Monday, September 30, 2013

Bag of Sunshine with an Optical Illusion

One of our good friends has recently been fighting off a serious infection and we wanted send him a little sunshine to keep his spirits up.  So I set out to find yellow things to wrap in yellow tissue and put in a yellow bag  with a yellow sunshine stamped card attached.

Some yellow eating utensils (service for four) wrapped in yellow napkins.  Yellow highlighters.  A couple of toys in yellow.  And not pictured were a yellow bag of peanut m&m's, Mr. Goodbars, and Chiclets and Lemonheads in yellow boxes.  

It was fun searching for yellow items and I keep adding to the collection to use if needed in the future.  And let me just say that this was not an original idea of mine.  If you search Pinterest for Bag of Sunshine, you will see several variations and uses for this collection.  

Speaking of sunshine, the sun caused this optical illusion below.  You see the island in the distance appears to be floating.  

The sun was hitting the water in such intenseness and at just the right angle to cause this phenomenon.  We had actually seen it once before but I did not have a camera with me at that time.  This time I did and HWNSNBP pulled over so I could snap a few pictures.  I wasn't sure whether they would come out our not and was pleasantly surprised that they did.  

I just wish I had paid more attention to straightening the horizon.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Zentangles - July and August and a Little More

So now that September is almost over, sigh, I am finally getting around to posting the tangles from July and August.  Truthfully they were done at the end of August, I've just been so busy with school starting, trying to find time to photograph them and then to edit and post.  

But with two weeks behind me at school, I am slowly getting back into a somewhat normal routine.

Typically the beginning of the school year is busy for me, and I can't say that this year has been any different in that respect.  But our staff is really feeling the stress of new protocols and changes in curriculum and the whole evaluation process.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I empathize with them and have tried to listen and help as much as possible.   But there's a general sense of being overwhelmed and it's not good.  

I told someone recently that you can't rearrange all the furniture in a blind man's house all at once.  You need to go about it little by little so he can acclimate and master his way around.  And that should be true of changes in education.  Educators need time to acclimate so they can master their skills or they'll be overwhelmed and either we'll start losing people to other jobs or retirement, or someone's going to have a meltdown and hurt themselves or worse, others.  

It's just a mess.  

And forgive me for this tirade, but don't people read directions any more?  I've been updating our student information and just cannot believe how people cannot follow simple directions.

We ask our parents to log in to our database and update their "demographics", which means changing contact information like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contacts.

Then it's my job to go into the database, identify those that have made changes using a system search and then I have to go through each student on that list and "approve" the changes.

Three-quarters of the students in our school had changes to their demographics.  And I would say that about 1/3 of those people could not follow directions even though they are repeated throughout the page.

The system only recognizes phone numbers in the 000-000-0000 format and at the top of the page they're asked to use that format.  But that's not the only place they see it.  Beside each box that would get a phone number, this 000-000-0000 is next to it as a reminder.

If a hyphen is missing, (000 000 0000) the system won't recognize the number.  If there are brackets around the area code (000)000-0000 the system won't recognize it.  If there are no hyphens and no spaces (0000000000) the system won't recognize it.  Or if there are dots instead of hyphens (000.000.0000) again, the system won't recognize it.  So I have to change every darn phone number that is not done in the correct format.  

I mean, really - is it that hard to figure out????  

Phew, that felt better.  Sort of.  

Okay, enough ranting.  I think I need to do more tangles to relax.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tea and the Search for Butterflies

HWNSNBP usually agrees to have "tea" with me during our vacation and this time was no exception.  We were going down to Cape May for the day so I called a place called "The Butterfly Tea Room" and was able to make reservations for us.

Each of the tables was set with plates, cups and saucers.   The tablecloths all had a butterfly theme and there were tiered white servers on each table along with a little vase of fresh flowers. 

After looking at the tea choices you were encouraged to go to either one of two cabinets and pick out a teapot.  The choice was not easy.  And I noticed that I actually had two of the same teapots that were in this particular cupboard.  

So I picked out a pot and had some delicious herbal Berry, Berry tea.  HWNSNBP usually just has a glass of iced tea as he did that day.

We each had a bowl of soup - his chicken noodle and mine chilled peach and then were served scones complete with lemon curd and Devonshire cream.  Then our savories and sweets came - two of everything on the server.  We took most of the sweets home for later.  Thank goodness we had remembered to pack a small cooler in the car.

It was quite warm that afternoon so we spend relatively little time shopping in the outdoor mall and then headed back home with a stop along the way at the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse.  

This was the view of the beach from the little walkway accessible through the beautiful garden that they have in the back of the lighthouse. 

When we have been there in the past it has been in October and there is virtually no one on the beach.  I failed to focus on the beach in the picture above but I liked the way the background was blurred in it.  Below you can see the colorful umbrellas much clearer.  The scene itself reminded me of a postcard you might pick up at the board walk or local gift shop.

We have also seen loads of butterflies when we've been there in October.  Not so much on this day.  There were a few, but this was the only one that sat still long enough to get snapped.

The flowers are always so pretty there, front and back of the lighthouse.  

