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May 25, 2012

Hey there!  Yep still here on this planet of ours....just chugging away at thee old house...still sanding, painting, stripping [not that kind] weeding, mowing and cleaning. I think someone needs to start a gym called HOUSE...and you just do all the things that you would if you owned a house. Saturday I spent 4+ hours weeding a 4'x6' patch by the driveway and then moving rocks around to create a nice little boarder. I not only got a workout but I got some sun. I went from a sickly pale to a healthy pale that day...anyways, someone start that gym, or come over to mine. I only charge $5 a month and I provide drinks from Maverick! Beat that Madonna! lol :)

More house picks as you read on but first the continuing of sharing Olive Us : Making Taztziki  <- ever done that before? This video not only shows you how in easy steps BUT it's so visually stimulating and inspiring. I hope you like....I had so much fun doing these illustrations and Tiger in a Jar went and animated the faces and ohhhhh maaaa gawsh, I died!


Another little thing I finally finished up is Alta's flower book for my friend Grace, here are my favorite pages:


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Now onto house stuff.... So, I have regrets of not taking tons of actual before photos, because this house was really dated and gross when we moved in. One of the first things we did was rip up most of the carpet in the upstairs...the bedroom we are in and the stairs to the basement still have it's carpet...that will probably be tackled in a month or two. But for now we just focused on the office, hallway, and the living room, which already had hardwood floors but needed major sanding. Luckily underneath all the carpet upstairs was the original flooring, not hardwood but fir, and good enough to sand [very easy to sand] takes stain well and varnish. If you have anything with paint that needs to come off...BUY SOME PAINT STRIPPER! <- this will save you hours of work and sore muscles! Helpful tip: use the stripping tool [instead of a paint brush] to smear on whatever surface you have, and smear generous amounts <- just make sure it is at least a 1/4" thick. To save money I thought I would be smart and spread it on thin [this was in our kitchen cupboards with 5 layers of paint] that turned into a huuuuge mess, and I did more work of scrapping and sanding than needed. 


p.s. When applying the varnish, I would recommend using a stain pad rather than the wooly pads as seen in the picture above. They leave little hairs behind, and with a dark floor...It was making me crazy. Luckily after sanding the first coat of varnish down [with our hands and a fine grit paper] we applied the next 2 layers with the stain pad...<- looked soooo much better!

Our kitchen. Still a work in progress.  Jesse lifted that cupboard that is above the microwave so I would have ample space with cooking/baking. We still need to fix the doors and put them back on that cupboard. The rest of the cupboards with our dishes and flour/oils etc. are exposed on purpose..we took those doors off. We changed the hardware, which we now regret jumping on that quickly because we ended up getting something that we liked but weren't in looove with. Two days after buying those handles and knobs we found some awesome iron hardware that we had been wanting but were too impatient to wait for...Anyways, one of the hundreds of morals of owning a fixer-upper that I am learning is to have a ton of patience. A ton! p.s. the couch in the kitchen... it's pretty sweet actually, and I will be sad to see it going into the living room here soon... our plan with seating is to build a built in L-shaped bench that spans the entire length of the wall with the big window. It should be pretty cozy. :) Oh! And Jesse is replacing the counters with butcher block counters...which he is going to make himself. I was very apprehensive about this, but after a couple long conversations I learned that I just need to trust him and trust that he will do a good job. :) 


The outside is coming along slowly, but surely as well. I planted a lot of "cottage-like" flowers in the front and left side of the house. This was an interesting task to take on mainly because Jesse gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted. Another thing was that picking & planting flowers can be very intimidating, especially since this is really the first time I have ever done anything like this...on my own. So I did a lot of research, figured out what zone Utah is in and what flowers/plants work best in our climate. One of the things I learned that said a lot "beginners" overlook is to think of scale and proportion. <- I had never thought of that before. So in the front I got some Delphiniums, Lupine, Lavender, Lamb's Ear, Dusty Miller, Hydrangeas and transplanted a very mature white Peony bush. Another interesting fact I learned was about Hydrangeas. Right after you plant one, cut off all the blossoms! This then creates two new blossoms where you cut off the one. I had a hard time believing that but the guy in the video [I wish so badly I could find it again] promised that in a couple weeks time, you would have double the blossoms! I am eagerly waiting for this. :)

