Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guitar Build Part 1 The Guitar Body

Last year, my husband decided that he was going to build his own amp, so he spent days, weeks, maybe even a couple of months on youtube listening to different amps for sounds, textures and tones. What he came up with was just amazing. It not only looks awesome, but sounds so good. I, myself, am not a sound junky like he is. He is constantly asking me if I can tell the difference between these 2 sounds and so on...I really can never tell, but I try, like any good wife, oh do I try. I just don't have his ears.

Here is his first project completed. When he gets a video of the sound, I will make sure to post that video!

This year is a new year which means, new projects. My husband is not himself without some sort of project to work on. He has to use his hands and his brain. That is what makes him the happiest. He took on a project so completely outrageous (to most people) and is actually almost done with it now. He has been working on it for almost 2 months now. What's his project you ask? A guitar. Not just any guitar. His guitar. His design. His touch. His everything! The goal is to have it done in time for his bands trip to TX next week. I think it's gonna happen! Anyway...disclaimer: This is not a tutorial! All the ideas, layouts and so on are all his. This is completely from a wife's perspective. I don't know measurements, tones or anything specific to guitar building. Enjoy the post and all the pictures!

J had found a lumber company that he wanted to check out to start this project off right. I think he accomplished that and more! He went! He saw! He conquered! He told me that one of the employees called him the wood whisperer. He took his time to find the right wood. He talked to the wood, and touched the wood. He was 1 with the wood. 

By the way, wives...if your husband ever says that he spent $100 at a lumber store, just know that that amount is actually between $100 and $200. It seems like if it has a 1 in front of it, it's just a $100. Just throwing that out there. 

He was so excited to come home and show me his treasures!
He used two different types of wood for the body. Spalted Maple and African Sepeely (spelling?) Both woods beautiful and smooth and sturdy. 

Then came time to pick out a template for the body. He had drawn up several different templates, and it took us a couple weeks to pick our favorite. He was constantly texting pictures to different musician friends, asking opinions on favorites. You can't take these kinds of decisions lightly. Building a guitar from scratch is a big deal!

When you go to a music store, you really don't think about the build. You just pick out a guitar for the sound. You don't really consider the structure of it, how much time and effort it took to actually build it. What kind of wood was used. I found out that there are 4 different fret measurements just for a Gibson guitar! 

He used two different types of wood for the body. Spalted Maple and African Sepeely (spelling?) Both woods beautiful and smooth and sturdy. 

He put the 2 pieces of wood together to come up with a beautiful guitar body.

Was I right? or was I right!?

This concludes part 1 of the Guitar Build. Stay tuned for Part 2, Carving out the body and the neck! Thanks for checking out my blog :) Hope you enjoy and come back for more!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

It's Never Too Late

Throughout our life, we make certain decisions. Sometimes those decisions are good and sometimes those decisions are not so good. You try so hard to make something happen in your life and everything seems to go against it. You end up losing your scholarship to college. Your fiancé keeps pushing the date back. You lost out on that promotion that you have been working so hard for. You lose a friend because of a disagreement about a life circumstance. Whatever problem arises, it forces you to make some sort of decision.

But what about the decision to follow Christ? That is one that is always good, no matter what your life looks like.

I was raised in church my whole life. I knew the stories. I knew when to raise my hands in worship. I knew the lingo, but I don't think that I really knew why. I was asked one day why I believe that God is the real God as opposed to a Greek mythological god or buddha. This was a recent question, but I was able to answer it. I KNOW that God is God b/c I have felt Him. I feel Him. I have experienced Him like I would never be able to experience anything or anyone else. He lives inside of me, and with that, I have faith. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is God. The I Am. Jesus. He is mine, and I am His.

I was listening to a sermon today, and the title of that message was Focus on Righteousness. Pastor Alex talked about Samson and his Nazarite vow. A Nazarite vow is just this:

  • No drinking alcohol or eating anything unclean
  • No razor should touch their head
  • No contact with a corpse or grave, even that of a family member
Read Judges 13 to learn more about Samson's beginning.

