Remembering: Our First Date

Five years ago today, my hubby went from being just a cute boy to being the other half of my 'us.' Here's our story:

He and I were both in our sophomore year of architecture school and, for the first time, had a studio together. We had been flirting for a month and had done some casual hanging out - playing poker, going to football games - but nothing more. I thought he was cute but I wasn't sure if he liked me.

In studio, the Friday before Halloween, he mentioned he needed help with his costume for the Bash.* I offered to help him so we spent Saturday morning searching through thrift stores. I went home to finish my costume and figured I would see him at the Bash, but then he called and asked me to meet him at his dorm so we could go together.

The Bash was lots of fun - drinking, dancing, merry making - and he stayed by my side all night. When the party was over I was to dru-, uh, tired to drive home so he offered to let me crash in his room. He was a perfect gentleman and just as we were falling asleep I got some extra courage (being 'tired' does that to me) so I sat up and said

"Do you like me?"


"So does that mean we're dating?"

"I don't know."

"Do you want to be dating?"

"Um, I think so."

"Good, then we're dating. Good-night." I gave him a quick peck on the cheek and fell asleep.

We've been pretty much joined at the hip ever since, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Happy five years together! I love you!

October 30 2004 : October 24 2009

*The Bash, short for College of Design's Annual Design Bash, is the best halloween party ever. Design students put way more thought and effort into their costumes than most people, so the costume contest alone is worth going for. One year an industrial design student made an incredibly elaborate Where The Wild Things Are costume, which got featured in the local paper, and if the movie hadn't just come out I might be able to find his picture on the internet. Alas.

Decorating: Room Planning

Here's my latest mini-project, all served up for my dear readers. As I mentioned earlier, I want to buy an area rug before I pick out paint colors. In order to do that I need to better know how that rug would fit in the space.

First I quickly sketched the floor plan of the room on grid paper, making sure to include major architectural elements such as windows, doors, and fireplaces.

Next I measured all my living room furniture and drew it on grid paper. I color-coded the pieces then cut along the outline.

Next up is the fun part. I moved the furniture around, swapping pieces out and trying different arrangements until I settled on something I liked. This is much easier on me and my floors than trying to do it with my actual furniture when I move in.

After I had the furniture where I wanted it, I took the next step to play with rugs. I photographed my layout then opened it in Photoshop. I added color to the floor and furniture to enhance the clarity then I 'drew' an area rug using the grid paper as a guide. I tried different sized rugs and moved them around until I had a pleasing layout. I am so glad I did this. I just assumed I would need a 5x7 area rug - my living room isn't terribly large - but the 5x7 looked downright puny so I decided I really needed an 8x10. Yes that means more money, but I would rather know now and save up for it rather than find out on moving day when it's too late.
Obviously I could have done the last step with paper rugs on my paper layout, but it was too frustrating for me to try to keep all the paper still while I slid rugs under the furniture. This took very little time and I think the effort was worth it.

So what about you guys? Do you have any decorating or furniture buying tips up your sleeves? Do tell!

Living: House Update

So you already know the hubby and I are in the process of buying a house - I've talked about it here and here - and I have a bit of an update for you.

As of last night we have resolved the inspection & repair negotiations. This means we're one step closer to this deal being official. Who knew there were so many things that can cause a home purchase to fall through? I just assumed you picked a house, settled on a price and that was it. Boy was I wrong. I don't want to bore you with the details (and I'm sure some of my readers have already been through this themselves) but I enjoy a huge sigh of relief everytime we cross a hurdle. Now the only thing standing between us and a 'SOLD' sign is the appraisal. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Coveting: Cocktail Rings

All items can be purchased on Etsy

Going: Grandfather Mountain

Boy, am I tired. I spent my birthday weekend with my Dad and the highlight of the trip was hiking on Grandfather Mountain. To start the hike we took a quick walk across the mile high swinging bridge which was too crowded to allow for decent pictures. Then we hiked from the bridge to MacRae Peak, the first of 3 major peaks along the crest of Grandfather. The trail was far more rugged than I expected: "There are chutes where progress is hand-over-hand and some extra steep sections where hikers use in-place cables and ladders." If I hadn't been so terrified, I would have taken pictures of the ladders to prove that I was there.

