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Green Modern House Kit Construction Continues, Day 7

Well, the elation of seeing our gorgeous off grid house construction progress was tempered with the anger that sometime yesterday, on Thanksgiving, people felt they could saunter onto private property and enjoy our house kit, eating and discarding snack food bags and soda cans in our environmentally friendly home.

I know it was none of our neighbors, all whom have farms and homesteads and respect and care for each other.

I suspect it was the deer hunters in the hunt club that are leasing property behind us, who travel over 2 hours to this pristine area then loose their dogs and run amok regardless of people's legal boundaries. Our neighbor across the street has already had confrontations with these men, one of them berating their teenage daughter when she boldly started writing down trespassers' license plates...

Obviously whomever littered and lingered in our future home had no regard for family or private property, no matter how many "no hunting" signs you post.

It is something we, as a community and neighbors, will have to aggressively address to protect our privacy and ensure there are no unknown bands of rifle-toting trespassers about thinking any movement might be deer. (Yes we wear blaze orange. But stupid people who feel they can loiter on land that's not theirs certainly don't have the brain to distinguish between a fleeing buck or a playing child.)

Anyway, while I stew on this, here's a new 360 picture of the interior...
(FYI you can arrow up and down and all around... have fun!)

[Still thinking about the fact that trespassers littered and loitered in our future home. Stupid landless poacher deer hunters...]

Ok, fine, on to gorgeous house kit environmentally friendly passive solar design!
(Heh heh... believe me... I will be much better equipped to deal with trespassers by next week... love my scouting cameras and er, some other tricks up my sleeve!)

(For some reason the slideshow is not working so in the meantime here it is embedded another way:)
Modern Green Passive Solar House Kit Construction Day 7

Honestly, aside from the initial shock (but really, not a big surprise especially as our neighbors had just been telling us what a problem non-neighbors were during deer season), it was a lovely day. I asked Ron for his guest blogger comments, but he smiled and said there were no surprises.

We took an old friend out with us, and I am looking forward (hint, hint Tony!) to hearing his thoughts and sharing them. He loved the house kit, loved the placement of the house on the site, the window/lighting... and had some great ideas of what to do in landscaping along the north side that borders the field...

To actually walk around the interior... these photos do not do it justice. Natural light, high ceilings, the flow, the views while maintaining privacy... it all seems so much *more* than a small footprint home would seem to feel.

I would have taken some videos but the Amish were working and I didn't want to worry them about a camera (we took all these pictures after they had left for the day, hence the dusk feel of the light). Speaking of the Amish, it was really nice to meet the crew- and one of them I knew! We both smiled when we saw each other:

For years, we stop right outside the town at "The Amish Children's Stand."
There, various siblings man a booth where they sell jams, relishes, bread, cookies, and vegetables in season...
Anyway, there's always a older child or two, maybe 2 middle children, and one young child there. It turns out that one of the eldest is now old enough to start doing some more kinds of work... like being on the crew of building a modern off grid house kit!

It was a funny moment.
By the time we would pull up to that Amish childrens' stand we would have been traveling with 2 (very young back then) whiny children, two wild dogs (one who was usually on my lap)... and we'd tumble out to get our bread, etc. for the weekend and this same child would gape at us... I'd explain we had traveled far to be there, that we were camping, had no shelter, but hoped to one day have a home, how much we loved the area and community...

And here he was, now all grown up, building my home. : )
"Well," I said to him, "Now you know where the Crazy Family lives!"
And he laughed. : )

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Zero Energy House Kit Update! Modern Design Kit Construction Day 6

Please welcome our guest blogger, Ron Bernaldo of Giant Oaks Construction!
Here he recounts Day 6 of our Modern Passive Solar House Kit construction.

"Yes, it was cold this morning... It never made it to 49 today like they predicted...

The lumber we had to buy on this project was more than I thought, if I were going to buy a kit I would expect to get everything provided.

We had a good day today. I want this weather tight Monday, so we will need a great day Friday (tomorrow is Thanksgiving) to make that happen.

I'll start installing windows Friday morning, so it should look spiffy by the time you get here.

We're still waiting to meet with the new cladding vendor Monday.

I spoke to the rubber roofing contractor who says he tentatively can do that low roof membrane next Saturday."

