Dusting off the blog

It’s been over a year since I last posted. A year ago I was working on my bedroom , I am so happy with that renovation! My room is still clean, uncluttered and all white. I love it. Of course in our typical style we still have not finished any of the little things that needed to be done. So there are still lights that need to be hung, closet shelves that need to be built and always trim that needs installed. What is it with us and trim?

This past year has seen a lot of changes I went to work for Dan, then I stopped working for Dan. I think you can fill in the blanks there. Daniel is now engaged to Megan, Beth is still nannying while that may not have changed from a year ago the families have, and Thomas has quit both his job and moved to Red River Gorge, KY.

Thomas and a friend are spending their days rock climbing. They plan to stay down there as long as they can survive the cold. They should be home the beginning of Dec. So it will be about 5 weeks of living in a tent, with minimal bathing and no clean laundry. But they are doing what they love! You can read more about their adventure in their blog: http://chasingthecrag.com/author/chasingthecrag/ This is just a trial run to their bigger trip that starts in the Spring. It is exciting to see them doing something they are so passionate about, even if it means not having him home every day with me.

Which means that Dan and I are at least temporarily empty-nesters. We are taking off for a week long trip to NC. We go as a family every summer but this will be the first time Dan and I go alone. I’m excited to see what it’s like there off season. Dan is excited to wake up every day and go fishing, of course. We’ve always talked about having a trailer down there so we can spend more time on our favorite Isle. This will give us a peek to what it like when the weathers not so warm.

As for me, my big change…I have, after many years of talking and searching, finally rented an artist studio space. It’s close to my house so I can easily pop over there to work. It is small and cozy which means its affordable even if I don’t sell any of my art. I have been spending the past month painting, moving supplies, organizing and mostly washing glass. All my stained glass had been stored in the garage for many years, which meant every single piece needed to be washed. What an overwhelming job that was. But it is all clean and sorted by color and ready to create something.

I’m really excited about the idea of creating and learning even more. So far everything I’ve done with stained glass has been self taught, and I am really at a place where I want to take classes and learn from others. Since there’s not many classes around here for mosaic stained glass work, it looks like we’ll have to do some more travelling! If you want to see what I’m creating you can follow my FB page; https://www.facebook.com/lifesmanycolors/ or watch for pictures to be posted to my Flickr acct: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilarocks/ or watch for new updates on my Pinterest board:https://www.pinterest.com/sheilat111/stained-glass-color-splash-studio/. Lots of options for mostly all the same stuff so just pick your favorite. I’ll also be updating the blog with my new projects but it will be updated less frequently than the other options.

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Dan built me this fabulous workbench, with a light box built right in.

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There on the floor are 3 of my tubs of glass that all needed to be hand washed. There are 3 more large tubs and several smaller tubs that also had to be cleaned. But look how nicely the colors are sorted, doesn’t that just make your organizational OCD smile?

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There are still shelves that need to be built, peg board that need to be hung and other misc. decorative things that need to happen, but it is officially a workable space.

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I really need to get a comfy chair for that corner. You can only spend so much time standing or sitting on a metal stool before you want somewhere comfy to sit and contemplate. Also that door needs to be painted, how boring a plain brown door is!

What’s next

Now that things are winding down on the house, what am I going to do with all that free time? There are still things that need to be done at the other house but we are going to work mostly on the weekends finishing those projects. So that opens up a whole lot of time for me. I definitely need to paint some of the furniture I’ve stock-piled and pay some attention to my booth. It has been sadly neglected for way too long. There are also many, many unfinished projects in our house that need some love. I have gained a whole new level of confidence after all the work I’ve done at Elliott so I am more than ready to start gutting our bathroom and kitchen, two long over due projects that I have wanted done forever. I think Dan would say I need to wait until loads of money magically appear before those two projects can be started. But that’s OK I have several projects that are only 1/2 done that need to be finished first.

But our immediate, as in right this very moment, plan is for our first ever trip out of the state together without the kids. We have travelled LOTS with the kids and LOTS separately, but strangely never together without the kids. Dan had a continuing ed/ financial seminar that he could go to at the Opryland Resort so I decided to join him for a long weekend.

I was expecting a very lush, extravagant room after hearing stories of previous trips he went on without me. And the lobby/ atrium/ grounds did not disappoint but sadly when we got into our room it was just a typical boring room with no balcony overlooking all the lush gardens. I was so disappointed! When we walked over to the convention center to get Dan registered we struck up a conversation with another family that was here for the conference. They mentioned that they upgraded their room so the could get a balcony room. Duh! why didn’t we think of that? While Dan was at the opening talk I went back to the room called guest services and asked if I could get that upgrade, yes there was one balcony room left! So the bellhop came up to the room and helped me get all settled in our new room. And here is our new view from our balcony:

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And these are just a few pictures from around the atrium, well one of the atriums. This place is massive! We walked for about an hour last night trying to decide where to eat dinner. Of course, we kept getting lost and that added to the walking. I think the wine I had just drank didn’t help with us getting lost so much either.

