December 19, 2010

Dare to....have traditions.

Well folks.  I always like to have a picture with every post. 

It's because I like to look at pictures.  I'm a visual person.

But, this post will not have pictures.  This post is about my most favorite tradition.  it is the tradition in which every male on one side of my family gets boxers for Christmas.  They have to open them in front of everyone.  And they are the really inappropriate Joe Boxer boxers.  They say things like, "how's it hanging?"  And a camouflage pair that says, "would you like to meet my elite unit?"  After the men and boys open their gifts, the fun doesn't stop there.  Oh no.  They proceed to put on the boxers (over their clothes, mind you) and do the cha cha cha line dance around the house.  It's fantastic.  So, while this is a lovely family tradition, because I'm pretty sure members of my family are the only ones who actually read my blog, I don't want to lose my only readership. :)

The best part of this tradition was that it was started by my 70 year old grandmother.  Unfortunately, Grandma is no longer with us, but the tradition continues.  and it is really fantastic.  Another reason this time of year is my favorite part of the year.

December 17, 2010

this is fantastic

Here we are again. It's friday. A week and a day before Christmas.

Do you have all your shopping done? Are the holidays more stressful than other times? well....take a minute to relax and look at these AWESOME pieces of 3d art.

These are pieces by Peter Callesen. They are like sophisticated pop-up books. Or those 3d puzzles, but so much better.

So elegant.

So simple.

So makes me want to go home and get out my xacto.

My brother always wanted me to design him a castle. Do you think this would do?

Have a happy weekend!

December 13, 2010

dare to...decorate

Well...this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but the hubs and I participated in Christmas celebration Part une of trois. We saw his family this past weekend, will see part of my family this coming weekend, and the rest of my family on Christmas. I know I know. But, you see, last year, we tried to make everyone happy and see EVERYONE during the roughly 24 hours of Christmas celebration. THAT. DID. NOT. WORK. So we're doing it differently this year. And next year, we'll switch off and it will be fantastic.

But, on to the craft of the week.

The challenge for this week's Dare to DIY was to craft a new Christmas decoration. Luckily for me, I was reading the most recent Martha Stewart Living, and she gave me a fabulous idea.

And voila! It's a Christmas Card wreath thingy!

This thing is super easy. Acquire a embroidery hoop. This one is a 16", I think. I got it at Michaels for a few bucks.

Glue (with wood glue) clothes pins on the hoop facing alternating directions.

In my case, I wrapped some ribbon I had on hand around the entire thing after I attached the clothes pins. I didn't use glue at all for the ribbon. Just wrapped it around and tied it at the top.

Used some pretty sparkly ribbon to tie the bow at the top and there you go.

Then, I just had to wait for Christmas cards!

December 08, 2010

falling in love...with fall

Ok folks...not completely. You know how I feel about cold weather, but...the colors of the trees where I work are so absolutely beautiful. I had to share. Of course, it's been a week or two since I've taken these, so all the leaves have fallen (and it's sleeting the North Carolina!).

Now it's just time to remember and wish for the spring.

December 05, 2010

dare to...give homemade gifts

Well friends....this post is a little risky. You see, I'm about to post a handmade gift...that I'm going to be giving to someone. Good news is, I'm positive the person doesn't read my blog. So I'm safe.

Another post for the Dare to DIY blog party the Newly Woodwards are hosting. This week (or the past few months) I made a scarf.

The pattern is a free...that's right FREE... pattern I found on that you can find here. If you're a knitter and are looking for a community of knitters, Ravelry is the place to be. It's a super cool databasing site that can help you organize your own work, as well as meet other people who love textile and yarn crafts.

This is a simple Lace scarf and it knitted super quickly. I'm a big fan of the super quick projects. I still have a yoga mat bag that is no where near the finish line. It's taking FOREVER.

These pictures were taken before blocking, but as you can see, it has a nice structure to it. No real curling on the edges unless you pick it up.

By the way....I'm not sure if anyone else watches Gene Simmon's Family Jewels on A&E, but if you do, the new season is starting TONIGHT at 9pm. I have to say that I freaking love this show. The hubs and I always catch the marathons on the weekends and could watch them for hours. It is SO funny. We have just become official watchers and put it on our DVR. I have to say I'm a bit excited.

December 03, 2010

this is fantastic

Have you seen these? I know they've been floating around the social network.

