Sunday, May 31, 2009

so we're moving again

Apparently Greg and I are good-luck charms when it comes to selling your house in a down economy. We sold our house in 64 days and moved in with my parents whose house had been on the market for two months. We thought we'd have plenty of time to stay, as they hadn't had very many "lookers." Well whadya know, they sold their house about 60 days after we moved in.

We have to be out by June 22, at which point we'll move to an apartment for a few months while we're doing the remodel at the farmhouse.....that is, unless someone out there who's trying to sell their house wants to invite us in for some of our good luck.

Mom and I packed the kitchen on Saturday, which is why I ate my cereal out of a juice cup this morning. We only have 3 bowls that aren't packed and Greg used the last one before my breakfast time. Other than the cereal getting soggy really fast, it was no big deal. Guess I'll be roughing it for the next few months.

Thanks so much for your wonderful comments wishing Greg and I a happy anniversary. We sure feel blessed to be together and to have wonderful blog-readers like you :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

8 years

  • 8 years of marriage
  • 7 countries traveled together (St. Croix, Jamaica, Bahamas-twice, Mexico, Italy, Israel, & Egypt)
  • 6 kids we plan to have (heehee....NOT! I couldn't think of anything to put for "6")
  • 5 moves (3 houses and 5 moves is enough to make 1 wife sick!)
  • 4 bosses that Greg's reported to (the current one is his favorite)
  • 3 houses (Cave Springs, Cumberland Ridge, Porter Thorton)
  • 2 years of success with Studio Calico, 2 litters of puppies, 2 calves born alive, 2 calves born dead (but I don't want to reiterate those)
  • 1 near-drowning experience (thankfully Greg lived to tell about it)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

rolling hay and lazy birds

Let's face it, I'm too lazy to get up and go to the farm before work which is why I've only posted photos of these birds sleeping. For this photo, I climbed on the fence, stood above them and shook the birdhouse trying to get them to wake up. It likely felt like an earthquake to them, but they didn't move a muscle. So frustrating, because I know I'll have to get there early in the morning if I want to capture their heads up.

I do think it's kind of neat to watch them grow and fill up that nest. There's 5 total and they're about to outgrow their home, so it won't be long before they fly away.

Any suggestions on what to do with the nest once they leave? Is it safe to keep or do I need to spray it with something to kill bird-germs, or am I just being gross?

We had no rain for 5 days straight last week and so we were able to roll hay for the first time. Kind of monumental, I think.

On the other hand, Jett didn't know what to think and barked at each hay-bale for about 15 minutes each.

And just a shot of my parents and Greg looking at our pretty cows. They've been hanging out right by the fence in the evening and we can get a really close look at them. It is relaxing to watch them. I promise. If you think I'm crazy, please don't tell me....heehee

Monday, May 25, 2009

a doe bow adventure

The farmhouse is coming along, most of the insides are being ripped out this week. The carpet is gone, the tack strips, lots of the trim, the cabinets, and most of the tile. Major overhaul.

I'll have some photos once it's completely gutted.

But, until then, I've been having fun shopping, shopping, and shopping, to try to fill the place up. Really, I've done more looking than purchasing, but for this "doe bow" as Greg calls it, I have a little story to tell. (Just try saying dough bowl 10 times and it'll sound more like doe bow, I promise.)

Lu, a friend of mine and an interior decorator, emailed me on Saturday telling me to go into the Amish country at a produce stand and look at a dough bowl, glass cheese churn, and lantern. Not wanting to brave the adventure myself, I asked Mom to go with me. It took us 35 minutes to go deep into the country....I'm talking the country where there's no road signs, and barns are your landmarks.

We found the produce stand and went inside. We saw tomatoes, pickled okra, honey, and all sorts of produce but no dough bowl, the item that was of particular interest to me.

I shyly walked up to one of the men that was working, scared that maybe a woman shouldn't approach a man in their culture, and inquired about the dough bowl for sale. He told me (with a German accent, no less) to take the road across the way, past the barn, to the house on the right and ask for James.

We followed a horse & buggy to the house and I asked a younger lad (heehee) if I could speak to James.

I just want to point out that I felt like I had come from a different universe at this point. The women weren't wearing any makeup and had bonnets on, the men were wearing button-ups and suspenders, and of course, the horses and buggies were lined up at the hitching post.

