An Advent Calendar Preview

A long time ago my sister in law emailed me a picture of an advent calendar hanging from a branch. I saved the image (I'm sorry I don't know who was the source) and finally this year I was able to make one of my own!

For now though, you just get a preview as this was all mailed off to a friend and I don't want to reveal more than she has already seen. :) 

I found these thin, tall envelopes at Hobby Lobby and thought they were pretty perfect. They open at the top, not the side. Sewing my own envelopes would have been more perfect, but that time thing you know....

The branch is actually a bunch of bittersweet vines that all grew together and when I went out to find a good branch for my project, I realized how wonderful the vines would be instead. 

The red "ribbons" are actually fabric scraps from a rag ball intended for use in a rag rug from the 1930s or 40s.  I bought a big box of authentic rag balls years and years ago at an auction.  I pull of little bits from them here and there.  The red ball is almost gone now because it's such a great shade of red.

This is definitely a scrappy kind of project (the content of the envelopes) so those scrappy ties are just right.

Some day I may make one for myself to keep, but then there wouldn't be a surprise in opening up the envelopes would there? Unless I made it in August or so because I'd forget what I had in there in 3-4 months easily!  Any of you have that problem?  Good grief I'm forgetful.

I hope your advent is starting off full of peace. 

Time to Perform!

Today, our senior daughter will be performing in the One Act district competition.  They have a large cast and crew and have a great performance of The Audition!

Our daughter plays the old, tired, hard-working mother who doesn't care about her daughter's role in an upcoming play.  She's actually pretty scary!

I played old women in high school productions too, hmmm...

These two are so proud of their big sister!

A Sweet Little One Year Old

Our youngest granddaughter turned one at the beginning of November!

I thought I'd share a few of her "one year old" photos I took of her. (There were a lot more pictures!)

She moves and she moves quickly so it was a challenge to get her smiling at the camera.  One year olds are busy, busy, busy!

She is so sweet.

And she has lots of teeth already. :)

If you'd like to reminisce with me, here are a few pictures from last year and Bridget's one year old pictures (our second granddaughter)  I don't think I ever posted our oldest granddaughter's one year pictures here on my blog.  

Walking is just around the corner for her!

~happy monday~

Saturday Digest

It's been a long time since I've done a digest post.  It's time. :)

►I took this photo at my brother and sister in law's place in August.  They have some chickens, goats, a few pigs, a horse and a few calves.  The girls always love to see their menagerie.  These Guernsey calves are so photogenic!

►STICKS, folks, sticks. Here and so cool!  You may remember how much I enjoy sticks from this post.  It wasn't until half way through the video that I realized the artist had a band saw there cutting the sticks to the size he wanted.  Vision is what he had.  But maybe more importantly, he had the confidence to see it through.

►This year-long embroidery project is inspiring.  If you scroll all the way down through the pictures she posted you get a wonderful visual representation of the encouraging phrase "just start".

I've mentioned Ann Wood here before but seriously, her email in my in box is a bright spot of inspiration.

►I just ordered Randy's Christmas gift to me.  ;)  After I placed the order, I found myself just smiling and so happy.  I told the girls, "He'll enjoy giving this to me so much!"  They sort of laughed. 

Scene and Story: A Bare Light Bulb

Scene and Story crept up on me.  Better late....!

Earlier in October we were given the chance to visit my husband's old high school through his sister in law who works at the school.  It was so much fun to see where he went to school!  Only a few rooms of the school are in use now.  Most of the rooms are either used for storage of physical things or for holding memories. 

This closet really caught my attention.  Not updated at all as some of the other rooms had been.  A bare light bulb lighting the narrow space.   

It's always interesting to me, what gets left behind.  Pretty sure none of this will be used in the current active classrooms.

"What now?" hangs in the air.  Much like the bare bulb.

I'm linking up with Scene and Story here.

Photoshop Exploration

I just finished (until I decide to go tweak something) editing some photos for a friend and my daughter's senior pictures.  I have a couple more photo projects waiting, but I needed to just explore photoshop for fun for a bit.

So I present to you my daughter, Bonnie, in three of Pantone's popular colors for Fall 2017!  Autumn Maple, Navy Peony, and Tawny Port.

