Because Kevin and my’s families are each a decent drive (or flight) away, I try my best to keep grandparents and great grandparents alike up-to-date with recent pictures of Olivia and our little family. It’s actually pretty simple and easy, and not at all a bother when it comes time to write a little note, print out a few photos and toss an entire batch of cards into the mailbox for the postman.
What helps to make the process so simple is a small, quarter-of-a-drawer letter writing station just for this purpose. After a year or so of pulling my big ol’ stationary box off of the top shelf, hunting for stamps, addresses, and finally envelopes large enough for photos, I finally set aside a small space within easy access of my desk just for this job.
What prompted me to share this today is that I actually just transferred this space to my new office drawers as I’m getting ready to send a batch of cards out to the great grandparents. (There’s so much more storage space in my new white dressers!)
Within reach are envelopes that easily fit 4×6 Costco photos (a box of colorful pastel 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 found at Staples or online at Amazon), a stack of blank colorful note cards (Target) and little stickers or embellishments from my scrapbooking days (I have another giant box of these elsewhere, but I pull out a few every couple of months to replenish this supply). I’m totally serious about those butterflies too – sometimes it’s the sweet little details that make receiving a letter extra special!
When we make a Costco run, I send a head a batch of favorite photos to pick up (five of each, for each of our grandparents and great grandparents). A hand scrolled note is added to the envelope (perhaps a scribble by Liv), a stamp from my pre made, self-inking address label (wonderful investment from Etsy) and into the mail it goes. Done and done.
Maybe one day I’ll even pre address them as well.
I know that Liv’s great grandparents in Denver, Des Moines, Phoenix and Santa Cruz especially appreciate this little gesture, and when we visit sure enough their favorites of the photos are covering the fridge or in frames. I hope that Liv does this for me one day . That is, if I haven’t already purchased the house across the street from my future grandkids.
I still keep that stationary box full of birthday cards and thank you notes on the bookshelf for special occasions:
But this little letter writing station has its own purpose.
Of course this blog’s purpose is, in a way, here to do the same thing. If only four of the six great grandparents that we send snail mail to knew what a blog was…
Tags: Home, Office
Posted in Family & Friends, Home, Olivia, Organizing, Tips & Ideas | 2 Comments »
Last I left you we were on our way to transforming the jungle of a side yard that is the left side of our home (from the street view) into a cozy outdoor dining nook. More progress to share today!
Here’s a glance at the yard just as this project was breaking ground:
And here’s where we left off after the last post:
Next up for Kevin was digging a terribly long trench that stretched from the existing wall in the back all the way to the front of the house. Talk about back breaking work! The trench ended up at about two feet wide and 40 feet long.
It’s hard to see in that above photo, but just below the pink paper is our neighbor’s existing sidewalk, and the trench drops down into that dark dirt just below. Our neighbors have been awesome during this entire process (they’re wonderful neighbors, seriously the best) and we’ve definitely been invading their space.
And here’s the existing block wall that we’re building off of (though the walls won’t actually touch until the very end and they receive an overlapping final coat of a tan shade of concrete – same color that is there now):
Here’s a close up of the footings which will help hold the rebar (an important part of the internal structure of this wall) in place:
The rebar slips up and over the metal prongs protruding from those concrete blocks.
Finally we brought in a cement truck for a few hours to help fill in that trench with a thick layer of cement. Alternately, Kevin could have mixed the concrete himself and filled the long trench with wheelbarrows full, but we find that Craigslist is a great resource to find a concrete truck that has a couple of extra hours available in between big projects at an inexpensive rate. Kev’s done the whole mixing concrete thing himself (we still have a concrete mixer in the back somewhere) and it’s great for little projects!
To get said concrete into the trench, we also hired a Craigslist subcontractor that handles pumping the cement from the truck directly into the trench (rather than pumping concrete into a wheelbarrow and manually into the trench – which can take many, many round trips!).
Very soon the trench was looking more like this! Kevin and his friend David are carefully leveling and measuring as they go. This newly filled trench will provide the base for the concrete block and it needs to be perfectly flat so that we end up with a nice and straight wall.
Getting there! So very close. Next up is stacking the concrete block and mortaring in place.
Here’s to that stud in the white shirt and khaki shorts that keeps knocking this wall out (or up?) one day at a time.
Tags: Construction, DIY, Home
Posted in Construction, Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Our Yard, Renovating Adventures | 2 Comments »
A quick update for the dining room to share today. I was perusing Ikea for a few new frames (gotta love Ikea frames) and passed by their art aisle when two illustrations caught my eye.
Such a sweet Ikea surprise! Pretty, organic, nature-inspired art at a great price for a wall I’ve been really struggling with… Ikea, you made my day.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that usually an Ikea staple can be spotted a mile away. RIBBA frames? LACK tables? MASKROS light fixtures? EXPEDIT bookshelves? Good, bad or otherwise this little BILD FJALLSTA (I don’t see that name gaining popularity any time soon) find was totally unexpected! And not very Ikea at all!
I’m a bit of a frame hoarder and I have a special thing for flat, thin frames that I find at Aaron Brothers or from this eBay seller, but lately I’ve been really drawn to these birch beauties from Ikea (Despite the very thick depth. Why, Ikea? Why the 2″ depth? Makes creating a gallery wall just a teensy bit more difficult).
Here’s a little reminder of the other side of the room and how it’s progressing.
Still need to modify that bench to a dining height and to give it a little fabric makeover…
My favorite new addition during this start-from-scratch space might just be those bed spread curtains that still make me smile when I walk in from the kitchen. A couple of folks have mentioned lining them which is definitely an idea I’ve pondered.
See? The birch in the frame fits in so well!
The room continues to move along! Still on the to-do list: continue to fill up the wall near the new Ikea art (large, leaning mirror? over-sized b&w of Liv?, painting?), find a fun fabric to create a table runner, redo the bench (legs and upholstery), new dining room chairs?
You can start from the beginning or jump in on any of the dining room posts here: bench makeover ideas, choosing a rug, curtain call part 3,curtain call part 2, curtain call part 1, newly styled bookshelves, a buffet-over,upgrading the lighting, the before.
Tags: Art, Artwork, Decorating, Dining Room, Home
Posted in Home, Our Dining Room, Renovating Adventures | 4 Comments »