Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I think it's peak season for blooms in my garden.  I thought I'd show you a few gorgeous flowers that brighten my day.
I've been having a tough few seasons with my hydrangeas.... above.  I believe the previous owners planted some beautiful hybrid kind.  But every year it has been hit or miss for these gorgeous blooms.  Only 2 of the 5 plants have blooms.  And they have an amazing pink and purple and blue color to them.  I've read it depends on how much iron you have in the soil.
In the years past we've had 4 blooms, and in a creamy white. So strange.  But this past fall, I didn't cut the 'bushes' down throughout the winter and did it in the spring when it was just beginning to grow.  Every year, it's something new with these hydrangeas!  But they are beautiful on the east side of our house!

Roses .... white roses with a tinge of pink.  I have hundreds of blooms on these. I believe these are hedge roses.  They grow about 3 feet tall and have tons of blooms.  Every year they are different as well.  It's hard to say if they appreciated the very cold winter?  Or was it the wettish spring and the cool nights??  Every fall before the snow comes.... I cut them back to the ground, and every year for 7 years now.... they keep coming back on the south side of our house!

These are orange daylillies.  I think all lillies are beautiful!  But I have heard that some master gardener types think these are just awful weeds.  When we moved in, we had a huge patch of them.  They seemed to grow wild!!!  But then I changed out my garden burm and planted something different in that spot.  But a few of these pop up, year after year.  I like a few orange blooms here and there on the west side of our house!

Star gazer lily.  Smell wonderful!!!!!  I didn't get to see them bloom last year.  Either a huge gust of wind knocked off the blooms, or our friendly deer were brave enough to come all the way up to the back patio for a snack!! They are on the north side of the house and I have exactly two plants.

Every year I choose a color combo for my potted plants, and this year I liked the deep pink color for my geraniums.  I have three pots that I plant that are pretty much the same from year to year, with spikes and ivy.... they grow so well in the sun!

Forget-me-nots!  These are from seed and actually they are from seed of the FMN that I planted last year.  I love the little blue blooms.  And they have a special story behind them.  If you want to know, just ask me!!

Our Rose of Sharon are full of blooms.  We are about to rosed to death.  It's the peak of summer time and our five bushes on the west side of the house are about ready to explode!!! I can't wait.
And amongst all the flowers we have tons of huge green hostas that seem to get bigger and fuller.  We have a secret garden full of gnomes and garden rocks and other fun surprises.  And nature at times, is so abundant!  We have deer, bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, owls and who knows what else that we haven't seen???!!?
I love to see my garden grow and change!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Weekends Over

I must admit that I miss writing on my blog! 

There have been others who I have followed and they say the same thing. 

Sometimes life gets in the way!  A new project needs more attention!  Sometimes I don't feel I have anything to say! (That is amazing)

But when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it.... writing blog posts for almost 7 years has become habit forming, and when I don't do it for awhile... I feel a part of me is just not right!!!

This 'work' thing obviously is something that has gotten in the way.  It takes away a good chunk of the extra time I used to have.  Blah, blah.... you get it...

I've not lost ALL of my creative fun time!

It's POSSIBLE to find time... just a bit harder to fit it in and sleep as well! 

If you continue reading my next blog post, you'll see that I took a class on making up-cycled belts into cuff bracelets.  I made a few more over the weekend!!

I was able to make 4 cuff bracelets out of this one white belt.  (One painted strip not pictured hasn't been made into a cuff yet) 
I think I love them!!! 
Today is my day off, and I'm going to check out a few other hobby stores to see if I can find the appropriate supplies.  I want them to look more worn and shabby like.... too perfect and then I can see the mistakes. 
If not so perfect.... the 'mistakes' seem intentional.... get what I'm saying???
Still recovering from 8+ yards of mulch we laid in our flowerbeds on Saturday.

And finally, to end this updating type of post .... after getting more acquainted with how wine is made and the different ways wine tastes depending on the food .... we've decided to have a wine and cheese dinner every couple of weeks.  No cooking, just a lot of chopping, finger foods and trying new cheeses, sausages and of course different wines!!!!  
This is what our dinner looked like on Sunday ... it was very yummy!

Here's to a bright new week!!!
Shine on!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Belt It Out

Recently, I took an on-line art class to learn how to convert used belts into bracelets. I thought the creative info I learned was so awesome .... here are my very first attempts to up-cycle and design my own one of a kind cuff belt bracelets.

