Sometimes It’s Cute to be Cold

It was cold in southern California for a couple weeks. Honest. Some may think that I’m silly for calling 50 degree weather cold, but remember that most southern Californians A) don’t even own cold weather clothing and B) definitely aren’t used to it. Plus, neither my work nor our new home have regular heat. On the ranch, as you may know, we live off the grid. Off the grid meaning the city grid. We get our power from a diesel powered generator and our water pumped from a well.  The generator only runs about 6 hours a day, three at night and three hours in the morning. Since it has to be manually started and is about 200 feet from our houses, it usually doesn’t run until the day is well underway. When the generator is not on, everything runs on batteries that are charged when the generator runs. Unfortunately, batteries are limited in what they can power and we have to be conservative with our usage when we are running on them. Ergo, we don’t have enough power to run our space heaters early in the morning and before the generator comes on at night. Needless to say, it gets cold. Even if we are in southern California, temps can drop pretty dramatically at night out here because we so far inland from the coast. We run the heaters when we can and the rest of the time we bundle up in ugg boots and sweaters–inside. I know, someone reading this is saying, “You have no room to talk, it’s snowing where I am”. This is true, I just want you to know that it’s not always warm and sunny in Socal.

I don’t really break out the scarves very often, but that’s going to change asap. I like wearing scarves, but I recently discovered something that will make scarf wearing just a little better–scarf charms! I just discovered them, so I hope that winter lasts a little longer around here so I can enjoy the fad. Wouldn’t a little typewriter key pin holding your scarf together look cute? I think so. Have other stuff you want to pin to your scarf, they have a pin for that. Also, this winter cowl scarves (a type of scarf that’s just like the neck part of a turtleneck sweater) have been a big hit and I’ve found a few designs that I want to copy.

A few projects here that I want to do before it gets warm again.

Green t-shirt scarf starfish charm with sea glass.

Typewriter key

Tan giant button down cowl

(I’m so making this one asap. Just crochet a scarf, which is like the easiest thing to do and put some awesome, over sized buttons on it. Done.)

Yellow braided cowl

Purple silver beaded t-shirt scarf

White cotton scarf with charm

(I don’t necessary like the wings, but the idea of the charm. FWIW, I haven’t seen any charms that I love yet, so I think making vintage/rustic scarf charms would be a great idea.)

Just in case you missed the trend, the purple scarf on the bottom is made out of t-shirts. Here is a great tutorial from Method on t-shirt scarves. They call them “hipster scarves”. So far, they have been “pinterest scarves”, attracting the DIY scene on Pinterest. Here is another one by Cotton and Curls. She makes this sweet scarf…

BTW, I was snooping around for more t-shirt scarf tutorials and stumbled upon this blog post of 101 t-shirt makeovers. Whoa. Now that’s repurposing.

After showing this post to Phillip (he wasn’t around when I wrote it), he said, “Can you make me a man scarf?”


Next Post

WordPress has a new wedding blog theme!

It was already very user friendly to use WordPress as a wedding website with it’s forms and pages (People RSVP’d on my blog and it sent me an email with the info!) So this theme makes it even easier! Too bad I don’t have to plan a wedding any more. Going… through… withdrawals…


The Blog

One of the most important events of your life might just be your wedding. It also might be one of the craziest, disorganized, mixed-up times of your life too. We’d like to help with that a bit with a free wedding theme we call Forever. Along with a handful of cool features we’ll get to below, Forever makes it easy to wrap your wedding up in a neat little blog on You can show off every one of your best photos and highlight every important detail leading up to the big day and beyond.

The Forever Theme

Forever makes it easy to welcome your family and friends to your blog with a dramatic personalized home page. The design is bold and clean with lots of room for large, colorful photos of the happy couple (that’s you!) in an optional featured post slider and home page excerpts.

You can also easily…

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Oh Yeah, New Years Resolutions!

Phillip and I technically got married last year, but I feel like a honeymoon is a great way to start a new year! We are super excited to design and decorate our new home, start a ton of projects and just be a happy married couple. We are enjoying married life, but there is just never enough time to spend with one another… this working 9-5 thing is really getting in the way. OK, so maybe it’s essential to life, but I can’t wait for Phillip and I to start get our hands dirty on some home projects.

