Bathroom Renovations Part I

One of the bathroom sinks was leaking into the kitchen.

I’m so glad we noticed before I repainted the bathroom. Jesse and his dad had to take out the sink, the vanity, and part of the wall behind it to repair the leak.

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And things can never be as simple as they seem. Just when they thought they fixed it, they realized that one of the previous owners had hammered a nail for the paneling through a stud and through the pipe. Then the pipe cracked.

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This leak had been many years in the making and we had no idea. The downside to home-ownership is having to use your own resources to fix anything that breaks. Out with the old…

…In with the new! On top of fixing the pipe, the Lane men replaced the vanity and faucet and installed my medicine cabinet. All it cost me was a few homemade meals.

Now that things are back in working order, I am ready to paint!

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Things Are Looking Up

As always, when things get bad, they always get better.

Friday, I had my follow up appointment with my OB/GYN. She let me know that I am healthy and should have no problems having children. She believes that I miscarried because of a problem in DNA replication. The chances of that happening again are only 4 percent. Since I am healthy, she said we do not have to wait to start trying to get pregnant.

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This is the best news we could have gotten and we couldn’t be happier. We will let everyone know when we have Baby Lane on the way.

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My First Sewing Project

This weekend, I completed my first sewing project. I made a small zippered bag, as shown on Melly Sews. Since I was learning not only how to make the pouch, but also how to use my sewing machine, it took me more than 15 minutes…probably closer to 6 hours.

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The most difficult thing was learning how to thread the needle on my sewing machine. Once I got that part down, the rest was pretty simple. Sewing is very tedious work, but not too extremely challenging.

Before I put together the pouch, I embroidered my initials onto one of the outer pieces of fabric. I have hand sewn before, but was pretty rusty. I used the backstitch and found an easy to follow diagram on Sublime Stitching.

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Next, I sewed my zipper to my outer pieces of fabric. I did not have to adjust my zipper, since it was already 9 inches. Then, I sewed the zipper to the inner pieces of fabric, which would make up the lining of my bag. As you can tell, my lines were horribly crooked. I need some practice making straight lines.

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When I topstitched the outer fabric to the zipper, I accidentally stitched into the zipper and had to undo those stitches. This caused my zipper to get stuck at the end of my project. After undoing those few stitches, I handstitched them so that I wouldn’t mess up the rest of that line.

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I matched the outer pieces of fabric and the inner pieces of fabric to sew the bag together. While doing this part, the pouch is actually inside out. As the tutorial shows, you sew a border all the way around the fabric, leaving a small gap in the middle-bottom section of the inner fabric. This opening is used to turn the bag right side out. I forgot to take pictures of this part, but Melly’s blog has great photos and videos that explain it well.

The section that was left unsewn must be handstitched when the bag is right-side out. You can use a topstitch or a blindstitch to do this. I attempted the blindstitch for the first time and was pretty happy with the results. A blindstitch ensures that your stitch is not seen, hints the name.

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And the finished product…

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I really need to work on making my lines straighter, but overall I’m pretty pleased. This first project really taught me how little I know about sewing. There are so many different parts, needles, stitches, and terms that I had to look up as I worked. I definitely won’t get bored with this hobby anytime soon. Next, I’m wanting to make some headbands, similar to the trendy running headbands I’m seeing everywhere now. Hopefully, I can accomplish that in under 6 hours.

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Turning Over a New Leaf

For my birthday, my sweet husband got me a never before used 1970 sewing machine.

It’s the same one my grandma still uses!

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For years, I’ve been planning on learning to sew and now I’ve decided to quit putting it off. I know the basics, such as cross-stitching and attaching a button. I would like to be able to make clothes, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.

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Here are a few of the projects I would like to conquer:

Wish me luck!

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The Hard Lives of Our Dogs

Sadly, our neighborhood has a tick problem. As soon as the weather gets nice again, we have to start treating the dogs pretty heavily to keep the ticks away. Usually, we bath the dogs in flea and tick shampoo every two weeks, squeeze a few drops of Hartz UltraGuard between their shoulders, and sprinkle tick repellent in the yard.

I’m not particular about the shampoo I buy because it all seems to work, but I won’t buy anything besides Hartz UltraGuard drops. Hartz is only about $4 for a pack of three bottles and it works just like the expensive medicine. We tend to buy the package for the large dogs and get two uses out of each bottle for each dog.

We treat the yard with either Sevin spray, granules, or dust. This helps us keep ticks out of the yard, so they are less likely to find the dogs. We only have to do this about once a month and each container can last us a couple treatments.

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Even though this treatment takes a lot of work and some money, I don’t mind because I love having healthy dogs who can come in the house all the time. What I hate, though, is how pitiful they act when they get baths. We usually give the dogs their baths outside so we don’t have a lot of clean up. They hunker down when they hear the water hose and act like it’s the end of the world. Then, as soon as it’s over, they run laps and roll in the dirt.

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Poor babies.

