Visitors to Scrapping by Design

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Hi, Everyone,
   As you know, tomorrow is the first day of spring, according to the calendar.  While some of you in the more northerly climes may still have snow on the ground, spring is in bloom down here in sunny south Alabama.  Maybe our blossoms and buds will cheer you until yours peek their little heads out of the barren landscape of their winter sleep.
   Here's one of the dormant Japanese magnolias in our back yard just about 3-4 weeks ago:

Barren, gray branches make the tree look lifeless.

Today, her delicate blooms look like an explosion of pink popcorn.

This sturdy old bay tree in our front yard will be loaded with traditional white magnolia blossoms soon.

This little dogwood struggles to grow beneath the towering long leaf pines in the back yard.
The neighbor's bridal wreath drips branches of lovely flowers.

This azalea in front of our house could use some pruning, but provides lovely flowers all the same.

Up close, these magical flowers are breathtaking.  All over town, masses of different colors and varieties of azaleas turn Brewton into a Southern wonderland.

Beside our front steps, a more delicate pink variety peeks out from behind other greenery.

Though not as brilliant as her pink and fuchsia sister, this white azalea is a beauty in her own right.

Here, a darker variety is covered in buds, ready to bloom any moment.

These graceful trees line the boardwalk downtown.  In the fall, they provide beautiful autumn foliage in colors from oranges to reds.  I think they're Japanese pears, but I'm not positive.

Another view of the parking lot across from the boardwalk.
   Each spring I drink in the gorgeous flowers and trees that clothe our town in glorious colors.  Wherever you are, I hope that the wonder of God's beautiful world never ceases to amaze you.  May the first day of spring bring you renewed hope, health and happiness.

Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Craft Room, the Sequel

Hi, Everyone!
   Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but sometimes life just takes over.  I showed you the front of my craft rack on wheels a while back, and I promised to show more later.  I guess it's time to reveal more.  Here's a view of the left side of the rack:

Embellishments, buttons, ribbon, brads, grommets, eyelets, a brayer, tags, cello bags, label maker tapes, ribbon setter punch, etc.

Rub-ons, hot glue sticks, small flowers, small ribbons, quotes on velum, assorted small paper in packs and in the large pink box.  The shelf below contains an empty sorting tray.
Next is my crafting/computer desk:

This was a shot from back in the days when the desk was new and clean!  LOL  There are two drawers below the top and vertical and horizontal paper storage slots underneath.  Here's the wall above the desk now:

   The masks are from a trip the granddaughters and I took to New Orleans over spring break last year.  We stayed at my daughter, Daphne's, and we had a great time.  The four of us wore our masks from the mask shop, to the ferry, and all the way home.  Hardly anyone even paid any attention to us!  I mounted two of the masks on coordinating place mats.  I made the ribbon and fabric bulletin board and spray-painted the plastic part of the clock to match the room colors.
   Speaking of room colors, these are not the colors of the rest of the house.  I just decided to have fun and make my craft room a fantasy room for me.  I have used mostly shades of pink, green, yellow and turquoise.  It's a happy place to be, and I love having my own "woman cave."  LOL!  I suppose you could say it looks more like a little girl's dress-up play room.  That's okay with me. :)
   Here are some other views of the room:

The top left shelf houses a doll I bought in Las Vegas as a souvenir; I made the flower arrangement at NDI on a  field trip when I was teaching 8th graders, and the hat boxes are currently empty storage.  The bookcase on the right has a mate on the left.

This shelf contains stamps mounted on wood in clear storage boxes which are labeled by categories.  The pink shoebox holds photos to be placed into albums, and the green one stores blank mini albums.  The upright container holds roller stamps, and additional rollers are stored in a clear cylinder behind the roller container.

This shelf holds more wooden stamps and a CD/tape player.

Albums and an odds and ends organizer are on this shelf, while large cookbooks are housed on the shelf below.  There are already too many in the kitchen!  The bottom shelf  (not pictured because it's too messy) holds a Xyron 900 sticker maker and various empty notebooks.

