Sunday, May 1, 2016

Good Night April


The red-wing blackbird sat in the tree at dusk still singing his sweet song as the sun set and April came to a close.

The day started with some garage saling and then on to some errands.  When the errands were done we headed out to the lighthouse.  Never have we seen so many fishermen on the walkway and rocks.  Not even in the summer months.  There must have been some kind of fish run earlier in the day but as we walked through the crowded walkway carefully avoiding the fishermen's casts we didn't see anyone catching anything.  The picture is deceiving as they are only fishing on the left side.  The poles on the right are either extras or those of the fishermen waiting to grab a spot.  We climbed through the rail at the end and down the rocks to walk in the sand to the ocean.  And we almost made it.  My back was cramping up and we fell just a little short of the goal.


But on the way back there was one seagull (not pictured) and one duck in one of the tide pools.  All the other birds seemed to smartly be keeping their distance from all those fishing poles.  And although the nesting area for the plovers was once again roped off, we didn't see any.


We did do some shelling.  These are the finds that I tucked into the front pouch of my sweatshirt. That first shell on the top left is actually blue when wet and I'm wondering if I add a coat of clear nail polish if it will bring out the color.  


Back at the ranch, er, condo I did an unofficial tasted test of these trial m&m's that I picked up at the $Tree on the way down.  From the top:  Honey Nut, Chili Nut, and Coffee Nut.  The Honey Nut are sweet but not overpoweringly so.  The Chili Nut start out pretty so-so but have a real kick to them. You might not want to eat more than one at a time.  The Coffee Nut ones were good.  They had a mild coffee flavor that was not bitter but not as sweet as coffee ice cream.  Would I buy them again?  The Honey Nut and the Coffee Nut yes, the Chili Nut probably not.


And as that blackbird sang, the sun set in the sky over the refuge one last time in April.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Administrative Professional's Day

It all started with a coupon.  A coupon from Michael's which I've been pretty good about not visiting just to use the coupon because, well, you go in for one thing and come out with a bagful sometimes. I ignored them.  Each week the flyer comes and goes right into the recycling.  And the e-mails I usually delete.  But this time I got one of those 25% off everything whether it was on sale or not. And I did happen to need something so a trip to Michael's it was. 

And then somehow, almost as soon as I walked in the door, these plain yellow tags were calling my name.  They said, pick me, pick me. And so I did.  Then the yellow flowers chimed in along with the turquoise ones.  Into the basket they went.  Buttons!  Oh, there are buttons too!  Gotta have them also. 


And of course, the yellow and white ball of twine was not to be resisted.  And lucky me to find some pale yellow and pale turquoise ribbon.


It was like a blue and turquoise salad was being created right there in the basket.  Layer by layer.  A couple other things jumped in also and darned if by now I've forgotten what I actually went there for, but as is the case I came out with a bagful of stuff.  At a really great price though!


My basket was the envy of the woman in front of me.  "What pretty colors." she said.  "What are you going to do with them?  Bridal shower?"  No I told her.  I'm thinking I'm going to use them for Administrative Professional's Day.  "Oh!  Good idea."  she said.  "When is that?"  In April I told her. "My, aren't you thinking ahead."  she said.  If she only knew - I may have bought the goods 2 months ago, but I knew darned well that they wouldn't get done until a few days before April 27th.  Who was I kidding!


But I really did have fun putting these together this weekend.  I used two, no check that, three different stamp sets in various shades of yellow and turquoise inks.  I laid them all out on the kitchen counter (oh yes, the crafting has invaded the kitchen space now) and stamped away.  Then I played around with the placement of the flowers and buttons.  No two were alike.  

Tags done the next step would be what to use them on. All that yellow made me think of lemons so I looked for and found a great recipe for lemon scones.  Here's the link.  Baked, cooled, drizzled, dried, and packed.


Then one more time into a small white bag and tied up with a tag.


And they went to all my Administrative cohorts in the school district today, because really - we are there for each other whenever there is a need.

