Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm Back! With some good news!

I'm back in the saddle again! After being on an involuntary hiatus for several weeks, I'm finally feeling better! I'll start with the best news first. We're having a baby! I found out we were pregnant in early January, and the wonderful 1st trimester symptoms kicked in not long after we found out. I've been extremely tired, nauseous, and some days nothing sounds good to eat. This is not normal for me, as one of the main joys in my life is food. We had our first appointment on Tuesday, March 4th. We had our first quickie ultrasound and saw the heartbeat and saw the baby move. We both have a feeling its a boy, but we would be just as happy with a sweet baby girl.

In hindsight, I'm glad that I'm experiencing this now while it is still cold and snowy outside here in the ville. In fact, we received a suprise snowfall of about 14 inches over the weekend. I have so many plans for the front and backyard this spring, and I would be miserable if I was stuck inside like this a month from now.

To get a head start on our plans for the spring garden we started some plants inside. We have Early Girl Tomatoes, Big Boys, and Romas. We also have a plethora of peppers, including ancho, bell, and anaheim. We also started some basil and rosemary, but they are not developing the way we think they should be. We will probably end up buying some large herb plants when the season is closer.
We are planning on starting some more seeds soon. I am going to be starting some flowers, including wave petunias, and some phlox.

My plans for the garden include a full blown cottage garden along the side and in front of the house by the sidewalk. Its going to be very free form with traditional cottage flowers. The flower pictured to the left is particularly close to my heart. My grandmother always had phlox in her garden. This particular type of garden phlox is named Katherine. Not only is it her namesake, but it is her favorite color lilac. Phlox is a great addition to your cottage garden. It is so fragrant you can smell it halfway down the block.

My next choice is the purple cone flower. I will probably also have Black Eyed Susans. I have some of these along the side of the house already that I have been there a couple of years now, so they should be really spectacular this year. The purple coneflower is also known by the name echinacea and it can be harvested and used as an immune booster.

I'm also hoping to incorporate some native flowers including, goldenrod and purple passion flower (mentioned in a previous post).

I'll go into the further selections for the cottage garden areas in my next posting.

I'm so happy to be my old self again, and I look forward to sharing our spring garden projects with you. I'm also looking forward to sharing some pictures of my favorite spring cottages and scenes here in Louisville. I'm sure nusery decorating will be included in there somewhere after we find out the sex in early May!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! Its Snowing in Louisville!

At least it was snowing in Louisville. As my DH says snow has become an endangered species in Louisville. It is supposed to snow a little more later today, but alas, no accumulation.
Today, we're just chilling out here at the house on our last paid holiday off for awhile. I'm taking this extra time to organize my list of resolutions and projects for the new year.

Major Projects
Build a shed (We need this so badly. Storing tools in much needed closets must come to an end)
Finish the deck (Yep, still working on it)
Laundry Room Redo (We want to purchase a front loading washer/dryer to better utilize the space in our hallway of a laundry room)
Floorplan redo (Details coming soon)

Minor Projects
Paint/Wallpaper Guest Room (I want to install a chair rail, and use a red, black, and white color scheme for this room)
Finish Trim throughout the house
Install Banquette in Kitchen
Have a flower/vegetable/herb garden

My only serious resolution is to get organized this year. We have a clutter problem. We would have so much more space if we could clear some of the clutter. Having an outdoor storage space would help with this resolution a lot. As I said above, storing the tools in the house really cuts down on valuable storage/organization space. So, the first step in my get organized resolution is to start brainstorming different ideas for outdoor storage.

Option #1 - Build a garage. This option requires a serious investment, but with a guaranteed return due to the fact that this house currently has street parking only.

Option #2 - Build a storage shed from scratch. This option could potentially be the least expensive. This would require a serious investment of time, and we would need some outside help. This option will not add the resale value that a garage would.

Option #3 - Build a storage shed from a kit. This is the best option so far, I think. We could get a kit with plans and everything that we need to construct a shed. No guesswork is a good thing. This is a bit more expensive than Option #2, but I think it would be worth it.

I think this is my favorite kit. Its from a company called Betty Mills and shipping would be free. We probably wouldn't do the windows, although they are cute. They are not included in the kit price. We may just get some used aluminum storm windows to put in there, if we decide to use windows. It would be nice to put some little window boxes on them. I can see myself looking out from my new deck and admiring it now, all the while thinking about how all the junk is not in the house anymore.

