August 30, 2009

Practice Bouquet

Yesterday we drove out to Texas Specialty Cut Flowers to pick up flowers for our bouquet practice run. The farm has a market every Saturday where they sell their flowers and produce along with things like raw milk cheese and goats milk lotion from neighboring farms. This weekend everything was self serve. There was a cash box and a calculator and a big sign requesting that people respect the honor system. We did, of course. We picked our two big bunches of flowers, a Mexican Coke (read real sugar instead of high fructose corn crack) and left our money in the cash box. Because it was self serve we were limited to mixed bouquets, instead of individual flowers.

With the help of the kitty, I separated all the flowers and cleaned off the leaves. Then I just used lots of floral tape and worked in a circle just like the DIY ladies on told me too. The bouquet I made yesterday is more the size what the bridesmaids will have and includes zinnias, coxcomb, pampas plume and some little spikey purple things. I'm quite glad we ended up with the mixed flowers. I never would have considered coxcombs (they look like fuzzy brains!) but the color and texture really mix well with zinnias. I'm actually surprised at how structured and solid it ended up. I can't wait to make the real bouquets! All 8 of them...yikes.

August 27, 2009

Here Again

This is what the back patio on the potential house looked like yesterday afternoon. I'll save everyone from having to view the lovely stagnant water that is currently residing in the abandoned septic tank that the plumber unearthed yesterday morning. Though I have pictures of that too. For posterity, of course. And proof. This would be the very same septic tank the seller swears up and down is not in fact a septic tank and also swears that it has been filled with dirt. If by dirt they mean dirty water then they're right on. If not...then we have a problem. The house also failed the static plumbing test which means there's a leak somewhere in the sewer pipe. Awesome. Seems that putting cast iron plumbing directly into concrete is a really fantastic idea...until it isn't. Especially when jack-hammering up the middle of the living room floor becomes the only solution. Fortunately the plumber thinks the leak is above the slab, probably a drain trap from one of the showers which requires much less jack-hammer action to fix. This is assuming the sellers are willing to approve the work. Their agent is on vacation all week (!!) and our option period ends Monday. It's a shame this process is so horribly boring.

August 21, 2009


Things seem to be progressing on the house front. As expected, the FHA appraisal came in well below the contracted price. Amazingly, the sellers are taking it and we've actually come to a negotiation that will work for everyone. I was beginning to think that wasn't even possible in the home buying world. So we'll do final inspections next week and pray that we don't find something that wasn't found in the other 2 inspections done earlier this year. Our projected close date is September 15th, and since I hear that closing is even more stressful the the rest of the process there will be no collective sighs of relief. Not yet. Until then we'll busy busy ourselves with packing and working on our list and trying not to loose all touch with the rest of the world.

It's easy to get so sucked into the vortex of wedding planning and home buying and "omg we have so much to do!" that we forget about those people around us who make us happy. This weekend we're beach bound with friends (and 2 of my favorite almost 2 year olds) after game night with other friends. We'll recharge our batteries with IBC Root Beer, board games, sand castles & sunshine and we'll be ready Monday morning to resume the maddness.

Picture: Our soon-to-be long hallway

August 17, 2009

To Do

We're reaching that critical count down oh so quickly. It's been almost a year since I started devouring wedding blogs. The first of which was It was so gratifying to watch Meg through her final countdown, maintaining her perspective and having a grand ol' time. I can only hope to stay so zen in the coming months.

Here's my current 'must finish by the end of August' list:
  • Finish the invitations (thanks to assembly line style help from Al & Angela 9/12)
  • Design and make the programs (so far this has involved lots of cursing at both Photoshop and my printer which has suddenly decided that it's anti-cardstock)
  • Reprint the RSVP inserts which have the wrong website address...oops (also thanks to help from Al & Angela)
  • Finish my organza flower hairpiece
  • Finish the organza flower corsages
  • Finish bridesmaid oak leaf necklaces
  • Make a trip out to the Arnosky's farm when it is actually open and get flowers for a bouquet trial run (done! 8/29)
Diana has her very own to-do list:
  • Stamp all the velum envelope liners
  • Finish ripping all of her million CD's so she can make the song list for the day
  • At least figure out if not purchase and have altered clothes for the big day (yay! done 8/19)
And finally we must:
  • Write the ceremony
  • Finalize the text for our wedding certificate (emailed to Steph who's making our gorgeous wedding certificate)
  • Complete premarital counseling
  • Finalize details for wedding #2 in Connecticut
Ok. Maybe it will be our 'must finish by mid-September' lists. We'll see. Unfortunately there's a whole different set of lists in the works for September so we'd better get to work!

August 13, 2009

3rd Times a Charm

Or 3 strikes you're out?

We're officially under contract on a new house. Part of me feels that we shouldn't count our chickens before they hatch, but they're not being counted so much as documented. This blog is as much for me as it is for the 3 other people who read it, so I want to document as much of this process as I can. We're fulling expecting to have appraisal issues again (darn you FHA) but hopefully this time we can work it to our advantage. The home itself is wonderful. Built in 1961, orange brick, oozing with old lady charm (ie: pink tile in the bathroom). It's begging for a few coats of paint and new flooring but otherwise fits us perfectly. And so we begin that painfully stressful countdown of the option period, where we throw money at inspectors and beg the sellers to fix just one more thing. And maybe, just maybe this time we'll make it to closing. Hopefully I won't spiral into complete insanity between now and September 15th.

