Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Garden Fairy

Today I have little garden fairy bringing "Sprinkles of happy thoughts!" for a happy birthday.  I have a fondness for images and stories about garden fairies. They remind me of Tinkerbelle from Peter Pan.  I imagine them to be sweet and lovely, if not a bit mischievious.  This stamp is one of two garden fairy stamps that I have from STAMPS HAPPEN.   This one is titled "Lavender Flower Fairy".  I've been checking my own lavender in my garden daily and I see that I'm going to have a wonderful supply of fresh lavender before too much longer. 

For this card I had to get out my prismacolor pencils.  People often ask so I will say upfront that NO I don't use Gamsol or odorless mineral spirits to blend.  I just lay on layers of color.  This was a lot of fun to color.  Lots of detail and I think pencils give a more dreamy appearance.  I also stamped on craft cardstock and I really find the craft stock takes the color of the pencils very well.

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Stamps Happen "Lavender Flower Fairy" and the seniment is from Papertrey Ink
Ink:  Memento Tuxedo Black and Stampin' Up!  Elegant Eggplant
Image colored with Prismacolor Pencils
Cardstock: Papertrey Ink craft cardstock
Accessories:  Tonic butterfly border punch, Martha Stewart butterfly punch, Lavender Flower Soft, Stickles glitter glue in diamond and copper, clear dimensional glaze.
In retrospect, I wish I hadn't added the dimensional glaze or the extra flower at the bottom.  Next time I won't, but I do know that I look forward to stamping on craftstock and coloring with my pencils again.  Love the copics but using my Prismacolor pencils was a lot of fun again.

Until next time,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decoration Day

Today we observe Memorial Day. A day set aside to remember and honor those who have died in service to our country. The day was originally observed and called Decoration Day, as people decorated the graves and markers of their loved ones who served our country.  When I was a little girl Decoration Day was a big holiday marked by my parents, siblings and both sets of grandparents standing on the curb in our town and watching troops in uniform, boyscouts honor guards, the local bands and military honor guards marching and playing music.  The parade ended at the cemetary where, to this day on Decoration Day, guest speakers, music and flag adorned tomb stones pay honor to our local heros.  People drapped their front porches in banners and hung flags.  Red, white and blue adorned every store front, home and window.

My father, Ralph Bryant Long
Photo taken on the back porch of his home when he returned from WWII.

The actual first observance of Decoration Day is a bit sketchy, but history tells us that it likely had many separate beginnings; each town and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in General Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

My father's service grave marker

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."   But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

My father's gravestone marked with flags and service markers
 as it is each year on Decoration Day.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
I hope you will take more than just a moment and remember those who have served and who are serving now.  Say THANK YOU to a soldier.  There is always time to throw a burger on the bar-b-que, but don't pass up the chance when you have it to thank those who selflessly serve.

You have me in stitches

What's more fun (for me) to stamp than House Mouse and sewing themes?  Why, a combination of the two, of course!  Over at House Mouse and Friends Monday Challenge blog we are midway through the current challenge #120 "Circles and Polka Dots and All ROUND Fun!".  You have until Saturday, May 26th to create a card using any House Mouse, Happy Hopper or Gruffie stamp and use the "Round" theme in some way for your card and post it on the linky at House Mouse and Friends Monday Challenge blog.  Easy-peasy!  For my card I used a circle and scalloped circle Spellbinders die as well as liquid pearl dots, a round button and round pinheads. 
I wanted to attach a couple of straight pins to my card but I didn't want to pierce the cardstock, nor did I want sharp edges of the pin to poke the card's recipient, so I used a tiny bit of clear gloss accents on the end of the pins.  It not only covered the sharp edges but also adhered the pins to the card.  In real life it isn't very noticeable.  I was a bit concerned it would look 'gloopy-gloppy' but it doesn't.
Over at the Paper Players, this week's challenge # 97 is a sketch layout challenge so I used the Paper Players layout design for this card today and am going to join the fun and post it on the Paper Players challenge blog.

