Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Birds at Barnegat Light


First -  a quick thank you card for a co-worker based on the view from the ocean to the lighthouse.  Stamps used are from the new set Wetlands and my Barnegat Lighthouse stamp.  Background was colored using the direct-to-paper technique.

Last week we ventured out to the lighthouse and walked along the side of the jetty to the ocean.

Laughing Gulls losing their summer plumage and a juvenile on the right.

Oyster Catcher (Sabrina, if you see this, check out the banding.  I would never had noticed it without a close up and your post from the other day.)

Ring-Bill Gull letting the Ruddy Turnstone below steal his lunch.

A very determined, and possibly very hungry, Ruddy Turnstone.

Royal Terns
These Royal Terns took me forever to identify.  We don't recall having ever seen them before.  They remind me of either Groucho Marx or Bozo the Clown with that wild black crest and the orange beak.  

Semipalmated Plover

It took us an hour to get from the lighthouse to the beach.  There was shell picking to be done and the birds were being most photogenic.  Thankfully it was a cool day with a little cloud cover and a very nice breeze.  It took much less time to get back to the car.

Monday, August 26, 2013

72 Pencils



While on vacation last week I made my usual trip(s) to the dollar store and of course came back with a bag full of goodies.  I had seen this somewhere on the internet and wanted to give it a try and with 72 pencils, a bag of rubberbands, and some crazy glue (and peace and quiet), I did it!

It's a little clumsy at first, but then you get the hang of it adding the pencils in between the rubber bands.  Here is the link to directions should you want to give it a try:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Geometric-sculpture-from-72-pencils/

Before crazy glue, with rubberbands still in place.

 Back to work today and going to put this on my desk with the sign:  No school pencils were harmed in this project.  I think I might use it to hold my rubberband ball that's been growing larger for the last 9 years!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sunset, Moonrise, Rainbow and the Fish Story


There was a full moon on Tuesday of this week.  They were having a night climb at the lighthouse between 7 and 9 so at around 6:30 we left Barnegat to cross over to LBI and north on the island to the lighthouse.  The sun was setting quickly and there was quite a crowd when we got there.  

It was not our intention to climb the lighthouse, but I had hoped to get a picture of the lighthouse and the full moon.  We had to book it to almost the end of the walkway along the jetty to get far enough away for the lens that I had on the camera to be able to get in the whole lighthouse.  As you can see, by the time we got out there far enough the sun had dipped below the clouds.  

And there was no moon in sight.  At least not in that direction.  A nice gentleman walked past us and commented on the cloudiness of the evening and that the moon was supposed to have risen at 7:16 and there were clouds over the ocean obscuring the view.  At that time (approx. 7:30) we could just see the faintest outline of the moon and I did get a picture of it, but it's so faint I won't waste time posting it.    

Thinking now that we needed to be on the other side of the lighthouse to try to get both the lighthouse and the moon in the same frame we started back down the path when the sun dropped under the clouds and gave us this sight below. 


And moments later.....


We walked to the furthest point on land that we could to try to get the whole lighthouse in the picture again, but it was to no avail.  And the moon was too far to the right of the lighthouse anyway.  This is the shot of the full moon over the trees that lined the parking lot.  As we traveled south on the island to get to the bridge to get home we could see the moon as it was rising over the ocean and then once over the bridge and heading north again to the condo, it was on our other side.  By the time we got back home, it was pretty high in the sky and illuminated the bay, but picture opportunity for that had passed.


Late the following afternoon we had a little bit of a rain shower here.  And even though it looked a little threatening still behind us, HWNSNBP and I did get out our fishing poles and actually took the car across the street to the dock just in case the sky opened.  It was drizzling as we pulled up there and by the time we baited out poles it was a little steadier of a rain.  It felt good though, and we knew it was going to pass so we opted to stick it out.  Then we got a treat.......


I took the car back to the condo and grabbed my cameras and a plastic bag and took way more pictures than fish I caught (HWNSNBP pulled ahead of me by 5 that night!).  



