Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm Knitting!!! and My Crafty To Do List

I've wanted to learn to knit for awhile now. I've been especially inspired by Katie's blog Philigry and Soulemama. I finally decided to get a book and just try. Not so bad so far! I can cast on, knit, and purl. I'm making a simple dishtowel to start, but I hope to do something more advanced soon!

I use google noteboook to keep track of all the great ideas I find online, but I'm still not sure it is the best way for me to organize everything. I decided it would help me to focus if I had most things on one list. This way when I want to make something I can just check the list and see what sounds fun!

Crafty To Dos
  • continue practicing & learning the lingo
  • eventually sweaters like katie makes!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Honorable Mention

A few weeks ago I found out I was a finalist for a DIY wedding contest. Some fabulous judges voted and although I didn't win I did recieve an honorable mention for my embroidered hoodies!

I have had a sour taste in my mouth from some things that came about after my Style Me Pretty feature so I've decided not to submit my wedding or follow through on any of the invites to have our wedding featured online or in print. This was a fun last horrah though!

If anyone is specifically interested in seeing all of the photos let me know and I'll give you the log-in for our online gallary.

wedding review :: ceremony & vows

all photos by lauren brooks photography

I still haven't written about a few of my favorite things about our wedding. So I decided to get back on the wedding review bandwagon. Maybe someday I'll even get around to editing and *gasp* posting our video!

Although it was important that everything about our wedding was personalized to us or represent our personalities, this was of utmost importance when it came to writing our ceremony. First things first... the songs. It was so important that we had songs that were special as we all walked down the aisle.

To start I had the DJ play old, recognizable songs while guests were arriving and being seated - this gave kind of a warm, relaxed atmosphere.

The first song that Dr. Klug, Grant, and his best man - Joel walked in to was Green Eyes by Coldplay. Grant's Grandmothers and both of our mothers were also escorted down the aisle to this song. OH how I love that song. I just watched that part of our video... i SO want you to see it. But its long. really long.

Ok. Anyway. My bridesmaids and our adorable flowergirl and ringbearer walked down to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Also SO good. Of course I love these songs with my whole heart or they wouldn't have been chosen.. but you should go listen. For me. Just do it.

Last was me. After a lot of tears, arguing, and drama I was walked down the aisle by both of my dads. First my stepdad (from the door of the building to the end of the aisle) and then by my dad. We walked down the aisle to the song that Grant and I call 'our song' - God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. Obviously a perfect choice.

As I alluded to above - I originally wanted to walk down the aisle alone. I didn't like the idea of someone giving me away. No one had made this choice for me so why should someone symbolically give me away? As I talked about before - time went on and I learned that other people had dreams and expectations about this day too. And it was important to honor those - if for no other reason than to stay on good terms. So it came to be that both of my dads escorted me down the aisle (and both danced the father daughter of my most hated wedding traditions.. too). I had one condition... my dad was not to say he was giving me away, but that "She gives of herself with our love and our blessing". Sound familiar? It was what Nora said when she gave Kitty away on Brothers and Sisters! (around minute 2:35)

As I've mentioned before we started our ceremony planning by getting someone we admired and respected and knew personally to agree to marry us. Dr. Klug was so perfect. I wish I had a transcript of what he said... the video will be good for that (whenever i get it up...). We gave him free rein to say whatever he felt was right in the intro and in between the traditional vows, rings, etc. We did ask him to include an acknowledgment of how aware we are of the fact that our marriage is only as strong as the support we get from each other and our families and friends. That part was really special.

Toward the beginning of the ceremony two of my best friends - Jill & Teresa - read the only poem I really know and love. I Carry Your Heart by EE Cummings. I read that along time ago in the book In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

Next up were our vows. I cry every time I read them. They are below...

Grant to Nicole

while writing these vows, i've had trouble composing something that would do justice to the way i feel. i usually have fun being wordy when i write, and trying to make things sound as elegant or professional as possible. however, in this situation, the topic could not be more serious, and it seems to treat this like any other bit of writing i've done would serve to belittle the importance of these vows, and of what these vows represent. therefore, i have written only 3 words on this paper (in addition to this).

these three words are: love, loyalty, and support. these 3 words will form the foundation of my life long promise to you. forever and ever, i promise to love you, be loyal to you, and to be supportive of you. so far as i can tell, this much should be enough to get us 'most of the way' through. beyond that, i am confident in our ability to work together and figure the rest out, as we have done successfully up to this point. i love you.

Nicole to Grant


You are the love of my life. I still can’t believe that we are standing here today and that I get to spend the rest of my life with you. I promise to burn this day in my memory – keeping it as a reminder of our love and commitment.

There are so many things to say and not enough words to say them. It is the smallest things that make me love you. It is those same things that inspire me, making me want to be a better version of myself.

