Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For all the thumbs she has, she sure doesn't help much...

The Moving Saga

Now that all of my sewing equipment is packed up, I have no way to manage my stress. So I've been drinking a lot. No, just kidding. But not really. (cue phone call from mom...) The Rent-a-green box guys were really nice, and they gave us a lot of moving/packing tips. One that he stressed several times was to drink only water and Gatorade and to eat lots of oranges and bananas. Our friends are going to be disappointed because I'm pretty sure we promised pizza and beer. But Jeff and I have been heeding his advice and staying hydrated, although it's not quelling my crankiness. I'm pretty tired of this crap. For those paying attention, we were supposed to close escrow on the 26th which came and went. The banks f***ed up in my opinion and are lagging on several fronts. The seller's bank needs to get us the terms of the short sale approval letter for us to write up the loan docs, and our bank needs the appraisal back to write up those docs, which their appraisal management company for some reason is taking forever to issue. Delays mean extensions which means more $ so we're not too thrilled.

Again, I'm trying to put things in perspective to make me feel better. We'll have a beautiful home that we think is a really good deal, we won't have to move again for a very long time hopefully, our landlords/friends are being super cool about our flexy moving date, and we have several fun trips to look forward to. Another awful thing recently happened that jerked us out of our moving bubble and into a dark and sad place. But as these things usually do, it made us realize what is important to us (family and friends, life) and minimized everything not in our control and not really even that bad. I was embarrassed that a delayed moving date was making me so upset when others were going through something infinitely more upsetting. So I'm done with it. I'll be patient and focus on the fun of moving into our first home.


Here I am geeking out with Todd and Spencer from Rent-a-green box. Such cool dudes! They took pity on us and comped us a free heavy-duty dolly to help with the move. A $60 deal! Score!

I made Spencer pose with the boxes. He was cool with it when I told him it was for my blahg.
That's 50 boxes right there, mixed with extra-larges, larges, and mediums which Spencer schooled us on what should go in each. Filling an extra-large box full of books was so tempting though!
It really feels like progress when the art comes off the walls. The house feels so bare without our babies on the wall! It was impressive to see our collection on the table though. It's going to be lots of fun to find new homes for these..
This is Jeff's inspiration wall. Those boxes hold Be@rbricks and other vinyl dolls (that took him a solid half-day to lovingly package each one back in its original packaging). All of the handled bags have a small portion of his art book collection and Mitty yearbooks. I gave a bunch of my books to the Goodwill because I was sick of packing them. This sight was worth the effort though:
It gives me such satisfaction to see all of the boxes clearly labeled and neatly stacked, ready to be moved. I swear, these boxes were the BEST decision.
And the worst thing about moving: filthy hands. UGH! I cannot stand newspaper ink and dirt on my hands, I was compulsively washing them after each torn up LA Weekly. 

That's it for now! Hopefully the next moving post will actually be of us moving...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sewing my stress away...

This is how I manage my stress. Sewing frenzies. 

More fabric baskets. These are satisfying to make because they don't take a ton of time or fabric and I like how they're all uniform in size and shape. OCD much? Yes.

I just had to make something from this fabric. I love it. It's lined in the same and the handles are braided strips of black and white lined leftover fabric that Jerod gave me. 

Ah the wedding circle quilt. Coming along nicely I should say. Three quadrants done! It took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out sewing the two opposite circle arcs facing each other with their right sides before I realized they weren't supposed to lie flat. You just have to pin the crap out of them and sew slowly to get a nice rounded seam. Diagrams would have been helpful... 

The weather was lovely so Jeff and I went to our favorite Mexican joint in Newport Beach (El Ranchito) to share a Baja fish bowl and then headed over to check out the progress made on the Irvine Great Park. Not much progress so far but all the wildflowers were in bloom so it was really pretty to look at. We wanted to go up in the big orange balloon for an aerial view but it was grounded due to a high wind advisory. Bah! Next time. 

And then we ended our weekend with a game of sweet revenge: Sorry! I love how vintage this game looks even though it's brand spankin' new from Target. We love our board games. Jeff won 2-1. :(


Jeff and I visited our awesome friends Joie and Matt at their house in Fallbrook a couple of weekends ago and I'm just now getting around to downloading the pictures. We had, as always, a great time with them. They're hilarious and a ton of fun and have the coolest baby in the world so we're always thrilled to go and visit. Baby G is so cute now, she's learning to count and so she screams "ONE!! TWO!! FREE!! FOUR!! FIVE!! SIX!! SEVEN!!" all the way up to the teens. It's pretty impressive.

