Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There's a Mouse in the House!

That's right! Yesterday morning we woke up to the cats chasing a mouse around our bedroom. Ahhh, fall. It's funny too because you might not imagine it, but Abner is actually the one who always catches the mice. If you're not aware, Abner has some neurological issues and isn't always the most coordinated cat. So to have him be the one to hone in and catch the mouse is sort of surprising. But for some reason he's able to focus when it comes to hunting and is an awesome mouser. Myra is great at giving moral support :) and is always willing to play with them once they're injured enough.

I was able to get it from Abner before he actually hurt it and trapped him in our critter box. I then dropped it off in a field on my way to work. It was his lucky day for sure!

I've also decided to try a new craft (like I really need more crafts to occupy my time) but this will be a fun one for the house. Have you ever seen paintings done on windows that look like stained glass? Well I've always wanted to try it and decided that it could be nice to have in our dining room. As you can see from the pictures, our dining room is basically surrounded by windows, which is great! But a lot of them weren't sealed good and now have moisture inside of them that cannot be cleaned. The door in the dining room is probably the worse, so I'm thinking of doing a painting on it.

Anyway, I got some paint and did a couple practice runs. It went pretty well and I think I'll be able to do it. Now I just need to come up with a design. Hopefully I'll be able to get it done on my next days off.

You start by making an outline with "lead" paint (I don't think there is really lead in it though) it's like a harder puffy paint. Wait for it to dry (about 8 hours) and then add the color. Once it dries, you can see the light shining through it. You can do it directly onto the glass or onto these sheets of plastic and then peal them off like cling-ons. Very Cool!

And one last thing - our septic system is finally fixed! Mike and two other guys fixed it last Saturday, so we now have both bathrooms functioning again - thank goodness that's over with!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Harvest Kitties

I did this cutting last night. I wanted to get it done for the papercutting guild that I belong to. They have a quarterly magazine that they put out and they have themes that they ask for cuttings of. This one was "pumpkins, squash, harvest, and cuts portraying humor." I thought it could be cute to have Myra in a pumpkin and Abner looking in at her.

This was also my first cutting ever where I put paper behind the cutting - creating a painted look. This one is with some of the marbled paper that I've made at work.
I like the effect - what do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2008

House Update & Batty Stories

We have now been in our new place for a little over 2 months and things are definitely moving along. Unpacking is getting close to being over with - although we still have a good 20 boxes in the garage - mainly books and decorations though, so nothing too involved. And decorations is where I am still lacking with getting done. I guess I want to get everything out and see what I want to keep and finally get rid of a lot of things that I have been hauling around for years. We also haven't gotten to putting up pictures either, but once we get all the furniture situated, I think we'll be able to move along with that as well.

The main issues that have taken our time and attention (when available) are our master bathroom and kitchen. We really didn't have much desire to get right into fixing the kitchen, but after my first attempt at cooking on the stove top, I realized that we needed to move on getting a different set up. The stove top looked fine, but couldn't heat up to boil water - it wasn't that bad, but I swear it took me 3 hours to cook one night for something that should have taken about 30 mins. Anyway, we got ourselves a new oven and Mike installed that. We also decided to go for a new counter top, AND my parents bought us a dishwasher as a housewarming gift. So it's been coming along. We're making new updates, on an economical scale, but I think the final result will be such a HUGE improvement. This is the one side of the kitchen that has been attacked!

This is the before - see stove top, old light fixture, old counter and space by frig for dishwasher.

Ripping out - Mike had fun with the demolition!

After - new stove, dishwasher and counter. We still have some alterations to make (hense the missing drawer) but it's functioning and awesome!

Close-up of counter.

My mom has also been able to spend a couple of days with us on two occasions. The first time she helped me paint all the insides of the kitchen cupboards, and all the hall closets, and gave me some good painting tips for doing our bedroom. She again was here earlier this week and sanded and painted our three hall doors, painted the trim work in our bedroom and also improved our outdoor ramp! (Mike's parents and my dad have also been up for shorter visits and have helped in so many ways too! They've helped to move furniture, clean, install the dishwasher, repair falling apart furniture, and provide tons of moral support and guidance!! THANK YOU!!!)