But enough chit chat, I know you just want to see some pretty pictures.

view from top of MacRae Peak

the hubby enjoying the view

condos in the mist

Attic Window Peak
the green disk on the rock is a benchmark - 5,939 feet above sea level

Going: North Carolina State Fair

I apologize for not posting yesterday. I was rushing through my day so I could spend some quality time with the hubby at the State Fair.

We took advantage of the Park & Ride system, which is a GODSEND. I hate, hate, hate fighting with traffic and searching for parking. I will gladly pay money for someone to drive me to and from the parking lot. Bonus: we went on 'Can Night' which means instead of paying for tickets, we each donated 4 cans of food to the local food bank. We get discounted admission and we do some good for those less fortunate. It's a win-win.
We arrived just as the sun was going down, so I snapped a few quick shots of some bright equipment against the sunset.
Of course, I had barely gotten my camera out when the hubby starts in with "So when should we eat?" which really means "I'm already hungry, but trying to be polite about it." I took the hint and we went in search of fair food. We found a corndog (or two) for me and a grilled turkey leg for the hubby and soon we were happy campers.

What can I say? The hubby likes to get down, caveman style.

We took a quick lap around the midway to do a little people watching and to enjoy the night air. After our walk we were ready for Fair Food: Round 2. I saw a sign for 'Hot Wisconsin Cheese' and knew I had to have some. You see, I have a great love for all things cheesey and the deep-fried variety is no exception.

We split a tray of cheddar nuggets, which my Wisconsin friend later identified as 'cheese curds.' I had never seen a curd before, and didn't think I wanted to based on the name, but they were much tastier than their moniker would imply.

To let the cheese settle we walked to the opposite side of the fairgrounds to see the prize winning rabbits in the livestock* exhibit. They had rabbits of all shapes, sizes and colors. My favorites were the ENORMOUS long-haired buck that was bigger than both of my cats combined. That rabbit could kick some serious ass, you know, if it weren't so cute.

So, having had our fill of fair food, we boarded the shuttle tired and happy, and just when I thought the evening couldn't get any better this little 4 year old girl made my night. She was sitting on her mom's lap, swinging her bag of cotton candy, when she starts singing "Apple bottom jeans... boots with the fur" and all I could do was laugh. Not a 'who does she think she is' snicker, but an 'oh my god, that kid is awesome' belly laugh. And then she smiled at me. Best. Night. Ever.

*Are rabbits technically livestock? They're not exactly farm animals, but they were at the fair.

In Focus: Inujima Art Project

Happy hump day! I hope you enjoy this eye candy courtesy of Architectural Record. Enjoy the rich textures and lighting!

Inujima Art Project

Sambuichi Architects

Coveting: Rugs

Now that I am finished shopping for a house, it is time to start shopping for things to go in a house. One of the first items on my list is an area rug for the living room. I'm hesitant to select a paint color until I have the rug picked out. It's such a large part of the room and can really set the color scheme.

Now, I know what you're thinking. 'There's no color in those rugs! What color scheme?' Well, my dear readers, I'll tell you. I want to paint the living room walls gray, but I don't know if I want a warm gray or a cool gray. I would hate to pick a wall color then fall in love with a rug that clashes. I am trying to find a rug on the cheap, so my options are already limited enough.

I really wanted a rug with yellow accents (maybe a yellow stripe or zig-zag?) but couldn't find one I like. Any hints?

Sources, left to right: Top Row - Overstock, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Decorators Collection Middle Row - West Elm, Overstock, Crate & Barrel Bottom Row - Ikea, Macy's, Home Decorators Collection

Making: Morgan + Andrew's Sate The Dates

Ok, I already posted about these here, but I can't help it. I would normally wait and post a photograph of something rather than a rendering, but I was impatient and went right ahead and showed you the rendering anyway.
This is the Save The Date I created for Morgan and Andrew, and since I am a friend of the happy couple, I actually got this one in the mail!
I used gray envelopes and pale blue linen cardstock, both from Blue Dot Paper, and printed them on my home printer. I highly recommend Blue Dot because they have a large selection and reasonable prices, plus I think they're a small business - I frequently get thank you notes from the owner with my purchases.
I love seeing the invitation as it's presented to the guests because I get a chance to see the personal touches the bride adds once it's out of my hands. Here, Morgan added a seal to the envelopes using red wax to tie in the accent color. I love the flair of formality it adds!

I am almost finished designing the invitation suite and I can't wait to share it with you all!

Watching: The Invention of Lying

I'm a bit behind on posting this, but better late than never...

