27 January, 2011

Snowy Owl!!

More cuteness has been listed in my shop!

You may have noticed...

My blog is indeed public again! Thank you, friends, for patiently waiting for my little blog's triumphant return. Thank you also, for your support, love notes, and sweet emails (and comments!) while things were somewhat dormant. Living in a new country brings new challenges every day, it seems. This time it's with learning that "freedom of speech" isn't at all here what it is in the states...

 i look forward to posting again. In the mean time, i've posted a few blogs to catch you up on what i've been up to! Enjoy!

Day Trip!

Randomly, we decided to go to Ikea in Dublin over the weekend, and let me just tell you - it was a blast!

Also, we were able to stop along the way to visit a new album supplier, which proved to be very beneficial! Here's a sneak peek of things yet to come for our business, but shhh!! Don't tell anyone yet ;)

I have to admit, that getting our albums done IN Ireland, is very nice... Especially since we can drive there to pick them up, if there's a need. Love it!

V and i actually got a pretty late start, considering Dublin is 2 hours drive... But like i said, it was pretty spontaneous of a decision so i suppose it doesn't matter. We weren't on a schedule.
The sights along the way were gorgeous.

Ireland really does take my breath away. It is sooo beautiful, no matter what time of year it is. Maybe i'm just still enchanted with the whole "living in Ireland" thing... but i can't help myself.

Our GPS was set to "shortest distance" instead of "fastest route" so after getting to enjoy such lovely scenery, we had to go through almost 45 minutes of driving through the city itself to get to Ikea. It was a little painful, as traffic got heavy right about the time we got there, but finally, we arrived!!!

We had fun perusing the staged rooms looking for furniture to come home with us. This time, we were looking for something to keep my Hummel figurines not only safe (as one was already sacrificed to the cat... damn it!) but prettily displayed along with my Alaskan Native dolls, all of which belonged to my mother.
V and i discussed a few options and were talking about a few that we liked (and didn't) when we looked up, and saw our piece staring at us from the wall, waiting to be noticed. It was perfect!
Next, we found a small shelf to set our router and telephone on, as they have to be plugged in downstairs (to my chagrin). They've been sitting on the floor in a jumble of wires since we moved in.
The shelf we wanted ended up being out of stock (to be replaced the next day! ahh!) so we chose a different, taller bookcase...

We discovered we were a bit peckish by the time we got to the cafeteria... funny how that works. We shared a plate of Swedish Meatballs...

 You know... I can't help but wonder if Swedish Meatballs actually taste like this in Sweden. Not that they're bad or anything - i happen to love them, but i've always wondered... All my in-laws are in Sweden... I should ask them...
It was nice to rest our feet, but once we finished our meal, we knew what was coming. The hard part...

I find whenever i go to Ikea, no matter what country apparently (as i have been in Ireland, the States, and Poland), the goal for me is to escape Ikea's bottom level where they have all their cool little items without spending tons of money. Sure, it's all inexpensive and decently priced - but it's all those little cheap items that add up!!!

Fortunately, we made it through their maze of goodness, got everything we needed and a little more, and even stayed UNDER BUDGET! Hallelujah!
So we packed everything up on our roof rack and prayed that it wouldn't rain (in Ireland... ha!) on our way home.

We got everything set up the next day, and as soon as we get one of those plastic drywall anchors to keep our display case up on the wall and not crashing down with everything in it (a recurring stress dream of mine), i'll be putting my Hummels in it! In the mean time, it holds some non-breakables.

It's exciting to have something pretty! We've waited a whole year to get any pretty furniture because the place we lived in before was so damp and there was the potential for mold - which happened to one of our other pieces of furniture (that we are currently trying to dry out and salvage). I love these dolls too much to sacrifice them to mold or mildew... we already had a moth scare back in '97. Moths invaded my mom's display cabinet and literally ATE the fur off several of her beautiful Eskimo dolls, reducing the original beauty of some, and absolutely destroying others. These dolls are made of seal, rabbit, wolverine, and in some cases, polar bear fur, are hand-sewn, and not exactly what you would call "replaceable". It's a very real concern when i see even ONE moth in our house.
Needless to say, i'll be vigilantly watching over these and will be investing in some pretty sprigs of lavender to hang in the case as a deterrent!!

