Lost & Fawned

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Spring 2014 Book Duo via Lost and FawnedLooking for something new to read?  So was I.  I was feeling overwhelmed by my choices so I consulted the experts and asked a local librarian.  I told her the titles of the last 3 books I loved and she gave me a short list of recommendations.  I’m a quarter of the way through my first pick and I’m so pleased.  The librarian nailed it.

  • The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker

Both of these harken back to classics.  The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a retelling of Jane Eyre set in 1950-60′s Iceland and Scotland.  Even though I know what should happen next, I’ve been plowing through it.  Next on my list is Longbourn, which tells the imagined tales of the servants working for the Bennet family.  Kind of a mash-up of Austin with Downton Abbey.

If neither of these peek your interest, visit your library branch and chat with a librarian.  I’d love to know what they recommend for you!  Hopefully soon the weather will be nice enough to take my new books to the park and read in the fresh, spring air.

 

One Year - Finnick

A year ago this week we brought Finnick home.  He has gotten so much stronger and so much more confident over the last year.  And we have grown closer as a family.  Logan and Finn are brothers.  They comfort each other when we are gone, wear each other out in the evening and every once in awhile we catch them having a moment.  Their routines have merged and having two dogs is no more time consuming than one was.  But we get double the unconditional love.

I seriously don’t know what I would do without those big brown eyes and comically large ears.  He is the most cuddly dog I’ve ever met.  He is grateful for every meal (seriously, when he finishes eating he seeks us out in the house to say thank you) and a soft spot to nap.  He still crawls into the closet at night and he has no shortage of quirks.

So happy one year Finniversary to us!

Vintage Mug of Tea

 I know things have been quiet around here.  My computer finally died sooner than I had anticipated.  Since our winter so far has been extremely expensive I had to wait to replace the computer until we recovered a little from the bathroom and the trip west.  Then there were shipping delays due to weather.  But now I am back to work.  I’m still getting all my software installed and my files transferred, but I’m functional again!

I normally don’t mind winter.  I don’t love it, but it doesn’t make me as grumpy as others.  But I am so over this winter.  Today will be -4 degrees before windchill (feeling like -20′s).  During the last big polar vortex our furnace died and car battery got zapped.  An adventure would be a gentle way of describing that day.  We have been guzzling tea by the pot and limiting our trips out of the house.  I got my seed catalog today and my rose catalog last week and it’s making me pine for spring.  On a positive note, hand quilting is the perfect winter hobby.  I sit in bed with my quilt draped over my lap and watch Netflix.

So back to business!  I’m ready to start gearing up for spring gardening, style and home improvement!  What are you looking forward to most when winter ends?

2014 Resolutions

Like most, I’m pretty terrible about sticking too my resolutions. But I always try.  Another year and here I go with another attempt.  Only a few this year.

  • Spend less, Save more.  We have some lofty goals.  And some of these require more than hard work.  We are fairly frugal people, but we could do better (me especially).  After tackling some big projects this year, we are left with much less in our savings.  So this year I’m going to try to curb my spending on fun things and put more away for bigger goals.
  •  Purge, purge, purge.  Our basement is full of stuff.  When we moved in and the floors weren’t totally dry most of our stuff went right down to the basement.  We unpacked down there slowly, finding what we needed when we needed it.  What we are left with years later is a mountain of open boxes full of stuff we obviously don’t need.  I don’t know if I’ll pull together a garage sale next summer (I would sure like to try), but by next fall I want the basement organized and all that stuff to be gone.  I also need to purge my clothes again.
  • Focus on health.  I could eat better.  I could exercise more.  Same old every year.  I’m still making this resolution because it’s important to try.  I only get one body and I need to try and take care of it.
  • Finish the Wedding Quilt.  I’ve been working on our weeding quilt since the wedding, but at the end of last year I picked up momentum on it and I would love to finish it by our 5th wedding anniversary.  If you don’t recall, here is the last progress update.  I bought the fabric for the back and I’ve begun the tedious process of hand quilting it.  I thought about machine quilting it, but it’s a special project and I feel like if I’m ever going to hand-quilt, this is the project to do it on.

How about you?  Any new resolutions?  Any old ones to try again?  Happy New Year.

 

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I hope you all are having a safe and happy holiday today.  We are just waking up on the west coast with my family.  The weather is gorgeous and we plan on spending the morning exploring a secret beach while the turkey cooks.  I’ll be taking a break from blogging until I return to Ohio, but you can follow my daily adventures on Instagram in the mean time.

Happy Christmas!  -The Fowlers

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Between enjoying the new tub, cleaning the house from top to bottom (holy construction dust!!), working extra hours and trying to get us ready to leave town, I have been overwhelmed this holiday season. I apologize for the quiet this week. I just finished a fun DIY post I’ll be polishing up this weekend. Next week I’m aiming to squeeze in a couple more gift guides. I’m still putting some finish touches on the bathroom before it’s ready for sharing. We’ll be back on our regular schedule next week. Thanks a bunch!

