mustache mike: iPhotos.

i took this picture last summer at our county fair (with my dslr camera)s. we were headed to the car derby. (you know, where they purposely crash cars into each other until there is only one car left running?) mike shaved his beard, but kept the mustache for this special occasion. i think he looks spectacular.

and since this picture is so fabulous, i have been using it to experiment with some new photo apps on my iTouch. vsco cam and snapseed are my new favorites. i also like pixlr-o-matic for interesting texture and finishes. what are your favorite iPhone/android photo apps?

(the vsco journal is an amazing source of inspiration featuring artisits from around the world sharing their day via vsco!)

follow me on instagram!! (oppositeoffar)

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i’m headed to cincinnati today to throw my baby sister a bridal shower! i’ll be back next week to share all the details!

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4th of july tradition.

this year we held our 4th annual (or is it only the 3rd annual?) 4th of july party in our backyard! anyway, 3rd year, 4th year…it’s just so fun!

lola chilaxin’ in the kiddie pool

griffin is a master dinosaur imitator. it’s impressive.

mike and lola had a deep, meaningful conversation about popsicles

(yes, mike is sporting his creeper mustache again this year, and yes, it is temporary! here he is last year at our county fair!)

poor baby max was tired and hot. (this is how old lola was when we started this tradition!)

new friends christina & kristof joined us this year. we like them.

apparently, the water table water is far better than dog bowl water.

so, whatcha got there lola? huh?

sally is a rave goddess. just look at that spin!

and regardless of the burn ban here, our trusty firefighters provided us with a stellar fire works show!

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check out little lola at our previous 3 years of 4th of july

2010

2011…check out the party pics here!

2012

2 years married.

2 years ago we got married in the woods with friends and family watching, supporting and celebrating us!

this weekend we revisited the spot where we said our vows.

we had THE BEST time!

we didn’t take any pictures, but the majority of our time was spent in the indoor “aquatic park” – we lounged in the hot tub, floated in the lazy river and shot down the water slide several times.

IT. WAS. AMAZING.

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fyi: my new favorite beer is cat’s tail wheat by big woods brewing co.

quaff: [kwof, kwaf, kwawf] verb : to drink a beverage, especially an intoxicating one, copiously and with hearty enjoyment.

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nashville alley scenes:

this van made my night!
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after dinner we headed to hesitation point to watch the sunset.

this is where we went hiking 3 years ago and decided on that day that we would get married in this park.

sadly, the trail head we hiked 3 years ago is now non-existent. (it should be right there behind mike, but it’s all overgrown)

see that cloud on the right? it’s getting ready to devour the sun + cloud on the left!

mike said this was the first time he had ever watched a full sunset. so happy it was with me!

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back at the lodge, after sunset, we decided we desperately needed some cards.

the gift shop did not disappoint!

we played a loooooooong round of WAR then mike taught me how to play poker.

(we may have shared 4 beers and a whole bottle of wine by this time, so “teaching” and “learning” are loosely used terms here!)

we laughed a lot.

then we enjoyed some hotel room s’mores. it was so perfect!

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and back home on monday night- our actual anniversary-we enjoyed our “fancy dinner” at malibu grill

(thank you gretchen!)

we went all out- cocktails, appetizer, steak & fish, and even dessert! it was fantastic and quite special!

while at dinner we talked about the past 2 years of marriage, where we are now, where we hope to be next year. it’s amazing to look back over the past two years and remember what it felt like at the beginning of each year. our first year was nothing like what we expected. and at the beginning of year 2 we weren’t sure at all what the year would bring. but now, looking back we can see how far we’ve come, how much we have grown individually and as a team. we have set goals and reached them, even exceeded some! we have learned to be together in more meaningful ways. we respect one another but also know how to push buttons. we love each other more deeply, more comfortably. we are better at compromising and solving problems. and i can imagine that another year will bring even more insight, even more commitment, an even deeper understanding our love for each other and more appreciation of our life together.

happy anniversary to us!

then, now & later.

boy, oh boy. weeks fly by lately and i find myself finally stopping to take a breath and reflect a little on then, now, and later. so, i’ll take a minute  fill you in.

*then*

over the past few weeks i’ve been busy in my studio filling orders & preparing for a show. i love this process; it’s exciting and exhausting and fulfilling and sometimes makes me want to cry. when i think i’ve had just about enough cutting & sewing i stop & try to imagine other jobs i could be doing instead. this makes me smile from ear to ear, realizing i’d rather be nowhere else but here, in my little home studio, making dolls & masks for kids all over the world (just like Santa!)! i feel like such a lucky, lucky girl!