Now that wedding planning is over, I’ve found myself actually reading my google reader again. It feels so good to get back in touch with old “friends”. Not that I actually know any of the bloggers I follow, but I feel like I know them. I’ve made a resolution to comment on more of my favorite blogs and actually give feedback. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually make connection with the artists behind these fantastic blogs!

I’m also investing more time in the blog to help improve it. I purchased a domain name, so now the blog will redirect you to Yay! I’m hoping to journal our exciting first year of married life and life on the ranch. You know, kinda like Pioneer Woman, but of the hipster variety that live 15 minutes from the mall, in southern California, but live on a ranch. :D I want to share all of our projects and crafts, along with all of our adventures here in the sticks and in the the city. Hopefully it will be a blog that DIYers, crafters and those who just love to look at cool pictures of DIY stuff will benefit from. If you read this blog and enjoy a post or have a question, I encourage you to leave a comment.

Other resolutions? Here are a few for me…

I saw these prints on a favorite blog of mine, A Pair of Pears (their last name is Bartlett!) and had to do my own. Chris Streger at started creating new years resolutions prints and has gathered together a host of fabulous designers. He also provides a template so you can create your own! Sweet!

1. I always come away from conversations wishing I had talked less and asked more questions.

2. This applies to starting businesses and climbing. I’m a huge wus.

3. Contentment is not my strong suit. I always want more and fail to love what I have. I think that is one of the best parts of the repurposing movement, I can take something I have a renew it.

4. Now a bit harder since I live in the sticks, but I hope to start biking a little more. I need a new bike… shoot… must remember number 3.

5. The hardest one of all. I want to learn Spanish before we take our trip to Spain, read like 5 different books at the moment, get chickens (and maybe a goat), plant a garden, build a patio, practice more photography, learn how to letterpress, do a project every week for our house (for the blog), etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

Here is to a great first year of marriage!

Wedding Projects Completed.

Phillip and I bonded over projects. First major project was refinishing a pair of night stands that I got off of Craigslist (they are what we use to this day). We then created a cork board from an old frame that I was given for letting a couple friends have a garage sale at my house. The only reason they gave it to me was because it didn’t sell. No glass, no back, just gold painted frame. Sweet! I had a large bag of corks I’d been collecting over the years (roommates thought I was crazy) from the time I was a cocktail waitress. It took every last cork to complete this cork board, but it looks amazing and has been featured in two weddings so far. Needless to say more, Phillip and I thrive off of the next project. So naturally when it was time for us to plan a wedding, we created a list of projects that we could do. I’ve attempted to record the process and now present the finish product in two posts. If you are interested in tutorials of how we did any of these projects, just out our DIY Projects and Crafts tab. Most of these photos were taken by our wonderful photographer, Jon Upson.


The Living Wall:

The Cork Board:

The Grapevine Wreaths:

The Centerpieces and Burlap Table Runners:


The Bouquets and Boutonnieres:

For fear that I wouldn’t get a good picture of it, I took one in our hotel, still hanging on his jacket. FYI, these stayed beautiful… I still have them almost a month later and they look exactly the same as they did when I first made them. A very low maintenance option. We wrapped the stems in jute.

The Winebarrel belly tables:

OK, so these aren’t the finished product, but at least you can see how we used them and where. It’s really hard to get good shots of your own wedding. Remember that we purchased some barrels off of craigslist for rather cheap and we’ll be turning them into some fun projects soon.


There are a few other projects that will come in another post, such as the cake plates, the signs, the guestbook, and much more!

I Left My Heart in San Francisco…Part 1

Neither of us had been to San Fran as adults, so we were both looking forward to this trip. More than anything, we were looking forward to sleeping in. We haven’t had a day off in quite a while.


We bought cheap tickets through Southwest, they are sometimes as low as $50 from San Diego to San Fran. We did the whole Priceline deal for our hotel rooms, so they were around $100 a night or so. We stayed two nights in San Diego so that we didn’t actually have to do anything the day after the wedding. We flew out in the afternoon on Monday.



