Sunday, July 26, 2015

Merry Fishmas! (Our Beautiful World, Anything But a Card, July Photo Challenge too)

I had this idea about 4 years ago when I purchased a skinny, apple-green metallic Christmas tree in the after holiday sales that fit perfectly on the landing of the stairs of our condo.  Since we don't celebrate Christmas there, I thought it might be fun to celebrate Christmas in July when we are there or as we are calling it now Merry Fishmas!  I have been collecting "pins" in my Christmas in July Pinterest folder for that long, and just needed the opportunity to finally go through with scheduling it. Social obligations and then last year, my back injury kind of stood in the way then, but this year, since we didn't have a big celebration for my 60th birthday, we decided to finally do this.

First, e-mail invites were issued back in the beginning of spring and then a few weeks ago I mailed out these reminders.  I had this fish die that I used to make into a little card and then took a stamp set that had several different sized fish and made them into a tree shape.

The message was hand-written. (Oh, and that's a little starfish on top of the fish tree.)

The tree was brought down and decorated and so were we in our Merry Fishmas shirts (via Cafe Press).

Company arrived and after some chit-chat, we got out the fishing poles and headed across the street to do some fishing at the dock.

First fish was caught by HWNSNBP (thrown back in - too small and yes, he insisted he had to change out of his shirt because he didn't want to get it fishy, but he put it back on later).

Then I caught a little non-keeper.  We took up quite a span of the dock as you can see Rachel and another friend at the rail.  (Sheesh, I really need a haircut!) And one more fish was caught after that.

I just had to take a picture of my daughter's hair.  It looked so pretty in the sunlight and you can barely see the pink highlights she had at the ends.

We had people as well as the gulls watching us.

After a bit we went back to have a bite.

Lasagna and a meatball sub accompanied by this cucumber, strawberry and feta salad with poppyseed dressing in Christmas colors.

For dessert I made a strawberry and grape Christmas tree that sat atop the fruit salad. There were Santa hat brownies, and of course, Christmas cookies.

Then we played some Go Fish.

Some friends brought little gifts including this Hallmark cupcake crab - so cute - that I immediately added it to the tree.

And while the sun set behind us, we ventured out onto the front balcony to listen to the concert at the dock across the street - the band playing hits from the 50's and 60's had us singing quietly along.

I sent our guests home with a little goody bag that included Swedish Fish, Goldfish crackers, and a Go Fish game all their own, and a little lunch box full of some of those leftover Christmas cookies.

Inside the bag was also an ornament that I made using these little denim canvas squares, rope, shells, and polished stones.  

It was a small group yesterday as some of the other's invited had obligations they couldn't get out of, but it was fun and we might just have to do this again next year. 

I'm using some of these photos for:
Our Beautiful World - our Gold Fish Game for the Game theme this week
Anything But a Card - my shell ornaments for the Anything Goes theme

My photo challenges for July 25 - Colorful (the salad) and July 26 - Black and White (the gull)


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our Beautiful World - Layers


Water - tile - brick - fence - sea grass - sky.

The sunflowers in the pool enclosure are such a lovely and eye-catching addition.

I've been very busy this week getting ready for our Merry Fishmas celebration and I'm afraid this addition to Our Beautiful World's layers theme is a bit week, but I had good intentions - really, as I took this picture last Sunday shortly after I saw the theme. I just forgot to keep looking for more.  But I love these layers just the same.  

Let's see the layers from other parts of Our Beautiful World

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ICAD 2015 - Week 7, CREATE - Photo Challenge

One thing I think I've finally learned is if you get behind, do the prompts that you have ideas for so you don't get into a stall which is where I was mid-week again.  It also helps to take the list as it's published on the Friday before and really start brainstorming ahead of time.  I mean, like writing it down, not just thinking about it.  I've taken to making my list on another index card that I also use to clean my aquapainter on, and try my pen points and colors before putting them to paper.  Kind of like the paper on my craft table (I've not been using my craft room for these.  They've all been done either on my dining room table at home or our table at the condo.)  So shall we proceed......

Day 43 - Definition
I'm sure it could have meant definition in the sense of well-defined drawing, however I took it literally and shared a definition.  Do you see things in clouds sometimes?  Then you have experienced pareidolia also.  I used a white crayon as a resist for my "clouds" and washed watercolors over them for the sky.  They still needed more definition so I add white watercolor to the letters.  The definition was added in Micron marker.

