Thursday, August 21, 2014

Building a Home: One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

I had another post ready to go for today, but this is what has been on my mind, so I thought I would share.  

We've been chugging along with the house plans and the stress was really getting to me.  When you get a construction loan, you have to show the bank every little detail before they will approve you. They want to know how much everything will cost (down to light switches and door hinges) so they can hand you over money knowing that a house can actually be built for what you're borrowing. Even though we will be doing work ourselves, and some friends and family will be generously helping for much less than the going rates, we can't put those things in the bid.  We must include labor and supplies at face value.  And then we must put down 20% of that, even though we plan to come in under that.

This was all getting pretty stressful (I don't want to decide on countertops yet!) and on Tuesday I picked up our final plans from the architect - giving us the ability to get all the bids going with the intent to have everything turned into the bank by next week.  I felt so great about our final plans and was excited to get this part of the process finished so we could move on to breaking ground.  The house felt perfect - like our dream home.  There was not one thing I would change.  But all of that was about to change.

Micah contacted the surveyor to come stake out the house on the lot and quickly received a call back. "Um, that house isn't going to fit on that lot."  What?  "That easement doesn't allow for the house to fit."  What easement?

My parents have owned this lot for over 20 years.  The plot they gave us that we, in turn, gave the architect doesn't show an easement anywhere.  But the surveyor shows a big one running on the south side of the lot, knocking 30' of buildable land off.

We reached out to the city and they use it for a storm sewer.  If we want to pay an engineer something like $15,000 to draw up plans and do testing for moving it, they might (yes, might) approve that, and then it would be our responsibility to cover the costs of moving it.  Clearly that's not an option.

Our other option is to try and figure out a way to change the floor plan.  Our lot, while big in square footage, is an unusual shape.  The two story colonial we had decided on was really the best for the pie shape, and I'm not sure what else would fit on there.  We can probably moving things around (do away with a side entry garage and go from a 3 car to a 2, loose the walkout basement and windows) to make it work, but it's going to be tricky and push our timeline back quite a bit.

This is all pretty disappointing, but I also have the assurance that it will all work out.  There doesn't seem to be a clear answer yet, and while part of me wants to fix it right here and now, I've learned that when an answer doesn't seem obvious, it's best to just wait.  Sit back and wait for the right thing to make itself known.  Am I good at waiting?  Not really.  But it's often in the waiting that we find the perspective.  It reminds me just how fortunate we are to even be in this situation.  We're a young family attempting to build a dream home in a neighborhood that anyone would be happy to live and raise their kids in.  It doesn't really get much better than that.

Don't forget to enter for your chance to make your photo storage and accessibility seamless: here.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One Stop, All Access Memory Saving

I take a lot of pictures.  Between shooting things for this blog, snapping inspiration for our new house, and capturing the day-to-day memories we create as a family, I'm always taking a picture with my iPhone, iPad, or Canon.

While I love all of these devices and the ease that comes with photographing something digitally, storage and access could certainly be improved.  I am often that person attempting to capture one of my child's "firsts," only to find that my phone's camera is at max capacity.  The other day I found myself standing with the cabinet salesman while I searched my phone for that dream kitchen I took a screenshot of, only to remember I did that on the iPad...which was on the home.  And although I have a nice DSLR camera to capture life, we don't take the time to enjoy those memories because I rarely get pictures printed.

But recently I found a system that allows me to deal with all of these issues in a really simple way.  LyveHome is a tool that effortlessly manages all of our photo and video collections across all mobile devices (iOS or Android) and computers.  By simply downloading the free Lyve App to each device, we protect all of our images and share them throughout all of the other devices.  When I say we, I mean it.  WE don't have to do a thing!  The app automatically adds photos to the LyveHome as you take them, and puts them in chronological order.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it has a beautiful touchscreen that scrolls through all the images collected (my kids could spend hours just watching the memories).

With this system, every image I capture is safe, sorted and accessible from any of our devices.

Micah can take pictures of Xander riding his bike and I can instantly see them in the Lyve App on my phone and share them with my Facebook friends.  I can finish up editing pictures on the computer and pull them up on my phone, through Lyve App, to upload to Instagram.  The ease of access and reassurance of protection has saved lots of time and worry.  Gone will be the days of emailing myself pictures or spending countless hours backing up and deleting images.

Lyve was nice enough to give me an extra LyveHome (valued at $299) to share with a reader! Head on over to see more of how the product works - the video is a fun watch.  Leave a comment telling me what aspect of digital capturing you struggle with, along with an email you can be reached at, and I'll draw a winner on August 28th. Best of luck!

Can't wait to try it out?  You can enjoy free shipping with code "LyveUnleased".

This post is sponsored by Lyve Home.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make The Makerista possible.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tour of the Blogoshpere: Part II

In case you miss part I of this Q&A, you can see that here.


Boy, that's a question.  I have so many different ways to answer this.  First off, I don't feel like I have a genre, per say.  I started this blog a year ago to document things that I make.  I really thought my main focus would be on crafty things I did for and with my kids, but it has taken a whole different direction.  People seemed to enjoy the decorating the most, and that's something that I've become more and more passionate about. I really enjoy doing all of the things I blog about equally, though, so I think it's hard to put me strictly in one genre.