Professional Look with Florals on Lost and Fawned

I’m currently working up the confidence and fine-tuning the technique to show off some of the new wardrobe I’m building.  It’s not quite blog-worthy yet, but I’m making progress.

I bought this dress for Halloween and I love it so much I’m dying to wear it everywhere (but trying to wait until after Halloween).  The blazer was a piece I added to my closet this autumn when it went on mega-clearance.  It’s structured jersey, so its comfortable but still looks tailored.  The handbag was another steal.  It’s almost new (a little stain on the inside lining) but it was $38 on eBay.

Sources:  Blazer via J. Crew (no longer available) – Clearanced for $39  //  Dress via Modcloth – On Sale for $35  //  Shoes via Seychelles (no longer available) – Similar for $29.99  //  Bracelet from Hanjiun – Similar for $15  //  Handbag from J. Crew via eBay – $38  //  ‘Tart Deco’ Polish by Essie – On Amazon for $5.49

And now for an update.  It’s Jared’s birthday week and he is sick as a dog.  It’s not the flu, but he does have a pretty nasty cold.  We are postponing his birthday dinner until he’s feeling better.  Finn is also going to the doctor today.  He is having a dewclaw issue.  I’m not feeling great, but I am determined to not be sick.  So far my head is winning and I’ve been able to stay on my feet.

We put in a bunch of new plants.  We split some of my grandma’s coral bells and helleborus and some of Jared’s grandma’s peonies.  They all look pretty shabby right now, but hopefully this spring they all come in nice and healthy.  We will be putting in new beds around the front window in the spring.  The yard is going to looks so much different than it did this summer.

We’ll be spending the holiday with my parents this year in Oregon.  It will be my third trip out this year, but it will be the first time Jared has been out there in awhile.  We are planning to spend some time at the coast.  We haven’t been out there since our wedding.  It will be nice for him to kick back a little and relax.  I’m counting down the days.

Our Home To-Do List

We have done a lot to our little house in the past couple of years.  But it still has a long way to go.  This isn’t our forever house, but we are thinking we can get another 5-8 years out of it.  There is still a long list of things we would like to do before we move on.

  • Bathroom
    • Gut the whole darn thing and start from scratch.  Seriously the worst room in the house.
    • New floors.  We have out eye on white ceramic octagonal tile.
    • New shower surround.  In a perfect world we would have a beautiful tiled shower, but in this house a new clean surround will do just fine.
    • Storage.  It’s the only bathroom in the house and the only storage is a small medicine cabinet.  There is a ton of room in the toilet nook though.
    • New sink.  The sink is an opportunity for more storage or a really beautiful sink.  There is not a lot of room though.
    • Regular height toilet.  Our toilet is “comfort height”.  Being a vertically challenged individual (without getting too graphic) I hate it.  I know comfort height is preferred by most… but not by me.
    • Art.  Some art in this bathroom would really help.
    • Vent out the house instead of into the crawl space.  Seriously, when we moved into the house we discovered they vented the bathroom into the attic.  *mind blown*
    • Miscellaneous things.  Laundry basket, towel storage, new window, new lighting, new medicine cabinet, etc.
  • Kitchen
    • New floor.  This is still up for debate.  The rest of the downstairs has the original oak hardwood floors we restored when we moved in.  Tile floors would be nice, but we have also considered painted wood floors.
    • New cabinets.  The cabinets in our kitchen seem to have been built by someone who had no idea what they were doing.  The drawers are not on tracks (just boxes in cuts outs that fall when you open them).  The shelves don’t make much sense in their layout.  Plus they will never look clean.
    • New back-splash.  The back-splash is the same cheap faux marble tile that we have on the floor in the bathroom and kitchen.  In my dreams we have a white subway tile back-splash.
    • Install our garbage disposal.  It’s one of the first things we purchased and it’s still sitting in it’s box in the basement.
    • New faucet.  The one we currently have has to be pushed a little to the side to prevent a continuous drip.  It is also pretty basic.  I would like something with a little more visual impact and function.
  • Dining Room
    • New Dining Set.  Our little table from Ikea was perfect in our small apartment, but we need something larger now.  It seats the 2 of us just fine, but 3 or 4 gets a bit crowded.  We love this one (in antique stain) from Ikea.  In a perfect world we would find a lovely mid-century table of a similar size.
    • Art.  I have no idea what I would want.  But we have a large bare wall.
    • Clean up the built in shelving in the hall.  I’m thinking of painting the shelves and back wall semi-gloss white for a cleaner look.
  • Guest Room

    • Last room in the house that needs a fresh coat of paint.
    • Restyle and reorganize.
    • New light fixture.  Still have a florescent light on the ceiling.
  • Upstairs Multipurpose Room

