Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Just a little bit of teasing of what's to come.   Soon.

Is this robin a harbinger of spring?  Or is he just begging for the feeders to be filled? (taken through the window at school)

Will we be looking at the flowers outside the window soon?

With more predictions of the "white stuff" coming again a few times over the next 7 days, I think we'll be waiting several more weeks to be seeing those flowers outside and we'd better keep the feeders full as the birds will surely be needing some human help staying well fed.

I had to stop and take a picture of the sunset (with my cell) as I was leaving my doctor's parking lot this evening.  The sun setting behind that building on the Duke Estate almost made it appear to be on fire.   I assure you it wasn't flaming but the sun was.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What is It?............ and a Card Share

HWNSNBP made this for me.  Can you guess what it is?  It's not a bow maker or book end.  It does have a specific purpose but someone might think of another one.  It's relatively inexpensive to make (if, of course you don't need to have a new tool like, let's say a drill press in order to "do it the right way").  But then again, it was a Christmas present - let's just hope this isn't the only thing it gets used for.  At this point I don't need multiples of it, but one can never tell what the future will hold.

So while you're pondering the possibilities, let me share this sympathy card I made for a coworker who lost her dad.  I did some shopping on my work table and found the embossed frame from Papaya Collage.  I used Soft Suede as my card base and stamped the leaf image several times in an area the size of the frame opening I blocked off with post-it notes.  Then I popped up the frame and added the sentiment from Thanks for Caring.  The inside held one of the other sentiments from the same set.  

I've been searching for a few things this week and as I am going through my "stuff" I am trying to make a dent in what has accumulated.  Some of it will be trash but I hope to make more of it into treasure and find a good purpose for it.  

Well, did you guess or did you scroll down first to see?  Ta-da!  It's a washi tape holder.  I had shown HWNSNBP a picture of one that I found on the internet and gave him one of those "you could make something like this, right?" prompts and.................several months later.................here it is.

He's working on another prompted project - a wooden doormat in two shades of blue - and it's almost finished.  I'll share it soon, I hope.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jingle Belles - Rudolph the *RED* Nosed Reindeer

You won't find any noses on my *RED* card, but you will find a few some old, some new, and some recycled *RED* items.  

My poinsettia was created by stamping the flower image from SU's Joyful Christmas onto the red Hallmark envelope my husband's card to me came in at Christmas.  Okay, I admit it.  I save envelopes.  I'm an envelope saver.  Mainly a colored envelope saver, though I'm not prejudiced and if it's white or off-white and is not written on or sealed, that might even go into my stash.  Envelopes usually have a nice weight to them for making embellishments.  I knew I needed a paper that was lighter weight than my solid cardstock to make the stamped flower 3-D.  This red one was fairly large and had a bit of a sheen of it's own, but before I stamped it in Encore Gold Ink, I first sprayed it with some Tattered Angels Gold Glimmer Mist (something in my stash that I have had for many years and not used).  I actually stamped the image 4 times so I could get layers for all the petals that overlapped. The center of the flower got it's dimension from a Viva Decor Gold Pearl Pen (again, something not used before but in my stash). After I did the flower I had to walk away and let it sit over night so the center would dry.  

The card base is from some American Crafts Red Foil cardstock that I had picked up a few years ago at a Tuesday Morning store.  I think I got the whole pkg. of 25 sheets for a little more than the price of one single sheet of metallic cs currently at Mike's.  I overlayed a strip of SEI Blaze Velvet paper on the bottom and found some Celebrate It gold mesh holiday ribbon to complete it.  

That flower is looking a tad bit orange in the photo below, but trust me, it's very definitely *RED*. Hope you can see a little of the Glimmer Mist on the petals.  There are some colors that just do not photograph well for me.  

I'm actually quite pleased with the way this came out and might have to search more in my stash for another *RED* envelope.  

Please check out the Jingle Belles blog to see the lovely cards that our hostesses made and all the entries for this week's prompt HERE.

Happy February Birthday

Today is my son's birthday.   As I was reading about a friend recovering from surgery yesterday, I was thinking about all the surgeries that my son had to go through early in his life and how brave he was.  If I could have spared him any of that pain, surely I would have but I'm very proud of how he has put all that behind and has grown to be a strong and caring man.  Happy Birthday Chris!

The card that I made for him had lots of texture on it. I splurged a little at Mike's and bought some cork and faux leather papers which I thought might come in handy for masculine cards and I think that it worked.  It didn't photograph very well but the base of the card is black.

Another project that I recently completed was this Winterberry shadow box.  It's all paper.  I found the cut file and was intending to have it made for HWNSNBP for Valentine's Day but the snow storm last Thursday put the kabosh on that - I needed 12 x 12 paper for this so I didn't actually cut it until Valentine's Day and finished putting it together over the weekend.  I really like how both of these projects came out.  I think I might be duplicating them both soon.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hiding in the Woods on a Snowy Day

With the threat of yet more snow we headed out Saturday morning to check on HWNSNBP's mother.  I took my camera with me foolishly thinking I might get some pictures of the cows in the snow on our way there.  What was I thinking?  Why would the cows be out in the snow?  I had seen the deer in our yard navigating uncomfortably through the knee-high snow here and certainly cows would be ever so more encumbered by it.  Come to think of it, it would probably be downright painful for them with their udders dragging through the crusty snow.  Ouch.  

