Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sharing Their Creativity

I love sending handmade cards and I also love receiving them.  This Christmas I was blessed with these beauties.

From Sabrina in Ireland - I love how she layered that diecut piece giving it such a presence.

And she made this sweet little domino ornament using a Dutch stamp as the background.  (Giving me more ideas for next year too!)

She also made this tote bag which is the perfect size for a book, or journal and pencils. (Or my Zentangle kit.)  The fabric is so soft and I love the little sheep pattern.

This card cane from Sunshine in New Zealand - I love that little gnome peaking out there!

This fun bookmark also came from Sunshine.  A snowman with a rainbow is such fun don't you think!

Lauren of the Jingle Belles sent me this hand-painted beauty.  Her talents never cease to amaze me.

Our other Jingle Belle hostess, Stephanie sent this one to me - it's actually a thank you for the card that I sent her, but just the same, it was created by her.  I wish I could have captured the sparkle of those hearts better.

This wasn't sent to me but rather something that I sent to my grandsons.  I had three of these wooden postcards that I had watercolored last winter and set aside.  It was preprinted on paper that was adhered to a piece of wood made to be colored and mailed.  I didn't do anything with them at that time because I was hesitant to send them through the mail unprotected and did some research into how to protect the surface for mailing.  I found that MicroGlaze by JudiKins was recommended for waterproofing calligraphied envelopes and gave that a try.  It is made from paraffin oils and waxes and is rubbed on and then buffed.  I did this twice leaving a few days in between layers.  There was very little smeering and I think that they held up pretty well in the mailing.

I believe that it cost $.70 to mail (HWNSNBP does the PO trips).  I will have to remember to get stamps of that value because the PO worker didn't use a stamp but rather printed a strip which went over the edge of the postcard.  Our postal service is very erratic this past month.  Two of these were mailed on the same day from the same post office and one of them got there within a couple of days, the other took over three weeks to get there.  Which makes me wonder who else hasn't received our Christmas cards yet?

Rachel had a little arts & crafts session with Maverick and had him put his handprint in this salt dough for a tree ornament.  He loves Playdough too.  He does wind up throwing it - as he does with most things - but he rolls it and pinches.  Just don't make a pancake out of any of the balls he's made - that will cause a meltdown - ask me how I know!

My cousin Barbara dipped into her button stash and made a forest of button tree ornaments and I was a lucky recipient of one of them.  I apologize for the blurry picture.  It it so cute.  I think she told me that she has a treasure trove of buttons so I can't wait to see what else she makes with them.

Once again I have been blessed by the creativity of my friends and family. Thank you so much - all of you!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Jingle Belles - Something Old and Something New and Some Things That I Won Too

Ho, ho, ho - here we go with another year of Jingle Belle challenges.  This fortnight the challenge was to use something old and something new (or unused).  Well, I was pretty lucky late last year to be the winner of one of the Jingle Belle giveaways which gave me my new items and I'll share another giveaway I won also at the end of this post.

Here was the prize from the JB's - Stamps, Paper, and Embellishments that were perfect for this first challenge of the year.

I actually made two cards using some of these items, but only the first one qualifies for the challenge because it has something old on it - the red seam binding ribbon was salvaged from a box of straw Christmas decorations purchased at IKEA several years ago that resurfaced in our recent purge.  And the tag is actually the backside of the tag that came with the package.

I love the color combination of the patterned papers in this pack.  I can predict that it will be used many times over the course of the year.  

Thank you ladies for such a fun giveaway prize!

I did say that I was lucky enough to win something else, this happening to be something handmade.  It was on Instagram that I saw the work of Wendy Kirwood, a textile and mixed media artist.  I was fascinated by the project that she had featured on her feed this summer where she sewed 100 glass beads to a felt round each day for 10 days.  I totally enjoyed seeing her daily updates.  She made that piece into a giveaway which I entered but did not win.  So I was happy to see that she repeated this project and giveaway at the end of November/beginning of December.  I had a really good feeling about this one, and was pleasantly shocked when I saw that my name had been chosen by her son.  

The beads are sew on a 7" gray felt framed circle. 

The stitching on the beads is wonderful, but just look at the preciseness of the stitching around the frame, and her initial logo in silver thread blew me away.  

My pictures don't do it justice.  It really sparkles in the light.

What was also remarkable was that it only took 5 days for the package to arrive here from the UK in mid-December.  The mail has been pretty unpredictable during the holidays.

Now I will mosey on over the Jingle Belles blog to see all the lovely creations for these first couple of weeks in January.  You can join me by clicking here.  

Friday, January 8, 2021

What's Blooming on My Hysterversary

When I checked my e-mail this morning I was reminded by Hystersisters that today is my  12th Hysterversary.  They send an annual check-up notice as well as a monthly newsletter about women's health.  It's a little gray now as I'm writing, but the day started out pretty sunny and so I decided to document what was blooming inside.

The first worth noting is this epidendrum orchid that has bloomed for the first time since we got it in 2019 at an orchid show.  

And these two little phalaenopsis orchids are just starting to open up.

These two have been blooming for months now.

And their are two white phalaenopsis orchids growing near this anthurium which was gift.

We have three oxalis plants and they routinely bloom through the winter indoors.

This little begonia - one of a couple we bring in for the winter - is showing some color.

In the kitchen there is the new primrose that HWNSNBP recently purchased alongside the upside-down cyclamen we got at Trader Joe's.

This is one of two amaryllis' that we have potted.  This is the third stalk of blooms on this one.  The other is just about finished with the third stalk and we noticed today that there will be yet another flower stalk on that one.  We have had huge success with these two bulbs that we purchase at the Great Swamp Nursery this year.  They were a little pricy, but they have been well worth it in the display department.

