Monday, April 29, 2013

60 Years, Flowers, and More

I wish I had taken a better picture of this card I made for our good friend Bill who turned 60 this weekend.  There is significance to the trees and the seasons and how it relates to the human life.  We had a fantastic time helping him celebrate.  This is one of those friendships that spans more than forty years and many memorable moments.  

Speaking of trees, one of my favorite trees is currently blooming.  Recognize these blossoms?

How about these blossoms?

Okay, so I need a little more fullness in those centers, but this is a new Sizzix die that I recently got and spent a little time working with last week.  The centers of the white petals are a little more colorful than what you see here.  I used my Prismacolor pencils to lightly shade them a yellowish green color.  I also used my pencils to add some shading to the leaves.  I am wishing that I could make them look a little shinier.  Crystal Effects would give it too much of a shine I think.  I may have to do some experimenting.  Hmmm, maybe some matte modge podge?  I must have that here somewhere!!!

Here are the real blossoms with the paper ones.  As you can see, they are much different in size, but I think on a card they will be pretty.  Oh, and guess what I used for the stem?  I had a couple of gift bags that I had put aside with those twisted paper handles that had come off on one or more sides and I decided to pitch the bags and save the handles.  

And while I'm speaking of blossoms, this is the back of the school that I work at.  We had a boy scout put in these raised beds as part of his Eagle Scout project last summer.  There are 6 of them and unfortunately, no one seems to be interested in using them.  The custodian crabbed about having to weed them before school started last September and the weeds were already starting to sprout, so I asked the Principal if I (that would be HWNSNBP and I) could use one or two of them and also sent out an e-mail to the staff to see if anyone else would be interested.  I have one teacher who might also be supplementing his garden here.  This is a fenced in area so the critters are not likely to get in and enjoy the free dinner.  (I hope!)

HWNSNBP got a load of topsoil and we went to the Great Swamp Nursery on Sunday and picked out some plants.  I chose a mixture of perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables and planted some seeds.  The end closest to the school has Celosia and Periwinkles and I put down Zinnia and Bachelor Button seeds.  In the center there are 4 grape tomato plants (which I'm hoping will be a nice snack during the summer).  At the far end on the left is a Rosemary plant, and center is some fragrant Bee Balm (which will be wine colored when blooming), a sky blue Delphinium, and some dark blue perennial Salvia.  I interspersed some white Nicotiana between those perennials.  It will be a little patriotic corner.  I've got a bit of space between that end and the tomatoes in the center.  I was thinking maybe some chrysanthemums for fall color.  

I think I'll be claiming two more beds, one for Sunflowers, and one for pumpkins.  

I don't know if anyone noticed what we did yet.  (We did weed all of them.) No one said anything. I want to put a sign in there that says "GREEN ACRES".  What do you think about that?

Jumping over to the other side of the school, this is what is in the nesting box as of last Thursday. 

I would venture to say that the bluebirds have won dibs on the box, but I still see those pesky swallows trying to get in.  I hope it doesn't turn out like the first clutch last year - destroyed.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Administrative Professional's Day

Just a little something to show my fellow admins some appreciation.  The sentiment says "so glad we're here for each other".

There are 18 of us throughout the district - in the schools, the board office, transportation, and student and instructional services.  It's a pretty good network of support for one another as well as the school system.  

I was glad to find a couple of packages of this dsp in my stash and the instructions for this cute folded paper box here from Tiffany Bauer of My Crafty World.  One note - if you follow her great instructions, instead of marking your paper at 2" and 11", I think it should be 2" and 9" which worked out perfectly.  This is easy and was just big enough to hold a snack pack of Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers, a single serve of Wylers Iced Tea w/Lemonade (to add to a bottle of water), a Lindor Truffle, and an animal shaped bag clip for some whimsy.  
My daughter works in a school and she told me that she needed to send a fax last week and she couldn't remember how exactly to do it so she sheepishly asked one of the secretaries for help.  I say sheepishly because she had asked before and gotten directions but hadn't remembered the process and she knew that this could be a little frustrating for the office staff.  The secretary remembered this, of course, and heaved a little sigh and made a little comment about it's funny that teachers have such a hard time remembering these things.  Rachel told her "I know.  My mom works in a school office and she's always telling me how forgetful teachers are.  (She didn't quite use the words that I used.)  She says it's quite a problem."  And this sent the secretary into hysterics. 
I reminded her of what today was and she told me not to worry, that she already had it taken care of!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CASEd Birthday

It's our daughter-in-law's birthday today.  I have quite a bit of Bermuda Bay paper left over from their wedding invitations and looks like I'll be able to get some more coordinating SU products to go with that color again soon as it is coming out of retirement!  Who would have guessed!  

I CASEd this card from Wendy of Stamping Styles. Here is the link to her beautiful butterfly card.
I changed it up ever so slightly by using a smaller set of labels dies, added some paper piercing and of course the color and subject matter were different.  

