Monday, April 29, 2013

Progress around the Grounds!

We have finished (for the near future) all of the work in the front yard. HALLELUJAH!

A couple of weeks ago, Home Depot was running a killer sale on mulch and landscaping supplies, so we jumped on it. This project cost approximately $130 dollars. SCORE!

Jared and I worked really hard on clearing out this patch of land, let me tell you. You might remember this photo.

Jared hates yard work. 
If we lived on a normal plot of land, this might not have been such a big project, but because of the hill, everything seems a million times more difficult. We scraped the top layer of grass up and put down landscape fabric to keep out the weeds. Then we started shoveling mulch on top of the fabric. We used 20 40-lb bags of mulch.

THAT'S 800 POUNDS, PEOPLE. so. much. mulch.

So, here's the end result!

This is from the side of the house looking up the hill. I told you. This yard is NUTS.

When you stand at the base of the front steps, this is off to your right.

I love the view from our front porch now! The random PVC pipe sticking out of the ground used to hold a really pretty glass plate flower that unfortunately broke, and I've yet to remove the pipe. Go ahead and pretend it doesn't exist.

This is the view looking off of the left side of the porch. Those wind chimes are approximately 7 feet tall. In the future, I'd like to fill in some of the open space with more plants, but for now, I'm happy with the yellow rose, the lilac bush, and the flowering peach tree.

I'm trying to train honeysuckle to grow up the side and into the lattice on the front. I cannot wait until it blooms!

I'm super excited about how this project turned out! We've got all kinds of great plants out front, and most of them were given to us! My aunt gave me the giant rosemary bush; my cousin dug up the 3 knock out roses and rescued them from an employer's yard who was going to trash them; my Nanny gave me a seven sisters rose along with the yellow rose and the lilac bush; Ma gave me the honeysuckle vine. So many people contributed to this little garden plot, and I'm so grateful!

Just as a little reminder, here's what the house looked like when we bought it.

And now!

Have any of y'all embarked on any crazy, intense yard projects?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Photo Friday 4.26.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

This week started out sad for me because of Parrie's passing, but the Lord knows how to balance out your grief with happiness. I'm getting a sister-in-law!

Ian asked Jenna to marry him at sunset on a dock near our town with a diamond that was Jenna's grandmother's. Afterward, we surprised Jenna in downtown Woodstock to celebrate!

We also celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday! I picked this bouquet for her as a gift.

I've been taking Puck on a couple of short walks everyday, so that she can get used to being on the leash. Eventually we want to be able to take her camping and on adventures. Right now, she still panics if she sees another dog, person, cat,'s kind of frustrating, but I'm hoping there are better days ahead.

Ophie's been enjoying the sunshine!

This week has been tough. I go from super happy and then to sad when I remember Parrie's death. Please keep me in your prayers. This weekend is her service, and I know it won't be an easy weekend. In spite of any sadness I feel, I know that the Lord has a purpose and he's given me so much to be happy about. Thank y'all for your prayers!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How NOT to Paint a Ceramic Horse.

This project started as a disaster; I'll be honest.

Daddy gave me this horse planter. It was really ugly, but I thought it would be great to paint white, so it would have a crisp, modern feel. Plus, it belonged to my grandma, and I wanted to keep it. I just didn't want to keep it ugly.

(Also, if it is worth a million dollars, please do not tell me because I ruined it.)

I decided to spray paint it white, so I scuffed it up with some sandpaper, and started spraying. The paint just dripped off of it.

I was super disappointed.

This is what it looked like after I attempted a couple of coats of spray paint.

Pretty bad, right?

I wasn't to be deterred though. I busted out my acrylic paint and started painting. and painting. and painting. until it was way past dark. You would not believe the layers of paint I put on this ugly thing. Once I was satisfied, I went to the garage and sprayed a clear coat of valspar over it to seal the acrylic paint. If I didn't, it would have chipped in 2 seconds flat.

Back when Daddy first gave me this thing, I bought this plant to put in it. He said that Grandma had a philodendron in it when it was at her house, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Just look at this majestic beast in my living room!

Ophelia is intrigued.

So, the moral of this story? Do not attempt to spray paint ceramic things and expect that it will cover it very well. If you'd like to have any success (at least in my limited experience) paint with acrylics and add a sprayed clear coat! Also, make sure if you have a planter like mine, you add some kind of gravel to keep your plant from getting waterlogged!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Parrie Pinyan.

