Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project Week- Recap

So, you may be wondering how I did with my self-proclaimed "Project Week" last week. I had a laundry list of things to do, and I was aiming at finishing them off before the end of the week. So, did I make it?

Well, almost. =) I was SO close. Here's the list of things that I had to do:
  • Paint Bookshelf #1
  • Paint Bookshelf #2
  • Finish Curtains
  • Organize and clean music room
  • Prettify music room using things I already have
  • Finish wooden tray (I found an awesome wooden tray at Goodwill that needs a makeover!)
And here's what got done.

Bookshelf #1 got a nice new paint job to transform it from this:


 To this:


Bookshelf #2 gave me a bit more trouble.


After priming it and painting 2 coats, I went to put the polyeurethane finish on and the stupid stuff turned my white bookshelf yellow. I may or may not have cried in angst at that. So bookshelf #2 will probably be repainted sometime in the near future. Grr.

#3 on my list was to finish the curtains I had started a couple months ago. I'm happy to say that they are all done and doing their job quite nicely!



#4, organize and clean the music/craft/office space went pretty well too. It really helped to finally have a functional place to put things! All of my teaching books are now happily housed on the new bookshelf.

#5, prettify (is that a word?) the music/craft/office space, is off to a good start as well. I used things that I already had on hand to try and bring some continuity to the space.


One of the biggest changes in that area was the addition of an oversized print that I purchased a few years ago. I didn't have anywhere to put it for a long time, so it was sitting in the garage! I didn't know if the colors would work in here since I'm going for more of a green and white combo, but I really like the zap of color that the teal brings. 



There's definitely more that I would like to do in that regard, but at least it's off to a decent start!

Project #7 was also derailed by a bad paint job. I found this tray at GW and planned to give it a makeover, but the paint I chose did a really poor job of covering it, and then I decided I hated the color anyway. You win some, you lose some!


All in all, I'm really happy with how the project week turned out. It's nice to know that the Summer didn't completely get away from me before I was able to carve out some time and get things done! Just in time for some Fallish weather, it seems.

Just to jog your memory, here's what that room used to look like:



The wall where the piano is still looks pretty much the same and will need more work, but I think it's definitely come a long way! So, what projects are you finishing up this Summer?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Roughin' It

Until this past weekend, it had been about 10 years since I had been camping. Let's face it, I'm one of those girls that doesn't really get along with nature. I like my bed, my shower, my sparkly clean toilet, and being able to kill every spider that dares to set an appendage over my threshold.

But when our dear friends Nick and Cindy (you can read their account of the trip here) asked us if we would be interested in an end-of-summer camping trip, I finally caved. Well, I have to admit, part of it was the sheer stubborn will that I've had ever since I was a child. If other people can camp, then so can I. Even if I die trying.


So, since we are all quite adventurous (read: ignorant), we thought it would be a great idea to book a backpacking campsite. For all you other non-campers out there, that means you have to carry everything in on foot. No backing up your u-haul and unloading all your crap, you have to strap it on your back and carry it in. 1 mile, 1/4 of which was a pretty extreme uphill hike.



We also realized, after booking the site of course, that there were no flush toilets or shower facilities. Oops.


 But although we got off to a rather rocky start, the trip was really amazing. Our campsite was so remote, we barely heard or saw anyone else. It was up on the bluffs of the St. Croix river, so the views were stunning!


We got to chop our own firewood, and haul water back and forth from the well.


We also had some of the most amazing food ever. Like these banana desserts, ohmygoodness. I'm still dreaming about them! Cindy has the deets on how to make these over at her blog, The Flipping Couple. 





There were some beautiful sunsets, here's one we saw as we were heading back up the trail to our campsite.


 It was such a wonderful trip. The views, the weather, the food, and especially the company were perfect. So after such a successful camping trip, I think I will have to do it again!

How about you? Do you enjoy camping?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project # 2


It took me a good 4 hour chunk of time on Tuesday, but the curtains are finally done! I was hoping to finish them in under 2 hours, since they were already mostly sewn, but as I tweaked the design a little to incorporate features I wanted it got to be a bigger project! For instance, I added tabs at the top of the curtain for hanging so it would be easier to move the curtains. Originally, I had just folded the fabric over and sewn a loop for the rod to go through, but it made the curtains to difficult to open and close. The tabs are much better, plus I like the way the curtains lay now more! 


The green and cream fabric was from a friend that I helped with her sewing machine. She made curtains for her kitchen and had a ton of fabric left over, I think I still have 2-3 yards left!



Here's that list again- I'm still hoping I can power through the rest of these things before the week is out!
  • Paint bookshelf #1
  • Paint bookshelf #2 (post coming soon!)
  • Finish curtains
  • Organize and clean music room
  • Prettify music room using things I already have
  • Finish wooden tray (I found an awesome wooden tray at Goodwill that needs a makeover!)



