sweet … we’ve been awarded!


A little while ago, I was pleasantly surprised with a Kreativ Blogger Award handed over by Kate of Marmalade Moon. Kate is an artist who makes exceptional use of gorgeous color and fresh design. I imagine her icons living beautifully and contently in my digital world one day. Her blog is one beautiful spot in the blogosphere. Her writings are thoughtful and inspiring. Reading it is always, always a joy.

To reciprocate this award, I will leave you with seven blogs, out of many, many more, that I read because they inspire me. But first I will share seven things that perhaps you did not know about us.

So here goes:


 1.  This summer Jeff and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Twenty This is what we looked like when we were dating. When we met, we didn’t know we had identical hearts.


2. We have three children.

DSCF9021 This is what both of our hearts look like. We look at it everyday.


3. Our youngest child, Lucas, turned 18 years old this month while Jeff and I hit a bittersweet milestone.

01Bass Player LJOThis is what one, of many, of his smiles looked like his very first year.


4. What I miss most about being a mom to really young people, is throwing birthday parties. For Lucas’ second birthday I made a maypole and had everyone dance around it and weave the ribbons in one of the tiniest backyards anyone has ever seen. I’m the one wearing the dress and holding Lucas in my arms.

Maypoll1 This is what an absolute blast looks like.


5. In high school, Jeff was voted class clown by his classmates, which was actually quite perfect since I had already decided, when I was little, that clowns were pretty terrific people and that I when I got ready to marry, it should be to a clown.

Jeff 53 This is what his afro looked like.


6. One of our favorite, among favorite, places is Key West. It’s only about a six hour drive to get the closest point to Cuba in the US.

I love all the roosters roaming, iguanas basking, fat six-toed cats lounging, and being able to sit in the middle of a Vincent Van Gogh painting.

Keys2 001 This is me in heaven.


7. Watching live music is our idea of fun. When we were dating we saw tons of concerts, and even when the kids came into our lives we would attend as many outdoor music festivals as we could. Nowadays, we are very happy and appreciative just to step out to see local musicians play in the smallest of venues.

Usalways This is what we look like now at one of our favorite music spots -Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa.

And now for a short list of seven sweet and very cool blogs:

additions style – Valerie makes amazing jewelry – simple and stunning, and all from hardware. She blogs daily about her inspirations, creativity, and business, all while helping her readers find their own personal way to creative breakthroughs.

twirling betty – Reading this blog pure, pure fun. Clever, humorous, and extremely engaging -Christen gives us a peek into a very delightful and charming world while sharing her newly found craftyness with us---and we are all the better for it.

simply said is home of the creator of beautifully delightful paper cards and keepsakes. Jen’s work is perfection. Her originality and friendliness shines through on her blog as she takes us through some of her processes and shows us her favorite craft finds.

ginga squid - I have been head-over-heels for Vicky’s vibrant, unique and wooly jewelry and accessories for a while now. I know very little about fiber arts, but her blog always draws me in with the glimpses she offers into her ingenious world of spinning, felting and knitting.

cole & josephine - Nicole is the creator of striking -yet delicate, intensely colorful –while remaining whimsical, lovely illustrations. Her blog is just as original, amusing and extremely clever as her artwork is. She keeps up with both at an amazing pace.

by hand at home is where Kendra has created a home that feels every bit as warm, cozy and lovely as I imagine her real home is. She makes soft, wooly, precious toys and more as she explores the world of handmade with her family.

lift bridge is the blog of another talented and very giving paper crafter. (I have an affinity for all things paper.) Deb has a wonderful eye for design. While creating, she gives us some really terrific tutorials. I always look forward to see what she’ll show us next.

These are just a few of the blogs that I love to read; there are so many out there. I believe we live in amazing times, these blogs confirm that for me, and *reading them* are an absolute blast.

bamboo vase wrapped in palm lined street

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Jeff took this picture of a pretty, and very long, stretch of boulevard with his iphone and his favorite app called toy camera.  When I first saw it, a daydream began…

Thomas Edison is responsible for the royal palm trees lining the road. Our town is where Edison’s summer home was located. His house and property are still open to the public.

