Monday, February 28, 2011

Once upon a Saturday...

So I mentioned that Saturday was a super fabulous day, right?
Now I want to show you why!

First of all, a little background knowledge...

You see, when we bought our home in December of 2008 I was SO excited to pick out paint colors and get to work, but life seems to have thrown us one curve ball after another.  First, our stack of Lowe's giftcards from our wedding were stolen out of my vehicle.  Then we moved to Texas and all nesting was delayed for another year.  Well we're finally back but I've had a hay-day trying to choose my colors!

A couple of weeks ago hubs and I headed off to the farm to visit his Grandma and Grandpa Young.  I took with me a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (which I later found out my hubby's other grandmother, Meema, signed me up for, YAY!)  Well while Mark was borrowing his grandpa's welding equipment, grandma and I sat inside discussing paint colors... and she helped me make my decision!

This is the basic color pallet I ended up deciding on for the main level of the house...
{Substitute the "Robin's Egg" blue shade shown in the picture of the wall to the right in place of the "Jamaican Aqua."}

The "Robin's Egg" blue is going to go in the kitchen and across the back wall of our house which spans into the dining room.  The light yellow/cream color is for the rest of the main level, stairway and landing on the second floor.  The other colors pictured, plus a few extra rich tones, will be implemented through accessories such as throws, curtains, pillows, etc.

And this "Safari Beige" is what I am painting the interior of the front/back/garage doors as well as an accent wall at the top of our stairs where I hope to hang a beautiful piece of artwork {yet to be found}.

Now, fast forward back to Saturday.

In some discussion about what to do with our day, my wonderful husband suggested an impromptu trip to Lowe's to pick up some paint supplies and samples of the colors I've finally settled on.  


Based on the color of the cards I'm pretty sure the front three are the swatches I want.  But I grabbed a back up cream and blue for samples just in case.  We'll see if these match what I have in mind and then go from there...

Due to a rather eventful remainder of the weekend, we've not yet streaked our walls with these beautiful colors, but it sounds like tomorrow is the day and I am pumped!
{I'm sure I'll be posting pictures.}

So at this point I am in painting, decorating and nesting heaven, right?  

Then my hubby suggests we take a walk to the newly opened ReStore by our home.  I wasn't nearly as pumped about this as I had been about the paint chip trip, but he's been bugging me since the store opened to go check it out.  Besides, I too was curious enough about what kinds of deals we might find there.  So we donned our coats and headed out on a walk.

We'd only been in the store maybe 15 minutes when I spotted the triple dresser of my dreams and these beauties to match it.

{Excuse the poor quality pictures, these were taken with my phone.}

Solid oak; the dresser and armoire were $60 a piece and the nightstands $20 a piece bringing the grand total to $160 for the lot of 'em.

After several minutes of deliberation and a picture text/phone call to my mother for another woman's opinion {though I LOVE ornate furniture, I'm actually quite the weenie about diving into it myself} I finally convinced myself that this is the furniture I've been scouring craigslist in search of for months.

We bought it.

An hour later the moving party arrived {thanks mom, dad & sara!} and our new furniture came home!

A bit of TLC...

...and three containers of disinfecting wipes later...

...and Voila!

The hubs loves the beautiful armoire and quickly claimed it as his own.

Which was fine by me...
because I am in love with this beautiful piece...

...and I have claimed this gorgeous triple dresser as my very own.  

The night stands won't be finding a home in our bedroom as they're rather bulky and our room isn't too terribly big.  We're certain we'll use them somewhere though and for $20 a pop, what a deal!

TLC yet to be given will include a fresh coat of paint {the previous owners appear to have rather hastily coated the set with black spray paint...}, a little sanding around the edges and "antique-ifying" as well as finding new hardware and a really, really large mirror to sit atop the triple dresser.

I can visualize the finished product and I can't wait!

I'm thinking a cream paint with a rich brown glaze... 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today was a super fabulous day.

My Saturday started out directionless. 

Thanks to my loving and spontaneous hubs, it turned out awesome.

We made trips to Lowe's and the ReStore and scored some major finds at both places!

I have progress pictures coming soon and more explanation in the future {like future tomorrow}, but for now, I just really need to sleep.  =)

I'll be sleeping peacefully with visions of taping, painting and antiquing dancing in my head!

