Tuesday, February 26, 2013

shameless plug

I've been working on my Etsy shop. Check it out and support my life. (Since I don't have April Ludgate to be my marketing rep I gotta just copy her style. Andy is so lucky.)

And listen to this while you're at it:
Sparrow by Audrey Assad on Grooveshark
It's a happy, encouraging reminder. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

year 2

This year for our anniversary Craig and I decided to spend a day in Cleveland celebrating. After all, we live in a great city - no need to travel anywhere else to do something out of the ordinary!

We started out the day having brunch at a place called Luxe in Ohio City. Tasty food can be had in really interesting and lovely surroundings.
This photo of our coffee cups makes me smile. Craig doesn't usually drink coffee (he tries to stay away from caffeine) but he did that morning because he knows how much I love drinking coffee with him. It's such a simple joy to drink a cup of coffee with someone and I loved that he ordered it just to bless me. :)

After brunch we headed out to the art museum, taking a quick stop at Rockefeller Greenhouse. It's free and open to the public every day, 10-4. Such a refreshing spot, especially in chilly winter!

From there we headed to the Cleveland Museum of Art. They've been doing some serious renovating and I haven't been in ages so it felt like visiting the museum for the first time. Wandering around all that beautiful art is such a re-fueling exercise.
There's a bright, expansive indoor courtyard in the middle of the museum. Shows the connection between the original building and the newer buildings. 

I love this chair. Someday I'll own one.

After leaving the museum we stopped at Edison's Pub in Tremont for drinks and to play pool (one of Craig's favorite pastimes). Lots of fun!

The day ended with this ridiculously tasty chocolate cake from Giant Eagle, Mario Kart and pizza ordered in. 

I love my husband.
I love my city.
I love having fun in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I want to draw!

I've never been much of an artist. I've daydreamed of creating breathtaking doodles in a cinch, of sketching a beautiful landscape while sitting on a hillside (very Jane Austen like) and of adding watercolors to a quick room design I've done that would make it worthy to sit next to Albert Hadley's renderings.

Alas, I wasn't a kid who drew all the time. I took an art class in high school and the teachers didn't really know how to direct me. They encouraged me to loosen up my lines, to relax and they said everything short of "just get better at drawing". When I took a photography class in college the ability to create something lovely was exhilarating. It didn't matter that I couldn't draw a chair or make the vase look round - I had an eye for beauty and the camera was the means to capture it.

I have a husband who can come up with the most darling cartoons and creative patterns on a piece of paper that was left out. I love to appreciate his talent, to hang up sketches he did when he was a kid and to secretly want to punch him for the fact he doesn't even have to try to have this talent. (I sure do love him, in spite of his excessive talents.)

So in order to get my creative urges out of my system I plan to take more photography trips just for the fun of capturing life with my camera. I took one down to frozen Lake Erie last week and it was marvelous. Cold, but marvelous. I'll be adding a few of the shots to my Etsy shop later today, but here's a sneak peek:

It's such a different feeling when you're on a frozen beach. No waves crashing, just stillness.

But to sum up this rather scattered post - I want to keep going in the direction of creative outlets I know I have some talent for...but I do also want to get better at drawing. I have a book I bought back in college called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". It's full of lessons and exercises to help you learn to draw. We'll see how I do. Please, no expectations.

Anybody have any good tips for improving drawing skills?
(Simply posessing talent doesn't count as a tip.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kevin Russ - photographer

Really, really digging this guy's photographs.
Check him out: Kevin Russ on Society6

(All photographs can be found on his Society6 page)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

my elusive dream

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately..well always. Sometimes the creative world is overwhelming. There are so many options and there are so many reaaaally talented people out there. I have a hard time figuring out just what I want to do, what creative direction I want to take. Or worse, I often don't feel like I have anything to contribute and no direction to move towards.

I knew in 8th grade I wanted to be an interior designer. I stuck with that plan all through high-school, went to college and came out with a degree in Interior Design. And then I was never quite able to find the right job. I worked for a local architect and while I greatly admire his work & learned much from him, I didn't feel there was a future there for me. I wanted to learn how to be a designer and I wasn't learning that there. So I took a job as an assistant designer with a jewelry chain. I enjoyed doing the layouts for the store, but again - that felt like a limited path for me. I moved to another position with the company as a construction coordinator. I learned a lot about how to order material, work with vendors and construction sites and do some project management. But the purchasing/coordinating world wasn't the direction I wanted to move up in, so I left that job.

