Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sunset Inspiration

Last Thursday we left right after work for the condo.  Friday would be my last Friday off for the summer and I wanted to get the full day in away from home. We weren't there long when the sun began to set. There were clouds so I had a feeling that it would be a good one.  

I took a bunch of pictures, but it was the one above that inspired me.  This is the mess that I had going on the table on Saturday morning. I had my travel art supply bag with me and picked out the Peerless watercolor sheets, an aquapainter, and an ATC-sized canvas.  (The closest AC Moore has become an outlet store so everything in the store is 20-50% off on a daily basis, so I no longer need coupons, and I don't have to wait for things to go on sale if I want to try something like these little canvasses.)

You can see the size of the canvas as compared to a quarter. 

I found that working on canvas with watercolors is a little tricky especially if you're impatient like me and don't wait for the colors to dry.  But I was persistent and finished it.  Back at home I gave it quite a few light coats of a sealer to protect it, but I'm still afraid that that was not enough.  Now that I think of it, I wonder if I should have sprayed the back since it's a porous surface?  Anyone with experience with watercolors be sure to let me know any tips or tricks for sealing please.  

I know that I have a little easel here somewhere that I plan to use on my desk at work to display this. I think I'm going to get that photo printed out too.  

Tomorrow the teachers return to school.  Next Tuesday the students return.  The last few weeks have been extremely busy.  I'm working with a new partner in the office who hasn't worked in a school office before and I know her head is spinning.  I have a few last minute things to do in the morning and I'm praying that there won't be anymore students coming in to register (hoping I don't jinx myself with that sentiment!)  We've also got a new system that we're working with called Genesis.  I'm still feeling my way around with the applications and reports, so it will be a lot of trial and error the next week or so.  

If anyone was wondering, I put aside my daily tangles for the second half of July and all of August. There was just too much other stuff to have to fit into the day, but I will vow to get it going again tomorrow - September 1st.  And who knows, if I get into a good groove I might be able to fill up those previous blank days too!

Good bye August!  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Last Weekend in Pictures and Our Beautiful World - Bridge

HWNSNBP (He Whose Name Shall Not Be Published) gets up before the sunrises to get on his way to LBI to surf fish.  On his way he passes the bay beach around the corner from us and if his timing is good he might catch the sunrise as he did last weekend.  

He also happened to catch all these white birds (egrets) very close to the road opposite the bay beach.

And you can see that many of them took off as he approached.

Since our condo is on what is call "Pirate's Peninsula" you either turn left to go around past that bay beach to get to the main road (Rt. 9), or you turn right to go over a little bridge which takes you into what some consider the "main street" of Barnegat and also to Rt. 9.  The little bridge was closed from October until just before the 4th of July which made the choice a no-brainer.  Not having that way out though was precarious in bad weather.  There were several times that the bay flooded the road during storms and once this winter (when we weren't there) the area was evacuated as they knew that people would be stranded in the snowstorm.  

Sunday we had our annual crabbing trip with our Table 7 group.  We rent a pontoon boat and the 9 of us pile on with our drop lines, fishing poles, and one crab trap.  It was hot as Hades last weekend. The temperature was said to be 100º but the feels like temp was at least 111º on land.  On the water it was a little more bearable (except for the darned flies!!!! - the biting kind!!!!).  

We move around the bay trying to find a good place to drop the lines and eventually we do go under the bridge to explore the waterway that it spans.  

And when you don't have any luck in that area - you head back under the bridge.

Here's HWNSNBP hamming it up with a sea bass that he caught and then threw back. 

The highlight of the trip for me (aside from catching 2 of the 5 fish we caught that day) was the swan encounter.  This swan left it's group that happened to be swimming by us to come and check out the boat probably looking to see what we had to share.  (This is the first time that we have had the swans around, usually it's just the seagulls looking for a handout.)

But we were not going to throw anything to it to encourage it to get any closer so it turned around and swam away and back to the little group.

Even though it was not a very productive day crabbing and fishing, we always have a good time with our friends.  There is laughter, sarcasm, playful complaining, and a lot of "remembering when".

