Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One Project Done and One Just Begun

I finished all my bees! They are going into the mail tomorrow. I am glad to finally be done with them.

Thanks to my favorite brother, all the siding mess is finally gone from my backyard and now we're ready to start thinking about some landscaping. I checked out some books from the library about perennial gardening and started looking at Lowe's to see what they are selling. For now we decided to start some seeds and transplant them to the flower beds when it gets a little warmer. I started Coleus, Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Impatiens, and Chives.

Dan and I tried this method a couple of years ago, but we left it outside on our porch and when the wind wasn't blowing the greenhouse lid away, the neighborhood stray cat decided to sleep on top of it. If all the seeds grow we are going to have plants out of our ears! There are 72 little peat pods, 2 rows of Chives, 2 rows of Impatiens, 2 rows of Black Eyed Susan Vine, and the rest is Coleus. We'll see how it grows, I mean goes.

Sweet Baby James

I’m having a crappy day at work. A day that is bad enough that I have my mp3 player going and it’s not even 9:00 a.m.
Apparently I have an attitude problem this morning and it’s best that I just listen to the music and keep my mouth closed. I swear on days like this, James Taylor is my best friend. I have “The Best of James Taylor” album on my mp3 player and usually it only takes a couple of songs to calm me down. Today though, the fax machine and other shall-not-be named factors are harshing my mellow and I’m on my second round of songs. Pray for me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Done!

It's done! We're so happy with it. Now comes landscaping!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dotee Dolls

I joined an online yahoo group called Art4Mail. There are several different swaps each month, some are fabric post cards, some are artist trading cards (atc) , there are doll swaps, and quilties too. My favorite thing to swap are Dotee Dolls. Dotee Dolls are usually 4-6 inches long, they have a tail and a loop that you can hang them by. They are the perfect size to hang on a Christmas Tree. This Dotee was made for my friend Dawn in Penticon, BC. Her favorite color is pink, and she loves flowers.

I made the green bunny in hopes that we would have an Easter Swap, but instead we have a spring theme of "In the Garden". I guess technically you would find bunnies in your garden, but in the end the ears and face were a lot of work to do in multiples, and after I started cutting the green fabric I remembered that it was the material I was saving to bind a quilt.

There will probably be lots of flower themed dolls, so what goes best with flowers? Bees! Here are all 10 of their faces all ready to be sewn onto their little bee bodies. Normally our swaps only have 4 or 5 people in a group, but I've needed small stuff to keep me busy when Dan is working late, or on the weekends when i'm home by myself, so I signed up for the group twice, and i'm trading one with with a friend and I made one to keep for me. This has defnitely been keeping me busy for the last couple of weeks.

Here they are with their faces sewn on. Now they just need loops, wings, feelers, legs and possibly tails. Whew, that seems like a lot of work when you list is all out like that! It's actually a lot of fun and the best part is while i'm working hard on mine, other ladies all over the country (and some parts of the world) are working on one to mail to me! It makes each trip to the mail box something to look forward to.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Future Corporate Maven? Probably Not.

Just by luck I had the chance to go on a business trip to Colorado last November. Other people were supposed to go, but they had scheduling conflicts and suddenly I was flying off to mingle with my peers. We had a good time on our trip, especially our visit to The Garden of the Gods. It was very cold and like dummies, we didn't take heavy coats, so we froze. We would run from the car to whatever we wanted to see up close, then race back to the car shivering.

This was my version of business casual clothing. We work everyday in blue jeans and t-shirts, so a business trip required some quick shopping.
Colorado was beautiful in a very different way than TN. You don't realize how much you appreciate our trees and all the greenery until you see how different it is there. We saw tumbleweeds first thing when we left the airport. I never really knew exactly what a tumbleweed was, I guess I remember some from watching the Wile E. Coyote on Loony Tunes, but in reality they are just dead brush that have dried up and they blow around in the wind, even in the middle of town you'll see them rolling across the road.
I had a good time, but I have to admit I was way outside my normal comfort zone. We attended a retirement ceremony on base and I spent a lot of time peering at name tags and introducing myself to people that I have talked to on the phone for years, but never had the chance to meet. Seeing them in person and introducing myself to them out of the blue is a little different than just talking to them on the phone. I met, I made polite small talk, but mostly I observed. I don't know if I will travel much in the future, but I do know that i'm not a natural schmoozer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

1st Blog/House Update

I was nervous about starting my own blog. I read my friend's and family's blogs and I get inspired, or I laugh, or it just makes my day at work better. I'm not sure if I can do that, but I decided that i'm not going to worry about it, instead i'll use this blog to keep in touch with my friends and family and if someone else wants to hear cat stories, or about the fun of fixing up our house, they're welcome to them.

Some of you already know that we bought a foreclosed house last April. There is no doubt that it was the biggest and best thing we've decided to do. Have you ever seen the movie "The Money Pit"? Well my house isn't that bad, but some days I do feel like we should just direct deposit our paychecks to Lowe's. Pretty much every surface needs to be refinished. We've been taking it one project at a time. We were pretty gung-ho when we first moved in, we painted and painted and then painted more. I'm glad that first wave of energy is over. Now that I look at the colors we picked and the quality of our work, I'm thinking that taking it slower and one project at a time is the best option. I'm really not looking forward to doing our kitchen over for the 2nd time, and I really don't want to repaint the dining room and entry way again either, but after countless hours of HGTV, I now know that picking your paint color and then trying to match everything else to it is not the best option. More on those choices at a later date.
The main reason for this post is to show you some pictures of our current project.
Here is a pic from the outside. We affectionately call it the ugly blue house. Honestly this picture just doesn't do it justice. This is actually better than seeing it in person. Our house is covered with faded blue vertical siding. We have 70's storm windows that barely open, and if you look carefully to the right of the house you'll see the Leaning Shed of Shipman.
We decided to spend our entire tax refund and our 1st Time Homebuyer Tax Credit to get new windows and siding.
Here is what's left of the old siding. Would it be wrong to do a victory dance on top of it? Dan pulled all of this off the house by himself. (I was out of town, I would have helped, but he did it all before I got back, honestly) We'll do whatever we need to save a little money, and pulling the siding off and getting rid of it ourselves saved $500. I thought we'd list the siding on Freecycle, but in the end, it's in such bad shape, I think its best that it is just plain recycled. Don't let this little pile fool you, it has a twin sister just across the yard, and the other half of its family has already gone to bad siding heaven. (it already did its penance here on earth)
Have you ever seen a naked house? Who knew that we would have blue wood vertical siding underneath all that vinyl? That means 20 odd years ago someone decided to cover their blue vertical siding with...you guessed it blue vertical siding. Hmm. If I was a braver person, and if I had handy family members living closer, maybe we would have tried to just paint it ourselves and fix the trim, but we don't and we didn't, so new siding here we come. In this picture you can actually see where they have started with the new white trim, and you can see our new white windows freshly installed. Today it is raining, so the siding guys didn't come. Our house gets to sit exposed for at least another couple of days. We had the new windows open last night. They open from the top or the bottom, or both at once. So we pulled the tops down to let the hot air out and the bottoms up to let the cool air in. The girls (aka our 3 cats, Zoey, Telley, and Jinx) didn't know what to do with themselves. Being indoor kitties with formerly crappy windows, they didn't know that fresh air could feel so good and honestly I didn't either. It's obviously still a work in progress, but I love it already.