Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More From Michigan

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  It was a bit steamy for my liking.  In fact, since it was so hot yesterday and I refused (for as long as I could) to turn on the A/C Antoine and I spent most of our Memorial day watching tv and napping.  It was kind of pathetic, but what with the heat and our busy weekend it was nice just to relax and do nothing!

I'm still working my way through my pictures from Michigan.  Needless to say I took far too many pictures while we were on vacation (as usual) and about 70% of them were of Cheese.  I'm obsessed, what can I say! 

Anyway, we had left very early Friday morning for Michigan.  It was about five and a half hours to South Haven/Covert Michigan and we planned for frequent stops (what with the Cheese-man in tow).  We made good time, checked into our KOA (finding it relatively empty) and started setting up our tent.  We still had a good portion of the day left so we decided to drive about a half hour south to Grand Mere State Park.  While most beaches in Michigan do not allow dogs (a fact we discovered, sadly, after we arrived) I knew ahead of time that Grand Mere did allow dogs, through my research. Since we were on vacation prior to Memorial day, any parking at state parks like Grand Mere was free! 

The path leading to the beach was quite pretty.  Surrounded by bright green trees on both sides.  Unfortunately, getting to the beach wasn't the piece of cake we hoped for...instead we had to climb several INSANE sand dunes!  But, in the end, it was well worth it.

 The beach was a little foggy and chilly that day, but it was completely deserted!

 Poor Cheese was not a fan of the waves!  I guess that's a good thing, since Basset Hounds can't swim.

But, while he hated the waves he couldn't resist the allure of a good stick.  Even a massive one like this!

 This is what bliss must look like for a dog.

We enjoyed a nice 2 hour stroll on the beach before we decided to head back to our campground to make dinner and rest for the night.  Unfortunately, when it came to sleeping that night...things didn't go so well.  Our pump for our air mattress refused to charge, so we were left to sleep on the very cold, hard ground.  No worries though, on Day 2 we made a trip to the store and bought a manual pump that did the trick.

It was a long day of sleeping in the car, chewing on sticks and running away from waves for Cheese.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more Michigan goodness (aka more pictures of a cute basset).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dancing Fire

 Because it's Friday and my brain feels a bit mushy...here's some pictures of our campfire from Michigan.  Antoine was trying to get a fire going so we could make dinner, but was having some trouble because the firewood was damp.  So, he started pouring lighter fluid onto the fire and it just looked so darn pretty that I had to take some pictures.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dog and His Stick(s)

 Over the weekend Antoine, Cheese and I went on a little road trip to southwestern Michigan and did some camping.  This was our first time taking the Cheese-man on vacation with us, but we figured since he very recently turned one we just had to take him with us.  So, how was traveling with a basset hound in tow?  Pretty relaxed actually!  Cheese was on his best behavior...thanks to his new harness that keeps him from pulling our arms off and choking himself (thanks again to Amanda for picking that up for us, you're a life-saver).  He was a perfect angel in the 5 hour car ride to and from South Haven, MI.  He was his natural attention-hoggy-self when it came to walking down the sidewalk and people stopping to pet him.  It was a great vacation for us and him...well, accept for the fact that most of the beaches in Michigan don't allow dogs (but that's a different story for another time).

One of the things we learned while we were camping was that as long as nature supplies Cheese with a stick or two to play with the dog is happy.  Dude LOVES sticks.  Big sticks.  Little sticks.  Sticks in the woods.  Sticks on the beach.  It's a fact...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To Chicago, From Cincinnati


Happy anniversary Antoine! These have been the best three years of my life.  
I love you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Etsy or Not to Etsy

That is the question.  Lately I've been contemplating selling my books on Etsy.  Mainly, one of our students and one of our volunteers have been insisting that I sell my books.  I just finished making three new books/journals/sketchbooks with my own marbled paper on the covers.  I think they're pretty awesome, I gotta say.  Here's some crappy iPhone pictures of them to give you an idea:

 Each of these is roughly 8" x 8".