(i mean, seriously? how lucky am i?!)

speaking of dream jobs, (well, my dream jobs, anyway!) last week, i had the pleasure of participating in my local library’s summer program. (i talked about it here). i was in absolute heaven! i was making masks with kids age 5-12- they were so much fun- so creative, surprising, alive and open. it made me miss teaching in a big, big way. i’ll be doing more of this for sure!

these 2 kiddos won my “masks of the day” vote! the little fox made her fox cheeks torn pieces of white construction paper glued oh-so-carefully into place! and the super hero added a very-carefully cut out flame to add to his mask! how rad are these kids?!

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange was last weekend! it was so great to see lots of friends walk into my booth and as always, i love meeting new people too! (there was one particular little guy that taught me a lot of interesting facts about skunks, honey badgers & wolves which reminded me to start up my new series of posts that i’ve had on the back burner for months (more on that soon)! he was one cool kiddo!)

it was a good, good day!

*now*

as always, the week following a show is a busy week of catching up in all ways- mike, house work, friends, and busy-work. i have already had a very full week- first trip to the dentist with my little friend lola, friends new house tour, movie date with my man, cleaning, laundry, e-mails, birthday drinks with friends…and i have LOTS more busy-ness planned for the rest of the week too! it feels good to have a week of catch-up right now!

i’m also extremely excited to be planning my baby sisters wedding shower! i have a few sneak peeks for you, but i want some things to be a secret! i only get to throw ONE wedding shower for my ONE little sis, so i’m having tons of fun with it! i know she’ll love it!

straws

tissue paper flowers

i’ve burned myself out on instagram. for now. i know my obsession will resurface (they always do)! i want to pick up my “real” camera a little more often and share more of those photos here instead on only ever giving you my iPhotos.

*later*

mike and i have some celebrating to do this weekend…it’s our anniversary! we’re going back to the place we got married 2 years ago and i can’t wait to spend the whole weekend (+monday!) with my husband! i will share more about our anniversary weekend next week!

happiest day ever!

and last but not least…next week i will begin sharing some things i have been working (really hard!) on –  fun & informative new posts for this little blog! i have been wanting to take a slightly different approach to my blogging and include the kiddos a bit more, so very soon you will start to see interactive posts you can share with the kids in your life (or just enjoy on your own)! i have a lot to say and share about kids and all things related, and i believe this a the perfect place to offer up what i have squirreled away for years now! i hope you find it helpful, fun, exciting, and/or interesting.

there will even be some exciting opposite of far giveaways included in these new & exciting posts…excited yet?!

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and as always (cause i can’t say it enough) thank you all so much for coming back here from time to time to read what i share here! i love having this space as a creative outlet!

may wrap-up.

may was a beautiful month. the weather was absolutely dreamy! we spent a lot of time outside working on our garden and flower beds, relaxing in the hammock, grilling and eating on the back porch and playing with the pups.

here’s what may looked like according to my iTouch/instagram feed.

gardening is my favorite. i absolutely love the garden mike made for me and i am quite proud of the work i have put into it! it’s growing like crazy and i can’t wait to enjoy more and more food that i’ve grown! i will share more (real) pictures really soon!

i was feeling bored with out old flower pots but they still work just fine, so i decided on a little diy facelift.

1. i spray painted the bottom section of the pot with leftover yellow spray paint from a project last summer, then used our green door paint to finish off the top rim.

2. i cut a triangle stencil from a small piece of cardboard and traced triangles around the pot (somewhat randomly)

3. i painted the triangles with extra paint we had sitting around

4. and TA-DA! i have a fresh and new pot that i can’t stop smiling about!

lucky us! we got to spend a little time in our friends pool recently. it was glorious!

{thanks angela & matt!}

as i mentioned, the weather in may was perfection!

(and will you just look at those gorgeous peonies!)

i love letting the pups run around the soccer field down the road- it makes them SO happy! this is a special treat for them, and they are exhausted every time!

the lovely weather has had me inspired to grill, eat lots of fresh veggies, try new recipes and enjoy ice pops!

(lettuce & snap peas are from our own garden!)

i’ll leave you with a yummy summer recipe:

quinoa salad.

4 cups water

2 cups quinoa

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon, squeezed

(i used a whole lemon!)

garlic, chopped

(i used one fresh clove from our garden, but will use more next time)

salt & pepper, to taste

whatever veggies you have on hand, chopped

{there are as many combinations as you can think of for this salad! be creative!}

i used:

snap peas, carrot peels, and green onions, parsley, and mint

1. in a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. add quinoa and a pinch of salt. reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.

