Saturday, 31 May 2014

Our Engagement Photos

As promised, here are some of our engagement photos!  Our photographer is Diana Malinowski from Infinite Moments Photography (learn more about her here).  I truly cannot say enough about how wonderful she has been to work with.  I can't imagine ever taking our photography business elsewhere - she has done such a great job.

We had a beautiful crop of winter wheat that year...

Nothing like a Case iH combine!

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have yourselves a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Our Engagement

Hello!  I have been working through this "Our Love Story" series for a while now.  If you have been following along this whole time, I sure do appreciate it!  If you would like to look into the other parts of the story check out these links:

Part I - How I Met my Husband
Part II - My First Date With Brett
Part III - Becoming Brett's Girlfriend
Part IV - Learning the Truth About Dating a Farmer

As our one year dating anniversary approached I could not think of anything other than, when is he going to propose??  Some say that patience is a virtue.  Well....  It is a virtue that I am not in possession of that's for sure.  Brett maintained the same view on the subject the whole time: "It will happen, but I just think we should wait on it for a little while.  Just be patient."  I tell you what, if I had to hear the phrase "just be patient" one more time, I was going to lose it.

After about 2 months of the "just be patient" speech - and some serious obsessing over weddings on Pinterest - Brett and I were at the jewelry store buying Christmas gifts for our moms and my sister.  I managed to convince him that we should just look at rings, just to get an idea of what was out there and the prices.  I found one that I thought might be it - could have seen that coming - but Brett wasn't ready to commit to the ring.  So out we left with the Christmas gifts, but no ring.

Brett and I had a serious conversation after this.  Were we ready?  Marriage wasn't just about a wedding to either of us - it is about a lifelong commitment, and not something to be taken lightly.  We knew we were young, I was still in school and would be for another four and a half years.  But we decided that our age really didn't matter - we loved each other as much now as we would in four and a half years (if we were to wait until I was done nursing school).  And so, armed with Brett's budget, we went back to the jewelry store later that week.

When we arrived, they had just gotten in a new shipment of engagement rings with colored stones.  I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention, just wanted to see the ring that I thought was the one.  They pulled it out and I tried it on.  Brett said that he thought we should just look around a bit more in the store before committing.  I looked over to where the clerk was arranging the new rings and saw it.  The most beautiful engagement ring I had seen so far.  It looked a lot like the previous one I had picked out, but had a bigger sapphire center stone.  That was the one.  Shockingly, it was within Brett's budget, he loved it, and to make it even better, it fit me right out of the case.  Not wanting someone else to buy it, Brett bought the ring right then and there.  He made sure to let me know though, that I didn't get to have it yet.  And I couldn't tell anyone - not even my best friends.  He had a plan that I would just have to wait for.  If I thought my patience had been tested so far, it was about to get a lot worse.

I didn't want to get my hopes up at Christmas time and risk being disappointed.  So I kept telling myself that Brett wasn't going to propose, Christmas would be too obvious, he was still going to wait.  But I couldn't help myself from hoping that he would.

We went home for the holidays, and when Brett dropped me off at my parent's farm he took my dad out for a drive in his car to show him the new exhaust system he'd put on.  They are both car guys, so I didn't think anything of this.  Little did I know, Brett was asking my dad for his permission to marry me.

On Christmas Eve, Brett came back to spend the day with my family (we were doing Christmas Eve with my parents and Christmas Day with his).  I don't think I had been so excited to open gifts since I was a little kid.  I just had to see whether my ring was in that gift bag or not.  We had a wonderful day, visiting and playing board games and cards with my grandma, parents and sister.  My mom made a great Christmas supper as always.  But I couldn't help thinking about that gift under the tree...

Finally we were opening gifts and I noticed that Brett was acting a little strange - he kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye as I worked at opening the bag.  Once I got into the bag I saw that there was a big box inside.  So I opened that, then saw that there was a smaller box nested inside that.  And then another smaller box inside of that.  By this point I was pretty sure of where things were going.  Finally I got into the middle and there it was: the ring box.  I looked up to see Brett on one knee before me.  My mom and sister started crying and grandma just kept saying "Oh my goodness!".  Oh my goodness is right!

