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Archive for the 'Home' Category

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Dream Room

This might be my dream living room with a different coffee table.


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I showed Nathan, and he laughed. Good luck with that, he said. It’s true with a dog and a cat that are both on the dark and shedding side it seems down right impossible to make that dream room a reality. But the closer I look I see that it’s just white walls. The couch is slip covered. It might even be from Ikea. And, everything else is just carefully chosen randoms that give the room life.

I think we can do it. I don’t see why I can’t have the things I want when they are so easy to get. This seems like a simple, affordable facelift. So this is my goal for the holiday months – a bright, clean living space. It’s my present to myself. Wish me luck!

Home sweet home

As we were about to board the plane from New Hampshire to Chicago a month ago we got a phone call from our property manager. Our neighbors who we have had issues with (or rather they have had issues since they moved in) are apparently suing the landlord for something or other. The landlord is completely fed up, and wants to sell the place. He offered it to us first. Honestly if it had been 6 months ago or a year ago we might have jumped at the offer but timing is everything. We had just gone from a two person income to a one person income, and are in the middle of making major life decisions regarding where we want to “settle.”

So that leaves us with the very high possibility of having to move if the place sells. Most likely it would be knocked down for some new development as Humboldt Park is fast becoming gentrified. The truth is we have outgrown this place. There are three of us now, well five if you count the dog and the cat (which I do). We have the possibility of starting a family business with It’s a Lamp. And, Nathan desperately needs a work space. Eleanor needs her own room. I need tidiness. We still love it though. We have things that most couples who live in the city don’t. We own all of our appliances, we have 2 kayaks, a lawnmower and all of that needs storage space.

We looked at a 3 bedroom in west Logan Square. 1300 square feet (our current place is about 800) with a garage included and lots of closet room. The only thing is it’s far away. It’s still in the city, but not really near anything and at least 5 years west of any up and coming gentrification. And, the thought of moving just makes my stomach turn.

I feel like in a weird way we are in a convenient relationship with this house. It’s like that boyfriend or girlfriend you had a few years ago who didn’t really do anything for you but it was comfortable. And, the thought of breaking up with them would just take too much energy and hurt too many people so you just keep putting it off. It’s not necessarily healthy but it’s also not killing anyone.

So we are staying here for the time being. We are going to invest that time and money that would go in to moving in to things that will make this house better. Purge (it’s time to do this again – we did a lot of it before Eleanor arrived and it made me feel so good), have a yard sale, set up the 2nd bedroom as an organized and clean office/workspace for Nathan, and Eleanor will just stay in our room for the time being.

Another reason we are staying is because well, we love our neighborhood. There is still the possibility that this place might sell (but I doubt it will go fast in the current real estate climate), but maybe that’s when we make our decision. I love our neighbors, their kids, the dead tree across the way, and the plethora of community gardens within walking distance. I love our yard, the garden, people asking when the Scarecrow will make his appearance next. I love that we can walk to our favorite coffee shop and cafe on a Saturday morning and enjoy brunch. I love that I can bike to work (when I have the energy) and it takes less than a half hour.

I guess the good outweighs all the other things. And, I’m perfectly fine with that.
To celebrate we enjoyed breakfast at Birchwood Cafe. It was extra delicious from the coffee to the ham and fig sandwich to the potatoes and the little lady sitting all on her own in a chair.

Birchwood Brunch

Birchwood Brunch

Birchwood Brunch

Birchwood Brunch

Birchwood Brunch

Rest

I am currently obsessed with my bed. Maybe it’s because all I want to do is sleep.

Spring Snow?!

Did you think it was spring? Because I sure did! And, then we woke up to snow this morning.

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Ew.

This is the day after we spent such a beautiful, breezy day outside planting seeds. Thankfully they were all cold weather crops! We knew the last frost was this week, but we weren’t anticipating actual snow. Let’s just say our fingers are crossed that the seeds don’t mind the unexpected blanket.

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Radishes are growing!

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Look, it’s a pea plant!

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It’s Warming Up

Yesterday was a hot one! Nathan rented the roto-tiller again, and we (well, really he – Eleanor and I watched) got to work on the front yard farm. There is so much to do but it brings us such enjoyment, and once the seeds are in the ground we just have to water and weed. I think Ellie and I can take care of that over the next few weeks.

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And, we have our first seedlings – heirloom Scarlet Globe radishes!

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One thing I’ve learned is…

… while mommy is breastfeeding our little girl, instead of hovering and making sure Eleanor has a good latch, daddy should instead be off doing what he’s good at.

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Pretty in pink

Returned home from the hospital @ 2pm.


Eleanor in her going home outfit.
Sweater handmade by Grandma (Griffin)

I have so much to write about; our birth story, my (daddy’s) first mini-breakdown 24hrs post-delivery, fears, adjusting to life at home, how we hope our pets adjust to the baby.. the list goes on.

Carey will be alone with Eleanor for the first time in less than an hour as I have to leave for school so after a quick feeding I suggested they both take a nap. Maybe I should skip class tonight?

Urban Farm Discoveries

I would like for us to start sharing the trials and tribulations of our growing season with this year’s Front Yard Farm. Nathan and I have learned so much together since we started gardening in this space three years ago. Something we have learned as we go is how to garden as “organically” as possible (I should point out that our soil isn’t qualified organic though all of our seeds this year are) by not using pesticides or chemicals to deter nasty garden spoilers like bugs and diseases.

Every year we are hit by my biggest nemesis – Powdery Mildew! And, we still haven’t quite figured out how to keep it at bay but I’m hoping this year with a little persistence and out reach we might conquer it! Last year we were also ambushed by some crazy buggers called Cutworms. One day we had green bean seedlings sprouting our of our soil strong and proud, and the next day – GONE!


