MIA - for a few reasons

Merry Post-Christmas, Seasons Greetings and Happy Almost-2010!

yes, I've been away from the blog-o-sphere for a while, and with good reason.

a) my computer harddrive apparently has bit the dust, according to Dell.  I'm still trying to figure out how to salvage my precious design programs (photoshop/revit/ autocad) without having to pay for new (and very expensive, non-student rate) licenses.  Any ideas?  Til then, Im on my hubby's computer, which I've learned doesn't like the way I type and therefore omits words, letters, etc.  Joy.

b) the house moving is coming down to the wire.  The "Big Stuff" is out of the apt, but we've still got a bunch of random piles of stuff that needs moving, plus some things  that we need to sell (a couch & chest of drawers).  I'm really over it and cannot wait to be done.  I've already had one of my first "I hate moving, This is awful! My home is a mess and therefore my life is a mess" breakdowns. Not good since my husband's job makes it so we'll be moving every 2-3 years.  I'm hoping it just gets easier w/ every move.  Ugh.  It also made it so we weren't really able to decorate anything for the holiday season (and Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday).  I did mange to hang a wreath on the door and hang two stockings on the mantle, but no Christmas tree, much to my dismay.  Our half-decorated mantle:

I think the hammer, the unhung mantle picture, the lego house next to the nativity and the boxes stacked up infront of the fireplace really add something to the festive holiday ambience of the entire space.  Lesson - DO NOT MOVE DURING THE HOLIDAYS.

c) We made the 7 hour trek to Alabama for Christmas.  It was very relaxing, casual and a perfect much needed escape from the moving insanity here.  Below is the hubby in his fave Christmas gift (I think)

Yup - its an Alabama Snuggie that his sister gave him.  Perfect for all of those frigid New Orleans nights.

As for me, my wonderful husband bought me a perfect Kate Spade handbag that I love. 
The sapphire blue makes it multi-seasonal, it's big enough to stash everything and its leather/fabric mix makes it very functional & practical.

(picture from amazon.com)

And thats the wrap up!   Back to finishing up moving and prepping for our New Years extravaganza (or just our little taste of our first NOLA NYE).  Tata til 2010!


Oh, what color can do!

Our new home (the one we will move into in the middle of the month) is wonderful and quaint. However, someone, along its 100-ish year history, decided to paint the walls an absolutely pukey dark khaki color (among other horrid decisions... commented on in a later post). It really is bad. Thankfully, our landlady is like me and LOVES color - and thus she offered to buy paint for us so we can liven up the atmosphere of this house.

So here is the master bedroom when we were first shown the house:Okay, the master bedroom is the only room that wasn't painted that nasty khaki, but stark white isn't much better either.

Starting out, I really wanted to make this room calm, peaceful, and reflective of the green leafy view we'll be seeing out of the bay window. So here's my scheme:
The steely blue was a little bit of a risk, since I was afraid it would turn out to be gray and just make the room depressing. The green would be the color of our coverlet for our down comforter, creating a tiny bit of color. But I like to call it "manly light blue" because we needed a light color for our small room that wasn't a lame baby blue but it needed to have the same "a man lives in this house too" feeling like navy. The compromise? The color "Ozone" by Behr.
After about 5 days of cleaning the house top to bottom (the house had about 15 years of dust in it) we then started to paint. I started out and went to town just painting painting painting. Here's how it looked by the end of day 1 painting:Yes, I do realize the paint job at this point looks only half done - Explaination: I'm short and terrified of heights - thus why the color only goes up about 9 feet. Our ladder is only 6 feet tall and I will NOT go farther than the second-to-top rung. My husband was needed to complete the taping of the crown molding and then painting a foot below it. Only then I was able to use the roller extender and finish the job!
After an initial panic of "Oh crud, I chose to paint my bedroom Battleship Gray!!,"all is well and here is the final result:

I love it and kind of get a beachy feel from the contrast of the blue and white - and the blue isn't too steel-y or to baby-ish.

One room down -- 3 more to go!! Next up, the kitchen, a mix of priming, painting trim and then painting walls. I shake my fist at you icky khaki color!


New Ventures

Big News -

Things are so crazy with the economy right now - especially in the specific industry I just happened to get a Master's degree in. I've decided that I am NOT happy not having a job, even though the flexibility associated with unemployment is quiet a perk. I've never ever seen myself as a registered architect or as a CAD monkey for years and I will never enjoy carrying out someone else's designs. So recently I have really been analyzing how I could use my talents and skills I learned during school and throughout my wedding design/planning process. I love creating - taking a basic canvas, whether a building or a simple piece of paper, and making it bright, lovely and something someone looks at and say "this is refreshing, simple and perfect!".

