Friday, April 12, 2024

A Quilted Note


Sometimes, making a card just makes me happy. Choosing the colors and patterns and combining them in a way that's fun and whimsical is so satisfying.

I imagine this is how my sister, Tina, felt when she made a quilt...choosing just the right fabrics, cutting them, stitching them together.

I was able to take that concept and use it to make a quilted card!

I used the Patchwork die from The Greetery, and combined it with some old papers from Simple Stories. 

{Today's Brew: Patchwork die (The Greetery), Budding Beauties Summer stamps and die (The Greetery), Opposites Attract sentiment stamp and die (The Greetery), Simple Stories papers}

Year of Plenty win! Using old old papers and finally getting around to using a die that I bought last year.

Thursday, April 11, 2024



The goldfinch are back this week! It's so nice to see their bright and cheery plumage at the feeders.

I added some yellow feathers to this nest.

{Today's Brew: The Greetery background stamp and Curio Findings Spring dies, The Greetery Nordic Frames die, PTI Year of Psalms}

Golden daffodils, golden birds. Happy spring!

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Solar Eclipse 2024


We witnessed the total solar eclipse yesterday, and it was spectacular!

We drove nearly two hours south, along the back roads to avoid the major traffic backups on the highways. We planted ourselves in the small farm community of Deshler, Ohio.

We got an ice cream at the Village Market, watched the trains, and enjoyed the 75 degree weather while we cruised through town.

We stopped at the community park at the center of town, where other people had gathered.

We had a great time talking to people from as far away as Grand Rapids, Michigan! Two gentlemen sitting next to us had also come from a town in our area, Blissfield. Small world!

Slowly, the sun looked as if a bite had been taken out of it. The bite got bigger and bigger.

Shadows lengthened and the temperature of the air began to cool. The light took on an intensity, and then it was as if twilight descended.

When the eclipse was complete, I could not see a thing.

"Take off your glasses!" my husband instructed.

And wow! There it was! The corona of light!

You could see stars! And you could even seen dots of red lights around the flares!


When it was over, everyone started clapping. Good job, God!

A once in a lifetime event. I'm so glad my sons got to see this celestial event, too.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Psalm 19:1

Monday, April 8, 2024

Spring Green


Things are finally greening up here. The grass is growing, the trees are starting to leaf out, and new plants are emerging from the floor of the woods.

I've had this die set from the Greetery for a while, and finally got to use it. It's called Curio: Spring Findings. I loved that little snail! It's filled with ferns and lily of the valley, pussy willows and egg-filled nests with feathers. But the die cuts are tiny. You have to decide how you will color them and group them for impact.

And small things, as you probably know, can be very fiddly. Careful gluing and applying required a steady do not attempt this if you are over caffeinated!

These Spellbinders mini blenders really helped. You could probably use watercolors and a small brush as well.

{Today's Brew: background stamp (the Greetery), Nordic circle die (The Greetery), Curio Spring Findings dies (The Greetery), Year of Psalms (PTI), SU embossing folder, CP inks}

We are heading out to see the heavens rejoice today...the solar eclipse! We have our special glasses and a mapped out route that will avoid the highways and hopefully land us is rural farm country. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to witness. Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Outdoor Wall Art Idea


I was having coffee with my Mom and sisters yesterday, catching up on what we've been doing lately.

I told them how I've been cleaning and clearing out clutter from the house again, and I mentioned these paintings that have been in storage for more than 7 years that I was thinking of passing on to the resale shop.

"Have you thought of using them outside for wall art?" my sister, Jenny, asked.

No. But what a great idea!

I think this would look really cool on our back deck. I think the key is to spray it with something like Rustoleum's Never Wet. I plan on hanging it on a protected wall where it will be under the pergola's cover.

Have you seen this done? 

Something like this:

Our deck is going to get some TLC soon. We had it painted five years ago, but we have some wood rot that needs replacing, and some surfaces that need painting again. We also need to buy new floor rugs and a new canopy cover for our pergola structure.

We typically do not put the furniture and canopy out until the first week of May, when the weather is a bit nicer.

