Saturday, August 22, 2015

Have a seat . . .

Walking is good for me. I used to walk a lot. I am glad I have finally carved the time out of my day to make walking a priority once again. Not only is it good exercise, but it gives me time to think about all kinds of things . . . from solving problems to developing ideas for creating something new in my studio.

When I lived in Ithaca,  I walked mornings at the marina. The same handful of us were there routinely, and one of us wasn't, I noticed. We didn't hang out and chat or go out together for coffee. We walked.  We smiled and nodded as we caught a glimpse of each other from a distance and said a cordial hello when we met one another on the path.  If I skipped a day, the priest who was one of the morning walkers would always say,  "missed you yesterday," as we passed one another on the path.

Where I now live, I have discovered a few new places to walk that give me that same feeling. One of safety in numbers and belonging. ..even if it is is my own little walking club. All my new friends are always there, kind of like before, and patiently waiting for me. In the absence of a lake shore, I now favor walking in the local cemeteries where it is peaceful and quiet. The mature trees and grounds are beautiful and some of the headstones and monuments are lovely. The cemeteries where I walk have very old graves in them and on the soldiers' graves, there are metal stakes that hold small American flags that are placed there on Memorial Day every year. Those who were in the Civil War, have a star and the letters GAR, which stands for Grand Army of the Republic. Many of the Civil War dead are buried in a section of Forest Hills Cemetery, in Attica, on the far western side where the setting sun shines on their small headstones every evening.

View of small Civil War headstones on the western side of Forest Hills Cemetery, Attica, New York

Scattered throughout Forest Hills, are granite headstones that are benches. I am grateful to have them there to rest. I told my husband that I have decided I would like our headstone to be a bench, too. I like the idea of a bench and a place for people to sit and rest a while. It may seem odd to some people that I enjoy spending so much time in cemeteries, but I just do.

When I was a little girl, I spent many hours with my parents visiting the family plots in several different cemeteries and watering the large crocks of red geraniums they potted every year and placed on their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles graves. Later on, I tried to make yearly visits to family plots, pulling grass, brushing lichens off the engraved names and dates. Sometimes I would preserve an image from an interesting head stone by making a rubbing with charcoal on paper that I bought at the art supply store just for that purpose. I had thoughts of one day transferring the image to a white-on-white quilt with, perhaps, a softly arching willow tree pattern. Many of the monuments are ornate, as is the one shown here.

Lovely ornate monument in Macphpelah Cemetery, Le Roy, New York

There are many beautiful cemeteries in Western New York, as well as some small rustic pioneer cemeteries that are scattered all throughout the area. When I visit them, I think about the lives and times of those who are laid to rest and I like to imagine what their lives were like and what the area was like when they were on the earth.

The names on some of the old stones are those we almost never see anymore. Augustus, Philomena, Patience. One of my favorites is Thankful Walker. I always smile when I pass by and read her name on her headstone.

There are no photos from my studio this week. I am still working on several different projects, all in various stages of undone-ness. The week was busy with real estate transactions and lots of house showings.

Early this week, we experienced sweltering heat and humidity. A cold front came through on Thursday night that pushed that all away and we now are having absolutely beautiful weather. Cool nights and comfortable days with low humidity. Does it feel a bit like fall? Yes. Do I mind? I guess not; however, I admit I am a little torn. This summer seems to have just flown by, but I love fall and look forward to the colors, the temperatures and all the wonderful traditions that are part of the season.

The sun is shining into my east-facing office window and it is time to consider my Saturday morning To Do List. I hope you enjoyed the brief cemetery talk and tour. Next week, I expect to have some new photos from my studio to post.

Until then, I wish you health and happiness; and may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Getting caught up while it storms . . .

Thunder and lightning kept me awake all night! Trained to be afraid of storms by my mother, . . . and scared from my bad experiences as a child, I am on alert as soon as I hear thunder. I swear our houses...both of them, both on the same road...we're lightning magnets. From lightning bolts coming in the windows and bouncing all around the kitchen looking for a way out, to our phone pulling a lightning bolt down the wire and blowing our phone up and burning the kitchen counter it was sitting on, to our well pump being hit several times, I grew up with a healthy fear of summer storms. I can't blame my mother for being so afraid, since she lived most all of her life on that road. First in her family homestead, and then up the road a bit when she married my father . . . the boy next door. He was a farmer, so it just made sense to buy the neighboring farm and set up housekeeping with his bride. When I was a teenager, he bought my mother's homestead from her father, and we moved back down the road about a mile, and my mother was back "home"!

I made a pot of coffee at 3 a.m. just in case we lost power. I am rather addicted to my morning brew! A sleepless night with no morning coffee could be a bad combination! I checked my Doppler radar weather app on my phone often during the night! The storm circled around us and came through in waves. A few claps of thunder were very loud. I think it was probably much worse north of here.

I have been working on a few special projects that I am not ready to reveal yet. I am trying some new things that are challenging, but also fun. You will see them in the future!

