Dear Mr. James David,
You may have come into our life 19 days past your due date, but other then that, you have been anything but late! You are a little go getter that keeps us on our toes, makes us question all that we know, and love, and are willing to beat up, in an instant, if that bully at the park tries to push you one more time.
You are our heart with little legs, and arms, and a snotty nose, but you are ours. Our greatest DIY project that we can never take back! There’s no tearing this one down and starting over. We only get one shot with this one, let’s hope we get it right!
Never before have we felt so much accomplishment and defeat in one day. Never before have we felt so much exhaustion and joy in one moment. You are the beat of our hearts, you keep us young (minus your dad’s receding hairline), and you make our hearts melt in ways we never thought possible.
With you the world is a brand new place with mountains to climb and busy streets to cross! Our own little joy bomb, we can place you anywhere, in any setting, and you will fill the room with happiness. You turn the saddest of frowns upside down, and it’s because of you that random strangers approach us at the grocery store.
Mr. James David you make our love grow stronger, be more vulnerable, and now we cry at every sick or dying child movie ever made (who makes those films anyways?!) With you we are a real family. One that spends most of their Friday nights curled up watching the latest cartoon kid movie (loving Despicable Me 2 right now!), and our Saturday mornings with a whole new meaning to the term “naked time”!
There are days where you are so much like us it’s scary. It scares us cause we can no longer run from our shortcomings. Like it or not you will probably be overly positive about things, like your mom, and see the world through your father’s survivalist mentality. There is no getting around these things. Instead of hiding from them we run into them and help you balance innocence with reality, and that it’s ok to stock pile somethings–just not at the expense of buying everything in bulk EVERY time (seriously Cale?!).
We love you with our whole hearts, muscles, bones, and flesh. You are our little boy, our first born son, and you have taught us more about God’s love in your 12 months of existence than any preacher, church, or religion. It brings us to our knees, and sometimes our pillows, and keeps us up at night wondering how will we protect the greatest gift we’ve ever been given? How do we prepare to release you into this great big old world!? Our heads spin with how we will ever figure it all out, but then we remember we have 18+ years to perfect our parenting, napping, and time-out process.
There is grace for the journey, and dark, dark coffee, and chocolate for the early mornings ahead. xoxo
How are you new parents holding up out there? We welcome any tips and/or advice from you seasoned pros?!
From the Farm
Our friends at STUDIO Architecture were ready to update their existing look and streamline their brand standards. Before any of the designs were flushed out everyone on staff shared their thoughts on the site’s design and function. This process sounds like a mess, but it gave us a lot of great feedback to base the site design on, and allowed us to update their entire brand in a way that truly represents STUDIO as a whole. From updating their copy points to a more approachable, everyday tone, offering updated options for colors, fonts, and photography, to the overall layout and site design, we were really able get our hands on every inch of their brand. Our goal was not only to update the STUDIO brand, but also to provide design standards that they could really grow and expand from.
STUDIO had a lot of history with their existing mark and wanted to keep it’s original square box design. When it came to updating the logo our focus was mainly on simplifying all the font, color, and size variations that had been used over the past few years. Instead of having hundreds of logo variations we came up with three options to bring some consistency to the brand. Other then updating the logotype the icon of the logo remained the same. Orange, yellow, and green were established as STUDIO’s 3 primary colors. A few additional colors were also added to the brand to add more depth and variation in future client presentations, contracts, and promotional materials.
”Your space reflects who you are.”
“We see relationships as our most cherished resource.”
“Great design is inherently sustainable.”
We designed STUDIO’s website with a basic square grid to mimic the rectilinear shapes in their logo. The white space gives plenty of breathing room while the content on the site remains simple and to the point. For an industry that prides itself on clean, straight lines, we love that STUDIO was not afraid of adding a bit of pop to their brand. The fun colors paired with a sleek site design highlight STUDIO’s great balance of a casual and professional work atmosphere. Both the portfolio and bios sections include unique interactive elements that make the site feel less stuffy and much more personable than typical architectural sites.
STUDIO was a wonderful client to work with and we really enjoyed getting to know each and everyone of their team members. The updated STUDIO brand provides an aesthetic foundation that they can really jump off of, as well as standards to stay within, as they continue to grow.
Thanks STUDIO for being such a fun client and friend.
Checkout the full site here.
From the Farm
To see more projects like this and others visit our graphic design portfolio at Green Couch Design.
I can’t tell you how excited I have been to share my latest homemade gift with you all! To be honest I was a bit overambitious last Christmas, and didn’t complete any of the FOUR projects I started (surly I’m not the only one… !?). This year I was determined to complete ALL my projects from last year, and I’m happy to announce that I reached my goal just in time for Christmas!
