when i was in like first grade, i remember my teacher telling my parents that i might end up being an artist or something, because i was artistically ahead of most of the other kids in my class.

i was also taller than most of the kids my age.

but then they caught up to my height. i think they probably caught up to my artistic ability as well.
while i used to enjoy painting and drawing, that is sadly something that i haven't done in ages. any minor artistic inclinations i have now only get a chance to come out when i'm working on some kind of graphic design, or maybe decorating my house.

but lately i'd been itching to paint something. in fact, i even went out and got a canvas a couple months ago on a day when i was feeling particularly inspired. but then alas...i got busy, and it sat collecting dust in the corner of my office.

the other day though i ran across a picture that totally inspired me, so i determined to make myself sit down at some point this weekend and finally get to painting!

the inspiration:

is that not totally rad?!
it had me at hello.

so anyways, like i said...my artistic skill didn't advance with me too far beyond grade school... but i thought i'd take a stab at ripping off a watercolor world map...and maybe adding a bit of personalization! ;)

i have lots of friends from around the world. and my husband and i are from opposite sides of the globe, so a world map has a nice significance to me. and i thought i'd also add something to mark those places that are special to us.

so how did i make my creation?
i kind of cheated.

i printed out a rough graphic i had of the world. taped all the paged together to make a poster. exactoknifed that baby up. and then laid it over the canvas like a stencil.

if all turned out well, my hope was to hang my new piece of art over our fireplace.

no pressure!

i really needed it to turn out decent though, because my mantle was in need of a serious switcharoo.

when we moved into our house (2 years ago!), i just put up the same stuff that we had over the mantle in our apartment. which was much smaller.

so it looked a little dwarfed above the fireplace, and blended into the wall a little too much...but alas, i hadn't found anything else i really liked, at a price that i liked. :P so there it stayed.

i'm not good with mantles. i wish i was one of those people who changed it out every season...but that's never happened. at best it just gets some stockings added at christmas.

so anyways. enough mantle babble. are you ready for the grand reveal??!

don't get too excited.


lower those expectations.

it's not that impressive.

but...it was fun. that's what counts, right?

ummm. yeah.
so it definitely looks better the further away you get! :P
but i don't hate it.

did you like the little hearts on texas and india?!
i thought it was a romantic little touch! ;)

my husband can't get past the fact though that you can't properly distinguish the state of gujarat in india. but hey let's face it. there's a whole lot of stuff that can't be properly distinguished! you get the basic idea though. i would advise you not to try sailing around the world using this map as your guide. let's just call it an artistic interpretation. ;)

not bad though for a grand totally of about $15 and a couple hours time.

if i had it to do over again, i dunno if i've add all the splattering...it didn't quite achieve the whole effect i was going for. and i'd also blow up the map a little bigger so there would be less white space.

but for now. i say good enough.
i guess it will have to wait until i have another wave of artistic inspiration! ;)

as much as i love decorating and updating my house...i also have a hard time getting rid of things.

not so much in the hoarding kind of way...more in the sense that even if i don't love something, but it's still good and functional, i have a hard time justifying replacing it...even with something that i would love.

maybe that just means that i'm cheap. :P

i figure that by the time we pay off our house, then i should have things perfectly how i want them, because by then most everything will have fallen apart and needed replacing at one point or another anyhow.

all this to say, i have never been in love with the light fixtures in our house. but they aren't hideous or anything. they just have no personality.
but oh, i dream about things with character and texture.

in our dining room, i've secretly been lusting after something like this...

or this...

but alas. not a priority.
and like i said. the ones now work fine, look decent, and i'm cheap.

but then the other day the husband and i dropped by the local habitat for humanity restore...and i found this...

vintage capiz light!

for $2!! yes, that's right... $2.00!

oh, and did i mention that i have this other problem? of not being able to resist buying super cheap things...whether i need them or not! :P so home with us it went!

so now i have some decisions to make.
i love the shape and vintage white capiz against the dark wall of our dining room...
but is the fixture too small for that room? you can be honest with me now.

(this pic is just for scale...so try to imagine it actually hanging. :P)

it might work in our eat in table too. but it's not quite so dramatic there to me. maybe because of the proximity to the trash can. :P

i can't help but think that the irony of this is that someone probably ripped this light out of their house, and replaced it with something more like what i currently have.

i dunno why, but i love it.
maybe i was born in the wrong era.

next month we'll have been in our house for 2 years. it's hard to believe!

i love being a home owner. it's so fun to put our stamp on things.
and one area i've really been wanting to do something with is the curb appeal.

our house was just painted by the previous owners before we moved in. well, most of the exterior is brick, so i'm really just talking about the trims and shutters.

i don't hate the colors. but i'm definitely not in love them either. it's just a little blah. but it's still in pretty good shape, so we're just trying to work with what we've got.

however, our doors have seen a big more wear and tear...not to mention a bit of the old green door color peeking out where we changed the locks. it's enough to justify a new paint job.

now i have always been a fan of bright red front doors. they're just so welcoming, and they give a house an extra punch of character...
but our shutters are sort of between a burgundy and a russet color...so i'm not really sure if i'd like the look of it next to a red door.

so i had the crazy idea...
what about painting the door orange?

ok, it sounds kind of crazy and scary when i say it like that, but i can imagine it in my head without it being so scary.
i'm not talking about a bright orange. more of an earthy rusty sort of orange.

after all, i have that color combo all over my house...burgundys and oranges. inside at least it works.

