Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Busy January

January, normally our slow month at home, has been shaping up to be quite eventful.
My SIL Amanda is the president of our local arts council. I am proud of her for jumping in with both feet. The arts council hosted a “Besties and Brushes” class a few weeks ago and we all painted funky roosters. Mine is well, uh, er, unique I guess. I like the top and actually surprised myself but I sure don’t know what went on with the bottom third. Even so, I had a great time, the turnout was exceptional, and I will definitely do it again!

IMG_5508 IMG_5509
Wyatt, my MIL Desiree, and I went to Chehaw Park on the MLK holiday. I haven’t been since Wyatt was very small. He thoroughly enjoyed it all. The weather was outstanding and there were no crowds to fight.
Jake, Ben, and Rivers’ tutor suggested that they get planner books for their school assignments. I had a blast making these for them. Jake’s is all farm-related stuff. Rivers’ is full of the ultimate girly Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley stuff, and Ben’s is fishing-themed.
The sweet young boy that made me an aunt for the first time turned 13. That was a doozy. Jake was born less than a year after Justin and I started dating and it blows my mind he is already a teenager. I can still remember the day I talked to Justin and he told me he had been born. I was in Tennessee for a church trip and was sad to miss the big day but I was proud just the same.
IMG_5554 IMG_5555
I recently discovered a kindred spirit in a girl named Abbey. She’s from the Atlanta area and has a FB page that talks about all the greatest Tupperware and vintage Pyrex things she finds at thrift stores. She posted her rainbow cabinet full of Pyrex and I shared all of my Tupperware. It’s crazy to see all of those colors but they range in age from 50+ years old to less than 5 years old.
Justin and I snagged this beautiful light at our favorite local thrift store for $8. He had to do a little creative installation but I think it updates our front porch very nicely!
Finally, this beauty graced my table Saturday. Justin has a coworker at the EMS in Cordele that changed our life when she shared her recipe for pecan pie with NO KARO SYRUP! I kid you not! There are as many pecans in the magical crust of this pie as there are in the rest of it!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hatching Out Chicks

Justin and I are very excited to get chickens again. We had two laying hens when we lived in town but we gave them to my SIL and BIL during our move just over a year ago. We have been slowly getting things at the new house sorted out, but it seems like once we get one thing fixed, something else pops up that needs to be seen about.
Justin has been working on plans for our new chicken coop and he hopes to get it built over the next month.With that in mind, we found a family that was selling fertilized black copper maran and blue copper maran eggs on Facebook. We decided with a ton of help from my SIL and BIL (they’ve hatched out hundreds of chicks) and borrowing their incubator and egg turner, we would take a chance and hatch our own chicks.
IMG_5174 IMG_5178
I have wanted copper marans for their beautiful dark eggs for a while now. I freely admit I picked these chickens for their egg color and I picked the last chickens we had because they looked like they were zebra striped (Dominique breed). I also want a few Ameraucanas because of the beautiful blue eggs they lay and some other Easter Eggers. I know egg color doesn’t affect taste but they sure are pretty!
We placed the eggs in the incubator three weeks ago and had to (im)patiently wait 21 days to see any action. I swear I was like a mama feeling her baby kick for the first time when I heard the first faint sounds of cheeps from the eggs last Friday night. I felt even more like a mama when labor—waiting for the chicks to emerge—lasted for more than 24 hours!
IMG_5563 IMG_5567 IMG_5572
Just after supper on Saturday night, Justin yelled at me to come look because one was hatching RIGHT NOW! I was just about as excited, if not more, than Wyatt was!
By bedtime Saturday night, we had three freshly-hatched chicks still drying in the incubator. It didn’t seem as if the 30 eggs were making much progress, but we went to bed hopeful that we would wake up to an incubator full.
Unfortunately, when chicks hatch, they heat up the incubator. Justin woke up Sunday morning to go to work and found 9 more hatched out overnight but the incubator temperature soared to 110 degrees—10 degrees higher than what is ideal.
We had two more chicks hatch out on Sunday, but sadly many of the eggs didn’t hatch. One of the chicks that hatched Sunday didn’t make it either. The spike in temperature could be the reason. Some didn’t even pip (crack) the shell so they might not have been fertilized. We had less than a 50% hatch rate. First time lessons learned are hard. Justin is already working on a cabinet incubator that will have an electronic thermostat that will adjust itself automatically for us.
IMG_5604 IMG_5606 IMG_5609
All said, we have 13 fuzzy adorable chicks that will keep us well stocked in fresh eggs, and eventually fresh meat. Yes, it will be hard to eat these chickens when they’re grown but I think if everyone had to go through this process, we would be more aware of the circle of life.
    IMG_5617 IMG_5622

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gallery Walls

I have been collecting cute signs and framed items for the past year in hopes of creating a few gallery walls in our house. Yes, we’ve lived here over a year and still have huge blank walls. I got a few extra things at Christmas to add to the mix. I was off work between Christmas and New Years so Justin and I settled into the task of getting things hung. I rolled out some leftover Christmas wrapping paper and proceeded to lay out my pieces. I have a mix of handmade items like my Georgia string art or the tatted Cook doily, purchased items like my Georgia souvenir plate and my silver peanut dish, our wedding invitation, and prints like my “I love Georgia” letterpress I got from my sister as a graduation present.