August 11, 2009

Sunday & Pens

Since my dad passed away, Mom has spent much of her time rearranging and recovering and buying new furniture. The first thing she sent home with us was Dad's arm chair. I don't think she could stand to see it empty. Since then she has been slowly going through the condo passing on Dad's belongings. We've come home with several computers, a few hard drives, a modem and a printer. Once we move we'll be inheriting 3 7-foot bookcases and Dad's enormous sci-fi/fantasy first edition collection that currently resides in them (which we'll most likely sell the majority of). By no means do I think she's trying to erase him...I think this is her way of grieving and removing some of the day-to-day reminders (not to mention, she doesn't need 5 computers when she won't use PC's anyway).

I'm getting used coming home with boxes of Dad's left behinds....but I wasn't prepared for Sunday. Mom finally went through the desk in Dad's Ham Shack (N5UJ). My box included things like the cardboard kaleidescope I made him when I was 9 and the brass Texas Bicentenial belt buckle he wore anytime he wore blue jeans. It also included about half of his large pen collection. He treasured his pens. He used to tell me that he wrote too hard so using a fountain pen forced him to write gently. He always had one in his front shirt pocket. Always. He went through years of trying different pens to find the one he loved. His favorite for the last few years was a vanishing tip retractable fountain pen. I have two of them now. Along with the first fountain pen I remember him buying and several my Grandmother gave him when he started collecting. Maybe it's time to start caring about what I write with just as much as I care about what I write. Maybe I need to force myself to be more gentle and more intentional with my words. Maybe I still miss him an awful lot and wish he were here to guide us through this stressful home buying experience.

Instead I'll write with his pens and hope somehow I can channel a bit of his wisdom through the bright blue ink.

flickr: Namike Vanishing Point

August 9, 2009

Operation Invitation!

Operation Invitation! I resolved, on Saturday, that I would finish all the evil stamping and embossing that was making me crazy. And then I realized I didn't have enough velum (I can honestly say that's the first time I've ever had that problem). I've done everything I can do up to finishing the envelope liners...the official light at the end of the tunnel. Now to wait until Ho.bby Lo.bby marks packaged scrap booking paper half off. Here's the bits and pieces thus far:
- printed on our home computer on cream linen textured card stock then layered onto dark brown linen card stock
- the leaves are stamped in colored ink then embossed with clear embossing powder
- the envelopes are cream linen and lined with clear/white velum stamped with the same leaf stamp as the invitations
- the RSVP cards are just an insert with the website address of our 'website' where people RSVP as well as my phone number and the street address of the wedding location

- the back of both the invitation and RSVP insert is stamped with acorns in clear ink then embossed with clear embossing powder
Texture is really big for both of us and since we couldn't do letter press or raised print we relied on heavily textured paper and the clear embossing of the stamps. I'm thrilled with the results. They're very autumn a
nd very tactile.

I also realize that I mentioned the save the dates a while back but never posted them. I designed them in Ph.otoshop using one of the engagement portraits by Ms. Sledd then printed them through overnightprints. They have a shiny UV coating on the front and rounded edges. They were mailed in cream colored envelopes with different colored specks (they were on clearance at Offi.ce

After managing to remove embossing powder off every inch of my body, we headed down to Zilker Park Hillside Theater for the Music Man. For the first time in a month it was below 120°F and breezy. We got sandwiches from Thundercloud and enjoyed a great production. Wonderful free stuff like that makes me so happy to live in Austin. However...I've been whistling 76 Trombones

August 3, 2009

Changing Gears

We have officially walked away from the contract on the Gordon house. As wonderful and amazing as that house was, there were inspection and appraisal issues not to mention the seller and the sellers agent were amazingly difficult to deal with. We're hoping the 3rd time's a charm. We went out hunting on Sunday and found another very similar home that we're doing our homework on and will hopefully submit an offer this week. We definitely seem to have developed a distinct taste that we weren't so aware of the beginning. Three times now we've gravitated toward nearly identical houses that have the following things in common:
1. Built in the 1960's
2. Ranch style (wide with a lower roof line)
3. Red/orange brick or limestone
4. Big trees
5. Nearly quarter acre lots

In between house hunting and more house hunting we've been switching gears back to wedding planning. We're just over 3 months away from the big day and have a lot to do! I spent much of this weekend covered in ink and embossing powder (that effing stuff gets everywhere). Here I am stamping oak leaves on to the velum envelope liners for the invitations (please ignore the mess behind me, we've started packing and that bookcase has become the catch all for things to pack). Hand making your own invitations is an incredibly good motivation to have a very small wedding. Too bad I didn't realize that before I sent out the save the dates which I designed on photoshop and printed through so were far less work. I'm really proud of the finished product though, assuming I ever complete more than just the prototype.