Day 44 - Focus or Blur
As seen through a pair of watercolored binoculars. Derwent Inktense Pencils.

Day 45 - Saturday Night Live
I really haven't watch this often, but I do know that it comes on at 11:30 Saturday nigh on the peacock network. Fantasia watercolor pencils, Micron marker, silver fine tip marker.

Day 46 - Album Cover
This would not be a record album.  This would be the cover of an album of all the stories that have been told and retold over the years by our Table 7 group.  Reliving our youth in verbal way.  Entitled "Exactly About" meaning that's exactly about what happened.  Like the night the guys were camping in the pine barrens and along came a girl in a white nightgown out of nowhere.  There was a guy following at distance behind her with a baseball bat hitting each tree as they traveled through the woods and came upon the campsite.  Their car was stuck in the sand and they needed help getting out.  Not being there, I can only picture an ethereal woman in white in the woods.  And not that we would be camping anytime soon, but if there was a woman in a white nightgown coming at us with a man following her with a baseball bat these days, I don't think I'd be sticking around to find out why.

Day 47 - Fashion
I was going to do fabric swatches and got really lazy and decided to create my own "fabric" with Prismacolor pencils.  Imagine those orange ovals to be French knots, or seed beads amongst random blue stitching.

48 - Disco
A sad, sad attempt to show the sparkle up close of a disco ball.  Used silver and gold fine-tip markers.

Held at an angle it does reflect light, but not anywhere near like a real disco ball.

Day 49 - Black and White
On my list of ideas was a zebra - this is not a zebra.  But you didn't need me to tell you that I'm sure.   Micron marker and white gel pen.

Today's photo challenge prompt is CREATE and I need to go do that now as we are having a Christmas in July party this weekend with the theme "Merry Fishmas!" and I promised cookies would be on the menu.  Trying some new recipes well before the holidays to see if they are worth doing then.  And there will be decorations and fishing and, well, I can't tell you everything now because there may be peekers.   

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Doubling Up - Group, Parallel Lines - Photo Challenge

With so many possibilities for photos of a group, I happened to look down at my desk at work at a GROUP or pile of rubber bands that I had rescued from my rubber band ball to use for something I was working on.  This is how they came off the ball.  The ball is so big that they really get stretched out and just naturally curl up.  

I've been relocated to the school library to work this week as they are jack-hammering the concrete pad and sidewalk outside our front entrance.  Noise I do not need!  There were a number of things in the library that could have been used for this prompt, but I thought this might be the most colorful.

The angle of the picture sure makes it seem that if you continued those silver bars downward they would intersect eventually, but it's just the way the picture was taken.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hiding, In the Distance, Sunshine - Photo Challenge

This post covers the last three days of the photo challenge and last night's sunset.

The herons were all gathered in the trees as if they were HIDING from some predator on the ground.  It's really quite a sight from our back porch balcony.  I wish that they were closer.

In the distance you can see them all lined up in some kind of feeding frenzy.  They have been changing hangouts the last several days.  I guess they eat and eat whatever it is that is "hatching" in one area and then move on to the next.

This morning (we took a vacation day today) we had our first attempt at fishing for the summer. Well, our first attempt together.  HWNSNBP did fish on July 4th as he traditionally does.  But today we started the day with our poles.  I got some hits on my line, but I think it was probably the baitfish going after my bait.  The bay was calm and peaceful and the dock was virtually empty.  There was an Asian couple fishing in our "regular spot" so we located ourselves in a different area, but they didn't seem to be having any luck either.  Strangely - I've never seen this - they were both wearing purple rubber gloves while they were fishing.  We don't know why, but I can't imagine, as it was 84ยบ at 8 a.m. already, how they could possibly be comfortable wearing rubber gloves in that heat.  

The prompt for today was sunshine and here it is reflected off the water.  

And now just pictures of the sunset last night.

Tell me, what, if anything, do you see here?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer of Color - SOC 2015 - Wk. 6

When I saw the colors for this week I kind of knew that I wanted to do some kind of fish in water. These are pretty silly looking fish, but they'll do.  I think I probably should have added some additional fins on their heads, but, oh well, they'll just have to work harder to swim.  

The quote I added was listed as a sad quote but I don't think that it's really sad.  I think it shows empathy and friendship.  

Well, here's my last worksheet for the SOC as we end up the last challenge.  Hard to believe that 6 weeks have gone by so quickly.  It was fun and I'd do it again, but I think in a bigger format next time.  The 3 x 5 journal is cute but a little constricting.

