Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reading List

Last New Year's Eve I shared the books and plays I had read in 2013. Here is the list from 2014. Once again, only books or plays that were read all the way through have made the list (nothing skimmed or unfinished).



Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey
Quarter Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn and Fed my Family for a Year by Spring Warren


The Diamond Throne by David Eddings
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Map of Time by Felix Palma
After Rome by Morgan Llywelyn
Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovitch
Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovitch
Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell


Camelot by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Exploring Georgetown

Last weekend we took a day trip up into the mountains to the Victorian mining town of Georgetown. Every year Georgetown hosts a Victorian Christmas Fair, and we had a fun day exploring the small historic town. Here are some pictures from our day:

 In front of the historic Hamil House

 Hamil House

After the fair, we drove up Guanella Pass into Arapahoe National Forest

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan: 12.21.14

It's been a while since I did my meal plan posts. Between the move, having my parents visit, then flying back to CA for Thanksgiving, and then catching a really nasty cold, my planning has not been so great! I know the next few weeks still won't be totally "normal" but I'm looking forward to getting some semblance of a plan. Here we go for this week:

Sunday: leftovers

Monday: enchiladas

Tuesday: homemade pizza

Wednesday: ham, roasted vegetables and latkes!

Thursday: date lunch at the movies; slow cooker Pumpkin Chili for dinner

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: quesadillas with leftover roasted vegetables

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creating my Home Office

One of the first big tasks on my list for the new home was getting my home office up and running. If you remember, it looked like this when we first moved in:

The walls were covered in a beige stripe wallpaper. It wasn't a bad paper, but it was peeling in a few places and since I knew I would need to be putting in a lot of screws and screw anchors (my pegboard alone needs 6) I decided that to do things right we should take down the paper.

So, on the Monday before my parents arrived, I started peeling the wallpaper.

I used a spray product called Dif, which was recommended by the employees at our good local paint store. Most of the wallpaper came off pretty easily, since it turned out the wall was completely textured underneath. I did have to work hard at the seams, where the paste seemed to be strongest, but overall it wasn't a bad project.

When the wallpaper was stripped, it was clear that the ceiling was actually a beige, not white. Since I planned to paint the walls a blue-gray, I had to paint the ceiling. So, I spent the next two days painting the ceiling, patching and painting trim, and finally painting the walls.

After three long days of working in this room, I got a smidge jealous of certain home bloggers whose husbands help with the painting -- I did all of this while Sean was at work! And my back and shoulders sure felt it.

Finally, with some help from my dad to hang the shelves and pegboard, here is what I'm working in:

There is still plenty of work to do in here, but at least now I can comfortably work at both the computer and the drafting table, and I can start unloading all those boxes of office books!


Linked up to:
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our New Home and a Giant To Do List

Well, I promised this post back at the end of October, and now it's mid-November. It's been quite a whirlwind month, and blogging fell to the back of my priorities. Sorry for the delay, though those of you who know me in real life have likely seen many of the pictures on Facebook. When life gets crazy, I just try to remember that I do this for myself, and if I miss posting to the internet because I'm living real life I think that's perfectly OK!

I'm so excited to share some pictures of our new home today! Here you'll see it vacant, but as we get unpacked and settled I will share how we turn this blank slate into our home.

My incredibly long to-do list is inspired by the lists shared by Young House Love -- I can be very detail oriented yet also disorganized so their method of sharing long, detailed to-do lists is exactly what I need to stay on top of this homeowner project! Keep in mind that some of the items on this list, like finishing out the basement, are on the long-term list. Long-term could mean 10 years, but we know it's something we eventually want to do.

Because of my delay in posting this list, some things are already checked off. Yay progress!

