About Me Community

Homemade Wedding

Has it already been a month?  Yes!

My husband and I wanted the wedding day we shared to be relaxed and fun, special and intimate, and personal in our home town. We wanted to share the great things about our place with our family and friends.

Beginning with our invitations which we made at home and had printed on plantable paper. These are a few pictures of our operation invitation. Our seed paper has yet to produce any wildflowers but I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

My husband drew this map to get guests from our church to the reception at The Farm.

I just love it!

The second large project I took on with my mother. She agreed, after some bribing and begging, to make my wedding dress with me! We clocked in at just under eighty hours, with 75% of those being hers. I kept a journal every time we met to document where we began, what we did to create the pattern, buy and cut the fabric, make mock assemblies, and finally sew and resew the seams until it laid exactly right! The day of my bridal photos was meant to be our dry run. We bought the veils to top it off and mom ended up sewing a few last stitches just before the pictures began! It turned out beautifully! More to be posted on the making of the dress soon.

We ate a celebratory dinner at The Farm restaurant!

A few homemade gifts were a set of pottery bowls that had been made in Astoria, Oregon as apart of a soup bowl project.

The beautiful bowls are made by  this pottery artist who hosts his own blog about building a kiln here in Ohio.

My aunt made our huge cake, and cut the initial toppers out by hand!

Below is a picture of a spoon bracelet. I remember commenting on my cousin’s this past Christmas.  She and her family remembered and I received one as a gift. I have been wearing it most days since.

A hand painted plate of our home.

A clock! Yes, hand crafted by one of our good friends. She even cut out the tiny date of our wedding if you notice it in the bottom right corner!

The jewelry I wore was by Juleray Designs. This woman owned business is right here in St. Clairsville and if you like what you see you may email her at She custom-made the ruby earrings you may have noticed at the top of my blog. A friend of mine gave me the rubies for my birthday, and I had Juleray Designs make dangles out of them.

Here is a fuzzy shot of the ruby earrings again.

Then, what wedding is complete without a custom couple logo?

My husband and I played around a lot while designing our invitations, and though the plantable envelopes wouldn’t cooperate with my printer to don this on each one, we still ended up incorporating washed out versions of this below.

About Me

Ten Minute Blog Challenge

Who’s up for the Ten minute Blog challenge?

My girlfriend and I for starters! You have ten minutes to upload an image and describe something about it, then, you post. The point? To get our your thoughts, even if it is only between two people, and feel a sense of accomplishment in completing the task!

Where did we get this idea?  For one, The Happiness Project.  Two, my girlfriend and I live in two different climates, on different continents, but we still have a strong friendship and inspirational goals between the two of us. So, this is a great way to keep track of one another, as if we lived just across the hall from one another. I am going to challenge myself with a goal of posting five times a week!  Why don’t you also check out my friends’ blog, Pencil In Hand to see what she is proposing!

What we intend to write about relates to what we share as motivation between the two of us when we call and write to each other. Also check out Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project to see how her project influenced this challenge!

Ah,…12 minutes.. done!

About Me

La La Land


I am floating on air, remembering the moments, on cloud nine.

Or, perhaps I am lost in a field with my husband.

We were married the second weekend of June.


Joe Krehlik with   Forever A Masterpiece in St. Clairsville captured the day, the seconds, the big laughs and happy tears. He and his wife took my husband and I around The Farm, the reception spot, at dusk to capture these pastoral views.  If you want to view them all on his website let me know.

Our friends took pictures too.  My great friend and college roommate took these. Julie Doerr took one of my favorites of my little cousin and I.

Beginning the week prior, our friends threw us a deck party with wedding bells and all. Our very talented friends put together a newly wed game, etched wine glasses with our initials, made a three-tier checkerboard cake, and entertained a comfortable setting around a fire pit for drinks and conversation.



We even had our own party mascot.

The weekend before our wedding we hosted our friends who drove from Louisiana, fit everything they owned, including their Kerbey, into a Prius and moved to Erie Pa for work and proximity to us!