Tis true, me and Martha Stewart became besties this holiday season, and I couldn’t be any more happier with the results!
Once you plan out your portrait the cross-stitching isn’t that hard, but it does take time. Personally, I enjoyed spending my evenings with the tv off, bundled under a blanket, working away while Cale studied for his latest Architecture Exam. You might think of cross-stitching as an old lady sport, but it was really fun giving an old craft an updated design.
- Embroidery Hoop
- Embroidery Thread (Just ask around and borrow some from your crafty friends if you don’t want to buy a bunch–thanks Courtney!)
- Embroidery Needle
- Embroidery Aida Cloth (I started with 22 count and the stitches were way to small and close together. Definitely aim for 11-14 count squares, or even 8 if you would like a bigger design.)
- Graph Paper (I just stole a few pages from Cale’s Moleskine Journal, shhh… don’t tell!)
- Colored Pencils
- Scotch Tape
- Select a Wider (smaller) Embroidery Aida Cloth Count: I started my first portrait with a 22 count and hated the whole process. The wider squares (11-14 count) show off fun details better, and you won’t be cussing as much as you try and poke your thread through tiny, TINY, little holes!
- General Size/Scale Chart: 8 stitches across for adult heads, 7 stitches across for teen/kids heads, and 3 stitches across for babies.
- Plan it Out: Use graph paper and colored pencils to plan out every detail. Having a solid plan creates a smooth transition once you start cross-stitching.
- Customize each family member: I found the inspiration for this project sifting through an old subscription of Martha Stewart Living. Visit her page for ideas and suggestions on how to each person in your portrait their own unique style. Think about the person’s hair, the type of clothes they wear, and even fun accessories.
- Use Back Stitching for Small Details: This simple technique allows you to create fine details like glasses, baby eye’s and mouth’s, letters, and numbers.
This was my first cross-stitch project so don’t feel intimidated if you have never done this before. I stitched two full portraits of the same family until I got the style, layout, and the scale just right.
You can do it! Old ladies unite!
What new Christmas projects did you take on this year? How did they turn out?
From the Farm
Living in a farmhouse built in 1910 definitely has it’s moments of nostalgia, but also frustration when it comes to organization. There are hardly any closets, the house was not built for a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, or even A/C. If we add any of these items to the house we take away highly valued real estate forcing us to consider every inch of space we leave open or fill up.
This wall is about 4 ft from our kitchen island. Normally we would love to put a thin table along the wall for more hidden storage, but it would make getting in and out of the kitchen very difficult. By creating a storage unit that hangs everything up on the wall it allows us to utilize the precious wall space without taking up any floor space.
We found these great raw shelves from IKEA and painted them white (they didn’t have the white option when we purchased them). These shelves have become the perfect place for stashing teas, sprinkles, paper muffin tins, and other spices that we don’t use on a daily basis. As a semi-closed storage system they help us organize all the little stuff that would otherwise get lost in drawers. Their tiny size keeps us from overloading them with “stuff” and helps us remember what is in each box. I also love that they are easy to pull out and use as a display for specific items, like tea bags, on the counter when entertaining guests.
My mom is so great at finding vintage items and using them in a way I would never have thought of. She is the one who gave me the idea of taking a floral frog pin, originally used for standing up flowers in a vase, as a way to display cards from friends and family.
(The boots image is a thank you card I received from my good friend Shelley. She takes wonderful photos of her own farm life. Check em out here!)
Our giant coffee mugs are a must, but they take up a TON of counter space. By hanging them with these screw-able hooks (you can buy at your local hardware store and you don’t even need a fancy tool to attach them to the shelves!) they clean-up extra cups in a very organized manner.
I also love hanging fresh onions or even potatoes in my no-sew market tote bag I made thanks to Martha (a really great homemade Christmas gift idea… just sayin!)! I’m looking for a vintage wood potato/onion bin, but until then we have no extra space in our cabinets for our farm fresh veggies!
This little shelf unit gives me a great place to display holiday decor and fresh flowers in the spring. We recently got some tiny pumpkins and Indian Corn in our latest Bountiful Baskets Order (find one near you!) and I am totally obsessed!
Don’t they look adorable?!
Living in 1,000 square feet definitely presents it’s challenges, but it also encourages us to live simpler and come up with invent storage solutions that really utilize each bit of extra space. There are days I would REALLY love a bigger house, but then I think about having more to clean, and more rooms to fill up, which means more excuses to buy more “stuff”.
