Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home Improvements

Many long-needed home improvements are underway.  Recently we got the front yard curb appeal and replaced the old ratty roof.  Now we'll soon have energy-efficient windows in the front and a French door in the back.  Today began our closet makeover.

After nearly 5 years of the chaos and clutter, haphazard piles of clothes and not enough space, it was time for a change for the better.  I got a nice deal from the designer, $1000 less than the first estimate, including free removal of old and free installation, so I'm basically paying just for the material.  I feel good about this.  She was very personable and designed a custom closet for our needs.  AND, she's my neighbor, and wants me to do a landscape design for her!  It'll be done the week after Thanksgiving.

We still need to finish the kitchen.  (That was the first improvement to get started, and was never finished.)  Tiles and backsplash need to be completed, and the breakfast area needs to be done.  *Sigh*

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Curb Appeal

At last, after years in the planning (which, admittedly, is a bit excessive for an average residential site), our front yard is nearly finished.  A low retaining wall was built, the ground leveled, and a walkway outlined.  Now several low-water-use, drought-tolerant plants bloom and spread in fountains of varying shades and textures.  I am adding more plants gradually, giving those I have time to establish and making sure they'll survive.  The trees will be staked to make them grow straight and tall.  A new hedge of jade plant will add privacy to the north side and separate us visually from the neighbors and their hyper, yippy, "rat-on-crack" of a chihuahua.

In the back, the enormous original jade hedge is gone, leaving the yard much more open and breezy.  The giant jade and oleander in the back corner are gone.  In the future, we'll be digging a fire pit and lining it with smooth stone and (maybe) cut glass pieces.  Extend the patio, build a small dancing stage, and additional awning.  I would really love to have a canvas to roll down so we could show movies out there.  That would be fun.  I've also started an herb garden for cooking.  Nothing like fresh herbs :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I haven't been able to blog for over a week, because when I arrived home my computer was dead!  And my laptop is incredibly slow after just an hour of being on, so I gave up on it.  Now the hubby has rebuilt the entire desktop with tons of memory and working capacity, Thanks so much to him!  Lots to tell.

ACII costume is still a WIP, but is a little more complete each week.  I am starting a leatherworking class tomorrow at Tandy, and I can't wait!  I've wanted to learn leather for a loonnnngg time.  I was taught some basics a few years ago by a photographer/costumer friend, but he didn't teach me how to tool (carve).

I beat ACII and AC Brotherhood for the second time, so now I'm ready for AC Revelations coming this month.  Not sure how I feel about it though, since Ezio's not in Italy anymore but somewhere cold and snowy.  I haven't kept up with the news though to be sure....

Over this weekend I got to schmooze with some landscape architecture fellows, as the photographer's "assistant".  There were a lot of important people -- founders and board members -- in the landscape field at the event, including a professor at Texas A&M where I went to school.  One of my profs was also there, so it was nice to see him, he who taught me the basics of AutoCAD and Photoshop, and design.  He even remembered that I used to keep my harp under my desk and would take it out and play late at night in the studio.  He said I kept him sane in a group of largely insane people.  I also met the man I'm interviewing with on Friday.  Hopefully I will be able to impress upon him the importance of hiring me, haha.  Yesterday I did more schmoozing at the Convention, with landscape vendors.  It was a little tiring since I'm an introvert, but I hope it'll pay off.

Last night was Halloween, normally my favorite time of year for the costumes, treats, and merry-making.  However, this was the first Halloween in a very long time I didn't even wear a costume!  It felt very strange.  Actually, I spent it having some "craic"!  A voice lesson, dinner, gossip, and lots of music with some great friends in the Irish music community :)

One of them loaned me the first book in a series:  Game of Thrones.  I just started it, read the Prologue and I'm hooked.  I'm thoroughly convinced this is going to be every bit as intriguing and suspenseful as she said it is.  That, in my opinion, is what a really good author does.