buzy bees.

Hey everyone!

As usual, life has been too full - so full that there just hasn't been time for blogging. But I'll save you the excuses and jump straight to the part where I introduce you to Sunset Hill's newest 4,000 community members.

(Okay, so these aren't our bees, I found this photo from a google image search.)
So maybe you've heard us talking about about honeybee planz, or maybe this is news to you, but last Saturday, Kevin picked up a hive of honey bees from Morgantown, IN and brought them to their new home in our backyard.

Kevin and I are the designated beekeepers for the community and are kind of in love with honeybees. Kevin has done more research on how to actually keep bees, and I have mainly just added my enthusiasm to the pot. We are both definitely beginners and are relying on books and more experienced friends to helps us along.

Kevin some received some bee boxes for Christmas and last month Kevin and I painted them and made a stand for them. Here are some pics:

What I love most about honeybees is that they are highly social animals. They have organized and specialized roles and are able to communicate in sophisticated ways. I am so fascinated by them and am excited to get to know them more. Also, I looooove me some honey. If I am lucky, I will become as crazy as this dude someday:

Stay tuned for more about the bees, road trips, and other fun community activities!



sleigh bells in april.

hello everyone.

This is a post about Christmas. Yes, I know it's almost May and the Easter Bunny's footprints are still fresh in the mud, but I never got around to blogging about some of my favorite Christmas traditions, so I am going to do it now. Plus, to be fair, the weather outside has been pretty frightful lately....

This past Christmas we continued a few traditions that help make Christmas time special for me.

Tradition #1 Get a live tree!
Tim and I hunted for a live evergreen tree at a tree farm near Bloomington. Each year we take great care in choosing the pagan-symbol-turned-commercial-icon that is our Christmas tree. This year we bought one with a root ball and then planted it in our backyard to commemorate our first Christmas as homeowners.

Tradition #2 Decorate!
Josh, Tim, and I got in our jammies (this is mandatory), and took turns hanging ornaments on the tree.
Notice Josh is wearing is hood because it is soooo cold in our house. You may not be able to tell from this picture, but our tree is adorned with several handmade artisan ornaments crafted by local artists.....

Tradition #3 Make ornaments with friends!
A few years ago, we had a party where we all made ornaments out of construction paper and random craft supplies lying around. This year, I decided to revive the tradition at a community dinner one night. Below is a bradybunchesque display o' ornaments:
Clockwise from the top, left: Josiah made a Christmas tree for the Christmas tree (so meta), Tarabee made a stocking out of yarn, Kevin made an advent pyramid, I made a Sunset Hill silhouette and a rainbow baby Jesus icon, Will made some origami...things, Jose made a tribute to himself, Josh made a wintery-spaceship scene, and Sam created a perfect snowflake replica.

Tradition #4 Make gifts and creative wrappings!
Tim and I try to incorporate at least a few handmade gifts for our family members each Christmas. This year we made peppermint lip balm in mini-Altoid tins. I based the recipe off the recipe found here, but tweaked it with some tips from Bean, who used a different recipe to make yummy lemon lip balm.
Also, every year, I put way too much time and effort into wrapping all our gifts with things lying around the house. This year I used phone books, grocery sacks, an old blue D.A.R.E. t-shirt (just say "no"), some old yarn scraps, and some paint pens. Money spent on wrapping = $0

Tradition #5 Spoon with brother!
Okay, so this tradition only applies to Tim and occurs anytime, not just at Christmas. But I included it because it's real dang cute.
Thanks for letting me take you back a few months, even though I am sure you are all excited that we've left Christmas in the dust and are headed for summertime. More seasonally appropriate posts to come.



September and October

In an effort to catch up on my blogging, here are some highlights from September and October. I know it's old news, but this blog is basically my online scrapbook, so...please join me for a stroll down memory lane.

{{wiggly lines to represent flashback like in 90s TV shows}}

seXRA fest III: September 24 - 25

I could show you a bunch of pictures of dudes playing instruments on stage, but let's be serious, the audience participation is what XRA Fest is all about (HINT: asian girl on left is not me).