On our way back it had started snowing and though not heavy, it gave everything a hazy appearance so I thought for sure there would be no opportunity for any pictures of anything.  

Then as we neared our road I looked out into the wooded area alongside the brook and saw it.  "Go back, go back."  I said to HWNSNBP.   He questioned what I saw and I told him there was a big bird in the woods so he turned around and told me to make sure it was still there as we road past in the opposite direction to make the approach again.  It was still there.   Like an old man in a gray coat it stood there, it's back towards the tree and out of the prevailing wind.  

The brook was maybe 20 yards from this spot and our car was at least twice that distance to the road, but there he stood on one leg thinking that he was camouflaged against that tree.  As we pulled away and rounded the corner going uphill along the brook and looking down on that area, you could not find him.  Yet, against the white snow his silhouette was a shape out of place.  And I think of him standing there in solitude probably thinking, as we all are lately, "when will this snow stop?". 

Friday, February 14, 2014

One More Post Today

I promised pictures of the "slept-in-bed snow".  Above it is the backdrop to the wrought-iron trellis.  Below it captures the windsock and makes it tubular.  

One of the visitors to the yard this morning - a white throated sparrow.

And this was special - one of those word verifications which is supposed to be totally random but look at it today!

Happy Valentine's Day

The sun is out, the snow/ice/rain has stopped, the birds are gathering at the feeders - Happy Valentine's Day!  The snow in the backyard actually looks like a puffy quilt.  I'll have to try to take some pictures when I leave for work.  Work - yes, work today is actually an in-service program for the staff.  The secretaries are having a short one also and hopefully it will be productive and short.  It's one of those days that we can actually go out to lunch and that will be fun.

This is the card I made for HWNSNBP.  I found this LOVE flourish and cut it with my Cameo.  The stamp on the inside is an SU stamp called Flowerfull - I absolutely love hearts that are filled with designs.  I used markers to ink it up and with the aid of a stamp-a-ma-jig was able to line it up in the die-cut heart window.  

This past weekend was Marshmallow Day for me.  I made a batch each of cinnamon and vanilla and then portioned them out into these cello bags.  

I found a cute box pattern that was just the perfect size and cut a bunch of them out of all shades of red cardstock.  

The heart tag was stamped with an SU hostess set stamp and die cut with a scallop heart.  I actually glued a 3/4" circle of the same bag color onto the back of the tag so I could punch a hole and thread the ribbon through without encroaching on the design.   I sent these little gifties to the secretarial staff on Wednesday because of the impending storm and the possibility of not having school again today.

Lastly is a quick card I put together for my cousin in Maryland using some die cut hearts I had on my work table - she got some marshmallows also and I hope she gets them by today!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cards and Cabin Fever

Well this couple might have had a real long case of cabin fever.  But not really.  This card was made for a blogging friend who loves Halloween and has a full size skeleton (or maybe 2) that she likes to pose.  It was her birthday recently and I couldn't resist using these stamps to send her some birthday wishes.

I experimented with the background a little.  I first dry embossed it with a chevron folder and then took my brayer and some white craft ink to the raised areas.  While the ink was still wet I sprinkled some white embossing powder randomly and then heat embossed it.  The fabric flower in the corner kind of pulled all the colors together.

The card below was made for HWNSNBP to send to a co-worker as a get well wish.  Sorry to say it is not really what I had in mind when I started working on it.  The background flowers were embossed with white EP and the other flower and leaves where layered onto it.  It's a bit summery for this time of year, but after all this snow and ice I think we could use a bit of summer somehow.

Speaking of snow and ice - we had both today and are expecting more overnight.  During a lull, when it had changed to rain, HWNSNBP and I took a little drive.  The raindrops on the windshield and the wet pavement really illuminated the traffic lights.  (Pictures taken with my cell phone in the car.)

I think they're kind of pretty in an abstract way.  Why is there no yellow light picture?  Because we live in NJ and no one stops for yellow lights here!   That's one of those urban myths you read about New Jerseyans.  Trouble is most of the time it's true.  Tonight though, we just didn't hit the light at the right time and there were cars behind us so we couldn't sit and wait for it to change.  

Yikes, I tried to get this post done before midnight.  Oh well, I'll have my Valentine's Day post a little later.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jingle Belles - Text Me (and I'll tell you what I got for Christmas)

I got a new toy tool for Christmas - a Silhouette Cameo.  I had been pondering whether to get one for over a year and finally this past November when the Black Friday deals were coming out I told HWNSNBP  that he could get me the Cameo and if he didn't think he wanted to spend that much money to let me know and I was going to buy one for myself.  Well, he is very good to me and he did order it but I was not allowed to open it until Christmas which was fine with me because I would not have had the time to learn enough about it before the holidays anyway.  So, where am I going with this?  Oh yeah, I started experimenting a little a couple of weeks ago and then when the Jingle Belles challenge of "Text Me" came out I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to put my new toy tool to use.

