Our Little House

Home Renovation, Personal

Sprial-Staircase---Amy-Sia
We’ve now owned our house for just over three years and it’s still far from looking like the home we want it to. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to this, e.g. the fact that it’s divided into two completely separate 600sf apartments (upstair/downstairs) with only outdoor stairs; it’s also a 1919 little craftsman cottage, and though the electrical has been redone, that’s really about it. Shortly after moving in we redid the upstairs bathroom because it was just awful, and we love it (it’s now white and black subway tile, black walls and hexagon floors); we loved it so much we stopped all remodeling after that!

The biggest challenge in deciding what to do with our house has really laid on the fact that it’s divided. We had thought of remodeling both apartments, renting them out, and hopefully moving somewhere with a little more space, but when the City informed us that we weren’t actually supposed to have two apartments, and that whoever did that did it without a permit *insert frustrated sigh here*, it kinda of really threw us off balance.
After about three months of trying to figure out what to do and sitting down with our favourite architect, we realised that there was only one option: making it one 1200sf house. Though it was frustrating that all of a sudden we were forced into one option, it did provide some clarity. After all, we do live in a great neighborhood: we’re pretty much smack down the middle of town, down the street from the river and one of the best parks in the city (which will be handy for when kiddies come along), and from what I hear, a great school district (again, for when kiddies come along).

We’re still trying to figure it out, but the gist of it *insert super excited face here* is putting in a spiral staircase, making a master bedroom downstairs with a walk-in closet (can I get an Amen?!), converting the old living room into a small bedroom, the old bedroom would become a landing and hang out area. The upstairs would remain pretty much the same, the bedroom will be an office/guest crashing quarters, and eventually we’ll redo the kitchen because God knows it needs it!

Of course, this is all going to take a while, we like to do things mostly debt free which means that sometimes things take twice as long and we also want to make sure we LOVE everything we do, but now we have direction! And below you can see my inspiration (it’s mostly decor, but you see where I’m going with it)….

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I would love to know what your favourite home decor and remodeling blogs are, or send me your pinterest board links, I’m ready for ideas and inspiration!

XO
H

PS: If you’d like to follow the remodeling journey or just keep in touch, hit me up on Instagram!
Pictures credits starting from the top: Amy Sia, Garance Dore, New York Times.

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To Put My Money Where My Mouth Is…

Personal

When making my tea towels last year, I really wanted to make sure they were of good quality. And it made me realize that I don’t always shop quality.

Over the past few months I’ve been meeting new and interesting people that are really challenging me and the way I think, especially when it comes what I stand for. Something that has really stood out to me is that I don’t always “put my money where my mouth is”.

It all came about like this: I needed a new pair of jeans, and after doing some research (and being heavily influenced by their recent ad campaign), I decided that I needed Madewell jeans. After buying them, my brother-in-law and I started talking about how paying the extra $50-$80 was totally worth it because Madewell probably made better quality clothing, treated its workers better, and possibly didn’t make their clothes in a sweatshop.

And then it dawned on me.

I am so misinformed. I have no idea what I’m talking about. Price difference does not equal quality or ethics in production. It simply means that I’m paying for exclusivity.  Just look at Anthropologie.  Their clothes are a just grown up, more expensive version of Urban Outfitters’.

It brought to my attention how little I know about a subject I supposedly really care about. For example, did you know that we only spend 3% of our annual income on clothes compared to 15% post WW2?* We’re spending less yet buying and throwing away more (because it either goes out of fashion or only lasts three washes).

My shopping habits may have changed due to the limited shopping options in Bend, but I’m still shopping quantity and not quality.  I don’t do enough research about how things are made or where they were made. We all know about the the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh where over a thousand people died, but we (or rather I) choose to ignore it, brushing it under the carpet so that I can continue shopping guiltless at H&M, Primark and GAP.

 

So what to do? My answer? Research. That’s my goal for this year, if there’s something I care about, I need to do my research, and take action. Follow through with what I say I stand for.

 

I’m going to begin by choosing quality over quantity, even if it means spending a little more.  Buy more clothes that will stand the test of fashion trends rather than buying the $7 pleather skirt on sale, that quite honestly I’m not sure I’ll wear again. Look for companies that are truly making a difference in this area, or at least making an effort to.

I’m not sure how that’ll make a difference, and perhaps I’m being naive by thinking that it could make a difference.  But maybe if I choose to support companies that support a healthy and sustainable production process, maybe those companies will grow enough to act as an example for others? Just maybe.

We’re all making New Year’s resolutions right now, and I’m making these mine:  To put my money where my mouth is, to research and know what I stand for. To make things and change happen and build for the future, not just for now.

What are your new year’s resolutions? And what are your favourite ethical companies to shop at?