Our school staff was very kind to us today.  We each got a balloon and a lovely hanging geranium plant, along with a gift card.  The boss picked up a quiche on the way in for a little breakfast treat and also gave us gift cards.  And there were a couple other little surprises from some staff members.  It feels good to know you're appreciated even without the gifts and I always love reading what they write in the card.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Birds, Babies, Birthdays

Do you think she knows that we're watching her?  Sure looks like it here.


Surprise, surprise!  Friday morning the eggs began hatching.  That little one wore the shell on it's head for quite a while.  I had to leave for work so I didn't see the rest of them hatch.  But they all did.


HWNSNBP was prepared.  He had already ordered 5000 mealworms - LIVE mealworms.  They come in a muslin bag,


In wads of newspaper that he carefully takes out of the bag OUTSIDE.


And dumps them into a plastic shoe box with a layer of oatmeal and maybe one or two slices of potato to keep them fed.  They cannot climb up the sides. THANK GOODNESS.


And actually, they're not slimy.  They are smooth and harmless and I have no problem myself picking them up. Just don't put a spider in front of me!  He'll take a couple dozen of them up to the garden to the mealworm feeder each evening (and morning when he's not working).  The mealworm feeder is a wooden box with plexiglass on the front and entry holes on each of the sides. The lid lifts up for you to drop the worms in.  The side is plexiglass so the birds can see them. They can fly into the hole on the side, gather up several worms and fly out again.


Here are the babies at four days old.


And here is another baby at two weeks!


His mommy had a birthday this weekend.  Moving around my stuff during our renovation I came across some of the leftovers from the centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner so now was a good time to put them to use.


But darned if I couldn't put my hands on the sequins I wanted to add to this.  Oh well.  I'm sure they'll show up some time.








Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Creativity on Hold

Well, it's finally happening.  It's finally coming together.  This is what it looked like about 3 weeks ago after shelves and another table and much "stuff" were taken out.  That which you see is my work table, a ribbon cart, and a punch cart.  There's a dresser in there somewhere and my ink storage.  No peaking under the table (for there is more stuff there).  The walls were patched and the colors were tested.  And just for reference the color chosen is just left of the corner that's in the center of the picture.  


Time to sand and then paint the ceiling meant covering everything with plastic.  (Did it keep the dust out?  Not completely. But it did keep the paint off.)  Four coats of ceiling paint later (don't ask) - HWNSNBP was ready to do the walls.


Did I mention there was patching.  (And I still found tack and staple holes after he painted.)


Some of the shelves were relocated to the stair landing.  Up and down the stairs moving all those stamps.  Please don't judge me - I know there are way too many. Next project is to unmount those on wood blocks to free up more space.  I already have the cases and mounting foam waiting.


Other shelves were relocated to the hallway - paper, embellishments and a lot of miscellaneous. And more was put in the other bedroom - I could open my own craft store I think.  


What was left in the room is rotating around while the new floor is being installed.


The paint is like a chameleon - it changes color in different light - at least it seems that way.  I'm sure you're thinking it looks a lot like the original color, but trust me, it is not.  Is it the "right" color? Almost.  I was aiming for a more Tiffany Blue.  I just could not seem to find what I had in mind but this is close enough.  I'm not as bad as Mrs. Blandings.

And the floor is laminate.  HWNSNBP has been a good sport about this.  I know he's itching to get outside to play in the yard but this had to get done.  I know I am itching to get back in to get creating again.  Right now I've commandeered the dining room table and it's not pretty.  


There will not be a lot of wall space visible when this is done.  There will be shelves galore and a counter top in the far corner (where you saw the paint samples earlier).  I'll be able to bring up my laptop and the tv will be mounted above that.  

I found some ideas online for a work island too made from some of the same shelves that we are going to put on the wall which will be yet more storage.  

