So, we remember….

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that fateful day of September 11, 2001, a day those of us old enough to remember will never forget.

I am sure if you are reading this you remember exactly what you were doing and where you were when you heard of the attack on the first tower in New York City. I certainly do.

I have heard it said it is our generation’s Pearl Harbor. While there is no comparison between the two, other than both were horrific attacks on the United States, they are certainly both dates in our history we should NEVER forget.

History? What is history?

I did an internet search for the definition of history. History defined for kids says, “History is the human story of the past.” History defined by historians says, “History is a study of changes over time, covering all aspects of human society. A dictionary definition says, “History is a record, or account, of past events, developments, etc. that purports to be true…”.

It seems that recently there has been a huge effort in this country to change history to suit various agendas. It would seem to my uneducated mind that if there was a civil war here in this country, regardless of the reasons for it, or the outcome, that destroying statues, flags, books or accounts of that war is simply wrong. It will not change what happened, it will only change the current thinking of millions who have not been given the HISTORY, or the purported truth, which in most cases, IS the truth, or at least a variation of it. Just because you don’t agree with what took place a couple decades, or a couple centuries ago, does not mean that it didn’t occur. So, please, let’s not try to CHANGE history!!

I could go on, and on, I suppose, but I won’t. I just want everyone to remember the sacrifices of many, for the good of the rest of us, and to keep things in perspective. Forget your own agenda, be kind, and be thankful to God above that you have the life that you have. So very many have it SO much worse.

I am now off my soapbox.

A considerable time has passed since I last posted here, but henceforth I will be more consistent. I may post about something that pleases, or displeases, me. Or, I may post about something that has happened in my life, be it major or a minor occurrence. My post may just be my thoughts on something, and you don’t have to like it. I do ask that you be respectful and nice. Another possibility is that I will post about my latest birding adventures, card making, jewelry, quilting, or some other endeavor as it pleases me. There seem to be few rules in blogging, and it is my blog, so it will be my ramblings and no one else’s.

It has been a strange, busy, not-so-busy, boring, fulfilling, and unreal couple of years.

In 2019, I was appointed to a state office in the lowa Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star for the year 2020.

This involved being very active in the affairs of the Grand Chapter, along with my Grand Family of Mom, Dad and 15 siblings. I call it my grand family because, over the time we have served the order, we have grown to become as a family. I have enjoyed the journey with them, and have mixed feelings about the end of our terms of office. At the same time I will be relieved to have finished the responsibilities of office, I will be saddened to be unable to get together regularly (sometimes every weekend) with my Grand Family. That said, we will still see one another, just less frequently. The bonds that have formed since our elections/appointments will remain. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve and be a part of the Kruzer (our family name) family. We were to have served for a year, but with the pandemic and the cancellation of much that was to have happened in ‘our year’, our year became two. For most of a year of that time we did nothing beyond Zoom meetings to stay informed of what was happening, or not happening.

My Kruzer family

I read a lot….sometimes 5 books a week. Most of my reading was not educational, uplifting, spiritual or anything other than pure entertainment. Reading replaced television for entertainment. I have learned a few things through my perusal of fictional accounts of various situations. Most of it simply added to my store of trivia. That’s OK. I survived the pandemic by maintaining my sanity and did not get physically ill. There were adjustments to most aspects of life, and I did lose a family member to Covid cardiac complications, my brother-in-law, who died last December. Life the past couple of years was no bed of roses. I suspect it wasn’t for most of you reading this, either. It could have been worse.

Coffee and a Book, sometimes all day long!

I despaired of what was on television, so stopped watching it. I should have cancelled my DISH account, but didn’t. Now it is FOOTBALL season again, so I will tune in to games I wish to see. Today I will watch with interest as the University of Iowa and Iowa State University take the field in an in-state rivalry we call the CY-HAWK series. It will be televised on ABC as both teams are ranked in the top ten collegiate teams in the country. While there are avid, or rabid, fans on both sides, I am simply an Iowan who would like to see both schools do well and maintain their rankings, in a clean, well-played game. ‘Nuff said. I truly hope the fans on both sides will be respectful toward those on the opposite side of the field.

Cy-Hawk Rivalry

Lastly for this post, I have continued to travel in a limited fashion and photograph whatever strikes my fancy. Most often, it is birds that strike my fancy. The past few weeks I have been going through my archives to find images for the 2022 calendar. One of my supportive birdy friends suggested I used bird’s nests as the theme for 2022. I considered her suggestion and acted upon it when I realized I had more than enough images to do a complete calendar of bird nests. This is the result.

Front cover

If you would be interested in purchasing a calendar, please leave a comment or send an email (click on the ‘contact me’ button at right)

Back cover

That’s all for today. Just remember.


Heading Home

I left you last to anticipate the final leg of our journey. On Friday we left our cozy hotel in Natchez and began the trek northward and home.

Our first stop was to be at the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest tracts of bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Delta, and the area where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was last seen for certain. Might we perchance be fortunate enough to see one? Unlikely, but……you never know! We will definitely be looking, and listening.

