Sunday, November 18, 2012

No Black Friday

I don't participate in Black Friday. You are probably shaking your hand in amazement, right? "But, you had a shop and are a retailer!"
I like the idea that every purchase is thoughtful and conscious. Much like Larkmartin Soaps. Every bar is made with care and always with love. Black Friday doesn't represent Larkmartin Ideals.
So, I apologize that there won't be any special deals on Friday, but I do promise you that you'll get incredible soap, superior customer service and a holiday happy in every order!
Look for specials after Thanksgiving weekend for local purchases at the Handmade Holiday Shop!
Thanks so much for your support! Briana

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pinterest....on my last nerve

So, truly, I adore Pinterest. I really enjoy the ideas and creativity. I've done several projects or have implemented ideas inspired by Pinterest. But, I'm overload on the styled perfection on there. I'm starting to be more critical of my flaws, like dumping the clean clothes in a pile until one day they get folded. Should I care? Hey it works, it's not perfect, but neither I am. I dare you to come over and let's see how many times I apologize for the state the house is in. I've got to get over it. We live here. We make messes. Totally not Pinterest worthy. I've got to go. It's pretty apparent that I've should have cleaned out the refrigerator a long time ago! That pin on Pinterest inspired me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An abundance....

Just a moment ago, I was putting away the dishes. I opened up the dishwasher, overflowing with an abundance of water bottles, sippy cups and glasses of all kinds. I precariously pushed mason jars, pint glasses, Winnie the pooh juice glasses and coffee mugs all together in one cabinet. (The boys have their own drawer, where they grab what they need at their level safely. Now they are able to get their own water without having to ask me. I still control the milk and juice). I have a serious amount of drink ware. I have an entire cabinet full. It is sickening. Not only I am able to have glasses, I have an abundance. I am saying it in a positive way, because I see that it all was acquired through abundance.

I have enough and I am grateful.

My kids and I had an eye opening meltdown tonight after I refused to buy a crappy toy. We have an abundance of toys. There was a sense of entitlement that made my heart sink. Do I dare say what my first thought was?
So, I'll be culling the glassware here tonight and finding ways to teach my children that they are and have enough. An abundance.

By the way, if you want to see an abundance of stuff in our storage unit, search for it on eBay under "entire storage unit contents". The auction ends Monday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outside moveable sink- Part one

We've been working on a moveable outside sink that you can hook up to an outside faucet. It needs to be lightweight, weather resistant, and inexpensive. I came up with a quick sketch based on a cast iron sink I had. I quickly realized it was incredibly heavy and I was a little bit too fond of it to donate it. Oh, my goodness that sounds so selfish! I was able to find a plastic sink with a faucet for $5.00 at Abilities Unlimited. Then I made a trip to Falk Plumbing, our local supply house. I'm happy to say they only laughed at me a bit after I explained my project. Falk and Dean Jackson plumbing helped me find what I needed and they even tested my faucet for me to make sure it works! I got a 6' washing machine hose for $6.96, a 1/2" hose adaptor for $3.30, and a 1/2" threaded cap to cap off the hot water pipe on the faucet.
Adam put together a top made out of 1x cedar left over from the house. He's going to work on it so it will be ready for the Historic Farmers market on July 3. We will be donating it so the market will have a place to wash their hands!

To be continued....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

finished....for now

Monday we had our final inspection with the bank.  We busted our butts to finish up all the little things and didn't quite finish. But, I'm done for now.  I'll live with the primed trim until I can gather the energy to start again and paint the final coat.  It feels good to take a break and enjoy not being "owned" by the house.  It has been 11 months of construction today.  Three months of preparation to our previous house getting it ready to sell.  Add 8 months of designing/planning for the new house and you've got one tired girl. We are finished, but not done. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sliding door

Adam really should be writing this post. He did an incredible job creating this sliding door for our downstairs bathroom. He used sliding door track from Lowe's and some scrap lumber. He even created the stops and the thingy to keep it from being wobbly out of wood that we had. There is a tutorial floating around the Internet, but I'm pretty sure he gleaned a bit here and there to make it his own.
I accidentally stripped the door using isopropyl alcohol trying to remove latex paint from the backplate. It worked a little too well, but I love the old paint distressed look. The alcohol dried out the wood, so I oiled it before putting a tung oil finish on it. He epoxyed an old door knob on the outside and we have a simple hook latch on the inside.
We are still waiting patiently for the plumber to hook up the faucets in there, although he did set up Adam's shop up with plumbing. I asked at the very last minute to have another faucet outside so I can have a designated outdoor sink for plants or rinsing out really dirty boy clothes.
Also, I found a fantastic rug at an estate sale on Thursday for $25.00 and a beautiful cake stand for $12.00. I love a good find!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A visit to a beeyard