Am I excited?  Yes.  But I also wear myself out just thinking of all the work that still lies ahead. Those shelves aren't going to move back in with all the materials on them.  I'll have to empty them again and reshelve everything and try to organize it in a coherent manner at the same time.  Sheesh! Like I said, I'm tired just thinking about it.  But I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Now tomorrow I have to try to remember where I put some things to make a birthday card for this weekend.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keeping Up - Birds and Breakfast

Mr. & Mrs. Blue have become regulars at the suet feeder.  In fact, HWNSNBP is feeling the pressure of keeping it filled up.  Not only are the birds interested, but there is a local raccoon that will have at it in the night.  So, every evening he takes it down, puts it in a plastic bag, and stores it in his truck. Then every morning before he goes to work he takes it out and rehangs it for the birds.  And should he forget and leave for work with it still in the truck, well, when I go out to my car, the birds are there in the trees and are very vocal about not having their breakfast at their ready.





We made a quick trip to the condo this weekend before visiting with the grandbaby and new parents. The swans in the refuge behind us were all over the place.  I counted 14 that I could see, but there were more white birds in the distance which were either more swans or herons and egrets.

These two were standing in the shallow water and their shapes and necks are just so pretty.



We did venture out to the island and up the north end to the lighthouse, picking up pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwiches (it's a Jersey thing) for breakfast on the way at the Inlet Deli.  Our intention was to eat outside, but it was much to windy and a tad bit too cold.  The wind at the lighthouse was even more ferocious and there were no birds to photograph so we turned around and headed back.


And speaking of breakfast - Last week it was our office's turn to host what we call Fat Friday.  (It's what our school does each Friday which amounts to a breakfast/brunch spread for those that participate.  When you participate you choose a Friday that you and your group supply the treats and you can partake of the treats each Friday if you have signed up for a turn.)  So we had chosen this past Friday - Tax Day here in the US - and used a money theme for our table.  This did make for a busy week after work preparing all this stuff, but it was all delicious and well received.

There was lots of "dough" in the bagels.  "Greens" in the quiches.  I made some "bringing home the bacon" puffs and my new favorite cookie - browned butter brown sugar cookie$ in the cookie jar. The custodian baked a "rich" chocolate cake, and I made a "millionaire" pie.  The table was strewn with mini $100,000 bars and Hershey "treasures".  We also had cheese and crackers, grapes, juices, popcorn, pretzel rods, and some sticky cinnamon rolls.  It was a good feast.

Here is the link to the cookie recipe - Brown Sugar Cookies
Here is the link to the puffs - Brown Sugar and Bacon Puff Twists
Here is the link to the pie - Millionaire Pie


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The New Love in My Life

Well, he's just a little early but here he is......... Ryan Joseph........ our first grandchild!




Congratulations Michelle and Chris!  Welcome little one.  We're overjoyed.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sharing Their Creativity

I love getting mail!  Don't you love getting mail?  As long as it's not a bill, or a negative medical report, I look forward to getting real mail.   And I'm privileged to have some very creative souls who graced me with some of their creativity during the month of March.  

Sabrina sent me this beautiful birthday card.  I love the colors and of course, the bird.  The little bit of lace and that die cut flower are extra special.  


And she made me this beautiful initial "L" decorated with again, some of my favorite things.  I absolutely love it and can't wait to showcase in my new craft room, but first it will spend some time out where everyone can enjoy it.  Thank you so much Sabrina for sharing your creativity with me.


Sunshine in New Zealand sent me this card for Flying Pig Day.  The pig wobbles (or is attempting to fly).  Thank you Sunshine for remembering me on National Pig Day.  This is so stinking cute!


Then there were several BRAK's from Splitcoast stampers.

This card from Beverly McGuire - love those calla lillies


This flowery wonder from Debbie (dbeckler) - aren't those flowers beautiful


A monochromatic masterpiece from Cathy Alstott (lexant)


And some candles to blow out from Dyna Jones (DPJ)


Thank you all for sharing and thank you for making my birthday month so special.