    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Week of Projects


    I've started quite a few projects in the past few weeks, and I'm planning on using this week to finish them all up! After a fun and busy Summer, it's time to focus on getting the house in order for Fall, especially since I will be teaching piano again from our home. So, most of the projects are geared towards the music room!

    First off, Josh and I found this wonderful specimen at a garage sale last weekend. Isn's she a beaut?

    Actually, using my supreme detective skills (a la Hercule Poirot), I have deduced that this was once used in a clubhouse of some sort. Why? Because someone scratched in the surface "Boys Rule" and "No Girls Allowed." Awesome. 
    Well, I couldn't really have that kind of propaganda in the house, considering that I am in fact a girl, so I sanded it down and gave it a coat of primer, 2 coats of a lovely off-white shade, and a protective polyurethane coat.


    This bookshelf fits the room perfectly! Originally, I was going to buy something from IKEA for this space, but really, this bookshelf was only $5 (plus $50 for materials I will be reusing on other pieces). And, it's solid wood!


    The bottom shelf fits the boxes I store sheet music in perfectly. It's so nice to finally have a little storage in that space! 


    Are you curious about what other projects I am working on this week? Well, here's my list (so far): 
    • Paint bookshelf #1 (done!)
    • Paint bookshelf #2 
    • Finish curtains (yes, I started this project 2 whole months ago...)
    • Organize and clean music room
    • Prettify music room using things I already have
    • Finish wooden tray (I found an awesome wooden tray at Goodwill that needs a makeover!)
    So, here's hoping that I can check a few more projects off this list before this week is out!


    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Opera, Schmopera


    I talk very little about "the other part" of my life. I know, that sounds creepy, like I'm a serial killer or something. I promise you, that is most definitely not the case! In fact, I am a music teacher + a wannabe someday grad student in the field of Vocal Pedagogy and Opera Performance.


    This blog was originally a way for me to delve into some other interests besides music- since being a music major in college was all-encompassing and didn't give me much of a chance to do anything else! But, music is such a huge part of my life that I can't NOT talk about it, at least once in a while. =) 

    Last week, I got to finish up a 2-week Italian Opera study program. It consisted of several lessons and language classes with Maestro Leonardo Marzagalia and his wife Cristina, who come here every couple of years from Italy to do this program. I was one of 12 lucky participants, ranging in age from 16 to 60-ish. It culminated in a recital where we all sang the pieces we had been working on. Here's a photo taken after the recital, of all the participants + the Maestro (at the piano).



    And just for fun, here's a wee clip of me singing. It's not the whole song, some parts of the beginning got cut off, but here's a least part of it!

    video

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Bledded Wiss

    Yesterday, my honey and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary! I can't believe it has already been 2 years since I walked down the aisle and married the love of my life. My, how time flies!


    We celebrated by getting dressed up, and going out to one of my favorite restaurants (Josh had never been there, but I'm assuming that now he has experienced it he loves it too!), The Loring Pasta Bar. I seriously love that place. The food is to die for, and the ambience is spectacular! 

    I love the rustic look of the building- lots of exposed brick and industrial texture mixed with some lavish, moroccan style furnishings. Yummy. 

    Of course, I did not spend the whole time taking pictures of the restaurant. I focused on the dinner with my hubs, but what can I say, I am a home-decorating blogger and can never completely switch off that side of myself! =D


    See what I mean though? Gorgeous. I wonder if they would let me move in? 



    Here's what we ate, because I know everyone loves looking at pictures of delicious food that someone else ate:


    Artichoke Ramekin with Garlic Bread.


    Saffron Chicken Linguine with Cilantro and Basil (!).


    Portobello Stuffed Ravioli. Oh my.  

    It really was the perfect date. As wonderful as the food + atmosphere were, it's always about who you're there with, and my hubby is my favorite person to spend time with. We laugh, pray, cry, commiserate, work, go on adventures, and do just about everything together. Ok, with the crying, I must admit, it's usually only me. But he is a good soother and always has a spare hankie.

    We both have a pretty healthy sense of humor as well, and an innate ability to mess up the words that we are trying to say. So at one point during our date Josh proposed a toast and said, "To 2 years of Bledded Wiss." I think he meant to say Wedded Bliss. AH, we had a good laugh over that one!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Favorite Places


    It's no secret that I love a good cup of tea! one of my favorite places to get tea is from a local restaurant call the Avalon Tea Room. It's located in White Bear Lake, MN, and it's been around for years. You can find many different people there, older ladies sharing tea with friends, young moms with their daughters, even guys will come in for the wonderful food!

    My Grandma has been going there every week for the past few years. She's one of the "regulars," and it seems like everyone there knows who she is!


    We go there and have lunch once in a while, usually my mom, sisters, Grandma and I. Last week, I went with my mother-in-law Jody, my sister Elsie, and Grandma Bertie.  


