Friday, July 30, 2010

Lesson 70- My Moroccan Dream

Husband and I need to do something with our backyard. In the words of my mother, "It looks like a trailer park" (She's never said this about our backyard, but rather this is how she used to describe her own backyard. I also won't let her see our backyard to avoid any such comments, not that I really think she would say that about our yard). We've been discussing some ideas for what to do while creating a low-maintenance space--neither of us is big on yard work. And who would be really when the average summer temperatures are well over 100*?

I've longed to visit Morocco. Casablanca has held a special place in my heart since I was a kid. I even tried to convince Husband that's where we should honeymoon--with no success. Since it appears as though I'm going to have to wait a while longer to experience the beauty of Northern Africa...I've decided to bring it to my backyard. Here are some pictures I've collected as inspiration. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Stay tuned for updates on what we actually decide to do. Who knows?! Maybe I'll actually make it to Morocco before Morocco makes it to my backyard.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lesson 69-A Cool Glue Gun Project

This cute little basket was purchased to hold Montana's toys.

However, as Montana grew so did the size of her toys. When I first began the process of re-doing the Bachelor Pad I decided that Montana deserved a toy basket that could actually hold her toys. And so this little basket was relegated to the top of the toilet to hold some glamorous bathroom necessities. When we started updating our bathroom, I decided to update the basket as well. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it and just made it up as I went along. I first used an exacto-knife to remove the trim and handles.

And then I covered the outside guessed it! BURLAP! I know, big shocker, considering this post and this post.

Once it was covered in burlap it needed just a little something else. With a little Google image search, I found a starfish and seahorse that I printed out on cardstock, then cute the images out, creating a stencil. Using acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush, I stenciled the starfish in the center and the seahorses in two of the corners.

Ahhh, perfection. Well on the outside at least. And don't we always say that it's what's on the inside that matters the most. Well, the inside was slightly less than perfection. So, off the Hobby Lobby we ventured. After touring the fabric section, we decided on this fabric.

(The color came out a little funky in this shot)

I love it and would cover the whole house in it...if that was practical, and not crazy. Using my trusty glue gun, I made a liner to go inside the basket. Now I had perfection on both the inside and outside! Husband even commented he preferred the inside to the outside.

Here's the final product

And here it is with all those glamorous bathroom accessories it now holds

And here's a breakdown on the price:
* basket- already owned
* burlap- left over from other projects
* sea creature stencils- free thanks to Google and my printer
* paint- left over from other projects
* paisley fabric- about $1.75 for a quarter of a yard at Hobby Lobby (I think it was
on sale that weekend)
* glamorous bathroom necessities- already owned

Grand total:
$1.75ish. Yup, that's right. Less than two-hundred pennies! How awesome is that?!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lesson 68- Introducing the Best Bread

It is safe to say that bread is my favorite food. I could eat it everyday for every meal. It's just so yummy. And I don't really discriminate when it comes to bread. But that was before I met this loaf. It is easily the best bread around.

I first discovered it a few years ago and decided to make it again a few weeks ago when we had some friends over for dinner.

* 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 tbsp. white sugar
* 2 packages instant yeast
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. dried marjoram
* 1 tsp. dried thyme
* 1 tsp. dried rosemary
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 egg
* 1 tbsp. butter, melted

1. In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and herbs.
2. Heat milk, water, and 1/4 cup butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F); stir
into dry ingredients. Stir in egg and enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

3. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes.
Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.
4. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 30 inch rope. Braid ropes;
pinch ends to seal. Tie knot in center of braid; wrap ends around knot, in
opposite directions, and tuck under to make round loaf. Place on greased baking
sheet. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubles in size, about 20
to 40 minutes.

5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 to 35 minutes or until done,
covering with foil during last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning.
Melt remaining butter; brush over loaf. Sprinkle with additional herbs, if
desired. Remove from sheet; let cool on wire rack.

I hope you enjoy. It sure it yummy!

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Lesson 67-Finding a Church Home

*****I do apologize, but this is a text heavy post*****

I have a feeling that this post may turn into a series of posts.