After a lot of prayer, thought, and urging by people I love & who know me very well, I'm taking a baby-step toward actually making a career out of creation. As you know, I designed all of the paper goods for my wedding, and I also have always enjoyed doing the presentation layout designs for my architecture projects. I designed Mr. Bama and my Christmas Cards, wedding thank you cards as well as a few for my friends for Christmas. I've received such great feedback as well as great pleasure in designing these small and simple pieces of paper. Also, as a granddaughter and niece of master printers, I kind of find this as an homage to my relatives as well!

So as of the New Year (and after the craziness of moving and the holidays are over) I will be launching a VERY small selection of stationary on an Etsy store. I've created a logo that reflects myself as well as a little pun on paper & printing terminology (hint - paper thickness is calculated by "pounds"). There will be 5 different designs that pull from nature, my home state (VA) and my husband's state (AL) as well as the spectacular city where we live now.

So in January 2010, keep your eye out on Etsy for the premiere of One Pound Design

(yes, a silly way to tie stationary terminology and my initials, L.B., together)


Christmas time is here!

I may not be able to decorate for Christmas (so sad) due to the painting, packing, moving and unpacking that is currently going on in the Bama household, but darn-it if I didn't make sure we got out our first official Christmas card as a married couple!

Here's a preview!
The arrived a few days ago from Vistaprint.com - a company that lets you upload your designs and then they print them for you for a relatively low price.

Don't you feel in the holiday spirit already!?


A Hole in the Wall

Let's begin with a little update: Mr. Bama and my's rent at our current apt complex is up at the end of December (thank heavens!), so we've been spending a ton of time on Craigslist looking for homes/condos to rent for the rest of the time we're in NOLA. One night, after visiting endless properties, we were driving down a street in an Uptown neighborhood and found THE house: a 2 BR, 2BA, late 19th -- early 20th century double shotgun that was converted in to single at some point, with a GIGANTIC kitchen. The rent's a little pricey, but it's in super safe area (a huge plus in NOLA), within walking distance from shops and restaurants and surrounded by gorgeous single family homes.
(a side view of the house - there are two mature trees in the front of the house, so getting a front view is nearly impossible)

The Landlady, a local artist who has her studio in the back 1/4 of the house and her actual residence next door, is incredibly friendly and has even offered to pay for new paint for the house (because right now the house is this icky dark khaki color)

We started the prep work to start painting the house on Dec 1 - which turned out to be a day of just constant, persistent rain here in NOLA. It was then that we noticed that in the guest bedroom, the drywall under the window sill was bulging out, an instant sign that something was rotting under it. Mr. Bama knocked on the wall to see where the studs were and his knuckle ended up going through the drywall! After showing the hole to the landlady (who was surprisingly very grateful that we showed her the problem) she gave us the go-ahead to do a quick patch as she contacted a company about fixing the root of the problem (a possible leak in the roof).

Here's the condition of the wall before we started the patch-job.

all of the wood (the lathes) you see were rotted through, and the drywall was a dark brown, black color - NOT good

Mr. Bama cutting the existing drywall hole into an even rectangle to fit the new piece of drywall.

the condition of the wall after cutting the hole. Note, the pieces of wood you see were in this condition when we opened up the wall, and shows just how disastrous moisture can be to the structure of a home.

The patched piece of wall before drywall tape and spackling were placed over the seams.

As we discovered during this process, at some point during the additions done to the house in the late 80s someone removed the actual plaster that covered the wood lathes and placed drywall on top. Pre-air conditioned homes such as this one were designed to breathe, to allow air from outside to circulate into and out of the house. Therefore, walls were constructed of breathable materials: wood siding, wood studs, wood lathe and organic plaster. When moisture would enter the inner structure of a wall, air would dry it out before it could create any major damage. However, as in the case of this house, when one of those breathable materials is removed and replaced with a modern, non-breathing material, such as gypsum dry-wall, moisture cannot escape from the inside of a wall. The result is catastrophic - the moisture sits in the wall and rots the structure, inviting termites, mold and other pests to nest and destroy the wood and the house. The rot shown above was just a preview of how extensive the damage is: we did a basic aesthetic fix, not an invasive one that actually examined the entirety of the damage. I shudder to think.

So the moral of the story is, when doing a renovation/adaptive reuse of a historic building, be careful what building materials you use to update the structure - you could be doing more harm than good.
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