Sunday, September 25, 2016

Before an Almost Hurricane

Her name was Hermine and she was supposed to be a fish storm by the time she got to us up here in New Jersey after taking her time threading between the Florida Keys and Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico, slowly gathering her wits and bits to swing back east across Florida and then out into the Atlantic again.  

But then, as the holiday weekend approached (Labor Day weekend) the prognosticators started changing their tune.  No longer would that be the "perfect weekend", the unofficial end of summer three-day-weekend that most of us look forward to before heading back to school.  Oh no.  Those of us on the mid-Atlantic coast were forewarned of the coming of a storm of near epic proportions.  Not quite a Sandy (as we now use Superstorm Sandy of 2012 as a barometer of storms), but the conditions were prime for major coastal flooding.  

So we, of course, headed to the coast to secure the condo against the wind.  We're up 14 feet so flooding is not a fear for damage to our home, but we have furniture on the screened in back porch that could be blown about by the wind.  And flooding would affect our car and ability to leave when the water gets high.

But as the actual landfall that weekend was uncertain, on Saturday morning we decided to take a ride out to the lighthouse to see if we could walk out to the ocean.

We could feel the wind building as we left the condo that morning to start our little adventure.  Luckily I threw a long-sleeved shirt with a hood in our bag before we left, because windy it was!

It was fairly early in the morning and the parking lot was kind of empty when we got there.  It didn't take us long to realize why after we walked out to the lighthouse.  The wind was pretty fierce and the water was already hitting the side of the walkway and coming over the rocks that line the inlet.  So at this point normal 60+-year-old's would probably and rationally call it a morning.  But who ever said that we were normal.  (But this is really just about as adventurous as we get and it really wasn't that bad.)   There would be no climbing down from the walkway onto the sand, we had to go back to lighthouse and enter the sand area from there.  The water was pooled along the inside of the rocks quite a bit so we really didn't know how far we would get.  


Looking back you can see the lighthouse against the gray sky.  I had to periodically turn backwards when the wind was whipping the sand at me stinging my bare legs and the water spraying in my face.


Here at the end you can see how rough the waves were as they hit the rocks and the navigation tower at the end of the jetty.  These guys were fishing but we had no idea what they were intending to catch in that rough water.


HWNSNBP was taking pictures of the swells.  He carried out our bag with a towel in it because I usually sit down for a spell once we reach the ocean, however, there would be no sitting that day.




These gulls just stood there with their beaks into the wind. 



This guy was in the same place coming and going.


There was a flock of what I believe were tree swallows that were murmurating through the dunes and found this little water hole.  There were hundreds of them diving down to the water and then up.  It was fascinating to watch.

video

When we got back to the car HWNSNBP walked over to the Inlet Deli for breakfast sandwiches for us but it was way too windy to sit at the picnic table to eat them.  Instead we sat in the car.  This colorful family of 7 came bicycling up to check out the inlet while we were there.


We packed up when we got back to the condo and headed back inland and the storm, well, it didn't turn out to be anything much.  Some tidal flooding on Sunday, but not to the epic proportions it could have been.  Instead we had some beautiful days at home.  

Cape May (End of August)

It was my intention to get all these posts up as they were happening - in real time - but since it's now almost October, I guess one can tell that that didn't happen.  Oh well.

On the last Friday that I had off this summer, HWNSNBP and I took a little daycation down to Cape May.  We have our usual places that we like to visit and it was a rare treat to find something we didn't know was there all the time - this little lake very near the lighthouse.  We took a different turn out of the lighthouse parking lot and just started rambling up and down the roads in that area admiring some of the homes and some of the gardens when we came out at the end of one street and here was this lake (or pond - not sure exactly what it is but a big body of water much larger than a puddle).  At first we didn't see the heron, I wanted to stop and take a picture of the waterlilies that were blooming.  So when HWNSNBP turned the car around (yes, he was being very adventurous that day), we were both surprised to see the heron.