I have a bit of a 'tool' issue.  Because I'm so frugal, I don't always have the proper tools to create the project as simply as I could.  I try to make do!  So again.... these are my first attempts.  I found that real leather belts work great.... the older and more pliable the better.  I love my painting... but notice that when I take the picture. my eye does not see what my camera lens captures.
I gave away two bracelets already for quality control.  I want my friends to wear them, see if the snaps hold together and see if the 'cuff' might get in their way while doing every day stuff.  And to see if any of their friends comment on that surprising piece of artwork on their wrist!!!
Now, as the original teacher of the class noted.... I'm off to thrift stores to find some old fun belts that I can turn into beautiful new pieces of art.  Good thing I know where to shop and which days they discount old items!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Still Make Greeting Cards

Well, there will be a final post to our vacation out to Missouri, but in-between time ... I thought I'd post a few creative greetings that I recently made for a special order.

Cards, designs, themes, colors, subject matter, size, captions, phrases .....There are so many choices!!! 

I don't know if I mentioned, but when we were in Kansas City, MO.... we actually stopped at the Hallmark Headquarters. 

We took a self guided tour through their entrance/museum.  It was filled with greeting cards throughout their history and then there were ornaments, and collectors pieces.  I must say it was very pretty!
For years I'd have people call me Peggy Hallmark. 
Seriously, I know my cards are good!  
We met a Hallmark artist who was sort of on display working in the museum.  I talked with her for about 10 minutes.  She was born and raised in the Kansas City area.  Most of the artists have worked for the company for over 30 years.  She had been there for just a little over 5 years, considered a newby.  But it was her dream to work for Hallmark, and her dream came true. Her degree was in commercial art and drawing. She has been a featured artist for some winter themed cards.

But with so many companies out there that create paper, and ink and stamps and die cuts.... it's not that hard to be your own card maker.  I truly love the satisfaction of creation.  And don't tell anyone, sshhhh, but I really can copy well!!!
So, for my latest order of 5 cards .... all generic birthday cards.... I used what I had on hand, and here are the results.... creative greetings..... handmade by prdesigns!!!
Sometimes, the most simplest design, is the best.

Here is my inspiration for this card.  It sells at the Papyrus (card site that promotes it's 'hand made' cards,)website for $10.00, called chick with a red balloon.
On and on I went, creating my own little images with the supplies I had.  Yes, I could duplicate these cards, but like I said before, I get very bored creating the same thing over and over and over again.  Five cards, 5 different designs.

It was also fun finding the supplies on hand that I could use to somewhat 'up-cycle'.  For instance, the candles on the cupcake below are twist ties in a small packet.... and they are shiny and perfect for just that little bling 'pop' needed for this card.

I was thinking the other day after our vacation was over.... I have been making greeting cards for over 25 years now.  I've truly got to be over the 5,000 made.  Not every card was purchased.  Some were given as gifts.  Others were bartered for other crafty items, and some were never sold.
I think I've been pretty successful.  Not often do people have a hobby that they get paid to create what they love most,  even if it's a few bucks here and there.  I'm determined to brighten someone's day.... where ever my cards are mailed to.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Cellar Doors

Here is another post about our trip 'out west' to Missouri. 

Advertising worked on us! 

When we drove out to drop Sissy off at college or when we went to visit her, we saw numerous billboards about Hermann, Missouri and the wine tours they had to offer.  Since we are new to discovering how wine enhances our food and is not just an alcohol to drink .... we decided to spend a few days in Hermann and learn about their wineries.

Actually, of the three wineries we visited, we were very lucky to start off with a great tour at Stone Hill Winery.  Second largest winery in the United States in 1847. Since we stopped during the middle of the week, we were actually the only ones on our tour.  I kind of felt bad for the college student Katie who gave us the tour, since she would just have to tell the two of us her rehearsed story.  But she said she didn't mind.  She liked the smaller groups because she could add more information.

These cellars took years for the original owner to carve out of the hill.  It's what you see in the movies, dark and dank, water trickling down the side on to the floor.  I love the wine barrels....some are made from a company that has the word Cooper (Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden, staved vessels, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads) {Or, the name of our cute Lab Mix}  in it.  The name is burned into the lids.
There are wonky steps through the arched halls that separate rooms, closed cellar doors, single light bulbs hanging and musky smells and a little bit of a different chill when you go from room to room.