Have a closer look at these beautiful heirlooms:

I love them so dearly. Not only are they memories of my mother, happy Christmases, and my family growing up, but they are a little slice of home... Alaska.

Here is our other shelf:

I put it together myself, and i have to say, i'm pretty proud.
I'm loving how this new place feels more and more like a real home every day. Hopefully everything will be in place soon and i can share some photos of our finished decorating process! 


Check out this cute brooch i made in my etsy shop!

How is this even possible?!

I was getting thing settled in our new guest room, folding clothes, emptying boxes and the like - and left to put some stuff away. When i returned, i found THIS!!!
(insert Psycho theme here)

I mean sure, he looks pretty well dead, but believe me, he was not there when i left the room (this guy was found in the middle of the bed where i was folding clothes) and he was definitely still moving! I was under the impression (from 10th grade biology) that hornets DIE in the winter. Well... this was was on its way... and definitely is now (turns out he couldn't swim, poor thing...). 

This one isn't the only live one we found, either. When we moved out of our old place, there was one flying around what used to be our bedroom... and that was just a couple weeks ago!
How are these things surviving?!

19 January, 2011

Icy Death.

Shortly after we moved into our new (rented) townhome, a mysterious stream of water started to fall from the roof of the back of the home and into our backyard. It's been a while coming, but the plumber finally came today to fix it. Apparently it was an issue with the septic tank in the attic... something to do with the ballcock in the tank being worn out, so that water was overflowing and causing the little waterfall outside of the house.

In the mean time, we've had some nights dipping below 0C, freezing the water as it hit the ground.

Today, Jacek, our friend, came to bring us a wooden table that he and Pawel had helped us move. I went around to open the side gate, and didn't notice the sheet of ice covering the pavement behind the house. I slipped on it, and landed hard on my left elbow. Dang! It hurt soooo much. I just lay there on the ice and stared up at the sky, willing myself not to cry in front of Jacek... and of course, the plumber. We got the table inside, and as soon as both men were gone, i cried like a little kid.
It hurts SO MUCH! Currently, it's throbbing and it feels like "growing pains" that i experienced as a kid with the added bonus of a tiny, dark purple bruise directly on the bendy part of my elbow. *sigh*

But the grass was so pretty that i couldn't pass up a photo opportunity. Once i got a good little cry in, i sucked it up and grabbed my camera to (carefully) take photos to share with you!

 All i needed to feel better was a little chocolate and this:

I have found that resisting the cuteness is useless. Just give in. :)

18 January, 2011

Space... the sequel.

As a complete 180 from our previous place, we have several rooms rather than just one open space in the upstairs of our house. Yes. I just used "upstairs" as a proper noun. I think. Darn you, middle school English, for being so long ago!!!

A small trial with these spaces is that we have to find a place for what little furniture we do have (as the townhome came furnished), and still have a relatively comfortable flow and aesthetic. More or less, we don't want a jumbled, cluttered house. But who does? I mean really...

Part of the trouble is that we had the whole awkward situation with our previous landlords when we moved out, and we didn't get our laundry done for a couple weeks (if you remember, we shared a laundry machine... which sucked), then when we moved in, the laundry machine in the new place did not work. Our new landlords got a new one as soon as they good, but it was still about a week from the time we moved in - so add another week of laundry to the pile, not to mention sheets, blankets, pillows, and anything else that might have collected dust in the cottage we were in before. I have insane allergies, and washing everything is a good start to being able to breathe again, let me tell ya.

Our new wash machine was delivered yesterday morning, but the fellow did not install it. Just left it hanging out in my washroom, wrapped in plastic. He gave me some quick, verbal install instructions and rushed out the door, whisking away the old machine with him. Deep sigh. No install? I looked, wistfully at the door, the guy had just left through, and at my phone... considering calling V to come home for lunch or to call our neighbor (friends) to come help. Then i had a "WWMD" thought. What would mom do? Roll up her sleeves, that's what. So i did.
And i installed the wash machine (correctly!) all by myself!

 Please excuse my dust bunnies and slippers... they were beating up my pillows just before i took this. I've been doing load, after load, after load of laundry and i finally feel like i might be making a dent in it. With our rooms being fairly small and the space already taken up by other things, our dresser does not fit into our bedroom. We have a lovely large wardrobe, but it has no drawers... just shelves and a rail for clothes hanging. As i was walking out of the wash room this morning, i encountered these:

 There were seven empty boxes with no homes and no real plans. Now there are only five. Huzzah!