Along with that, I think I differ because I try to just do me.  My past and experiences certainly effect my design choices - be in an opera or two and your bound to be drawn to very classic, sometimes over-the-top things, and they allow me to stand out as an individual in this blogworld (or so I hope).  While I attempt to keep up with what's going on around the internet, I do my best not to let what other bloggers are doing effect what I am working on.  In fact, I often turn away from things that feel too trendy or done by everyone.  I try not to allow this thinking to shape my own style, but rather be a test as to whether I really love something or not.  


I do this because I feel like it was something I was given the ability to do.  I believe wholeheartedly that we are all given gifts, and mine just so happens to be the ability to make things.  Someone pointed this out to me, and I hadn't really realized it myself, but...I cannot, NOT make things.  It's something I have to do.  I hope through all of this I can be an encouragement to you to find and utilize the talents God has given you.  We all have gifts, and thankfully they're not all the same.  I need people around me who love to cook, can do my taxes, or make me laugh.  Because I'm not so great at any of those things.  


I wish I had a clear cut answer for this, but things just kind of come to me.  And if I have a thought more than once, I know it's more than just a thought.  My brain never shuts off.  Relaxing?  What is that?  I am constantly thinking about projects, new designs, how to do things better, honing skills or learning new things.  Many bloggers have a blogging schedule, and while I am a Type A perfectionist in most categories, I've found this blog thing works best for me when I let it be organic in nature.  Some of my favorite projects are last minute, make-it-work scenarios, and some of my better writing comes in the wee hours of the night, when I really didn't think I had too much to say.  

According to the rules of this tour, I'm supposed to name another blogger whom I love to follow, but instead of picking just one, I'm going to name a handful…because, well, I'm not very good at picking just one of anything.  All of these woman have individual style and talent that inspire me, and their kindness is the sweetest bonus!  Enjoy browsing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Part 1 of Tour of the Blogosphere: What I'm Working On

My super talented blog friend, Brittany, included me in a Tour of the Blogosphere, and since I enjoy reading Q&A's from other people (after mysteries, biographies are my favorite) I thought I'd play along too.  As I sat typing, I realized I had a lot to share for the first question: enough to break things up a bit - while I've always been a law follower, I'm rarely a rule follower.  So today I thought I would answer question one, and also introduce you to another blogger I love to follow, and share the second half of the questions later this week. 


I feel like sometimes I hold back what I'm working on from you because I don't have a pretty picture or a lot of specifics to share.  Right now I'm working on several different projects that are keeping me and my mind busy.  As far as our house build goes, we're in the last stages of the plan designs, and once we get the final copies we'll be getting bids on labor and pricing out materials, appliances, and fixtures.  

Along with the building of our next house, I'm currently helping my lovely friend, Laura, makeover her living room.  

Laura does a wonderful job of mixing traditional and modern, as seen here in her dining room with Heather at The Lovely Cupboard.  

Laura lives in a historic home, and the bones of the house are what people dream of working with.  I'm "designing for her" but really this is a total team effort because Laura's work on her own is impeccable.  We just get each other, and it's great to have a partner to nudge you into the not-so-safe choices, or talk you down from the "you'll hate that in 5 years" decisions.  We spent the weekend finalizing fabric for a new (vintage) couch, sourcing fabric for curtains, and pulling the trigger on a pair of antique chandeliers that Laura has been dreaming about for months. I can't wait to show you more as things begin to come together.  It's bound to be just beautiful.

Kirby, one of my best and oldest friends, gave up her teaching career at the beginning of the year to launch a scented wax melts company.  She has been extremely successful thus far, and I've had so much fun helping her with the creative materials along the way.  I just finished up this invitation (the leaves are actually her fall melts) and we're planning a shoot for all of the fall product in the next few weeks.  My love for Halloween is in full force with scents like The Great Pumpkin, Sanderson Sisters, and Double Double, Toil and Trouble.    

We're in the printing stage of a wedding invitation I finished designing for a couple getting married in October.  While I've done lots of invitations, this was my first wedding invite, and I've had such a great time working with the bride and her wonderful mother.  As I check some of these things off of the to-do list, I look forward showing you the results in the coming months.


It seems silly, but for some reason I just assume that everyone else reads everything I read.  Do you know what I mean?  Sometimes I don't share great things because I think you've already seen it or that you already know about it.  Assumptions aside, if you don't know Kristin from The Hunted Interior, you should.  

Via (please pin from the original source.)  

Kristin is someone I started following a few years ago, when she was still rather new to this blog thing, and it's been fun to see her doing amazing things and grow her blog and skills.  She was one of my first cheerleaders from the very beginning of The Makerista.  She's not only a blog friend, but she's also been a great mentor.  And her ability to tackle major projects on her own and style the heck out of anything you give her makes me love following her even more.  

Maybe all of this back to school bustle is what has me wanting to join in on all the activity?  I personally love the anticipation of fall.  What projects have you been up to lately?