Copeland's note: I will make sure I reiterate very clearly not only with the client but their contractor that yes, this is a *bare bones* kit, for a good reason: Each person will have their own systems choices, cladding decisions (although I am hooking you up with a volume pricing for the metal cladding, etc.) that will customize the kit. At the end of the day, you guys want a kit that's energy efficient and gorgeous, but that you can make look like your *self*!

If, as the factory had mentioned in a previous response, we had included all that framing lumber with the kit, the cost for shipping etc., would have been substantial vs. buying locally. I think what I'll do is really go over that aspect with every new contractor as each project starts so they are very clear on their estimates.

We will go and check out the house Friday... In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Raise The Roof! Our Modern Passive House Kit Has A Roof!

: )
I can not *begin* to tell you what this feels like.
It was so amazing to walk around this weekend, with the wall panels up, taking our silly amateur videos, experiencing the walls of our *dream* finally there, solid... reality.

So imagine how I feel seeing pictures of our modern house structure with a roof.

THANK YOU Ron Bernaldo and Daniel Esh and their crew (um, guess Daniel won't be seeing this since Amish don't have email... :) )- and I look forward to thanking them all in person.

[Much less throw a big party!]

Please welcome again Ron Bernaldo, fabulous contractor.
His voice, I just type. : )
(BTW Ron, er, nice Arnold Schwarzenegger impression there!

"The good news is... if the structure isn't high out of the ground, at least the 16/18 out of the ground, the roof panels are being set with a 4 man crew, because they're light enough they can be set by hand without a forklift or crane. IF it's close to the ground.

The assembly is easier on the roof panels than the walls.

Wednesday we won't get all the panels set because that side of the house (framing structure of the south side with all the clerestory windows, although the windows are on the north side) is more complicated than today's low north side.

I think we can wrap this up by Monday.
IF I'm right, and we wrap up (tomorrow is an Amish wedding and Bear Hunting Day. One Amish is going to a wedding, the others are bear hunting) on Monday, then we will be a day UNDER what I was hoping for.

The Amish driver and I are going to load up and install windows and doors on Friday while the other others are working on the roof panels on the south side."

Copeland's note: "Sigh... our dream is becoming reality!" : )

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Passive House: Modern Design Affordable House With Passive Solar Energy Efficiency! Update.

More modern design, passive solar house kit updates...
We headed out to the land today...
It was cold, but beautiful.

You could see the sun on the foundation, demonstrating it's passive solar house energy efficiency even before our prefab passive solar house kit was weather tight.

It was amazing to walk around the prefab foot, realizing that is 1,200 square feet of efficient, happy living. There is nothing we need. And we can have all our friends over.

For all our stages of life.

The one thing you need to note in these pictures/video is that some of the interior braces will be removed, there is storage/systems space in there but they did that to quickly allow for the roof panels they will add tomorrow.

So, here's some 360 photos I took... So you can get a sense of the space yourself. Also tons of video walk throughs, so please excuse the download.

Here's from another area of the house kit:

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Vintage! Hat! Friday!!!!! Reuse and Recycle In Style At Work!

Oh c'mon. You knew we were still gonna do this, right?

Copeland: Well, the hat was my grandmother's. I never saw her wear it, she was much more of a Lilly dress, pearls, white Keds and cable cardigan kind o' gal. So I wonder what she wore it with...

The dress and shoes are not (quite) vintage, but for some reason I awoke in a snappy 1940s mood today... these daggone wrap dresses are supposed to be so breezy and comfortable. All I ever do when I wear this dress is twist it around and pull on it. Drat. It either looks really good, or makes me look like a strumpet. Today, the dress... erhm... I took it off after the shoot.

The coat? Well, that's the Adam Ant pirate in me showing through... you know I don't stay groomed long... I found this coat, years ago, at HaAnd the gloves, from the fabulous estate sale we patronized a few weeks ago.

I call this outfit... Pirate-Eye Noir! I hope I would be the bad girl in this Recycled Reused Private, er, Pirate Eye film... ; )
Copeland’s had a few Ode to the 70’s, so I thought it was about time I pulled out my early 70’s ensemble (the fact that it’s my warmest outfit and it’s COLD today has nothing to do with it).

