Archive for December 2011

Bonswa!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hey everyone! Things are going great here in Haiti.  Cassie and I arrived safely with no problems and have been loving on the kids ever since.  Our days are filled with lots of playing and enjoying time with the kids.  The weather is absolutely beautiful here.  It's around 90 each day with no humidity and a good breeze all day.  The fans inside are plenty to keep us cool.  We've gotten to work with a team every day which has been wonderful and keeps our days exciting.  Not being able to drink the water has been a little interesting.  We have to be very careful in the showers but they're so cold that we take them quick anyways!  Overall though, there are no complaints.  We are enjoying our time both with the kids and Dorothy. 

We have had a couple of adventures.  The second night we were here we had a nice mouse chase.  It snuck out from behind the bookshelf and we were able to trap it in one of the windows.  Lets just say it was more than entertaining. Last night was just as fun.  We don't have city power right now so when the generator ran out of fuel, we had no power until we went to bed.  That meant we ate dinner by candlelight.  While it was fun and beautiful, no power caused a couple of problems.  We made scalloped potatoes but when we pulled them out of the oven they were filled with ants.  Haha it was so dark that we couldn't see them before we cooked it!  Needless to say we did not eat the potatoes last night.  We also heard some rustling while we were eating and when I turned the flashlight on, we saw two roaches going through a trashcan behind us.  We decided no power may be a good thing, at least we don't have to see them! Haha!  We have definitely gotten the full Haitian experience!

We are having a great time!

Tonight will be interesting.  Celebrating New Years in a different Country is always a guaranteed good time.  Dorothy says they will be shooting lots of fireworks.  She said it will probably sound like we're in the middle of a war.  Should be exciting!  I plan on watching from the roof until people start shooting guns.  Then I think our New Years will come to an end.  We're just hoping the kids and dogs don't get too terribly scared, or that we can at least sleep through their cries!  We shall see!

The rest of our time here is going to be filled with lots of playing with the kids, but also a few outings.  We're going to church tomorrow, we'll go souvenir hunting one day, Dorothy is going to take us driving around to see more of Haiti, and we'll be making a trip to the grocery store soon.  We're going to make a special night of taking some of the kids to Epidor (the "american" restaurant) to let them get pizza.  I'm sure they'll enjoy that.  We're also planning on cooking for the kids one night as a special treat.  We love to make them smile!

Well that's all for now.  I love you and miss you all. Please keep us in your prayers over the next few days.  See you January 10th!

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And we're off!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In exactly 12 hours, Cassie and I will be on the plane heading to Miami.   In 18 hours we will be arriving in Haiti!  It's hard to believe that all our planning has finally come to this moment.  Tomorrow we will be in Haiti- that's crazy exciting!!!!  I think we've got everything ready to go, I just have to finish packing.

This was my room a few hours ago:

Yikes!  You have to bring a lot of stuff when you're gone for two weeks in a different Country!  

This is my room now:
Yes I got all of that stuff into one bag and one carry on.  That takes skills.  I'm waiting on a final load of laundry to dry and other than the toiletries that I have to pack in the morning, I'll be ready to go! 

Thank you all for your support up to this moment.  Please continue to pray for Cassie and me as we take this journey.  Please pray for safe and timely travels, our safety, our hearts, the hearts of those we're with, our health, and that we would have the courage to do what God calls us to do.  We are both very excited and blessed to be going on this trip.  We cannot thank you enough for all the love and support you've all shown us. 

I will update my blog as much as I can while we are in Haiti.  So stay tuned!  

Thank you again!  


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Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From our family to yours, we wish you the very Merriest Christmas!  I hope your day is filled with lots of love, laughter, joy, and memories.  Make the most of this holiday and remember Jesus is the reason for this season.  He has truly blessed me this year, and I hope He has done the same for you.  Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday Randomness

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's been a busy couple of days around here.  I've been working at Day Camp each morning, preparing for Haiti, finishing my Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents.  I finally have all my gifts bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree.  It's beginning to feel like Christmas (although I'm not enjoying the cold).  It's a small Christmas this year, but I'm excited about all of the gifts I am able to give.  I'm also excited Christmas falls on Sunday this year.  While it throws a small twist into our normal Christmas morning routine, it's a welcome twist.  I mean how often do you get to celebrate Christmas on a Sunday morning?

On another note, everything for Haiti is pretty much squared away.  I've been getting a little nervous every now and then, but I'm really excited.  I don't really know why I'm nervous, I guess it's just that I'm ready to be there and have the traveling done with.  I'm use to traveling with a team, going by ourselves is a little nerve-wracking.   We will be just fine though.  There are so many teams and people traveling to Haiti now that it should (hopefully) be a very easy experience.  I'm also excited to announce that not only did Cassie and I both receive all of our money, we also got enough extra to take Dorothy's staff a small gift, get some craft items and books for the kids, as well as bless Dorothy with a financial gift this Christmas.  I cannot thank you all enough for your support.  Thank you for your love, gifts, and prayers!  It is going to be an amazing trip.  I will try to update my blog while we are there for all of you readers.  I'm not sure when, if, or how often we will have access to internet but I'm hoping to update at least once or twice.  So keep reading!

