Thursday, January 31, 2013

Small Home Improvements

One of the small things that has bugged me about our house since we moved in is that there is no coat closet.  Of course we've never had a coat closet anywhere we've lived, but we've also never lived in a house big enough to have a bunch of people over all at one time.  This really wouldn't be an issue if we had a bedroom downstairs where everyone could just throw all their stuff on a bed, but all 4 of our bedrooms are upstairs- a little inconvenient. 
So I have had this idea to turn a certain wall into a mini coat closet area for a while.  We finally put it all together last weekend!  It's a small improvement, but I'm quite happy with it.  This area is right inside our front door.
Before
After
I will eventually make a cushion for the bench, but it works for now.  There are 14 hooks and plenty of space for purses, diaper bags, etc.  Yay!  Next step, get rid of the pink carpet :)  Hopefully that upgrade is coming later this year.
The sign was given to us for Christmas a few years back (thanks, Becca!).  The birds hooks were $2 each from Hobby Lobby.
Bench from Amazon ~$90
We used a gift card at Hobby Lobby, so total cost for this project was about $110.  Not bad!

We also upgraded our fire ring this weekend by adding a fire pit.  We're looking forward to lots of good times with friends and family in this space.
Before
After
It just a few simple pavers and some digging with the tractor.
Josh still wants to hang lights around this area, then it will be complete.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Random Photo Dump

Here are some pictures from the last few months that didn't make it to any other post.

Our poor car after a buck ran into us on our way home from Colorado after Thanksgiving.
Mirror gone, antler hole in the door, windshield busted- no injuries to people or canine :)
Just enjoying a nice day.
A rag quilt I made for my cousin and his wife.
Christmas card display
Christmas with the Brokaw family
Christmas at our house
Ellie, Ben, and June (nieces and one of our nephews)
11th Anniversary
Adam with bow and arrow
Josh's turn
My turn- classy outfit, huh?
Gun time
Baby llama- so cute!
Our neighbor's llamas



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Camping Trip of 2013

This winter has been so mild that we decided to start camping already!  We checked out Garner State Park a couple weekends ago.  This park is one of the most popular parks to visit in warmer months, but it was pretty empty when we went- just the way we like it.  We enjoyed the hiking trails, the biking trail, and of course the Frio River.
There were some wonderful big trees in this park.
Titus likes to "help" with the firewood.

We also made a quick stop at Lost Maples State Natural Area before heading home.  We hope to do some backpacking there in the future.  What a great way to start 2013!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Week in Malibu

At the beginning of my Christmas vacation, I spent a week in Malibu visiting my lifetime friend and her family.  Becca's husband is the campus minister for Pepperdine and they have 2 beautiful little girls- Bailey, nearly 4 years old, and Cassia, now 3 months old. 
Bailey got sick the day after I arrived, so we spent the week wiping her snotty nose and trying to keep everyone else well.  It was a bummer that she was sick, but we still had fun and spent some great time together.  We even did some crafting during nap time!
Yes, we were dorks and matched for church- totally not planned (of course we used to do this on purpose when we were younger) 
Sweet Bailey
Precious Cassia hanging out on the rag quilt I made for her
Becca's Mom made this sweet name plate.  Becca and I added the ric-rac and framed it.
Love it!
We made the girls matching Christmas shirts
Bailey and Cassia modeling their new shirts
We also made some hair bows and headbands for the girls
Toward the end of the week, Bailey perked up a little so we decorated some cookies.
Beautiful girls!

We also exchanged gifts while I was there.  Here are a couple of projects I made but wasn't able to share earlier.
Hooded towels for Bailey
F is for Fitzpatrick!


Thanks, Fitz family, for a wonderful week in California!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Timber!!

While my brother was here for Christmas, he and Josh tackled the task of taking down this 50-foot pine tree next to our house.  It was our biggest and most beautiful pine tree, but there was a problem...
Before
The tree was leaning on our house!  We hated to take it down, but it really needed to be done.
So we rented this fun little lift to help get the job done.  Here's Josh seeing just how high it will go.
The guys worked from the roof for a while and removed all the lower branches.  Then it was time to high!
Josh in the lift, Adam supervising
Adam in the lift, Josh supervising
Adam trimming off some high branches
Working hard!

Time to get the pole saw out
At this point, the guys decided to start taking out sections of the trunk.  Josh cut out notches on the side of the tree away from the house.  Then he made a deep cut that nearly connected to that notch from the opposite side.  Adam was on the tractor and pulled down the sections with a rope to insure they fell AWAY from the house.  This was a pretty scary part of the process, but everything went really well and there were no injuries to the house or the guys!
Josh cutting the trunk.  The tree is tied to the tractor and Adam is ready to pull!
Top section gone!
Nothing but trunk left now.
Nearly done!
This is where we stopped for now.
After
Don't worry.  We still have some nice tall trees nearby.
Cutting the trunk into smaller pieces
Titus supervising the clean up efforts.



We made a fire ring and we've got lots of firewood for the future too!

Here are videos of the top 2 sections coming down.  It was pretty exciting for us!

video
video

When the guys were done with the lift, I took a ride to the top and snapped some pictures.  So here's a look at what is around our property.
Looking south
Looking southeast
Looking southwest- you can see our walking trail on the right side
Looking west
Then my camera battery died and we had to take the lift back to town. 
The guys did such a great job- I was seriously impressed!