Griffin Yard Farm - one week later

After a little time and digging I discovered that we had cutworms in our soil. Turns out cutworms aren’t worms at all but larvae of certain types of moths and catepillars, and they get their name because in essence they “cut” down growing plants root systems before they ever get the chance to produce. They love snacking on young seedlings! And this is how we went from 16 bean plants to 6 overnight!

Today I went outside for a few minutes to peek at what Nathan has been working on (and can I just say that man oh man I am ready to be able to bend over like a normal person just so I can play in the dirt!). I noticed an oddly shaped bug beneath our bird feeder and exclaimed for Nathan to come over and check it out. He picked it up right away, and it moved! We both were so startled, we screamed and Nathan dropped it! I ran in to get the camera and we snapped a few photos of our find.


Cutworm pupae

Cutworm pupae


Besides looking mostly like Mr. Hanky from Southpark we were curious as to what this odd rollypolly creature was! It was half worm but it also had the outline of wings, and it wiggled. Nathan and I aren’t usually faint of heart when it comes to crawly creatures and dirty things, but this bugger grossed us out! I discovered it was a different form of a cut worm! This guy is of the solitary surface cutworm, and generally destroys one plant at a time right below or near the surface of the soil. He lived throughout winter underground as a larvae, and slowly moves his way up to the surface as spring begins. The worse part is they don’t actually eat the entire plant just parts of it that lead to its destruction, and move on the next and the next throughout the night. Then they turn in to moths.

Bad news is we didn’t know this dude was so terrible when we first found him, and ended up throwing him towards the pigeons (hey they need to eat, too!) but in the compost we were just delivered. I have half a mind to go out there, dig him up, and destroy him but I’m sipping tea at the moment.

The good news is there are ways to combat these cutworms. One method we have already prepared for. If you want to start seedlings early it’s best to grow them in paper wraps (we use toilet paper rolls), so that you can transplant them outside with little contact to the cutworm. They won’t eat through the paper in time, and eventually it will breakdown in to compost in your garden. Another I just read about is to plant a “trap crop” like sunflowers around the perimeter of your garden. I guess cutworms love these, and will gravitate toward the sunflower where you can then find and destroy it. Other ideas are to rotate crops (we already do this), plow your garden in the fall when the larvae are just starting to burrow, and get toads for your garden! Um I love toads but I don’t think our chickens will. Hopefully with a little luck, a few sunflowers, and a lot of seedlings started in paper rolls we will win over the cutworm!



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Planting the First Seeds

Lots has been going on around the Griffin Front Yard Farm the past few days. I’m thinking Nathan wants to write about how awesome his chicken coop is so I will save that surprise for later. We have pepper and broccoli seeds started indoors, moved the raised beds to the front, and were delivered a few cubic yards of yummy smelling compost today! The sun has been out almost every day which we’re hoping is helping to dry up all the clay in the front, but the temperatures have still been mighty cold.

Here are a few photos of our progress. And, can I just mention how impressed I am every day by my husband’s determination and passion? I am. It inspires me beyond words.


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Planting some seeds

Planting some seeds

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Nooks and Crannies

Here is our babe’s nook. We decided to share our room with baby lady for a couple of reasons. We live in a small two bedroom, we like the idea of having her close to us at night especially during the first 6 months, and we wanted to preserve our craft room/computer room space. Our bedroom has the best light in the house besides the living room, and is simple and clean. I eventually want to put up some curtains and a piece of art from last year’s Renegade Craft fair that we have yet to frame on our side but other than that I like it’s bright, fresh feeling.

I didn’t really have a theme or a lot of money when we started putting her things in here. But somehow everything sort of fell together with bright pops of color and vintage finds. All of the furniture were impeccable hand-me-downs from Nathan’s family, and worked perfectly.


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This bassinet has been in Nathan’s family for over 60 years. If I have the story right, Nathan’s Aunt Bev, Uncle Paul, Uncle Bob, and his mom all slept in it. Then it was passed on to Aunt Bev’s children and grandchildren, and then passed on to my mother-in-law and Nathan, his sister Heather and brother Chris all slept in it as babies. Then Heather’s boys slept in it, and now our little one! How amazing is that! It is truly beautiful, and Mom found the prettiest yellow ribbon to weave through it. She also hand knitted that amazing mint green blanket. We can’t wait to swaddle baby lady in it.

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I love this area with the rocking chair and shelves full of books and mementos. That is the baby blouse I wore when I was about 4 months hanging from the shelf, plus a few handmade things from her dad, mammie, and her first shoes from her Uncle Drew. Plus a few polaroids that I love – one Nathan took for the first gift he ever made me and another of us when we were engaged. Oh, and the baby quilt hanging over the rocker was my mom’s! Her grandmother quilted it for her in 1958.

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This piece of art is from our lovely friend Kelly. I always loved it, and she gave it to us last summer. Even though no one but Nathan and I yet knew about our baby girl I knew it would go in her room.

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I love this lamp! I picked it up at one of my favorite vintage stores for twenty bucks! It’s kind of funny having a bambi lamp sitting next to our bed, but I don’t mind it. And it gives off the softest glow at night.

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The changing table and rocker are a little tight on space but other than that work just fine next to each other. I still need to pick up a few white baskets for the bottom shelf, too. I organized the diapers, extra inserts and wipes on the first shelf for easy access. Not sure yet how diaper changing will go but we can always move things around if need be. And, that’s the nursery nook!



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