29 March 2016

Recent Paper Crafting Projects

  Since coming home from Texas, I've been working on several class-related projects -- so many that I was almost late sending a box of Easter treats to Bailey! I sure miss the days when she was home and could enjoy an Easter basket and a small Easter egg hunt. For the last few years, I've had to embrace mailing her an "Easter box" -- the next best thing!

In this year's box, I included plenty of treats plus a jar with chocolate eggs and a little spring tag. I also sent along some Temptations for Rory and a separate tag so that the jar can later be filled with kitty treats. (Although in retrospect, that would be a LOT of treats!)

After die cutting the tags, I completed them with odds and ends I had in my stash. Fun and easy!

Over the weekend, I also made a banner for my case at the antique mall to go along with my recent efforts to spruce it up a bit. (More on that in another post!)

I purchased the chipboard banner pieces separately at Memory Bound. We carry them in packages but it's nice to be able to buy the components individually so you can get the number you need. Based on the width of my case, this is just about the longest word I can spell!

I covered the chipboard pieces with one of my favorite  -- now discontinued! -- cardstock colors, Sea Salt. Then I die cut scalloped ovals for each banner piece to brighten them up a bit.

 I cut the large letters at Memory Bound then embossed them with my Big Shot and adhered them with foam tape for dimension. Then I got out my scraps and punched flowers and butterflies to match the overall color themes I see in my case. Finally, I strung the banner pieces together with thick jute. This project took just a couple of hours!

 I'm planning to make a banner for each season to help pull my display together. It definitely brightens up the case a bit and hopefully will help draw customers my way!

  LOTS OF CUSTOMERS, please! :)

28 March 2016

Update: State of the Succulents

 It's been awhile since I've done a State of the Succulents update, so I thought I'd bring everyone up to speed on what's going well...and what is not.

First, the violets. Violets are obviously not succulents, but I'm shamelessly including them here to pad my resume. :) Both violets are doing very well, including the purple one at left that started as a small SNIP from one of Bailey's Texas violets!

 During the holiday season, I had a Christmas tree sitting in this particular window so had to move the violets to the kitchen for a few weeks. It's true what they say about violets needing a window on a certain side of the house (this one is sort of a northeast exposure) in order to bloom. The blooms withered and never came back while they were in the kitchen. Shortly after I moved them back to this window, buds formed and now I have these beautiful flowers! I water them about once a week by placing the pot in a small bowl. I feed them whenever I think of it. I'm hoping that Bailey will give me another snip the next time we drive to Texas!

Now for the succulents. First, the good news: 
The Christmas cactus and aloe vera plant are doing very well. The cactus bloomed during the holiday season and again recently. The aloe vera will need to be re-potted one of these days as it's getting a bit top-heavy for that container.

 The rosemary plant #notasucculent #yesiamtryingtodistractyou  is also doing great after spending the winter inside. Don't believe all those naysayers who would tell you that rosemary can't be grown indoors. I'm doing it, and we know I have very little skill in this department! 

 My little container of mixed succulents is also doing well...at least from what I can tell. I haven't seen a lot of growth, but nothing has dried up and fallen over. That's a good sign for succulents...and people, I think.

These two dudes are also doing well. Look at the guy on the left!

He's 12" tall! I had to move him to my craft room because, let's face it, he's a bit weird-looking. Then I felt guilty about ostracizing him, so I also moved his more normal-looking cousin so he'd have company. One of these days I do think he needs to have a trim. Or an amputation of some sort.

The jade plant is still doing well, but like I said in a previous post, it might actually be plastic. :)

Here's a new succulent which has a lovely purple color. It's very low-maintenance...because it's fake!

And so is this one! I'm thinking eventually I might have to get more of these fake succulents. You definitely cannot kill them!

And now for the bad news:

I'm not quite sure what happened here. These two dudes got the same level of care as my other succulents but they recently broke off at the dirt level. Were they too dry? Or too wet? I'm not at all sure. But these pots will soon be ready to fill with new victims. Here's hoping they fare a bit better than their predecessors!

So after a few months with succulents, my feedback is this: They are not foolproof, by any means. People will tell you they require very little care, but that's not exactly true. Too much -- or not enough -- water will kill them. Too much sun (ahem) will also kill them, as will too little. For me, it's been a bit of a guessing game, but the optimistic "gardener" in me will forge ahead and keep trying! :)

25 March 2016

Feline Friday

Gentle blog readers: I've finally whittled down my project list and will be back to blogging more regularly!

Meanwhile, meet "Mysterious Lily" -- or, as a friend's husband calls her, "European Traveler Lily".

AKA Grace Kelly Lily

Hey, sailor! Lily :)

  And last but not least, Bohemian Lily!

Happy Feline Friday!