During prohibition, this winery became a Mushroom farm.  I guess the fungi grew quite well in the cellar dug into the side of the hill.  The owners who took over the task of cleaning things up and restoring the winery had quite a task ahead of them.  The grounds are beautiful and very picturesque.

After we got done with our tour (which cost $2.50) we ended up in the tasting room.  Our host Ray was a very entertaining soul.  He gave us more than just a taste of about 10 different exclusive Stone Hill Wines.  We were fortunate to meet up with an eclectic couple in their Harley duds.  Not to be deceived, they later told us she was a commercial real estate agent and he a medical scientist.  But Ray had a good old time telling us his jokes.  On trip advisor, he is mentioned a few times for some of his 'off color' jokes.  But we didn't mind.  Even our host and hostess of the B & B we stayed in spoke 'fondly' of Ray and informed us he was a twin.  He must have quite the reputation amongst the locals.
In the end, we bought only one bottle of wine, despite the salesmanship of Ray.  One of the other customers checking out looked surprised with our one measly bottle.... but we knew there were a few more wineries to come on our visit to little ole Hermann, MO.

Just like some other bloggers.... I'm always looking for nature's hearts ♥.  I found one in this little grapevine leaf.... it was lighter and tinier than the rest.
Great find amongst the cellar doors!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

What's Brewing?

Back to our road trip. 

I already wrote in a previous post that we were trying to do a lot of touristy things on our trip through Missouri. 

Of course you must stop at the St. Louis Arch.... the gateway to the west.  I like the picture below.  In the rear view mirror, I got one last picture of the arch as we were driving out of downtown.  It is such and impressive structure.

On to picking up the kids and finding the next thing to do. 

Because we didn't have any set plans, but we knew there was plenty of things to see.... once we got to Kansas city, we stopped to have lunch and then went to Kansas City Sea life Aquarium. 

It's like any major aquarium.... it's just a little different when you have 'adult' children with you.  Now they really want to see the fish and read about them.... not just run through the exhibits and see who can get done first!

Next, we wanted to try some real KC BBQ.  Our first choice was closed..... but no worries.... we found another excellent replacement restaurant!

Excellent!  Loved the side of pickles and love the Cheesy Corn Casserole.  Oh and of course.... the BBQ pork sandwich was delicious!!! Yum

Next.... Boulevard Brewery.  Small town specialty brew.  I tried once again to drink beer.  I mean I try it.... and I just haven't quite found the appeal for the taste.  It doesn't satisfy my thirst.  It doesn't taste good ... it's fun to see how it is made and how the small company started in someone's small warehouse and then grew bigger.... just don't like the taste!

Maybe she'll become a beer maid!

I enjoy the little tours.... especially when they are free.... and they give you a sample at the end!
Stay tuned to the next post and our next adventure in the Show Me State!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Show Me More Missouri

Ok, quick.... where will you be two years from today?????

Who really knows, right????

Two years ago I would never have thought both of my kids would be living/working in the state of Missouri.  Who would have thunk it!!!

Twenty five years ago, this man of mine and I went on a vacation a few months after we became a dating couple and guess where we went???
St. Louis, MO.  Can you believe it? 
So, now twenty five years later .... both kids are in the state of Missouri for the summer and we decided to be total road trip tourists and the first stop on the visit was the St. Louis Arch.... the gateway to the west!!!!

It really is quite beautiful. 
I think the day we were there was probably bout 20 degrees cooler than when we first visited in 1988.  I recall it was brutaly hot and un-godly humid.  Don't get me wrong, it was very hot this time too, but that was to be expected.  This time we had to wait for our tour time about 1-1/2 hours... and we were never informed why the wait was soooo long.  But this time, we took our time (because we had plenty) and really looked at the historical pictures and information how this awesome structure was really constructed.  Wow!!!

Holly is at the University of Missouri in Columbia.... which is located almost in the middle of the state.  And Kyle is entering his senior year at the University of Iowa, but he got a 12 week summer internship at Cigna Insurance in Kansas City, Missouri.... thus the reason for the road trip to the Show Me State.
After we picked Holly up of campus, we drove two hours further west to pick up the boy.  One of our stops was the Kansas City Aquarium..... you are never to old to look at the fishys!
And of course we had to stop and have some real Kansas City barbeque at Jack Stack Barbeque.  It was very good!  Kyle got some great left overs!!!  It is just so interesting where this summer has lead everybody.
Stay tuned for more posts about our road trip!!  All totally un-eventful.... but extremely calm, relaxing and pleasant!!!


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