This is what he said to me: "Aubrey, I love you so much.  Would you do me the honor of marrying me?"  I started crying now too (happy tears of course) and told him "Yes, of course!"

Austin took this photo right after:

Some other pictures of our celebrations:

Dad isn't a huge fan of having his picture taken...

Thanks for reading!!  I am excited to be posting some engagement photos on Saturday - stay tuned!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wire Wrapped Earrings Tutorial

Don't you love my owl mug (what the earrings are hanging off of)?
I have really been loving delicate, dangle style earring's lately.  I have seen a lot of these wire wrapped ones floating around the internet and on Etsy.  Being a lover of crafts, I couldn't simply buy myself a pair of earrings - I of course had to make them and share the tutorial with you!

First, your supplies:
-thin gauge jewelry making wire
-oblong beads (you want something that is longer than it is wide and preferably something with a corner or two, as that will make it easier to finish off - these beads that I used are sort of square shaped around)
-earring hooks the same metal as your wire
-head pins (not actual pins like you would use for sewing, these are for threading a bead onto)
-wire snips
-small round nosed pliers (my wire snips and pliers came in a set of mini jewelry making tools - I picked it up at Micheal's craft store)

The head pins, snips and pliers are not shown in the image... Oops.
Step 1 - Thread one oblong bead onto a head pin.  Fold over the top of the head pin to make a loop (to attach to the earring hook) and snip the excess.  Attach the bead to the earring hook using the loop of the head pin.

Step 2 - Now it is time for the wire wrapping.  It took me a few tries to get this right, so be patient.  If it doesn't work the first time, just unwrap and start again.

(1) Snip about a 12" piece of thin gauge wire and sticking a little bit down the hole at the top of the bead.  (2) Start wrapping around from the top down.  You want to wrap tightly enough so that each round of wire fits snugly against the one on top of it.

Step 2 - When you have wrapped down the bead as far as you want to go (or as far as the wire length will let you) you need to finish off.  Try to do this at the "back" of the earring.

Snip off any excess wire, leaving a 2mm tail at the end.  Take your round nose pliers and bend that tail around so that it clings to the corner of your bead (you can see what this looks like in the left image below).  That should hold your wire wrapping securely from coming undone and end up looking like the right image below.

Repeat the steps to make a second earring and you are done!!  You have a lovely new set of earrings to show all your friends - and when they ask where you got them you can say that you made them yourself!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

What to Register for, For Your Wedding

Putting together your wedding registry can be a daunting task.  When Brett and I were first getting started with ours, I was so excited.  The whole thing seemed like it would be sooo much fun.  I tell you what though, after about two hours in the china department trying to pick out our pattern, the truth became known.  Registering for gifts was a lot of work - especially without a lot of guidance.

I really suggest you talk through the registry once or twice with your significant other before heading to the stores.  Look through online shops to get an idea of what styles of things you are looking for.  Brett and I didn't really realise our major differences in home styling opinions until we got into The Bay... Let's just say that this really didn't add to the experience.

Also, try to pick items from a lot of different price points.  Some people may be coming in from a long way and they may not want to spend $200 on top of their flight and hotel room costs for a wedding gift - so pick some things that you love that won't cost someone an arm and a leg.

I used a registry checklist from The Knot.  It was extremely comprehensive - almost to the point of being over the top.  I decided to put together this list after having lived with my wedding gifts - I feel like I have a way better idea now than I did before we were married of the things that you actually need to set up a house. I am hoping that this post will be able to help you make your registry process a lot easier.

I have had the worst time getting this formatted to picture form.  Microsoft does not have a good way to take a large document and change it into a picture.  So I apologise for its poor quality.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

How to Install a Doorknob, in 19 Easy Steps

Before seeding started, I finally convinced Brett to install our new door handle and deadbolt.  If you are planning on installing one yourself, just follow these simple steps...

