Thursday, June 1, 2023

Card - Trees

This card is for my brother who celebrates a birthday soon.

I chose an Always Artichoke card base. 

The designer paper is from the Adventure Bound set in the 4x6 pack. I trimmed it a little to fit on the A2 card.

I made a slot in the fold with the SU slot punch and pulled a length of wide white grosgrain ribbon through and taped one end and placed a black brad on the other end.

I created a greeting with a Always Artichoke Modern Label punchie layered with a Word Window punchie.  It is adhered to the card front with 3D foam tape on the grosgrain ribbon.

I added a quarter sheet insert.

It is off to make sure it gets to him on time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Senior Art Show at the Gallery

These are the two pieces I put into the Seniors Show which opened this week.  The reception will be on Saturday at 1pm. 

I chose to try something new for art.

I started with a 9x12 inch sheet of watercolor paper. I laid some deep rich colors with Nick Bantok ink.  I let that dry.

I chose white gouache to do my Dandelions but unfortunately what I thought was permanent was not so the color ran into my gouache.

I used a straw to draw my flowers by blowing the white around.

Title: Dandelions
Size: 11.00 x 14.00 inches
Mixed Media
Mat: Archival off white / black narrow
Frame: Silver Brushed Metal

On this piece I was thinking of deep space images from the Hubble telescope.

Once the deep colored layer had dried on the watercolor paper, I spattered both white acrylic and black acrylic paint using a toothbrush and kitchen knife.

I like the dark and light spots which suggest deeper places in space.

Title: Nebula
Size: 13.00 x 16.00 inches
Mixed Media
Mat: Archival white double mat
Frame: Wide Black Wood

Monday, May 29, 2023

Exchange Cards

I got my Exchange cards made for May.

I have decided to use my 4x4 photos from my past calendars.

This is a beautiful Red Poppy I think taken at the community garden.

I chose Tangerine Tango card base with a small piece of green card stock that I taped together on the back.

I stamped the green with Border Builder stamp set - script in Basic Black ink to just to knock down the plainness.

I wrapped a piece of Daffodil Delight ribbon around the element over the join and taped the ends to the back.

I then adhered the full layer to the card front with double sided tape.

This card features a warm rich orange rose taken at the Botanic Park.

I chose the same Tangerine Tango card base.

I added some complimentary strips of card stock behind the photo. Cameo Coral, Groove Guava and Peach Parfait.

I adhered the strips and trim the right hand end with scissors cutting at an angle.

Adhered photo with double sided tape.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots

 I headed to Beaumaris Lake again this week in hopes of finding Pelicans but no such luck.  I just don't know where they are.

There was not lack of other birds at the lake.

A Wigeon, Red Wing Blackbird, Mallard Duck and a female Red Wing Black bird.  Grackles, Canada Geese and sparrows too!

It was a very nice walk around the lake.  I headed out earlier that the last visit so a bit fewer people at least earlier.  I was there quite a while.

I have photographed pelicans on May 5th in year's past so I will have to keep looking.

The wildfire situation in our province continues to be dire with many people displaced and living in evacuation centers with only the wish to go home.

Rain is badly needed of which we have had very little.

Air quality is very poor.

I say thank you to all those fighting the fires.  The ones who have been injured. Those who have come to provide relief to those on the front lines.

To those who are providing support to evacuees and fire fighters a like with water, food, and a place to rest.

I think of those who have lost their homes and in some cases their livelihoods to these fires.

I had the final white filling on my root canal this week. 

Fortunately, it was not needing freezing and not a really long job.  The hard part is I have run out of dental benefits. Ouch!

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green was a book I finished this week.

Three people met in college.  They lived together for 4 years, hung out, got to know each other very well. After graduation, careers took them to different parts of the country and the world.  There were phone calls and emails, weddings, and funerals over the next 30 years.  Much life experience some good, some great and some not so great.

They had made a pact that if they were single when they turned 50 they would live together. They attend a school reunion and reconnect. Maggie, now a widow,  lives in a large house in Somerset England, Topher's mother is living in England and he in New York, Evvie's son has left home and so a move would be possible for her.  So they move in together, come clean about their secrets and start new adventures. 

It was a good read.

This American Coot couple was very busy making a nest from last year's dried bulrushes.

