Monday, April 28, 2014

We bought a house!

I think that after reading the title of the post, it is pretty much downhill from here right? How can I top that?

Oh! How about this: I took three days off work! My first day of PTO since Christmas.

Okay, so, the house. Hubby and I, after 4 months of searching, found the right house, in the right town, in the right school district, with a reasonable commute to both of our offices.

It is a classic 1975 ranch... knotty pine paneling, olive green master bath, dark kitchen and all. However, it has so much potential with a perfect floor plan, an amazing fireplace/hearth and, is on a 1 acre wooded lot that is walking distance from the AMAZING public schools (not that we have kids, but we are planning to be here for a long time).

I need to make this last day off work count. I'm going to unpack boxes and clean out the fridge at the old townhouse (oh joy of joys!). Here is a picture of my kitchen an hour before the movers came yesterday.

P.S. If you are thinking of house hunting in Michigan, drop me a line. We had the most amazing team of professionals all the way, I would love to pass along some great people to help with your search!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year, Early Morning

In my mind, there are two types of people in this world: morning people and night people. I have yet to meet anyone who is both or neither. I am a morning person, Hubby is a night person. My mom is a morning person, my dad is a night person. The one thing we all have in common is that we love our respective times of day, because it is the time in our households when no one else is up. We feel like we are stealing a few hours from the darkness. I love that silent two or three hours on a Saturday morning (like right now) where Hubby is still asleep, there is no TV or radio on, and I can make a cup of coffee and tackle the morning at my own pace.

This morning I've been thinking a lot on conversations I've had in the last week about new year's resolutions, about how everyone handles this in a very different way, but a way that truly reflects them. The two friends I was most inspired by took two very different approaches to making their resolutions, the first is using them as an opportunity to put more good into the world, making goals about in-kind charitable giving and volunteer hours for the year. The second is using them to conquer her fears. I'm not talking about skydiving or snakes, I'm talking about going to the dentist for the first time in 5 years and taking actionable steps to improve her health and life.... that is scary stuff!

I am so inspired by these kind of people, that set long term goals and chip away at tasks until they are finished, especially when they are things that they don't want to do, but they know will improve their life or the lives of others. In the past years I have made resolutions, and I've done a pretty decent job of staying the course. However, I have often used them as an out for not doing more, "Eh, I have a resolution similar to that I'm already working on, so I'm not going to volunteer for this project." Not this year. This year is not another year of resolutions for me, this year I've decided on a guiding phrase. I measure my actions against it and when thinking about joining in or pulling back, I ask if it lines up with my guiding phrase. So, as we begin the new year, I invite you all to join me in 2014 and.....

Be Kind.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas with the Fur Babies

This is what happens when you have cats and no kids. You post darling Christmas photos of said cats on Christmas.





Marvin: All Christmased out

Hoping your holiday was merry and bright (ours was also VERY white)!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Returning Triumphant

Have you ever had one of those months where you sit down at one point to take a breath and realized 3 weeks has gone by since you did it last? That has been late September - late December for us.

In early September, I accepted a job with a community health non-profit and went through HR processes and training before finally getting to actually start in the office at the end of the month. I LOVE my new job, it utilizes all of my talents and the people I work with are simply amazing at what they do. Additionally, it's a 7 mile commute round trip and for 4 of those miles, I drive the shoreline of Lake Michigan! I'm a pretty luck girl!

On October 9th, my first bridesmaid flew in from Florida and my Maid of Honor arrived the following day. On October 10th, the three of us finished my dress (whew!)  Future Hubby is now just Hubby, because we were married on October 12th at a small-ish ceremony with close friends and family, with a beautiful reception that followed. Pictures of my dress, the girls (and the boys), the country club and more when I get them back from our photographer (very soon).

Photo Credit: Loon Lake Photography

November / December has been a blur of holidays, unpacking wedding gifts, writing thank you notes and trying to make times for ourselves and our hobbies. There has been lots of laughing, reading, movie watching, quilting, knitting and cooking. Stay tuned for updates on all of those fronts.

This is where I'll leave you today. Later I will pick up with my love for my Farmer's Wife Quilt and pictures of all of the Christmas presents I made.... that I can share since they have all been gifted now!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Creeping Dark

In the last two weeks I have noticed the dark beginning to creep in. A few nights ago, after supper, I commented that it looked like we had rain coming in over the lake. The rain never came. The next morning while making a second cup of coffee I commented that it looked like another gray day was ahead.... then I realized I was wrong. Very wrong. The weather that day was forecast to be beautiful. It's dark outside because the seasons are changing. It's been such a long summer, I've forgotten what it is like to not have that beautiful morning light before 7am. Our local weatherman said last night that we will be loosing three minutes of light every evening between now and the winter solstice.

Those who know me, know I will not be mourning the end of summer. As a super fair skinned redhead, summer has never been a favorite. I love the early creeping dark in the evenings, the cool mornings, knowing a 'new year' will be starting again (6 years of college cements September as the start  of the year in your mind for a long time) and a great excuse to put pumpkin in anything.

Autumn will be a busy season here at The Red Homestead. As you may have guessed from this post, there is a wedding coming. By "coming" I mean in October.... of THIS year! From the wedding until Christmas marks Future Hubby's busy season at work. Additionally, I have a super exciting announcement next week that will show you how I will be spending most of my time starting next week (no... it's not a baby or anything that requires feeding). By exciting, I mean exciting for me, I imagine you could probably care less... but I need something to build anticipation here.