1.  Buy a new door handle set that has a deadbolt lock, even though your old door knob only has a handle lock.  Why not make it harder for yourself?

2.  Be sure to nag your husband for at least an hour about doing the project, asking why he hasn't had this done for ages already.  This will put him in an excellent mood to start the whole project off.

3.  Buy a hole cutter.

4.  Spend approximately an hour trying to figure out how to lay out the template for cutting holes into your door.

5.  Use that beautiful new hole cutter to start cutting into your door - hopefully you put the template on correctly, there's no going back now.

6.  Realize that your cordless drill doesn't have nearly enough power to drill though the metal coating on your door.  Spend the next three hours charging your drill's battery, using your drill until the battery dies again, charging the battery again, using the drill again... Etc.

7.  Make a run to the farm to borrow the corded drill - but once you get there, realize it is missing.  Come home with another cordless drill.

8.  Alternate between cordless drills for a while, before realizing that this is still not working.  Go over to your neighbor's house to borrow their drill too.

9.  Finally, after four hours of battling, manage to cut the circle in the door.  Now quickly drill the hole for the deadbolt to go through - thankfully this part will be easy.

10.  Chisel a rectangle spot for the deadbolt plate to sit in (the duller the chisel the better really - again, why make this process easier?).

11.  Realize the deadbolt is not sitting deep enough in the door.  Question how you possibly screwed up the template.  Continue to chisel deeper into your door.

12.  Wonder whether your young marriage is strong enough to withstand installing this door knob... Realize that if you get through this, you can get though anything.

13.  Question whether you are actually making your door more secure by installing this deadbolt, considering how much you are currently chiseling away from it.

14.  Make your now enraged husband supper and tell him to take a break while you fight with the door.  He should then inform you that he invited the neighbors over after supper to hang out before we all go to a cabaret.  Look around your house at the disaster it is currently in and hope that you will have enough time to clean it before they come over.

15.  Turn the deadbolt upside down.  This will make it fit perfectly.  Realise that you've been chiseling for hours for no reason what-so-ever.

16.  Repeat the above steps to make the door handle fit... Sadly this angst is not done yet.

17.  Realize why carpenters get paid as much as they do, and wonder why you didn't just pay your carpenter friend to do this for you.

18.  Finally, after eight hours of fighting, finish with the door knob.  Clean your house as fast as you can before your neighbors come over.

19.  Go out and have some drinks - after the day you had, you really deserve it.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A Day in the Life of Brett: Seeding Edition

I thought it would be fun to show you just what Brett does during seeding time.  It hit me recently that a lot of my readers may not be farmers/farmer's wives, so it only made sense for me to share this integral part of our lives with you.  My lovely husband agreed to send me a text every hour on the hour of what he was doing at that moment - so lets get started!  Any time I quote ("") anything, that was what Brett texted me.

6:30 AM - "Alarm woke me up.  I was in the field until midnight last night"

7:30 - Brett got to the farm on time for a quick coffee with his dad, mom and brother before it was time for the boys to head out to the field.

8:30 - In the field now.  The boys need to service the tractor to get the day started (time to fuel up and check oil).  Also, they finished this field last night so after servicing they've got to transport to a new field.

Fun fact: our new Case iH diesel tractor burns its fuel so clean, that if you were to run it in L.A., the emissions coming off our tractor would be cleaner than the air it was taking in from the Los Angeles environment.

Folding up the seeder.
9:30 - After about half an hour of transporting, they are ready to start seeding.

The whole seeding outfit is made up of the tractor in the front, then the air drill (middle part in the right picture) which actually seeds the seed, and the tank at the very back which holds the seed and fertilizer.

10:30 - "Just finished loading with seed and fertilizer".  Canola seed comes in 50lb bags which are emptied into the seeder.  Most other seed is bought in bulk - not bags. 

11:30 - "Still seeding.  Hoping my lunch comes soon."

12:30 PM - "Still seeding, nothing too exciting happening other than  Mom sent chicken strip sandwiches for lunch".  So far they've seeded 92 acres today and 2000 total acres since we started last week.

