Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Jingle Belles - Peace on Earth Day

I think I must say this every year, but this is one of my favorite Jingle Belles challenges.  Goodness knows I have a plethora of items that I know most think I'm crazy for saving.  But sometimes there are just such pretty or unusual wrappings or packaging that I feel need at least a second chance at life.

So when I ventured up to the stamp cave, I did have to settle for what was within arms reach, but I didn't come up empty handed.  Instead, I found enough bits and bobs to put together three cards for this challenge.  

This first one uses a tag (Rudolph) from a notepad that I had bought as a Christmas present for one of the grandsons.  I layered it onto the red rectangle and that onto the printed rectangle that both came from a box of Christmas tea.  (The print was actually in the inside of the box.)  There were a couple of pieces of paper doily in the scrap box that fit on each end and I added a microbeaded wreath sticker.  I chose the turquoise card base to pick up the color from the tag.

The next two cards have motifs that were cut from cards that we had received.  The church scene had a silver frame and I found a gift bag in the dark blue with silver stars that I thought would be good to mount it on.  The "peace" sentiment was diecut from the silver insert of an envelope.  It's hard to see that those silver snowflakes are metallic on the backing, and the ones surrounding the church are glitter.

I saved this trio of trees from another card and mounted them on a strip of flat gold paper that I think came from the inside of a candy box.  Put that on a shiny gold card base and added some jewel sticker strips above and below.  The gold-edged mini green ribbon is a scrap found in the ribbon scrap bag.  Funny how the picture makes the card base look flat and gives more of a shine to the flat paper.  That's not a smudge at the bottom, just a light reflection.  

Now I have to chose which one of these to post on the JB blog because I put them all in the same post - I guess you'll have to click here to see which one I decided on.

Three cards doesn't yet catch me up on the challenges I missed over the last month, but that may happen over the next month or so as I'm getting more and more mobile.  

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Earthquake!, Birthday, Eclipse, and Update

Last Friday morning (April 5th), just after HWNSNBP left to do some errands, I was sitting here contemplating how I should use that time alone when suddenly, at 10:23 I heard a very loud explosion and the whole house began to shake.   From where I was sitting I could see into the kitchen and the refrigerator was rocking, our new microwave was rattling and wobbling so much I thought it was going to fall off the wall, and I could hear the lids of the teapots on the cabinet soffit clinking, as well as feeling the floor shaking beneath my feet.  It lasted at least 20 seconds which doesn't sound long, but try looking out a window and observing what's going on for 20 seconds and you'll be surprised.

I have to admit that it panicked me because I thought something in the neighborhood had exploded and even though I knew that HWNSNBP had left, I called out for him thinking he might have returned.  Then I called him on his cell phone and he said he hadn't felt anything because he was in the car.  While I was talking to him, I was getting a text message from our son in Tennessee asking if we were all right - that's how fast word spread that we had had an earthquake.  The epicenter was about 6 miles from where we live and was given a 4.8 grading - the largest earthquake in this area in a very long time.  It was felt as much as 600 miles away.  Though our son in TN heard about it, they did not feel it, but our daughter in Delaware did.  

They say that even though this wasn't as big of an earthquake that they have on the west coast, we feel it more here on the east coast because of the rock formation being older.  They are said to be felt further away from the epicenter - there were reports of this being felt 600 miles away.  I remember being in Cape May back in 2011 when there was a 5.8 quake in Virginia and feeling that, but this was so close and so much more scary.  There have been over 40 aftershocks since then - one the next evening that I can say we felt and heard though it was a little further away.  

Two days later it was our GS1's 8th birthday - we did get to facetime with him that evening and it came up in conversation that he didn't have school the next day because they were very close to the "Path of Totality" for the solar eclipse that would be happening right around dismissal time from school so they thought it would be better if the students were home with their parents. 

The card I made for him was quickly done with a die cut and some very colorful scrapbook paper in the background on his favorite color card base.  

They were going to try the pinhole camera method of watching it, while I had sent HWNSNBP on a wild goose chase to find eclipse glasses so we could enjoy the predicted 89.9%.  We lucked out that the planetarium at the local county college still had them on Saturday so we were prepared.

Unfortunately, by the time it was due in our area clouds were starting to roll in, but we did get to see part of it and I was able to take a picture with the glasses held up to the lense of my camera.

It wasn't totally dark for us, just like a cloudy day mostly, and we didn't notice any different behavior from the animals during that time like what was reported in the totality zone.  Shortly after I took this picture, the heavier clouds rolled in and that was about all we got to see, but it was pretty cool.  It'll be another 50 years or so until NJ is in the Path of Totality.