the large queen cage
  Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Doyle Hawthorne's bee yard. The visit was organized by the Hot Springs Beekeeper's Association and Betty Smith from the Arkansas State Plant Board was there to facilitate the inspections of his hives.  He has 39 hives on his property and it was an incredible sight to see!  The weather was mild, partly sunny and no wind.  It was right after six o'clock when they started the inspections.  I've read not to disturb them after five, because the whole gang is back at the hive.  But, they were in good spirits and not at all aggressive.
  We witnessed a new hive being created with the addition of a queen and three frames from an existing hive.  His queen cages are much larger than the industry standards and he believes that the larger cage allows greater acceptance of the new queen.  He has a 99% acceptance rate.
  Then we looked at frames with capped brood cells.  I was amazed that different bees have different cell characteristics.  Worker bee cells were large and domed and they reminded me of the top of a pencil eraser.  Queen cells look like a circus peanut, spread out across the foundation.  Finally, they inspected two hives that were swarms caught in Hot Springs Village.  They cut the comb to fit into the foundation and then rubber band them into place.  One of the hives was queen less.  There was no new egg cells and they were very disorganized.  They were not aggressive, but flying around unsure of the situation.  I watched with amazement as they had another queen ready to take over.
 Betty Scott was a wealth of information.  For example, I learned that there could be two queens in a hive if it was a mother and daughter.  If the mother is ailing, the daughter will let her live.  If there are two sister queens, the new one will sting the other one to death.  I also learned that I need to register my bees with the state! Betty does apiary inspections and I'm very excited to have her come out and see my little hive.  The visit was a wonderful experience and I'm looking forward to opening my hive this weekend to do my own inspection!

Mr. Hawthorn feeds his bees a mix of simple sugar, corn syrup and  a concoction of ripe fruit boiled down and strained. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 10

Just fed the bees their sugar water. Beautiful, cooler spring day. Very busy outside the hive. I didn't use a smoker today. I feel a little more protected with one. As they say, " a smoker will become your best friend" from Beekeeping for Dummies, pg. 72. Also, I found two ticks on me. Which means I will spend the rest of the day feeling imaginary ticks on me. gross. Im going with the Beekeeper's association to an apiary on Thursday. Very excited and looking forward to it! I've got lots of questions!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Be still, my heart

A few new wonderful things on the house. A sliding door to the bathroom, a new vanity, and door knobs! I purchased an old cardboard box of about 5 old doorknobs for $60.00 at Shaw's Antiques. I think he was feeling generous that day. (side note: that's a strange place). We had to get retrofit kits for modern doors for the knobs to work from Amazon. Adam painted the doors earlier today in our trim color, Greek Villa from SW.

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the sliding door!

Day nine with the bees- helpers

Today I lost track of time and I finally was able to go out with the kids to see the bees. I love their enthusiasm! We suited up and went out! The bees still had sugar water from yesterday, but I refilled it. Also, I had plans to put the top feeder on, but I will wait to open the hive when the kids are more comfortable or they aren't with me. They really seemed to enjoy it, they were cautious but curious.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day eight with the bees.

I thought it would be fun to document the first days of having some bees in the back. So, I finally gathered my courage and got ready to go out and see and feed the bees. I really talk myself into it. I'm hoping that goes away quickly. Got dressed in white (seems I have to change colors every time, apparently I have a penchant for dark colors) and prepared the sugar water. Went out and it was raining. I know that bees stay home in the rain. I still need to feed them, so I'm going out. Wish me luck! I've got a new top feeder that I'm going to install tomorrow.
Update: back from pouring in the sugar water and observing. Today is a cool, gray drizzly day. Not much activity, so little I'm tempted to peer in. But, it is not advised. I'm surprised they haven't created supers that you can see through. Or for that matter, I'm going to be designing update and stylish beekeeping attire. I've got Adam's only collared shirt on and his only work pants that haven't ripped in numerous locations. I'm serious, to, Beekeeping is only going to become more popular and girls like me want something unlike a tyvek puffy suit. Or your husband's castoff clothing. So, as I waited ever so patiently, more and more bees were coming in. Ok, they haven't all died off in the middle of the night...