If you continue to read about Samson's life, at one point, he had killed a lion and a swarm of bees had made a hive in the bones of that lion and made honey. He was not to touch that dead animal, but it was almost like he couldn't resist that honey. Sometimes, wrong things look so good and your eye, your mind wonders in that direction. He broke one of his vows. Vows are very serious. They aren't something to just play with. They aren't guidelines. Making a vow and then breaking should have brought Samson to a mindset of conviction, but it was almost like, "I have 2 more vows that I haven't broke. I will be fine. Everything is fine"

In the end, Samson ended breaking all his Nazarite vows and lost his strength. He had a strength that no man could match. It was a God given strength, and he lost it b/c of a bad decision. He made one bad decision that kept leading to other bad decisions. 

Do you think, though, that God just ended Samson's story with him weak and his enemies laughing at him? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Samson repented and asked God to give him enough strength to take out his enemies with one last blow, and God did just that. When Samson was at his weakest, that's when God really showed you His strength. It wasn't too late for Samson! As long as he had breath in his body, he cried out to God and GOD SHOWED UP!

Look at David's life. God even called him "A man after His own heart". How many bad decisions did David make? He sent a man to war just to have him be killed by the enemy so that he could have his wife. I mean really!? That's just nuts and seems like something that would be unforgivable! Right? WRONG! David always repented. He always found his way back to God. He loved God, there was no doubt in that. 

These stories just prove that no one person is good enough. We all mess up. We all have bad days, bad months, bad years. As long as you have breath in your body, it's not too late! Just b/c it's not too late though, do not wait! Being a Christ follower is THE greatest decision you will ever make in your life. You will continue to go down a road that will curve and wind and have obstacles, but when you know where your destination is, it's so much easier to drive b/c you aren't the only one driving. I imagine it being like one of those old student drivers cars. There are 2 steering wheels in the vehicle. One for the student. One for the instructor. 

Allow God to be your instructor. He is not a dictator. He isn't going to force you down one road or the other. When you have a relationship with Him and communicate with Him on a daily basis, the twists and the turns become smoother, easier to follow. You are guided on which way to turn. 

Use your ears to listen! Find favor! I was told once "You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. You need to listen twice as much as you talk"

Let God guide you. When decisions come your way and you make a bad one, don't let that one bad decision affect the rest of your life. Allow God to put you back on your path. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE BREATH, IT'S NEVER TOO LATE!

Boys and Their Guitars

My husband and I are really starting to enjoy the age of our children. Don't get me wrong. We have always loved our kids from the very start, but they are coming into an age where they are fun to hang out with. They enjoy going places with us, having conversations, telling us EXACTLY what they want and so on. Last year, my husband took our son to a music shop. He was in heaven. He loved looking at all the cool guitars, drums and gear. Then he saw it! The Eddie Van Halen yellow and black striped guitar. He calls it the bumblee guitar. The name is inspired from Transformers. His favorite transformer is Bumble Bee. He got so excited about it and had to have it, no matter how it happened, it, the EVH guitar had to be his.

Now, you have to realize that this kid is only 4. All he knows how to do is keep rhythm by strumming his guitar. His ultimate goal is to learn the Iron Man song by Black Sabbath. He listens to that song almost everyday and watches the Iron Man video that goes along with it. Since the boy had to have the guitar, but we didn't want to pay an extreme amount for it, we had to figure out how to make that happen. We ended up buying a fender mini squire and that became my husband's project for the ultimate Christmas gift! This is the before picture.
Now yes, this is a generic photo, but this is what it looked like when we bought it.


He took it all apart, sanded and sprayed primer on the body. 
The pick guard was huge so he filled in the body and cut the pick guard down to a smaller size.



The next step was painting!

Working with the pick guard




He had some fun with the headstock

And we put it all together for one sweet, custom painted  EVH (replica) guitar!


Christmas was a lot of fun this year b/c the kids are getting to the age of having more fun toys. This project was fun to do (at least watch my husband to do) He also put the build up on his YouTube channel, GMR Check it out!

There is a lot that goes into making one thing into something else, and I hope that you can see that through all the pictures! My husband likes to work with his hands and so talented at what he does. He is the only person I know that can look at one thing, see and make it into something else. He made our boy a very happy kid this past year with this gift.

After our home Christmas, we traveled to Tennessee, where my hubby took our son to get his first amp. It was a very special time for them, and I wouldn't have traded it for it anything. I got this picture, and it made my heart melt!

Thanks to 2nd Gear Music Shop in Nashville. You made one little boy very happy!