Well, I'm off to Erin's house for dinner.  She and Stephen (well probably just Erin) are making dinner for us tonight.  Tomorrow after work I'm heading back to her house to do some crafting.  Those old windows Pa gave us need to be cleaned, sanded, and painted.  We also had some extra boards left over from creating her bedroom art that she wants to paint and create a picture wall out of going up their stairs.  After that I'll be heading to a Church friend's house to give some design advice for possible renovations.  Friday I get to babysit some of my favorite kids.  I'm so excited about this because I have not met little Zoe yet.  Then Saturday is Christmas Eve!  Wow, this year is coming to a quick end!

Happy Tuesday!

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How I Did It: Fabric Canvases

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now that I'm home on break, I've had a lot of extra down allowing my creativity to flow.  It's been  awhile since I've gotten to create for fun and not out of necessity.  Last night, I decided to tackle the bare walls in my room.  I painted my room gray a while back, but never got around to hanging all my pictures/art work.  The hardest spot was deciding what to put above my bed.  My headboard isn't high enough so the wall above is very bare.  I would love to have a taller headboard, but since that is not in my budget, I decided to create some artwork to go above it.

I originally bought three canvases to paint, but after painting one I didn't like how it turned out.  So last night I came up with plan B.  I got the canvases, some extra fabric, and decided to make fabric wrapped canvases. Here take a look:

 Extra Fabric.
The canvases.  The first one has my original painting idea, the yellow just didn't pop as I had hoped
 Cut the fabric of your choice to fit around your canvas.  Iron out the wrinkles.
 Center your canvas on the fabric panel.
 Typically I would use hot glue, but I couldn't find any.  Instead I used a good quick-drying fabric glue and thumb tacks.  Put a line of glue down down one side of the back of the canvas.
 Pull the fabric over the side and tack in place.  Make sure it's even on the first side. Then firmly pull the mirroring side and tack in place.  You want to make sure you pull it tight to avoid wrinkles on the front. 
 Then do the same thing to the smaller sides pulling firmly and tacking in place (or hot gluing).  Wrap the corners as you would a Christmas present for a clean edge.
 The finished product, firmly wrapped.
 Then I decided to add a creative touch to it.  Pick a pattern you like and cut it out of a contrasting fabric.
 Tack your pattern in place on the canvases and glue.  I chose to space my canvases apart, so simply cut the part of the pattern that stretches across the opening. 
 The before.
 The after.
I think it looks pretty good.  And if I get tired of the pattern it's a quick easy change.

Simple and cheap.
Canvases:  Three at $8/each=  $24
Fabric:  $5
Glue/Tacks/Scissors: Free (I already had them)

Total:  $29
Custom artwork for less than $30!

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Welcome Home!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A few weeks ago I saw a little news clip about President Obama ending the war in Iraq and that all troops would be home by Christmas.  I wasn't sure if it was true or not, so I asked some of my very "up-to-date-on-politics" friends and they all thought it was just a rumor. I'm happy that they were all wrong.  Cassie texted me this morning that President Obama's speech today at Fort Bragg marked the official end of the war in Iraq!!!!! While I support our troops and completely believe in our mission there, I think our time in Iraq is done.  We got the people that attacked us or were a large threat, so our job is complete and successful.  I'm so very excited to hear this news.  It has been 9 long, successful, and difficult years in Iraq and it thrills me to know the troops are coming home!  The best part is that they will all get to be here with their families for Christmas!!

Christmas miracles do happen!


I can only imagine the joy the troops and their families must be feeling right now.  They have all got to be filled with pride, excitement, honor, and pure happiness.  Reunions of soldiers and their families are such a heart-warming thing to watch.  The fact that it's almost Christmas makes it that much better.

So to all the soldiers, Thank you!  Thank you for your bravery, commitment, honor, sacrifice, patriotism, and strength.  Thank you for serving our Country in our time of need to protect those you love.   Thank you for being brave enough to risk your life for our freedom.  Thank you all for your service these last 9 years, the years before, and all the years to come.  Your dedication and efforts do not go unnoticed.  I am so proud to call myself an American. To live in a Country like ours is truly a blessing.  I cannot express my gratitude for your service enough.  I hope all the soldiers coming home have the Merriest Christmas ever.  Hug your loved ones, hold your kids tight, kiss your wife, and make the most of this Holiday season.  Thank you and welcome home!!!