With this post,  I am finally caught up with photos of my handmade cards. Each of the photos below has a description in the caption.

It is pretty obvious this is a birthday card!
I layered the flowers with brads.
The stamped and layered sentiment was cut with my Big Shot and popped up for dimension.
The envelope was embossed in my Big Shot machine.
Because this birthday card was so dimensional, due to the handmade roses, it required an envelope box.
I used a new die to cut the sentiment out on paper.
The layered die cuts are popped up for dimension.
I am always challenged when I need to make a masculine kind of card.
The burlap and corrugated paper are a big help in achieving the look, as is the printed kraft card stock.
I cut the banner and also layered the sentiment, which is on vellum, over the card stock and framed it with black paper.
The flowers and leaves were cut on my Big Shot machine.
Birthday card for a 14-year-old boy.
I stamped the "Happy Birthday!" on the front with my wooden block stamps.
Again, the use of a corrugated card base adds to the masculine feeling of the card.
The banner was fussy cut from the paper and placed on a cotton cord.
The paper has been in my stash for quite a while, but was just right for this teenage baseball player!
The embossed envelope and card.
The layered flower is held together with a pearl-top brad.
The layered hearts were cut from a die.
The little cards at the lower left are held in place by a metal embellishment.
The interior . . . and more layered hearts that I cut out with my Big Shot.
There is a space to write a sentiment.
I fussy cut the balloons from the paper and placed them on brownish/burgundy paper and cut the shape again.
They are on pop dots for dimension.
The sentiment is stamped on card stock, cut out and layered and popped up, also.
The interior with more fussy cut balloons and with space to write a sentiment.
A step card I made for my cousin, who is a diesel mechanic.
I thought the die cut and layered gears, the paper and the little touch of hand-dyed seam binding
peeking out the pocket, to look like a hankie were just right for his card!
Here is a close-up of the "hankie".

The storm is over and it is daylight now. I can get on with my day and will probably need a nap later on! On the agenda this coming week is some real estate, as usual . . . and some sewing and more paper crafting. There is a definite feeling of late summer in the air and many of the maple trees are beginning to show tinges of orange and red on the tips of their leaves. As much as I like autumn, I am not ready for it to start showing already! Although I have always felt that September is the beginning of the new year more than January, and it usually brings a feeling of a fresh start and something new and exciting ahead. I still miss the routine of buying new school clothes and notebooks and find myself wandering through the aisles looking at the paper, pens and pencils when I go to the store! In fact, I think I will go shopping this morning to check out the sales. ;-)

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog and checking out my cards. As always, your comments and questions are welcome. There is a place for you to do so at the bottom of this page.

I hope you find happiness today, and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Special Wedding Gift

This post is more personal than most that I make. That is because the content I am sharing is a wedding gift that I made for my sister Louise and her husband Rick. They were married two weeks ago in Oregon. Because I am in between two major surgeries, my husband and I were unable to attend. :-(

I decided to make Rick and Louise a mini album and covered box to store some of their wedding memories. When I chose the paper, I had no idea that she had chosen the same colors for her wedding.. How uncanny is that? I guess the sister wave-lengths work long distance!

The papers I used were all from the 12x12 paper pad that I had in my stash. I loved it from the moment I first saw it and had saved it for something special. It was perfect! It is Everyday Moments by Recollections, with the exception of a couple of papers here and there that I copied onto cardstock from her wedding invitation. I enjoyed making this gift a great deal and tried to incorporate many images that represented them.

Below are photos of what I made and descriptions in the photo captions.

Card I made for my sister to let her know I was thinking about her while she was making wedding plans.
The flowers are from Miriam's Crafting Supplies and Michaels.
I die cut the leaves from the paper and scored them and inked them to show dimension.

It is hot where Louise and Rick live. It is the High Desert in the middle of the state, just east of the Cascade Mountains.
They were planning an outdoor wedding, but did not have a crystal ball to predict the weather.
Temperatures in the mid-90's are not unusual for July!
I suggested that I make some hand-held fans for her guests and she liked the idea.
Since I wasn't able to throw her a shower, this was my "shower" gift! ;-)
At at the local JoAnns, I got the last of the paper in these colors.
How is that for luck? :-)

I made this wedding card and enclosed it in the box.
The birds are fussy-cut from the paper and placed atop of other flying birds on the paper.

The box.
I love how it turned out!
I placed a fussy cut bird on the cover and used a little wooden chair that I white-washed and stained.
I made the yellow leaves from the paper.
I used purchased flowers and used their wire stems to make the curly-Qs.

A close up of the box top.

I painted both the exterior and interior edges of the box with acrylic paint.
The interior and exterior, including the bottom that you cannot see, with paper.
Here is the mini album cover.
The 6"x6" album is all hand-made, from the chipboard pages, to the die cuts on the interior.
I used two lengths of sheer ribbon to bind it.
I really like a smaller album, like this one, because it does not take up a lot of space and is easy to display and handle.
The paper was so much fun to use and, as it turned out, it was just right for Rick and Louise!
You can see here that the cover has an old-fashioned typewriter on it.
My sister is a writer, so how perfect is that?!