We took Bart (I was told that there is no “the” before Bart, which I think is weird, but I’m a southern Californian who puts the definite article in front of everything) from the airport to Market Street in the heart of the Tenderloin. Our hotel was only supposed to be a few blocks away, but we started walking the wrong direction and ended up walking a mile in the wrong direction. Right when we got out of the train station, we were bombarded with street music (which was really good!), very animated homeless
We stayed at the Wyndam, which was a decently priced, nice hotel. It reminded me of a European city with its old style buildings and fashionable, yet cold passersby. If you don’t rent a car, you walk a lot. If you stay in the tenderloin, then you walk a lot in the tenderloin. Tenderloin = lots of homeless people. Walking a lot at night + lots of scary homeless people = scary and annoying. Typically I have a lot of sympathy, but they seem to have chosen that lifestyle in San Fran, it comes with the territory.

We walked, a lot. We got an app for my iPhone to help us navigate, but spent more time looking at a paper map than the app. It never really worked well, always losing us on the map and it ran the batteries down really fast if I always used it. I’d rather keep it handy for emergencies and for photo editing. We should have spent more time researching when we were in our hotel and plotting out where to go, rather than trying to be spontaneous and sometimes not eating breakfast until 12 PM because we were lost.


We visited most of the tourist traps, like Haight and Ashbury Street. I took a class on the 60s in my undergrad and we both love the music of the 60s, so this stop was a must. Unfortunately, its lined with tourist oriented shops and long gone are the hippies. As to be expected I guess. What do you know, there was a Ben and Jerry’s on the corner…












One of Phillip’s favorite novels is Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, a seemingly autobiographical novel about a beat on a hitchhiking journey across America, set in the late 40s, early 50s. San Francisco is the promise land for a freewheeln’ character named Jack. Much of his focus is upon the feelings and experiences of his friends that he meets up with during his travels. A colorful story, Phillip and I enjoyed reading about his his spirited life as we tootled around San Fran. We made a point to swing by Jack Kerouac street in Chinatown and visit one of his old haunts–Vesuvios. We gandered at the array of old photographs on the wall of the like of Bob Dylan and his friends. They all hung out here. We enjoyed a cocktail early in the afternoon and headed next door to the City Lights Bookstore. Left as you can get, this bookstore published beat literature and was the mecca at which traveling beats would replace their old copies of On The Road. We bought Darma Bums, another Kerouac classic, and went on our way. We felt like free spirits for a few hours, then ended up back in the busy downtown of our hotel.

Stay tuned for our next honeymoon post: Adventures in coffee, continuing your education…San Francisco’s single cup revolution.





And We’re Back!

I apologize for leaving the blog hanging for a little while, but with the stress of last minute wedding craziness and the honeymoon, we decided to take a little break. We thought we’d share a little about the wedding day,  some finished snap shots of all the projects we’ve been updating you on over the past couple months and update you on our next big project for the blog. These will come in three blog posts over the next week. To give a little sample of the upcoming pictures, here’s a teaser from our photographer.

For starters, the wedding went so well! The week before was one of the most stressful weeks of our lives, right up there with finishing and defending a masters thesis and taking the CPA exam. It was an emotional roller-coaster ride. We planned this wedding in less than 4 months and the only thing we formally rented or service we received was the flatware/silverware/market lights, photography and the catering. Everything else was homegrown, rounded up, hand painted, salvaged, thrifted or purchased in bulk and assembled or made into something usable. The venue for the reception was a car garage (shop) that hadn’t been cleaned in 10 years and was full to doors with collected goodies. In addition to transforming the venue, we also finished our apartment attached to the venue. BTW, we both work full-time and the wedding was planned for right after Christmas. Crazy? Yes, why yes we are. To make things really interesting, we switched venues for the ceremony the week before! We went from a chapel to an open field!  The wedding ceremony itself consisted of borrowed benches, reception chairs, a few trees and some last minute touches that turned a dirt patch into a beautiful ceremony with a fantastic view. A little fun fact: This was the original venue. We had originally planned to rent a tent and have the reception at the top of the hill and the ceremony right next to it. For fear that the weather would take a turn for the worse and to save money, we changed the reception to the shop.

