Saturday, May 23, 2015

Somerville Gardens

For years I have sketched and planned my dream garden, keeping a folder with magazine clipping for inspiration. One look at my collection, you would immediately know my style is a cottage garden. You'd think in my former life I was an old English lady. 

So when I first saw the pictures online of our house late one night, I so was excited! After searching for a home with a good size yard for over 6 months, I was hopeful the the house would meet our needs. I drove by the house the next morning even though I knew I'd be late to work. The lot was huge, approximately 10,000 sq ft with the front yard wrapping around a corner with huge lollipop shaped bushes. I half expected to see a white rabbit appear with Alice in Wonderland chasing it. 

We were able to meet our realtor that very day during my lunch break. I was immediately sad once we walked into the house and the strong cigarette smell hit me. We followed our realtor as he showed us the house. I tried to see the positive side, it had our basic needs, but I was anxious to see the back yard. 

Once outside I was happy the pictures didn't show how large the yard really was. I could see our Adirondack chairs on the patio, our patio furniture would be perfect under the three large shade trees, the large overgrown bushes just need a good pruning, and a large side yard that would be perfect for a vegetable garden. But that cigarette smell! 

With a lot of discussion and fear we decided to buy the house.

Before pictures
Perfect trees for shading the patio furniture
Side yard pictures 
Perfect for the vegetable garden

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fixer Upper

At the end of 2013 we began our home search, it was time to buy a new house. As many home buyers encounter, we had to make a choice of buying a renovated property or a fixper-upper. Do we pay top dollar for a house that wasn't quite our taste or find a house that had the basics we could work with? After 6 months of a long exhausting process, looking at dozens of homes we found one that met our basic needs: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with a large kitchen, and on a large lot (at least 7,500 sq ft). 

The former owner, a smoker and elderly, had not maintained the large 10,000 sq ft property for decades and it contained most of the original features. The only "updates" were circa 1970's with stick on mirrors tiles, wood paneling, and acoustic ceiling. The 1950's home was essentially a gut job. Trust me, my husband and I questioned ourselves if we were making the right choice. But I saw past the tar and nicotine stained ceiling and walls, old cracked tile, filthy linoleum caked with years of grease, and the large overgrown jungle in the yard. What really sold me was the yard. What I saw was potential... A beautiful garden.

Before Pictures

Once we were given the keys after a thirty day escrow, it finally sunk in, we had a lot of work to do before we could even think about moving in. Luckily Mr. S was able to take a break from work do a lot of the demo, clean up, and coordinate the contractors with the renovations. 

The long list of renovations Phase 1: 

Upgraded the electrical panel and replaced the mast, the original panel only had 4 breakers which had to be updated in order to accommodate the new air and heating unit. 

New air conditioning and heating system - you can't survive the summers in So Cal 

Sand and refinish the hard wood floors - we were so lucky in that the floors were in excellent shape, no pet or water stains! 

Stripped and repaired the walls before painting, yes that included stripping the stick on mirrors, and paneling. Luckily, the acoustic ceiling didn't contain asbestos so Mr. S could scrape it off himself. 

Crown molding in the living room and dining room.

Window covering - Blinds for all the rooms except for the living room and kitchen which we had custom plantation shutters installed.

Replaced all the lighting fixtures. 

New garage door. 

While waiting for contractors doing work on the inside of the house, Mr. S chopped down one tree and two overgrown bushes, two of which were Lantana bushes that were each the size of Volkswagen Bug! 

Work in progress...

Patched wall and floor where the old furnace was removed
 wood floor being sanded 

Master bedroom sanded down and ready for stain
The floors turned out better than I expected and the base molding is being installed
 New chandelier in the dining room

Accent wall in our bedroom with my chandelier we brought from our old house
The new front door was the finishing touch.

We decided the bathrooms and kitchen would be renovated in Phase 2 because they were in usable condition. After eight long weeks we finally moved in!

Hello old friends!

Wow it's been a long time since I posted on my blog! It was Colin Firth Day January 2011. Life takes over and some things change. After lots of thought, I'm going to start writing again. Hopefully my busy schedule will not get in the way.

What's old...
Still teaching 2 days a week and working in the fashion industry.

Still chasing cyclist in Lycra.

Still have my top 5 list, but unfortunately life has been too busy with the house to go to many movies or premieres.

What's new...
I bought an new house, well new for me, it's a 65 year old fixer! And boy does it need a lot of love. The former owner was an old man who smoked and the last time the house was "updated" was circa 1970's complete with stick on mirrors, wood paneling and acoustic ceiling. So it's a complete gut job. I feel as if I'm living on a home show, only that Mr. S and I are funding the show!

What's the plan? I always have a plan!

Oldies, but goodies - I will still write about my old favorites, movies and cycling.

My home renovation experience, it's a work in progress, but it's fun and exciting! 

The garden... we broke ground last thanksgiving weekend and the yard has since been nicknamed "Somerville Gardens". I'll be posting about lettuce, pumpkins, and the large rototilled dirt patch that is presently my front lawn. 

Fashion! After all, that's what I do! 

There will be some changes and cleaning house, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Colin Firth Day

9:30 am and only a few people at the barriers waiting for Colin Firth to receive his Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Pig N Whistle on Hollywood Blvd.

Next door to the Pig N Whistle is the Egyptian Theater

At the barrier waiting for Colin. How many more hours?

1/2 hour to go and the crowd is building and the press is getting into position.

George Pennaccio our local Hollywood reporter from ABC 7
Finally the ceremony has started and Colin is receiving accolades for his body of work.
Guy Pearce has nothing but wonderful things to say about working with Colin in King's Speech.

Colin thanking everyone.

Posing with everyone for photos.

Colin made his way down the barrier before and after interviews to greet all the fans.

He was so gracious with his time.
Just when the security guard announced it was time for him to leave he saw me holding up my picture I wanted to have autographed over the lady's head in front of me.
He said, "Do you have a pen?"
I had the pen ready, so he reached for it over the lady's head between us. He autographed the picture and handed it back to me. I yelled, "Thank you!"
He smiled and said to the crowd, "I'm sorry, I have to leave."
Mission accomplished!
This is the picture that Colin autographed. It was taken last January (2010) at a screening of A Single Man.


Friday, August 6, 2010

My Students Making it Work!

Another quarter and already that time again!

The assignment: My students had one hour to design two garments in pairs. They could pick from the provided fabric, but they could not cut it up. So with pins and fabric this what they came up with:





Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chasing the Green Jersey

Check out my new blog dedicated to my other obsession -- Bike Racing.
It's still a work in process, but I've posted the pictures I took at the Amgen 2010Tour of California.
Click here: Chasing the Green Jersey

Here's a sneak peak:

Andy Schleck pointing at me. LOL! I take no credit of the getting the autograph. Megan got it signed while I was camped out waiting for Chris Horner.
Mark Cavendish definitely doesn't look happy with our mountains.

But I see a slight smile on Mark's face. I think we made him laugh because we were running after him and calling his name.

I think Mark thinks I'm stalking him after 3 days of following him. LOL!
Chris Horner remembered me from the day before and gave me his full signature instead of just initials. So sweet! After going to see him race for 10 years I finally have an autographed picture!
The most successful year at the Amgen Tour of California! I can't wait until next year!