Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yellow Everywhere

Those male goldfinches have really brightened up!

On Sunday we took our bikes to a local park with a bike path along the river.  The Marsh Marigolds were all over the place but what really caught my eye were the Trout Lilies.  They are also called Dogtooth Violets but they are not a true violet.  The root is supposedly shaped like a dog's tooth.  I prefer calling them Trout Lilies as the leaves remind one of brown or speckled trout.

We also spied patches of Bloodroot - their pretty white flowers with yellow centers.  If you were to break the stem or dig up the root you would see the red sap that gives them their name.  I would not advise this however, as I've read that it can cause sores that take a very long time to heal.

The only surviving Forsythia that we have in the yard is inside the garden.  We used to have some between our property and that of our neighbor but the deer, who are not supposed to like this plant, apparently love it.  Fortunately the fence provides some deterrent to them.

And of course, there are daffodils coming up all over.  These are some that HWNSNBP cut from the garden.  They can't be seen from the house, so they're meant to come in.  We've got many different varieties all over the yard - white, yellow, some with orange, some with salmon pink - as the deer do leave these alone.  We had 80ยบ temps this weekend but there may be a freeze tonight so I hope they don't get frozen before we have a chance to enjoy them some more.

What's blooming in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Cactus Committed Suicide..... or Maybe it was Just Trying to Escape

 This is the cactus that I have had on my desk at work for the last 5 or so years. I used to just babysit it during the summer when the staff was gone, but it got too big and potentially dangerous to keep in the classroom so it stayed permanently in the office. The picture was taken during the holiday season a few years ago.  I would dress it up for the holidays and it was often one of those conversation starters with first-time visitors to our school.  Usually the students would say "Is that real?" to which I would reply yes and warn them not to touch because it was known to pinch people.  

Two weeks ago I turned the pot as I do on occasion to keep the cactus from growning crooked.  The next morning I came into work to find the pot moved and the cactus in pieces on my desk.  There was an e-mail that the night custodian had sent to our head of maintenance explaining that they had come in to empty the garbage in the office and found the "plant on the secretaries desk" had fallen.  They attempted to clean up the spilled soil from the pot, but probably assumed it was beyond hope.  

Trying to make light of the situation I blurted out to the first person in the office that "my cactus committed suicide".  They thought I said my cat committed suicide and wondered how that was possible.  Then when I pointed to the pieces on my desk they understood what I meant.  

Lucky for me HWNSNBP was working from home that day and was able to stop by the school and pick up the pot and the pieces of what was left of the cactus.  Then we went pot shopping the next day and courtesy of some leather gloves of his I was able to attempt to salvage what I could.

The very smallest of the babies as I refer to them, was damaged too severely as was about half of the largest broken piece.  (Which eventually totally died.)  I've had the white pot at home in a shady place since the accident since that's what the directions on the cactus soil bag said you should do for the first few weeks - keep it in a shady place.  And I think those three pieces will make it.  

Let's keep our fingers crossed.  I'll be taking it back to work next week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jingle Belles - Spirit of Christmas Past

What do you think of when you think of vintage Christmas?  Do you think of lace and velvet?  Or maybe ice skating and sleigh riding?  When I think of vintage Christmas it takes me back to my childhood days when I looked forward to baking cookies and doing craft projects.   So the image that I used for this card combines a little of both of those.  

This image is a Tasha Tudor stamp.  I could go on about the sweet little books that Tasha Tudor wrote and illustrated, but to keep it short I'll just say that I purchased this stamp, not so much for myself, but to use for my cousin who happens to have a passion about all things Tasha Tudor.  

I stamped the image in Marina Mist on a piece of school drawing paper in the hopes that it would resemble a page that you might see in an old coloring book.  A vintage coloring book maybe?  And I used the plaid background because it reminded me of the comfortable flannel pajamas that we wore in those days.  

Oh, and the buttons and seam binding - well, what would a Christmas craft be without buttons and ribbons?  

Join me here to check out all the other Spirits of Christmas Past.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sharing Their Creativity

The card above came from my blogging friend Dana.  Dana lives in Florida now, having moved there from Indiana a few years ago.  And did I ever mention that she is a published author?  No?  Well, yes she is.  She wrote a book entitled "Treadwell".  I've read it and let me say that it was one of those books that captures you and doesn't let you go until the absolute end.  I highly recommend it and can't wait for the sequel or prequel or whatever she writes next!

Dana is getting back into making cards and boy, it's like she never took a break.  Her cards are wonderfully thought out and I'm so pleased that she shared this one with me.  Thanks Dana.

The next two cards were Birthday RAK's from Splitcoast members Rita and Heather.  What a wonderful surprise it is to receive a handmade card out of the blue from someone you don't even know.  That they spent time creating something to share for your birthday sure does make one feel special.  And they are so pretty!

I also recently received mail from New Zealand.  One of my "pig ladies" (and I use that endearment with the most love) Sushine not only decorated the envelope she sent with a multitude of flying pigs...

inside was this little lovely.........

You can't tell from the picture, but the head wiggles!  Sooooo stinkin' cute!  Thank you Sunshine!  And thank you for all the extra wings you also sent along.  

From across the Atlantic came this beautiful card from my blogging friend Sabrina.  Just look at all that detail, right down to the rainbow strips behind the image panel.  What a happy card!

See how she adds that sparkly outline.  I think she's "Goldilocks'd" it.  What do I mean by that?  It's not too much and it's not too little, it's Just Right!  