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The property is brimming with all sorts of trees and plants, including many different varieties of bamboo. You see, Edison was as crazy about the luscious, giant grass as Jeff and I are now, but probably for different reasons. He was looking for the perfect material for the filament of his light bulbs and had some success with bamboo fibers.

I wanted to combine the two---palm trees and bamboo, and created a vase that my 18 year old son actually complimented me on. (wow! I think that’s a first.)

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First, I printed Jeff’s photo twice. One, large enough to wrap around the bamboo. Instead of cutting the print out, I folded the paper and tore it, so the edge would have a softer look.

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And the second one I printed smaller---

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---just large enough to lay over and cover six small bamboo squares that Jeff cut for me.

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They’re about the size of scrabble pieces. I cut the small print into six pieces and glued them to the bamboo squares. Then I applied a couple of layers of Modge Podge – a waterbase sealer and glue to both the vase and the square tiles to protect the prints.

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Then, I started playing around with the tiles to decide how I wanted them to go on the vase. I thought that they needed to stand out a bit more.

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So, I soaked them in some dye, knowing that only the cut sides of the bamboo tiles would soak up the color. Underneath the bamboo’s slick surface are very porous fibers. And, the print is protected by the Modge Podge.

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See! …It worked.

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I also wanted a heavier finish on the vase, so I applied three more coats of Modge Podge.

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I did one more thing, to help the tiles stand out more on the vase. I took some smaller bamboo tiles and glued them to the backs.

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This raised my square tiles off the vase even more.

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To glue the tiles on, I needed something stronger than Modge Podge. Jeff picked up an adhesive by Loctite called Stik’n Seal No Mess Non-Toxic Adhesive. It cleans up with soapy water and works really, really well.

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And this is what a daydream realized looks like.

We are happy people when we’re able to carry out a completely imagined idea and make it real. It’s human nature.

I would like to live about three hundred years. I think I have ideas enough to keep me busy that long. ~Thomas Edison

Me too, Mr. Edison.

I took the Craft Blog Tune-up…

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…a class for creative bloggers by Sister Diane, and wanted to share. Sister Diane – aka Diane Gilleland, has a brilliant blog called CraftyPod  about all things creative and business related. I’ve written about a couple of her tutorials on how to make her splendid notepads here.

I knew Sister Diane’s Craft Blog Tune-up class was going to be worth signing up for. I had been listening to her clever and entertaining podcast for several months and had already purchased a copy of her ‘Creating a Blog Audience’ e-book. So, I was familiar with how incredibly enlightening and practical her material is.

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Her class offered all the value I expected, but went over and above anything I anticipated. For one thing, the scope of the information she provided was in-depth and laid out in a way that made it engaging and a breeze to follow. It was provided in installments of audio recordings, video, interactive blog postings and even forum topics.

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Participating was fun and supportive, even for someone like myself who is typically a bit inhibited when it comes to social networking---but, I had a blast. Multiple chat times were scheduled. And, meeting my classmates, from all over, near and far, was a gift that I still treasure.

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But what really blew me away was Diane’s personal involvement through out the whole class. She made herself completely accessible to us and invited us to pick her brain and ask anything, anytime. This is what made it priceless and a wonderful space to be included in.

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The way I blog, the way I feel about blogging, and what I think about and keep in mind while blogging, has permanently changed for the better and expanded to a new level---a place I couldn't be more delighted with.

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CraftyPod is a tremendous resource in itself for anyone wanting to craft or be in the business of crafting, but for some seriously detailed nuts and bolts---here is a list of Diane’s online classes that she has offered where you can join an email list to find out about upcoming classes. She also offers a selection of crafty business e-books and crafty e-books about making things.

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I imagine myself taking more of Sister Diane’s classes in the future, and while I’m envisioning this, a title of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books always floats by … ‘oh, the places you will go’.

