Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trip to Little Rock

This is the same trip that I already posted about a little bit: The Wedding Weekend.  We made the trip primarily for my friend Elizabeth's wedding, but were lucky enough to get a long weekend out of it.  A couple of days before the trip I found out I would be able to take off work the Thursday and Friday after Independence day (I was already off for the 4th).  This allowed us to have some family time while we were there.  

Thursday night was pre-wedding fun, but Friday was a shopping day for my Mom and I.  We had lunch at a delicious Greek/Turkish place called Tatzikis and spent the afternoon out.  That night, my Dad surprised us with a nice dinner out.  We went to the Riverfront Steakhouse in downtown Little Rock.  We all got more steak than we needed and ate it all.  It was great!  We even finished it off with a raspberry cheesecake.  Thanks Dad!

 Saturday morning was Wedding time.  Saturday night we went over to my Grandparent's house in North Little Rock and had a Pizza dinner and homemade chocolate pie!  It is one of my favorite deserts my Nannie makes so I was super excited when I heard she would be making one for that night!

After dinner I forced everyone out to the garden for some family pictures.  I thought they turned out pretty nicely! - And the garden was a really pretty background!  My Nannie has always kept beautiful flowers all around them as long as I can remember.  That was always on of the first things she'd ask when we drove up to their old house: "Did you seem my flowers blooming?"  Love you Nannie.  

 Simon and I with Nannie and Papa

 Me and my parents.  My Dad made us laugh right before the picture so Mom and I are laughing in this one but I still think it turned out cute.  

 Group shot!

Us :)

Sunday morning we went to church and then out for a quick brunch before heading out.  The trip was a lot of driving, but being able to stay a couple of extra days made it even more worth the time!  It was great to spend some time with family, even if it wasn't a lot.  My parents (and grandparents at some point) are coming up to visit "soon" so I'm looking forward to that!  Thanks Mom and Dad for spending so much time with us when we're there!  Love you and we'll keep the memories of these fun times forever!! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Things and Peach Country

The end of June and into July has been an unusual time for us. Lots of exciting new happenings! Simon got to go on his first business trip so that was cool! He was gone for 9 days and went both to Germany and France observing some of the inner workings of the products his company makes. While he was gone I began my new job . So far I have absolutely loved my job. I am so blessed to work for such a wonderful family. I definitely look forward to going to work every day. The twins are so full of energy and life and they put me in a good mood the moment I walk in. I am excited to continue to get to know them!

So those are the new things.

Now, peach country:

My Nannie sent us a magazine article on the peach adventure available in South Carolina. The article talked about the peach festival and the Cooley brothers orchard and some cool restaurants in the area (about an hour from us). So on Saturday, 2 days after Simon got back from his business trip, we decided to take Southern Living's advice an explore this peach experience.
Out first encounter was the peach water tower. 

I didn't manage to get a very good picture but you can still tell what it is (picture no longer shown). We walked around the fresh outdoor market and got some fresh bell peppers.

Then we went to Hare and Hound pub for lunch and to just get out of the heat. (it has recently gotten very hot here and we aren't quite used to it yet). 

The town of Landrum is known for its antiques, we read, so we looked through 4 or 5 of the dozens of antique stores. We saw some neat things, including the carousel horse here. 

Well anyways, that was our peach country adventure. It was fun to explore more of the area and we saw some things not found just anywhere. Like this dog toilet paper holder. Ha.
I'm glad Nannie sent us the idea and we had the time to venture into new places in our new state.

Independence Day

To celebrate the forth we went out to lake Bowen with Simon's boss and some other friends we have met through him, along with some others we had never met. It was truly a hodge pose of people. A family of 6 from Mexico, an Austrian, two Frenchmen, 3 Germans, a German/Mexican family with a precious toddler, a sweet man from prague, an American family and me. There were a couple others who came and went along with 2 dogs and a family of ducks.

 We've met some interesting and friendly people since we've been here. They have all been very welcoming and it has made our transition easier! I think we made some new friends over this holiday on the lake. We got out there around 11 for a delicious brunch of croissants and Nutella and eggs. We spent the afternoon taking some boat rides, playing a few games on the shore, and watching all of the kids make dive after dive off the dock. 

