So Many Stories

I have so many pictures and so many stories that I’d like to share with you all, but it’s hard to know where to begin. After looking through all the pictures, I’ve decided to start with the non-Juliana version and I’ll follow up later this week with the Juliana version, since she pretty much consumes my thoughts. That girl gives me enough pictures and stories to fill up way more than just one post!

So here’s what I’ve been up to for the past two months, excluding Juliana.


It was my mom’s birthday.

 

We surprised her at work with an orchid and her favorite lunch: root beer and a tomato sandwich. We also surprised her with flowers and sappy cards when she got home! What a lucky lady!

It was my brother’s birthday.

I added a new feature wall in my bathroom.

We picked grapes. (Many, many, many, many more pails than just this)

We made grape juice. (Many, many more batches than just this)

 

My poppies bloomed.

  

My Begonia bloomed.

 

We cleaned out the pantry.

The leaves turned.

 

I picked lots of Hydrangeas.

There were pears on our tree.

 

But the birds got them first.

I made cookies.

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Apples fell.

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We made many apple pies, dehydrated apples and apple roses.

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Tomatillos fell.

We made lots of salsa verde.

I carved a pumpkin.

And then I carved a bigger pumpkin.

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And then I carved a baby pumpkin.

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Charlie was…Charlie. (That’s Cocoa’s collar)

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And Cocoa continued to be the sweetest.


I’ll follow up later this week with all of the (abbreviated) Juliana stories from the past 2 months!

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My New Hobby!

I’m becoming so domestic! I started a little herb garden a few weeks ago. Since I’ve started cooking more “complex” recipes (aka actually using herbs) I’ve realized how essential herbs really are and how handy it would be to always have access to fresh herbs.

My collection has been steadily growing since I first bought the first four herbs a few weeks ago.

Among the chosen few:

Parsley!

Parsley: perfect for making a dish look super fancy.

Lavender!

Lavender: smells divine and when used sparingly, can make heavenly baked goods.

Thyme!

Thyme: I love to add this to beef roasts, which I will making much more of this fall and winter!

Sage!

Sage: I honestly don’t have much experience cooking with sage, but based on the smell, I think it would be amazing with meat of any kind!

I wanted people who didn’t know what herbs looked like to be able to come down and pick some without having to ask what they look like. That’s where the painted pots came from. I originally wanted clay pots so I could paint them completely and add a little chalk paint area to write the name of each herb. But, I eventually concluded that these pots would most likely outlive the plants inside. So, I found a design that would be suitable now, with the herbs, and in the future, without the herbs.

Then I remembered that we have a big ‘ole chalkboard standing up right next to the plant window, so I wrote the names of the herbs in the corresponding colors.

You may notice cinnamon on the board. While I was doing my initial research, I came across how to grow cinnamon trees inside. Saying I love cinnamon would be an understatement. So, I ordered two cinnamon trees and added those to my little herb garden.

Cinnamon Trees!

I also read that basically anything (natural) can be grown from remnants of an existing plant/harvest. Another thing that I’m completely in love with: peppers. So I scraped out some of the seeds from some sweet peppers we had in the fridge and planted those to see what would happen.

Pepper seeds!

Less than two weeks later, this is what they now look like! I decided to move them to a bigger pot so they could grow more naturally into proper pepper plants. That’s a fun phrase: proper pepper plants!

Peppers in a pot!

I also wanted to see how many herbs would grow simply by cutting a few inches off of an existing plant and letting them grow roots in water.

The water experiment

Unfortunately, only the basil developed roots. I still haven’t given up on parsley and spearmint, but did have to give up on rosemary, chives and dill.

Basil!

I just planted the basil in soil a few days ago and it’s starting to perk up!

Basil in a pot!

I love basil! I could use it everyday if I had enough! I could live on Caprese Salad and Margherita Pizza for a long time!

My next experiment is going to be lemon seeds. The next time I use a lemon for anything, I’m keeping some of the seeds, letting them dry out for a day or two and then planting them!

It’s a fun little hobby! I can completely understand how people can get carried away with it and fill entire greenhouses or, in my mom’s case, fill up almost an acre of land!

I’ll keep you all updated with any new additions!

We (I) Did It!

Well, we did it! We got the zip line up within 48 hours of it arriving!

One of my cousins and her family were here for the night and she has a very adventurous son who loves helping us get ready for our big family party (which is in a little over a week–yikes!) every year.

It worked out really well, actually, because we had plenty of helping hands and he was willing to climb up in the tree on one end to hook everything up. So, of course, he got the first ride!

We played around with a lot of different options for just about everything (my parents are out there adjusting the height again right now) including how to a) protect the trees and b) make sure the wire actually stays where it’s supposed to be.

This was about the third idea we arrived at (and the final version is being nailed down right now, as well!).

We didn’t have any kind of platform made the first night, so we were launching right off the ladder, which wasn’t very safe. In my mind I was thinking that there was no way I was going to let party time come without the perfect platform made.

So two days later, we started constructing that perfect platform. My dad was basically envisioning something about a foot by a foot and half wide just hanging off the tree. (He would’ve made sure it was supported and safe, but that’s the size he was thinking of) I, on the other hand, was envisioning a platform big enough to hold at least two people that would feel perfectly comfortable while trying to maneuver a plastic disc between your legs. So our platform was born.

