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Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggy Give-Away!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

So I've been entering a few (okay a lot) of Bloggy Give-aways this evening over at Don't Try This at Home and I started to feel guilty because I was not offering anything here... so I thought I'd rectify that.

I'm generally a crafty person but with school and the holidays and everything going on I honestly don't know when or what I would have time to make. But I do love Christmas! So... I thought I would put together a Christmas surprise basket. It may contain an ornament or two, some music, some recipes, and maybe something hand crafted if I have time... and if you have something else you would really like to see in the basket put that in your comment and you never know! It might show up in there too (thinking teas, hot chocolates... Starbucks? Who knows! Don't you love surprises?).

So, here is what you need to do:

1. Leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you and one of your favorite physical things about Christmas (the cookies, the candles at church, etc).

2. Go check out the other give-aways! There are lots!

3. Come back and check in with me from time-to-time if you have interest in theatre, home projects, craft projects, living in Colorado, or anything else Jenna related.

I'll close the drawing when I get up on Saturday morning (it could be late... we're having a Halloween party at our house) and draw a name then!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday's Big Project

I am happy to report that I was not an active participant in Saturday's big project. I did take a few of the photos below but otherwise was merely an observer. Reid's friend, Mike, came over and helped with the manual labor.

Reid now has a chimney in his workshop! He was very diligent about seeking out the contractor who gave him advice on installation and building codes and then finding the best deal in town for pricing of the components. He was up early on Saturday morning and began the process of cutting a hole in our garage's ceiling! Eeks! Let's just say I was happily baking bread and then playing computer games inside where I could not see the destruction of our home. Now it's finished and beautiful.
Doesn't he slightly resemble the frightened raccoon or squirrel frequently found in the space between ceiling and rafters in a garage? He is sitting above the part that probably took the longest. He had to frame in a wooden box which held the ceiling support box that goes between chimney and stovepipe.

Once he had the box framed in he found the center of the box (in relation to the ceiling) by dropping a plumb line down through the box and then anchoring a screw in the corresponding spot in the ceiling. Then he took the circumference of his chimney, divided it by two and drew a circle around the screw. Ingenious, eh?

He started using the sawz-all inside but then went up onto the roof to finish the cutting of the circle.

And here is what it looked like from the inside. He's shaving off a bit more... I suggested while he was up there that he install a few sun lights because it created a nice abience in the garage. He didn't go for it.

It took several more steps, but here is the chimney sticking out of the hole, with the flashing screwed down to the roof and netting over the opening of the cap (both to keep animals out and to keep sparks in).

And here is the chimney from the inside with the ceiling box mounted below. The box is what holds the weight of the chimney so it was very important that it is well framed/supported.

And I know what you're thinking... isn't something missing? He wanted to wait and get the chimney installed before he decided how much stove pipe he needed. He also plans on building something (possibly out of cinder blocks) for the forge to rest on as it is a little short for him. After he gets those two things done (and the stand built for the anvil) he'll just need coal and iron and he'll be ready to start taking commissions! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Break Painting of '08

The painting wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We started with trim which is always the hardest (white on white is horrible, a direct quote from Reid). But the actual color went up very quickly. We did touch ups this morning and then put all of the furniture back together. And I must say, I like the colors even more in the natural light of day than I liked them last night in the artificial light.

So, here are pictures of our guest bathroom and study transformations! (please note that the after pictures were taken before touch-ups, hence there are still small things, including blue tape, that will not be there in the final project... or that will be painted over again).

This is the before of our guest bathroom, standing in it and looking towards the middle of the house.

This is looking into the guest bathroom. As Reid said, it was a room that looked like the make-over had started (with the tile floors and such) but never finished.

This is the after picture in the bathroom. We chose a nice slate blue/gray that complements the tile well I think.

And this is looking into the bathroom. It certainly looks more finished, if you ask me.

This is the door to the cloat closet under the stairs (or as we call it, Potter's bedroom) which is in our study (pre-paint... the color was a dusty tan color which was fine but poorly painted and kind of blah).