Since then I've been pursuing my photography business. Figuring out exactly where I want to take it, what I want to do with it. I know I'll be taking pictures for the rest of my life - but I don't know what role photography will continue to play in my vocation. Because the truth is, I love interior design. Nothing gets me excited or my brain ticking in quite the same way. I'm throwing around the idea of starting a small consultation business - helping people re-do a room on a small budget. Because working with what you have and making purchases on a tight budget are kinda a blast for me. It's what I've done with our apartment and now our house and it gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment when I'm able to "make it work" in a way that would make Tim Gunn proud.

I'm not sure yet exactly which way to go. But I'm resting in the peace of knowing that God has me exactly where He means to. 

In a moment of feeling overwhelmed I happened to turn on the radio. And good ole' MJ came on.
The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson on Grooveshark
I danced around the living room and actually did feel less stressed.

Here's to someday knowing what I want to do when I grow up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

throwing a side table a bone

Side table from a friend + paint leftover from our apartment living room = a darn cute table.

I'd been delaying doing this project for a couple months. I knew I'd feel really accomplished and delighted when I finally painted the table (instead of bored and uninspired as I had been feeling whenever I saw the table) but still, I waited.

So finally a couple weeks ago I dug in. I hate sanding and I think that's part of what delayed me - but hey, I survived. And I love the end product (even though when I first finished I had to ask my sisters 7 times if they really thought I'd made the right color choice. Thanks for the reassurance Mo & Annie...I like it now). I also love the fact that I used the color from our apartment living room. We really loved our apartment and it was our first home together - so seeing the color brings up happy memories.

Enough jabbering - here's the visuals.

go paint something!

oh and a few tidbits:
-sanding is important. if you don't rough up the surface the paint doesn't adhere well and will be kinda sticky after and never feel completely dry - we made that mistake with Craig's dresser & our bed frame...laziness doesn't pay off, friends.
-a small roller put the paint on more effectively & evenly. however for the final coat my husband recommended using a brush - so I did. he says it makes a better finished look.
-this took 3 coats to cover fully
-have patience. let each coat dry fully before you start the next. you'll be glad you did.

NOW go paint something!

Monday, February 4, 2013

kale wants to be your friend

My friend Lindsey gave me a recipe for a kale salad. I'd never really had kale and since I knew it was healthy I assumed it didn't taste great. Let this recipe change your mind on that. Super easy and super delicious.
(it's from the magazine Whole Living, recipe by this fella)

Kale Salad
Serves 8
"A signature dish at True Food Kitchen, this raw kale salad wins over even the most skeptical hearty-green newbies. It gets better after a night in the fridge."
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 14 oz.), ribs removed and leaved sliced into 1/4 inch shreds
1/2 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus shavings for garnish
2 Tbsp whole wheat bread-crumbs, toasted

1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Add kale and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes.
2. Add grated cheese and breadcrumbs and toss.
3. Garnish with shaved cheese before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to two days.

Per serving: 262 cals; 22 g fat (6 g sat fat); 21 mg chol; 8 g carb; 495 mg sodium; 11 g protein; 1 g fiber - all nutritional information is approximate.

Some of my own notes - first time I made it, I just had regular olive oil. Totally works.
I also only had regular salt - also works, but I recommend getting the coarse salt - does taste better! I haven't actually found "Tuscan" kale - I just use whatever I can find at the grocery store. And I buy whatever parmigian the store has - freshly grated (with all the varying sized flakes) is tastiest!

I hope you and kale will become fast friends.

Friday, February 1, 2013

color studies

I found this article on the blog How About Orange (one of my faves) and had to share. Color is muy importante. (I noticed at the bottom of the article that there was an option to read it in Spanish. I was obviously inspired.)
photo via here

But really! Isn't it fascinating how we react to color? It can change our mood, our emotions, our taste-buds! God sure outdid Himself with the complexity of humans.