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All the waterfalls are so loud it kinda sounds like our room when we stay at the ocean. This morning when the doors were opened I could sit in bed drinking my baileys and coffee and pretend that we were in Emerald Isle. Sadly this trip has no fishing for Dan.

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And this is where I’m heading in about an hour, for my pedicure and facial. Yes, while Dan is sitting through several hours of financial talks I will be having a leisurely day at the spa! I’m really wondering why I didn’t join him for these conferences in the past?

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I think I’m going to really enjoy being done with that full time job I had for the past 4 months!

Rock Climbing at Geneva Hills

Thomas, Dan and I spent this past weekend camping, about an hour away from home, so that Thomas could do his first outdoor rock climbing. He has been climbing at Vertical Adventures for the past year, but this was his first time climbing on actual rocks! it was a great weekend spent with some really nice rock climbing families. We can’t go wait to go back again.

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This is Thomas’ first ascent up the boulder.

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I am amazed at how strong he has gotten this year. He is no longer my little boy, he has definitely grown into a man body.

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He looks pretty proud of himself. Actually, I think he’s laughing because his coach Justin chastised him for whale-rolling onto the top.

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And since this was a rock climbing trip of course he needed to bring the slack line.

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Geneva Hills is privately owned summer camp facility on 350 acres in Lancaster, which just happens to have some undeveloped rock climbing areas. In exchange for the climbers coming in and clearing out paths to the boulders and cleaning off the rocks, we get to camp for just a donation to the campground. It was a beautiful area, that we’re looking forward to returning to.

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and here’s a few more pics of Thomas climbing some of the others boulders.

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Dusting off the blog

It has been almost 2 years since the last blog post that I have written. Long enough that I couldn’t remember how to log in to my blog or even what program I used to use to write my blogs. Thomas and I are starting a new adventure and a friend suggested I should blog about it. I love the idea of documenting everything we’re doing but I’m not sure if I’ll have the dedication to take the time and write about it. We’ll see how this goes.

It’s funny how I have shared different interests with each kid. When Daniel was still living at home we watched a lot of cooking shows; Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man vs. Food. Mostly shows with exotic foods and chefs that travelled around the world. Then when he left for college I never watched another cooking show, it made me too sad to watch them without Daniel. Beth and I watched Project Runway and Americas Next Top Model again not shows I ever watched without her. Thomas and I also have our favorite shows, we love car shows; Top Gear, Fast N Loud, Counting Cars if we had the space we would buy an old car to rebuild together, sadly we don’t have the garage space for that. We also like auction shows, house flipping shows and renovation shows. Thomas has also been the kid that has had the privilege of living almost his whole life in a construction zone and helping with the many never ending renovations we’ve tackled in our very old house.

So on to that new adventure…I am buying a house for us to renovate. While I really want to flip houses this first one is for the kids to rent. At first Daniel, Megan and Beth will live in the house. Then in 4-5 years when Thomas is ready to start at the Police Academy him and BJ plan on kicking the other kids out and moving in.

I think I need to clarify my previous statement that “I am buying a house for us to renovate.” I have been wanting to do this for years, recently I started looking at house online and stumbled across the house we are now very close to owning. I didn’t mention any of this to Dan until the night before I had set up a showing, it was just an idea I was throwing around and I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. Dan couldn’t go see the house with me but Thomas and I fell in love. OK maybe I fell in love and Thomas was quietly stoic. Dan did go look at it the next day and agreed that this was an amazing deal and a house with great bones. Yes, it needs a ton of cosmetic work but structurally it is very sound. Without one word of complaint or objection Dan worked out the financial side of this endeavor and made it happen for me. I love that about him, instead of pointing out that our house is practically condemnable due to unfinished projects he just lets me go into something that is a little bit crazy.

I do have a big picture plan; Thomas and I will do all the work we can on this house (with a little help from Dan when his expertise is needed) and within 2 months it will be move in ready. Then I think we should move in so Thomas and I can gut our kitchen and bathroom and finally get our house finished. That idea is very dependent on our financial outlook at that point, but that’s what I’m hoping we can do. About the time we are done with all that the kids leases we be ending in their apartments and they should be ready to move into the house. And if all of this goes as planned then the next house I buy will be a flip and we can finally make some money from this new endeavor.

Bzzzzzzzz….

We have a new family member, well actually we have about 10,000 new family members. (Hmm wonder if we can claim that on our taxes?) We now have a bee hive, right smack in the middle of our garden. Dan thought our past dismal tomato crops were due to lack of pollination so he decided to get a hive. Well I’m sure much more thought and preparation went into it but from what I saw we just all of a sudden got a hive.

