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2/26/10

Vintage! Hat! Friiiiiday! The Music Video Version.

I deeply apologize for that recent endless spate of Vintage Hat Friday posts - everyone must bear them, but never has it been one post after the other due to being snowed away from the net zero prefab house kit for so long!
: )

I was just thinking today: Almost time to pull out the cold frames...
When the seeds sprout, Vintage Hat Friday ends for the year!

And, thinking of seeds, there was a great article this week on Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, where we've purchased our seeds for years. They are not just a company, but also a community. http://bit.ly/9pUkii [LOVE THEM!]

Of course this brings me back to the subject of intentional community, and recent thoughts on the "luck-of-the-draw" when you randomly purchase a home (we had always been really fortunate and are still close with our old neighbors)...

We have always been SO community oriented / have such great friends in The Fan, North Side, now in Pamplin... we have lived in great communities but you have to realize that when you buy a house it really is LUCK that enables you to have fun people with similar humor, schedules and interests.

Choosing neighbors with similar mindsets (intentional community) is really not such a hippie thing (hey look at the gated communities!); but is an opportunity to put it all together as a full lifestyle: literally, just build your own vibrant community.

*Believe me, we now know.*...
A gorgeous mid-century house can't buy me love. ; )


I just want to say to my community:
Talk to me dah-lin', with the message of LOVE!
(And thaz right, Chrissie, you save them thar trees!)


Our friends get that. Tonight we'll be going to Girls Night (where the guys are of course invited too but we just call it that to make them mind their P's and Q's) one block away from where Decrepit Crappy Fan Farmhouse We're Considering sits. You know, the ill-built urban farm house with which we are falling in love. Yet we are also still in love with our solid, responsible, in the West End, mid-century modern house.

I feel like I'm on the Bachelor: "But I'm in love, with many houses!"
But only one gets the ring. And we're leaning towards the shabby sistuh, honeychile.

NO we don't aspire to own multiple homes.
The plan, from the beginning, was to slowly make Something-Outta-Nothing on the land so we could move there after our children finish the international program they are *fortunate* to be a part of, to be sustainable, while, hopefully, possibly, maintaining a ROOM in Richmond so we wouldn't have to rely on friends to always put us up, giving us access to my home town, where we have lots of friends, and the James River.

We know that urban farmhouse we're considering has no insulation, is poorly made, falling apart.
But you know what Bo would say...



Wait. Did I just mention Bo Diddley? Have you not gotten enough of him?
What, you need to see more? Ok.
Hey: Bo! C'mon and high jack this thread heah fer a moment!


I don't know...
I *do* know that we are feeling the wind shift, sniffing the air, testing the boundaries of what we want and expect for ourselves.
At night, I look about the warm glow within the mid-century, the comforting brick walls, the dogs and children sound asleep, mouths open, breathing gently in their slumber and I wonder,
"What if this is the biggest mistake we ever make?"

And I suddenly yearn to be on the land again, when it was just us and a camper, for it to be cold and clear with endless stars and for the dogs and I to be the only ones awake inside, listening to the outside: alive and aware of our intrusion.


After I finish volunteering Saturday for the Children's Home Society of Virginia, we are going to look at that urban farmhouse.  It's a strange feeling: it will go either way, but whichever way we choose we will be giving up a part of us, a part of a dream... it is not a good feeling but at the same time...


Sniffing the wind, adjusting the sails, preparing to batten down...
Yet, in juxtaposition, it's like a palm falling slowly open against a pillow, releasing all.

I release it.



We are ready for the next steps.
Even if we grow where we are currently planted.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the longest introduction to Vintage Hat Friday ever.

Copeland: Carmen Miranda Dolled Up Fer A Journey

So if I'm subjecting myself to all this angst and thoughtful dilemma, I'd better be ready to travel.

I wouldn't dream of doing so without
  • my Italian 1960s Callaghan wool tulip dress
  • 1950s white shrug
  • properly embroidered gloves and hankie
  • a fruity hat that declares I am ripe for a journey, and, to further show my willingness for adventure.
My decoupage purse serves dual purposes: The owl represents my readiness for flight; the sturdy wooden construction doubles as a weapon to whack anyone that gets in my way!

So take that!

Vote for meeeeee!

Amy: Olive and Draaaaaaab
The outfit reflects the weather and the season. Gray, brown… and just a hint of green.

