Monday, November 24, 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving

Okay, so I'm a little late on the bandwagon. And these pictures are not the best in the world. But hey, at least I tried.

Here's a little project that you can have done in about an hour, depending on how many leaves you can catch before they all blow away. Now, this is best done with pressed leaves, but if you're only going to leave it up until after your Thanksgiving guests leave, flat leaves will be fine. It's a Fall/Harvest/Thanksgiving Wreath. About time, don'tcha think?

I was inspired by this picture:

It's in Better Homes and Gardens November issue (2008). I immediately made plans to hunt down some leaves. It wasn't that hard, since this year we've had a particularly spectacular color display for some reason. I heard or read somewhere that if you get a cold spell and then a warm spell (what we call Indian Summer, maybe?), you will get some really great colors. Well, that happened and we got 'em. So I was really excited about grabbing up some great colors.

My kiddo and I headed out to find some in our neighbors' yards since our poor oak tree is not the kind that changes to beautiful red...the leaves just turn dead and fall off. However, for the first time in the 12 years we've been here, our leaves did turn a shade of yellow, which made me very happy since I could use some of my very own leaves in my wreath.

Then I was just hit with a fever...finding all kinds of leaves in all different colors. There was no telling when or where I'd yank the van over to the side of the road (no easy task, I tell you) and hop out to grab a particularly striking leaf. I even crossed traffic to stretch out over a ditch to get a color I hadn't been able to find yet.

Then, when I had enough leaves to make my own forest, I took two really heavy books...

(I like the classics the best...they seem the heaviest) and put the leaves in between the pages and left them like that for a couple of days. Like I said, if you do this now, you can just find some flat leaves for this next step.

Then, take a plate, platter, or whatever you have a plate hanger big enough for, and begin hot gluing the leaves around the platter. I got a $1.25 platter from Old Time Pottery just for this project, but when I'm done, I can just peel all the leaves and glue off and use it for what it was intended for.

Note: make sure you put your plate hanger on your platter before you start gluing. You will end up ripping favorite leaves if you don't. Not that I have any experience in that area. None whatsoever. Nope. Not me.

Second Note: Make sure you have as much junk on your craft table as possible so that you barely have room for your glue gun, much less a whole platter:Recognize that bird, anyone?

Ahem...back to the project at hand...Start at the center (which you choose, by the way) and start gluing leaves up either side of the plate, layering as you go. Make sure you save your favorites for last ones you glue on, or they'll get covered up. Here's a couple of badly shot closeups of me with horrible fingernails gluing on top of an oak leaf for one of my favorite maple leaves:
and keep on going until you have enough to cover the outside rim of the platter. Then take your favorite of all favorite leaves and place it in the very center of where you started:Then, if you want it a little more frou-frou, hot glue a ribbon on the back under the plate rack until you get your desired look. Now, I have to leave a disclaimer here about this next picture. My husband, being the hunter that he is, took the camera to deer camp with him to make sure he had some way to document the massive 12-point he was sure to get. Hasn't happened yet, but he's still got the camera. That being said, I had to resort to my next fastest mode of cell phone. Sigh...please forgive the quality, but you get the idea...
And make sure when you hang it wherever you are going to hang it to have an $.80 clearance garland with the tag still on it underneath the wreath. That just screams HARVEST to me, doesn't it you?

Now, I have to confess that I do have pictures that are better quality than this in my external hard drive, but when I saw them I realized I reeeeeeeeally needed to paint my front door. So you will not get to see either the wreath in HD or my sadly painted door. I know you were just dying to, weren't you?

Anyway, it's really an easy, sweet project that I will repeat next year. And hang it on my freshly painted front door.

Okay, my sweet man just went out in the very c-c-c-old air and retrieved my camera for me just so I could take a couple of pictures. I love him. Anyway, here's a little better picture, albeit still with the "Minnie Pearl" garland (thanks Brandi, that made me LOL!).

And just for kicks, here's a turkey.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Husand Rocks! Friday

I'm going to have to make this kind of a quick husband is in the other room and I don't want him to catch me writing about him. If you'd like to hear about how the original My Husband Rocks! Friday got started and read other ladies praise their men, head over to Katy Lin's blog, The Great Adventure. Okay, on with my story.

