Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's official... We are moving!!

No, not moving houses... THAT would be crazy.

We are moving Web sites!!

Not as exciting, fine. BUT I wanted to give you readers a heads-up so you could change your bookmark, feeder, reader, whatev, to...

Creative, right? I am still working on transferring all the old posts, doing a little redesign, and learning how to use the new site, so it will be a few days before we are up and running.

Thank you so much for reading our blog. Whether you are part of our family, friends, or just people who happened upon our little life, I love checking into Blogger and seeing the crazy number of page views I get every day. I hope you will follow us to our new home!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Greene County Quilt Project

 You've all seen these, I hope. Beautiful rustic barns in the countryside, displaying huge painted quilt squares. I (of course) have always loved driving by these, wondering how they got there and who designed them.

Recently I was visiting my hometown for a few weddings. On our way back to Bellbrook from Columbus, Art and I decided to take the back way through the country, since we don't get to see much lush, green farms out in California (just wineries, boo hoo, boo hoo!). At a stoplight in Xenia, I looked over and saw this beauty:

 I said, "Look, Art! That's an Ohio Star quilt square! By an Ohio courthouse! Aren't you so inspired??"

Ok, so Art doesn't share my love for traditional, crafted quilt squares. But I just thought it was so unique that what I usually see on the sides of barns was smack dab in the middle of the county seat.

Then, a little serendipity happened. Out of the blue, seemingly, my mom suggested going to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which happens to be about 20 minutes from where my parents live. I have been there a billion times, naturally, and my life is generally overloaded with Air Force business, so when I'm home it's usually not someplace I think to go. Art was back in California at this point, my mom took the day off work, and my stepdad was about to start a new job and had some vacation time, so it seemed like a great day to go.

The first thing we saw when we got there was a huge quilt made up of all the active USAF bases. Quilts everywhere!

It's hard to see because the lighting in there wasn't ideal, but see the square that says "XL"? That's our old base, Laughlin, and the one directly to its right is our new base! Pretty neat, eh?

In the very back they had a whole exhibit all about the U-2, including on the of the old models hanging from the ceiling. Ugh, does my husband have the coolest job, or what? Every time I saw someone looking at the exhibit, I got all puffy chested and proud. Gross.

But seriously. So cool.

Anyway, we stopped to see an IMAX movie while we were there, and I noticed a lady holding up this brochure and studying it:

Seriously, quilt squares everywhere! On the way out of the theater I saw the same brochure and grabbed it. And wouldn't you know it...

(Image via

My Xenia courthouse quilt square was in there! Along with many, many others... 42 in all. All quilt squares, all built and painted by hand, all on showcase around the county where I grew up.

So let me pause for a second. I'm ridiculously proud to be from Ohio. I think it's the best place in the entire world. I really do. I love living in California, and I love bouncing around with the Air Force, but Ohio will always be where I came from. Greene County is a largely rural, but beautiful county just east of Montgomery County, where Dayton is, so it's close enough to all the "stuff" to be convenient. You can drive down a back road in Greene County for miles and see nothing, and it's still a place where people wave to you driving by. It's really special to me, naturally, and so when I found out about this quilt trail, I had to see it.

The next day, I dragged my mom all around the entire county looking for these squares. We didn't get to see all of them, but I was able to snap photos of most of them. An idea was born, and one that will take me a long while, but one that I'm really excited to announce.

I'm doing a Greene County Quilt Project. Each month, I'm going to study one of the quilt squares on the trail, come up with a pattern, and create it. I'm going to make an effort to contact each of the 4-H clubs that designed the squares to let them know what I'm doing, and get a little more information about the design, the people that did it, and what it took to get these squares painted and displayed. I want to honor the traditional quilting techniques that many of these squares are made of, and I also want to acknowledge some of the modern design genius that went into them. If I do exactly one block a month, this project will be a 3.5-year commitment. I hope to get it done sooner than that, with maybe two or three squares in the months where I have time.

The fabrics? You'll have to wait and see exactly what I've chosen, but I decided that rather than stick with the colors of the original design, I will coordinate the fabrics to make a more cohesive end product. But, because I love ya, here's a sneak peak:

(Image via

(Image via

I can't wait for you to be on this journey with me! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Under the Paper Pile

A hundred years ago, I schlepped Sizzix and Mrs. Grossman's in a scrapbook store. A vicious rumor started there: that I liked organizing things. 

No, no. I liked organizED things. 

Big difference. Clearly not represented in my filing system, pictured below:

Can we zoom in on that business?

Holy moly. It really upset Peanut:

And our newest addition, Rudy:

Well, or not. But it DID upset me, so I got to it.