One of our friends' mother is a bit under the weather and was undergoing a health procedure this week so I put together this card for her when we came home from the weekend.  This die can be used as leaves on a tree or like this as a flower head which I think reminds me of the Queen Ann's Lace that I posted last time.

I took a glitter gel pen and defined the petals some more.

Well, I know my bridge is very standard but useful and now I'm on my way over to Our Beautiful World to view some bridges from elsewhere on our planet.  Stop by and give a look if you can.

Edited to add:  I missed the link - ugh!  Go look anyway!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August Birthday and Flowers

Yesterday was my sister's birthday.  I had this piece of watercolor paper that I had experimented with during the Dare to Get Dirty Challenge week that I didn't use (actually there are several pieces like this).  I had taken my ink pads and just swiped them across the watercolor paper and because it is textured it had this kind of cool effect that I thought I could use for water, however, the silver embossed fish did not show up as well on this background as on the one that I had used the Brushos on.  But I thought they were too pretty to toss so I'll have the backing for a couple of cards at the ready.  

I found these die cut pieces in my scrap box and then I stamped the heart piece separately using my SU markers and my MISTI.  I'm still learning to use this new tool, but I already have seen good results with it, especially when stamping on watercolor paper.

I hope the bow didn't get too smushed in the mail!

When I say it's been beastly hot I am not exaggerating.  We've had temperatures in the upper 90's for almost a week straight.  The heat index, or feel's like temps have reached as high as 115º with humidity that takes your breath away.  But before we settled into the condo on Friday, I wanted to get a couple of pictures of the sunflower that volunteered itself in the front which from a distance didn't look as bad as it did close up, and..............

some close-ups of the Queen Ann's lace that has sprouted almost everywhere. 

It is a pretty weed, but it really doesn't belong there and I would do some weeding there myself but not in this heat!

Our planter at the bottom of our stairs has been a challenge this summer also.  This is actually the third and last group of plants that we've put in.  At first I had just had the two thyme and lantana you see in the background along with some striped mini petunias and two more creeping thyme plants between them in the front.  The creeping thyme crept like crazy and choked the petunias so I removed that and added another striped petunia in the center to fill the space.  Well, they didn't like the heat or something, because they stopped flowering (as did the lantana, but I left that in anyway).  So on the last attempt, I picked up the blue salvia and some pink periwinkle and a new yellow mini petunia.  As you can see, the petunia is no longer flowering but the lantana is very happy in the heat.  And this is how it will remain until the cooler fall temps arrive and we can switch it up again. 

Stay cool!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fishing Around

A couple of weeks ago, when the fishing started to get good, HWNSNBP realized that he had misplaced his tackle box.  He searched the closets and the shed at the condo and even the back of the car and truck, but he couldn't find it.  It was then that he realized that he might not have brought it back from the dock when he fished and crabbed on the morning of the 4th of July.  Miraculously, a good samaritan had turned it into the Dock Master's shed and it sat there unclaimed for two weeks.

It doesn't look like much, but there are 30-40 years accumulation of fishing bits and bobbers, hooks, sinkers, line, knives, etc.  Most of it replaceable, but not all.  

He had told me that he was saddest to lose the hatpin that my father had given him some years ago. He never wore it on a hat, but kept it in the tackle box.  My father liked to salt water fish also and we have many happy memories of  all of us, my husband, son and daughter, along with my parents spending vacation time at the Jersey shore and fishing in the evenings.  

I was very relieved, as I know he was even more so, to know that it was not lost forever.  

He's been busy the last couple of weekends getting the fishing poles all updated and we started our yearly fishing contest.  

After being skunked on Friday night last weekend, we had a great turnaround on Saturday night and caught more than 20 fish in just about an hour.  We didn't keep them all though.  We only brought home the ones that he thought he would eat in the next two/three days.  