The male I assume was tugging and pulling to dislodge them one at a time and bringing them back to the nest.  Once the reed arrives she busied herself with the perfect placement of it.

Then the process repeated itself.  I watched for quite a while and it was still process when I moved on.

I guess are a least a few days away so young ones still later than that.

I have seen baby Coots in early June but with taking 21-25 days to hatch I expect it will be later than that this year.

The neighborhood gardens are starting to show off their blooms.

There are Clematis growing the wall in a beautiful light lavender color.

There is a yard full of colorful tulips. 

I found a yellow poppy in another front yard.

The purple Alium is just starting to open.

I have been spending time a thrift shops looking for the perfect tealight candle holder. I would like to have a Fairly Light candle holder but they are quite costly.  Not going to happen soon.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots

We had a farewell lunch with our quilting group for our leader who is moving.

She brought a few magazines discovered during her decluttering process. 

I brought these home as they are small projects and working with small pieces of fabric which I thought would be interesting.

I have not really had time this week to look at them.

The air is smoky because of the wildfires burning in our province.

The air quality is not great but I really enjoy my walks outside so I have been going anyway.

People are being evacuated and our trees are burning to the ground by the hectares.

The spring perennial flowers are starting to bring some much need color to the gardens in my area.

Siberian Squill, Red Tulip and Bleeding Hearts.

We had a good day for Mom's funeral and the internment of both my Mom and Dad. There had been a lot of planning and things went well.  The day was gorgeous shirt sleeve weather.

I walked behind the hearse with my twin sister and her husband as it brought them to the cemetery.  Mom passed in January and Dad 1 year to the day of the funeral. They were both cremated so we chose what would have been their 69th wedding anniversary for this event.

The graveside service was lovely.  We were lucky enough to get permission from the owner of our home which they moved from in 2017 to gather some soil from Mom's wonderful garden so we could cover their urns with the soil she so loving took care of for 50 years.  

Their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren participated along with life long friends and family.

I was able to catch up with high school friends who were the ladies who prepared the funeral lunch.

We were so blessed to have them as parents for so long.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots

 The trees are starting to leaf out.  Beautiful spring green colors appearing in many places.  The Fiddlehead Ferns in the small garden are ready to unfurl into wonderful textures. The American Robins are back and looking to make nests I am sure.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a book I finished this week.  

A young man, Stefan, is in prison for murder of his girlfriend. Thea Demetriou, his mother continues to love him despite now knowing how this happened.  Stefan does not remember. 

After his serving his sentence, he comes home to a town which will not let him move on. The mother of Belinda the girlfriend has set up a movement to bring awareness to dating violence. They are always on their doorstep.

Slowly, he begins to start a new life.  He decides to start a program where people can reach out to ones they have wronged and help to make things right.  It is a soul saving project for him. It provides an avenue for several people in his circle.

The book was surprisingly very positive and uplifting.

Another week of medical procedures. A Pulmonary Function Test for my coughing and shortness of breath in March.   The root canal to save one of my front teeth finally was done, now that I could sit for over an hour and not cough.  The prep was very involved but finally the dental specialist came in and it was a bit tricky he said but went well.

In my search for Pelicans this spring I headed to a large city park on the east side of town.  Someone mentioned that sometimes the pelicans are there.  It has 3 water ponds, picnic tables, lots of parking, woodland trails and biking.  I saw canoes on the water but no pelicans. Where the heck are they?  I know they are here because other photographers are posting pics.

The Journey by Josephine Cox was a gripping read.  I finished it in a couple of days.

The book relates two time periods 1930s then the 1950s with Lucy Baker in her old age.  Lucy and her daughter, Mary visit the cemetery regularly and Ben Morris has seen them before as he walks his dog. One day Lucy falls and Ben comes to help the women and they leave in a chauffeured car.  Lucy has dropped her purse and Ben, later that evening, delivers it to this large Edwardian house.  He is invited in.

The time shifts to Lucy's early life. The man she loved from afar, the one she was seduced by and resulted in a child. How the unwed mother was rejected by her family and taken in by warm hearted souls. How Barney Davidson came to her rescue in a time of need, how he was seperated from his family and how he came to be in the cemetary that Lucy and Mary visit regularly. There is a 2nd book so I will have to keep an eye out for Journey's End.

This week's Macro Mondays Challenge was the onion family.