The shop before…

One week before the wedding… if that…


We both had the week off of work and had way more planned for the week than was possible to actually accomplish. The venue was still being cleaned and cleared until Friday, the day before the wedding. The final day before, we rushed to make the bouquets, set the tables and get the decorations up and out. The night before the wedding I was up until 1 AM setting up the reception hall. I then left a detailed list of tasks still to be completed and washed my hands of it all. To my surprise, a few friends came to the rescue and completed every last detail. I was continually surprised throughout the reception when I’d see a detail that they had completed, it made me unbelievably happy. We received complements all night long and long after the wedding. That’s what we did all of this for, so that our friends and family could experience and would enjoy it! It’s hard to describe, but it’s similar to when you decorate your home–you do it to bless your guests. It’s not all for you. They always tell the bride that it’s her day. When in reality, we spent every waking moment of the past three months so our guests too would have this day to remember our marriage as a day of celebration, hand crafted by us. Turns out that we are surrounded by people who are willing to get their hands a little dirty and help us pull it all together.  Needless to say, it was a mad dash and we didn’t do it alone. Phillip’s family came in droves to assist us. They offered their hands and went to work. Phillip’s sister Amy and her husband Gabriel worked day and night on any random and outlandish tasks we asked of them.

They painted the side of Phillip’s truck (which held the beer kegs) in the most creative way…

They painted signs for the cake table…

and did a make-over of the signs by the road, adding one with our new address on it…

 They scraped oil stains off of the floor of the shop… We are so thankful for their help. Not to mention a few others who stepped in to help wherever help was needed: Aaron, Greg, Tatiana, Diana and Chris.

Samantha, my matron of honor, helped me to keep mentally stable while I faced the possibility that things wouldn’t get done in time. I’d spent so much time on every detail, my biggest fear was that I’d have to let it all go and have the place be thrown together any which way or worse, that it wouldn’t get done in time at all. We’d spent hours, days, months laboring over every detail. Would it really all be for nothing? These were the threatening thoughts that raced through my mind. Samantha held me together and labored with me. I haven’t even gotten to the part about how much work Phillip’s father put into this. I don’t even know where to start there… there are no words to describe how grateful we are. Not to mention Phillip’s mom who provided and washed a zillion mason jars and helped Phillip taste-test the Kahlua to perfection. My family as well rolled up their sleeves and helped out the day before. My mom, stressed out to the max, helped me every step of the way and looked beautiful on my wedding day, btw.

Let me tell you, I’ve got some talented friends. Diana grabbed my bouquet that I had thrown together and turned it into the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen. She wouldn’t even let me see it until she was done because she knew how stressed out I was. Bless you Diana… I love you. She mentioned in passing, “Oh, I took a flower arranging class once.” She doesn’t realize how talented she is.

Many friends contributed to our beautiful selection of home made cakes of all shapes, kinds, and sizes! Phillip’s brother-in-law brewed fantastic beer. All three kegs were dry as a bone. The Barleywine was to die for and everyone loved it. Michelle came to the rescue on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was not there to witness it, but she pulled that reception together until the last glass was picked up that night. I am continually told that Michelle needs a medal. Her husband does catering for a living and had I been thinking, I would have hired them to set up the reception and do the apps from the beginning. Also, Katie swooped in on Friday and took charge. She’d been there before and knew exactly what needed to be done. Dr. Kim and the band rocked the house! The band was a hit! Aly, Kayla and Alexander played beautifully for the ceremony… I’m so sad that I didn’t get to hear it all.

The kegs in the back of Phil’s 54 Chevy panel truck in a tub.

One thing I learned in the process of event planning is delegate and reiterate exactly what you need from people and when you need them. I wont say anything more than, don’t assume.

Here are some snap shots of some of the work crew…

De-nenge putting down the wood laminate flooring for the dance floor. We later used this same flooring for the kitchen of our apartment.

Phillip’s brother Andy, the architect, planned the design for the market lights using CAD. Others joined to help us put them up.

Chuck, a friend of the Howerzyls, let us borrow heaters and many other items for the reception. He brought some of the Buckheart boys to help.