Friday, May 31, 2013

May Weekends in Pics

Did I ever mention that HWNSNBP and Rachel went to Chrysanthemum School many years ago? Yes, when she was still in HS and would do those kind of things that her father asked of her, you know, the little-bit-wacky stuff.  But then again, he did take her to the Ticker Tape parade when the Yankees won the World Series around the same time.  So I guess it was kind of a wash.

Shortly after that HWNSNBP joined the Chrysanthemum Society.  Actually, I think the two of us belong, but he is the participating member, even if his participation only includes purchasing cuttings from the club at a reduced rate once a year.  Ah, but the end results are usually very enjoyable.  

So a couple of weekends ago we needed to go to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum to pick up the cuttings.  It was a spritzy kind of day so we didn't walk around too much to enjoy all that was in bloom, but I did bring my camera and managed to capture a few of the flowers.  Above is a wild columbine which we are lucky to have a few of in our own yard.  Below is a blue gentian.  I love blue flowers and would love to have these in my garden too.  

Our garden, or at least my portion of it, is being sadly neglected this spring.  Between the air-conditioning project and now the flooring project, I just have not had the time - or energy - to get out there and tidy it up.  But that hasn't stopped us from traveling up to the Great Swamp Nursery to buy our plants for the planting we do around the back of the house.  Mostly impatiens, begonias, and some torenia - all shade lovers.  HWNSNBP has diligently potted them up.

On the road to the GS we pass this old barn.   I would have liked to get a better picture of it, but someone was coming up behind us and there's no place to pull over.  See how the bottoms of the barn boards are somewhat curled.  Since this is a swampy area, I'm thinking that the ground moisture has done that and has wicked up the boards giving them their weathered appearance also.

Further down the road and just over a little bridge I spotted this White Heron.  Thankfully there was a place to pull over so HWNSNBP did and I got out of the car and quietly tiptoed towards the bridge.   There was another photographer there with a bigger camera and lens and he was crouched down on the walkway with his camera slightly protruding through the architecture of the bridge.  I would have taken a picture of him also, but after I snapped this one, my camera told me that the card was full.  So I hoped it would have been good enough and tiptoed back to the car.   I did manage to erase some nonsense pictures on our way home, but that was too little too late.  Still, not a bad picture I think.  

And then last weekend we were at the condo and out the back we spotted this goose family taking a walk.  We had seen them a few weeks ago when the goslings were much smaller (and there were more of them then also).  (click the picture to enlarge it)  It was funny to see the goslings swim through some of the larger puddles as their parents walked through.  I wondered if they were having swimming lessons.  

The evening found us at our friends' house on LBI.  We helped them pull some dune grass out of their flower beds and HWNSNBP helped them plant some of the chrysanthemum cuttings he had rooted for them to replace the ones that were lost after the "super storm" covered them with sand.

While they planted the flowers, some of the rest of us took the dune grass and replanted it on the dune behind the flower bed.  I should have taken a picture of them - they have a tap root much like a dandelion, but it is very easy to dig around the root and slide your fingers down into the sand to pull the root out whole along with the grass.  Can I say that planting the dune grass was some of the easiest planting I've ever done.  First of all, you're down on your knees in sand (in pants covering your knees) and the sand is not as uncomfortable as dirt to kneel on.  Secondly, you can dig a hole with your hands, slip the root in and gather the sand up around the root very quickly.  

The day was cool and windy, but with sweatshirts, long pants, and shoes that covered your feet, we were quite comfortable there nestled between the dune and the house.  

Stepping into the street and looking back toward the bay, this was the view at sunset.  

We all brought contributions for the evening meal - and it was delicious and thoroughly enjoyable to be with such good friends.  

This weekend we are tackling another big job.  We're having wood floors installed in the first floor of our house and we need to empty/relocate all the contents by Monday.  We've rented a POD and tomorrow Chris will come to help HWNSNBP take the furniture out.  I have been and will continue to box up all the "STUFF" that we have accumulated.  It's been a bit overwhelming, though I am purging a bit as I go along.  Needless to say, there will be a lot more purging once we get back into the house.  

