Archive for October, 2012
Just to be clear, that post title is meant to be said in a Dr. Dre-esque fashion like he does in this song (aw yeah, $herdog still rocks out to the clean version of this 1999 classic). And now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about something hardcore. Pumpkins, yo.
This year we got lumpy bumpy orangy-red ones instead of the usual smooth yellow-orange guys just for kicks. The coolest thing about them is that they have stems on the bottom and top, which is kind of fun. Pretty much as soon as we got them home we got to work hollowing them out, and I directed John to make a face like a serial killer (am I the only one who types cereal killer and then has to backspace and correct myself every time?) and we got this stellar shot. In John’s defense, he does look awesomely creepy… so… mission accomplished.
Mmm, pumpkin seeds. Those were all eaten before these photos were even uploaded. What does that say about us? Either we’re sadly slow bloggers or just very hungry for seasonal delicacies. I’ll go with the latter. And now, just because I’ve been having fun with “___, there it is” lately…
Scoop, there it is.
Once we had both pumpkins hollowed out we got to break out the power tools. Yeah buddy. I told you these pumpkins were gonna be hardcore. We actually came up with this crazy idea in bed a few days beforehand (wait, that sounds wrong, we were just doing some horizontal brainstorming, wait that sounds wrong again – we were just thinking about pumpkins before bed, ok?).
We were saying how it would be fun to do something wormy for our worm-loving Clara (like carving holes and then sticking gummy worms into all of them so they looked like they were creeping out) when we realized that we still had these wooden craft store snakes that I painted last year.
And since Clara loves these wiggly little snakes just as much as worms, we realized we could combine them with pumpkins for a snake-tastic Halloween effect. And thus, the idea of using the more snake-sized bit on the drill to make the holes was born. I loved how the drill made little ribbons of pumpkin as it went through.
Oh snap. Those are some bad a$$ pumpkins. Mixed in with some pretty sinister ceramic animals. You totally wouldn’t want to run into them in a dark alley, right? Let’s get a little closer…
Aw yeah, there it is. A lumpy wart-ish double-stemmed pumpkin that has been infested with snakes! And then a ratty old crow came down and landed on it. That’s some tough luck for Mr. Pumpkin, eh? Bummers for you dude.
Here’s the other guy. All holed up and snaked out.
And I couldn’t help myself so I rearranged my printing block letters that spell LOVE to say EVIL (I drew in the “I” on the back side of the O a few years back here) along with adding a few other you-shouldn’t-be-surprised things like…
… ceramic animals! Holla. Don’t they look awesomely creep-tastic when they’re grouped with a crow, some snakes, and two gnarled old pumpkins? I love how the frog and the pumpkins both have warts.
I even grabbed our white ceramic rabbit from the deck because for some reason he seemed like he could be a little “rabidly scary” in the right setting. I think it works. Plus, if you were a ceramic bunny, wouldn’t it be a little bit thrilling to end up displayed with other tougher creatures like snakes and crows? It’s like he gets to take a walk on the wild side for a hot second before ducking back over into cute fuzzy bunny territory the rest of the year.
I kinda wished I could paint “blood” in drippy red paint over the word “love” in the art, but that would be permanent, so maybe I’ll cut out the letters from red construction paper and delicately stick them on with poster putty or something. Or I’ll just leave it and ignore the uplifting and happy quote above my spooky little table of Halloween goodness.
Oh and we still have to frame our skullified selves (made a few years back thanks to Photoshop) in the hallway frame wall. This baby comes out every year and we play the “slip it into a frame grouping and see who notices” game.
Speaking of ghosts of Halloweens past, we have nearly a dozen Halloween posts on our Holiday project page, complete with a bunch of creep-a-delic projects, tablescapes, and more – so if you’re looking for puffy painted pumpkins, maniacal monograms, batty bid-ness, or bloody candles, we’ve got you covered.
What are you guys doing to spook things up at home? Does it involved ceramic animals and a power drill? If it doesn’t, $herdog strongly encourages you to reconsider. Ya heard? *mic drop*
Psst- John misses you guys and is sorry he hasn’t blogged for a few days. He’s been working on our powerpoint presentation for our talk in Cincy this Saturday (I’ll pause while he mimes pushing his glasses up his nose and putting on his pocket protector) but he’ll be dropping in later and tomorrow with those posts for ya!
Update: Thanks so much for all the kind words and general awesomeness on yesterday’s post. You guys rock my socks.
