Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bird is the word

Today Mark and Ryan took on the task of uprooting the bird of paradise plant that has plagued the front of our house for months. It may not seem so bad, but trust me, it was overgrown and just not the look we were going for. After a couple of failed attempts to get someone to come take it off of our hands on Craigslist, we'd had enough.

It took two men, shovels, a jackhammer-type tool, and a Scion equipped with a tow hook to get it out.

Before you think us horrible people for killing this plant, understand that these grow like weeds around here... and I'm not sorry...
Last bird standing...
Happy New Year!!!

Year in review

What a year it's been!!!

Mark and I have a huge sense of accomplishment with all that we've done this year. Here's a quick re-cap...

Our dear friends Allie, Ryan, and their daughter Danika are visiting us this week from Sacramento. Today, we will probably be able to add "...tore out overgrown bird of paradise," "...fixed master bath plumbing," and maaaaybe "...sledge hammered the $*&% out of smoker" to the list.

As for 2010, we have a lot in store, including all new energy efficient windows next month and a kitchen renovation post-tax return. Oh, to think! I seriously or shiriously cannot wait!

In the mean time, Happy New Year to all, and to all a good 2010!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pup playdate

Today we had Booie, Adrienne, and Brian over for Lola's first at-home playdate. The dogs had such a blast together!!! It wasn't more than five minutes after Booie left that Lola passed out. Lola is so happy to have found a new bff!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Her name was Lola...

Scratch that, her name is Lola! The newest addition to Chez Braffe. She's part corgi, part terrier, and all love.
Mark and I have been talking about getting a dog for a little while, and went to a couple of adoption events yesterday. We found Lola at an adoption event that our friend Jana was volunteering at.

At first we didn't even think to get to know Lola, because we had been in search of a medium sized (30-50lbs) dog, and Lola probably comes in at about 20lbs when she's soaked... But Lola wasn't having that. She was the happiest dog in the bunch, and was hardly flustered when the German shepherd nearby started a ruckus with a cocker spaniel and had all the dogs around going bonkers. She just wagged her tail, and in that moment, we knew she was the dog for us.
We originally planned on waiting until we returned from Vegas (next Sunday) to bring a pup into our home, but knowing that Lola would be headed back to the shelter if she didn't come home with us, made us change our minds. Plus, we received a generous offer from one of the volunteers to watch her while we're gone.

We'll have to go through some training with her, because at 1-2yrs old (the shelter's estimate -they don't have much information on her, as she was brought in as a stray), she is unfamiliar with any commands. But she's a happy dog, loves people, other doggies, and life! -and we love her.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quilty as charged

Ok. Wow. I will admit that one sounded way funnier/catchier in my head, but it's stickin'.

So last night I almost finished my first (baby) blanket. I just have to hand stitch one side closed. I was worried about getting the batting to lay flat if I didn't have the whole opening to work with, but after giving it a go, I think next time I'd be okay with half of a side open to get it in there flat. After I stitch it, I will get some colored embroidery thread and sew little knots in the corners of the squares. I'm really happy with the outcome so far. The entire blanket is about 3'x3', so not very big, and it's definitely not very neat, but my future niece isn't referred to as Neatbaby, now is she?! She'll surely appreciate the wildness of this one. I didn't use any pattern, just a square candle holder to cut out the squares and a blue fabric pencil...
I probably won't be completely finished with the blanket until the weekend or next week. This week I am immersed with MEND stuff. MEND is the largest food bank in the San Fernando Valley, and every year, my work teams up with them to adopt families in need, to give them a Christmas that they would otherwise not have the means to provide/enjoy. This week will be spent shopping, wrapping, (not rapping, yo), and coordinating the details with my coworkers to make this a holiday to remember for my department's adopted family.

For more information or to get involved with MEND, please check out their website. It's a fantastic organization that provides various programs and services year round.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rain, rain, go away

Yeah, I know, Southern California really needs this rain, what with the whole draught and all -but on the weekend? Really??

Mark and I had grand plans to work on the stucco this weekend, which hasn't been touched since my dad's departure last month. You can't apply stucco in the rain... Aw shucks, guess we'll have to put it off again!

