Arts & Crafts: Felt Flower

Don’t you just love Pinterest? Yesterday, on my day off, I made this:
Thanks to this tutorial:

Instead of making a pillow, as previously planned, I used to to make gift wrap for a 1-year-old’s birthday party and one of my best friend’s birthday presents (belated because she’s in El Salvador working in an orphanage, how cool is that?). Instead of using a gem for the flower center, I made my own center out of rolled-up twine and hot glue.

Don’t you just love arts and crafts?


Day 22… We finished the house!

Well, finished is a relative term. But it means that I don’t have any more all-day work days. I need to go lay down a few shelf liners below the sinks, and we need to change out some bathtub faucets… just little things that really aren’t a huge deal.
We’re done. I’m so excited I don’t even know what to do. Please join me in praying that it sells quickly, and that God will be glorified, even in the selling of our home.

The progression of the home renovation project

I never thought I’d be grown up enough to own one house… much less two.

Mr. Right and I currently own two houses – we had a “his” and “hers” before we got married, then combined into “ours” and after letting his old roommates rent “his” after we got married, we’re now ready to have just one. ONE.

But before we can sell the house, we needed to give it a small facelift. He bought it as a foreclosure and did some major upgrading to it about two years ago. But after phase one, his plan was to start phase two… and then he fell in love with me. So phase two got put on hold.
So now we’re on week three of the house facelift, which has included some major landscaping, repairing a fence, grinding a stump, painting two bathrooms, completely refinishing the kitchen cabinets, refinishing two sets of bathroom cabinets and some built-in shelves, painting trim, door ways, and touching up paint. Oh, and cleaning, installing new lighting and bathroom mirrors, getting the carpets cleaned and stretched, replacing outlet covers…
The list is never-ending.
And here is how it has gone so far.
Day 1: This is going to be a breeze. I bet I finish painting these two bathrooms before lunch – they’re small, how hard can they be? I’m going to be just like one of those girls on HGTV. Maybe I could start a design blog like this couple. Or this girl.
Day 1… 10 hours later: Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into? After 10 hours of hard labor, all I have to show for it is one painted bathroom and a half-finished one? Seriously?! Thankfully I got to work indoors, whereas my husband spent those 10 hours doing major landscaping tear-out, then came inside to install new bathroom lighting.
Day 3: My friend was so sweet to come help me paint the kitchen cabinets. See, this work stuff isn’t so bad! I bet it only takes two coats.
Day 5: I’m smart – I downloaded a book on tape to listen to while I paint those cabinets. By the time I finish Water for Elephants, I bet those cabinets look amazing! But… not sure two coats will be enough.
Day 7: Still working on those cabinets… and everything I own (including my clothes, my purse, my phone, my hair, my car, my dog) has white paint on it. And after the third coat… it still needs more.
Day 8: I have the best mother ever… she worked a whole day helping me with those kitchen cabinets. And yet we’re still not done… uh oh. Who knew it would take one coat of primer and THREE coats of paint?!
Day 11: My husband spends a whole day getting rid of junk left behind at the house, going to the dump, and doing various manly things around the house that involve copious amounts of sweat. For the record, he looks really cute in a tool belt.
Day 13: Well, I just finished that 14-hour audio book… and yet the cabinets are still there. I may not see a swimming pool until July at this rate. Mr. Right grinds a stump and tills some dirt… more manly things that I’m thankful he knows how to do, because I don’t. Anxiety has started to build as I enter my third weekend of painting.
Day 15: Kitchen cabinets are done! Now on to the 25 other projects on our list. Thankfully, my mom came back to prime bathroom cabinets, and my mother-in-law spent the whole day cleaning for us. My father-in-law helps us take down window screens so we can wash windows. My husband builds a fence. Oh, and the air conditioning goes out (just a minor break, praise Jesus), but $250 later, we’re back in business. After everyone leaves, I have a minor nervous breakdown about the 24 other projects still on my list. Somebody pass me some chocolate, or a Mexican wedding cookie (my current obsession).
Day 16 (Today): I can completely cross off one bathroom and one bedroom off my list. And the kitchen. And the living room. And I’m about to cross off bathroom #2. Things are progressing… maybe we will finish this after all. I download another audio book.
Tomorrow marks Day 17 of our extreme home makeover. For the first time since the morning of Day 1, I think I can see an end in sight. My hope is to be done next weekend. And after we sell, I can all but guarantee you that I will not (1) paint anything at my house this summer, (2) start a home renovation blog, (3) take my leisurely weekends for granted.
One more week.

Sand between our toes

This has been a crazy, intense 2011. In addition to settling in with my new husband and getting our house and our lives (and our bank accounts) intermingled and organized, I threw 10 very large special events in just 11 weeks, all while being sick and feverish and very, very tired. So you can imagine that our little vacation to the beach hit at exactly the right time.
We did a lot of resting last week – we jetted over to Rosemary Beach, Florida with Mr. Right’s side of the family for a wonderfully relaxing family getaway. We stayed in a gorgeous beach house and did nothing but read novels and build sand castles and take two-and-a-half-hour naps and eat, and eat, and eat. It was glorious.

