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July 24, 2014

SnakeMaster, age 1 year

This boy

Age three, SM wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one with Cheetos... His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake

Age three, SM wanted a dinosaur cake. His parents made one with Cheetos…
His first (but not last!) Cheesy-Puffasaurus birthday cake

SnakeMaster's 9th birthday

SnakeMaster’s 9th birthday

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park, April 2014


celebrated his 15th birthday at Boy Scout camp.

Unnamed Flora

July 23, 2014

DSCN0905  Smells SO GOOD
Heavenly scented




Purple trumpets fill the forest with glorious silence.

[Not] My Town Monday, the Canadian edition

July 21, 2014


On our way back home from Syringa Provincial Park, we spent a couple of hours in Castlegar, British Columbia — the Sculpture Capital of Canada. (They’ve actually trademarked that line.)
We were duly impressed!

"Sphere of Influence"

“Sphere of Influence”

For five years now, Castlegar has hosted a Sculpture Walk with entries from local and international artists. The public is invited to look at all of the sculptures and vote for a favorite. The sculpture with the highest vote tally is purchased by the city and put on permanent display. How cool is that?

Smelling the flowers

smelling the flowers…

All  32 sculptures in the 2014 event are available for sale ($3,000 – $36,000 CND; most are in the 3-15K range) and occasionally a business will purchase one. Tim Horton’s has a hockey player sculpture (of course) and this awesome sculpture made of gears and whatnot is on permanent display in front of another business:

The plaque reads:  Rumi once said, "Start a huge and foolish project." So I did.  Rabi'a.

The plaque reads:
Rumi once said, “Start a huge and foolish project.” So I did. Rabi’a.


Speaking of foolish…

We found the old train depot

We found the old train depot

DSCN0972  sculpture with a boy's face



It was a perfectly lovely day to walk around and explore downtown Castlegar.

Who couldn't love a town with a crosswalk like this?

Who couldn’t love a city with a crosswalk like this?




"Rebirth" (cast of a whale pelvis -- looks like a heart)



"Song of the Flying Dutchman" is one of our favorites

“Song of the Flying Dutchman” is one of our favorites


“Jelly”  and my 6-foot, 1-inch tall son


"Seventy-Six Trombones"

“Seventy-Six Trombones”

SnakeMaster played a little tune!

SnakeMaster played a little tune!














"Honkfest" was the winner in 2013 and a winner with H-J. SnakeMaster wondered how much money he could glean from the bottom of the pool.

“Honkfest” was the winner in 2013 and a winner with H-J.   SnakeMaster wondered how much money he could glean from the bottom of the pool.



"What the Nose Knows"  ...and 2 boogers!

“What the Nose Knows”
…and 2 boogers!

This post concludes our recent Canadian adventures over the 4th of July weekend  – because all good Americans go to Canada to celebrate their independence, eh? If you missed them, here are the links for part onepart two, and part three.


Creative Blog Hop

July 19, 2014

Cassi is one of those blog friends who has also become an e-mail and facebook friend, and hopefully I will someday get to meet her in person.  (There’s a decent chance for this since she lives only a couple of hours from my brother’s house.)  She was kind enough to ask me if I might be willing to join in a Creative Blog Hop. I was honored to be asked and and she tagged me in her post, so here are my answers to the questions.

What am I working on?

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

I’ve been working on several projects for my booth at our local farmer’s market where I try to set up and sell a couple of times each month.  My notecards are made from my own photographs mounted on cardstock and stamped on the back with a small emblem and signed with my first name. The stamp is often a rosebud that I color-coordinate with some colored pencils and ink stamping pens.

Farmer's Market

I started out making beaded lanyards (I wear mine daily at work) and eyeglass leashes (ditto) which I continue to make available for sale, but I enjoy branching out and stretching myself with new projects.  A fun project I picked up in the past few weeks: barefoot sandals! They are surprisingly comfortable (I have unusually sensitive feet) and the first 2 models have turned out really cute.

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead














However, I’ve been sidelined by making suncatchers:


This is a good time to mention that Pinterest has been both a blessing and a curse. There are more projects on my wish-list than I have time to devote to them.

