Monday, December 17, 2007

And the Parade Marches On!











Hey everyone! I know, I know, I haven't posted anything in two weeks. Well, when your working three jobs and it's Christmas time, crap happens. But here I am and here we go with the update on the Parade house, River Mist.

Since our last visit, we have had the floor system put in. We use a crawl space with piers and girders. This has to be inspected by the building inspector before it can be covered with the Advantech (aka subfloor). Advantech is a great product that is water proof and has a 50 year warranty. So basically, you could leave it out in your yard for 50 years with no protection. However, we cover it with a lovely roof and surround it with walls and all that other good stuff.

We passed the floor framing inspection and we moved on to standing up the walls. All was going good until we realized that the brick mason's made the side garage door opening too small. Back he came to cut out the concrete block and brick and make it into the correct size so a door could be installed later. We also had him move a foundation vent that was not equal distance from the other vent. Yes, it will eventually be covered by bushes, but for right now, we know it's off nad it will drive us crazy!
Next, we realized that the framer had all the windows too high. He had to lower all of them one foot. That's Gilbert talking to Joe, the framer. Joe is the head framer and he does a great job. Someone on his crew misread the blueprint and thus the windows were too high. No problem said Joe and he fixed them all. Last week the framer's got to work in 78 and 80 degree weather. Incredible! This week they are freezing their little "batooties" off as today is only 49! Boy what a difference a week can make.

Also since my last post I have finalized my interior paint colors and gotten my vision together for the house. I did this so I could select and order the fireplace, the logs, the mantel and the surround. I have selected all the plumbing fixtures and this week I will select the appliances. These items have to be selected now in order for the framer's to get the proper measurements and to make sure everything is ordered for the "walk thru" that happens after the framing is complete. I can't wait for everyone to see what I have picked out for this year. Yummy! I always decide on my paint colors first because it is easier to match everything up to that. It sets the stage for the rest of the house.

The windows have been ordered, the doors have been ordered and the roof shingles have been ordered. Shopping, shopping, shopping! What fun it is! Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The foundation survey has also been ordered. Let's see, let's see. I have mailed blueprints to the three major subs: electrician, plumber and HVAC guy. They will review the plans and meet us at the walk thru. I have scheduled an appointment with the cabinet maker (fun, fun, fun) and the concrete guy has been informed that we have a garage slab ready to be poured. I also called the "bug man" and let him know that we have a garage slab coming up that he will need to treat for termites.

Well, that's all for now folks! Have a great week and I'll chat with ya again next Sunday.

Hugs,

Shell and the bunnies




Sunday, December 2, 2007

And on we go!





Hellooooooooo! Our adventure continues! This week we got our footing dug, rebar installed, inspected, the concrete poured in and the batter boards put up for the brick masons. Our foundation will be 4 concrete block and a cap high. That's Matt operating the digging equipment. His father is David Boswell, of BOSCO. He taught Matt how to be a footing expert. We have used BOSCO for many years and they are one of our many treasured subcontractors. Thanks David and Matt!

This week we also got the temporary electric pole inspected and hopefully, my fabulous friends at the City will get us some power by Monday! In addition to that, we had brick, block, mortar sand, and mortar delivered so that our brick masons could build the foundation. That's Marvelous Marvin going over the blueprints with Gilbert and the other fella is a guy we call DJ as he is always singing on the jobsite. These guys are the best in the business. They can brick a house in a week! I try to bring them treats whenever I can. They just love candy and cookies! Of course, I also call them the "beanie weenie crowd." When they leave the jobsite, there are bunches of beanie weenie cans around. You'll meet the Bogangles chicken crowd, and the cinimon bun crowd in future postings. All these fellas are so sweet, but I feel like their Mama telling them to pick up after themselves. I may as well talk to the wall. Hee, hee, hee. See, I don't need kids, I just go to work and I have plenty!

This week, we will start the floor system, which needs to be inspected and then we will start standing up walls. I will go and pick all the plumbing fixtures, appliances, and the fireplace stuff. Fun, fun, fun. I love shopping! If there were a homeowner involved, I would be asking them for a draw on the construction loan to pay for all the work that has been done. I would also be keeping up with any changes made at this point. It is my responsiblity to type up all changes, make sure the proper subs get the information, make sure the proper subs complete the change and then collect the money from the homeowner for the change. However, since this is a Parade house, Gilbert, Steve and I are technically the homeowners. Since we have done this several hundred times, we rarely have changes. I usually have a vision for the house, stick to it and Gilbert lets me run with my ideas. I have to laugh at the folks that in the beginning of construction say they will not have any changes. They are the ones that have the most! I have been blessed with some of the most wonderful homeowners ever!!! In the past eight years there have only been three that were a serious pain in the butt! These people wouldn't be happy buying a happy meal! The other 100+ homeowners I truly love them, their homes, and I enjoyed my time with them. You know who you are!
I got lots of feedback from this blog and I'm so delighted that you are sharing this adventure with me. I hope you all have a fabulous week filled with fun, exciting and fabulous things!