We began to receive gifts from friends around town, we found a large composter on our porch that must have been dropped off in the middle of the night, artists painted plates depicting our home, letters and cards came by mail, and we began to be overwhelmed in the best way as friends and family shared in their excitement over the celebration we were about to engage in.

A color palette and a girlfriend book were opened from a friend who could not make it for the weekend, due to the fact that she had a little baby girl the Thursday before!  The orange bound book is a timeline of my friends, beginning with my mother, growing up in Louisiana, moving to Pittsburgh, spending time with my roommates at Virginia Tech, moving to Houston and ending with my favorite picture of engagement atop of Mt. Saint Helens last June.

We had a lovely time the week after too, sitting on our front porch writing about the past weekend, still being surprised by boxes in the mail,  opening everything in our living room~



But nothing compares to the days surrounding our weekend wedding. So, here we go!

The girls, meaning my sister, mom and mother in law to be, went to get our nails done Friday morning.  Here is my sister, Starbucks in hand as usual, in the pedicure chair.  We had lunch at Panera, and I must have been more nervous that morning; my usual hungry every-three-hours self had gone away, but was back by Saturday morning!  Friends from out of town came by our house all day Friday, visiting from Raleigh, DC, Chicago and Chile!

That evening at St. Mary’s Church we had rehearsal with our priest.  This was the first wedding he would be presiding over, everything seemed calm and easy.

We had dinner at the patio of Later Alligator in Wheeling WV.  This dinner spot specializes in crepes but served us fresh fish and potatoes for our special social event.  We sat beneath the red umbrellas, introduced guests, had homemade soaps with Bride & Groom sitting at our place setting, ate salads, croissants, and nutella deserts, mingled as the sun set and the patio candles lit our merriment.  We had an idyllic evening before my fiance and I had to say goodnight.  I went home with my family, enjoying the company of my God parents, grandma, brother sister and parents before I went to sleep.

Thunderstorms were predicted, the skies poured before we said our vows at St. Mary’s Church and the clouds opened up just as we stepped into the 1916 Cole car to arrive at The Farm.





There are so many things to remember. Some of my favorite stories are the ones I am hearing from friends and family.  Everyday there is a new story. What other day in your life have 150 of your closest friends and family helped to notice every second of your happiness?




About Me Architecture

Girl Friend Motivated Inspiration !?

Last night I opened up the latest House Beautiful to find a great young designer, Melissa Warner of Massucco Warner Miller , and her brilliant california apartment.


This ceramic garden stool she used in her living room looks like something I could break a piece off of and wear as a broach.

It is from of San Francisco.

 Then, I learned she is 30 and owns her own Interior Design and Decoration studio with her two best friends! Melissa describes in the magazine article how she enjoys choosing pieces for a room –FIRST,  the mirrored banquet, the high back chair with three-dimensional welting, the vintage sofa, the metal coffee table, the tulip lamps for the bedroom…  There are unlimited colors of paint, so why begin there? I enjoyed her inventiveness, her glass-topped tables and more. I suggest you check out the magazine.

And, while searching for the article online I stumbled upon two Boston best friends who host a site between themselves called Bellevue and Rose… oh girlfriends!

And, speaking of girlfriends I’ve had so many friends lately bring me up. First, I received a wonderful painting from my dear friend in Texas. She collaborated with her just-turned-two-year-old boy.

Can you see it up there on the wall by my desk?

My great friend in Chile has been painting and giving me mid-morning advice on my way to work about life, love, and bicycling. She told me that last Friday it was sprinkling in Santiago and she wandered around her city in the crisp evening rain. Wish I could be there too!

Finally, my best friend and her husband are moving close to me and my fiance! I am helping her to find a job so we can enjoy being healthy and active in an Ohio summer!

So, in honor of girlfriends and being forever inspired by them I wore a red floral print skirt and my walking urban boots to work today!


About Me Poetry

Slow Snow

A week ago we were hit with another snow storm.  20″ in a few days, and more on and off this week. First Friday will again be postponed to March.

The snow has been humbling, has made me slow, has made me more thoughtful, appreciate and concentrate on what I am doing. Being slow makes me conscious.