18 March 2016

Feline Friday: Texas Cat-Sitting

 Gentle blog readers: I apologize for my absence! I've been out of town (as you will see in this post) and have been very busy with projects since returning. Hope to be back to "normal" in a few days!

 I recently visited my daughter in Texas and went along with her senior band students on a super-fun cruise! I'll be posting pictures of our adventure in the coming days.

Before we left on the cruise, I had one full day of cat-sitting with Rory while Bailey was teaching. 
Just Rory and me. 
SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THIS FACE! (Try not to get distracted by the now-too-small pink dress!)

Bailey left for school just as the sun was coming up, so I decided to stay in bed for a bit. We needed to leave for our cruise at 2AM, so I figured a little bit of extra sleep might be in order. That was not to be, of course, because I was laughing hysterically at THIS:

 After Bailey left, Rory COULD NOT FIGURE OUT WHO WAS STILL IN THE BED! She arched her back and peered around the corner at me for quite some time -- even though she had slept on my chest/neck just a few hours before! I could see the little wheels turning in her head. How could someone still be in the bed when her mama had just left?

She finally got tired of sitting!

Eventually she moved to her cat tree, closer to the bed so she could keep an eye on me. That is, until her eyes closed. :)

Of course I could not go back to sleep so I decided to get up and see if Rory still recognized me. She did!

 After breakfast, a tiny bit of trouble happened. Rory LOVES the bathroom and seemed to have a fascination with the cabinet over the toilet. She sits on top of the kitchen cabinets so I figured...what could go wrong? Naturally, I helped her up to the bottom shelf.

 And she quickly made herself at home.

 But that wasn't enough for this little monkey. Nope. She was going higher.
I watched with some amazement as she hooked her paw around that center board and scrambled to the next shelf where a cozy towel awaited.

But that was STILL not high enough. Okay, Rory, I said. I think we are going to get ourselves in trouble with your mama. :)
Oh, yeah. BIG TROUBLE!

After some time investigating the ceiling, suffice it to say that it took several Temptations treats and a step stool to entice Rory to come down. And now (per her mama), I have created a monster who wants to go up there every day. But such a sweet little striped monster! hehehe

 We decided to stay low to the ground for the rest of the day so I got out all of the toys, including the extra pieces for her track. Rory had lost interest in it while it was configured in a circle. Now she loves the longer track, even though it takes up quite a bit of room. After all, this is Rory's apartment and it should be filled with all of her things! :)

 At the end of the day, her mama returned and asked Rory about all the things we did while she was gone.

As we had agreed, Rory didn't say a word! :)

11 March 2016

Feline Friday: Bird Watch with Tinsel

I've recently spotted a few robins wintering over in Iowa. In years past, it was really unusual to see a robin in the winter around here but from what I've read, warming patterns have changed enough to make some robins stay in these parts during the winter months rather than fly south.

This little guy was digging in the mulch for bugs that might be hiding there next to the warm house. He (or she) must have been successful because he was quite plump!

Little did the robin know that someone (Tinsel) was lurking just behind the windowpane!

06 March 2016

Florida Album: Slowest Progress Ever!

One thing that absolutely makes me crazy is having unfinished projects lying around. And I've got a few of them, notably the boxes of sentimental items that line the walls of our basement. But my unfinished scrapbooks represent some of my biggest frustrations.

We took a trip to Florida in 2010 right after our daughter graduated from high school. I started the album a year later. She has now been out of COLLEGE for nearly a year and the album STILL isn't done! Good grief!

I got off to a good start with this album. I bought pocket pages and came up with a simple design scheme, as well as a way to organize the photos into sections.

Obviously life got in the way for quite awhile and I didn't feel much like scrapbooking for some time. But nowadays the problem is that I don't take time for my own personal projects. I spend most of my creative energy doing store projects and classes (which I absolutely LOVE) but I don't routinely make time for my personal crafting goals.

 I am my own worst enemy in this regard. I've always been a "work first, play only when all your work is done" person and since I never finish all the work on my list, I never get to the "play" part.

  The solution to this problem is simple: I need to ease up on that crazy rule and just build in some time for these projects. Time is ticking away and I'll never finish them if I never make time to work on them.

 I would feel so much better having this one vacation album done. When this album is finished, I have several heritage albums and a Paris album to make, and of course I want to finish our family scrapbooks.

I've been thinking about these unfinished projects a lot lately so over the past few days, I worked really hard to finish the most pressing tasks on my list so that I could allow myself a few hours to work on this album. And I made quite a bit of progress!

  When I do make time for scrapbooking I'm actually pretty speedy, so I don't think it will take a super long time to finish this album.

 In just a few hours, I finished the Disney section of the album, leaving "only" Universal and Harry Potter to go.

If it's not too late for a New Year's Resolution, I'm resolving right now to finish this Florida trip album. I'm leaving it out on my table until it gets done! 

And after it is done, I will start and finish another one. Hold me accountable, OK?