I'm looking forward to more time outside. In the meantime, I will bundle up and take a brisk walk in the sunshine. I think there's an estate sale in my neighborhood today that is on my route. Fun!

Friday, April 5, 2024

Good Food and Good Numbers


My husband and I have been on a mission to get those health-related appointments crossed off our To Do lists. We've done eye doctors and dentists. And now we're getting to the job of finding new primary care physicians.

My husband went in this week, and he even got his bloodwork done, with all lab results complete.

My man is in great shape! His cholesterol is well in the normal range, his glucose/blood sugar is in normal range, his blood pressure is excellent.

It's not all that surprising, considering that he rode 4000 miles on his bike last year! What is surprising is that he's going to be sixty in a few months, and the only med he takes is a daily Zyrtec.

 I also think that our nutrition plays a big role.

Gone are the days of drive thru and weekly carryout pizza. 

I incorporate things into our meals that we probably would have laughed at ten years ago.

Zucchini noodles. Quinoa. Riced cauliflower. Sprouted bread. Gluten free pasta.

Our pantry is full of beans, olive and avocado oils, flax and chia, almonds and walnuts.

Our fridge is full of berries and citrus fruits, spinach and kale and leafy greens. Almond milk and whole fat Greek yogurt. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts.

I try to buy organic, but it's not always possible. We do our best, but I'm also a bargain shopper. 

I put myself on a daily regimen of supplements last year (after getting no help from my doctor at that time). Menopausal women need a lot of assistance, and these small changes proved to show big results for my overall health.

If you read all the articles that pop up on feeds, it seems like we are obsessed with not dying. How can we prevent it? We can't. No vaccine or diet will save you. Your chances of death are 100%. 

We just want to be good stewards of the bodies that we've been given. 

This meal is a good example of my new cooking style.

Fiesta Chicken and Quinoa

1 c. quinoa, cooked according to directions
Chicken strips (I used Tyson Fajita Chicken, but you could sub rotisserie chicken if you have it)
Low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. corn
1 can diced tomatoes
Chopped Romaine
Mexican cheese for topping
Chopped avocado for topping

EDITED: I forgot to add the seasoning! I used a little cumin, chili powder, and Mexican oregano.

Cook chicken in skillet. Add beans, corn, tomato. Add quinoa. Place mix into an oven-safe pan. If desired, top with cheese and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Serve on top of lettuce and add favorite toppings. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Seven Year Itch

Zillow decided to send a house into my email inbox this weekend. Normally, I delete those sorts of emails without even clicking. But this time, I looked.

Oh, this house was lovely! It was the kind of house that I'd been looking for seven years ago.

A beautiful, well-built two story brick colonial.

An older home (almost fifty years old) with lots of quirky features.

A one acre lot with sun and trees.

A screened in three season room.

A big kitchen.

Lots of storage.

A wood-burning fireplace.

All on a quiet cul-de-sac.

I showed my husband, who promptly said no and asked "Aren't you happy with this house?"

Yes, but...

...we have very little storage, and are at the point in our lives where we're expected to store our adult kids' stuff and our parents' stuff, too.

...I have no room for books, and they clutter every flat surface.

...I have a scoot-in closet in our bedroom that is not meant for two people.

...I have a tiny kitchen.

...I have a small yard that's heavily treed, making it hard to grow anything for lack of sunlight.

I realize what this all boils down to.

I have the seven-year itch.

This is nearly the longest we've ever lived in one place in our married lives (except for our first house, which we could just barely afford back in those days!).

Maybe, as a work from home writer,  I spend too much time in this house. And maybe, just maybe, I'm bored.

I have to remind myself of the positives. I love my neighbors. We have lots of wildlife that visit us daily. Smaller house is probably better as we get older. I can walk and bike to lots of places from our neighborhood.

All good things.

I decided to tackle some clutter yesterday. Our guest room is the place where we say "Where can I put this? I'll just stick it in the guest room."

Piles and piles.

I cleaned flat surfaces.

I swapped out winter bedding for something more cheerful.

I crammed more junk into storage. Ugh.

Today, I think I will assemble a pile to donate. And maybe, if I'm inspired, I will clean the office, too.

Still dreaming about gardens, though.