Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween and all the fun characters and decorations that go along with it (and the candy), but this year I didn't quite manage to get all of the usual pumpkin-y decorating done around the house. I did put up my wonderful Halloween tree and spooky village.

The tree started on our honeymoon when I saw some great ornaments that I had to have. It wasn't until our first anniversary spent in Chicago when I got the tree on which to hang them. Here are some of my favorite ornaments.

On the table beneath the tree is a Halloween tea towel, one of two woven for me by none other than my big sis earlier this year. Aren't they nice?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Porch progress

So, here's where we stand with the porch. All the construction is done. Oh, no it's not...we have to put some trim below the outside edge of the floor and above the top step on both sets of steps. We need to do another coat of paint on the floor and steps and I need to paint some accent color on the railings and the quarter round on the columns. The colors are smoky olive and some kind of deep plum. Lovely battleship gray on the floor, of course.

The top rail was completely constructed by my dad to meet my needs. Finn can just see over the top if he gets up on his tippy toes.

Hello, gorgeous...

Finn was so thrilled with crawling all over the newly painted a whole new room for him to play in.

And, please excuse the photo faux pas in this last shot...I didn't mean to spear my baby in the head with a broom handle!

Another tag...

courtesy of Cara.

Jobs I've Had
1. receptionist/secretary for a hardware/building supply store
2. magazine bindery worker
3. student worker in film school equipment office
4. telemarketer - ha!
5. Security guard - ha ha!
6. Intern at the Pittsburgh Film Office
7. Community Media internship - made movies and ran films in the parks series
8. Executive Assistant
9. System Administrator
10. Now...mama, photographer/business owner, maid

I'll give you one guess as to which one is both the most demanding and the most rewarding.

Places I've Lived
1. Zionsville, PA
2. Pittsburgh, PA - Oakland, Shadyside
3. Dormont, PA
4. Crafton, PA

Foods I Love
1. Ice cream
2. doughnuts
3. chocolate
4. pizza
5. cheese
...I could go on and on. I love food. Maybe I should do foods I hate.

Places I Would Rather Be
1. bed...oh how I love thee
2. outside, enjoying some crisp Fall weather, but it's rainy and I have inside work to do anyway
3. visiting my family

TV Shows I Watch
1. the office
2. Lost
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Heroes...for now
5. Battlestar Gallactica
6. Scrubs
7. Bionic Woman...for now

Books I Love
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Memoirs of a Geisha
3. children's books by Mo Willems

okay, Amy, if you haven't already been tagged, you're it

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Centennial House

No, this is not a post about a PBS historical reality program. This is about my house, Centennial House, built guessed it, 1876. Somewhere along the way it was given the appropriate name. This month (September - took me a while to actually publish this post) marks five years since we moved in. After three years of third floor apartment life I was going insane and needed to be able to walk out my door in bare feet to feel the ground and a little more privacy in order to be my introverted self.

This house is an antique that was not always treated as valuable. In other words, I could afford it and see it's beauty through the rotted wood and layers upon layers of failing paint. R was not as confident about stepping into such an endeavor, but we did it. Inside, the only unpainted woodwork is one stairway and a set of enormous pocket doors. Everything else...everything... was painted white, by some cheap laborer it would seem. We initially had visions of stripping the baseboards and window moldings. Eventually, we decided to pick our battles and that has not been one of them. I remember one of the first things I did uncover was a tiny decorative latch on a pantry door. It started with a little bit of the white paint chipping off and out of the blue, in the middle of an ordinary day I had to reveal it that instant.

My first planned project was stripping our window shutters. There are 26 of them, about half of them louvered. Yeah. After some frustration with chemicals in the back yard, I ended up handing some over to my Dad who took them to be dip-stripped. The guy told him he had to do them multiple times because they were so caked with paint. (As of today, less than half of the shutters have been completed). So, over the last five years we've managed to do stuff here and there. This year, post baby-havin', our task was to fix the failing front porch. My photos from when we moved in are pre-digital days, so I'll have to settle for a more recent one.

There, that should give you an idea of the crappiness.
The railing was rotted at one end. One column was rotted at the bottom. The wood floor had paint chipping off more and more every day and it was beginning to rot in some places. We had planned to tackle this project since before we bought the house, but repairing or replacing a porch column was not a task that I was super confident in tackling myself. Finally, after designing a new railing to match the original on the back porch, and enlisting the help of my experienced father...things are coming together. Hopefully, it will be completely done before the Great Pumpkin arrives.

Here are some pics of things going on...

A new column, railing gone, and a cleaned up floor and columns. You can also see windows that I previously stripped, puttied, and painted.

Me, enjoying priming the floor. It takes a really long time to brush paint a surface this size, but I refuse to use a roller.

This is where we stood at about 10:30pm on the last night of our "vacation" week. This portion of railing ended up coming down and we started over after renting a nailer over the following weekend. Yay!

A week later, while my parents were visiting for my birthday, Rich began to rebuild the steps which we found were really starting to rot.'s looking beautiful and I can't wait until it is done. Heck, it only took me about three weeks to finish and publish this post! It's so darn long, I feel like Annie ; )

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's official...

I'm old. Saturday was the big 30 for me. I can see the gray hairs trying to take over, and I'm not pleased. I really don't obsess about my age, but I didn't realize until Friday that my twenties were coming to an end and I suddenly felt like I should have acknowledged their last days a little bit more. But then, who am I kidding? I spent those last days being who I am. Like my description says... woman, mama, photographer, knitter, collector. Maybe I should change 'knitter' to 'creator' to encompass my other endeavors. I've held a paintbrush a heck of a lot more than knitting needles lately, and on my trip to the lumberyard on Friday, I was identified as a house remodeler. In any case, I guess the age doesn't make much difference in the end.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Call for help...

I know a few couples who are currently awaiting approval of their adoption of babies from Guatemala. Sadly, the Guatemalan president is now planning to put an end to US adoption from Guatemala at the end of this year, including those already in progress. This would be a terrible tragedy for the families involved and for the thousands of babies left without permanant homes. If you could, please take a moment and sign this petition to help my friends complete their families.

Guatemalan Adoptions and DOS Accountability

You can also read more about this issue here.