The season is teetering on the brink of spring, but with the unseasonably cold temps and leftover snow still in piles everywhere, things just don’t seem as warm as you’d hope. I love the snow, I really do. But it’s about to be March, and I need some serious rain to wash the roads down and get things back to standard operating procedures…

All that in mind, this outfit is about end-of-Winter doldrums, trying to stay warm while still pulling out the Spring skirts, and wishing for motorcycle weather that is tantalizingly just around the corner.

Boots: you’ve seen them before. A lot. Still weatherproof and waterproof and upholding their rather extensive money back guarantee promises. Sometimes it pays to pay… but not often. As the rest of my outfit attests: Cable Knit thigh highs: on sale from Target $4, Skirt was $6 at Goodwill, Buell Motorcycles Tshirt $7 on sale from the Harley store, Scarf $10 on ebay, Purse and Bomber jacket both from the St. Catherine’s Theater sale, Belt - $2 at Diversity Thrift, and the gloves were a gift.

The Hat was yet another acquisition from a thoughtful friend who enjoys watching me embarrass myself here weekly. And knows I have a penchant for green and brown.

Snow is cool November through Feb, but I’d like my Spring now, please? Vote for me! And nice weather. We get to vote for that right?

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2/24/10

Random Acts of Kindness, Community Is Everywhere.

Some of the most personally rewarding things about what I do professionally is not only helping people achieve their dream home, but learning about their lives, their community, their town.  How fun is that? I meet people from ALL OVER and I have been so touched and bettered by interactions with people from all over the world whom have shaped my life in some way.

There are people I have worked with for ten years whom I have never met, but know so well... I know the names of their grandchildren, they know the personalities and quirks of my children. We know each others' dog's names. I have spoken with people from Colombia, Finland, Canada (lots : ) ), Germany, Spain, Bahamas, Senegal...

So, with my love of learning about different places, be forewarned:
When you contact me, I turn into a total stalker. ; )
My parents have a map where pins indicate all the places they have sailed; maybe I should start doing that for people I talk to about the house kits. I LOVE learning about your towns, big and small, that I have never visited and often have never heard of, but now I've engaged with someone from there!

I have learned about Goldvein, Virginia, about little towns in Colorado with no building codes, about lots of neato places in California and Canada... I learn about your farms, your children's weddings, your businesses...

I have been fortunate to meet a few of these people... yet also know I'll never meet many "in real life" - but what is real life anyway? If I talk to them, know their names, their background, even their sense of humor, then we know each other well.

I have been a bit low & sick lately, and, earlier this week, one girl with whom I have been speaking on twitter for about a year, Tara Burner, asked me, "is this your correct mailing address?" Secretly I suspected she knew I have had a hard few weeks with all this snow and sniffles... I jokingly accused her of being a stalker, and the teasing continued until today... when I discovered on my doorstep, a package. Within a pretty box, with a splash of pink tissue paper I found:
Inside... (my pictures do NOT do justice, it is going to snow again in Richmond and the lighting is gray and horrible!) Tiny glass squares and bottle caps... each with an image chosen from this blog.
Tara picked some of the most personal, treasured images I have included in stories here, and preserved them in beautiful keepsakes: 


Learn more about Tara here- 
Her website: http://www.TaraBurner.com
And her Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/taraburner

And here's why each of the pictures she chose mean so much to me:

Here's the story about another weekend with The H's - This picture shows G and C...
Two little girls from different worlds becoming fast friends in a boat yard... and how I was thinking about how my life had been bettered in unexpected ways when my "plan" diverges into something else.

We have met many of our friends in strange, random ways, heck, one of my best friends I met at a bus stop in the rain! It's a reminder to leave your heart open: you never know who will traverse worlds and different backgrounds to become a fixture in your life.
This was from the day I was so happy to be at the house kit, we were spending the night for one of the first times there after having camped on the land for years, it was a GORGEOUS weekend, we were so happy to be out and about, and had stopped to pick wild flowers at our friend G's farm with the children, had some fresh cold watermelon with him, and got lots of goodies from Mrs. Esh's store... all put together here, in the picture, when I got back to the house kit, and I even made a fun recipe out of the bounty!

This was after a very, very long walk and our eldest child was trying to convince the dogs that they were really horses and had to carry him up the hill.

They refused. ; )

I just remember how muddy and exhausted yet happy we were that weekend...
And here's the house kit...
: ) 

I love the light out there, how it plays with the architecture of the house kit throughout the day, how the lighting changes with the seasons... 