Two days ago, while I was singing at a charity event for the American Cancer Society, Parrie's battle with cancer ended. The irony wasn't lost on me. When I realized that was where I was when she passed, I thought it was some kind of cosmic joke. While I was "kicking cancer's butt," it stole one of my friends. I was angry. Parrie was so good. So kind.

I realize now that cancer didn't steal my friend. She didn't lose a battle with cancer. She won; she's with Jesus. She's no longer in pain. She received the ultimate healing.

Parrie was a constant source of inspiration and comfort to me. She told me several times over her last week on this earth that I was a comfort to her, but she will never know what her big heart and loving nature has meant to me. I tried telling her when she was with us, but then and now my words fall short to describe what she means to me still. She was an adventurer, nature-lover, organic gardening enthusiast, a paddlin' nut, and one of the best friends I've ever had. 

I knew it was coming. I was going over everyday to help with the smallest, most basic things. I had seen what the cancer was doing to her. I knew she wasn't going to be with us long, but that doesn't keep it from hurting. The heart breaks, but it keeps beating just the same.

As I was leaving that last morning, I told Parrie goodbye. She sat up in bed, looked in my eyes and told me she loved me. I love that the last things we said to each other was that we loved each other. She was such a great friend. Like all friends, we had our differences and misunderstandings, but at the end of the day, she loved me and I loved her and I know I'll never be the same because of her. 

I asked her what her favorite verse was once, and she told me it was John 14:1. "Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me." I think all of us that are missing her so badly can think on this verse and remember to not let our hearts be troubled. She was ready to go, and she's no longer in pain. 

In honor of Parrie, I'm going to spend the day outside, tending to my garden and enjoying the day like Parrie would be if she were here. 

She loved her Asa Gray.
Her compost is legendary. This papaya tree grew out of the compost pile! 
I love you, Parrie. Thanks for being my friend. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photo Friday 4.19.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

My sister bought a car this week!

Now we're a Geo family!

There was a septic issue at Jared's parents' rental property, so we spent most of our Sunday in the rain digging a trench. Don't worry, it's just mud on my boots :)

Puck was a glamour girl this week.

This bugleweed is taking over my front flower bed AND I LOVE IT.

This tiny azalea has never had this many blooms!

My Christmas cactus seemed to be confused.

Jared and I went on a date and I ate more shrimp fried rice than ever.

Have any of y'all heard of Newspaper Blackout? It is so much fun!

One of my students knitted this necklace for me. She says, "If anyone wants one, I'll sell it for no less than 50 cents and no more than 5 dollars." Kiely is hilarious. I created an entire outfit around it so I could wear it to church.

I'd like to add to this post a thought about the tragedies in Boston and in Texas: God is love. Love always wins, and even when all of these horrible things happen, we have to continue to believe that. Let's lift up the victims of both events in our prayers as well as pray that the bomber will be found in Boston. I cannot imagine what must be going through the minds of the people in that city as they police look for the suspect.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

I love y'all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

We Have a Garden!

With real plants in it! That we planted on purpose!

It might not look like much progress, but I'm super excited about it, so here it is!

I know what you're thinking, but there really are plants in there.


It's covered in pollen because the pollen levels are ridiculous this time of the year in Georgia, but that's going to be my prize okra plant. I can tell because it's already the biggest.

Jared picked out the peppers. The one above is a habanero, but we also got red bell pepper too. He is so excited about these peppers.

This cucumber bears a striking resemblance to an okra plant, but it's a cucumber plant. I promise.

I decided to plant our tomato plants in buckets because I wanted to be able to move them if we needed to before they get too big. This one is a pink brandywine tomato and it will be delicious!

I planted green beans in that washtub, so hopefully they will come up soon!

So, the plant tally is as follows: 1 rutgers tomato, 1 pink brandywine tomato, 9 okra, 1 habanero pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 4 cucumber plants, and whatever green beans come up.

I'm hoping to get the open space covered in cardboard and mulch to hold in the moisture and keep down the weeds. Maybe then it will be more impressive! I'm so excited about this garden!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Song in Your Heart.

I woke up this morning extremely cranky. I haven't been sleeping well because I have a UTI and I feel like I need to pee every few minutes. Jared was already up doing the laundry because he was out of clean clothes, and all I could think about is how miserable I was and how I failed to do my job as a wife. (An idea that is all in my head because Jared would do my work and his if I asked him.)