Friday, April 13, 2012


I’ve been thinking of Paris lately.  The other night Adam and I watched “Midnight in Paris” and I was enthralled with all the beautiful, cliché images of Paris.  The Paris I know from my two visits as a teenager.  Oh dear, as a teenager, I just didn’t get it then.
  I think Paris still holds a special spot for me because of several reasons.  It was the last trip my sister and I took with my father.  It was also my first glimpse of a life that existed outside my realm.  That you could eat chocolate croissants and hot chocolate for BREAKFAST and it was perfectly acceptable.  That art can exist on every corner. 
  I came back from my first trip to Paris almost embarrassed.  What 14 year old goes to Paris on Spring Break? I didn’t want to brag and carry on about the croissants, the view from the Eifel tower, the flowers, the museums (“the croissants were so buttery and warm…”) I wasn’t sure what to say really, so I totally down played it.  “Oh, you know, it was Paris, the Eiffel tower was big”.  I knew that trip was a life-changer, I just couldn’t put into words. 
  The second trip was such a whirl-wind. Montmarte, sidewalk artists, a girl that tumbled down the stairs on the Rue Foyatier, I could smack myself. 
  So, my thoughts keep returning to Paris.  I want to embrace it in my so-called adult life.  See it with grown-up eyes.  Sit and people watch by the Seine.  Eat copious amounts of chocolate croissants.  Go to the flea markets and soak it all in.  Perhaps, Milo will drive me.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My morning with the bees

They are here, finally.  After two years of having my beekeeping supplies and hive, they are here.  The first year I didn't realize that you really needed to order bees before Christmas for the next spring season.  So, I was a bit late getting started, considering it was almost May. I breathed a silent sigh of relief.  "Bees, am I crazy?"  Last year I knew we were going to be selling our house and building, so I really didn't want to start another hobby.   But, I was able to attend last month's beekeeping meeting and made some connections.  There was a lady who had lost her hive to starvation and had found an apiary who still had bee packages in late March.  Apparently, that was rare. Packages include the queen and a couple thousand other bees.  I ran home after the meeting and looked up their website.  Next morning, I called first thing and by the end of our 45 minute conversation, I had ordered 4 lbs. of Italian honeybees.  I knew it was now or never. Bring on the bees.
  Last weekend, I pulled out all of my supplies at the house and realized I was missing a key box of supplies.  Basically, everything. Crap.  I couldn't remember if it was in my mother's attic, my mother in law's attic, or one of three storage units.  (The worst part of this move is not knowing where anything is!)  I finally located it on Tuesday in a storage unit and had the boys help me put the frames in the supers.  The apiary called on Tuesday night and told me to expect them on Friday.  But, I had a feeling I needed to be ready.  Like nesting for a new baby, I gathered my cinder blocks, bought 4 lbs. of sugar to make their syrup and positioned the hive just right. (Facing south-east with a view of the sunset,  wind break of trees behind, lightly bathed in dappled light).  This morning, I got the call to pick them up.  I was so excited and Milo asked if he would be able to help in the clothes he was wearing.  Yesterday I gave them a speel about wearing the right protective clothing and not wear dark colors and he wanted to help today!  Their little beekeeper suits are coming soon, I promised them.  I picked the bees up at the post office and the clerks were very nice about having them there.  I drove them home slowly and placed them by their hive while I made the sugar syrup.  Making the syrup wasn't difficult, but pouring into the entrance feeder made a huge mess.  I could see it now, a swarm of bees infiltrate a house because of spilled sugar water.  After I cleaned that up, I went outside to light the smoker.  I have enough common sense to go outside at least. I didn't have any trouble lighting it the first time, but why won't it stay lit now? So, as I am trying to get the smoker lit, another dog comes over to bother Lucy.  They end up in a tussle and I'm right in the middle of it and get a little bite on the leg. This is really going well. I make the trek out to the bees while scanning for copperheads. A friend had recommended "Beekeeping for Dummies", a helpful book, but stated that gloves are pretty much optional for installing a hive.  I gathered my hive tool and started prying off the top. That first staple pulled out and  I stopped what I was doing and put on my gloves.  I'm glad I did.  They say bees are nice and calm in the spring.  I'm afraid to see them in the fall and winter.  They were pissed.  I sprayed them down the sugar water and smoked them.  They were no longer calm as Hindu cows. As I was shaking them in to their new home, I realized that Lucy was getting stung.  I stopped what I was doing and ran her back into the house. The whole time I'm thinking I need to get that epi-pen.  (My doctor won't prescribe one over the phone and since I haven't seen her two years I need to come in on Monday.) She's o.k., so I went back out to finish up.  I gingerly put the inner cover on and the top.  There were still a lot of bees left in the mailing package, but hopefully they will find their way into the hive.  I was stung once on the top of my head.  I didn't feel it at the time. So, they are here.  I'm very excited, but still a little nervous on this adventure!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butcher block counters

I ordered maple butcher block counters for the kitchen island today from Lumber Liquidators and we will pick them in 10 days. IKEA has some, but the website always has them unavailable in the Dallas. We are still doing concrete around the perimeter. Also, we should have the kitchen sink and dishwasher hooked up by Friday. Little steps.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Welcome home