And of course, here's what's left of our yearly poinsettia plant.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

More Christmas Doors - From the Lost and Found, er draft not posted file

Holey, moley.  Well, what a surprise was this that I found unpublished.  Six of the 25 Doors of Christmas that were in draft status.  I know I managed to get them on Instagram, but forgot to write them up here.  Oh well.  Better late than never.

I have all the fixings to make that snowman wreath but didn't get to it..... yet.  Snowmen can stick around for the most of the cold months, not just December, right?

I think I would love to drive through a little town like this.

The little gnome is waiting for an invitation into the owl house for the Christmas party.

I will be on the lookout for an old clock with a door to make a little scene like this one.

This was the precursor to the dancing gingerbread.

This seems like fantasy, but I actually got the idea from a real "goat shed" I saw on Pinterest.  Figured the reindeer would be a little more appropriate for this time of year.

All but one of the door drawings was done in a circle.  I was thinking that a few of them might be done as ornaments in felt, or little paintings.  One more thing to add to my To Do list for 2021.

Monday, January 4, 2021

A Little Feathered Visitor

Shortly after we got the tree all decorated last month I walked into the living room and heard tapping at the window and noticed this little guy.  He's not much bigger than a hummingbird and in fact, at first I thought he was a hummer because of the size, the red on the head, and that he was hovering like a hummer.  But I quickly realized that that was impossible.  The hummers have been gone since September/October - it's much too cold now for them here.  

So of course you know I had to grab my camera - my phone - and start trying to capture him there.

It was after I took about 30 shots that I looked up what kind of bird he is.

A Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.   They typically live in the tops of the trees during the warmer months and survive on insects.  In the winter they can be found closer to the ground in bushes and will occasionally eat berries.  This is the male and it said that they show their ruby crown when they are upset/angry.  As you can see, he seems to be very angry.  

Even from the back he is so pretty.  

We do have a lot of bird ornaments on the tree and perhaps he thought that since they were allowed there he should also be allowed.  He did this, the tapping on the window, for several days and then we didn't see him anymore.  I only hope that he didn't make himself a target for a predator and that he just gave up and moved on.

In any case - I need to add this to my list of new-to-me birds in our yard.  He was a sweet little gift.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Happy New Year 2021

 Here it is, January 3rd already and I haven't said Happy New Year here!  Well........


We had the last full moon of 2020 between Christmas and New Year's Day.

And looking up through the skylight on NYE Eve I saw this in the sky.  I posted it on my Instagram account with the caption "X Marks the Spot" to which my daughter added "I'd stay away from wherever that spot is" while another person added "Maybe that's where 2021 comes in".  

As it moved from right to left across the sky it also started to disintegrate or be absorbed into the atmosphere.  Like someone was erasing it.  I'm sure that there are those that would like to erase 2020 and all the darkness and uncertainty it has brought.  

2020 was a hard year.  Not just to me or my family, or my friends for that matter.  But I'm sure that I don't have to tell you that it's been a global event.  Something that most, if not all of us have never experienced before.  

It was an invasion that started with one body and one country and spread to more bodies and more countries taking it's victims as it went.  No one and no continent has been safe.  And yet people still claim that it's a hoax. That somehow it was tied to our US elections.  That it's no worse than the flu which takes lives every year.  That it's the government's way to take control of our lives.  

People certainly have the right to choose to believe what they want.  Some call those who wear masks and stay socially distant sheep and that they live in fear.  But I say that it's the opposite.  I say that by wearing a mask I'm living with the hope that I'm doing something to help stop the spread.  It's just as inconvenient for me as it is for anyone else to wear the mask while I'm out.  But above all else the golden rule has always been to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  What's bothersome beyond words is that so many people don't seem to care about anyone else but themselves. 

And now there are vaccines coming.   We'll see how long it will take to distribute them and how long it will take to quell this rising tide of disease.  I pray that it will be swift.

At this time of year, some people choose a word for the new year.  I don't think I've ever done that before. But I was thinking the other day about a word that I think would be good for 2021.


B - Be - Be present, be alive, be part of your surroundings.
O - Observe - Look up and look down not just straight ahead.  Find the beauty in all directions.
U - Use - Use your talents and your gifts and use what is all around you.
N - Nurture - Nurture your soul and your spirit.  Do for yourself as well as others.
C - Create - Get in touch with your inner child and don't be afraid to fail.
E - Enjoy - Enjoy more of what you do.  Do more of what you enjoy.

Let's all do our best to BOUNCE back to ourselves and the life that we knew pre-Covid.

I wish you all health and happiness in 2021.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Resident Floral Arranger and Woodworker

HWNSNBP has become quite the outdoor floral arranger.  He put together these barrels and basket using greens and decorative items gleaned from previous years and newly from the $Tree.  The larger ones have solar lights in them that glow after dusk.  

He also put his woodworking skills to work with a couple of projects for presents.

He made and is making puzzle tables.  This one was for our son and daughter-in-law.  The legs below collapse so it can be used on a table top while sitting or extended for standing or placing on a bed like a bed tray.  It has four drawers for sorting pieces.  When the drawers close it forms a "frame" on all sides so if you want to move it to another location the puzzle that you are working on will not slide off.  The drawers are removable also to take some of the weight off whilst moving.   Ours is still in the works but I'm looking forward to using it once we clean up all the Christmas decorations.

He also made a battery organizer for our daughter and son-in-law like the one that he had made us several years ago.  This is hanging in our cellar stairway and is very convenient when replacing batteries.  

He does great work!  His workshop is in the garage (unattached from our house) so it gets pretty cold in there in the winter, so he's back and forth to the cellar to work on these projects.  But he enjoys it.  Gotta find him something new to work on soon.