Monday, November 30, 2009

a happy little christmas to you...

No it's not Christmas yet, and I still have yet to blog about Arthur's gun buying and deer slaying adventure, as well as thanksgiving, but today I was at my parents' house getting out their Christmas decorations (because if I don't, no one will...seriously) and I had to throw on some Christmas tunes. It just felt right. Which got me thinking about how Christmas music can be a really a reflection of your parents, or what you grew up listening to, besides the standard Classical Christmas, Hallelujah Handel or Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I loooooove listening to the Carpenter's Christmas portrait, a Christmas medley of just about every Christmas song out there, featuring quite a few 80s synthesizers, as well as Karen Carpenter's amazing contralto. However, I noticed in college that I was the only human being who knew about this album, or treated it with the reverence it deserves. Clearly, a family favorite, or just my favorite-- only to be inflicted on others by your own choice. (Some people hate the Carpenters. So so sad.)

I bought this album at a Barnes & Noble when I was like 15, specifically because it had The Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan doing, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which at the time, was the best Christmas song ever. It still is hard to beat, but every other song on this album is incredible. Seriously, best album of alterna-rock Christmas songs you could buy-- I've never found another alterna-rock Christmas album that comes close. It makes me feel really Austin-y, which is a good thing, you know? Happy weird Christmas-- go check out the lights at 37th & 1/2 Street.

The title track to this book/cd (it's quite hard to find actually) is my family's theme song, for the entire year, not just Christmas. We gleefully listen to this song and sing along during the holidays with smiles plastered across our faces. You only have to know us just a little bit, and you'll get why. We're just a bunch of rednecks. (It's the truth, even though we don't drink or smoke, or eat cheese out of a can.) Anyway, I challenge you to not watch the video, but just listen to the texas drawl, steel guitar, and ridiculous lyrics, and feel like you know my family just a little bit better.

As this our, Arthur & me, first Christmas, I will definitely be on the look out for new Christmas tunes to add to our library for our traditions. What are some of your favorites to listen to? Do you have a story behind a specific song?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Subtle progress...

I don't know why, but for some reason, now more than ever, we seem to be settling into our home and making what I call subtle progress-- progress towards no more boxes, no more little piles of things to be unpacked, things hung on the wall and in their place. Why after almost three months of living here? No clue. Maybe all my home making skills that have been freakishly absent my entire life, finally decided to show up. (Let's get real, Arthur doesn't have those instincts nor would I want him to have them either) Maybe it just took some time to buckle down and make decisions-- yes that painting will go there, no I am not going to keep all of these wedding cards albeit they have very nice sentiments and sparkles on them. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I suppose what we've learned most from married life so far (one of many learned mosts actually) is that when you're married you get to call all the shots together. If together you want a minimalist zen approach to home aesthetics, then by golly, you can have it. (we don't, and we don't want it) If you want to eat off of paper plates you can kill all the trees you want, and throw away your plates. (we don't, I love real plates) If you want to sleep in on Tuesdays, and make breakfast together you can. (We don't-- that's just a pipe dream. I have killer aerobics on Tuesday mornings. Have you seen me try to walk on Wednesdays? I don't walk, I waddle)
So that's the life lesson we've been handling lately as we've tackled things like our office:

Okay, so it may look really messy to you, but the mere fact that you can see the floor, and that there are no boxes is huge. Arthur's even grinning about it. It's not done yet, but we will finish very soon. And there will be much rejoicing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yes, another project! While I explained earlier that our living room is all in cool tones, I felt like we need a pop of color as well as some appropriate sized pillows for our old and over sized couches. Thanks to my mother's quilting and textile addiction, I am nearly always in a fabric store of some kind, and constantly checking out cool fabric. The latest and greatest store is the Cotton Cupboard, which just opened this summer, and already has some pretty awesome selections of unique and beautiful fabrics for the quilter, or in my case, pillow-maker in all of us.

Fabric! Bright! Happy!

My super awesome mom, who can do anything. Originally I wanted to do this project as my first sewing project, but we made it a little more complicated than beginner sewing level.

How? With welting-- which is that cord like border around the pillow's seam that gives it a nice finished look. It isn't easy to create, especially when you don't really sew.

I don't recommend cats with any kind of sewing project. They think that you got out this nifty fabric all for them-- and the welting is their special toy. Beware of kitties. Seriously.

Finished Pillows! Don't they look fantastic?! I couldn't be more thrilled!

Okay, I had to include a close-up just in case you didn't believe me. They are awesome! 

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Once upon a time, I worked for a little shop that had a tremendous sale, in which I snapped up a once overpriced mirror for a mere $10. Again, tremendous sale. I'm a big fan of mirrors and what they can do for a space, so I figured it was time to get one for our living room, and at $10, I wasn't out a lot.

The steal of the century, $10 mirror.
However, the mirror was gold. Which was a slight problem. Everything we own is in cool tones. We have black couches, and varying shades of cool tones-- so the gold really clashed. I wanted to paint it, but I didn't know how-- insert my friend Connie, who can paint anything, and has painted just about everything. She directed me to this kit thing you can buy to antique, or change the color of furniture. I thought it was a splendid idea, I beelined my behind to my local michaels and bought the kit. The following is what happened:

Ta-Da! Silver! I loved it this exact color when I first painted the mirror, but I was very sad to lose all the detailing of the basket weave frame.

So I decided to antique it, using the pewter color that came with the kit. Here you can really see the color difference with the stain on the right vs. the plain silver on the left.

Halfway done! This was a really time consuming and tedious process, as well as very messy. (see picture-- those rags-- they were white. yeah.) I wanted to make sure I got every nook and cranny.

Because the pattern is just really cool looking. I mean really, now that the mirror is "pewter antiqued" I feel like it came from the celtic period or something. Well, maybe not celtic. I just think it's cool.

It took me awhile to get used to the painted mirror-- for awhile I thought I had really screwed it up-- I thought I was a little too heavy handed on the patina and that the mirror looked a little dull in comparison to when it used to be just silver and shiny. Then, I found a glossy clear coat spray, which solved all my problems.

Ta-Da! Finished mirror! It doesn't look as shiny in this light as it truly is (crappy indoor lighting!) but I'm thrilled that I finally finished it and that we finally got it hung! Hallelujah!