Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anniversary dinner = awesome

So Paul surprised me with a wonderful dinner last night at Seattle's own Chez Shea. And, seriously, OMG, it was amazing. He totally took one for the team by taking me to a fancy French restaurant because, let's be honest, he had to eat another dinner after we got home just so he wouldn't pass out from hunger. But I loved it. And he said that made it totally worth while.

If you haven't been to Chez Shea, GO. NOW. seriously. What are you waiting for? Get off your chair and make a ressy now for tonight. SO GOOD. the mood, music, atmosphere, food, staff, all was amazing. I decided it's our new spot.

Pictures will come for sure, after I get them uploaded from Paul's camera...which I forgot today.

Also, we exchanged presents after dinner, and we both totally scored! I got the 8 piece All-clad Limited Edition set you see above (it's annodized, and they're only making a limited number of those sets, so I'm super lucky to have it!). I'm drooling just THINKING about what I'll make first. This cookware will last me a lifetime, so I'll never have to buy pots or pans again.

Paul also lucked out, because I bought him the top of the line roof rack system from Thule.
(This is what it will look like on the focus....I just googled "Thule roof rack on Focus," and this is what came up, which is weird, because it's exactly Paul's car, color and all)
After many, many months of trying to source that s**#&^, I finally broke down and bought it all from REI. The upshot of course being that they'll install it and if anything goes wrong, we can bring it back there. He's stoked for using it this summer for camping (think roof box), and this winter for skiing (he can now take 3 friends, put all 4 sets of skis on the roof and everything else in the trunk!)

So, yay for both of us. We had a great time, and I think as each year passes, and we continue to grow up, and grow together, our life together continues to get better and better. We are so very lucky!

I love love!

(Okay, enough of the barfy mushy talk. I'm done now. Thanks for listening!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Well, it's already here, and I can't believe another year has passed! Today Paul and I celebrate our 4 year anniversary (of our first date).

I just couldn't be happier. He makes me a better person when I'm around him, and he makes me want to be a better person when I'm around others! He sent the most fragerant (sp?) bouquet of red red RED roses and white white WHITE lilies, my faves.

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy, while I enjoy the flowers in my office.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you where we went for dinner, and what we gave each other as gifts!

At a wedding of some family friends, July 2007.

A great trip to Vancouver, BC. As usual, with coffee in hand from our favorite coffee shop, which of course I can't remember the name of right now.....I'm obviously over-caffinated, and Paul is under-caffinated. I think it's right after our 3 days in Whistler during April of 2007.

At my favorite Seattle restaurant, Purple Cafe, for my surprise 25th birthday party. Paul did such a great job, I was SO surprised, I cried. that's me, crying, but smiling. August 2007.

Out and about with Em, on a Friday night at Chapel, in Seattle, April 2009.

I think our second white water rafting trip, so must be on the Skykomish River, circa May 2007.

This past Chirstmas season, 2008, getting our tree out of the forrest. This is Paul's tree, which turned out to be really curvy, and not in a good way. But it had it's Charlie Brown charm.....that is, until one day it keeled over and died on us, while we were gone, and came home to the tree fallen over, ornaments everywhere, and water soaking into the hard woods. Good times.

Another great trip to Vancouver, BC, sometime around September of 2008? Having dessert and coffee at an Italian Jazz club in the Gaslamp District.

At Rachel's wedding, September 2007, in Massachusetttes. We match, it's true.

At a Oregon Ducks game, at Autzen Stadium, sometime around October 2007, before Kate and I went to China for the first time. GO DUCKS!

New Years 2008/2009.

With my siblings, Jessica and (her husband) Brian, New Years eve, 2008/2009.

At our wonderful friends, Lincoln and Corina's wedding, last July (2008). Now they're expecting to be parents soon!

At a wedding earlier this winter, circa February 2009, at the beautiful New Castle Golf Club

just recently at a wedding, June 2009

In our second city, Vancouver, BC, on one of many trips, enjoying Stanley Park. circa 2006

Monday, June 22, 2009

Build-design off the grid

Hey there. So I wanted to bring a new topic to the table here at Decorazzi. I have been discussing home building with my dad, who's an architect by education and trade. I passed an article to him from the Willamette Weekly (a local Portland, OR paper).