To their families, Thank you! I never fully understood how difficult it must be for military families until a few weeks ago. I know it's hard to say goodbye to your loved ones, but thank you for supporting, loving, and believing in them.  I know from talking to my friends in the service, that their family's support means the world to them and is what gets them through each day.  Thank you for standing beside them, uplifting, supporting, and loving them.  Thank you for your bravery, strength, and sacrifice.  I can only imagine the joy you must be feeling right now.  Go hug your soldier, shower them with love, and enjoy every single moment with them. Laugh together, support one another, do your favorite things together, and above all love one another.  I hope you all enjoy this Christmas season together.

Thank you and welcome home!!  




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Note to self...

I got this grand idea a few days ago that I could make a passport/ticket holder for my trip to Haiti.  I had been searching online for one and the only ones I could find were Royce Leather for $22.  There was one seller on Etsy that made them, but they looked a little dinky.  After examining each of them, I thought I could surely make one myself.

On my way home today I stopped by Hancock Fabrics to pick up some supplies and off to creating I went. And well...that's where I hit the wall.  Lets just say my efforts were less than successful.  I created three different ones, the first two being completely unsuccessful.  The third, while done and possible to use, is less than beautiful.  Here take a look..

Hahah I literally laugh out loud every time I look at the finished product. The crooked lines, its flimsiness, the thread that doesn't match.  Oh it was an experience...

First to prep the work area.  I had my passport and old ticket to use for measurements, a good pair of scissors, a sewing machine, and the fabric.  And yes, I used that Christmas candelabra as a lamp.  Apparently we have no extra lamps in the house and mine are all at school.  Pathetic I know.

Here is where the issues began.  I had to rethread the machine about 101 times and recut the patterns over and over again.  Hince my box of trash and frustration.

Oh you see that crazy threading?  That's because the tension in my machine didn't catch right. Unfortunately I didn't realize it until it was too late. That means I could have either taken it out and re-stitched everything (not happening) or it will probably fall apart after a few uses.  Frustration source #2.  This is also one of the reasons I had to rethread my machine 101 times.

The finished product.  Please notice the crooked stitching, the white thread on purple fabric, and if only you could hold it to see how flimsy it is.  Haha.

Oh and to top it off, I leave the room for 10 minutes and come back to find my dog chewing on this.  That would be my only spool of black thread. Yeah that's history.

But how can you stay mad at this face?? 

Needless to say I will not be taking my creation with me to Haiti.  I had all intentions of making both Cassie and I one, but sorry Cassie, you won't be getting one unless you are dying to have this one.

Note to self:
  1. Stick to making pillows.  Becoming a seamstress is not my calling.
  2. If Royce Leather is the only company that carries the product you're looking for, don't be foolish and think you can make it yourself.  Clearly it requires a professional. Hince the dinky one on Etsy.
  3. Buy a real one tomorrow afternoon and hope it gets here before my trip 
Hahah.  Fail.

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Design Inspiration: Future Apartment Design

Monday, December 12, 2011

With graduation getting so close, I can't help but to start dreaming up ideas for my apartment.  I'm hoping to get a job near home so I can save money for a few months, but it won't be long before I get my own place.  Lately I have fallen in love with what I call "rustic modern" design.  I love the warmth of the colors, rustic accents, its homeyness, the simplicity, and the beauty in these designs. I've been saving pictures as design inspiration for months now and thought I'd share a few of them with you.  I'll probably have to buy new upholstered furniture pieces when I get my own place, but luckily my grandfather either owns or can easily find rustic antique treasures! Just the other day, Pa gave Erin and I some beautiful old window frames from his barn in the pasture.  While he got those out, I saw a bunch of old tables and furniture pieces that I'd love to fix up and have one day.  Pa told me I had to wait until I got an apartment, so well... it just added to my apartment dreams :)!  What can I say, I think it runs in my blood.  Here are some of my favorite inspiration photos:


 I want this coffee table!!!  ---^


Notice a reoccurring theme? I need to find an apartment with beautiful beams running across the ceiling. Unfortunately I don't think that's an option for an apartment, but maybe in my first house?!  I've also decided I have a deep love for white/beige sofas.  They may not be the most practical, but they sure are gorgeous!  Match a beige sofa with some beautiful warm browns, earthy greens, grays, and yellows and you've got my dream space.  Simply stunning.  



One can dream....not long until it becomes a reality!

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Now what?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I finished my one big exam and one of my presentations.  That means I have one more presentation and one small exam left to go.  I've been working non-stop for months now and I'll be honest, it's really weird having nothing to do.  I took a nap this afternoon and have been watching Hallmark movies since.  Weird I tell you...weird.

And boring!