 

Further reading:

*OVERDRESSED: THE SHOCKINGLY HIGH COST OF CHEAP FASHION by Elizabeth Cline

Tea Towels

Passion Project

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When it comes to decorating my house I have one simple rule: it must function and it must look good. It’s one rule because there’s no choosing between them – it must be both.  We live in an old mill house (1919 to be exact), and our part of the house is just over 600sf.  When you have limited space you cannot afford to have things that just look pretty and take up space, and (call me superficial but) likewise you can’t have ugly things because they’ll likely be on display… all the time.

Which is what gets me about tea towels.

HT-TeaTowels2I go to shops such as Anthroplogie and drool over their beautiful tea towels, only to come home and find that that’s all they do: look beautiful.  They spread lint all over my dishes and then leave them half wet.  It drives me insane. Not only are they costly, but they’re rubbish!  And that my friends, is why I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After doing a bit of research I found that linen is one of the most absorbent fabrics, most GOOD tea towels are a linen/cotton blend.  I wanted to make sure these worked, so I tried both the 100% linen and the linen/cotton blend and the pure linen won by far!  My sister and I did a test run last week and there was no lint and no water.  So they function. And to make them pretty, well, if you know me, you know that I live for stripes and polka dots so it was a no brainer as to what the pattern was going to be.

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I loved hand painting, sewing and playing with the patterns, thinking about what they would look like hanging on the oven handle or kitchen island, and I even added a little ribbon on the back so they can be hung too.

I haven’t been this excited about a project since, well, I can’t remember.  But bottom line is that these have been an absolute joy to work on and I hope that you will enjoy using them too.  You can now buy them in my very own shop, or you live in Bend, they’ll be on sale at Armature Bend, and at Craft-O on December 13th and 14th at the Old Iron Works Arts District.

Close Up Patterns

I’d like to thank my wonderful husband  who drove me around Portland looking for supplies and my incredible studio mates (Kelly, Karen & Gabe, Leah and Wallis) at Armature who have all shared in my excitement and really encouraged me to make these!

 

Invitations: Jana + Eli

Client Feature, Design, Stationery, Weddings

JANA + ELI TOGETHERA little over a month ago my brother-in-law got married to his beautiful bride.  This is one of the weddings that I have probably been the most involved in, being a family member, bridesmaid (Seth was the best man), visual coordinator and of course, wedding invitation designer.  We all worked hard to make this wedding happen, from assembling countless of invitations to getting coffee and driving away with the bride and groom’s cake on our hood and it was so much fun.

When designing wedding invitations I ask all my clients about their engagement story, and ask them tell me if there are any icons, objects, or places that have real meaning in their relationship, for Jana & Eli it was the South Sister (where they got engaged). They wanted an invitation that would truly represent who they were, where they’d been and their wedding style: country vintage with a hint of modern and that’s how this design came along.

We followed that through with the decorations, using burlap as table runners, heirloom china, crystal and table cloths for the top table, Eli cut wood rounds for the center pieces, my mother-in-law used pretty sunflowers for the bouquets and our friend made chalkboard signs for directions.  Everybody got involved. Even my parents came out. And it was wonderful event.If you’re getting married in the near future, and would like visual direction and wonderfully designed invitations for your wedding, I’m currently booking for 2015 so get in touchPhotography by Victoria Carlson || See their engagement Story and Pictures

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Casual Vintage and Country Feel with Fun Dancing kinda Wedding

invitations, Mood Board, Weddings

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Vacation time is over and it’s back to work… So excited to sit down and design beautiful wedding invitations for bride to be Emilee.  She had me at lace and deers, but then she went on to talk about homestyle food and dancing and I was head over heels in love with this wedding.  After she sent me her wedding invitation questionnaire I threw some images together to get the creative juices flowing and I love the tones and textures that we came up with.

She and her sweety will be tying the knot in a gorgeous barn in Southern Oregon in the spring of 2015 before making the big move to Texas.  This beautiful girl will be missed here in Central Oregon, so I feel privileged that I get to spend some extra time with her before she moves, let’s just hope she won’t become a longhorn fan 😉

If you are interested in my wedding invitation services, get in touch by filling in the form at the bottom of this page or by emailing me at h@heylenthienes.com!

In the Wilderness

Adventure, oregon, Personal, Photography

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Last week I spent seven days in the Malheur National Forest camping. Seven days. No cell reception. No wifi. Not even a landline. Camping.  That is the longest amount of time I have spent, 1. camping, and 2. without any outside communication since I can ever remember.

It was a time spent with family, chatting, hiking, eating and playing Old Mexico.

Since there wasn’t facebook or instagram to distract us we were able to focus our attention on one another, and head to bed earlier and wake up way earlier than usual. This meant I got to see seven sunrises, some I saw with Seth by my side, others on my own.

I always hear people talking about quiet time, but up until this trip, I had never truly realized the importance of being quiet. At rest with my thoughts. Disconnected. It’s amazing the things you can observe and hear (or not hear) once you shut everything else off.  I learnt to listen to and recognize the sounds of the wilderness, deer running, coyotes howling, and a black bear creeping – trying to go unnoticed.

