Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween (weekend)!

 I'm hoping to find some time to dress Mia in her costume and do a mini photo shoot this weekend, but in the meantime, here's a quick reminder of what she looked like for last year's Halloween!  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This. I love.

Don't you just love it when you find music that speaks to your soul?  I happened across the Daniel Martin Moore CD "In the Cool of the Day" after hearing a couple of his songs on various TV shows recently (I think possibly both were on Parenthood, for those of you interested, which I promptly grabbed David's phone from him and shazam'ed!), so I decided to download the whole CD and give it a whirl.  LOVE it.  It's perfect for some peace and quiet time (which is in short supply in our household these days), and possibly some baking as we stay indoors and start to prepare for the cold to officially set in.  I can't get enough of it, so I thought I'd share.  Is there a CD (or a song) that you can't get enough of these days?  If so, please share!

Monday, October 24, 2011


 Gotta love free labor.

We may need to find a smaller rake...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gallery Wall

I finally broke down and made a gallery wall after we repainted our living room.  The thing is, I love the idea and look of a gallery wall, but wasn't sure I was going to jump on the bandwagon since they are SO popular now.  But...I had an idea.  I have very little usable wall space left in our house, and I always seem to find fun new prints that I'd like to put in my house but never have a place for them.  Plus, I have a crazy amount of photos that I'd love to display now that we have an adorable kid to photograph, but have no where to display them.  So bam!  It hit me.  Gallery wall.  Above the couch.  Photos AND prints.  The best of both worlds and room for new stuff!  I picked out some of my favorite candid and professional shots of Mia, our family, and even a couple of pre-baby pics, added in 2 prints that are absolutely perfect for us, and away I went.  I didn't want to try to match all of the frames, and I've incorporated various metallic-y sheened items into my living room over the years, so I did a mixture of black and metallic frames, which I think is turning out beautifully.  It's a little eccentric, just like me.  It's still a work in progress, as you can see since it's not balanced yet.  I like it this way, because it means that I get to keep my eyes open for new art and add in new fun photos (like a beautiful, breath-catching pic of Amelia in the apple orchard from our family photo shoot a couple of weeks ago - don't look for it, it's not up there yet!).

 Here's a close up of my two prints. 
One is a Story People print, which says  

"There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter & noise."   

Some of you may remember that we have another Story People print in Mia's room, so I have a long history of loving this artwork.

The bigger one is a newer print by one of my favorite local artists, Michael Birawer, which I've blogged about before.  The funny thing about this print is that although I've loved his work for a long time, I hadn't actually purchased a print for myself (yet).  I had a few magnets, and had purchased a poster for my old boss as part of a lab gift one year, but hadn't broken down and bought one myself.  Why?  I couldn't decide!  I loved too many of them, but I'll admit I really loved the 'green bridge' one of the Hennepin Ave bridge.  However, a couple of my friends also loved this one and purchased it, and so, I didn't really want to get the same one that everyone else was getting (I'm kind of like that, as some of you may know...).  BUT....I wanted to make sure to purchase a Michael Birawer print for the new gallery wall, so I headed to his website hoping to find the perfect one and THERE IT WAS.  An Evening at the BankLike it was made for me (and David).  I couldn't have commissioned a more perfect piece.  I ordered the smallest printed canvas immediately (after a few super-happy-freak-out emails were sent to tell others of my discovery), took it to the Carter Ave Frame Shop, right near my old college apartment, had them frame it up all fancy, and there it is, on my wall.  A perfect addition to the gallery. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Perfect Fall Day

Last Saturday, the last true day of fall in my opinion as it's been 70-80 ever since and not at all fall-like, we spent all day outdoors.  We started the day at a local apple orchard, that was almost in our own backyard. Victoria Valley Orchards IS in someone's backyard, in the middle of a residential area in Shoreview. It made the perfect fall setting for family photos! We were able to get pics with the beautiful morning light coming down through the apple trees, and of course, pics of miss Mia finding and then eating an apple directly from the tree!  Can't wait to see the final products!

After photos, we drove about an hour north of the cities to Wild River State Park with Laura and Gabe to do some 'hiking' (really walking on trails, some of which were paved) and picnicking in the park.  The air was crisp, the sky was blue, and the leaves were gorgeous.  Mia enjoyed her time in the backpack carrier, but had even more fun running around on the paved trails.  Here are some photos from the day:

Monday, October 03, 2011

New Dining Room Table!

A couple of years ago I obtained my grandparents' table after my grandpa was moved into a nursing home (or more truthfully, my mom obtained it and immediately passed it down to me). The table was in bad shape, having been stored in not-exactly-ideal conditions, so it was put into storage at my parents' farm until we could get it restored. No one seems to know much about the table, my mom and her brothers and sister just remember it being their table when they were growing up. My mom's aunt Dee Dee said that it was left for my grandparents by my grandma Mandy's parents, so it's from the Gieseke side of the family.

Here's the only before picture that I have, from the sale. The table is in the middle, topped with random chairs and this beautiful golden horse clock (wonder who lucked out and ended up with that gem?).

My parents, having also recently acquired an old table from the other side of the family, tracked down a furniture restorer in St. Peter and had that table refinished (that should be a whole other blog post on its own!). Once we saw the work that was done on that table, we had them take ours in to be restored, as well. One month later, this is what we now have in our dining room!

Here's what we know about the table: it was made by St. John's Table Co. in Cadillac, MI (as deduced from the brand label on the table's pedestal), and more than likely it was produced in 1909 (as deduced from a stamp of 09 underneath the tabletop), which would make it over 100 years old! The table top is quartersawn oak, which is a beautiful method that was popular during the late 1800s-early 1900s, as part of the American Arts & Crafts movement (same movement that generated all of those great Craftsman homes in the twin cities). So what is quartersawn oak, exactly?  I had to google it, but the best explanation I can find is at The Barnyard Gazette. I'm stealing their image for a quick visual, because it's the best I've found:

 The logs were first cut into quarters, then each quarter was cut so that the planks were exactly perpendicular to the growth rings. This gives each plank a unique look due to the visualization of the growth rings (or what's officially called "medullary ray flecks," I think). This took a lot of labor, and wasted a lot of wood, so it's not done much anymore, which is why pieces that have this are of a higher value.

Additionally, the edge of the table, right below the tabletop, is ridged, meaning that the oak was bent specially as it was shaped into an oval. This is also unique.

The table was found with 2 9-inch leaves, both of which were terribly warped and I was afraid they were beyond repair. Fortunately, the furniture restorer works with a woodworker, who was able to save them. Better yet, when my mom went to pick up the table, they showed her that the pedestal that the tabletop sits upon actually splits into two by a unique mechanism. She asked if the table perhaps would accommodate more leaves then, and they hadn't considered that. She hauled it up to my place last night, and sure enough, we can pull the table apart even farther than anticipated!  The end result is that it can accommodate 3 more 9-inch leaves, which would give us an 8 foot long table!  So, we're having them make us 3 new leaves to match the first two, which means we may have to do some fancy dinner parties this winter.

For now, we're using the chairs from our old dining room table (a hand-me-down from David's parents, which I realized yesterday I've had for 10 years - through college and grad school, up until now!).  That table got moved down to the basement to be used as a winemaking center for the hubby. I'm looking forward to finding some fun chairs to go with the new table...although I'll have to keep a look out for a large number of them now that I will have an 8 foot long table!  Can't wait for the official finished product, but right now I'm enjoying the beautiful new addition to our home!  I'm off to buy some clear vinyl to cover it so that miss Mia doesn't immediately destroy it with food or crayons (I already found her on top of it this morning!).