Friday, June 27, 2014

Learning How to Turn

As in turning wood. On a lathe.

My dad and I took a class a few months ago together. He had already taken the class and made several things but I really wanted to do it too so it was great to have him there with me! It was a really fun day and great quality time with dear ‘ole dad :)

Here is the bowl I made in that class. I am super proud of my first piece!

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It is FAR from perfect. There’s lots of scoring marks and its not as smooth as it should be but, hey, I think it turned out pretty nice. It also warped since I turned the wood while it was still green, I had to let it dry and in that process it warped. This is completely normal for green wood; the only way to avoid warping is to turn the wood when its already dry but then it is harder to turn. Cracking is also normal but luckily mine didn’t crack. Spalting (a fancy word for mold) is also normal. Mine has a little bit of it but my dads had so much that it was almost a green color. It really can be beautiful!

I had a blast and hope to do a lot more on the lathe. Thankfully my dad has the machine and set up at his house for me to take advantage of :).

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jackson’s 1st Birthday

We had a quiet day at home today. We went to church and Sunday school, ran to the hardware store to get stuff for his party next weekend, the grocery store to get cake stuff, took naps…

The girls were dying to make him a Mickey Mouse cake so i just got a box cake and let them ice and decorate it. It was lovely lol. Very sweet and special of them though!!

We ordered pizza for dinner and sang Happy Birthday.. twice

Take 1:

Annnd… take 2 lol


Here are some more pictures of him (and the girls) enjoying the cake.


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The girls picked out a little something for him (a submarine and a ferry boat with cars on it) that he could open tonight. his gifts from mom and dad will be here later this week and then his party on Sunday.

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Jackson Max is one loved and special boy! I can’t believe how fast time flies when you have kids. SLOW DOWN PLEASE!!

Cheers to many many more happy years big boy! :)

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Best Tortilla Soup Ever!

I’ve been making this soup for years and it is one of my go-to simple recipes that I absolutely love! I originally got it out of a Food Network cook book and I still use it as a guide but I have made some changes to it. I’m bad about not following a recipe exactly lol. I love that book, though, I’ve gotten several great recipes out of it!
I posted a picture of the soup on Facebook for a friend who also loves it and I got lots of people asking for the recipe, so here it is:
2 Tblsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 a medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile en adobo sauce, minced
1 Tblsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can diced tomatoes
1 whole rotisserie chicken, deboned
cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, tortillas, tortilla chips for garnish
Stir-fry together the oil, onion, garlic, chile pepper, chili powder, and salt until onions are soft.
Add the chicken broth, corn and chicken.
let it come to a boil and it is ready to serve!

I think my favorite thing about this recipe is how quick it is and how versatile it is. I LOVE cilantro and cant have too much (as you can see in my picture, I load my bowl up with it).
Tip: the chipotle pepper is where the heat comes from and is the key ingredient to this recipe! I like spicy food so I like to add a little extra splash of the sauce with the pepper. if you are sensitive to heat, just add a little sauce or only do half a pepper. This is the kind I like to buy:
628751 I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Antique China Cabinet- Part 2, stripping the paint

Lordy is paint stripping exhausting. It is tedious, monotonous, stinky, dirty, and seriously tests your patience!! Not to mention my feet, quads, and knees are KILLING ME! I have to say I really enjoy it though! There’s something rewarding and therapeutic about it. I love peeling way the layers and finding what’s under it and bringing it back to it’s original beauty.
With the exception of Avery's field trip Friday morning, we actually did not have anything planned this weekend, so I took full advantage and got busy on the cabinet.
Since this really isn't a tutorial, I will not give step by steps but will show pictures I took along the way.
I got the drawer all sanded down so the next step was to clean out the carving. It was so full of gunk. Who knows what all was in there. It was nasty! I used the corner of my scraper some, a flat head screw driver, and even got out my dental tools (what? you don't have dental tools laying around?? lol)
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Next was the daunting task of stripping the big piece. This is where patience is key! I used Citristrip since it was the safest one I could find. It says it has no smell but it does! A mask (and obviously gloves) was a must! I actually didn't take any pictures during the stripping phase since it was so messy I didn't want to get my camera out. It took 2 full days of 6-8 hours of work but I got it stripped down.
As you can see I didn’t mess with stripping the inside. It was not chipping as bad and I will have to paint it anyways so I will just sand a little and it will be fine.
The turned legs were tough! I didn’t get it perfect but I think what’s left can be sanded off. Using those really rough sponges you get in the kitchen section worked the best since the scraper doesn’t get into the grooves as easily.
The carving on the front bottom was also tough. I used a tooth brush to help get into those curves. The trick was to wait as until the stripper was pretty dry before removing it. If it is too wet, it just gets goopy and smears more than falls off.
Here's another close up of the detail carving on the front. I had to scrape out the goop on all of these carvings. This section needs a little help since there is a piece of the laminate missing.
I got some wood putty and filled the missing spot and glued down the corners of veneer that were coming up. They are clamped right now in the garage till tomorrow.
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This is my favorite glue in the whole world! I use it for everything and I have yet to find something it doesn't work on. I buy it from a basket making website and keep several bottles on hand!
Hoping to start sanding in the evenings this week.  
After stripping it, I don’t think I will be able to stain it as I had hoped. With all of the puttying and veneer and different colors of wood, it just isn’t restoring as well as I had hoped. I will probably end up going with a white since that is the “safest” color and I don’t want to do anything trendy with it; I want it to be a classic piece that will last in our family for many many more years!
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Hello Spring!

What a beautiful thing to see first thing in the morning when I opened the living room blinds. Our first magnolia bloom of the season!
I love spring! I love the color, the sun, the warmth, the smell, the sounds of baby birds tweeting, the start of new life in nature. (we have found several baby turtles this year!)
Spring is the arrival of LIFE back to the world. Joy.
The simple thing of a beautiful flower in a bud vase makes me so happy.
I just love flowers. God must have so much fun being the master artist creating such beautiful things!
Go outside. Enjoy the air, the warmth, the smells, the liveliness. Enjoy Spring!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bubbles Bikes and Cars

It was a beautiful 82 degree day with very little humidity down here in Houston. One of those rare days that we HAVE to enjoy every second of! After school, we spend a few hours outside playing with the bubble machine, Avery practiced riding a bike for her Trike-a-thon at school, and Jackson got to take a ride in our Cozy Coup car. Love is an understatement when I describe how much fun he had. What is it with boys and cars??!!
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Look closely at the next picture. There's a bubble right over Norah's eye! what are the odds I’d catch that?? Couldnt have got it if i tried.  lol
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His first set of wheels.
Avery loves her brother so much! she insisted that she was old enough to baby sit him by herself. She is way too anxious to have a baby at 4 years old!
I love this picture below. I don't know why, but Jack puts his arm outside of everything he rides; like he is trying to be cool. haha
Driving One handed
Enjoy the weather people! It wont last and we will soon be complaining about the heat and humidity!
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