Friday, May 25, 2012

A Mini Makeover

Summer has officially arrived in the Burke household. Oh the joys of being teachers. Three months of bliss. Now that we're somewhat free, I thought I'd at least update the blog!

This mini makeover occurred a few months ago, but has yet the grace the pages of the internet.

Evan and I wanted a bench for our odd little kitchen nook, so we hunted one down in our favorite store, Craigslist. We came across this cutie and thought she could use an update.

Those odd floral butt pads had no cushion whatsoever, so the comfort factor had to be improved, not to mention the fabric reminded me of the embroidered purse my grandma had in her closet.

Thankfully my mother in law has a stockpile of fabric. We picked out a gray-ish pattern that was once used for curtains and got to work.

First, we cut the foam using a turkey knife. Seriously, it works so well.

We also didn't want the separate butt pads, so we just covered the whole thing. Made so much more sense to me!
Then we added the fabric and voila! Major transformation in about 20 minutes time. We may paint it some day--the wood isn't so pretty on the legs, but this project was done before we actually moved into the house, so we didn't want to make any rash decisions.
Oh and the original idea of her sitting in the kitchen didn't work. The proportions were all off. So we are still in search of something to fill our kitchen nook that will give us some storage and a place to drop all our stuff. This cutie ended up in living room underneath my favorite shutters and is lovingly accessorized with one of my mother in law's pillows. I like the mix of patterns and the fact that we only paid for the bench!! Yay for cheap and easy mini makeovers!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, MD!

Marin Dog turned 2 today! Of course, this is a made up birthday. We have no way of knowing exactly how old our pound puppy really is, but April 10th is her special day. So to go along with this ridiculous made up birthday, I thought I would put together a cheesy post about the birthday girl!

We know its silly to celebrate a dog as much as we do, but this animal has brought us much love, lots of laughter, and has been a special treat to our lives. We will always adore our first "baby." Some people thought we were crazy to get a sickly pit bull, but she's been so wonderful.

Look at how far she's come!
First day bringing her home. She weighed a whopping 23lbs.

Look at that skinny face!

Playing in her first backyard.

And you can see the mange is this picture. Poor baby was so sad when we got her.
And now look at this grown up girl.
Traveling to new states...Hiking in the mountains...And carrying her own pack.

She looks like a little panther... No mange here!
Graduating from intermediate obedience class.
Marin has been with us through lots of changes. She's lived in 4 different homes- which meant different jobs for us and different cities. She was my constant through those changes. Truly. Jesus and Marin got me through some rough months of adjusting to our life as we moved around! Evan and I joked that I talked to Marin more last summer than I did anyone else!

So...Happy Birthday to my 40lb. lap dog! You are loved (probably too much)!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Behold the Ottoman...

Since I last posted, lots has happened. Well, one really big change that makes everything seem new and different. We bought a house! A whole house. We paid for it. Still blows my mind and then the monthly mortgage check comes in the mail and I settle back into reality.

We love our little 1960 home. Wood floors, brick entry, 10 (count em- ten) closets, one very wonderful sun room and a backyard. We feel like kings. We own trees!

As we've been setting up house (read: buying random stuff off of Craigslist to fill all the space), I realized that now we have this huge living room we needed something new... Our coffee table looked dinky... Our feet needed somewhere to go... We needed a ginormous ottoman.

This was what I envisioned:

Price tag: around $300-400
I pinned about 9 versions of this on Pinterest. I hoped. I dreamed.
I showed Evan and we decided the inevitable: since we can't afford it, we'll make it.

First step: buy cheap coffee table on Craigslist with cute legs. Cute legs and size were the only determining factors... this guys was u-g-l-y but only $25. Score.

Second step: buy fabric. This is where my all knowing mother-in-law came is super handy.  I already have about 5 other fabrics working in this room so it was tricky... She took me to the fabric mecca in Dallas and I found a neutral with some color and a vintage vibe. Done.