This is looking at the opposite corner in the room.

And here is the same corner, post green paint!

Our computer station in the study.

And the doorway, which is much nicer looking I think with the green and bright white trim.

And finally... this is what Tater thinks of painting! He tried to step in the paint at least four times yesterday. He is not a fan of change!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Today we painted (my hands are covered in paint)! Reid is on his way to pick up our pizza (painting and cooking just don't go together) and tomorrow once everything is put back together I'll post before and after pictures!

I like the colors... very cheerful and happy (though if you stand in our bedroom doorway where you can see all three rooms with different colors (yellow, blue and green) it does look a little like we live in a preschool. But honestly, if it means cheery, I'll take preschool!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What?? A middle of the week post

This week is FALL BREAK!! That means no school Thursday and Friday and I can not tell you how excited that makes me. Of course I have a stack of work that I should do to prep for the next few weeks but just the idea of having some down time (as I plan to spend a good portion of this afternoon lying on the sofa with Tater reading plays) is doing great things to my energy and morale levels.

This has also been a big week of picture taking for us. First off, the most important... guess what came on Tuesday!

Reid said repeatedly "I've never worked on an anvil this new before!" And now it's his!

This picture gives you a different angle on the anvil and a bit of size comparison (Tater is an average size beagle). Also we took these pictures right after we got home from work and Tater would NOT get out of the picture... when we get home he wants to be right up in our business for at least the first half hour or so (or until he gets his dinner).

This is the snow that we woke up to on Tuesday morning (and which continued to come down until about 10am). It, of course, quickly dissappeared and the sun is now shining on a day that is at least 50 degrees. But it was a nice foreshadowing of winter to come. It made me want to sing Christmas carols all the way to work... however, as I was carpooling with Reid I refrained.

And this is what we woke up to on Wednesday morning... fog... but you can see the horses that are in our pasture through the trees. There are four adults and one colt in all. It seems like a win-win situation. The woman who is renting the pasture from us has someplace to put her horses and we are getting a little bit of income from land that would otherwise just be sitting there.

This is a picture of what we come home to every evening (though this was actually taken this morning). Most evenings I pick up his toys and put them in his toy basket. Then throughout the day he goes to his toy basket and pulls them out one-by-one, spreading them all over the living room floor. But at least they're only his toys.

And here's the toy culprit... he was wanting to get on my lap while I was typing up this blog until I went and got his basket to sleep in (which had to be put in the same room as the computer... no, he's not spoiled).

And finally... a pretty picture of the sun setting over the San Juan Mountains from our back porch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's snowing!

I've been up for an hour and a half and it's been snowing the entire time I've been up! It's coming down pretty hard right now. I'm sure I'll grow tired of it eventually but I love the snow.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A cold and blustery day

I know that I am spoiled by the weather of the San Luis Valley. We get lots of sunshine most of the year. But I do have to lodge a little bit of a complaint. The last three Saturdays we have woken up to gray skies, which have produced wind and rain. Monday through Friday it is beautiful. And then on Saturday, the day we have off work to go outside and enjoy ourselves/do yard work, it is cold and blicky....

But what that does mean is we have time to do things in the kitchen and inside the house! Reid and I braved the elements and went to the farmer's market this morning, coming home with a pumpkin to carve, a few onions to use for various meals and a bag of sixteen beets which I proceeded to cook, peel, cut up and pickle! It only made two quarts and three 8oz jars but they'll be a yummy addition to several meals this summer (once they've had a couple of weeks to sit and pickle).

I also baked a pumpkin bread with the first batch of the pumpkin puree we made a few weeks ago.

Our stash of applesauce, apple butter and pickles!

And I also hemmed four more curtain sheers for our house (one in the study and one on the front door so now the front of the house has the same look all the way across, and two for our bedroom windows). I still have a few more upstairs but they will have to wait for another day. Next weekend I hope to tackle painting our study and possibly our guest bathroom (which means I should have lots of photos to post, as soon as we get our study put back together!).

