Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Carpet

We finally got new carpet!  When I bought this house 5 years ago the upstairs carpet was already on it's last leg.  We finally put new carpet in.   So now we have a nice, soft place to walk.

It was very flat carpet.

There was no softness left to this carpet.  We moved the bed a year and a half ago and you can still see the indentation from the risers.
Isaac says you make carpet angels on new carpet, so here he is demonstrating. 
You can see the vacuum marks now.  Before, when we would vacuum it was more like vacuuming a commercial style carpet; falt and not fluffy.

Now we just have to find the time and energy to put everything back.  Haha, I'm just going to twitch my nose and it will be done, yes?  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The final touches

A few weeks ago we finally got around to putting flowers in the flower box we constructed.  They are so inviting when we pull in to the driveway.

And the grass that we planted even grew.  That is until we had three weeks of 100+ weather without much rain.  So we shall see how it all survives the summer.  But it is so nice for now.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A shovel and a little dirt

My plans for today were to go for a run and then try to get caught up on some work.  I have been quite busy the last two months and am grateful for the continued work but I have not had time to keep up on my processing and other business duties that need to be done.

After my run, we spread some mulch around the bushes in the front of the house.  They have not seen new mulch in over five years, so we decided it was time.  We needed a few more bags of mulch so we ran back over to Lowes.  Among the many ideas I have to improve the house, I told Isaac that I would like to fix the little flower bed in the front yard around the holly tree.  The tree that drives me a little crazy because it drops its leaves in the spring.  Why yard, do you insist on needing to be raked year around?  But now is not the time to discuss its off season leave dropping.  Anyway, when I moved in this house five years ago there were a few flowers planted in this spot and it looked nice, gave the property a little curb appeal.  Many times I try to envision things that I can improve around the house and yard.  I had a little thought about this particular area but hadn't come to any definite conclusions.  While we were at Lowes we decided to take a look at some stone to see what we might like and how much it would cost if we ever did anything with this little flower bed.  Sometimes it is good to gather information.  I guess that was our first mistake.

A few hours later and another trip to Lowes, we now have a new flower bed under the holly tree.  How could we pass up a good price on brick and a discount and a whole day where both of us are actually home?  So here is our little project from today.
 There have not been flowers growing in this spot of a few years.  And due to erosion the blocks have been sliding farther away from the tree.  I have not been able to get grass to grow down toward the ditch but there have been plenty of weeds.  So at least the yard looks green.
 Isaac found a huge spider.  He didn't bother us and we didn't bother him.  But he was quite large.
 A few fern trees have been trying to grow and they are impossible to get rid of.  So Isaac tried to dig them out by the roots.  We shall see how well he did if they come back or not.
 We did a rough layout to see how it would look.  And we found out we were going to be a few bricks short.  We tried to remember the formula for circumference but we missed by a 2, c=π2r, and for some reason this time we didn't look it up on google and thought it was just c=πr.  Who ever says you do not use math after you get out of school is incorrect.  We used a lot of math trying to figure out how much mulch, brick, and soil we were going to need for our yard adventure.  It's a good thing no one's life was depending on our calculations.

 Since the yard slopes a little we wanted to do the best we could to prevent the erosion and bricks sliding down the yard again so we tried making them level.  And of course we had to have some issues with the tree roots.  We were able to get it leveled pretty close all around, so hopefully our wall will hold together for a few years.

 We decided to put some turf builder and seed around the outside of the flower bed in hopes of growing actual grass instead of more weeds.  We shall see.  It is really not the time to plant grass, so it could be all for naught and we shall just have to reseed in the fall.

 Grandpa Fugal would be proud of our use of the shovel today.  Although I'm sure he could have showed us a thing or two on how to use it better.  What a day to think about him and remember how much we love and miss him.
 Look at that awesome watering job!  Great work Isaac.
Before and After

We still have to plant flowers.  It was too much for us to do that as well today.  Since this was not in the plan, we need to see what will grow in this shady area and how to design it all together.  So stay tuned to next week, hopefully we will have a little time to complete our spontaneous project.  And maybe I will get caught up on work and Isaac can get his hair cut like he had intended to do today.  All in all, it was worth it to feel like we put in a good days work, even if we will be sore tomorrow.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

National Portrait Gallery Excursion

It's been a few weeks, but Isaac and I went up to DC to visit my brother, Steve.  It's been awhile since we've had a chance to see him so we were excited to go hang out with him.  After many hours, yes hours, in the car trying to make our way the short distance to DC, we finally arrived at his house at 2330.  Then we drove around looking for a parking space for another 45 minutes.  Can I just say I am not a fan of driving in DC, or any city for that matter.  So we just visited for a bit and then all went to bed.  We didn't have any special plans for our visit, just a little relaxing and enjoying our visit.

