Monday, October 3, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The Canada Geese are gathering in large numbers.  It is the time of year.  We have been experiencing wonderful weather for October.

The geese were communicating, honking and flying over head.  I expect they are in fields feeding on harvest leftovers and I was grateful to see so many on Saturday morning.

This is the largest pond at the Heritage Hills Wetlands.  I did a large walk because I walked along all 3 ponds that morning.

The weather was perfect and I had such a good time.  The sun rose of course as I was out there and it affected my photos.

Sunrise and sunset are getting closer together.

I finished this book earlier this week.  The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards was an interesting read.

There are two story lines for a set of twins - Paul stayed with his parents David and Norah.  David a doctor gave away his daughter because she had Down Syndrome.  This decision made this couple absolutely crazy.  I just quit reading that story line about half way through the book.

Phoebe was given to the David's nurse, Caroline to be delivered to an institution for disabled persons.  In the 1960s this was common.  She could not leave the baby girl in this very sad and desperate institution. The night the baby born Caroline meets her future husband and makes a move to ensure that Phoebe survives and thrives.  This story line was so much more positive and uplifting.

When I quit the first story line and when to the last chapter and read back a few chapters to get the end of the story.  Saved the book for me.

I received a bowl full of beautiful cherry tomatoes from my aunt.  I am so grateful to have these delicious fruit to eat for the next few days.  I have a bunch more green ones which will ripen over the next couple weeks.

I roasted some the other day that were the last of the ones I had bought from the grocery store.  They burst and were delicious.  I ate them with the pizza that was in the oven at the same time.

Harvest is such an amazing thing.

I finally got one of these vintage pencil sharpeners.  We had one of these when I was at home and going to school.  With 8 kids in school you can bet it got a lot of use.  It was rescued when Mom and Dad left the house in 2015. 

I found this one at the thrift store the other day and check out the price of $2.  Once it got a real good cleaning I discovered that the suction cup on the bottom still works as designed.

I tested it out before I took it home and it will be appreciated for the next long while.  I use colored pencils mostly because I use mechanical pencils for writing.

Very grateful that it showed up after looking for about 4 years.

Every Step she Takes - K. L. Armstrong was the book I finished in the last couple of days.

I did finish this one but it was another story which was pretty crazy.  The murder mystery was interesting and compelling.

It was not for me but I am sure it works for others out there.

A beautiful fall shot of the yellow leaves in this season of autumn.

The challenge for Flickr's Macro Mondays is "Open". This was a great challenge and allowed a wide variety of subjects.  The shot on the right is an open container of leads for mechanical pencils.  You can see my submission on my Photostream (SMDPics).

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Christmas Card Challenge - Watecolor - Ornaments

Another set of watercolor Christmas Cards. 

I wanted a branch with an ornament.  I put a wash of Old Olive green in the top right hand corner blended softly to the center and left hand side to suggested more tree.  

Once that was completely dry I drew my line for the branch with a pencil.  I worked with Always Artichoke, Old Olive and More Mustard. It was really hard to be loose and let the needles go willy nilly but it worked. 

Then when the branch was dry I drew the ornament by hand with a pencil. I filled the ornament with Tempting Turquoise and Night of Navy. Card is Marina Mist. I added another layer of wash on the right hand side to suggest light from the left. 

I did the hanger with a very thin brush and Payne's Gray also lining the outside of the ornament.


On this card I used Elegant Eggplant purple color on the ornament with the same general steps for the branch.

I ended up with a harder high light spot on the left hand side which works better.  The darker side on the right hand side does not seem to be as dark as I intended.  Watercolor is sometimes hard to judge as it dries lighter.

I have used the color of the ornament to add spatter to the layer.

The card stock used for these ornaments is the back side of the Foil Joy cards I did last month.  It was a textured linen card stock.  I think it worked with the watercolor pretty well.

On this card I used Rich Razzleberry pinky purple for the ornament.

The pieces of card stock were trimmed to 3.75 x 5 inches before I started painting. They warped a little so needed to be steamed and pressed to flatten.

The ornament layer was adhered to the card front with 3D foam tape in the corners and a bit in the center.