There's so much out there on Pinterest these days and I'm finding so much inspiration.  Trouble is that hanging out there eats into your creativity time so I have to find a better balance with that.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Showers Birthday for Earth Day

It's April and as I've mentioned before, the kids at school (and a lot of the adults) are done.  Even though there are just about two whole months of school to go, they're done.  They're done with working on their behavior and I don't know if it's a combination of inhaling pollen and ingesting jelly beans and chocolate, or some internal vernal clock that makes them screwier than usual, but the number of students "sent to the office for time out" increases dramatically at this particular time of year.

We had one fifth grade boy who was sent to grace us with his presence three times in one day last week.  He was being a wise guy in class and the teacher thought that sitting in the office for ten minutes would make him think twice the next time.  Or in this case, the next time, and the next time.

Upon his third arrival I mentioned to him that we had a name for those students who were regularly sent to the office for time outs and asked if he knew what it might be.  I was looking for "Frequent Flyers" but without hesitation he said "Yeah.  Juvenile Delinquents."  

So I figured since we both (the secretary and I) laughed out loud at that one I would only set my timer for 8 minutes.  

Well, this card took slightly longer than 10 minutes to create and it didn't quite turn out the way I had pictured it.  You see, I was intending to have those splotches look like rain drops and instead I'm thinking it looks like spilled milk.   I'd say snow, but they're definitely splotches and not flakes.

The floating flowers in red were stamped using SU's Reason to Smile set.  The splotches are from French Foliage, and the sentiment is from Occasional Quotes.  

I actually stamped the splotches first in VersaMark and then embossed with clear EP on white paper, thus the reason they are white.  Had I stamped them and embossed last, they would have been clear and more water-like.  But we won't tell the recipient - she won't know the difference.

She likes the color red, so there you go.  Red flowers and a red card base and a little spilled milk.  

Happy Earth Day Birthday!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

MIA - But All's OK

It seems I'm easily distracted these days.  Which...... could be a good thing or bad thing depending on what's distracting me.  Mostly though, I have been occupied with getting our house ready for some major improvements.   

On tap for this spring are air-conditioning and new wood floors inside and the removal of several gigantic trees outside.  Since we don't have pre-existing duct work inside the house, the way around this is to get a unit that goes in the attic and then they send the ducts down to the first floor through closets in the second floor.  So, not only do we have to clear out the attic (25+ years of accumulated nonsense) but closets have to be rearranged and purged to make room for the ducts.  I admit that it's embarrassing to see what has been stowed away so long like the briefcase that I gave HWNSNBP when he graduated college in 1977 that has a combination lock that neither of us can remember but has us wondering what could possibly be in there.  Almost certainly guaranteed it's not money but what it could be is puzzling.  

Irish Soda Bread baked by a parent at school.  She brought each of us in the office a fresh hot loaf on Thursday.  Delicious treat and so appreciated.
Then there was the rest of the white bedroom set that my sister's and I had growing up which we did not use in Rachel's room.  That and other miscellaneous small furniture pieces of no value which went to the dumpster on Friday while I wasn't looking.... on purpose.

I finally coaxed HWNSNBP to put up the shelves I had purchased for the Stamp Cave, not caring to wait anymore for rug removal and newly painted walls.  I needed to get things off the floor so I literally didn't kill myself falling over something trying to move around in there.  I still insist that I am not as bad as the hoarders you see on TV, but sometimes it is scary to see all the "stuff" that sits waiting to be "used" and loved.

Home-made peanut butter cups brought in by one of our student mentors for the office staff.  Another delicious treat.
My house here is not spotless.  It is very well-lived-in and regularly dusted and vacuumed and dishes done and all that.  But paper seems to multiply here, and I have a box addiction.  (Is there a Box-Lover's Anonymous out there?)  There is a box tower upstairs and a small collection down here.  One never knows when you will need a good box.   I think that's a fear of mine that I can trace back to childhood being required to make a diorama for some project at school that required a shoe box.  We didn't get our shoes at a shoe store that gave you a nice box.  Shoes were usually purchased off the rack at some department chain or at a flea market or the like.  I remember listening to my mother telling my father that she wasn't going to go out and buy new shoes in some fancy store just so we could have the box.  So she succumbed to calling relatives to find one, which as embarrassing as that had to be, would not be as embarrassing as having to go to the shoe store, not buy shoes and ask for a box!  So shoe boxes were coveted and treasured.  Scarlet, you may never go hungry again, but I shall never be boxless again!