Our landscape is beautiful, our house set in a new landscape that is now at the clearing edge of a forest. The white forest looks like a land of baby’s breath, the hills are quieter, close, one color over the grave bumps and freshly tilled earth.

Neighbors are jolly, hellos are carried over the white landscape so easily, more pronounced and articulate, nothing to compete. We help one another and meet new people who live so close, we aren’t in a panic just a little stuck.

The snow falls in my favor, rolling out from my high and open windows like a sled pouring from the first story, covering the brick and sills meant to protect me from the ground and sky, now all blended into one white blanket. The sky has piled up, begins swirling in the middle of the street when I walk it is like someone walking beside me. I can see the wind and think it is still snowing, the diamonds crackling in the air, catching the moon on a clear night.

My neighbor’s freeze-dried flowers, the sandy snow covering a hilled layer of ice up to the top where you can peer over main street and most of the county from the vantage. The courthouse like a mountain on top of a mountain.

Driving is even more fun, driving through tunnels of snow as I make my get away to the highway.

About Me Architecture Dancing & Gymnastics

Space, Time, Architecture & Dance

As an instructor of Tumbling I am still learning about Architecture.

While I am learning about construction, constructing houses, setting trusses, wiring electricity, puttying walls…

I am learning about the part of architecture in perception, reasons for walls being the time and experience at which we move through a place where views are capped off, hidden and traded for something else more definite and prominent for that moment.  Sometimes architecture is a house that organizes daily life, other times architecture is a museum of pieces set out along our journey in an artful way so as to make our mind and body stumble together to capture a piece of resonating oddity.  For one second let our minds trip so as to glimpse the intense and happy evoking emotions this amazing and complex world has for us to enjoy.  That is Art.

I have gotten back into gymnastic teaching this year through a local dance studio, The Dance Difference.  While in architecture school I participated in the gymnastics club as an instructor and as a student.  Gymnastics pairs physical endurance with the technical skill of trusting your body and knowing the flying, twisting, hurling body’s reaction to gravity.

Since beginning at this studio in September I have learned much more than of lovely young ladies inspired to reach youth and the youthful with the poise and precision of dance.

I have always dreamed of dancing in a tall studio overlooking a town.  I am apart of this now, in this woman-owned business, dancing and tumbling two stories high with a beacon of light coming in through the tall rounded windows from the courthouse next door.

If you have never watched a ballerina perfect her balance through the delicate window panes, you must at least be able to  imagine how her silhouette must make the passerby pause.

In this experience I am learning again what role exercise tests our endurance of patience, brings us back to simple kinesthetic learning, how words of direction can be misinterpreted in one instant then fully embraced in the following explanation.  I learn how important exercise is to be agile in the body and also in our mind, keeping the rhythm of the two working together close to our heart.

I will be creating a routine to music for a spring recital.  In the past, gymnastic precision has been for the timely skills down the mat, one pass at a time, critiqued and finished in an instant.  Here, we create choreographed routines, set and played up against the music. My broadway selection is from the 1978 musical Grease. I drew a plan of the girls who would form this routine, listened and replayed the music while creating their gymnastic impressions.  This took a few hours to compose only minutes of a routine and last week I began teaching. In asking for assistance I spoke with the owner of The Dance Difference. Her  notes of dance and routine set up a list, side to side, with categories of time and words, dance steps aligned. 

I began comparing this to architecture and thought of composing mazes of walls alongside the orders of a home set toward its inhabitants. The time it takes to see a peek window is brought to you in the time it takes to walk the hallway.  The table edge you notice when you sit down to dinner and touch the corner. One will look toward the ceiling if there is a wall for support of the hand…all of this dancing in your house. The house is built on a standard of these secrets, moments only upon living there can the dweller enjoy their existance…a lifestyle set to the tempo of Andrew Bird, The National, or Lady Antebellum. Only now do I begin to understand and question what part ‘Time’ plays in Architecture, as it is the perception of parts over a course of time, places side to side, dance steps aligned that allow us to live in harmony with our space.

About Me Architecture Building Sustainably Environmental

What is Sustainable?

To me?

I am talking about the ways in which to live in and build with this world!