All we needed to accomplish the next day to finish the zip line experience was a ladder of some sort to get up to that amazing platform. This was where I was really picky, because I’m not a fan of ladders and I wanted it to be as much like stairs as possible. But I didn’t want to go through the process of actually making stairs. So my mom and I figured out how to make exactly what we were thinking of and did it all by ourselves. We didn’t need any help from any men! The most impressive thing was that we made it through the day without any cat fights! I painted all of the raw wood showing, we put it together, got our brake finished up and I took the first ride on our completed zip line.

I love it.

And, as my mom keeps boasting about, we didn’t buy anything but the kit for it.

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We just happened to have all of the material laying around. We had some extra deck boards that we used for the top of the platform and the stairs. The trees on the end are pieces of a tree that we cut down a few years ago (I’m blanking on the name right now, but it’s not birch). The rest is just leftover wood from various projects that was sitting in the wood corner of our shed.

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Before the zip line even arrived, my mom and I were brainstorming ways to make sure people didn’t just slam into the tree at the end and I half-jokingly suggested bubble wrap. She fell for it and that tree is now covered in it.
This is our very complex braking system. It came with a stopper and bungee cord, but we wanted people (me) to be able to ride it without anyone else there so we just tied it up to another rope that was tied around a nearby tree.
The view from atop the platform.
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All of her runs so far have been the same. Her first face is this…
…which turns into this…
…which turns into one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen on her face!

As we started putting all of the tools away, my mom turned to me and said, “Well, none of this would’ve happened without your drive.” That’s one of the nicest things she’s ever said to me.

I did it.

Redo!

I mentioned in my last post that I redid my bedroom. I did indeed. I was getting really fed up with my room because it felt like it belonged to a 14-year-old girl (probably because that’s about how old I was when I redid it last).

It all actually started when my mom spilled some of the liquid from a scented plug-in on my dresser and ruined the finish. I asked her to fix it and she insisted that it would just be easier to buy a new one since it was kind of a crappy dresser to begin with. Then I thought, while we’re at it we might as well buy a new bed frame, too. And if we’re getting a new bed frame, we might as well get a bigger mattress. And if we’re doing all of that and I’m bringing a ton of junk home from school, maybe I should think about a total overhaul.

So I started looking at headboards online and decided I really wanted a fabric one. I shared some options with my mom and she said it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to make our own. That intimidated me and the process kind of halted after that.

Until we found this place.

SO MUCH FABRIC.This place was INSANE. It was a huge warehouse filled from floor to ceiling with every kind of fabric you could imagine. They had a makeshift cutting table right in the middle and everyone had to cut their own fabric. It was overwhelming to say the least.

We must have been walking around for close to an hour before my mom found this fabric and, I’m not exaggerating, I literally screamed “I NEED THAT.” We had seen this print in a different color at a local craft store and I loved the print but didn’t think a dark teal would really fit with my pink walls…so I kind of freaked out when I saw this.

Birdies!

We brought it home and, of course, it was perfect. I started getting really excited about getting this done, but my mom had “better” things to do so the folded up fabric sadly sat on my dresser for a few months.

The day after I graduated, I sat my parents down and said “This is the week. We’re finishing my room this week.” And we actually did! I worked on the headboard Monday-Wednesday, ordered new bedding and lighting Thursday and we found my dresser and nightstand on Friday! Now, it still isn’t completely finished but all of the decisions have been made and orders have been placed. Now we’re just waiting for the final deliveries.

Here’s what it looks like right now.

Let me tell ‘ya, that headboard was not easy. I mean, if I ever do it again it’s going to seem simple. But it was so emotionally stressful. First of all, I had to decide on a shape and I was torn between the shape I really wanted (which I ended up with) and the shape that would have been easier to deal with (simple rectangle). Then I had to make a pattern that was absolutely perfect down to the last centimeter. Then it was deciding how many layers of batting to attach (which was also a bit clumsy). And finally figuring how to pull the fabric just right when putting in the final staples. We bought some nails to put around the perimeter but after all of that, I couldn’t care less about adding nails. It looked just fine the way it was! And throughout this whole process I had to deal with a mother who doesn’t know how to walk the line between coaching and saying “This is your project. You figure it out.”

Oh, and by the way, part of this process was bringing my bedroom set down to the guest room directly below my room and bringing that bed frame and mattress up to my room. That was a sweaty job. I slept very well that night!

The next thing that came was my duvet cover, which I was a little bit skeptical about. My mom adored it and it was returnable so I got it, but I was prepared to not like it. I was surprised when it came and I actually somewhat liked it. And now that’s been here a few weeks, I actually love it.

Then my dresser and nightstand came and I really started to fall in love with this room.

My mom was really surprised with the style I went with (“It’s very Mad Men!”) but she’s admitted that she really loves it now, too.

(Notice the pictures and “Live. Laugh. Love.” I mentioned in a previous post!)

And of course Pooh means a lot to me, so he needed to be front and center. I made those pictures that are leaning against the wall for my dorm this year and loved them so much that they had to be a part of this room. It’s just little squares of fun fabric in cheap frames but they add so much! (Yes, those are indeed my textbooks for my current classes. I didn’t even realize they were there…)

I was bothered by the empty space above my bed so after thinking about homemade options, we decided to just go to Ikea and get some wall stickers. I had these in my dorm at school this year and loved them so I knew what I was getting.

It was a lot of work, but I love love love this room again!