I found these colorful cubes at Walmart.  The top one holds a greeting card organizer and a take-out style decorative box.  The bottom one holds crafting books and magazines, and the bookend houses a glitter pen dispenser.

The space between the cubes holds a CD rack, my Martha Stewart Score Board and a box containing a scrapbook kit.  The photo on the wall features three of our ferrets at Christmas time in Santa and antler hats.

The top cube holds my Gypsy (portable electronic layout design tool used with a Cricut cutting machine) in its black and pink case, and the hatbox and bag are currently just for decoration but could be used for storage.
The bottom cube holds more craft books and a butterfly bookend.
This shelf contains an album , computer CDs in the pink box, assorted scrapbooking kits and empty storage containers.

Housed in the three shoe boxes on this shelf are ceramic tools (I took ceramics in college), paper crimpers, and beads and wire.  The black bag trimmed in pink is a tote for tools to take to a crop (scrapbooking event).  The house-shaped box came filled with a collection of greeting cards.

The adjustable rack on this shelf was designed to hold pot lids, but I'm using it to store labels, envelopes and various specialty printer products.  The orange drawer holds small pieces of cardstock, the blue box has glitter writers in it, and the yellow boxes contain 4"x 6" photo paper.  The shelf below that holds a literature sorter filled with different colors of 8 1/2" X 11" papers, labels and other assorted specialty printer supples.  The bottom shelf was appropriated by the ferrets.  Nothing is safe there. 

You can see part of the printer in the picture above this one.  This is to the left of the bookcase and to the right of my desk.  It sits on a paper storage container.  The container's four trays can adjust between letter and legal size paper.  It sits on top of a two-drawer filing cabinet filled with...stuff.
The top shelf holds a book binder that uses the comb-style fasteners.  The two yellow boxes hold die cuts, stamped images and embossed images, all in alphabetical order, indexed by categories and stored in individual cello bags.  I told you I like to organize things!  The adorable baby picture is of Tyler, my now 19-year-old grandson.   The blue and pink fabric-covered box you can see below stores Cricut supplies, and my Cricut Expression is in front of that on the desktop.
     Believe it or not, there's more to show.  I still have one wall and part of another, but you've seen most of it.  I'll get the room cleaned up one of these days and show you the rest!  LOL  Until then, hope you're having fun doing what you love to do!
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Hi, Gang!
   Monday was quite a productive day.  The first thing Eddie worked on was the pool in the backyard.  He had taken the cover off a few days ago to check on the state of the water.  After he spent quite a bit of time fishing leaves off the bottom, adding new chemicals and trying out a new method of keeping the cover off the surface, I helped him stretch the cover back across the pool and begin the anchoring process.  If you don't tether the cover to the ground, it'll do a Mary Poppins disappearing act when the wind blows.
   Since the weather was mild and glorious, it was a perfect day for taking the ferret cage outside for a good cleaning, too.  Here's a before picture:

Bandit and Sugar Baby in their dirty cage
   As you can plainly see, their cage was sorely in need of a good cleaning!  We had already taken out the hammock from the top section, then set the wire part of the cage off the base onto the ground so they could experience a little bit of real nature.  When we started on the serious cleaning part, we turned them loose on the inside of the house to wreak havoc. 
   After soaking and scrubbing litter boxes, shelves and the wire cage itself, we put it all back together.  The wind kindly dried it off for us.    Here are some after pictures:

   From this picture you can see about how tall it is compared to our front door.

Closeup of the bottom two sections.
   The red plastic thing on the bottom floor is an igloo.  They like to snuggle up together and sleep inside of it when it's cold.  The curved yellow and red tubes hanging down from the ceilings are their "ladders" between floors.  It's funny to see them crawling from one floor to the other with half of them hanging out the top and bottom at the same time.