I've been wanting to learn how to do this for some time, so thank you to Benny Qibal and this youtube tutorial!

I love the effect of simple solid color blocking!  It's because of the new lighting I have that I posted about here, that I could make this effect work well.  I have so much to learn, but the learning process is wonderful.

~have a great Monday~

Autumn Drieds

My obsession with dried flowers, pressed flowers, and seed pods continues.  I hope it's contagious and you are enjoying them too!

I pressed these a couple of years ago, maybe just last summer.  I think they are from a flowing succulent I had in the tank garden.  This fall, as I started to use my pressed flowers, I thought these would really look nice framed.  

I had the frame already that I picked up at Target because it just seemed "so right" for something.  So this is that something!  I used navy mat board for the backing and it was very easy to put it together.  Not so easy to photograph!  Glass reflects, and it reflects everything.  Sometimes you can use that to your advantage, but mostly, it's just tricky.

Recently I picked up this old frame at Cottonwood Antiques in Columbus.  I almost talked myself out of it because I have other old frames....  This one had a parrot needlepoint in it that didn't really fit.  And it needed laundering.  So now, it's clean, but I'm not sure what I'll do with it. (And, it's kind of wonky looking.)  The frame had another calling. 

I painted some burlap fabric with navy craft paint and then glued on some seed pods.  I love this so much! I believe it will stay up year round until I do something else with the frame because as you can guess, this won't store well!  They are secure, but they won't take anything being stacked on them.  But, that's fine.  Isn't that part of the beauty of these seed pods?  You can toss them.  There will be more.

On this board: Wild Cucumber Vine, Asiatic Iris, Blackberry Lily, Love in the Mist, Fennel, Sunflower, a skeleton from a Tomatilla, Hyacinth Bean Vine, Button Weed, and one I can't remember.

• You can see more decorating with seed pods and drieds here.
• I needlefelted some of the acorns in the top picture and I bought some from Lisa here.
• You can read more about the little paper house here.
 • The crocheted stones were a gift from a friend. ♥


Playing in the Ditch

I've posted milkweed pictures before and I will most certainly post them again.  They are magical and beautiful.

We had a little bit of time on Sunday to stop and play a bit in a ditch on a dirt road.  I had tried on Saturday, but was pulled right down into the ditch when I pulled over on to the deceptively somewhat dry looking road side.  I was able to drive out with our four wheel drive engaged, but very slowly and very carefully.

Thinking another day was needed for things to dry, I waited for Sunday to try again.

Ditches, creeks, and milkweeds.  ♥

(But we were careful for mud, itch weed, and thistles.  Exploring doesn't come without risks, ha!)

These girls are always ready to play and explore. And, thankfully, so is my husband.

Now I have a couple more bags of fluffy seeds and pods.  I don't really do too much with them, except put them in a jar to enjoy. (And plant them!) I used one pod once to needle felt a baby Jesus in.  My own milkweeds that I had in my tank garden got all dark and almost oily and I had to pull them.  They apparently prefer growing in the wild!

September: Scene and Story

Hello October!
I switch from loving it to feeling emotional about it.  Fall affects me oddly. How about you?

Once again I'm linking up with Sarah for Scene and Story.  Although I have many favorite photos from this past month of still lifes and Claire's Senior pictures, this is a favorite with a good story.

Claire was a candidate for Homecoming this past Friday and the older kids were able to come home for it. :)  Lauren brought our oldest granddaughter too and it was her first football game so everything was exciting for her.  Then when her aunt got a flower she was thrilled to hold it!

Claire was so afraid she would trip in her high heels or sink in to the field as they had to walk across while the spiel of their high school career was read.  No tripping and no sinking I'm happy to report!

Of course after the very brief coronation we had to take photos.   Will, is wearing my first husband, Jim's, coat that was gifted to him by the school 20 years ago as he used to be the unofficial football team Doctor.  He took the coat a couple of years ago when he went to college and loves it.  I love seeing him wear it especially here on the football field.

I can't say I'm a fan of Homecoming coronations. I believe it to be unnecessary stress and stirs up unhealthy competitive feelings in our high school students. Thankfully, Claire just kind of slides with it all.  But, I am a big fan of school spirit and of seeing the gifts that came from where you grew up.