I take an odd pride in the fact that with the exception of some tiny navy spots in the dress pattern, this outfit is entirely shades of brown. Hat – Can’t remember where or when I got it. Coat – bought at *sigh* the mall, but it was a purchase from high school that I’ve been hanging on to for quite some time. The dress was another acquisition from that fantastic estate sale you keep hearing us go on about, as were the gloves. The dress required some very minor repairs, but how can you say no to a dress with a matching rawhide fringe belt? You simply can’t.

I thought about wearing some sleeker boots (also brown) but chunky furry boots seemed appropriate somehow. For some reason I also equate tons of lip gloss with the 60’s/70’s. Anyone want to back me up or shatter my misconception? If I still had long hair I may have ironed it flat, as I hear my Mother used to do in the 60’s. With an iron. And an ironing board. Talk about heat damaged hair!

I call my outfit... Fringe Benefits.

Happy Vintage Hat Friday, and Happy Voting!

(You vote by leaving a comment, below...)




Off Grid Zero Energy Modern House Kit Update Day 4

Here's the latest house kit update from Ron, our wonderful, money-saving contractor:

I started the call mentioning how dramatic the sky looked in the pictures he took.

His reply? ; )

"I didn't even see 'em, I was looking at the house.

All the outside walls were up, within 2 hours of what I had hoped.

We have no crew tomorrow because of the Amish wedding, Thursday we'll put the top plate in and build a bearing wall in the middle.
Friday we're out...

We won't set panels until Monday morning."

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It's Affordable Housing, Stupid.

(Drawing by 4 year old. Says, "I was taking off the apples at our land. That's what we're going to do. Everything was nice there. We grew big grass.")

Many of you have been carefully reviewing your budget, tightening your belts to save and plan to build your dream home for your family. That is my journey as well - everything is planned out longterm- from the apple trees we planted this fall which will bear fruit years from now, the patches of brush we leave in the field to encourage and provide habitat for wildlife, and the careful budgeting to pay off the house kit construction.

Now, we are in the throes of building our dream. I am experiencing it as the consumer, while fighting hard as Green Modern Kits to hammer out the most energy efficient, affordable, gorgeous products in the marketplace.

When I started Green Modern Kits, I negotiated hard with manufacturers to make sure they understood my mission:
  • Affordable housing is GOOD. It helps people.
  • You will get paid for your hard work, but if you make it easier for people to buy by not being greedy and treating it as a one-time purchase, you will be rewarded for it in volume.
  • You will benefit in the end, being happy with what you're doing and understanding the product deeply and not having to rethink each order as you would a "one time deal".
The Fantastic SIP Manufacturer was on board! We have factories across the country offering a low, affordable price! The high-end custom architecture firms believed! They loved being able to design what they wanted, knowing their perfect client would come!

But I also wanted to provide as much whole-house information and solutions for people. What about solar? Rainwater collection and filtration? So I researched hard and selected great vendors.

And then, there was the cladding.

Now, according to your style and budget, you can finish the kit in many ways.
I did that purposely, to give you that choice instead of "one solution fits all."
Some might choose reclaimed local wood. Some might do metal. Some might use HardiPlank...

My budget and dream for my own off grid casa ti was to use metal.

Why not offer it as a good package for others? Make the price even lower by my not getting *any* money from that purchase, just get volume pricing for my customers and then let them order directly from that vendor? It makes it easier for my customers and benefits me because their construction process is simplified!

I interviewed three national vendors.
The architects knew the best vendors for those of you who are not counting every dollar, but it's my job to find the best solution for those of us where every penny counts.

And selected ****.
My project representative, Kevin, seemed a tad sleepy, never responding in a timely fashion. I would have struggled with that more if it had just been my one project, but they were providing a solution, plus I could advocate for my customers. I chalked it up to his being kind of a sleepy southern guy (no offense southerners, I'm southern!).

Last week it started to rain.

The cladding was due to be delivered Friday. It was clear the land was going to be too soggy to have a truck full o' metal, they'd certainly get stuck. I called Kevin to reschedule... and time passed... so I called again. He was out, and I was desperate to reschedule the order.

"May I please speak with someone to reschedule our delivery?"
Ah yes, that would be Josie, whom I promptly dialed. We rescheduled for the following week, and while I had her on the phone, I thought I'd find out what my final bill was and settle up. Josie put me through to Heather, in accounting.