And I love how Tara's glass squares play with the daylight, filtering rays through and onto these photographs.

This was from when the Amish were building our house kit and oh the things they had to go through with the cladding manufacturer!!!!

I love that people in a community work on the house kits, therefore  imparting green building skills and energy efficient technology into rural areas, while I, as the consumer, learn about and support my community's local trades and tradespeople.

And who are we kidding: I am tickled that SOMEONE ; ) appreciates Vintage! Hat! Friiiiiday!
(Just vote for me, okay?)

And then the same image of G & C in a bottle cap - it's incredible how Tara zoned in on that picture, because there are bigger, deeper stories behind that photo I never spoke about, and you just have no idea how special it is to us. (I am going to give the bottle cap to my friend Mrs. H, so she can treasure it as well.)

And finally, here is a picture taken from The Big Snow.  Chickens do NOT like snow. So Handsome Husband and I had to carry the coop into the garage so they could have some area to walk around without snow. But first we lifted them out, one by one, complaining all the way, and trudged carefully through it all until we unceremoniously plopped them onto the dry garage floor, then, stumbling, lugged the coop across the yard to them.
We refer to it as The Great Chicken Rescue.

Let me tell you a little more about Tara: Like many of you here, she is adept at Makin' Something Outta Nuthin'. 

Tara  is creative, hard working, down to earth, kind. She has supported herself as a contractor, a model, a body guard, an Etsy craftswoman.  She is a testament to hard work, and the constant belief that SHE can shape her path, that SHE is responsible for her future, and in doing so has had her own business for twenty years.

Tara enjoys repurposing and upcycling materials into her own jewelry, and it is clear that she puts just as much thought and reflection as craftsmanship into her art.

Maybe with their permission I'll start doing occasional posts on some of the neat people like Tara and their stories that inspire me that I've met in random scenarios... there's a lot!

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a cute picture of Tara that I *STOLE* off of her web site : ) to show you that beauty is not only on the outside, but the inside, and sometimes, if you're lucky, both.

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2/21/10

We. Have. WALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could either stay in Richmond and be sick, achy and contagious, or I could go to the net zero off grid modern house kit and be sick, achy and contagious.
Easy choice.

I just could not bear to be away another week, knowing that Bobby Hirsh, the carpenter, had reused and built actual WALLS out of VMI's old basketball court. Honeychile, this t'ain't yer Chinese drywall...

So I grabbed a box of Kleenex and headed out, sick and feverish, to the net zero passive solar SIPs house kit.

We rounded the drive and saw the field was still covered with snow... yet in the distance, the house kit shone happily, a beacon for our car to aim for through the mud.

We tumbled out, and the children and dogs proceeded to do exactly what I feared: splash through the mud puddles, roll in the snow (and no dry change of clothes with us), and chase each other, slushing through soil and ice, round and round the prefab. *Sigh*

As I surveyed this certainly disastrous scenario, Handsome Husband slipped away to peek inside the house kit and returned quickly: "Wow."

I hurriedly went to inspect. 
So: A year ago we had purchased VMI's basketball court, and now here it would be in our prefab as walls? Creating rooms with recycled, beautiful 100% maple floorboards instead of using drywall?!? Handsome Husband warned me that due to our carpenter, who is a Mennonite minister, being called back to Haiti (where he and his family lived for five years before moving here), he had not been able to completely finish the walls. But who cares, I just want to SEE the walls!

I could tell you all about it, but... c'mon and see it for yourself.
I was taping when I walked in for the first time, and it probably conveys to you more than anything I could type. 
(I love how I keep trying to be informative, glib, and then I see the walls and GASP...)

Prefab Green Home Update: Recycled Reused Wood On The Walls!


Prefab House: Interior Walls: Recycled Reused Wood: VMI's Basketball Court!




We told Bobby to cut wood inside since the temperatures have been so frigid this month, and to leave any scraps behind so we could recycle them.  In preparation, Handsome Husband had moved all the furniture in the corner and covered it all with a sheet. So we spent the day in the prefab house kit sweeping, sorting wood scraps, sweeping some more, dragging back the furniture piece by piece, and... sweeping.

Y'know, all we do out there are chores it seems, but we are all SO HAPPY, so busily content, feeling the sun on our faces, smelling the crisp air  that only happens when it has touched snow, seeing progress as we proceed on every little thing we do in the prefab house kit.  We are so grateful to all of the craftsmen who have helped us, and it is so satisfying that we also have a hand in it, that our children will remember this slow process as we move towards our sustainable goal.
 