A week or two ago the hubby and I saw The Invention of Lying and we were quite impressed. The movie could easily have been a light comedy but it was actually a good movie.*

The writing was fantastic and the cast was amazing. A. MAZ. ING. Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Tina Fay, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Christopher Guest and John "I'm a PC" Hodgman.
I think my favorite side character was Rob Lowe playing the rude, arrogant nemesis.

Enjoy your weekend, readers! Maybe you can squeeze in a trip to the movies!

*To me, a good movie is something worth watching multiple times. If something is entertaining (funny, action-packed, scary) but not worth buying on DVD it doesn't qualify. For example: Anchorman is a good movie but Walk Hard is only entertaining.

Living: Morning Excitement

Hello, my dear readers! There was lots of excitement in my household this morning.

Some of the excitement was due to this little guy*. He hopped onto our balcony and helped himself to an open bag of birdseed. This, of course, caused my cats to go BERSERK! There was tail switching, growling and jumping to and fro which roughly translates to "OMG squirrel! Can I eat it? Can I, can I can? Please mom? Can I eat it?" The cats stayed inside and eventually the squirrel went on its way.

On a side note, doesn't he look quite dapper standing up like that?**

As exciting as the squirrel was, my husband and I were all abuzz for a very different reason. We bought a house! Last night we signed the papers to get it under contract and we will close in a month. We are first-time home buyers and we just made it under the wire for the $8,000 tax credit (thanks Obama!). In case any of you noticed my recent posts have been more fluff than substance (ooh, look shiny objects from Etsy!) it is because we have spent a lot of our recent free time going to showings and dealing with realtors, sellers, lenders, etc which doesn't leave much time for crafting and DIY-ing. Luckily for you guys, a new home means new projects to whip up and share with you guys. I can't wait for you to see it!

In the mean time, I grabbed these 2 photos from the listing site to give you a sneak peek. The image quality is terrible, but I promise to get better shots for you guys as soon as we sign on the dotted line.

view from the street
view of the kitchen and dining area from the living room
I think our little house is just so cute! For those of you keeping track, it's the very same house that had us over the moon when we first started looking. We saw plenty of houses to be prudent, but when you know, you just know. It's small enough to be a starter house, but it has enough 'niceness' to make 2 architects happy. It has a decent sized yard and a wired shed in the backyard. My favorite feature is the hardwoods in all the public areas. I'm sure all you pet owners know how hard it is to keep carpet clean with fur everywhere!
That's all for now!

*Please excuse the image quality. Early morning + fast moving animals + window screen = worst photo ever.
**Of course I didn't photoshop that. He made a quick costume change.

Decorating: Office Space

No, this post has nothing to do with staplers or TPS reports. At work I'm never sure how to refer to my desk area. I don't have my own office; my desk isn't in the middle of an open room (think Mad Men ); and we also don't use cubicles. Work space? Niche? Officette?
I digress... The actual purpose of this post is to:
1) Share a glimpse of my work life with my readers and
2) Illustrate the point that art and decor can come from anywhere or anything.

First let me say I love my office building. I am fortunate to work downtown, so I am able to walk to restaurants, shops and services on my lunch hour or after work. My office is located in an old building* and the original character is evident in every space.

our office, as seen from our front door

I have a large tackboard at my desk and I have pinned up items I have collected over time. A blank wall is not a pleasant environment for me so I like to see photos and images that inspire me or bring me joy. I have some of my own photos, postcards from local events, art** and even retail packaging. My motto is: if I enjoy looking at it, then it goes on the board.

One of my favorite details is my collection of lapel pins. I am not awake enough in the morning to even think about lapel pins - seriously I am doing good to make it out the door with make-up on - but I don't like wasting things, so I had no idea what to do with them. Then one day I realized lapel pins look and act a lot like thumb tacks, so here we are. I could have used them as tacks, but I already had a good thing going with my map tacks so I grouped them together as a feature.
Next up is the shelf above my computer. It's bright and cheery and the red + aqua color scheme ties in to the typewriter photo on the tack board. The red bucket was part of a gift basket but I kept it to store lotion, cough drops and other small items I need close at hand. My business card holder is a vintage Coca-Cola bottle opener that I found at the flea market. I love my little blue bird because my best friend bought one just like it and when I see it I think of her.

