Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow and Bird Watching

Today we got about three inches of snow. Being from Alabama, I really dislike the long winters here in Indiana, but I've grown to love, really love, watching the snow fall while the birds flock to my feeders. It brings me incredible pleasure to sit at my kitchen table, sipping on coffee, with my camera close by snapping pictures of the birds. I use my swing frame for a bird feeding station and the birds come right up to the patio, even as close as the door. The pictures aren't as clear as I'd like since they are taken through the sliding glass doors, but from the warmth of my kitchen, I get some pretty good photo opportunities.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Our Christmas was different this year since we weren't able to travel home to Alabama. There have been many years with plenty, but this was a very lean Christmas for us. We are still kind of reeling financially from the previous job losses. That is OK, thankfully my children are older and they understand. It also helps us to put our faith into practice since we acknowledge that the real reason for the season isn't about gifts, but about celebrating the birth of our Saviour. We know this is just a bump in the road and we also know there are many who are in the same boat. We hope and pray that 2010 will be the year that we get firmly back on our feet and we are striving toward that end. I hope that 2010 is a year of peace, health and happiness for each of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

My favorite thing about snow is that it brings the birds to the feeders! I remove my swing during the winter and use the frame for a bird feeding station. I have it placed right at the edge of the patio for up close and personal viewing for me and the pets. Yesterday my visiting relatives and I were sitting at the table when this Cooper's hawk landed on the swing. What an awesome sight!

This morning when I opened the blinds, the first thing I saw was the Cooper's hawk flying right towards the window and then over the house. The are such majestic creatures!

My internet time over the last several days has been limited. My niece, her husband and one year old daughter came to visit for 10 days. During the time they were here my whole family came down with H1N1. My niece caught it too, but thankfully the baby and my nephew didn't.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week as we lead up to Christmas! It's so hard to believe that it's that time already!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Metamorphosis Monday- Mirror

During the summer I came across this dresser mirror at a garage sale. I didn't need a mirror like this but she was only asking a couple of dollars for it so I bought it anyway. I promptly stuck it under a bed and forgot about it.

I had a bare wall in the dining room and all summer long I kept looking at garage sales for a picture or mirror to go in that particular spot. I never found what I wanted and just gave up, knowing that eventually, I will come across something that will be perfect or close enough to satisfy me. I'm patient, (I'm very frugal too), so I can wait.

A few weeks ago I was in a painting mood and remembered the mirror that was under the bed. I spray painted it and propped it on the buffet in the dining room. I didn't want to hang it centered on the wall because I don't want it to look like a dresser with a mirror, (which is exactly what it is).

The beautiful Drexel dresser was another garage sale find. I bought it earlier in the spring for $100.00, and was perfect for this spot in the dining room.

Here is the mirror all decorated. I already had the evergreen wreath and the stash of florals to put on the wreath. So, this was a thrifty way to decorate the buffet for Christmas. Everything here was either purchased at a garage sale or it was something I already had. I'm not completely satisfied with the way the buffet looks, I need a runner and a few more things to finish it off.

The mirror isn't exactly what I wanted for the wall, but at least it isn't bare anymore!

I'm linking this post to Between Naps on the Porch for Met monday!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Joy, My Wish for You, (and Spam)

I made these ornaments as a young, new bride in 1982. I had just learned to cross-stitch and was looking for inexpensive ornaments for our first tree. We still use them, along with many of the hand crafted ornaments from that first year. Ours is a sentimental tree, not much in the way of glitz and glamor, but very meaningful to us.

Hard to believe I've been using these since 1982!

Is anyone else seeing an increase in spam over the last few weeks? I've never been bothered by it too much since I began my blog, but that has definitely changed. Thankfully it is all on older posts and I have the comment moderation on posts over ten days old. This way I catch the spam but you don't have to be bothered with the nuisance of word verification.