We ate lunch at the Lobster House out on the deck.  It was hot, but in the shade tolerable.  However, and here is a little rant about to happen, there was a family near where we were sitting that took up two tables, one with the adults sitting at it and the other with the children.  In between the tables was a stoller with a baby in it and the father was between the two tables also.  The children not in the stroller each had an electronic device and were using them, one watching a movie, one playing a game and both of them had the volume up and the one watching the movie was singing along at the top of her lungs.  I realize that we were outside, but it totally took away from the peaceful atmosphere of sitting on the deck with the boats and the water and the birds.  And because they were so loud, the people at the table next to us (two couples around our age) were trying to have a conversation and were talking very loud to be heard over the electronics - the adults with the children were oblivious.  I thought it was kind of rude and so very sad at the same time.  


There's an antique store that we've been to before called West End Garage.  HWNSNBP suggested we take a walk around inside there (to cool off mostly).  

I love looking at old linens and handkerchiefs and the embroidery on this one was so detailed (if you're reading this Clare - I thought of you!).  


And I couldn't help but notice a lot of these enamel flower pins that were so popular back in the 60's. I'm sure that my sisters and I had a few of these.  I think I gave mine to Rachel when she was little. Now I've seen them used to make wall hangings and beautiful wedding bouquets - though at the prices they sell them for now it would be a very expensive project.  


Still - they make me happy when I see them.


Once we left there we headed over to the little outdoor shopping mall.  Did I mention that it was hot! We quickly visited a few shops, made a few small purchases, had our Kohr's custard cones (a must even in the searing heat) and then headed back to the car.  But the last stop was the chocolate shop where I stocked up on my Bequet caramels and where this display caught my eye.  I asked the shopkeeper why they called it a Flying Pig Bar and she said it was because it contained bacon.  I would have been game to try it but it was $7 for the bar.  


It was a very enjoyable, yet exhausting day because of the heat.  Yet, if I remember correctly we did get back to Barnegat with enough time to do some fishing that evening.  The sunset below was actually from the night before when we arrived.  You know I'm a sucker for sunsets.


And these were the little treasures that HWNSNBP picked up on the beach for me early the next morning when he was surf fishing.  He knows I like the little shells.


Earlier that week however, we had a visitor at school.  A not so welcome visitor.


One of our technology guys came to the building to work on something and went to use the boys room and found this on the floor.  He calmly came and told us about it.  We've had smaller garter snakes in the building around this time of year, but this was something new.  My new office compadre wrangled it into a recycling bucket and I called animal control because we weren't sure if it was dangerous.  There are only supposed to be two snakes in NJ that are venomous and this did not appear to be one of those, however, it was trying to strike out and we wanted to be sure it was not something that might have escaped from someone's home that might not be indigenous to our area.

The animal control officer was quite excited to see it.  We found out that it was a milksnake and this was a baby.  She said she loved snakes and she might even make this one a pet, however, it was not dangerous.  We had had a couple of real cool nights recently and she said that it probably was looking for a warm place to hang out.  


The next day we heard that the night custodian found what we think was the mother in the hallway outside the office - much bigger.  Much, much bigger both around and lengthwise.  They captured it and released it into the woods near the parking lot.  Needless to say, we keep waiting to hear if there are more hiding out in the building because we think that she probably laid her eggs nearby.  Never a dull moment!  Thank goodness that there were no students in the building yet.  
  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jingle Belles - Bringing the House Down

Well, not really, just shaking it up a bit.  This challenge was all about architecture - houses, churches, etc.  I did absolutely no stamping on this card and I actually did the shaker thing bassackwards, but I got it done.  And thanks to Martha from Verizon, I actually get to publish this before the deadline tonight because there's nothing like waiting til almost the last minute and then finding out that your e-mail service provider has had a crash caused by a Google Chrome update that prohibits you from sending yourself the picture that you needed to post.  

Whew!  So here's the scoop - starting from the top - 


The sentiment is from Impression Obsession.  The houses are from Essentials by Ellen Home & Hearth.  The trees are from SU's Sleigh Ride edgelits.  The jar and lid are from Everyday Jars Framelits (another SU die).  And darned if I didn't forget to write down the holly, berry, and branch die (I'll edit this later to add that info.).

The base is Bashful Blue cs and the raised panel is a scrap of SU dsp.  I used Cherry Cobbler, Real Red, Hunter Green, Gumball Green, Marina Mist, and More Mustard cardstock for the houses, trees, and greenery.  The faux ribbon on the jar lid (which is silver cardstock) is a strip of washi tape that I cut down to a size usable for the lid.