Our GS2 and his friends at daycare really enjoyed the day, though I doubt that they really understood what was happening.  They did have approved eyewear.

His mom said he was pumped from all the "activities" of the day.

Oh and I almost forgot to show the special bakery treat that HWNSNBP picked up over the weekend for us to have....... special solar eclipse French macarons.... which I had later that evening and it was yummy, though it turned my tongue a strange bluish green.

I should've shared the Easter macaron they had that he gotten for me the week before..... it was a Cadbury cream egg-filled macaron that was about twice the size of the normal ones (like the eclipse one).  I will be looking forward to next Easter to enjoy this again.

I got permission to stop wearing the back brace last week and I will be starting PT on Monday.  The x-rays that they took in the dr. office showed everything is healing well.  I need to strengthen my back muscles to learn how to walk straight upright again because I was compensating for the pain for so long it became habit to lean forward.  There's still a long road ahead, but I'm walking on the treadmill daily and outside when the weather is nice enough.  I've been using a cane when I go out for stabilization, but can walk around in the house without it for short periods of time.  Sleeping is still not completely comfortable which makes me more tired during the day and prone to napping.  This is why I feel that I'm not getting things done that I would like to be working on.  HWNSNBP has been very attentive and helpful, but he has things that he wants to do also.  One of the major issues we're (I'm) going to have is that I'm the weeder and they're already getting out of hand.  I'm going to have to look for someone who does hand-weeding soon.  

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Happy Easter 2024

My first foray into the stamp cave I decided to try to go simple and grab dies and paper.  Some tools were nececessary to use upstairs like the Big Shot for the Lily of the Valley die and I think the wagon below, but the others were small enough for me to put my little die cutter into a basket along with the papers needed and dies for HWNSNBP to carry downstairs for me.  The challenge was to find something for the machine to stick to as it uses a suction base and I left my glass work matt upstairs, but he came through with a piece of plexi-glass that did the job.

This card I made a few of with different colored backgrounds and that of the sentiment to match.

These cards were for the GS's and were actually half of a half sheet made into a smaller card just big enough to hold a gift card for each of them for their favorite fast food restaurant as we knew we weren't going to see any of them in person for a while yet.  I've had these little bunny dies for some time and was glad to find them without too much of a scavenger hunt.  Putting them together at the dining room table was easy enough in between naps and laps.  

My birthday happens to be today also and I received a lot of beautiful BRAK cards which I have yet to take pictures of, but when I do, I will certainly share them.  I also got a couple of art works from the art site that I belong to.  I have a stash of cards that I've been using for birthdays and such that have come up the last month since I wasn't able to create something new and it's made me realize that I really should be doing more BRAK's and RAK's myself to use them up because I don't know what I'm saving them for.  I guess a change in your health situation can cause some good lightbulbs to go off too!

Anyway, though it may be late in the day for some of you, I hope that you enjoyed this Sunday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

100DayProject 2024 and 100 Days of Tangles Updates

I'm so glad that I took the time before my surgery to grid out the placement of all the stickers on the black poster board that HWNSNBP was so thoughtful to pick up for me because bending at the waist is not allowed during my recovery and it would have been a real chore to try to do it without the bending.  As it is, there will be a lot of erasing to do after all the stickers are placed, but I'm pretty sure that it won't be that noticeable.  Also, photographing such a wide piece of paper is a bit challenging while trying to stand up straight and not move so I apologize for the wobbliness of this video I did of the first 30 days worth of stickers.

I found myself running low on the tails so I grabbed some more strips and made some more wishing stars and had to get a bigger jar to put them in.  

These little projects are fitting in pretty good right now because between the muscle relaxant drug and the inabilitiy to sleep through the night because of lingering nerve pain I'm very tired during the day and can't focus on bigger things right now.  That and the fact that I shouldn't be sitting still for long lengths of time which is what I tend to do when I start working on bigger projects.  I can do little by little and still get my laps in.

