Friday, December 21, 2012

A fun advent season

Remember this tree? We always have “interesting” Christmas trees, usually nothing normal about them. Two years ago, we had a 19’ cedar tree that we put in the stairwell. Last year, because we traveled all of November and most of December, we had a tiny little pine tree that Savannah plucked on Christmas morning. This year, we were back to cedar, but ended up cutting two to make it appear full.

Sorry, I digress. This isn’t exactly about our trees, but it is about the 19’ tree. After we took the tree down, John sliced the trunk into disks. They smelled good, so surely there must be some use for them. (Welcome to my world :). This year, I got an idea off of pinterest to use them for my “Jesse” tree. John and Hadden painstakingly stripped the bark off and drilled holes in all of the cedar disks in preparation of painting on them.

Each day, the kids paint one of their cedar disks with a symbol that corresponds to the Bible character that we are reading about. While they paint, I read the story from the Bible.


Here are the first few days. They don’t want to hang straight, but I think that adds to the charm. Savannah’s have the red yarn and Hadden’s have the green.


They are hanging from an i.kea curtain rod that we had bought, but decided against using as a curtain rod. We hung it to display artwork that the kids have painted and it has the exact number of hooks that I need! It’s fun to see how they interpret the symbol that they are supposed to paint.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun field trip

The kids and I went on a really fun field trip earlier this week. We went to Orbix Hot Glass and watched a demonstration of how they created a flat, decorative bowl from start to finish. Orbix Hot Glass is located near the Little River Canyon in Alabama – absolutely beautiful setting tucked in the trees in the mountains near a stream. If the weather would have been cooperative, we would have done a little exploring in the canyon. Unfortunately, it was pretty cold and dreary the day we went.
L: Just starting out. R: Almost ready to spread it out. There were a lot of steps between these two.
L: He torches the back edge in order to keep it the right temperature. When he puts it in the furnace to reheat it, the back doesn’t get the same amount of heat as the front, so the torch equalizes the heat. R: He used a mold to initially shape lines or grooves the length of the piece. Then, he opened it up by spinning it in the air and using centrifugal force to flare it out. Very cool. As it cooled, he shaped it into kind of a petal shape. They called the piece “lily pad”, so you can imagine what the end result looked like.
After the demonstration, we had the option of blowing an ornament. Although it was fairly expensive, we didn’t want to pass up the chance so we all took a turn. He instructed when and how hard to blow to make it come out just the right size.
Here he is adding the hanger to my ornament. I can’t wait to get them back so we can see the cooled, finished product. They have to cool slowly, so they put them in an 800 degree oven overnight and then slowly cool them from there. Our trip coordinator is going to pick them up tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another project - before and after

Continuing working on repurposing furniture  that didn’t sell on Craigs.list. Here is our old dresser with mirror. The mirror had to go, but with a little TLC, the dresser has been refinished.


Before: Orangish brown stain color, frilly hardware and the mirror. Oh boy!


After: Black with new hardware and without the mirror. We are planning on hanging a black framed mirror on the wall above the dresser, but here it is for now.

John says that the “vintage” hardware is available if anyone would like to buy it! Personally, I’m sticking with the plain, clean-line version.

Next up: 5-drawer chest of drawers.

I also want to fix up the little dresser that we had been using for our clothing. I took it from my parents when I went to college and have treasured it ever since. It has just the cutest lines and is very quaint with its beat up appearance. All of the connection points just need reinforced. Not quite sure where I will put it once it is finished.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A birthday boy and some projects


So, Hadden turned the big 10 last month and I totally missed telling you that it was his birthday. Maybe it was denial because my baby is in double digits! I made a red velvet cake and please understand that I am not bragging when I tell you that it was DELICIOUS!! I followed the recipe exactly to the t and it came out really good. Here is the link for the recipe: red velvet cake. We gave him legos, as if there was ever any surprise there! We also gave him a 10-gallon fish tank and we are all enjoying the fish.


Project update: We tried to sell this dresser on craigs.list and had no takers, so I decided to paint it and make it useful in my office. My office desk is always cluttered, so I am hoping this solution will help. Here is the before picture.


And the after. This morning, Hadden said he liked it “before” better. Oh well – can’t please everyone! I have been seeing all kinds of furniture painting links on pinterest, so I decided to go for quirky and paint it a little wild. We also replaced the pulls to update it a little bit. This time, I used spray paint and I am not sure I am a fan. It is difficult for me to get a nice, even coat. Overall, I am pleased with the transformation and Savannah actually likes the colors and wants it for her bedroom :)


The funny thing is that 10 years ago, I would never have considered painting furniture and I was frustrated when I discovered painted furniture. Now, I’m painting everything! My next project is the dressers from our old bedroom set. They didn’t sell on craigs.list either, so why not make them functional? I’m planning on painting them black and rolling the paint on with a foam roller instead of spraying. I am set to start the first one, but I first have to fill in an intentional 1/8” gap on the top surface. I don’t think it will paint well, but I haven’t decided whether to use wood filler, caulk, or something else. Any ideas?


