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Everyone has a blog.

Blog, blog, blog.

Not everyone who has a blog posts with any regularity.

I, apparently, am one of those. I’m not a born writer, and unless I have something awesome going on, I don’t normally feel like going through the effort of writing a blog post.

That being said, I DO have something awesome going on now. I’ll be shifting from full-time to part-time at my day job in a few weeks (or moths, it’s not exactly clear at the moment), and that is a very good thing. I’ve been exhausted and stressed out, and far too much of my workaday life has consisted of things that I don’t actually want to do, ever. Like talking to people, and going to parties where I’m expected to “network”. Ugh. Give me a darkened room and some design software any day.

In light of my upcoming increase in free time, I’m going to try to do more of what I truly love, which is designing personalized stationery. I’m revamping my Etsy shop and posting some invitations that I’ve come up with on my own, but what I really want to do is work with individuals to design stationery–be it wedding invitations, note cards, business correspondence, whatever–that’s unique to each person (or couple). My shop is very small at the moment, but I’ll be adding more to it!

I’ve been designing things since I was a little girl and my mom bought me a copy of Print Shop Deluxe Ensemble on CD ROM. Actually it might have been on actual floppy disks. It was that long ago. Just after I graduated from college, my friends Meg and Bob asked me to design the stationery for their wedding, and it was love. I don’t have the original files for those invitations anymore, or I’d post them here.

I DO, however, have these files (all names and specifics are fictional, of course).

Hydrangea_comp

GreenRoses_comp

Firefly_comp

Anyway, spread the word, I’ll be on the lookout for exciting new projects in the next couple of weeks!

I think Lobsterface and I have decided to sell our house.

We’re not moving far, just out of the city where we’ll have a little more privacy and a little more yard for the beasts. Maybe I’ll start a garden.

I’m not going to start a garden.

But maybe I’ll raise some chickens! Lobsterface has no love for this idea, but look at how pretty!
chickuns

Our original plan was to take a year to continue to fix up our current house so that a new owner could move in and just get down to living without having to do much in the way of renovating the place. But then I found a house that’s practically perfect in every way. At least, it looks practically perfect on the real estate agent’s website. We’re going to visit it tomorrow, which is when we’ll discover exactly how many dead bodies are buried on the property, and if they’ve been properly disposed of to prevent a zombie uprising. And also if there’s WIFI.

If there are no possible zombie issues, and if there’s decent WIFI, and if we can cajole the sellers into knocking #30,000 off the asking price, then we’ll have to do something about selling our current house in the state it’s in right now. That should be fun.

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off, ok?”

Me: “Dude, if it’s a choice between your leg or your life, guess what? I’m cutting your damn leg off. End of story.”

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off!”

Me: “Chances are you won’t even be awake.”

Lobsterface: “I KNOW! That’s what scares me!”

Me: “This issue is closed.”

Lobsterface: “Don’t cut my leg off.”

We have this conversation at least once a week, ever since that episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Callie cuts off Arizona’s leg to save her damn life and now she’s all pissy about it.

Ok, I realize I’ve been VERY remiss about telling all y’all about Oliver. So this is Oliver.

Oliver 1

Oliver 3

Oliver 4

He’s almost double that size now, because I’m lazy and he’s been here for a month and I’m just getting around to writing about him.

Lobsterface and I had been talking about getting a puppy for a while, because we’re both gone all day long and Neville gets rather bored. Apparently two cats do not make the best playmates for a still-kind-of-puppyish corgi. We were thinking about getting another one and having a matched set, but it turns out that freshly-minted baby corgis are expensive and, after talking about it for a while, L and I agreed that we didn’t actually need to invest in another brand name dog. Neville, as you may recall, appeared in our lives spontaneously and free of charge, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen twice in a lifetime.

So I spent a few days wandering around on Craigslist, looking for a cute puppy. We knew we wanted something smallish because we don’t have a big yard with a fence, so our pups are confined to the length of their lead ropes hooked to a post by the back door when they go outside. We also knew we couldn’t get anything with pitbull or rottweiler in its family tree because our local dog park has outlawed those two breeds, and since we have such a small yard, the dog park is the only place Neville (and now Oliver) can run around like a crazy person and get dirty and exhausted.

After about a week we found Oliver. Someone in an apartment complex nearby had a Dachshund-Yorkie mix puppy that needed a new home. I emailed, asking for pictures and I was immediately impressed by how SMALL he was. One blurry photo of him was on a kitchen floor, and he wasn’t even as long as one of the tiles. L and I took Neville over there after work that day to meet him; 10 minutes and $100 later we left with our new bebeh.