I'll try to take pictures of the progress.  Have a wonderful weekend.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Birthdays & Babies

A quick post as we'll be spending time with our "group" this weekend celebrating a birthday and the arrival of a new grandchild. 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Die Cut Inlays

I went a little crazy last month ordering dies and figured I'd better do something with them.  The card above features three dies, Memory Box Flutter Vine and Large Sitting Cat and also the rose on the cat's neck was made from a die also.  

I inlaid the flutter vine by using the die on both the background sheet and a contrasting color.  The cat is added afterward, but I was thinking later that I probably could have inlaid the cat also making this a simple two layer card.  But then I went and added the dimensional rose.  The rolled rose is made using a spiral die and I've added a little pearl in the center.

This black cat reminded me that a couple weeks ago we had a single session at school and shortly before dismissal the police sent out a notification that there had been a black bear sighting in the neighborhood.  Of all days, it had to be on a day that the students were getting out early and the weather was beautiful.  We sent an e-mail notification to the parents to warn them and didn't allow any classes to go out, including the gym class, but that didn't stop the afterschool program from asking whether we thought it was safe to let the kids go out afterschool.  I suggested that if they were wanting to use them as appetizers, they should send them out one at a time.  Seriously, I would not wish harm to any of them, I just was a little taken aback by the question.  I wish sometimes that we could figure out how to bottle common sense and market it, because there are a lot of people out there who could use a dose now and then.  I figure though that those that need it the most wouldn't know how to get the bottle opened.  But back to the cards.......     

The card below is very minimalist and for some reason reminds me of a nun's habit.  I used the cut pieces in the opposite color pattern.  I think I was aiming at something that looked like Wedgewood, but it didn't quite make it.  

I am enjoying working with these dies lately (I think I said that in a previous post, sorry!), and I would recommend getting a metal adaptor plate to use as a shim.  It really helps make those intricate cuts come out cleanly.  

And sadly, that poor little bear - they said it was a cub about 150 pounds - was struck by a car on the highway later that day and died.  We had another report of a bear nearby again yesterday.  This area is not really known for bears but you never know what Mother Nature has in store and what will show up.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bouquets with Bokeh

Here is the delphinium I mentioned in a previous post.  And below are the lilies.  I saw the technique challenge on Splitcoast yesterday - to use the Bokeh Effect.  I had been stuck as to what kind of background to use behind my flowers and figured I'd give it a chance.  Instead of using a solid stamp as suggested by the directions, I used my daubers.  I've always twirled them on my grid paper after I've used them and thought that I could blend a couple of colors together easily to get the effect.  Twirling the daubers gives you a circle, or hint of a circle and when the center is not completely filled with ink, it appears to look to me as a highlight.  Well, you be the judge.  

Have I fooled you into thinking that the background is the rest of the garden out of focus?  Here is a link as to what a photo looks like with the bokeh effect.

Now let me tell you how I created the delphiniums.  After running the die and Pacific Point paper through the Big Shot, I took the flowers and added a quick cross of white Prismacolor pencil in the center.

Then using the stylus in the flower kit (yes, I did splurge on the kit, but I've always said it pays to have the right tools) and the foam mat and

depressed the centers of the flowers.

See what it looks like after just doing that.

Then I took the flower and put it on the leaf mat (this is a thinner, hardcore mat covered in what appears to be a suede-like fabric) and again used the stylus but this time I ran it up and down the petals

so they would curve gently.

You see the flower before cupping and after.

Once I had all the flowers prepared, it was just a matter of adding them to the stem.  I choose to use a green wrapped floral wire and starting at the top added flowers in groups of 1, 2, 3, and then 5 flowers leaving the stem to show through between each group.  Leaves were only added at the bottom of the stalk.

I have to check on what other flowers I can make with this die. It truly should not be pigeonholed as just a forsythia.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Forsythia

Hoping all mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and aunts enjoyed their Mother's Day as much as I did.  I had all my children here today - my daughter Rachel and the newlyweds Chris and Michelle too.  I prepared Sausage Stars and Sabrina's German Apple Pancake and they loved both dishes.  I finished the Mother's Day cards for both HWNSNBP's and my mother and then we headed out to visit our respective mothers.  I got to spend some time in the stamp cave when I got back.

Today I was working on some lilies which are still drying, but I had used the forsythia die earlier this week and used those on the Mother's Day cards.  There are two dies in this set.  The flower die will punch out 20 flowers and then there is a leaf die that makes multiple leaves too.  I scored the leaves and cupped them a bit.  The flowers were depressed into the foam mat to give them their dimension.  