I spent one of my favorite mornings sipping coffee with Mr. Right and his grandmother on this porch, listening to her weave tales about her long life. We just soaked up her wisdom and enjoyed some good advice and sweet stories from this godly matriarch, who has a habit of saying “I’ll just tell Jesus…” when you need prayer. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Rosemary Beach is filled with gorgeous beach house-mansions, and this one was our absolute favorite. It faced the water and can be yours for an easy-peasy $12,000 a week. Not exactly in the budget for this minister’s wife, but we did steal a few pictures on that movie-worthy front porch. Strangely enough, this makes me want to start wearing more teal and mustard… I love that combination.
Maybe it was the humidity, or all the saltwater, but I fell more googly-eyed for my husband on this trip than ever before. It was a total treat to get him all to myself for a whole week, without work or responsibilities or a schedule to keep. We rode bikes and swam and even had a date night that involved crab cakes and a walk on the beach. The sound of those waves is just intoxicating.
And, he built me the most tremendous sand castle a girl could ever ask for.

This was our home for the week, complete with wrap-around porches and a gourmet kitchen. I could really move here without blinking. Do I smell a church plant on the coast?

I fell in love with this thing (I can’t remember what they’re called), and asked Mr. Right to promise me that someday, at some point in our marriage, we can have one of these in our back yard. Lucky for me he’s handy, so I’m confident that he could build it, and I’m pretty sure I could hot-glue some ivy to it if we don’t manage to grow any. Can you imagine the candlelit dinners we could have under that thing? Sigh.
But now it’s back to reality… and like always, we managed to start another huge project – this time it’s getting a house ready to go on the market. I’m up to my eye balls in paint right now… you can tell what color our kitchen cabinets are by the tell-tale paint that I can’t seem to wash off my hands, arms, legs… even my hair. But man, is it turning out cute!

Hodge-Podge… big time!

This is what happens when I take a break from writing for awhile. Everything starts churning in my head, bubbling up to the surface, and next thing I know there’s ten topics that I want to cover. 

First of all, you won’t be hearing from me for awhile. Again. I know, you should probably give up on me altogether. This time is for a very FUN reason though… I’m about to set off on my third European adventure in the past four years! Hooray! This time I’m going with a wonderfully sweet girlfriend of mine, and I already know that God is going to bless us with exciting adventures, good conversations, and fun memories. 
Our cruise ship will have an Internet cafe, so there’s a slight chance I may sneak in a post or two, but it depends on if (a) they charge by the minute to use their WiFi, and (b) if I can tear myself away from all the Mediterranean fun long enough to write. So if not, bear with me, and I promise to post lot’s of pictures very soon!
On to the next thing…
My youngest sister graduated from Baylor yesterday! She, Sarah, and I are all fifth generation Baylor alums… our family has gone to Baylor since 1885. A great great aunt, a great grandmother, my grandfather, both my parents, and now all three of us, plus a future brother-in-law who is a Baylor Bear. And I can’t forget my genius British aunt who taught here for a few years. My family’s blood flows thickly with the green and gold goodness of the Baylor spirit. 

Ick, I look a little creepy in that photo. It was horribly humid, and I was a bit tired, and well, I could come up with many more excuses… but oh well, sometimes a gal just ends up taking a creepy photo… I guess that’s life. But I do love how excited both my parents look in that photo. I’m sure they’re breathing a huge sigh of relief that they finally got all three daughters through school.
Here’s a photo of something I got Lins for graduation… this shirt makes me laugh so hard, I almost want to become a nurse simply so I can wear it. Which reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where the guy converts to Judaism simply for the jokes. But I digress…

Speaking of weddings… I wrote awhile back about Lindsay’s wedding dress debacle. I’m not sure if I ever wrote about the resolution… basically David’s Bridal did in fact do the right thing and fixed her dress (I think it was the fifth alteration) for free. Apparently the curse of the ill-fitting dress must run in the family, because I went to pick up my bridesmaid dress this morning from the tailor, and mine didn’t fit either. My alteration guy was smart though… I could tell he was about to accuse me of gaining weight, preventing my dress from properly zipping up, but I gave him a look that said “Sir, I dare you to even suggest that I would gain enough weight in one week to cause my dress to be about four sizes too small,” and I think he got the point. So instead we’re going to try letting out the part he took in. Hope this dress survives until the big day!
I’ve been on a crazy organizing kick lately. I’ve cleaned out every closet, cabinet and drawer in my house over the past month. It’s what happens when I finish with school and suddenly find myself with a few hours of spare time. But as you can see, the compulsive cleaning was necessary. Check out my before and after pictures:
Before (I promise, this is exactly how it looked when I opened the door… everything falls right on your head):


Now onto the hardest project of all… packing! I’m not sure how a gal packs for such a long get-away, one that includes 4-wheeling across the Greek countryside, formal dinners on a cruise ship, leisurely walks along a Spanish beach and miles of trekking through Rome. I may win the award for most luggage on a trip… I’m off to go see if I can weed anything out.

I did it…

Well kids, I crossed over to the dark side. I joined Twitter. I didn’t want to… it was totally against my will. I don’t have time for yet another Web 2.0 program that will probably help me waste valuable time that I can never seem to find enough of anyway. 

