Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots





It has to mid June because the Alberta Wild Rose is in full bloom.

They are so nice this year.  The perfect combination of sun and rain I guess.

They range from light pink to deep pink like this one!

Insects visit them regularly which will produce rose hip berries in the fall.

They are always in bloom at my birthday and I was able to spend the day with my sister which was wonderful.  My brother-in-law made a fire so I could have fire roasted hot dogs.

Of course, there was ice cream cake, my favorite birthday cake. 


In the Heart of the Garden by Helene Wiggin is a book a finished recently.  It chronicles the life of a garden established in 912AD by Fritha and still cared for by Iris in 1998.  Iris is elderly and she is thinking of moving and leaving her cherished garden.  She walks through it every evening,  touching its special places and plants as she strolls.

Iris Bagshott strolls down the paths of her ancient garden, close to Lichfield in the heart of England, wondering if it is time to sell her house and land for development.

She is unaware that around every corner myriad family secrets from the past unfold.

From a Saxon clearing to a monastery, Tudor dwelling to the present day, this sacred plot has nurtured her ancestors. Generations of Bagshott women have found refuge and solace tending it through years of plague, civil war and beyond.  This is their story

I found the early years of the garden hard, life was hard especially for the women.  I enjoyed the recent history a lot more.

I found some healthy sunflower seeds.  They are very low in sodium which is why I stopped eating the regular ones.  

I find I eat less when I start with them in the shell.

They are available at several stores in my area.

They make them in a variety of flavors but the original plain ones are fine with me.

I have found this a nice healthy snack.






I took this photo this morning on my walk.  

The piece of grass had collected fuzz and it looked cool.  I forgot my hat so seeing the screen was hard.  

I'm glad the shot worked out.

Look at that beautiful Alberta blue sky.

We just had a big rain shower as I am writing this on the longest day of the year but this morning was wonderful.

A good variety of grass in this shot.




The Ocean Between Us by Susan Wiggs.  Another strong female character in the character of Grace Bennett. A naval officer's wife with regular moves, 3 children, putting supporting her husband ahead of her dreams of a business and a place to call her own where she make plans knowing she will be there for years not just 1-3.

Wives of naval officers posted to an aircraft carrier are granted power of attorney so they can handle every situation while their husbands are gone for 6-12 months at a time.  Grace buys the house of her dreams, moves her family and sets up her relocation business which she developed on her many moves over the last 20 years.

With several secrets coming out of the woodwork and a sudden crisis which is a wife's nightmare the family needs to communicate, come to terms with the crisis, listen to each other, and love  most of all.

All things come down to family comes first.

I washed the afghan from my bed recently, which was really needed.

For now, it lives on the couch instead of the bed so the bedroom has a cohesive looks of blues and greys.

It was a gorgeous day so instead of putting in the dryer I just hung it on the balcony rail for several hours.

It was dry and smells wonderful.

I'm not sure what the neighbors thought but I think it was worth doing.




I have been enjoying this old series which I found on the Roku Channel.

Based in a fictional county in England, the seasoned detective and the rookie investigate murders in the area.

British TV is so much less sensational than American TV.  I don't believe I have seen them draw a gun or shoot any one.  Lots of talking and listening.  Questions and more questions to get to the bottom of the situation.

There are 11 seasons so I likely will not get through all the shows before it is replaced by something else.

Loving it for now!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Watercolor Cards - All Occasion

I needed a  few cards for upcoming birthdays so I decided to follow the trend of my Christmas cards and make them with watercolor.

I searched the internet for simple floral images - bouquets so that I could see how the stems interacted, etc.

I trimmed my 140lb water color paper to 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares.  Loosely following the compositions I found on line I drew flowers with a pencil.  Once I was happy with it I traced the pencil lines with black permanent marker again making adjustments if needed.

Once the ink was allowed to dry a bit I erased the pencil lines and was left with the black lines.  I used my Stampin Up Watercolor Wonder Crayons to match my card bases.

I chose flowers which were non specific so I could paint them any color, rather than recognizing the flower and saying that must be pink or whatever.  I also added some spatter of each color to tone down the white of the paper.

For the first card the flowers are a pale version of Rich Razzleberry and Garden Green for the leaves on a Pixie Pink card base.

Card number 2 is Elegant Eggplant card base with Old Olive for the stems.

Card number 3 is Marina Mist card base with Always Artichoke leaves and foliage.

I chose Mellow Moss grosgrain ribbon wrapped around the front of the card with the ends taped under the watercolor accent.