Thanks for the read all! Stay tuned for more music and guitar posts!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pray, Seek, Find

I have been back and forth on what to write today. I wanted to get a post out yesterday, but I some things come up early in the day that made my mind go just a bit wacky. My stomach knotted up. I started to get a bit of anxiety. I was feeling hurt. Really hurt and angry.

But today is a new day, and I am not going to focus on what all went wrong yesterday. I have come too far in my spiritual walk with my Heavenly Father to lose it all in one day. I have faith that things will change. I know that God is in everything that I do. I don't move without His guidance, His leading the way. I had to write a very hard message yesterday, but it was full of truth and love (and I hope that he sees in that way). I will not walk in anger and hate. I will continue to walk out my life in love, mercy and grace. Burnt bridges can be built again. New and stronger, but it takes time. I still see a glimmer of hope for a change. To some, that may sound ridiculous, but if I lose all hope in this situation, then I have lost my faith that God can make this situation turn around. I know that He can, and I know that He will.

So anyway...Endurance. That is what I have been reading about the last couple of days. I have been in a series by Graham Cooke called The Way of the Warrior Series. God has been messing me up in this time. He has been giving new revelations on just who He is to me and what He wants to do with my life. One day, I had stepped into a realm that just messed me over. I had felt God's presence in my whole body, spiritually and physically. I felt a Hoy Ghost fire, I had to shed clothes! I couldn't stop moving and felt like I just needed to clean. I have been cleaning my inside house (my bodily spirit man), which made me have a desire to clean my actual house! LOL. It was a great day in the Lord. I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with my mother in law praying and seeking God's perfect will for us and our family. Entering the throne room of our Father.

Prayer is having a conversation with God. It doesn't have to be something that you only do in church. You don't have to have a proper language/grammar. You don't have to be clean, and you don't have to be dirty. Come as you are. That is what ever church's motto should be. You should feel free to come to Christ anytime. He is never too busy for you, His child, His son, His daughter. He will never turn you away b/c He has more important things to do. You are His important thing. I remember as a child, going to my father, and it would be during the news (this was at the time that DVR didn't exist and there was no rewind or pause button on the tv) or his favorite tv show to talk or ask a questions, and he would make me wait. Eventually, I quit waiting and went to talk to my mother. As a child, I guess I just embraced that other things were more important, and unfortunately, as a mother, I have caught myself doing that to my own children. Now, yes, we are all human and we have jobs to do. Yes, sometimes our children have to wait for mom or dad to answer their question, or get up and get a snack, but it should never get to the point that they quit coming. I should never make my children wait for me so much that they think other things are more important to me than they are. That is an issue that I will work on as parent. They need  my attention now or later, they won't want it.

God is not like that. He always answers. He is always at the door waiting. I love the picture of Jesus knocking and waiting at the door.

If you have ever noticed, there is no door knob on the outside of the door. He will not force His way in. It has to be our choice. We have to open that door. Let me tell you, when you open that door, you had better be ready for a flood of blessings to come your way. He will take you on a journey like never before. He will give you a freedom, a peace, a calm that you never even knew existed.

1 John 5:14-15 
     Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that is we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if you know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked Him.

This word should be enough for us to want to endure, to go on, to seek after His presence, His will for our lives. Sometimes in life, doors shut. I have come to find that if a door shuts, it's for a good reason. I may not understand it at the time, but there is a good reason (Romans 8:28) The wonderful thing about a shut door is that another one will open! God is THAT good. HE LOVES US! We are called. We have purpose. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you don't. You exist for a reason. Seek His will for your life.

Know that if you are on the right path, everything will line up, and you will have peace. Don't  make it happen. Let go and let God. God will not take a wrong situation and make it right. He will give you the courage and strength to get out of that situation and make something completely new. Don't stop praying. Don't stop seeking. God will lead you to the answer you have been waiting for!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rag Quilts

I have a very large passion for sewing. It's my me time, and it's become my relaxing time. I have been fortunate enough to be able to sew for other people and get some great feedback on my projects. I recently made a diaper bag for my cousin. She is due to have her baby boy in a just a few weeks.
I came across a tutorial for a kids messenger bag at Crazy Little Projects and loved it so much, that I added some inside pockets that are geared toward diaper bag loving moms and a outside side pocket for a bottle/cup. This one has, by far, been my most favorite one to make. It's so versatile! It functions like a diaper bag, but looks good enough to carry around after baby has grown. I also made a My Little Pony bag for a friend of mine. You can check hers out on her blog and see what she packed in hers before baby girl was born! AmandaKeener

This past fall, I was asked to make a boutique type rag quilt for a baby girl. We didn't live in the same area, so I just took pictures of fabrics and sent them her way so she could pick and this is what we came up with! Isn't it darling?! I had done a couple of rag quilts this past summer, and they are so east to do and turn out so cute. It's hard to stop quilting once you start.

