Saturday, October 3, 2015


Inspired by a photo posted by the Sunflower Maze we visited last month. Someone was lucky enough to catch a migrating Monarch butterfly smack dab on the center of a giant sunflower.  Drawn and colored with my new Luminance colored pencils.  My poor lighting picked up all the texture of the paper.  IRL it looks much better.

I can't believe that September is already behind us.  It was a busy month for me in almost every way except creatively.  My mojo has been on vacation I fear. I'm having a difficult time dealing with what might be called a professional cyber shaming which has affected my focus and I need to pull myself out of this funk that's blanketed me the past couple of weeks. I read somewhere recently that it's none of our business what other people think of us, but it sure is hard to ignore it when they put their thoughts into writing and you see it and you know others have seen it.  And the silence of some of those others, the one's closest to you, is just as devastating.  And then there's finding out about that one person who feels the need to share what they've seen with those who haven't. Not to worry, this has nothing to do with my blog, and I've done nothing morally wrong to be ashamed of.  I just never in my life ever expected to have a public job evaluation (with both negative and positive input) that I didn't ask for and that I can't rebut.  I really need to refocus on more pleasant and pleasing things.

It's going to be a rainy weekend here and we won't be traveling as we have every weekend since June, so I plan to get to some new crafting supplies that have entered the realm of the stamp cave. Hopefully, that will get me going again.  And there's a personal photo challenge involving some local sights that we've been saving for the fall, so if the sun does come out on Sunday we might start that.  

I did manage to put together a sympathy card that HWNSNBP needed for a co-worker.  I tried the camouflage technique on the vanilla panel.  Not exactly what I had hoped for, probably because I was working from memory of something I read a while back rather than following explicit directions, but it didn't come out bad enough not to be able to use it.  He included a very touching note to his colleague's wife.   

The temperature here has dropped into the 40's but it looks like we've dodged the hurricane (knock on wood).   So I'll leave you with this little conversation I had with a teacher yesterday:

Teacher on the phone:  Did you hear that we're going to have a hurricane this weekend?  Hurricane Wayne.

Me:  Yes, but it's Hurricane Joaquin.

Teacher: Oh is that it!  Hahahahahaha.  (Then she asked me for something.)

Same teacher 10 minutes later in the office during her prep period:

Teacher to me:  Why didn't you correct me when I told you about the hurricane?

Me:  I did.  I told you the name is Joaquin not Wayne.

Teacher:  Yes, but you didn't tell me that it was spelled with a "J".

Me:  Well, do you remember hearing about all of the other storms we would have had to get us to the letter "W"?

Teacher:  That's exactly what another teacher and I were talking about.  We thought we missed all those storms over the summer and then we looked it up on the internet and saw how it was spelled.  I learned something today.

Me:  So did I. (And she did laugh at that.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

An Assortment of Butterflies and Leaves

There are two celebrations in our family that occur back-to-back in September.  My mother's birthday and our anniversary.  I had been testing out some new art supplies - Brushos.  They are powders that react with water.  I spritzed a couple of sheets of watercolor paper with water and then sprinkled the powders on randomly.  Then I spritzed some more.  I kind of went crazy with the different colors. And so I wound up with two prospective backgrounds for cards.  

I used one of them on these two cards.  The first is the birthday card for my mom.  She loves butterflies and I happened to have an assortment of die cut butterflies waiting in the wing in an assortment of colors that just happened to match the colors in the background.  I first used a heart die to cut a heart shape into the the panel.  Then I just kept adding butterflies in the open heart.  

I saved the heart that I diecut and used it on my anniversary card for HWNSNBP.  I die cut leaves out of matching papers, glued them to the card base and then added the heart popped up.  

I'm really pleased with the way these came out.  I just love the bright colors.  

And speaking of bright colors - HWNSNBP sent me this beautiful floral arrangement in a pumpkin. It had some more beautiful sunflowers to match those in the vase that I had picked up over the weekend.  The colors of the flowers were very similar to colors of the dresses that our bridesmaids wore 38 years ago.  There were 4 of them in fall colors.  (And see my new scarecrow boy and girl solar dancers too!  The kids love them.)

The theme this week at Our Beautiful World is "Assorted" and I do have an assortment of butterflies, leaves, and flowers - all in beautiful colors to share over there this week.  Won't you check out what other "assortments" have been shared from, really, all over the world?  Click here.

I'll be back soon to share what I used the second background piece on.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekends and Workday Mess (Our Beautiful World)

Last Saturday HWNSNBP and I did some morning fishing off the dock across the street.  With virtually no wind, the water was mirror-like and the reflections of the clouds were awesome.  And then the sun made an appearance.  

The fish were biting but so were the midges and really put a damper on the occasion.  So we called it quits with three keepers below.