~happy fall to you all~

Petals and Lace

Oh gosh, flowers.  So much to enjoy and even when they are spent, the beauty lives on.

I dry a lot of the bouquets I create and also make little bundles of blooms to hang throughout the summer.  Now, that it's fall, I'll gather more before they are gone.

They pair magnificently with these pieces of crochet work.


Vine Wraps

Back in May I posted here about the garden wreaths I made.  In early August, after we had done a LOT of trimming and chopping and cutting in the periphery of our back yard I spent a couple of hours making more wreaths.  Which are still hanging yet today as you see them here.  :)

Then I thought maybe jar wraps would be fun to make.

And, they were!

So now I can adorn the jars that I keep seeds, pods, and "what not" in.

Very simple, but really adds a little something!

Making them is just rather relaxing, especially the day I formed these, it was so nice outside.  

Now, maybe I should form some vines into Christmas trees.   Little table top ones perhaps.

~enjoy the rest of your weekend~

Looking Ahead

Two weeks ago, my daughter and I went out to take the first round of her senior pictures.

Oh look, an abandoned church.

Let's take pictures there.

Yes, let's.


We took the second round this past Saturday in between the ACT test, Husker football, and celebrating two of my kids' birthdays.  It was a full day!  I'll post more pictures soon I hope.

Scene and Story: Aunt BonBon Dresses Up

Here it is September and I see it's time for another Scene and Story hosted by Sarah and Leon.

This was just a quick photo taken after we had celebrated our second granddaughter turning 2.  She received some dress up shoes as a gift so of course the dressing up followed.  Aunt BonBon, as the grands call my daughter Bonnie, was joining in.  The photo is busy, poor lighting, etc. but that is part of the story.  Their house was busy and everyone was enjoying themselves. If you look in the back you can get a glimpse of the other Grandma giving our youngest granddaughter a bottle. My son in law was showing her the photo book they had just made from their trip to Germany. 


Pictures of the "things" and the "goings on" are as important as the group shots and individual poses I think and we often overlook taking those.

Because dress up is so fun: here and here are a couple of older posts on the same subject. My heart got all fuzzy revisiting them. :)

~have a great week~

Sunflowers That Are Sunny

Oh my.  I am so enjoying the sunflowers this year!  I think I have five different varieties and hopefully will photograph each separately to document and remember them.  I have a dream of a garden journal~even if just utilitarian and not all pretty like I envision. Just so you know, they don't look all that pretty in the garden.  It's full of weeds, but they bloom in spite of that.  Probably why I love them so much.  I posted this same bouquet as a black and white image on Instagram.  Either way, the fowers are really something to enjoy.

By the way, the title of the post?  I really miss reading kids' books to my girls!  The voice of many of those wonderful books is still with me and I enjoy it.

~happy friday~

Eclipse 2017

So, where were you during the total eclipse of 2017?  Nasa had this fun print out with a pin hole to print out so you could photographically mark your location.  We were a little south of where the star is in the path of totality.

The idea was that you could take a photo of the print out and the resulting shadow of the eclipse and the shadow of your state.  I thought this was such a fun idea.

The Nasa web site also had instructions to make an eclipse projector using a pair of cheap reading glasses.  I just happened to have a pair that I don't use since I quit wearing contacts, plus I just happened to have the perfect box to build the projector out of, so I made one for us.

We went to my in laws' home as they lived in the path of totality. We picniced while we waited and watched it evolve.

My daughter wasn't taking any chances with her oldest's eyes!

My youngest granddaughter, had no idea what we were doing, but was ready to hang out with her youngest aunties and smile for me. :)

We saw quite a few planes that were watching it from an even closer vantage point.

And, it began to get darker.  The girls pushed the stroller of my youngest grands around so they wouldn't look up at the sun (or lack there of).

It's getting closer to completion as viewed through the projector.

Very Cool indeed.  This is underexposed to show the ring better.  The sky was not this black.

The view around during our 2 plus minutes of totality. (slightly underexposed yet) It was a little surreal.

It was neat, really neat.  I'm glad we drove the hour and a half to see it.  But, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go further than that.  It was a special moment of awareness of the space around you and how it "all works" so to speak.  

But, truthfully, if you look around you where you are and pay attention, God gives you those moments anytime and you don't even need special glasses to see them.

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