(this is meant to be served cool/cold, so i recommend making this early in the day if you plan on having if for dinner, or the day before if you plan on taking it to a cook out or picnic. it takes a long time for the cooked quinoa to cool down, so plan ahead!)

2. meanwhile in a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, veggies, herbs. stir into cooled quinoa. add salt & pepper to taste.

enjoy!

*the recipe says it serves 4-6 people, but it goes much further than that, the two of us enjoyed this salad for a few days and it stayed fresh & delicious!*

*also, after a couple days, we added some grilled steak (cut into small pieces) and sesame ginger lemon dressing which really added a lot of flavor*

{this recipe was adapted from a recipe from farm bloomington}

this week’s 10: update.

my life is full of lists. it’s rewarding to complete and check, cross out, or highlight each item. (i even add & cross off things that i’ve done but forgot to add to the list!) it’s also a little overwhelming  and sometimes a tactic of procrastination, rather than a blueprint for my week. i sometimes make a list then stare at it, freaking out about all the stuff i have to do by a certain time or date. it’s often counter-productive.

vacuum the house, scrub the tub, clean the windows, dishes, laundry, dusting….chores, groceries, inventory re-stock, orders to complete, books, music, movies, blog ideas, new items to make, garden chores, yard work, house projects……but lists just for fun & simple stuff? never! that’s why i decided to make a mini bucket list for this week. just 10 little things to do for fun. a reminder to slow down and enjoy the days while still checking off those looming to-do’s. 10 little things that will bring me a bit of joy. simple things.

so, remember my list?

  1. go on a moon walk
  2. have a drink with a friend
  3. read in my hammock at least 2 times this week
  4. braid my hair
  5. send a care package to a friend
  6. put new music on iTouch
  7. make a new dish (zucchini fritters?!)
  8. make something just for fun (sew, craft…)
  9. evening walk with the pups & neighbors
  10. snuggle & chat on the couch with mike for 1 hour (no tv)

the items in green are the ones i checked off my list last week. 5 out of 10…not to shabby! what did i learn? even when i’m planning (listing) fun things, it’s still a little too intimidating to make such a long list. so, although this was a fun little exercise, i think i’ll stay spontaneous… that being said, i have started another list of things i’d like to do just for fun, but i won’t limit myself to just one week!

drinks with a friend. this has become a weekly tradition with my friend talia and i LOVE it!

i broke out of my side messy bun kick for one day…then went right back to my messy side bun.

zucchini fritters…where have you been all my life?

here’s the recipe i used:

(from real mom kitchen)

  • 2 cups grated zucchini squash
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place zucchini inside a tea towel or flour sack towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. In a bowl, add zucchini and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the remaining ingredients.  The mixture with be sticky and thick. Continue to stir, it will thin down.  You want it to look like a thick cake batter.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, divide batter into 6 mounds on the parchment using a spoon or ice cream scoop. Then flatten each mound with a spoon or your hand to form 4 inch rounds.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the fritters are deep golden brown on the bottom. Then turn to broil and place on the second highest rack in your oven.  Broil on high for a few minutes, you want to crisp them up but watch carefully so they won’t burn. Serve with ranch dressing, sour cream, plain yogurt, or marinara.  Makes 6 fritters.

*these babies are seriously SO good! make them!

quality time with my man. this past weekend was full of quality time! looking forward to even more of this!

and…are you curious about the new (new to me) music i added to my iTouch? here are a few of the albums i added:

josh ritter. andrew bird. vampire weekend. beach house. beirut. neko case. grizzly bear. jenny lewis. camera obscura. michael franti. the civil wars.

my list goes on! this new music is keeping me going in the studio and while i walk. i am always amazed at how music can move and inspire me.

days 19 & 20 + a lovely weekend.

this weekend felt all summery & wonderful. it was full of kiddos, friends, planting, sewing, baking, quality time & being outside.

{all my favorite things!}

life is SO good.

all these beauties were growing in our yard!

i was lucky enough to get these two all to myself on saturday! we had a fun trip to the farmers market

lola totally rocks this harmonica. she’s a natural!

i put this *free* compost tea to good use on all my plants!

i helped celebrate a friends marriage in a lovely little wooded nook

i enjoyed quality time with this guy…

…reading in our hammock, side by side (day 19)

also…

day 20. something i can’t live without

and the sun goes down on another great weekend…

did you take full advantage of the lovely weather this weekend?

day 15. love.

day 15.

he said he would build me a new garden. the old plot had become too shady and really overgrown.  he planned, he thought, he contemplated, be built, he planned some more. i started feeling worried that we would run out of time, that the garden wouldn’t be ready for planting. i couldn’t always see or understand his vision. but i also knew he would come through. and he did! months ago i told him the official planting date is mothers day. well, he worked all weekend and finished this project sunday night! and it’s great! i absolutely LOVE it!