Should I sell them?  I've got about 18 blank journals/books that I've made that are just sitting at home, so I technically have enough to start a store on Etsy.  Most of them are quarter bindings like these above (cloth on the spine with paper making up most of the cover), however some are covered solely in cloth that I've hand dyed.  The textblocks are sewn by yours truly and everything is acid free (boards, paper, cloth).  Each book has anywhere from 60 to 150 pages (roughly) with colored endpaper to match the cover and spine.  Each page is blank and either white or cream colored (depending on the color of the cover). 


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Deep, Dark Chasm of Crap

I'm pretty sure every house has one, weather it's a closet, a spare room or a corner of the attic or basement...that dark place that holds a bunch of miscellaneous junk.  That corner/closet/alcove that you just throw crap into, shut the door/turn around and walk away.  No matter where it is in your house it becomes that dead zone, that black hole of crap that you ignore yet it slowly eats away at your soul.  For us, it was our kitchen pantry.  

Since our house was built in the 1920s it doesn't have any closets in the livingroom or dining room for coats and assorted junk.  So, when we were unpacking, which took quite sometime (I blame it on the fact we were moving two people's junk into a space much larger than the apartments I was used to), our pantry became the place we shoved crap into.  Mainly it was kitchen related junk...toaster, crock pot, assorted food items, spices, etc.  But there were also a couple of boxes of random sh*t that got shoved in there.  
We were initially excited about having a pantry to store things in since our kitchen is pretty tiny and our cupboard and counter space is limited!  But there were a couple problems with the pantry.  It was a little less than four feet wide and about 5 feet deep, yet you couldn't walk into it.  There were metal racks on either side of the pantry when you opened the door.  The left side rack was ideal for spices since it was fairly shallow.  The right side rack, on the other hand, jutted out about a foot and a half and kept you from easily entering the space.  And so, the "chasm of crap" grew...

Since it had been that place that we initially threw junk into and you couldn't actually "get in there" to get junk out or organize it...we continued to throw stuff in, at random.  This led to a disheveled kitchen pantry that had food in it, but you couldn't exactly see what all was in there.  So, after a year of living in the house I cannot even tell you how many boxes of angel hair pasta were in there because I didn't know that we already had some and would buy more at the store.  It wasn't only massive amounts of pasta and other food items, it was also things falling off shelves because they had been thrown in there haphazardly...leading to spilling and breaking.  All in all, it was not good.  The pantry had become a definite eye sore and a source of great frustration.  Finally, I had enough...
A couple weekends ago Antoine and I finally decided to tackle the beast.  We took out EVERYTHING...the food, the appliances, the random crap that didn't belong in there.  We took out the shelves that didn't fit and were covered with about 10 layers of contact paper.  And, we took out the metal racks.  Namely we removed that got awful rack that practically attached your face when you opened the door. 

 There it is, in all it's evilness!  

Next we decided to update the dingy white paint, and here's where we might have went a little mad...we painted it bright orange!  Our kitchen is a really muted green and I had been dying to paint something bright orange for a while now (but decided I was too chicken to actually paint a room orange...since I've never really liked orange before?!  FYI: I'm weird and make no sense!)  So the pantry became orange...bright ass orange.  (Sidenote: it was hilarious to go to Home Depot and buy such a ridiculous color...we got so many appalled looks from people who thought we were actually painting a room that color!  It was a riot!)

So, here it is...

No longer a casm of crap!  Instead, an organized and accessible pantry.
With the help of my Dad we cut and painted some shelves that actually fit into the space and weren't covered with 50 years of contact paper.

Now the pantry has become a source of peace.  I actually open the door, take a deep breath in and out and just look at it.  Now there is space for EVERYTHING and I can easily walk in and get anything I need!  It's just a wonderful feeling.

Additional note:  apparently I cannot spell "chasm".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden: Progress

This past weekend, after some fun at the Crafty Supermarket and much errand running, Antoine and I spent most of the weekend planting.  I potted all my herbs: basil, mint, cilantro, and Thai basil.  Antoine finished filling our massive raised veggie bed with soil, while I planted the hens and chicks I snagged from my grandmother's garden the week before.  Then Antoine and I planted veggies: a combination of veggie plants we bought at Findlay and Lowes, seedlings we started weeks and weeks ago, and seeds sown directly into the soil (aka green beans and corn).  It's only taken us over a year, but we've finally done it!  Word to the wise, don't attempt to plant your own veggie garden when you and your significant other each have a full time and a part time job!  You're just setting yourself up for failure.