Make sure you click on the one below so you can see the double arc that formed. 


Each year HWNSNBP and I have had a contest to see who can catch the most fish for the summer.  This will be the third year and we've each taken the "title" once so far.   The rules are simple in that we only count the fish that are caught when we're both fishing, so the other night when I left to get the cameras he could not count the additional two fish he snagged while I was gone.  The night before, I was left on the dock while he went back to get another hook since the huge fish he caught just before that had snapped his hook off.  (Well, I think the removal of the hook from the fish actually caused the snap, but we'll not debate it.)

We stir up kind of a ruckus when we fish.  Especially when we seem to be the only ones catching fish.  People come over and ask what kind of bait we're using (spearing) and want to see the rigging.  They check the bucket and the little kids sometimes want to "pet the fish".  HWNSNBP has to explain to them that snappers are baby blue fish and that they do have very sharp teeth even if they're little.  We've been catching some pretty big snappers 7-10 inches and will only keep the very biggest and usually no more than 4 or 5 of them.  HWNSNBP will eat them, I don't.  

Two weekends ago Rachel came up and joined us on the dock for some afternoon fishing before she left to go back home and that day she caught more than we did, so I made her the card below.


It says "Silver Snapper Award".  

Well, it's just about time to get back out there today before the crowd starts gathering for the Saturday night concert.  Last night we only lasted 5 mins. as the air was still and we were being attacked by these tiny black gnat-like insects.  They were terrible - I have so many bites!  The day has been beautiful and there is a steady breeze so we should not have that problem.  

Let me see if I can make up that 5-fish difference tonight!  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pets, Lavender and Repurposing Jeans


Our mail lady at work recently lost her cat and of course she was very upset about it.  This is the card that I put together for her.  The cat is stamped in VersaMark and clear embossed.  Both the cat and the sentiment come from C is for Cat.  The scrap paper banners were die cut and I added some ribbon and three little flowers with pearl centers.  It's never easy losing a beloved pet.  This I know.  They depend on us, but we depend on them too because the giving of love and the need to feel loved goes both ways.

This has nothing to do with pets, but the other day I got one of those Etsy notifications on my Facebook page.  There is a woman in Oregon, I think, who is selling lavender wands for $20 a piece.  She recommends using them as wedding/shower favors.  I had recently pulled out these lavender wands that I made from some plants we had several (or more) years ago.  They are easy to make if you have enough lavender and they last for years.   If you google lavender wands you're sure to find explicit directions.  I had pulled these out because I was investigating how to get rid of silver fish recently.  We seem to have stirred up a nest or something like that with all the closet cleaning and flooring that we've done recently.  It is said that silver fish do not like the fragrance of lavender.  I've stuck them in the linen closets and also purchased some loose dried lavender and made sachets for the bedrooms and closets.  Hopefully this will help turn those silver fish away.  


And another project - I have saved all the old jeans that the kids outgrew/no longer wanted.  We have them in all shades of blue and a few shades of black also.  I decided that I wanted to use them for a window treatment at the condo since our furniture there is denim covered.  I took apart several pairs of the jeans at the seams to get the most useable portion of the fabric and then made a pennant pattern out of newspaper.  I calculated how many pennants I would need to span the front window and used several different shades of denim.  I strung them on some nylon rope and used white nails in the trim to rest the rope on to keep it straight.  


I was aiming for a nautical look.  


I've got lot's more jeans to work with.  I always meant to make a quilt that I saw in a magazine a long time ago that alternated squares of denim and flannel.  What I liked about it was the seams were on the outside and frayed.  I believe I have a bag of flannel shirts somewhere.  Now that I have a working sewing machine again I should probably look for that bag and get that started.  Hopefully, it's not full of silver fish!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pistachio Pudding Birthday and the Birds


This card above was for my sister's birthday last Thursday.  The card base is Pistachio Pudding and so much prettier IRL.  In fact, this whole card was so much prettier IRL.  Right now I'm afraid that the smudging I did behind the flowers looks like a mistake.  I actually took pictures of this card outside at first and it was even more washed out, so I thought if I tried it against a complimentary color it might show up better.  Oh well, she liked it.  The flowers are stamped with Summer Silhouettes and embossed with white EP.  The butterfly was stamped using Polka Dot Pieces in VersaMark. The sentiment is from Label Love.  Both the butterfly and the label were punched out with the appropriate punches.  The white strip was punched out of Whisper White cs with my new MS Nested Petals Ribbon Punch and lined with a strip of Pear Pizzazz cs.  I added a grosgrain bow with a similiar green (generic ribbon) keeping this card pretty monochromatic.  