The floral watercolor is adhered to the card front with 3D foam tape. 

I decided to go with no greeting so I can use it for any occasion. 

Quarter sheet insert on the inside with A2 white envelope and 3 more cards ready to give.  One for my aunt, one for my sister and one for Mom.  I still have a couple of sisters who have birthdays this summer.  Another session to follow soon.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I finally found White Pelicans at Beaumaris Lake this week.  I had not seen them last time I was there and was hoping they would return.  No Cormorants so far.

The walk around the lake was beautiful.  Not too hot, sometimes a bit too much wind, and lots of other birds.  

I was there later than usual so the amount of people was higher which makes things a little tricky.  The rehabilitation certainly has added extra wide places and look outs so that helps a lot.  It is so beautiful

The walk is 1.6 miles which is really nice.  With the camera I really forget how long it takes to get around.  It is at least an hour I think.

I finished The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman this week.  

I really enjoyed this book.  It has some basis on historical events. Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. 

Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.

According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman troops from 73 to 74 CE, at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War, ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Sicarii rebels who were hiding there. However, the archaeological evidence relevant to a mass suicide event is ambiguous at best and rejected entirely by some scholars.

This book takes place during this event where displaced people made their way to the mountain top for safety. Four women are the main characters of the story - Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whothey love.

Again, I have to say I am attracted to strong female main characters.  I have included above the book cover from the novel on the left and the one from the book I read which is from the CBS mini series.  I recognized the actress in the blue shawl - Cote de Pablo.  I will have to check out whether it was ever put out of DVD.  It would be interesting to see it.  I would recommend this book.

My allergies have been really bad this year.  I think the dry spring did not bring rains to clear out the dust and pollens.

I generally only have my eyes affected and my optometrist has recommended switching to eye drops instead of using a systemic antihistamine.  While visiting with family for Dad's funeral in May we went for a couple long walks in farm fields which really made my allergies really flare up.  My sister shared the drops she uses and so when I got back to the city and invested in a bottle.  They worked pretty well here in the city.

We have had rain which improved things for me quite a bit.   I can finally say this week by Thursday I no longer needed meds to manage them. That should be it till next May.


The are not predicting the temperatures we had last summer but the fan has been running in the nights for about 10 days already.

I have started setting up the fan this way.  It is perpendicular to the floor so I don't have it hitting me directly but it moves the air around the room.  This is quite effective.

It is quieter for sleeping as well.





I tried this new pizza from Dr. Oetker this week.  I had seen the ads on TV and it was on sale so I decided to try it.

Dr. Oetker is my go to brand for pizza.  I normally buy the Ristorante ones - normally the Funghi but have tried several flavors.

This new was good!  As you can see from my photo it looks as good as the box suggests.  This one was full of veggies which was great. 

Every once in a while we have to stretch ourselves outside our comfort zones and try new things.  It may just be a good thing and expand our world a little.  I need it after being so isolated.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.



I had my first visit to the St. Albert Botanic Park this week. 

There were a few flowers blooms but it is just the very beginning. I got a Bearded Iris, a Globeflower, the white Anemones, a Rose and Bergenia.

The dahlias were not ready at all, there were just a couple of roses so plenty more to come. 

I will make several more trips this summer.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Card Kit Order - Single Simple Layout

I got a call from a friend this week asking if I was still making cards and kits.  Of course, COVID has put a hold on Card Club for the last 2 years.  Beside that, I got rid of lots of supplies when I de-cluttered for moving.  Many of my card making tools are in storage.  Despite that, I said yes.  I am needing a distraction.  She was looking for 20 kits as one of several activities for some down time for women attending camp this summer.  The kits needed to be simple and need few tools to assemble. These need glue, scotch tape and scissors. My Stampin Up card stock cupboard is full so that was good.  I had basic punches, ribbon, brads, and decorative paper.

I decided that all the greetings would be the SU Modern Label punch with a Word Window punchies of color printed greetings on white card stock.  I printed some Early Espresso, Black, and Night of Navy.

I decided that I would make the kits flexible so they could be orientated in tall (portrait) or wide (landscape). These 2 samples, instruction sheet, and extra greetings are being delivered in the bag. I have varied the decorative paper and coordinated the card base colors, the ribbon, and accents.  All the cards will be different.

In this sample the card base is Real Red, the grosgrain ribbon is Real Red. 

The designer paper is Twitterpated.