We went to breakfast at Panera, because well I love Panera and they have yummy breakfast.  And then we decided to go to the National Portrait Gallery.  None of us have ever been there and considering we've visited DC a lot we decided it would be a nice change.  We really enjoyed it.
Isaac and Steve hanging out in front of the museum waiting for me because of course I have to document our adventure.  And I did not want to carry my camera with me so I took everything with my Droid Incredible.

Isaac was really excited to see John C. Fremont made it in to the Gallery.  Twice or three times even.  Fremont was an explorer in the western part of the United States.  He was the first American to see Lake Tahoe.  Fremont Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming was named after him, where he surveyed the area in 1842 while mapping the Oregon Trail.
We also saw portraits of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
 Not a portrait, but Isaac Singer's 1854 patent model that was submitted for an improved model of the Singer sewing machine made an appearance.
I really liked this portrait of "Men of Progress"
 As we were walking through one hall I noticed this beautiful piece of art in a side room.  I just had to take a look.  This is an 1865 oil painting titled "Aurora Borealis" by Frederic Edwin Church.  "The ship and sled team in this image belonged to Frederic Church's friend, polar explorer Dr. Isaac Hayes.  Hayes had lead an arctic expedition in 1860, and gave his sketches from the trip to the artist as inspiration for his painting."
Isaac really liked this oil painting titled "Burning Oil Well at Night, near Rouseville, Pennsylvania (about 1861) by James Hamilton.
And another favorite of mine, oil on canvas, Mist in Kanab Canyon, Utah (1892) by Thomas Moran.
Then we wandered through a special exhibit of patents.  We weren't able to take photographs in there but it was pretty interesting and amazing what people come up with.

Then we headed toward the Presidential Gallery.  Isaac wanted to see the portrait of Stephen Colbert which was supposedly hanging near the bathrooms near the Presidential Gallery.  We didn't find it and that would be because it was hanging there in 2008 for only 6 weeks. So we were just a little late.  But there were some neat portraits in the Presidential Gallery.

George Washington
Mezzotint, c. 1793
"In 1793 Massachusetts artist Edward Savage, who was in London learning various print making skills, published a mezzotint of George Washington...Dressed in black velvet rather than the usual military uniform, Washington contemplates a plan of the new federal city and the future of the government it was built to accommodate.  Here was a statesman rather than a soldier, a man with age, wisdom, and dignity in his face.  Savage's mezzotints...established this image as one of the most popular of Washington's presidential years.

I really liked this representation of Washington.  We often see him in military clothing so I really liked this change.

Thomas Jefferson
Oil on Panel, 1836
"This profile portrait was the work of Charles Bird King, who copied it from a likeness drawn by Gilbert Stuart during the fifth year of Jefferson's presidency...King made this copy from the Stuart original at the request of Jefferson's granddaughter, Virginia, and her husband Nicholas Trist."

I loved this different look for a portrait of Jefferson.  I think I need to incorporate more profile representations in to my work.

Teddy Roosevelt
I like this nice, traditional portrait of Teddy.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The artist was experimenting with different views of FDR's hands.  I like this study of hands because hands are very difficult to photograph, and draw, to make them look interesting and well proportioned in relation to the rest of the body.  A good artist handles hands well.
John F. Kennedy
I LOVE this piece of art.  I love the colors and the free brush strokes.  It is such a fun piece of art.
Richard Nixon
I found this portrait a nice composition.  Norman Rockwell said of creating this portrait he wanted to represent a pleasing side of Nixon because he knew what he was capable of.
Bill Clinton
With this work I appreciated the creativity of the artist.  I am intrigued with the use of shapes and color to create this work of art.

The Black List by photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
I really enjoy this photographer's work.  I love the idea for this collection.
"The portraits represent some of the most dynamic and inspiring personalities in the fields of politics, music, business, civil activism, literature, the arts and athletics as well as a few people who are not as recognizable but who are influential in their field.  The exhibition includes 50 photographs and an ongoing video of the accompanying interviews."
And of course last by but not least we had to visit the History of Video Games exhibit.  I know, not really a portrait thing, but very interesting.  It was pretty crowded in there so we just meandered through.
 What I love about the Smithsonian Museum is that there is so much to see and learn and every time we go we can still find new things to explore.
We had a great time visiting Steve and walking around the city.  Now if only we could twitch our noses to travel to and from so we wouldn't have to drive in all that traffic.