To refresh your memory of this journey: We started with purchasing land, then awhile later bought a 1960s camper where we would brave the spring ticks, the summer heat, the late autumn frost (all with our children still in diapers)... then the house kit was erected and suddenly we had shelter, REAL SHELTER.

And now we have walls.
And even CLOSETS.

For the first year ever, we have been out there in 1. January and 2. February, and out there, in the dead of winter, 3. *comfortably*!

If I hadn't been so feverish I would have suggested we stay and spend the night.  But I also know I need to get better and that the better thing to do is install the ERV / off grid systems so we can seek respite even more efficiently and comfortably than the makeshift ways we've been visiting for years.

But in the meantime...? We appreciate every. single. thing. 
And don't miss what we lack in the prefab house kit, because we've never had it there.
Makin' something outta nothin' is not a hobby, it's a philosophy.  I am fine with my children being raised how to be comfortable, knowledgeable and practical in raw weather and conditions, and I think these experiences make them better for it.

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2/19/10

Vintage! Hat! Friiiiiday!

Great news, prefab green house kit enthusiasts! IT DID NOT SNOW.
So Handsome Husband WILL be trekking out to the off grid net zero SIPs house tomorrow, and will take pictures of the interior walls that were just built!

So you will see some changes in the prefab house kit this weekend.
Currently we are still saving money so that we can pay in cash for our systems and labor costs.
Unfortunately we do not think we will have enough saved before the next Prefab Off Grid House Kit Open House to have everything paid for and installed...  But certainly by the following Open House this fall you should be able to peruse the house kit with the systems incorporated. I mean, heck, the house kit itself has been done for a year, all the other stuff (systems, finishing) are up to you, any-hoo... but it *will* be fun and amazing when we are able to see our prefab green home complete.

So, there will be a pause, then further fast construction and activity.  (And don't forget that after we finish the off grid net zero house, we move on slowly to create a sustainable farm!)

But wait.
What day is it, you say?
(Oh, yes, I can hear your groans... don't worry, spring is coming, which will soon mean the end to...)
Vintage! Hat! FRIDAY!!!!!

Amy: Giddyup Gallantly!
(Ok Copeland named this one since Amy is telecommuting today and didn't send in a title...)

Every season this skirt ends up in a vaguely equestrian getup.

Burgundy hat with net and feathers? $6

Hand dyed silk scarf from etsy? $25

Silk blouse from consignment shop? $20

Vintage velvet vest? $3

Ruffle backed skirt? $13

Leather Gloves? A gift.

Boots? well... Alot. But they'll last.
Always being prepared for spontaneous foxhunting? Priceless.

Copeland: One Night In Bangkok
Remember last weekend when we had NO KIDS and went hiking in Richmond's Fan District for hours? Well, in the course of our adventures, we stopped into Fan Thrift.  And I found the *perfect* navy with gold sparkly bamboo print dress to wear to the Museum Director's Chinese New Year Party that evening.  I couldn't help but blurt to him, upon arrival that...
"Hello, welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Casati..."
"I'm wearing a Dollar-Ninety-Eight Dress, Mr. Museum Director. Oh yes I am, $1.98."
"Um... Please come in..."
The orchid in my hair? (for the museum party) Was severed from one of my plants by a seven year old playing Star Wars with a light saber. Stuff happens, put it to reuse.
The hat? Another find from years ago... can't remember, sorry!
The gloves? From the fab estate sale last summer!
The dress? DID I MENTION THE DRESS COST A DOLLAR-NINETY-EIGHT?!? Unfortunately the photos don't show the GLITTER of the gold, it is rather fantastic.
The Goblet? Oh, the goblet! The gobletS! For three years I have kept an eye out when trolling thrift stores for a nice set of wine glasses for the prefab net zero house kit. You want something heavyish so that it's durable, and as a hostess you imagine the scenario of shattering glasses on your polished concrete floors... Well. Look what I found: Silverplated goblets. Handsome Husband is horrified, "You look like you're from the Knights of The Round Table, not some coolio modern house." No, really, they'll go with everything mod, I have it all planned out.

