Monday, July 27, 2015

Birthday Fun and Favorites

July has been a fun and eventful month, between my daughter and my birthdays and family summer outings we have had a fun and busy month. I had a very nice birthday celebration and spent a nice day hanging out with my family. 


During the early part of the day I had my sister over with my niece and nephew and my newest little baby niece. I love spending time with family and we had a fun time. The rule in our house is that the person celebrating their birthday is King or Queen for the day, which entitles them to pick all of the television shows and meals for the day and of course, no chores for the day. We all think this tradition is pretty fun. So for lunch I decided that we would have McDonald Happy Meals and watch vintage 1980's cartoons. I thought my niece and nephew would enjoy that, and I love sharing vintage cartoons with younger generations. We watched an episode of Jem, since the live action movie is coming out soon, I figured they had to know where it all began! I loved Jem when I was younger, it was definitely on the top of my Saturday morning cartoon viewing list! Next we watched Strawberry Shortcake, the original cartoon, I love Strawberry Shortcake, we all got a kick at how funny and really old these 1980's cartoons are looking compared with today's animating, it was really fun.  

We had Happy Meals for lunch because I love Happy Meals and have since I was a kid. Since I have to be on a low fat diet, the only fast food splurging I do is the tiny kid's meal size of hamburger and the mini child size fry they serve now, and who doesn't love a toy surprise!! For my cake, I kept it super simple with a Krispy Kreme Doughnut "Cake". Plus Krispy Kreme's July special doughnut theme was Birthday Cake Batter doughnuts, so I thought that would be fun and easy. Everyone enjoyed all the doughnut choices. :)


My special gift from hubby was this awesome Fuji Film Instax mini 8 Camera. I have wanted this camera for over two years now. I love the fun of mini Polaroid type pictures, and used to really enjoy my Polaroid camera until the film became so hard to get. This camera is fun and really easy to use, there is no real focusing or special effects, and you get what you get as far as the picture goes, I like the idea of that. I am excited to think of a few photo projects to do with this camera, and I love the different themed film you can buy like Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars, some of my favorite Sanrio characters. I also love the pretty pastel colors this camera comes in, I had a hard time choosing, but finally decided on this pretty yellow color.


The kids knew just what to get me as well, I don't share about it much, but I am an avid toy collector, and my latest fun little collection are little blind bag and blind box toys, which are like surprise toys which you can collect. I plan on sharing more about these toys in a future post. The kids got me various toys to help build my various collections and I was really happy with their choices. I also got some pretty flowers, a Starbuck's gift card (yum!), and some other cute goodies. We wrapped up my birthday evening with a family movie night and BLT sandwiches minus the tomato for me. :) We watched Disney's Maleficent which was an amazing movie, I loved it, and would highly recommend it! All around a fun birthday!!  


During the week I popped into Sephora with my daughter and my son's girlfriend to look around. I don't wear much makeup, but I love seeing all the choices. I picked up a couple of bottles of one of my favorite products, Evian Mineral Water Facial Spray, it is so hot lately the cool mist is nice, I also love it when the air dry's out in the fall and winter. Such a simple and wonderful product, and one I have kept on hand for years! I also picked out some fun mini nail polish colors to match some of my summer outfits. Then, because it is my birthday month, when you sign up with their rewards program called Beauty Insider, which is free to sign up for, you get a little birthday gift! This year it is two Nars lip pencils, I am excited to try them out, what a fun treat!


No real update on the garden for this week, it is growing like crazy, and veggies are ready to go. The garden has been too hot lately and some of the plants are having a hard time, luckily this week it finally rained a bit! However, something interesting is happening in my neighbor's garden. I was standing at the sink doing dishes, and noticed a couple yellow flowers in my neighbors tree, I thought I would get a closer look, and realized a rogue squash plant of some variety has decided to use the tree as a trellis and it even has squash growing on it!! I am curious if they are pumpkins, they certainly have a pumpkin shape. I am wondering if they will let the pumpkin grow up there until it is ripe, it doesn't seem to be hurting the tree at all. I just thought that was interesting, and not something you see every day, and pretty fun and interesting to spot! :)


This past week was also the Portland Scottish Highland Games, which we attend every year. It was so hot this year!! I saw one woman with an old fashioned style parasol, and thought that would be a good idea for walking around on such a hot day. Despite the very hot weather, we had a fun time. We enjoyed the kilted mile race, and the kid's fun run, I love how cute the little children look in their tiny kilts and tartan dresses. :) The food was delicious as well, although I stuck with just tiny bites this year, heat plus rich foods just don't mix well for me these day!