I chose spring green onions for my close up shot.

You can check out my Flicker Photostream (SMDPics).

Have a great week!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The critters are starting to stir if they were here all winter.  Others are arriving backs from the southern climes.

The White Squill is a perennial flower that is one of the first spring flowers.

Got some news on Sunday that the leader of our quilting group is moving away.  I have volunteered with her on women's ministries for many years. 

They were able to sell their house and will be moving to be near their daughter.

She has liquidated most of her fabric stash.  She brought odds and ends that needed a new home so I was grateful to receive zippers, serger thread, a bit of bias tape and a small box of buttons.

I found the smallest red heart buttons in this box.  They certainly will come in handy for Macro Monday challenges.

Thanks so much for sharing.

We will have lunch with before she goes.

I am so glad to have my tax return done for another year.

Now that I am retired it is so much easier but I seem to forget that and procrastinate.

It took only a few hours and it was done.

I had time to have a walk around Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park with my friend which I had not seen in a couple of months.

The red wing black birds had not returned yet.  I missed their distinctive calls.

The Canada Geese were jockeying for the best nesting places.

The water is very low so I hope all the birds find places to raise their young.

I attended the show where my aunt was displaying here old car watercolors.  They turned out really well. There was over 50 artists on display.

I met my other aunt and her husband at the venue.  We went for a walk along the Sturgeon River while we waited for the reception to start.

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton is book I finished this week.

It`s always nice to reaquaint myself with Kinsey Malone the private investigator.  She has new work digs and is taking on work on her own.

Lonnie Kingman has hired her to continue work which Morley Shine was doing for him but he died suddenly.  Kinsey thinks it will be just a bit of final work and all the information will be ready for the civil suit.

David Barney was acquitted of the murder of his rich wife - Isabelle.  He is now spending her money - thank you very much.  Finding Morley`s files a but unorganized she needs to retrace some of those steps and redo interviews.

David`s story seems to be corroborated by evidence that he is innocent. 

ReUsable Make Up Remover Pads - Gift

I put together this gift of ReUsable Make Up Remove pads for my grand niece. 

It is always good to reuse and reduce and this way the pads came be washed and reused for a long time.

They are made from 2 layers of flannel with serged edges.  I will link to the detailed post here. 

The mesh bag included is for laundering this small pieces of flannel.

I made a card in Elegant Eggplant card base with a watercolor layer topped with stars and a greeting.

The greeting is punched with the Modern Label punch and off set with a piece which matches the card base.

I used turquoise stars with a grey one to coordinate with the watercolor piece.

Sewing Project - ReUsable Make Up Remover Pads

In my research to make these ReUsable Make Up Remover pads it was recommended that they should be made in different colors.  

Some make up will stain the pads and so the person using them should have the opportunity to select the color that would work best of the make up being removed.

These were cut to 2.75" square to custom fit the container I selected to put them in.

I chose square because cutting circles wastes fabric and does not provide a good start and ending point.

The colors selected for the medium toned ones was based on the recipient of these.

Her favorite color is purple.  Each of these are backed with the same fabric as the the front.

It can be fun to mix and match fabrics if you want to create pads with funky prints.

The serger thread is grey on one side and ivory on the other with the needle threads being grey which mostly goes with all colors.

I don't really want to rethread this machine too often.

I did find a good video on how to turn the corners with the serger.

One reviewer suggested black for the removal of mascara because it stains for sure.

I made a stack of each variety.  Several reviewers were suggesting 14 which does 2 weeks for 1 week if 2 are used each day for different removals.

Here's a stack of black flannel ones.

I bought is box to store the pads. I liked the fact that there were 3 different compartments for the three colors of pads.

The compartments are a bit taller than wide which allows for some place for your fingers to access the pads, especially when the stack is lower down in the box.

The lid will keep them clean and dust free.

Most of the postings on line suggested that laundry bag should be used to ensure these small fabric pads don't disappear in the laundry machine.

I recycled a mesh product from IKEA into this laundry bag.

Love the color.

I added a cord as a tie and the turquoise disc as a closure was made with my sister during my visit.

You can see the details in this post here.