They barbecued tenderloin for dinner and we had cheeses and salami (courtesy of the Frenchmen) and some crunchy baguettes. Once it got darker we made s'mores over a little fire and enjoyed the beautiful sunset before heading out on the boat to watch the fireworks shot off at the houses surrounding the lake. 

We loved feeling the relaxing slosh of the boat surrounded by the watery reflections of the fireworks that illuminated the sky. It was kind of magical and definitely a perfect way to end the holiday. 

A Wedding Weekend

This weekend Simon and I drove down to Arkansas for the wedding of a good friend of mine: Elizabeth Baker. We've known each other for years and I am so thankful we were able to make the drive because it was such a blessing to spend the time with her and celebrate this exciting time!!

We made it to Little Rock Thursday night in time for her bachlorette party so I was really excited about that! We had a fun time watching Elizabeth open all of her presents. We all caught up and listened to her honeymoon destination plans and what is in store in the near future for them. After lots of snacking we headed to the electric cowboy for some hilarious karaoke and good times.

Then Saturday was the wedding! Lizzy was beautiful and the wedding was completely pink. (I expected nothing less) Like in every wedding where kids are involved, there were the cute moments you couldn't predict. The little boy holding the "here comes the bride" sign was unsure and nervous and when he finally went, he ran at full speed down the aisle. The ceremony was so sweet and an always-appropriate reminder of the things we promised at our wedding. It made my heart happy to see Elizabeth and Paul starting their new lives along side such wonderful people and I can't wait to see what God has in store for them!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Home Improvement #1

One of the advantages about living somewhere more permanently, is the fact that you can really make it your home.  We have a long checklist of things we'd like to do and buy, and we set a certain amount of money aside each month to do so.

This month, I (Simon) made the first of three pipe shelves.  I have to give credit to my friend Ben, who we met at First Colony Church of Christ in Sugarland, TX.  He showed me a few shelves he made from black iron pipe, and Sarah and I both loved them!  I even told him that, one day, I would copy his idea and make one for ourself.  And we did!

Pipe Shelf Made from 1/2" Black Iron Pipe

The idea was to replace the bookshelf we previously had next to our desk.  An idea I had early on, was to have some sort of horizontal surface right next to the door to put outgoing mail, a check that needs to be deposited, or things of that sort.  When I go to work in the morning, I also tend to load up both hands with lunch, a drink, or whatever, and then don't have a hand free to grab my keys and lock the door.  So I knew I wanted some kind of table there.  


To keep with the rustic look, we bought an old section of 2"x10" from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $2.  I cut it to length with a circular saw, and drilled the holes for the pipe with a 7/8" Forstner bit.  

Detail View of the Wooden Board

The easiest aspect of using pipe to make a shelf is also a challenge: infinite possibilities.  You can virtually do any shape and anything you want, so it took us a little bit to decide on the design for our bookshelf.  One thing you have to make sure of, is to screw the flange into a stud.  Because black iron pipe is exclusively used for gas, they don't make black iron floor flanges.  So I bought silver looking galvanized iron flange and painted it with a metallic Rustoleum spray paint.  It's not an exact match to the nipples, but close enough for me.  Some people spray paint all nipples and connectors to get a unified look, but  I had no intention of spending the time and money on that.  Besides, I live in an apartment, where would I do that!?

Mounted to the Wall Using a Flange
The individual pipes are called nipples.  You can buy nipples at your local hardware store in all kinds of sizes.  Starting at 2", they go all the way up to 6 feet.  I think that using shorter nipples and then connecting them with a coupling looks better than using one longer nipple.  This is probably the more expensive route to take, and some people might want a "flat" shelf without any couplings, so it's up to the designer what to do.
Detail View of Nipples and Couplings

The wooden board on top makes the whole shelf more substantial, I think.  As I previously said, I just drilled a whole for the pipe, and then sandwiched the board in between a coupling (shown in the picture below) and an end cap (shown in the detail view of the wooden board).

Detail View of How the Board Is Attached
I just kinda threw our books onto the shelf, so Sarah will probably rearrange them once she has time, but this is what the shelf looks like with books on it.  Again, this is only the first of three pipe shelves, but as they are not super cheap (this one was about $140), we're gonna have to make them one by one over the next few months. 
One more thing I'd like to mention:  because all nipples are screwed together, it's almost impossible to add or take away any part once it's on the wall, which means, the whole shelf needs to be assembled and then attached to the wall in one piece.  
Completed Shelf!