Hugs to you all and see you next week,

Shell

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I love a Parade! A Parade of Homes this is!





Hellooooooooo and welcome to November 25th 2007. I'm hoping that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with bunches of things to be thankful for. David and I sure did.
I've decided to take a new direction with my blog. I'm going to "focus" on the things that I love to talk about the most. They are, in no particular order: houses/construction, textile art and bunnies. I'm very passionate about all three of these things and I'm hoping you find my ramblings entertaining. If not, you can delete and move on with your life...
Seeing as I spend 50+ hours a week as a Project Manager for Stroud Custom Homes, Inc., and since I have been doing this type of work for almost eight years and still find it incredibly energizing, I thought it might be fun to take you on a home building adventure.
Each year we begin a home to be featured in The Parade of Homes. This happens the last two weekends of April every year. People come from all over to tour the homes on the parade and spend a day or two "house gawking." We design, build, decorate, stress over and work our butts off to create a home that will win first place. Since we started entering in 2004, we have won first place in our price category every year. The pressure is truly on every year to keep up with that!!! This year is no exception. Our theme for this year is a Bungalow/Craftsman style home that will be in the price range of $325,000 (I'll know the final price when we finish). This is a moderately priced home for our area here in New Bern, NC. Over the next few months I'll keep you posted on the progress of this home. As Project Manager for a small custom builder, I schedule all the crews, keep up with the details of design, work directly with the homeowners and their changes, do interior decorating, do payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, job costing, insurance, taxes, phone answering, dish washing, office cleaning, coffee making, email replying, office supply ordering, etc. etc. etc. (This is why my boss, Gilbert, keeps me around. He says if I quit, he would have to hire three people to do my job). Plus, in eight years, I've only been out sick once. Well actually, I came to work with the flu, threw up and went home. Eewwh! I hope you enjoy the adventure and, if you ever decide to build a home in New Bern, NC, you better come see me!!!!
Our adventure begins with all the boring parts of construction. First we have to get approval for the house design and colors. Check. Gilbert usually gives me free reign to design and pick colors. (love that!). Next we need completed blueprints of the project, which we do in-house. Check. Then we have to pay for water and sewer taps, hello... it cost of $6,000! Check. Then we have to get the Craven County building permit. Check. Then we need a portable toilet, job sign, job location map, builder's risk, insurance, site plans, clearing crew, driveway culvert, water meter spigot, footing guy on schedule, a temporary power pole location and the temporary power pole installation. Check. I handle everything but drawing the blueprints. Gilbert and Steve are the computer drafting experts. I just make design suggestions, Gilbert makes structural decisions and Steve makes it all happen on a blueprint. Go team!
We started clearing the site on November 19th in River Bluffs, which is a subdivision off of the Neuse River. Steve came up with the name of "River Mist" for this years home and Gilbert and I loved it. As you can see from the pictures, we left as many trees as we could. This is a beautiful lot with trees acting as a buffer from the rear neighbors. Gilbert is talking to the clearing guy regarding the site preparation and the portable toilet is on site. We're cook'in now!
Stay tuned as I walk you though each phase. I'm looking forward to sharing this adventure with you. Have a great week!
Hugs,
Shell


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Store Bought or Handmade?







Helloooooooooo and welcome to October 28th,07. Glad you are here to visit with me.

This week I'm going to get right to the point. I spent a delightful Saturday with my fun friend, Lydia Briggs. Lydia is a great person to use a sounding board. I guess what I love about her most is she is always straight forward, tells it like it is, and is not afraid to give her opinion. We always have the best discussions and pretty much, if I'm on the road alone, Lydia is the one person I always hope is home to answer the phone so I can drive with company! Love ya Lyd!!!!

Anyway, we went to Raleigh, NC to do a little shopping as we live in New Bern, aka "bo-hick NC." On the way to and from we had a lenghthy discussion about store bought things and handmade things. I find I enjoy visiting a big city on occassion for certain things (such as clothes for a 5'1" 88lb. woman). However, I'm truly board with the "chain" stores and "chain" restaurants. I find myself happy that my home does not reflect the current "trend." I love the fact that my home is welcoming, charming and one of a kind, (OOAK). Being in the homebuilding business, it is so delightful to work with clients that have created a "home" instead of a magazine page. I love to see what people have collected and gathered and the personalization that comes with adding things over time instead of stamping them out of the Pottery Barn catalog. Not that I don't enjoy Pottery Barn, but I really don't enjoy seeing everyone's house look exactly the same. BORING!!! Your home should tell a story about you and your life. It should reflect your personality, not the personality of a designer. If you think about it, what do you want people to remember about you when they leave your home? Personally, I want them to say "her house looks just like her," not her house looks just like 100 others in the Pottery Barn, Pier 1 catalogs!