Serging the edges of 2.75" inches of fabric become quite tedious and it takes a lot of thread so I am not sure I will be making too many more of these. But as a custom gift it was the perfect thing.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Photo Calendar - 4x6 Fridge Calendar - 2023

I found I needed a small calendar in several places and decided to create what would have been my fridge calendar for 2023.

I found a calendar on line that would work.

I then selected one of my images and cropped to the size I needed to fit the top of the calendar.

I had them printed as a 4x6 pearl print.  Normally for fridge calendars I would have mounted them onto card stock but for this situation I just left it as a 4x6.

I chose a bokeh image a while back.  Very neutral tones which could have been mounted on almost any color card stock.

At least now I have a reference in my daily devotional book and my photo challenge binder.

I will have new software next year when I have to do this again.


Card - Retirement and Moving


I made a card for my friend who is moving away to be close to her daughter. She has had health challenges in the last few years.  Her husband has now retired and they are looking forward to a new life in this new chapter.  

I found a landscape graphic on line and a drew this composition from it.  I wanted to have a road into the distance with a prairie landscape as they move one province to the east.  They will be close to grandchildren and family. 

I drafted the composition with pencil and I used my Stampin Up Watercolor Wonder Crayons.  I started with a light wash of light blue all over the piece of paper. I then painted the horizon line of trees. I laid a light layer of Always Artichoke. Of course, I needed it to have a yellow field which can be wheat, canola, barley, etc. I created a brown color for the road and painted it.  I had to be patient and used my heat gun to dry the layers before I moved to add dark elements to the sky, trees, road and yellow field. I love the pink flowers along the edge of the field.  Here in Alberta they would be roses but they don't bloom when the fields are yellow but it's my picture so I put them in.  It needed to have a gorgeous sun and a blue sky. 

Once I had my painting I scored a sheet of Baja Breeze card stock into a half sheet card.  I trimmed the edges to make sure it fit into my envelope.  It needed an anchor so I chose a length of Taken with Teal velvet ribbon and a wrapped on the inside of the card and brought the ends to the card front and taped them down.  I adhered the painting with 3D foam tape to allow space for the ribbon.  I pressed the card under heavy books for a few hours.  I added a white half sheet insert onto which I wished them both a happy new chapter in their lives.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Card - Thank You with Bees

I made a card for my niece who passed along a great deal on a Janome Serger earlier this year. After a servicing it has been working really well. 

I wanted a card with warm tones. I found a bee graphic on line that I liked then transferred some of the elements to watercolor paper.

I watercolored the background in a light shade of Daffodil Delight. The image was painted with Daffodil Delight and More Mustard. Outlined the elements with dark grey watercolor and a fine brush.  I then created a few shadow hexagons around the outlined ones which I think worked out really well.

Once dry, I mounted the painting onto a Summer Sun card in the A6 size (just a bit smaller than half sheet size).  I placed a piece of narrow stitched grosgrain ribbon in Basic Grey around the inside of the card and taped the ends to be under the watercolor layer.  I added a Modern Label punchie greeting with a yellow offset with a grey greeting on white.  I watercolored the white punchie to be just a little less stark.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots


I visited the conservatory this week.  It was pretty busy and one of the pavilions was not available so that cut my visit short.   Despite the closure of the feature pyramid, the others provided some color and flowers.  I am grateful that I can visit any time with my annual pass. There will be another visit soon!

The Canada Geese are back! 
It is wonderful to hear their honking in the river valley.  Pairs a vying for prime real estate to make their nests and have their young.

The are such iconic birds for Canada.  It is amazing that they can raise chick with being so far from water.  Water is down in the ponds this year and things are so dry.

Many times this means the top of apartment buildings and I am not sure how the little ones get down but life moves on.

Gorgeous blue sky!

I upgraded my internet service this week.  I had been living with a very old plan as far as speed and data limit.

With the Roku TV the temptation is to watch more internet content so I had to move with the times and get with the service that would move me into a new era.

I was offered a much better plan for very little more than what I was paying.  The price I was paying was too much for the service I was getting.  That is what happens when we get stuck in the old ways.

This should see me into getting more fitness content.

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs is the book I finished this week.

Margot Salton has always dreamed of owning her own restaurant.  When she finds a space in San Francisco who is offering a shared commercial kitchen with the bakery next door it seems to be a good opportunity.  Ida Sugar along with her son Jerome owns the bakery next door. Margot and Ida hit it off right from the start.