Sabrina also made me something else I'll be sharing in a few days.  Right now, before too many days passed, I wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes.  Unfortunately I've been sick all week with bronchitis and a sinus infection so I'm wondering if I can have a birthday do-over next week?  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tasting Through March

What's a Donnoli?  It's a donut filled with cannoli filling.  I saw this advertised on our local news a few weeks ago.  It was made by the bakers in a Shop-Rite store north of here.  I told HWNSNBP to be on the look-out for them coming to our local Shop-Rite and last week he spotted them.  Of course they had doubled the price from what the news report said they were originally sold for - I guess the publicity they got made them so wanted they could ask their price.  

Although the news anchors oohed and aahed I was not a fan.   I think it might have been better closer to room temperature instead of right out of the refrigerator.  

The Bit-o-Blarney popcorn pictured below was a hit at work.  I found this recipe on Happier Than A Pig in Mud (click link for recipe).  

As the blog owner says, it's kind of like lime flavored Cracker Jacks.  I left the bag in the faculty room and it didn't take long to empty.   I only had sugar-free lime jello which tasted okay but was not as liquidy as it probably should have been for coating the popcorn.  

This is not your ordinary Yellow Delicious apple.  I don't particularly care for them.  But I was willing to give this yellow gem a try.  It's called an Opal Apple and it was very tasty.  Not mealy like I find Delicious apples to be.  We found these apples at the Fresh Market.  I've been eyeing a Lemon Risotto Cake in their prepared salad section.  It's not a bakery item, more on the line of a crab cake or hush puppy.  Maybe this weekend?

Do you like to try new varieties of things?  I find that I'm usually willing to give things a try in the sweet or salty category, but not so much with savories unless recommended by trusted family or friends.   Of course when Rachel was home a couple of weekends ago and found the new Ben and Jerry's Core ice creams at Target you know I had to try them.  Well, 3 out of 4 of them.  And the Salted Caramel was first and foremost my favorite.  

What have you tried lately?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jingle Belles - The Holly and the Ivy

The Jingle Belles challenge was to use foliage, not necessarily just holly and ivy. 

Yep, yep, yep.  I missed another deadline.  I so wanted to have this posted by 6:00 last night, but I am my own worst enemy with time these days.  I spent a good amount of time peacefully watercoloring these images on Sunday and then fussy cutting the one on the card on top out.  Well, that cutting process proved to be very tiring for my bum hand so I set that aside missing a few berries and leaves and cut the second one with a simple border (below). 

When I found the ivy cut file I knew I wanted to use it for one card, and then I got fixated.  Fixated on finding my pastels.  I wanted to add a little blue shading to the ivy leaves on the background like I did with the ink when I was coloring the image.  I have decent light above my craft space, but below, well, let's just say the craft castle has a dungeon.  One never knows what lurks in the dark recesses of the dungeon after a certain hour of the day. 

I had told HWNSNBP that I would be downstairs by dark and when I wasn't, after a while he came looking for me only to find me on my hands and knees, draped over my chair, flashlight in hand under the table with my butt facing the door.  Of course the obvious question would be "what are you doing?" and he did ask, but all it took was glare in his direction and he backed out mumbling "nevermind, sorry I asked" and he retreated down the stairs. 

I followed shortly after still not finding what I was looking for and frustrated.  I said I would take a look when I got home from work the next day when it was still light.  

But I had not yet cut out that background and planned to do that the first thing when I got home from work.  Let me say that I am still learning the ins and outs of my Cameo and really need to do some more experimenting with blade depth and speed, but impatient I was, so I forged ahead with using a sub-par cut image and overlay and resorted to trying to clean up the overlay with a craft knife.  (The pieces weren't popping out on their own, they needed a little help in the corners.)  Time-consuming?  Yes.  It didn't look bad but I really didn't like the green on green and I still hadn't found the missing pastels and the sun was setting fast.

I told myself I would find them on Tuesday.  Yes, Tuesday would be good.  But when I got home from physical therapy and still could not find them I pushed it off until Wednesday.  Fixation!  I came home yesterday and sat down at the dining room table where I have my laptop and Silhouette set up and was trying to think what I could do to add that color instead of using the pastels and thought about maybe using my Prismacolor pencils which were there behind my computer.  And guess what I found?  Under the box of pencils was ............I'm sure you guessed it............ my pastels. 

So I ran upstairs and started futzing around with them on the back of the overly and, well, I didn't even like it.  Fixation!  Determined to have that blue ivy look, I grabbed a sheet of Not Quite Navy paper and ran back downstairs to cut that out.  Well, when all was said and done, I looked at the clock and it was 5:56 and even though I had the computer on, I knew I would never get the photo taken and uploaded in time.  So I blew the deadline, but I took my time adding some more details on that card like the glitter gel line around the sentiment piece and the card base (which my friend Sabrina does beautifully but I haven't mastered yet).  And then I didn't just want to discard that image that I had spent so much time cutting out so I looked through my embossing  folders and in 5 minutes that card was done. 

If I hadn't been so fixated on finding those pastels..................................................

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mid-March Cards and More Birds

Birthday card for my PT.  Used the same set below for a Get Well Card.

Image stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colored with my SU markers.  

We should be seeing more of these spring flowers but not yet.  One yellow crocus was discovered in the yard on Saturday but was eaten by Sunday.  

The goldfinches, still in their olive drab are hungrily swarming the thistle feeder.

While the flicker and blue jay scavenge the ground for morsels.

I think the Blue Jay should think twice about sneaking up on the Flicker.  Take a look at that Flicker beak!

And now, after all these years, the bluebirds have become comfortable hanging out at the suet feeder.  Here is a Mr. patiently waiting his turn.