On the way there we were moving along and saw a man fishing off to the right of the highway. Upon looking closer through the trees we could see hundreds of Great White Egrets. There was a wide shoulder where the fisherman had parked, so we, too, pulled over.

The Egrets were the population of a rookery! (or colony, if you prefer). We saw several on nests, some building nests, some doing their mating dance, some flying around. Wow! What a treat.

In scanning the area, Therese spotted another bird, black and down low in the trees bordering the road. We all had our binoculars and tried to spot it, finally being successful. It turned out to be a Common Gallinule, a rather secretive bird I have only seen a couple of times.

Common Gallinule

Knowing we had a good trip ahead, we finally left this spot behind.

We took a winding road that, according to GPS would take us ultimately to the visitor center, instead of going the long way around on the highway. Well, as we all know, sometimes the GPS isn’t to be trusted. The turnoff that we were to take was a MUD road, so we kept to the one we were on, knowing it would eventually get us to the visitor center. It was, as you will see, a good thing we were on this road.

There were a couple of turnoffs that we did take, mostly out of curiosity to what we might see. You know, maybe an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Now THAT would be a find! We did see several Little Blue Herons and other assorted birds, but nothing earth shaking.

As we were nearing the final two or three miles before the visitor center, we saw a man walking, and a parked pickup ahead. Seeing that he was wearing camouflage and carrying a camera, binoculars and more, we stopped. Gay asked the fellow what he was seeing. His response, ” Ivory-billed Woodpecker.” Quickly followed by, “I’m kidding.”

We knew he was kidding, because if he had actually seen one he wouldn’t be nearly as calm as he was. Anyway, a conversation ensued. Turns out he lives an hour or so from there and was a fount of information of the area. Then, he said, “I called a Prothonotary Warbler earlier.”

I could barely contain my excitement at these words because I have never seen a Prothonotary Warbler. He told us if we would wait for him to get to his pickup, drive down and turn around, he would take us to where he saw it. Of course, we waited! I think Therese was the only one of us who had ever seen one.

Well, he did, we did, and he pulled over and stopped about 3/4 mile from where we had been. He pulled out his speaker and played the call. Immediately a bird popped out and flew across the road in front of us. It was a Prothonotary! I took a couple of really lousy shots, because a really lousy shot is better than no shot. Then, as the bird seemed to cooperate and sit rather still, I took the time to get my tripod set up and try for some better images.

Folks, this is what those of us who look for birds call a ‘Life Bird’. That simply means it is a bird you have never before seen in your life. It is always a pleasure to see a life bird, and even better to be able to photograph it.

Well, we spent so much time there that we never did make it to the visitor center, or the rest of the 80,000 acres we did not see. One could spend several days in this area and not see everything. We did also see a Loggerhead Shrike, which, on any other day would be quite a find. After the Prothonotary Warbler though, the Shrike took a back seat.

Loggerhead Shrike

We crossed back over the Mississippi River and spent the night at the Clarksdale, Mississippi Hampton Inn. We couldn’t stop talking about our good fortune in meeting Stephan Pagans who found the Prothonotary Warbler for us.

Saturday we planned to cross over the Mississippi River into Arkansas and spend some time in the St. Francis National Forest and Mississippi River State Park. Highlights here were some Savannah Sparrows and a pair of Carolina Chickadees cleaning house preparatory to nesting.

After a couple of hours meandering back roads and seeing several birds of note, we hustled northward, planning to stop at “Lamberts’-Home of Throwed Rolls” in Sikeston, Missouri around 3 p.m. for late lunch/early supper. HA!

We were left wanting, for when we arrived the parking lot was full and people standing around everywhere. I went to the front to ask what the wait time would be, and was told “2 hours.” FORGET IT! There isn’t a meal I would wait 2 hours for, especially since we had only snacked on chips, candy and beef sticks since breakfast. So, on down the road we went, planning to stop south of St. Louis somewhere for the night.

Best laid plans you know. It was Saturday. It was Spring Break. It was post government incentive checks. Whatever it was, there were no rooms where we stopped. Finally, in St. Charles, north side of St. Louis, (third try) we found a hotel with 3 rooms available. We took 2 of them and were glad they were next to an I-Hop where we could get dinner without fighting traffic. We were all tired, especially Gay, who did all the driving. (Birding is hard work!) Note to self-book the room ahead, or don’t try to find a room on a Saturday night during spring break!

Sunday morning. Last day on the road. We planned to stop again at Ted Shanks Conservation area south of Hannibal to see what changes there would be in bird population since the week before. What a surprise! While the week before there were numerous ducks, there were not nearly as many this day. We did check out the north end of the area which we hadn’t taken the time to do the week prior.

