I can't believe we are doing this. We just finished the first 2 floors. We still have construction dust floating in the air and boxes that are not unpacked. But, we are doing it. Basement. Renovation.
We have a really nice sized unfinished attic space as well. I would have liked to finish that first. My mom thinks we should finish the attic first. The construction dude (husband) says the basement is first. Something about needing a laundry room. He's tired of the laundromat. The attic will have to wait.
This is a pretty big basement, maybe 800 square feet. Not a small job we are getting ourselves into. We'll have another full bathroom, the aforementioned laundry room, a tool room, and hopefully a living room/playroom/hangout area.
These pictures are from our first walk-through of the house back in March of 2008. We closed 15 days later. Renovated floors 1 and 2 from July 2008 to September 2009. Break's over.
There is currently a bathroom stall down there. See the plunger. Right there. Lots of houses we looked at were like that. Wonder why?
First thing to go is the wood paneling "walls". Second thing to go will probably be my sanity.
I'll update our progress every Monday. Unless I forget, and then maybe Tuesday or whenever I get around to it. Follow along with me.
My interview today is EXTRA special! Michelle and Jeff Spelman of Jukem football are family, (husband's cousin) and are here with a fantastic giveaway! (It's so nice to be related to such creative folks!)
Do you know of a child who needs a gift? Maybe you have an uncle who loves football? Do you have any friends who like to play games? Then read on....this is for you!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES: We are Jeff and Michelle Spelman, Ohio natives raising our 3 boys (ages 10, 6, and 3) in Cincinnati. We own a small startup game company that we launched in 2007. Our debut product is a card game called Jukem Football. My husband, Jeff, is the inventor, CEO and head coach. He originally created the game as a fun way to help our sons with math skills. We didn't intend to make it into a business originally, but when we would share it with friends and family, everyone loved it and urged us to "do something with it!" We decided to "go for it." Now, the game can be found in dozens of educational supply stores, toy stores, bookstores and gift shops across the country. It has been played in classrooms from first grade through high school. ...... Jeff has worked in sports for over 20 years. He worked in college athletics from 1984-1991 at the Universities of Louisville, Virgina, and Notre Dame. He worked day-to-day with Louisville's 1986 NCAA Championship basketball team, Notre Dame's 1988 undefeated national championship football team, Virgina's No. 1 ranked college football team in 1990 and he also ran a Heisman Trophy campaign that year for finalist Shawn Moore. One of Jeff's favorite moments was attending the Heisman Trophy Ceremonies at the downtown Athletic Club in New York. ...... After his career in college athletics, he shook up the Major League Baseball scouting industry in the early 1990's by pioneering the Baseball "Showcase" concept. Jeff was the first person to gather in one location the nation's best high school baseball prospects, Major League scouts from every organization and the recruiters from the country's top college baseball programs. Players increased their college and professional opportunities while scouts and college coaches saved time, travel, and were able to better evaluate players because they could finally see nation's top prospects compete against one another on the same field. ...... Current household names such as David Wright, Mark Teixeira and Roy Halladay are among the players Jeff recruited to his Showcases. Over 230 of his Team One Showcase players have reached the Major Leagues, including 24 Major League All-Stars. Jeff worked as the National Baseball Scouting Director for Rivals.com and wrote about baseball prospects for MLB.com, YahooSports.com, and CBSSports.com. ...... He coaches his boys' soccer and basketball teams and serves as Vice President of the Boosters at his boys' school. ...... Michelle is the company's Sales Manager, Cheerleader and Jukem Evangelist. She's a Live Wire bringing play-by-play updates to friends and fans of the game. She loves connecting with people at the grassroots level and experimenting with social media and word of mouth marketing.
APART FROM CREATING GAMES, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? Cooking is one of her favorite activities and she is excited that her boys are interested in learning how to find their way in the kitchen. She is delighted to say she can always count on someone to help stir a pot. We have lots of teaching moments where we can talk about good nutrition and making healthy food choices. She really loves to bake cookies though, so the conversation includes plenty of discussion on moderation. In the way that a snack satisfies hunger in between meals, Jukemsatisfies hunger for football whenever you need it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR GAME:Jukem is the Anytime, Anywhere, Football card game. Play it at tailgates, parties, game nights, and anytime you are on the go. The game takes approximately 20 minutes and can be enjoyed by 2-4 players, ages eight to adult. Jukem brings football fans together and offers a variety of ways to play the game. We did take a few liberties with the rules of football, but the end product is a fast-paced game that is perfect for both football novices and longtime fans.