I loved all of the bagpipe music, I could listen to it for hours! This year they also had a harper's circle, which was beautiful to listen to. The day ends with the caber toss which is always exciting and the mass bands which is always impressive. As always we love this event and look forward to going every year. You can read more about the Portland Scottish Highland Games in some of my previous years posts- Highland Games 2014 and Highland Games 2012.


Lastly I thought I would share about a new treat I found while I was out grocery shopping the other day- Oreo's newest cookie- Oreo Thins. We love trying all of the special edition Oreo flavors around here, so I am always on the lookout for the newest flavors. Then I spotted these Oreo Thins, they come in Golden Oreo flavor, classic chocolate Oreo flavor, and chocolate mint. I decided to try classic and golden. I am in love with the Golden flavor- they are so thin and crispy with just the right amount of filling. I was surprised how good they were, I normally am a fan of mega stuffed Oreos, and I was worried there wouldn't be enough filling. But with the thin cookie it is exactly the right proportion of cookie to creme filling. Perfect little afternoon treat, I think they may be one of my new favorite cookies, and the whole family loves them! Yum!!

Overall it has been a really nice July, I am looking forward to August, and more summer fun and family time. The county fair is just around the corner, and I have a few more family fun outings planned before summer winds down. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as well!! 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mid July Update - Garden, Celebrations, and Art Project

July is always a fun and busy month for our family. We celebrated my daughter's 20th birthday on July 3rd. We had a fun time, we all went shopping together at a couple different shopping malls that we don't go to as often. We had delicious crepes at a cart in the food court. Sarah had a delicious one with sugar and fresh lemon juice that I cannot wait to try making here at home, and Joe had a yummy maple bacon one and Lorene, my son's girlfriend, had a marionberry crepe. It was fun to watch them be made and they were so good! I am still watching what I eat, so I had a little bite of Sarah and Joe's, very yummy! After our shopping adventures we went to see Disney Pixar's Inside Out. The movie was great, Sarah had seen it before and loved it so much she wanted us to all see it, so it seemed like the perfect birthday movie.



Then of course the next celebration was Independence Day. We had a simple BBQ and I decided to make sugar cookies. I hadn't made rolled cut out cookies in awhile, so it was fun. I forgot that I normally cut the recipe in half, and I made a full batch, so it made quite a few, and I had plenty to bring to church the next day for my Sunday School class.


After a nice BBQ and cookies it was dark enough to light a few fireworks. The weather was pretty pleasant, not nearly as hot as it had been for the past couple of week leading up to the fourth, so we had a nice time watching our little firework show.


The weather the last week of June and the first part of July was crazy hot for around here. June's temperature's were closer to the temperatures we get in August. Watering the garden is having to happen a lot more frequently, and even with regular watering some of the plants are not doing very well. However, the squash and peppers are enjoying the heat, and the plants really took off. I can hardly keep up with picking zucchini, I keep trying to get the little ones but the turn into giants within a couple of days, so we will have to have stuffed squash this month, as well as zucchini bread! The green beans are ready to begin picking tomorrow and it looks to be a nice crop. I imagine the peppers are just around the corner. My two grape vines are also doing really well, they are growing much larger than I thought, so I had to put some extra supports up for them, I will be excited to see how they do next year.


As far as flowers in the garden, more sedum is blooming, both pretty pink and yellow, the canna is also beautiful, it is blooming in both red and yellow, so far I only took a picture of the red flower. Also we've had some pretty Queen Anne's lace pop up here and there which I think is always so lacy and pretty.