We went wine tasting at a few wineries (there are a million up there, all so scenic), ate a lot of good mexican food and Cold Stone ice cream cookie sandwiches, played Rock Band, and a rousing game of Monopoly that Matt kicked all our asses at. Best... weekend... EVER! Thanks you guys, we can't wait for Pacific Beach!!

Here's the link to our Fallbrook picture album...

Thanks Mom!!

I posted this on March 12th and my mom whipped these up with scary speed. She mailed us TWO of them last week!  AND she made SIX more! Well, six more when I spoke to her last. It's probably up to 37 by now. Watch out family and friends, you're getting crocheted swiffer socks for your birthdays and Christmas.

Thanks again Mom, they work great!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scandinavian Adventure!

Okay, this year is going to be amazing. That's it. We get a house AND a trip to Scandinavia! We are pumped. My dad travels a lot for work and racks up the frequent flier miles and very generously donated them to our pouty faces as we told him that roundtrip tickets were going for over a thousand dollars per person. Awesome!! We depart from LA on August 23rd for Oslo, Norway where we'll tour around for 5 days or so before taking the train down to Copenhagen for a few days, and then we'll wrap up the trip for a week in Sweden. Our friends Brendan Monroe and Evah Fan live in Stockholm and are artists so we'll tour around all their favorite places with them I hope and check out the Swedish art scene. My aunt and uncle, Britt and Rui, and my cousins Jonatan and Johanna all live in Stockholm also so we will of course see and spend quality time with them (the picture above is the view from their balcony! It overlooks the harbor, amazing. It's snowed over there now, my dad took this picture on his trip last week, but it will be gorgeous when we're there in the summer). 

My aunt and uncle, Dagfinn and Bjorg, and cousins Eivind and Jon, live in and around Oslo so we're looking forward to seeing them as well. We'll be backpacking and hosteling and traveling by foot and train and we'll try to cram as much adventuring in as possible. Jeff is beside himself with excitement, as he's wanted to go to Scandinavia badly for a long time. I can't wait to share with him the places we went on our family vacations, show him Lillestrom where my dad is from, the Viking ships museum, the harbor, and all the good eats that the countries have to offer. I think Jeff is expecting all reindeer and moose burgers, but I'm all about the paprika chips from the grocery store. I will live off of those, shrimp, and Kinder eggs for the two weeks. No problem.

Here's another picture from Britt and Rui's home, isn't it gorgeous? The Danish furniture I mean, not the view. The view isn't too shabby either I guess. :) It's a good thing I can't fit furniture in my suitcase...
Britt and Rui and the very typical Norwegian/Swedish breakfast. I'll pass on the meat but I love the thick cut bread with yummy jam. Mmmm... Jan would be all over that baconost. It's this (in my opinion) gross white cheese spread infused with bacon essence. You squirt it out of a tube, which is just one reason why it's gross. Ligonberry jam I'll take though! My aunt looks so much like my dad, it's pretty hilarious. I wonder if Jan and I are going to be like that when we're older... he should be so lucky!
We can't wait!! Many more blog posts about what we want to see while we're there so stay tuned. :)

Friday, March 19, 2010


I've been waiting for the USPS to get more Humane Society stamps, and these ones are perfect! Well, all Siamese cats would have been more perfect, but I'll still buy these. They're called Stamps to the Rescue. Adorable.

From Dog Milk: "The US Postal Service has unveiled its newest batch of stamps, Adopt a Shelter Pet commemorative postage stamps. The Stamps to the Rescue promotional campaign featuring spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres aims to donate 1 million meals to animal shelters across the country. DeGeneres co-owns Halo, Purely for Pets, a holistic pet care company. The stamps feature five cats and five dogs who were adopted from a shelter in New Milford, CT. The portraits were taken by stamp photographer Sally Andersen-Bruce. You can order them at the online USPS Postal Store now, or wait and get them at your local post office starting on April 30th."

Liberty of London!