When talking about architecture, that means talking in terms of the materials it takes to construct a place. In the April 08 issue of Architectural Record I find great resources to cumulate together for my use as an architect and thought I would share:

The author, B.J. Novitski discusses the Life-Cycle Assessment – a methodology that quantifies the environmental impact of a material by examining how it is grown, harvested, transported, maintained, and eventually disposed of, computing costs in energy and water use, air degradation, and other factors…architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart offer their Cradle to Cradle (C2C) material assessment, product development, and certification to manufacturers.

McDonough and Braungart argue that when a product is made of appropriate materials and is designed so that its constituent parts can be recovered at the end of its useful life, any waste is “food.” The waste becomes raw material for the manufacture of more products…

…some rapidly renewable materials more green than others. The circumstances of production may cast a shadow on the sustainability of an agricultural product: Are fossil fuels, irrigation, or harmful chemicals used in its cultivation or manufacturing? Is the crop diverting acreage from food production? Are natural forests being destroyed to produce raw materials for construction? Does transportation consume inordinate amounts of fossil fuel?

Brendan Owens, USGBC vice president of technical development…points out that the term “renewable” should be considered in context. “If you’re using wood for structural framing in a house that will exist for 100 years, ‘rapidly renewable’ might be 50 years, because the resource regenerates in less time than one cycle of its use.”

So, lets talk about materials!

  Cork is the bark of cork oaks grown in the Mediterranean region. Unlike nearly every other tree species, it is not harmed by removal of its bark. A mature tree is stripped about once every 10 years and lives for an average of 16 strippings. The cork oak forests thrive without chemical herbicides, fertilizers, or irrigation and provide habitat for wildlife such as the threatened Bonelli’s Eagle and Iberian lynx. After stripping, the large slabs of bark are boiled, and bottle stoppers are punched from them. The leftover material is then ground up, pressed into sheets, and cut into tiles for flooring.

  Cotton is now being used for building insulation.  Bonded Logic in Arizona produces r-30 batts from post-industrial recycled denim, the scraps from manufacturing blue jeans, diverting about 200 tons of material per month from landfills!

  Natural linoleum, such as Forbo, is formed from a variety of rapidly renewable materials, including linseed oil, wood flour, and pine rosin. During production, the ingredients are heated, mixed, and rolled flat. The sheets are cooled, backed with jute, then dried and trimmed. Pigments that do not contain heavy metals are used to achieve a wide variety of colors and unusual flooring installations.

  Agriboard Industries  in Kansas, produces a composite structural panel from highly compressed wheat and rice straw sandwiched between oriented strand board…The panels provide both structure and insulation in wood floors, walls, and roofs…The manufacturing process combines heat and pressure, drawing lignin from the cell walls of the straw, and creating a natural binder that obviates the need for urea-formaldehyde or other additives. 

Environ Biocomposites makes a particle board combining wheat straw and sunflower hulls with urethane-based resin instead of the urea-formaldehyde binders.

   In only five to six years, bamboo grows to a height of 40 feet and a diameter of 6 inches, and can be harvested without killing the root system, which then regenerates it. The hollow stalks are cut into strips which are dried, planed, and glued together to form durable flooring, plywood, and veneers. Some bamboo importers, such as EcoTimber and Smith & Fong, now offer products without urea-formaldehyde and are encouraging Chinese foresters to move away from use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.

Bamboo is a case in point. This fast-growing grass is hard enough to be used as a replacement for wood in applications such as flooring and furniture. However, most bamboo is grown and processed in China, and there are concerns about forestry practices, the toxicity of binders, and worker safety. A few bamboo plantations have earned certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which accredits forests managed “to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural, and spiritual needs of present and future generations.” However, certified bamboo products are still not widely available in the U.S. And even though bamboo plantations sequester as much carbon as native forests, they do not support the same wildlife. What is more, while ocean shipping consumes less fuel per mile than overland trucking, the fuel used in shipping is more polluting. Clearly, the environmental balance is more difficult to calculate than by simply examining the length of a harvest cycle.