No, I did not take these images (though, if I had, I would be so proud). These were taken by Colonel Douglas H. Wheelock of NASA. That's right. They are from outerspace. Please take a look at the rest of these here. You will not be sorry. Just tell your boss that they're inspiring you to do more work faster :).

The Christmas flotilla is this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. The Christmas season is finally here for me. Have a great weekend and enjoy!

November 29, 2010

dare cookies

Now...these may not be the most beautiful cookies you've ever seen. But I promise you, they will be the favorite at any cookie swap. I got and modified this recipe from Paula Dean. And if you know anything about Paula, you know that she loves sweet stuff, butter, and putting as many rich ingredients together as possible.

So here we go.

I call these the hamburger cookies. You'll see why in a minute.

You start off with peanut butter chocolate cookies you can get from the grocery store (any brand will do) and refrigerated sugar cookie dough (and yes, I know that I should probably be making these from scratch, but I have a REALLY good reason not to).

You take the refrigerated cookie dough and cut it into SUPER thin slices. I try to stay around 1/4" (this is why it's so much easier to have the pre-made dough, than making it from scratch). Super cold (almost frozen) dough and a sharp knife work best for this process. I could have gotten one large cookie dough roll, but with two smaller ones I can work with one while the other one is in the freezer. Makes them much easier to work with.

This time I lined my sheet pans with parchment paper instead of wax paper (worked MUCH better) and laid down one layer of the sugar cookie dough.

I quarter the peanut butter cookies and lay one on top of each layer.

Then I top all of those with another layer of the sugar cookie dough (this is when they look like hamburgers to me.

This is the time that you squish both layers of cookie dough around the peanut butter cookie to seal the peanut butter and chocolate inside so it doesn't ooze out while baking (this is key. why would you want to lose any of that yummy goodness inside?).

Now that that's done, you just put it in a 350 degree oven for 16-20 minutes. And Voila!

I didn't pretty these up any because my family cookie swap is not for a couple of weeks. So these puppies are headed to the freezer to keep. I put them in freezer bags and lay them like a charm.

Thanks Paula Dean! And enjoy these cookies. Don't forget to check out Dare to DIY. It's been a ton of fun so far!

November 22, 2010

dare to...entertain

It's that time again. Time to party with the Newly Woodwards.

This time the party is all about entertaining. And when I think of entertaining, I mostly think of eating. Cause I like to eat...especially if it's hors d'ouvers. I love snacking on stuff.

And so conveniently, the hubs and I had some guests come to EAT and watch a movie. The movie...Invictus. The food...scrumptious.

It all started with the chex mix. I know it's a little early, but we were having people over and I LOVE CHEX MIX. So I made some. Ok Ok, I made a lot. And put some of it in the white serving dishes and that was the beginning of this tablescape (I sound like Sandra Lee don't I? I will later when I talk about cocktails).

[caption id="attachment_562" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="mmm chex mix"][/caption]

Then came the cups (so that you could dig the cup in the bowl, without having to dig your dirty fingers, that have just come from your mouth, in the bowl. I know I know, but why spread germs if you can avoid it?). I love our fiestaware. So colorful. You know I love color.

[caption id="attachment_569" align="alignnone" width="1024" caption="grapes and cheese...yes please!"][/caption]

Let's not forget about the wine. The oh-so-important wine.

And some lovely chocolates for dessert.

All in all, the table was full and then, later, so were our bellies.

Happy Monday!

November 19, 2010

this is fantastic

It's Friday again. Aren't you excited? I sure am. I freaking love the weekend.

So, I stumbled upon this super lovely piece of cake today at The Sweetest Occasion. It really is fabulous.

What makes this even better, is that Cyd went to architecture school and loves all things paper and photography. I'd like to meet her. She sounds super neat.

Hope this makes you hungry and that you have a rainbow of a day.

November 15, 2010

dare thankful

This week, I'm starting on the Dare to DIY Party with a bunch of other folks from the Newly Woodwards blog. I am rather new to the blogosphere, and I love crafts, so I thought this was a great way to get started.

Week Uno:

Dare to be thankful. This dare is to create something Thanksgiving-y. There are all sorts of ideas that you can see here.

I admit, I took this one a bit easy. We'll call it simple :). Most of my time is tied up studying right now, so I don't have a ton of time to craft (much to my own regret. TestingwillbedonesoonTestingwillbedonesoon I hope).