And then there's a ton of dimensional material on the back raising that panel so I could fill the space with glitter to make my first official shaker card!  I must watch a video or something before I try this again to figure out the right way to get that glitter in there cause I'm sure that what I did was not "the professional" way.  But I'm proud to say that it's all contained and there was very little spillage on the craft table. 


So now I have to fly over to Walmart to get some pictures of the grandson printed for my mother's birthday on Friday.  But I shall go back and visit the Belles and check out some more of the architecture.  Click on the link to see some more beautiful scenery.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Some September Cards

It's just nice sometimes to send out a card or two for no particular reason.  I should do this more often because these two cards were fun to make and fun to share.
 
This one went to a blogging friend who has a penchant for mandalas, only hers are usually hand drawn and sooooooooo beautiful.
 
 
This back-to-school stamp from Unity was perfect to send to a friend who also works in a school office just to wish her a great school year. 

 
Wait, this isn't a card!  We were at a garden center recently picking up some landscaping plants and I saw this pig full of succulents but I knew that I didn't really have a place for it this late in the season so I opted for a picture instead.  Pretty cute, eh?

 
The next two cards are anniversary cards and while the outsides look a little plain...........


 
The inside contained a pop-up of swans holding a heart that I cut out with my Silhouette (which sadly, has not gotten a lot of use lately).  I wrote my message on the inside. 

 
The lovely patterned paper I used on these cards came from a recent purchase at AC Moore.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back to School and a Little Thank You Project



Well, we're back in the swing of things.  I can't find the gray of my desk yet - too much paperwork to still take care of.  My new office partner had vacation scheduled before she knew that she was being assigned to our school, so I've been flying solo since the second day and will be until Thursday of this week.  Not exactly how I would have liked it, but we're making it work.  We had some redecorating done over the summer - new paint and carpeting.  The yellow is a tad bit brighter IRL and the carpet is so much better than what we had.  There have been a lot of comments about our choice of wall color, some of them not so nice, which makes me sad when we were aiming at making the room more cheerful.  But I think it's growing on most.  Anyway, we're happy with it, and since we spend the most time in that room I guess that's all that matters!

Smile - the cafeteria is open again!


I had a little project that I did to thank some of the teachers that came in to help me unpack supply boxes and to stuff envelopes for our mailing.

I started with 4 x 4 white ceramic tiles.  (They're actually a little bit bigger than 4" square if you measure them.)  Then I chose some Sharpie markers in colors that I thought would look good together.  In this case, I was going for some aquatic colors reminiscent of the summer.  I scribbled the tiles with the Sharpies and gave it a couple of minutes to set up.  Then, I used 91% rubbing alcohol for the next step not pictured (I found the 71% did not work as well).  You drip the alcohol onto the scribbled tiles and watch how the alcohol disperses the colors, blending as the drips come together in places.  


Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area.  Otherwise your liable to burn your nasal passages and that's not a particularly good feeling (as I found out!).  Let them sit with the alcohol on them until it completely dries.  Be patient.  To be on the safe side, give it a couple of hours.  You don't want anything even remotely wet for the next step.


The alcohol will leave a little bit of a film on the tiles (at least I found that it did), so I took a tissue, a soft tissue, not a paper towel, and lightly rubbed the tiles to remove the film.  If you really don't like what it looks like at this point, you can remove the ink completely by wetting the tissue, or now you could use a paper towel, with the alcohol and rub it all off and start all over.  (This is how I found out that you really have to wait for it to dry before rubbing because there was still some wetness and by rubbing it when wet, it just removed the color.)


And now, it's probably not likely that you would spill alcohol on them after this, but in order to make sure that there is no more accidental color removal, take the tiles outside (don't stack them on each other either because you might scratch the color off) and give them several light coats of a spray sealer.  This also gives them a nice glossy finish.  


The last step is to add something on the back to keep the tiles from scratching surfaces.  I used some peel and stick cork on mine, but you could use felt, or even smaller pieces of the cork. (If you're a wine drinker you could slice up a wine bottle cork for these also.)