Here are some fine lookin' ladiez who managed to keep their shirts on and Kevin lookin' like a nerd (HINT: asian girl on the right is me)

Backyard tunez at the Backyard BBQ (filmed before a live studio audience)

You know it is a successful XRA Fest when most of the audience ends up on stage, shirtless, sweaty, hands outstretched, screaming the lyrics!

 punk'd: October 29

This past autumn season, Sunset Hill hosted a Halloween-themed punkin-carvin party complete with screenings of Beetlejuice and Evil Dead.
Kevin carved a classic bike-sunburst-tree scene, Josh created a likeness of the Indiana state emblem, Tarabee decided to throw out the "Halloween" theme altogether and instead carved a dino-mite "Happy Dino-ween" punkin, and I carved my best rendering of the Twin Peaks sign from the hit television serial drama, Twin Peaks (aka "tweaks").

Halloweenballz: October 31

I was a Care Bear for Halloween. This is me at a Circles Halloween event for work.

This is what a Care Bear looks like in moonface.

And this is me being weirded out by my CUH-RAYZEE friends: little-girl-from-all-dogs-go-to-heaven, purple unicorn, and smallwood slut in moonface

Man that's a lot of memories for one blog post (I have to remind myself that people's attention spans are shrinking everyday). So in an effort to accommodate your overstimulated brain, I will stop there. 

Thanks for hangin' in there. I'll be back soon.



i'm still here, folks.

Hey webbudz!

My last blog post was in October - nearly six months ago. I tell you what, when you've been outta the game that long, it's tempting just to abandon the blogosphere altogether. I know, it's crazy talk, but that's how I've been feeling lately.

But I woke up today with a renewed sense of dedication to the cyberworld. I looked in the mirror and with determination said, "Carrie, don't be a quitter. Quitting is for ding-dongs. Would Rebecca Black let a few boring Fridays keep her from looking forward to the weekend? So why should you let a measly six-months keep ya down?"

So here I am. I just organized my all my sweet pics on my new computer and realized there's lots of good stuff that happened that I am sure you (all 6 of you who read this) are just DYING to hear about.

So...stayed tuned!
Oh, and now I can take cool pics of myself with my new web-cam like the cool bloggers do. Welcome to the big leagues, Care.



more house projects.

Hey Blogspots.

I realize that I haven't posted in about a month, I'll bet you have been just dying wondering what I've been doing with my life!  Actually, a lot, but more about that in my next post.

For now, I just thought I would post some more house pics to update all y'all who haven't seen the house in awhile.  We were busy little bees in September. 
Add hand-me-down medicine cabinet, add electrical box & light fixture...
Voila!  A place to look at yaself and hide ya medicinals.      
Step 1: Cut a hole in the box the 1x4s to size
Steps 2 & 3: Sand & Stain the cut pieces (or get your friends to)
Step 4: Poly, sand, poly again

Inside of Josh's room completed!
Bulletin Board transformed into jewelry hanger.
My closet.  Josh installed wooden dowel rods, Tim added the shelf
Josh's mini-shelves made from the leavins of bamboo flooring
A place to hang stuff.
A place to hang shiny metal stuff.
Shelves in the laundry room!
A place to hang our collection of brooms and mops.
Believe it or not, we are still working on the dang trim.  When you start from scratch and cut, sand, stain, and poly each little piece, you realize just how much trim there is in your house.  Look around.  It's everywhere.  Anyway, although using raw 1x4s is a lot more work than just buying finished "trim" with the smooth rounded or beveled edges, it is less than half the price!  I also love how substantial and rustic it looks in our little home.

More on life beyond house renovations coming up...



The Great Moving Extravaganza of 2010


Moving is always exhausting and draining, no matter when or how you do it.  However, this time felt especially daunting, given the five weeks of frantic house renovations that lead up to move-in weekend.

Luckily, we happen to have some really wonderful friends who drove far (and short) distances to help us.  When Seth, Julie, Nick, and Mark rolled in to town on Friday night, they found Tim, Josh, Will, Kevin, and I tired and weary, but they were eager and energetic - which was exactly what we needed.

