Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heather + Jason = True Love 4 Ever

Well readers, I have officially made it beyond the realm of taking artsy, cutesy pictures of my dog. This is good news for me, and for you, as there will be considerably fewer pictures of Scout around these parts. Do not fear, however, she has a whole album dedicated to her.

Anyhow, I was flattered that my brave friend Heather asked me to snap some shots of her and her fiance, Jason, for their engagement.  It was a great experience for me, and luckily Heather is a graphic designer and photographer herself, so I learned a lot from her in the process. Since she's designing her save the dates and invites herself, she uploaded the files, got started, and my work was done.

I'm very happy with the results. And (giant sigh of relief) so are the future Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter.  I've gone ahead and tried out my editing skills, and have posted a handful of the pictures below. More can be found here, and hopefully I'll find some more time to edit the rest.  Heather did a fantastic job of editing them herself as well, and I hope she will post her mad photoshop skills on her blog, which you should check out.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Sweet New Home

After going through all the formalities and a scary, but surprisingly easy home search, I now feel that I can say, without jinxing the whole process, that Joel and I are buying a house.

Well, mostly Joel, but if I'm serious about marrying this guy, (which I am), for all purposes it's a joint venture.

Our future home has passed its inspection, and we have a closing date. Get ready for loads more "Tues-Do-It-Yourself" posts because home ownership is going to be our biggest project yet.  Every time something breaks, there will be no landlord to call.

A big heap of work is about to be thrown onto our metaphorical plate, and it is not going to be easy.  My type A, organizational self is about to get rocked as we move and remodel, so I'm trying really hard to mentally prepare for that. I would like to refrain from scarring Joel for life by freaking out over the way we box things up.

The house is a bit of a fixer upper, but it has good bones. New floors and trim are first on our to do list, followed by fresh coats of paint, and even a dreaded wallpaper stripping for the master bath.  We are hoping to be as sustainable as our budget will permit,  and Joel is already looking at easy ways for us to compost, garden, and conserve energy.

Most of all, I am ready for us to have a place that truly feels like it is ours. Many memories are going to be made within those walls, and I'm lucky to have a soul mate along for the ride. I'm starting to think I might be turning into an adult.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cloudy Day at the Farmer's Market

Last week, my awesome friend E-liz and I decided we would take a field trip to the farmer's market to engage in some photographing.  Even though it was cloudy and cold, we bundled up, grabbed our camera's, and got to shooting.  We both just enjoy a little creativity in our day, and it's a good stress-reliever to think about depth of fields and shutter speeds rather than mortgages, relationships, and jobs.  I may not be Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz, but a certain joy comes from looking throug a different lens at the world. And it's great to have friends that share in that feeling.

Black and white for a cloudy day.

Essence of E-liz

Flowers new and old.

 Behind the scenes of Pac Man.

*Browse through more Photos on Flickr

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tickling Ivories

I have an unhealthy fascination with pianos in homes. What can I say though, I've been playing since the day my motor skills would permit.  I still play from my old stack of classical books and sheet music on my digital piano, but nothing compares to feeling the reverberation of hammers on strings that comes with the real deal.

As Joel and I are embarking on homeownership - more details will come as events unfold - I have been trolling the interwebs for piano inspiration. I have also been diligently checking craigslist for a steal on a good looking upright.

This morning, I was clicking through home tours on one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, and I might sell my soul for some of these set ups.

This piano reminds me of the first piano I played, and I still remember the day My parents brought it home.  I climbed up onto the tall the bench and starting pinging out melodies from my favorite songs in The Little Mermaid.

And how can you go wrong with such a great punch of color and artwork?

I also love the idea of using something other than a traditional piano bench.

This black upright is by far my favorite. From the woodwork, to the green contrast wall, I am smitten.

I'm looking forward to a day when my home will accommodate one of these beautiful instruments. If I had my way, I would probably have a piano in every room. I do think Joel, however, will have to curb my little fetish as it could prove quite expensive and I doubt our first home will have that kind of square footage.

Friday, March 19, 2010


During college, I had my fill of late night Taco Bell drive thru visits, cheap drinks,  late-night studying, and waking up ten minutes before I had to be somewhere because I could just throw on a hoodie. I like to think , even though I attended a small, private university, that I got the whole "college experience." I kept busy, always in some organization or another, making a short film or planning a charity event, squeezing in some time to study, and hoping to find a moment to see my boyfriend here or there. 

Now, almost a year after graduation,I have come to the realization that I missed an integral part of the college experience: Ramen. 

As any poor college student knows, you can't even buy a pop with  a quarter, but you can get a meal's worth of Ramen.  I recall purchasing the little square orange packages, seeing them in my pantry, glancing at the nutritional value and sodium levels, then settling for a peanut butter sandwich instead.  I've mashed the cruncy uncooked noodles and sprinkled them atop a salad, but never have I fully prepared the warm noodle dish of the Americas.

A few days ago, however, I found myself crunched for time as I took my lunch break at home. I also found an empty peanut butter jar. Perched on one of the topmost shelves of my pantry were some orange packages just within reach, full of chicken flavored Ramen. I decided it was time.