May is for the blooming hoya

hoya vine
It was this time of year when Jeff, the kids and I moved into our home. The yard was a jungle and the children likened it to one their favorite books, ‘Jumanji’.
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It was clear that the original owners had a penchant for tropical houseplants and planted as many as they could in the yard, under the canopy of oak trees and cabbage palm. For twenty years, more or less, they had grown untouched and with wild abandon. Some had grown to sizes that I would have never imagined and hardly recognized.
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But there was one, in particular, that I was sure I had never seen before… this beautiful vine with white and pink flower clusters which look like upside down parachutes.
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I was enchanted and wanted this home and little plot of paradise more than I was capable of explaining. Fortunately Jeff understood my mutterings, and the look in my eyes.
We made it our home thirteen years ago and never looked back.
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Every house-anniversary, we are greeted with our favorite, among favorites, of flowers that bloom in our yard.
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Hoya is a genus of several hundred species of tropical climbing plants, and our pretty vine here is one of one-hundred species of the Hoya--- the Hoya Carnosa. Traditionally called ‘Grandma's Old Fashioned Wax Plant’, it is one of the most common.
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I’ve recently seen it being called ‘Strawberries & Cream Wax Plant’ by a seller on amazon.com and thought that name suited it just fine.
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Ours grow up our trees and are particularly fond of the cabbage palms. Their blooms last for several months and release a strong, yet heavenly, lingering, smell in the evenings.
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I’ve decided to try some easy stem cutting to see if I can get them to root. If I’m successful I will be spreading this lusciousness around to friends and family during visits. 
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Such a small, simple, and genuine gesture---and one that I vow to get into the habit of doing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

a photo becomes a functional gift

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This is something I’ve been wanting to try; Mother’s Day gave me the perfect excuse. 

Jeff and I recycle our mixed-nut containers and turn them into useful pieces of art by applying the same process on them as we do our upcycled bottles. (Some samples can be seen here and here in our Etsy shop.)

But I have been imagining wrapping one of them in a photo.

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This photo is family favorite of ours. It is a picture of my great-grandmother and her children.

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Her oldest daughter was my Granny---and my mother’s Mama.

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It didn’t take long for me to decide which photo to use for my mom’s gift box. There were a couple of considerations, though. The container is 4 inches in diameter and only a little less than 3 1/2 inches tall.

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So the image had to cropped at a 13 x 3.375 inch ratio. Fortunately, I was able to get everyone’s faces in there, for the most part. And, was able to print it on legal size paper.


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I cut the photo out with scissors and applied spray adhesive to the back. I recommend this route of attaching the photo to the canister, as opposed to other forms of adhesive. Lining the photo up, on a cylinder, is not easy. You probably won’t get it right the first time. The spray adhesive stays tacky for a good length of time, and the paper remained strong---even after I took it off for the fourth time and re-sprayed the adhesive on again.

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Finally, I got it right. When I measured, I allowed for a small overlap at the seam. To give it a continuous look, I trimmed around my great-aunt’s bow in her hair to allow it to tab-over onto her mother’s shoulder.

For the round top, I knew that I wanted to use one of my photos taken through a small lens I had removed from an old photography enlarger, used for developing film.

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When I hold my camera up to it, I’m able to get really close to (like right on top of) my subject. It creates a black, round frame…

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like this picture of jasmine…

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and this of red penta…

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butterfly milkweed…

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a rose…

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I just needed to decide which.

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ok…there is a reason why dragon flies allow you to get so close to them. It because of all of the mosquitoes, your body is attracting, and swarming around you. They eat mosquitoes---did you know that?

I knew better than to choose that one.

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I chose this one. It is an un-invited weed, and I don’t know what it is called, but I think they resemble daisies. And, the daisy is my mom’s favorite flower.

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I printed the image out to 3.5 inches tall on the paper, cut it out, and sprayed on adhesive to the back.  I had two tops to chose from…

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and chose the one with the black rim.

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I think she’ll like it, and I *know* my sisters will. I imagine she’ll keep her hard candies in it.

I haven’t been able to stop looking at my Granny’s face, while working on this post. I see my face in there, when I was child…my children’s faces, and my sister’s children’s faces…

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I’m looking forward to it myself. And whether you live where Mothers Day is observed or not, whether you are a mother or not, sit back and put your feet up for a bit on Sunday, and think about who loves you. Your mom would like that.