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Along with photography and beads, I also dabble in quilt-making (I’m a total newbie who flies by the seat of her pants) and simple scrapbooking — no Cricut machine or fancy sewing machine at my house. If it is fancy and takes an entire crate of supplies, I probably don’t do it, but I do manage to fill quite a few plastic bins and I am in possession of more stamping supplies, cardstock, and scrapbooking paper than I should confess to owning.

white cliffs of Dover, London

I’ve attempted knitting and nearly paid myself to quit. (It really was that bad.) My daughter-in-law and other friends tell me that I should try crocheting but I’m not sure they know what kind of monster that would unleash.  Many years ago, I tried a bit of counted cross-stitch and if my eyesight doesn’t give out first, I might someday pick up that 10th anniversary gift for my husband and finish it… in time for our 50th wedding anniversary.
Clearly, my creative desires and imagination reach beyond my time constraints and even my motivation! Family does take up a fair amount of my day and night — I’ve been married for 27 years and we have four sons, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old.  I was very happily contented SAHM for 22 years while the kids were growing up and my husband was active duty military. Now he is retired, I worked myself out of the SAHM gig and into a part-time job as a church administrator, and the youngest is heading off to high school in September.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Up until recently, the only seed beads I purchased were Vintage Venetian Seed Beads. These are approximately one hundred years old and previously unused, having been in storage for many years. They originated from Murano, Italy, where there was a consortium of glass makers. (These are the seed beads you see in the photographs above.)  I purchased quite a few grams of these seed beads already,and while I still have a fair amount in my possession, the main source of supply is beginning to “dry up.”  Color me grateful for the occasionally foray into being a spendthrift!

While I do have a shop on Etsy, I know there are many people out there who are much, much more talented than I am. I enjoy making things for my own use, gifts for friends and family members, and being able to sell my creations on occasion is a surprise bonus.

etsy listings collage

How does your creating process work?

I am definitely an amateur in everything I do. Sometimes I will be inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or in a catalog, and at other times I simply have an idea or “picture” in my head of what I’d like to create with the camera or my hands; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  I seem to do a lot of creative dance steps: one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back… in quilting, this is called “unsewing” and I’ve decided to use the word “unbeading” when I am designing a new lanyard (or anything, really).
There are times when I am on a walk or a drive, or perhaps simply looking out my living room window, and I am overcome with the need to spill prose onto paper. If I put it off, the words fade from my brain and I lose them forever — so I’ve learned to stop and write if I am able to do so — but it is difficult to be driving across the state and write things down.
I can also go for days or even weeks without a creative urge. These dry times are disappointing but eventually they do end. 

Petrified Wood  (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

Petrified Wood (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

My creative friends:

I am tagging two creative friends. One I met first in person and then later read her blog, the other I met online and later proved to each other that neither was an ax murderer.

My friend Joanne is someone I met at scrapbooking retreats and with whom I recently enjoyed camping. She is the one who came up with the idea of painting rocks with the kids, crochets amazing slippers, and blogs at Trying to be Creative.

Gary is a blogger I met online soon after I began blogging in 2008 and my family enjoyed meeting him in person a few years later.  (Click here for Gary’s blog post that experience.)  Gary is a potter extraordinaire and an animal lover.

Syringa, Part Three: Canadian Camping Adventures

July 17, 2014

I’ve met some really fun friends while scrapbooking.

4 Js and a K

4 Js and a K

Twice a year, we get together and stay in what I’ve dubbed “the Cannuck Party Trailer” at a weekend scrapbooking event that takes place approximately halfway between my town and theirs.  At the last crop, we discussed the possibility of me getting my family to join all of their families at a campground for a long weekend.  I started working on my family with this plan right away, and within a few months it was “all systems go!”


The other gals all have RVs, but this was home-sweet-home for the weekend for my family.  (Not pictured: SnakeMaster’s backpacking hammock where he slept.)

I really enjoy having older kids who no longer need nor want to share a tent with their parents. That big tent was designed to sleep 6 people, which is exactly how we used it for many years; now it is the master bedroom.  I am, however, beginning the chant of “glamping” because I really don’t enjoy having to fully wake up, crawl out of bed AND out of a tent just to walk a quarter-mile to use a bathroom!  Sure, on a starry night it is a lovely walk… but it can be difficult to go back to sleep upon return to bed.

DSCN0914 Thumbs up for Syringa!

Thumbs up for Syringa!

Camping with other people has additional benefits beyond me , the lone female amongst males, having other women around for conversation.  We share “camping hacks” (ideas that make camping easier, such as hanging your roll of paper towels from a bungee cord “rod” on the canopy over the picnic table — truly brilliant and I can’t believe we never thought of something so simple before), beverages, activities for the kid in all of us, and games.

DSCN3770  Black rock with cobalt designsDSCN3769  Turquoise ladybug rock









The kids and moms painted rocks with acrylic paint. These two beauties above were crafted by Humorous-Juniorous, my 18yo son. He’s got some artistic talent.   (What you do not see here is my attempt at sprigs of lilacs. Someone commented on it later on being a really nice purple tree… so at least there’s that amount of recognition.)  One of my friends there is also a blogger, so I expect at some point she will post pictures of other rocks on her blog. She is also the one who made a jaunt into town for this box of supplies…


Now can you think of a project to do with a box of these edibles?