I gave her my order number, told her I was Green Modern Kits.
"That job was $4,000, so you don't owe anything."
Yes, I had sent in a deposit of $5,000, but still needed to settle up for the rest...
And then it dawned on both of us that
1. I just found out what the actual cost was... and
2. Therefore deduced what my project representative's MARKUP was.

It was more than my, and my architects, humble earnings as your project managers PUT TOGETHER.

I was ON. FIRE.
You could have had repeat orders over years to make it a great business decision, much less felt good about yourself?!?
Don't you get greedy on me, cladding!

Needless to say, I fired them.
I have now found a great replacement vendor that *gets it*:
It's Affordable Housing, Stupid.

Don't say I don't ever fight fer ya!
; )

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Zero Energy Modern House Kit Update : Day 3

Finally, some sun.
Please again welcome our guest blogger, Ron Bernaldo of Giant Oaks Construction!

...Otherwise known as "Fabulous Contractor."

If you've followed along, we were rained out two days last week.

Finally, with sun, we resumed.

Also, please note Ron's crew are all, with one exception, Amish.

And this is Amish wedding season. Their weddings are on Tuesdays or Thursdays, hence cutting into our construction schedule. (But I wouldn't change the experience for the world, and it is so special our local neighbors are the ones constructing the house kit.)

Here Ron sums up today's house kit construction:

"Nothing eventful.

Put up panels...could possibly finish tomorrow- only have half of a crew tomorrow, no crew on Wednesday because there's another Amish wedding, this time in New York.

If we finish putting up the walls tomorrow we'll be at my goal, which is exterior walls in three days.

The weather has NOT been nice to us.

I don't have the entire Amish schedule, but I'm hoping to have the roof panels in place next week, vapor barriers on, weather tight."

Yes, that'z riiiiight, you heard it straight from the source:
Green Modern Kits is being hijacked by the Amish! ; )
; )

On my front I have (and am still in the process) been battling some national vendors to lower their cost, and it all came to a head just this week.
So, don't say I don't fight fer ya... ; )

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Raise The Roof! For the Children's Home Society.

House kit construction resumes tomorrow...
But wanted to put up some pics to share with friends who came to last night's Raise The Roof fundraiser for a very special organization, the Children's Home Society of Virginia.

We have worked hard on this party all year.
We secured a fantastic bluegrass band, Jack Ass Flats, a great venue, Rolling Hill Farm, a barn, tents, mechanical bull, bbq, oysters...

And at 3:00, as the first guests arrived, the black clouds rolled in, the wind whipped the tents and linens, we were under a TORNADO WATCH, the skies opened up...

And then it stopped.
And the sun came out.
And the party began!

Did you know that in 2007-2008, through the Children's Home Society,
  • 83 children were placed in permanent adoptive homes:
    • 31 through CHS's infant adoption program
    • 52 through CHS's nationally recognized Partnership For Adoptions program with statewide departments of social services
  • Free counseling was provided to 113 clients
  • 2,221 days of temporary foster care were provided to Virginia children?
Well, now you do.

See Some Crazy People Ride The Mechanical Bull!

...Jack Ass Flats were great.

A fabulous, special evening that I will cherish, and it was so great to see many people come together to help a wonderful organization that helps so many children.

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Reuse, Recycle Yo Style At Work: Oh, yes, it's Vintage Hat Friiiiiiiiiday!

And y'all thought my silliness would stop once the house kit started.

Ok. Vintage Hat Friday is an opportunity to go through your closet and wear all those items you saved from being discarded you found at yard sales and vintage stores that you've never found an opportunity to wear.

Now you have an excuse.
So when you pull up to preschool in a 1960s poufy flower hat, just be all nonchalant-like and blame it on me. "Oh," sagely nod, "It's for Vintage Hat Friday."

Amy: It is raining (yet again) and I knew that any felt hat would be ill serviced by getting dragged about in the rain on my way into work, so I pulled out this little net. Paired with an estate sale blouse, thrift store boots, and my one concession to mall shopping – a black pencil skirt (you must always have a well fitting black pencil skirt) this gem from the Halcyon Rummage Sale was lovely and full of potential when I purchased it. It had a number of small holes and tears which I mended one evening with a spool of fine red thread and a needle. I mended it while my family sat around chatting after a long day of work….could one call that “Social Net-Working?”

…Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

It was in that evening I discovered what the ‘dots’ are that are so common on vintage hat veils. Can you guess? PIPE CLEANERS! Teeny tiny little pipe cleaners that are just wrapped once around the joint in the netting. The leaves glued on the net are straw that has been bent and woven into leaf shape, I’m hoping I never have to repair those as I think I lack that level of dexterity.

Oddly enough the shirt I’m wearing today very closely resembles a lovely piece of art that someone’s young’un did at school this week *looks at Copeland*...

Maybe if you ask nicely she’ll scan a copy and show it off.

Copeland: So, this morning I opened my closet and spied this gem. Tomorrow I'm volunteering for the Children's Home Society "Raise The Roof" fundraiser, in a barn, with a mechanical bull... so it seemed an appropriate choice.

Half of me wanted to pair it with a sleek urban jumpsuit, kinda Cool-NYC-Goes-Rodeo.
But then I saw the skirt...

You know me, Pippy Longstocking Does Country wins every time.
  • The hat: I have no idea. I don't even remember how/where/when I picked this one up. It's some funky Paddington Bear Rodeo Hat thang with some special effects of braid, studs, and an interesting tint of... mauve?
  • The skirt: Fan Thrift, another 99 cent special. Occasionally I spy it in my closet and think, "Hmmm???? Ehhhhhhhrm, NO."
    So now I'm finally wearing it!
    My 4 year old thinks it is very bee-you-tee-ful and is asking if she can have a skirt like that too and whether I got married in it.
  • The shirt: High school?
  • Sweater? Anthropologie, purchased when I was pregnant- note there is one button missing. That button has been sitting in my jewelry box for two years now. I'm not crafty like Amy: this is the girl who thinks "hemming" involves a stapler!
  • Shoes? On sale for twenty bucks. I mean, why the heck would any store sell a perfectly fine pair of wedge mary jane plaid sneakers for such a price?
  • Now I know Eric Drivdahl of Green Cottage Kits is going to chide me for my lack of accessories, but dude, I think this outfit has enough voices in it already!
If you're inspired to celebrate stylish reuse on your Friday, send in your pics!
We'd love to include you!
Just email to Copeland@ this domain name, by 8 a.m.
: )




Off Grid Passive Solar SIP House Kit Construction, Day 2!

Our zero energy off grid modern house construction update from our wonderful contractor, Ron Bernaldo! Here he explains the progress and his thoughts, as a contractor who has not worked with structural insulated panels (SIP), or a house kit like our passive solar casa ti house kit.

"Eh, I would say it doesn't take a lot of technical expertise to put the panels together but there are quite a few steps involved, so it's not a speedy process.

We got the 44' wall done, and the one 16' wall done, and the first piece around the corner... it wasn't a wonderful day weather-wise, and I had to take care of some things on another job... but all-in-all we've got one guy filling in the framing, 2 setting panels, and the most experienced carpenter following us just framing in the doors & windows.

The factory rep checked in with us... and I had some questions that they walked me through.

I prefer screws to nails or staples, so I deviated from traditional instructions on that.

I put up a 44' wall today.
Normally we have braces all over the place, and there overnight.
I went up to that wall today, and we couldn't shake it.

It's a neat design, I'm really happy with it.

The panels go together EASY. But you do have to do things as you go along, and that's what slows you down.

One more solid day could get us all the way around the perimeter.
If I can get the perimeter done in 3 days, I might do this in 7 days. (That's my goal.)

One of those interior walls will need to go up first to set the roof panel... so that will slow the perimeter/exterior down.

The only thing I'm unhappy with is the amount of material that did not come with the kit. We need material for the clerestory, for the framing of interior, etc. - so I need to account for that.

But I am still considering in my mind the framing for the extending of the roof on one side... that will eat up time.

That's about it!"

Copeland's note: The house kit is *just* the SIPs and SIP parts, of which I had been clear. I will ask him tomorrow why or what he thought would else have been included- they do come with a window and door schedule, but we are very clear about our "bare bones" - which makes it affordable and flexible for the consumer, who could then make their own decisions according to their style and budget.