I am planning on training to run in a couple of 5K’s although I haven’t committed to running them yet. I have started running a little and it would be good to have a goal. The first one is at the end of October and the other is in mid-November.


OSU – in case you didn’t know, I went to Oregon State University and I just have to shout out to the football team! Right now, they are undefeated and ranked #10 in the polls. Unheard of, but completely cool at the same time. When I went there, OSU was excited to win one game a year. Go Beavs!!! I finally am ok with admitting that I am a fan of OSU. Living in a state where people live and breathe college football, that is an accomplishment!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Update – just for you Dad and Mom :)

Pretty sure they are the only ones still looking – ha!

We have been increasingly busy with school, soccer and baseball. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, we have to put a lot of miles traveling to and from everything, too. By far, our biggest budget item is for gas. I’m not complaining, it’s just the price we have to pay to enjoy the peace and quiet, but also be involved in activities.

Savannah’s soccer team continues to improve and learn more about soccer, but they are still pretty outmatched. We all knew this would be a learning year so they are taking it very well. They have scored a couple of goals, but have not won any games yet.


We went to a Braves vs Dodgers baseball game again this year. This time, the Braves won. First day of school picture – don’t they look thrilled!


Dad – this was the sunset that I was telling you about on the phone that one night. It was shortly after Hurricane Isaac blew through. I think the phone enhanced the redness of the color, but it was fabulous.


The puppies have all gone except for the two we are keeping. The puppy on the left is “The Bishop” – he was the runt and my favorite. He now belongs to the chaplain in the prison. The puppy on the right is “Casey” – Savannah’s puppy.


This is “Zelus” – Hadden’s puppy. The picture/trophy is from Hadden’s all-star season earlier this summer. Our team Mom does a fabulous job with the gifts – I especially like this picture of Haddo :) The picture on the right is an acorn that Savannah carved out to hold a little bouquet.


We are participating with several other families in a co-op teaching arrangement. We meet one day per week and do mostly elective type classes. So far, we are all enjoying it.


We have been attending a new church for the past six months or so. We loved our previous church, but the location was the problem. We desired for the kids to be able to interact more with the kids that they go to church with, and that wasn’t feasible with the previous church because it was 26 miles in the opposite direction from where they play sports.


The weather is absolutely perfect right now and each year I appreciate fall in the south even more.


Psalm 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So, here’s the story …

About a month and a half ago, someone dumped three beautiful dogs off along our road. Unfortunately, this happens quite frequently and it is very disturbing to me how someone can just leave these beautiful, sweet dogs behind and drive away expecting someone else to take care of them. Most of the neighbors back here have big hearts and love animals, so we try to care for the dogs and most of us already have multiple dogs. Someone even went to where the dogs were “staying” and dumped a big pile of dog food for them to eat to survive.
Savannah wanted to try to find homes for the dogs, so John and the kids went to take pictures of these dogs in order to make a flier to show people. On the return trip, the oldest female dog followed them home. Our pack decided they were not interested in one more dog to compete with for attention and went into attack mode. After trying unsuccessfully to return her to her herd, I locked her on the back deck to protect her from our dogs. We soon discovered she is about the sweetest dog ever and also that she was likely pregnant. Trying to find a home for any of them was futile, so I contacted a friend who runs a rescue operation and she was willing to take her in.
In the meantime, we grew kind of attached to her and started thinking how fun it would be to have a batch of puppies as this would likely be our only opportunity (since all of our females are fixed). So, we decided to keep her at least long enough to enjoy the puppies. My friend is still willing to take the puppies that we can’t find homes for and rescue them, now just at a later time.
Last Friday morning, she had the puppies – she had 10!!!!! 7 boys and 3 girls. And, can I tell you just how stinking cute they are? She is an excellent momma and takes great care of them, too.
Here is the momma dog with all 10 puppies.
Here are just the 10 puppies – we were changing out the bedding and it is easier to see all of them with the blue background.
We think we have 2 spoken for, but that leaves 8 more. If you are interested in one of them and live in Alabama (or even PA), we can certainly set you up! :) They should be ready around the end of August. She is a medium-sized dog (maybe 40 pounds) and we have no idea who the father dog is. John calls them Canardlys – in that you “can hardly” tell what they are.
It is fun to watch Savannah and Hadden enjoying the little pups. We’re all excited for their eyes to open and for them to be cuddly little squirm balls!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From my phone …

Just for fun, here are some recent pictures from my phone. IMAG0843

During all-star season, each player had a pennant that we hung on the fence – our team Mom rocks the creative department and I thought they were very cool. Here is Hadden’s – we often call him Haddo while he is on the field because it is easier to say. One of his coaches calls him HK – I guess that is even easier for him. Ha!


Hadden got to pitch a fair bit and he did a great job. He is very accurate and didn’t walk many batters. He throws quite a few in the strike zone, but after about 2 strikes, the batters sometimes got wise and hit the ball. It was a LOT of fun watching him pitch. He has an amazing amount of confidence on the mound and we were very proud of his season overall. He is maturing and only got frustrated when he got out while batting.