The meal was okay, not the most satisfying dish I've ever had, but worth all 25 pennies that sacrificed their place in my wallet so that I could enjoy a hot meal. As I make my fouray into adulthood, a mortgage, and trying to save money, I can see where this 25-cent delight might come in handy

But now that the peanut butter jar is full again, we'll have to see.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Lately, Joel and I have found a hobby we can enjoy together: creating music. As he plays his guitar, I improvise along on my piano.  He's been collecting a bevy of pedals and arranging them to manipulate the sound, and of course, they are starting to stack up in our tiny little music room/office/laundry room/bicycle storage room and we need a more efficient method of display and transport.

To combat the clutter, and also to create a more efficient pedal set up, Joel needed a pedal board.  Rather than spend a ton of money, we set out to create our own for under $10. 

We found an awesome baby blue suitcase at a thrift store for $4 and discovered it came with a matching smaller one that fit inside it. I had an idea for that up my sleeve as well.

With the suitcase open, and the pedals sitting directly inside, Joel was unable to foot-tap them easily while playing. To create a more flush surface, we picked through the scrap wood pile at Lowes, grabbing a couple of 2X4's and a piece of plywood that we had cut to fit right inside. That ended up costing us a whopping zero dollars. Thanks Lowes!

We nailed the 2X4's to the plywood and painted it with leftover gray paint from a previous thrift store furniture project. After a quick dry with the hair dryer (Joel was impatient) it was ready to set into the suitcase. Next Joel attached velcro we purchased at good ole' Walmart for around 5 bucks to the pedals, with corresponding pieces on the board. When he wants to experiment with different combinations, it's now very easy to rearrange the pedals. 

Then with a little help from Scout, he wired everything up, and was ready to play.  

With the velcro, suitcase, and free wood, we spent about $9. We will need some heavy duty glue to keep the board form shifting during transport, and we are pricing some vintage guitar latches so that we can eventually remove the suitcase lid entirely while playing, but still have the option of closing it. For now, however, everything works just fine.

And since I know you're curious about what became of the smaller suitcase, here it is. After using a little elbow grease to remove the hinges and upper lid, and finding the perfect color pillow case for an old pillow, I stuffed it inside the deeper side and viola! Scout is now as snug as a bug in a rug, or a dog in a suitcase really.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Staying In

So here is my much overdue see-I-can-be-like-Betty-Crocker post. 

One trait that Joel and I have in common is our distaste for large crowds and lines. We prefer to frequent trendy restaurants on weeknights, and are of the belief that we can create just as great of an experience within the walls of our little duplex as we can pay for elsewhere.  That being said, for our anniversary-slash-Valentine's Day experience this year, the Williams-Durham household have started a new tradition.

Dining in.

Now, I am not really not a spectacular cook. I can bake a mean sugar cookie, but I am still learning as far as everyday meals go.  Macaroni and a steamable bag of broccoli would not do. I had a great recipe for garlic stuffed mushrooms up my sleeve, found one in Real Simple for a delicious glazed Salmon, and left a green vegetable to Joel.

I opted to go to a seafood market for the Salmon, I wanted it to be fresh and a good quality.  This was completely worth it. It was more expensive then what I would find at a grocery store, but still not as expensive as a restaurant, and the quality was stellar.  

Joel cooked the fresh asparagus in the spices that were left over from sautéing the stuffing for the mushrooms for some great added flavor.  

Next we added a bottle of Chimay, some candles, and set the table.   

I have to say, I am proud of cooking such a grown-up meal. And also, I feel that I am turning into my mother. I suppose this is okay though, she is a fantastic chef. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Doin' It Myself.

I have really been wanting a graphic sign to hang above my fireplace. Like many fresh out of college  and broke kiddos, I try to stick to a budget. Unfortunately, said sign was not within said budget.  Luckily, I stumbled upon this piece of inspiration while perusing some design blogs and was inspired to custom create my own fabulous piece of artwork. 

I ventured out to my local craft store and purchased a large canvas (that was on sale), a tube of brown acrylic paint, and some stick on vinyl Helvetica letters (also on sale, booyah). I had a small paint roller and paint brushes at home that I used for painting and touching up.

After finally deciding what awesome words of wisdom I would use, I painstakingly stuck the letters on the canvas. Keeping them (mostly) straight was difficult for me, but a temporary ruler made of thread with small pieces of duct tape on either end helped that process somewhat.  After that, I just had to apply two even coats of paint.

Now, in my infinite wisdom, I was a little over zealous with the rolling action and an "O" and an "E" sticker stuck to my paint roller and popped right off. Fortunately the paint didn't run and delicately retouching the areas with a small brush did the trick.

After that I let the paint dry, peeled the letters, and hung my new piece of artwork. I must say I enjoy having a tribute to one of the most rad things to come out of Oklahoma City in my living room. It also helps that once all was said and done, I ended up spending around 30 dollars.

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don'-go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.
- The Flaming Lips