You are goofy and witty – you make me laugh. There was this day when we were first dating. You left a peeled orange on my doorstep with a note that read ‘navel oranges have no seeds.’ So simple, but I will never forget how giddy it made me.

Another time, early on – we were sitting at turtles and you told me you were ‘really into this’ – it wasn’t the first time you were open and communicative with me. But all I could muster in reply was ‘ditto.’ And that was enough. You were ok with what I could offer you. You were (and continue to be) so patient with me.

You love me – period. I love you too. The love you have given me and continue to give inspires these vows.

I promise to continue loving you with my whole heart, as you are my greatest confidant, lover, and friend.

I promise to stand by your side for the rest of our lives, remembering that there will be bad along with the good.

I promise to be patient with our differences and remember what you’ve taught me – it’s the small things that count.

I promise to listen to and support your hopes and dreams, making them my own.

I promise to try harder to stay fit and healthy so that we may age gracefully together.

I promise to remember how ‘happy’ feels and express when I need help.

I promise to create a family and home with you that is warm, creative, and fun.

I promise to laugh with you always and let you warm your nose in my cheek.

I promise to love you all the days of my life and be with you even after I die.

Remember – you are the love of my life.

I look forward to a future of funny faces in the mirror, endless laughter, and daily emails ending in ‘love you, me’

After our vows (I was really trying to hold it together at that point) we did our exchange of rings - it was really simple and kind of corny, but very us. We each said "Take this ring as a symbol of how much I heart you"

At the end of the ceremony I asked Dr. Klug to announce us very specifically - "I know pronounce you Husband and Wife, you may kiss the bride" just like that. I know its not different than what most people say, but I didn't want Man and Wife (hate that) or anything else it had to be the same as how I married my barbies off as a kid. Of course, I got caught up in the moment and kissed Grant before he said the you may kiss the bride part!

And that was the end - we walked back up the aisle to All You Need is Love by Lynden David Hall (from Love Actually) and were showered by the dried lavender I included in the back of the programs.

wow. this is a monster post! it is my 300th post though! exciting huh??

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear Oregon,

I miss you. In so many ways. Did you know that it doesn't stay green everywhere the same way you do? I had no idea! But I quickly learned that brown is the dominant color in other locales. At least this time of year. I have to admit, though, the lack of rain in these parts is quite a treat. Its bitterly cold though - I miss your temperate, although gloomy days. They always made me feel cozy.

I miss your beach and your mountains and, of course, your Eugene and Portland. But I especially miss your people. My people. You have a good bunch of them. There is a good bunch here too, but they aren't mine. Not yet, at least. You are my home and always will be - so don't worry about that. I hope to visit you soon. Stay in touch.

Love Always, Nicole

sorry if I worried anyone - this wasn't meant to be anything too depressing. just expressing that i miss home, but i'm ok. i promise.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

asian chicken salad

Ever since arriving in Columbia we've been in the mood for salads - probably a result of three weeks of eating out. Shocking since my favorite thing to do is eat out and I don't ususally enjoy salads. A few weeks ago Grant and I split the Oriental Chicken Salad at Applebee's was only ok, but gave us the idea to try it at home.

I searched Allrecipes for the highest rated and easiest Asian Chicken Salad recipe and found it! This was incredibly good - mostly because the dressing was amazing and incredibly easy. Not the cheapest recipe if you don't have some of the oils on hand, but worth the cost.

We did a few things different... used arugala instead of iceberg lettuce, used wan ton noodles instead of rice noodles, threw in some chopped cabbage, didn't use seasame seeds. oh - and we cooked the chicken in minced garlic and seasame oil to give it a little asian flavor. SO good. Next time I think we will add some sliced almonds and mandarin oranges.

let me know what you think.

Monday, January 26, 2009

tea towel aprons

i heart checking out the blog one pretty thing. i saw these adorable (and simple) tea towel aprons last week and knew they were my kind of sewing project - quick and easy with immediate gratification!

luckily i had a brand new pack of towels on hand and several friends that deserved a little something special.

i love LOVE love the pockets!
if you ignore my inability to iron... don't you just want one?? it will take you 5 minutes...just do it!

i am also loving these tea towel totes!

....and today is G's first day as a Post Doc - keep him in your thoughts...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

i long for them

navel oranges have a special place in my heart - so much so that i mentioned them in my wedding vows (which is something i hope to get around to posting)...

even though they are special to me, i never really loved eating them. not sure why... maybe the annoyance of peeling them and how messy i get. or the fear of a sour, or worse - a dry orange.

but ever since we were in omaha i can't get enough of them. every time i walk into the kitchen they are the first thought. i'm in love. 

so weird how i move to the midwest and fall in love with something that is grown on the coasts. they are awesome though. i think i'm going to go have one right now...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Day!

this is a day we have waited for in more ways than one. it is a day that gives me hope. 
good luck Mr. President

Saturday, January 17, 2009

my creative space

sorry this is so late in the day...blame this crazy emotional roller coaster i am on. i know things will get better, but its rough right now.

on to something more fun and is making me happy - my new craft area! this isn't a space that is substantial or really anything major, but it IS a space that is mine. i am very pleased at how easy it is to craft when everything is easily accessible. and now for the tour...

this is my table. i will sew, cut, probably swear, but mostly just CREATE here. A few fun things are one it... the Eiffel tower lamp i saw on a blog and immediately registered for, my mom's goofy rock foot, my sewing machine, a beaker (to keep science close) for my scissors, and a photo tile lindsey made for us that has our first photo together ever.

above my little craft table is a clipboard that has three of my most prized possessions.