James walked up to us and we asked if he was selling a dough bowl and he smiled. He said he hadn't intended to sell it, but that the produce seller had asked him to peddle his antiques in a "yard sale" of sorts that they had for 4 days at the produce stand. He brought the bowl out for me to look at and even told me I could take a picture of it as long as he wasn't in it.

I decided to go ahead and buy it on Lu's recommendation, plus there was no way I was leaving and coming back. Thankfully, he trusted me enough to take a check and so we left with the "doe bo" in the back seat....all 14 x 30" of her.

She's a beaut, Clark :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

sassafras lovin'

Just a little layout for fun.

I really wanted to try my hand at misting the same object over and over to see if I could keep it interesting. I think I pulled it off.

Then, I wanted to try my hand at using that star stamp by Sassafras about a million gazillion times on a single layout. So classic and yet so fabulous!

Supplies: Patterned Paper (October Afternoon); Cardstock (American Crafts); Chipboard (Sassafras & Maya Road - for mask); Mist (Maya Road); Stamps (Studio Calico & Sassafras); Letter "N" (Making Memories)

Here's a mini-tutorial for the misting/stamping portion of this layout.

To get the faded effect for the stars, simply press in ink once and stamp 3 times before re-inking.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

a little more fuzz

I had a dream about my bluebirds last night. I dreamed that I had a chance to photograph them when they were still beautiful Tiffany blue eggs. sigh....if only.

Anyway, this is what they look like now, a little more fuzz than before, but still horribly ugly. Those are faces only a mom could love.

And, the reason you're probably here, June Studio Calico sneaks.....

Again, let me reiterate my love for the SHIRLEY TEMPLE add-on. Seriously. It's gotten the least attention from the message board, but I've used almost every shred of it. LOVE IT!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


If you know me well, you know I haven't fully bought into the idea of being green, but I do appreciate repurposing materials - especially if that material is vintage barnwood.

When our barn was taken down, most of the wood went to a hospital in Nashville, but Greg worked a deal to keep some of the barn-doors.

For a month, they all sat leaning up against the fence for the cows to admire and to irk me as I drove into our property.

We discussed lots of things we could do with the barn-wood and decided to use some of it to make a table for our back porch at the farm house.

Greg traveled to Paducah, which is a 2 hour drive, 3 times in the past 2 weeks to make this table with his 89-year-old grandfather. His grandfather has made almost every piece of furniture in his house (granted that was about 50-60 years ago), so making this table was no problem at all plus it was good bonding time for Greg. Not only did he learn about the engineering of this table, but he got to spend time with his grandfather and do something they are both passionate about.

He also learned about the facts of life as you grow older: more frequent breaks to rest, making decisions based on ease of completion rather than design, more frequent potty breaks (via a can in the corner....ick!), having to yell questions so his grandfather could hear (hopefully that will remind Greg to wear ear-plugs), and small meals.

Whatever the case, he learned so much, got to spend time with his grandparents, and I love that he loves me so much that he would go to the trouble of making something special for me.

I plan to pair this table with these chairs from Pottery Barn. Our back porch will be an entirely different color, so try not to let the red and white porch sway your opinion of these chairs.


And, on the post below, I added the sources for the gifts I listed. Sorry I didn't include them in the first place. Lesson learned :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

congratulations to cara

My good friend Cara, who might have packed your kit with love at some point if you're a Studio Calico subscriber, is about 4 weeks from her due date.

To say we're ecstatic is an understatement.

She and her husband, Jonathan, already have one cute little bumpkin, Carter.
And, now they're having a girl.

At her shower this weekend, Scarlet and I bought her lots of little girly clothes that I'm sure she'll look adorable in.

Now, if only we could get this girl a name so I can get her this (by Penny People):

or this by LJ Ink available in matte or linen
or this by Almost Sunday

Let me know which is your favorite.

Monday, May 18, 2009

soccer season

Since I haven't posted about it, you might not have known that Greg is indeed coaching soccer again this season. We've had approximately 584 rain-out games and practices, so with the consistency, you can imagine how well the team of 6-year-olds are playing together.

So, now we're in full-swing with make-up games. They have a game tonight, one tomorrow, and one on Saturday. It's enough to make any soccer-parent (or spouse) go crazy.