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Stampabilities "Mouse Bounce"; sentiment stamp from Close to My Heart "Simple Stitches"
Ink:   Memento Tuxedo Black, Versamark for the sentiment with white detail embossing powder; image colored with Copic Markers
Designer Paper:  The Thrift Shop Pad "October Afternoon"
Accessories:  Spellbinders circle and scalloped circle dies, machine stitching, Stickles glitter in yellow, red, blue and diamond, Glossy Accents clear dimensional glaze, white liquid pearls, and the pins, ribbon, button and piece of lace all are miscellaneous items from my sewing cabinet.
There is still time, if you haven't had the chance yet, for you to enter a card at House Mouse and Friends Monday challenge blog for some fab prizes.  And if you post a House Mouse card with the theme challenge "Circles and Polka Dots and All ROUND Fun!" on card making galleries please use the keywords HMFMC120.

Until next time...



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Country girl

Several months ago I got few new Rubber Romance stamps and this Country girl is one I've been eager to ink up but for whatever reason hadn't made a card with it yet.  So today I decided it was time!  Wait no longer!  Ink this Country girl stamp and so I did.

I stamped with Versamark and embossed with Antique Gold embossing powder.  The background on the light brown cardstock is a rather old Stampin' Up! background stamp titled "Weathered" and I like the look.

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Rubber Romance and Stampin' Up!
Ink:  Versamark and Tim Holtz Ranger Distress Ink in Vintage Photo
Image watercolored:  Tombow markers
Cardstock:  Stampin' Up! and Fabriano Water color paper
Accessories:  Making Memories brads, Jute for the lasso, Cuttlebug Houndstooth Embossing folder, EK Success Photo Corner punch.
Time for me to head outside and do some weeding in the garden.  Hope you are having a great day!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Darn it !

I have a very quick and fun card this morning.  This is one of Mo Manning's digi stamps titled "Darn it" and I fell in love with the little elf the moment I saw him.  Of course I love it because it is sewing themed and also because he reminds me of fairytale elfs.  I'm thinking "The Elves and the Shoemaker" or perhaps "Rumpelstiltskin".  A completely different topic, but have you been enjoying the resurgence of fairytales on television and in movies?  I'm hooked on "Once Upon a Time" and "Grimm".

But back to today's card.  I hope I'm not too late for this week's CIRCLE theme on Mo Manning's Digital Blog.  So MANY wonderful cards using Mo's fabulous images and all in circles!  Entries for this week's challenge end this evening so I must scamper over and post my card before the deadline arrives.

Card Recipe:
Image:  Mo Manning "Darn it!"     Image colored with Copic Markers
Designer Paper:  Martha Stewart
Accessories: Spellbinders circle and scalloped circle dies, Stampin' Up window slot punch, Carl Craft flower punch, tiny button brads from Michaels, machine stitching, Stickles glitter in Copper and Silver.

Hope wherever you are today you are enjoying a beautiful day.  Until next time...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hunting for treasures

Yesterday was Victoria Day here in Canada. Typically, we celebrate with a cookout and your favorite outdoor activity.  Here in our little village the Annual community fleamarket is held in the local grocery store parking lot.  Hundreds of tables are set up by venders trying to sell their antique, vintage and often junk.  It was a very hot and sunny day and the Mister appeased my desire to poke around other peoples junk because I just knew I'd find TREASURES!  And I did!!


I was tickled pink when I discovered these vintage PIN CUSHION DOLLS or also known as half dolls. Between 1900 and 1920's every proper Victorian woman valued and used their sewing supplies and in true Victorian era style, pincushions were elaborately adorned. These 1/2 dolls were sewn atop the pincushion or even powder puffs. Many of the pincushions looked like beautiful dresses and skirts and that is where the lady stuck her pins and needles. You can see at the base of these the holes through which the dolls were sewn to the cushion base.
Here are closer photos of the dolls.  My favorite is this lady with the yellow brimmed hat.
The lady with the fan appears to be quite warm!  :-)
There were two of these lady reading dolls and I decided to get them both.