The top two tiers
   You can clearly see in this photo that their shelves are nice and clean.  The litter boxes were all freshly filled after their vigorous scrubbing, and the brand new double-decker hammock is in its place.  Before putting them to bed, Eddie applied their monthly flea treatment.
    At bedtime, the ferrets were excited to explore their clean-smelling cage and clean pair of pants (they're crazy about this old pair of trousers that has a lining in it; they like to crawl inside the legs to sleep).  Sadly, the new hammock didn't work out.  It sagged too low with them in it, so they didn't use it.  Tonight we returned one of their older hammocks (freshly laundered, of course) to the cage, and they happily settled down in their comfortable digs.  Wish all the rest of the house was that clean!
   Hope your bed is nice and comfy, too.
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Budgies, Bunnies and Skinks, Oh, My!

Parakeets aka Budgies

Give me a break.  I'm running as fast as I can!

She said what???

Ever feel like a turquoise parakeet in a cage full of green and yellow ones?

  Hi, Everyone!
   Today we went to Pensacola to a pet store to buy ferret food.  "Why not buy some at the local Wal-Mart?" you might ask.  Good question.  Ferrets are very picky about their food.  They like the flavor of whatever they were raised on, and ours were raised by the breeders on an expensive brand from the pet store, naturally.  One of our rescue ferrets, Baby Bear, was used to eating the cheaper food, and we hoped that the others would try it and like it.  No way.  Not only did they not like his, he didn't like theirs.  So we had to continue buying both kinds of food as long as he was alive.  It isn't impossible to change what ferrets eat, but it's difficult and time consuming, according to the books we've read, so we just keep giving them what they're used to. 
   Anyway, I was hoping to bring you some nice pictures of a business of ferrets from the pet store (yes; a group or bunch of ferrets is called a "business," and if you ever saw them running and playing together, you'd know why), but they were completely out!  In the 4 years we've been going there, they've never been sold out of ferrets.  I can only conclude that the reason is because I wanted to take some pictures for you and cuddle adorable ferrets that I can't take home.
   Since there were no ferrets, I decided you might enjoy some of the other pets for sale.  I love budgies (the Australian name for parakeets), and we did have some a long time ago, but I got tired of vacuuming bird seed out of the AC vents and poop off the windowsills.  When Guinevere died, we finally gave Arthur to an unsuspecting girl, lock, stock, birdseed and cage.  Still, I enjoy looking at their brightly colored feathers and trying to get them to talk to me.  When I was growing up, I had a blue one named Pretty Boy, and he'd repeat his name for me.  By the way, if you want parakeets to talk to you, don't buy more than one.  They'll only tweet to each other and ignore you.
   The bunny was sweet, but he didn't tug at my heartstrings and make me want to take him home--today.
   This beautiful fellow below wasn't even in a cage.  His color was washed out a bit by the flash; he's a much richer green than he appears in the photo.   He's also a great deal larger than the parakeets.  My aunt used to raise birds, and she had at least one that looked like this in the house.  Most of the others were in an aviary outside.  I was warned that her large parrot would take my finger off if I gave him half a chance.  I didn't.  I didn't try to feed this one a finger, either.
   As we were paying for a new double-decker hammock, ferret food and flea treatment, I spotted some more exotic animals.  The young man waiting on us asked if I'd like a picture of me with a skink on my shoulder.  Since I'd had a picture made of me with a python around my neck while we were in Singapore, I could hardly refuse, could I?  Here it is; a lovely blue-tongued skink.  He's $129.00 if you're interested, and no.  I'm not on commission for the pet store.  Notice I didn't even give their name????

The skink is not the one in the pink striped shirt!  He's on the pink striped shirt.

Do our stripes clash?

   I'm sure you noticed my beloved standing solicitously by.  I thought he was there to protect me, but I discovered later that he was, in fact, making sure that the lovely, blue-tongued skink didn't fall and hurt himself.  He said that anyone who had posed with a python around her neck could certainly take care of herself!
    Hope you had a glorious spring-like day, too!
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)
P.S.  I keep telling you we live in the Ark, but you still don't believe me, do you?  We have all the people loaded up; now we're working on the animals.  LOL