I am also receiving quite a few requests to plug businesses or other business blogs. I consider that a nuisance too. Are any of you getting more of that, and if so how do you respond? It definitely adds to the stress of blogging, not knowing what is legitimate or not. I have been just ignoring those because I don't want to use my blog for advertising. Any comments or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Met Monday- Hurricane Globes

Here is another project I did today. I've seen this on several blogs recently and I just happened to have everything here already. For some reason I have several glass hurricane globes and I have had these glass candlesticks for so many years that I can't even remember not having them.

This was a very quick, easy and fun project to do! I found the center of the globe and marked it with a tiny dot using a permanent marker. I then glued the candlestick to the globe using Gorilla glue. As you can see in the pictures above, my faithful assistant is checking to make sure things were done correctly, or either she was just sniffing the glue!

Here is the finished project! It looks so much nicer adding the little bit of height to the globes. Now I need to find a home for these beauties! I love candles!

I'm also linking this second project to Met Monday, at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch

First Metamorphosis Monday Post- Foot Stool

I'm linking up today for the very first time with Susan, from Between Naps on the Porch, for her Metamorphosis Monday. I've been reading her blog for several months and checking out almost all of the links to the Met Monday posts. So much inspiration here! As the gardening season comes to a close my thoughts have been on sprucing up the interior of my home to make my winter hibernation a more pleasurable experience.

I spend a lot of time on the computer and sometimes I like to prop my feet up while I'm at my desk. This summer I found this tacky foot stool at a garage sale. I think I may have paid a dollar for it. A few weeks ago I took it apart. Oh, was it ever nasty! I had to wear a mask because so much of the padding had deteriorated and there was so much dust. I threw away the old fabric and the foam padding. I cleaned the wood and sprayed it good with Lysol.

Then I spray painted the oak and replaced the foam padding and fabric. I already had the fabric, that I had bought at a garage sale probably three or four years ago.

I say the foot stool is for propping my feet, but truth be known, it is really a kitty cat bed. It seems that the cat likes to sleep beside me here while I'm at the computer.

Anyway, I have been thoroughly inspired by Met Monday with all kinds of great ideas. I hope to include a few more projects over the next few weeks. Stop by Susan's and see the great projects!

Friday, November 27, 2009

After Thanksgiving Miscellany

Wednesday while in the kitchen cooking, I noticed a Cooper's hawk on the bird feeder dining on a house sparrow. Wouldn't you know it, my good camera was upstairs, but it didn't have the zoom lens on it anyway. I grabbed the camera that I keep in my purse and took a few shots before it flew away. The white balance setting was wrong, so the pictures didn't turn out very well.

I didn't see the hawks much over the summer, I guess now that it's turning colder they'll be more frequent visitors. As long as they dine on house sparrows and starlings I won't be sad to see them visit.

I dread seeing how many rabbits are here next year. There are more this year than I ever recall seeing and they are quite brave considering we have a dog that chases them out of the yard when she see them. They just keep coming right back.

I was cleaning and organizing in my craft room and closet a few days ago, of course Ms. Kitty has to be in the middle of it all. She particularly loves flowers.

Today has been a restful day, sleeping late and eating leftovers. No Black Friday shopping for me, there has never been anything that I wanted bad enough to fight the crowds over. Some people love it but, no thank you, that is not my thing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We live too far away from family to make the trip home to Alabama over Thanksgiving. Sometimes we share our meal with friends and several times we've had family here for Thanksgiving. This year it's just us. I cooked our traditional Thanksgiving meal, minus the turkey. It's just a day of relaxing, eating and enjoying each other. We have so much to be thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let Me Introduce You To Lestoil

Several years ago, when my mother-in-law went in the nursing home, we took her favorite wing back chair to her room. I recently had to remove it because it was getting badly soiled. I wasn't quite sure how to remove the gross stains, but I considered calling a carpet/upholstery cleaning service to come and clean the chair.