Oliver 2

In the past month, he’s learned how to climb the stairs and the couch, but not the bed. He’s mostly learned not to pee on the furniture, but as far as he’s concerned, the entire rest of the house is fair game. He and Neville are the best of friends, stampeding through the house, fighting, barking, growling and yelping all at once. Oliver loves Pixel, too, but I’m not sure the feeling is mutual. He also has no idea that he’s 10 inches tall and weighs 7 lbs. At the dog park, he flips right out if he’s not allowed to play with the big dogs who could conceivably eat him in fewer than three bites. Sometimes they accidentally step on his head, but he just shakes it off and goes right back to trying to relieve them of their ankles.

We’ve just started trying to housebreak him. Does anyone have tips on how to do that? I don’t really want to crate train him, and we’re teaching him that peeing outside is good by giving him treats when he does so, but I’ve read that you shouldn’t smack their noses when they pee in the house, which I kind of think is bullshit. We clean up his messes with enzymatic cleaning solution that’s supposed to erase all of his tiny manscent, so he doesn’t think that it’s ok for him to keep peeing inside, but that doesn’t seem to be working AT ALL. Thoughts? Strategies?

Christmas

I recently read this post by Lisa at Privilege, all about growing up with Money and then realizing, suddenly, that you no longer have Money, with a capital “m”. It made me pensive about the similarities and differences between growing up with and without money. And then getting used to a different situation as an adult.

I grew up without money. My dad and his brother ran a small dairy farm, and my mom worked part-time at a local hospital. We shared a house with my grandparents and wore many hand-me-downs. Ordering pizza and renting a video on a Friday night was a special occasion. Growing up in rural America without money meant many things for me, both good and bad. Mostly good, though.

  • No cable TV, and thus many hours playing Little House On The Prairie or pirates with my sisters and cousins
  • Not enough money for a mortgage payment, which meant being raised by my parents and my grandparents
  • Pride at being a “farm kid” and the knowledge that I was learning to work hard, live on little, and appreciate the occasional luxury
  • A three-bedroom apartment that meant my sisters and I stayed up far later than we should, a slumber party every night
  • Always going as a pioneer, hobo or hippie for halloween because all that required was raiding Mom and Dad’s old clothes
Lisa describes her young life as having many luxuries that mine did not, but a few things, namely “an understanding that one ought to rise above the material, despite its charms. Said understanding is fostered by a very good education and lots of travel,” and “almost unlimited privacy, nutrition, and time to explore,” were part of my childhood as well. Maybe to a lesser extent, library books and trips to nearby historical sites instead of private school and international travel, but still. I did go to a private school, but it was run by a local church. And I did travel internationally, but later, and not with any type of luxury. Except for boxes of peach juice, random heaps of pineapples, and bracelets hand-made by new Bolivian friends.
Bolivia 2

Bolivia 3Bolivia 1

We had a smallish house, affording us little privacy (I once tried to set up a reading nook in the cellar, among the cobwebs and dirt, just to get away), but a hugefarm where we were free to wander and explore at will. Haybales became the walls of our castles, a pond in a glade of maple trees became Narnia and Terabithia.Pile of Kids

Eventually, I grew up, struggling financially in my college years and early career, as I expected. But then I got married, and with Lobsterface came actual financial security. We don’t have Money with a capital “m”, but I no longer have to shop at thrift stores and fix my car with wire and tin cans.
I still do (with varying levels of success), but I don’t actually have to anymore.
We’re not planning to have kids, thus no braces, ballet lessons and colleges to finance, and, if our careers remain on track, we could someday, conceivably, have More Than Enough, and I wonder how I’ll deal with that. The concept is so foreign to me, it’s nothing that I ever expected. I hope that I grow into financial security and handle it with grace. I hope we give much to charity, and continue to travel and learn more about our world, even far into adulthood. And maybe occasionally get dressed up and drink champaign in abandoned demolition sites.
Champaign
Bein' Fancy
That’s what fancy people do, right?

Last weekend my BFF-and-fellow-typography-nerd Beth and I went to the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown (incidentally where my dad has worked for years as an old-building restorer and general Pete-of-all-trades) for their Letterpress Weekend. The Farmer’s Museum is a living-history museum, set up like a farming village from the 1840s. There are some houses and barns, a church, a tavern, a general store, a newspaper and printing office, an apothecary, and so on and so forth. And animals, obviously.

Also, a giant carousel honoring the Great State of New York.

