Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sprucing up the outside

Well, my parents came to visit in Michigan, and I took the opportunity to put them immediately to work on the garden around the house!
I trimmed up the pine hedges (I don't know what they are, but they look like shrubs with pine needles... what am I supposed to call them?) Since we don't have hedge trimmers, I used scissors.  They did the trick, and I was surprised at how quickly they shaped up and what a difference it made.

You can see a bit of the before here, if you look at the shrubs:

and here:

and now:

Ta da! And now, perhaps we can plant some shade flowers in between the shrubs...

The front garden beds pre mulch and much earlier in the summer:


I love mulch. 

Also, did you notice our gutter downspout?  Does a post on gutters interest anyone?  We had them put on a while back, and we're waiting for the fancier splayed ground pieces.  I guess they're on order.  In the meanwhile, we still *finally* have gutters, which means that soon the basement will be dry-locked.  

Projects galore!!

By the way, they bloomed....

Peonies, right? 
So now my questions is: 
Now that the blooms have wilted, do I trim them?  Do I prune?  they have definitely overgrown their little structural pieces.... 

Oh I have much to learn about gardening... Soon I'll have to start my sunroom herb garden!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm aging by the minute

So my job entails a great deal of premature aging, and I thought it may interest some to know how I go about it. 

I start with a blank slate, or in this case, a bit of leftover white hairspray (from the previous night's dress rehearsal.)  It helps if I look like a crazy witch or vampire (see below)

Then I do the hair.  Remember-- the bigger the hair the closer to God. It turned out to be a mistake to put the feather in before I got into costume.  You may notice that the neck of my shirt is not quite wide enough to accommodate that kind of volume.  Alas.

Next up lowlight and hilight on the wrinkle and bone areas (respectively)

It's fun to get to see where all of my wrinkles are/will be.  A couple quick face wrinkles will do it, then we just trace.  It gets easier and easier every year...

Here we are setting the cream-based makeup with a translucent powder.

Then I remembered to add in my bonus eye-wrinkles.  Learned this trick from the marvelous and incomparable Georgi, a make-up artist who has worked with just about every singer I know (and even more that I don't know.)  

And here we are!  Lashes applied and ready to go!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things I would like to have/make

Do you read Knock-Off Wood?   I've linked there before, but I cannot tell you how much I love this site.  There are at least 10 of her designs in my inspiration folders for different rooms in our house.  I have a bookmark folder for each and every indoor and outdoor space in our home, and whenever I'm flitting about the internet and see something that inspires me, I bookmark in the appropriate folder.  That's my system.  If anyone thinks it would be interesting, I'd be happy to share all of my links.  Let me know in the comments.

In the meanwhile, inspired by Knock-Off Wood, there are always some items that I come across and think, "I could probably make that."  Often these items are cakes or cookies.  Or sweaters, or drapes or crafty things, but occasionally I come across something really unique and lovely like this:


And while I would love to buy them, right now our budget is directed at larger issues in the house, like.... redoing the entire electrical system or, say, insulation.  But I do think that I could create something similar using this design as inspiration.  So this goes directly into the "Sunroom" folder, as well as the "Front Porch" folder.  Because I think these could go in either place.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Picture of the Week

Two this week, since we wanted to give you a close up.  And yes, those are two different colored socks...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Great Shed Weekend Part 1: The situation in which we find ourselves is grim

Hi everyone,

Alta has been keeping you updated on many of our projects around the house, but I wanted to chime in on a major project that is OUTSIDE the house. Somewhere along the way, our property got a little "handle". It's about 22' long and 18 '' wide. Somewhere else along the line, a secondary hobby garage was built. Yet later, said hobby garage fell into grave disrepair. I say grave, because shortly after I moved in, I was informed via formal letter from the Lake Orion Police that the shed had to be renovated or it would have to come down. Furthermore, because of village ordinances (we have a lot of those in Lake Orion Village), the shed could not be rebuilt. So, I went to work to save the shed!

Being a handy musician, I knew I could do most of the work but not design the structure. So I enlisted the help of my friend Kevin. That was the correct decision! Kevin was an amazing project leader and we had a great time when he and his family came to visit our family. Below is an edited letter I sent Kevin in March about what needed to happen...


I spent some time today putting together some thoughts on the shed, now that it is warm enough to get some good pics. It’s gonna be a giant project, but one that is really exciting. Sooo… here we go.

General Info:


14 X 20 X 9 short x 14 high

South Wall

In general, the south wall isn’t too bad. The Garage door isn’t particularly good, but it does well enough, and when we are finished I will seal it up from the inside until I can replace it.

East wall

This isn’t too bad either. The wall itself is in good shape and there will be some replacement of the lowest boards that have a little rot.

North Wall

Definitely the best of the standing walls, this needs very little.


Western Wall

Major rot all about this wall. Wall framing, door framing, base boards, and roof framing all rotted. Which leads to the biggest issue,


Oh my, this is bad. As you can see, the highest beam, Which is actually a bunch of smaller 2x4 put side by side, but not offset, so they are incredibly weak. This has ruined the roof on two sides. Also, as seen here

Entire framing of the western wall to the roof is rotted. Terrible.

