Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Cards!

It seems like I've been doing lots of creative bits lately -- and with Easter on the horizon, why not?

Here are a few of the cards I've been working on.

I dropped off most of them to Creative Wellness for their card racks. A few will go in the mail.

Sometimes its fun to see what a difference paper and color can make to the same image.


So just keep your eyes out! It's Easter -- and you never know where you'll find a duckling, chick or an egg!

And now, on to the house decorating! 


More to come!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Harry's Back!

It appears that spring has come -- bit by bit -- to our part of the world. 
I don't have photos of the daffs that are beginning to bloom, 
but I've enjoyed my share of neighborhood walks. 
And on occasion, someone is watching!

Even without the leaves that will be here soon enough, the Ditch is still lovely,
 especially on a sunny day.


Harry is back. My first sighting was in mid-March when there was 
still ice on part of the pond. Then he went to ground for a bit.
 But he's back!

He seems to pose. I wish he'd pose a bit closer to my max zoom length!


And, it would appear that there is a Mrs. Harry, too. 
At least there is another heron -- and she seems to be nesting!

The people are out -- families walking the ditch...

...and couples, taking a break, enjoying the ducks.

The ducks, I fear, are a bit camera shy this year!

It doesn't matter. I'll keep enjoying those walks.

And the companions I encounter along the way!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY: Cork Vases -- A Tutorial

After I did my "Cork Poppers Go Italian" post, Linda had asked me for a tutorial on the vases my friend Barb pulled together for our wine tasting (modeled below by Anne).

 I touched base with her on the details, and here you go!



Barb uses the little amphora-shaped glass holders from Bath and Body Works (to plug room fragrances into). You could also use a small glass vase available at craft supply stores

You will also need wine corks, a rubber band and a sturdy glue. Barb recommends Household Goop for the glue. She says it's flexible even when cured.


Taking your amphora, vase or small jar/bottle, glue corks around the edge. In the case of the amphora bottles, the corks will actually be the base on which the pointed bottle rests, so be sure that they are flush with a hard surface.

As you glue the corks around the edge, work around the side of your vase. You can go all the way or only part way. On the amphora vials here, there are openings, and the corks don't totally circle the vessel.

Hold the corks in place with a rubber band as they dry -- be sure to give the glue plenty of time to cure. If you are making them for a party, do them well in advance.

After they are completely dry, remove the rubber band and fill the vial or bottle with water and insert your flower.

You may also add a place card glued to a skewer and use raffia or ribbon as an added embellishment.

Barb has done more fun things with corks than I can count -- including this very simple arrangement -- just piling corks into tall vases for an impressive display.

Thanks, Barb, for the idea and sharing the instructions! I know I'm going to give them a try! Hope you do, too!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shaking It Up

Before the snow melts, I thought I'd finish up my visit to Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I had been there once, more than 30 years ago. But the Shakers are a subject that has long fascinated me, ever since seeing Ken Burns' early film The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God. There was a corresponding book that made it into my collection as much for the beautiful photos as for the content. I have always admired their simple but beautifully made designs.

So, when we visited Pittsfield last month, Hancock was high on my list of attractions to see. The trouble was, in the winter it is open only by appointment and our schedule wasn't tight enough to be able to schedule in advance. So I needed to be content with the exterior.

Fortunately, I have a few photos of interiors from a previous visit, although the quality isn't so great as I was shooting through the glass frames.

When you drive into the village the first thing you notice is that it isn't large -- a cluster of several buildings, spread apart on the land.

The Round Stone Barn is considered the centerpiece of the village. It was built in 1826.

I recall from my earlier visit that there was also a grain producing area within the barn, no doubt stored in the silos in at the far rights of the photo below.

Shakers are a religious order -- their members believe in pacifism, communal living and celibacy (which may account for the limited number of Shakers, none of whom live at Hancock. They were noted for their singing and exuberant dancing and that's how the name "Shakers" stuck.

As a group, Shakers are particularly noted for their craftsmanship including their architecture and furniture, which has clean, simple lines and is always well made. They were also noted for their architecture.

The Shakers came to Hancock in the late 1780s and peaked in the mid-19th century with more than 300 living on the 3,000 acre site. They lived in communal dwellings and were successful farmers.

The Shakers named their area the City of Peace and it clearly was a peaceful spot on the day we visited with nary a soul in sight. They channeled their energies into such indistries as crafts, basket and broom making, metal and woodworking, and marketed their items as a key source of income.

In 1960, the Shakers, unable to continue their village and industry, sold what property hadn't already been sold to a local organization to continue as a living history museum.

You'll find that buildings are plain and simple in design. But the use of color sets them apart -- especially on a snowy day when they are nestled into a world of white.


Take a look inside this window and you'll notice the detail on the door.


On my previous visit I was able to go inside. This is the doctor's quarters...


My favorite photo was this one -- the brooms for which the group was so famous hanging beside a door, the sun streaming through. (Again, shot through glass.)

I wonder what this little one was for.

These days the Shaker site has gone solar.

I suspect that's a good thing -- I wouldn't have wanted to be inside any of these buildings during this cold winter without it!

The condensation forming on the windows, the icicles, the snow. Yes, very cold.

But perhaps they just danced the cold away!

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