and can't you just imagine how cool the inside of the door might be if it was an earthy orange and tied in with all the decor? :)

but when i googled images of orange front doors online, most of the ones that came up were on houses that were painted gray...and that were an informal style.

i've been told that if your house is symmetrical, then you have to plan your curb appeal more formally. is our house too formal for orange?

or is it something just crazy enough to be awesome??!

so i need your advice!
sometimes i have these great house ideas that just don't seem quite so great after they soak in a bit...
or it could be just the thing to give our house the extra bit of character it needs...which would be a good step in the right direction as far as curb appeal goes!

now, the landscaping is a whole other issue! :)

ok, so i'll be honest...
i still can't really do father's day.

from memorial day onwards, there are constant reminders of the day...in every department store you walk into...not to mention the internet.

when i first see them, it's always like a punch in the gut. i still miss him so much.

my dad was a minister...among many other things...
the last time i ever heard him preach though, was on father's day almost 3 years ago.

even though i grew up hearing him preach almost every sunday, my dad was still my favorite pastor to listen to. he was a big burly man, but he had a tender and thoughtful way of sharing about God's love.

i adored that man. probably more than it is right to adore another human being.
but we were connected at the soul. i know that having such a loving father who understood me has always influenced my idea of God.

but anyways, on that father's day almost 3 years ago, i remember him talking about the parable of the prodigal son. this was a sermon of his that i'd heard before, but it was probably one of my favorites.

except he didn't call it the story of the prodigal son...
he always called it the story of the loving father.

now i'm just going to kind of assume that you know the story.

my dad was bit of a history nerd...which is something that i think made him really great at looking at bible stories, and telling them from their cultural and historical context.

the story of the prodigal son is one about a rebellious son who rejects his family and blows his inheritance, and then later comes back and asks mercy from his father, who forgives him and accepts him back.

now to americans, this is a nice sort of hallmark movie story. the end.

but my dad understood the real significance behind it. and for me, i think marrying into a more eastern and shame based culture has made the story more real for me as well.

i've seen how people in india alter their behaviors solely based on how they will be accepted socially.

my dad was right. the shocking thing about this story isn't the behavior of the son.
it's the love of the father.

in western culture we have the focus on the wrong person.

in that kind of eastern community oriented culture, the son had brought shame on the family. the only respectable thing the father could have done in the eyes of the community (and even the rest of his family), would be to disown his son.

but in this story, the father instead chooses to take the shame onto himself and make a spectacle of his own self. because his son was more important than all that.
because he loved his son.

i'm sure that was a really radical concept of God at the time. still is.

but anyways. i'm thinking of my dad this weekend...and missing him so much it hurts.
i was blessed to have such a loving father.

happy father's day daddy. i can't wait to see you again.

it has reached the time of year where i annually play around with the idea of relocating.

texas is hot in the summer, baby.
i grew up here, but i will never be used to it. if the hubby and i ever moved to india for some reason, you know it would only be because of true love on my part, because if texas is hot, india is even hotter.

though it's hard to imagine anything hotter than this right now.

i don't even think i've seen a cloud in the sky for the whole month of june! me and my plants could seriously use some rain!

but anyways, all this to say that this has gotten the husband and i are planning an escape.
no don't worry, i'm not talking about moving or anything. just a vacation!

i'm getting pretty excited about it right about now.
most years our vacation time/money needs to be saved to visit the inlaws in india. however, since we were there in december, we're not going to india again until next spring/summer...which means we don't even know what to do with ourselves now! :)

decisions decisions. all we know is that we have got to escape this heat!
...while not spending much money...
...and also bringing our dogs!

the dogs make it a little challenging i must say. but my husband kind of refused to go without them, and gave me a sad face saying 'we always have to leave them when we go to india...i just can't leave them again!'

sad. how can you say no to that? and how to you say no to those cutie patooties?

so we've been brainstorming...
places within a day's drive, that are less than 100 degrees, and where we can take pets.

given those restrictions we narrowed our choice down to....*drum roll*......colorado!

but then we had to research accommodation.
not as easy as you would think.

i am all for camping...which is really the best pet friendly option for a vacation...
however, i won't lie...i'm also kind of scared of bears ever since the arkansas bear incident of '10. and in colorado they have grizzlies!! yikes!

i need a little more in between me and the great outdoors at night than a thin nylon tent.

but pet friendly places are hard to find. a lot of places say they're pet friendly, but then they have certain restrictions, or else they charge an extra $10 per pet per night! which for us would get really expensive really fast!

so a little more internet research, and it looks like we might have figured out some solutions!

it looks like we're going to try and spend a couple days in a rustic cabin that's in a forest service park, and a couple more days at a historic bed and breakfast we found...that allows dogs...at no extra cost...and is the same cheap price as the rustic cabin! (cheaper than a budget motel!)

it still sounds too good to be true.
but needless to say, our dog restrictions have pretty much planned the route for our entire trip.

we'll be in southwest colorado mostly. which is an area i've never been to...near gunnison, telluride, four corners, etc... so here's hoping it's as pretty as the rest of colorado!

we're thinking of stopping a night in northern new mexico as well to break things up. if anyone has any recommendations, then let me know. but it's likely that i'll be letting doggie needs will be guiding us for the rest of the planning as well!

hopefully all our research will pay off and we'll have a dog-tastic vacation this summer! :)

i wish we were already there...like yesterday!

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