Then I remembered a conversation I heard several months ago at church when some of the ladies were talking about how wonderful Lestoil was for removing stains from the church tablecloths. I had purchased some and had it in my laundry room. I decided to take the plunge and remove the fabric from the cushion. Because Lestoil has a strong petroleum smell, I first washed the fabric in cold water with regular laundry detergent. It didn't remove the stains and it still smelled strongly of feces. Yes, it was that bad.

I put a very small amount of Lestoil on the cushion and with a gloved hand rubbed the spots, I even used a small infant toothbrush in some areas. I washed the fabric again and this time the stains were completely gone and so was the smell. Yes, I did the sniff test again.

I took the fabric straight from the washing machine and put it back on the cushion and let it dry outside. Thankfully it didn't shrink and it looks great!

I also had a nice fall shirt that had grease from a hay ride all over the back. I was just sick about it and thought it was ruined. I used Shout and washed the shirt, none of the grease came out. I rubbed the Lestoil on the stains and washed the shirt again and every speck of grease was gone!

I don't usually plug products on my blog, but this stuff is amazing! I'm thrilled to have discovered it and thought I'd pass the info along to you!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Garden Blogger Bloom Day

The weather the last few days has been absolutely delightful! I've been trying to stay outdoors as much as possible for I know the warm sunny weather won't last much longer.

These pictures were taken a few days ago and, after the frosts we've had, I was surprised to see so many of the plants still in bloom. The mums are the most prolific bloomers by far, and I guess the biggest surprise was to find a few blooms on the dianthus. I forgot to include the picture of the lavender bloom in the collage.

This clematis is another pleasant surprise! I wasn't expecting to see another round of blooms, especially so late in the year!

I've lost most of the cosmos due to the frost, but these are in a more protected area next to the house and they are still blooming and attracting the few remaining insects.

It's been a while since I've participated in Garden Blogger Bloom Day, (hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens), hopefully by next spring I'll have my act together and be able to participate more regularly.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mosaic Monday- Frosted

I woke up yesterday morning to a heavy frost on the ground. As much as I dreaded seeing it, it was actually quite beautiful. While still in my fleece pajamas and before coffee, I put on my coat and grabbed my camera and headed out to take a few pictures and enjoy the beauty of the delicate frost on my garden.

There is a late blooming sunflower that has just opened up and a few small roses on the Knock Out rose bushes. This frost pretty much finished up what was left of the cosmos.

I know a lot of people don't like the 'Purple Wave' petunias, but I love them and have them every year. They are so easy to grow from seed in my indoor growing system, I usually have a 100% success rate. There aren't too many flowers that I can say that about! When they start looking tacky in late summer, I cut them way back and they come to life again rewarding me with beautiful blooms well into autumn. They can withstand a significant frost and still look pretty. They can also withstand the heat and don't have to be pampered. Definitely a must have for me!

I'm linking today to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary, from the Little Red House. Hop on over and see her gorgeous fall collage!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn at Potter's Bridge

Yesterday was another gorgeous day! My son and I went to Potter's Bridge and walked around the trails and took a few pictures. I am trying to teach him what little I know about photography and Potter's Bridge is the perfect place for picture taking.

My son will be a senior next year so we also took some practice shots for senior pictures. I've done Sr. pictures for several girls and I have to say it is easier for me to pose girls than guys, they also seem to be more natural in front of the camera. At least my guy hates having his picture made so getting a pleasant face is kind of difficult. I think we both need lots of practice before next year!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Indian Summer

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous "Indian Summer" days. My seventeen year old son and I spent the entire afternoon outside cleaning up and working in the yard. Since we homeschool we can pick our own fall break days and yesterday was a perfect day for no school!

My son enjoys physical labor and he was such a huge help to me! He mowed the grass, did the edging and weed eating. He removed everything from the front porch and we cleaned it well. We moved a huge grass that had grown too close to the air conditioner unit. (That was a chore for sure!). We removed three trees. We had several small crabapple trees that just were not performing well at all. I'm not sure why but most of the crabapple trees around here looked diseased this year. I did a lot of weeding and removing annuals that the freeze had killed. I moved three 'Knockout' roses and a few perennials that needed a little more space to spread.

