Thursday, October 18, 2012

Basic training

The son of a good friend of mine just headed off to basic training with the National Guard.

It brought back so many memories of when my own son left, a few months after graduating high school.

He was only 18 and I just knew he was too young to be heading off to Missouri with a bunch of strangers.

I vividly remember taking him to the National Guard armory to board a bus that would take him to the airport and then to Fort Leonard wood, Missouri.  He was going to be gone for 6 months.

I cried.

I cried a lot.

It was so hard to see him go.  He was so young and had never been away from home for any length of time before.

He left on August 17, 2009.  This was the first picture that I got from him while away, it was taken November 29, 2009.

I went over 2 months without seeing him.

He already looked so much older.

I was telling my friend how hard it was.  My son was gone for almost 6 months straight.  He did get to come home for Christmas, but then had to go back for the last 2 weeks of training.

We drove out to Missouri for the family day and graduation.

It was an awesome experience.

I was telling my friend that she needs to make a point of going to the graduation.  It's a once in a lifetime experience.
This is Trency with his drill sergeant.  That guy doesn't look so scary!!  I think he's even trying to smile.

If you've ever been to a military graduation, I think you'll agree it's something you will never forget.

If you have never been then you can get an idea of what I'm talking about from these 2 videos.

Warning: the volume is really loud, you may want to turn your computer volume down.

And here is the second one...

He is leaving in February to head oversees.  If I thought basic training was hard, I'm sure this will be much harder.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My first painting class

A few months ago, I was invited to attend a painting class with some friends from church.  I've never seen myself as much of a painter, in fact I'm usually the one that would spill an entire gallon of paint on carpet.

I'm generally very clumsy and sloppy when it comes to painting.

I was a little apprehensive about attending this class, since we did have to pay for it; but I figured what the heck, I'll go and enjoy myself and it'll be a nice afternoon out with the girls.

Well let me just say, I loved it!

In fact, I loved it so much I've been checking their website every month to see what I would like to go back and paint.  So far I haven't been able to find the time to attend another class :(

The class itself was 3 hours long.  That may seem like a long time, but you are busy every.single.minute

There is so much that goes into the painting.  You don't just go there and slap some paint on a piece of canvas.  The instructors take their time and actually teach you how to paint.

We went to a place called Sips n Strokes.  You can check out their calendar here.

The painting we were doing was called Whimsical Tree.

We started out with a blank canvas and a paper plate full of paint.

Talk about daunting....I'm not sure how I'm ever going to get all this paint onto that white canvas and make it look like anything but a big gloppy mess.

Julie and Pam are excited and ready to go.

 Ok, so all of us are excited and ready to go.

The instructors were fabulous.  They taught us how to do everything in baby steps.  That's exactly what I need, baby steps.

This was our first layer.

I could have just taken this home and it would have been better than anything I had painted before.

But no, they made us keep going.

The top of my tree.  It's already starting to look whimsical.

We just kept adding more and more to our tree, eventually filling up the entire canvas.

Then we added all the other colors.  I loved that we could do it anyway we wanted, it was our own painting and it could look how we wanted it to look.

Our finished products.

My family couldn't believe that I had painted it.

I have my painting proudly displayed in the library.

I really did enjoy myself and can't wait to get back and do a second painting.

If you have a Sips n Strokes in your area, you definitely need to check it out.

I think you will love it too!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to frame a window

Framing a window seems like it would be a fairly difficult task, but it really isn't as hard as it seems.

There are a lot of steps to it, but it can be done by almost any DIYer.

Hubby and I work together on a lot of projects in our home.  He will do the harder, or shall I say manlier stuff and I will do the easier things.

While he is at work during the day, I can get a lot of the steps for our projects done if he has done his harder parts before hand.

We have been finishing our basement, a little at a time, as time and money allows.

Framing the last window was next on our list so I got us started on this project.

This is the window to be framed.

It's just a single window in the basement and should be a very easy job.

The window had only been installed by the builders and left as is.  After drywall is installed, then we (the homeowner) have to finish the framing.  This makes the window look all pretty and hopefully will help to keep bugs out.

We had all the supplies on hand and start by having hubby cut all the 1x8's to the correct length and width.  You will have to measure your width from drywall to window to insure you cut yours correctly.

Four pieces will need to be cut to go around the perimeter of the window.

Once all the boards have been cut to length and width and you ensure they all fit correctly, they can be nailed to the 2x4 inside the window ledge.

Start by drilling a hole for the nails.   Drilling a hole first will help keep the wood from splitting when you hammer in the nail.

Then you just hammer in the nail.  You want to make sure that you put the nails close to the window ensuring that you hit the 2x4 that is inside.

After you install all the wood around the window ledge, you can begin measuring and cutting your trim. 

Cutting the trim is a little trickier as you have to remember to cut on a 45* angle and to make the cuts on each end go in opposite directions.  Other wise it won't line up correctly.

Attaching the trim is super easy if you have a pneumatic nail gun.  Hubby used to have to drill holes and then nail in finishing nails.  It would take him forever but with the nail gun, it's super quick.

After you nail up the trim, the window already looks so much better.

 The next step is to caulk all the openings around the window.  This will also help with keeping bugs from getting in.

Also use wood filler to fill in the indentations made from the nail gun.

After everything is sanded, it is ready for some primer.

After the primer has dried, the window is ready for a coat of white paint.  Sometimes I will go back and do a second coat of paint if I don't like the way the 1st coat looks.  Usually with the primer, that isn't necessary.

And now, the window is finished.  The drywall in this room has yet to be taped and mudded, so I'll have to wait for any window treatments.  

 Have you ever framed a window?  Did you think it was pretty easy or something you hope to never have to do again?


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