I was a little overconfident in thinking that I could use some of the time in the hospital to work on some zentangles and actually packed a little bag with some tiles and tools.  What made it even more of a challenge was that when I woke from the 4 hour surgical procedure, my left hand hurt and was totally numb.  I could grasp and squeeze with it, but there was no feeling. They gave me something for the pain and said that the numbness was probably due to the position that I was in during the surgery and that it could take several days (or longer) for the feeling to return.  This kind of set off a firestorm with the attending staff and they felt that they had to do a CT scan to rule out a possible stroke.   I was not happy about that and there's more to that story but I won't go to length here.  I had mentioned several times that I was glad that it was my left hand and not my right as I was an artist - something that I don't think I've ever made claim to be out loud.  One of the nurses asked what I did and I mentioned painting and tangling and was able to show her the ring of 100 days of tangles that I had brought as reference in case I was to work on any tiles.  (I did attempt one, but the drugs weren't helping my eyes focus well enough so I tucked it away.)    But I have been working to keep up with the 100 Days of Tangles and here they are........all of February.........

....and most of March so far.

I haven't done much of the shading on most of these and will have to go back to that when I get near the end.  It will be nice to try to do some tiles with strings in the future too so I can see some of these patterns put together.

Still sleeping downstairs for now, but I did manage to get up the stairs and did a little bit of work in the stamp cave to prepare for Easter that I'll share in a bit. But for now, I'm fading fast and have to say good night and to apologize to my blogging buddies for not visiting as regularly and commenting - I will catch up with you soon I hope.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Happy 70th Birthday HWNSNBP

One of the things that I made sure to take care of before my surgery was to get this card done for HWNSNBP's big 70th.  I tried to include some of the things that have brought him happiness over the years - the black and white striped paper refers to all the years that he spent as a basketball official, something he loved to do and only gave up after Covid hit.  The basketball paper attributes to that also, but also to his love of playing the game, whether as a player, spectator, or as a coach.  The fish refer to his love of fishing which continues each summer and hopefully he'll get back to some freshwater fishing this year. The woodgrain paper refers to his newfound love of woodworking on big projects.  I could have included more of what he loves, but there's only so much you can fit in one space, as I try to remind him of what he tries to fit into his days, always wanting to get more done.  Hopefully he'll stop hemming and hawing about retiring so he can get those other things into his daily schedule.  

I am so lucky to have him here to be taking care of me as I recuperate and regret that I don't get to give him the proper celebration that he deserves for reaching such a monumental birthday.   

Happy Birthday my love.  And many, many more!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Flying Pig Day Clarification

It came to my attention last week that currently the official Flying Pig Day is actually September 9th and not March1st as I have become accustomed to celebrating it.  In my defense I have to say that I started celebrating Flying Pig Day prior to 2009 and if you want to read the story behind it you can click here. Unbeknownst to me someone actually made the effort in 2020 to make it an official holiday to be celebrated on September 9th because that's the day they got married and they thought that they never would (and this does not refer to friends of ours who actually did get married on September 9th in the 70's).  I will just say that I will continue to use March 1st as Flying Pig Day and hope that my "Pig Ladies" don't mind sticking to that date.  

Friday, March 1, 2024

Happy Flying Pig Day

Just a few of the little flying pigs on my windowsill.

Thanks to an inspiration from my blogging friend Sabrina, and the coincidental finding of a container of glass microscope slides in my craft room, I decided to make these little suncatchers/ornaments for my Pig Ladies this year. 

I purchased two flying pig infested stickers from Redbubble and went about fussy cutting those little piggies out so that I could fit them onto the slides.  Now, I do have quite an assortment of flying pig stamps, but none of them were small enough for this so I was glad to find the sticker option.   I cut some background rectangles from an assortment of papers and did stamp the "Believe" onto white and cut that out.  The papers, with the stickers and message, are sandwiched between two slides with a length of ribbon for a hanger and held together with double-sided tape.  Another think that I have in my stash is a load of glitters and microbeads.  I opted for the microbeads for this application around the edges where the tape is.  I did put a seal coat of Crystal Effects over the beads to hopefully keep them from prematurely releasing from the tape.  The last thing I did to them was added a stick-on jewel where the tape didn't cover at the hanger point.  

The sticker procedure in process below.  I have to note that when I looked up the directions for these, it did mention using a sealer for the beads or glitter and mentioned clear nail polish as an alternative.  I don't recommend that. I tried it on one of them and the nail polish reacted with the tape adhesive and the beads were starting to lift off the tape.  There is also the odor of the nail polish involved although these won't be worn as jewelry and will not be adding much to the room, after five days I can still smell it when I sniff them.  (I know, so stop sniffing them - got it!)

I got some small boxes and did use a stamp to add a little pig to the outside.   I had intended to mail these boxes but realized too late that they were an inch to short to be mailable so I had to put in padded envelopes.

Remember - "A pig that has wings does impossible things!"