Living Design New Home
  • reseal driveway
  • repaint exterior next spring -- the colors are fine, but there are some places that are chipping and our inspector recommended taking care of it within the year

Yard & Back Deck
Living Design New Home

  • remove old satellite dish to give access to electrical panel
  • door mat by sliding door
  • repair/replace back deck steps
  • weed front yard
  • planters on back deck
  • get bird feeders
  • plan & plant veggie garden
  • plant fruit trees
  • install compost bin
  • build chicken coop & run

Front Porch
  • new welcome mat
  • potted plants on either side of entry/near bay window


Living Design New Home
  • paint
  • update light fixture
  • turn coat closet back into coat closet (it currently has wire shelves, but we would like to hang coats in there)
  • figure out some shoe storage near door
  • get runner
  • get coat rack/hat stand for corner in stairs -- something that is functional, but also provides visual interest

Living Room
Living Design New Home

  • fix drywall patches
  • paint
  • repair windows with broken sashes: living room left
  • hang art
  • get rug

Dining Room
Living Design New Home

  • fix drywall patches
  • patch trim
  • install beadboard wallpaper below chair rail
  • paint beadboard wallpaper to match trim
  • paint upper part of walls
  • update light fixture
  • get rug
  • new dining room chairs

  • Living Design New Home
    remove wallpaper
  • patch & paint trim
  • paint walls
  • new window treatments
  • hang shelves
  • remove closet doors, turn closet into filing/bookshelf area

Living Design New Home

  • new fridge
  • caulk around kitchen sink
  • paint
  • update knobs
  • update light fixtures
  • update appliances to stainless steel when needed
  • eventually replace countertops & sink; change out range for gas

Family Room
Living Design New Home

  • get fireplace gas adjusted correctly (currently burns too orange)
  • change out surround sound for something less visually obtrusive -- speakers mounted flush into the wall? white?
  • paint
  • get rug
  • new larger couch, larger coffee table

Downstairs Bath
  • paint
  • update vanity & fixtures

Downstairs Hallway
  • paint
  • hang art
  • get runner
  • update thermostat?

Laundry Room
  • paint
  • buy washer & dryer
  • install folding shelf over washer & dryer
  • get wall hanger for iron & ironing board
  • figure out closet organization

  • fix garage door opener
  • build work bench
  • add storage for bikes, shovels, tools etc.

Stairs & Upstairs Hallway
  • paint
  • remove carpet on stairs, put in hardwood with runner
  • refinish banister

Master Bedroom
Living Design New Home

  • patch holes in drywall
  • paint

Master Bath & Closet
Living Design New Home

  • replace lightbulb in closet
  • get plumber in to install new wax ring on master toilet
  • fix grout in master shower
  • paint
  • new towel bars
  • fix linen closet doors -- they currently rub each other
  • update mirror & light fixtures
  • new closet organization system?
  • Update shower

Guest Room & Bath
Living Design New Home

  • touch up enamel in upstairs guest bathroom sink
  • repair windows with broken sashes: guest bathroom
  • patch trim, remove half finished framing below chair rail
  • install beadboard wallpaper below chair rail? Or finish out wainscoting framing like they did near the window?
  • paint beadboard wallpaper to match trim
  • paint wall above chair rail
  • paint bathroom
  • get furniture for our holiday guests!
  • replace ceiling fan blades
  • new window treatments
  • update mirror & window treatments
  • update vanity
  • replace bathroom window with safety glass

Future Kid Room 1 (Currently Sean's Office)
Living Design New Home

  • patch trim
  • install beadboard wallpaper below chair rail
  • paint beadboard wallpaper to match trim
  • paint wall above chair rail
  • replace ceiling fan blades

Future Kid Room 2 (Currently Cat/Sewing Room)
Living Design New Home

  • patch trim
  • install beadboard wallpaper below chair rail
  • paint beadboard wallpaper to match trim
  • paint wall above chair rail
  • replace ceiling fan blades

Jack and Jill Bath
  • replace knobs
  • paint
  • update mirror & light fixtures

  • determine & label ethernet cables in basement junction
  • replace water diffuser in humidifier prior to turning on heat
  • new window well for basement window
  • finish out basement

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Here's a House

Happy birthday, Sean, and happy house closing to us!

Today we close on our new house, and we couldn't be happier! It's been quite an adventure living in a corporate apartment, with less space than we've ever had while living together. We can't wait to be in our own new space, and especially to cook in our wonderful new kitchen!