The article was focusing on renewable energies and green building.

My dad's response was very thought-provoking, and I thought all of you savvy readers would find it interesting as well. Here's his response to the article about heating a home with a hair dryer:

"I had the chance to read that article called "Futurehaus" in the Willamette Weekly that Pat referenced me.

It's a good article, but the basic method that the young architects are promoting consists of a double-walled enclosure, with an energy efficient exterior shell insulating and weather-protecting a conventional inner shell of standard wood frame construction; double the shell and double the expenses as a result. Cost will soon put the damper on this method, in spite of any perceived or real government and/or industry incentives or tax breaks.These guys are working within standards and codes now prevailing and are apparently doing a good job of it.

The problem is, the standards and codes they have to deal with are based on conventional and long-standing construction techniques that building officials and engineers are accustomed to dealing with; there is no standard existing nor engineering method established for the use of alternative construction methods, used elsewhere all over the world, now for thousands of years...that method, among others is routinely referred to as "adobe".

Mother nature has provided for us very well; our problem is, we ignore her too much and do it our own way too often.

The use of adobe was the first and still remains the most common way of providing housing all over the world. However, the U.S. Testing agencies, like the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials), have never commissioned the analysis or testing of adobe buildings to determine their values for providing for compression and tension resistance using these simple construction methods and for this reason, adobe consruction is not recognized as an acceptable building system in the codes; the why of it is probably immersed in the politics and lobbyists protecting the staus quo of American industry for profitability reasons, pure and simple. The result of this is that local building departments will not accept it since they have no way of monitoring it to standards that don't exist.

Here's why that is a bad idea:

Adobe is an all natural, locally available (as in, on your building site) material that is unsurpassed in providing insulation for warmth in the winter and cooling in the material does this better, and I mean by a long, long ways adobe is self-finishing on the exterior (with an additive commonly found in the country, cow pies!) with a final finish coat that is impervious to weather; reapplication is a snap and is done no more often than one repaints a wood-sided house
adobe is self-finishing on the interior (with a modification of the standard adobe mix, no cow pies!) with a final finish coat that provides a hard interior finish similar to painted plaster or sheetrock adobe is naturally resistive to compressive forces, meaning it can bear substantial weight; tension is another story and it is here where we need tested standards adobe can be constructed with all power, lighting, HVAC and other utilities located within the walls, per standard construction methods there's nothing cheaper than dirt, especially when you already own it, assuming you already own your lot; constituencies in the soil are easily tested on site and any deficiencies in the existing soil can be augmented and brought to the site for achieving the proper mix adobe flooring is among one of the best floor systems available; yes, dirt floors can be made hard and shiny and will take wax finishes and patterns and colors may be incorporated as well. This means that the floors are also insulative.

Adobe is perhaps the easiest of all materials to maintain; if a gouge in a wall or floor should occur, the adobe is simply re-hydrated and patched with...more adobe! Patches done correctly are also invisible, therefore, no waste is incurred due to replacement activities. This applies to either interior or exterior damage/replacement I am sure I am leaving some points out, but for the sake of brevity...So what does all this mean?

It means that adobe is super cheap to build with; the exterior and interior finishes are already included in the material...there's no sheetrock, wallpaper, siding, insulation, structure, framing, building wrap or membranes...the only thing it has in common with current systems is the incorporation of windows and doors. Interior trim and built-ins can be formed with adobe during the wall construction...things like benches, mantles, chair rails, picture rails, shelving, countertops...the list is endless. Adobe can also accommodate standard light fixtures, cabinetwork, appliances and washroom short, anything a standard frame house can accommodate, abdobe can too.

I believe adobe will be U.S. standard in the years to come; the way things are going with cost, it will soon be the only available, affordable option for most Americans. Now you know why I want to build my off-the-grid retirement abode out of adobe...hey, that makes it an adobe-abode!"

**If you have any questions about the ideas or opinions above, please feel free to list them in the comments, directed towards my dad, and I'll pass them along. When I get his responses, I'll create a follow up post, or send them back directly to you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another great idea.