I was so excited for this collection to come to Target this month and couldn't wait to see the pieces in person. It debuted on the 14th which is when Jeff and I were in Fallbrook visiting our friends Matt and Joie, but with Joie's help, we convinced the boys that it was a perfect Target shopping day and we got to go. I bought the dress that I saw online and had been crossing my fingers it was as pretty in person, and I'm so happy with it. It's perfect for Kelsey and Jake's garden wedding in May in San Diego and was only $34.99!! The length is perfect for my turquoise heels that I'll be wearing with it, and I love the one shoulder look. Score!


This week (8 months?) has been an emotional roller coaster I tell you. We got great news yesterday morning when we heard that Jeff's 'Lost' pieces sold (AWESOME! Cha-ching!) which was promptly followed by a phone call from our BofA mortgage loan underwriters asking us to submit our 2009 tax return ASAP. Um... don't we have until April 15th? NO! We were waiting to submit them because we were going to use a CPA this year AND we wanted to cash in on our $8,000 tax credit for buying a home. Well no. Since Jeff is self-employed, they need hard proof of what he's raking in so we needed to get on it right then. It was painful. We did it together on H&R Block online (which was really easy to use actually and I'm glad we did that instead of shelling out $500 for a CPA) but it took awhile and we were hit hard. Hard enough to pretty much wipe out that $8,000 coming back to us. I guess it's a good thing that we owed that much, it meant that Jeff brought in a good chunk last year, but I need to get used to forking over a check like that every April. I was pretty grumpy last night. We saved accordingly during the year though so we're going to be okay, it just sucked.

Plus, because we submitted our taxes one week before we're actually buying the house, we couldn't claim it just yet so our tax credit couldn't pay our taxes, our poor savings account had to. I thought that meant we couldn't get the 8K until we filed 2010 taxes and I almost cried. A little internet research told me we can file an amendment after we get the house and so we'll get that money back pretty quickly. Phew.

Jeff keeps saying "Nothing is ever easy!! ARGH!!" and it's kind of true when it comes to being self-employed and buying a house. There are so many steps to this process and so many highs and lows. To have ridden this roller coaster for 9 months has made us both want to puke and we can't even fathom what it's going to feel like on March 26th when we sign that last signature and become members of the landed aristocracy...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fundraiser for Lucy

Poor Jill Bliss' dog Lucy has had some health problems recently and Jill is having a fundraiser sale on her website to help pay for Lucy's vet bill. That's a cause I'm happy to support, so I bought a print, a couple of notecards, and a notepad. I wanted the little fabric bags she had but those got snapped up. She has a bunch of original art pieces up for sale (at a big discount), but I have to save my pennies for the house repairs. Check out the sale and help out if you can! Click here to see the items.
I bought the Sasquatch print for Jeffy. I think he'll like it. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm torn between being embarrassed about this and proud of it...

These are my inspiration slides for the house! I just can't wait. I'm chomping at the bit to start painting and decorating and designing and since I don't have the keys yet, I have to do it on the computer. It's pretty nerdy, I realize, but I don't care. Jeff and my parents already make fun of me for it so I'm used to the taunts. 

We want a big old schoolhouse chalkboard for the kitchen. Sue, get all of your teacher friends to start looking out for us. We'll buy the school a new one in exchange for an old wood one. :) We're going to use Mythic paint in the house I think, it's gotten the best reviews that I've seen. I love this dove gray color for the kitchen walls. 

We took measurements at the home inspection. The blue boxes indicate windows. 

I want a danish teak bed so badly it hurts. My parents have one and it's still stylish. 

We think we like this purple Geoff McFetridge wallpaper a little more than the dinosaurs for the dining room. The dinosaur wallpaper can go in the bambino's room. 

Here's that yeti paper, in all the colors. We still  need to see how the red looks against our pink fixtures (cool?? Hideous?) so we might go with the gray. Once we have money again that is. The toilet is a dual flush from American Standard. Eco-friendly!

And this is my amateurish layout of our living room furniture. That's my sexy chocolate sofa, the yellow side tables behind it, our coffee table that Brendan made in front of it, Scott's navy blue leather chair by the two windows and next to the fireplace, and our huge flat screen TV that my parents are buying us on my teak console.


Crazy cat lady, and one baboon pic

Crunchy garbanzos, perfected.