Last week made the early morning trek over to Conrad Hive and Honey in Canal Winchester to pick up his 3 pounds of bees with queen. Our bees had just been driven in along with a truck full of bees from southern Georgia.

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BJ is not too excited about the addition of bees to our yard. He keeps reminding me that he is allergic.

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Here’s our friend Tim, who has a few of his own hives, helping us get the hive set up.Thomas is all geared up and ready to go.

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This is what hive looks like, you just keep stacking these layers on top of each other as needed. We’ll be starting with just 2 levels but can add more as the bees fill it up.

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The bees have been released. They’re slowly making there way into the hive. The queen is in her own little box and she has already been placed in the hive. The bees work to release the queen from her box by eating through a plug of sugar candy. If she is just released into their midst before they are used to her they will kill her and the hive will die.

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About 4 days later Dan is opening up the hive to check on the queen and see if she has been released.

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That’s the queens box that he is pulling out of the hive.

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The queen is still in her box, since the bees had not released her yet, Dan will pull the plug out and put her box back in the hive so she can make her new home.

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Once the queen and her box has been replaced Dan closes up the hive.

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But the next day we were worried because there was no bee activity outside the hive so I did just a tiny peek into the hive to make sure all our bees hadn’t flown the coop. Dan publicly accused me on Facebook of single-handedly destroying the hive and scarring away the queen. But no worries he is just an alarmist and the hive is buzzing happily.

I wasn’t sure about having a hive right in the middle of our, not so big, garden but I really like having the bees back there and you hardly even notice them.

Just a little bit of Ginger…

At the beginning of 2009 I decided to make big changes with the food we eat, the cleaners we use and the products that we put on our bodies; and the rest of the family has had to come along for the ride no matter how much they’ve complained about it. One of my favorite changes has been to quit coloring my hair with chemicals and to use only natural Henna.

In the past 2+ years I have hennaed my hair (with the help of my mom) many, many times. I’ve also slowly brought on some henna converts. My sister 1st hennaed her hair when she was out for a visit and now only uses henna. I also had a group of friends over that were curious about hennaing. A couple were brave and let us henna their hair while the others watched and laughed at the mess we made.

I started with Rainbow Resources henna which I can buy at Whole Foods, it’s convenient and inexpensive, but recent readings about henna have got me wondering if my all natural henna is maybe not so all natural after all. After reading the free eBook How to Henna Hair I’m wondering if there is maybe a better product I should try. I’ve since switched over to Light Mountain Natural Hair Color. I like that it doesn’t make my hair quite as brassy red as it was getting with the Rainbow Resource henna.

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Yes, it does smell just as good as it looks, much like a barn.

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So that’s what I would look like with dread’s, hmm….

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Once you start hennaing you’re kind of committed to it since there could be a reaction with other less natural coloring. I do sometimes miss being blonde but I don’t miss the chemicals, the expense and having to deal with the constant grow out.

***Hmm I just realized I’ve used these pictures before in my post about the first time I henna’d, I guess it has been awhile since my hair was quite that long and I guess I’m due for some new hennaing pics.

The end of an Era

It is a sad, sad time in the little town where I live. The local Caribou coffee shop is closing it’s doors. A neighboring restaurant is taking over the space. I’ve spent so many hours of my life in that homey little shop. Not only did I love the coffee but that has been a meeting spot for friends and family.

Back in 2005 after finishing massage school I spent every morning for weeks (maybe months, it seemed like forever) over there studying for my State Boards. I would meet my friend Paulita and she would work on writing her novel while I studied human anatomy. I think a lot of time was also spent talking but we really tried to stay on task. She also laments the loss of this landmark in her blog.

When my Aunt was still living in town, my mom, Aunt and I would meet on Friday nights to play Mahjongg on one of the big tables.

For years my mom and I would meet for coffee on Sunday mornings. Eventually my dad started joining us and sometimes Dan or Paulita would also stop by. It was a nice way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning.

There are a few other coffee shops within walking distance, and I guess until May we will have to try them out. But in May down just 2 doors from Caribou, will be a new coffee shop opened up by one of our favorite Caribou barista’s. The Grandview Grind will hopefully be our new hangout. It will be much smaller than what we’re used to. All of the Caribou regulars are already heading over to claim their seats (even bringing their own coffee to sip on while the shop is still just an idea on paper.) Paulita thinks I need to show some of my art work in the new space so maybe I will bring over some of my stained glass windows and see if they are worthy.

I’m excited about supporting a local small business instead of a chain. I think this will turn out to be a good thing. I just hope I still get my .50 off for bringing my own cup!