Before I did anything, I got my tools ready. I have this tiny box full of sticky notes, paper clips, white out, and writing tools for just such occasion. This was especially helpful when I was in school for 92375 semesters and had to study a lot.

By the way, green is the superior highlighter color.

Gotta have a trash bag too, for all the junk mail I know is in that big ol' pile.

And the piece de resistance: a label maker. You could use your handwriting, of course, and just write on the tabs, but a label maker will make you feel much more accomplished and neat.

Or I'm just easily entertained.

In either case, there's no short cut for going through a paper stack like this. Wait, can we see that again?


I thought I would share my filing system just in case it helps anyone. I'm a filer, and I married a piler, and thus this type of organization is usually my job. There isn't much use in going through paperwork unless there's a place for it to go. We have one, single, cheap filing drawer that we cart around. It's not a perfect system, but it's neat and tidy and works for now. It looks like this:

(Caveat: As much as I'm an oversharer, I'm not into sharing the intimate details of my finances and delicate paperwork... so I'll give categories, and you can change it up where necessary.)

PURPLE: Vital documents. The only thing we keep in there are copies of our wills. Marriage licenses, birth certificates, POAs, etc. etc. are kept in our safe. Basically, I keep the wills and living wills here just in case something happens to the both of us at the same time, our wills will be easily accessible. If you don't have a will, GET ONE. It's a complete must for military families, but for everyone else too. Everybody dies, dude, and it's not morbid to want to protect your family. I'll get off my pedestal and continue.

BLUE: That's your major finances. Bank accounts, investments, credit cards, IRAs, etc. etc. It's important to save statements and such for a year or so, and this is where we do it.

GREEN: Regular ol' bills. Utilities, phone, cable, Internet, HOA, and such. Booooring.

RED: The Big Stuff. The really expensive, I'm-in-debt-for-years stuff. Houses, cars, boats, etc. Not the big screen you put on layaway (I'd file that under a "furniture" folder in the misc. section), but the really really major life purchases. Keep titles, statements, and other important things you might need for insurance purposes.

TURQUOISE: Miscellaneous stuff. I keep my teaching licenses here, info about the dogs (they each get their own file for vet records), and other weird paperwork I don't want to throw away but doesn't go anywhere else.

YELLOW: Tax returns, and, if you need to keep them, receipts. We keep ours for 10 years and then move the oldest file up to the front.

Now, I don't lug around this giant filing drawer every time I get a piece of junk mail. That would be crazy. I have this little dude hanging out in my kitchen:

Next to the tiniest dog bones ever made. It used to be in my classroom, but since I don't have one of those anymore, it's made a big difference in how we manage paper. There's really no excuse for leaving something on the counter when the filing box is right next to it. I'm planning on covering the box with some less classroom-y paper one of these days.

I keep the inside simple:

TO FILE: Stuff that really belongs in the big drawer, but I don't feel like traipsing upstairs right now. Or next week.

IMPORTANT RECEIPTS: Basically, things I think I might return. In there right now? The receipt for the area rug we just brought home from HomeGoods that didn't quite fit right in our house. Boo.

COUPONS: Pretty self-explanatory. I have an envelope for each store I shop at regularly, and then manufacturer's coupons just go in the folder part.

TO SHRED: Again, not a big mystery. Stuff that I don't want to put in the garbage. In California, someone sorts every piece of your garbage, so you really don't want your SSN or something ending up in that someone's pocket.

MENUS: Takeout and local restaurants, just in case we need some inspiration about where to go or (on the very rare occasion) order in.

BROCHURES: There is SO much to do around here that we haven't done. I keep brochures, leaflets, ads, and other things in here that we might want to look at later. Napa Valley Wine Train is calling to me...

 I have a lot of blank folders in there, so I stash extra tabs in the back. My label maker is in a drawer in the laundry room, so I know it's never too far. :)

And that's that! I can't say I'm organized about everything, but I do feel like I have a pretty good system to help control the paper flow around these parts.

I'll leave you with another photo of our new pooch and his giant bone. Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Floors ah here, yeah!

(Did you say that like you were on Jersey Shore? I hope you did.)

When our floors arrived from Lowe's, we were expecting a team of people to unload the three extended pallets of flooring and one pallet of underlayment.

Nope. Just one lonely dude plus a forklift. He dropped off the enormous amount of beautiful floors, had us sign, and then peaced the eff out.

So, husband, patriarch, head of the family, what should we do next?

Start hoofing, he says.

One box at a time, while the painters were busy giving us the world's perfect wall color, we hauled all that laminate into the living room. I got burned out after one pallet, so Art continued with the laminate while I switched to the underlayment. I decided to race Art, because everyone knows the strongest of marriages are built on competition. I had a pretty nice grid going on inside, until I walked in and spotted this curious gap:

How odd. Not thinking anything of it, I was pretty pumped that I only had six more bundles to go. Outside, pick up a bundle, inside, rinse and repeat. A shameful four trips later, I noticed that I still had six more bundles, the painters were dying laughing, and Art was running with his last two boxes of laminate.