I added liquid paper centers to these and left the other three empty.  (I think you might see them in the card above.)

This is the size in relation to the dogwood die that I had previously used.  

I played around some more with this die cutting blue flowers and adding them to green stems turning them into delphiniums which I'll post later this week along with the lilies.  This is a bit of fussy work, but I am enjoying it.  I purchased the tool kit that was recommended to do the shaping and scoring and I'm glad I did, but I have to say that I am inept at using the reverse tweezers.  I'll stick to my regular ones!  

We might get a frost here tonight or tomorrow night and I'm hoping that the plants that we put in already will not be damaged.  The last frost date is usually May 10th, but this spring has been so unpredictable!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

3 Seconds.........

I had to attend a small "inservice" with two of my coworkers this week.  It was about state reporting and correcting data.  Working in a school office it is virtually impossible to complete a task without being interrupted.  It's also impossible to do a job correctly without the right information but I won't go down that "rat hole" as HWNSNBP likes to put it.

I found this little blurb in an old Reader's Digest and snipped it out and copied it.  Before I mounted it on the scrapbook paper, I took my daubers and smushed some ink on the copied quote, ran that through my little Xyron sticker maker and stuck it on.  The little frames were from the $1.50 bin at Mike's and I had picked up a couple of them to keep handy for a "someday" project. 

I'm glad I found something to do with them and the ladies got a kick out of them.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dear Anonymous

I apologize in advance if you are a true follower who does not want, or does not know how to post a comment with your name, be it screen or real, attached.  Just please know that I will not be publishing your comments.  This is largely in part because the anonymous comments that I've been getting come with links to strange websites.  

I also will not be publishing any comments that come in foreign languages, that being other than English, as I do not speak any other languages fluently and even with the Google translate feature, I am sure that there would be a great chance of misinterpretation both by me and my other named readers.  Again, especially if accompanied by links to websites.  

If, however, you are a real anonymous follower and not a computer, and wish to comment, please contact me via my e-mail, which you can find on my profile page.  I will be happy to post your comment.  

I like comments.  I really do.  I've just been getting so many anonymous comments that are spam lately and they're making me a little cranky.

What made me smile yesterday was how the light was dappling through the trees as I turned in the driveway illuminating these daffodils with their orange coronas.  These have to be among the late blooming varieties because most of the others have dried flower heads already.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

April Tangles

Above is my first completed Zendala.  I was gifted some round Zendala tiles for Christmas and had started this tile a while back.  I finally made a point of sitting and finishing it.  The string was pre-drawn on the tile which accounts for the somewhat preciseness of the segments.  The tangles were my choice.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dogwood and Pu**ywillows

I saw this card by Kecia Waters on Pinterest and fell in love with the Pu**ywillow stamp immediately.  It is by Repeat Impressions.  (If you're wondering why I added asterisks to the word, it is just to avoid being spammed.  I'm already getting too many anonymous comments on a daily basis that are bogus, I just don't want to stir up any more.)  I tried the out-of-the-box die cutting like she did on her card with no success, so I did it my way.  

I remembered that I had a single Pu**ywillow stamp from Picture Show and used that on the card base.  Both of the stamps were stamped in Basic Gray ink and then colored with my Prismacolor pencils. Don't you love the way they pop on the Crumb Cake paper!  I didn't use any blending agent, just the pencils themselves.  

The card was looking a little in need of something and I just happened to have my dogwood blossoms sitting there on the table.  I think the addition of the dogwood makes it look very Springy.  

I was able to order the liquid paper to add the dimensional "dots" to the stamens - makes it a bit more realistic, don't you think?  Ha, I've got cats and dogs on the same card!  

I splurged a bit and ordered some more of the flower dies that I hope to be playing around with some this weekend.  Forsythia and mini lilies.  

And let me share the Zentangle from Monday which just happens to be called Dugwud - a play on....... you guessed it.  Right?  Not a great picture, but if you click on it, you will see the pattern a little clearer.

With a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh - "After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood."  

The pink dogwood outside the office window is in full bloom and I have to remember to get some close-ups of those blossoms so I can try to make some of those too.

I've finished up April's tangles in my calendar book but I'll save that for another day.