 Is it normal for curtains to grow tails?
Anyway... This is our smallest upstairs room, which has been adopted by yours truly as my own personal space. Sewing, crafting, editing... you name it. As you can see... there's toooooo much in this room right now, but at the moment, it all has to be dealt with as there's not much room to move it until we clean out....

 ...THIS SPACE... oh dear. Piles and piles and piles... That's it. Don't look. Move on.
 You're still looking, aren't you? Sigh. We'll probably move the hope chest downstairs, and the chest of drawers from the craft space will be moved into this room. This actually happens to be the master room. It's just the double bed is in the room we currently occupy already, so... we left it that way. On to the use of the wooden boxes. I had planned on getting baskets lined with cloth, but... this works for now, don't you think? One for me and one for V to put our undies and socks in so they're not all over the place on the shelf. And yes. That is about 85% of all my clothes. Summer, winter... everything.

 I'm just pleased with how neat it looks. Go me!
In other news, i've been itching to learn how to knit for quite some time now, and finally just took the initiative. I taught myself the stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row) but wanted something a little bit challenging as well as fun. I hate following the books' patterns as they're all scarves and dishcloths. Even though they teach technique, i wanted to march to the beat of my own drum. Go figure.
Here's a peek at what i've been working on. Intarsia! I found the chart online, here.

I had the best intentions to knit a scarf, but after seeing the back (which i will not show you), i believe i shall knit another square and stitch them together to make a super excellent potholder. :) Also, i feel i must defend my work -
This is my first attempt at intarsia, after knitting one rectangular "cloth" once before.
This cloth is slightly curly... and the edges are in fact, straight. Promise ;-)

Drama of a different kind

Recently, I've been asked to participate in the Ballyduff Drama Group here in Fermoy. I've been missing playing with the Grapes of Laugh in improv and if you know me... well... you know i'm pretty theatrical as a way of life.
Ballyduff is performing All My Sons, which i'm not too familiar with, but i am really looking forward to getting up close and personal with this play. The play has been cast already, but i've been asked to help with costumes and props and the like. I'M SO STOKED!!! I know i'm not performing, but at the same time, i feel like i am.

I think it will be fun. The play is an American play set in the midwest, so they've also asked me to help coach them on their American accents. HA! I've never coached anyone like that before. Looks like i'll be drawing inspiration and strength not only from God but from my good friend, and former coach, Missy.

Last night was my first time meeting the cast and coach, and i had an honest to God BLAST! They've also asked me to take some decent photos of their rehearsals as well as their performances, so it seems i've got a lot on my plate. I'm sure i can deal with it though.
Here are photos from last night's rehearsal:

09 January, 2011

Let's focus on the positive - and a tour!

Here are some good things to focus on for a little while :)

When i was in the states visiting my dad and friends, i ordered many things i can't get here in Ireland. Shoes in my size, less expensive camera equipment, and a cool new camera bag, just to name a few.
Every single item arrived before my departure, save one. Two actually.

The first? MY BAG!! I was really sad that the bag didn't come on time because i really would have put it to good use a couple of times right after i got home... mainly at a wedding that we shot... and maybe on our anniversary when we went walking around Kinsale like tourists ;)
The second wasn't really something i had ordered. On the way to Seattle i had lost my bible and a book i was reading, and because of the holiday i was staying for among other things, the airline had trouble finding it :(

The bag arrived the day i left Seattle, 2 hours after i had boarded the plane. Fiddlesticks!!
But my dad and Barbara sent it off to me and although the airline hadn't found my bible or my book, the had included a little "surprise" in it, so they told me.

One week passed, two weeks passed, and finally, at the end of the THIRD week,  the package finally arrived! Just in the nick too - as i was beginning to worry it wouldn't arrive before we moved!
Wanna see?

 Lookieeeee!!! My book and my BIBLE!! hoorayy!!! That was the little surprise. Apparently it had arrived the day they were going to mail my bag and they had to re-open the box in order to send them. I'm delighted!
And i asked them to send me one of their Christmas cards because i had made them and taken their photo... so i was excited to see :)
Since i got it, i've been carting the bag around with me wherever i go, happy to have a way to have my camera with me at all times and not feel like i'm toting an Army style duffle bag! I love this thing!
Of course, i'm ecstatic to have my bible back and my book, as i was in the midst of a study session/program/thing when i lost it.