There is rain in the forecast, which will certainly slow them down... and I also rescheduled the cladding delivery (it was supposed to be delivered Friday) for next Friday (they only deliver on Fridays), because of the rain. Remember, in a rural lot, you do NOT want to get a truck full o' metal modern cladding stuck in the mud!

I am really looking forward to spending the first night with our children in this house, and sharing it with our friends and family. David Day Design did a beautiful job on an affordable, passive solar house kit for Green Modern Kits.

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Our Modern Zero Energy SIPs House Kit Has Arrived!

Please welcome our handsome guest blogger, our fabulous contractor, OUR HERO!:
Ron Bernaldo of Giant Oaks Construction!
Here is his account of our SIPs modern house kit arrival!

"The truck is 70 feet long.
I did not anticipate that.
The biggest issue was getting it in the driveway - this is a rural property and it took them over an HOUR to make that turn.
We took out the driveway posts, and fortunately there were no large trees that we had to cut down in order to get the truck onto the site.

You don't want a large staff the first day - we used three: myself and two Amish.

The last pictures show everything is staged- they just came bundled, not sorted, so we had to sort everything out (another reason you don't want a lot of people on hand the first day because people might stand around while you're organizing).

We stacked in reverse order so the top is the so when you bring your bigger crew in, it's all ready.

They don't weigh much, but I would have preferred to have a forklift with the forks further apart, and longer. (Because the packages are so big.)

Tomorrow we will not work as there is an Amish wedding.

We're going to start on that long wall, and work our way around, clockwise.

The weather forecast does not look great for the later part of the week.

So we will be keeping an eye on it, because if the cladding arrives Friday we certainly do not want a truck full o' metal being towed out out of the mud at our expense."

Thank you Ron! Finding a *super* contractor who is passionate about efficiency saves YOU money. We are *very* grateful to Ron Bernaldo, and Giant Oaks Construction, in making this project such a success.

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Zero energy modern house kit foundation cured, the SIPs arrive tomorrow... it all happens NOW.

Thank you folks for bearing with me through my non-green building / modern design / house kit blog musings... the next few weeks will be focused on what you came here for to begin with:
The SIPs passive solar modern house kit construction!

Yesterday, we spent a beautiful day hanging out on... our foundation.
...Despite the whiny four year old.
As it was muddy, my first order of business when we return is washing all those dog prints off the concrete. Which will not be fun, as by then there will be walls and a roof overhead. Dag.

The Structural Insulated Panels arrive at 8:30 Monday morning.
Our contractor's crew is Amish, hence our documentation will be interesting as the Amish don't want to be in photographs. (Which we completely respect- I am actually *very* excited that our Amish neighbors are putting together our passive solar modern design house kit - and look forward to talking to them about what they thought of it!)

For those of you interested in the Amish, I thought I'd show you their super-cool tractor / forklift!

This is what they will be using to unload the SIPs when they arrive!
I learned from our contractor that November is Amish wedding month. Hopefully it will not disrupt our house kit construction schedule too much, but really, if it does, that's fine by me. I have loved learning about the Amish and their community through our interaction there; the more I read about their traditions and close community interaction, the more I appreciate them.

So... you will see a lot of things happening now on the outside, then it's on to the interior, with modern, environmentally friendly design. This includes reused materials, practical functionality, off grid net zero decisions in systems. More on that soon...
In the meantime, here's some pictures from a lovely day on the land!

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Vintage Hat Friday! Reuse and Recycle, and Frickin' Have An Excuse To Wear A Hat!

It is a *quiet* office today... no one's here! (Amy's submission was sent via email)

Amy's at some cosplay convention (that's like serious gamer culture, even worse than Star Trek! One day I *WILL* drag that awesome photo link out of her in all her award-winning cosplay glory) and Kien is... gone, as always (but this week our hearts go deeply out to him and his family)... even Christoph is on deadline and gone... and where the heck are Tony & Jane?

Humph. So much for competition! And no architects participating! (Although I did recall Eric Drivdahl o' Green Cottage Kits was supposed to submit one?!? Hmmmmmmm?)

So this week's Vintage Hat Friday, celebrating reuse/recycling in the workplace, is rather quiet... so vote loudly!