There was a man and his father at the dock with two small children who were amazed at our "fishing skills".  They hadn't brought any fishing equipment with them to the dock and were lamenting the fact that it would have been nice to have the kids have that experience. After we had decided that we weren't keeping any more, HWNSNBP let the little boy reel in the next fish.  Then he let him cast, and the little boy brought one in on his own.  The father and grandfather were very appreciative and took pictures.  The little sister was over by me when I hooked another one, so I gave her my rod and let her reel that one in.  Again they took pictures of her and the fish.  It was quite a nice feeling to be able to share the experience with them.  

The little girl asked me if she could keep the next one and I tried explaining to her that she had nothing to put it in,  She thought about that and then told me that "they had a blanket in the car".  I told her that she needed to check that out with her dad.  But before she could get his attention I had to throw the fish back in or have it die in my hand.  

Here's the first catch of the summer.  Nice size.

After we got back and he cleaned them and I cooked them up, this ominous shelf cloud threatened us with a storm, but the rain never got to us.

And just to wrap up this fish story and our Fishmas, here are the thank you cards that I made for our guests.  

Basically the same card, but each a little different in it's own way.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Merry Fishmas 2016

We celebrated our second Merry Fishmas at the end of July.  Truth be told, we actually put this tree away decorated.  We cover it with a heavy duty contractors garbage bag and away in the closet it goes.  This year I added those red and white striped fish and the turtle near the top.

We did manage to get out to fish after a brief rain storm.  You can see the sky in the first picture (east over the ocean) was pretty clear.

But facing south and west there was still a dark sky, yet we all sauntered out to the dock.

This is what happens when you cast with the bale locked and the bobber pops off.  You find a friendly fisherman on the dock with a long net and you ask to borrow it so you can rescue the bobber!  Sadly, the bobber was the only thing we caught!

We were so happy that Chris and Michelle came and brought Ryan to meet our Table 7 gang.  The ladies played "Pass the Baby" and he was so good about it.

We had a nice meal from Olive Garden catering home delivery which made it so easy.  I made three batches of cookies for dessert and we had a watermelon too.  Flourless peanut butter cookies, Gluten Free Lemon Crinkle cookies, and my new favorite Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies. What wasn't eaten was sent home with the guests.

Our friends added to our ornaments on the tree.   They're so cute!

And the guests went home with goody bags filled with fishy stuff.  I stamped the bags .......

and cut out some stamped fish to add to the scene.

Since it rained and there was still a threat of storms, the concert at the dock was moved to one of the local school gymnasiums, but we weren't going.  Instead we were able to catch the sunset in back which looked like a little fireworks show.   

Our Beautiful World is looking for outdoor activity pictures so I will be sharing our fishing pictures with them.  

Merry Fishmas!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When the Sun Comes Out

One cloudy morning last week I was preparing my breakfast and looked out the window to see that the sun was coming out, filtering through the clouds and through the trees to illuminate the heart on this tree trunk.  Of all the things to light up!

Then driving to work Monday morning after I just pulled out of the driveway my eyes were drawn skyward to catch another phenomenon which I couldn't get a picture of until I turned off the street a little further on. I scrambled to get a picture as it was fading away.  It had been much larger and much more intense.  Another sun dog!

I don't have a picture of what happened today because it was so brief.  There is a beautiful pink dogwood right outside our office and HWNSNBP has hung a couple of bird feeders and suet feeder in the tree there so we can enjoy the birds.  We had a small rain storm and shortly after it stopped raining I was having a conversation with my office mate whose desk is on the window side of the room.  Suddenly there was a hummingbird at the window.  It hovered there just long enough for me to get her to turn around to see it before it flew off.  We wondered if it was checking out the vase of artificial flowers that she had on her window ledge.  In any case, we looked upon it as a good sign.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jingle Belles, Dare to Get Dirty, and a Beautiful Surprise

The Jingle Belles challenge this go around calls for a trio.  So you see here I have three gingerbread men on a banner of three.  That Happy Holidays die is supposed to be one piece but I cut it apart to balance it out a bit better with this design.  I am also using this card for a couple of Dare to Get Dirty Challenges - DTGD16Cook22 (Sabrina's) and DTGD16StampersandeeA.    And yes, the background paper on this contains pink and so I added a layer of pink cardstock and some little pink cotton thread bows to hold my banner together.  You can't see it, but there's a little bit of cinnamon tucked in to give it more of a holiday flavor.