Third Step: Disassemble ugly coffee table and prep for transformation. Sand legs, paint the same gray-green as my mother-in-laws cabinets. Convenient and free.

Fourth Step: have wonderful husband cut ply wood to serve as a base. Oh and duct tape the odd little drawers that existed in the ugly table.

Fifth Step: Haul all parts and materials to mother-in-law's garage so that when the tricky parts or troubleshooting occur there is another brain besides mine involved in the decision making. We made the tufting buttons, cut the foam, covered with batting, and got to stapling. I won't go into the issues that almost stumped us, but this was a much bigger project than I originally thought it would be.

Sixth Step: Get those darn tufting button sewn on. We struggled to find a better (actually possible) way other than threading a super long needle through the holes we drilled beforehand, but after about 30 minutes of taking turns trying to get the needle back through the hole, we got smart. One skinny crochet hook got the job done.

Seventh Step: Scotch guard the crap out of it and enjoy!

If you really need a step by step, this girl did a great write up. DIY Tufted Ottoman.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Burke

Since school has started, the blog gets moved to the bottom of the totem pole of priorities. My days once again are consumed by grading, uploading assignments, scheduling makeup work, and trying to manage a room full of 15 year olds.

But one thing is different this year.

I'm not doing it alone.

Evan is with me.

My talented husband became a full time teacher about 3 days before school started. Yep, talk about adding some crazy to our lives. I remember how big of a stress ball I was that first year, so I've been even more amazed at how Evan has handled the work load, the stress, the hectic-ever-changing schedules, and the kids.

He's done fantastic. Somehow this job combines everything he's good at in one. He honestly might be better than me at classroom management. After two weeks of school, kids were coming to my room telling me they "loooooved" my husband. "He's so funny, Mrs. Burke!" "He's my favorite!" I know in the back of their little heads they're thinking, "why weren't you fun like him?!"

I love working with Evan. We get to drive to work together. He now understands all the situations I talk about, my frustrations, funny moments, etc. I love walking into his room during snack (between 2nd and 3rd period) and just talking about our mornings. I love having him come to my room and pray for me before a parent conference. I love that he comes in to say hi to me during lunch since I eat with the ladies in the work room.

And the best part?! We haven't gotten tired of each other! While I knew we loved each other and that we were best friends, I had a tiny fear that we wouldn't love each other so much if we were together all the time.

Having Evan at Liberty has actually made me like the job more. For the past two years, I'd been frustrated that school took up so much time... that it took me away from my family. Now, even though we're there so much, we're doing it together. It's not frustrating anymore. I get more time with my husband than ever before. Plus, we get the same breaks! Hello, summer!!

What is crazy, is that this was NOT our plan. We had moved to Keller, fully intending on spending a significant amount of time with Evan in the youth pastor role at a church. God surprised us big time. As insane as that last week of August was with the full time job offer, talking with the church about the change in plans, and then focusing all our energy on Liberty-- it all felt right. We weren't panicked. We prayed and discussed the pros and cons, but I think we both knew right away that God's hand was all over this.

 As I look at the boxes that fill my apartment again after only 5 months, I have my theories about why God took us on this seeming circuitous path. We needed to try something new. We needed to move away. We needed time to asses our passions, our priorities, and think about the future. I needed to learn to let go of control and trust God's plan.

And now we're ready to be back in Denton. Working together. At Liberty. As teachers. Married to each other.

I so wish God would give you previews of your life sometimes. I think Evan and I would have bust out laughing if we had known this was the plan. That's why God is so, so good. He knows better than us.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Princess and the Pea

Last weekend our little diva forced me to get creative.

After sewing her a dog bed cover several months ago (which proved how lacking my sewing skills really are in comparison to Evan's), Marin decided she didn't like that bed anymore and had taken to sleeping in our basket of blankets when we weren't looking.