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Earth Laughs in Flowers

“Earth laughs in flowers.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

We worked on the flower beds a few days ago, but it’s been a busy week and I had a bad case of writer’s block. Without further delay, here’s what we did with the flower beds this year…

We kept the white rocks from last spring, but chose some different plants.

For our green plant, we chose the corkscrew rush. This plant does well in heat and sun, except in extreme conditions and is a semi-evergreen. Corkscrew rushes do best when they have lots of water, though, so we will have to make sure to water it everyday.

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For color, we planted Dianthus, basically a smaller carnation. We wanted something that would last at least until winter. This plant is pretty versatile and easy to maintain and multiplies easily.

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For a separate planter I have on the porch, we bought some Magellan Zinnia. Like our other choices, these should last until winter and won’t take much care. I love the color variety. These may be my new favorite.

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Since we didn’t have to completely start from scratch this year, the flower beds cost us half of what they did last year. It was about the same amount of labor, though. A lot of leaves from the pecan tree had accumulated in the flower beds over the winter, so we had to clear those out. It was tedious work picking the leaves out the rocks.

There were also a lot of weeds growing up through the rocks which had to be pulled. I picked weeds a few days before we started our project and new weeds popped up just a few days later.

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Something I’ve learned over the past year is that it takes work and time to maintain a yard. This year, we’re going to try to do a little every few days so the yard isn’t such a chore. What we have now is pretty basic, but eventually I hope our yard looks something like what you see in Better Homes and Gardens.

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Springing Into Action

We planted a few flower pots today to pre-game for the flower beds this weekend.

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We’re going to keep the same layout as last spring, but try some different plants. (To see our work from last year, view Flower Bed Makeover.) More pictures to come!

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What I’ve Brought To The Table Lately

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes recently. One of the tastiest (and easiest) recipes has been fish tacos.

I didn’t come up with this masterpiece myself. I found it on food.com. This is one of my favorite web sites because you can try new things and see others’ comments after they’ve tried it themselves.

My favorite thing about these tacos is the sauce. It sounds too simple to be any good, but it really goes well with the taco seasoning.

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I’m not crazy about seafood, but these tacos are delicious!

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On another note, I have updated our dining room table with a new centerpiece. I got some inspiration from Pinterest, but used some things I had already laying around the house.

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The coffee beans are from my favorite roast. (I bought the whole beans on accident a couple months ago. I don’t have a grinder.)

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A very simple way to change things up just a little bit and it smells so good!

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Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For one, we got engaged on Thanksgiving 2 years ago.

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It is also at the top of my list for it’s simplicity. I love that all we do the entire day is see family and eat great food.

This year, we split up our celebrations. Our meal with my family was today and we will spend Thanksgiving day with his family. I got assigned sweet potatoes for both celebrations, though.

I rarely make sweet potatoes and wasn’t crazy about the recipe I was using before, so I started hunting for a new one. Thank goodness for Pinterest because I found a simple and sweet recipe right away.

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I followed Jessica’s  recipe from Butter, with a side of Bread almost exactly, but I made a couple small changes. We chunked the potatoes with a fork, but then mashed them in the Kitchenaid Mixer. I also stirred the sauce into the sweet potatoes instead of using the sauce as a topping.

Pretty simple and easy to multiply for a big group, or two in my case.

Another perk of being married: Not only do I get to spend time with my crazy family on holidays, but I get to spend time with his too.

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Our First Anniversary

Yesterday marks our first anniversary as a married couple. We made it through the dreaded “hardest year of our marriage.” If the urban legends are true and this was the hardest year of our marriage, then I’d say I’m in for a really easy marriage.

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This year went much more smoothly than I expected. Not that I expected to be divorced or anything like that, but relationships seem to go bad more often than not nowadays.

The most important thing I have learned over this past year is something that I think will help me in our marriage in the long run. When things are down, we have to remember our ultimate goal: to build a life and a family , where we are both happy being ourselves together. 

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A lot of times, the details of a situation can make the big picture blurry. Learning to keep focused on that goal has helped me to remain calm when things aren’t going the way I want or expect.

Let me put a disclaimer here, because there were several times that I did lose my cool. But, when I found my head again, remembering to keep the right perspective kept me from even considering giving up.

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I know that our marriage will not always be as blissful as it was this past year, but I know that even through the worst years of our life, we can make it because we believe in the same goal.

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Now to get past the sappy part, we went on a weekend trip to Cloudcroft, New Mexico for our anniversary. Cloudcroft is a small mountain town, full of character. We spent the weekend walking from shop to shop, eating (way too much) delicious food, and cuddled in the historic Cloudcroft Hotel. It was the perfect place to spend the weekend alone.

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We left Cloudcroft just in time to beat the snow coming in, but there was snow waiting for us when we got home.

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I’m happy not only to be celebrating a year with Jesse, but the best year of my life so far. I know that we will have bad years too, but I am hoping that we have even better years ahead of us.

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