Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A two-year project

You know those home design blogs where the folks post progress of their various projects and they're careful to take the photo from the same angle in the same lighting each step of the way?  This is not one of those posts.

I've managed to take and include three photos - all of which are from different vantage points and all of which have rather terrible lighting.  Be excited.

I've been collecting mirrors and artwork for the last two years to use on a gallery wall going up our large, bland, cream-colored stairwell.  It's been a long process and Blake took to calling it "this mythical gallery wall of which you speak" because I was seemingly showing no progress except for the frame piles cluttering up our library. 

A few weeks ago I finally felt like I had enough to start with (it'll be a work in progress as I collect more artwork along the way).  I kept my frame color-scheme to natural wood, silver and gold (plus an unframed canvas Blake did).  I retrieved my seemingly endless roll of painters paper from the basement and carefully traced out templates.  (*Note: putting up templates before hammering nails into the wall has saved my life - and my lath and plaster walls!)

There were a few adjustments to the scheme after the below picture was taken, but you can get the gist.  I just marked on each template where the nail would go, hammered in the nails (ok, maybe Blake did that), pulled off the templates, put up the frames, and voila!

Or, maybe it was not actually that simple.  It actually takes quite a bit of time to get the measuring exactly right, so we did this in stages.

First, the templates sat up there for two weeks as a glaring reminder of my laziness:


Then, my guilt forced me into action.  But not marathonic action - just small action (three frames worth):

Then, last weekend, we finally got our project mojo going and finished it up.  I'm really happy with the results.  The mirrors bounce the light around and make the stairwell feel infinitely brighter.  We get to enjoy Blake's photography, some old family pictures, and a Venus engraving that I love.  We're also looking forward to adding a picture of Bear when we get him next month.

 So, if you'll put aside my lackluster photography, it's not half bad.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A friend in need is a friend indeed

If you want your faith in humanity to precipitously decline, but then rapidly rekindle, park in front of an Outback Steakhouse and have your car battery die.

Last week I took Blake to the urgent care after work to sort out some ear issues.  I dropped him off and then headed to Home Depot.  I returned half an hour later with a car full of slightly bedraggled (consequently severely on sale!) flowers and parked in the lot right in front of the Outback Steakhouse. 

I turned off the car and people-watched to my heart's content.  Outback makes for excellent people-watching.  It also makes for great loss of confidence in the American public.  All for a great cause though, right?  That bloomin' onion is impossible to resist.

After having my fill of awkward Americans, I turned on the overhead light to read.  That was my first and fatal mistake.  Five minutes later I turned off the light and waited just a few minutes more for Blake.

The doctor wasn't able to give him any sort of ear relief (they were missing a part?!) and so Blake was bummed when he got back in the car.  Then, to make matters worse, the car wouldn't start.  Who knew that five minutes of overhead light would zap a battery?  I sure didn't. But boy did I learn that lesson fast.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many folks offered to help us.  A car full of slightly tipsy ladies gave us an unsuccessful jump - probably due to the fact that we had the world's wimpiest jumper cables and our battery was just that dead. A tatted and pierced thuglet offered us his tools (none of which were helpful, but still a nice gesture).  All in all it made me feel infinitely prouder of my fellowman. 

We ended up calling our friends Ryan and Tiffany to the rescue.  They gave up most of their Thursday night to drive up, help us start the car, and follow us home.  If that's not true friendship I don't know what is.  Though, if they're smart, they'll start screening my calls in the future. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ahoy! It's a boy!

Way back in June (where is the time going?!) I hosted a baby shower for Adrienne to celebrate her baby boy.  He's due later this month and I, for one, can hardly wait to meet him.

Destiny, Jenny and I met in the singles ward and have been friends since I moved here six years ago.  Those were the glory days.  A big group of us (including Blake, Jenny's husband Tom and Adrienne's husband Colton) were inseparable.  We quickly and happily adopted Adrienne into the clan when she moved out from California after their marriage. 

As you can see below, I'm squinting from pure joy at having the gals back together again.

Although I ran out of prep time towards the end, I still had a grand time running with the nautical theme.  If only I'd had the time to take non-iPhone pictures of it all.  It looked better than these grainy pictures suggest, I promise.

I must say, I really have the nicest friends.  So many of them pitched in and brought the most delicious things to add to the spread - carrot cake cupcakes, fruit salad, brie and crackers, cinnamon makes me salivate at the thought.

Because I'm a craft martyr, I made another crocheted baby blanket, but this time did it as a vertical pattern with a fatter chevron.  In true Rachel style, I cut it really close and ended up finishing it at midnight the night before the party.  Phew.  The fear of an unfinished gift looming over me - I've never crocheted so fast in my life. 

Here's to Ulysses Palmer (Ulysses is Colton's joke name for his unborn son - but I like it so much that I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with it) and his wonderful parents!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wolfeboro 2013

Truly the worst thing about graduating college (or graduate school etc.) is that summer vacation becomes a thing of the past.  You're lucky if you get to squeeze in two measly weeks between June and September.  Not exactly the three care-free months of yore.

For me, although the temperatures may be rising and the commute may be getting significantly more sweaty, the thing that really ushers in summer is the first day of vacation.  Whether that's in California with my family or in New Hampshire with Blake's, that sense of freedom is undeniably luscious.

There's nothing quite like waking up that first morning at the lake to a view through the trees to the water.  This is usually quickly accompanied by Blake jumping out of bed, inspecting the water for "glassiness" and heading out to get in a morning ski.  (Which is to say it's also accompanied by me grumbling good morning to Blake and turning back over to get my must-lusted-after vacation sleep.)

Yes. That's summer.

 After five years of going to Winnipesaukee with Blake and vowing each year to get a picture by the famed Wolfeboro sign, I finally remembered to do it.  And on a day we showered, no less!  (Generally speaking I only shower on Sundays at the lake - all mid-week cleanliness can be achieved by a quick dip.)

I have to be sneaky to get a shot of Blake here and there- he doesn't necessarily approve of my paparazzi ways, but he'll be grateful someday, right?  Here we see him in his six-day-beard glory tying up the boat after a jaunt to town for Bailey's Bubble (only the best ice cream known to mankind).

On a side note: we found out that our puppy, Bear, was born on the 29th.  I then decided that the name "Bear" is going to be short for "Maine Black Bear" after my favorite ice cream.  As you can see, I have monumental ideas at the lake.

We enjoyed Wofleboro's annual 4th of July celebration with fireworks over the bay.  There's something so magical about watching fireworks from a boat.  It doesn't translate well on film (or iPhone), but I had to try.  The smaller lights under the fireworks are all of the boats bobbing around us.  Everyone toots their horns and claps in approval of the particularly beautiful fireworks. 

There are also usually several boats full of drunken folks singing patriot songs (which, apparently, also include "Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls" by TLC. Explain that one?) I'm not sure if this adds to or detracts from the scene, but it's certainly entertaining.

We spent our evenings out enjoying the sunsets over the water.  This may or may not have included following sailboats around waiting for that elusive "perfect shot" until we were too embarrassed to get any closer.

And for good measure, I took lot so of photos while Blake was on the water.  Just because I find water skiing too terrifying to do myself doesn't mean I can't enjoy it on his behalf.  I may be a wimp, but I'm a happy-to-be-on-the-boat wimp.