    • Replace florescent fixture on ceiling.
    • Add shelves and hanging storage to closet.
    • Seal the access to the attic to prevent condensation in the closet.
    • Reorganize and reconsider the layout and furniture to make the room more useful and efficient.  Right now it’s fine, but it could be better utilized.
  • Shed
    • You can see the tentative plan in this post.
  • Yard
    • Have front steps demolished and rebuilt.  We toyed with having a porch across the whole front, now I think we’ll probably settle with just having it structurally sound and clean.
    • Cut down front hedges.  They have never looked good and are impossible to keep up with.  It’s time for them to go.  Hedges are gone!
    • Landscaping!  We will need to do something to jazz the front up when the hedges come down.  We’d like to actually grow grass.  We need to do something in the front under the window and something along the shady side of our house.
    • A few more beds along the back of our lot.
  • Miscellaneous

    • Finish painting the stairwell.  Just need to get the right ladder and finish it up.  UPDATE //  We made progress on 8/31/13 but still need a special ladder to do the edging up in the peak of the ceiling. 
    • Have an electrician look at the light in the stairwell.  The switch has never functioned well and has stopped all together now.
    • Build built-in shelving in the nook in the upstairs hallway.  We have this sweet little nook in at the top of our stairs.  We have always thought it would be the perfect place for some built in book shelves and a hamper.  You can check out the finished shelving here.
    • Patch ceiling in the upstairs hallway and paint.
    • Steam clean the carpets upstairs.
    • Clean out the basement.  When we moved in the floors on the first story were still drying.  So EVERYTHING went in the basement.  We used that as a base camp and “unpacked” everything.  In reality, the basement is full of half empty boxes.  It’s impossible to navigate and I have no idea what is actually down there.
    • Hold a garage sale.  We REALLY need to purge.  We have a lot (mostly in the basement and shed) that we simply don’t need.  Most of it has been sitting in the basement since we moved in.  If we haven’t looked for it in three years, we probably don’t need it.
    • Add quarter-round around the whole downstairs floors.
    • Have the chimney tucked and reinforced.

This list may grow, and as we knock things off the list I’ll cross it out and link to an update post.  It looks like a lot, and in reality there is so much more.  But we are trying to take it one day at a time.

- The Fowlers

Summer Update

Long time, no chat!  Yikes!  I feel like I’ve been running around all summer, but looking back I’m not sure where all the time went (do you ever get that feeling?).  It’s hard to believe August is already well on it’s way.  I figured it was a good chance to take a moment to catch up.  Incoming wall of words…

It’s been a tough year for me.  I’ve been dealing with some personal issues that I’m not quite ready to share on such a public platform.  It’s caused me a lot of stress and I’ve isolated myself a bit.  I’m trying to deal with things in a more healthy way these days and be more honest, but it’s tough.  I apologize if I haven’t been keeping up with things or if you feel like your comments have gone unnoticed.  I promise I will do better.  And maybe soon I’ll be brave enough to talk more openly.

Last month I said goodbye to one of my part time jobs.  I’m slowly transitioning into another position and it was time to consolidate my life a little.  I’ve had a foot in about 3 different jobs for awhile now.  It feels good to clarify things a bit.  As with all change, it’s caused some adjustment, financially and mentally.  But overall it’s a good thing and will help in the long run.

We are busy planning our next big home renovation.  We just have to wait to cross some T’s and dot some I’s before I can show you the full plan.  I will tell you it’s our bathroom!  FINALLY!  Ever since we moved in, the bathroom has been my arch rival.  And we are finally going to do something about it.  I’m really looking forward to being able to relax in a tub and have enough storage to hide all our products (we only have one bathroom, so all of our personal hygiene products are right out in the open).  I cant wait to show you more!  I’ve been buying some little things here and there and saving them for a fresh bathroom.  It’s going to be a huge makeover.  It’s a pretty bad ‘before’.  If budget allows, we may do another small project, but we’ll have to see.

We don’t have any firm plans for the rest of the summer.  Maybe another backpacking trip if we can sneak it in.  Otherwise we just have some tasks around the house I would like to achieve before the weather gets cold.

How has your summer been?  Any fun trips planned?  Or were you swamped like me?

Photo from my Instagram.  This gorgeous hydrangea was a parting gift from my former employer’s garden.  Perfectly thoughtful gift.

July in Portland

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted!  I was in Portland visiting family last week for the holiday and may birthday.  I ever since I’ve been busy busy playing catch up.

I had a great week.  I dragged my brother along to the Zoo and OMSI (I love museums) and a (super warm) evening at the climbing gym.  I did a ton of shopping with my mom, grandma and aunt.  I took the summer heat with me from Ohio.  It was a blistering 95 degrees at points.  I lived in skirts and dresses and spent a lot of time on the deck.  It was so nice to see my family healthy and happy.

But now I’m BACK!  And ready to get some fresh and beautiful posts up for you!  I’ve found some great deals to share and lots of new summer stuff on the way!  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday last week!


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