Monday, December 31, 2007

Lovely surprises upon our return from vacation...

We got back late last night from Scottsdale where we were visiting Brian's parents. The weather was disappointing (never really got above 55 degrees) but the company was great. I especially loved reconnecting with Brian's grandma, and the lovely Lodis pets, Zoey and Weber.

Weber, the 13-year old cat, only has two teeth:

And Zoey, in her old age, doesn't move around all that much:

When we returned, my mom, who had been staying at our house and watching our cats, had left me this note, which fully encapsulates my mom -- a go-getter, never-sits-down person (even though her energy is severely compromised) who shows her love through amazing acts of service.

"Welcome Home!
Call me with any questions - you might want to check your vacuum bag. I vacuumed quite a bit so it might be full. Vacuumed the sofa, rug (twice), all main floors except office - got started down the stairs (first 5 or so). The basement could use it for sure. I ran the crystal votive holder through the dishwasher so it's nice and clean. I mopped the main floors (dining room, living room, kitchen). I made you a pot of soup -- potato corn chowder. I brought you some cabinet hardware catalogs to look through. Washed the sofa pillow covers and cozy blanket - wasn't sure when it was last done. I tried to fix the silverware drawer front - it needs screws for the handle to be countersunk - that is part of the problem. It also needs new screws. Your drapery panels are at Sparkle Cleaners in downtown Ballard."

Brian's comment? "We really hit the jackpot with our collective sets of parents." So, so true.

Not only did she make a homemade potato corn chowder which was still warm on our stove, but she assembled our table -- literally put it together -- and set it all up so we could have a dinner when we got home:

Aaaaaahhh SHE IS SO CUTE!

She also bought us this plant (apparently $5.98 at Home Depot!) and potted it in the cute pot that Joan and Brian got us for our wedding:

In addition, perhaps the best news of all. While we were gone, our next door neighbor decided to give us an overt new neighbor housewarming gift and cut down this huge tree in his yard, so we now have a view of the ocean from our bedroom and top deck!!!! It kind of feels like somebody just handed us $20,000 (edit: my dad says $50,000!). It's really really unreal and something that I never ever expected. I am just astounded that we now have a water view; I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I guess schmoozing at a neighborhood holiday party (in the midst of unpacking) really paid off!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


One of the last weeks of 2007 has also been one of the busiest. We have been moving, and cleaning, and moving some more. We are finally almost out of our old apartment - about one more load to go.

After a full day of moving and cleaning at our old place, Brian really wanted to have an accomplishment on our new one, so he picked up the paint we had decided upon and painted our entire living room! The color doesn't show up that well at night but it's a very soft blue with a hint of green and a hint of gray. I think it provides a nice backdrop for our couch and furniture. Now all I can think about is painting the brass fireplace doors! Next week...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My friends Jenelle and Stacy opened a boutique called Mapel in Leavenworth earlier this year. They recently launched their website,, and I hope you all check it out! They picked up a few of my jewelry pieces and it was kind of fun to see them on their website. And next time you are in Leavenworth for some bratwurst and stein, look up their brick & mortar location!

Monday, December 17, 2007

We have moved!

We are all moved in! There's boxes everywhere, but the main furniture is in place, cable is hooked up, and things are starting to come together. I am astounded at how much SPACE we finally have!

Thank you a million times over to Katie, Joan, Chrissy & Danny (<--who worked especially hard!) for helping us move in on Saturday. As my mom said, "You know you have good friends when they help you MOVE."

A few things of note: Brian purchased our very first laundry detergent last night. It felt really momentous. It was super fun to hear the quiet hum of a dishwasher last night. ALSO, I did our first load of laundry today -- in our house. It was so fun. I hope I never forget the feeling of these upgrades. I don't want to get used to these modern conveniences.

I am so sorry to all my friends - I know I've been tragically unresponsive lately. Moving plus jewelry shows plus the holidays plus work equals a very very busy me.

Photos later of the progression of our new Ballard home!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why this works

This morning I had a little Photoshop project for work so I ventured on to Brian's computer, only to have one of those moments where you are totally struck with why you love someone.

I found a file on his desktop entitled "house decor ideas," which, on its own, is probably the most adorable thing EVER. But then inside it, I found this photo, titled "wall color, wood, materials".

I am not even sure how I will concentrate the rest of the day. He is SO cute, and he has such great taste.

My other recent moment like this was this past weekend, when I was gmail chatting with Lindsay about a few new Laura Ashley prints, found on her new blog obsession, The Peak of Chic.