These ladies have a plan

These ladies have a plan


Ready… set…



It's better to bite than lick if you want to win

It’s better to bite than lick if you want to win

DSCN0937  donut boys

DSCN0939 donut girls

 This is one game where everyone who plays is a winner. 

I recommend the sour cream old fashioneds.  I had one bite and it was worth every calorie. :)

Rock painted by SnakeMaster

Rock painted by SnakeMaster


If you haven’t seen them yet, click  over to Part One and Part Two.


Syringa, part two

July 16, 2014

DSCN0871 UP at Syringa

DSCN0878  running water















DSCN0905  Smells SO GOOD


DSCN0880  waterfall

DSCN0899 cropped, Lower Arrow Lake

DSCN0916  boys after battling the storm



DSCN0919 scenic

Part one can be seen here.

CHM 2014 Garden Tour

July 13, 2014
My bottle tree

My bottle tree

Carolyn over at Deep Thoughts of a Common Household Mom is hosting a garden tour today. Pop on over to her blog to see a list of all who are participating.

This fountain was at the entrance to my mom's house. The birds enjoy drinking here and so does the cat...  and probably some nocturnal wildlife, too, as evidenced by the occasional footprints. 

This fountain was originally at the entrance to my mom’s house and now sits by my own front door. The birds enjoy drinking here and so does the cat… and probably some nocturnal wildlife, too, as evidenced by the occasional footprints.

My confession: I am not a gardener. I keep the Christmas Cactus plants very happy indoors, but it is my husband who puts 90% of the work into our yard. I like to tell him what I think will look good and sometimes he listens to my ideas.  My theory is that when I was young, all of us kids were forced into slave labor weeding and I was scarred by the slugs and bird droppings.  I like the idea of gardening but not the sweaty, tedious work that goes into it. Weeding the garden is a lot like cleaning the bathroom or the kitchen — an hour later, it hardly looks like I did anything to clean it up. Also, if I’m down on the ground too long I have trouble getting back up again.

But never mind all that…

Clockwise from top right: small rose bush, strawberry patch, back garden with baby hydrangeas, iris, columbine and tulips

Clockwise from top right: young, small rose bush; older strawberry patch;  back garden abundant with baby hydrangeas, iris, columbine and tulips


My friend ~A~ has been very generous with us and given us bulbs and plants from her own yard, since we moved into this house 3 years ago to discover we had almost no flowers in the garden.  All of my iris bulbs, the columbine, lilies, daisies, and more came from her garden. She even bought a purple-flowered butterfly bush as a gift for us, so in a way our garden is half hers.  I remind her of this when we are overwhelmed with squash and zucchini.

499 Garden sweet pea blossoms, June 2013

the peas in bloom

Mmmm... good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Mmmm… good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

The above pictures taken over the past few months (or even the past few springs… I hope you’re not picky).  Parts of our garden are much prettier in springtime than in the heat of mid-summer.

Right now we are in vegetable garden season: peas, beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes (as of yet, still in bud or green orbs) and sunflowers. We have 2 raised beds in the backyard, stretches of garden area along the fence and house in back, and another garden patch between the driveway and alley on the side of the house.

DSCN3759  resized for web sharing

The birds will be happy well into the winter with another good crop of sunflowers this year.

The most current event happening in our garden is a new fence. The old fence was about to fall over in places, so piece by piece and section by section, SuperDad is building a new (taller! prettier!) fence for us.  Right now there are 3 new sections in various stages of being ready to join the standing section pictured below. Our temps are reaching for 100°F here this weekend so it is hot, slow work.

DSCN3755 new fence section

A few raspberry brambles have made their way under and through the old fence from the neighbors’ yard. These meager branches have provided us with a handful of berries. And then, a few days ago,  we noticed that the house across the street had a profusion of raspberries in the back garden, so we called up the owner and asked if she needed help picking (and eating) them. SCORE!  We’ve picked and enjoyed nearly a gallon of red deliciousness since then.

DSCN3752  Lavender, cropped pic 4x6I posted a few days ago about my lavender, which has grown quite nicely from the small mound I lovingly planted in front of my kitchen window.  (Surprise! I actually do a little bit of gardening.) Some of that lavender might just go into the making of gifts, such as lavender sugar or lavender sugar scrubs or perhaps even a sachet or two. We’ll have to wait and see how crafty I am feeling this fall.

In another month we’ll be in high season for squash and zucchini. We might go a little overboard with those each year (if you’ve never read that zucchini post, you really ought to click on that link) but they are so good!  I should go thaw the rest of the shredded zucchini from last year and bake up a few batches of bread before we become inundated once more.


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