Just wanted to leave you with a few shots of the game
The least they can do that now. Last season they had barely started kindergarten so a line-up was an abstract concept.
Levi & Devin goofing off.
Noah with G in the background.

And, since we didn't make any spectacular plays or anything, I turned my attention to Levi's brother, Sam, who was watching from the sidelines....and hamming it up for the camera.

Thanks for looking, and if you haven't already given me advice on the lens from my last post, please do. This is yet another situation where a telephoto lens would come in handy.


Finally, I must mention that I was SUPER-HAPPY to see my man, J.T. win Survivor. Well-deserved!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

better luck this time

Remember those blue-bird eggs I was telling you about in my last post?

On Wednesday, Nadiya was enthralled with them, and I didn't have my camera and now I'm a tad bit upset because I had visualized what my photos would look like of those 5 Tiffany-blue eggs and instead I found this yesterday:

I know I should be happy that new life has been born on our farm, but these are not the prettiest of babies.

Here Greg is taking a gander at my find. It looks like he's smelling something really bad, doesn't it? I must admit, I like this blue-bird house. It's made really well and on one side (the side you can see) there's a door to open it for cleaning. Then on the side Greg is on, there's a door for viewing. When you open that door, there is a piece of plexiglass to keep you from disturbing the nest.

Well, our bluebirds may not be beautiful just yet, but look at this new cutie:

First, let me point out that now I know where the word "cowlick" comes from.

Second, let me scream in ecstasy, "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!"

This calf was born full-term and healthy without any help from us. Can you believe it?

Here she (I think it's a girl) is running back to her momma.

Here the momma is staring me down. I must admit I was more than a little bit scared taking these photos. A 500lb cow could do some damage to me.
eta: I stand corrected by my husband and every farmer I know + one of my commenters. A full-size cow is about 900-1000lbs, so I was in much graver danger than originally stated. See, and I was just trying not to exaggerate in my story :)

And, Greg was more scared than I watching what I was doing. He was over the rise behind the momma cow and started screaming at me to back off, so I ran the opposite direction as fast as humanly possible in boots that are two different sizes. It was at that moment I realized an investment in a telephoto lens might not be a bad idea.

Here's a couple I've been looking at. Please let me know if you have any feedback:

Canon Telephoto EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Autofocus Lens which retails for ~$400

or do I need this one?

Canon Telephoto EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Autofocus Lens which retails for more than twice as much (I'm guessing because of the L glass???) at $995.

I already own a 24-78mm (I think) f2.8 Tamron that does pretty well, but doesn't zoom in far enough for these type of situations.

The only other lens I have is the 50mm f1.4 by Canon that is my major crutch. I love the fixed lens because I think my photos turn out crisper with it than with the Tamron.

Like I said, any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. I don't really want to spend twice as much money, but I will if I know I will love it as much as my 50mm. Oh, and I'm hoping to combine some birthday and xmas presents to get this one, so I won't be out the total expense.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

1 for 4

I'm warning you now, it's a sad cow story, so proceed with caution.

Greg and I were on our way back from Nashville yesterday when my dad called to tell us one of the cows was in labor with a hoof sticking out. We had just picked up Nadiya (Scarlet's daughter) from her grandmother's house and she was sacked out in the backseat, so we decided to drive straight to the farm and let Scarlet pick her up there.

When we got there at 3:30, the cow was definitely in labor, but moo-ving around pretty good. (That's my lame attempt at humor so bear with me). She didn't appear to be in distress, but she also didn't look large enough, nor did her utter to be ready to give birth. We waited a bit, then Greg and Bubba (a guy that's helping us on the farm and he has the perfect name for farm-help, don't you think) decided to try to rope the cow.

This was proceeded by a practice session of lasso-ing a cooler in the backyard while Nadiya and I watched. She and I also had the chance to look at the blue-bird house that Greg had set up. Greg had insisted it was a house for blue-birds, which I totally didn't believe. I figured any ole bird would find it's way inside to make a home, but alas, my bird-brained husband was correct, there was indeed a blue-bird living inside along with her 5 eggs!!!! They're gorgeous blue eggs and both Nadiya and I were enthralled with them. She must have stared at them for 20 minutes and every time I'd ask her if she was ready to get down, she would decline. (I'll try to get a photo for you later to see, sorry about this photo-less post.)