He just doesn't get it yet: See, when we have a mad party at the off grid house, and when you guys let those 1960s silver plated goblets purchased for TWO DOLLARS apiece (yes, $2.) slip outta yer hands... I won't cry, they'll just bounce off the concrete floor and all tha' more patina to 'em!

So VOTE FOR ME!

P.s. Here, in our business, in our lives, what holds us together is strength, and although we celebrate design and recycled, reused glamor, remember:
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine...
(Ok I found this video and just had to play it, so pretend that's my brilliant segue into this just for fun. 'K?)


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2/16/10

I Am Living A Smart Growth Nightmare.

I am living a smart growth nightmare.
Warning: This post has nothing to do with our prefab house kit on the land, but our mid-century modern home on the edge of Richmond, Virginia.
(I am also keenly aware many of our friends do not have the luxury to even consider these options.  So please be gentle and remember this is me rambling on my blog about me, and how boring is that.)

Let me remind you how we got here:
I grew up with a family farm, Rotherwood. In my late twenties, I came home from New York for the holiday to discover it was no longer a family farm, but now owned by my uncles.
You move on.


Handsome Husband and I fell in love, married, and had children. The moment we could, we both, yearning for land to pass on, put everything we had into buying land.  We want to pass this on to our children, to their children, to give them the experience and identity with which we both grew up with (thinking both our family farms would remain family farms to be passed on) and counted upon.

[Note: There will be a post soon on passing on family farms, preserving them.]

Our strategy was simple:
Buy the land.
Pay it off.
Save up money for a house to live in forever (Taaaaa daaaaa! There is the off grid prefab house kit you all know!) while building slowly, over the years, a great, sustainable farm.

Once the children were older (they are in a special international program here until 5th grade) and the farm in working order, we'd sell the Richmond house (hoping everything by then was paid off) which would then pay off anything we had left, then save the rest as our retirement income (if and when we ever retired - I enjoy working too much and can telecommute anywhere!).

Then: instead of driving to the land on the weekends, we'd come in to visit our urban friends, and have them out to the land like we already do! Perfect party + solitude!


Over six years ago, with a toddler and baby on the way, we found the perfect mid-century house in the perfect "good school" area, convenient (supposedly) to everything.  

This is where the smart growth nightmare begins.

We are huge walkers. 
In our old urban neighborhoods, all we did was walk.
The architectural diversity and vibrant community was a wonder - in North Side and The Fan, there was always a neat house to discover, a new store to stop into.

Both neighborhoods, because of smaller individual lots, shared much community space - parks, sidewalks, coffee shops... and when you walk through, it is clear they are Front Porch Communities - where people enjoy looking out at the action in front of their homes, relax and socialize publicly on the front porch, have last minute potlucks and random offers of a beer passed through the front porch railings, and even better, groups congregating instantaneously together, spilling onto the sidewalk, on a summer afternoon.

Pretty much all of our friends live in either urban or extremely rural settings. 
What is it that makes these seemingly disparate environments so similar?
Strong communities.  In the urban environment, yes, there's crime. In the rural environment, yes, you need help with pulling out the tractor from the ditch or retrieving the escaped hog. You have to rely on each other, and if yer gonna need each other, you'd might as well make it fun!

In the suburbs, each nicely sized lot allows the neighborhood to be filled with each person's perfect oasis.  But that means, for us, isolation.  No sidewalks, no stores or coffee shops to visit (unless you want to cross suburban four-lane streets that are more comparable to highways), and no, no neighbors, at least during the day.

There are overwhelmingly different choices in lifestyle, and that is a separate issue to explore, later... I don't think the green movement is forcing women to stay at home, like this French feminist asserts; however I will say that in urban and rural areas you find more entrepreneurs, whether they be male or female, where they can work more flexibly to raise their children with and also while nurturing their business.

I adore working, pushing myself intellectually and professionally each day in my office.  But as I challenge myself, I can also look out the window, and see a beautiful garden, and watch happy children chasing caterpillars with their happy romping dogs.  I realize many people can not do that in their own professions, but I also see that there are more people that do live that way in urban or rural environments.

Here, like clockwork, the neighborhood minivans leave at 7:45 out their drives, to return at 5:45 just in time for the pizza delivery truck to arrive.  During the day as we quietly type on our keyboards in the office, the only sound we hear in the entire neighborhood is that of my own children playing.
This snow has been strange: For the first time in six years, I heard the sounds of other children playing outside during the weekday.
One night, in the last light of dusk, as I went out to close the coop, I saw one child, freshly suited up, running for the snow in their back yard to touch it, to embrace the cold, to feel the snow for the first time that day. My own children had been playing outside ALL DAY, and were wet, tired, and warming up with dinner inside. So: There are children in this neighborhood, all over the place; yet my children rarely see them because they are not physically here until after 5ish, when my children, after a day of play, are inside readying for bed.