So, dear readers, do you have any favorite decor pieces that were intended to be something else? Do you have any great upcycling tips? Do tell!
*I have no idea what the building used to be. We are near the warehouse district, so I would guess the building was used to store stuff at some point in its history.
**If you have never seen the Free Art Project, go now. Every month artists upload digital scans of their original work available for free download. There's no fee, no membership, just free art! The user gets free wall candy and the artist gets their name and their work in circulation. It's win-win.

Drinking: Hot Tea

What's better than hot tea on a rainy, fall afternoon?

Hot tea, made by a dear friend. Thanks, Cydney!

Updating: Fall Etsy Sale

In celebration of my upcoming birthday all of my button rings are 50% off! Normally priced at $6 you can now get one for $3. And don't forget to take advantage of group shipping!

Drinking: The Flying Saucer

I LOVE my boss.* Why? Because he buys me beer. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! Working downtown has many advantages, one of which is being across the street from a bar. And not just any bar. A bar with over 300 choices on the beer list. Yes you heard that right: 300 beers. I, of course, am talking about The Flying Saucer. If you're ever in Raleigh, you should stop by and have a cold one.

Since the weather was nice today, my boss decided we had better things to do than be cooped up in an office. We headed next door, camped out on the patio for a few hours and drank our lunch. To make good use of the massive beer list we ordered 3 flights of beer. A flight is 5 oz each of 5 different beers, the most awesome tasting menu ever put on a table.

We started with a flight of beers from the United Kingdom: 2 stouts and 3 ales. My favorite here was Smithwick's Irish Ale.

Next we created our own flight of Pumpkin and Oktoberfest selections in honor of the season. The best of this bunch was the Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale - very sweet and spicy, a valid substitute for pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.

Last we created a flight of 5 hefe-weisens, because, well, my boss loves hefe-weisen. I had never tried this type of beer before, but I was a quick convert. They were all teriffic, but my favorite was Lost Coast Great White.

I love ordering flights because it's a great way for an uneducated beer drinker, like myself, to learn the subtleties and nuances of international flavors. I highly recommend it.
Lastly, I couldn't resist taking a quick shot of my empty glass. Is it wrong that I think beer foam residue can be beautiful?

*No not in that way. He's nice, but he's my boss. Get your head out of the gutter.

Living: Squealing with Delight

Dear readers, I have wonderful news to share with you! This week I was featured on two of my favorite blogs!

Whitney, of Darling Dexter, posted my upcycled T-Straps on Wednesday and Melissa, of the lil bee, featured me today as part of her 'My Five Things' series.
I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging, if only as a creative outlet for myself. Over the past few months I have slowly begun to grow a readership. Readers, you have no idea how excited I get when I see a comment in my inbox! And now to have other bloggers recognize me as well, I can't even begin to express the joy. The blogging world is truly a community and I am thrilled and honored to even be a teensy piece of that.
Please stop by Darling Dexter and the lil bee to see what these lovely ladies have in store for you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

Watching: Thriller

Recently the hubby and I went to Southpoint for dinner. While we were outside waiting for our table a stage lit up and we heard the beginning of Thriller. Moments later dancers* dressed as zombies made their way to the stage and started doing the Thriller Dance. The crowd was in awe as a kid danced his way through MJ's famous moves. Then as suddenly as it started, the number was over and the zombies, er dancers, dispersed.

My question is, how many times do you have to practice before you can do Thriller with a straight face?

*The emcee announced they were from some triangle area dance troupe, but I don't remember their name. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can give them credit!

Coveting: Yellow Roses

All items can be purchased on Etsy

Listening: I and Love and You

IT'S HERE! After weeks and weeks of waiting, my 'I and Love and You' deluxe edition* is finally in my hands! As I un-wrapped everything I took some quick photos to share with you guys.

The set is presented in a black canvas box, the size of a record sleeve. Here are details of the cover lettering and the record label.

As I open the case you can see the 2 CDs on the left and the packet of art on the right. The packet contained over 30 prints of original drawings,** photos and song lyrics. Tucked in the back is a bandana featuring the pattern from the inside cover.

Last, but certainly not least, I received an autographed print of the album cover art. I still can't believe I have this in my posession! This bad boy is definitely getting framed ASAP.

After my quick photo shoot (which earned me several strange looks from the hubby) I carefully boxed everything back up so I can prominently display it on my bookshelf.

Eventually I will frame some of the photos and drawings; when I do, I will show them off to you guys!

*The box set is no longer available, but you can buy the CD here.
**I am assuming the drawings were done by
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