Each Jukem Football game includes:
-Two decks (Jukem rookie & Jukem Football)
-112 total cards (56 in each deck)
-A colorful 20-page Official Playbook
If you are new to Jukem, start with the Rookie deck. Here you learn the fundamentals of the game. When you are ready for more defensive action and expanded game play, try the Jukem Football deck. There is also a third way to play and it is the favorite of many. Combine both decks and play with all 112 cards. It's an exiting offensive showdown for up to four players.
Jukem is a game devoted to the spirit of football that was created by a football-loving father for his sons. Play Jukem and connect with your friends and family in a fun and spirited way. Or, buy Jukem for that special person who loves football.
Jukem in made in the USA. Winner of the 2009 Dr. Toy Award: Best Picks - New Children's Products.
(My game closet - I've got my copy of Jukem)
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR WORK: We are a small company, so the best way to promote our game is at the grassroots - sharing the game, meeting people and playing the game out in public. Getting people excited and telling them our story is the best way to promote the word-of-mouth that we really need. We believe that spreading good karma is powerful. We have donated games to multiple children's hospitals and schools, home school groups and other fundraising efforts, we have sent games to children in Iraq, and are working to share the game with our deployed troops.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELVES IN 5 YEARS: Shoo! If you'd told us 5 years ago we'd be doing this, we'd NEVER have guessed it in million years! But we are loving the business of play. It's FUN! Our goal is to be an established brand in five years with licensed editions of Jukem Football featuring all your favorite college or NFL teams. We've got and iPhone app version of the game in the works and Jeff (he's the game inventor, remember) has oodles of more games up his sleeve that he's itching to bring to the world.
Want to surprise the football fan in your life with a copy of Jukem Football?
Leave a comment here and tell us your favorite football team...peewee, college, NFL, or otherwise.
One winner will be chosen on Tuesday, December 15th at noon (EST) --------------------------
Back when I was a teacher, I worked at a wonderful school in North Carolina that was full of a creative and amazing staff. Sarah, of Bela Si Boutique, is no exception. So apart from being a great teacher and mother, she has also started her own line of music inspired clothing on Etsy. And, she's also got a great giveaway for the little music fan in your life. Read on...
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: My name is Sarah Edmonson and I live in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. I married my college sweetheart, Brian, and we have two wonderful children. Silas just turned 6 and Bela Grae is 3 years old. They are what inspire and drive me. By day, I am a special education teacher at a local elementary school, and by night, I am a seamstress, designer, creator, entrepreneur and, Oh, I forgot to mention homemaker! My interests have changed over the years as the fads change, but one true constant in my life is that I love to create things. As a kid, when most girls were playing with Barbie Dolls, I was playing with Modpodge. I used to ask my mom if I could have old photo albums, serving trays, lamps, you name it, and I would get old magazines and start creating. In college, a friend of mine who was following PHISH and sewing clothes so she could pay for the next show taught me how to sew. This is where my passion for sewing began. I have experiments with sewing my own clothes (in college) using thrift store fabric to make dresses, bibs, whirly skirts, etc...for my daughter. Music is a big part of my life, as my husband plays numerous instruments from the banjo, guitar, bongo, drums, to the dobro. He helped me bridge my love for music into my other passion...creating things.
APART FROM CREATING CLOTHING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? In my free time, I love to spend time with my family. Whether it is at home playing the Wii or traveling to music festivals or listening to live local music at the corner coffee shop. I enjoy quiet time, girl talk, and smelling the roses. My friends tell me I am a spontaneous soul, so I am up for whatever the moment holds in store for me.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR SHOP RIGHT NOW: This is a hard question...I love my acoustic guitar long sleeved tees. Although, I love hand dying tees & working with vinyl and felt projects. Working with graphics to create a personalized vinyl design is something I have been dipping my hands into lately. There are so many options and ideas for your home, and it adds so much personality to bare walls. Oh, I almost forgot, I love baby leg warmers. They are so cute to see on little chunky legs. I'm sure you get the picture...if only there were 48 hours in one day to keep up with all the ideas in my head...LOL.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR WORK: At the present time, a majority of sales are generated by word of mouth, and people stopping my kids on the street to get a closer look. I love to try new applique designs for my children. I can't tell you how many times we've been stopped on the street, at music festivals or even in the grocery store with questions and positive comments from people. It just drives me to spend more time doing what I love. My husband kept telling me over and over, that I should look into creating these designs for others to enjoy. BAM! Bela Si Boutique was born. Now, I have a local shop in Wilmington, NC selling my music inspired designs. I opened a shop on Etsyrecently, but I am still working on getting all of my designs listed.