During the snow, with schools closed, I observed the freaky scenario of my children playing happily in the front yard, while the across-the-street neighbor's children were playing happily in their front yard, yet none of them looking at or acknowledging each other. My children were so not used to seeing other children during the day, it was like they didn't exist, the road, which they are not allowed to cross, dividing them like a dark curtain, hiding them from consciousness.

There is a shopping center two blocks away we can't walk to. Sure there's cross lights, but YOU TRY crossing the roaring four lane-in-each-direction Patterson / Three Chopt Avenues, with traffic blindly screeching around the corner hurtling away, much less thinking of letting your children do that one day unaccompanied.

And then we consider all of our friends, in the center of the city, within walking distance, many of them home in the afternoons.

Don't get me wrong, I take full blame for not being more integrated into this neighborhood.  Face it, we're The Freak Family.  We have different schedules than our neighbors- coming inside as they're just getting home, and leaving each weekend for the land. We have weird-looking dogs. We live differently. Heck, they even think we're gross because we have a few chickens. (One parent, upon learning about our eating an unexpected rooster by throwing a Coq Au Vin dinner party, where he fed seven people after living a grass-fed, free range existance, assured her horrified daughter, "No, honey, they did not eat their rooster." Lied to her daughter, in front of me. Where do they think meat comes from, Costco?)


But if you look at the study and practice of smart growth and intentional communities, this could be a case study: 
  • no sidewalks
  • no shared spaces
  • differing lifestyles / values / even eating habits
  • commuter culture vs. a work and living habitat
In moving back to an urban environment, we'll also face the reality of crime and bad, yes, bad, no-comparison-to-the-county schools.  We would have to count on getting into magnet schools, getting German tutors, until we move to the land.

Even if we stay here and make this mid-century home even further our dream home, our oasis and homestead until we can turn the land into the farm, the reality is that we would be in a dream house surrounded by no sound during the day and away from all our friends, whether they be in urban Richmond or rural Pamplin City. Are we ok with that? I don't know.

As I pondered this tonight, discussing it aloud, my 7 year old put his arms around me and said, "Momma, we don't have to move. It's ok just playing with my sister, it's ok...we have fun!" And they do.

We just really miss our friends. We have our strong community on the land, and we have *tons* of urban friends we never see because we're stuck in this No Man's West End land of: "Oh, if we move here we'll use the club every day (hate it) and see my parents every week (more like every 4 months)."

Time to start living, regardless.

Here's the farm house we found in the center of the city. 
It would be a heck of a lot of work. 

But even if we make our current mid-century fully our dream-home-for-now...
it's still lonely. 

What to do, what to do.

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2/12/10

And Then There Was Snow

Oh, in case you are wondering, SNOWPOCALYPSE continues...
And they are calling for MORE SNOW this weekend.
S(n)o(w), no: No visit to the prefab passive solar house kit this weekend. 


Prefab construction enthusiasts take heart: I *will* have a systems post for you on more to consider when building your *own* house kit this week, as well as a post on the energy audit, AND a post on land preservation, inheritance!


But let's face it: This weather is wreaking havoc with EVERYTHING.

You can either rail against yer bad luck, or...
you can enjoy it.




So we went to Maymont...

Maymont from Copeland Casati on Vimeo.

Magnolia cave at Maymont from Copeland Casati on Vimeo.

Then we headed over to the H's to warm up in The Fan, a neighborhood in Richmond.


The Fan in the snow... from Copeland Casati on Vimeo.

...Despite not being able to visit the prefab net zero energy off grid house kit, we are  having a nice time with our friends.
'Cause... that's what friends are for!



We shall see if there are visits to the prefab green home any time soon... 
*sigh*

But wait. What's this? Is it FRIDAY you say?
It's for bleak, dark winter days like this that we created...
Vintage! Hat! FRIDAY!!!!!


Amy: “These Boots were Made for Rockin’ ”

For the first time in my life today, I asked myself ‘Boots or Legwarmers?’ and my wardrobe answered… ‘Both.’

