Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh, Omaha

The family descends on Omaha! My Brother married his girlfriend, Kelly, last weekend in Omaha, NE.

 From top to bottom: Brad, my grandma, me, my brother Jacob, my mom, my sister Hannah, and my dad.

Our arrival in Omaha ( fun fact number 1: the airport was actually in Iowa) marked a number of firsts for our family. My Grandma, mom, and Jacob had never flown before. Brad had never been to the Midwest, and I had never ventured further west than Chicago. Although NE is very different than VA, and everyone thought we had southern accents (I found this hilarious, because everyone from NC south thinks Virginians sound like northerners) we really enjoyed our trip to the Midwest. We discovered that Omaha is an art appreciating, food loving, hipster kind of town, and fun fact number 2: we did not see any corn!

We were starving after a long day of traveling, so after a quick stop at the hotel, we had a late dinner at Spaghetti Works. The food here was OK, but the real star was the awesome, quirky decor!

From the old-fashioned fortune tellers that greet you at the door,

to the crazy cool light fixtures, this place had great eye candy. 

We thought the area around the restaurant seemed fun, so we decided to go back the next day and check things out. We discovered it was called Old Market and full of antique stores, funky clothing stores, and lots and lots of yummy places to eat.

Our first stop, after an amazing breakfast at WheatFields, was a soda fountain/candy store/antiques market called Fairmont Antiques and Mercantile 

This wall of pinball games made me want to start a collection of my own.

My sister rocking the retro cool of this hot pink car.

Our shopping excursion was dampened by a steady rain, but that didn't stop us from ducking in and out of nearly every retail store! We finally found some relief from the weather in a covered courtyard area between the shops called the passageway.

Brad and I, very happy to be dry for a moment!

Mom and Hannah were happy too! Fun fact number 3: Everywhere we went, people thought Hannah and I were twins. We've only been told that one time in our lives, but at least three people thought so in NE.  

After a day of window shopping, we had a lovely rehearsal and dinner ( more on that later). The day of the wedding, we had a few hours before we needed to gussy up, so we took in The Durham Museum.

The Museum is housed in the old train station and has lots and lots of art deco details.

It also had fun sculptures in the lobby that talked to you about the heyday of rail travel.

Downstairs, we learned all about the history of Omaha, went through an emotional exhibit of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and had a blast playing on the train exhibits.

My grandma deemed it, " The best museum I've ever been to." 

Stay tuned for more details on the big day!


PS, What's your favorite random American city to visit? I wouldn't have picked Omaha as a vacation destination, but it turned out to be a really fun city with lots to do. I want to add some more looked over cities to my travel list!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Throw me some rope

I just got back from a fun-filled trip to NE for my brother's wedding - so expect much more to come on that front! Today, though, I want to share my first rope project. I've got several other rope projects in the works, so I hope you're as crazy for the nautical look as I am!

I decided to start off with this fun woven mat from my knot book.

I have to say, it's a little harder than it looks, and it took me awhile to get the hang of keeping all my lines straight and taunt. It's pretty satisfying to see a pile of rope turn into something pretty, so I think it was worth the effort!

I decided to fancy things up a bit by sewing some red thread in and out of the knot. I love how it added some beachy flare, but still has an understated and natural vibe.

It works well as a pot holder too! If I can make one of these, anyone can - so find a book or tutorial and given a fancy knot a try! It's fun to learn a new useful skill :-)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 5 stages of (building) grief

The last time I showed you this picture...

... I was pretty sure a house was about to be constructed behind me. Everything was going so well, and we had green lights all the way to the appraisal.

But then the appraisal came back. A big, fat, red light. The number they gave us was so low; we thought it had to be a joke. We're talking tens of thousands less than the cost to build. And so I entered the 5 stages of building grief.

1. Denial - This number can't be right. Clearly there is an error somewhere.

2. Anger - How dare this appraiser crush my dreams and undervalue my precious house? I'm going to give him a piece of my mind!

3. Bargaining - Maybe if I explain how special this house will be, the appraiser will change his mind? Just because houses around us are selling low, doesn't mean our house would.

4. Depression - We're never going to get a house! We're doomed to live in this tiny cottage forever. Teachers aren't paid enough to have a beautiful home.

5. Acceptance - This is just a minor setback. There are other banks and other appraisers in this world. This must not be the right situation for us, but that doesn't mean we won't start on a house before the summer is over.

So ... here's where we are. It is not likely that our house is going to be appraised for as much as it will cost to build. Very few houses have sold near us, so there are practically no comparable houses within a 5 or even 10 mile radius of our land. This is the problem with living in the boonies - people pass their homes down to their children or build new homes on family land. You can also have a million dollar home next to a trailer. This does not make for cookie cutter neighborhoods with lots of similar houses being bought and sold. Good for my open spaces loving soul - bad for home appraisals.

However, we've been told by a number of people that the appraisal looks, "fishy," so we will be getting a second appraisal in hopes of a slightly higher number. We're also talking to a number of banks to try to work out the best financing option for us.

So, please forgive me for not posting as much as normal. I can't bring myself to post all of the house stuff we've been doing (kitchen planning, choosing exterior materials, etc.) until I know for sure the house is moving forward. I've been a bit of an emotional wreck as we play this hurry up and wait game with financing, and I haven't been my usual crafty and creative self. It's hard to sew and paint when you're busing chewing off all your fingernails!

Happy house prayers are welcome, and I'm so thankful that y'all are sticking with me through this craziness!