Monday, January 28, 2013

Melanie's Reception, Weddings Through Time

I think I might start putting my personal blog updates here, because keeping up with three personal blogs is a bit much. Even *I* can't do THAT much navel gazing!

The next set of pictures I had planned to put on Hot Hot Heatons (my family blog) was from my darling cousin Melanie's wedding reception. Yes, from August. I am a little behind over there. I also happened to find some other family wedding photos while I was transferring photos to a hard drive last week. I love the ones from the 1950s the best!

My husband's paternal grandparents. I love Grandma's ladylike hat and tiny purse.

My husband's maternal grandparents. Loooook at that gorgeous lace-overlaid wedding gown!

My husband's parents. So young and lovely!

My parents and my dad's parents. I like how they're all holding hands.
My husband and me on our wedding day.  We were married on the most gorgeous October day!

My sweet cousin and her new hubby. Gorgeous, happy couple! ( I took this from her Facebook.)
The rest of the pics are from Melanie's park wedding reception. It was such a casual, happy, fun occasion! Her colors were yellow, turquoise, and gray, with a "birds" theme.

My dad and my baby girl

My two sisters, and my cousin Andrea on the right (sister of the bride)

Two little second-cousins, who are about three weeks apart in age.

No way this little man was going to smile for me!

My grandmom and my baby

My husband and his younger sister. She borrowed my clothes, and they looked so much better on her!

Love both these ladies!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Furniture With Faces

Hahahahaha, I said I was going to write every day again, but then I couldn't think of anything to write about. Anything interesting, that is. I mean, I organized my dresser drawers and purged a bunch of unused items. I paid my oldest child a coin for every time he ran up and down our stairs (he slept well last night). I made shrimp boil and and cocktail sauce, a recipe that might be worth sharing, but I didn't take any pictures. I think it might take me a while to remember how this blogging thing works.

I delved into my "Decor" files on my computer to see if I could spark an idea for a post. Before the advent of Pinterest (you can see my boards here:, I used to save web images to inspiration files on my computer. I still use it to save pics of second-hand items I am considering buying on Classifieds (Utah's more-popular version of Craigslist). I have over 70 folders in this "Decor" file, some with sub-categories. Most of the folders are normal things like "Chairs", "Dining Room", and the like. Then you have a few oddball categories. "Houndstooth", for instance (I used to own a vintage houndstooth sofa that I quite regret selling). Or my favorite folder, "Furniture With Faces". There are only a few images in the file, but they are worth a gander. Do you see what I see?

The last thing I want is my dresser staring at me while I disrobe!

More staring! I'm seeing twins this time. Getting a Tweedledum and Tweedledee vibe.

(image from 6th Street Design School)
There are some quite-lovely things about this bathroom, which was in a Parade of Homes entrant in Salt Lake City this year...but, "Aaaaaaaaah, the mirror-eyed vanity is eating all our towels!!!"

Am I reaching here? At least I know I'm not the only one who sees faces in hardware. Check out this post on Young House Love to see what they thought about their kitchen hardware. Ever see a face somewhere? Maybe in the texture of your childhood bedroom ceiling? Just me? Aw, I knew I was weird!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Keep Calm, It's Okay To Be Out Of Style

See that little blue sign in my old kitchen window? It's a "Keep Calm and Carry On" plaque. I bought it in 2010, three years after I first saw the poster, and two years after the image jumped the shark and was appearing on rugs and key chains. (Check the comments on this Apartment Therapy thread about the poster to get an idea of the vitriol this image inspires.)

The original "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, Barter Books
You know what? I don't care. I have liked the image since the first time I saw it. It resonates with me. As an anxious person, I need the message. When I see my little plaque, I remind myself to just breathe. It also reminds me to stick with what I like, and not be influenced by what anyone else says is "in" or "out". Here's a graphic with some history of the poster, and some figures on exactly how (overly-)popular it's become:

Keep Calm and Carry On

I did think about scrawling on the back of the plaque my back-up plan for when "Keep Calm and Carry On" fails. That would be "Freak Out and Call Your Mom!" I wouldn't be the first to make a parody:

I picked up my plaque for $5.99 at HomeGoods. It's not even a good reproduction. The typeface isn't right and the crown is different. Seriously! Stuff like that usually drives me crazy, but in this case the plaque is less a design statement and more a life affirmation.

Keep Calm plaque in my current kitchen. Note the wrong crown and wrong typeface.
Right now I have a big dilemma about what colors to paint the big, main room(s) of my house. I painted my last house gray, in mid-2011. No one around me had gray on their walls yet. I loved how it turned out, but then gray started to be EVERYWHERE! If I were still in that house, I probably wouldn't be considering repainting. Not for another three years. But in this new house, even though I still like gray, I'm not sure I can commit to it, because it seems like it's "over". Which is silly, because very few people here even have gray. What's the next neutral? Has Jenna Lyons repainted her living room yet? What color?