But don't let me forget to show you the "new" fish that HWNSNBP caught.  He pulled this beauty in and no one on the dock knew what it was.  In fact, the local bait and tackle shop couldn't even identify it.  It wasn't until he posted the picture on Facebook that we found out it's a young cobia.  Pretty fish.  It was released back to become a full size cobia some day.  Cobias, we learned, swim with remora sharks and are not really found this far north.  So you might say he has a lifer to add to his list of fish.  

Last night we literally almost ran over to the dock as soon as we got here to get some fishing in before the sun went down and boy, were we glad we did.  These cocktail blues put up quite a fight but these are the one's that didn't get away.  The largest being 13".  HWNSNBP cleaned them and all but two will be frozen and later taken to a friend who will smoke them for us.  

In between weekends - back at the ranch (well it's not really a ranch, it's a two story) - this is my mess of a workspace sad to say that I took a picture of for Our Beautiful World's theme this week of mess. I think I've got this one nailed, don't you.  I did tidy up a bit, after taking the picture, but there's not a very big improvement.  But this is how I work.  It's my space and no one see's it but me.  

On the other hand - here is my desk at work.  Another mess!  That's what happens the first couple of weeks of school when all the forms are turned in and all the new student folders (and we had a lot of them this summer) are awaiting records from other schools.  The pink and green folders you see are the homeroom folders that are sent up daily with notes and lunch payments.  I empty them and put them back in the teacher's mailboxes and they're back on my desk the next morning.  The side you don't see is a little less messy with my computer and what not.  And yes, there's even stuff underneath but not nearly as much as there used to be.  Thank goodness for the counter in front of me!

I'll save my last summer Saturday sunset for another post soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Snarky Birds and Some Observations

A combination of crazy birds and snarky sentiments.  

I used my Zig markers to color the birds.  I stamped 2 of each and just colored the parts to be die cut on the second one. Those pieces were popped up on the original bird.  

I added a little bit of background stamping in various colors behind the birds and then the sentiments.  HWNSNBP loved the birds but wondered who I would be able to send these cards to.  I told him to fear not, for there were peeps out there who would appreciate them (and they did!).  

Speaking of peeps, well of a different sort, birds that I'm still not sure of the variety.  I had noticed over the years, that while I was in the pool in the evening, there came a certain time when flocks of birds would fly over me from the SW to the NE.  Every night.  Sometimes they would make a brief stop in one of the trees in the yard and when they did, the sound of their simultaneous take-off was awesome.  Like a very loud whoosh.  Well I accidentally happened upon their next "stop-over" not too far from our house when I was trying to get a last glimpse of the sunset that night.  There's a little industrial park not too far away - one road with a cul-de-sac that's a little more elevated than our property and unfortunately the trees have grown so much that they obscured the sunset just about as much as our trees would have.  However, I happened to glance up and noting the time, I have to assume that these are the birds that regularly fly overhead in the evening.  They were very suspicious of me and my camera and there were tons more than you see in the picture.

I have no good segway to this next picture of two bracelets.  It just struck me as funny recently thinking about old things being new again.  The bracelet on the left is one of the current brands of these wire charm bracelets that Rachel gave me for Mother's Day.  The bracelet on the right - with my name on it - was given to me by my grandparents when I was very young (with much smaller wrists too I must add).  The design of the wire is the same except the older one adjusts on the back and the charms are added to the adjusting part on the newer ones.  Two beautiful and cherished gifts.

I had two other cards that I made last week for two anniversaries and being as rushed and tired as I've been the last couple of weeks getting ready for the start of school I totally forgot to photograph them before I mailed them.  It was more important to get them in the mail so the recipients would have them in time (which they hopefully did).  I used another new bird stamp for them and luckily colored a third set so I'll be able to share something like them soon.  

I've got to get back to regular posting soon.  Actually, I've got to get back to my creative routine also.  The start of school is a very busy time for me and I've been crashing when I get home these last two weeks.  But it's calming down a little so I should have a bit more energy soon.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Our Beautiful World - Beads and Building

A peak through the back window to the backyard - what used to be half a basketball court at the top of the driveway.  This hanging ornament, wrapped in clear beads, was something I picked up on a Christmas clearance but liked it more as a window decoration than a tree ornament so I keep it up all year long.  It's about 4 1/2" across.  (The topic of Our Beautiful World this week is Beads.)

 That large turtle you see was found in the back of our shed that we recently tore down. I asked the kids if we should toss it or keep it and Rachel said to save it, so for now it's parked where you see it.  Because..............

We've started a construction project opposite this part of the driveway. Our driveway is like a large number 7 with the downstroke not so diagonal.  The part you see through the window is the start of the 7 and the free standing garage we are replacing is at the bend.  

This was the garage and shed before.  We were especially proud of the blue tarp doors (not). And we've planned for a long time to replace it.  (Trust me, the house is much nicer and the new garage will be beautiful.)

A picture below from last night with all the wood gone and the cement torn up.  This afternoon that was removed and the grading has started.  It's going to be so nice to finally have someplace to put the cars in bad weather and even though I'll still have to walk across the driveway when it snows, I won't have to (or rather I should say HWNSNBP won't have to) clean the car off.  