So when they were done, I wrapped them up in some bubble wrap and then tissue paper, and then I wrapped that with some brown kraft paper and added a ribbon with the tags below that I made from cardstock and some stickers that I had on hand.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the wrapped packages.)  I wrote a little note of thanks on the back of the tags and put the packages in their mailboxes as a surprise.  


I have a few more tiles to experiment with other colors. (The tiles were really cheap.  I got 10 for less than $2.)  I was thinking maybe some fall colored ones would be nice.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Our Beautiful World - Sunlight

We sat on the balcony a couple of weeks ago, listening to the concert at the dock across the street and marveling at the pattern in the sky.  It was like the rays of the sun except that the sun was behind us. It went from this.............


to this.  And it really was weird.  I wondered how that happened and heard from a friend across the country that she had seen something similar recently.  


So as I was checking the weather . com this week, I took a quick look at their photos posted from their current photography contest and someone had entered a photo with the same phenomenon.  Only that person knew what it was called - anti crepuscular rays.    

"Anti crepuscular rays or anti solar rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky. Anti crepuscular rays are near-parallel, but appear to converge at the anti solar point because of linear perspective. Anti crepuscular rays are most frequently visible near sunrise or sunset."

Maybe it's the KOOK in me, but I get a kick out of learning about odd things like that.

Tonight, there was evidence of crepuscular rays at the solar point of the sunset.  


I added some sun rays to the card I recently made for a friend's one-year-old grandson.  (Yes, that's supposed to be a giraffe, but I think the snout looks more like a pig's.  Oh well - he's one and probably will not notice.)


Since the theme for Our Beautiful World this week is sunlight, I thought I'd add some of my favorite sunset pictures from this summer.





Including the next two taken tonight, September 2nd.  A week ago the weathermen were forecasting a stellar 4-day weekend, but that forecast gradually fell apart during the week as hurricane season has promised to impact us in one way or another.  



We're headed back inland tomorrow as coastal flooding and high winds are part of the prediction. This is Hurricane Hermine I'm talking about which just passed over Florida and will shoot up the east coast and is expected to stall off the Jersey coast.  I hope that our coastline does not take a heavy battering. And I hope that everyone is safe.

Drop by Our Beautiful World to check out some beautiful sunlight-themed pictures from around the world.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sunset Inspiration


Last Thursday we left right after work for the condo.  Friday would be my last Friday off for the summer and I wanted to get the full day in away from home. We weren't there long when the sun began to set. There were clouds so I had a feeling that it would be a good one.  

I took a bunch of pictures, but it was the one above that inspired me.  This is the mess that I had going on the table on Saturday morning. I had my travel art supply bag with me and picked out the Peerless watercolor sheets, an aquapainter, and an ATC-sized canvas.  (The closest AC Moore has become an outlet store so everything in the store is 20-50% off on a daily basis, so I no longer need coupons, and I don't have to wait for things to go on sale if I want to try something like these little canvasses.)


You can see the size of the canvas as compared to a quarter. 


I found that working on canvas with watercolors is a little tricky especially if you're impatient like me and don't wait for the colors to dry.  But I was persistent and finished it.  Back at home I gave it quite a few light coats of a sealer to protect it, but I'm still afraid that that was not enough.  Now that I think of it, I wonder if I should have sprayed the back since it's a porous surface?  Anyone with experience with watercolors be sure to let me know any tips or tricks for sealing please.  


I know that I have a little easel here somewhere that I plan to use on my desk at work to display this. I think I'm going to get that photo printed out too.  

Tomorrow the teachers return to school.  Next Tuesday the students return.  The last few weeks have been extremely busy.  I'm working with a new partner in the office who hasn't worked in a school office before and I know her head is spinning.  I have a few last minute things to do in the morning and I'm praying that there won't be anymore students coming in to register (hoping I don't jinx myself with that sentiment!)  We've also got a new system that we're working with called Genesis.  I'm still feeling my way around with the applications and reports, so it will be a lot of trial and error the next week or so.  

If anyone was wondering, I put aside my daily tangles for the second half of July and all of August. There was just too much other stuff to have to fit into the day, but I will vow to get it going again tomorrow - September 1st.  And who knows, if I get into a good groove I might be able to fill up those previous blank days too!


Good bye August!