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mouse in the House Update

Hi, Everyone!
   Remember this from a couple of weeks ago?
   This is a different shot my granddaughter took with her phone.  Remember that mouse I told you about?  If you don't, and you'd like to catch up, here's a link to the other post:
   Anyway, I thought you'd be glad to know that the mouse finally showed up dead on the kitchen floor yesterday morning--death by d-Con, I presume.  Just thought I'd clear that up for you.  I didn't want that mouse running wantonly through your mind in case you came to visit me.
   Incidentally, I didn't tell you that the night the mouse got loose, one of our ferrets escaped from her cage during the night as well.  I was vaguely aware of something walking over me as I was sleeping.  My subconscious remembered the mouse, and I came very close to slinging my sweet baby ferret across the room.  Fortunately, I opened my eyes and realized that it was Sugar Baby, and not Mickey or Minnie Mouse, and I collected her and put her back in her bed.  I told you we lived in the Ark. 
   FYI, ferrets are not rodents.  They are in the same family as weasels and skunks, as I've mentioned before, but I don't guess that endears them to you any more than rodents, if you're not inclined toward small, furry animals.  We think our white ferrets resemble miniature baby polar bears.  One of  our gray ones, Baby Bear, looked somewhat like a raccoon.  You can see him below with the black "mask" on his face.  In any case, we're making sure the 2 we have left stay very far away from the d-Con!
Baby Bear, Bandit, Sugar Bear, and Smokey

   Just in case you don't want to be left with the image of a room open to the dirt below, I'll repost this picture of the finished floor: 


   May all your "afters" have happy endings.
Love'n  furry stuff,
Sandy :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Hi, Everyone,
   Valentine's Day is over as I'm writing this, and I hope yours was a good one.  My special Valentine surprised me with a trip out to dinner tonight, and he didn't let me know our destination until we arrived.  Of course I figured out pretty quickly that we weren't eating in town when we passed the city limits.  It was a delight to be surprised, and I especially enjoyed our time together.
   As we turned into the driveway of the Olive Garden in Pensacola, we both knew we'd have a long wait, but we were prepared to enjoy being "alone" together.  What we didn't expect was to play musical chairs during the nearly 1 1/2 hours.
   When we approached the front of the restaurant to sign in, the overflow crowd outside exceeded our expectations.  I'm sure there must have been at least 50 people outside, and inside was only slightly better.  After receiving our signaling device from the hostess, we took up our positions standing beside a potted plant.
Signaling Device
  I was reminded of an old episode of Star Trek in which Kirk was invited to an overcrowded planet to introduce disease to the inhabitants so they could die.  Do you remember that one?  When the door opened to Kirk's room, people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder like sardines in a tin.  We weren't quite that cozy, but you get the picture--it was packed.
   Settling in for the wait, I told Eddie to help me keep an eye out for someone being called to their table, thus leaving an empty seat.  Our first break came after about 15 minutes.  As luck would have it, one chair was vacated below the menu board advertising the night's specials.  I hastened to the chair, and Eddie leaned on the wall next to me. 

   As we people-watched and tried to scrunch ourselves against the wall, I told him that this reminded me of musical chairs for restaurants.  "Watch for the next seat," I chuckled, getting into game mode.  The next move didn't gain us an additional chair, but the next one vacant was at least in a corner out of the direct flow of traffic to the restrooms and dining area.  I offered Eddie a turn in the chair, but being the gentleman that his is, he told me he'd been sitting all day, and for me to remain seated. 

   As luck would have it, our next big break came when a party of 10 was called.  Suddenly all manner of chairs opened up around us, and we quickly snagged a bench for 2 right beside us.  I must say it's been years since I played musical chairs, and this electronic buzzer version was almost as much fun, but not nearly as violent.  Nobody tried to knock people out of the way and pull chairs out from under each other.  We got the young couple across from us to take our picture for posterity.