Here is the "before" of the hall closet doors - they seemed to be painted to look like a wood finish...

Here is a close-up of one of the doors before - definitely in need of some tlc!

My mom sanding away - quite a handy lady!! :)

The after product! Thanks mom - what a HUGE difference!!

And here she is spray painting the ramp outside - that was also a great improvement!

While my mom was working on the painting side of things, I finally got a big dent in unpacking more boxes. AND I tackled my craft room! There's still a lot to be done but I can at least get to things and have a space to work. This is one of the highlights for me - having a craft room back again. I had one in DE but didn't have it set up as good as I would have liked. And then in our apartment I had to share a craft space with the guest room and it was just a horrible combination...so I feel like I haven't had a space for working for about 2 years! I am so excited to spend some quality time in here!

Now onto our master bathroom issue: we have two septic systems for our house, it's kind of strange, but that's just the way it is. Our master bathroom is the only thing connected to the one septic tank, and then the rest of the house (other bathroom, kitchen, laundry, etc.) is connected to the other system (that is twice the size of the one for our bathroom.) Well, to give a quick summary, the one for our master bathroom is malfuntioning, and we are in the midst of trying to get it repaired. We were going to try and dig it up and figure it out that way, but all the people that we have had look at it suggest tying it into our other septic system....so that's probably what we will do. We just need to find someone to do it. It's a crummy job because there is a tight crawl space under our bathroom where a lot of the work would have to be done. So we'll see. But for now, we are not using that bathroom, except to shower since that is our only shower in the house. Luckily that hasn't seemed to aggravate it too much, but we hope we can get it fixed as soon as possible. So that's been a ball of fun!

Now onto some pictures of the pets and nature. I have this next picture of Myra because when we moved into the house, she refused to come out from under the blanket on our bed. The poor girl was so freaked out and literally stayed under the covers for a good 3 days. Luckily she finally adjusted and is at peace with her new home.

Abner enjoying the heat in the sunroom/dining room

Goofy picture of Abner - he's a happy boy :)

And here is a silly picture of Myra - what a character!

Grasshopper on top of one of my mums that I planted outside (check this album for more pictures of our house and improvements!) Smith Abode

We also had a family of Robins! I was so excited because I discovered them the day they were born. Here is one of the first pictures I got - there are 3 of them.

9 days later

12 days old - I think that they flew away the next day (I was in DC, but I could tell they were close when I left).

And one more quick thing - we had a BAT in our house last night! We had gone out to Pixel and when we got back I was walking through the guest room and all of a sudden saw something flying around. I immediately hit the floor and was trying to decide it it was a bat or a huge moth OR I was just loosing my mind and seeing things. After about 10 mins of Mike and I searching the room and rest of the house we determined that it really was my mind that was going. So off to bed we went without thinking much more of it. Then after about 5 mins of laying in bed watching a movie, here comes the little bat flying through our bedroom - making circles all around us. I'm sure you can just picture both Mike and I laying on our backs as we sink lower into the bed and pull the covers up under our eyes...I'm sure we looked pretty funny.
Luckily with working in the parks and with wildlife, I've been told what to do if you ever have a bat in your house. So here is what we did. We turned out all the lights and then opened our door to the porch and put the porch light on. And literally 2 mins later, here comes the bat - did about 3 loops around our living room and then made it's way onto the porch. We got the door shut and turned off the porch light. Then walked around to the outside of the porch, latched the door open and pointed a flashlight toward the door leading the bat outside. We stood there for just another minute and just like that, the bat flew right out and into the night! So take note - if you ever get a bat in your house - don't freak out and start swatting at it - it's probably more freaked out than you - just turn out all the lights except for where you want it to go - slowly lead it out of your house one room at a time (closing doors behind you as it moves out). It was actually pretty cool and I'm still amazed at how well and quickly it worked! Yay for bats! I just hope we don't get anymore - I'm still puzzled how it got into our house in the first place.

Ithaca Brew Fest 2008

Saturday, September 6th, Ithaca had their 2nd annual Ithaca Brew Fest.
Mike and I missed the first one last year so we were excited to check it out this time.