These birds directly below could be seen from the back porch of the condo this morning.  We were anticipating having some new windows installed today only to find out that the salesman sold us windows that were not exactly the same as the rest of the units.  Luckily, HWNSNBP checked them out while they were still on the truck.  So the appropriate windows will come at a later date.


We also had an electrician come out to do some minor electrical work for us.  I stuck around for a while and then decided to take a bike ride.  It was a glorious bike riding morning - not too hot and just barely a breeze and I was going to cut my ride short but then decided to go down to a street that borders the refuge opposite of where we live.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the birds were right up near the road there.  However, the marsh grass is so high that it's difficult to get a clear picture, especially with the wind blowing.  So if they appear blurry, remember you're looking through the weeds.  Click on the pictures to get closer.  I decided not to crop some of them.






This next picture needs your imagination. Every time we have ridden by this area I was curious about that grass that was curled over.  Now keep in mind that the surrounding foliage was all green, until I saw it again today.   Today, being all in brown now, it appeared to look like a giant sitting bird to me.  And it wasn't until I downloaded the picture that I realized that the curled grass was part of the root system to the rest of that brown - the tree that had apparently been blown over.  


Do you see the bird?  I hope so.  

I have a couple more cards to post and some other projects that I've been working on, but I will try to spread them out over the next week or so.  Have a great one!

Friday, August 16, 2013

May and June Tangles


Trust me when I say that I didn't just finish these.  They've been done for some time and just awaited the photographing part.  We're back to normal work hours next week so I'm hoping to get more accomplished at home on a daily basis.  It's nice having Fridays off, but really, I'm just playing catch-up for all the things that I haven't completed during the week. 


But, some might say that that's what summer is for.  To take it easy a little.  


I did not want to fall behind on my Zentangle calendar and have been trying to at least complete each week in a week. 


I've eliminated doing 3 of the string tiles on Saturdays and focused on one (or two) in each box.  Then I've joined one of my other collections in those boxes - words.  I have words that I've found interesting that I've jotted down on post-it notes and little scraps of paper.  Most of them I've never heard used before and probably won't use, but if you click on the pictures, you should be able to read them.  Now I can get rid of those little scraps of paper!


I do like to add a favorite quote here or there also.  





Ooops!  Looks like I forgot to go back and add the shading to the tangles on this page.


I'd better check July out before I post that.  And I'll probably post July and August at the same time...... maybe before September begins!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shrooms and Balloons


This almost looks like some kind of exotic flower.  Perhaps something crafted from wood shavings. I'm sure that wood shavings or wood dust had something to do with the sudden appearance of these rather large mushrooms in our front yard.  We had some trees removed early in the summer and there were areas where there were wood shavings left in piles too small to pick up, so they just got raked into the soil.  Our front yard is very shady and the grass, or should I say anything green that grows is mostly weeds and moss.  The weeds are regularly mowed, just like a real grass lawn.  And the moss fills in areas where the weeds won't even grow. 


We'd been having some very humid weather last week which must have made the conditions perfect for sprouting mushrooms.  I don't know what these are called and I don't care whether they are poisonous or not not having any small children or animals that might get into them.  Instead I like to admire them while they're around.  There were a few that were already starting to turn black and slimy in the center and I steered away from those. 

We have a fairy ring in the back yard, but have not had any mushrooms in the ring for many years now, though the ring itself continues to grow outward.  These don't appear to be growing in a ring, just randomly near the old tree area.