Tonight, we are having a group of people over who work for the hubs for movie night. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to create something a bit festive for our festivities.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of fall and fall colors...specifically the colors of leaves when they change. We don't get a ton of color change in my neck of the woods, but when we do it is one of the most beautiful things that nature can provide...A beautiful ending of my favorite season...SUMMER!

This is simple, I warn you. I also didn't buy anything for this "project". But, I like it. It adds a pop of color to my otherwise plain table scape and also really plays with the light that comes through the window in the dining room.

I basically took 3 glass milk jugs I found at random thrift stores (these were bought in preparation for my wedding, though were never used. I kept them because I knew I would want to use them one day, and looky here!) and napkins that I received as a wedding gift. I LOVE color. I love bright colors and different colors and colors that don't necessarily match. As a previous Arts & Crafts coordinator for a summer camp, I was often asked what my favorite color is. My answer would be and will always be, "I respect all colors equally". That can be quite frustrating for a child, but it's true for me. I love all colors and I go through phases of loving certain colors and then not loving them. I would say that the one color I really don't like is that clam/salmon/mauvey color. Reminds me of vomit.

BACK to the Party.

Two of the milk jugs say "since 1852" on them, and the one in the center is monogramed with an A.

Be sure to check out the Dare to DIY party at the Newly Woodwards and check out every else who is attending. You can find a link to their posts in the comments.

Happy Monday!

November 12, 2010

this is fantastic

Have you seen these?

This is so fantastic.  Alex Eylar has created these lego scenes recreating scenes from actual movies.  Stumbled upon these here.

A little Tarantino to start our Friday right!

The hubs and I play Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Star Wars on the Xbox 360 and it is fantastic and entertaining.

Have a great weekend!

November 10, 2010

So You Want To Be An Architect? Think Twice

Another architecture post. This one not so gratifying. Funny, but a bit depressing, if you're in the field of architecture.

My great friend, Amanda, forwarded this to me. She is also working as an intern architect. It was located on Architect's Newspaper, and man is it a doosy!

WARNING: not for young and/or sensitive ears.

November 07, 2010

Architectural Registration Exam and a cutie

Well Friends....I've been a bit absent from actually posting on the blog recently. Don't be offended. I would have much rather have been paying attention to you.

The deal is, I am an intern architect. And that means that I went to college and majored in Architecture and got both an undergraduate degree and a professional degree in architecture. To become licensed, one must graduate with a professional degree, work for three years under a licensed architect, and then test.

These tests are real doosies. There are now seven of them. Each is at least 4.5 hours long. And they are hard and kind of stupid. Because of test ethics, I am not allowed to give an example of a test question on here...but I'll just say that to pass the test, you must study for THE TEST. I think I've learned some things, but for the most part, I am learning the test and how to take it. It isn't testing my knowledge, it's testing my test-taking abilities.

Having said all that, I understand why there is such a test. None of us want just anyone to design buildings and houses that we will inhabit. We want someone who has gone through some sort of certification to ensure that that person is competent to indeed design a house or building that will stand up and not leak or kill you in some other way.

It doesn't mean I like the tests, but I understand why they exist.

I am almost done, though. And I'm super excited about it. I have taken 6 tests. I have passed all but one. I am about to retake that one before Thanksgiving. Then I will take the, hopefully, final one in the beginning of February. Then I'll be done.

And the best thing about this whole process is that I won't have to do it ever again. EVER. And I'm really excited about that.

Now that I'm done talking about that stuff...time for the cutie! Here is The Little Prince, when he was much smaller than he is now. It was Christmas time last year and my friend Mary Beth gave us this loverly santa hat for the new addition to our family.

He didn't enjoy it so much...but you can!

November 02, 2010


I voted at 6:45am today.

I can't tell you how important it is for EVERYONE to vote.


Please go vote. If you don't speak, your voice will never be heard.

That is all for today.

October 31, 2010

wedding - Anita & Craig - Eastern North Carolina

Yesterday I shot a wedding of a friend and coworker. I was super nervous, this being my first wedding and all. I think I hid it well, though. All in all, my camera and I made it through together unscathed, and Anita and Craig got hitched...without a hitch.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Very simple. Their children walked in first, then Anita and Craig followed...together, holding hands. All they needed was love...and it was abundant yesterday.

Afterward, just Anita, Craig, and I took a walk to a covered bridge (one of the only ones in Lenoir County). What a beautiful end to a beautiful day.