My mom gave us some heirloom seeds as a house warming gift [cute idea huh.] and due to lack of time right now I found a very quick way to get your starts going. I found that container of 72 dry pellets at Smiths Marketplace, you fill it with 10 1/2 cups of water, the pellets expand, you make a center hold in each one, drop 2-3 seeds, cover with lid, put in warm spot away from the sun, once every seed has rooted, take the lid off and put near the sun, after a week of that you then keep them outside and cover with lid at night...a week later they are all ready to plant! I am excited to have a garden and see what is and isn't successful...and to save a lot of money. Next week we put up the 6' posts and chicken wire [we get deer here] and start ah planting! YEE-HAW! 


We finally got started on building our office desk last night... It will be 10' long with and extension coming out in the middle to create a his and her space. I have been dreaming and dreaming of this day. Seriously, I have ...and loosing sleep over the best way to make use of our space and most cost efficient, but without loosing style.


Nearing the end of this crazy long post! lol The other day I came across one of those half moon wood bead foot massager things at the thrift store, and decided to take the beads of their sticks, put it on some rope and  make it into a strand of beads with a loop at each end. This thing ROCKS! I have been massaging sore muscles on my back in diagonal movements, using it on my neck, and then looping one over another bead and then putting it on the floor for my feet. <- my favorite. It does exactly the same thing, but I like this look so much better. Anyways, I know you can buy these same size beads at your local craft store and make the same thing for under a couple dollars! It's pretty sweet! I am tempted to paint some faces on them now... :/

Okay, now the end for realz! I saw this little photo in my latest issue of Country Living yesterday and thought it soo cute and worth sharing! I still have my dream of owning a miniature donkey [actually 2!] and hopefully that will come true with our next house after this....someday. :) Have a great weekend!


p.s. if you are and avid gardner/yard-worker/fixer-upper afficiando and have ANY tips for us on how to save money, time, whatever...please do share! This whole house thing has been extremely overwhelming some days with feeling all alone and not knowing what to do. I give you full permission to take me under your wing and make me your protege... and you my mentor! :)




May 17, 2012

A project I just started working on is another little flower book for my friend Grace's new baby Alta. <- Isn't that name so pretty. :) I want this book to have more animals in it...because those two things go together so well. Below is the cover.



And what I have on repeat right now.... if you have a song currently on repeat too, do share. I love finding new music or being reminded of favorite songs that have been forgotten.

Kate Bush : Them Heavy People


Fine Young Cannibals : She Drives Me Crazy <- Another 5th grade favorite...that I blasted, and thought I was sooo mature. I can't wait for Jesse and I have to kids just for this reason. I am SO curious as to what music they will respond to and make them dance all crazy like! :-[) 







May 16, 2012

Gabrielle of Design Mom and her husband Ben Blair, have created a new website/tv show called Olive Us There you will find mini webisodes of basically the daily life and/or adventures that their 5 kids take on. <- Seriously, I wish I was born into this family...these kids are so neat!

Anyways, my friends Julie and Matt of Tiger in a Jar [the people filming the Blair kids] asked if I would be interested in doing the simple text and illustrations for Olive Us. I happily took on this little job....yeah right! I was seriously doing cannonballs in the bathtub! :-[) I am in love with all things creative from Julie and Matt, and so an opportunity to work with them on a project...yeah, I'm gonna hobo snag that in a heartbeat!

Here is the first episode of Olive Us. It's so inspiring and I am definitely looking forward to new ones each week! And make sure to tell your friends! :)

May 15, 2012



I just finished watching the first webisode of "Red Table Talks", which is produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith.
This first webisode, Jada sits down with her ADORABLE daughter and sweet mother, and they all talk about some really interesting topics...I am not going to tell you what they are because you should watch it.
I have always been a fan of Jada Pinkett-Smith, but now I think I am definitely a follower! I heavily gravitate towards people who are real and honest with themselves and others, and that is a trait that I try to emulate as much as possible in myself. I wish I could be great friends with the Smiths, they seem like the coolest family. 