Do you have any tricks to share in organizing all the little spices and such that take up counter space in your kitchen? We’d love to hear your ideas!
From the Farm
Cale and I were recently hired to bring our branding, architectural layout, and interior design eye to a new hair salon opening near Oklahoma City. A father/daughter owned salon it was definitely important to find the perfect masculine and girly balance. We presented two mood boards as inspiration for their new shop.
The first one (featured above) is our Industrial Chic Mood Board. Celebrating the color combo of brown and black, this space focuses on metal, concrete, and wood materials. The simple, yet stark natural colors bring a high fashion feel that is still approachable and warm.
The second option (featured below) presents a more flirty aesthetic in our Raw Contemporary Mood Board. The pops of colors add a playfulness to the base black and brown color scheme. Pairing upcycled materials with new furniture and lighting creates an atmosphere that is friendly and relaxing.
The shop is still getting it’s feet on the ground, but we wanted to share with you the two mood boards we presented for the overall shop design. We can’t wait to show you the completed branding project after their Grand Opening in Mid- November.
Find the links to these images and see what else inspired our branding by visiting our Salon Board on Pinterest.
Which board do you like the best?
We love how both concepts are a mix of rustic, found objects, with a modern, clean feel. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple folks! Cale would say keep it white, but I would say a little color goes a long ways!
From The Farm
More and more I’m not really a “recipe girl”. I like to use recipes as a guideline, and then substitute my favorite ingredients and flavors to make a recipe my own. Typically it’s hard to find just “one” recipe I like. I tend to find several with different pieces and parts that sound good, and throw them together to make one awesome meal. So, in an effort to keep my options open, but still stick to the basics, I’m going to be breaking down recipes to their basic measurements. You fill in your favorite meats, sauces, and veggies to truly make it your own! At our house we definitely aim to use the healthiest ingredients, but sometimes it just comes down to what is on hand!
Now, get in there and own that potpie!
Everyone loves a potpie (unless you don’t like pie and if that is the case there is just something wrong with you!)! The thing I love about potpies is that they are so versatile. From the crust to the meat and vegetables you can mix and match or pull out leftovers in your fridge.
** Keep in mind I’m providing the quantities you’ll need of each ingredient, but feel free to substitute meats, seasonings, vegetables, sauce and crust to taste.
- Meat: 1 lb; chicken, stew meat, or hamburger.
- Seasoning: 1 teaspoon; Parsley, tarragon, salt, pepper, celery seed or celery salt, and cayenne pepper (if you like a kick!).
- Vegetables: 2 cups (1 cup each) of vegetables; typically we like a combo of peas and carrots, but you can also use corn, asparagus, green beans, etc.
- Creamy Sauce: Typically 1/2 cup; of skim milk, whole milk, or even coconut milk + 1 cup of broth; chicken, beef, or vegetable + 2 tablespoons; of flour for thickness.
- Cheese: 1/2 cup; low-fat cheddar, but substituting some other sharp cheese like Munster or even swiss maybe fun to try?
- Crust: 1) Make a basic pie crust the old fashioned way with butter and flour, 2) Substitute regular flour with whole wheat and butter with olive oil (delish!), or 3) purchase a pie crust from the store and have it ready to go!
- Additional: 1/2 cup; onion finely chopped.
- Make/Prepare pie crust so it is ready to go. Look for a variety of pie crust recipe links in the ingredients list above or you can probably find a good one in any standard cookbook you’ve got laying around. (If I am making the pie crust from scratch I like to make two at a time so that I can freeze one, and have it ready to go the next time I want to make a potpie. Saves a TON of time and cleanup!)
- Pre-heat oven to 375. If you are not using a oven save skillet you’ll just have to use a pan to cook the meat as well as grease a 9″ pie pan.
- Heat up the skillet with a dab of olive oil. Cook the onions until clear, add in the meat, and cook thoroughly through. Remember you are going to bake the meat as well so if things are slightly pink the meat will finish up nicely in the baking process.
- Step 3: Add harder vegetables (like carrots) and cook for 5 minutes, until softened (if you can stick them with a fork or toothpick they are done!).
- Add flour, whisk in for about 30 seconds, and then pour in milk and broth. Let simmer until the creamy sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in cheese, additional seasonings (to taste), and other softer vegetables like peas or asparagus. Stir until the cheese is melted.
- If baking in a SKILLET: Center the pie crust over the filling and tuck the extra parts draping over the side in. I typically use a spoon to help me get down in there since the ingredients will be hot! If baking in a PIE PLATE: Pour filling into prepared pie plate. Center the pie crust over the filling and tuck the extra parts draping over the side in.
- Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out dry. (I like to use the baking time to cleanup so that by the time you are ready to sit down cleanup is practically done!)
Here are some yummy references of potpies I used to come up with my own version.
Let us know what you think about this new little series and ways that we can help clarify things? I’m always open to trying different ingredients or suggestions to make prep for a homemade meal easier and faster.
Now get in there and make yourself a homemade potpie. You can do it!
From The Farm
The older I get the more I like visiting my parents house. The longer I’m a parent, the more house chores I have to get done, and the more house projects we have to finish up, the more I appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating a home.
My parents and I live in different states now. We don’t get to share in Sunday dinners together, or the occasional “just stopping by” on a random weeknight, but that is what makes visiting them feel so special. It is special. Every moment. Our visits are weekends filled to the brim with family and friends, homemade garden wine, searching through the Sunday ads, and fitting in a garage sale or two (or three, or four!)! Sometimes we even have a few chores, like back in the day, where we’ll help load up wood for the winter. Whether it’s relaxing or working we don’t mind, it gets us away from our day to day, an escape from our own To-Do List.
The house I grew up in has become a sorta mini vacation home for us filled with homemade meals (that I don’t have to plan!), and lots of time hanging out on the back porch. My mom does a lot of things to make our stay feel special, but the thing I love the most is her tiny vases filled with fresh flowers. These are not store bought flowers, oh no, these are the real deal. Cut straight from her own yard. These are the flowers she tends to like little grandchildren. She handpicks each one and arranges them just so, displaying them throughout the house and next to our bedside table.
I’m always amazed at how much a little touch of flowers can bring life to a room. It’s like a breath a fresh air, and it’s moments like these that make me realize what makes moms so amazing. How they can take something so simple, and make it so beautiful. And how that little gift can make you feel so loved, even at 30!
Thanks mom for making our visits so special, and putting so much thought and detail into every meal, every flower, and every moment. I hope I can learn to love people like that. Without even meaning too. That true hospitality flows out in the things I love, and love to do.
What simple things do you like to do for guests to make them feel special?
From The Farm
Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking, re-thinking, designing, and re-thinking of our someday Modern Farmhouse. We love looking at small spaces, and collecting ideas on how to create a home that is both pretty and functional. For us, good design means it has to work. And with our growing family, a VERY large extended family, and our love to entertain it has been hard figuring out how space we really need?
As we look into all of the possibilities it’s always fun to strip living down to it’s simplest form. How much space does a family of 2, 3, or 4 really need to function?
How about 196 square feet?!
As designers we are constantly challenged to break down complex ideas, visions, and dreams, into their purest, most simplest form. This Track House definitely does just that. Now, this doesn’t mean Cale and I will be selling all our processions, but the idea of how small is too small is definitely up for debate. The bigger the house the more expense it is to build and maintain, not to mention what it does to the environment around it. So the question of the day is how small is too small? What are we REALLY willing to live without? If we breakdown the form and function of our family structure, what does it look like? How does it move? How much space do we really need to live a comfortable and happy life?
From The Farm
See more photos and info about this house design here.
Branding will always be my favorite part of design, but everyone once in a while it’s fun to be able to let go and design a single invitation. Using the concept of arrows I wanted to keep everything long and narrow. The tribal feel is simple, playful, and all boy!
I wish I could take credit for the overall vision, but none of this would have happened without our good friend Sarah. She put so much time and love into creating such a special afternoon.
Some of my favorites decor elements and activities included:
- Blessing Arrows: Guests were invited to take pieces of paper and write blessings on them. We then wrapped the paper around the arrows and stuck them on a little tree.
- Customized Baby Name Print: Like the big “R” print with “Rhys’” name below it? You can make your own as a free (+ the cost of a frame) and easy shower gift here.
- Trail mix Bar: Loved this idea! Create your own trail mix out of your favorite peanuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruits. So good!
- Diaper Decorate Activity (not shown): Using sharpies everyone wrote a funny or encouraging note on a package of diapers. What a unique way to lift mom and dad’s spirits in the wee (he, he!) hours of the night!
- Rhys’ Reece’s: Guess how many there are? Hard to believe there were over 200! Yep, I was WAY off and didn’t get to go home with the giant box of chocolate.
- Baby Belly Henna Tattoo: For the “after party” we all hung around, drank wine, and watched Taryn with Spirited Doula Services create a beautiful piece of art right on our momma’s baby bump.
It was a wonderful day full of love and celebration for this new little bundle of joy. We can’t wait to meet you baby Rhys!
From the Farm
* See more work like this and others by visiting our graphic design portfolio at Green Couch Design.