Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bad Blogger

We had a little project this weekend and I was so worn out from it that it's taken me three days to get up the energy to write this blog.

Remember this?

One of my lovely readers (I have Fives of Tens of them, you know) suggested filling in with lava rock to discourage regrowth of what I now call the Ivy Scourge. Awesome idea, but Lava rock isn't free and guess what we had on hand already?

Brick. That's a pile of previously-applied brick in the corner back there. I didn't think to get a decent shot of the pile beforehand. Mostly because it had a metal washtub and a bunch of wood on top of the brick.

We also found brick here:

(we found a nest of garter snakes there, too)

and here:

Yeah. We dug those up. I've always wondered why our useless gardener uses the weed-whacker back here. At first I thought it was because of the randomly placed rosebushes, but now I know it's because once you remove a layer of overgrowth, you get equally randomly placed paths of brick.

Funny story about this area. See all that random, weedy growth behind the brick "Wall"? We started asking the Landlord to pull it out (since it's choking the fruit trees) when we moved in. In January. He came by last week and finally pulled out HALF OF IT. Not kidding:

(see that dirt half on the right? We have a useless gardener and a landlord who is perpetually half-assed about things. If it didn't hurt so much I'd bang my head against a wall.)

Now, I know that this whole "Gardening" thing is new to me (and exciting!) but even I know that the proper way to plant ivy (aside from Not Planting It At All) is NOT to put it in a planter and set it on the ground and forget about it. We unearthed, and then had to unearth, so many of these. Some salvageable, but mostly they'd been chewed to bits by the aggressive, invasive root system of The Scourge. I *hate* Ivy. And I don't hate a lot of things. But this is a plant that will grow INTO the stucco on the side of your house. It will choke out your fruit bearing plants. Its roots will ingest (I saw it) any little piece of whatever that they can't push out of the way.

After the apocalypse, it will be the cockroaches, spam, and Ivy.

Any, on more pleasant topics: the after pictures!

It's prettier from the front. And hey, we were working with salvaged brick. And also, I know that I need to prune that growth from the base of the pomegranate tree. That's technically the gardener's job. Unfortunately, he's a lazy bastard and the landlord is the one who hires/fires see where my frustration lies.

Emily is about to take matters into her own, hands.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Ok, I'm going to go back through my posts and add tags so that searching will be more efficient for those who are inclined to search.

This one will be tagged "outside" because it deals with exactly that: my outside.

I was sitting at my desk earlier, and since the temperature is over 60, we've got the windows open. I hear this odd little chirping sound and look over my shoulder to see this:

In this picture you will see my cat, Kipper (sleeping on my husband's synthesizer, which he so graciously set up for optimum lounging + bird watching cat goodness,), (I never know where to put the comma there) exploding Calla Lilies, a sad little rosebush, the post for the patio, a picnic table that's going to be stripped and repainted (yay before/afters!), and a blossoming Pomegranate tree.

What you will not see is the hummingbird that was tormenting Kipper by hovering on the other side of the screen, first partaking in a little pomegranate juice - because who doesn't love that? - and then just hovering around tweeting and tormenting.

It looked like this:

This is not my image. I'm not even remotely this skilled, nor do I have the patience, equipment or technical knowledge to get this awesome shot. This shot is from HERE, which also has a little audio clip of what the bird sounds like.

So, to review, we now know that Hummingbirds like the following:

Orange Blossoms

Lemon Blossoms


Pomegranate Blossoms

Which are so cool you get two shots of them.

I'm not sure about the apple, peach, pear, apricot, and whatever else it is we've got floating around because those aren't in my line of site, generally. But I'll keep an eye out.

Bragging Rights

Follow the hyperlink.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Would an Earth Day Post Just be White Noise at This Point?

I thought so. Also, I feel like I'd just be repeating myself. So here's a link to last Year on the Not Design Blog.

It's good to note that a lot of these things are becoming mainstream: carry your own bags, for instance. CFLs. Being conscious of gas and water usage. Recycling.

My mom bought (a year and a half ago when I told her that Husband and I were trying to start our family) this book:

(available here)

I've only skimmed it, but a lot of it is useful. We're lucky in San Jose to have a diaper service that composts the diapers for us. Which is an option. The other option is cloth, which is just *so* cute. At the very least, the compostable diapers will be good for travel since they'll function like disposables but break down rather than living forever in landfills.