In closing, all I can say is what a difference a year makes. I'm so much happier this year than I was last year. I am currently light years better than I was in 2007. I look to the future with great optimism, in hopes that the years ahead will only get better from here.

Happy New Year Everyone!

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas is Here??????

To begin, I honestly can't believe its almost Christmas already. I've been living my life in a haze of stress lately, and the time has just flown by for me. Its almost surreal in a way how I can't wrap my mind around the reality that Christmas is 4 days away. All of my Christmas chores are finished, thankfully. My gifts are bought and wrapped. Updating this blog has been on my list all week, and I'm just now starting on it at 12:06 AM Friday night.

I'm leaving Saturday morning for the six hour drive to West Virginia to spend time with the family. I haven't packed yet, but that's nothing new so no big deal. My Christmas just isn't the same if I'm not in my home state surrounded by family. I am very fortunate to be able to travel to see them as often as I do, but Christmas really is the most important time for us all to reconnect.
To recap my December, let me start with the two shows that I was lucky enough to get to see this month. We were treated by our friends in honor of Daniel's birthday to a performance of the One Man Star Wars Show. It was hilarious, and Charles Ross is a very talented actor. If you're interested just look him up on youtube. You won't be disappointed. I also attended a performance of the Nutcracker with my friend Evelyn. It was magical and I'm so glad that I finally got to go here in Louisville. The orchestra was fantastic as always. I think the best part for me was watching all the little ones enthralled by the performance on stage. It definitely brought back memories of my first Nutcracker performance, and it made me even more excited that I may have the pleasure of taking my own children one day.

We had a wonderful gathering of friends tonight for a Secret Santa gift exchange and a cookie exchange. It was a great time. And we have some good news to share. Our good friends Marie and Anthony are now engaged. He proposed to her at the party. Of course she said yes! They deserve happiness more than anybody I know, and now they've found it in each other. I know they will have a strong and happy marriage that will endure for the rest of their lives.

The cottage is officially a Christmas wonderland. I am very appreciative of my mother in law, as she came over and helped me make some very nice arrrangements to make my decor even more festive. I took the photos with my new ultra cool digital camera. I'm very happy with the way they came out. I'm still learning how to use it with its many buttons and gadgets, so we all can look forward to many more good photos in the future.
One of these days, I'll get to just sit back and enjoy December and relish the holiday season for the joy that it brings. Maybe I'll get this respite when I'm 80, because I don't see it happening in the very near future.
As for updates on the home improvement projects, we have finally finished the painting in the living room. It looks awesome, and I'm so proud of us both for being patient enough to work with each other. You can see the portions of the paint job in the pictures. Also, we are planning something big in regards to the floorplan of the house. Those details will be forthcoming however, as it is very involved. Let's just say that we're finally going to have a formal dining room to appropriately host some dinner parties for our friends.

The picture to the left is not my first attempt at snapping a decent photo of both our dogs together in one shot. Trying to shoot these two is next to impossible. You get one to sit and the other is jumping all over you or vice versa. This was the only shot I got that wasn't blurry. I think they are conspiring against me because they don't want their photo taken. Kind of like those people that always put their hand over their face when you're trying to take a snapshot of them.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. I hope to have another entry up by New Year's, so I won't wish anyone a happy one yet. If you are traveling please drive safe. We all want our loved ones to arrive safely at their destination.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas has arrived here at the Cardinal Cottage

We just couldn't help ourselves this year. The temptation to spoil ourselves after a very hard year just couldn't be contained. My wonderful husband found a very good deal on my gift. A very sweet and gorgeous 8 megapixel Canon Digital Rebel arrived at our doorstep along with a macro lens for about $100 dollars less than the body itself retails for in stores. I am looking very forward to taking some great shots for the blog. I couldn't help myself and started playing with it the day we got it, and of course he insisted on also being able to go and purchase his gift.
I'm currently sitting here regretting the purchase of the xbox 360 for my overzealous sweetie as he sits for the second night in a row "fragging" (gamespeak for killing) 11 year olds in Halo 3 online. The only really annoying part about the whole thing is that each time one of the 50 people in the game dies the game emits this grunt of death sound. It gets old after awhile. One can only hear so many grunts of death before one must leave the room for quieter pastures.