Ladies and gentlemen, we actually have a backyard. Well, we still need to get some grass going on, but three phases of digging and transplanting and weeding (here’s phase one, and here’s phase two) have definitely turned our Jumanji-esque backyard into a nice clearing for Burger & Clara to run around in… once that aforementioned grass makes itself at home. And we still have a ton of giant trees on the side and back of our lot to keep it from feeling too open and stark, which seems to be the sweet spot for us.
But enough jabbering, the pics do all of the explaining anyway:
As you can see, we leveled the second 15′ wide planting bed, and dug up the rest of the borderline-insane amounts of liriope that encroached on the area that we’d rather just seed and mow for a nice lush little swatch o’ grass. We also brought in some dirt from the back of our lot (free!) in an attempt to level everything out to get it ready for grass, although we’ll add a little top soil when we seed just to be sure we’re giving those little grass seeds all the reason in the world to take root.
We also did some tree-maintenance in the form of cutting these two giant vines that are cannibalizing an old oak tree (they’re so thick and crazy that during Hurricane Irene we worried the extra weight of the vines and the dense leafy branches would pull the tree down on our house). You can see which tree they’re on if you scroll up to the before and after pics above (it’s that crazy leafy-looking mass hugging the tree next to the corner of the house on the right).
Reciprocating saw + John = buh-bye oak-strangling vine. We actually heard from a certified landscaping expert that we hired back in April thanks to a Living Social deal (more on that here) that it would be best to remove any vines from all of the trees on our property, just to keep the tree in the best possible health and not have to worry about them choking the trees or making them fall in a storm. And you apparently just have to cut a chunk out from the base so the roots can’t keep sending nutrients up through the vine and it should slowly die off (then you can yank it off the tree if you don’t like the look of a bunch of dead leaves hugging your tree like a beer koozie). We’ll keep you guys posted on how that goes…
While the reciprocating saw was out we also used it to cut out some old roots (from trees that were cut down decades ago) that would have made for some lumpy not-level grass…
… and we also had another brush with nature. Although this time it wasn’t a tiny snake, it was a baby squirrel. Cue the collective “aww.” This picture doesn’t do his insanely cute size any justice, but take my word for it, this is totally one of those baby animals that you’d see on Pinterest and let out a gasp at his sheer adorable-ness. He was smaller than my hand and quite wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.
But back to the yard progress. At the end of another 3 hour span (aka: another Clara nap), we had completed our third and final phase of bushwhacking and finally have reached ready-to-seed status. Woot!
It’s so funny because every time I turn the corner to walk into the backyard from the patio on the side of the house, I think I’m going to be met with the view in the top pic, so it never fails to make me jump when I see the cleared out view from the bottom pic instead.
It definitely looks kind of stark now, but we know when we get a nice lush carpet of green grass going on that it’ll be awesome and open without feeling too cleared out since our lot is almost an acre that’s chock fulla wooded area on both sides of the house along with most of the area behind the house. So this will just be one open and grassy area for Burger and Clara to have fun in while various woodland creatures can do their thing everywhere else.
Oh and here’s a really great example of how a giant planting bed can block your whole house from the back. And then after a few days of work, it can be history. Poof. Begone house-blocking bush.
So much better! And I can’t even explain how happy we are to see the old brick paths again (so charming!). After nearly two years of staring at about two-bricks-worth of them while the rest was completely covered in leg-tickling liriope, they’re a sight for sore eyes (and itchy liriope-groped legs).
So there you have the latest on our backyard progress. Of course we’ll share seeding/grass-growing pics whenever we can, but we’re pretty psyched that this whole area just took a few pretty serious (but totally doable!) days of work to result in some pretty major changes.
Do you guys like to tackle your outdoor projects in phases? Do you dream about having a certain landscaping setup when you move in (like we did back in 2010) but then take a few years to get your momentum up (we’ve almost been in our house for two whole years, so it’s about time for this!!). It’s amazing how time can fly when you’re putting off yard work…
It’s Tuesday afternoon, which means it’s high time for some over-sharing (aw yeah, let’s talk about feelings, shall we?). The very first hot-off-the-presses copy of our book arrived via Fed Ex yesterday and it kind of melted my brain a little, I think.
We couldn’t stop beaming at it and saying things like “It’s real! It has pages! It has a cover! It has our names on it!” – but I’d be lying if I said that “crazy-pants excited” was my only response to seeing it there on the floor looking all real and book-like.
I’m also skeered. Really scared actually.
And since I’ve spilled my guts about 14 months of breast feeding, owned up to a bunch of my unglamorous $herdog quirks, and even a copped to a beyond embarrassing teenage moment caught on video with a certain platinum-haired rapper, I’m cool with dropping this whole “jittery sweaty-palmed fear is actively happening” truth bomb. I mean I think I can be described as a lot of things, but I wouldn’t call myself especially brave. I have normal insecurities and self-doubts and all that. The book is a really big thing, so it feels especially scary. And for some reason I thought that pouring my heart out in a little online ditty could be the emotional equivalent to owning it (and perhaps others who’ve struggled with similar things might chime in and make me feel less weird). So here it goes.
