Friday, May 25, 2012

Left Behind: Inherited Items Discovered in Our New Home

Buying a home brings all kinds of emotions boiling to the surface--excitement, hope, terror... And of course, it brings an enormous amount of home improvement projects. But those things are boring unless it's your own house, so instead, for my first "First Home" post, I'm posting a photo journal. Not a photo journal of the house, per se, but rather of all the odd things bequeathed to us by the previous owners.

This is the front door, with a large, odd ship carving. (They had to leave the door though, so it probably doesn't count as part of the photo journal of "left behind" items.)

In the front yard we found this sturdy, handmade wooden rocking chair. I love it.

 We inherited a chicken coop (I think?), but no chickens,

a bird bath (full of dirt) with a stone squirrel, 

and a rather spacious pen with a rabbit hutch.

Our inherited decor includes this bird light switch,

and this Noah's Ark wind-chime.

This geode ashtray was tucked in a kitchen drawer and will probably get no use as an ashtray,

but we might use this sack of potatoes, also stashed in a kitchen cabinet.

 On the fridge we found a dry erase note board complete with someone's number, but more importantly, they left us the magnet with the contact information for a plumber... Did they know something we don't?

And in a drawer with a few photos of children and appliance manuals, we found an important reminder: Bring zucchini!

Lastly, we found this guy hiding under the deck.

What odd items have you inherited when you've moved into a new place?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

3 Reasons to Visit Point Defiance Zoo

In case you weren't aware of the entertaining, educational and relaxing venue for patrons of all ages and interests, consider yourself updated! There is an amazing zoo in Tacoma, WA that you simply must visit this spring/summer, especially if you have never been or haven't recently visited. 

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium used to be the neglected step-sister of the Woodland Park Zoo, but incredible vision, planning and hard work have made PDZA one of the premier zoos on the west coast. Breeding programs, exhibit designs, educational programs and live animal presentations propelled this city-run park into the nation's top tier of animal facilities.

So why should you go?

3.) The weather.
Western Washington has had a couple of really tough summer seasons with temperatures lingering in the 60's, and clouds dominating the Doppler for months. Not so this year! It's only May and I have already worn shorts to work several times! Amazing. The outdoor exhibits are delightful to view on these brighter days, as tigers and tapirs lounge in the sun. They also make good days for picnicking on the zoo's lawn. 

2.) Babies. The fuzzy, striped or spotted kinds that steal your heart on sight. Point Defiance participates in a number of breeding efforts as part of Species Survival Programs. The keepers' diligence and experience is paying off this year as the zoo welcomed meerkat babies, clouded leopard cubs and just this week, a litter of endangered red wolf pups.

1.) The Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater.
I'm a little biased on this one, but I'm declaring the new animal show as the number one reason to visit Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium this season. The show debuting this year is the fast-paced, animal-filled "Captain Adventure vs. Dr. Do-Nothing," featuring a cast of characters including Tilli the aardvark, Cactus Jack the porcupine, Caper the macaw, Herald the Wonderdog, and many more. The show is geared toward children, but audience members of all ages are feeling inspired to get up and try some fun outdoor activities.


I'll see you there!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Several of my family members have April birthdays, and I knew I wouldn't have time to make a cake for the joint birthday party we were having, so I brainstormed some craft projects I could give as gifts. I decided on decoupage coasters, inspired by these ones. Mine had a bit of a different flavor though, since I was making four sets, for four very different people.

The first set I tried was for my brother-in-law, who loves the show Arrested Development (who doesn't?!). I printed out the sequence of photos from Buster's encounter in the photo booth, though I forget which episode it's from. I cut the pictures out and glued each one onto a tile and painted over them with three coats of decoupage glue. Then I cut squares of felt and hot glued them to the backs of the tiles.

Simple! They looked pretty good, but I wanted to be sure that hot beverages and moisture wouldn't damage them, since they are coasters after all. I sprayed them with two coats of sealant to finish the job.

I wish I had taken a photo of the whole set of the Arrested Development coasters! I did remember to take photos of the Mario Brothers 3 set I made for my brother, as well as the Doctor Who set I made for my dad's wife.

I liked them all so much I wanted to make duplicates for myself! I will post more photos of the next sets as I finish them. Not only did these coasters work as personal gifts for anyone--print family photos on a set for Grandma, Monet paintings on a set for an art lover, etc.--they were also very inexpensive to make. The tiles cost 13 cents at Home Depot (or 16 cents at Lowe's), and felt is 33 cents a sheet from any craft store. I also tried adhesive felt, which was easier than hot glue and less messy. This would still only run you about a dollar per set of coasters. I already had the decoupage glue, but it runs about 7 dollars a bottle.

Have fun!