Instead, I think I will continue to sew this weekend. I have a couple projects in mind. First, of course, some more burpies for Tali. I also started experimenting on a baby blanket. *Chenille is 50% off at Joann's this weekend*

I also want to work on our living room a bit. I've been talking about it forever. We still want to paint a plum-ish accent wall and I'm itching to cover our console table. We have this marble top console table in our living room that sits just beneath the sole piece of art in there. It's actually pretty nice as is, but it *mysteriously * got scratched (read: keyed) all over, and the overall design doesn't work too well in the space. So here's my inspiration...
I saw this photo in my House Beautiful magazine this month, and I love the idea. I want something that's fitted, with clean lines, but that I can lift the flaps up to store things underneath. I also like the idea of a bar tray sitting on top with some bar tools on it. We could also use the beneath as storage for liquor if we get some sort of shelves under there. Hiding your booze in an unsuspecting spot is never a bad idea... As for the fabric, I'm not sure what would be best. We've already added the plum/burgundy shade and our couch is gold-ish. I think maybe a dark brown with a muted pattern of sorts could be nice... Maybe something like this fabric or this, if Mark agrees to something flower-like.

What do you think?

Happy Friday!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Burping Cloths

At the fabric store yesterday, I found this great fabric that I thought matched the colors Tali was going for really well. I immediately snapped a photo and texted it to her. I didn't have the time/patience to wait for an answer, and seeing that it was on sale from $6.99/yd all the way down to $3.19, I bought what they had left -about 3.5 yards. I also bought some off-white striped chenille.
I cut out 2 rectangles of each fabric, measuring 9"x22". I then took a circular vase that has about a 5" diameter and centered it on the length of the rectangle, and half way in from the edge and traced a semi-circle. I did this on the other side as well.

I then pinned the chenille to the patterned fabric with the right sides facing in. I sewed around the perimeter, leaving a 2" opening, through which I reversed the fabric. I hand stitched the opening shut.

I'm all about winging it with these sorts of things. They're definitely not perfect, but for the fact that the sole purpose of these will be to collect spit up, I think they'll do...

Now just another 3 yards of that fabric to go...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wine Bag

After sewing on 60 circle rosettes for my prototype pillow, I decided I could easily incorporate the rosettes into a winebag for the holiday party Mark and I will be attending next weekend.

This time I purchased felt sheets that measure 9"x12". They're less than 30 cents a pop and the entire project only took 3 of them and some elastic to make. I cut two of the sheets down to 6"x12" rectangles. I cut out six 3" circles from the third sheet.

For the bag, I stitched the two large rectangles together on the two 12" sides. I left about two inches unsewn at the bottom so I could attempt to figure out how to make the bottom. I couldn't decide if I wanted a rectangular gusset or to try to make it round. I compromised and cut out football shaped piece of felt from the remainder of the piece I cut the circles out of. I would probably do this a little differently next time...

I then folded the brim over (still insideout) and stitched all the way around about 3/4" down, leaving a 1" opening for me to thread the elastic through. I threaded it through and then hand stitched the opening shut.

For the rosette, I folded each circle in half and then half again, pinched the base and then hand stitched them all together, one at a time. I then affixed the big rosette to the wine bag.
This was a super easy project that I completed in less than an hour.

Friday, December 4, 2009

That's weird...

So I'm a self-professed sleep talker... I was unaware of this until my college roommate freshman year told me I spoke Hebrew or possibly gibberish in my sleep. On nights when Mark goes to bed after I'm already asleep, he's mentioned the next day that I mumble a whole bunch when he makes any noise. Of course I'm completely oblivious of this. Usually.

Well in the middle of the night last night, I decided to speak a little more coherently.

Here's how it went:

Me: That's weird
Mark wakes up from my announcement.
Mark: What's weird?
Me: Huh? sdkjhfks huh?
Mark: What's weird?
Me: Bed pans.

I then rolled over and immediately fell back asleep.

I explained my dream to him this morning. I was in a hospital room with a group of people, none of whom I knew, standing around an elderly man's bed. He was opening gifts. He unwrapped one to find a tie-dyed bedpan. Apparently, even in my sleep, I recognized how weird that was. Perhaps I've chanced upon my million dollar idea.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Then and Now - two years strong

Today is Mark and my second anniversary together. It feels like I've known Mark forever. I feel lucky to have found such a loving, caring, funny, delicious man to call my own.

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving 2009

May we have many more Thanksgivings together!!! (we celebrated 2008 together too, but I don't have any photos on hand)