Friday, July 11, 2014

A Day in July (and a Tire)

Our pool is full and sparkling, (unlike last year when we couldn't keep the pool clear at all, because we didn't realize the filter needed new sand!), the garden is thriving, and my glorious gladioli are blooming again (just a little late. I was beginning to think we had lost them to the horrible winter, along with the hydrangeas.) These good things take my mind off of our continuing house disaster.

AND, we've been out and about taking pictures (even if they are just pictures from the phone. Not the best resolution, but it does capture memories. And often, that's most important.)  So I thought I'd do a little phone picture dump today.

When my sister moved to Florida a couple of years ago, I adopted some of her pretty daylilies, and
they're beautiful.  (When I planted them, I had them all labeled nicely, but the labels are long gone, so I don't know the names of each one. I should probably ask her...)  They are wonderful perennials--I recommend them!  She gave me several colors, and this is one of the more pastel varieties.

We have a sculpture park near our house, so my daughter and I had a walk there yesterday.  Here and there among the sculptures are some fun things for kids. Like this....pod? My daughter called it "the pear." Whatever you call it, it's amazing, and several little girls were having fun climbing the ladder to play inside.  (My daughter was a tiny bit jealous because it wasn't there when she was little.)

There's also a huge red sculpture that's made from salvaged oil tanks.

We happened upon this huge tire, thinking it was another fun thing for kids to climb on, but no, it's one of the "sculptures."  See the sign?  A sculpture?  It's a tire.  I'm pretty opened minded about art, but hey, it's a tire.  

A fun place for some photos though. (And no, we didn't climb it!)

Do you have any unusual parks near you?

(P.S.  Is there a Blogger guru out there who can help me figure out why my vertical photos are posting so HUGE all of a sudden?  I've had this blog for almost 3 years and have never had this problem before.)

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Make Envelopes with Scrapbook Paper (or Magazines, or Calendars...)

Although I haven't been crafting or creating too many fun things lately, my daughter has, so she gave me permission to share some of her creations--like these pretty envelopes.

She made them with scrapbook paper.  That brought back memories of making these myself.  I've always  loved to have cute envelopes to send real mail. Sometimes I address them in calligraphy, sometimes I pull out some fun rubber stamps, and yes, sometimes a sticker or two. (Embrace your inner child...)

(By the way, I have a LOT of pads of 12x12 scrapbooking paper that I've been collecting through the years, and from the look of my stash, you would think I was saving it for some future crafting apocalypse. I'm really happy that my daughter is actually using hers.)

It's easy to make the envelopes. Here's how:

Carefully take a plain envelope apart, and use it as your template.  (No need to buy an envelope template, as I'm sure you have some different sized envelopes around the house. With that said, I do have some cute little envelope stencils.)

Trace around the unfolded envelope onto your pretty paper.

Cut out, fold, and glue with a strong gluestick.  (When you buy a greeting card, instead of using the envelope that comes with it, consider making one to coordinate with the card. Just use the original envelope as your template.)

Think outside the box.  Do you have some magazines with pretty photos or some beautiful calendars?  Papers like that are shiny and perfect as envelopes. Depending on the type of paper you use, you may have to use an address label.

This is the paper pad my daughter used.

You can also dress up your envelope with pretty stamps. I love these songbirds.

This would be a fun summer project with kids.  You probably already have everything you need to make these.  Have fun!

Linking to:

An Alli Event

Create with Joy

Creativity Unleashed

Katherine's Corner

Fridays Unfolded

Making Monday

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Raised Bed Gardening with Cinder Blocks

Having been away from blogging for a while before my last post, I almost feel like the new kid on the block again.  It was just a couple of months, but feels longer. So, thank you for being here!

With the exception of photography, my creative endeavors have been lacking recently too.  Some people become more creative when confronted with life's challenges. I, on the other hand, tend to kind of go the opposite way.

With that said, I have many things to be thankful for over the last few months!

For one, my sweet baby girl (age 20!) is home from college for the summer. She goes to school locally, but lives in a dorm during the school year. So it's nice to see her face every day.  Plus, I love how she kick starts all of the gardening around here.  Have you seen these raised bed gardens made from cinder blocks on Pinterest?  She did, and actually decided to try it. (I had to cart the cinder blocks home from Home Depot in two trips--those things are HEAVY and weigh down the car. Thankfully, an employee loaded them for me.  This is one of the times a truck would have been useful...)

What do you think of the tie-dye crocs?

Yep, that is corn coming up.

These are easy to make--Try it!   Place the cinder blocks on the ground to form a rectangle (size optional), lay down some weed fabric or newspaper, and add your soil. (I'm not sure how important the weed fabric or newspaper is, since this is the first year we've done this...)  Then start planting.  My daughter put corn in the large section and marigolds in the small spaces.  (Did you know marigolds repel some garden insects?) If you'd like to sit while you garden, leave a few of the small spaces empty.

Now if we could just keep the rabbits away...

We're appreciating the nicer weather  and are enjoying coffee on the deck again--a simple pleasure. Sunny loves it too (well, the deck, not the coffee)  and will snooze in my arms until I go in.

Why is this picture so big??   No clue...

Are you doing any gardening this year?

Linking to:
Crafty Spices
Katherine's Corner
Fishtail Cottage Garden Party
SITS Saturday Sharefest

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back With a Handmade Father's Day Gift (A Treasure in my Closet)

I've been sort of in withdrawal mode, as we've been dealing with our home renovation disaster(s), (so I apologize for not visiting your blogs more!)  This time of life has had some weird challenges (as do most times of our lives, I suppose. True for most.) 