so far i have planted all my pepper plants (all hot pepper for him!) and i have plotted out where the rest of our crops will go. everyday i will sow some seeds and by the weekend we should have a fully planted garden! then we wait some more!

i’ll keep you updated on our garden progress throughout the summer. but i want to know, what are YOU planting? do you have a backyard garden, community garden, potted garden, front yard garden, windowsill garden…? please share!

photo-a-day & motivation.

day 2. skyline. this is my favorite skyline. i mean, i love the cityscape of chicago, new york, cincinnati- heck almost every city skyline I have seen makes my heart jump in excitement, even if i’m just passing through. it’s alive in there- bustling, busy and exciting. but the skyline of my backyard including my man & my 2 furry babies, well that just makes me melt with contentment. it’s peaceful and funny and home. no matter what kind of day i have had, how we have annoyed each other, somehow the backyard is a safe zone. somewhere we can escape and just be quiet- whether working side by side, me watching him work (because he won’t let me help), or laying together in the hammock. the dogs go crazy over people & dogs passing by the back fence, but we *mostly* just let them bark. they are happier when we are out there with them.

side note: see that butt up in the air? well, that’s mike alright, digging holes for the first 2 posts of the new garden space. i can’t speak entirely for him, but i can say our motivation levels for getting that garden ready are completely different. it’s a challenge. don’t get me wrong, without him none of this work would be done (i just physically can’t do it). it’s just…i want it noooooow! (insert veruca salt whiny voice). isn’t it just like that though? when there’s something you want done but can’t do it yourself, you are on someone else’s time. and it’s just too bad if it isn’t done noooooow. mike just really likes to take his time. and that’s okay, because when he does things at his own pace he does a bang-up job!

day 3. something i wore today: mah runnin shorts & shoes. oh yeah. don’t get too excited, folks…it will be slow going for me. here’s the dish: at my recent check up on my back, my doctor was concerned about the lack of healing. the fact that i still have considerable pain, discomfort, and lack of mobility compounded her worries. she said we have 3 options- 1. possible 3rd surgery to put a spacer opposite the one they put in last march, 2. put me in a contraption called a “bone stimulator” (4 hours a day, uncomfortable and very expensive), and 3. physical therapy out the wazoo. we obviously decided to start with #3 so that i hopefully don’t need options 2 or 1. so, that’s the story behind the walking shoes today. physical therapy is expensive too, but walking i can do for free. so we start here. i can’t walk for very long or very fast, but hopefully i can work through the pain and get to a place of real healing.

so i think i just put that down here so i will stay motivated (yeah, health and the threat of surgery should be enough…but you know sometimes pain just keeps me down) i sit a lot during the day sewing and get stuck (once i start i don’t like to stop!) and i often forget to move, stretch and walk. telling *you* here might just hold me a little bit accountable.

so here’s to a healthy back and getting on track! (ha! i’m a poet!) thanks for being here, friends.

april wrap up.

whew. what a busy month. i feel old because i keep hearing myself exclaim about how quickly time is passing these days.

april brought us rain showers and cooler weather (compared to our july-like march). i spent most of the month in my studio and traveling. the traveling was either work or family related and neither trip was all that enjoyable. wait, let me elaborate: the first trip was all the way to chattanooga for a show. the company was fantastic, but the show was so-so. it’s so hard to judge a thing like that, though. did we make a lot of money? absolutely not. did we have fun, meet new people, see a new place? absolutely. it’s all about perception. and that can change by the minute! the second trip was to detroit for a funeral. again, not pleasant, but it really was nice to spend time with extended family we don’t see often. it was also nice to learn more about mike’s grandmother- things neither of us knew. for example, she was a very talented artist! what a pleasant surprise!

and so, our last few days of april were spent recouping, redecorating, and getting back to work.

*since i didn’t post the photo-a-days for the end of april, here you go, my friends*

day 16. dandelions count as flowers.

day 17. something i don’t like…being in a funk.

day 18. prettiest hair ya ever did see

day 19. orange oilcloth on my work table. i love staring at this everyday!

day 20. something i drew.

day 21.

day 22. possibly my favorite purchase ever.

day 23. growing peas.

day 24. every single day.

day 25. i love watching these peonies transform.

day 26. dramatic shot of the wind chime my mama made me.

day 27. obsessed with the chattanooga aquarium building.

day 28. flea marketing with sally.

day 29. pepper plants are anxious to get in the ground.

day 30. the hammock was hanging for 1 day. then the rain came.

**and just in case you missed it, here’s the whole list!**