If you haven't checked out the rest of the entries for these SOC challenges, please do.  There are some remarkably talented individuals out there and I've been blown away by their creativity every week.  Click Here

Thanks to Kristin for such a fun challenge and thanks to all the artists who visited and left comments. Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

Smooth - Photo Challenge and Our Beautiful World Countryside OBW 105

I spent about 5 hours yesterday weeding.  Yes, weeding.  Confession - I am one of those people who likes weeding.  Not so much 5 hours of it, but it is a repetitive and somewhat peaceful activity that gives me time to ponder things and acknowledge things as well.  

First, I say somewhat peaceful because inevitably there's something going on in the neighborhood that will infringe upon the sounds of nature, namely yard equipment.  I don't so much mind the sound of the cars whooshing by, or even the train in the distance, but sometimes the drone of the yard tractor is anything but peaceful.  Luckily yesterday it was well removed from our part of the street.

And as for pondering - well my main purpose for doing this weeding was to eliminate the poison ivy that has taken hold in a little area just outside our backdoor.  And this can be tricky for a number of reasons.  First, you must wear gloves.  I used to weed bare handed and never minded green fingertips and fingernails.  But when you invite birds to your yard with feeders they tend to leave behind their own little presents in their poop - plant seeds like poison ivy and cedar trees, and I could go on.

Second, you must know what you are looking for.  Leaves of Three Let Them Be!  That is the mantra we've been taught to be safe.  However, there are some plants that have leaves of three like the Jack in the Pulpit below.  Oh yes, if you look carefully you can find the poison ivy also in that picture, but the Jack in the Pulpit is almost dead center.

What you see below is poison ivy.  SMOOTH, shiny leaves of three.  (The smooth meaning not fuzzy like some berry vines.)  If you grab them right at the root (being careful with larger plants not to have them touch your exposed arm or any other part of your body for that matter) they are easy enough to wiggle out of the ground.  

How did I do all this with my bad back?  Well, HWNSNBP had bought me, many years ago, a little garden tool box on wheels that you can sit on.  And truthfully, had I been using this last summer, I could probably have saved myself a lot of pain and anguish.  But I've become very adept at scooting along the ground and leaning over just far enough to get the job done.  And I feel so much better for having accomplished this.(Not to mention the fact that this area looks sooooooooooooo much better!)

And speaking of looking good - Here is my countryside photo for Our Beautiful World this week.  

We pass this scenic lavender farm on the weekends we travel to the condo.  This past Sunday we stopped in to their little shop to pick up something I wanted for a gift.  The red barn buildings are just so pretty and well kept.  There's also a horse farm on this property and to the left you can see a couple of the sheds that they have in the fields for the horses to go into for protection from the elements. 

I think I've mentioned this place before in a post more than a year ago but if anything, the place has become more beautiful with time.

Now if you want to see some breathtaking photos of landscapes from around the world, please click here for the Our Beautiful World challenge.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

ICAD 2015 - Week 6 and FRIENDS - Photo Challenge

I'm still playing catch-up but as the prompts this week centered on games, well it sounded like a good seque.  Let's get to it.......

Day 36 - Backgammon
So I guess this is technically 1/4 of a backgammon board, though there is a mistake I think.  The arrows should probably not all be the same, but this is art and my board so I can accept it as a planned mistake.  Background is watercolored, the rest is paper pieced.

Day 37 - Chess or Checkers
The daisy background has nothing whatsoever to do with this prompt.  It's what I had handy being too lazy I guess to create a background.  A new pkg. of doilies, some washi tape, and a bit of recycled gold paper for the crown.

Day 38 - Mahjong (Marbles)
I had an idea for Mahjong tiles.  Then I heard this washi tape calling my name - "play with me, play with me" it said.  So I did. Washi tape and Prismacolors.

Day 39 - Bingo
I picked a few numbers that are significant to me and turned the rest over.  Micron marker.

Day 40 - Yahtzee
Not quite dice, but square with dots on them.  Washi tape and Stabilo marker.

Day 41 - Bridge or Gin Rummy
This one might just beat out the toy telephone from last week as my favorite.  Micron and Stabilo markers.

Day 42 - Scrabble
A repeated pattern of the colored tiles on a Scrabble board.  Stabilo markers.

Now, I may get in trouble for posting this picture, and honestly, I did not take it, but today's photo prompt is FRIENDS and this picture of our Table 7 gang is all about lifelong friendship so how could I not share it.  Love you guys!