By this time, Scarlet and Noah had arrived and we got to watch the boys try unsuccessfully to rope the cow. By 6:15, I left for church and so did Scarlet and the kids. Greg and Bubba headed into town to get some fencing for a corral from TSC.

When I arrived back from church around 8:30, it was dark and they had the cow cornered in the corral. It turns out, it's easier to catch a cow with sweet feed than with a rope. Lesson learned.

Dad was there too, and I became official flash-light holder. They roped her up and brought her down to her side so they could pull the calf. She still appeared to be in good shape at this time. Bubba grabbed the calf by both hooves (only one was sticking out so he had to explore a bit to get the other hoof) and all 3 pulled the calf out.

It was breech and teeny tiny and of course, dead. The other calf Greg had pulled weighed about 80-90lbs and this one was 30lbs at the most. So sad.

Forgetting the calf, it was time to get the momma up, because if you remember my last story, it's important to get them up or they can become paralyzed. I shone the flashlight on her face and her tongue was sticking out. Bad news.

We don't really know what did it, but we'll chalk it up to another bad farm experience. So, now we're 1 for 4. 1 mommy cow alive, 1 dead and 2 dead calves since we started this farm. Our odds have to improve. They can't get worse, I don't think.

The ups and downs of farm life are ever-present right now.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

embellishment swap + a quick gift-card holder

I was so happy to receive these goodies in the mail

from Houston (the torn flowers and pleats)

from Gioconda (the tags and purple/green flowers)

Thanks so much! This swap was so much fun and I loved what I got so much. I kind of felt guilty for only sending my buttons after seeing what fabulous homemade embellishments they came up with.


I was invited to a shower this weekend for a friend of ours from church. She and her groom are going to be married in Paris (how cool is that?). They are a very eclectic, artsy-type couple, so I knew my card would need to be good.

Supplies: Cardstock (Hazel by Bazzill), Patterned Paper (Studio Calico & Cosmo Cricket), Buttons (vintage), Twine (Studio Calico), Punch (Apron Lace by Fiskars), Stickers (Pink PaisleeSassafras) &

To make this, I cut the cardstock to 5 1/2 x 12", then tri-folded it to fit inside an invitation card which is 4 3/8 x 5 3/4". Next, I cut a piece of the Cosmo Cricket paper to 1 x 6" and punched it with the Apron Lace border punch. After doing so, I adhered it to the edge of the top flap and trimmed the excess. Then, I cut a piece of patterned paper to go on the top flap to 5 1/2 x 3 1/2" and adhered it leaving room for the scalloped edge to show through. Then, I embellished the front with stickers. The flower is actually one sticker cut in half.

It's important to add the gift card (I adhered mine with a tiny bit of glue to the middle portion of the card on the inside) and your personal note (I wrote my note on the bottom flap in the inside), because after this, you'll be adding the buttons and sealing the card.

Finally, I chose two vintage buttons and adhered them using pop-dots. It's important to use a good adhesive such as pop-dots, because your twine will cause some strain on the closure and you don't want your buttons popping off before the bride gets to open her gift.

I cut the brown twine to about 12" and wrapped it around the top button a few times beginning with the center of the twine (no adhesive is necessary), then did a figure-8 one time around the bottom button and tied the ends into a pretty bow.

All in all, it took no time at all and the best thing about this gift card is that I was able to make 2 cards at once. If you use a 12x12" sheet of cardstock, it's perfect for 2 cards and a real time-saver the next time you give a gift.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a happy mother's day

Meet my mom, Joy.
(please oh please tell me I'm gonna look this good at 54.)

This mother's day was special because G and I are living with my parents while we remodel the farmhouse, so I was able to surprise her with this

and this (from this store)

on the kitchen table this morning.

I wrote a very sappy, sentimental letter to her inside the card. You'd be proud of me.

And she loved it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

two trips to tractor supply co.

Yes, I made two trips to a tractor store yesterday. If only it had been two trips to Anthropologie instead, but alas, there's not a cute-farm-girl market in the city of Bowling Green.

The first trip started with a phone call at 4:00pm.
Greg called with glee in his voice, stating that our brown cow was in labor. He could see a hoof and nose.

I rushed out of the office and headed to the farm, giving Scarlet a call so the kids could come witness the occassion. On the way there, I stopped at TSC (Tractor Supply Co.) for some rubber boots.

