Demolition & Seaglass Weekend

We knew it was going to be a busy, full weekend. To kick it off, we had chocolate croissants from Trader Joes and extra good coffee. (If you have not tried the frozen, bake-at-home croissants, do it NOW). Powered up with a tasty breakfast we were ready to tackle the weekend.

#1 priority: start demolition on the [old guestroom] new dining room closet. The closet sits between the [old guestroom] new dining room and kitchen…aka, the wall that is coming out! We started by moving furniture into the basement and into the corner of the room and covering it in plastic. Then taped thick paper to protect the floors. Matt worked on disconnecting the electrical and labeling circuits so that we could take down the drywall.

While Matt destroyed walls I worked on seaglass mobiles and shipping orders (!) for the Etsy shop. I officially launched last week and have had great feedback and 6 sales! So exciting! I also ran a giveaway on Instagram/Facebook which was a learning experience and fun. So awesome to see so many people engaged with my shop and creative process!

I have added more mobiles (new and past designs) to the shop and standardized $5 shipping for all orders. If you have not checked it out, please do and let me know what you think!

Sunday morning we each took an hour to ourselves. I worked on mobiles (surprised?) and Matt played some computer games. We took a quick walk down to the beach, and then it was back to work. Goodbye closet!

This week we need to figure out a final molding plan for the house. We are going to take out 99% of what is there (very standard, very boring molding) and put up bigger, 1920s era pieces to bring back the house’s original character. We also need to take a dump run because we have piles of drywall and lath everywhere! So proud of my hand husband for taking on this project!

 

Teamwork

It takes a team to stay sane in our house at the moment. The kitchen table is covered in seaglass projects in progress. I launched my Etsy store this week and I am cranking out mobiles to keep it well stocked. Thank goodness Matt is supportive in me spending every spare second working and is helping out as my official shipper!

Our living room and new guest room, while not actually in construction, are staging areas for renovation materials, tool, barrels of demo debris, and storage for lots of furniture. Things are basically a wreck! And we are still smiling. Matt has been removing the built in closet storage in the old guest room closet…the closet that will go away this weekend to make room for more kitchen! Storing all our furniture has been a challenge without a garage (one of the major downsides of our house).

This morning I was rushing out the door to work, and did not have time to eat breakfast. Matt had made me eggs and toast and I was trying to do it all. Shovel in eggs while buttoning up my coat. How did we make it work? I asked him to blow on the eggs while I ate so that I could get them down as fast as possible. Teamwork at its finest.

Happy Friday.

Introducing…!

It has only been only two months, but I am rolling rolling rolling with a creative endeavor that I cannot wait to share!

Remember all that seaglass? And those sparkly mobiles? They are now the official products and efforts of Sun Turtle Studio!

 

After lots of interest and positive feedback (and self-reflection that I cannot just hoard this glass and DO want to keep collecting!) I decided to embark on a new journey of starting my own business. Yes, this is just a side business and will in all likelihood remain that way, so I live and breathe seaglass in my evenings, weekends and water taxi commute. I have started an Etsy store (launching next week!), a facebook page, new email address and have my WA state business license. I am feeling legit.

So where am I in the process?

Inventory was critical to launch the Esty store. Then there was pricing, documenting expenses, setting up an inventory sheet, making a few custom orders…now I need to focus on photographing and uploading items to my store. And working on a logo. I am also planning to diversify my products and have signed up for a bezel setting jewelry course! Rings and pendants may be in the works!

Big launch announcement next week…with a GIVEAWAY! Stay tuned for more, and thank you for all the support!

In the meantime, follow along on facebook or Instagram, #sunturtlestudio

 

Spring Planning

Winter sunshine has turned back into rain (not snow, boo!) so that has me dreaming of gardening and spring. I clicked over to one of my local farmer/florist inspiration blogs to see if her amazing sweet pea seeds were back in stock. I have been eyeing these for two years now and finally bit the bullet. Two I wanted were already out of stock so maybe I can remember to check earlier next year! I cannot wait to grow more of these in my garden. These are the beauties I picked for this year (photos from Floret website):

If you have not checked out Floret, you should. Now. It is stunning and Erin is such an inspiration for family, farming and following your dreams.

All We Did (and a recipe)

After a week back in the office (hello water taxi/bus commute!) I envisioned a weekend of progress on our remodel. Finish the closet drywall, take down the plastic and start priming and painting walls. Right?

Ha. We spent the weekend in glorious slow mode. Sleeping in. Drinking coffee and taking long walks to the beach. We went to two beaches on Saturday and one on Sunday (can you tell we love living on an island?). Spent 3+ hours walking, listening to the waves, picking up agates, sea glass and driftwood. It was magical. We brought home bags of glass. All perfectly frosted and in a beautiful array of colors.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and sorting glass, cleaning and drying driftwood, and cooking. And sitting in the hot tub. Bending/squatting down on the beach for hours does wear out your back and legs. We made our favorite soup with fresh made chicken stock, and ate in front of episodes of Parenthood and It’s Always Sunny.