We got there a little early to help set up. I got to help with a "hop garland" which was hung in front of Ithaca Beer's booth.

I was unaware when I started that hop vines can actually cause a skin rash - so needless to say, by the time I was done helping with that, my arms were all scratched up - lesson learned!

In the beginning, Patina, Nicole and I helped with directing traffic and then we got to put bracelets onto people as they entered the event. It was definitely entertaining.

Here's Patina

and Nicole

And then we all got to have some time behind the booth - fun times :)
Mike, Ryan (he used to work at Ithaca Beer Co.), and Bill

Me & Patina

Goofing off - Mr. Benz and Chris

The festival was held at Stewart Park, which is at the bottom of Cayuga Lake. It was a really nice setting - and a great festival too!

Happy Birthday Mike!

September 1st (Labor Day), Mike turned the big 3-0! We were at the lake for his actual birthday and had lots of fun celebrations over the entire weekend.

Bill, Patina, and their son Dylan went to Keuka with Mike on Sunday, and on their way, they stopped at a couple of wineries.

Here's Bill, Dylan & Patina, I think at Bully Hill

The Big "D"

Mike's parents were also at the lake. Mike's mom made his favorite cake (chocolate/peanut butter) and they had some fun gifts for him too. I had to work over the weekend but actually had Monday off so I was able to make it for part of the time.

Betsy, Mike's sis, sent him a bathing suit from Hawaii (she had just been there on a trip) and he promised to use whatever she gave him that day. Good thing we were at the lake and he could go for a quick swim. The weather was sooo beautiful the entire weekend!

A picture of relaxation.....

Mike and I also took a hike at Watkins Glen. Even though we've been here about a year and a half (and I do programs at Watkins almost weekly), Mike had still not hiked the trail. It had probably been about 9 years since he had gone there. So we stopped by on our way back to Ithaca.
Here is Mike under Cascade Falls

Here I am under Rainbow Falls - this is probably my favorite spot in the glen.

The birthday boy above Rainbow Falls

I also got to make a trip to DC the end of August to see my brother and family. It was a fun time and the boys sang Uncle Mike a birday tune:

T-burg Fair 2008

The Trumansburg Fair was a few weeks ago and we got to go one night with Bill and Patina. It was a fun time to say the least - here are a couple of pictures.

Cut-outs are so fun...I think I might have to make some of my own one day :)

Reunited with Linds

I know I'm back-tracking but I've missed a lot with my slacking of posts. About a month ago, Mike and I made a quick trip to State College to visit my friend Lindsay and her boyfriend Brian. It was so great to see them since we hadn't seen Linds for almost two years and had never met Brian. We had a nice relaxing afternoon by the pool and an awesome grill-cooked dinner.

Here we are the next morning - probably not the best picture of any of us - we were still a little sleepy, but it was a great visit!

Lindsay and Brian live in Portland, OR and Lindsay owns her own business of making customized/fitted clothing. Check out her website! magnolia designs

Summer's Coming to a Close

Fall is usually when people's schedules start speeding up and filling with activities such as going back to school and hunkering down on work which was put off during the summer months. But for me (and Mike) this is the time of year when things start slowing down and we can finally come up for air. I guess that contributes to why fall is my favorite season. There is some comfort in the thought of programs slowing down and not running around with my head cut off (at least completely off). I've actually had some time to unpack more boxes at home and look at this - even dedicate some time on the computer to update our blog! How crazy is that!

So like I was saying, my work is coming to the end of the busy season. Of the four of us leading programs over the summer, we are now down to 2 (myself and Lauren). I must say that the summer went really good, even though I didn't even have my head attached! I truly lucked out to have a great staff working with me and I think we pulled off a great season.

Before we called it quits, my boss threw a "Thank you" party at her house and we got to spend some quality time together. I made these photo collages for my staff as a thank you. I had never done them before but thought that they turned out pretty good.

In the frames




Here we are - the whole staff with spouses/friends

I also decided to make some personalized magnets for everyone - they were pretty funny.