Today, my husband rocks because right at this, right as I'm typing these words...he's down in the office/playroom/former carport cleaning out a cleanout (is that redundant?) drain. While he's supposed to be at work. While he's supposed to be getting ready to go to deer camp. While he had lots of other plans. Lots. But instead, because I had a slight problem yesterday that I originally thought was a BIG problem, he's in there doing what plumbers normally get paid the big bucks to do (right Kat? hee hee). It is a nasty, nasty, N.A.S.T.Y. job. But to keep my life from spiraling downward into constant worry over my plumbing (it's a sore issue with me...ask Kat), because I have enough stress in my life right now over other things, he stopped his plans and was at Home Depot this morning at 7:00 sharp to rent a pipe snake. Don't ask me to explain that. All I know is that it sounds like a little bitty man is underneath my house hammering away at the gunk built up in my pipes. I like that picture. Because what's really happening is really gross, because what's in my pipes is really gross. And yet my husband is taking care of me by making sure my life is a little easier this weekend while he's at deer camp.

Thank you, my Sweet Husband, my Sound Man. I love you more than words can say.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And a hunter is born...the rest of the story...

Note: if any of you are squeamish at the sight of blood, there is a tiny bit in this post, so be aware...

My husband saw the buck about 75 yards ahead of them, in perfect line with my son's borrowed 243 rifle (Don't ask me what the 243 means. Or rifle for that matter. They're all scary guns to me). He carefully aimed...and pulled the trigger.

The buck jumped and ran off. My husband thought he had missed, but Kiddo was convinced he had hit him. So out of the tree stand they climbed, heading down into the clearing where the deer had been.

When they got to the clearing, they started the search for the telltale sign the deer had been hit...blood. They searched for several minutes, and my husband almost had given up when Kiddo said, "Dad, I really think he was further down than this. Let's go look down there." Instead of telling him that he didn't know much about hunting and that he knew how to hunt, Dad said, "Okay, lead the way!"

A few yards further down they hit paydirt...a blood trail. You know what that means? He hit that buck. His first shot on his first hunt on the first deer he saw. My eight year old son hit that deer. They started into the woods, weaving their way through the woods, not knowing if they would find him. It's always a hunter's dread to know they've hit something and not be able to find it. Not only because it's disappointing, but any good hunter does not want his or her shot to simply wound an animal and make it suffer.

They didn't have to search long. About 200 yards away from the stand, my husband turned and saw the buck's rump lying down in the leaves. They approached and both of them realized that my Kiddo had indeed killed his first deer.

Sorry about the blood...but I did warn you! But can you see how many points are on this deer? There are seven. S.E.V.E.N. Any hunter would be proud to get a 6 point. And my baby got a 7 point. I'm not a proud momma or anything.

My husband called me and the first thing out of his mouth was "7 points!" You could hear me holler all over the neighborhood. Then I got to talk to my son. Sort of. He was so excited he could hardly make a coherent sentence. I completely understood. I was so proud of my boy. And very happy I would no longer have to buy ground beef for a looooong while. My husband processed 20 lbs. of ground, 5 lbs. of backstrap (kind of like tenderloin), and a 3 lb. roast. I cannot wait to get my hands on that roast. If any of you have a good deer roast recipe, please let me know, since I've never cooked one. I know for sure I will be doing it in the crock -pot, but other than that, I don't know how do it. I'm a bit skittish about that much meat (I like ground and backstrap but I wonder if the roast will be gamey tasting). But I hope to get a good recipe that will make it larapin good.

I have only one thing left to that the way you spell "larapin"?

Monday, November 17, 2008

And a hunter is born...

I am not a hunter. I have never desired to be one, nor do I believe I will ever have the desire to shoot an animal, even if it's for food. I leave that to my husband. I am very happy to have a freezer full of deer meat, because that saves me a lot on my grocery bill. Plus, there's just something about knowing that your man has gone into the wild, hunted the food, brought down the food, processed the food himself, and you're able to cook it up somethin' tasty.

My Sound Man has hunted for several years now. He has shot two doe and two bucks. It has never really mattered to me what he gets, but if you know a hunter you know that for them it would be really, really nice to get that prize buck. The one with 6 or, oh, 12 points. (By the way, for all you non-hunters who don't even know what a "point" is, it's the pointy things on their antlers. Hence the name, "point." The older they are, the more points they have, and the bigger they are. Now, don't you feel all edumakated?) My sweet man has not ever seen a big buck like the one he wants. Not in the woods, anyway.