    The tea, of course, is wonderful. They have a wide variety to choose from, and they bring it out in colorful teapots and serve it to you in delicate china cups. The food is also amazing. I have never tried anything there that I didn't like. They also make the best quiche and scones with devonshire cream!

    They even have some fun vintage hats that you can try on and wear during your teatime if you wish! 


    It's fun to see local, privately owned businesses that are really thriving in this day and age. Thankfully the Avalon doesn't have much to worry about, they have some pretty fiercely loyal customers that keep coming back. I am definitely one of them! 

    I wasn't paid or given any perks to endorse the tea room, I just wanted to share one of my favorite places. How about you? What are some of your favorite home-away-from-homes?

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Awkward (Housewife) Moments

    I'm pretty sure that I have just won the "Awkward Housewife of the Year Award." Trust me, I would bet you some serious money that I am the only person in the world this has ever happened to...

    I did a big ol' load of laundry yesterday, and then went to put it in the dryer, only to discover that my laundry was covered in a strange white, fibrous substance. Literally, every inch of of every single piece of clothing was covered. Like when you accidentally leave a tissue in the pocket of your jeans, but x100. 

    I surmise that somehow, an entire roll of toilet paper somehow fell into the washer as I was doing laundry.

    Oh yes. An entire roll. I even found remnants of the cardboard roll in the middle. Thankfully, toilet paper dissolves in water. Unfortunately, it doesn't dissolve enough.


    So Josh and I spent some time shaking out each article of clothing (as evidenced by the "snow" on our porch), and now I am rewashing everything, but I also suspect I will have to spend some serious time with a lint roller this week.

    Please tell me that you have also had some awkward housewife moments? I need a little support here. =)


    P.S. Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts and prayers re: my last post. Josh is doing just fine, and has not had any more issues since that night! Praise the Lord! He is, however, going to dramatically scale back his workout routines for a while. =) 

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Wow, it's been a very crazy couple of weeks here! And, it doesn't look like it will calm down anytime soon. I was initially hoping to keep blogging despite the fact that I'm doing a 2-week Italian Opera Study program, but honestly, I just have to focus on one thing at a time!

    However, something crazy happened last night and I just feel the need to write about it, just to help debrief myself from the situation!

    Josh (my hubby) went to the gym to work out with some friends yesterday evening, and I was exhausted from the program so I put on some PJ's and was catching up on my fav tv show.

    After a couple hours, I heard the car pull up outside, the garage door open, and Josh starts honking the car horn repeatedly. At first, it didn't even register that it was OUR car, I thought some neighbor's car alarm was going off. Then, I realized it was Josh and I was actually slightly annoyed at the fact that he was honking (seriously, I should win the Terrible Wife of the Year award for that one). So, I ran down in my pajamas to see what was going on.

    Josh was completely limp in the front seat, his hands were frozen in claws, and he couldn't move his legs. He opened his mouth and started telling me that he began feeling weird on the way back from the gym, but his speech was slurred. My first thought was "Is he having a stroke? These are symptoms of a stroke!" and then Josh actually said, "I think I might be having a stroke." I have never been so afraid in my entire life. I managed to get him out of the car (pure adrenaline) and lay him down on the driveway and ran up to get my phone and call 911. The fire department and then the EMTs were there in less than 5 minutes, and it was a complete blur as they surrounded him and checked his vitals and administered tests to see if he was having a stroke. I'm so thankful for one of our neighbors who came over and stayed with Josh while I ran up to get my purse and throw jeans on in case we had to take the ambulance!

    His symptoms began to subside while the emergency team was there. The EMT said that she suspected it wasn't a stroke, but hyperventilation. However, she said to get him to the ER right away. We got to the ER and were there for a couple of hours while they ran tests to make sure everything was ok. The initial diagnosis was hyperventilation/calcium deficiency, and after the tests it was confirmed. We are SO THANKFUL that it was not a stroke! Looking at the symptoms, every sign seemed to point that way. I had no idea that you could experience those symptoms from hyperventilating.

    I have never felt that kind of fear before, seeing my husband unable to move or talk like that was so scary. After the EMT's left, he actually said that he felt fine and could wait to go to the doctor, but I was like "GET IN THE CAR! WE ARE LEAVING NOW!" I turned into Mama Bear.

    I am so thankful that Josh is ok. Being the trooper that he is, he actually got up and went to work on time this morning. He amazes me every day. Also, God's grace and provision amazes me. It was clear from the moment that things started happening that God was with us! I broke down crying on the phone with the operator, but I also felt a strange sense of calm and was able to remember everything I needed to. Seriously, with the chaos I'm amazed that I remembered Josh's birthdate. God brought our neighbor (whom we had never even met) over and he stayed with Josh while I went to get some things from the house. We got into the ER immediately, we didn't have to wait at all to see the doctor. Everything worked like clockwork. God's provision was so evident.

    I try not to take anything in this life for granted, but it's moments like that when you realize what truly is important in life!

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