FAVORITES: I love getting together with friends and unwinding. My most favorite movie of all time is...Beaches! What a tearjerker. I love to cook, but opt out of it most of the time. My husband and I enjoy spending time together catching up on the news of the day, and bouncing ideas off of each other that we've come up with along the course of the day.
IN FIVE YEARS I'D LIKE TO... have a little shop where I could see my own creations, as well as other local artists works. This would be awesome. I hope it can be my reality.
What a wonderful day for a giveaway!
Bela Si Boutique is giving away the guitar tee pictured just above to one lucky On A Limb reader.
It is size3T, has long sleeves and would be a perfect gift for your little music lover.
Leave a comment here and the winner will be chosen on Dec. 11th at noon (EST)
Today's interview and giveaway could not have come at a better time. With the holidays just around the corner, we could all use a little gift help. This interview is with Andrew of Anomia Press and just happens to be my first non-Etsy interview! I "met" Andrew through Facebook via my husband's cousin who I'll also be interviewing later this week. Without further ado...let's meet Andrew and his game.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: My name is Andrew Innes. I live in Boston with my wife Jody and our son and daughter (ages 3 & 1), plus a dog and a cat too. We have lived in Boston for about 2 years now, prior to that we were living in Brooklyn, NY. ------ I have a full time job as a product/project manager for a publisher in NYC. I manage the technical and business development for 5 of their websites. (2 daily newspapers, a weekly newspaper, and 2 monthly magazines) It's a busy job!
APART FROM CREATING GAMES, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO: I've been a musician for a long time and that still takes up whatever spare time I have these days (not much!). I have played with lots of bands over the years, across many styles of music. My primary instrument in the saxophone, though I also play musical saw, washboard, harmonica, piano, guitar, etc. In the last 5 or 6 years I've started to focus a lot more on guitar and song writing. It's such a challenge to write a good song. I don't preform publicly too much these days, but we do a lot of music around the house with the kids and that is super fun and rewarding in an entirely new way. More info on my musical life can be found here: http://www.weescotsman.com/
TELL US ABOUT YOUR GAME: My game is called "Anomia". Anomia is an old Greek word that means "without law or custom". Sometimes it can be used to mean "chaos" or "lawlessness". There is also a modern medical usage which is "the inability to recall a word".
It's a card game. (When people hear I have invented a game, invariably the first question is always "Is it a video/computer game?" No, it's a card game. You play with real people in the same room as you.) The mechanics are extremely simple but the play experience is highly chaotic and funny.
The premise is that we all have a ton of random information stored in our brains; things to eat, dog breeds, movie directors, addresses, etc. I suppose some of it could be considered trivia, though Anomia mostly centers on our shared knowledge of everyday objects, people and places/events.
Players must face off with one another by quickly giving examples of everyday things. It sounds easy, but when you are under pressure, your brain freezes up. So, there you are trying to give an example of a noun or a doughnut flavor and all that comes out of your mouth is "Um, uh, uh, uh..." meanwhile your opponent is going through the same thing. Finally one of you spits out an answer and then everyone pretty much starts laughing.
The pressure of coming up with examples is compounded by the fact that you never know when you are going to face off with someone else until the moment is upon you.
It's a great party game, really fun with adults, amazingly funny with a group of kids, and works very well with a mixed age group too. It's also an incredible ice breaker.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR WORK: Mostly word of mouth with a good dose of hitting the streets. I have been actively working on Anomia for about 5 or 6 years now. Over the years I held many, many play test parties. I'd invite friends (and friends of friends) over to play, take their feedback, and then think about ways to improve the game. I've probably played Anomia, in its various incarnations, with almost 300 people at this point. When I finally started to get serious about publishing Anomia, I had a good base of people who had been directly involved in helping me make it what it is today.
I also have a pretty large mailing list from my time as a regularly performing musician, so that helped too.
When I finally made the decision to self-publish (versus trying to license my idea to an existing game company) I realized I had a good shot at raising all the money I needed to produce an initial run without having to take out a loan or use a credit card. I appealed to everyone I know via Facebook, Twitter, my website and e-mail blasts and I was able to raise all of the money I needed to launch Anomia Press in about 7 weeks. I did this primarily by asking people to pre-purchase games. God bless the internet, social media, and my friends and family too.