Let me say here that he does not hunt purely for sport. I don't agree with that. I've seen shows where hunters shoot the animal and leave the carcass minus the head just out there for the coyotes to get. That's not good stewardship of the earth God gave us. Now, if hunters hunt and don't use the meat themselves but donate it to other people, I'm good with that. As long as someone is benefiting from it. My husband hunts to provide food for his family.

Enter my eight year old. He has heard his dad talk incessantly a lot about hunting for the past few years. About July my husband starts talking about it. August brings out the calendar. September issues in lots of camouflage. And October is almost deer hysteria. Listening to all this, my son pretty much didn't have a chance of not wanting to hunt. Once he learned that his dad was considering letting him hunt this year, he started getting as excited as his daddy.

This past weekend was Youth Hunt in Mississippi. It actually lasts all week. Youth Hunt is a week where only kids (boys AND girls...yes, there are girls who hunt) age 15 years old and younger are allowed to hunt (with the exception of muzzle loaders...don't ask me to explain that...suffice it to say it was mainly all kids this weekend). Kiddo was so excited about it he was up and at 'em by 3:45 A.M. Friday morning. He and his daddy left the house at 3:58 A.M. Yes, A.M. As in A.M. They had a long day ahead of them, let me just tell you.

They got in the stand about 6:00 a.m, stayed there until about 9:00, when Kiddo starts complaining about being cold. His daddy told him to stick it out for another 30 minutes and then they'd get down. At 9:27, my husband spots a buck walking from the tall grass to the clearing, perfectly in line with my son's line of vision. He can't tell at this point how big he is or what his rack looks like, but he wants our Kiddo to get a deer, so he tells him to shoot. Kiddo complied.

Okay, well, since this post is getting really long, you'll have to come back in a couple of days to hear how it ended...

I know, I'm terrible, aren't I?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ardent remixed

While we were at Ardent Studios recording for our CD, we worked harder than we EVER have as team. There were lots of moments when we had to sing a part over and over and over. We even had to learn new parts for songs that we had sung the same way since July. Jason, our producer, can hear songs and know that something is missing, figure out what that something is, and convey those thoughts to let others know what he wants. He is amazing.

When Brent would come in and say, "Kim, Kevin, Heathahlee, I need to see y'all..." we knew we were going to learn something new. Which was always fantabulous. Here is a little bit of us learning a new part to one of our songs, "My Everything."

That's my loud alto voice you hear mostly...sorry! Here's another part of the same song...I didn't think to video until the very last song we worked on!

Kim let me listen through the headphones to some of the stuff they were mixing, and let me say, as one of the Worship Team leaders, it brought tears to my eyes. It sounded so good.

After we worked and worked so was finally over. Nine songs over 9 total hours, we were done. I was a little sad, but so glad we were finished. I think everyone else shared my feelings...

When it's released on November 23, you can be sure I will share some of it with you. Until then, you'll just have to wait!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures from the day...

Can I convey to you how much I love my Worship Team? My leadership? My altos? The sopranos? Even the guys?

I don't know what I would do if I couldn't work with the people I get to work with every week. Here are some crazy pictures from that day...

My Sound Man got hold of my camera. This was just before he got on the bus and told them I was on major drugs so I might act a little strange. I then got on the bus and set the record straight. I act a little strange no matter if I'm taking drugs or not.

Brenton Dale and Tricia bein' all sweet and stuff.

Taking a break...we needed LOTS of those.

Lunch at the Blue Monkey...if you go there, make sure to order a
sandwich with Tiger's the bomb diggity.

At first, I was all sad that I wasn't allowed to sing the blues,
but then some girls and I decided to change my name to
Heathahlee Lemon Laquee, so now it's all good. No, wait, it's all bad...
that's the Blues, ain't it?

Sissy, Robbie, Jennifer (aka J.B.)

Like I said, we needed LOTS of breaks,
some of us more than others...

My resident thugs, Sissy and Brandy

Altos: because we're not afraid to sing like men...
or be named like them, huh, Billie and Robbie?

Potty Break!

This couch was sooo comfortable...
unfortunately, I never got to sit on it but once...

since Donna and Billie kept hoggin' it!

Smoochin'...Me, Sherrylynn and J.B.

Robbie and me

Billie, J.B, Sherrylynn on yet ANOTHER couch....

My Altos...I heart them...

Then again...

Brenton Dale and Uncle Don (or Sparky, as some peeps call him)

CHC Worship Team!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Weekend at Ardent

ZZ Top...Lynyrd Skynyrd...Led Zeppelin......