Besides the trend aspect, there are practical concerns with the gray. The living room is vaulted, and the windows face north and west, so it's not the warmest light. I'm afraid such a huge expanse of gray will be too cold. Also, it's the only painting project in the house we aren't going to tackle ourselves. We have decided to hire painters because of the 20 foot ceilings. We NEED to get the color right the first time, because we sure don't want to pay twice!

Here's the listing photo of the room, and loft, in question. These are the previous tenant's furnishings. I know, a lot of ooooooooaak! The paint is light tan, with a darker clay accent wall, and a rag-roll faux paint treatment of both colors on the balcony wall. It reads mauve-y pink in some light, which is blech! It all feels very fleshy to me. The entire upstairs hallway, including all doors and trim, are painted the dark clay color. It's very dark in that area, and I just don't understand why the trim is the same color. Standing in that hall feels like being trapped in a legume of some sort. That makes no sense. Neither does the paint.

Anyone have any great ideas? I know, I know...keep calm and carry on. :-)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hello Again, Hello

Did I mention I went to the Neil Diamond concert this summer? Those are some Neil Diamond lyrics up there in the title, in case you don't know. In case you're not into septuagenarian rock stars.

Anyway, I'm glad to be back! I was gone for a while because we moved, again...and again. Lucky numbers 13 and 14. My husband took a different job in a different city, so we sold our condo, moved into temporary housing while we house-hunted in a whole new area, and eventually bought a house. We moved in during Thanksgiving week. It was hard to give up on my little bloggy Lisa Loves Logan, but I'm thinking of starting one up about my new area, Salt Lake City (and Davis Country suburbs).

MLS photo of the loft in my new house. You probably can't tell, but that wallpaper border is horse-and-cowboy-themed
I hoped to get going on A Farewell To Can't again at the start of the new year, but I'm a few weeks behind. I have been flossing, waking up bright and early to exercise (turns out the secret to waking up early is getting ready for bed at 9 p.m. and turning the lights out at 10 p.m. - which is haaaaaard to do!), and eating whole I'd say the new year is going pretty well. I'm excited to add daily writing back into my routine. I've missed it!

I haven't been up to much DIY yet in our new house, besides using my clothing steamer to remove a wallpaper border in the open loft area. I've painted a number of test swatches around the house. In other words, things are looking great!

The other day I was looking at pics of our old house and my five-year-old son said, "I miss that house. It was...well...pretty." He's pretty cute. I miss it too. I added all the before and afters from that house to the Home Tour link above. It's going to take a lot of work to get this new house where I want it. I think I'm up for the challenge!

Living/Dining Before

Living/Dining After

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Death and Destruction: First Time Home Buyers, Part 2

We had a fun holiday up at the ranch (Tyson's family property - very remote area on the Utah-Idaho border). Tyson's dad owns an old farmhouse up there that Tyson renovated out of absolute decrepit deterioration three years ago. We got to show it off to my side of the family, and also had some fun riding four-wheelers. Now back to my FIRST house hunt...

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I can be extremely long-winded. It's endearing, right? Right!?! Well, imma try to wrap this up quick. When we left off, we had just made an offer on an '80s house and then decided not to counter their counteroffer.

We liked another house a lot, this one right in town. But the day we were going to make an offer on it, a canal that ran behind the property broke a short distance from the house. The ensuing flood and mudslide killed a couple of neighbors two houses down. We got scared off and moved on.

That's the short version, but here are a few details about the house.

It was a sort of strange 1960's house whose garage had been converted into living space (most of it a tiny, questionably-legal 1-bedroom apartment). We loved the yard the best, and liked the mid-century house, too. It had tons of light in the living room. Instead of a backyard (it was right up against an extremely steep hill, and that's where the canal was), it had a HUGE, private rock patio to one side (the main entry side) and a big lawn with fruit trees on the other side (the kitchen/laundry entry side). It  had some very odd features, like a Mamie Eisenhower pink kitchen with handmade resin hardware. Each knob had something different encased in it. I totally expected to see fossilized mosquitos, but instead it was different varieties of dried legumes. Sooooooo glad I found a picture to represent. Just imagine vintage cabinets instead, and just a few specimens in each knob. Crazy. Crazy.

Photo from, by Jenny. Fun blog, but cover your ears if you don't like "language" :)
The canal break definitely put a damper on things, and seemed kind of "sign from God"-ish, so we moved on. Very sad situation for the family who lost loved ones. The canal has been closed since then, I believe, and is still being reinforced/re-routed. We also pass this house from time to time, and reminisce about how much we loved that yard, and how we could totally see ourselves having parties on that patio. Last time I drove past there was a Little Tikes playset in the grassy part of the yard. I hope the house is loved!

Very interesting garage situation, eh? The door you see entered the apartment. The door to the main house was up a set of stairs to the right.

In this aerial view you can see the grassy yard to the left of the house (fenced, with fruit trees). The amazing private patio was to the right of the house. You can also see part of the canal in the upper right.

I've marked the house with a red star. Now look down the street to the west and you see the mudslide area where the canal broke.


In the next installment we put in yet another offer. Will it be our final one? I'm sure you'll be waiting with bated breath!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Holiday Today

It's Pioneer Day here in Utah (our state holiday), so I'm taking the day off. See you soon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

More House Hunting plus Something Of My Very Own (What This Blog Means To Me)

My house is deliciously quiet right now.