I did add my signature on the original art after I photographed them for blogging.

Seasonal inserts and white envelopes have been added to the mix and they are sitting in the box for December 1st.

The color is Stampin Up Watercolor Wonder crayons and coordinating SU card stock.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Small Gifts - Oil Diffusers - Felt Balls


I made these oil diffusers with the popular 1.25 inch felt balls. They are strung on cotton cord with additional embellishments such as fancy beads, metal filigree, and faceted beads. As you can see they vary in length from 4.5 to 6 inches.  Some have wood clothes pins and some plastic for hanging. 

These work well in the car as air fresheners with your favorite essential oil.  As the air blows through your vents the scent is distributed into your space.  It can hang from your review mirror as well. 

The oil used could be for deodorizing for fresheness, calming for the commute, or energizing for the long road trips. 

I'm putting on in my car.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Small Gift - Oil Diffusers - Felt Stacks

These are my felt stack oil diffusers.  I up cycled tealight holders to hold a stack of felt circles.  The circles were cut 1.5 inches in diameter and stacked until they filled the cavity of the holder.

 I believe this one has 10 layers of royal purple felt. I added a silver flower accent topped with a 12mm crystal glass faceted bead.  The purple thread runs from the bottom through the accents then back down to the bottom of the felt stack where it was securely tied.  The heavy glass holder ensures that oil drops don't damage the surface the diffuser sits on.  

I worked with a winter theme for this diffuser.  I chose a blown glass tealight holder.  I cut 1.5 inches felt circles in turquoise, aqua and light blue felt and layered these into the stack.  I topped the stack with a white diecut snowflake and a 12mm clear crystal glass bead.  The accents are held in place with a turquoise thread.  Starts at the bottom through the accents and back down the other side of the bead then back down to the bottom.  The thread is knotted securely fastening the layers together.

This diffuser features pink and grey felt stack.  The holder is a clear glass heavy with smooth sides.  The felt stack was topped with a white diecut daisy and a 12mm clear crystal glass faceted bead. This accent is held in place with grey thread which starts on the bottom, thread through the accents and the goes back down the stack and is tied securely on the bottom.  The glass holder protects the surface from oil drop damage.

Small Gifts - Oil Diffusers - One of a Kind

I created this unique essential oil diffuser with a small martini glass.

I dyed a felted wool ball with a couple of shade of ink.  A few drops of each Nick Bantock Sap Moss and Chartreuse Leaf was added to water to cover the ball. The ball was wet with clear water then immersed into the dye.  It was left there for a half hour.  I squished some of the dye out so it would dry more easily.

The first one I dyed were left overnight and still had to be put in the microwave so this one just went directly there.  With about 15 seconds bursts and cooling down in between it took a few minutes to dry it.

I then put a long round toothpick through the "olive". I then punched a small circle of red felt. To attach the pimento to the olive I put a small green ebead on the bottom end of a green thread and pushed it through the olive with a sharp needle. I just caught the red piece and brought the thread back down to the bottom.  I made sure I went passed the toothpick on one side going up and other side going down.  The thread was knotted just above the ebead then the thread was run through the olive and cut to the surface to hide the end. The glass protects the surface from oil drops.

I found this authentic vintage Disney Mickey Mouse candle holder at the thrift store. I cleaned up the old wax and removed the paint on the outside.

I cut a piece of black felt for the bottom of the holder having the ears and face now black. I put 2 black felt balls in the ear spaces.  

For the nose I put an aqua felt ball to which I sewed on a black wooden bead to finish off the nose.  The nose was threaded to the base felt shape when I attached the nose bead.

I imagine that the nose is where I put the drops of essential oil but it is all felt so it could be placed anywhere.  The glass holder protects the surface from oil drips.

I chose this clear glass tea light holder in the shape of a Christmas tree.

I created a felt stack of 1.5 inch circles to fill the tealight space. It took 7 layers to make it high enough and alternated red and green circles.

I added a silver metal flower which could represent a poinsettia in the center top of the stack then added a red polka dot glass bead in the middle.  These accents were stitched to the stack with a red thread which runs the full depth of the stack.  The thread was well knotted on the bottom and tied off

The diffuser can stand as shown or lie flat on a surface.