Hello, Sampson! Anyone home?! Apparantly not, because I have totally been thinking "I really need a bag for my yoga mat, something that I can attach to my gym bag or that has a pocket or something...." but I am toooooo cheap to buy anything.

Enter the obvious: a knit sack, basically a really long hat. Add draw string to the bottom (where you would start the long hat, it would be open, so you could thread the draw string through that first row of stitches). then either add a knit strap, or a couple of caribeaners (sp?) to either end and clip that bad boy to the strap of my gym bag.


and that's why they pay me the big bucks, Ladies and Gents.

I'll be signing autographs for the next 10 minutes, and they're $20 a piece. Now no pushing and don't talk to Ms. Sampson.

Thank you and good night!

THIS is what I'm going to do!

Okay, so I'm bummin' around on the blogs today, and hit up one of my local faves, Shelterrific, and they linked to this great idea, called a Puff, over at this hyper-cute blog called "Pickles," (why didn't I think of that cute name?)

Here's what it looks like:

I have a TON (literally, it's so heavy I have two bankers boxes full) of inherited yarn from various sources. And I have been thinking about what to do with it all. I love to knit but I don't want 20 million scarves, and let's be honest, although I'm sure I can knit lots of patterns, I'm never going to finish anything that is more complex than knit 2, pearl 1, so this is a perf project for me!

I am so excited to get started, because this is a project that would yield a product useful in all seasons! I can see these as extra seating in the house, and if Emily and I ever get our crap together and actually create our Morrocan lounge, these would be a great addition, in various colors. Also, if we do outdoor movie night at my place, we can bring these out on the big Mexico blankets and they'll be the perfect pillow/seat!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself, as I don't know how long this will take to actually knit. And I have to source the duvets to go inside, so that's an additional expense, although maybe I can find some at a thirft store and wash them. They can be ugly as sin, afterall, they'll be covered up!

Here's the directions:

What we used:

Eskimo, 18 balls (Or yarn suitable for US #13 needles)Acrylic yarn would probably be a really good alternative, as it´s a piece of furnitureUS #19 circular needles2 cheap duves (feather and down)

How we did it:

Cast on 35 stitches using three threads.Knit the garter stitch until you´ve knitted all the balls, and there is just enough yarn left to asseble the stool.

You now have ONE rectangular piece.Cast off loosely. Assemble the short sides (35 stitch side) as neatly as you can.Assemble the first long side. This is supposed to be the top or the bottom of the stool. Put the needle through the end stitch of every second row and tighten, tighten, tighten! Repeat on the rows in between and tighten until there is no whole in the middle. Stuff the duves into the stool. We tried to make a ball of the duves before we stuffed it.Assemble the other end in the same manner as the first.And there you go! Your first knitted furniture perhaps?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're baaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaackkkkkk!

That's right kids, it's the return of the Tawny Frogbeak. And this time, they're not screwing around, straight to the awkward cuteness.

(I know this isn't something that fits within my blog's scope, but I don't even care. I have a huge place in my heart for these little guys)

Now, stare at this cute little guy while I rob you blind. He's SUCH an accompliss!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another flattering blog award

YAY! I just got word that I've been awarded another flattering blog recognition award by the precious art fairy over at Tinkalicious!

Here's my award:

The "One Lovely Blog Award" is awarded by fellow bloggers to blogs that strike your fancy or approach a new, fun topic.

Many thanks to Tinkalicious for this wonderful honor! I'm glad you are enjoying Decorazzi, and it's notes like yours that keeps me motivated to continue posting my thoughts and ideas!


Oh, the joys of home ownership

While I don't technically own my own home right now, my wonderful boyf, Paul, does. He owns this sweet little condo right at the cusp of downtown Seattle. He just passed the two year mark on the purchase, and on the whole, things have gone pretty well at the condo.

There have been the occassional issue, like the dishwasher overflowing the kitchen with soap suds (apparently you have to pre-wash the dishes and make sure there's no liquid soap left on any dish, because the dishwasher has an attitude problem), or like when we realized that the wiring for the lights and fans in the bathroom was not only messed up, but the jerks cut major corners by wiring the fan and heat lamp together, but accidently wired the fan to the regular lights (idiots).