She said that these prints would look good in the style of our new home (rather traditional), and I agreed but replied, "Brian would die first." But then I remembered that I should give him a chance. He looked at the prints on my computer screen and to my surprise, pointed out a few of them that he liked. Then, one of the more adorable things ever came out of his mouth:

"Yeah, I've always wanted to do a small bathroom in an ornate print."

I just love that my husband said "small bathroom" and "print" in the same sentence. It's like my secret dream. (Oh, he is going to just kill me when he reads this post.) But see guys? This is why it works!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What to do, what to do

Lately I’ve been experiencing a whole new obsession with jewelry making.

My metal work class is coming to a close, and although I’ve spent nearly 30 hours in the studio, I don’t really feel like I’ve learned anything. It was such a whirlwind of a class – so much to learn. Especially because I’ve never been a particularly handy person. I’ve never really used a tool. Yes, I said, A tool. I mean, sure I’ve pounded a nail into a wall with a hammer but that’s literally about the extent of it. Last week at class, it took me about 7 minutes just to figure out how to put the drill bit in the flex shaft thing. I mean, the whole thing is entirely confusing.

Last week I used the disc cutter for the first time. I made these little lovelies. (I’m really into all things wood, so I hammered the discs to make a bark-like texture.)

Anyway, one of the things that I’m struggling with as a result of this new hobby, is that I don’t know what to do with all the energy I have for it. It’s literally borderline insane how much I think about it. And really have nowhere to direct my new interest! I say that because I only have three hours in the studio per week, two of which are usually spent listening to and watching my instructor. I want to apply these techniques that she teaches us but the one hour left in each class doesn’t suffice. So that’s why I feel like I’ve learned almost nothing, and also why I am really feeling frustrated.

It’s also bringing up all these unexpected feelings like – why didn’t I pursue something more artistically inclined way back when? I took a ton of art classes when I was little, both in school and on my own time. I loved to paint and draw, and had so much fun in my pottery class. And then as soon as I was privy to the concept of money and jobs and how those two things are related, I started on this dreadfully boring path of political science. God knows why. I mean seriously, there’s almost nothing that I’m LESS interested in today than politics. That’s probably a bit of an overstatement. But come on, really. I can’t believe I used to think that I’d work in politics! Still to this day, I absolutely despise The Pant Suit…what was I thinking?

So I guess I’m open to all suggestions (a.k.a. blog therapy) on what to do here. I kind of wish more than ever that I was a student studying jewelry making under some famous designer. If I lower my expectations just a bit, I wish I had more studio time, and/or maybe a home studio where I could actually solder and make things on my own schedule. Or one of those jobs where you have to use your hands all day. I’m not even being terribly overambitious about this; the other day I drove by a metal fabrication business in Eastlake. I kind of wish I worked there. I don’t even know what they do exactly, but I wish I got to cut and forge metals all day.

Oh dear, I feel this is terribly unrealistic, as I quickly approach 30 and have an impending mortgage payment.

Brian would probably ask me if this was just a phase. I am, after all, a person of phases. But if I think about it rationally, it doesn’t seem like a phase. I started making jewelry a little over a year ago. I had no idea what I was doing but I just thought “that doesn’t look hard, I can do that,” so I started playing around with it…bought some tools, some supplies. Over the course of a year, I’ve only become more and more obsessed with making jewelry. The whole process, from finding the best supplies to learning new tools to making something interesting – it’s kind of the best thing ever. I really haven’t felt this way since my horse riding days. Which I got REALLY into – for about 10 years. So even if this is a phase, it will probably be a long lasting one.

And finally, in my case against The Phase argument, this whole thing has made me realize how much I am like my uncle John. He has never had a traditional job in his whole adult life because he absolutely hates working for someone else (Exhibit A). He’s carved out this amazing (ly weird) life for himself. He has a garage full of tools, he fixes people’s German automobiles, he refurbishes army tanks, he buys random stuff at garage sales and sells it on eBay for a major profit, and finally and most awesomely, he collects used french fry oil from restaurants each Monday which he uses to manufacture his own biodiesel. In short, he’s my hero. He’s so freakin’ weird. The guy is a crafting machine. When he showed me the impeccably crafted knife that he made, with a drop dead gorgeous faux bois finished blade, it was confirmed that this man can make anything. I mean, anything.

I've never been one to approach something in a moderate fashion. I like to go all out. So, I guess I’m open to all suggestions on where to direct this energy. Since there's real life, and a mortgage, and my Claremont McKenna BA in government, and my scarce knowledge of tools, and fire hazards, and all of that stuff.