We'll be using glass bottles (because friends don't let friends drink from plastic). Most clothing, bedding, etc, will be purchased second hand. In addition to be more "green", it's also ridiculous to spend a ton of money on clothes for a baby. They'll outgrow it in a week.

I'll probably compile a list and post it here and on the other blog, since it's adoption related. But it seems so far away at this point that it would all be speculation.

So remember:

(available here)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nursery 1.0

So this is my first official draft of what the nursery looks like.

I'm playing around with doing the boards - and this is less and inspiration board and more a planning board - completely digitally, a la Making It Lovely (which it always is.)

Although none of this is purchased, this is the plan. The backdrop is actually the room. Note the paneling. The fact that I like the paneling and couldn't paint it even if I didn't like it means that it stays and some art is hung. Given that we don't know the gender of the child, I haven't even planned it.

The fan is from Target. All of the furniture save the rocker, but including the pendant, is IKEA, as are the rugs. The fatboy ottoman is there as a placeholder. I will have a squishy ottoman, but will it be fatboy? It's hard to say. I'm also a fan of beanbags and at some point - when toddling happens, at least one bean bag will make its way into the room. The butterflies, purchased from Neimans and used in both my wedding and my sister's wedding will hang in the window - as part of science if it's a boy and part of pretty if it's a girl.

Like I said: incarnation one. I'm exploring the flor tiles, and while they're starting to be ubiquitous, I made love them anyway...

So that's what I've done today.

PS - In case you don't stalk me, Husband and I are adopting. We'll start the match process in the fall. To follow those exploits, go here and click on the adoption tag.

Monday, April 20, 2009

92 degrees plus no a/c = Fan Shopping

We here in Northern Cali are having an anomalous heat wave. (I've been told it's anomalous. I'm starting to think I got the Bait and Switch with the bill of goods they sold me.)

It's 92 degrees. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "But Emily, you came from Texas where that's not uncommon - even in March! And you LOVE hot weather." And you'd be right. On both counts.

No residences in Northern California have central air. Almost no residences. And that includes us. And the only ceiling fan is in the dining area of the kitchen. AND the front windows on the house don't open...which means that even *if* there were a breeze, there would be no cross- flow because to open the front door allows in insects that will bite/sting my cats when they become kitty food.

Luckily, all of our lovely lovely trees are shading the house, which keeps it cool. So it's only 84 inside. And I've got two little desk fans that are going, and I'm in a could be worse.

Nevertheless, I've been fan shopping.

And what have I found gentle readers? It's either Ugly or Out of Our Price Range.

But I'm not stingy. Here's what I like:

When we have our large plantation/craftsman house with a sleeping porch, this $8k fan might find a home. (After I sell Husband into white slavery, of course...oh wait, that's how we're paying for the house...)

This one (an almost reasonable $250) Is meant to be on a desktop or table top, it sucks air in from the top/bottom and blows it out the other side - without, they claim - disturbing your papers. It was used in banks...? I like it for the kitchen/dining area. Or even the living area where I do my crafty crafty time wasters.

This one hangs from the ceiling - I like that the blades are encased because we have low low ceilings and we are not short people.

This one also comes as a sconce, which I truly, truly dig.

I could put one of these in every room in my house, but right now the kitchen and bathrooms (did I mention NO A/C?) seems ideal.

This one doesn't blow my skirt up, but it's not bad for what it is. (Have I mentioned that I *hate* ceiling fans?)

This one also comes as a desktop.

And given that we don't own this place and will only be replacing one fixture due to its sheer ugliness/impractibility, we're likely to go with ones that don't require a knowledge of wiring.

So now I'm on a quest to find at least 2 floor fans that aren't hideous and won't impede the Saving of Money for the Purposes of Adoption.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dishwashers are for Babies

I am currently participating in this, the Apartment Therapy Spring Kitchen Cure.

They want my before pictures to go directly to them, but once it's wrapped I'll post them up here, along with all of the helpful tips I learned for keeping your kitchen clean and decluttered.

Unfortunately, I unwittingly jumped the gun a little here, but I'm ok with that. Because eventually my entire kitchen will be that organized.