I was able to get all of the new flowers planted. The sedum 'Autumn Joy', immediately attracted the attention of a cloudless sulphur butterfly and some honey bees.

The Asian lady beetles are very annoying right now. The farmers are harvesting the soybeans and corn and have stirred them up. They try to get into the house and they land on us whenever we go outside. I've heard that they stink, but I've never noticed.

I removed most of the cosmos yesterday, the few remaining flowers were attracting the hover flies today. The hover fly looks like a bee and is a very beneficial insect to have in the garden.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a good day in the garden on a gorgeous autumn day. To top it off with a hardworking son with a good attitude and helpful spirit is absolute bliss.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mosiac Monday- Colors of Autumn

The colorful leaves in autumn thrill me just about as much as any spring flower, well... that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it's close. The colors are magnificent and often stop me in my tracks, especially during the "golden hour".

Photographers refer to the last hour before the sun sets, as the "golden hour". During this time the lighting is almost perfect and casts a beautiful golden glow. It is a wonderful time to photograph the rich, vibrant autumn colors.

Oh, did you notice the sweet little heart shaped leaf on the Kousa dogwood? I didn't even notice it until I was editing the pictures on the computer.

I'm linking today to the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Color

The cosmos are still going strong and they are about the only flowers in my garden that are providing pollen for the bees.

It has been quite chilly so I don't expect to see bees in the garden much longer, in fact I was pleasantly surprised to find this one sleeping. It had been drizzling earlier and he still looks a bit wet. He was so cute that I almost took Gail's challenge and reached out to pet him. I've been stung several times and the pain is still too fresh in my memory to chance it, but it was very tempting.

The leaves are such brilliant colors right now.

The maple trees are the most glorious shades of red, orange and yellow.

I spotted a cluster of trees on my way home from running errands yesterday and just had to stop and get a few pictures of the gorgeous leaves.

Such amazing colors!

I try to enjoy it and soak in the beauty as often as I can because it won't be long before the leaves are all on the ground and the trees are bare.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plant Sale

I stopped by Lowe's today to look at the paint and just happened to see the 75% off trees, shrubs and perennials sign in front of the garden center. It was cold and drizzly but I braved the weather to see what they had remaining. I didn't think there would be too much left and I figured it wouldn't be healthy, but I was pleasantly surprised. They still had a pretty good selection of perennials and they actually looked like they hadn't been in stock very long. The sale even included mums! I have been on a really tight budget, and have bought very few plants this year, but I just couldn't pass up these beauties.

I only spent $16.00 and here is what I purchased: Five 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells, (Heuchera), one 'Melting Fire' Heuchera, one 'Summer Sun Sundrops', Heliopsis, yellow twig dogwood, two mums, one spiderwort, and one sedum. I was so excited about the great deals! One shrub and eleven perennials for only $16.00!

We are supposed to have a freeze tonight, but it should get a little warmer next week. Hopefully I can get these in the ground and move a few other things around before winter sets in.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autum at Potter's Bridge

I had an opportunity to stop by Potter's Bridge yesterday. The leaves are not yet at their peak. With the cool rainy weather we've had recently it won't be long until all of the leaves will have fallen and winter will be here. I'm not ready for that! We've already, very reluctantly I might add, had to turn on the heater. I am ready for Indian summer to arrive, I sure hope we have one this year.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Of Mums and Mantids

I was outside taking a walk around the yard and snapping a few pictures earlier today. I had planned on working in the yard some but it was a cold and blustery 55° and too cold for me to stay out for very long.

While outside, I stopped to look at the mums and noticed a praying mantis.

As I was standing there, a fly landed nearby and I watched to see if the mantis was going to attempt to catch it.

It did, but missed. I wonder if insects have the capability to think. I could just imagine this one whining and having a little temper tantrum because it missed an opportunity for lunch.

It certainly gave me a look...

and it's probably a very good thing I don't know what it's thinking!!!