50's Housewife

Lately I've been feeling like a midcentury housewife. Our new home will have a very retro vibe, plus I've been reading "Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House." The first morning after I began reading the book we had a record-breaking morning for completed household chores. By 9am we had: a vacuumed house, laundry done, trash out, kitchen cleaned, beds made, children fed, a little kindergarten prep. That was probably the only morning we had such success. Most of the time we're barely out of our PJs by 9am during the summer. But it has opened my eyes a bit more for how to stay on top of our chores. Including the kids in some of the house work is a big help. 

The author compares old 50's-60's housekeeping books to our current view of keeping home. In the 50's there were standards most housewives all agreed to based on these books: they recommended vacuuming twice/week, ironing the sheets once/week, hot meals twice/day, dusting the walls every day. (I can't say I'll be dusting the walls every day. Can you imagine?)
These days it's less common for older generations to pass along helpful household tips to the grandkids. Mainly because the kids have other distractions. So, we have to relearn many of these tricks ourselves or by reading books or blog posts from those who have already taught themselves.

The good news: this is all good for the heart. It's not just about having a clean home, but a happy and healthy one, too!

Introduction: A to Z Modern

House Hunt

We began our home search after moving from Austin to Phoenix in May 2014. Opting to rent while we searched and saved gave us time to figure out what we were looking for in a home.  

Many of the houses we found in our price range were builder spec or southwestern ranch style in a neighborhood of the same style. Homes in the older neighborhoods embrace larger front and back yards, encouraging community interaction. But the newer neighborhoods offer small front yards allowing for little neighbor interaction. Many of the backyards are small too, which means you have to leave your house if you want your kids to play outside. 

With my appreciation for midcentury modern design, an education in architecture and Doug's desire to continue working from home we had a few items we hoped to find. In no particular order: 

1. Personality - A home in a neighborhood with unique architecture and a history. 
2. Live/Work - Work space separate from the noise of the house since we both work from home. 
3. Room to Grow - An interior to accommodate a growing family. Not huge, just well-organized. 
4. Outdoor Adventures - Space for outdoor living and exploring during the cooler months (yes, it does happen in Arizona!). 
5. Love Your Neighbor - Infrastructure that encourages neighborly interaction was a hope. And a cul-de-sac, a huge plus.

Slow and Steady

One thing I continue to learn when it comes to home buying, work, relationships...okay, LIFE: Patience. Pays. Off. So far in this process our patience has truly paid off. The week we started up our search in earnest, we found it! A mid-century modern (MCM) fixer-upper on an old horse property. 

The house had been on the market for a few months, with one other offer to fall through. Ironically, the day after we made our offer we MET the family who made the first offer. She is the sister of a good friend of Doug's. Small world indeed. We were able to have a good discussion with them about the property. Her husband is an architect and appreciated the unique MCM style of the house as well (good, so I'm not totally crazy!). Even though the house was not right for them...they will still be our neighbors.

House History

While we don't have any official information on the house, we do have a few floor plans and site plans that were maintained by the original owners. The house plan was signed by J. Keil.

Ralph Haver was also a well-known architect in Phoenix from 1940 to 1970. His neighborhoods were known as "Haverhoods". We don't believe we purchased a Haver home, though it certainly has similar characteristics. You can learn more about Haverhoods here

When the original owners lived in the home, they used the site plan to document when certain plants were installed and when they died. I hope to document our landscaping process in the same way to pass along some day. 

Stay tuned for construction photos!

Artist Trading Cards

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
- Ira Glass

This quote is encouraging. The more work you can do, the more potential you have for fresh ideas.

It also reminds me that if you turn your hobby into a career, be sure you still find time to enjoy it recreationally. The times that are used for play may lead to more permanent ideas. 

This is a continue battle for me. I miss painting, sketching, and collaborating with other creatives. The design process is partially a communal activity. Owning a small design company and working from home usually eliminates this as a possibility for me. 

So, I was very excited to sign up for the Queen City Art Swap based in Springfield, Missouri. Some friends from high school started this group to bring artists of all levels and media together in quarterly swaps and mixers. My first swap is for the Artist Trading Cards. I can't wait to participate and to see what all the artists come up with for their trading cards. 

If you enjoy creating, check out the link and sign up!

Man to Man Conference

Back for year three of the Central Catholic Men's Conference and our second year working with the organization.  It was fun to reinvent the logo and style guide with a similar vibe as the 2014 conference.  The theme for the coming 2015 men's conference will be "Armor of God," so the shield/badge concept worked well this year too and creates a strong consistenc for the conferences going forward. 

It was a pleasure working with the committee for Man to Man again and I know the conference will be a success!