I took some photos on our walk through with our real estate agent today, so I will share some of those tomorrow along with some of our plans for making this great house our own. Stay tuned for some DIY and design fun in the coming months!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thinking of Color

These last few weeks, I have been haunting the paint aisles of Home Depot and Guiry's (a local Colorado paint & art store). I have paint cards spread across the coffee table of our apartment, driving Sean a little batty.

I'm working on developing a cohesive color palette for the whole house. This was simple in our old condo, with under 1000 square feet to work with. Now, with roughly 3000 square feet of two story house, it is a bit more challenging! There are so many different spaces to think about -- four bedrooms, four bathrooms, an office, an open kitchen/family room, a separate dining room, a living room, an entryway, a laundry room...and they need to flow together.

Because of my desire for a cohesive palette, I'm finding myself drawn to paler colors with a gray undertone, rather than the brighter saturated colors I craved in college after living in the dorms. Of course, deep accents are still something I love; I'm not the sort of person who is drawn to those all white homes.

And so, I present to you our conceptual color palette for the new home:

Living Design: Thinking of Color palette whole house

Of course, not all of these colors will be on walls. Many of the deeper tones will be accents of some sort. And some of these colors may change as we get into the house and discover that they don't look the same as they did laid out on the apartment coffee table. I know for sure they look different on the computer screen than they do in real life! That's part of the fun of color though, and I can't wait to start decorating the new place and making it ours!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Conservation Monday #8: Guilt Free Showers & Other Tales

Our move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver has meant many changes and adjustments, but today as I add to my Conservation Monday series I want to focus on what this move has meant for my conservation habits.

Guilt free showers. There is no drought here! I am keeping in place my shorter shower practices, but I don't feel bad if I need that extra minute of hot water to help me wake up. While we are in temporary housing we also don't have a balcony full of vegetables to water, so I don't have to stop up the tub while I shower in order to water the plants. Oh, and flushing the toilet without feeling guilty about all that water flowing down is priceless.

Recycling. I threw a recyclable drink cup in the garbage the other night because there was no recycling bin anywhere in the shopping center. After the 3 bin system instituted by SFSU (recycling, compost & garbage) this forced garbage feels unnatural. We do have recycling at our apartment, though it's so far out of the way that while Sean was here ahead of me he thought there was no recycling at all! I was determined to find it though, and I did. No more yogurt cups going in the garbage for us!

On the topic of recycling, Colorado also doesn't do a deposit on bottles. So, while in California we always saved bottles and cans to collect the CRV, those items just go into the single stream recycling here.

Packaging. This is more for us personally, rather than the area as a whole. Because of our temporary housing situation, and our sparsely populated kitchen cabinets, we are buying more packaged food and less from bulk bins. We just don't have the space for a lot of the cooking and baking we normally do from scratch. I'm looking forward to getting into a permanent house where we can unpack all of our kitchen supplies, and get back to baking bread, using the slow cooker, and all the things that are not possible right now. But for now, we'll get the precooked chicken fajita strips and deal with the fact that we're tossing plastic wrap in the garbage, and a plastic tray and cardboard wrap in the recycling. It makes me sad, but I know it's only temporary.

Plastic bags. Our county in California had outlawed plastic bags a while back, so it was always a bit of a shock on our summer road trip when a store would give us a "free" plastic bag. And here in the Denver area, stores will give us so many plastic bags. It's reminding me how wasteful free bags can be -- a bag for my toilet brush and nothing else? On the other hand, it's been nice to have all those bags on hand for cleaning the litter box, since I gave my old stash of bags awaiting reuse to my mom before we moved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

From the Bay to the Mountains

We've moved!

As everyone who knows us offline is aware, Sean and I have moved from the San Francisco area to Colorado! Sean had a great job opportunity come up, and before we knew it movers were packing up our life and suddenly we were here in a corporate apartment near Denver. It's been a huge adjustment so far -- I went from wearing shorts at home to staying bundled up near the gas fireplace in the apartment, then back to wearing shorts again! It's a great adventure, and I'm looking forward to really getting to know the area as we get settled in.

Some pictures from our first few weeks in Colorado:

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains
 the bottom unit is our temporary apartment

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains
 the patio of our temporary apartment

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains
 see the squirrel tail in the tree?

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains

Living Design: From the Bay to the Mountains