Baby gift for Future Hubby's boss, who is due the day of our wedding!

In the meantime, I'm working on my wedding dress. Full sewing of fancy fabric has commenced. After a sewing marathon yesterday, fortified by a big pot of hot black tea and homemade shortbread, all that is left to do is hems on 4 layers of skirt, some hand finishing on the lining and sewing on about 15 pearl shank buttons.... then the whole project is done!

 My beloved 1962 Kennmore, given to me by future FIL after his mother passed away.

I've also been knitting the most mindless things to keep my hands busy, to keep the stress from creeping in. Like a dozen white cotton wash cloths for face washing. From the Yarn Harlot's recipe, using just under a full cone of crochet cotton. I'm so excited to start using these! Such a simple luxury.

Started on August 10th and finished on September 15th, with a few distraction projects along the way.

Quilting has also been happening. My friend, Helen, showed me how to do a disappearing 9-patch at our craft guild night a few weeks ago and I've been in love. I've made multiple lap size blankets in this pattern this month. You can do a 9 block, lap sized blanket with 5 fat quarters and 1/2 yard of solid (the white in mine), plus sashing, binding and backing, which makes this a pretty cost friendly project. It works up amazingly quickly as well. These two things combined make it a great gift project. I'm planning a how-to post when I put my next one together.

The patterned fabric is from a fat quarter bundle I picked up at JoAnn's on sale. Yes, those are handknit socks, in case you were wondering. 

All that is missing from this week is a treat made from pumpkin and a big pot of tea. Thinking we might have to rectify that today.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Have a Seat

The Truth: We went six months without chairs for our kitchen table.

The Explanation: We have an awesome little tulip style table that I bought for my first post-college apartment and I had great directors chairs that I used for seating. It was my first place of my own and that set up was my favorite part of my apartment. Future Hubby entered the picture and was less than thrilled about the chairs.

Eventually, we moved in together, to a cute little house with a real dining room. We inherited a vintage dining set from his family, so we sold my chairs and moved the table to the basement. A few years later we move to the lakeshore and back into a much smaller space. The dining set was passed onto other family members and we brought the tulip table back into daily use..... except we now had no chairs.

I continue to be in love with these chairs, and someday, when we have room for a large table again, we will end up buying these.

Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

For now, we were looking for something budget friendly, that wouldn't take up a lot of space.

I bought two of these chairs at Goodwill for $10 total. My grandmother had this style table and chairs in her kitchen (in Maple... not this paint scheme) when I was growing up and I always loved them. They are seriously comfortable chairs. I've spend hundreds, maybe thousands of hours sitting in Grandma's chairs, just like these, so they had a pretty big sentimental pull too.

The Nitty Gritty: These paint on these chairs is UUUGLY! It was also very poorly done in multiple coats. I am a super impatient person and it paid off this time. I ran across automotive spray primer at our home improvement store. It is thicker than regular spray primer and it has very slight texture. My goal was to avoid sanding off the old paint and I thought this might even things out enough to avoid it. I put on 3 very thin coats of automotive primer and then covered it with 4 coats of Krylon gloss Cherry Red. The automotive primer made the paint even without all the sanding. It is not perfect, but for a quick job, I'm quite happy.

Future Hubby brought some polycrylic top coat to help seal it all. It will probably get a good sanding and one more coat of red before I seal it.

The Verdict: Future Hubby is not thrilled about the color. I am. Without the polycrylic they seem to be holding up well, but will do even better with the topcoat. They probably do need a little sanding. There are no ultimate short cuts, sadly. However, there are products that make things a bit easier.

In the end I LOVE these chairs. The solid color highlights the shape of the chair, which is classic farmhouse. I also think of my Grandma every time I sit in them, and about the hours we spent in the kitchen together. I never would have thought such a basic thing would turn my cookie-cutter rented kitchen into the homiest room in our house.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coming / Going Home

Blogging from my parent’s house would be so much easier if I had remembered to bring 1) my cord to connect my camera and/or phone to my computer and 2) my computer charger (since no one here is running a mac).

In the little bit of battery time I have left, and puttering with the blog on my phone I can tell you I’m having an excellent little escape into the country, back to my teeny-tiny (only 600 people) hometown with the funny name. To protect the rights and location of the innocent, I cannot tell you that name, but rest assured if I told you, you would be shocked, then you would laugh. It’s okay, we all still do it and we grew up here!

My brother has this little buddy he calls "Garage Toad." This is because he is a toad that lives in the garage. This is Garage Toad's wife. Thus named, because she is smaller than Garage Toad, not because we actually know anything about her gender or relationship to Garage Toad. 

Moving inland from the lake I’m shocked how green things become, and humid. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true.  The flat landscape, mile high corn and cicadas always will be home for me. Future hubby, who grew up in northern Michigan, always says that when we hit the hills north of Clare he feels like he is home (even though his hometown is much farther north) and I say it reminds me of vacation! On the flip side of the coin, when the hills fade away and fields take over the southern Michigan landscape I feel like I’m coming home. Clearly, we’ll have to work on finding a middle ground…. so far, being at the feet of Lake Michigan is working well for both parties.

In a few days I will pack up and head back for the Lake. Which despite living there now, and knowing it is my drive towards home, still feels like the beginning of a vacation. That is one of the best things in life right now; coming to see my family gives me the comfort of going home and going to our new home, feels like driving towards vacation. How much more could you ask for?