Pages 1 & 2
On the left, is a little album attached to the page.
It will hold 9 photos and there is a tag with lines on the back where they can record memories.
I enclosed a photo of them that was on their invitation and a template to make it easy for them to add photos.
On the right is an image from the paper and a little phrase that I fussy cut and matted.
I used the image to make a pocket where they can tuck little momentos of their special day.
Inside the pocket, I tucked two tags with lines on the back for journaling.

Pages 1 & 2 without tags.
You can see the hole protectors that I made using one of my dies.

Pages 3 &4
I have wanted this Tim Holtz typewriter die, on the left, forever.
My friend Debi sent me one in a RAK and I have been hoarding it!
In the crafting world, RAK is short for Random Act of Kindness.
It was perfect for my writer sister!
It was plain chipboard, but I stained it to give it the look of an old and tarnished relic, so it would match the paper.
Two more tags are tucked behind it.
There are two double-sided photo mats tucked under a circular paper clip on the right.

Pages 3 & 4 without tags and photo mats.

Pages 5 & 6
Two double-sided photo mats are clipped on the left side.
I finally had a reason to buy this camera die!
My brother-in-law, Rick, is a photographer.
The camera is cut from chipboard that I painted with acrylic paint.
I used bronzed metal eyelets and a lever to embellish it.
Two tags are tucked behind it. 

Pages 5 & 6 without photo mats and tags.
The paper on the left reminded me so much of the tall grasses that grew along the roadsides when my sister and I were little girls growing up on the farm.

Pages 7 & 8
On the left, I used my bird cage die and curved it a bit when I applied it to the page.
Two tags are tucked behind it.
There are more flowers and two of my hand-made leaves.
On the right, an accordion-style photo booklet is held in place by a circular paper clip.
Pages 7 & 8 without tags and photo album

The back cover.
As you can see, there is a camera on the paper, which is fitting because Rick is a photographer.

This is the inside of the photo album that is attached to page 1.

This is one side of the accordion photo album on page 8.
This is the reverse side of the accordion photo album that is on page 8.
Here are all the tags, photo mats and photo albums included in the mini album.
Pictured are the reverse sides of all the tags, photo mats and photo albums in the mini album.

Louise and Rick have settled back into a more normal routine now. They were very busy making plans, hosting out of town guests, and having the wedding at their home. The setting was perfect and the weather cooperated. Everyone who attended, said it was beautiful. I wish Louise and Rick many happy years together!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and scroll through the photos. As always, if you have a question or comment, please write to me in the space provided below.

And . . . until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mid-Summer Days . . .

I say it almost every time I post . . . and I will say it again. Where does the time go? It is already the first week of August! Summer is going by way too fast.I uploaded my photos for this post over a week ago, but I was having so much summer fun that I never got back to sit at the computer to write a few things about them. :-) And . . . of course . . . since these were taken, there are some new ones that need to make their way to a future post. There are captions on the photos. Take a look . .

This is a tag I made for a challenge in the Craft That Divas facebook group.
The theme was "Come Away With Me".
I created the jeep from a Tim Holtz "Jalopy" diecut that I altered.
I painted it with black acrylic paint and a silver Sharpie.
I drew the little suitcases, the hat box and purse and cut them from chipboard.
I painted them and decorated them with Sharpies.
I used a bronze jump ring for the purse handle.
The background paper and the little map that I accordion folded and matted are from
the "World Traveler" designer paper stack by Teresa Collins.
I popped everything up on pop-dots for dimension.
The "Passport to Adventure" dog tag is from my stash.
I knew I would find just the right use for it someday!
The cord at the top was red and white, but I used a little gold Sharpie on it to give it more of a worn look.

This is my chauffeur and best friend, my husband Paul.
It is because of him that I have the great life I enjoy, with fun little day trips, big adventures and tons of support for all of my creative interests.  

I love this photo of us. We were on our way home from Naples, New York, which is in the Finger Lakes Region.
I have been told when we take a selfie of us together, it is called an usie!
My cousin Molly said this reminds her of the movie "Driving MIss Daisy", and I have to agree!

This completes my travelogue.
I thought it fit right in with the "Come Away With Me" theme.

Below are some cards, the interiors of some and some of their matching envelopes that I made.


As I write this, it is early morning, the cool fresh air is wafting through the window, and I can hear the bugs in the grass and the birds chirping. Life is good. I am already thinking about the tomato sandwich I am going to make for lunch! I make mine on white squishy bread with Miracle Whip, XXX-sharp cheese, dill weed, and ground pepper. Yum! Do you make tomato sandwiches? How do you make them?

I hope you are enjoying your day and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.