Clean up from last month’s wind storms is finally wrapping up around here, including the giant pine that fell behind our house. The men of the household have been busy with the chainsaw, cutting it down into pieces and loading it up in the truck. At the same time I have been inspired by the craft projects I have seen on Pinterest using wood logs. The first one I wanted to make was these wood bookends, so I snatched up one of the logs from behind the house and had Connor cut it into quarters. Then, I used a chisel to remove the bark (much easier than I was expecting, thankfully!). I let the wood sit out in the sun for a few days to dry out, as the bark had left a mushy residue behind. Now that it is all dried out, I just need to put on a clear coat to protect the wood from bugs and crumbling over time.
(The same day, I was re-potting some overgrown plants, so I took some photos of them using the wood, and it inspired me to use them as plant stands as well!)
A few of my favorite wood projects that I am hoping to do in the future!
1. Stump and ink prints…Absolutely stunning!
2. Wooden Christmas tree ornaments…So cute! It reminds me of an old tradition we had where every year my dad would paint a wooden piece like these with a mural from a vacation or big event from the year. It was a great way to reminisce each year while setting them out for display!
3. Log planter…Love the two natural elements being used together.
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/20/2014
I tell you, over the last few weeks it has felt like we brought Colorado storms/tornado season back to Washington with us. Over the last month, we have had two extremely large and dangerous wind storms that knocked over so many trees, damaging hundreds of houses and leaving thousands without electricity, some for over a week. Thankfully for us, each time we were only without power for a day, but unfortunately others are still recuperating from their losses of homes, vehicles, and food.
It was interesting to see how different age groups responded to the loss of electricity. My nephew (now 5 years old and efficient with iphones/electronics since the age of 2 or 3) practically broke down when he couldn’t watch his favorite movies or download games on the iPad. And on the opposite spectrum, those 30 or older were found sitting in their running cars outside of their houses, charging their phones and watching videos. Connor and I about died when we saw this. What happened to the old days when losing electricity meant playing hide and seek, or board games by candlelight? Is it only the 90’s kids that reminisce over these days, and try to relive them when we have the opportunity? I find it funny when parents and grandparents say my generation is terrible for being addicted to technology or having bad etiquette. It was just the other day that I was in the doctor’s waiting room and I listened to a full conversation of the 50-some year old woman behind me about her not being able to find a good pair of shoes for some family gathering. In the opposite corner, a 30-some year old woman flipped through magazines while her 8-year old daughter obnoxiously and loudly sang along to the songs she was listening to on her ipod. Meanwhile, I sat quietly in the waiting room with my phone on silent while I waited to be called back. And my generation is bad?
Anyway, I got off topic there.
Needless to say, Connor and I were pretty excited when the power was out. Not at first, as we quickly bought bags of ice to save our food. But rather than sitting around complaining about it, we pulled out the board games and played, and then I decided to do some sewing on an ipad case I had been meaning to make for several months. Nothing to get you motivated like no power, right? I designed it as I went, but maybe these pictures will spark some of your own ideas for making a custom case for your own devices. All it takes is some fabric, needles, and thread. At least when the power goes out, the electronics can be stored away in style!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/13/2014
It’s been a long long time since I last went huckleberry picking, I mean, at least five, maybe ten years! The other weekend we went to our cabin at Priest Lake with some family and friends and picking huckleberries was pretty much our main goal for the time we spent there. We went two different mornings, for 3-4 hours each time, running from berry patch to berry patch and filling our buckets. By the end of the weekend, each person had a gallon (considering there were 7 of us, that is a lot of berries we found)!
I decided to use Connor and my two gallons for a couple different treats, including several mason jars full of huckleberry sauce (some which we gave out as gifts but plan to use on ice cream and cheesecake), huckleberry lemonade (which I drank all myself), and still have a ton left over, which I have yet to decide what to use for. Suggestions or recipes, anyone? Send them my way! Here are a few pictures from when we cleaned all the berries and boiled them into sauce.
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 08/06/2014
(Photo via Martha Stewart)
Last week, I posted about our trip to Greenbluff’s Fleur de Provence Lavender farm, where we picked a bucket full of lavender! A few weeks before, I had received my issue of Martha Stewart Living, which had a special article about a woman who accidentally started her own lavender farm, as well as several recipes using lavender essential oils. It inspired me to try making my own essential oil from our fresh lavender, but every recipe we tried was a dud, and I later learned it takes a real distillation process to make legitimate essential oils. So, that failed. Instead, we kept the lavender in a vase and enjoyed the smells just from having it in the room. But I still wanted to make the recipes from Martha Stewart! With some friends and family, we had a girls’ craft night and worked on the following two recipes: lip balm and candles. We did end up purchasing lavender essential oil, as well as several other scents. Here are several pictures from the process, taken by my friend Nicole! Check out the full recipes and other photos on Martha Stewart’s website.
I have to just say, I am so happy to be back to Washington with my friends and family, and super excited for the first of many to come girls’ craft nights!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 07/30/2014
It has been a HOT summer! The days have all quickly warmed up to high 90’s and even 100 degrees! One morning I was scrolling through my Facebook and saw a post from Green Bluff, my favorite place to go, especially in the fall. They do harvests all year round, though, for things like cherries, apples, and even lavender. Their post mentioned a fun place called Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm (check out their website as they have great tips for growing lavender as well as recipes!), where you can cut your own handfuls and even buckets full of lavender! It sounded like an amazing way to spend the morning, even in the hot hot hot weather.
So we got out of the car and were quickly greeted by a lady who, from the look of her dark tanned skin, ran the business and did all of the care-taking of the lavender. She told us about the different kinds of lavender growing in her field, taught us the best way to test the smells (running your hands up a bundle of their stems), and showed us how to cut the lavender. Because lavender attracts bees which swarm around the plants, you use your foot to shake the plant a bit until the bees fly away. Then you grab a handful of stems, and cut them near the base by the leaves. We were able to mix and match the different kinds, although we had no idea what we were using them for, so we just picked whatever we liked or smelled good! It didn’t take long before we had an entire bucket full.
It was so peaceful out on the lavender farm. Because the weather was literally melting people, there weren’t many others braving the heat, so we had the farm basically to ourselves. When we stopped talking, all you could hear was the humming of thousands and thousands of bees. Although I am quite terrified of bees (they like to sting me for literally no reason), it was actually a soothing sound to hear all of them buzzing away doing their natural work. But you couldn’t quite frolic through the fields like I always imagined doing, without getting stung hundreds of times. And the smells…it was by far the best. To breathe in the air and get a sweet lavender scent filling your nose was very calming. It filled the air, but I was happy to take home even just a bag!
Take your chance to harvest some lavender yourself, unlike me, the lavender loves the summer heat!
Posted by Shaleesa Mize on 07/23/2014