I think it’s one thing to keep an online DIY diary for the world to read for free, but somehow putting out a book that then exists in the universe forever feels a lot more intimidating. Sure it’s hardly a high-profile thriller or much anticipated non-fiction, but there’s something crazy about not just being able to toss up an update if there’s a sentence that’s unclear or a typo that sneaks through like we do on the blog. The words that we wrote in that manuscript back in 2011 are printed and soon they’ll be on a shelf. Lots of shelves. And it just feels a lot more weighty and permanent.
Plus people have to pay for it. We worked darn hard to keep the price down, and even though books are returnable or re-sellable (and we got on our publisher’s last nerve to keep that price down) it still feels a lot… bigger. More complicated than a blog post by about 500 percent. I mean it’s 336 pages long with 243 suggestions/tips/projects, so it’s sort of like secretly writing 243 different posts and then publishing them all at once for a fee and then not getting to update or edit them if anything about any of them calls for a little note. Wait, it’s not sort of like that, it’s exactly like that. Maybe that’s why it feels a lot scarier.
It was also pretty intimidating to plan the entire book over three years. Finalizing the outline a year and a half in advance (that’s when we pinned down every last project) and shooting all the projects nearly a year ago (in an epic three week marathon at our house where neither of us remember eating or sleeping) was definitely like nothing we’ve ever done.
It was nerve-wracking in that “what if we regret these color or fabric choices later?” kind of way.
I’ve even had nightmares that there were typos on every page, chunks of blank pages, and even a particularly vivid one about some fictitious magazine that somehow recreated every last one of our projects identically (same exact fabrics and colors!) and scooped us by publishing them before our book came out. Oh yeah, my brain can go a little nuts whirring away while I’m laying in bed thinking of all the ways this endeavor could make me want to crawl under the covers a la Burger:
But this little freak-out fest does have a silver lining. The thing that I feel the most – even stronger that the jitters and self-doubt – is actually gratitude and pride. Not “I’m an author, look at me” pride, just “wow we actually did this” pride. Sometimes I can’t believe that I somehow convinced myself (and John) to put ourselves out there and write a book. Knowing that just like our blog not everyone will love it, and that’s ok. Blogging has taught is that we can’t please all of the people all of the time, so we want to focus on the positive and amazing aspects of this experience. Whenever I’m feeling especially clammy I just remind myself that there hasn’t been a single book on the planet that was beloved by everyone who ever read it (some of my faves have 5-star reviews as well as 1-star ones) so that helps me let go of that “be perfect or you suck!” voice in the back of my mind. Imperfect = real life. Like this crazy seconds-from-a-paw-yank family photo from last week:
So you can find me hiding under the covers with Burger when I get that guts-in-knots feeling, but don’t get me started about how excited I am for the tour. I know meeting you guys will be awesome and I’m literally giddy with excitement to thank you guys in person for the love you’ve shown us. And speaking of the tour, they added four more signings! Woot.
- RIDGEWOOD, NJ: Friday, November 2, 7pm – Bookends, 211 Ridgewood Ave, book signing. More info here.
- WASHINGTON, DC: Saturday, December 1st, Time TBD – Living Social, 918 F Street, Talk, holiday crafting, and book signing. More details to be released here.
- RICHMOND, VA: Sunday, December 2nd, 1pm – Mongrel, 2924 W. Cary Street, book signing. Store information here.
- CHARLOTTE, NC: Early February. Other details TBD
*There’s also serious talk about an Atlanta stop while we’re nearby in Charlotte, so we’ll keep you posted! And of course other places like Philly & Cali are still being chatted about. We wish we had more control over what cities we’re hitting! It really is all about who invites us where (so it has nothing to do with how big a city is, it’s all about if a certain vendor or bookstore works with the dates/times/etc).
Anyway, thanks to you guys for being so excited and supportive about this whole crazy book journey! It’s kind of a big deal in our little lives, and you’re just the best readers ever. So in return we’re burning the midnight oil to churn out a bunch of projects for ya (even when we’re slipping through 20 cities we’ll be doing our best to blog at our regular pace, with lots of secretly stockpiled makeovers & projects of ours along with house crashing & window shopping adventures a plenty). Not to mention that we have another before-and-after-fest in the hopper for you tomorrow.
Not sure how to end this ramble-fest, so… word to your motha. $herdog out.