We're making vegetable barley soup for dinner (a nice warm meal for a cold fall evening). How about you? How was your Saturday?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And what is happening at the Neilsen's house?

This has been a good weekend. Reid and I went to the opening night of Rabbit Hole (the first ASC theatre production of the year) on Friday and it was quite a success. Yesterday we went to the Farmer's Market in the morning and then to a pig roast at another faculty member's house in the afternoon. The weather was not great yesterday (cloudy, windy and pretty chilly) but the company was great and we spent most of the time indoors. There were a significant number of babies and so of course I enjoyed myself!

This morning we got up, cut up apples (that we bought at the farmer's market) and are boiling them down to make apple butter! What can I say? I've got the canning bug... but don't worry Dad. Reid and I made an apple pie last weekend and we kept out enough apples to make another one this week too! We also bought cucumbers and I plan to make my grandmother's bread and butter pickles this afternoon.

And perhaps the biggest news of the weekend... Reid's forge is put together! Now he still has to do the stove piping/chimney for it which is the biggest part... but the pieces all came the end of this week and he put together on Friday. The anvil should be arriving sometime next week... of course he's playing it cool in these pictures but I guarantee you he's excited!

Reid posing next to his forge... he is thinking about raising it on cinder blocks to get it a little higher (and obviously this isn't it's final location... it will move further to the center and back towards the back wall some).

Reid says that this is the cleanest you will ever see his forge! This the front (though you actually forge out of the side of it I believe) complete with hood and fire-pot.

This is the back of the forge, with the blower and control knob.

And finally, a few pictures of the cranes which are back (they stop here in the Valley in the spring and fall on their migration path). They weren't too sure about me so I couldn't get too close, but they are truly magnificent to look at, both on the ground and in the air!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reid and I's weekend (yes, I know it's Wednesday

One of the many reasons I am glad I have a blog is because I easily forget. Take for instant how bone-chillingly tired I am most of the time (it's 8:30pm and I'm wiped!), running around like crazy at work literally from the moment I get there until the moment I leave (to come home and do more work for school)... I was pretty sure that this was new this semester, due I thought to increased workload outside of classes that being in my second year brings me and because we're putting up an additional show which means my costume work has doubled for the fall semester. However, I went back and looked at old blog posts (of first semester last year) and recalled one night when I was lying on my bed crying because I knew I still had two more hours of class prep ahead of me and I was so tired! And that makes me happy, in a strange sort of way... the blog helps me remember that I was at this place before and that there is light on the other side (namely winter break)!

At any rate... I wanted to quickly tell you about Reid and I's weekend. We went to the Alamosa Farmer's Market and in a streak of crazies I decided I wanted to buy an entire box of apples and can them! So, we did! Reid and I peeled the apples, made applesauce and canned approximately 144 oz of the stuff on Sunday and Monday evenings. Not only that... we also bought a pumpkin, cooked it down and made roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin puree! And I must say, I am quite proud of us. So proud that I'm thinking about buying something else this weekend and making jam!
Enjoy the pictures!
Here are our roasted pumpkin seeds... yes, they are sideways. I didn't mean for them to be but I'm too lazy to take the picture down just to flip it :)

Our bags of pumpkin puree... I'm not sure in the end that the work is worth it (I think the cans of pumpkin puree only cost a few dollars more than the pumpkin we bought). But I'm sure I will enjoy the resulting pumpkin bread!

Reid peeling apples... we peeled quite a few of them (though together it was a lot less work than I thought it would be).

Me mashing applesauce (and striking some strange modeling meets I've been standing on my feet for too long pose).

And our final hull! Not bad hunh?? And I'm proud to report that all 16 cans seemed to have seeled up nicely. Of course now we have to crack one open and make sure it's yummy before we give it away as gifts to anyone... 'cause of course Reid and I aren't really fans of applesauce :) But we'll eat it on icecream and I bet it will make good applesauce bread.