Hello Thursday, Here are Your Packages and Plans

How do you like your packages wrapped?  Fancy foil paper, plain tissue paper, recycled newspapers or Sunday comics?  These packages should be getting to their destination any day now.  Can't reveal the contents to you until the giftee has received them.  Oh, and I only took a picture of the large package before I wrapped it, because I forgot to take photos of the two smaller items before wrapping.  Slap to forehead and a not too naughty four letter word.  LOL

brown paper packages tied up with yarnThe image is disguised a bit, I played with it on
iPiccy, it's similar to PicMonkey.   iPiccy has lots of options and the "Merge Layers"  command makes all your choices come together nicely. There are definite differences between iPiccy and PicMonkey, if you are in need of photo editing, give them a try.

As it's Thursday, it's back to decluttering for me.  Many boxes in the basement to unpack and then repack what is left after sorting. Trying to leave a little room in the garage for walking through.

I thought to have the Yard Sale (thanks for the tips!) last weekend, but the weather turned cold and being outside for most of the day probably would not be a good idea.  As soon as I have more boxes unpacked I'll give the yard sale a go.

When I need a break from the boxes, the craft room beckons.  It's too bad, "box" is not a four letter word or I'd have my word ready for June 28th, the next linkup.  As long as I don't start dreaming about the basement and the boxes I should be okay. hahaha  

Have a great weekend and see you soon.  ♥

Some Gave All and Photojourney of a Victorian Cemetery

This Memorial Day we thank those who served in defending our freedom and the freedom of strangers.  Whether at home or in foreign lands, giving everything they had, they left an indelible mark on history.  No amount of thanks is sufficient, but in recognizing their sacrifice, we hope to hold them in the highest esteem.

Yesterday I took a drive of about 15 miles or so in one direction, then came back home a different route.  All along the way, US flags were waving in the cool air with the sun shining brightly.  Flags on lamp posts, in garden pots, from poles, on doorways, and more.

There is a cemetery that I've wanted to stop in since moving here.  I know, it may sound strange, but this cemetery is set on rolling hills with large trees and many unique and touching monuments.

So with Lucy in the back seat I turned in the gate, leaving the red brick road behind, to find myself very near this statue.   It's extremely tall and the face of the soldier so very lifelike.  The eagles are perched towards the bottom.

Very slowly I drove on a narrow one way road up and down the hills, through various parts of the cemetery.  I was taken aback by all of the crypts and mausoleums.  The birds were flying from tree to tree, singing their hearts out and there were flowering shrubs and ferns planted around the headstones.  All in all it was a strange and beautiful scene.

The sun was so bright that after taking a picture and looking at the screen, I could not tell whether I got the picture or not.  Maybe I will go back another time on a cloudy day, maybe not, it's unnerving being there.

Here are some of the pictures I was able to get.  A few I was able to get out of the car and walk to get closer, the others were taken from the driver's seat.  Click on the images to see them larger.

This monument with the woman holding onto the cross caught my attention as I was on my way out of the cemetery.

I saw about a half dozen crypts built into the hillside.

This crypt had a grand staircase.  Wondering the meaning behind their choice for this design.                

The mausoleums scattered around the space looked like little "follies" or extravagant playhouses.  These were probably built in the Victorian era.


I drove two times around to get the photo of this mausoleum --->

Set back from the road, the shadows from the trees reminded me of a little church from one of Jane Austen's books or something from Masterpiece Theatre.   It made me want to get out of the car and go inside, but then I knew it wasn't something I would really want to do.

From reading a few of the headstones, I could see this was a resting place for people of all faiths.  If we could all get along and abide together in life, Memorial Days could be ancient history. Otherwise our next door neighbor in death may just be a believer in a faith we don't accept or tolerate and what can you do about that? Despite all our differences whether we are fighting for the oppressed, over boundaries or religion...life is precious in all stages.

God Bless and have a safe and loving holiday.  ♥

4th Friday, Things That May ----

mixed media collage
I am on a roll.  My 4 letter word was changed at the last moment after the week that was.  I took a dim view with this word, but there is a little bit of sarcasm and humor, too.  "Things that may suck," not bleepable and  a word rarely spoken by me, but there it is.    

An old Zoology book provided the black and white drawings of the sea creatures and the insects.  An office envelope, dictionary page, and clippings from calendars, magazines, and scrap paper filled in the balance; then highlighters, ink, and Sharpies.