I have to admit that I've about had my fill of construction for the summer though.  Too much to deal with at work and now at home.  All the contents of the garage and shed are in a pod you don't see in the picture located directly behind the house between the two areas in the photos.  Not much to look at through my kitchen window as it obstructs my view.  So I'm hoping that the weather will hold and this project will not be dragged out like the door replacement at work which is still, as of today not done and students arrive on Tuesday. 

Yes, it's going to be a squeaker, but I'm not going to worry about any of this this weekend and try to enjoy the last 3 unofficial days of summer.                                                                              

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Great To See You - Have a Wonderful Year

Some baker's twine from the $Tree (6 spools for $2)......

Jumbo Paper Clips (from the supply room) and wiggly eyes (from my craft room)....

Index Cards (from the Supply Room) and Highlighters (also from the Supply Room)......

An Exacto Knife, Scissors, and Black Fine Tip Marker =

Paper Clip Bookmarks to welcome back the staff at school.  One for each mailbox.  Done while listening to those Saturday Night concerts on the dock across the street. (Inspired by Morena's Corner - spotted on Pinterest)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Beautiful World 8-29

How many steps does it take to make stairs?  Anything more than one step is considered stairs.  At least that's what I found on the internet.  So I think this should be stairs, though it's a step and a landing, in which case it would not be stairs.  Well, I wanted to find some pretty stairs this week for Our Beautiful World's prompt and it came down to this afternoon and, well, HWNSNBP told me I'd better "go for it" and take a picture of these stairs at the Manor House because we would be headed back home and this was my last chance.  

The Manor House is a house with all the rooms on the first floor being little shops.  Each room is maintained by a different vendor and they are all different.  There are antiques, candles, baby things, Vera Bradley, and other various gifties.  Today I purchased one of those armored wallets for myself.  But as you might be able to see by the scene on the porch they were having items on summer clearance both inside and out.  I usually manage to find at least one thing to buy when I'm there and today was no different.

Yesterday, we pulled up alongside a truck transporting these wooden forms.  I thought all those triangles looked very interesting and I was glad to be on the passenger side of our truck so I could snap a picture of it.  

The last of the pictures were taken this evening, probably within 45 minutes of each other.  The sun sets in the back of the condo and the moon rises over the bay.

I love how the moon leaves a pathway of light on the water visible even from across the street on our balcony.  We listened to "The Sounds of the 60's" tonight - the weekly Saturday night concert on the dock.  It's easy to sing along to the songs of that era.

Sunflowers to Sundown

I had recently added something to my bucket list for this summer - to visit a sunflower maze.  We found information on one earlier this month but you know, you have to wait for the flowers to be blooming.  Luckily, the Sussex County Sunflower Maze at Liberty Farm in Sandyston, NJ opened last weekend.  And this being my last Friday off for the summer, I coaxed HWNSNBP into scheduling a trip for first thing this morning.  

It started as somewhat of a cool day being in the high 50's this morning and only supposed to get into the high 70's, and we were going to be at a higher altitude which also held promise of cooler weather, but let me tell you, when the sun came out, it was hot walking around there.

The trip there took nearly an hour-and-a-half (a little longer than anticipated because we did get a little lost).  And we spent close to an hour walking through the maze, stopping to take pictures, many pictures.  

They had sheets with "field marks" for a little scavenger hunt, but we did not do that, we just leisurely strolled through trying to navigate the maze.

And there were places in the fields where the flowers were more intense than others, but they had explained that this was because of some deer and groundhog feasting, and also because they stagger the plantings so everything does not bloom at the same time and the maze can be enjoyed longer.

We had 5 cameras with us, if you count both of our cell phone cameras, but HWNSNBP took turns carrying them and the camera bag with me (and snapping a few of his own pictures on his phone too). 

"I will lift mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help!" - Psalm 121 ran through my head as we looked from the back of the field toward the mountain where all the sunflowers were facing.

The pathways were rocky in some places and in other places we were walking on freshly mowed greens.  I had to be very careful to pick up my feet so as not to trip on anything - the only thing that worried me. 

Two women, I think a mother and daughter were taking turns taking pictures of themselves with the baby that was with them and as we passed one of them noticed the smiley face in the sunflower below.  I thanked her for her "good catch" and promptly captured it too.  We didn't think to ask them to take a picture of us together, believe it or not.

The fields were humming too - with bees.  They were not interested in us at all - which was another good thing.  

There actually were several different sections of the maze and although we didn't enter each one at great length, we did step into them.

The flag was one of the "monuments" to look for on the scavenger hunt.  HWNSNBP thought that finding that meant that we had "conquered the maze".  

After the long drive home, we quickly packed up the truck and headed in the opposite direction.  I think we covered over 300 miles of New Jersey today.

And there was another stellar sunset this evening.