One of the things that Jada touched on [geared specifically to her daughter Willow] was how important it is to take care of yourself. Jada's words: "When you stop taking care of yourself, you get out of balance and you really forget how to take care of others." <- I know that statement all too well... :/  anyways, if you love Jada Pinkett-Smith, you will love the Red Table Talks, along with her mannerisms, style and how sweet she is to her daughter and mother, and vice versa. There is nothing sweeter than a mother who loves and adores her kids, and seeing their kids love and adore their mom right back. What a role model! :) That reminds me of something I saw in church months ago. The Mormon church worship service is 3hrs long [every Sunday] and the first hour is Sacrament, and the last two hours are split up into classes for adults and children. The children go to what is called "Primary", and I happened to be in the Primary Presidency of my last ward..[ward is to the Mormon church as District is to public schools] I was the second counselor in the presidency and our President, Amy...happened to be doing the lesson for all the kids that day. Amy has 4 kids and they are all in the Primary, ages 4,7,9,11 and I remember Amy giving the lesson and her kids just looking at her with the highest admiration a child could have for their mother. It was so sweet that I was having to wipe tears from my eyes...I remember thinking that day, "I want to be a mom just like Amy" <- I looked up to her in so many ways, and still do. 

Anyways, I hope you will take the time to watch this series and support an uplifting program, especially since they are so few and far between these days. 

May 8, 2012

Been on a blogger hiatus for a couple weeks due to a couple big changes that have happened recently. First one being that I got laid off from my job at Uppercase Living. Don't feel bad for me, this was actually a very good thing. The company got bought out by some venture capitalists who then got rid of most of the design team... the new direction that they are headed would have caused me to quit anyways...so all in all it was a really good thing. But even better was the timing. Then the second thing...two days after I got laid off, Jesse and I got a house in Centerville, Utah [a short sale] and was able to move in right then! So as not to pay two rents...I got in gear and spent the last 2 1/2 weeks doing mini moves while Jesse was at work. It all happened so quickly .... and the thought of trying to move all our non-packed items after getting home from work would be so tiring...anyways, it all worked out.  In the meantime, I have been spending my days, painting, sanding, scrubbing, vacuuming, weeding etc. and enjoying it so much. I love turning something old/un-used/un-loved into something desirable again. I am excited to see our little home go through the changes in the next couple of years, it will be a fun adventure. :)

Our house is a cute little 1937 Tudor fixer-upper on a .29 acre lot.

The fireplace is gas, which just needs to be hooked up. This was one of the big selling points for me with this house, among the round door and darling chimney to boot.


Our lil home is super close to the mountains, and because we live on a corner lot it makes for some amazing views any time of day... :) 


The house also came with a wonderful walnut tree...among other mature trees [a bonus] and a detached garage that is perfect for Jesse and his projects. Inside the garage was an orchard ladder that is so cute. I've been telling people we bought it at Restoration Hardware for only $1,200! lol hehehe...yeah right!


And then there are quite a few flowers all over as well, that makes me appreciate our home even more.
A couple of things that I wasn't quite prepared for is the relationship I will have once again with bugs...mostly speaking of spiders. Growing up in Washington, we had spiders all over and it was no big deal. I would squish the dime sized ones with my finger's all the time.  I think as I got older I became a wuss and tried to kill any bug I saw in sight...now that we have a house, I am trying to let them have their own space as long as they let me have mine...excluding the inside of the house. I did though bug-bomb the heck out of it before moving in. If you come for a visit, I will take you to the basement and then you will see why....


I am excited to share the before's and after of our home with anyone who reads my blog ... and as always, hope to inspire those reading as I get inspired by you as well. :)

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On another happy note. Jesse's younger brother Ben is marrying his awesome fiance Karrisa today. Everyone is so excited for her to join the Barrus family, and have the whole family complete. I love my sister-in-laws...I really couldn't have married into a better family, and to get another one whose spirit and personality is so infectious is such a blessing! :] I love weddings and all the happiness and love that come with it. So excited for today!


Above, is a little veil that Jesse's sister Megan asked me to make for Karrisa to wear at her bachelorette party. I thought it was such a cute idea and wanted to make it as cute and vintage-esque as possible. Megan suggested we go to The Tavernacle after us ladies had dinner. To those who live in Utah, have you ever been? It was quite a hoot and a perfect place to have a bachelorette party!...another trip is definitely in the works. Well I best be getting ready now... it's good to be back my friends. :) More posts on the way. xo
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