The foundation has a sizable crack, but that is beyond the scopeof what I want to do. Shelving seems fine. Lighting fixtures and electrical outlets needs checking

So, here is what I was thinking, but please feel free to let me know what might be a better way to doing things. The reality is that most of the roof (60%) needs to go. I figure we strip the shingles, and boards; fix the framing issues around the western wall and ensuing twisting (the shed twist somewhat counter clockwise), then fix the roof framing, replace boards that are rotted with good wood and have a standing, shingle-less structure. There should be several guys to help, and I figure if you can help me with the engineering part of it, we could get that done in a F afternoon, Sa, Sun. I would get the materials and fasteners along with preparation done before everyone came, so it would be just demolition and construction. I would deal with the shingling and painting at a later date. What do you think?


Next up:  The Plan!  Kevin comes to town and introduces us to the Bottle Jack.  We buy much lumber.  We bust out the level.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Baby Picture of the Week

My family is visiting and his Uncle Greg says that his favorite part of the baby is "his second chin."  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sunroom inspiration

I envision the sunroom being the place where Drake and I escape and watch TV and read and knit or whittle (ha!) once Rowan and his future siblings and friends take over the rest of our house.  With that in mind, I'd like for it to have limited but very comfy seating for two or three, with a couple of well chosen lamps and end tables with storage.  It's likely to have a small flatscreen TV that can be tucked away easily as well.

Here's what it looked like when we first saw the house, and here's what we're working with:

You may remember that we've already done some work on this room, and have hung one solitary piece of art:

We also have a can of paint in that exact shade of creamsicle orange with which to paint the ceiling.  We're keeping rather neutral in our palettes elsewhere (we think) so a teeny pop of color on the ceiling can't hurt.... 

If I had a million dollars and could do whatever I wanted, and just run out right now and outfit the sunroom here are some pieces that I'd consider and why:

First things first, seating options...

from here
We could have two of these- one for me and one for Drake.  Doesn't it look like a lovely place to curl up and relax?

If we wanted, we could do a chair and loveseat combo.  That's what the original owner did, and we thought that it looked pretty snazzy.  I would choose something like this:

from here

With this chair and footstool upholstered  in the same light fabric:

Now onto other furniture-- Media storage and end tables. 
How about two of these guys for the two seating areas:

from here
(my knitting would fit perfectly)

And for our media cabinet, a little something like:

Then we have table lamps and accessories


And a whole bunch of panels of these (I love the grommets)

And a few of these for color:

And poppies! Always fresh poppies!

But all of this would total between $5100-$5800 (and that's pre-flatscreen, and without poppies!!) so we'll have to wait and see how it actually turns out.  In the meanwhile, we have some pretty great inspiration to draw from! :) 

What are your favorite sites for window shopping?? Please feel free to share in the comments section.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Baby Picture of the Week

You all know where our loyalties lie....

Yes, yes that is a hand-knit Longhorn Baby hat.  No I didn't make it (but I wish I had!) and yes.  yes his first words could quite possibly be "HOOK 'EM!"  

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our First Fest Part 2: Festivities

Before we begin, let me first post my new posting plan:

I'm thinking I'll be able to post here about twice a week.  One post will be home related, and one post will be some sort of adorable picture of our baby (I can't help it.)  I will make every effort to stop in at least that often.  You see, in addition to having a baby 6 weeks ago, I am also back at work singing and dancing :) 

I felt at a crossroads when the baby came, and to be honest I never imagined myself working very much for the first year, but the truth is that I missed it.  Terribly.  It's hard work to build up a career-- there are a lot of people who want to sing and dance for a living, and I count my lucky stars every time the opportunity to do so arises.  So an opportunity presented itself to return to an old stomping ground-- The Ohio Light Opera. And I am thrilled to be back!

But, when I last left you we were talking about cake.  And it looked like this:

I had to repost that picture just to gaze at it, since I'm not eating cake anymore.  I have costumes to fit into now, people.

This party was kept very very simple, what with the baby and the getting ready for the contract.  Fortunately I had some help in the form of a friend visiting from NYC.  We went to Party City or some such party store and bought some paper lanterns (so festive)

And we picked up a game of bocce.  Have you ever played?  What I love about bocce is that you don't have to be athletically inclined to play it. 

AND if you are imbibing, sometimes that actually improves your game....

Part of Drake's 30th birthday present was a fully stocked bar (which we've never had, and doubly never had while I was pregnant) and the drink of the day was the Tequilla fizz, a lovely fresh alternative to the Margarita (which is greatly loved by all Dantzlers)

Tequilla Fizz (from Drinkology)
2 oz white tequilla
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 heaping tsp powdered sugar
Club Soda or Seltzler

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT for Club Soda/Seltzer in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake well and strain into a highball glass with ice (or a plastic cup if you're really classy, like us) Top with soda or seltzer and stir briefly