I had gone to Joann's one day and saw this Koko Lee fabric and HAD to have it! I didn't know what I was going to make, but it had to part of my fabric stash. It was very hard cutting into at first b/c I had to make sure that it was exactly what I wanted to make out of it, and it turned out so pretty! I love these colors!

If you have come across this page and would like to check out more just go to MaryEl Designs. It's my Facebook page. I love getting feedback, suggestions and even orders! Check back for more fun stuff! Thanks!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Lifestyle Diet

There is nothing more important than keeping your spirit man healthy. Spending time with God is something that I try to do on a daily basis. I don't always do it, but I strive to make that the main part of my lifestyle. Another thing that I believe is very important is keeping healthy and physically fit. We are to take care of our temple. God has given us a body, so like any home, we need to care for it, clean it, treat it well and so on...

I have never really been to struggle with weight problems. I have always been small, and I hope to stay that way. My heaviest was when I was pregnant with my kids. Both times, I ended up at 150 lb. I gained 43 lb. with my first and 35 lb. with my second. The first time, it wasn't hard getting the weight off. It was only a couple of weeks, and I was down to at least 115. That was still more than I had ever weighed, but I didn't look bad, and I didn't feel bad. My daughter was only 6 months old when we found out we were having our second baby, so there really wasn't much time in between to start living a healthier lifestyle. Then, it really wasn't THAT important to us anyway. We are out a lot. Cooked freezer meals. I really didn't do a lot of cooking. In that sense, I had to become a better wife to the husband that really was happy to come home to food on the table or about to be on the table. Anyway...

It wasn't until after I had my son did I notice that I wasn't dropping the weight as quickly. I had my best friend with me for about 5 weeks at that time, and we decided that we were going to give Hot Yoga a chance. Oh boy! Did that do it for us! We would take turns on the nights to go. The husband worked nights at the time, so she was a huge help to me then. We would come home drenched in sweat and really feeling good about our progress. I dropped the extra weight and was able to pretty much eat what I wanted to again. I was in my early to mid 20s at the time, so my metabolism was extraordinary!

As soon, though, as I started to creep toward the 30 year mark, my body started changing in ways that I wasn't much appreciative of. I haven't been gaining weight, it's just decided to shift to places that I don't like. No more bikinis for this mama with the tummy roll (I can see your eyes rolling, at least to those of you who know me!) Gotta cover the bum a bit more. I guess modesty is ok though. I was never one to show much skin in public anyway.

I have even notice the shiny strands of grey hair growing atop my head! I'm too young for that! ehem...

A couple of years ago, I did the 21 Day Fix and LOVED it! My cousin got me involved in it, and it was something that I really looked forward to doing everyday. I was part of a Facebook group for support and accountability. About half way through though, I had to change some things. I continued to do the workouts (I was obsessed) but my eating habits, clean as they were, had to be amped up. I lost too much weight. If you know anything about the body, being too much under weight is just as dangerous as being over weight. I dropped to 103 lb. and that wasn't good. I wasn't gaining any muscle. I had to increase my calorie intake which was really hard b/c I wasn't hungry for anymore food than what I had conditioned myself to eat.

Well, all that came to a dead stop when we ended moving, and I got out of sync with everything and now, here I am. Trying to get back on course. Trying to make myself live a healthier lifestyle in front of my kids so they will start to want to live this way also.

My sister-in-law had posted last week, a book that she got called the 4x4 Diet by Erin Oprea. I guess she is a personal trainer to some celebrities, and maybe this is her first book?? I'm not sure, but what I have read so far, I'm really looking forward to this new journey of a clean, lean and mean ;) lifestyle change. Oh, all that to say, that I purchased the book also. It intrigued me, and I have been feeling like a change for quite some time now.

I can't say that I won't indulge every once in a while...I love my morning coffee with my baileys french vanilla creamer. I only have 1 cup, so that's ok, right? But as soon as the cookies and other misc. treats are gone, that's it. Fruits and Veggies it is...even for the kids. Healthy snacks in this home until we can adapt to our new way of living, eating.