I obviously lost on purpose to pump up Art's ego.

One hour later....

122 boxes of laminate in their new home, acclimating to the temperature of our house. Metaphorically and literally crushing the soiled carpet underneath.


Battle scars from the intense laminate hauling.

I'm holding off on posting photos of the aftermath of our install because we are still waiting on some trim molding to be installed. Plus, we recently added a new furry friend to our family (more about him later, too!), and I am still gawking at how quickly he dirtied up the floors in 24 hours. Currently stalking some new solutions for that, because you know keeping a spotless house has always been my number one priority.


Monday, June 4, 2012

The Many Faces of a Chiweenie

For our second anniversary, we got a new camera. A Nikon D3100 to be exact, at the recommendation of my photographer cousin and MOH, Julie. I'm still "addicted to auto" as they say, and I just have the standard lens for now, but I'm pretty pumped about the photos I've been taking. Now that I'm back from Wedding Deployment 2012, I'm also pumped to get back to blogging. And YOU should be pumped to be rid of my junky iPhone photos!

Naturally, my favorite photography subject has been the dog. Wouldja just look at it. (name that YouTube!)

Pensive Peanut.

Wise Peanut.

Frightened Peanut.

Grumpy Peanut.

Sleepy Peanut.

Vogue Peanut.

Obsequious Peanut.

(I have a confession. I just wanted to use obsequious in a sentence. He's more Erudite Peanut in this one.)

(Yep. Did it again.)

I've got a lot of crafty posts planned for this week, plus a tour of the house in progress, and maybe a canine photo here and there, so stay tuned!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let there be... greige!

Some exciting news in the life of the Bulls: We got a NEW CAMERA!! This is a real camera now, not the rinky dink one on the iPhone. For your vision's sake, I'll actually be taking photos with proper white balance and exposure and light and all that other stuff.

I mean, not right now, but when I figure out how to use it. Until I can repost about the paint color that I love so dearly, I'll just talk about it.

It brings light to my life.

It is the world's perfect color.

It made me tear up (not kidding).

Ready for some before and after action?

So, it's not a perfect before/after shot. That will have to wait until after the whole shebang (including the floor!) is over. But what do ya think? I'm in lurve.

Here's an up close shot so you can see the difference between the old, builder beige ugliness that was there and our inspired new color:

It makes me want to sing.

The paint is Kelly Moore, but the color is matched to Glidden's Wood Smoke. It is the perfect gray. Not too blue so that it looks like newsprint, but blue enough that it makes the trim pop. It matches our granite perfectly and makes the whole house feel cozier and more... Bull. We love it!

Wait, did I already say that?

Hello, gorgeous.

If you'll forgive me, I'm about to overload today with posts. There are several reasons for this:

1. I have a lot to say.
2. I only have a computer, two week's worth of clothing, a Chiweenie, and a deck of Uno cards to keep me entertained until Monday.
3. I like purple.

Not sure where that last one came from. It just felt right.

Anyway, us Bulls have been tinkering a bit with the house since we got to actually sleep in it. We're on an air mattress, we have no window coverings, and the house is completely covered in dust, but we are HERE. Because it's kind of a hurry-up-and-wait situation, we've been figuring out ways to entertain ourselves while waiting on contractors. While the painting was being done (because we hate painting AND had the budget for it, score), we had to vacate the house for a few hours. Art was at work and I had Peanut, which limited my entertainment possibilities.

So what did the pooch and I do? Drove to Tahoe. Natch!

Please. I live two hours away from this?? I wish the photos did it justice.

 You see there... Beach. Dock. Snow. Mountains. All of my favorite things in one location! I can't believe I live here. I mean, I don't live here... you know what I mean.

Peanut thoroughly enjoyed his FIRST walk on a beach. He also assured me that those big honking tracks on the beach were just a really big dog and not a really big bear.

It was still pretty chilly when we went, but I hear amazing things about the lake in the summer.

Hello, gorgeous.

No matter where you go along the water, you can see mountains. Amazing.

On our way back, we passed the most adorable little sign that said, "Dog Bakery." Pardon? I have a dog. So of course we stopped and little Peanuts trotted himself right on in to see this beauty.

Yes, those are all for dogs.

P-Brittle got a cheese straw...

... which he didn't really like.

He also got a chocolate covered squirrel (dog-friendly), which he ate so fast I didn't get to take another photo of it.

See ya around Tahoe, we will be back!

Maybe just for the dog treats. Maybe not.