Some of the images:  Sphinx, Recliner, Feather, Dream-Catcher, Straws, Rain, Old Wood, Birthday Candles, Numbers,  ... Tick, Louse, Horse Botfly, and the two Sea Creatures.  Lots of things that Do or May Suck.  Things that time, age, and money can't inhibit, too.  I'm so glad I keep a happy balance,  lol.

Want to join the Pinterest Board for Inspired by Four?  Please leave a comment on the board and I will send you the Group Invite through Pinterest; accept the invite and you are then able to add your link.  Here is the  Board Link.

Add your link to the collection below and show us what you were Inspired by this month. ♥ June 28th is the next Inspired by Four.  Hope to see you then.

If you would like to add the linkup to your blog, copy and paste to access the code: get the InLinkz code

mixed media collage

I want to make a special mention for the Tornado survivors and their loss of family, friends, pets, property, businesses, and infrastructure.  A truly overwhelming devastation for them personally and for the country.  To those who are sending prayers, basic necessities, and money- I am with you.  Big hope that they will be back on their feet soon, with our help.

If you haven't seen Valerie's blog, "Everyday Inspired," go check it out.  Her theme this week was "Embracing Harmony," and I was invited to participate in a recurring series, Join the Conversation.  I thought the question was going to be easy to answer, but I did think about it for some time.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you soon.

This is Like a Little Cornucopia

fish eye lens funny filter
Lucy Through a Fish Eye Lens.

Hope everyone is having a great week, being productive, making memories, and easing into the warmer weather.  It was 32 with a freeze warning for two days, the next day it was 85 and today is up there warm-wise, too.  That's Spring in Ohio. This blog post is a little cornucopia of topics.

Well, I have been practicing a bit with the new camera, and my conclusion is, it must be me. The images are still blurry even with the stabilization setting on, and the macro is a little better, but not perfect.

The camera does have a touch screen option to take a photo, and that was the only way to get a picture of Lucy.  She's not one to pose, not for two seconds, not for 1.5 seconds.  The fish eye lens made some funny images, and poor Lucy is all nose in this one.  At the bottom of the page, you can see her in normal focus.  I mention  that for karma's sake.

I had to separate the sandwich to cut it.
I  found myself in IHop looking for a muffin or a piece of pie and a pot of tea, but they don't have anything like that (tea, yes.)  The last time I was in an IHop  it was a bad experience, so today I gave them another chance, and they passed.

Since I took the camera with me, I thought I'd snap a quick photo of my plate.   The lighting is a little dim,  I didn't use the flash, but there are some details showing up, like the moisture on the knife and the texture in the spinach.

This was artisan grilled sourdough bread (2 half, but large slices) with lots of tasty veggies cooked in scrambled egg with a variety of cheeses.  A little dish of fresh fruit- nice, was my side instead of potatoes.  Trying to limit my carbs, all in all a good meal for $4.99.  No, this is not a paid post; LOL.

I want to give a reminder about the Inspired by Four series.  Next Friday, May 24th, is the fourth Friday of the month and our second challenge with linkup.  Have you chosen a word yet?  I have and need to get the work finished.  Anyone who wants to join, please do.  Read the link above and you will be all set with info and links too.

Take good care my friends, have a great weekend.  I will be continuing to declutter the basement and upstairs.  The garage is half filled with things to donate or put in a yard sale.  It will take me a few months to declutter the whole house with my pace, but it will be done!

Any Yard Salers among the readers?  Tips?  Spill!

Kicking it With Heat and Tang on a Cracker

In trying to put together some quick, inexpensive, semi-low calorie and taste good meals I put this little idea together for shrimp and hummus on crackers.  Crackers aren't usually low calorie due to the fat content (which makes them nice and crispy when fresh) but the shrimp and hummus have a way of balancing out the rest. They are more filling than just cheese and crackers, plus a benefit is that shrimp and some other seafood are an aid for relieving pain.

This isn't about that retro powdered drink, from the 1950's "Tang" this is about fire and tang in a meal, not bland. The hummus fires up the shrimp here...  

Here's my meal of crackers with Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, topped with pre-cooked medium size Shrimp and then sprinkled with some herbs and Sesame Seeds.   I was surprised at how filling this was.  I thawed out too many shrimp so some of the crackers have two, and the 12 ounce bag will last me a while.