This was problematic for a few reasons. As much as we love Marinara, we do not want her little black fur all over our comfy blankets. Sweet MD also has a slight "leaking" problem. It only happens when she is napping. Who wants a basket with "leak" covered blankets?! Not me.

So, after trying to take cues from our little diva dog on what she likes about the basket, I decided to try to please her and save our blankets.

I needed a space that felt enclosed and was really plush... these were her demands. I wanted something cheap and easy to wash.

Enter the suitcase.

I got this suitcase from my grandma. It has her initials from before she was married. R.C. = Ruth Campbell. I love that detail. But, as sweet and sentimental as this suitcase was to me, it is not in good shape. The back panel is peeling off and all the lining (green silk) had started to fade to an odd rust color. It had just served as a storage place.... until now.

I ripped out some odd metal pieces that I could never figure out the purpose for and covered the rusty silk with material from an old skirt. I have long loved the pattern on the skirt which I bought in a flea market in Italy. You may be thinking, "Wow, how cool. Vintage Italian fabric." Not quite. I found the H&M tag after I purchased it. Nevertheless, good memories.

Had to make sure she fit!

Enclosed space = check.

For the plush part, I took Evan's old comforter and shoved it inside a random silky pillowcase I've had for years.

Voila! Bed is complete! Totally free! My fabric hoarding came in handy.

Ms. Marin loved the suitcase. She has slept in it and napped in it for the past week.

She loved it so much.... she ate it.
Comfy AND tastes good. Who knew?!

Now we have little clumps of old green leather on the floor.  Ah, well. It was a cute while it lasted. 

Her next bed will just come from Walmart.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The First of Many

For the past 20 years or so Estes Park, Colorado has been a part of my life. A big part, actually.

We started taking our annual family vacation there when I was in elementary school, we quickly fell in love with the YMCA of the Rockies and just kept going.

Those trips form some of my fondest memories from my childhood.
Horse back riding.
Putt putt.
Wildlife sighting.

I am so thankful my parents exposed Laura and I to those essential elements in life: rest, simplicity, quiet.

Through the years, our activities have changed a bit. We're no longer spending a week at day camp singing songs about bumblebees and Pizza Hut. We don't spend as much time with the park rangers... because we already got our Junior Ranger badges. Oh yes....I have proof.

We've grown up. We have new interests. (See all these amazing photos as evidence of my dad's new found photography talent.) We bring spouses and dogs now!

But some things will always stay the same: Quality family time... Reflecting on God's truly amazing creation... LOVING cool weather in July... Realizing that life is pretty great without TV... My obsession with the Arts and Crafts Building...

Here's to dreaming about next summer... and the chocolate pie at the Baldpate.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mondays with Marin...the Graduate

After two months of practicing, clicking, treat bags, a barking fiasco and lots of hard work.... Marin graduated!!

She passed her intermediate class with flying colors. She is an excellent student, I must say. So without further ado, here are the ridiculously cute and "only for the humans" pictures from graduation day.

We probably should have had a practice day with the hats....she's not used to accessories.  
The graduate! 

Marin with her diploma.

I'm such a proud mom! 
We had to go through stations that asked for different commands to get MD's diploma.
We "waited" at the door with no problem.
She "heeled" without blinking.
The "come" from 20 feet and "stay" from 20 feet were both equally easy.
Marin loves "going to bed" on her blanket.
The only one we had to repeat was the "sit" for one minute. Sixty seconds is a really long time if you're a dog... on the cat food aisle... with other dogs barking at you... and people walking by. Who could blame her for needing a second attempt?!

Ah, the blooper reel. Her face cracks me up! 

Overall, I am very proud of MD and very proud of us for sticking it out and raising/training a loving little terrier mix. We are well on our way to the Canine Good Citizen certificate. Onto the advanced lessons!

But first, our little meatball will enjoy a much deserved peanut butter-filled Kong. You go girl.

Doesn't she just look smarter already?!