Now that the first printing is in hand, and all of my pre-purchase orders have been shipped out, I am starting to get a lot of feedback via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. about people's experiences playing Anomia. I can't really express how amazing it is to see the game taking on a life of it's own. Consider that I have been present at just about every play-test session for the last 5 years. Now there are 500+ copies all across the US and many people are getting to play for the first time without me. I expect that this kind of feedback, especially via social media websites, will remain a major means of spreading the word. Obviously, I can't count on this extended network of friends/family/acquaintances forever. Happily, I am starting to see orders coming in from people I don't know at all. Hooray!!
FAVORITES: I'm an avid reader. I'm always reading something. In the last couple of months recent favorites have been The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (JunotDiaz), Wind, Sand and Stars (Antoine de Saint Exupery), Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dilliard), The Deptford Trilogy (Robertson Davies), and Never Let Me Go (KazuoIshiguro).
We like to cook and eat. A lot! Unfortunately our love of experimenting with food had been somewhat tempered by the reality-check of dinnertime with two young kids, but we still try to be inventive when we can. The kids tolerate our efforts for the most part. The dog eats whatever is left over.
Can't say I get to the movies at all these days, though we use Netflix a lot and have really enjoyed The Wire, Lost, and BSG.
With respect to games: It's funny, I'm actually not much of a gamer, though I do love Chess, Set, and Bananagrams.
IN FIVE YEARS I'D LIKE TO...See Anomia in stores across the country, have developed multiple alternate versions/expansion packs (I want to have a little rotating free-standing display like the magnetic poetry guys) and have Anomia Press be my full-time job. I'd also really like to get back to preforming music regularly!
It's our lucky day because Andrew is giving away a copy of his new game Anomia to 1 lucky On A Limb Reader. All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me your favorite game to play. Contest ends December 7th at noon (EST). Good luck!
Today's interview is very special to me because Rachel of KouklaMou Designs is a dear friend of mine. She's got a brand new Etsy shop full of gorgeous jewelry and a great giveaway that comes just in time for the holidays!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: I am a special education teacher for students with multiple disabilities in grades K-2. I absolutely LOVE my job. It brings me both joy and frustration each and every day. I am also an aunt to several nieces and nephews. I have lived in Maine since the age of 5 and don't think I'll ever live anywhere else.
WHAT KIND OF ITEMS DO YOU SELL IN YOUR ETSY SHOP: I sell earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. I use sterling silver, gold filled wire, copper, fresh water pearls, and a variety of semi-precious stones. I hammer and hand-craft my own sterling silver ring bands for cluster rings.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO ETSY: I went to Belgium in April for my best friends wedding. (Hi Kyle) It was the day of her wedding and she didn't know what earrings she was going to wear. She chose a pair of cheap cluster earrings. I believe every bride should know what she is going to wear BEFORE the day of her wedding. I decided that day I was going to make her a pair of cluster earrings and a cluster bracelet (sterling silver, fresh water pearl, Swarovski pearl) for her American wedding. (she had 2 weddings - to the same Belgium man, yes) That was the start and from there I continued to make jewelry. A friend encouraged me to sell my jewelry on Etsy. So began KouklaMou Designs.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR SHOP: I am just starting out. I have only made a Facebook page. My sister-in-law wears my jewelry and has passed along the URL to strangers at stores when they ask about the jewelry she is wearing. I sold jewelry in a craft fair this weekend and also gave customers the URL to my Etsy shop.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR SHOP RIGHT NOW: I love the cluster ring. It makes such a statement and everybody wants one. There are so many varieties and they are custom made for each person. I get so many compliments on mine.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SHOP GOAL IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS: I'd like to have a logo (my brother is a web designer and will make me one), and some business cards. I'd also like to have more photos taken by Insyt New Media to put up in my Etsy shop. I think it would be great to make jewelry for a whole bridal party.
FAVORITES: I love spending time with family and friends, laughing, hiking, learning to snowboard, being near the lake, quiet places in nature, sitting by a fire, writing, and stating zip codes that I know.
WHERE DID THE NAME KOUKLAMOU COME FROM: "KouklaMou" is a term of endearment in Greek. It means "my doll". My great grandmother called me "kouklamou". In my extended family, it is term that is heard often when talking to the little ones (my nieces and nephews) and is very dear to me.