Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally an Update

I'm finally slowing down, only to find that summer is coming to a close. I can't believe May and June have come and gone and we're already half way through July. By this time next month, I'll be teaching 10th grade biology! I've been working frantically on my lesson plans for the upcoming year, as well as finding decent room decor. I found a neat teacher's store in Boise, but they cater mostly to elementary school teachers. I found a series of "body systems" posters (i.e. digestive system, circulatory system, etc.) that will do great at covering my bare walls, but other than that...I'm still looking. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know! Oh...and I'll post the before and after photos of my classroom in a week or two - when we get back from vacation and I've had a chance to finish up some projects.

My husband and I have been going full bore, even on weekends. Fourth of July weekend consisted of weed-eating, mowing, watering, digging and filling holes for trees, building a large raised flower bed, painting the rest of the chicken coop and putting on smaller chicken wire (...I couldn't believe how soon our coop had become the "community" hot spot for wild birds needing an easy breakfast, lunch, and dinner!...). 

Here's the finished chicken coop. We painted it barn red and a yellow-cream color and I just love how it turned out! The paint makes the coop not only look more pleasing to the eye, but also protects the wood from rain and other elements of the weather.

Here's the planter that we (i.e. mostly Aaron) built. It's not perfect, but we did what we could using spare wood around the place. Eventually I would like to paint it and add a few more flowering plants. The irises are a nice touch though...don't you think?!

I also wanted to update you on our growing yard, garden, and chickens. The grass we planted a few months ago is coming in nicely ( least I think so...although there are plenty of weeds too), especially since we can't fertilize (due to the free-ranging chickens). We also got to harvest the first plants from our garden - peas and radishes. I forgot to take a picture of the apologies...but they are deliciously crisp and zesty with flavor! And the sweet. Just a taste makes me want to fork a whole bowl-full down. Yum.

Here's the garden/yard before we planted:

 And here's the garden/yard after several months:

 And here's our first pick of the peas! I've been so excited to harvest them. They are definitely one of my favorite garden vegetables!

Here are the pumpkins! They have grown so fast....they are 3 times as tall now (and this photo is only a week or two old).

And the beans...

And the onions...

And the one tomato plant that survived (despite the chickens' grazing and pecking and the wind's howling)...

As for the chicks, they are all doing great and growing like weeds. Assimilation of the two younger chicks was a bit rough, but they seem to be handling it ok. I think it's hilarious how differing their personalities are. Bobba is definitely at the top of the pecking order, but she still has a soft spot for the younger chicks. Gweny is a bit spoiled and is always following one of the other chicks in an effort to find where food might be lurking. She tends to follow Izzy alot, who is our bug catcher and adventurer. And finally there's Elwood (or Ellie as I like to call her). She's crazy. Period. She talks to herself (even if the others are quiet). She also squawks and makes a huge ruckus if birds fly overhead. She would rather break a wing, run into the fence, or loose both feet than let anyone touch, pet, or carry her. In essence, she's our own "chicken little" who always thinks the sky is falling. Its quite comical really. :)

 Here are the chicks! Look at the cute fluffy babies... (Bobba - left, Gweny - right)

 Here they are a bit older... (Gweny - left, Bobba - right)

And here they are full grown... (Gweny in first photo, Bobba in second)

And here are Izzy (left) and Elwood (right). Sorry I don't have "time lapse" photos of them too...

I also have a few cards to show off. It's been a while since I've sat and scrapped, but I never got around to posting these. So I hope you enjoy.

Well that's all for now. Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What a Weekend!

My mom came to visit this weekend and although it was short, we had quite a bit of fun. On Saturday we drove to Boise and went to several "craft-filled" yard sales (to my delight), the Boise Co-op (a healthy-eating grocery store alternative...with organic foods and environment-friendly products), and the Capital building. The pictures from the Capital building turned out so well, I HAD to share them with you! I can't believe what great weather we had! I hope you enjoy them (as well as the two cards I made this weekend).

Here's a view from the back/side of the capital building.

From the side...

From the front. (At first I couldn't get the full building in b/c there were so many people taking pictures in front of it. I finally got a really good picture when we came back out.)

I'll be honest, I can't remember who this is...but he's located across the street from the capital building.

 Another view from the front...

 Your first view once inside...

 Look at the beautiful dome! Notice the stars on the highest portion of the ceiling and the lovely spiral staircase leading up. :)

I was never much for politics...

 I was in awe of the marble detail around the entire building. Don't you think it's lovely?!

This statue is called "Winged Victory" and it's a replica of the "Nike of Samothrace" statue that was found in Greece. The only reason I know this is because I took a picture of the informative sign next to the statue... :)

 This is probably one of my favorite photos. I just love the symmetry and warm colors...

 And finally, the full view of the capital building.

As for the cards I made this weekend - they aren't anything spectacular. I bought so many new craft products over the weekend that I was dying to try them all out!

I made this card using Doodlebug Design's Glittered Cardstock Balloon Stickers and Cute Cuts Scalloped Circle. I added some string, faux stitching, and multi-colored sentiment to finish the look.

For this card, I used a Stampin' Up clear mount stamp set called "Countryside." It has a ton of cute farmyard/country images and although I've had it for several months, I haven't used it yet! I colored it in with regular colored pencils and then blended with Gamsol

I also wanted to mention the quality of the embossed sentiment. I just bought myself a new VersaMark ink pad, which (for you non-crafters out there) holds the embossing powder on to your stamped sentiment or image until it's heated. Anyways...I LOVE it! It was so worth the almost $8 I had to fork out for it! I can't believe the difference in the quality of the embossed image. In fact, I may have to include a side-by-side picture in my next post of an image using a low-budget embossing ink pad versus the VersaMark pad. 