We had about a dozen barn swallows show up the other day for a few hours. These were the young ones and the parent would come and feed them. They were a lot of fun to watch.

Here is Savannah at the splash pad. So proud of her – she made the d2 competitive soccer team. They have started practice 3 times per week and she is LOVING it. All of the girls on this team are motivated and dedicated to playing soccer. With that, the level of play has gone way up – fun to watch them getting better and better. Most of them are playing an age level up, so this first year might be kind of rough, but I am sure they will still have a great time together.


It is HOT!!! We are doing little projects and activities everyday to beat the heat. They painted these pictures today. The picture on the right is from a sunrise earlier this spring.


The other day, we made gak – they have enjoyed hours of playing with it. Gak is similar to silly putty, but a little more slimy.


An incredible sunset from a while ago.

I am just now feeling like I can breathe. All-star baseball is a big time commitment. I love every minute of it, but somehow it feels like I can’t get anything else done. Now that it is over, I miss it :) Soccer has a consistent schedule – same time, same days, same place and somehow only three days a week seems easy. We also did VBS for 5 days in the midst of all-stars. Whew!

So – how have you been?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Recent projects

I scored this antique armoire at an auction a few years ago, but I never really liked the color. From pinterest, I discovered a new primer that doesn’t require sanding down the piece before painting it. I decided to give it a try.


Before – see the color is a little on the orange side.


After – now it is black and has been moved to a different room. It looks ok, but I have since learned how to do it better. Now, I need to find time to do another piece. The trick is to use a smooth roller for both the primer and the final paint application to achieve a smooth finish and alleviate brush lines.


Sweet potato starts. I had lots of dinky sweet potatoes left from last year, so I decided to start my own slips this year. They did great. However, I have just discovered that the goats have been in the garden and I don’t have any plants in the ground right now. I am personally ready to get rid of the goats, except that they are still kind of cute.


Homemade yogurt. Again, found the idea on pinterest. The yogurt is very easy to make, but I haven’t perfected the process of flavoring it. If I add flavoring after it sets, the yogurt gets runny. If I add favoring before it sets, it doesn’t set. Anybody have any ideas?


Before. Now, for one of John’s projects. Each of the bedrooms has a walk-out balcony, but the floor joists just look rough and unfinished.


After – he wrapped the underside with metal to give it a finished look. Doesn’t it look a lot better? 1 down, 2 to go. He also constructed it so that any rain water coming through the deck would shed away from the house. If you look really closely at the hummingbird feeder, there is a little buddy hovering there.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kiddo update …

Baseball and soccer has been the main thing on the plate for the spring.


Hadden is enjoying baseball – we have a super team of kids and parents which  makes it fun. They are currently 7-5 with one regular season game left and then the tournament. Hadden has had the opportunity to be the starting pitcher for most of the season and has enjoyed that very much. John has been helping out pitching to the boys in the batting cages and also warms up the pitchers during the game and helps out in the dugout.


Savannah is enjoying playing soccer. She was able to play in a tournament with a group of girls trying for the more competitive level of soccer. Her team got beat pretty soundly all of the games, but they had only had 2 practices as that group prior to the tournament. By the looks on their faces, they weren’t too bothered by the scores of the games :) This is a neat group of girls and parents, too.


The newest addition to our household are two new kids – this time, of the goat variety! They are pygmy goats and are very cute and entertaining. They eat a LOT and we have been building small fences to keep them supplied with food. John also built them a small goat shed which they use to get out of the weather. The boy is Bill and the girl is Matilda.


Hadden with both of them in the wheelbarrow. Hadden and Bill sitting on the roof of the goat shed.


Savannah holding Matilda – she is very sweet. Bill is … well, a boy goat. He is not quite as sweet :)


Matilda by the fence. Bill really enjoys the wheelbarrow – crazy goat!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recent project

On our trip west last fall, we stayed in Santa Fe, NM in a hotel downtown. It was quaint and had nice southwestern architecture and decor. I really liked the spread on the beds and thought that I might be able to make something similar. The cover was fairly light weight with a minimal amount of “quilting”. It probably helped that it was stripes and earth tones (both favorites of mine). An idea was born.

There is a fabric outlet store in PA where we bought fabric for the curtain valances in our home. So, on our trip north last fall, we went in and bought fabric for a spread for our bed. I actually really like having the spread on our bed because I can curl up in my own side of the blanket without stealing from John, but the spread that I had in my mind did not quite turn out the way I had hoped :) John still thinks my fabric choices are a bit quirky, but I actually like them. Call me crazy!


I had never worked on a project of this size, and I am not sure I would tackle something like this again. We have a king-size bed and I machine quilted approx. every six inches. This means that there was a lot of fabric and batting rolled up in order to sew towards the middle of the spread. I made it reversible, as well, and it was a lot easier to sew lines down the stripe section. That meant that I had to do half of it in the other direction, in order to avoid having most of the spread rolled up when sewing the one edge. Hopefully, that makes sense. Anyway, it was hard to keep things lined up, sewn straight and looking nice, but it is at least finished.


I made slip covers for some old pillows for some added decoration.