These are probably my favorite snack. They're super easy to make, healthy, delicious, and cheap. The only draw back is that you have to wait 40 minutes while they bake and they don't keep well even in airtight containers. Usually not a problem since I can polish off the full can by myself. They're that good. I keep mucking with the spice combinations I put on them and I think the one I made today is my favorite. I used pimenton, a smoked paprika from Williams-Sonoma, cayenne pepper, a little dash of garlic powder, and pink himalayan salt from Trader Joe's. Mix with a can of organic garbanzos and a little olive oil, and then bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, and wash down with a cold one.

Long Beach Museum After Dark

Jeff, Jenny and I went to the LB Museum of Art for their After Dark event which was so much fun! I haven't been able to go in the past because I did MRIs at the hospital on Thursday nights but not anymore! I scored the Tuesday afternoon slot which is much more convenient. We rode our bikes down the museum 1) because it was fun, 2) because we can always use the exercise, 3) it's ridiculous to drive anywhere that's within a mile or two of our house, and 4) the museum gives you a free drink when you show up on a bike. Nice! They have Chimay beers for $4 and lots of good wines and even serve little tapas. There was a band playing and the museum was showing part of it's permanent collection from the 60s. They also had this picture kiosk that takes four pictures and then emails them to you which was super cool and free! Here are some of the ones we took:

That's our new friend Tim in the background. He's hilarious! We're going to invite him to game night.

Anyone in SoCal... next one is on July 15th! Mark your calendars and come!

You won't own me, Swiffer...

MOM! Make one of these for me. Please? Don't let your crochet skills go to waste! I love my swiffer so very much, and it gets used often because of our hardwood floors, Lily Mae's fur, and Jeff's allergies. So we go through the swiffer cloths pretty frequently. I went cheap-o and bought the generic brand which admittedly aren't as dust magnetizing as the actual swiffer brand. I feel a little guilty though about all the waste, so when I saw this on Apartment Therapy, it was like "Oh yeeeeesssss..."

I'm emailing you the pattern mom so you have no excuses, but everyone else can download the pattern here at Craftzine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Maybe instead of paying $2300 to eradicate our termites, I'll pay $140 for these fierce (yeah, I said it) suede ankle boots from J. Crew and I'll wear them and stomp all the stupid termites to death. More eco-friendly and cost effective, with the additional bonus of being emotionally therapeutic! 

These ankle boots are another surprising 180 degree flip from what I previously thought to be stylish. Just like turtlenecks. I used to hate both turtlenecks and ankle boots (especially when they are called 'booties'- ugh) and probably vocalized my declaration to never be caught dead in either, but now I'm kind of digging both. Go figure. 

While we're on the topic of fabulous shoes... these need to be my new spring heels. They are clogs (nod to half of my heritage), they are high (and I'm short), and they are mint green (nuff said). Swedish Hasbeens, how I love you.

Son of a fish head!

Damn it. I forgot about the termite report, which came in and ruined my perfectly nice morning. Daisy has them apparently, and we need to tent to get rid of them. $2300!!! Expensive little fudgers. SHOOT!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This one's for you Dad

You were asking about the backyard at the house... here are some pictures!

That's the kitchen window behind the weird pod tree.
This is the driveway in front of the garage. Not sure why it's gated off from the rest of the backyard, but it will be handy to use for putting Jeff in time-out.
That's the side of the garage, and the gate door goes to the alley in between the blocks where they pick up the trash. Those are camellia trees next to the garage and the orange tree is peeking in on the right.
This is the stone patio outside of the den window, where we'll put our outdoor table and chairs. I like the big fluffy palm tree bush that shields the yard from the neighbors.
The pods turned from a pretty green to a yucky rotten banana brown over a few weeks. We have to figure out this tree and what it is. I'm not sure if the pods are supposed to turn brown, or if they'll all fall off in a couple weeks or what. It's a mystery tree.
This is the rest of the lawn. There's a weird patch of bushes in between the lawn and the stone patio that we'll probably take out and replace with a fire pit. For s'mores!
The view from Jeff's time-out area to the den's sliding glass door and patio.
Behind the garage, the grass really popped up after these crazy rains we had. 
Another view of the camellias. Pink!
And the cherry blossom tree is blooming! So lovely...

I wish I had the "blueprints" Jerod and Jeff mocked up for their plans for our backyard. If memory serves me, there was a one meter dash track, a balloon volleyball net/clothesline, a wood chopping station, and paddleboard/trash boat storage. Sigh.