(Note: I realize the white paper on this card is warped. I manipulated it too much in trying to decide what to do for this card and as a result this card seems a bit worn.)

Well, that's all for today. I'll try to keep you posted if anything new comes up!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Four Cards, a Sewing Project, and One Wet Dog

Here's another quick update. I've been feeling quite crafty lately as the following pictures will attest. But first...I have a quick question (and please comment below!). When you read a blog, do you prefer to have the text describing the pictures below or above the pictures? I've seen it both ways and I think I prefer to put it prior (as in this post) versus after the picture (as in the "Chicken and Coop Update" post) - but I would like to know what you think!

Now on to the cards...Here's a card I made using my new heart-shaped punch.

And a close-up of the heart balloons...

Here's a card I made using a new digi stamp from Tiddly Inks. I used colored pencils and then blended with Gamsol (by Inky Antics). Although the colored pencil colors aren't as bright as Copic markers, the Gamsol blending technique is very cheap (~$6) and does a great job!

Here's another quick card. I'm not entirely happy with the way it turned out, but I wanted to use a new stamp set that I had gotten from Hobby Lobby.

Here's the last card. I love this cute digi stamp from Tiddly Inks.

I also added stickles to several of the hearts and glossy accents to the owl's eyes 
for an extra bit of craftiness. :)

Here's my current sewing project (as it's not quite finished). I had decided to make a bible cover for my mother-in-law (Kay) and after finally picking out fabric together, I set myself to the task. I found a free online tutorial on a blog called "Amy's Creative Side." Sorry for the crappy pictures - I was in a hurry to email them to Kay.

Here's a close-up of the quilting I did on the outside of the bible cover.

And here's the unfinished part. I need to remove the white patterned inside pocket and replace with a different color of fabric. After that, I'm finished!

As the title of this post points it's time to share about "One Wet Dog." After spending the day shopping out of town on Saturday, I came home to a house that reeked of wet, poopy dog (...yes...poopy). While I was gone, Aaron decided to take Edmund, our 3 year old Great Pyrenees, and meet up with some friends and their dogs at a nearby lake. And apparently Edmund poops when he gets overly excited. Can you see where this picture is headed?! 

Yup, Edmund took a dump in the backseat of my car (because I had taken the truck for the day). Although Aaron cleaned up the mess, Edmund still smelled of poop and of the lake, which they still visited. I decided I couldn't bare it and we ended up giving Ed a shower in our bathroom. Haha...I think the pictures can take it from here:

Phew! That was a lot to post in one day. I hope you all feel caught up now! I'll try to post again two or three times this week (since work is lightening up). Have a great week!

Update on the Coop and Chickens

 I know it's been a week or two, but I'm proud to say that I have plenty to share with all of you! We've been working on the chicken coop and hen house for some time now (and when I say we, I mean Aaron...for the most part) and I'm pleased to announce that we finally got the coop moved outside, shingled, and covered with chicken wire this past weekend. Yippee!

Here's Aaron working on the frame of the chicken coop/hen house.

After finishing the frame, he added the elevated floor of the hen house.

Haha...I just HAD to post this picture. I think Aaron's expression is hilarious! We decided to take a picture inside of the finished hen house. Yes...we climbed in through the small chicken door and then made fun of each other as we tried to get back out again...

Aaron was much more "graceful" at exiting the - not so much.

Once the coop was built, Aaron added wheels and we moved it across our backyard on plywood sheets. The coop was sooooo heavy that by the time we had gotten it into place, the wheels had been ruined! Here, Aaron is adding shingles to the roof.

 (The "orangish" lighting is due to the setting sun.)

The next couple of photos are of the coop as it now stands. Due to declining weather conditions and the incoming Rhode Island Red chicks (that we're picking up tomorrow), we've had to quickly put up chicken wire. When the weather warms up a bit, we'll take the chicken wire down and paint the coop! I've bought a creamy yellow and barn red to do the it's just a waiting game for some nicer weather!

Here you can see the full coop run, the egg-laying boxes, and the ramp with pegs for the chicks to enter and exit their hen house.

Here's the coop with the door closed. Aaron even attached a nice latch to keep the door closed.

Here's the area beneath the hen house.

And here's a closer view of the egg laying box and hen house ramp.

The egg laying box top has hinges for us to easily collect eggs. Aaron also took the time to partition the hen house extension into two egg-laying boxes. (I'm aware that the mini-dowel setup seen in this picture is much too small for our chickens to perch on. The two new, larger dowel perches are still in the making.) Aaron has also been working on getting power to the coop, so that we can hang a heat lamp. All I can say is that these are going to be some SPOILED chickens! :)

Here's the coop from the outside.

I made Aaron pose next to his handy-work. He's quite modest about how much time and effort he's put into this project, but I'm very thankful that I'm married to a man who knows how to build and fix things! 

And for the's some new pictures of the chicks! These were taken about a week and a half ago, but they've changed even more since then.

Gweny (L) and Bobba (R) have molted most of their baby feathers and have grown quite rapidly. We've been slowly introducing them to being outside and they love it! Hopefully tonight they will sleep in their new hen house!

After looking through my blog posts, I realized that I hadn't posted many pictures of our house. With school drawing to a close (and therefore substitute teaching jobs too), I'm hoping to post soon about the progress we've made with the inside of our home. For now, here's a view from the outside. (FYI: The three holes in the front yard are for incoming trees.)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post. There are definitely a lot of pictures to roam through! I'll be back soon for a crafty post.