I've called this one Caffe Latte. I made this oil diffuser with a 2.5 oz Bodum Praveena double wall glass.  I cut many layers of brown felt from 1" at the bottom to 2" at the top to represent the coffee.  Just making the next layer just a bit bigger than the last one. A lot of cutting by hand. Then I added the the cream layer again going a bit bigger.  I added the cinnamon heart on the top with an amber sparkly glass bead on top.  The stack was stitched together with brown thread. It looks pretty sharp. It would fit right in for scents in the kitchen.

This oil diffuser features felt flowers in a fine art glass Ulpukka bud vase made by Iittala in Finland.

The felt flowers are aqua with silver glass e beads as stamens and threaded onto twisted silver wire. Each flower also has a silver bead at the end of the wire to ensure no rough spots. 

The wood spiral in the vase helps to provide structure to the composition. 

Place your favorite essential oil on the felt flowers and enjoy the scent in your space whether that is the office, the living room, or the bedroom.  This vase will fit in almost any place.

Super happy with these one of a kinds.

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I made my last visit to the St. Albert Botanic Park before the hard frost comes and does away with the blooms.  The dahlias were still pretty and in good form for the most part.

This is Blushing Princess Alyssum which is covered with heavy dew.  My runners were soaking wet by the time I had spent over an hour in the park.

It was a brisk morning so an extra layer was needed for the morning.  I added a vest and headed out.  It was very nice time with very few people around.

Not to much to see at the river this time.  A few ducks were fattening up for the long trip south which no doubt will start soon.

Mister Teacher by Jack Sheffield was a light read.  I would another book by this author.

A warm-hearted, nostalgic and funny continuation of the story begun in the popular Teacher, Teacher! With a wonderful gallery of characters in this North Yorkshire village, author and real-life headmaster, Jack Sheffield, chronicles another riotous year in the life of Ragley-in-the Forest village school.

It's 1978, and Jack Sheffield is beginning his second year as headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. There are three letters on his desk – one makes him smile, one makes him sad and one is destined to change his life for ever. This is from nine-year-old Sebastian, suffering from leukemia in the local hospital, who writes a heartbreaking letter addressed to 'Mister Teacher'. So begins a journey through the seasons of Yorkshire life in which the school is the natural center of the community. Vera, the school secretary who worships Margaret Thatcher and whose greatest ambition is to become President of the Women's Institute; Ruby, the twenty-stone caretaker who sings like Julie Andrews; Dorothy, the coffee shop assistant who is desperate to be Wonder Woman; all these , and many more colourful characters, accompany Jack through the ups and downs of the school year. Most of all, there is the lovely Beth Henderson, a teacher from a nearby school, who with her sister Laura presents Jack with an unexpected dilemma.

It's September and that is Concord Grape season in my part of the world. 

We must have had these as a kid but I don't remember for sure.  They are expensive but I treat myself to a carton every year.

The beautiful velvety blue skins with the bright green insides and they taste great.

My sister usually share in this tradition so I brought her a cluster when I saw her this week on her way to help Mom with a big medical eye  appointment.

Speaking of seasons the Canada Geese are starting to gather.  I did not find any in the waters of the Lois Hole Centennial Park but they were heard several times way over head.

I managed to capture this shot as they passed close enough over head to actually see them.

They move pretty fast when on a mission to find enough food to get ready for their trip south.

No doubt they are connected with like minded souls for the long trip as well.

I love their call at this time of year.  They make themselves known and spreading the word about what time it is.

I was able to find this book at the thrift store the other day. An Irish Country Love Story by Patrick Taylor.

It was so good to reacquaint myself with these great characters. Fingal O'Reilly the senior doctor in this medical practice in Ballybucklebo in County Down, Ireland. Kitty is now his wife.  Barry Laverty is coming along as the next senior doctor at Number One Main Street and he is engaged to Sue Nolan a teacher.

These farm folk love their dogs and when Jasper goes missing there is a massive search.  