My husband and I have been trying to decide our next course(es) of action to fix our house issues.  Among other things, I've also been bettering my photo editing skills (thank goodness for Lightroom), and I've been trying to figure out which direction to take with my blog. I do know I want to continue blogging, and with life changes, perhaps come some blog changes 

We've also been doing some spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a funny term, (I do clean the rest of the year too!), but it's a good time of year to tackle the closets and other exhausting projects.

My husband helped me with our bedroom closet over the weekend, because he's sweet like that. He didn't know what he was in for. (He does have a lot of boxes of stuff in there.) 

The closet is now spotless and fresh, and during that adventure, I unearthed some fun treasures--Old photos that had never been transferred to photo albums (the proverbial "pictures stuffed in a shoebox, from our film camera days. Well, in photoboxes.  At least the pictures are stored chronologically.)  A red dress from 20 years ago that I couldn't bear to part with and that my daughter has now claimed for her own. (It's her size now, not mine.)  

I also found some cute little projects that our kids had made when they were little (even before Pinterest fed our creative souls.)  Like this little mint tin turned Father's Day "card" that my daughter made years ago.

I thought maybe someone out there might want to make this cute thing with their own little daddy's girl or boy.

It's just a little accordian folded strip of cardstock glued to the inside bottom of an Altoids tin, with the Dad rectangle glued to the other end of the strip. It kind of wiggles when the box is opened, which is what makes it fun.  My husband always melted at these gifts, because they represented effort and love.  He and I have abandoned some of our packrat ways, choosing to live more simply and less cluttered with stuff,  but little treasures like this one aren't going anywhere.

Have a great weekend everyone. (No more closet cleaning for me--at least not his weekend!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's My SITS Day!

Woohoo, it's my SITS day! (I bet you couldn't read that in the weird post-title font, could you?)   I've been looking forward to being featured on SITS, and the day has come!  I'm so happy (and kind of nervous--like I'm having a party and didn't clean well enough!)  I'm a shy one, after all...

If this is your first time here, welcome! If you're a blogger, and you're not familiar with SITS, I recommend that you come on over and participate in the community.  I've met so many wonderful bloggers and have learned so much about blogging and social media there.

My blog is eclectic and hard to categorize (kind of like me!)  In a nutshell, I love to be creative, and that spreads to every area of life, doesn't it?  I like to make things, read things, photograph things, grow things, talk about get the idea!  I tend to sprinkle pictures of my family and our baby, oops I mean our Yorkie, Sunny, into the blog too.  My About Me page  will give you a bit more detail, well, about me.

Some of my favorite posts and my readers' favorite posts are on my sidebar, and some of my craft tutorials and recipes are in the nav bar at the top, so please feel free to explore!

I'd love for you to follow me on Twitter, Bloglovin, Pinterest, GFC, and/or subscribe to my posts by email.

Thanks so much for visiting. Your comments really do make my day!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Deb's Sleeves

That's me in the very shiny, teal dress in 1992.  I was the matron of honor at my sister's wedding.  My name isn't Deb.

Did you see Napoleon Dynamite?  Do you remember the scene where Napoleon tells Deb, "I like your sleeves. They're real big"?   Well, I can't look at this photo without those words running through my head.

I think my sister was a very pretty bride, big sleeves and all.  (And I still have that shiny, teal dress!)

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pointed Pen Calligraphy--Encouragement and Resources for Beginners

Hi all. Have you been staying warm?

(I just had to throw that snuggly picture of Sunny up there.)

Now on to the real reason for this post. I love calligraphy, but I have known quite a few people who have been intimidated by it.  A friend of mine took a class once but felt that she wasn't able to learn it.  It does take patience, but if you try it, please don't give up.  One day it will click, and then, with practice, you'll  be able to produce some hand lettering that will surprise you. Really!

I've done italic calligraphy for years, but recently, I've begun learning pointed pen calligraphy, specifically copperplate and variations of it.  It's a beautiful, flowing hand, and I'm excited to be making progress with it. It also has me working with dip pens a lot, because for pointed pen calligraphy, a dip pen is best, as the nib needs to be flexible, and fountain pen nibs really aren't (unless you want to pay big dollars for vintage ones!) Plus, you really can't get that nice, elegant line variation with a fountain pen.

By the way, calligraphy involves drawing individual strokes with a pen; it isn't really handwriting at all.  Your own handwriting is sort of irrelevant here, so don't worry if yours isn't the best.

Now, you just read above that you can't get good line variation (thicks and thins) with a fountain pen (which is true--the nibs aren't flexible enough), but I did use a fountain pen for the sample above. (Sometimes you just have to use whatever is convenient, and a fountain pen is more portable!)  But I will post some better samples for you in the future!

It's been a fun, creative process to learn pointed pen calligraphy.  I was surprised that my background in italic calligraphy shortened the learning curve.

Here are the books that I have been using. I highly recommend them:

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual by Eleanor Winters

Modern Mark Making  by Lisa Engelbrecht
(If you click this banner and buy the books from, I will get a small commission for your purchase.)
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I purchased my nibs and ink from Paper and Ink Arts and John Neal Bookseller--both are excellent online resources.

There are also really good video tutorials by Joe Vitolo at, as well as free, printable guidelines there (that I print out on quality, bright white inkjet paper for practice.)

I hope you'll try pointed pen calligraphy. It's a beautiful way to add fun and elegance to your art projects and correspondence (yes, sometimes I do still correspond by real mail--remember this post?)

(As an update, we are still struggling with the home renovation issues, but we're making progress.  I haven't been here at the blog as often as I'd like, so I appreciate your visit today!)

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