So after a long day of shopping for clothes to fit a midget with no boobs (that would be me), I came home to find my latest copy of "Romantic Homes" magazine. Being the total magazine junkie that I am, I read each and every page! Low and behold, the editor's note smacked me square in the face! Jacqueline deMontravel, Editor of the magazine wrote this. "There are two catagories of people-- the store bought and the handmade. The store bought drinks grande latte mochas, finds inspiration from a "Pottery Barn" catalog and buys their Christmas cards 12 to a pack. The handmade person grinds their own coffee beans, decorates with one-of-a-kind finds, makes their cards from saved paper and has the most innovative ideas on what chan be created from a single piece of twine." Hello, can we say "step onto my soap box please!" She further goes on to say, "entering a home that shimmers with possessions culled from different places and time periods, each piece connected to a story, is to us, boy-intercepts-girl-at-the-airport romantic. These are the homes brimming with stacks of old books, their pages worn and inked with notes, and a collection of rolling pins your mother used to shape dough into something sinful. It is the way one's childhood jewelry box is perched on a dresser with a variety of empty perfume bottles. It offers a more intimate glimpse of the owner than the contents of a handbag."

Being a person that creates one of a kind (OOAK) things, this editor's note struck a cord with me. Make your home a reflection of you. Buy things that make your heart sing! Buy things that have a story! Surround yourself with things you love! Because... no one really cares about a designer home. People that come to your home love you and you truly LIVE in the home that you love!
Hugs, Best Wishes and Bunny Kisses to You!

Shell
P.S. Visit my website www.theraspberryrabbits.com if you want to purchase something one-of-a-kind.

Sunday, October 21, 2007







Hellooooooooooooo and welcome to another Sunday!






What an incredible week again! I had an AWESOME launch party last Saturday for my new adventure with Silpada Jewelry. Can I say that I just love this stuff?? I had 22 people come to the party. I sold $2,264.00!!! I made a paycheck for $679.000 and then, since I was the hostess, I made another $679.00 in FREE jewelry! Bling, Bling, Bling. I had so much fun with all my guests and I already have 6 parties "girls nights," "girls coffee's" scheduled for next month. Yipee! I love it!

During the middle of the week, I got one of my wicked migrains. It lasted on and off for three days until we finally got some rain! We sure did need it. My migrains come with change in the barometric pressure. I've suffered from these since I was five. Not fun! Thank goodness though that four Advil and a major dose of caffiene will stop it if I catch it in time. It's pretty interesting to see what triggers migrains in other people. Isn't it amazing that there are oodles and oodles of cures for erectile disfunction (as I get emails every day), but they can't cure migrains or hot flashes or other pain in the butt issues. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm? What's wrong with this picture? Oh well...

Then, during the week I got a case of the "oh no, I'm almost 40 panic." I won't be 40 until March, but as fast as this year has gone, it seems like it will be here tomorrow! 40! 40! 40! For the first time I looked in the mirror and thought, "Damn, you look old!" Of course, my dear and darling husband says, "no, you just look exhausted and beat up from working three jobs." Not sure if that was comforting or not. It pretty much meant that I look like CRAP! Well.... crap! I look like crap! Isn't that fun to say? Crap, Crap, Crap! Ok, I'm on my second glass of Chardonay and everything is funny! Anyway, I can't believe I will be 40! (mom, now don't you feel old?)

Well, since I'm working three jobs, I have decided that against my personality, my better judgement, my stomping my feet and well, my temper tantrum, I have put myself on a schedule. Just the very thought of being on a schedule is disgusting! That really means I'm old! Soon I'll be scheduling when I take a crap! There's that word again... :) But, if I want to get everything done that must be done, I need to follow a blooddy schedule. I know my three jobs won't last forever, but while they do, I need to be even more anally organized than I already am.

I think this just about ends my tantrum for this evening. I hope all of you are doing well. I love you all bunches and wish I could spend time with everyone. One day, I will and I won't be 70! I have attached pictures of me and my own personal, fabulous, cutie, sweet, furry children and of pictures of me and my niece's Laura and Noelle and my nephew Jonathan. All of these precious critters make me happy I'm alive.

Love and Hugs to all,

Shell
PS. Happy Birthday Deb! Love you!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Catching UP







Well, here we are two weeks since the my last post. Hello! Where did that time go? Lots has happened of course. I honestly can say that I am NEVER bored!