There is an incident that puts Number One Main Street at risk.  This building has been home to the medical clinic for last 50 years, to the doctors and is where Kinky Auchinleck used to live before she married Archie. She still comes to work every day as the housekeeper and all around manager for the practice. 

The regular set of seasonal ailments are par for the course for these doctors who still make house calls. 

I will be on the look out for more of this series. 

A Lesser Yellow Leg bird at the Lois Hole Provincial Park on Sunday.   The water is so low that it must be a challenge for birds to find water and food.  Especially now that they are fattening up for the trip south.

I have to say having mucky mud as a background in my photos does not make me overly happy either but there it is!

Love the bit of blue water and the reflection of its feathers in the water.

I was very happy to see a bird other than female mallard ducks.

The challenge at Flickr Macro Mondays this week was zigzag.  This subject matter has a lot of options - muffin liners, alligator clips, saw edges, patterns on paper and plastic and tons more. The picture on the right is a Tupperware Charcuterie tool.

You can check out my Flickr Photostream (SMDPics)  to see my submission for this week. 

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Small Gifts - Oil Diffusers - Wood

I am working on small gifts and I decided to re-imagine a previous project.  I use essential oils in my everyday life. 

I was fortunate to find white quartz stones this week which worked well for my new diffusers.  

It gives these little wooden peg dolls a beautiful base to anchor them and provides a solid base.  The stone is gorgeous, smooth and feels luxurious which helps with mood one is trying to create. The wood works well to diffuse the oil and the base protects your surface from the oil. 

Here's another wood one which features a wood elephant carving. 

I have added it to one of the larger white quartz stones and it looks really good.

The diffusers generally have to fit into the decor of our living spaces so a variety of material and subject matter works well.

Of course, I had to upgrade mine as well. The purple string one is for lavender on my bed shelf for sleeping.  The blue and yellow one is for my Bergamot and Grapefruit scent for when I am exercise inside.

Just loving these!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I caught this sunrise shot on Saturday.  It was the first time in a long time that I was up at 7:00 am and on the road for photography instead of being there for my Mom.

I did not make it to the lake before the sun was where I wanted so I just stopped along the way and took a few shots.

It was too bad I got the power lines but it could not be helped.

Grateful to have captured it in all it's wonder.  It was gorgeous.

I watched a bit of the ceremony and remembrance of this fabulous lady on TV yesterday.

I will assume that she was happy doing what she did as she lived to 96. 

She was a rock, steady and sure, and beloved by her subjects.

She will be greatly missed.

I finished this book this week.  The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck.  I always love a New York story.

Five strangers are brought together by invitation to a small library.  Jett the professor, Lexa the executive assistant, Ed the eldest at 85 trying to write a love story, Chuck the Uber driver and Dad of twins, and Coral the leader of a cosmetics company.

All of these people may look like they have it all but friendship is missing in their lives.

I love how they decide to put food into the equation even before they are sure they will continue this Monday meeting. Food is such a unifying thing.  Disarming and communal.

When they meet together they can perspectives that each one could not see on their own.  Each brings expertise and ideas which the others need.

I loved the book.

My favorite kettle is kaput! The first sign was the enamel chipping by the handle which started this summer. Then this week I found the whistle blown apart and broken.  Well that wont' do.  I used the kettle every day.

 It was the perfect kettle.  The color was exactly the right shade of yellow for my yellow and blue kitchen. I bought it with my first pay cheque when I started a new job in 2004. It was the right size and filled my yellow tea pot just right. I can't complain as it served me well for 18 years! 

Of course as trends dictate yellow kettles are not the rage these days. 

Now retired, the funds are not as plentiful as when I had a job.  As it happens, I had spied a kettle on Friday which was nice but the urgent need had not appeared yet.

On Saturday, when the whistle was broken I went back to the thrift shop with hopes that the black one was still there.

Understand black is not my first choice but when I researched this Paderno whistle kettle it sells for $100. They wanted less than $20. It was grubby but was in near pristine condition and likely has seen very little use.

I brought it home gave it a very good scrubbing inside and out, rinsed the inside with vinegar to get it back to shiny!