I have been working away at the summer art project I am taking part in- ICAD 2015, Index Card A Day of art practice based on daily and weekly themes and prompts. Week four I got a bit behind, and then finally caught up for week five, and now, sadly, I am behind again. However I am hoping to be caught up by next week, and am still plugging away at them. I have been gone so often I haven't been able to sit down and work on my art projects as often as I would like. Even with being behind though I am still really enjoying this project.

These are my week four cards, I was off prompt for most of week fours theme which was inspired by geometric patterns and wallpaper, but I did try on most of the cards to stick with the daily prompt.

Below are 7 cards and day 25 which had a botanic prompt.


Day 22's prompt was psychedelic and I went off prompt and did a sun design with Gelatos over gesso. however, I found it was very difficult to write over the gelatos and the texture from the gesso and ruined a new micron pen. Which I was fine with, because that is part of this process, to learn about different mediums and how they work. Day 23's theme was romantic, and so I used my new hot air balloon stamp and watercolor pencils and found the perfect bible verse to match.


Day 24's prompt was geometric and I had a lot of fun making this patterned card with all of my Glaze Gelly Roll pens, the colors of the pens are so vibrant and the glaze style leaves a nice shiny finish. Day 27's prompt was academic- and I was inspired to make a card based on my bookcases. I used Pentel markers and love the rich colors of that pen set. Both of these cards are my favorites for the week.


Day 26's prompt was exotic, and I got stuck on that prompt for awhile but decided to do a glittery picture of spices and treasure inspired by the gift the Queen of Sheba gave King Solomon, it was a fun card to make. Day 28's prompt was dramatic- I thought of a stage curtain opening and the beginning of a play, I thought it was the perfect space for Genesis 1:1.


Week 5's theme was stamps, stickers and tape, I only used the theme in a couple of the cards. Again I was stuck on some of these prompts, so I finally just decided to get to it, and ignore prompts if they were stopping me. So I mostly just decided to have fun with these. I used a lot of Crayola color crayons and glitter gel pens. Day 29's prompt was Ice Cream, I made the card with neon orange gel pen and crayon and love how it turned out, the color is so bright it was hard to get a good picture.


Day 30's prompt was telephone, I used a fun stamp I had picked up awhile ago and found in my stamp bin, as well as some dot patterned washi tape. Day 31's prompt was trivia, I did a quick card on black chalkboard paint with white gel pen.


Day 32's prompt was weather- I thought this would be the perfect card to do a "wise man builds his house upon a rock" theme. The kids in my Sunday school class request that song almost every week, so I had to have a memory verse card with that Bible verse. You can't see in the picture, but the rain and water were done with glaze gelly roll pens so they are shiny. Day 33's prompt was I Love Lucy or Mad Men even though I enjoy I Love Lucy, I wasn't feeling like making a card based on it, so keeping with favorite Sunday school song themes, I did a card for another favorite of my class- Behold, Behold, I stand at the door and Knock, Knock, Knock. Then I was inspired to make a whole Sunday School lesson out of the song and verse that I ended up teaching last weekend. I hope to do a Simply Sunday School post about it soon with our fun craft and lesson. :)


Day 34's prompt was Flag or patriotic, I did this card on the Fourth of July and had fun with my glitter and washi tape collection.


Day 35's prompt was a little intimidating, as it was Portrait. I haven't had any sort of formal art education for more than 2 decades, so I just used markers and crayons and made a simple card not unlike one a child might draw. Surprisingly however the picture still caught a bit of my essence. I drew myself taking a stroll in a wooded park with a cup of Starbucks as a nod to my Pacific Northwest location, my go-to outfit in the summer are my black capris and my current favorite color to wear is turquoise. Obviously my people drawing skills need major work, but I didn't want this prompt to stop me. So all in all it was a fun week.


Week 6 has game themes for every day, and I am planning on going off prompt for the whole week because I have a series of cards I want to make. 

Tomorrow I will be celebrating my 42nd birthday, so we have more family fun and celebrating to do. This weekend I will be attending the Portland Scottish Highland games like I do every year as well. So we have an exiting and fun weekend ahead. Hope everyone has a nice weekend, thanks for stopping by! :)

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Our Visit to the Portland Art Museum and ICAD Week 3

This summer is turning out to be the summer of art, and I am really enjoying it! :) From the nature sketching class I went to for Mother's Day, to my almost daily art work on my Index Card A Day summer art challenge, to our most recent family outing to the Portland Art Museum, I have been having fun with art a lot this summer. I hadn't been to the art museum in Portland, Oregon for probably close to twenty years, maybe even longer. Since my son is very busy with work this summer we will have to delay any big vacations and opt for day trips, so I thought a trip downtown, to see the latest exhibit at the art museum, would be a fun, interesting, and different summer outing.