Also, when we moved in I knew we didn't have a dishwasher. This didn't bother me. In fact, I actually scoffed "Dishwashers are for babies." And while I still have no desire to have a disposal (I could do an entire post on how bad *those* are for the sewer systems...they mostly encourage people to gum up the works) I have to say that I eat my words a little when I walk into the kitchen and see the remains of dinner...because we like to cook. A lot. From scratch. Almost. Every. Night.

Dishwashers are not for babies.
They're for people who like to spend some time outside of the kitchen during their day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Tree!

I have no idea what it is, but it's pretty:

It starts with little red buds

That open into pink and white flowers.

It's hard to see here, but there are new leaves and little buds all over this spindly tree. I can't wait to see what matures!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One More thing...

If we owned this place, I would do this:

To this:

And so would you. Those slats look out on our back garden and I feel that it would work better to be more open than what it is now...being haunted by the early 80s...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Pretties

I went through my back issues and pulled some tear sheets for future reference:

I love doorknobs.

That little pink Ghost Chair at an art Table...swoon.

This + Book + Lemonade - flies = perfection

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

As promised: Air Bed Review

You remember - it took up SO Much room.

It was awesome. A full week and no deflating. Our guest was comfortable and slept better than she does at home. Part of that is because we completely wore ourselves out and part of that is because she just prefers to live on the left coast.

So there you go. Buy it Here.

Here's a photo of us wearing ourselves out:

Ok, really that's just me. But it was taken by Jessica and we had to hike up a mountain to get to that lovely rock. Which I, of course, couldn't stay off of.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I know everyone likes a good before and after, but I've just got the before and during...the "after" is going to take some planning. And help. Lots of help. Maybe even from trained professionals:

Before - Lemon Tree covered in Ivy.

After: Lemon tree with ivy removed. All of those green shoots on the trunk are purple-blossomed Lemony Goodness.

This - where the brown/orange filled patches are - had lots of empty/dirt and dandelion filled planters. Some of them were cute and those are in the garage. Just in case. Some of them were plastic and cracked and they're in our garbage bin. I have no idea what to put here, and it appears that our landlord didn't either. He seems to be of the When In Doubt Plant Spider Ferns, Ivy, or Cacti variety. And with little-to-no planning about where they go. I actually found all three in a single pot. Not Kidding.

This is what my kitchen window looks out on. There's an orange tree immediately to the left, which is what is shading it. I think that's all clover, but don't hold me to that.

Those are rose bushes and a random cacti in a plastic pot. I like the tree stump. I think it adds characters. And the neighborhood cats play in it, which giggles me. Back in the corner (on the right by the blue shed thing) are: a fig tree that's producing figs. A tree that's producing some kind of red berry and might be a plum tree? A stand of random bamboo, and a pile of detritus. The pile of detritus will be removed by our (mostly useless) gardener this week.

This is the other side. It's got a lot of potential, except for the randomly placed rose bushes. In that corner where the fences meet is another pile of detritus, also to be removed this week.

This is just sad. It's behind the garage/summer kitchen. We removed a lot of the dirt and dandelion filled pots today and decided that at one point it was a nicely landscaped piece of dirt. Now it's just neglected. Gardener might just get in there and reduce it to dirt. But then what do I plant?

Luckily we have a nursery here that's fairly helpful, but I'm definitely going to have to learn more about what will grow and how to grow it and then do the planning.

Like I said, there might be professionals involved.

I will leave you with something pretty:

In our front yard.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finally put my hammer to use

Just call me Captain Hammer! (except I'm a girl and look nothing like Nathan Fillion.)

Remember this? Now it looks like this:

That's an antique stereoscope on the left (inherited) and my favorite mirror. Also I have not read those books, yet. Public Enemies is about to be a very promising movie.

But that's not all I did yesterday while our internet was down. I also hung this:

and this:

and this:

That one might be joined by another. I'm not sure yet. It's on the wall of the hallway - to the right is the guest room and to the left the master so I'll walk by it a LOT. Your thoughts?

And then this one:

Yes, that's a certificate for the Children of the Confederacy. It belonged to my great grandmother, Pauline. That is not her in the picture. Those are husband's grandparents. The only thing that might change here is that I'll move Pauline's picture to the table. And replace the lamp, which belongs to our landlord and which has remained strictly out of function.

(It amuses me the impact this might have on our homestudy..but I'm not moving it!)

Happy Friday!

ps - LOVE that I got to use Captain Hammer in this blog. Love.