PS, I feel it is necessary to emphasize at this moment that my hubby is quite the catch.  I love him so dearly and am so blessed that he loves me dearly as well -- so much that he gives up a Saturday tinkering in his garage to nurture my long suppressed nesting compulsions.   =D

Thanks, babe.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A good "rainy day" post...

It's a dreary day outside.

I'm not sure "rainy" {in the title} is fitting as it's been hopping between rain, sleet and snow all day, so we'll just leave it at dreary.

Well it's been a few days so I figure it's time for a new post.
Sometimes I get these great ideas for posts that I get really excited about and spend an hour or two thinking through, editing photos and putting together... other times {like now} a random idea just pops into my head and I like it.

Today, I've decided to tell you some tid bits about myself...
and since it's always more fun with pictures... =)
I just bought my first Coach purse... and clearly I love it.
I'll take flats to heels, ANY day.

Love snow, prefer the beach... by a long shot. 
Berries are like their own separate food group to me... LOVE them.

Love this guy... our wedding was practically themed around him!

I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate.
LOVE my babies, Bayley and Skylar, even if they are a pain every now and then.  =)

It's a good thing my husband is mature, because I'm definitely the child in the relationship.

Love Glee (when it's appropriate) and believe my life would be darn near perfect if we all randomly broke out into song and dance.

I've gone Mac... and I'll never go back.  =D

I love to take pictures.  Didn't say I was good at it, but I love it just the same.

FAV coffee joint.
Favorite shows of the moment...
Human Target
Lie to Me

Big fan of Mr. Sparks right now... loving his works and relaxing opportunities to curl up on the couch with some of his writings.

I guess that's about all for now!

Also, I'm getting frustrated with the formatting of this blog post... for some reason it's not playing nice.

So there you have it folks.  A bit of random nonsense about myself... and now you know me just a teensy bit better.  =)

Happy dreary "wintery mix" day... I'm off to curl up with my current novel of Mr. Sparks... True Believer.  =)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mark's new Forge

Hello blog fans.  Unfortunately for you, you have a guest author today.  Since this post is about my new forge, Whit thought it would be best for me to write about it.

A little background on this project... 
I got interested in building a forge after meeting my friend Ryan Minchew of Minchew Knives and seeing his forge (click the link, this guy's knives are amazing).  I believe he uses his for heat treating some of his awesome knives as well as making damascus steel.  Anyway, after I returned from my field assignment in Texas, I took a look at my (tiny) garage and realized that the space was underutilized due to being overstuffed with power tools.  I had so many power tools in there that i had to pull out the table saw to use the drill press or the band saw.  This simple task kept me from many nights in the garage.  I decided that hand tools were the way to go.  Less space, less setup time, more workout.  I need the exercise... 

At the same time I started to realize that the biggest roadblock keeping me from pursuing more projects was moolah.  The cost of nice hand tools and hardwood (another post on wood coming soon to a blog near you) was keeping me from doing much of what I wanted to do.  An idea started to form in my head that would allow me to process scrap tool steel (leaf springs, coil springs, axles, old files, etc) and scrap wood (think brushpiles) into usable tools and lumber.  I sold off all my power tools on craigslist and used the money to build the forge you see below and to purchase a chainsaw and chainsaw mill.  

After much reading, I began gathering materials.  The basic idea for my forge comes from a forge I saw over at Zoeller Forge , where I later purchased my insulation, fire brick, and burner regulator.  Anyway, enough words.  more pictures.

I started with an old freon tank.

"this is how it will look honey!"

First burner test.  My burner is an atmospheric propane burner very similar to the Ron Reil burner.  The difference is that I used a Tweco 14T .030 GMAW contact tip as my gas orifice.  This makes the orifice replaceable if I ever decide I need more or less gas flow...therefore, more or less heat.  

First burner test

I just like this picture.  

When freon is burned, it makes phosgene gas (a nerve gas).  since I had to do some welding on my tank, I wanted to be sure all residual freon was removed.   My solution was to burn out the tank for 20 minutes or so in a safe environment (read -when I'm not leaning over the tank with an acetylene torch).  I'm not sure how hot the thing got, but it was hot enough to take some temper colors on the outside of the shell....also note the melted snow on the ground around it.  I wound up not needing the fan since it was a windy day.