The scallop circle and Modern Label punchies are Basic Gray. 

The circle punchie is Whisper White.  

I added a red foil star to the accent adhered with a Zot.  It is adhered to the card front with a medium Zot.  

The greeting is adhered with 3D foam tape.

The card is an A2 card which measures 4.25 x 5.5 inches. 

On this sample the decorative paper is kraft with gold foil polka dots.  

The card base is Soft Suede as well as the grosgrain ribbon, the scallop circle punchie and the Modern Label punchie.  

The white greeting is a Word Window punchie.  

The star on the scallop circle is a gold sequin.

The card has a white bond paper insert and a white A2 envelope.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Digital Cards - Daisy

I worked on a digital card today.  

I worked with a bubble background I create a few years ago featuring warm green colors and warm blue colors. 

I added a daisy digital image I create a long time ago.  It is a vector image so it can be sized and colored easily.

I added some circles with different l percentages of transparency to allow me to add a greeting to the card. It works well with the bubble concept in the background.  I added 5 circles of varying sizes.

I placed the one I wanted to feature a greeting in the center of the card top to bottom and aligned to the left.

I added a black greeting with a shadow to add dimension.

I sized the image to work well with A2 (4.25x5.5 inch) cards.

This can be printed quickly on white card stock and mailed in short order.

I think I will develop a few more of these.

This went out as a thank you for the lovely bouquet of flowers I received.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Christmas Card Challenge - Watercolor

Worked on Christmas cards again.   

Using 140lb rough watercolor paper trimmed to approximately 4.00 x 5.25 inches.

I wet the triangle and just dropped color inside and let it blend together.  Added a trunk and let dry.

The red dots were added after the tree was dry.

I used a Micron Fine Permanent black marker to add the lines, the star and outlines around the dots.  Spattered the background by covering the tree with scrap paper.   This was mounted onto dark green card base with a seasonal insert.

The colors are different on this one and I chose another pattern for my lines.  This are quite not traditional colors and I am okay with that.

Stars replaced the cots.

This one was mounted on a medium olive green card base with a seasonal insert and white envelopes.

A few more cards for the box! 


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Exchange Cards - June

This months exchange card feature gold non shed glitter paper and plastic daisy accents.

I chose a Real Red card base and mounted black and white designer paper to the front. I placed a black daisy plastic flower onto a gold glitter scallop circle held together with a red mini brad and attached it to the designer paper. 

I ran a length of black thread from the flower to the edge of the designer paper and taped it to the back.  I adhered this layer to the card front.   

I added a narrow strip of gold glitter paper towards the top of the card.  I mounted a Stampin Up Modern Label Punchie greeting on the left hand side over the gold strip.

For this card I swapped the colors of the plastic daisy flower to red with a black mini brad.  

I changed the orientation to portrait (tall).

The strip of gold glitter paper is wider and adhered across the bottom of the card.

I wrapped the black thread over the glitter strip.

I created the greeting with a 2 inch oval punchie layered with a solid red one which was cut in half and offset on the right and left sides.

The greetings are adhered with 3D foam tape.

I added a white insert and envelope.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The fruit trees are all in bloom.  The crab apples, choke cherry, apple and cherry trees are sporting great colors this week.  Deep pink, light pink, white and some shades in between.

It is feeling like summer.  I was out for my 1.5 hour walk this morning and visiting my favorite park and garden for the first time this year.

Can't beat those Alberta blue skies.






I heard then saw red winged black birds at Paul Kane park this morning.  I have not seen these birds so far into the city.  The pool was filled with water so that may have made the difference.  Generally, the city is later in filling the pool.

There was a male and female so I expect there was a nest in the dry bullrushes. This is so exciting!

There were Canada Geese, Mallards, House Finches, and magpies all making an appearance.


I received a bouquet of flowers yesterday.   It was really nice to get flowers on the remembrance of my Dad's passing on May 12th.  We celebrated his life on May 24th.  He was 92 and passed quietly in his sleep which is exactly what he wanted.

It was a couple of weeks of funeral arrangements, visits with Mom, and the first in person funeral in 2 years for the funeral home.  I pray that everyone remains well following that get together.

Mom and Dad celebrated 68 years of marriage the day Dad passed.  He had tested positive for COVID so it was in full PPE no less.  At least they were together as Mom had been in isolation earlier, had brain surgery and had not be able to see him regularly.


I brought Mom some purple pansies this week.  She has been given a raised flower bed at the lodge so she will have pansies, tomatoes and  Osteospermum - African Daisies in her bed.