This fabulous hat (I’m pretty sure ‘fabulous is the only adequate term’) was acquired from a  good friend who happened upon it in a thrift store and thought I’d find a way to do it justice some Friday (or perhaps he thought it would simply look hilarious). Either way, I’m grateful that it found its way to my head in all its silver ribbon-ed, horsehair accented, rhinestone bedecked glory. I have something of a large head by the standards of vintage fashion, so finding one that actually fits is always a joy.

The black jacket and the dress are both from goodwill and purchased for about $7 each. The leggings and legwarmers were hand me downs. The boots were picked up from Diversity Thrift for $12. The purse (yes, you’ve seen it before, it’s quickly becoming a staple) was a mere 50 cents at the St. Catherine’s theater sale… I’m beginning to think that one will go down in the history books around here for years to come as the near-mythic thrift highlight of our considerable experience.

Copeland: Rainbow Rosie

Hat: High school theater sale
Coat: Disgruntled Mother In Law From Europe - check out the gradients - it goes from mustard to olive, awesome!
Dress: A friend's mom
Shoes: 1980s Yves Saint Laurent

Gotta run to another meeting! Vote for meeeeeeee!

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2/5/10

No Trip To The Prefab Net Zero Home... Again. But wait... what day is it?

School is canceled. Again.
It has begun snowing, AGAIN, clearly because my children wore their pajamas inside out last night... Dag it, that trick WORKS. They now have their noses pressed to the window, chanting,
"Don't stop, snow! Don't stop, snow!"
And the snow is responding strongly to their encouragement.
*sob*

So no, no visit to the off grid net zero energy prefab house kit this weekend.
Yes, I am miserable.
I would *really* like to see my supposedly existing interior walls!
I would *really* like to sleep in the bedroom spaces, now that they are REAL ROOMS!
I want to feel the spaces about me, to sleep in a different room each night just to see what it's like.
(I was beginning to think they were Imaginary Walls, just like our Imaginary Chickens...)
But it's days like this that...


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VINTAGE! HAT! FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
was invented!

Bring it.

Copeland: Red Revolt!
Today is National Wear Red day, and I am wearing red to fight heart disease.

The Dress: I had no idea it was a mystery to wear, much less that it was without a zipper, until I put it on. SO, although I felt a bit unfair using it against Amy when the vintage dress is from Amy, because this dress is so screwed up (I still don't think I have it on right) I am certain I have no advantage.

The Ring: On my 25th birthday I bought this for myself in Finland. It is by a famous craftsman. I did not write down his name. I was too focused on proving to myself I would never want to be married and resolved to never fall in love and this was a symbol of a Gal Who Only Earns Her Own Way And Buys Herself Her Own Jewelry And Needn't Ever Rely On ANYONE. Yeah, yeah... Handsome Husband sure screwed that up...

The Coat: My Handsome Husband-That-Wasn't-Supposed-To-Happen found this vintage coat from Finland (note: I adore Finland. File that under "Subject To Avoid Bringing Up" unless you want me to go on, and on, and on...) in a local thrift store and gave it to me as a gift.

The Hat: A happy purchase from Bygone's annual Get Rid Of Stuff sale! I think it was $2. I love it.

The Boots: Well, if you're going to have a proper Revolution, you need a good sturdy pair of boots, and these are just the trick: my awesome riding boots, ready for the slushy snowy fight!

REVOLT AGAINST THE SNOW!!!!!!!!!! Vote for meeeeeee!
(Please note: if you vote for me that you need to also comment, "Wow what a great photographer!" as a certain out-of-school 7 year old took those blurry pictures..)

[Amy is telecommuting from Fredericksburg. She sends this in:]



Amy: Be vewy, vewy quiet. I am huntin' snowflakes.

An authentic coonskin cap paired with some completely inappropriate camo, given the current weather conditions. But vote for me, cause clearly Hell has frozen over as I'm wearing camo and holding a rifle... (that *is* a rifle, right?) Oh, and apparently the rifle is *also* vintage. So sayeth my sources.

Oh, and the wicked awesome pair of snow boots? Those ARE mine. I bought them at goodwill for $4 back in November, Just. In. Case.

Happy Snow Day :)

[Copeland's note: That IS something I never ever thought I'd see sweet Amy be holding! Much less wearing camo!  Ironically I almost used one of my handguns as a prop but didn't go the Dr. Zhivago route I originally planned! Geez... I think I might have to vote for her!]

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