How much time do we honestly take to do this? To have absolute quiet time and gather or expel our recurring thoughts. We don’t. I don’t. This trip showed me how I’m letting the noise clog up my life, leading me to feel disillusioned and ending in a game of constant comparison.

I’m not where I want to be.

Am I failing at my calling?

Is this even my calling?!

Pointless, and hindering little thoughts.

These are some of the things I struggle with as a result of the daily noise. & sometimes it takes a trip into the wilderness to separate the important stuff from the trivial, what really matters and bring things back to perspective.

So today I’m encouraging you to take a trip to the wilderness – whatever that means to you. & then tell me how it went.

When Friends Fall in Love

Passion Project, Personal, Photography

Kat + Cam

It’s a wonderful thing watching your friends fall in love.  I have known Kat for about 7 years now, and over the last 3.5 years (the time I’ve lived in the States) we’ve gotten to know each other even more, talking about life, work, marriage and everything in between.

Kat and Cameron have known each other since college, they’ve always been great friends. But after spending last summer in Europe together something changed, and all of a sudden a different conversation was taking place.  There were some logistics that needed to be dealt with, she was here in Bend, and he was in Hong Kong.  And a 13hr time difference that meant extra effort to make it work. But they did it. And when Cam moved back to the States this summer, he didn’t waste any time in asking her to be his bride… and so he put a ring on her finger and they set a date.

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I’m so excited for these two, and it was so much fun taking their pictures. Kat knows I’m not a pro, but like taking pictures so she asked me to do their engagement shoot since their wedding photographer is in Hawaii.  My skills have a long way to go, but it sure is a privilege and a hell of a lot of fun to be able to use them for things like this.

Companies I love: Sackcloth and Ashes

Companies I love, Favourite Things

Sackcloth&Ashes: Night Sky Wool

About a month ago I came across Sackcloth & Ashes on Instagram and their short bio was enough to make me want to find out more: “With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter”.  I tend to be drawn to companies who are working to help their community, so this struck a note with me.

I headed over to their website and was really impressed by their story and ‘let’s do something about this’ attitude.  After a series of events Bob Dalton’s mum (Bob’s the guy that started the company) found herself living on the streets.  This is an educated woman, with two degrees non the less, she even had a family yet she ended up homeless.  Not everybody chooses to be homeless and everybody most certainly deserves a second chance.

About ten years ago I volunteered at Crisis, a charity for single homeless people, helping with their monthly newsletter which was composed of stories and articles written by the people at the shelter.  The contributors were far smarter than me, and most had not ended up homeless by choice. This totally changed the way I viewed homelessness and realised how easily and quickly it can happen.

After Bob’s mum’s experience, he called shelters and found out that what they needed the most was blankets. After all, winter comes round every year and even summer eves can get pretty cool in some parts of the country. So he started making blankets right here in the Pacific Northwest and selling them, and the same blanket that you buy is also given to a homeless shelter near you.

I looked through their shop and fell in love with their Night Sky Wool (80% wool and 20% polyester) blanket, and since my birthday was coming up I figured I’d give my sister a ‘hint’ about what to get me. She didn’t get it for me. But my mother-in-law surprised me with it.  I think I may have actually squealed when I opened the box, and was genuinely taken back by the quality of the blanket and how cozy it is.  This will be something we’ll treasure for a long time and take with us wherever we go… especially as winter begins to set in begging for nights spent on the sofa, bundled up in my new blanket.

To find out more information about what Sackcloth & Ashes is doing visit their Shelters page, and while you’re there have a look at their blankets – they have a fab selection!

Eli + Jana: An Engagement Shoot

Passion Project, Personal, Photography

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I am not a professional photographer. Nor do I claim to be one. But I don’t think it’s a secret that I love taking pictures.  Over the last two years I’ve stopped taking so many because the idea of spending hours editing all of them just became overwhelming. But when my brother-in-law and his fiancee asked me to take theirs, I just couldn’t say no. And it was SO much fun! We got there a little late for the ‘golden hour’, but we got some pretty good shots.

I shared their story of how they got engaged last month and posted their wedding mood board, so it would be just rude to not share their engagement pics… how happy do they look?!

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New Studio Space

Design, Studio

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If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that Friday was studio move day!  A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to step it up a little and get a studio space.  While I I’ve loved working from home for the past two years, I’ve also realized that I need some separation that a 600sf home just doesn’t allow.  My new space located at Armature Bend (by the Old Iron Works District) in Bend, Oregon lets me spread, hang client work on the wall for critiquing and just gives me room to grow.  I’m excited for this new stage and just seeing where it goes.

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For the time being I have my desk, shelf and Helmut Newton poster up (that has been with for the last five years and to three different countries), but I once I get it closer to what I want it to look like I’ll be posting more pics!

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The studio is open Thursday to Saturday and theres’a little shop where my fellow creatives sell their artwork, so if you’re in town come and see me.  We’re also right next to Sparrow Bakery so come and grab an Ocean Roll and say hello!

And if you’re interested in seeing what I do when not on instagram or blogging you can see my portfolio here

Middle picture by Tambi Lane