But I did it for work. I’m supposed to be a social networking guru. I need to know all of the new and innovative ways to promote my organization, and doing that means I’ve gotta know the latest technology tools. I’m already a webmaster (times three, actually), a blogger, a Facebook user, a former MySpace junkie, and now I guess I’m a Twit. The sacrifices I make for work…
So do me a favor and look me up so I have some friends to tweet with. Because goodness knows I have no idea how to find you on there. The whole thing seems rather silly and redundant. Then again, I said that at first about Facebook, and now I think it’s pure genius. 
Oh, and my professor is making us start a blog to share info with other classmates about social media junk. From what I can tell, I think we’re graded based on the traffic we generate and the comments we get from readers. Which means that I may be calling in a favor and asking you to visit our silly little site to make up some random comment so you can help a girl get her A. I’ll let you know soon… if you help me out, maybe I’ll come wash your car or paint your living room. he he.

First quilt is finished!

My first quilt is complete! If this quilt were a dog, it would be a sad, scraggly mutt that walks with a limp and is so ugly, he’s cute. It would be a mutt with bristles and burs stuck in his fur, and feet that track in mud all over your white carpet. But the more you know that mutt, the more you love him and realize that he’s way better than any purebred. Because he’s yours.

My quilt is kind of like that. Sad, scraggly, a little lop-sided, but something made out of love. It was birthed through sacrifice (namely an unfortunate facial injury), but I’m proud of it, and I enjoyed making it. Here are some photos (if you squint, it almost looks good).

I have already bought the supplies for quilt #2. No old lady patterns for me, this one is going to be pink and brown and sparkley.

Back on the horse

Actually, it’s back on the treadmill.

For the past year or so, I’ve been too busy to think straight, so working out was pretty low on the priority list. But with a short (and wonderful!) break from grad school, and plans for a much quieter fall, I’ve decided to hit the gym again.

And since I don’t do ANYTHING half-way, I’ve decided to run a half-marathon in December. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see. I tried to train for one a few years back, and got bored at around 8 miles. I mean, 8 miles just takes so darn LONG to run! And I have so many other things to do that are more fun. Like eating ice cream. And getting pedicures. Or picking up my dry cleaning.

But maybe this time will be different. It helps that I have friends who want to do it, and I’m a sucker for some good peer pressure. Tonight I ran 4 miles on the elliptical, but I had a lot of resistance, so I’m sure those 4 miles were equal to 10 or 15 on the treadmill. See, I’m practically ready for that half marathon right now.

One of my favorite posts on my old blog was from the day, back in October 2005, when I finally got my first gym membership. Not much has changed since then. Only Brandan (with an “A”) is probably in prison by now. And here’s another retro workout post for good measure.


Last night my roommate and I (Have I mentioned she’s the best roommate EVER! My other roommate, Spike, the sharpshooter with an anger problem, is the second best roommate ever) tackled my yard. I’ve been so busy lately with grad school (it’s over Monday… yea!) that I haven’t had a spare minute to do yardwork. It got so bad that I had to close my eyes each night as I pulled into my driveway because the sight of all those tall weeds made my eyes bleed.

Okay, now I’m just being mellodramatic, but it looked awful.

So roommate mowed and I edged, then we both swept. When we got done, I decided to pull a few of the big weeds. And all of a sudden, I couldn’t stop. Every time I thought I was finished, I would spot a new clump of those little suckers. I had fun social plans for the evening, but I couldn’t seem to tear myself away from pulling those weeds. I think it was because I could see immediate progress, and the night was pretty, and the ground was damp so they came out fairly easily. Whatever it was, my obsession grew and grew until I filled a full garbage bag. I wanted to keep going, but my friends were expecting me, so I finally gave in and quit.

But this morning, as I sit down to work on my research paper, I have this strange, burning desire to go pull more weeds! I think it may be a problem. Or maybe it’s my subconscious telling me it’s sick of working on this research paper.

Maybe I’ll go pull just one…

Painting party

My ever-growing home-improvement project continues. Yesterday two very sweet guys came over and helped me paint 64 feet of dental crown molding. The “dental” part of the crown molding meant we had to paint the intricate pieces with a TINY paint brush. It added about three hours to an otherwise simple project, but doing it with other people made it fun (and I learned all sorts of interesting “guy opinions” on various topics). As a thank-you, I treated them to Sonic milk shakes and a home-cooked dinner. I figure I came out ahead.

This afternoon I’m changing gears and will become a lean, mean cooking machine. I’m hosting our family’s Easter Lunch tomorrow after church, and I’m very excited. I had to resist the urge to go buy more dishes and decorations for my 10 guests (because all of my money has gone toward stone and crown molding), but I think it will still be nice with what I have. I’ll crank up my music, put on my cute-and-frilly apron (hand-made by sister Sarah!) and cook for the next few hours. I’ll feel just like Martha Stuart (except the vegetables for my vegetable casserole came from the frozen section of Target instead of from my organic beet farm in the backyard). Okay, maybe I’m more like Rachel Ray. Whatever. It will still be fun!