Monday, May 30, 2011

Honor Service To The Country

Beside parades and picnics, today there are more importantly, memorial services taking place all over the country to honor those who have died in service.

This morning we visited a nearby cemetery, just after a tribute honoring those who have fallen in service to the country.  The Bluff City Cemetery dates back to 1889 and is located near the Fox River in the city of Elgin.  
Because of the age of this large, old cemetery, it is filled with stately oaks, rolling hills and thousands of dated headstones, monuments and family mausoleums. Entering the hallowed grounds, you immediately see hundreds of large American flags lining the narrow roads that wind there way through the cemetery.  Driving up a hill, you come to an area where the ceremony took place.
Here is a link to open and read about the history of this cemetery and the event.
Down another path you find a large area filled with the graves of the fallen from all wars that Americans have fought.

In each and every town and city, across this massive country, there are sites like this and services that take place each year.  We have attended such memorials in the past in different suburbs around us.  They are truly moving experiences for all to take part of to share the true meaning of this holiday week-end.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Here Comes Summer (Sort Of)

Yes, the calendar reads May 28th.  We start the season with the extended week-end and the celebration of the Memorial Day holiday.  Our weather is not being very cooperative with the first summer  holiday week-end.  The expectation for the next couple days does improve though.  I won't complain, because my thoughts are still with those across the country that are dealing with the devastation from storms, tornadoes and flooding the past few weeks.

This week-end is more than a time for that extra day off, or picnics and barbeques, or sporting events.  (But I wouldn't deny anyone the opportunity to enjoy themselves however they wish.)

Check out this link for some history on Memorial Day.  Do you ever attend a parade in your area on Memorial Day?  If you never have, take the time - It can be a very moving experience to see those "who have serviced" participate and be applauded while marching.  On Sunday evening, tune into the National Memorial Day Celebration.  It can be seen on any PBS station.  It is surely a moving concert that takes place in Washington DC. Here is a link to go to for more information.

This is an event that is never partial to any "party affiliation" but honors all those who have served for the rights and freedoms that we have.  It's on days like this and while watching celebrations like this, that my biggest wish is that people of "all different thinking", will realize that compromise is a "two-way street".  Those who have fought and died, did not fight for the "left or right" (or whatever silly label people want to use) American, but for ALL AMERICANS!

God Bless you all & God Bless the USA!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time To Get My Hands Dirty - Just A Little

Spring has been late in arriving this year. It's time to think about getting my hands dirty and begin planting but the weather has once again we are at the mercy of the weather. There have been only a few truly spring-like days, tons of rain, a few 80+ days and now a string of 50 degree days. Oh to be able to predict the weather!

The bulbs have all bloomed and faded. The flowering shrubs and trees are filled with flowers of many colors.  All of the perennials are sprouting through the earth, and with warmer weather and sunshine, will be showing off each of their shapes and colors.

After years of having a large area to tend to outside the house, I can honestly say that I really enjoy minimal gardening work these days.  Since moving into our newer community, were the landscape work is mostly taken care of by others is fine with me.  But just like decorating the inside of the house to fit our lifestyle and design, I have been working on choosing and planting the types of plants that do the same outside.

Containers are an important part of my decorating scheme for summer planting.  Just as flea market finds and other interesting items find their way inside the house, they are also used outdoors. The old milk cans will again hold different sweet potato vines that will trail from them by summer's end.  Old enamel pans will contain pots of geraniums along with a english ivy.  Metal wash tubs, placed on an old wash stand will display one of my favorite summer annuals like Osteospermum.  Superbells, Supertunias or Gerbera Daisies are other plants that will be used. Our old, hand-crank ice cream maker has found it's way to the deck (and not the garbage) for a couple of small plants along with a few old aluminum cooking pots.  This year I'm planning on giving the few plastic tubs a look of weathered metal. (NOTE: All the plants mentioned work for our climate.  It took a few years of experimenting with plants to find those that work best for us. Each are available in a variety of colors which makes them a good choice.)

Gerbera Daisies

Various Sweet Potato Vines





Just another idea for outdoor decor is to use a collection of jars filled with sand and place tea lights or votives inside for lighting around the porch and deck.  NOTE: If candles are a concern, use the battery style lights.

With temps being a bit below normal again this week-end, planting will have to be postponed a little longer, but it give me time to look for the perfect plants at the best price.

Hopefully one of the summer's trips to  flea markets or barn sales will offer the opportunity for some other unique containers for planting.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May - New Month - New Blog Hop

Welcome May!  I'm looking forward to all those flowers you should be bringing us, especially after all the April showers we had here.

It is also time for another hop from the Designer Crafts Blog Group.  This month you will find ideas for Mother's Day or Father's Day or Birthday's.  I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas everyone will be sharing.  I am choosing to only focus on Mother's Day for now but may be adding something later this month for other themes.

The annual day to celebrate Mother's is this coming Sunday.  We will gather with the paternal matriarch of the family for brunch.  The mother of nine children, grandmother of 21 and great-grandmother of 19 (with 2 more arriving this summer).  I, unfortunately, will only have memories of my own mother to celebrate.  It is because of her I will begin with two ideas that I have previously created for her.

I do love using a mix of mediums when I create and both of these projects follow in that use.

Here is a inexpensive collage frame that I altered by changing the color and then adding a variety of photos, and embellishments that represent my mother.  NOTE: This project was found in a issue of "Crafts n' Things.  I apologize for the glare on the photo, this was taken a few years ago.

This project was created using a children's board book. The surface of the book was first altered with papers and paints.  It then tells the story of her life with photos and journalling from a daughter, to sister, to wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. NOTE: This project can be found in a book titled "The Altered Book Scrapbook".

These are the type of gifts that I enjoy making and sharing to honor those who are meaningful to me.  These same ideas can be used for a sister, brother, child, husband or friend.

So now it is May and everything around is budding and sprouting.  The crocus' have bloomed, some daffodils are still blowing in the wind, the tulips are opening with added color to the landscape and the flowering shrubs and trees are showing off!  Most people love flowers - many types and at any time they always are welcome.  That makes flowers  the way to go for many gift ideas.

I used the latest punches by McGill, called Paper Blossoms to make this necklace.  A peony was shaped with the required punches.  After some experimenting, I found that a thin metal could be used to punch the flower shapes.  Also I try to fashion something with more then one purpose.  Beside the use of this flower as a necklace, it can be removed from the ribbon than used as a lapel pin or pinned onto another item as an embellishment because a pin back was also applied.

Maybe you will find some inspiration before Sunday and make something for a very special lady in your life.

I hope you will continue to take time to hop through the blogs of the group of designers who participate.  Also there is also another "give away" being offered by Julie McGuffee. Please check out her blog for information.

Monday, May 2, 2011

There Will Be A Slight Delay

The latest post is partially written, one project done, another almost complete - BUT there will be a slight delay in posting due to some technical difficulty.

I will get the May Designer Craft post up as soon as I can.  I hope you will please understand.