   When we finally did get to our table, the service was remarkably quick, the food was delicious, and we left full, contented, and renewed.  Getting into our car was another matter.  Those of you who have been to the Olive Garden in Pensacola know that it's built on a steep hill.  Our parking place was on a sideways incline, and if it had rained, it would probably have been washed downhill into the next county.  As it was, it was a struggle to get the doors opened and closed, what with gravity and gravy and such.
    Happy belated Valentine's Day!
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Heart to Heart

 Hi, Gang,
   Yesterday I went for an appointment to have a carotid artery ultrasound and a heart echo performed.  It has been many years since I had these tests done.  When I was in my 30s, an eminent endocrinologist told me I'd had a heart attack at some time, and he had me undergo almost every heart test known to man (or woman).  It turned out that I hadn't; I just have a weird EKG, and it reads like I've had a heart attack sometimes; I told you things were crazy in my world.   So in case you haven't had an ultrasound yet, let me prepare you.  Here's what the machine looks like that you're hooked up to:

Ultra Sound Machine
     First, the technician tells you to "assume the position," and so you do.  This really means to lie on your left side while he attaches electrodes, which resemble the snaps on your baby's rompers, to various places on your chest; yes you do have to unbutton your shirt.  At least this man was sporting gray hair and was not one of my former seventh or eighth grade students.  And yes.  I've been there and done that, too.  It can be rather embarrassing, but somehow you both get through it.
   Next, he hooks leads up to the electrodes which are attached to the computer.  By the way, this is the same machine that is used to do an ultrasound on the uterus of a pregnant woman to observe the progress of her unborn baby.  And no!  I'm not pregnant!!!!  Do not start rumors about that!    
   To conduct the test, the tool he uses to move around to the various areas he's checking is a hand-held probe called a transducer, and he anoints it with a liberal amount of gel before applying it to my chest.  It doesn't hurt at all (just in case you were wondering).  With a few keystrokes, the monitor springs to life, and I am being entertained with a live, real-time image of my heart beating.  It's an interesting sight.  I ask him which valve I'm watching doing a nice double-time rhythm.  He informs me it's the mitral valve, and I'm happy to say that it seems to be closing nicely and not letting any backwash through (I think that would be mitral valve prolapse, but don't quote me on that). 
   At various points, he outlines an area of the heart on the computer screen using dotted lines, much like you would play a computer game.  The areas then get filled in with a pattern, and I see flashes of red, yellow and maybe orange streaks in the midst of the gray image.  I assume these are electrical currents, but I since I didn't ask that, I'm not sure.  It's also interesting to hear the sound when it's turned on.  It reminds me at one point of an old-fashioned sound effect from the radio days when an assistant would shake a thin piece of tin to make it sound like thunder.  If you're a cardiologist, don't call and tell me I'm in trouble, please. 
   After a time, he has me lie on my back and moves the transducer to a different part of the heart.  I'm amused to see what looks somewhat like the image of the man in the moon blowing bubbles.  Of course I always did enjoy trying to see shapes in clouds, so yours might not look like mine.  Or vice versa.  The bubble-blowing apparition keeps steady rhythm with the two-step beat of the mitral valve, and all seems right in my world.  Not that I was worried.  Ahem.  No really.  I wasn't. 

Model of a human heart

   After I wipe the cold, gooey gel off my chest, we proceed to the neck for the carotid scan.  Lying on my left side, I can clearly see the river of blue running along its channel in the right side of my neck.  It looks like it has plenty of room, so that's nice to see.  For the other side, I'm turned away from the screen, so I can't see if it looks any different from the right side.  This is the side my doctor said he heard something with the stethoscope that he wanted checked out.  Since I have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, which both can contribute to heart disease, my doctor is careful to keep these things checked for me.
   When the ultrasound is finished, the technician prints copies of the report onto what looks like specialized paper and tells me it will be next week before the heart specialist will read them.  I assume that since he didn't call a code, send for a gurney and whisk me off to a cath lab, I must not be in imminent danger.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
   Since it's almost Valentine's Day, be good to your heart, and mind your doctor.  Not that I do.  But then, my sweetheart always tells me that advice is meant to be given, not taken.  (Insert chuckle here.)
   Have a wonderful heart-shaped weekend!  Early in the morning, I'm off to a *crop in Morris, Alabama, a small town above Birmingham.  I know I'll have fun.  Hope you do, too.
Love'n stuff,
Sandy :)
*Crop:  Traditionally a scrapbook retreat where scrappers work on various projects for a specified amount of time.  The word is derived from cropping photos to go into albums.  Our crop is for any kind of crafter, and it's just for the day.