Vacation, all I ever wanted

Pardon the disappearance,we made it to the beach and had a lovely vacation. In fact, we came back so well rested we spent the past couple days doing some intense cleaning including, but not limited to: the refrigerator and steam cleaning all the rugs in the house.

Cleaning is not a normal pre-vacation activity, but I knew I'd be much happier coming home to a clean house than a messy one. Then spending a week in a house without stacks of papers and clutter made it hard to come home to a clean yet cluttered space.

With clean spaces all around and a well rested body and spirit, I'm finally ready to really tackle a few personal goals: really digging into Beautiful You, a book introduced to me by Amber Karnes. I meant to do the book club but didn't get my book until too late and excuses and more excuses.

Now I feel ready. What about you? Do you feel as beautiful as you actually are?


I can barely open my eyes this morning after a long weekend at the lake, seeing family I haven't seen in a long time, and endlessly chasing Mabel. There was a lot of cake. And today I have my first fitness assessment at Fitness Together. Things are not looking good. I've been tracking my food for Weight Watchers as well as doing a serious workout twice a week, but have been on a plateau since August of last year. I have gained a few pounds (3, grrr) back, but feel pretty confident I have exchanged those few pounds for lean muscle weight.

Me in August of 2010, but I pretty much look the same now

I had an assessment the first time I tried FT, but at that time work was slow and we just couldn't afford the cost.  Luckily (?) I'll have the old assessment to compare to today's results.

So  this is where I am {again}:

I know I need to increase my activity levels, so all this has left me wondering, do the Charlotte Roller Girls need another Renee?

Anyone have any secrets to share about resisting the junk food when it presents itself in abundance? Favorite exercise activities? Lay 'em on me! I hope you had a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!

Then and now references

I've been reading all the twitter updates by friends at the National Stationery Show and Surtex (Go Team LPP!), sounds exciting! Good luck kids!

We spent the weekend outside working on projects, dined with a dear friend from high school,  and took lots of naps.  Here are some pictures of 2 of our mulch beds, the first one is new as of this year, the second was new last year. The difference in soil under all the mulch is amazing: it went from hard, compacted and a light gray color to dark brown, soft and easily trowel-able.

The new keyhole mulch bed on April 3, 2011.

And then there's the ol' poison ivy. It doesn't itch so badly anymore. I'm doing quick rundown of what I've used on it and what I think seemed to work in case anyone wants a future reference.

Hydro cortisone cream--eased the itch, but didn't heal. Aspirin cream: eased the itch, didn't heal (in fact, both of these creams seemed to leave a thick residue that made the itch worse over time, I think). I feel like zinc was the same way, but maybe I didn't give it a fair chance. Rhus tox gave me a 10 minute headache at first then the headache went away; it seemed to help the itch a bit but for 3 hours at most.

The Keyhole Bed on May 15, 2011.

Allergy tablets (like a generic Benadryl) helped me sleep through the night without itch, but it makes me drowsy, so daytime use wasn't an option.

Not scratching also seemed to keep the itch level down.

What is now the Perennial Edibles bed soon after I started it, May 9, 2010.

The best solution was running the rash under water just on this side of the bearable threshold until the sting goes away. That sting hurts so good and when it and the itch go away you'll want to cry tears of joy. The hot water in combo with Tecnu Extreme scrub and Tecnu itch spray are the best of the best. No itch all night long.

The Perennial Edibles bed May 15, 2011. The big patch of grass front and center is grass
I trimmed from around the bed, layered on top to add a bit of nitrogen.

My arm is still swollen and blistered, dried out from the hot water/Tecnu combo; not pleasant to look at, but I can handle the ulgy. Ugly + itch = not so much.

Did you have a good weekend? What did you do?

Wooden Love

Thought I'd take a little break from the heaviness of copyright issues and talk about life around WatS-ville. The Mr. and I just celebrated our 5 anniversary. . . well, "celebrate" is kind of an exaggeration. We went to dinner then watched Feed the Fish on netflix at home. We don't really do much for anniversaries or Valentine's Day, we just kind of spend the whole month being extra mushy.

Had we exchanged gifts, this year's traditional theme would've been really fun to find. Wood. I mean, how easy is that? I'm swooning over Off Cut Studio's vintage styled wooden clock and bike fenders (via Decor8).
A few other wooden cuties that caught my eye: Wooden Pulley from Romp; Singgih Kartono Toys for the Soul from Fawn and Forest; Roofline Blocks and Love Tokens from Twine are cute little gifts to show the love.

Do you exchange gifts for anniversaries? Do you follow the anniversary gift themes?

validation and one big knit jumper

There is always a struggle inside, to find the balance between art and living.

I sometimes feel guilty not writing more about art here, although this blog was intended to be about settling into married life.

Art is the hardest thing to write about: it's hard to write about what you pour your soul into and how much soul was poured into it. It's hard to share and wait for critique, or find enough balance to not need the positive feedback. It's hard to keep making things without needing the public validation.

It's hard to know the difference in sharing and bragging.

So sometimes there's no visible proof of art, and I feel like (with having this blog) I'm not a true artist if there is no sign of art making. But I'm making stuff--I'm making memories. I'm making plans. Right now other interests are holding hostage of the output of my hands.

Right now I'm cooking as a direct connection with my community and the earth. Finding the salt of the earth in the most literal of ways. Figuring out how my thread connects to others and the metaphorical technique of a well-knit community. And just how far and how much stretch there is in that community.

* * * *
Cell phones are apparently a hot topic! As are lunch boxes! It will be a strange experience to disconnect in that way, but I think it will be a good one. Reclaim those few seconds I spend looking for it daily. As for the lunch box, still no word from my mom.

This blog is beautiful, the words are poetic and moving. (via Aesthetic Outburst)