So we headed out, and drove about an hour to Portland. I always think it is so exciting crossing the bridge into downtown, it always feels a little bit like a different world. Of course, I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, and spent some time downtown as a teen, but the last fifteen years I have lived in rural and small town locations, so downtown really does feel different.


Parking for the museum was much easier than I thought, and we had no problem parking and getting right to the museum. I was excited to see the museum's latest exhibit called God's and Heroes , masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris.


Before we went to the Gods and Heroes exhibit we looked around some of the initial rooms we came to to get oriented to our map, the museum is quite large with many different rooms to see. I loved all the very different art work we saw throughout the day, so many different styles! I loved the picture below of the girl playing with her dog, and I loved the colors of the abstract painting below. I enjoyed looking at all the different silver in the room pictured below, but I really enjoyed the color of the room, the mint walls were really pretty with the white and light coral accent colors.


It is interesting to me how some art just speaks to you more than others and just draws you in, it might be the colors or the subject, but it just speaks to you. I really loved this portrait below done by French artist Antoine-Jean Gros c. 1830 of Felix Duban, I don't know much about the artist or the subject, but I just loved this portrait. I had to stop and stare at it awhile.


I was blown away by all the art in the Gods and Heroes exhibit, we all enjoyed seeing all of the different paintings. Some of the paintings were huge, all of the colors were rich, it was really interesting, and there were lots of really beautiful paintings.


After the Gods and Heroes Exhibit we went to another special exhibit- Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals Zodiac Heads. The display was really enjoyable, all of the different animals were fun to see, the dragon was especially impressive!


We then went to the different Asian art rooms and saw some fascinating Asian art, from very ancient artifacts, to modern Asian pottery. We thought seeing such old artifacts was amazing, it is hard to really grasp how old some of the objects were. We kept seeing older and older things and were trying to keep track of the oldest item we saw, by the end of the day we even saw some things that were from 900 BC!


I am drawn to all things turquoise colored, I loved this archway with a pair of Sagittarius from 17th century Iran! The turquoise color on it was so vibrant.


Below were some of the ancient Greek items we saw, this room held some of the oldest artifacts, it is so amazing to think of these items actually existing back in ancient Greece, as a person who loves history, seeing these artifacts was really wonderful.


Next we went on to the European art rooms, I was really struck by the very vibrant colors of all of these paintings. Plus, seeing all of the historical and religious subjects of the paintings was interesting, again, because I love history, so I've read about some of the subjects, and seen pictures in books, but seeing the art work in person is quite different.


Walking through each of the different rooms was so enjoyable, overall walking through the museum is a nice way to spend the day, I can see why people would want to go multiple times. I would love to go more often now that I have been once so I could focus on specific time periods or genres for a longer amount of time.


After the European rooms we headed to another special exhibit, The Rake's Progress by David Hockney. The Rake's Progress was also playing at the Opera in Portland this June, it would have been fun to see both and compare the two. No photos were allowed in the exhibit, but the work reminded me a little bit of Edward Gorey, who I just love. Hockney's drawings were a little whimsical, and dark. I especially loved the shadow boxes in the exhibit, I love three dimensional paper art like that and was really inspired by them. All three of the special exhibits, God's and Heroes, The Rake's Progress and Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals were really great to see, if you live nearby and can make a trip to the museum, I would highly suggest it.


We also got to see art work from some very well known artists, such as Monet's Waterlilies. I was a huge Monet fan back in high school, and loved hanging pretty Impressionist prints on my wall. I'm pretty sure the first art work that hung in Gary and my first house, when we were newly-weds, was a print of Monet's waterlilies, and I used to play the cartoon Linnea in Monet's Garden video for the kids when they were little. So seeing this art in person was very special. We also saw Matisse, Renoir, and Picasso paintings and sculptures. Another very well known artist, but much older, was Raphael, the bottom right picture is one of his called Study of a Woman. Seeing the brush and pencil strokes of these famous artists was a great experience.