Seth and Julie offered some much needed advice in the plumbing department, since they had done a lot of plumbing on their own house recently.  Nick is a git 'er done kind of worker, and started loading up the van almost immediately.  With the extra hands and the extra energy, we were able to get everything moved, the old house cleaned, and the toilets and sinks installed and leak-free by Sunday night!  We really couldn't have done it without our friends.
We did have a slight setback on Saturday when the electricity in half the house went out.  Nate Delong worked diligently to fix the problem, but it ended up being a problem with Duke (go figure).  So we finished moving and plumbing at the new house without air conditioning, which was....hot.  

A special thanks to: Seth & Julie Rowe, Mark Taracuk, Nick Cattin, Ellie Hansotte, Kristen Svenstrup, Whitney Dather, Nick Felton, Nate Delong, Travis Jeffords, Jessica Adams, Tim Street, and probably more that I've forgotten at this point...

I hope we can return the favor someday.


the bathroom sink crisis.

Before I tell you about The Great Moving Extravaganza of 2010, I thought I would tell you a little more about our wonderful IKEA bathroom sink.

As I mentioned briefly in the last post, Tim and I spent a good amount of time at IKEA debating various purchases.  In the bathroom section, we went back and forth between which sink/sink cabinet combinations we preferred.  My top choice was the simplistic and economical MOLGER sink frame for $45.  However, the only two sinks that fit this stand were a little to modern for Tim's taste.  Tim preffered the VITVIKEN sink which measured about 32" wide and 19" deep.  The MOLGER sink frame measured 19" deep, but the narrowest width available was 39".  After much debating, Tim convinced me that he could mount the VITVKEN sink on MOLGER frame and use the excess 6" to create a small shelf for toiletries.  We agreed on this compromise, but because I was still a little skeptical, Tim made me promise that if it turned out well that I would blog about it (hence, this blog post).  So....we placed our order for the mis-matched sink and frame and headed to the furniture pick-up where we picked up all the things we had ordered that day.

Late Thursday night (Move-Out Eve),  Kevin and Nick F. began assembling the MOLGER sink stand.  They were almost finished (and extremely pleased with themselves) when I noticed that some of the pieces looked extremely long.  I measured them and realized that the IKEA furniture pick-up dude had given us the 55" frame instead of the 39" frame.  This was extremely distressing because IKEA was 3 hours away and because we could not turn the water on to the house until all the sinks and faucets were installed. 

On Friday morning, Seth called to let us know what time they would be arriving in Bloomington later that night.  He asked how things were going and I told him about our sink dilemma.  Seth and Julie realized that they since the were driving through Cincinnati anyway to pick-up Nick C., they might be able to pick up a new sink frame for us!  After working out a few details, we had a plan - they would stop at IKEA on the way and purchase the correctly sized MOLGER and then return ours on the way home.  Phew - crisis averted!

So Friday night, Kevin and Nick F. were eager to assemble the correctly sized sink frame since they had done such and incredible job assembling the first one.  They put the whole thing together in record time, while Tim and some others had gone to Lowe's for some last minute supplies.  We excitedly placed the sink stand in its place in the bathroom and then lifted the VITVIKEN sink on top.  This is when we realized the VITVIKEN's dirty little secret!  While the front edge of the sink rested on the front edge of the MOLGER frame just as expected, the back edge of the sink jutted downward in two places so that it would not rest on the MOLGER frame at the same level.  When we placed the sink on the frame, the back of the sink was a about an inch higher than the front due to its irregular shape.  It resulted in a sink that was tilted forward like a pinball machine.

It was after 10:00 P.M. when Tim returned from Lowe's and I expected a frustrated and dejected response to our pinball machine bathroom sink.  But he really surprised me with his "Can-do" attitude and began brainstorming about ways to fix it.  He formulated a hypothesis and with the encouraging grunts of his dude bros, he carried the frame out the to saw, made a few cuts, and the problem was solved!
Kevin gave a few Tim Tayloresque celebratory grunts
The next day the girls took a trip to BB&B and I found the perfect little shelf to fit underneath the sink to store toiletries and some baskets for towels.  Notice that the sink is positioned all the way to the right on the frame and that the extra frame to the left is still missing a shelf (I stuck a little basket there for now, but it probably won't stay).  It's a work in progress, but we were just glad to have a bathroom sink.  Plus I think it looks pretty nice and fits the simple style we were going for.
Once it is completed maybe we'll send it in to IKEA Hacker!  Well, that's all for now more posts coming up very soon...