The last 3 weeks, we've had rain constantly, and not just a little. LOTS! Like every day. Which is not good for the farmhouse roof -- it has a tarp on it now. It's not good for barn construction. And, it's certainly not good for my William Rast jeans and Kenneth Cole sandals.

Remember my post a while back about those cute Hunter boots? Well, I just hadn't gotten around to getting them, and this was an emergency, so I had to stop at TSC for some boots. I went straight past the girly section. There were lots of hot pink and polka-dotted ones, but I was in for the cheap pair in brown or black. So, into the men's section I headed. Brown and black boots were a-plenty, but I had no idea what size to get, so I grabbed a 6 in the cheapest pair (I normally wear a 6.5-7 in women's), paid for them and went to the car to try them on. WAY too big, but a 5 would do as that's the smallest size they carried, so I did a quick exchange and headed out to the farm for the birthing experience.

By the time I got to the farm, Greg was kneeling on the ground and I could tell things weren't so good. (Now's the time to scroll down past the photo of the cow if you don't want to read a tragic story.)

G: "I had to pull the calf." (okay, 6 words I would never have expected to come from his mouth, but I was impressed.)

Me: "and...."

G: shaking head, "It didn't make it, but it's a good thing I had these sticky gloves. They're anti-grease, so I was able to get a good hold on it" (Now that's the Greg I know, always touting his Grainger supply of various gloves.)

At this point, I think my fingers were the fastest fingers in the East. I whipped out my phone and rapidly texted Scarlet, "Calf's dead. You might not want to come." I was too late, she was already there.

Knowing the sad story, the kids still wanted to see the momma-cow, so they walked out to the field and observed. I drug (or is it dragged?) the calf up (Greg had tied it with a rope), for them to see.

At this point I must insert that today was the absolute worst day for me to start my exercise plan. 3 miles + 1 hour of Pilates and I was sore dragging that 80-90lb calf, but I did it.

Of course there were lots of questions:
  • what's that slimey stuff all over her?
  • is it a boy or girl?
  • why's it's tongue sticking out?
  • why's it's eye open?
  • why is it wet?
You get the idea.

But at this point, we had a problem. Momma-cow wasn't getting up. Until today, I didn't realize they were supposed to get up and walk after giving birth, but they are or they can become paralyzed, and so we were in danger of losing another cow.

Greg called the vet and tried several techniques, but she would just get up, stumble and fall down. After an hour or so of that, the vet came with a shock-stick and had some mild success. What we needed was for her to stand up and stay standing for awhile so the circulation and nerves could repair.

So, it was back to TSC for me to purchase a shock-stick. I wish you could have seen Richard's face (the sales clerk who looks like he's been farming for 4 lifetimes), when I came in asking for that. Thankfully, he put it together for me, batteries and all.

We stayed at the farm, shocking momma-cow every 15 minutes or so until about 11:00pm, at which point I took off my boots and realized one was an inch taller than the other. Upon further examination, one was a 5 and the other was a 6. So, not only was I wearing ugly boots, they didn't even match. Major faux paux, don't you think? I mean, if you're going to wear mud-colored men's boots, they should be the same size at least.

Greg returned to the farm at 6:00 this morning to check on Momma-cow and received this text:
"She's okay....Billy is taking care of her."

Billy's the bull and he was mighty protective of her as she was getting shocked with the stick. So, even though he basically has 11 wives, he attends to them in their hour of need. heehee.

I can already tell this farm thing is going to be filled with ups and downs, if yesterday is any indication. I went from a state of excitement that the calf was being born, to a feeling of sadness at it's death, to a feeling of pride that my husband was able to step up and do something he's never done before or even seen done (pull the calf), to a feeling of relief that the mom was okay, to a feeling of fear that the mom might be paralyzed, and to a feeling of calm that this is just life on a farm and I better get used to it.

I'll leave you with a card I made for Greg's mom. It's a little more cheerful than the story I told.

Supplies: Patterned Paper (Studio Calico, October Afternoon), Buttons (vintage, Jenni Bowlin), Punch (Martha Stewart), Stickers (American Crafts, Making Memories)

I'll let Greg take care of the inside. Hopefully it will be never know if he's going to put his heart into it or wait until the last minute to write something.