Thursday, March 31, 2011

Authoring a book on jewelry design


I usually don't talk too much about my work life on this blog, but I have big enough news to share today that I felt like I should announce on both blogs. I'm officially co-authoring my first book on jewelry design with my co-worker and friend Jamie Hogsett. This will be Jamie's 6th book and my very 1st book. I'm so thankful to have a knowledgeable and talented co-author.  The book will be published by Kalmbach, the home of Bead and Button Magazine as well as Bead Style Magazine. Our deadline for materials is coming up quickly, so forgive me if I seem a little frazzled and overwhelmed. Between school, the book, our new home, and our wedding plans, I have my hands completely and utterly full! But, I have to say, I am feeling really happy. Joshua has been very supportive, loving and understanding. I'd have a a hard time balancing it all without him. He is such a calming force in our home. The book is due to come out in February 2012, so I've decided to author the book under my married name Sara Oehler.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crossing my fingers


Exciting news! My Mom is putting an offer down on a patio home about a mile and a half from our house - 38th St and Indian School Rd. It is a cute little 2 bedroom place with beautiful granite counter tops and a nice sized patio. The community seems quiet and safe. Although she may not move to Arizona immediately, it is a step in the right direction. Now that Joshua and I are settled, she has been planning to relocate at some point. We've been keeping our eyes out for a good deal. I think that this is an excellent property for her and I am crossing my fingers that it will all work out. In my adult years, my Mom and I have never lived in the same state. It would be so wonderful to be able to see my Mom any time I want. Being that it is a short sale, it might be a long time before her offer is officially accepted. Will you cross your fingers too?

Starting to shape up

Daffodil


Joshua and I did some big jobs this weekend. He rented a tiller and a chain saw. He turned up the ground in our back planter. We are still deciding what we'd like to do in the planters, but it was nice to at least get it ready for a fresh start.


As big and beautiful as the rubber plant once was, it had a terrible bout of frost bite. We could have cut it back and let it continue to grow, but after much thought and many discussions, we decided to remove it entirely. It doesn't fit with the rest of the yard.



We also removed a few bushes and our dead tree in the front. Our yard feels so much more open. A few basic changes here and there made a world of difference. Things are really starting to shape up outside. We've trimmed, fertilized, watered, and tended to most of the yard. We just need to clean up our trimmings and then we can shift our focus back to our indoor projects.

Lost in Yonkers from Arizona Theatre Company


ATC Photo

Joshua and I had the extreme pleasure of attending Opening Night of Lost in Yonkers. I really love this story, maybe because I have a German Grandma and in some ways I can relate to the story. It is a Neil Simon classic and ATC really did the play justice. The set and the clothing was spot on. You can catch this play in Phoenix until April 10th. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hong Kong Orchid Trees


Imagine my surprise this evening when I noticed that our Hong Kong Orchid Tree has full blooms! How did I miss that? I guess I've been busy looking for sprouts at eye level. I hadn't bothered to look up that far. These blooms are gorgeous. After spying the first one, I realized that there were new flowers ready to bloom all over the tree. Yay!




Monday, March 21, 2011

Fresh juice


Our juicer arrived today. Both Joshua and I had a fresh glass of oj after he got home from work. I honestly can't remember the last time that I drank fresh orange juice. Yum!

More growth

I am surprised every single time I hang out in our yard. Things are growing so quickly. It was overcast and cool today, which was a pleasant surprise. Typically once it starts heating up here in Phoenix, it doesn't stop until November!

Pomegranate

Wisteria 

Black Eyed Susan

Picking Grapefruit

Orange Blossom

Gardenia

Daffodils?

New temperature gauge from Josh's parents, Jeanne and John!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bodyworlds at the Arizona Science Center amongst other news


Josh and I took his Mom to Bodyworlds tonight. It is such an interesting exhibit. The human body is fascinating and beautiful. It is neat to see how everything (veins, muscles, organs, bones, ligaments, etc) all work together.


We also visited with a master gardener at the UofA Cooperative Extension. Joshua brought a few cuttings of items from around our yard. The purple flowers are wisteria. We have two types of Arizona Sweet Oranges. Did you know that there are several varieties? Our 4 trees on the west side of the house are different from the short tree on the east side. One big difference is the number of seeds. The tree on the east end has far less seeds and is the most similar to a naval orange. It was pretty neat to learn more about the plants in our yard.