I grew up in a Lutheran church. The same Lutheran church; from my baptism in 1986 till my college graduation in 2007. That's a long time! I did go to youth group at a Baptist church in high school and also spent time with the Baptist Student Union in college. I think through these experiences I began to realize that I don't need to be tied to a denomination. I'd much prefer to focus on Jesus, grace, and love.

After graduation I spent a year doing mission work through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and a program they have called Global Mission. I was placed with another young woman from Minnesota in a small town called Buxton, in the heart of the Peak District in England. I spent my time working a women's refuge and a local church. The church was part of the Salt and Light Ministries and was super small. Pretty much everything about this little church was a challenge for me. The entire year I spent in England was a challenge for me.

I returned to the States with some major issues with 'church'. My relationship with God was definitely strengthened, but my relationship with 'church' had been injured. I returned to the Lutheran church I grew up in. It was great to see old friends but I soon realized it wasn't feeding me spiritually.

When I moved to 'The Heart of the Desert' with Husband after getting married I was really looking forward to having a larger selection for a church home. We attended the in-laws church a few times. It is also the church the Husband attended before we got married--occasionally. But...I just wasn't 'feeling' it.

When we visited England in May, we were able to return to the church that I had worked for 2 years earlier. It was such an amazing experience. The message delivered was great. The worship was beautiful. And all the hurt that I had experienced two years earlier seemed to disappear. And for the first time in a long time it felt like I had a church home--too bad it's only 5261.86 miles away.

Recently, God has really been placing a need to find a church home on my heart--one that's a little closer to home. I did some Google research and found a Lutheran church that I wanted to visit. But unfortunately it was approximately 25 miles from our house. Lucky for me, Husband drove us over there early one Sunday morning. I liked it...but I don't know. I don't have this overwhelming desire to return.

And it's just so frustrating!!! Am I just being too picky? I suppose from here I'll do some more Google research and try again. And maybe I'll be back with another update in finding a church home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lesson 66- Our Little Helper

This is Montana. She's a Springer Spaniel. Her talents include flooding our kitchen immediately after consuming water, jumping on any human with overwhelming affection, and licking all she comes in contact with to a near death.

A few weeks ago we discovered a new talent. As I've briefly mentioned before Husband and I have been updating our master bathroom. We were doing some touch-up painting one weekend afternoon. Thinking that it would just be a quick process we didn't take any of the usual precautions such as blocking the dogs access to the bathroom. But we were keeping an eye on the Little Guy and I also noticed Montana in one of her usual spots--on our bed. Clearly we didn't have anything to worry about and proceeded with our painting.

Maybe 30 minutes later after we had cleaned up our supplies, Montana was walking by Husband and he noticed that she had acquired a spot on her pretty fur.

She had apparently sneaked in to the bathroom to help with our painting. Neither of us had noticed her helping paw or any evidence in the bathroom of her painting endeavors. But now she will have that new spot until her next visit to the groomer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lesson 65-My Summer Wreath

I have growing wreath collection. One for Fall/Thanksgiving. One for Christmas. One for Halloween (which died a horrible death, but that's another story for another day). One for Easter. And one for Memorial Day/Independence Day. I'm close to having the year covered. But what to do with those months post-Independence Day and pre-Fall. From that question this summer-time wreath was born.

Starting with a straw wreath, I wrapped twine all the around. Round and round and round I went. I already had two rolls of twine at home from previous projects and I figured that would be enough. Imagine my frustration when both rolls ran out and was left with this much--twineless.

So off to Wal-Mart I went for a third roll. Once I finished covering the wreath I added my seashells. They're from a bag at Hobby Lobby. I live in the desert, please don't judge me. Again with the handy dandy glue gun I attached them to the twine wreath.

wreath- $3.50
twine- already had two; $1.65 for third roll
bag of sea shells- $4.99

TOTAL: $10.14 (give or take some pennies)

And here it is hanging on our front door. I like it!!! How about you?

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