Friday, August 31, 2012

We're all a bit blue

We had to put our dog down yesterday, so things have been pretty melancholy around here today.

He wasn't old--not quite seven, actually--and he was the most perfect dog we ever could have dreamed of.

Would you believe, of all the things you may have to put a dog down for, we had to put him down because of allergies?  Not our allergies, or our kids' allergies, but his own.  You'd think I have allergies down to a fine science by now.  We tried all sorts of different allergy medications, grain-free diets, steroids shots, etc.  But nothing worked, and it got to the point where he was scratching all of his hair off and making himself bloody.  He was too good a boy and too loyal a companion for us to let him live with that suffering.

So forgive me if I'm not feeling very creative today.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Needing House Ideas

We're moving!!  No, not today, or tomorrow, or even next year, unfortunately.  We're moving in two years.  And I CAN'T WAIT!!  The country girl in me is dying to get back out to the country again.  To run through the fields and watch my kids run through the fields--not just because they're visiting my parents, but because it's our own land.  And now it is.  My parents are giving us a chunk of their land, and my kids will of course have their run of the entire thing.  Woods, ponds, creeks, fields...the same ones I ran through as a child.  Am I waxing nostalgic?  Why yes, yes I am.

Here's where our house will sit.

You can see the pole, where the electric is already run back here.  The house will nestle right up against the woods.

Here's one of the creeks back in the woods.  You can tell both the creek and the trees have suffered from this super hot and super dry summer.

Nobody's been out in the woods much since us kids left home.  There will be TONS of old, dead wood we can gather for a wood-burning stove or fireplace...

Here's the main fishing pond.  You can see that it, too, has suffered from this hot, dry summer.  We have plans to dig it out and connect it to the front fishing pond and make it one, large one.

This will be located out in front of the house.  Our driveway will skirt around it.

We have plans for dairy goats and chickens.  A large garden, too.  Sometimes 2 years seems like an eternity away.  Sometimes it seems like it's so close I don't have enough time to get ready for it!

I'm currently designing our dream home.  I need your help.  Please leave a comment with suggestions.  What do you hate about your house, that you'd change if you could?  What do you love about your house that you'd never want to live without?  If you have experience with dairy goats and chickens, what breeds are your favorites?  How did you design your coop/barn?  I want to know everything!!  =)


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Product Review: Green Bees Diapers

I'm a cloth diaper user.  I LOVE cloth diapers!  These are not your grandmother's cloth diapers.  The cloth diapers nowadays are just as easy to use as disposables, are just as easy to wash as your regular laundry (though have a system all their own), and are waaaaaaaaay cuter than anything you throw away!!!

(Sorry for the blurriness of this picture.  My 6-month-old is already pulling up to standing and is impossible to keep still!)

I have several brands of cloth diaper in my stash.  My typical go-to has always been Fuzzi Bunz.  After going through 3 children, my size medium Fuzzi Bunz are getting fairly worn-out.  Fuzzi Bunz are a great diaper.  However, they are on the pricey side, so I was hesitant about replacing them.

While playing in the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt earlier this month, I learned about Green Bees diapers. They're a one-size pocket diaper, fitting a child from 8-35 pounds. You can't beat the price, so I decided it was worth it to order one and try it out.  I'm so glad I did!!  I ordered mine from Bottoms & Beyond Boutique.  (I also found her through the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt, and she has great shipping prices!)

I started out with a solid brown one.  It fits my daughter GREAT, even though she's a tiny and petite little thing.  Here she is modeling it for you.

There are snaps to adjust the rise (height) of the diaper, snaps to adjust the tightness around the thighs, and snaps to adjust the waist.  Each diaper comes with one or two microfiber stuffers (depending on which diaper you order).

Once I realized how much I LOVED that diaper, I went ahead and ordered some more.  The giraffe print diaper in the first picture above is also a Green Bees.  It is minky (soft and fuzzy) and so cute!

So, if you're wanting to try pocket diapers and the cost is making you think twice, or if you're needing to replace or add to your current stash, definitely try out Green Bees diapers.