So this past weekend I was in Bellingham helping my sister, Kate, with a wedding she had. We delivered all the beautiful flowers on Sunday morning/afternoon. As we got back into the car, I called Paul to check in, only to find out that there was some major plumbing leak under the kitchen sink.

Paul sent me some pictures/videos of the situation. Lucky for us, the leak only existed when you turned the sink on, and was coming from the drain pipe. It could have been MUCH worse, really.

So I drove back down to Seattle, checked it out, and sure enough we could tell the mess was coming from the drain (if the smell didn't give it away. GOD! talk about wrank)

This what Paul discovered when he went to take the trash out. The trash can was sopping wet, and stinky (he said "Babe, it's got to bad if even I think it stinks.")

Here's some of the nastyness coming down the wall, see that odd, rubbery looking white compound? Yeah, that's what the subcontrators called a "joint." I think they were smoking a joint when they put this together.

So basically, what happened is this: The subcontractor that did the kitchen build out cut some major corners. This is not even REMOTELY close to being up to code. The drain pipe coming out of the wall (concrete walls and floors) is metal. It's an 1.5" round. The drain coming out of the sink/disposal is made of PVC pipe. It's also 1.5" round. The metal pipe has threadings on it, and a metal nut at the end, which you would use to secure the drain pipe to the wall pipe, if you were using all metal. They butted the PVC pipe up against the wall drain pipe, and squished the rubber putty around the two pipes.

I swear, that's really what they did. The pipes are the same size, so it's not like one fits into the other one, creating a seal or anything. They just put the two pipes up against each other and covered it with some goo.

What really pissed me off is that after all was said and done, I fixed it for $6.43, two trips to Home Depot (where I met my new best friend, Larry, their plumbing expert), and 3 hours of diagnosis, labor and running around. That's all it took, and I know very little about plumbing (although clearly more than the clowns that did the job in the first place).

Of course, this was not exactly an entry level project, but I was not the least bit scared of ruining anything, afterall, their cockamamey set up lasted the last two years, so honestly I couldn't do worse!

Since I know how to measure and cut out the dry wall, shut off the water main, and employ common sense, I was good to go! I feel really accomplished, Paul is super relieved (and who wouldn't be? That's a huge bullet we dodged by catching it early and fixing it ourselves), and we're using the fan to dry out the soggy MDF and drywall back there (at least the portion we can see....but under the sub floor is concrete, so no worries of passing it on to the floor below us).

Here's a video of the final result:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I wish I was 6 again,

because if I was, then I could use this RAD toothfairy kit.

Unfortunately, the only way I'm going to loose teeth again is poor hygene or a bar fight. Short of those two options (and really not wanting to have to go through either in order to use this kit) I think I'll buy for the Ri guy:

Yes, this is really him, and yes, he is really this cute...thanks to my sister, Kate, and her family blog, I got to post this cutest pic from our time in Lake Chelan over Memorial Day weekend.
Now, go lose some teeth people!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I WON! The Lemonade Stand Award!!!!!

That's right kids! I won the coveted Lemonade Stand Award!

I have been watching this coveted award make its way around the design blog community for the past few months, and it's been really exciting to see it be awarded to some of my favorite blogs!

One such blog is the reason I now have the honor. Alek, over at From the Right Bank to the Left Coast, emailed me this morning to tell me that she awarded me the Lemonade Stand Award, and I couldn't be more excited.

Here's the criteria:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate 10 blogs that show gratitude or great attitude or both.

3. Link your nominees within your post.

4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link your post to the person who gave you the award.

So, without further ado, here is my list of nominees:

David Lebovitz of David Lebovitz

Megan, Rachel and Didi of Green is Sexy

Michael of Herbivoracious (a local Seattle foodie)

Molly from Orangette (a local Seattlite!!!)

Lauren of the fabuluous Pure Style Home

Scented Glossy Magazines (I still don't know the identity of this masked avenger)

The new Mrs. over at Whorange

The brains behind SeeSaw Designs

The whole gang over at Shelterrific

To all of you, thank you for the countless laughs, recipes, outfit and room ideas, and of course hours upon hours of time I've spent enjoying your thoughts, ideas, rants and raves. I heart each of you!

Now, go on out there, and spread the Lemonade Stand Award to your top 10!

Huggin' it out,