CHC Worship Team.

This was the weekend for our Worship Team to record at Ardent Studios! I just cannot convey to you how unbelievable this was. We had the best time, worked harder than we've EVER worked before, and left exhausted but exhilarated. I hope I can sum up for you the weekend.

We were scheduled to be at the studio from 10:00 a.m, so most of us met at the church to ride on our very old but much appreciated church bus. My Sound Man wanted to go with us, but wasn't sure if he was going to stay all day, so we drove in his truck. When we got there, none of us, with the exception of the few that had been to the studio already to tweak their solos, knew what to expect. I have been in a studio before, but it was on a very small scale and with only a few people. I had no idea how our day would turn out.

Here we are just standing around. I'm telling you, the people in this picture are some of my favorite people in all the world. J.B, Sherrylynn, Donna, Loretta, Tricia. I do love the Praise Team girls!

This is in the hallway looking out to the courtyard. It's surrounded on all four sides with windows so wherever you walk in that part of the building you can see outside. I want one of these in my dream house. That and someone to clean all those windows.

I heart my altos...Tricia is one of them I heart a lot. She and her family are also in our small group. Her husband is our electric guitar player. We all go way back. They even suggested I take singing lessons once. Sorry, inside joke. Don't you hate those? Oh, we got 'em this weekend. Between tiger sauce and big guys, we got 'em.

Hey, there's my Sound Man! I heart him, too. He Rocks! you know....

You know, now that I look at these pictures, I'm just now realizing we were left to ourselves just way too long...This is Sherrylynn and J.B. The sign they have their pretty faces next to is just inside the doorway and says this: "Take Notice: It is forbidden for vagrants, beggars, itinerant musicians and females of doubtful reputations to enter these premises. May, 1901" I have no idea where the sign came from, but it sure is funny. Especially with those doubtful- reputation-girls I hang out with.

Here's control central. I don't know if they really call it that but doesn't that sound cool? They do call it the control room, though. Jason Latshaw is our producer, engineer, and all around cool dude. See, he knows he's cool:

Seriously...Latch has produced and/or engineered for the likes of Todd Agnew, Skillet, and Audio Adrenaline...bigtime names in the world of Christian Music. Not to mention the tons of secular bands he's worked with. From the way he was acting, it looked like he was having a ball working with us.

Here we are finally in the studio room. Isn't it big? It had such cool ambiance and the BEST acoustics...but horrible lighting, so all my pictures taken from in here are not the best quality. I did, however, wanted to give you a picture of how big the room was. The sopranos (sops) are in the foreground, the men in the middle (duh) and the altos at the far end.

Once we got situated, we didn't wait around long before Latch started the track up and we started recording. Kim, our Soprano section leader, got to direct us all weekend. I have to admit that I was a tiny bit jealous that I couldn't direct at all due to my back being stubborn and mean. When I saw how much she was having to move around to keep us on our toes, I knew my back wouldn't handle it. Not to mention she was so much better than I could even imagine being. She told me she absolutely had a blast and offered to let me direct, but I knew it would be a complete downer from the energy she was putting into it. I was grateful she offered, though! She is another one of my favorite people. I am so glad I get to be her friend.

Since I had been a part of studio work before, I knew that we would sing a little bit of a song, stop, sing it again, stop, and sing it again. Then repeat that whole process a jillion times. I was not disappointed. That's exactly what we did. One thing Brent, our Worship Pastor, and Jason wanted was excellence, and nothing less than that would be put on the CD. They conveyed their thoughts to Kim through the headphones she wore and she conveyed those thoughts to us. "Guys, you're flat!" "Altos, watch your pitch!" "Sopranos, sing louder!" Unless, of course, one of them came in from the control room. We knew we were in trouble any time that door opened and Brent or, heaven forbid, Jason walked in. "No, do it more like this..." "Can you give some of this and this..." "I WANNA HEAR ANGELS SING WHEN YOU HIT THIS PART!" Until we got the much desired, "Double it!" which meant we had done exactly what they wanted and were going to try to repeat it to layer over what we had just done. It is very, very tedious work. Not just for us, but for Latch and his super-cool computer.

Knowing there are so many more pictures and stories to tell, I'll cut this post It's definitely not short, but I'll save more for later. There is just so much to what happened this weekend that I want to tell you about. One last thing I will say is this...I know that from here on out our Team is going to step it up a notch, simply because we know what we are capable of now. Where will the Lord take us next?