We finished the day with a walk through the modern art displays. Some were fun and interesting like this bright red sculpture below.


Some of the modern art was funky like this giant vinyl sculpture that was the perfect spot for a photo.


Some was interesting architecturally speaking, the larger pieces were fun to take pictures of the family with. Some of the modern art was a little too far out, and even disturbing, but it is still interesting to see what people create, and it all makes you think, even if the thought is why on earth is this black plastic cube art, or this random brush stroke on a giant white canvas art, it all makes you think, so it was fun, and in some cases funny.


We spent some time in the gift shop, as well as a break in the little cafe which had good coffee and yummy pastries. Then it was time to head out, we finished with the outdoor sculptures, which were all fun and interesting.


We came across a piece of heavy machinery in the sculpture garden, and Gary had fun pretending to show off this amazing art (Gary has always enjoyed heavy machinery and vehicles and what not), we all had a chuckle. :)


The Portland Art Museum was a great family outing and we will definitely have to visit again!

Now onto my other summer art project- ICAD 2015, where the challenge is to create an index card a day of art, using prompts and themes if desired. The theme for week three was Collage. Since I like paper crafting I thought that collage would be an easier art medium for me to work with, but it was really challenging, and at first I had trouble getting going. Here are my week three cards. (You can read more about my ICAD project here.)


I have also given myself the challenge of using each card to write down a Bible memory verse, some of the prompts are more difficult to match up with a verse than others, so sometimes I more loosely use the prompt. Day 15's prompt was Route 66, I went with more of a travelly vibe, and used some vintage stickers and watercolor pencil to make this card.


Below are cards from Day 16 with the prompt- greeting card, and Day 17 with the prompt- wabi-sabi. For Day 16's greeting card prompt I used my new chevron stamp, printed out the verse, and made the potted flower out of an old flocking kit I found in my craft supplies. For day 17 the prompt Wabi-Sabi made me think of a cracked pot, which made me think of the Potter and Clay bible verse, I decoupaged on book paper print, then the printed out verse and decoupaged a picture of a clay pot, I used brown watercolor pencil to distress the card.


Day 18's prompt was tree-house and Day 19's prompt was snow-globe, for both of these cards I used lots of different scrapbook paper and had fun paper-crafting each card. I never really did much classic collage work for week three, the sort where you tear paper and glue it down in some manner, I will have to work on it more down the road. But I enjoyed paper-crafting these two cards.


Day 20's prompt was color wheel, I decided to do a seasonal wheel with colors representing each season, made with a leaf shaped punch and different scrapbook paper. Day 21's prompt was the 1970's, I was stumped on this prompt, I was born in the 70's and love a lot of the colors and pop culture from this era, but nothing was really coming to mind, so instead I went with a childhood theme and yellow and orange colors as a nod to the orange shag carpet and mustard yellow countertops my grandma had in her home when I was a child.


I have fallen a bit behind with my week 4 ICAD projects, we have been out a bit more lately and I haven't been devoting as much time to art as I want. With a holiday week, and my daughter's 20th birthday this week, it may be another week of being slightly behind. However, I am very much enjoying doing a little bit of art as often as possible, and the prompts are challenging. For more information about the ICAD Index Card a Day Challenge 2015 visit this link or the link below.


Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mid June 2015 Garden Journal

This month the garden is looking beautiful. Flowers are blooming all through the garden, and the colors are very pretty. Below is a picture of my favorite snapdragon, it blooms in pink, coral and yellow and shades in between. This plant grew from a volunteer that popped up last summer, and made it through the winter at which time I transplanted it to one of my flower pots, I love volunteer plants, they are always such a surprise.


The sedum is blooming as well, we have many different varieties, as well as other succulents that are blooming, some are pink and some are white, I really loved the flowers on the two plants below.