I'm sorry if this post sounds like a commercial.  Green Bees has no idea I'm writing this post (and neither does Bottoms & Beyond Boutique).  I only do product reviews on products that I use in my personal life and strongly believe in!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

T-Shirt: Storm (X-Men)

Yes, folks.  It's another t-shirt!  I hope you like these, because I'm enjoying making them.

One of my nieces will be turning 8 next month.  She asked me to make her a shirt with Storm, from The X-Men.

As usual, I started with a sketch.  This one was harder for me, I think because she's a rather voluptuous woman.  As my friend, Jenine, said, I want to keep her "kid-friendly."  However, I still wanted her to have some feminine curves.  I think I accomplished both.  Here's my sketch:

Here's the result.  I haven't sewn her down to a shirt yet.  Once I do, I think I'll do lightning bolts from her hands with a yellow, shimmery fabric paint.

I love how she turned out!  Feminine, yet kid-friendly, right?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cooking Plantains

A friend of mine gave me a whole case of plantains!  WOO HOO!!!  They were already ripening, so I waited until they were very ripe and sweet before I cooked them.

First I sliced the plantains, poured oil into a skillet so they were halfway submerged, and lightly fried them over medium heat.  They're sweet and delicious, even eaten by themselves!

I then browned beef, adding lots of garlic, onion, and salt.  Once cooked, put it in a bowl and chop the cooked plantains (now called amarillos) into it.

The sweet of the amarillos combined with the flavorful saltiness of the beef makes a DELICIOUS and hearty main dish!  It's kind of a simpler version of pastelon de amarillos or piononos, two of my favorite Puerto Rican dishes.

Do you eat plantains?  If so, how do you prepare them?

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Master Suite Progress

We've been working on doing brown paper flooring in our master bedroom and bath room.  It's coming along beautifully!  It's actually really fast, when you have the chance to work on it.  We're about halfway done, but have only worked on laying it 2 days.

Here it is before the polyurethane:

Here it is after:

I think it's gorgeous!  We need to hurry up and get it finished.  Then, we're going to build a pillar around that horrible metal pole pictured above, paint all the walls (still dark green in the room, dark gold in the bathroom), and get all the furniture back in place.


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Redoing Master Suite

When we moved into this house, the room that is now our bedroom had gross carpet in it.  The bathroom had another, even grosser carpet (I think any carpet in a bathroom is gross).

Here is how it looked when we first moved in:

This is standing in the bathroom, looking down into the bedroom.

This is the bathroom.  That medicine cabinet on the wall is the type that's supposed to be set back into the wall.  And it was so high, I could barely see my eyebrows when I looked in it (which isn't saying much, since I'm only 5' tall).

Here are a couple more shots of the bedroom.  The walls were pink on top, wood panel on the bottom, and a couple of other walls were wallpapered.

To make it even better, before they painted it pink, they had this wallpaper:

And I don't have a good picture of it, but the globes around the lights had ducks on them.  I totally like a woodsy theme, but I think squirrels on the walls are a bit much.

This is our bedroom at the moment:

We've ripped up all the nasty carpet, and we pulled down the wood paneling.  The floors will be brown paper flooring, the walls a dark pine green.

This is the bathroom at the moment:

We've already painted these walls a deep gold.  We're also doing brown paper flooring in this room.  I'll show other details in the after pictures.  Hopefully it'll be finished next week...

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Friday, August 3, 2012

T-Shirt: Luigi (Mario Brothers)

Ok, so it has been a way-crazy week.  However, I've still managed to squeeze in enough time to make my 13-year-old niece's t-shirt!  

She loves Luigi from Super Mario Brothers.  However, it's rare to find a shirt with just Luigi on it, as Mario seems to be the most popular character of the two.  So when I asked her what or whom she wanted on her shirt, she immediately answered Luigi on a purple shirt.

Most of my characters on my shirts are kind of cartooned-down-versions of the real characters (see some of my other t-shirt creations here).  Since Luigi is already cartoonish, I pretty much simply copied exactly what he looks like and made him in felt.

Here's my sketch:

Here's the final result!

I love layering for the 3-D detail.

I think this is one of my favorite ones I've made!!

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