Saturday, December 31, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts- Part 3

I also made my mom a rag quilt for Christmas.  Mom was the recipient of my first rag quilt several years ago when I was just experimenting with them.  I thought she needed a newer version.  Of course she was my guinea pig again because this was my first rag quilt that I did with stripes instead of blocks.  I think it turned out pretty cute.  Plus there were fewer seams to sew and snip, so it went a little faster.
Smooth side
"Rag" side

I love this fabric!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts- Part 2

I made Mom an apron for Christmas too.  This one is made from 2 of Dad's old shirts and is reversible.  A couple of years ago, I saw an apron in Macy's that inspired the tie part for this project.  There are just simple loops on the sides that the straps go through before they tie at the waist.  The pictures will make it more clear.
Front 1
Front 2
Backside with normal tie (sorry for the off-center, poorly tied bow)
You can also criss-cross the ties if you want
The fabric flower pins that I made to coordinate

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Titus Photo Shoot

While Josh and I were taking pictures for our Christmas cards, I decided to try and get some decent shots of Titus.  He didn't really want to cooperate, but I got a couple of good ones eventually.  I think he's such a handsome pup!
"I don't want to look at the camera!"
"Can you please let me go explore?"
"Ok, let's get this over with."
"Hurry up!  The sun is in my eyes!"
Totally out of focus, but it was our best shot.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade Christmas Gifts- Part 1

I only had time to make a few homemade Christmas gifts this year, but I'll share them here as I give them. 
In Josh's family, all of the siblings and spouses draw names and buy for one person.  This year, I drew Josh's youngest sister, Debby.  She recently did some cooking at our house and loved my grandma's smock-style apron that I have.  So I decided to make her one using one of her dad's old shirts.  I added some lace, a pocket, and some fun buttons, but it was still missing something.  I decided to try making a fabric flower and consulted Pinterest for inspiration.  Here's how it came out:
I'll share some more crafty posts after Christmas. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookies and Snow

This weekend I reminded myself why mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, and decorating sugar cookies is NOT one of my Christmas traditions.  I needed to make 2-3 dozen UNdecorated cookies for a church event.  I found this recipe that said it would make up to 4 dozen small cookies.  I thought, "Perfect!  I'll have enough for church and a few left over for me and Josh."  Well, 70 cookies later I told Josh I was tired of making cookies.  He suggested making the rest into one big cookie so I did.  For the record, these cookies are GREAT!  They are thick and soft and taste wonderful.  So if you're looking for a good sugar cookie recipe, this one's a keeper.  I rolled mine to 1/4" using these gadgets and did not grease my parchment paper.  8 minutes was the perfect amount of time, and I was lazy and used store bought frosting.
The giant cookie.  I'm calling it a tree skirt!

This morning we woke up to snow!  I think it was only about 1 1/2 inches, but it was enough to get Titus all excited.  Plus, it was that perfect snow that sticks to every tree branch and makes everything look really wintery- so pretty!  Titus and I played longer than normal and tried to get some pictures once it got light enough outside. 
Still a little dark

After a good romp in the snow, every dog (and their owners) should enjoy a nice warm up by the fire. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  My brother, Adam, flew into NM on Monday and then drove with Mom to our house Tuesday evening. 
On Wednesday, Josh smoked a Turkey and we had an early Thanksgiving meal with just the 4 of us.  We did this so we would have leftovers for the rest of the week.  Josh and Adam also did a bunch of work around our property while Mom and I started our piefest. 

On Thursday, Mom and I finished our pies- chocolate cream, banana cream, apple-cranberry, coconut cream, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate-pecan, and lemon.  Yes, 8 pies!  Then we joined Josh's family and some in-laws for the big Thanksgiving meal.  
Mom and I did a little midnight shopping, but Abilene does not have much to offer.  

Friday morning brought more visitors!  My cousin, Bryan, brought his wife and 2 of his daughters to our house.  It was great to meet little Reagan for the first time, and most of Friday and Saturday were spent rocking, feeding, and playing with her. 

After church and lunch on Sunday, all of our company was gone and the house felt very empty.  We were so blessed to spend so much time with family and hope you had special times with yours as well.
MANY more pictures are posted on our flickr site (click link on top right corner).

Catching Up- Family Campout

Goodness, I've been neglecting this blog lately.  Usually that would be because nothing exciting had happened, but we've actually had some fun stuff going on lately. 
Let's backtrack 2 weeks to the weekend before Thanksgiving.  This weekend is set aside for fun times with Josh's mom's side of the family.  Her sister and 2 brothers all live here in TX as well as most of their children (Josh's cousins).  Last year was our first year to join the gathering since we had been living so far away before.  This year we met at Inks Lake State Park.  This park has a lake that is maintained at a constant level even in drought years.  That meant that we could take our canoe!  We also camped at the park and used a group picnic area for our gathering. 
I wish I had taken more pictures, but I'll add more when I get them from other family members. 
Fall colors on the lake
Titus relaxing in the canoe.  He swam and swam and swam all weekend- heaven for Titus!
Exploring the lake

Josh's sister, Debby, and our nephew, Ben, checking out the canoes
Josh and his brother, Jon, learning about plants
 Sadly, that's all the pictures I took.  Once everyone else showed up, I got distracted and never picked up my camera again :(
Up next... Thanksgiving weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pitiful Pup