To be honest, I felt aggravated about the whole day. I was sore and tired from our work the day before, and that coupled with the UTI, I wasn't really good company. I laid in bed trying to feel less itchy and scrolled down my facebook newsfeed. My Mama's status knocked me for a loop.
Good Monday morning! I hope everyone had a good weekend because I did. It is now time to get this work week started. A good way to start the week is to put Jesus in everything you do and that does not mean using his name in vain. (I pray that whoever is reading this will have a song in their heart & can use that song to praise you, Lord. If they don't have a song to praise you with that you will give them a song. ) To have a song in you heart does not mean you have to be able to sing. If you are praising The Lord it sounds wonderful to Him & that is all that matters. So have praise on your lips & a song in your heart! Have a great day & smile while you praise Him today! :)
Talk about humbling. God knows how to talk to you through your parents sometimes, that's for sure.

I didn't have praise on my lips. I didn't have a smile. I definitely didn't have a good attitude. I wasn't looking forward to getting ready for work and heading over to Parrie's farm. I was a walking pair of crankypants.

But Mama's status got me to thinking. I can have a good attitude. I can put a smile on my face, and praise the One who should be praised. So, I put on my clothes, helped fold some laundry, ate some breakfast, and hit the road to Parrie's house with a much better attitude and a smile on my face.

Mama loves Jesus, everyone else, and muscadines. 
Mama is one of the most positive people I know. Even when everything is falling apart, she keeps her chin up and a smile on her lips. I hope I can be like that. When I was seven years old, Mama was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She couldn't walk or even sit upright for a long time. During all that time, I can't remember her having anything negative to say. I know she could have complained. She could have thrown herself a well-deserved pity party, but she didn't. She prayed, trusted God to take care of her and her family, and He did. Mama has amazingly made a complete recovery from a disease that people don't recover from. Praise Jesus!

So, I'm going to try to keep a good attitude, even when I feel gross and itchy and even when I don't feel like having a good attitude. I'm going to be salt and light in a world that needs both and I'm going to sing whatever song God has put in my heart.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Photo Friday 4.12.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

Aside from our big concert on Saturday, this week has been spent almost entirely on yard work. Last Sunday, Jared and I went over to our friends' Jess and Jared's house and helped them do some landscaping. Afterwards, I was so inspired, I convinced my Jared to go to Home Depot and buy a bunch of mulch and flowers! We spent Monday ripping up grass and laying down landscape fabric...Jared was not excited.

I am so excited to get these in the ground!

This little Blue-Tailed Skink seemed to enjoy our new landscaping attempts.

The breeze yesterday made these clothes at Parrie's dance in the wind.

In between all of our work outside, I finished up some boutonnieres for Whitney's wedding next month!

I hope y'all had a great week, and I hope this weekend is even better!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Inspiration Files: Vegetable Garden (Plus a Sneak Peek at my Garden Plot!)

Spring is so inspiring to me, which is why y'all will probably see quite a few Inspiration Files in the near future. I've really been thinking lately about planting a garden. Every spring and summer, I help Parrie grow hers, and I've really learned a lot about plants, and how to ensure their survival in the brutal summer heat. At my own house, I've tried a garden did not go well. I think it was a combination of bad dirt and poor planning. This year, I've got a better plan.

This is my dream garden. Just look at how beautiful it is!

Maybe this one's my favorite instead...

Oh if only I had that much level space in my yard!

I'd like to do something similar to this with my green beans. I was planning on growing those in an aluminum wash tub that my daddy gave me. (He found it on the side of the road! Score!)

This one's a lot larger, but I love how it turned into a tent!

And here, ladies and gents, is the (extremely) humble beginnings of my garden. Along with a giant pile of wood that needs to get stacked up.

 I marked where the garden will be with wood scraps, and Jared wrapped some fencing stuff around 2 sides of it to keep Puck from plowing through it. She frequently takes off running at high speeds and runs right through this section of the yard. I would have put the garden elsewhere, but it's the most flat area...

It's still not really flat, but that's okay. It will work!

Puck is exploring where she doesn't need to be...

Maybe next year, we can figure out a way to make it level, but for now I'm just happy to have this thing started! I bought some peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra plants, and I figure I'll start the green beans from seed and see how it goes! I'm so excited! My plan is to get the plants in the ground, then add cardboard to cover the rest of the ground to keep the weeds out and cover everything with mulch.

I'm not assuming my little garden will make it on the pages of Better Homes and Garden magazine, but I hope I can bring a little of my inspiration to life.