Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Before and After

I am finally getting around to posting some side by side comparison pictures, I've been meaning to do this for a long long time so here they are :-) It makes me feel really proud to see how far we've come. Of course there will never really be an "after" because we will be working on the house and improving it constantly as the years go by, this is just the first round of renovations.

hall bathroom

master bedroom


dining room

guest bedroom, somehow I don't have a before picture of this


living room, my favorite :-)


Bargain Hunting

One of the great things about living in this neighborhood is that it has killer yard sales! Eric found all these wooden bowls at a sale this weekend, he paid $3 for the whole set! They totally fit with our rustic, woodsy style and has inspired us to try to make it out to yard sales more often.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Raccoon Sighting!

This morning we had our first major wildlife sighting in our new yard. We see a lot of birds and squirrels (and moles although these are all dead ones that the cats bring in) but we haven't seen anything more exciting than that until today. As I was getting ready for my shower this morning I looked out the bathroom window on to the back deck and saw a rounded, furry body poking around in our empty cooler that we had left out there. I immediately assumed it was a cat but it didn't look like one of our cats so I tapped on the window to get it's attention so that I could get a good look at it. When it looked up at me I saw that is was a raccoon! The cutest little raccoon you ever saw! I snatched my robe and ran to the back deck yelling to Eric that there was a raccoon out there and grabbing my camera along the way. I managed to get one decent shot of him before he ran away.

sooo cute!
 About this time Reese (our smallest cat) decides that it would be a good idea for her to chase the raccoon (because she thinks she's pretty tough). She takes off after it and we take off after her, terrified that the thing is rabid and is going to eat her alive. Fortunately it just ran up a tree and Reese soon lost interest and came back to house (feeling pretty proud of herself for having successfully defended us). Eventually the raccoon came down and walked off in to the wooded area behind our house. I will definitely be on the lookout for this guy again!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tree House Style

I once dated this guy who in hindsight was all wrong for me. Sounds familiar huh? At least most people I know have dated someone who turned out to be a huge mistake. I should have been tipped off by his reaction when I confessed that I had a secret dream of living in a tree house. To me there is nothing quite as magical as a house nestled high up among the trees. It makes me think of childhood and Peter Pan and Swiss Family Robinson. Anyway, when I told this guy that I wanted to one day live in a tree house he immediately started rattling off reasons why tree houses weren't practical and how they would never make a good place to live in real life. I should have run right then and there but sadly it took me another year to come to my senses. I knew Eric was a keeper when I told him the same dream, years later. When I told Eric I wanted to live in a tree house one day his eyes lit up and I could tell that he shared my dream.

Now Eric and I have our very own house nestled in the trees. While technically speaking it isn't a tree house, it has a lot the same elements that I love about them. The rustic wood, the shaded yard and the fact that we are surrounded by trees on all sides. When I wake up and hear the cacophony of birds outside my window each morning I feel like I am in some kind of super swanky tree house resort. I love feeling like my home is a place of rest and relaxation, I feel like I'm on vacation when I get to spend a day at home. 

Here are some gorgeous tree house pictures to help you feel inspired, I know they inspire me :-)

And lastly a few pictures of our little "tree house"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Growing Things

I'm not much of a green thumb and it is only a recent development that I have even been able to keep anything alive. However I am making an effort this year to grow some stuff, both in the yard and in container gardens on the deck and I wanted to post a little about the development of all of this. We have a few recent plantings that I'm pretty excited about.

Our magnolia tree is finally blooming, yay!

I planted some sunflower seeds in one of the only sunny spots in the yard. Sunflowers are some of my favorite flowers (and the ones we had at our wedding) I'm excited to watch them grow!

A little redbud tree that Eric's parents dug up from their yard and brought down to us. It's been looking a little wilted lately though, I hope it makes it :-(

I'm growing a lot of peppers this year because if it's one thing we love it's spicy food. Here are my little Thai hot peppers, they're starting to develop nicely :-)
Red bell peppers starting to develop, not spicy but still delicious. I also have a jalapeno growing but have no picture of it.

Leland Cypress tree. Eric's parent's gave us two of these to add some more shade to our yard and a little more privacy for our giant front windows. These are great because they are evergreen and super fast growing.

Some Vinca ground cover we are putting on our shady hillside, can't wait until it blooms!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Low Carb Cooking: Spaghetti Squash

First of all let me apologize for not posting in so long. I've had a lot of busy weekends and major life stuff happening such as weddings, birthdays and changing jobs. The wedding and birthday weren't mine but they still kept me busy :-) We haven't had much time for working on the house lately so here is another cooking post.