Honey Can and Vintage Cookie and Biscuit Cutters
I have a HUGE cookie cutter collection.  Many years ago when my children were small, we used to pick out unusual and fun cookie cutters wherever we visited.  I used to send cookies to school and soccer game treats in very unusual shapes and animals.  WELL...when I saw these very old cookies and biscuit cutters I just had to add them to my collection.  These really brought back memories of my grandmother's wooden knob topped metal cutters that she used.  The bunny and Christmas Tree in the back row are mounted on a piece of metal with the handle on the opposite side.

I also have a collection of very old tins and boxes in my kitchen but all of mine are from the United States.  When I saw the Pure Canadian Honey tin I had to get it to add some Canadiana to my collection.

These marbles were purely an impulse purchase.  They brought back so many memories a playing marbles during recess at school and after school with friends.

These are some of my favorites from the lot. 

I was doing a little GOOGLE search on rules for playing marbles since I couldn't remember all of the details.  I discovered some wonderful history and fun facts about marbles.  Also, common terms and phrases we use today originated from the game of marbles.

These are my treasures I brought home from the Flea Market yesterday.  I was quite pleased with my finds.  As they say, "One man's junk is another man's treasure."

Until next time,


Monday, May 21, 2012

It's your birthday! Have a ball!

It's time for a brand new House Mouse and Friends Monday Challenge Blog challenge.   The new challenge #120 is Circles and Polka Dots and all ROUND Fun! Our fabulous design team member Sue Drees is our hostess for the challenge and, as always, there are great prizes. House-Mouse Designs is giving away a $25 gift card and Pizzazz Aplenty is offering up a $10 Gift Package.

I'm a die hard Chicago Cubs baseball fan so it was a no-brainer for me to choose this adorable Happy Hopper stamp and create my circles and polka dots card in the Chicago Cubs colors: Red and Blue.  I thought this would make a fun birthday card for a baseball fan and so that was my inspiration for my card.

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Stampabilities "Great Catch"
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, image colored with Copic Markers
Designer Paper: Frances Meyer, Inc.
Tools and Embellishment: Machine stitching, Dashes, Dots and Checks ribbon in Red and Blue, Making Memories brads, special baseball brad (maker unknown), Crystal Stickles glitter and clear dimensional glaze.

I wanted to carry the baseball theme inside for the birthday sentiment.  I added more ribbon and the cute baseball brad to a computer generated sentiment.  This is the inside:

Now it's your turn.  We want to see your fabulous House Mouse, Happy Hopper or Gruffie creations with the theme of Circles, Polka Dots and all ROUND Fun.  Be sure to post your card on the House Mouse and Friends Monday challenge blog  linky.  If you post to other online galleries, be sure to use  HMFMC120 as your Keyword so we can find your card easily. 

I'm looking forward to seeing lots and lots of fun cards using any round, dotted and or circular theme.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Worms in the mail

I've received my fair share of junk mail in my mail box but today, I received a box at the post office that was definitely NOT junk mail. My box of LIVE RED WIGGLERS arrived!
Are you are scratching your head now wondering:
(1.) Why is Jennifer excited about receiving a box of live worms, and
(2.) Why would Jennifer order worms in the first place?

See my worms?  If you are really into worms, you can click the photo to see a larger and close up view.

Well, the wait is over!  I'm finally setting up a Vermicompost bin and using these Red Wigglers for their ability to create the best compost material for my plants in the garden. 

VERMICOMPOST and RED WIGGLERS?  What's this all about?  You can read more about red wigglers and vermicomposting HERE

After I placed my order for my red wigglers to arrive, I began to set up my compost bin which would be the red wigglers new home and factory. 
Step 1:  Using a large plastic rubbermaid bin, I drilled holes in the bottom and sides and lid.  Worms don't swim but do live in a moist enviroment so we need the holes to allow for air and also, in case too much moisture accumulates it won't pool in the bottom.  Over the holes in the bottom we layed a piece of mesh/screen just to insure that the wigglers wouldn't escape, though most likely they wouldn't want to leave their comfy new home anyway.