(all above descriptions of products taken from Architectural Record’s B.J. Novitski’s April 08 issue)

About Me Architecture

Beyond My Fascination with Legos

A good friend of mine works in Chicago at Studio Gang. Azure Magazine just ran an article on an interior project she worked on.  This is the start of the article..  Studio Gang’s Ballroom Blitz

More on Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture thoughts continued from my post a day ago, 1.5.10, Why An Architect…

Venturi’s manifesto makes the case that there are multitudes of reason and problems to figure out in architecture.  ‘Each contains within the whole contrasting scales of movement besides the complex functions.’ He states as certain ‘problems’. The complex form and building, scale and perception could be poor in relation to one scenario, but work significantly well as the whole.  So, here is his case of complexity and contradictions and examples throughout history for the case of working (great) architecture.

I believe Venturi’s reference to ‘modern’ architect means the architect now and I begin to daydream while reading of my own contradictions, tensions and fascinations…

I remember learing about Native American societies in the 3rd grade. Beyond my captivation with Legos, I had never been confronted with such great mazes, built across plains and in mountain sides. I always recalled the Mayan culture in Merida, but in researching my few leads I think I must have seen images from Mesa Verde.  Mesa Verde National Park – The First Pueblos 


Mazes and labyrinths represent a magic journey, an experience, something I enjoy tangling myself in. Looking at them from above they could be a house plan – a plan in which the space will direct the inhabitant. Like a house plan the maze leads people through in sequence to establish a rhythm, one that is parallel to their living.  Some labyrinths are used for meditation, as they were historically sought to.


 A part of architecture is establishing a set of rules which are derived from the intentions of the project. Venturi points out Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, and the structural rule of columns.  The grid is broken by elements necessary to conduct living in the Villa.

Alvar Aalto finds order from necessary elements in his work.  Look at the repetition of his Riola Parish Church. 


Venturi presents rules of structure citing Kahn’s proposal for a Philadelphia Office Tower

and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.



I am inspired with these thoughts of rules, and breaking the rules to construct living in structures. 

What about mixing Kahn’s wind braced tower with diagonal circulation, similar to Corbusier’s ramp circulation in the Villa Savoye?

About Me Architecture

Simplify your Lifestyle

Clean it out~

If you’ve lived in the same house for the past three years or longer it is likely that you have begun to fit newly acquired things in crevices, corners and newly found empty spaces.  I’ve moved about every two years for the last twelve, which has given me the chance to evaluate what I do and don’t use, and what I could get rid of for someone else to get better use of.  If I’m not moving I have to make a conscious effort to purge.

The best advice for dealing with too many things (like too many books on my bookshelf) is to imagine what it  means to be you now. Does my bookshelf define who I am and what I am interested in now? In the case of my closet, have I worn these clothes in the last eight months?  Why so or why not?  Do I use all of these blankets, dishes, these perfumes, read these magazines… I can get a little carried away with all of my things.

When I pare down what I own to what it takes to keep care of myself, to essentially what defines me and my interests, I find I have much less to worry about!

I learned this concept while traveling in Europe my junior year of college.  With only a back sack full of daily needs such as a camera, sketchbook and journal, I was able to spend three months with this bag and a small portable suitcase.  It took me a few months to determine exactly how much shampoo would get me through two weeks (there are stores in Europe!), how much detergent I would need if I were only bringing a weeks worth of socks, etc.  Again, perhaps a little overboard, but what I learned after three months of living like this, with so few things, was that I felt so free not having to be concerned with what I could not pick up and move with me.  It taught me how many things I pamper myself with during my typical daily routine and what I could do without at home.

I talked about the digestive system yesterday, which was spawned by reading an organizational book (to learn more about organizing my home) from author Karen Kingston. It was ‘Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui.’

 It was the first time I heard about Bagua, arranging a grid overtop of your house floor plan that tells you what each space in your home is related to.  I call it the Zen Grid. 

By desiring each entity in my life to be better I have in essence cleaned up most of my spaces to reflect how I utilize them the most – giving me a clearer vision of what I do and what I most enjoy.

Also, an article was featured in the NY Times yesterday about sharing experiences instead of stuff.  ‘In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less’  I learned about a young family jumping in a pink canoe to travel to small islands in the Biscayne Bay.  It was an inspiring little story.