Spaghetti squash, where have you been all my life? I can't believe I have never tried this before. Pasta used to be one of my quick and easy go to meals for a weeknight and I was feeling pretty bummed that we couldn't have it any more due to Eric's diet. Luckily one of Eric's coworkers recommended that we try spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. I was a little dubious at first but after I tried it I was sold. I'm a huge sauce fan and really all I care about is having something to soak up the sauce. Spaghetti squash is perfect for this since it has almost no taste. All you have to do is cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake for 40 minutes at 375 (have I mentioned how happy I am to have an oven again?). Then you take the squash out, shred it with a fork and top with your favorite sauce (I prefer one with lots of hot and spicy Italian sausage). Here is a picture of the finished product, not the prettiest but it sure was tasty!

Our spaghetti squash dinner, complete with fresh squeezed lemonade (sweetened with agave nectar and garnished with mint) and a little red wine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Building an Art Collection

I've always thought that I would like to collect art. Being an artist myself, art is something that fascinates me and I love to surround myself with it. Unfortunately, collecting art's not cheap. I never can quite seem to justify spending a bundle of cash on something that is basically decorative when there are so many other things we need to buy, especially now that we have the house which needs our constant financial attention. I feel guilty about not making art a priority but when it comes down to it I will always spend my money on the more "practical" choice.

Luckily for me, I have been able to acquire a few pieces as gifts from friends, family and coworkers. To me art is one of the best gifts I can get, I'm always delighted to receive it especially if it was created by the person who gave it. I love looking at a piece and thinking about the person who gave it to me, what could be better than a personal gift that reminds you of the giver?

Also, the great thing about being an artist is that you can create your own art. I used to really hate hanging my own work because all I could see were all the flaws when I looked at it but I am slowly learning to overcome this and have added a few of my own photographs and paintings to my "collection".

So this is my little blog post homage to my budding art collection. Hopefully it will continue to grow, maybe I will eventually bring my self to cough up some money for some new pieces on of these days.

The newest addition to my art collection is this piece that my amazing sister in law Jessie painted for me. She brought it this weekend as a housewarming present and it got tons of admiration at our party. Well done Jessie :-)
This lovely little bird was painted for me by my former coworker Stacey. She gave it to me as a wedding present and told me that it represents starting a new journey in life which was totally appropriate for the occasion. It now keeps me company in the studio.
These two works are currently hanging in the guest bathroom. The top one was painted by my coworker Natalie, I am really fortunate to be surrounded by such creative and talented people at my work. The bottom picture is a print that Eric got me from Young Blood Gallery, he's so sweet to me :-)
My brother is a really awesome guy, I love him to death. Also, he gives the best presents ever. He knows I want to collect art so he always keeps an eye out for thing he can pick up for me. He bought me this painting while he was living in New York. It was such a personal and thoughtful gift, I love it! 
I had been wanting to buy some photographic prints for a while and had looked at quite a few on etsy. Finally I realized it would be a lot more personal and meaningful if I just got some nice prints of my own photographs. I ended up choosing a few of our honeymoon photos from our trip to Scotland. Both of these were taken in Edinburgh and not only are they a great addition to the art collection but they also remind of the amazing trip we took when we were first married.
This print was given to me by my boss as a wedding present. It is by Atlanta based artist Jessica Swift and I am totally in love with her work, you should check it out. I thought this was a really sweet and personal gift, perfect for a wedding present. It now lives in our living room, hooray!
This is one of the few paintings I've actually bought for myself, it's from my trip to Florence, Italy. I love to be able to bring back an amazing souvenir from any trip I go on and art is on the very top of my list. Unfortunately I can't always afford to buy the pieces I would like but in Florence there are tons of street artists that sell watercolor sketches for very reasonable prices. I am a sucker for watercolor so I had to have this tiny painting of the Ponte Vecchio, I love it :-)
Last but not least, yet another wedding present. This one is from the amazingly talented Tania Julian. She just so happens to be the mother of one of my students at the art studio where I work. Not only is she an incredible ceramic artist but she is also a super nice lady. These beautiful ceramic wall hangings are up in our bedroom now. I love the way they look against the dark gray wall. I also own one of Tania's hand made mugs and it is one of my favorites, you should definitely check out her etsy shop.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


We had our housewarming party last night and it was totally awesome! We feel so loved and were totally excited to be able to celebrate in our new house with all our friends. I'm always blown away by how much I feel the love when we have one of these get-togethers. I feel so lucky to have so many awesome people in my life. We had tons of snacks and drinks and the party lasted basically all day. It was awesome, I hope everyone who came had as great a time as I did.

As a special treat Eric's sister came in to town for the party. It was a surprise for Eric so I had to keep the secret for weeks but it was totally worth it. Having Jessie around has been wonderful, I couldn't ask for a better sister in law.

We were also fortunate enough to have friends from pretty much every area of our life come to the party, from coworkers to long time friends to family members. I haven't had such an amazing group of people together since my wedding, it pretty much rocked my socks :-)

Unfortunately I got zero pictures from the party, I was too busy having fun, so if you took any please send them my way. The best I could do was to take a picture of the aftermath:

It was a fun party, thank you so so much to those of you that came out to party with us. We really do appreciate you more than you know :-)