After burning out the freon, I made a trip to my grandpa's where I welded in the burner tube (I won't show you the weld, it's ugly).  I painted the forge body with a can of spray grill paint, then insulated it with some 2300F ceramic fiber blanket.  I also bedded a 3000F firebrick in the bottom of the forge, then coated all interior surfaces with pilstix 900, a high emissivity coating.

My first heat was mid-day out in front of my house, trying to anneal some old files.  the daylight doesn't show the color of the metal or refractory very well.

After my first heat, I noted how "cold" the 3 inches nearest the door opening were, so I added a ceramic fiber blanket curtain in the door way.  This gives me a radiating plane to radiate the heat back into the forge.

My first heat, trying to anneal old files was unsuccessful.  I subsequently learned that I didn't hold the temperature long enough.  I was able to make and harden an easy out to remove some twisted off bolts from another project.

Here you can see the smaller opening allowed by the curtain.  Much hotter in there.  The rest of the photos were taken after dark, which shows the colors much better.  You can't see in this photo, but I also checked temperature with my thermocouple and multimeter this time.

My second attempt at annealing...  I held the temperature at around 1600F for an hour for one batch and 30 minutes for another.  I want to compare results.

Taking a file out of the forge after 1 hour at temperature

Posing for a picture

I shoved the hot steel into an old 5 gallon paint bucket full of cat litter to help the steel cool very slowly.  I may or may not have burned a hole in the side of the bucket trying to force an old lawnmower blade into the cat litter....maybe I'll be a bit more gentle in the future...

Now I just wait for them to cool overnight.  Hopefully it's more successful this time around!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Juggling Act

Ever since I've been back to school (ahem, three days) I've felt like my life is doing this:

Which really isn't good when you're still recovering from the plague.

No time for sleep.
Just more lessons plans, programs, and various commitments I truly want to follow through on, but are truly just draining right now.

My life used to be like this every day, every week, every month, every year... in my younger years.  lol

I'm border line overwhelmed.
In three days.

I feel so lame.

What about you, my friends?  Do you find that you just can't tackle what you used to be able to in college?  High School?  (ahem) Elementary...?  LOL 

Where did all the energy go?!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lucky Number 10?

Day Ten of the Plague:

Life is looking up, folks!

As of right now I've been fever free for about 14 hours and, though that has happened a few times before, what hasn't happened in conjunction with that is that all of my other symptoms are definitely waning.  

There is a light at the end of the plague tunnel and, by george, I think I see it!  

Praise the Lord.

Good timing too because, though I like to think I have been a pretty good sport, the past 48 hours have really tested my attitude.  I admit, I was becoming quite the grumpy patient.  It's hard not to be when you just don't feel well for such a long amount of time.

Not to get aaall philosophical on you or anything... but it did get me thinking.

Isn't our health such a blessing?
Something we take for granted each and every day until it's snatched away from us {usually only for a few days at a time} and we feel like we're being denied what we have some right to.

It's interesting to come to grips with the reality that I have no right to my own health.  
My body is not my own.  
Every day I live in good health is a blessing; a gift from the Lord I do not deserve.

Well that puts things in a different perspective...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coming to you LIVE, from plague city

Day Eight.

Still running fever with sore throat and head aches.

Addition symptoms now include:
ear aches,tooth aches, jaw aches and body aches.
Assumingly caused by sinuses, sinuses, sinuses and fever.

During one of my "better" {ahem, drug induced} hours.

Since last Saturday I have caught up on
all available online episodes of the following shows:
Lie to Me
No Ordinary Family

...and I am currently working my way through:
Human Target

I've also read Nicholas Sparks' full online autobiography and am now interested in reading all of his mushy, love story novels in chronological order.

Which is why when my {sweet, sweet} hubby asked me today if there was anything I was up to doing to celebrate Valentine's Day this evening, I requested a chai tea latte from my fav cafe and to be taken to the library in search of a Nicholas Sparks book to entertain me in my follow days of Plague life.

I am one lame Valentine.

At this point, I've ceased to anticipate being well.  