T-pot is at work with me today.  I'm working at my computer, and he thinks if he positions himself in just the right spot then I'll pay attention to him.  This pitiful face is just too much for me sometimes! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roller Coaster Weeks

A roller coaster is really the only way I can think to describe the last few weeks around here.  We've had ups and downs.  There's been joy and then scary moments too.  I'll just do a quick summary and try to spare you too many details.
The downs: 
1.  The ACU bus accident- if you haven't heard, 16 precious lives from Ag department were involved in a horrible bus accident on November 4th.  We lost 1 student and others have very serious injuries.  There were 12 students, 3 faculty and a spouse on board.  ACU is a tight-knit family, and this has affected all of us.  We knew most of the students and all of the faculty involved.  Josh's uncle is head of the Ag department and has spent a great deal of time ministering to families and students.  Please continue to pray for healing and quick recoveries for all involved.  We still have 3 in various hospitals in TX.
2.  The ACU budget- ACU has fallen on hard times and has had to make some budget adjustments.  This involves cutting positions, reducing salaries, and reorganizing departments across campus.  For a while we were quite unsure how we would be affected and how safe our jobs would be.  At this point, we think Josh is safe, and I'll be taking a 20% cut in salary and time worked. 
3.  The holidays are coming- yes, this can be a down sometimes.  We're about 4 weeks away from the 3rd anniversary of my Dad's passing.  Some days are still really, really tough- especially this time of year. 

The ups (let's end on a happy note):
1.  We have 2 nieces or nephews (or one of each) on the way!  Josh's brother and his wife are expecting in May, and 1 of Josh's sisters is expecting in July.  Both couples live in Abilene, so it will be fun to be around for these pregnancies and births!  It will also be fun to watch these cousins grow up together.
2.  We have jobs and are so thankful for God's provision.  This 20% cutback will actually be a blessing to us (other than the decreased income.)  Basically, starting June 1, I'll have a more flexible schedule and will be able to take more time off (unpaid of course).  This means Josh and I will hopefully have more time together between semesters, and I'll have more time at home to work on projects and pursue other goals.  
2.  The holidays are coming!  This means we get to spend a lot of time with family.  Family has come to be more precious to me than I could ever imagine.  Every minute we get to spend together is such a blessing.  In the last few weeks, I have spent some time with my Mom, brother, aunt and uncle from WA, and my grandpa.  In the coming weeks, we will spend a weekend with Josh's family, see my Mom and brother 2 more times, and hopefully get to see my cousin's family (including a new baby!)  

So that's what is on my heart today.  I am trying to be more thankful during this season and focus on all the blessings in my life. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lab Quote Friday: Word of the Week- Flocculent

This week in lab, the students did an experiment where they made alum (see picture) from coke cans and then tested it as a flocculent.  Aaah- spell check doesn't know the word flocculent!  Well, neither do the students.  Do you know what it means?  I'm betting a lot of people have never heard this word much less know its definition.  So today we are going to expand our vocabulary!
Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
1.  "Flocculation, in the field of chemistry, is a process wherein colloids come out of suspension in the form of floc or flakes by the addition of a clarifying agent."
In our case, the clarifying agent (or flocculent) was alum.
2.  "Water treatment-  Flocculation and sedimentation are widely employed in the purification of drinking water as well as sewage treatment, stormwater treatment and treatment of other industrial wastewater streams."
We used our alum to purify some simulated dirty water in the lab.  Students got to see the impurities come out of suspension and settle to the bottom of their test tubes.  Cool!

So, there you have it.  See if you can use flocculent in your conversations today :)  Oh, you need an actual lab quote today too?  OK!  

Lab girl:  Is flocculent even a word?

Monday, October 31, 2011

2011 Garden- Part 9, Frosty Weekend

Well, we had our first frost last weekend.  The garden has been winding down over the last several weeks, but we still had a bunch of green tomatoes on the vine.  We covered the ones with the most fruit and let Mr. Frost blow through the garden.  We really only had okra, green peppers and tomatoes left anyway.  The only camera I could find at home that was charged was the iPad.  I'm not impressed.  Oh well.
Here's a look at our sad garden Saturday morning. 
Okra post-frost
Green peppers post-frost.  So sad and droopy.
Tomatoes post-frost, just hanging on the cage
Here are the tomato plants we saved.  They don't look great, but you can see why we tried to save them- they're loaded with tomatoes!

Here's our last big harvest of the year.  We've got lots of green tomatoes in the windows now.  Hopefully some of them will turn.

Do any of you still have stuff growing? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tie Wreaths

Well, I finally got around to making something out of my Dad's old ties- wreaths!  I got the idea from this website a long time ago, but I just kept putting it off.  For Mom's birthday, I decided it was time to give it a try.  Mom had a favorite tie, so I used it for the bow and didn't cut it.  While I was at it, I made myself one too.  I think this will be a sweet reminder of my Dad.
Mom's tie wreath
My tie wreath

I have lots of ties and parts of ties leftover, so I'm sure I'll be making other things too.  Check out this Pinterest page- it has some fun ideas (and crazy ones too)!
Update- 11-2-11:  I'm linking up to the Young House Love Pinterest Challenge too!