You can get lost in the Silhouette on-line store looking at all the possibilities, but finally I settled on a couple and the Jingle Belles tree above was what I went with for this challenge - to use text as our main focal point on our card(s).  I put my apprentice skills to work maneuvering the image and then pressed the right buttons and the lovely toy tool did all the cutting for me!  

This is actually only part of the tree - the file has the complete verse of the song but I wanted to be able to read the words easily and luckily, the designer ended the midline in a good place to cut the tree in half without making jibberish out of it.  

I wanted to illuminate the tree so I took some daubers and did my "bokeh" thing with them in bright colors and then added the word JINGLE throughout the background.  Yes, I realize that these are pretty out-of-the-ordinary colors for a Christmas card, but if you could see it IRL......, well it's pretty enough that I think it might even become an decorative art piece and not be used as a card.  We shall see.

So what else can I do with this new toy tool?  Well, I found a pattern for a paper bird that I liked and I could have just printed it out onto white cardstock and sat there with my scissors to cut it out, but I decided to teach myself how to adapt the file so that I could have the Cameo cut it out for me.  

It took a little bit of trial and tribulation on one of our recent "snow days" but I did it!

And I think I just might have to "tangle" one of these birds soon.

Stayed tuned for more projects using my new toy tool. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Days are for (Watching) the Birds

We've had two snow days this week (Monday and Wednesday) with a combination of a very heavy 8" of snow on Monday and then 3 more inches of snow last night topped with 1/4" or more of ice.  

I don't mind snow days.  I have enough to keep me occupied and busy at home.  And, the fact that extending the school year doesn't really affect me because I have to be there during the summer anyway makes it okay.   Since we've had 5 snow days already and only have 3 built into the school calendar, we will be waiting to see where they're going to put these last two days.  And we are only in the first week of February - there's a lot more of winter to come.  

So I watched the feeders and there were some old and some new visitors.  Up at the top was our neighborhood red-bellied woodpecker. 

Then, there was an unfamiliar bird that I had to look up.  I believe this is a juvenile starling.  The light coloration was confusing to me as I usually see starlings that are mostly iridescent black.  

This hairy woodpecker we don't see around much.  He's a little larger than the downies that usually hang around.  They were there too, but kept their distance when this guy was around.

We had our share of blue jays too.  Not pictured were loads of juncos, some titmice, and goldfinches.
They were all very active around the feeders but it was snowing pretty steadily and my camera was going nuts trying to focus on the falling snowflakes instead of the feeders further off in the distance.

Today, after it stopped sleeting, HWNSNBP cleared off the wall again and threw out some seed and raspberries and look who showed up - a female cardinal.  I think the male was there too, but they are very skittish when they see the slightest movement even through the window.  There haven't been many cardinals around this winter and no purple finches either.  I was glad to see this pair show up.

And one last picture I took Tuesday on the way to work (we had a delayed opening that day because of all the snow on Monday that had not yet been plowed).

The trees were so pretty draped in snow but we actually lost a lot of branches on our white pines in the front yard and I've been very nervous about the power lines with all the ice on top of the snow now.  As I sit here posting this I can hear the ice falling off the trees onto the roof.  

 HWNSNBP did way too much shoveling today - the slush was too much for the snowblower and our driveway is 3-4 times the length of an average driveway, and he makes me worry.   Unfortunately they're predicting another storm Sunday into Monday so we'll have to see how that goes.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2nd - Ground Hog Day

You know if you google groundhog recipes there are quite a few out there!

The stinker saw his shadow and therefore has predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  Should I then be surprised that tomorrow we will be in the path of another 5-7 inches of snow and an icy mess on Wednesday?  I can tolerate the snow more than the ice.  Ice is just too treacherous all around.  

I painted this groundhog back in 1993.  Hard to believe that was over 20 years ago and he's still hanging around.  Well, I guess if you only come out once a year you can stay pretty well preserved. 
See, this guy is perpetually predicting an early spring because his shadow is behind him.  Maybe we should just ignore Phil and go by Mr. Blue Jeans from now on.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturday Surprise

HWNSNBP has a cold and when he gets up in the morning he's had a nasty cough.  I was just about to chastise him this morning for waking me up early with that coughing on a day when I could sleep in when this lovely sight caught my eye.  

I can probably count on my hand the number of times that we've seen the bluebirds this close to the house.  Fortunately my camera was on the island in the kitchen and easily gotten to without too much movement to scare them away.   Keep in mind that the pictures are taken through the window which has seen a lot of weather since they were last washed.  

Look at this fellow all puffed up to stay  warm.

This female wasn't as adventurous on the suet feeder and just looked on.

Not sure if this is a female or juvenile. 

I think there were at least six of them or more flying back and forth from the seed feeders to the suet feeder.  Then they headed up to the garden to check out the nest box.  

What a lovely way to start the day.