’s officially now reached that auspicious age of being a century, decade, year, month, day, old, i figured it was time i showed ya’ll some pictures. Of course, being the classic procrastinators that we are, AJ and I left all the little detail parts of the home renovation until the last month before we left. Suffice to say, October was a pretty insane month for us with moving, getting housing lined up here, packing, and checking all the final renovation projects off the list. I don’t care to ever repeat that month again.

When I took these pictures, we were on at least a week straight of putting the kids to bed and staying up till the wee hours of the next day working on projects. Anyone who doesn’t have young kids will recognize that they never sleep in…a truly unfortunate trait that I intend to remind them of when they’re teenagers. With that in mind, please don’t judge my pictures too harshly. In looking back at them, I realized I seemed to have a strange fascination with ceilings and avoiding taking pictures of entire rooms–just details. So irritating, but I’ll let myself off the hook because I had just gotten to the house for the night of work after falling asleep in a guest bedroom during a Halloween party. Yes, in the middle of a Halloween party I went upstairs and promptly fell asleep. Oh, and it wasn’t in my house. So basically, think nice thoughts about my pictures.

Front of the house.

Side of the house. You’ll be happy to know that “garden box” is no longer there.

Back of the house. The changes we made on the exterior were relatively small, new windows, fixed roof issues, new trim, painted, removed the chimney, new gutters, new patio, new front door.

You can just see the tip of the old, broken patio in the “before” picture.

This is the backdoor entrance/laundry room. The burlap curtain and the stacked appliances really changed this room. Burlap has tons of texture and visual weight while still allowing tons of natural light through from the window behind.

I know, right? I think it’s safe to say that If you can see it, it’s new. I wish I had included some of the floor in this picture. Suffice to say, as you will see in later pictures, underneath all the nasty carpet and linoleum were the original wood floors. They were not pretty, but a couple coats of black porch and floor oil paint made them glossy and full of character. For the countertops, we used polished porcelain tile with black grout.

After a very preliminary glance we though we would be able to use everything in this room. As it turns out, we ended up gutting most of it and replacing with new. Well, all of cupboards and cabinets in the whole kitchen were reclaimed from various local building salvage stores. Great way to go if you are trying to cut costs, and especially if you like white cabinets since anything paints. We were intentional about making sure the cabinets were solid wood, and not particle board or some other wood composite because that would have been a complete waste of time.

These lovelies are now on the left side of the sink in the photo above. I really wanted some open shelving that would provide some contrast to the nearly all-white look i was going for.

I love this collection of wall-rail from Ikea.

I know this is an odd before/after shot. The turquoise door replaced the one in the “before” shot with a cat door and plexi-glass window.

More pretty kitchen.

This is the dining room. The wood floors in this room were badly warped so we replaced the subfloor and put in a layer of nice plywood and painted it. The verdict? Definitely. Also, how much do you love the light fixture? I know.

Here’s another picture of the built-in hutch. It’s amazing what paint and new hardware will do.

Changing the configuration of the bathroom was a must-have for me. Totally worth it. Also, how much do you love the subway tile?

Also, I love love love beadboard, and using it in the bathrooms really took them up a notch.

This one is the family room. The downstairs is a classic foursquare floor plan, with a square house separated into four nearly equal rooms. I think the bathroom, sink room, and laundryroom were later additions after the advent of running water. Even though all four rooms are separate and not open-concept, the result combined with the high ceilings in three of the rooms, was a functional flow that allowed interaction between rooms while still maintaining the function of having separate rooms for separate functions.

Here’s a picture of the painted wood floors.

Turns out, I completely neglected to take a picture of the living room. Here at least you get to see the changed out door.

I’m a pretty big fan these stairs. The wood underneath was original and with a little scraping and painting, this was the result. The entire bannister had to be replace though since it was just high enough to hit your knees. Knowing Violet and Henry, they would have made my heart stop every time they went up and down. Well, the handrail is original and the posts were lengthened to fit the new reclaimed spindles.

Looking down the stairs. All of the drywall in the house is new as well.

Looking up the stairs.

One of the three bedrooms upstairs. As you can see, we never got around to painting the trim. At least the wood is pretty though. When we paint it, it will be white.

Upstairs, a closet had been changed into a half bath once running water came inside. It was by far the nastiest room in the house, but once we replaced everything including the toilet, and gave it a fresh coat of velvety gray paint, it was adorable.

New toilet, beadboard, paint. For the floors I used a nice grade of those individual stick-on linoleum-ish tiles. They’re a little tougher than linoleum and resemble ceramic tile.

Alright. that’s it. I’m done. I have children to feed.