Oh, and a giant stone statue guy someone used in an elaborate hoax before the internet was a thing. Just go read the website, ok?

Now, I’ve heard that there were demonstrations and speakers and whatnot in the printing office, but, by the time we got there at 3 pm on Sunday, all that had pretty much wrapped up. But we got to fondle some Garamond and stroke some cotton paper, so we were happy.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “E”.

E!

And by the letter “g”.

g!

And by the letter “A” (in Caslon, in case you were wondering).

A!

The Garamond typeface was developed by Claude Garamond in the 1540s. We all know I like ’em old.

Garamond!

That’s Beth!

BRS

That’s me!

AJW

horse

book

old book porn

setting type

This lovely was quite friendly, and I contemplated bringing him home, but he didn’t relish trying to get into the back of my Honda Fit.

horse

Herrow.

sheep

Don’t ask me why these woolies were pressed up against a fence together when there were perfectly good shade trees all over the pen.

snuggling sheep

I’ve always thought Barred Rock chickens were the prettiest chickens.

chickuns

Maaaaay we help you?

sheeps again

This little goatlet was super adorable, even with its creepy, square eyes.

bebe goat

And, right before my camera battery died, I got one decent shot of the carousel. I’m not sure what’s up with the bear devouring the American flag, honestly.
Terrorist bear.

bear

I’ve been making lots of house plans lately. I should be actually implementing those plans, but it’s far more fun to spend hours on Pinterest than it is to build bookshelves, in my humble opinion. We’re making progress on the library, but it’s far from finished, so I’m not posting pictures yet.

I’m working on a layout plan for our kitchen using MyDeco.com and dreaming of paint colors and cabinet styles on Pinterest (you can see my ideas here, if you care to) which is tons of fun, but we’re not going to be able to afford a total kitchen overhaul for another couple of years, so all I can do is dream right now. And try to cook in a way that doesn’t cause my oven to belch acrid smoke all over the house. It may be time to clean it.

A room that I CAN see redecorating in the near future, however, is my office. I’m beginning to ramp up my efforts to attract more clients to my baby graphic design business, so I just created an Etsy shop and a website, of sorts. The Etsy shop only has one item for sale at the moment, but when I can only design awesome stationery and compile images for my website at my ACTUAL office, after hours (thanks, boss!), things take a while to grow. But I have one client right now and nowhere to assemble her wedding invitations or print samples, so I’m feeling the need to get my office situated. You may recall the extremely pink room in which we put together the bathroom sink. It has pink wallpaper and pink shag carpet, under which lies black and green linoleum tiles. It is a special place, and one day it will be my office. Since it will be mine and Lobsterface won’t have to look at it on a daily basis, I get to do whatever I want with it. I toyed with the idea of painting it even brighter pink and stenciling a pink-and-orange paisley pattern on the floor just because I can. But, in reality, I need a space that I can feel calm and clear-headed and not want to leave every two minutes. I’ve been looking around for inspiration, and I’ve been finding TONS of ideas for really gorgeous offices, but nothing that felt like it was really me.

I’ve long struggled with the notion that I need to have a weird, quirky, off-the wall style because, among many of my social groups, I’m the “weird one”, the “artsy one”, or the “ooh, I bet AJ would LOVE this giant necklace made out of playdough and cat’s hair, she’s so creative” one. It turns out that my outer self is pretty low-key. My inner self sometimes wonders if one can get ghost cooties if a ghost comes along and uses one’s toothbrush and one doesn’t know it and then uses the toothbrush after the ghost, but my outer self doesn’t really give that away.

I wear a lot of black and gray, I settled down fairly early with a guy from–if not my actual home town–at least the same area code. I have a dog, some cats and a mortgage and I drive a sensible, fuel-efficient car. So while I like to fancy myself the type of  person who would love to have a taxidermied boar’s head mounted on my wall…oh who are we kidding? I would LOVE a taxidermied boar’s head mounted on my wall. But it would be in an office that looked just like this.

The moment I saw it (and couldn’t stop gazing at it), I knew this was the office for me. It’s from a Before and After post on Kirsten Nieman’s blog, Restored Style, which I just found and am definitely going to read, cover-to-cover. I need an L-shaped desk, which might end up being just two long tables set perpendicular to each other around a corner, but other than that, this is just perfect. I’m very much digging the arts-and-crafts vibe of this room. And I’m in love with that chair. And the rug. And the lamp. And the cat. And it even comes with awesome “A” shaped thingamabobs. I wonder if she would just pack the whole room up and ship it to me?

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