I did make a delicious smoothie this evening! I had purchased a book a couple years ago, 101 Best Smoothies and Juices. I have been wanting to try out these drink recipes so no better time than the present. Tonights smoothie was called Raspberry Chocolate Smoothie:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
3/4 cup milk (I used vanilla Almond milk)
1 container (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt
3 T. chocolate syrup
1-3 ice cubes

  1. Combine raspberries, milk, yogurt, and chocolate syrup in blender until smooth
  2. Add ice cubes, if using fresh fruit, use 3 cubes, if using frozen, 1-2 cubes. Blend until smooth
I guess that made 3 servings, but I drank it all! ;)

Ok, so I know that there is whipped cream on top of my smoothie, but confession, I just wanted to make it look pretty for the picture. I used ready whip (which I don't even like) and it was left in the glass after the smoothie part of the drink was gone!

So that's it for today folks! I will be taking before and after pictures on this journey along with a lot of other things that I enjoy doing and reading and etc...Signing off for the night!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fuller House...Back to the 90's

Ok, so the super anticipated series of Full (Fuller) House finally came to Netflix at midnight last night! I have so been looking forward to this shows appearance! Why? Because I grew up with this show (Full House) I am the same as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I have seen every single episode, probably multiple times. This show made me laugh. This show helped me learn valuable lessons, and when I became a parent, it even made me cry.

So today was the day to actually sit down and watch. I got through 3 episodes and had to take a little break. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't bad. I guess I was just expecting something more updated. I do however applaud Netflix for not putting foul language in the updated Full House show, but I have heard a few jokes that were innuendos to something a little dirty. It definitely is still a show that I can watch with my kids and I like that. Conner, my 5 year old, even asked if we could watch it tomorrow.

Back in the 80s and 90s, when you heard a "studio audience" laugh, it was expected and you really didn't think much of it I guess. Now? It seemed like a little too much. Maybe I am just so used to all the shows in current television, not having the laugh box continue with the same laughs and oops and aah's...Does that make sense? The first episode started off introducing all of the characters and with each one that popped out, I felt like I was having a flash back to when the show was on prime time tv. Danny Tanner was intro'd first (loud applause). Then Uncle Jesse (roaring applause). Joey next in his goofy pjs (what else would you have expected?) Becky comes in all beautiful and hasn't aged a day! Go you Aunt Becky! and then there is still heat between Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky. Of course they had to kiss and prove that fact!

It was a little disappointing that the twins wanted to no part of the show as Michelle, and I was half expecting maybe their little sister (who looks a lot like them) would step up to the plate and play Michelle, even if it was in only a few episodes. A girl can dream right?

And then, the moment of truth! The main characters of the Netflix series, b/c you know that Danny, Jesse, Becky and Joey are all going to have just special guest appearances right? They had their turn, so now it's the girl's turn! I have to say, these girls great up beautiful! DJ, Steph and Kimmie (I call them by those names b/c that is who they are to me) DJ being the mother, of course, b/c she was the oldest and probably more motherly anyway, even as an older sister growing up. Stephanie being the kinda wild child, live free and do what I want girl and Kimmie, which I find really funny that they kept her being the irritating, annoying "neighbor girl" b/c don't we all grow out of our quirkiness as we get older, in reality? But this isn't reality, is it?

It's a flashback to what good tv used to be. Violence wasn't prevalent  on tv. Bad language definitely had no place in our homes when it came to daytime tv. Sex wasn't even really talked about. Kids weren't shown to disrespect their parents. I didn't have to mute or change the channel when my son came in to talk to me. It was good and it was wholesome, and I only got through the first 3 episodes.

Was this show overly-anticipated? Maybe. But for people my age and older, it's a trip! A blast from the past. It's goofy, corny and sweet all rolled into 1 show. I was really excited when this show was first talked about, coming to Netflix and I know that a lot of you were too! I hope that you enjoy it and remember what it was like coming home after school, ready to watch our "after-school programs"

So stay in your comfy clothes, get some popcorn (or something a little more healthy since this is the year 2016 and we eat  more than just popcorn for fun tv binge watching now) and enjoy the next couple days of Fuller House...because you know that's all it's going to take to actually the show's first season...and this is just the 1st season right?? :D There will be more to come?