2013 Christmas Cards

Hey all,

It’s been over a month since I last posted. Wow! It doesn’t feel that long. This year, the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter than normal, but for me, Thanksgiving seems so long ago. Shortly after Turkey Day, my grandmother (mother’s mother) passed away. I flew to Oklahoma City to remember her life and be with that side of the family. Thankfully I was able to escape from work, which is not a given when working retail during the holiday season. I’m so grateful I got to be with my extended family during the holidays, even though the circumstances surrounding the occasion were somber.

In a way, I do feel like I got to “go home” for the holidays, even though my home is right here in CA. Being with my mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins for Thanksgiving in the Midwest is something we haven’t been able to do in probably close to ten years(!), and this may be as close as we get for a while.

Then, I returned home and hit the ground running when it came to work. The Holidays, people, when many retailers make three months’ worth of revenue in two weeks. Did you know that? It’s totally, absolutely, literally exhausting. Please be gentle on us for a little while. We are still trying to recover.

All this to say, I have been notably absent from the blog. Part of me has missed blogging, and another part of me forgot all about it since life has been so crazy. It is something I enjoy doing, and I’ll try to climb back on the horse (as they say) and come up with some fun and interesting stuff to populate this little corner of the interweb.

This year, amidst all the madness, I wanted to try to illustrate our little family for a card, instead of having our photo taken. It was more work than I anticipated, and that is why I’m getting them sent out today, on the 27th (sad trombone noise). Drawing the sketch was fun, and outlining it in sharpie was stressful. Doug managed to scan it into the computer and used Adobe Illustrator to clean it up (I’ll have to have him show me how to do it).

2013 Christmas Card

Since the photo and message on the back are all black and white, I tried to inject a little pizzaz to the card by using leftover envelopes from Stephanie’s wedding invites. I love how special they are. I’ll probably order metallic envelopes for all my holiday cards from now on!

Thank you all for reading, and especially for commenting throughout 2013. The year went by so fast! I am eager to see what 2014 will bring.

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Instagram Fridge

This was such a simple project, and I’m in love.

A few weeks ago I realized that I hadn’t ordered any prints of my instagram photos in over a year, so I took advantage of a fall sale and ordered 60+ prints through the Postal Pix app.

The stack sat in my kitchen and I flipped through the pictures many times, but wanted to display them somewhere! I have a little scrapbook I started with instagram pics in it but I didn’t feel like scrapbooking. I did feel like throwing away all the expired coupons, takeout menus, and storing away old thank-you notes from my fridge, though… so I took an idea that has been done in 1,000 blogs before mine, and ran with it.

It started with cleaning off the side of the fridge and then cleaning it thoroughly with windex. Kitchen surfaces can get so grimy, can’t they?

insta_fridge1

Then, I spread my prints out on the kitchen counter and started taping up photos in a grid. There’s about a centimeter (give or take) between each photo. I made sure to mix light, dark, and vibrant photos evenly so the eye isn’t drawn to any one area too strongly.ย One tip for a cohesive looking collage is to use one or two filters all the time, instead of always going with a different one, so the color wash is similar on them all.

insta_fridge2

This was such quick and relaxing project. I love looking at photos and reminiscing. I completed the whole thing before my mug full of tea even had time to get too cold. Now I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my kitchen gazing at my loved ones and remembering great times.

insta_fridge3

It also serves as an antidote to all the stark white, too!

Pine Shelves: Installation

Hi, I’m Staci’s husband, Doug. She has asked me to write a guest post on the blog about the details of our new pine shelves.

Just like nearly all of the projects that we have undertaken in our three domiciles since we have been together, Staci was once again the lead engineer of this endeavor. Her creativity never ceases to flow! I was happy to help, and after a bunch of careful measurements (which ended up not being so careful after all– more on that later) we began by buying the needed materials. I’m decidedly a “list” guy, so instead of intricately weaving each material into a well written example of how it was implemented like I’m some sort of writer, I’ll simply list what we bought and from whence it was got;

  • The hanging structure, and shelf supports —IKEA’s ALGOTย (link to similar configuration)
  • Drywall screws –Local hardware store, such as Ace, Home Depot, Lowe’s
  • Untreated pine boards 1″ X 10″ X 12′ –Home Depot
  • Laser level –Lowe’s
  • Power Drill –Home Depot

Putting up the brackets and shelf supports was the easy part. We simply bought enough length of the top horizontal piece, which came in several sizes and slapped it on by pressing the pieces against the underside of the counter and screwing them into place. We then placed each of the vertical supports evenly throughout the 9 feet, with the laser level as our trusty companion. Once we popped in the super-easy shelf supports, we decided to call it a night. The only thing left to do was to put the carefully measured and tenderly cut shelves into place!

pine shelf how to 1

Since the spot we wanted to shelve measured exactly 9 feet (or 108″) I proceeded to buy enough pine to make 3 shelves that spanned the entire space. This was the second day of the project. I bought three 12-foot boards and had them each cut into 4.5-foot pieces. This obviously gave us extra, but it seemed to be the cheapest way to buy 27 feet. In other news,ย Mosey appears to be taking a yoga break after some diligent work.

pine shelf how to 2

Wait, the space was 108 inches, right? Wrong; we must have rounded up from 107 and 3/4 of an inch-ish. Oops.

pine shelf how to 3

Commence the troubleshooting! While Staci was at work, I started using a small sanding block to carve down the end of one of the shelves to see if I could make them fit. After about 20 minutes of this nonsense (and the onset of a rapidly over-exerted arm), I remembered that we owned an electric sander. The sander bailed me out, not unlike San Diego’s Philip Rivers bailed out my beloved Kansas City Chiefs a few years back during a Monday night game… by fumbling a crucial snap and resulting in a Chiefs victory!

So, after some fluid electric sanding and the aid of a make-shift saw horse out of a cheap folding lawn chair, I adapted the shelves to fit in the space! And…. voila, when Staci got home from work, she was greeted with this: ย (!!!)

pine shelf how to 4

Staci here– A huge thanks to Doug for not only saving the day by finishing the shelf installation, but also for filling in by writing this post on an evening when my brain couldn’t put coherent thoughts into sentences.ย We have really enjoyed filling up the shelves and are both truly enamored with them… We’ve spent many hours patting ourselves on the back and gazing at the finished product. ;)ย