But some of those boxes are going to come in handy because............. when we do the floors we are going to have to pack up EVERYTHING downstairs and rent one of those pods to put outside to store everything for about a week.  Doesn't that sound like fun!!!  We have "stuff".  Stuff like pictures and knick knacks and candles and plants and stuff.  This is in contrast to the condo where I do not want a lot of stuff.  Packing up all this stuff will be a lesson in what's important and what's not anymore and what to do with it.  The kids have already told us that there is nothing that they are particularly wanting so how do we (I) let go of these memories?  

I am glad that we are finally moving forward with these projects, I just wish that we had done them when we were a little younger and had more energy and stamina (and less stuff!).  But I have to look forward to not being uncomfortable in the heat and easier maintenance of the floors.

Water-colored card made for a friend in Ohio recovering from surgery.  
I did get this card done earlier this week and two others for birthdays this week which I can't show yet.  And, I have a few projects in the works.   Remember, Administrative Professionals Day is this week and so is Earth Day - making it busy for me (by choice of course).  See what I mean about being distracted!!

(And HWNSNBP felt the need to remind me that the garden needs some attention soon!  Where will I find the energy for that!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Draw a Bird Day

Yesterday, according to the list of Wacky Holidays, was "Draw a Bird Day."  While I was catching up on some blogs this weekend I saw a stamp of a bird that was made completely of floral images.  I thought about ordering it, but then decided that I would try to make my own bird. 
I've used all SU stamps.  The face/head is from Build A Blossom.  The crest and neck is from Fresh Cuts.  Two stamps from Trendy Trees were used for the wing and feet.  One of the images from Pocket Silhouettes served as the body stamped over and over and in both colors.  And the tail was one of the images from Vases in Vogue.

I was having fun with this so I made two!  The base is Summer Starfruit and then a layer of Lucky Limeade - used that for the flowers too.  The torn panel is Midnight Muse.  And the inks I used were Summer Starfruit and Midnight Muse stamped off once or twice in some areas. 
So while I didn't really Draw a Bird, I did create a bird of my own.  (BTW - HWNSNBP said it looked like a turkey!)
It was my intention to add some pictures of the latest "Bird Wars" that are going on at the school nesting box, but the battery in my camera pooped out so I'll have to save that for another installment at a later date.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Tangles and a Tale

Yesterday, the first day back for the students after their spring break, the rites of Spring began.

Not one, not two, but three teachers called the office to report that the 5th grade boys said there were ants in the boy's bathroom coming up through the drain in the center of the floor.  

The calls came during lunch period and the time the custodian was cleaning up afterwards which meant I couldn't get him to look at it just yet.  So I told the teacher(s) to tell the students they had permission to kill the ants thinking they would just stomp on them.  

The teachers laughed.  You see, we're not allowed to used insecticides in the school, or any kind of poison for that matter, so the custodian would probably just spray them with window cleaner which would  shoo them away for a while, but inevitably they would return.  

But these crafty students..... they came up with their own way of getting rid of them, and it wasn't by stomping on them.  Care to guess?

Yup, the next student that came to the office didn't just report ants.   

The Out of Order sign went up and the boys were forced to walk to the other side of the building to use that bathroom.

So, the custodian had a bigger mess to clean up, but you know what............ the ants were dead.  And he actually laughed about it. 

Yes, the school year is just about two thirds done and everyone is looking toward the finish line.  We will have more "frequent flyers" to the office and more people than you would think will run desperately short of common sense.    

But then there might be more treats like these to look forward to................

This is a tray of cupcakes created by one of our 4th graders for her birthday and which she shared with her class.  This was surely a treat for the eyes!  (And did you notice that she used a picture frame turned upside-down for the tray?)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Birthday

Since I was born in 1955 there have been three instances of Easter and my birthday falling on the same day and this year was the latest.  The first time I turned 36 in 1991.  In 2002 I turned 47.  And this year, 2013, I turned 58.  The next time my birthday and Easter will fall on the same day will be in 2024 and I will be 69.   After that, March 31st and Easter will not fall on the same day until 2086 and I am sure that I will not be celebrating that one on Earth.  

I also find it interesting that my youngest brother Michael's birthday, which is April 20th occurred one year after mine in 2003 and will occur next year, again one year after mine, and in 2025 which will be the year after my 69th birthday.  But enough about my KOOKiness.

Celebrating Spring is coming in dribs and drabs.  There are crocuses out and the daffodils are just opening.  (Note that these crocuses are now encircled with wire fencing as the deer are finding them a tasty addition to their diet.)

The goldfinches are taking on their brighter coloring - another sign of the changing seasons.  The make such a happy sound when they're gathered around the feeder.

And I had to share this wonderful handmade card that I received from my friend Sabrina.  It just takes my breath away.  (Please click on it to see the beautiful detail in her coloring.)

I hope you had an enjoyable Easter and that Spring is finding it's way to you.  

(The first picture is of some nugget holders that I made for the holiday.  I used a Picture Show stamp that you see partially in the punched out oval.  Yes, it is a bunny riding on the back of a chick!)