The baby is sleeping. Poor baby, she has been sick this week.

The boys and their Daddy are on an errand to Grandpa's house. Poor boys, they have been sick too, and we had to miss church today because they are all contagious. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, if you must know. It's been going around in the family and neighborhood this summer. It's not as horrifying as it sounds, but it's no fun either. Only the baby has the rash (the worst is on her feet, only a few spots on her perfect chubby feet), but they have all had fevers, etc.

I have a quiet house, and a house that smells good, thanks to my Natural Lemon-Vanilla-Thyme Air Freshener. Side note: One important instruction I left out of that tutorial is to use a cheap old pan you got for $1 at the thrift store. You know, just in case you are the forgetful type who might accidentally let the water run dry and scorch the pan and leave the house smelling burnt and stinky instead of heavenly. Not that *I* would ever do that! [Did that last week.]

Quiet houses make me feel reflective, and I find myself thinking about this little old blog (and my other one, too). I started these blogs as learning experiences, yes. But I also started them so I could have something of my own. My "bit of earth" so to speak. Something to tend and water and nurture that is just mine.

We have moved oh-so-many times since we got married. I think maybe thirteen times in not quite seven years? Always a new house that never seems moved into, organized, and decorated. Always starting over in a new church congregation, new neighborhood, new town, trying to make new friends. I have supported these moves, but they have all been for my husband's education or career. (To be fair, there was one time we stayed put because of my career.) Ever since I left my copywriting career when our first child was born almost five years ago, I have felt sort of like a balloon on a string - and the string is in my husband's hand.

I didn't identify the feeling that clearly at first, of course. I just felt uneasy, uprooted. I felt like I couldn't get a job or even a freelance career because I never knew when I would need to up and leave. (There were also, of course, child-related reasons for not restarting a career.) I thought about starting a blog for a long time, but I didn't do it because my husband didn't like the idea. Maybe I had given him the wrong idea, or only a vague idea, of what  I meant to write about. Maybe he envisioned me laying bare all or most of our personal details like Dooce. In any case, I put it off.

Until I realized a blog was one thing I could truly take with me. I could keep at it wherever I went. My investment wouldn't be lost due to a change in location. Maybe I would make some friends who would never be *gone* because they were never *there* (physically). So I started.

So, this blog means a lot to me. It's my "thing" right now, and I'm glad I have it. Turns out we might be moving again soon. Tyson has had a job interview in Salt Lake City (about 80 miles from where we live now) that seems promising. He wasn't really looking, and is actually due to start a different job with his current company in a couple of weeks...but we shall see. I decided it shouldn't make me stop house hunting here, because I don't want to miss the right property if it ends up coming up and we do indeed stay here...


...So we looked at three new listings yesterday, all within a few blocks of each other, all close in size, all near the bottom of our targeted price range. If we purchase a home in this price range it will increase our monthly payment by somewhere from $35 to $100, depending on down payment, interest rate, and purchase price. That's a pretty small change in the monthly budget to gain 1000+ more square feet and a real yard. Of course, it also means a lot more work and maintenance, stuff that is currently included in our HOA.

There are things we give up to be in this price range, though. None of these houses had attached garages (two of them had detached one car garages that I would more refer to as "garages" - quotes meaning they don't really measure up to what a garage should be). None had central air conditioning. Only one had a master bathroom, and it just had a shower rather than the nice separate tub and shower we have right now. They all had large yards (just under a half acre). They all had five bedrooms. They each had their unique, fun little things.

The first house was a cute little Craftsman listed at $159,850. It had some nice built-ins and updates upsstairs, but other parts needed a lot of work and it definitely wasn't the house for us.

The kitchen cabinets were painted a dark blue (looks weird in this pic) that I liked surprisingly well).

We moved on quickly from that one. The next was a raised rambler from 1981, listed at $164,000. It had a great backyard with a garden spot, raspberries, strawberries, fruit trees, a cute fire pit, and two sheds with electricity. The interior was nice and updated. It had some of the typical drawbacks of ramblers from this era: the front door that enters right into the living room, the small dining area, and the small master suite. But at least it HAD a master suite! It needed work on the roof, and it had the parking and A/C situations I already mentioned.

Nice little place, huh? I mean, it's no 1970s mansion dream home, but it's a great place!

The third place was an updated farmhouse-ish house, with a big addition on it. That was fun for me because it kind of was the perfect mix: the character of the old (window casings, wood floors, wraparound porch) with the convenience of the new (open living space, large kitchen). This one had a great front porch, a big great room in the addition plus a formal living room and another small family room downstairs, a cute treehouse, and a big master bedroom with plenty of other bedrooms. Again, it had the downsides I already mentioned: the lack of garage, A/C, and master bath. And as cute as that split rail fence is, we would need to have a real fence. This was the biggest and most expensive of the houses we looked at, at 2868 sq. ft. and $179,900. Still way within our budget.

 So, what do you think?