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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fall Wreath

Hi everyone!

Happy fall!  It got cold last night, which inspired me to finish my fall wreath.  I really love having my front door reflect the season, and this wreath was easy to do.

This wreath was inspired by the HGTV post below.

The Halloween decorating experts at share step-by-step instructions for creating a festive pumpkin wreath with putka pods that look just like tiny pumpkins.:

I made my own version, almost exactly like theirs.  I used the following products from

Burlap Ribbon (used for past projects)

Wait, what?  I didn't own a glue gun prior to this project?  No, I didn't good reason.  I just never really needed one before.  Forgive me, please, fellow DIYers.

Anyway, I started out by spray painting the white foam wreath orange.  I thought it would allow me to have to fill in less of the wreath.  I was wrong.  

Then, I began attaching the putka pods, these adorable small pumpkin like seeds.  They really look like mini-pumpkins.  I needed 1.5 bags to finish the wreath - about 1/5 of the bag had discolored or broken seeds that I did not want to use.  It took several hours broken up over several days, due to scheduling difficulties (vacation).  Here are some shots of the wreath in progress.

Once I had it mostly covered, I hung it up on the door to see where the lack of coverage was most obvious.  I did this several times until I had filled up every viewable area on the wreath.  I started with the inner rim, which took some creative positioning.  I finished with the outer rim, which took similar positioning.  I basically hung the wreath on my knee and then rotated it as I glued on the pods with the glue stick.  If there were large gaps, I glued another pod over the gap.  I went all the way on the inner rim to the back edge, because when you open the door, you see the sides and inside of the wreath.  By the time I was finally done, even the boyfriend agreed I had not missed a spot!

He thinks it looks awesome, by the way.  As do I.  It has great color variation and I even love the random ones on the edge.  I had some burlap ribbon on hand, so I added it as well.  I am not very rustic, but I think its the touch that the boyfriend likes the most.  I have plenty left to even those out if I hate it in the future.  And it seems durable, more so than my spring wreath.  Time to get out the rest of the home decorations.  Hooray for fall!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Virginia and DC short trips

Hi everyone,

I've decided to add a travel element to the blog.  The boyfriend and I like to get away now and then, to try to relax/escape from our demanding work schedules and give our brains a break from science.  We usually spend time relaxing (sleeping), reconnecting (zzzzzzzzzzz), and having avid discussions about current events (snore).

A few months ago, we went to Alexandria, VA.  We stayed in Old Town Alexandria, which was great for shopping and restaurants.  It was also conveniently located so that we could take in a Nationals game, which was amazing.  They have so many fan events there.  Even though the ballpark wasn't as nice as the Orioles and the food and beer was quite expensive, we greatly enjoyed ourselves.  We also went to the National Harbor for a brief visit, and enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch on the Harbor and some shopping.  The harbor was beautiful, but crowded.  I preferred the vibe and pace of Old Town and wish we had spent more time exploring there.  We also went to a local brewery, Port City Brewery, and enjoyed some tasty beverages.

We also went on a local historical tour over a weekend, as there are quite a few American history sites to see near us.  We started with Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.  We saw quite a bit of the house and grounds.  The wait for the house tour was forever, but we were able to see all of the grounds before we went in.  We did not have a chance to check out the distillery nearby, but really enjoyed ourselves.  I am apparently fascinated by relevant American history.  Sorry, Mr. Pulford (high school history teacher).  It came on late.

Next, we went to Harper's Ferry.  We stayed in a nice bed and breakfast just up the street from the park.  The park is massive and beautiful.  We walked down some old train tracks and started to go through some hiking trails.  The museum there is fascinating, with a pretty even handed account of John Brown's rebellion and the players involved.

Lastly, we went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's estate.  I am actually not a big fan of TJ's, particularly after reading some historical fiction on the matter years ago (Sally Hemmings, The President's Daughter).  Still, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  Monticello was amazing: agricultural yet industrial, inventive yet traditional.  We had amazing tours of the grounds and the house, as well as the slave history.  We also went to the UVA campus and walked around - very beautiful.  We got a little bit of Baltimore culture there - saw Poe's room!  We (of course) then went to a few local breweries and samples some flavors.

The boyfriend and I greatly enjoyed ourselves and were able to relax.  We like to visit nearby areas when we travel in order to see as much as possible.  Still, I would go back (particularly to Alexandria) for a day or two, just to hang out.  Good times!

Any recommendations for other local trips or the above places?

Sad news

Hi everyone,

Sad news.  Our home was burglarized.

If you remember from our early posts, I did say we lived in Baltimore City. And that we got an alarm system immediately after we purchased the house.  We knew this would happen someday.  It finally did.

First of all, it was a minimal theft.  Someone walked onto our porch at 3 am and stole some of our new potted herbs.  Two basil plants and another plant.

No one was harmed.  We actually caught the robbery on our new Ring camera/doorbell, but did not wake up to the alarm.  We reported it to the police.  We know the thief - she walks her dog in our neighborhood at odd hours in the morning.  We are pretty sure we will catch her.

Our neighbors have been incredibly supportive.  A few other neighbors have had plants stolen before and after our theft.  A neighbor offered us some replacement basil that is now potted and sitting on our porch.  It has been a blessing getting to know people on our block in this madness.

We are going to continue to leave our potted plants and herbs on our porch.  The previous basil was growing so well that the boyfriend had repotted some cuttings to give away to our neighbors.  If the thief had just asked, we would have given her some as well.  We are not going to let her actions change our lives.

We are incredibly grateful that the crime was so minimal and that no one was harmed.  Still, I have trouble understanding why anyone would steal plants.  The pots were small, inexpensive, and lightweight.  The plants were small but bountiful.  It is difficult to conceive.

I am working on a few other projects that I will be sharing with you soon.  A new fall wreath and hopefully some completed rooms.  I've been buying more pillows.  And we've been traveling.

More soon,