You can see here I didn’t have frames picked out. We went to Tifton and found semi-matching frames for the smaller items. I switched things around until I got them just right and then I traced the outlines of each piece.


We taped the paper to the wall to get the placing just right. Justin had to measure from my marks to the hangers of the various items to make sure they were hung in the right place. He’s definitely a measure-twice-cut-once person, which I definitely am NOT! We used these Incredible Hooks from Dollar Tree. They are lifesavers. They can hold up to 35 pounds and work great as long as you’re not right over a stud. We had two or three items that were on the studs, so Justin did drill a few holes.


These hooks are great for sheet rock but they took a bit of force on our paneled walls, so Justin drilled pilot holes with his screw gun and the smallest bit he had (I think a 1/8” bit).


Here is the finished product. I think it’s really neat that six of these are handmade by a friend or family member. I hope to keep adding to the spread as we find meaningful pieces.



Several years ago I had a boss that would purchase art when he traveled. Justin and I decided that it would make sense to do this instead of buying souvenirs that would just gather dust or get thrown away years down the road. We made our first purchase in New Orleans for our fifth anniversary. We bought three prints by James Michalopoulos. His impressionist style caught our eye and we trekked into about ten stores to find the ones we liked. We also got a group of postcards from our trip to the Great Smoky Mountains this past fall. See- it’s not high end art. One day we might be able to purchase original artwork, but for now it’s more about preserving the memories.


The final piece was from my trip to India this summer. I bought several saris with the idea that I would frame them or stretch them on canvas. I also bought a painting on silk of a decorated elephant. Somehow I forgot to write down the correct number of frames so I was three short. Justin had the best idea of framing a sari with the elephant silk on top. It worked out great!


Our final work in progress is the UGA wall. Justin got these three UGA signs for Christmas and he’s had the old Herschel Walker clock since he was little. I know this wall will be added to a lot in coming years. It’s not decorator chic but I live in a house with Justin and Wyatt and it can’t all be frou frou.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Miscellany

I cleaned up more insulators. I love seeing the shiny glass and pretty colors!
New Years Eve at the Perry family’s house!
IMG_5124 IMG_5149
Big haired boy! Wyatt is in dire need of a hair cut.
10167921_10205957867735906_1611583574293624883_n IMG_5161 
Camellias are blooming! I got my first bud last week!
Sami snagged up this awesome Georgia sign for me in the mountains.
Our tiny little town just got a new Walmart Neighborhood Market. It is like a mini grocery store. I think it’s mighty convenient (just a few miles from my house) but it’s aisles are pretty tight and it’s a little dark in there. I will probably just do most of my shopping at the local Piggly Wiggly but it’s nice to have options.
January is in full swing and I updated my five minute craft project from last month with Chicfetti’s latest calendar. Little happy almost-free projects are smile makers!
Justin and I scored this GORGEOUS screen door at a local salvage/junk seller’s house last weekend. It’s going to be a great addition to our chicken coop.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pasta Making Day

For my graduation from UGA, Mama and Daddy bought me a pasta machine and a drying rack. I was excited to have some friends and my sisters and mama come over to make pasta and ravioli in one long marathon session.
Amanda brought some of her chickens’ eggs fresh from the coop for our pasta.
Here’s our secret family recipe (stolen straight from the internet!):
Everyone brought their own ricotta, mozzarella, and filling choices. We had a lot piled up!
I used to think my kitchen in my new house was plenty big, but after we crammed eight of us, a table, and two pasta machines it was very tight quarters.
IMG_5327 IMG_5331 IMG_5335 IMG_5319
 IMG_5344 IMG_5342 IMG_5347
Everyone got to take their ravioli and pasta home. Mama, Suzi, and I piled our ravioli up and used them for our big Mastrario family birthday party for Daddy, who is turning 65 next week. We are notorious for not having the correct numbered candles so we had a 6, three 1s, and two single candles somewhat making up the 65 for his cake.
 IMG_5360 IMG_5361