This way, when I wake up one day and realize I have no fever and the stabbing pains in my head and throbbing aches in my ears, jaw, teeth and joints have vanished I will leap for joy, surprised and ecstatic.

Hope that day comes soon.

Till then, my apologies for slacking.

PS, I should mention that my hubbers is the best on this planet.  He has been so sweet, giving me neck/sinus massages, running to the store to retrieve random supplies at a moments notice and getting me whatever I want whenever he can.  Plus he makes me laugh when I really feel like crying which is the best proven medicine out there.  He's the best.  =)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sick, sick, sick

Sore throat on Friday.

Fever on Saturday...

and Sunday...

and Monday...

and today.

The fever did break just a bit ago, but the routine has been that it usually starts up in the middle of the night again.  We'll see.

I can't go back to student teaching until I'm fever free for 24 hours. 
I'm hoping those 24 hours end at 2:00pm tomorrow.  At least then I could teach one day this week, seeing as Friday we're doing the Valentine's Party during special class.

Mostly though, I just don't want to feel so crappy anymore.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An undeserving covenant partner

Our church community participated in an annual Wesley Covenant Service this past Sunday.

A few portions of the text stood out to me as so very transparently true...  so true of myself...

I just thought I would share a few such excerpts.

"We want to be free from our sin and self-centeredness, but we have one problem.  We don't know how to be free.  We have become so good at being self-centered, we don't know how else to live..."

Isn't that so true of our human nature?

"Lord be merciful to us...  We cannot stay the way we are, but we are completely unable to help ourselves.  Pious prayers will not help us.  Listening to great and holy words will not help us.  Even if we gave all our money to the poor, and gave our bodies to be burned, none of this would bring our salvation..."

"Lord Jesus Christ, here we are... caught in the wrath and curse of sin... Reconcile us to God, and save our lives.  If we were coming to the Father in our own name, and in our own strength, we would deserve to be ignored and set aside.  But since we come in your name, as the Father has asked, we know that he will not reject us.  So, Lord, help us.  Lord, save us.  We believe in you, Lord Jesus.  We throw ourselves upon your grace and mercy... In you alone we will trust, and rest, and commit ourselves.  In you alone we hope for pardon, for life, for salvation..."

"...Call us to whatever kind of life you will, Lord, and send us wherever you will.  Let us be vessels of silver or gold, or vessels of wood or stone; as long as we may be vessels of your honor, we are content...  We are willing to work; and we are willing to suffer.  Let us be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or trodden underfoot for you. You may make us full or empty.  You may give us all things or give us nothing..."

Heavy words, easy enough to slip off the tongue until considering the journies of many biblical Christ followers such as Job and Paul; then the weight and reality begin to sink in.

"O most holy God, we cry to you.  Like the prodigal son, we have each gone our own way.  We have fallen away from you by our own sinfulness and are by nature children of death and sin.  But in your abundant and infinite grace, you have promised mercy to us in Christ if we will turn to you with all our hearts.  Therefore, in response to the good news of grace that you have given to us, we come now, bow our hearts before you, and surrender our lives to your love and mercy.  Because you require, as the condition of our covenant relationship with you, that we should put away all idols and reject all destructive influences in our lives, we here, from the bottom of our hearts, renounce them all.  We firmly covenant with you not to allow ourselves to become slaves to sin, but to use all of the means of grace that you have given to us to flee from and put to death all of those forces that try to corrupt and do our damage to your life in us..."

"Blessed Christ, we come to you hungry, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked, unworthy to wash your feet, much less be your covenant partners.  But since, in your unmatched love, you have called us, we do here with all our power accept you and take you to be the head and Lord of our lives."

It was a very different service than we are used to.
The songs and text were more formal than we are used to.

But something in those more formal, and sometimes more uncomfortable, words brought forth the realization of the legacy of this faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of our world.

I was touched by this covenant service this week and reminded of my unworthiness to be to be in relationship with a God so big, and so great.
A God who sent his only son to die, just to cover every sin in my life; every mistake I make, intentional and non.  He sees the inner most depths of my heart and loves me still.

I am greatly undeserving.
I am greatly blessed.
I am greatly loved.

...and so are you.