1. a cross stitch my nana (mom's mom) made a long time ago and my aunt & uncle gave us as part of our wedding gift - i cried. it reads: Loving Hearts Make a House a Home

2. a cross stitch the same nana made that my aunt & uncle (they keep the good stuff around) gave us for christmas. it is a traditional irish blessing (my mom's maiden name is Leary...can't get much more irish). it reads:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

i LOVE it.

3. the lace that was removed from my wedding gown - i have to save it for a very special project or maybe just save it.

This wall also has a thread spool holder, which i got for my birthday and LOVE!

next to the craft table is my ever - growing collection of crafty books. i heart them!!

this is a great chair we recently picked up and i draped another important nana craft - a vibrant afghan she made long ago. also a generous gift from my aunt and uncle for christmas. my nana was amazing - she could whip this stuff out! she had 11 children, around 30 grandchildren and EVERYONE usually got at least one handmade thing every Christmas! i love that we are now the keepers of such special heirlooms. This vibrant pink is perfect for a creative space, dontcha think??

next to the desk i have a little tupperware set of drawers that holds some vintage and new sewing notions as well as all of my embroidery materials. On top are two vintage film canisters i found at a garage sale several years ago - they are the new keepers of all things ribbony. i also have a special little dish of buttons. i LOVE this swan dish - i found a set of three of them at goodwill a year or so ago and have just been hoarding them until i find a good use!

now into the closet - my new favorite space to make use of. lately i've been seeing all kinds of closests put to use as mini rooms, offices, etc. i LOVE it.

my meager fabric stash - complete with way too much batting. i always seem to buy way more than i end up using. i also have tons of left over wedding fabric! Way in the back of this picture you can see my crafting drill - one of those funny things that is perfect for some crafts that involve wire. I will have to share those sometime. Another good tool for a crafter is a staple gun - also something to discuss at a later date.

on top of the fabric shelf is a container with all things adhesive, a vintage dish holding all of my vintage hankies (i have always had a thing for vintage linens), and a few small organizers for various sewing notions. You can also see some extra wire holders from the wedding (made with the help of a drill!), crocheted socks jenni made, and extra wedding bookmarks. above this shelf is a nail that holds my cutting mat, rotary cutter, and rulers. i love having those up off the ground.

this little set of drawers holds my fabric scraps, patterns, and current projects respectively. on top you will see Rosie, my childhood bear. I got her the day I had tubes put in my ears and my adnoids taken out. I cherished her so much I wouldn't play with her (i know... i was THAT kid) so she is in pristine condition. She is accompanied by a basket of yarn & crochet hooks.

to the far right you will find another set of rubbermaid drawers filled with various crafting supplies - crayons, colored pencils, foam sheets, lots of felt, etc. on top is a stand that keeps all of my crafting papers in order.

and lastly, the shelf above it all holds several things. many binders that were used for wedding planning and a few that i keep craft ideas in, a set of drawers full of scrapbooking accoutrements - punches, decorative scissors, stickers, etc., several vintage glass bottles i've collected, all of my acrylic paints and brushes, and of course all of my beading supplies. the few sweaters you can see in the lower left corner are old, but i'm hanging on to them because i always see great craft projects that utilize old you feel that way too??

well that is my little nook. i heart it and hope to spend lots of time here in the coming months!

Friday, January 16, 2009

frothy, yummy goodness

remember how much i used to love dutch bros? (i was just really saddened to learn from their website that there were dutch bros locations throughout california and arizona - HOW DID I MISS THIS while we were driving???) new homeland has a dunn bros and although it sounds similar, its just not the same (i think they use sugar free syrup - what is the fun in that??).

lucklily we recieved an espresso maker as a wedding gift (thanks Brett!), and just now broke it out. (all our wedding gifts have been in storage - we are LOVING the chance to enjoy them)

it is my new favorite thing to make a latte (or three) and get stuff done around the house (we are, by the way, TOTALLY unpacked). they are so good and easy to make - i can't believe how much money i will save - which will leave more of my weekly 'entertainment' budget for crafting!

speaking of crafting - i have my new craft nook all set up and i can't wait to show you! stop by tomorrow for a little tour.