Copeland: Well, after last week's ensemble (who you calling hussy?!?) I wanted something I could wear with dignity into preschool, much less continue on to tonight's First Friday Art Walk. So I'm calling my outfit... "Stylin', Not Reviling."
  • The hat: Saved from a rummage sale... Love the flowers, there's even little bits of velvet green "vines" here and there. And if you turn it over, a tag proudly declares, "Union Made!"
  • The dress: It's been awhile since I've worn this dress, a $1.99 special from the local thrift store- I love the botanical print and light colors! But last time I wore it, I walked into a restaurant to meet my sister, who had already been seated. She looked at my entrance and declared loudly,
    "Oh look! She's forgotten her pants!"
    Drat you, Jane! (I'm sure it woulda looked great on Kate Moss!)
P.s. I also had strategy on Amy's cosplay link. I'm appealing to her pride to correct the *super* *BAD* image link- Bwa-hahahaha!- and replace it with her awesome photo album! Hahahaha!

Amy: Lady in...Pink?

Ok...I know you've seen some pink from me before in this competition, and you'll see some more still, but I swear I almost never include it in my standard wardrobe. But I saw this dress at the Halcyon Rummage sale, and was blown away by the sleeves!!! How could you not love that! All the detail and rhinestones with prong settings! So I'm sporting a pink dress, and a lovely white woven tall hat with organza pleated band. I feel a little silly in a hat this tall, but I suppose it must have been in vogue at some point. The gloves were also found at the same estate sale, and I love the fine seams and detailing that went into them.

Good luck!

Copeland's note: When I opened up Amy's picture she had sent via email, I had but one thought:

Doesn't she look gorgeous?!?
If she were here I'd take her out to a nice ladies lunch! With wine!




Celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, Kid Scout Badge #3

We spent the afternoon at Berkeley Plantation, celebrating the first Thanksgiving.
*Believe me*, I understand there's a lot o' history un-discussed in this post. Please remember my children are 4 and 6. It was a beautiful day with people from all races/religions/ages/countries participating.

Kid Scout history badge, #3: Discuss the land and Indians. What did the land look like? Describe how Indians hunted, what tools they might have used, and how most followed the animals, and er, had the first mobile homes! ; ) Then some, like the Chickahominy Indians, learned to raise crops like corn, therefore staying put and so able to build more permanent structures, called longhouses.
(Talk about a Wee House! ; ) )

Discuss the Indian's agriculture, and the importance of the harvest. (It was great because as we drove to the event, you could see people in the fields on harvesters still harvesting so it really sank in the large act it takes to bring in the harvest, and the amount of food produced.)

Discuss the frail condition in which the colonists arrived, their journey, and the boat- about 35 feet long!- that crossed the seas.
"The first Thanksgiving occurred when Captain John Woodlief led the newly-arrived English colonists to a grassy slope along the James River and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanks for a safe arrival to the New World. It was December 4, 1619, and 38 men from Berkeley Parish in England vowed:
"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."

You'll find their vow carved on a brick gazebo marking the location believed to be where Woodlief knelt beside the James River.
Visit Berkeley Plantation and tour the grounds, gardens and three-story manor house built in 1776. See this birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of his son, the ninth U.S. President William Henry Harrison. Harrison's grandson, another Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd U.S. president." --From
...And here comes Captain John Smith to vent his great displeasure on how things are going!

(A side note: who knew Taps was composed here in 1862? Ok-fine-I-didn't.)

Oh, and see a muzzleloading markswoman re-enactor pick on the poor local tv weatherman who doesn't exactly share her views on gun control/responsibility!

I picked up a leaflet for the James River Black Powder Club and not only do they shoot (pre-1850 only) but they have a cool woodswalk and some potluck camping events... will have to check back on them in the future as they, like the Chickahominy Indians, really welcomed visitors' questions and participation.

I was really taken with the people sharing their history and heritages, their culture, AND with the crowd- families strolling the grounds, learning, enjoying the day but also reflecting on their diverse paths that led them here, to come together, today.

It was also a great lesson to witness and discuss how much time is spent bringing in the harvest even today, and the thanks the farmers give when the hard work is done and they know another winter can pass secure that they have enough food to last until spring. We related it to our own backyard gardening, and how we put the tomatoes away, etc. to have fresh food when the garden has long passed.

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