Anyway, here's some pictures I snapped over the weekend of our progress...



 Carnival Sweet Pepper (one of our little seedlings)

 Sweet Banana Peppers

 Carrots (obviously) 

 Red Onions (we planted a TON of onions)

Mint (aka the "dangerous herb"...because it gets heartier and heartier the more I pick it...that means much mojito drinking for yours truly!)

I have to admit, I felt this great sense of accomplishment once we were done.  I know it's just a matter of digging a hole and throwing a plant in and watering it, but it's taken us so long to just get to this point.  And it's so nice that we finally have the time to do these things that we've been wanting to do.  I'm still nervous as to whether veggies will actually GROW.  My anti-green thumb is notoriously bad and I fear for every single plant in the garden, when left under my care.  But then I also fear little creatures pillaging our garden while I'm at work, I've even been checking on them each night to make sure no one has made off with a pepper plant or something.  So far so good.  Keep your fingers crossed folks, this is bound to be a somewhat bumpy ride...but hopefully one with, at the very least, an onion or two at the end of it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Yay, Friday!

Finally, it's Friday!  I feel like I haven't stopped moving this week, yet at the same time I feel like I've done absolutely nothing.  It's a weird feeling.  Anyway, I'm super stoked for the weekend.  Tomorrow is the Crafty Supermarket, which we are OF COURSE going.  If you're unfamiliar with it, it's like a ton of individual Etsy stores all in one building!  And I will certainly spend far too much money, but it's worth it for the cool stuff and knowing you're supporting local artists and crafters.  Plus, the Dojo Cart-goodness is going to be there...woot!!  And this year Antoine and I are going to attempt to get there early so we can get free swag bags. 

Other plans for this weekend include: finishing a little project involving our pantry, cleaning, taking Cheese to get his nails trimmed, a trip to HD to buy more topsoil, planting veggies in our raised veggie garden, germinating some more seeds, and planting some Hens and Chicks that I snagged from my Grandma's garden when I was home visiting.  Fingers crossed it doesn't rain too much this weekend so we can do all the planting.  Although, the way the weather has been lately I'm not counting on it!

I hope you all have fantastic weekends!  Oh, and happy Mother's day to any of you mothers out there!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Long, Draining Weekend

This past weekend Antoine, Cheese and I drove up to my parent's house in Northern Ohio.  It was one of those weekends were you feel like you never stop moving and/or driving.  We drove up Friday night where Cheese experienced his first romp with a 100lb, 8 month old Great Dane (result: exhausted Cheese).  Then bright and early Saturday morning it was off to the butcher (to stock our freezer), then an hour drive to the dentist for a cleaning, then lunch with Mom, then a visit with the grandparents (where my grandpa tried to get Antoine drunk), then another hour drive back to my parent's, then into town to pick up a delicious peanut butter pie, then another drive, this time 40 minutes, to Wooster (with Antoine, Cheese and pie in tow) to visit a good friend, her husband and their puppy.  After dinner, dessert (delicious peanut butter pie that I will continue to have dreams about), and some chit chat/puppy playing, it was time to head back to my parents.  And that was just Saturday!  All the while I was nursing a pretty nasty headache most of the day.  Sunday was slightly more relaxed, but Antoine, Cheese and I couldn't help being completely exhausted.  Here's your proof...

He slept the entire way home on Sunday.  In fact, he slept almost all of Monday as well.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great weekend...getting to spend time with friends and family.  It was just an exhausting weekend.  Antoine and I are looking forward to relaxing a bit this coming weekend.  Although we are very excited about the Crafty Supermarket on Saturday, and hopefully if it dries out a little...some gardening.  Well, I've got the rest of the week to get through first before I can think of those things.