David and I flew to Jacksonville FL on Sept. 26 for Michael's (my brother) wedding to Robin. They got married on Friday, Sept. 28. What a wonderful time we had! We finally got to really spend some time with Robin and get to know her. All I can say is WE LOVE YOU!! We are so glad Michael found her. Of course, we all said he better be good to her or we would kill him!

Robin has two boys, Devin and Dean. They are funny, kind and really great guys. It's so nice to have them as a part of our family. We also really enjoyed getting to know Robin's mom, Rita and her husband, John. Of course, my mom, Ellen, kept calling Rita, Ruth and Rita kept calling my mom Helen. They didn't even realize they were calling each other the wrong name. It was very comical.

We stayed at Club Continental in Orange Park. Our room overlooked the St. John's River. Our bed was pretty and the pillow was perfect! You know how hard it is to find the perfect pillow in a hotel???? I was a very happy camper that mine was squisshy just the way I like it. Anyway, we went to St. Augustine and had lunch in a cute little local place called Harry's. Yummy! We ate an awesome breakfast and a local place called Metro Diner. Yummy! Then Michael and Robin went all out on the food at the wedding. Incredible!!

I didn't gain a single pound as I danced and danced and danced at the reception. I think I wore my mom out as she was the only one out there dancing with me most of the time. She and I both had our "groove" on! So much fun. I even made Michael dance with me since he made the mistake of telling me that dancing was a waste of time! WRONG! I'm looking forward to visiting them again so Robin and I can go out dancing and drag the hubbies along. I also didn't gain any weight because I got that nasty, puking and other nasty stuff virus. I was sick all night long on Sat. and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get on the plane Sunday! Needless to say, when we landed in New Bern, I went straight to bed.

All in all it was a fabulous trip and we were so happy that we could go. It was my first trip this year and even though it was only 4 days, it was a bunch of fun!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What a week it was!




What a week it was! Busy, busy, busy! Work, work, work! However, there were some pretty wonderful things that happened.




First, David and I celebrated out 16th wedding anniversary on Friday the 21st. Boy did that time go by fast. We've been together for 18 years (July 4th 1989). Every year on our anniversary, we go buy a collectible Christmas ornament. We usually pick a funny or whimsical ornament. These ornaments go on our "fun" tree which is placed in our bedroom. Every year it is so great to look at all the ornaments we have collected and remember "when." We headed over to the pottery next to buy ornaments for the big, giant, fabulous, frou frou tree that is in the Great Room. I love this tree. It's just so incredibly pretty. My best friend, Beth, helped me decorate it last year. It took us four hours! Then she helped me decorate the other trees. Yes, I'm a hyper, overachiever, that loves lots of pretty stuff. I have four Christmas trees! David and I spend every Thanksgiving with Beth. This year it will be our turn to go to her house. I'm so looking forward to decorating her tree and layering it with all her wonderful ornaments! She only has one, but it's HUGE! Finally, we headed to the movie store to get a few movies and headed home for pizza and wine for me and pizza and Pepsi for David. We did something we never have time to do... Sit and watch a movie together. It was wonderful.

Second, I received my advanced copy of the premier issue of"Sew Somerset" magazine. I sent three of my textile cards to the magazine and they were selected to appear in this premier issue! Seeing my work in there is truly incredible. I've been on a high all week. This is now the second art book I have been published in. The first one was "1000 Artist Trading Cards." I've got some great ideas for some things to submit for future issues. I truly feel honored.

Third, I'm now a Silpada jewelry rep. Have you seen Silpada? It's gorgeous! I just had to have some of it and I figured making a little extra money wouldn't hurt either. My first big "girls night out" will be October 13. I'll be sending invitations. I know, I know, I can hear ya'll now. "When does she have time to do that?" Remember that, hyper, overachiever, loves lots of pretty stuff?

Finally, it was my turn to host book club. Can I just say that I love this group of women! We are all so different. I truly enjoy getting to spend an evening with them once a month. Food, wine, books and conversation. I made a new dish called Spaghetti Pizza. Yummy! Then I made this not really apple pie, but kinda, dessert. Yummy again. We finished off a couple bottles of wine and enjoyed our conversations. Perfect, fun, meeting once again!

Have a great week everyone and I'll chat with you again next Sunday.

Bunny kisses,
Shell




Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's Sunday Again......


How in the world did Sunday get here so fast again? The weeks just fly by faster and faster. At least it is a gorgeous day. It is finally cool here (75). I'm ready for fall even though living here in Eastern NC, we really don't get a real fall. Most of the trees are pines so we always have green.


I have spent most of yesterday and today working on some new textile art pieces and playing with the bunnies. This is, of course, the best way to spend the weekend. The bunnies, (aka the kids) make me so happy. They are quiet, but do the most hilarious things. Tomorrow I will go back to work as Project Manager for a custom home builder. One day though, Monday will just be another day of bliss being my own boss and creating art.


"How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon." -- Dr. Seuss