I had to take a picture of my holly bush, it has been having a rough couple of years, I transplanted it from a corner of the garden that was too hot for it, and it has spent the last couple of years recovering, right now the leaves look so vibrant and a rich glossy green, so I'm happy it seems to be making a comeback. I also love all of the yellows and oranges in the garden right now, the marigolds, day lilies and nasturtium are so pretty.


I didn't realize I got such a nice variety of nasturtium this year, most often I only get one or two colors, but this year just about every plant is a different color and they are all stunning, I also am enjoying my happy pink cosmos, it is nice having so many flowers this year!


The grapes I planted this spring are doing nicely and growing very well, I don't expect any fruit this year, and hope I prune them correctly for next year, they are a bit of an experiment, but it will be fun to see if they do well in containers. My garlic is very nearly ready, the elephant garlic as well as the smaller variety are just about to bloom this week, I thought the elephant garlic flower with its little cap on looked a bit like an elf with a little pointy cap, I also love the pinkish color of my Killarney Red garlic flower.


The petunias are starting to fill out their pot nicely, and the maidenhair fern is also doing well, I had extra marigolds and decided to plant them in a pot that had a little space left, I was going to plant them in my veggies, but something keeps eating all the leaves off of my Marigolds near my veggie patch, not sure if it is a bird or a bug, but I'd be curious to figure out who is nibbling them, I thought they were supposed to deter pests? Either way, these marigolds seem to have escaped being nibbled.


My hydrangea was very late in blooming this year, and it is no longer blue, so I think I will need to fertilize it properly soon. I know there is something to add to make the flower blue again, which I will have to google. For now, however, I am enjoying the soft pink blossoms, with a hint of blue, they are really very pretty.


The green beans are doing well and the pepper patch is getting going. The zucchini are a bit slow to start, and only about a fourth of the seed germinated, but I am hoping they will catch up. We have had very warm temperatures this June and hardly a speck of rain. Since I was off gardening duties during my recovery from surgery, the watering got neglected a bit, as did the weeding. But I am back at it, and the plants seem to be responding to the attention.


My squash and onion patch is doing okay also, the pumpkins are a bit slow to start, and the best squash plant of all is the mystery squash which was a volunteer, I wonder what it will be? The Walla Walla Onions are doing well also.


The beginning of blueberry season has arrived. I have both early and late varieties of blueberry, and the early variety are ready for picking. The kids have been nibbling on fresh berries and I will hopefully have enough for a small blueberry crisp or some muffins and pancakes this week. :)


I also thought I'd show a picture of the wonderful flower pots the kids painted for me back in grade school. My kids are now young adults, I had these pots put away for safe keeping for the longest time, last year I sprayed them to make them weather proof, and I decided that this year I would enjoy them more if they were planted and in use in my garden. I put a little heather plant in each one, and I love the way they look. :)


We also had a very interesting visitor to the garden this week. I had the curtains open during a girls Bible study I host, and just as we began our lesson this bird lands in the garden. I was sitting directly across from the window and was definitely surprised. I had to grab my camera and get some pictures, the bird stayed in the garden for at least ten minutes. I suspect it was hunting my small bird feeder birds, I most often have at least a dozen little birds hanging out at the feeders. They were all smart to scatter while we had this visitor.


I'm not completely sure what this small hawk is, after looking through books and online I suspect he/she is a Cooper's Hawk. I also read it may be a sharp-shinned hawk, apparently even long time bird watchers have trouble telling the two apart. But since Cooper's Hawk are closer to the size of a crow, which was about the size of this hawk, and sharp-shinned hawk are a bit more the size of a jay or pigeon, which this hawk was definitely bigger than that. So I'm leaning toward Cooper's Hawk. If anyone of you is familiar with birds in the Oregon Valley, and recognize what this bird might be, I would love if you would let me know in the comments. This bird is definitely a hunting machine, his talons and beak are pretty imposing. He/She ran along the fence line hunting for birds, I tried catching a few side pictures, but it was too fast so they all came out blurry, you can see in the bottom picture how long his tail feather is. Between the Kestrel and this new Hawk, my little birds had better be on the lookout!


I really love the large variety of birds the garden has had this year, it really pays off to put out a wide variety of bird foods and have fresh water dripping from the bird dripper. Seeing this hawk up close was quite a treat. 

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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