But back to the camera. It shoots so fast, no lag at all. I loved my Fuji and all, but the lag was killer. I've always wanted to go to my favorite place in Louisville, the Architectural Salvage Store, and take some cool photos. Now I have just the camera to do that with. And of course I will need to get back to Cave Hill and shoot some. I just can't shoot that place in the summer, its too cheery I like the backdrop of the bare trees much better.

In other news Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and once again we will be heading to the inlaws for the feast. Daniel will be making his "famous" cherry and italian sausage stuffing, his dad is in charge of the turkey (deep fried this year, maybe?), and his mom has taken on the rest. As most of the people that know me who read this blog know, I don't cook, no one would want to eat my cooking, and so this absolves me of all responsibility. Ahhhhh to be spoiled. Of course I'm the only person I know, that doesn't work retail, that is required to work on Friday. This is what I get for being new I guess. Hope they don't plan on me actually doing anything resembling work on Friday, because they are going to be greatly disappointed.

News of the deck is about the same. We are still working on it. This weekend we may get something done on it, but at the moment our yard is a carpet of maple leaves so that will be on the agenda first and foremost. We will also be decorating the cottage for Christmas. Time for a trip to the thrift store to see if they have any cool Christmas goodies. I will be posting pictures of the new Christmasfied cottage next week along with a revamp of the layout and colors for the winter/holiday season. Until then I leave you with one of my favorite Thanksgiving themed photos from the wonderful people at my favorite magazine Real Simple. Coincidentally, this picture was on the front of the first Real Simple I ever purchased.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Best Seat in the House

That black lump on my chest impeding any typing at all is my cat Willow. She really does get the best seat in the house.

The Deck! (In progress)

We are finally doing it. We are finally completing our deck on the back of our house. We had and still have some big plans for it. We were going to build a frame around the entire thing, put lattice all the way up on one side to block the ac, and then keep the rest of the frame open with lattice only half way up. We were also planning on building a pergola across the top to plant a very pretty vine on called a purple passion flower.
So far, we have built the frame around the entire deck. We also replaced a very rickety pair of stairs that originally attached to the deck.

Full view of the whole deck. Notice how the frame is finished, but we haven't attached any of the lattice, so it looks a little odd.

A Closer View that includes the stairs. We will be enclosing the entire left hand side of the deck to create an intimate dining area and to block the view of the AC

A View of the Lattice we'll be putting up and the right hand side of the deck that we are leaving open except for lattice on the bottom half.

For the dining area on the right side we are planning a pergola over the top of the deck. On the other side we are planning to leave it open for a seating area, outdoor fireplace, and the grill. I also want to get a chandelier for over the table in the dining area. I'm thinking about something that is rustic and informal. I think it will just look stunning hanging from the pergola over the table.

For the other side of the deck in the seating area. I love this set from Smith and Hawken at Target. Its called the Marlton Collection. I also want to include an outdoor fireplace for those cool Autumn nights. I'm so excited just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

They Make Bluegrass Cool

My whole life I remember sitting around and listening to what my family called mountain music. My grandmother would sing it and my stepdad played it. Being from WV I have been around "mountain music" my whole life. Of course, most people know this type of music as bluegrass. As I have gotten older and my music tastes have changed I kind of drifted away from this style of music, choosing to listen to alternative and contemporary folk instead. Then along came Nickel Creek, a trio of musicians, from California of all places, who embody the spirit of my hometown music in a whole new way. Modernizing bluegrass is not an easy task. The technical skill required to play the instruments involved (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass) is tremendous. To play these instruments with such passion and excellence while also transforming a style of music is simply miraculous.
Last week, I had the chance to see this group live and in person for perhaps the final time. I attended a concert in Covington, KY on Friday night, which was a stop on Nickel Creek's Farewell (for now) tour. The show was general admission and Daniel and I spent two hours enthralled by a group that was a mere 10 feet away as we stood with other admirers spitting distance away from the band.
I won't get into a critique of their music here, but go to amazon or itunes and check them out. If you are at all musically open minded you will find them just talented, passionate, and revolutionary as I do.
So, in closing thank you Nickel Creek for these years of ridiculously amazing music and for a great show on Friday. You make me proud to be a mountain girl.
I hope to see you together again one day.