Margot has learned cooking from her mother and the barbecue business from her mentor who took her under his wing when she needed a strong support.

When her past from Texas comes a calling she has to deal with it.  She is not sure that Jerome will still be around when he finds out her troubles.

The book has a good ending and it was a great read.

I have been enjoying this PBS British series on ROKU.

The practice is James Heriot's legendary practice now led by Peter and Julian.

They treat all animals from house hold pets, exotic pets, livestock like cattle, goats, sheep, and lamas.

There is always heart warming stories of these precious animals that are very important to their owners.

They are supported by a large team of other vets, vet nurses and admin support staff.  It is one big family.

I am enjoying it very much.   Nice hour of great content.

The hares in the river valley are brown!

The mornings are still very cool this week but things are looking up weather wise.

This guy was munching on the new green grass that is emerging from the dried bit on the forest floor.

These are quite skittish but I managed a decent shot.

I am so looking forward to spring and more light, more warmth.

Spring is here!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Cards - Birthday

A birthday card for my brother in law.

The card base is Soft Suede.  

I found a piece of watercolor background I made in early January that worked for a guy card.  

I followed a tree image from one I found on line with a dark grey marker.

I then watercolored the tree with brown that I mixed and a green which is a mixture of Always Artichoke and Garden Green.

I mounted on a scrap of black card stock leaving a small border all the way around. Adhered with 3D foam tape. A narrow strip of black card stock under the focal element.

The greeting is a SU Word Window punchie on a black Su Modern Label punchie.


I added a Stampin Up Modern Label punchie greeting to this sunflower card for my sister who has a birthday next week.

The sunflower was stamped with Memories permanent black ink.  I then watercolored it. I ripped the edge on all 4 sides.

I mounted it to one of my small handmade paper sheets in a warm yellow.  This was adhered to a white card with hot glue.

These are off in the mail this morning.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Sylvia's Simple Shots

We had the reception for the "It's a Tactile World" show this week. 

The pieces were from the Allied Arts Council and the Sculptors' Association of Alberta.

I loved the felted wool tea cup, the mobile of rice paper and a small ceramic vase with wax dipped nature. It is a great show and nice to have other artists share our space.

I added another Leslie Sansone DVD to my collection to offer me a lot of variety of routines for my areobic session.

I did some research about ones I would like and sure enough this one was at the thrift store this week.

I am sticking to a 30 minute areobic session as I want to add a walk outside as a warm up before the session and my regular shoulder and knee exercises following.  That comes to 1.5 - 2 hours of exercise activity a day.

Three Weeks in Paris by Barbara Taylor Bradford is my second by this author. 

Four girls attended the prestigious Anya Sedgwick School of Decorative Arts in Paris seven years ago.  They have been invited back to celebrate Anya's 85 birthday.  The girls had a falling out just before graduation and are unsure about how they will be received by the former friends. 

The four have flourished in their respective careers but some are struggling in their personal lives. Infertility, tragic disappearance of a lover, divided loyalties, and doubts about her work are some of the issues faced by the girls.  Anya wants the past conflict resolved before her party so she has arranged a get together to work it all out.

Once communication is restored the girls work on solving the problems they face. 

There are happy ends for each of the girls and a glamorous party for Anya.

I have started cooking pasta in my rice cooker.  What a game changer.  I no longer have to stand at the stove to stir and mind the cooking.  It's always whole wheat or whole grain for me so it takes longer. 

Pasta, water, and a bit of oil set it to cook and just check on it a couple of times during the time it is cooking.  

Loving it!

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White.  This was a great read.

James Nealy has sold his business and moved to deal with the noise in his head. He has a plan to build a garden at his new house which will help him deal with his greatest fear.  When he meets Tilley Silverberg who has wonderful gardens and runs a wholesale garden business he believes she can help him.  She is not so sure.

Tilley returns to England due to a family emergency. The small village is pretty much the same but the characters involved prove challenging.  Her best friend, an ex lover, her mother, and suddenly James is in England too!

Once Tilley and James start working on a garden project together they come to see how they can help each other.  Very good book!

I was looking for some supports to raise the TV so that the music player and the DVD player could live below it.

These wooden crates were a great solution.  It adds storage as well which can be hidden but makes my exercise video readily available.  They will have to be sanded and oiled.