One can tell it was nearing the end of the summer.  See the beautiful rosehip below as a harbinger of autumn quickly approaching.  

My intention was to throw in a card with butterflies on it, I just didn't think it would take me a month to get one done.  Since today is my mother's birthday and she loves butterflies I finally have the card to show...........

Next to the Butterfly Tea Room is The Bird Store that carries all kinds of bird- and nature-related paraphernalia.  Last time we were there I bought myself a butterfly that you attach to a plant (or wherever you like) hide the cord and plug it in.  The butterfly pulsates very slowly just like a real one would do.  This time I picked one up for my mother.  Hope she likes hers as much as I like mine.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunrise/Sunset and More White Birds

The last sunset of August in the company of lifelong friends.  I want to savor every one of them.  The sunsets and the time with friends.  

The card below is CASed from Julie Gearinger.  Please click on this link to see her explicitly wonderful directions that made it possible for me to put it together.  

We've seen so many beautiful sunsets this summer I had to try this.  I am going to try another color palette soon too.  

The finished project - uses Wetlands stamp set and the star fish is from another set.  The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes.  There were two punches used on this card - care to venture a guess?

I needed two anniversary cards and figured as long as I was doing one, I might as well do two.  Well, actually I did three and I'm saving one for another occasion.   Hard to tell if this scene is a sunrise or a sunset.  

A quick bike ride the next day to see if the birds were close to the street met with success.  I had to slow down and sneak up on them because they were so close.  There was a man walking his dog coming up behind me and I hoped that they wouldn't scare them away.  

I know, I get carried away with taking pictures of these birds.  I just can't help myself.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I'm sorry I didn't get to post this yesterday.  I was waiting for permission to use what follows because it moved me.  

Things are quite busy at the beginning of the school year and I always find myself trying to dig out from under piles of forms that the students are supposed to return to us the first day.  These forms continue to straggle in on a daily basis for at least a week. There's a medical update form for the health office, a media release form that gives or denies permission to publish pictures (without names) of students taken during school functions, and a form that the parents sign acknowledging they have logged into our database and have updated their emergency contact information.  

Emergency contact information - made so much more necessary to have since the world changed 12 years ago.

As I sat at my desk yesterday morning I did pause to listen to the announcements that regularly take place behind me and was glad that there were no interruptions that kept me from doing that. Our guidance counselor, who normally runs the morning opening, had prepared a few words to note the importance of the day.  You see our school houses fourth and fifth grades and these children had not been born yet 12 years ago.  To them, 9/11 is what you call in an emergency. They do not equate that series of numbers with what most of us think of, yet all our lives were changed because of it.  

Here is what our counselor wrote:

Boys and girls, you may be noticing that many teachers are dressed in red, white and blue today.  That’s because today is Patriots Day, a day to remember that 12 years ago, in 2001, on this date, Sept. 11, our country suffered a great tragedy. The World Trade Center  in NYC, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, were attacked by terrorists and many, many people lost their lives. 

You might wonder why we have anniversaries that remind ourselves of sad times.  One reason is to honor the memory of those who died so they will never be forgotten.  Another reason we want to remember is to learn from the past, so we can hopefully find ways to prevent such sad things from happening even again.  We learn lessons from history.  From the events of Sept. 11, we hope people learn to talk through their differences instead of using violence.  This is as true of problems between children as it is between adults and countries.

On these kinds of anniversaries people sometimes make speeches or have a moment of silence to honor the memory of loved ones.  Since the people who attacked America were filled with hatred, maybe the best thing we could do right now is to listen to a poem about peace.  (D. Hercky)

Ring Around the World                                                      
by Annette Wynne

Ring around the world
Taking hands together
All across the temperate
And the torrid weather.
Past the royal palm trees
By the ocean sand
Make a ring around the world
Taking each other’s hand;
In the valleys, on the hill,
Over the prairie spaces,
There’s a ring around the world
Made of children’s friendly faces. 

Peace and God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Make No Mistake........

Secret Project for the first day back for the staff.  

Ingredients: colorful pencil cap erasers (with smiley faces drawn on), pencils (preferrably sharpened), tab punch, bird punch, and 1/2" hole punch. red ink and sponge, ivory and green cardstock, Tombow glue.

Print out - "Make No Mistake - We're Glad You're Back! Have a Great Year!" onto ivory cardstock.  Use tab punch to punch out what hopefully passes for an apple core.  Take sponge and daub red ink on top and bottom of punched core using another punched scrap as a mask.  Punch 1/2" circles in top and bottom.  Leaves are the wing from the build a bird punch, gently scored and glued slightly askew from the top hole.

Put eraser caps on pencils - face pencil branding to the back.  (Don't they look so happy!)

Slip apple punch onto pencil.  

Fill bottoms of 4-pk. drink carrier with cupcake liners and fill with pencils to carry to school.

Place one pencil in each staff member's mailbox.

I found the eraser caps at the Dollar Tree while on vacation.  They fit into my color coding scheme for the mailboxes.  Pink for 4th grade, green for 5th, blue for SPED, yellow for special subjects, and orange for support staff.  

I saw some smiles today - made it worth the effort.