It is larger than the yellow one so needs to be placed on the front burner and cannot be filled so full. It pours beautifully and the whistle stays on the kettle which is a good thing.

I should not be acquiring things while my pretty stuff packed but I could not resist these 3 stainless steel bird place card holders.  They are very heavy were a good price at the thrift store on Friday.  

Their beaks have a slit which holds the card standing as shown in this picture.  I did find them on line and they are not very valuable new.

They will come in handy I am sure for Macro Monday photography for sure.

Speaking of Flickr Macro Mondays the theme this week was Sharp. The definition that the object can pierce or cut something. 

Here is a shot of a large safety pin.  I tried several creative shots but was not able to get the point and the head in the same shot cohesively.

You can check out my Flickr photo stream (SMDPics) for the shot I did submit.

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #190 and Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #355

Have a great week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I found this scene interesting on my walk the other day.  The sleek glass window is part of an addition to the back of the old historic building.

The brick wall of the old building was reflected in the full glass wall next to it.  This was just fine.

The on second glance I would see the white chairs in the office on the second floor in the brick wall. 

It was an interesting view of new and old and unusual all at once.

This the third book in the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton.  C is for Corpse. 

Kinsey is a wonderful character which I enjoy spending time with.  This is earlier in the series compared to books I have read which were written with her and her career having been fleshed out a bit more.

This was a small hardcover book so I think shorter in length that of the others I've read.  I have V sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

Bobby Callahan feels he is in danger. But since his accident and head injury there are pieces of his past that gone. Meeting Kinsey at the gym he decides to hire her to get to the bottom of the mystery of who is trying to kill him.  There is a small red book that may hold a clue but Bobby do not remember who he gave it to for safe keeping. His part time job required him to spend time at an old building on the outskirts of town. It was where archived medical records were kept and a back up for the morgue so it was a bit of a creepy place.  Very shortly after Bobby hires Kinsey he dies in a car accident.  Most folks assume that all interest in the suspicions would be dropped but Kinsey means to see her job done.  

There are twists and turns but eventually the truth comes out and the reason Bobby was killed becomes clear.

My sister and my niece both have great gardens so I came home with a couple of containers of beautiful veggies and fruit.

I'm so glad that my niece's new house has yielded a much better gardening experience for her.  Things are blooming, growing and producing so she is thrilled.

The little tomatoes were delicious.  The new potatoes were enjoyed with onions, mushrooms and sour cream.

Apples were picked by my sister's friend.  She makes canned fruit compote for her breakfasts.

Love garden cucumbers.

The birthday celebration was short but wonderful with seeing people I have not seen in a while. She did not have a great variety of numbers in her stash so her Dad converted her age into Binary.  

That picture will likely raise questions when her grandchildren wonder was grandmas ever 1000 years old.

The black and white Tuxedo cake was delicious and just the right size.

I went to use my sewing machine other day and it looked like it did not work because I turned the switch and no light came on.   It took a minute to figure out it was just the light bulb. I completed the small project without the light.

Off the Fabricland to find a replacement and thank goodness I brought the old one with me because I would have assumed that it was the screw type but it was not.

Now there was the option to buy an LED version of the twist in type for twice the price of the incandescent bulb but likely will last 10 years or so.  I bought the new technology.

I finished this book this morning.  I was feeling exhausted with the driving last week, the trip out of town on Sunday and discouraging news about my place on a couple of fronts.

I just wanted to escape for a bit.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks was a good book.  I don't like how the relationships in his books seem to whirlwind romances.   But that aside, this was a very good story.

Travis Parker and Gabby Holland are neighbours.  She is new to the town and misses her friends.  Travis steps into the gap and the rest is predictable set of events until the accident.

The question is "How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?"  Travis make the right choice as difficult as it was for him and his children.

I would recommend the book as it raises questions which need to be pondered.

I am loving the sunflowers everywhere.  It seems to be a good year for them.

My nieces flowers in the front flower bed are 10 feet tall but with very small seed heads.  They may have been competing with the cherry tree for light

This one was taken at the community garden where they are significantly tall as well.

The honey bees were having a good time gathering food.

I expect this head will yield much food for birds later in the season.

Have a good week.