Josh's Dad gave us a really neat herb cart for Christmas. I finally planted some herbs. I have two marjorams and a parsley that my cousin Loretta left me at Christmas time. Then, I picked up two basil and one green sage at a plant nursery with Josh's Mom Jeanne. The large pots in front are really exciting. Those are strawberries. I remember always being so excited about my Grandma's strawberry patch when I was little, but I've never grown my own strawberries. I plan to grow the plant into the pot next to it.


Honey has been enjoying having Luke visit. She is getting really good at dodging out of his way when he comes barreling through the patio. Josh commented yesterday that she sort of looks like a little princess next to him, I have to say that I heartily agree. Honey looks extremely delicate next to Luke. However, she has been holding her own. She gets sassy if she thinks he is out of line, a girl after my own heart. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Purple blooms


Josh's mom arrived today with her dog Luke. As I was helping her move him into our back yard, I noticed that one of our fence line plants had bloomed over night. It is full of huge purple blooms that smell really good!



Right around sunset, there were tons of big, huge bees floating around from bloom to bloom. I LOVE our new yard. It is full of so many lovely surprises.


We walked over and had dinner at a neighborhood haunt, Tee Pee. It has been around since the 60's. 


Luke is one of seven dogs on the ranch. At 2.5, he is one big gigantic puppy. I really do mean...gigantic. He's huge. He thoroughly enjoyed some extra attention from Josh. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break

Our First Rose 2011

It is Spring Break! I'm so excited to have a break from school and from homework. Josh's Mom is visiting this week for the plant sale at the Desert Botanical Gardens

March 18, 2011 - March 20, 2011
Members Only - Friday - 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
General Public - Saturday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. 

If you like plants or if you need wonderful plant advice, go! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mystery plants

Rhubarb?

Daffodils?

Onion?

Our rose bushes on the side of the house have some friends. Randomly growing in the planters are several unidentified plants. Do you know what these are?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Respect the thorn


“He who wants a rose must respect the thorn.”
-Persian Proverb

Joshua and I attacked the largest set of rose bushes today. They were at least 7 feet tall with thick, dense growth. It was no easy task! 






Some of the branches look more like tree trunks than rose bush limbs. I think we are finally done pruning rose bushes. Next weekend, it is chainsaw time. We have have a dead tree and a few bushes that need to be removed. We are creating one big load that we can take to the dump in a uhaul. We hope to have the yard somewhat in order before Summer starts (which may have been yesterday in Phoenix). Then, we can go back to focusing on our indoor projects when it is too hot to be outside. 

Devoured - Phoenix Wine and Food Festival


Originally called West of Western, Devoured is held at the Phoenix Art Museum, and some combination of my girlfriends and I have attended this event annually for years. I sat last year out because Josh and I had started looking into buying a house and most of my time and energy was zapped. So, I was little surprised yesterday to see just how much the event had changed in the past 2 years. First and foremost, the average age of the attendee seems to have gone down substantially. With the introduction of taquila, vodka, beer, etc - it felt a lot more like a bar atmosphere. I think that is unfortunate. I was also a little shocked by how some of the outdoor art at the Phoenix Art Museum was being treated. Sculptures are not tables, nor are they trash cans.




Putting this aside, the food did not disappoint. There were lots of great dishes being offered and all of us walked away full and happy. Because the atmosphere has changed so much and due to there being so many more people attending, I did feel as if I missed out on really getting to hear the details of what went into each dish. I especially missed out on learning about the wines that I tested. Part of the fun in wine tasting is hearing about where the wine comes from and the distinct flavors that make it unique. I really like Modern Steak, Switch, San Tan Brewing Company, The Parlor, The Vig and Roka Akor. I think that my favorite item of the day was the very first thing that Erin and I tasted from Frank and Alberts. It was jumbo shrimp on top of a corn and jicama salad. Yum.





Corn dogs and Cotton candy

I loved, loved, loved all of the beautiful displays and flowers that the each restaurant used to decorate their space. 

Erin and I took a break from the heat and wandered around a fashion exhibit in the museum. It was REALLY neat. Lots of old designer coats and dresses as well as shoes, riding gear, etc. It was nice to get out of the sun and cool off. It was even better that there was such a neat exhibit to wander through. 



At the end of the day, I think that all of us agreed that we had an excellent time being together, tasting good food and having some wine. Although I am not particularly happy about the direction that the event is going, it still made for a lovely day with some of my favorite ladies. 

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