Step 2:  After the screen was in place I shredded up newspaper and placed it in the bin until the bin was about 1/2 to  2/3 full of loose newspaper.  You can also use shredded up toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, cardboard egg cartons, cereal boxes (as long as they are cardboard) and just about any paper product.  Just be sure it isn't plastic coated (like slick magazine pages).

Step 3:  Save your kitchen scraps.  Almost any kitchen organic waste will work such as banana peels, coffee grounds, vegetable get the idea.  Just not anything with meat, fat, cheese or oily food waste.  Now add your kitchen waste to the bin along with a couple of cups soil.  You won't be adding soil each week but in your initial setup you'll mix a bit of soil to get the whole vermicompost environment set up and ready for the wigglers to begin their work.
Step 4:  You'll add about a liter and a half to two liters of water and mix everything up in your compost bin.  It shouldn't be wringing wet!  Just make sure that once you've mixed it all up that it will hold together...sort of like a stiff dough doesn't fall apart.  :-)
Step 5:  Introduction of the worms to the dogs.  Ha ha...I just threw that in to see if you are paying attention.  However, Gabe and Paige and Noah were very interested to see what was in the box I'd received so I let them say a hardy "HOWDY" to their new wiggly friends.
Step 6:  ADD THE RED WIGGLERS to the compost bin.  This is how the worms look when they arrive.
Step 7:  Spread the worms over the top of your prepared contents of the compost bin.  It's moving in day for the red wigglers so they'll take a little while to work their way through the paper and organic feast you've prepared for them.  Soon, they'll be eating and poo-ing out the best compost material your plants will ever enjoy.
VERY SIMPLE, eh?  Every week, after you've save and crushed your eggshells and kitchen waste you'll add it to the bin.  Within a few months I will be harvesting the compost material.

I'll keep you posted on how my vermicomposting is going.  This is the first time I've ever used worms in my compost bin.  It is reported to be the best compost material there is as well as being a great way to make use of your kitchen waste and paper products in recycling.  Gotta love anything that will help to cut down on landfill space.

If you'd like to learn more about vermicomposting, check out this super video from Cathy's Crawly Composters.  Also, Cathy's website is filled with all kinds of fascinating (yes!  it IS fascinating!!) facts and information about worms and composting.

Off to the garden now. Until next time,


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom

Today, on this Mother's Day, I'm going to take a photographic trip down memory lane in honor of my own mother.
My mother was born in 1927.  Here she is around one year old.
Bright blue eyes and brown hair...a trait passed on to her children.
My mother is a true and loyal friend.  This is a photo of mom with her childhood friend Marian.  They went to kindergarten together and remained the closest of friends until Marian's death just a couple of years ago...well into their 80's.

My mother has always been a talented pianist and organist.  She began playing as the church organist when she was a young teenager and continued to do so up into her 70's.
This photo is of my mom and dad when they were engaged to be married.  I love this photo of the two of them.
This photo (above) was mom's official engagement picture.

Get me to the church on time!  Mom and Dad were married June 25, 1949.
Do they get more photogenic than this?

And then the babies started arriving.  1950 my oldest sister arrived.  Mom's first mother's day!
Another baby in 1952, and THEN in 1954 I arrived:  baby #3.
But, mom had a lot more to celebrate on Mother's day as the years pass by because she and dad eventually had a total of 5 children (yes, I'm a middle child of 5)  This is a typical Sunday dinner after church and my grandma and grandpa Long's house. 
Mom and her mom all dressed up: circa 1960's.
Ahhh...nothing like those church photos of the family to bring back memories.
Then in the late 1970's Mom's grandbabies began to arrive.  This photo reminds me of the line in the movie "Steel Magnolias" when Julia Roberts' character dreams of one day being "covered in grandbabies."

Mom and Dad with my three children when they were but wee tadpoles. 
Mom and Dad enjoying retirement.

My mom has always been quite a catch, wouldn't you say?  Here (above) mom is flirting with one of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP: the mounties) while she was visiting us here in Canada.
My Mom's 80th birthday was a huge celebration and brought new chapters to her life.  This year, mom celebrated her 85th birthday and my sisters and I are going to take a weekend "ladies trip" and celebrate it with Mom.