Friday, October 28, 2011

Anatomy of a Night Out...

Last Friday (10-21-11) marked 16 years of marriage for the hubs and me.  I had Lauren stand on the coffee table in an attempt to take a few photos of us.  This one was too far away!  Zoom Lauren, zoom in!
Okay, what the heck is this face?  But hey, I look good!
 Yet another bad one.  I love that I'm posting these of him.
This one was like (think slow motion, slurred voice) "nooooooooooo Lauren" let me show you what I want you to do.  We kept looking at the photos she had just snapped and she launched into a ridiculous laugh attack when she saw this one.  Dear Lord, it's bad.  I had to "alter" my already horrible appearance in this one.
 Okay, getting better but scrunchy shoulder making me look weird.
 Now he's just being a dork on purpose.  I said, "What are you in a gang?"
 Kinda good.
Then Lauren put her finger in the photo and the mantel clock looks like I'm wearing a big gold hoop earring!
Now onto the food!  We went to Niche in Geneva, IL.  Fantastic! This is what I ordered: Walnut Goat Cheese Ravioli (Beech mushrooms and pearl onions, marinated artichokes, Bull Run Farm baby beets, spinach puree)  My latest ordering technique is to order something I don't or won't make at home.  
Look at how excited he is to eat that!

This is what hubs ordered:  a sort of deconstructed lasagna of braised lamb shoulder with grilled ratatouille, basil pesto, fresh semolina pasta and eggplant puree.
Another angle of the goodness!
Wine!  In my thrifty ways, I ordered a bottle vs. two glasses that would have cost the same!  And really, I can drink more than one glass!
Here is me with my wine!

random table shots....
coffee and desert coming soon!
contemplating....
This is what I think he's thinking:
happiness is.....wine, desert, coffee and being married to ME for 16 years!  
Cafe' con leche

excitement over cotton candy (which they just brought to the table for fun)  because it makes people happy...
Obviously I was enjoying taking all these pics!
such elegance....
Cotton candy and a ridiculous coffee treat including baileys and grand marnier with a crystallized sugar rim...
The end.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Splendor...

Ephraim, WI
A small promise....
Turning toward the sun....
Splash of color.....
Decorating delights....
White Gull Inn, Fish Creek, WI
Where did Evan go?
A sign of the season....


I'm feeling a bit under the weather today thanks to Evan and his new preschool germs, so I'm simply posting some fall photos.  Hope you have wonderful plans for the weekend.  You know, we are gonna blink and we are going to be hauling all those totes filled with Christmas decorations out.  I can't think about that now.  It's like a marathon.  I'm going to go lie down on the couch and ponder a Thanksgiving turkey I don't have to cook!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Editing photos....

BEFORE...
AFTER!
Who knew photo editing was so easy and fun?  My friend Nancy's photo assignment was to edit a photo.  Check it out on her blog here.  I have to admit I was skeptical.  I was happy to take my camera with me everywhere and snap photos and simply download them.  However, Nancy suggested using an editing site called Picnik and now I may become addicted to photo editing!  It's a free site and some of the applications are considered "premium," which means they want you to upgrade (pay them) to use those.  There were plenty to use aside from these premium edits.  

When I took the above photo I knew it would be perfect to edit and add some Halloween creep!  I love it!  As Nancy told me, "Get outta your box girl!"  I couldn't have said it better myself!  Thanks Nancy : )

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Driftwood Mirror DIY....

I have been collecting found objects my entire life.  Beach glass, driftwood, rocks, rusty nails, broken pieces of pottery, leaves, you name it.  I love the organic shapes, colors and natural beauty.  I love putting these random pieces in a little dish or loading up a quantity of shells in a glass vase.  They speak to me.  They tell a story.  (stories that I like to make up about what I find!)

In my good mother ways, I get the kids to like the things I like.  I got them collecting right along with me.  For two years Lauren and I have been collecting driftwood to make my driftwood fantasy become a reality.  So I finally got down to business last week.  But before I reveal the goods, let's take a look at some options on the market today.  (and better yet, let's take a look at those price tags that go with them!)
This is from Ballard Designs and it is currently marked down to $199.99 from $299.99!
Another from Ballard Designs for $329!

This is from Crate and Barrel for $199.99

 This is from Pottery Barn Teen for $99.
I could go on and on and show you many more.  The web is full of them!  You can also find many sites that show you how to DIY these lovelies.  But here is how I did it:
This is the color of my mirror before.
I spray painted it gray to match the tones of the driftwood on any areas of wood that would show through.
 I stocked up on glue sticks...
and borrowed the hubs wood glue.
I set up shop by laying out all my assorted pieces on a drop cloth.
I used the wood glue only on the big pieces that I put down first......
then I switched over to the glue gun to add all the other pieces on top of the big base pieces.
 I just kept adding and stacking and the pieces seemed to fit like a puzzle in most cases.
I zoned out and was in my element sorting through the pieces to find which one would fit just right!
 At some point I had to stop myself from adding more.
It was hard.
More is better ya know!
 I added one fave found object:  this big 'ol rusty nail...

 This is my "owl" piece!  I think Lauren found this one.
Now I see and elephant too!
 And this one looks like an eagle to me, but hubs said a dino.
I added some dried seaweed sorta stuff that was mixed in with the bags of driftwood.  It's not technically seaweed, as almost all this driftwood was exclusively found from the shores of Green Bay in Menominee, MI.  I think some pieces are from Door County, WI too.  
 It's really hard to take a good pic!
 As you can see I did not go with any pattern or design.
I really wanted something organic and slightly crazy.  (like me!)
 This one is dark but you can see some detail.
I wanted certain pieces to "hang off the edges."
 This is a corner shot.
This is an upper corner shot.
Overall, I couldn't be more delighted with the process and the end result.  I am never more myself than when I planning, plotting, designing and knee-deep in a project!  The mirror has so much history in it that Lauren and I did most of the collecting and most of the pieces came from "Farmor's beach." (Farmor means Father's Mother in Swedish and before my mother-in-law died in January we called her summer beach house in Menominee, MI "Farmor's Beach."  I think I've just been saying "Grandpa's Beach" now.)  It's collected and textured and something I hope Lauren will think is cool when she goes to college and I'll let her take it with her!  And really, those days will be here so fast I'll laugh at this post in no time!