In other news, V and i have been working hard to get everything packed and ready to move. We've been moving in a way that i've never done before - which is to move things as we pack them. We're very (VERY) limited on moving boxes, so when we can, we move them over and unpack them so we can use the boxes again. We've filled the car 5 times and have been able to get i would say about 25% of our belongings moved. It's great to have the luxury of moving over slowly. On one of our trips today, i busted out the ole fisheye and took some photos. Shall we go on a tour? Sounds good to me!
 This is the front door. I'm standing on the bottom stair.
 Here's the view from the front door...
 Walking from the front door to the left, through that door, this is the living/kitchen/dining area. Off to the right is the kitchen, and behind it, if you look is an open door - we're going there next.
 Here, is from that open door looking back at the kitchen/living/dining area - and the dark patches you see on the ceiling, is where the ceiling fell in...
 Turning around from that last photo, this is the little launderette! Our own washer and dryer! Hallelujah! The door on the left goes outside, and the door on the right...
 ...goes to this huge bathroom! I love that it's like a mudroom where we can come in from outside, wash off the dirt from the garden, leave our wellies, and come into the house relatively dirt free.
 Here's the back yard. All that junk will be disposed of before our actual lease date - but that is the remnants of the fallen ceiling. This photo is taken through the sliding glass door by the dining table.
 Upstairs, we shall go now. This photo is taken at the head of the stairs looking toward all the rooms. Going from left to right:
 This is the GIGANTIC master/guest bathroom (and me, hi!). Not really sure what to call it - other than really, it's the "bathroom with the tub". More on that in a minute.
 Next bedroom to the right, is a little room that gets lots of light. I do believe that this will become the sewing room :) The smallest room gets the biggest bathroom. Stay with me here...
 Next to the right, we have what i think will be the office/guest room... which has, in addition to its own amazing wardrobe (right)...
 ...YES! Its own amazing bathroom! Hi again :)
 This will be our room. Its the last bedroom of the house. Also, it has a great wardrobe, and what's through that door on the right? What else?
 ANOTHER BATHROOM! Seriously folks... There will be no reason to pee your pants while living/visiting here. Just no reason!! I am very happy with this - although, i think if this were my personal owned home, i might turn this into a very amazing closet... just a thought.
 Out of the (guest) bedroom window? An extremely beautiful sight. Look! It's Ireland (everybody wave!). How would you like to wake up to this every morning? I'm certainly not complaining :)
Here you can also see the cool, fenced in back yard, where we will be letting our cat play. Sure, he'll climb the fence - but look at all that green field he has to play in!!
 Now to make up for some forgotten photos - this is the storage area under the stairs next to the kitchen. I'm so happy to have a place for storage that is not only within my own dwelling, but accessible! Huzzah! No more storing boxes in wardrobes.
 This is what's going on in the kitchen (in case you were wondering). On the left is a spare sheet of drywall, and that thing in the middle of the chairs is some sort of professional grade de-humidifier/gigantic space heater. It's being used to dry the plaster on the ceiling and warm the house to dry the attic (which you may have noticed at the top of the stairs, is open).
 Witold and Jacek. Ahem. That's "Veetold" and "Yahtsek" for all you non-Polish/non-familiar. Or if you want an bastardization Anglicization of the names - that's V and Jack. ;)
And because i didn't get it before, the stairs going up!

Thanks for virtually visiting me! I hope you can physically come see us in the future and of course, we have plenty of room for you if you do!

More good news! We were bringing our last load over of the day, and met the landlords! They were there bringing curtains, freshly washed (as they had been soaked and dirtied when the pipes burst) as well as freshly washed and cleaned couch cushions. We spoke with them and explained our current situation with the current landlords and to be honest, i was glad to get it "out there", you know? She seemed to empathize with us on the whole thing and overall seemed very positive that we shouldn't have an issue. It's very encouraging to hear from someone who's lived in Ireland their whole life! Also, after telling them about what we're going through, they were very sweet and said that we could go ahead and move EVERYTHING in this week and that we don't have to just move bits and pieces like we have been this weekend. This is SO relieving to me!!! It means we'll definitely be OUT of this horrible living situation on time, if not early! Needless to say, we'll be sleeping there ASAP!!


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