This next card is one of four that I'm making for some very special friends.  It's also inspired by a couple of Dare to Get Dirty challenges - DTGD16StampingQueenJAR, DTGD16albitas, and DTGD16justwritedesigns.  Again, I can't tell you specifically what the challenges were, but I really like the way this came out.  I spent way too much time playing with Brushos and watercolor paper, and someone is sure to question my blue and green fingers tomorrow at work!

I used the SU stamp set By the Tide and embossed the fish and coral in silver EP.  The Memory Box Oceana Corner die only came in the mail last week and I was so glad to use it right away for this. Those little silver "bubbles" are actually the punch outs from the diecut.  

And speaking of coming in the mail - I received this beautiful card from my blogging friend Sunshine in New Zealand.  I love that diecut and those flowers are so pretty.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's winter down there.  So I hope creating these flowers made her feel just a little bit warmer.  She also sent me that cute little piggy bank.  The flowers on either side of the money hole remind me of wings!  Thank you Sunshine!

Well, the deadline for posting the Dare to Get Dirty cards is tomorrow I think and I'm not sure that I'll get anymore done, but it was fun doing these!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dare to Get Dirty - Splitcoaststampers Fan Club Challenges

Well, I'm going to try to do a few of these again this year.  These are the challenges you can participate in if you belong to the Splitcoaststampers Fan Club.  The only rule is that you cannot tell the exactiments of the challenge, you may only use the code of the particular challenge you are entering your card in.  So, some of this may be gibberish, and you may not be able to tell what the challenge is, but I hope you still have fun looking at what I came up with.

I used a new bird stamp that I was gifted by my blogging friend Sabrina - Unity's Welcome to the Hood.  The colors are a little wacky (Basic Gray, Flirty Flamingo, and Peekaboo Peach) but the card is for a co-worker who wears a lot of these colors. She just had foot surgery (yet again) and I wanted to wish her well.  This is for Lydia's challenge DTGD16UnderstandblueA. Remember, I can't link you to the challenge because you have to be a fan club member to see what's there. 

The next card was created for Dina's challenge DTGD16dini. I used another Unity stamp called Tiny Mountains.  And Lovely Lilac, Lavendar Lace and Almost Amethyst papers and to color my Mountains.  There's a little bit of Bashful Blue in there for the sky too.

There's a story behind the stamp on the next card.  This winter Rachel saw an envelope/piece of trash on the grass in the backyard of her townhouse from her upstairs window, but before she got around to rescuing it, it snowed.  When the snow melted it became visible again and so she went out to fetch it to throw it away.  The name of the recipient had washed away and the package contents were spilling out when she noticed that it was a rubber stamp, and since she could not get it to the rightful owner guess who she gifted it to?  It's Stampingbella's Tiny Towne Sally and Her Snail which I'm using for Susie's challenge DTGD16susieaustralia.  I used Pistachio, Pear Pizzazz, Lovely Lilac, Flirty Flamingo, and Peach cardstock (in addition to the watercolor paper the image is on).  That was die cut with an oval die, the butterflies cut with Memory Box's Dancing Butterfly die. The Leafy Spring Border is also a Memory Box die and the card base was embossed with a butterfly embossing folder. I colored it with my aquapainter and various SU inks.   

The last one - for now - is for Vicki's challenge - DTGD16vdutchr.  It's a one-layer card.  I stamped Unity's Wonderful Gift Stamp (the chipmunk), a sentiment from SU's Painted Petals, and used a stamp from SU's Timeless Textures for the brick wall.  The chipmunk was colored with my aquapainter and a mixture of the same colors that I used on the bricks - Dusty Durango and Delightful Dijon.  

Stay tuned for more.  I'm really having fun in my craft room this week even though I've been so exhausted from work.  Some "monkey wrenches" as my boss puts it, have come up in the last couple of weeks and we're scrambling to get them taken care of as soon as possible for a good start to the school year.  I really can't believe that it's August already!