I'm trying to experiment with foods I don't usually eat in an effort to let go of some if not most of the foods I turn to for a fast meal when I am in too much pain to cook.  My freezer has mostly vegetables, but there are also mini meat loaves and meatballs, I cooked and froze, plus blueberries for yogurt and oatmeal (I hate to eat oatmeal but do because it's filling and healthy- steel cut oats) salmon, and chicken.  There is the occasional sugar cone with nuts and ice cream, but I am going to give them up! Well, maybe not.

This hummus has a kick to it and the red pepper is probably good for getting Vitamin C and helping a slow metabolism.  I guess you'd have to eat a lot of pepper for that, but every little bit helps.  I'm not a pepper lover, at least not the very hot ones, yet this has just enough heat and tang to it.

Foods are like key ingredients in a pantry for better health.  It's picking the right ones and leaving the bad ones on the shelf that is temptation.  (I am more regularly leaving chocolate on the shelf and not in my cart.)
What foods do you leave on the shelf?

Refreshing the Creative Muse and New Jewelry

long necklace with drop bead earrings silver When I was making this new jewelry as a set, it was meant to be a gift.  Then I found out that her style is more to the funky style and chunky size and I thought that the necklace and earrings were not going to be a good fit for her taste and personality.  

So, what should I do with these?  Wear them or sell them?  Keep them together or as separate items?  My Storenvy has been in maintenance mode, I haven't had the passion for it as when the storefront was initially opened and during the first year or so. Storenvy  was easy to setup and unless you want to customize your storefront and use your own domain, it's free to have a store. No fees!  (There are Paypal fees, but at the moment, no Storenvy fees.)

Do you go through cycles with your store- working at it, improving it, etc.  and then do you need a break?  When your market and niche have been laser focused and you have a plan, what makes you keep to the plan?  There are so many distractions and commitments in our daily routines, plus being the CEO of your business and being creative at the same time.  Do you have a way to work all of them into a good blend?  Other than time management, do you meditate, listen to music, take a walk, or something else to refresh the creative muse?

My desk and shelves are loaded with supplies and after not being able to do anything because of the eye problems, there was a groove I was pulled out of and want to get back to.  It was comfortable and messy, with too many ideas and not enough time to complete more than a handful of them.   On the blog, I seriously need to have clearer, crisper images, and will be working on that with the new camera- soon.

So, what about it?  Are you in a groove with your creative work and business, running smoothly along and taking a break to feel refreshed?  What's your inspiration?


Diaper a Banana? Baby Your Bananas to Make Them Stay Fresh Longer

Sounds crazy right?  Diaper a banana?  Here's the thing, when I buy bananas I look for the greenest, least ripe ones on display, but buy yellow ones if that's all the store has on offer. What happens when the bananas sit in the kitchen?  They get ripe and must be eaten within at the most three days.  After three days I have to make Banana Cake/Bread.  I know, not a hardship to make and eat cake, LOL.  However, it's eating one or two bananas each day that is the problem.

Why did I diaper my banana stem?  I was standing at the counter waiting for the kettle to boil. The ugly end of the bunch of bananas is, well, it's ugly and gnarly, all ripped and darkening and it's in my line of sight.  At that moment of not wanting to see the ugly end and having turned the bunch around more than once to hide the stem end, bruises get more pronounced and numerous from all the shifting of the bunch in the bowl, I ripped a small piece of paper towel off the roll and wrapped it around the ugly end- essentially, diapering the banana end.  And then I laughed at the sight of it, but left the paper wrapped around the stem.  Weird, right?

wrap the banana stem to stop it from ripening so fastYou know what happened next?  Over the next few days the bananas continued to ripen and then all of a sudden, they stopped.  They didn't get soft, they didn't get black, there are very few spots and this is good.  Not having to eat the bananas in two days is good.  Not having to make cake is good (sometimes.)  The bananas were yellow when I bought them and here is a photo of the banana that is on Day Ten after coming home.

Since I had this accidental discovery I searched the web and found where people have been wrapping the ugly stem end with foil, newspaper, or plastic wrap in an effort to slow down the ripening.  The results are varied.  Some suggestions were to wrap the whole banana and to separate the bunch.  That sounds like a lot of work.  A popular suggestion is to refrigerate the bananas.  The peel will turn black, but are supposed to be fine to eat.

I think I'll stick with my little paper towel diaper or maybe go crafty with a decked out cardboard tube from empty rolls of paper.  Hold the talcum powder and rash creme.