Last night we spent the night at the house for the first time. It was exactly how I had imagined it. Boxes everywhere, chaos and pure happiness. There are no words to describe the joy, pride and amazement I feel. I know I shouldn't love a house or material objects, but this house is a result from our dreams and hard work. There is still alot to accomplish, but we will get there. Good things take time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

U-haul Orange

There is so much to do, but even the littlest achievements are celebrated. They are all little in themselves, but makeup the big projects. You know the saying, "You can't see the forest, for the trees"? Sort of like that, but I'm starting to see the forest. Although, my favorite saying was something Pop said at the beginning of this project, "It's like eating an elephant, one bite at a time." The bites this weekend included: one microwave installed, one bathroom shower tiled and one wall grouted (just in time for the plumber), the pump house walls being prepped for studs, part of a storage unit unloaded (including the dishwasher, washer and dryer), two trips to Lowe's, one trip to Caldwell Hardware for another grout float, a cub scout outing to Entergy park, and finding the perfect accent color I've been looking for. It went something like this....

Me: Adam! Come here!
Adam: What?! (Sounding somewhat concerned)
Me: The dolly, that is the perfect shade of orange! Look at how well it goes with the green lights and is so happy with the wall and cabinet color!
Adam: The U-haul dolly? U-haul orange? Really? I can just see us going into the paint store. Yes, I'd like a gallon of U-haul orange, semi-gloss. Oh, it is a proprietary color....well, can you color match it? (with a great sarcastic tone)

Take a peek at these from No sources were given.
Not to much, just a pop of color!

These are from Arkansas's own Tobi Fairley:
Adam and I went to the Energy Efficient House in Diamondhead a few years ago and I have been smitten with Tobi ever since.
Adam picked up some electrical insulators at Habitat last week! I had no idea what we were going to do with them, but since Tobi used them in a little vignette, it gives me the perfect excuse to bring out all of my Harry Potter books and disguise them!

So, there is this weekend's update. Hopefully, we will be able to report back soon that we have a working toilet. Stay tuned....

Friday, February 17, 2012

moving right along...

Our last update was in December. How terrible is that? Considering we (and all our sub-contractors) took the month of December off, there wasn't much to report on. January consisted of us getting our ducks in a row and figuring how much money we have left to finish up this project. That was fun.

This picture was taken on Feb. 14th. Adam is cooking pizza in our new oven. Take a peek at the farmhouse sink! And those cabinets- swoon! We ordered seeded glass to go in the upper cabinets yesterday, they will be beautiful! We decided to go with an oil-based paint for the cabinets. I know, all the other paint in the house has been no VOC, so I'm sure it just canceled each other out. We chose to do an oil-based paint for the durability and cleanliness factor. Lacquer would have been just as stinky and we wanted something that will hold up. Paint color is Front Porch by Sherwin-Williams. It is a light gray with cool blue undertones. The back splash will be carrera marble in subway tile.

We are so stinkin' close to finishing, but I also realize that we probably will never be done. It will always be a work in progress and I'm o.k. with that.

The list of things to do and completed projects:

-HVAC- 99.9% complete-they left off a vent cover.

-Electrical- 98% complete- they haven't installed a light in the boy's bath and put in the wrong breaker for our radiant floor.

-Plumbing- 50% complete- Plumber will be there on Tuesday to finish up.

-Adam installed a cork floor upstairs. He only banged his thumb twice and just a little blood.

-Master bath tile is complete and OH MY GOODNESS! That will deserve it's own post. It turned out amazing and I can't believe that's our bathroom. The frameless glass shower enclosure was ordered and should be installed in about 2 weeks. We are having an issue with the tub spout not being long enough.

-We need countertops and door hardware. We plan on pouring concrete countertops soon. The island will most likely be butcher block.

-Oven and refrigerator are installed

-We have doors installed upstairs, but no door knobs. Of course, I found beautiful, vintage glass doorknobs. But to use them, we need a retrofit kit. Also, we need sliding barn door kits for the doors downstairs.

-We are going to finish tiling the boy's shower this weekend.

-Touch up paint- lot's of that.

-Finish painting the kitchen island. I had hoped to stain it a weathered gray, but after numerous attempts and it looking like a purple hippo, we are painting it our trim color, Greek Villa from Sherwin-Williams.

-Painting the trim

-Garage Doors

- And much more..... But that's all I care to think about!

So, the question everyone has been asking, "When are you moving in?" NEXT WEEKEND! As soon as we have a toilet, a shower and a sink! Sure, we have alot to accomplish, but I think it will go faster once we are able to spend significant time there and I hope we will be able to work once the boys go to bed! Thanks for all of your support and we can't wait to move in!