Unfortunately, she will not be able to see them from her room so she will see them when she goes into the dining room 3 times a day.

It will be good for her to have something to tend to now that Dad has passed.

She is gaining strength every day following her surgery.   She was thinking about sewing again when I saw her on Monday.  That is a very good sign.

I found these at the community garden.

I found an Aquarium BluRay DVD the other day at the thrift store.

I am enjoying the sights and sounds on the TV when there is not too much else that is very good on.

There are about 6 different scenes and well as quite a few fish swimming around.

It's like putting on the fireplace at Christmas time.

I finished this book this week.  P is for Peril - Sue Grafton.

Kinsey Millhone is hired by Fiona, the first wife of Dr. Dowan Purcell, to move along the stalled investigation by police of his disappearance. He disappeared nine weeks earlier. The first wife is more concerned than present wife Crystal. Fiona, embittered by the breakdown of her marriage, is convinced that Dow has engineered his own disappearance, as she alleges Crystal is having an affair and admits that Dow has gone missing a couple of times before. In support of this, his passport and thirty thousand dollars seem to be missing. In contrast, Crystal, a former stripper Dow met on a trip to Las Vegas, is convinced he is dead. Not impressed either with Fiona's haughty personality or the chances of turning up something on a cold trail, Kinsey accepts the case with misgivings.  Kinsey ends up finding the Dr., having a brush with some really bad characters and is trying to find new office space.

I found this book a little slow but it may have been the distractions in my life the last couple of weeks more than the book itself.

Check this duck out on the small pool at Paul Kane.  It is a Greater Scaup - a diving duck.  The male and female where casually swimming the water.   

It was so great to see them there.  There were about 10 mallard males just sitting in the sun.   I have seen this before so I am not sure where they have left Momma and the ducklings.   There is not a lot of water nearby.

Wishing you a great week!


Friday, May 20, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I spent several hours on Sunday taking pictures at the local lakes.  

These geese in flight was taken at Lois Hole Centennial Park.  My first time there this spring.  The water levels are decent but not a lot of ducks.

The black birds were in good numbers and the geese were making their presence known with much honking.

There were a few skirmishes among them and furious protection of nests.  Goslings should be around very soon.

It was a great morning with beautiful weather.


On Monday, I took a trip north to visit Mom and take her to medical appointments.  

I stayed overnight at my sister's place and we went Tuesday morning to final the details for Dad's funeral next week.   He passed away May 12th in his sleep as he had wished.

I stopped at the honey farmers and picked up a pail of honey.  I have purchased my honey from these folks for years.  We had a bit of a visit and caught up on life.  I guess the winter has been hard on the beehives and some have been lost to temperatures.  Very distressing for the farmers.

I use mostly only honey for sweetening.  In my tea always.
Another book finished this week.  The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.  This is my third book by this author and I just loved it.

It is set in Scotland.  In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in a small cottage in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors Sophie and starts to write.

She seems to be very connected to Sophia. She writes then when researching discovered that what she has written is true.  How can that be?  Ancestral memory from Sophia maybe. 

The owner of the cottage she is renting has 2 sons who take an interest in the woman writer who moved into the cottage in winter.  One is a history professor in Aberdeen who visited his Dad most weekends.  These two connect over their common interest in the past.  This was a very good book and I would recommend it.

On Thursday, I dropped off another 10 blankets for Project Linus.  

These blankets were all made by my sister as I have not sewn a blanket since my health issues in 2020.  

Now with trying to sell my place I cannot have the place uprooted with a big project as it must be tidy most of the time.

I send these off with blessings to those who receive them in their time of need and distress.  May they be comforted by a warm blanket.





With a bit of rain the flowers have just opened up.

This was taken in my neighborhood.  They have a beautiful front lawn filled with red and yellow tulips.

It is a blessing to have such neighbors.

It is so uplifting to see flowers blooming, blue Alberta skies, and the temperatures rise.

We had a full day of rain yesterday which I am sure bring more green and spring flowers.

Have a great week.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Summer Jacket Make Over



I needed a new summer jacket.  The one I had was way too big - I don't know why I bought it.  I prefer to have a two zipper, at least one zippered pocket and a hood.

This time I managed to find a navy jacket that had some of what I wanted.  It is a Cleo Petites so it fit well and the sleeves are the right length. It had some buttons for the hood but it was missing.  No zippered pockets and no 2 way zipper.  But it fit well and I decided I could remedy some of the other short comings.  I believe I paid $15.00 for this jacket at the thrift store which was quite high I thought.