The renovations did not get touched. We continued to navigate around the plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling. I did not make any mobiles. Progress on those projects will get tackled this week while we feast on delicious leftovers.

Kale, Sausage, Bean Soup

Our favorite go-to, especially with fresh kale from the garden. Awesome with a hot baguette.

  • 1 package sausage, out of casings (we like spicy Italian)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 32 oz can tomatoes (diced, or if whole, cut into pieces with juice saved)
  • 16 oz chicken stock
  • 16 oz water
  • 2 bunches fresh kale, destemmed and ripped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans garbanzo or white beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan rinds (optional but totally amazing if you have them)

Cook sausage out of casings until golden, remove and set aside. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and juice, stock, parmesan rinds, oregano, parsley and kale. Simmer until kale is wilted. Add beans, sausage, basil and extra water and simmer until kale is tender.

Enjoy topped with grated Romano cheese and hot pepper flakes.

 

 

Notes to Twenty Sixteen

Yesterday I met a friend for coffee. We met in our go-to coffee shop for an hour of laughter and talking, catching up about holiday travel, to-be boyfriends (her) and spouses (me), art, photography, plans for the future. It was wonderful. I have made these metups a priority since starting my daily trek into the city. Living on Vashon has been isolating in good and challenging ways. We are farther away from old circles. At the same time, life is changing for those circles. New jobs, kids, relationships, and life pull everyone into every more complicated full days. It is hard to make time for weekend meetups regardless of how close our homes are. That said, our friend social calendar has been pretty void. Coffee dates and lunches with girlfriends are my go-to social engagements and it is truly a highlight for me. Major priority to continue this year.

While waiting for Sheryl to arrive, I pulled out my little purse notebook to jot down thoughts. Years ago my friend Jenny gave me a small green notebook, and I have carried in my purse ever since. It does not get much use, but does contain some pretty significant notes, doodles and thought streams. It is always there when I need to jot down ideas. I filled a page with what is roaming in my head…a good thing to get down so I can actually focus!

So what I am focused on? Well, work is good and new. I have a new boss and a bigger team. After a year of challenge with too many tasks outside of my wheelhouse (both skill and interest) I am invigorated to tackle more projects that are what I love to do this year. This new team needs my skills for their projects, and they want to take the stuff I hate! Win win!

Second, art is constantly on my mind. I am thrilled to report that I have officially applied for a business license (!) and am going to be kicking off my Etsy store and possible local sales as soon I have enough inventory built up. I am thrilled, excited, ecstatic, energized by this. I needed a creative outlet more than I realized. Much more to come in the next weeks and months. Stay tuned.

I am also constantly on the ideation track for our home projects. Last weekend we designed a new fireplace. And built-in bookshelves. Now I need to buckle down and find some more matching kitchen cabinets to finish our space. And source some more locally produced reclaimed brick veneer. All these ideas are leading to more excitement about reclaimed building materials in general. I seem to always come back to old buildings, reclaimed materials, historic remodels…a slow backburner idea for a possible future career path.

Random: we started growing our own mealworms yesterday. Chicken food! Matt says he could become the Vashon kingpin of mealworms.

And finally travel. We love to go and explore new places. In 2016 we have NOTHING on the books. There are a handful of exciting destination weddings in the wings so that may be what we build around. Alaska in June is sounding very likely. Travel budget was eaten by remodels so we are trying to plan on a major budget. A good challenge but takes up brain space.

We are thankful that we are in good health going into 2016. Feeling strong and capable and happy. Matt loves being home and I love that he is embracing that role. Yesterday he deep cleaned the fridge! I am feeling thankful for health insurance so I can get my sore neck spot looked at next week. I am feeling grateful for being near family so that we get so see them more often. 2016 is going to be a good, full year.

Frosted New Year

The end of 2015 was full for us. Even with our house mid-construction, we had a very Christmasy season with 5 days of family celebration and cheer. Matt got me the most thoughtful surprise gift: a Griswold cast iron muffin pan…one that I had been coveting for ages and then totally forgot about! We have made epic cornbread muffin 4 times in the new pan and let me tell you, oy! They are good!

I spent the week leading up to Christmas making mobile after mobile as gifts. I am refining my technique and cannot wait to make more! Next up is settling on a name for my little company and selling these beauties locally and maybe on Etsy.

Matt and I collected seaglass a few times but with winter tides it is hard to fit them in during daylight up here. Then on New Year’s, he and his brother explored a new beach and found my new favorite hunting grounds: perfectly tumbled and abundant seaglass!!! I have completely overhauled my previous collection in favor of these gems. We have collected three times now and it has been so fun to sort these beauties. Lots of pretty pastels, including my first pink!

In addition to frosted glass, 2016 has been filled with frost of the cold winter variety as well. The ground has been frozen for the past few mornings and we were treated to a snowfall Sunday afternoon. It did not stick around (much to Matt’s dismay) but it was beautiful to watch.

Happy 2016!