Category Archives: house + home

from the future!

from the future!


I disappeared there for a bit. Where did I go? I went into the iphone black hole. I got my first smartphone.

Actually, I’ve been around, just not here. I don’t really like sitting at the laptop now that I have this handy from-the-future toy. I bought a used phone and am using a value service, so if we get rid of our land line, I’m on track to actually save us money every month! I didn’t think that would be possible with an iphone, but there you go.

I’ve signed up for instagram and vine, and I’ve been having fun taking little photos and videos. If you would like to follow me, I’m ameliastudio on instagram, and I’m Amy Harding on vine. I suppose I should have made those the same, and actually I thought I did, but I don’t know — I’m new at this.

I’m already starting to get a case of texting thumb, which is apparently possible even if you don’t really text and can only type about two words per minute.

IMG_0015 IMG_0010 IMG_0014 IMG_0011 IMG_0013

holiday decorating

holiday decorating

So this is my idea of Christmas decorating: clear off two shelves and stick all the Christmas stuff on them. Done.

I have never bought many Christmas decorations besides ornaments. The only things in this photo that were chosen by me are the fabric for the pillow cover I made, the tree, and that candy cane candle up on the shelf. The rest were gifts or hand-me downs. They are all fun things, and somehow they sorta all go together. Kind of.

Sometimes I get the urge to go all color-coordinated and modern with the decorations, but I know my kids have already developed sentimental attachments to the things we have. And so have I. Maybe I’ll add in some more things once we’ve gotten past the point where every decoration is a toy. I hate to invest my time in something that will just be destroyed (you can also apply this phrase to everything in my house).

Actually, half of this stuff is probably going to be broken in ten years’ time anyway! My children will inherit a pile of sentiment-laden, glued-together holiday decor — just as it should be.

The one new thing I may add this year is a pretty centerpiece for a family dinner. Something shiny. Something not breakable. Metal maybe? Brass. That sounds sturdy.

october weekend

october weekend

This weekend we took advantage of a rainy day and set up a much-needed bunk bed. My youngest has been climbing out of the crib for at least a month, and my middle child barely fit in the toddler bed anymore. So it was time for the big switch. I was a little sad to see the crib go after more than seven years. No more babies. Which is fine. And good. And best. But still.

The children are thrilled with the bunk bed. They were out-of-control monkeys in the mattress store. Thankfully we were the only customers in there, so we got out of there in record time. Then Chris assembled the bed with what he calls his “twice-as-long crew” of three girls, a dog and three American Girl dolls. They were so helpful.

So far, the bunk bed excitement has not necessitated any trips to the emergency room. Yet. Knock on wood. The rule is: you horse around, you sleep on the floor.

The rain cleared out for Sunday so we could take our annual trip to the Louisburg Cider Mill. I got my yearly watchin’-the-doughnuts photo of the kids. I think next year we need to start buying 1.5 dozen cider doughnuts. One dozen doesn’t do it for this family anymore. We need to be able to eat until we’re sick, you see. That’s what cider day is for: too many doughnuts.

a room for working

a room for working

I finally have my studio back! That was quite the mess for a while there.

This is probably the cleanest this studio will ever look. I’m hoping that by moving the wheel farther into the studio, I can allow messes to hang out a little longer since the kids and dog won’t be walking through them as much. I have always been an oddly neat potter. All my ceramics instructors have pointed this out, to their amusement.

I managed to clear off some shelves for drying my work, but I imagine I’ll need to add another set of shelves at some point. Maybe they will go where that “Lost in Translation” poster is. That will really close me in though, so I’ll work with what I have for now.

I’m mainly glad that my wheel is no longer in the bay window. It sounded so nice at first: I’ll throw pots and look out at the leafy green trees! No, I’ll be throwing at night, startling at my own reflection and flinging clay all over the woodwork. A plain old wall is much easier to clean.

Because I must clean, for I am the OCD Potter.

studio shuffle

studio shuffle

I’m not generally much of a rearranger unless a space in our home really isn’t working anymore. This was the case with my home office/studio. This is a small space (about 100 square feet). It served as a sewing room, computer room, ceramics room and craft room. There wasn’t enough room for all that.

So I boxed up the sewing supplies. I don’t sew as much as I used to, but I don’t plan on quitting altogether. So I tried to organize my fabric and notions in a way that will make it easy for me to get to them when I want them. For me, this meant lots of small, transparent, organized bins — no digging through giant boxes. Yes, I know you are supposed to protect your fabric from light, but if I used opaque bins, I’d forget about the stuff and I may as well just donate the whole lot.

Here is the whole of my sewing/knitting/crocheting/beading/embroidering supplies, minus the sewing machine, thread rack and handwork basket. I have no idea where these are going, but they can’t stay here. Oh, and that dog crate is going, too.

And here is how the studio looks at the moment. You know those number puzzles where you shuffle the little tiles around? That’s what it feels like I have been doing all week: shuffling piles. Everything is getting rearranged. My wheel will no longer be next to a window, requiring me to wipe all the nooks and crannies of the woodwork every time I throw pots! And I’ll no longer be standing between my light source and the wheel, creating annoying shadows over my work. (I work mostly at night.) Exciting stuff.

the summer of gravel

the summer of gravel

Remember the giant pile of gravel? Well, it’s gone! Finally! I worked all spring and summer on this side-yard project, with next to no budget. Besides the deck, everything was done with our own hands. And backs. And a broken pinky (wheel barrow incident). The bricks were all reused. The materials we purchased were the most inexpensive out there: chat gravel and cement paving stones. Now we have a safe pathway that doesn’t look like an abandoned alley.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Here is the side yard last year with its rotted deck. It was so ugly over there, the dog felt no shame about taking a dump right in the frame (somehow I did not notice this until now).

Then we had a new deck put in, which immediately made everything around it look worse.

We had a cement step at the bottom of our old deck. I wanted to use it, partly because we needed some terracing, partly because there was no way that thing was moving more than a few feet. But it needed to be moved to the side a bit, or it was just sitting in the middle of the pathway, potentially leading the less graceful of us to injury. I somehow managed to move it myself with a shovel and a tarp. And my super woman muscles.

This area turned into a playground for the summer — lots of digging and dirt play. The girls are mad I covered it up with gravel.

Drumroll …

I’ll add some mulch and plants to the empty beds in the spring. We also added a path through a different bed in the back (the kids had already trampled one anyway).

I’m so glad this is finished. That was a lot of work!

8,000 pounds

8,000 pounds

This is what four tons of gravel looks like. It looks like a sore back to me.

I have been working all spring on creating and leveling a few paths in our yard. It has been a lot of work, and putting down the landscape fabric and gravel is the last step. We also have a few areas that were already covered in gravel, but they have gotten thin. (They get a lot of play. Gravel is a toy, you know.) I’ve been avoiding this last step because, hello — 8,000 pounds of gravel.

The girls were pretty excited when the gravel truck pulled up. How much of an angle does the dump truck need to make before the gravel starts rolling?? Oh the dramatic tension.

I guess it is time to buy a wheel barrow.