I purchased a piece of cotton navy and white fabric and I had a piece of white microfiber from a previous project that would work well for the inside of the hood.

It got a good wash along with the other fabric I was going to use.

I watched a few You Tube videos on making attachable hoods for jackets then set out on the process.   I had a rain jacket that had a hood so I traced that one onto a piece of paper.  I reduced the height of the hood and increased the collar measurement to fit the new jacket.

I added seam allowances and marked the slot for the hood string.

I cut the outside of the hood from the navy striped fabric.  I adjusted the lining pattern as suggested in the video so that the outside fabric would wrap to the inside of the hood.

I found some navy grosgrain ribbon that matched well.  I found 3 buttons that would work with the jacket and removed the 2 and replaced them with the ones I selected.

I used the button hole maker on  my machine to make the 3 button holes at the bottom of the hood.

I am really happy with the white microfiber fabric on the inside.  Slides nicely on my head.



I also selected a decorative stitch to sew the ribbon on which adds a bit of a decorative touch.

I used the grosgrain ribbon as an accent on the hood for the seam to create the channel for the hood string.

The hood sits very nicely on the jacket.   

I wanted to add some of the striped fabric to the rest of the jacket to help the integration of the hood to the jacket.

I created some narrow lengths that I top stitched to the front pocket flaps.

I added a patch pocket on the sleeve which gave me the zippered pocket I wanted.   I created it with the same technique I used the bag I made a while back.

Again, the grosgrain ribbon was used to finish the edges of the patch pocket. 

The hood string is a long shoe lace that I found in my junk drawer.   It was long enough and white works for me.  

I would like a bead on the ends to keep if from going into the channel.  I will be on the lookout for those.

I am really happy with how the jacket makeover went.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Sylvia's Simple Shots

The spring flowers are starting to show up.

This is the Siberian Squill.  It is a beautiful blue color, quite small, close to the ground and perennial.  I have several places in my neighbourhood where it grows.

I was very happy to see it because yesterday morning again I woke to snowflakes in the air. Really!

These will open up into bell shaped blooms.





One of the first projects I took on when the sewing machine came back working well was the mending of my wheat bag.

I have owned this wheat bag forever.  I paid a lot of money when I bought it but it has paid off.  

The cotton outside cover has been sewn back together several times.  The inside sack that holds the wheat has had several repairs.  

As you can see the kernels of wheat were falling out and I was finding them all over the place.

Next time I will have to make a completely new bag and inside sack.   I will put fabric on the list for that project.   I am amazed this cotton is still hanging in.

This is the book I finished this week.  A Grace Disguised - how the soul grows through loss by Jerry Sittser.

It describes a very tragic event in this man's life and how he chose to live is life after losing 3 members of his family.

The good, the bad and the ugly are covered in this book.  How God works in our lives to help us survive the very difficult challenges we face.  How we can grow through them and how life can have bright spots again but never be the same.

This book provided encouragement to me to be patient in this time, be consistent, and hang in there.  

Stay positive and wait.


I am collecting some new Big Sky photos again.

We can have some wonderful blue skies here with amazing cloud formations.

It's a matter of not taking them for granted and looking up every time I am outside.

And taking the pics that are worthy of capture.

Flickr Macro Mondays challenge this week was Battery.   Of course, they come in every size, color and description.

Here I have placed 2 D batteries aligned in front of each other.  I like that they had this blue plastic layer around the edges.

I lit them with a flashlight from above.

My highlights are not blown out and the shape repetition works well along with the black background.

You can check out my Photostream by follwoing this link (SMDPics).

Have a great week!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Mom's Day Card

I painted a blue daisy flower for my Mom's mother's day card.

Her favorite color is blue.

I used a piece of 140lb rough water color paper measuring approximately 4.25 x 5.5 inches.  I sketched it lightly with a pencil and then painted it with my Stampin Up Wonder Watercolor  Crayons.  Using Marina Mist as the main color with some Night of Navy and some Not Quite Navy.   The leaf colors were Always Artichoke and More Mustard.  The center is More Mustard.

Once completely dry I traced around the flower and leaves with a black permanent marker. 

I mounted the flower onto a half sheet card of Marina Mist card stock.   I added white and medium blue seam binding below the flower by punching a slit in the fold then wrapping them around the card front and knotting in the front.

A white insert was added to the inside.