I've considered packing for home/Haiti, doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, going Christmas shopping and so many other random activities.  I haven't done anything yet, but I think laundry will come first.  What else would a college gal do on a Saturday night? I mean come on, laundry is just a blast!


Yeah I'm bored out of my mind.

Only three days until I get to go home! Cassie and I will be helping at Grey Stone Kids Camp's Parent's Night Out next Friday to raise money for our trip to Haiti and Chris' trip to Ethiopia.  I'll be working at camp the next week to get some money, then Christmas will be here, and then Cassie and I are off to Haiti!  I cannot believe this year is almost over!  Where has the time gone?  Where has the semester gone?  Am I really graduating in 5 short months? Wow!  It's going to be a fun-filled few weeks at home and some much needed relaxation/family time before next semester starts.

Well laundry time I guess...or maybe another movie?

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Wrenn Project

Friday, December 9, 2011

As promised, below are a few pictures of my most recent project.  Our goal was to redesign the admissions building (Wrenn) on campus to propose a possible renovation.  Dr. Qubein would like to build a new admissions building but because this is the most historic building on campus, they wanted to see what solutions we could come up with.  I kept the original building but proposed a tear down of the existing addition as well as proposed a new addition plan.  We have worked on this project all semester covering everything from existing plans, new plans, furniture selection, budget, perspective and elevation drawings, etc.  Below are pictures of my presentation posters.  Uploading the 25 plans I drew would shut down my blog, but I have a copy of them if you'd like to see them in person. I'm not sure how big I can get these pictures to post, but I also have large copies of those if you'd like to see them in person. Hope you enjoy!


This is the existing Wrenn building.  Unfortunately I could not find a picture that shows the addition on the back.





I present this on Monday to Andy Bills and other High Point Admissions employees.  I'm excited to show off all my hard work this semester.

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Thursday Thoughts: I made it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

That's right, I made it through the semester!!  Sorry for my last post (now deleted), that was embarrassing.  I never have breakdowns like that and simply needed to vent.  Luckily mom was there to help.  She always gets me through those times.  Nonetheless, I made it.  My Wrenn project is turned in, my detailing project is almost done, and my one big final is tomorrow at 1:30.  I wasn't sure I'd see this moment but here it is and I'm still in one piece. Thank you Lord for getting me through this! Tomorrow I plan to celebrate and relax.  I cannot wait to have a day with absolutely no stress.  A day where I can sleep in, enjoy the sunshine, maybe do a little Christmas shopping, stay up late, hang out with friends, and do it all over again the next day.

One more semester of college! Wow!  The job search will pick up again over Christmas break and fingers crossed I'll find something.  For now, I've got to do a little studying and finish up my detailing project.  Thank you all for your support during this week.

I'll upload pictures of my project later. Stay tuned.

Update on Haiti:  Cassie and I both have all our money in!  We are set and ready to go.  We even got a little extra to give to Dorothy as a Christmas gift. Thank you all so very much for your support.  Only 19 days until we will be in Haiti!  I cannot wait!!

Will you please keep our trip in your prayers?  And will you also please keep Todd, his family, and friends in your prayers as he is away at training?  Thanks again!

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Soldier Shout Out

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I just had one of the best weekends ever.  Three of my best friends from home came to HPU to stay the weekend with me.  I had been telling Kevin about High Point for awhile so it was exciting for him to finally get to come visit.  The best part however, is that Todd's 10 days home from Basic fell during this weekend.  I had hoped he'd be able to be here for this weekend, but never actually expected it to happen.  It was SO much fun getting to catch up with everyone, and hang out with Todd for a few days before he goes back.  Our weekend was filled with lots of laughs, games, story telling, and more laughs.  I love all three of them and have so much fun when we get together.  It was a much needed break from design and a well overdue reunion.  It was my favorite weekend this semester, we had a blast.

Saying goodbye today however was harder than I expected. I've never known anyone in the service or experienced having to say goodbye to a friend for such a long time.  I am so very proud of Todd for what he's doing and support him 1000%, but saying goodbye is not fun. We have all gotten so close and it's weird to think we can't just pick up the phone and talk to him whenever we want now.  Once he gets to California he'll be able to stay in touch, but for the next month or so we won't get to talk to him.  My friends mean the world to me and I love to keep in touch with everyone.  Having to say goodbye for such a long time is a new experience for me. However, our Country would not be what it is today without people like Todd.  I'm so thankful for all the men and women who are willing to serve our Country and put their lives on the line for us.  It's a sacrifice I never fully understood until now, and it makes me SO much more grateful for all the soldiers and their families. I'm blessed and honored to call a Marine one of my best friends. I'm so proud of and thankful for you Todd! We are all going to miss you and I can't wait to hang out again! Please be careful and come home safe! We will all be praying for you!




I truly have the best friends in the entire world! 

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