1:30 - Brett says he is getting close to the end of the field.  Now comes a time of trying to guess how much seed to add to the tank because they will be done seeding this variety of canola (he's not a big fan of the guesstimating process... but apparently Tim is a whiz at it).

These are the new monitors that came with our new tractor.  Brett took a whole day's course just on how to run them.
2:30 - And the seeding continues...

3:30 - Switching to the next variety of canola.

Brett's view from the top of the seeder tank.
4:30-7:30 - Another 3 solid hours of seeding before supper.  The power went out so supper was late (for a 1st world country, our power goes out shockingly often).

8:30 - They want to finish this field, so it will be a late night for the boys.  And tomorrow they will get up and do it all over again.

The sun is setting on another day at the farm, but the work day isn't over yet.

Finally time for bed.
They covered 365 acres today.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend - and if you happen to be seeding too, I hope that it is going well!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Favorite Wedding Readings

I've had weddings on the brain a lot lately.  We are coming up on our one year anniversary in a couple of months and I am very excited for our friends' wedding in July.  I think that readings for our ceremony was one of the decisions I thought about the most.  Readings can be really reflective of you as a couple and of your hopes for your marriage.

I gathered a few favorites here, if you happen to be debating between readings for your wedding, or looking for some nice quotes to add to a wedding speech.

In lieu of a sand or candle ceremony, Brett and I decided to do a "Blessing of the Hands" ceremony.  I first saw this done when watching the Bachelorette wedding of Ashley and J.P.  I cried like a baby during this ceremony (seriously, it was embarrassing), and knew that I had to have that at my wedding.  Brett and I had our mom's read the blessing.  You can see a video of this ceremony (not ours) here.  The Blessing of the Hands starts at 4:40, but just watch the whole video - seriously, so beautiful.

1 Corinthians 13 is used at most weddings (including ours).  But I think there is a reason it is such a classic.

This next one may be too short for its own reading, but would lovely to incorporate onto a program:

This last one is one of my favorites - Brett's cousin, who he is close with, read it during our wedding ceremony.

Are there any readings you would add to this list?  Leave them in the comments!
Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A Few Changes

You may have noticed a few changes around the blog the past couple of days.  On Sunday I did a minor re-design of things to try make them a little more user-friendly.  I also added my pretty new blog header that I have been working on.  You will notice at the bottom of each post there are now labels.  When you click on those they will take you to all my posts with a similar label.  At the very bottom of the page you will find a list of all my post labels and can search through the posts that way.  The other ways you can search are in my search bar (located on the right hand side bar below my "About Me" picture and text) or by looking though the archives (also located in the right hand side bar, below the search bar) which are organised by month.  Lastly, anyone can comment on my blog.  It used to be set that you had to have a gmail account to comment but that is changed now.  However, if I start to get a bunch of spam comments, this may end up getting switched back (so we will have to play that one by ear).  As always, my most popular posts are located at the bottom of the page.  I really hope these changes make it easier for you to read and use this blog.

I hope you like these changes as much as I do!

If anything doesn't appear to be working or you are having trouble finding something, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Tour of My Jewelry Box

Today I am going to show you some of my favorite jewelry pieces.

First, I love this jewelry caddie my Aunty got me a couple of years ago!  It is perfect for travelling, just the right size to fit everything I need and not fill up my suitcase.

My parents got me this daughter's ring for my 16th birthday.  I thought I had lost it the night before my wedding, but I ended up finding it in my shoe on our honeymoon.  It was like it was a sign saying that my parents will always be with me no matter what, even though I am married now.

I made these earrings.  It was my first attempt at jewelry making and I think they turned out pretty well.

Love this set that Brett got me for Christmas!

Can't beat Tiffany & Co.

My mom and I got these lockets and had them engraved inside with a line from E. E. Cummings' "I Carry Your Heart".

My Pandora bracelet.

My cross.

I love every piece of my jewelry and all of the meanings that they carry.
Do you have any jewelry that carries a special meaning for you?