Sneaking in a quick sunset from Saturday night.  


On Sunday evening friends of ours were fulfilling a bucket list item.  He had recently celebrated his 60th birthday and she gave him a hot air balloon ride as his gift.  The launch had been postponed several times due to weather, but conditions Sunday allowed for a safe trip.


We were invited to the launch and watched while the crew inflated the balloon,


they jumped in, waved good-by, and sailed away.



Friday, August 9, 2013

Mish-Mosh

 
Last week I took a walk up to the garden thinking that there might be some blackberries that were ready for picking.  Admittedly, I have not been up there since very early spring and the weeds have made it look more like a fenced in meadow than a garden.   I had my camera with me and a container for the berries and as I stepped into the mess, my camera swung into the container I was carrying and the lens cap popped off.  It flew off so fast that I had no idea where to look for it and thought for sure that it was going to stay lost until we cleaned up the garden in the fall.  I pushed aside some of the weeds but knew it was useless.  I might as well have dropped it in the bay.

That day there weren't very many berries and I didn't stay long looking for them because with weeds seem to come mosquitos and I was getting bit more than I cared to be.  Still on my way back through the path I decided to give it one more shot and bent over on the opposite side of the path, moved some weeds and lo and behold, there was the cap.  That truly was a shot in the dark.  

The berries above were from several days later and I actually took this picture with my cell phone.  I had decided it would be best to carry that with me when I went up to the garden from now on because I was a little nervous as to what could be lurking (besides mosquitos) in those weeds.  There happened to be the faint smell of skunk up there the first time!  And you see the bed of green that the container is on should actually be a clean pathway, but it's not.

Oh, and let me say that there's nothing like the taste of warm berries off the vine.  You get the full flavor of them, and provided that they are indeed ripe, total sweetness.


I will pick every couple of days and hope to get more than the birds are stealing.  We could cover the vines with bird netting, but seeing as we actually have a nesting box within the confines of the garden, it would be very unfair to the birds to also have something that could endanger them.  So we share.  They usually get the easy ones on the top and outsides.  I have to wade into the vines and check underneath for them.  

And now, as I seque into the bird theme with the card above and picture below...... The card was made for a co-worker who has joined our staff with a new position created in our district.  I wanted to welcome her and wish her success in this new endeavor.  The sentiment (which I'm finding hard to read in this picture) says "Use what talents you possess.  The woods would be very quiet if no birds sang there except those that sang best."  credited to Henry Van Dyke.  The stamp set is from Amuse - I couldn't resist.  It has a few of my favorite quotes and this nesting birds image.  I wish I could show a better picture, but this was taken at my desk at work.  Not the most opportune spot.

This seagull was not squawking away, though with it's mouth wide open you might have thought so.  It rather looked like it was panting, or maybe daydreaming.  It was perched atop this chimney cap and facing away from the water.  And seemed quite comfortable.


And here's an update on the school nest box.  Looks like the 100+ยบ temps may have kept all those eggs from being viable.  If you follow, you may remember that there were 4 eggs and last Tuesday one had hatched.  We were hoping to find 4 nestlings in there but HWNSNBP checked on Monday night of this week and there was only one chick and three eggs.  One of the eggs was cracked and he removed it.  There was not a formed bird in the egg.  These eggs will not hatch and when the chick starts jumping in the nest to get ready to fledge, it will most likely destroy the eggs.  Until then, the parents will leave them there.  We're debating whether to remove them or push them off to the side, but we'd have to bring a ladder and that might cause too much attention in the neighborhood.  So Mother Nature might just have to take care of it for them.

He/she is rather large for a week-old chick, but that is probably because Mr. and Mrs. Blue only have one to feed.  I feel certain that this will be the last clutch of the season for the blues.


So there is the mish-mosh of the last week or so.  I have promised to post my tangles and I will try to get pictures this weekend that I can use.  I took some with my phone but was not pleased with how they came out.  So I'm hoping for some sunny weather to help with lighting and a steady hand for I am terribly behind on this posting.