Lo and behold, a large bird we thought at first to be a Turkey Vulture, as it got closer to us, was determined to be a Golden Eagle! Now, this is not a bird one sees frequently here as it is only found during migration, and not very often. It was soaring in front of, to the side and above us for quite awhile, giving us good looks. It was a juvenile, with white underwing patches and tail feathers, which the adult does not have. Still, it was quite the find and made our day.

The other item of note, birdwise, was a Great-horned Owl nest in a tree. It was probably a hawk’s nest that the owl took over. We did turn around to get a better look at it to be sure it was what we thought.

It was later in the day than we had planned when we arrived home, but it was still afternoon and not evening, and we were home, safe and sound, with some great experiences to talk about. And, I was happy to see the birds at home had been cared for by my 2 neighbor children who rode their bikes down every day to fill my feeders.

Really, who could beat a Golden Eagle and a Prothonotary Warbler as well as several sightings of Pileated Woodpeckers and Owls among the 100+ bird species we saw on this trip? I am certainly not complaining. Throw in a bit of history, good food, add in the fun of being with like-minded friends and you have the makings of a great road trip, storms notwithstanding.

We did joke about taking too much luggage and decided we should do a repeat of the 1 day road trip of the year before ( the 1 day that turned into 6!) to minimize the stuff we lugged with us.

I hope you have enjoyed our wanderings. Maybe someday we will get clear to the coast to see what birds we can find there.


Southern Road Trip Continues….

A few days ago I left you after our auto tour of the Vicksburg Battlefield National Park.

Leaving the park we stopped for gas, a bathroom and then some lunch and on to Natchez. One thing about traveling with my 2 friends….we stop frequently. Mostly we stop for birds, but we also take bathroom breaks and snack/coffee breaks as often as necessary! Believe me, it is often necessary!

Funny thing we do when traveling, we look for those brown signs on the side of the road. You know, the ones that say So and So State Park, or Historic Marker, or Museum, or whatever. If we see one that looks interesting the car goes that way.

After leaving Vicksburg we saw a brown sign that said ‘Emerald Mound’. It was a short distance and our curiosity got the better of us, so we checked it out. Basically it was a small flat-topped hill in the surrounding flat land.

Who knew?

Another of the signs we saw was for the Natchez Trace Parkway. For the uninitiated, The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents.

We did a short walk on this portion of the Trace. It was awe-inspiring to walk where our forefathers may have traveled, even if it was for a short bit of the trail.

                                      The portion of the Natchez Trace we walked.

From the Parkway website: “Whether famous, infamous, or anonymous, travelers of the Natchez Trace relied heavily on this wilderness road. The Trace was a road home, a path of exploration, and a link to the growing population of the Old Southwest. Over time, new roads and population centers were developed and steamships carried people and supplies upstream. The Old Trace fell out of use. Reestablished as a unit of the National Park Service in 1938, the Natchez Trace Parkway was completed in 2005. The route still serves as a connection between population centers, and allows modern travelers to explore and discover the history and culture of earlier generations.”

After stopping to walk the Trace and increase our knowledge of said trail, we continued on to Natchez, in all driving about 20 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

We got our room and settled in after deciding to find an Italian restaurant for dinner. The one we decided upon was called Pearl Street Pasta, located in a very old building. The directions on my phone said it was .4 mile to the restaurant, but with our unfamiliarity with the area, one way streets and poorly marked streets, it was more like 2 miles! Another possibility was my direction giving, but I don’t think that could have been the problem!  It was a bit frustrating, but we got to see some lovely old buildings we hoped to have time to check out later. Dinner was delicious and the trip back to the hotel was actually about .4 mi.

Wednesday was hot and humid and there were severe storms predicted for later in the day. We decided to proceed as planned to go to St. Catherine Creek NWR south of Natchez, at least for the morning, then check the weather again. It was a short birding morning and the birds apparently knew there was a storm approaching as they were a bit on the scarce side. If you can believe it, I did not take one bird photo that day! Unfortunately, we did not have time to spend an extra day to explore more of the nearly 25,000 acre complex.

We returned to Natchez about 12:30 and the hotel graciously moved us from the 4th floor to the 2nd, as we really didn’t want to be at the top of the building in case of a tornado. We had some lunch, did a bit of sightseeing in town, then returned to the hotel until morning. The predicted arrival of the storm at 3 was pretty much on target with heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning. A tornado did touch down about 20 miles south, but we were snug and safe, and dry, at our hotel.

I love the old Live Oak trees of the south. Some have Spanish Moss hanging from them and some have ferns growing on their branches, giving them a fuzzy look. These particular ones were in the churchyard of  St. Mary Basillica, dedicated in December, 1843. It is seen in the background. The image below was taken between lunch and the arrival of the storm at around 3 p.m.

Live Oaks

After checking our maps and hotel availability in the area of Louisiana just across the river where we would spend Thursday, we decided to stay at our current hotel one more night before heading on north. Having taken care of that change in plans Thursday morning, we crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana and the Bayou Cocodrie NWR, and Red River State Wildlife Management area.

This proved to be a good outing with us finding more birds than expected, and MUCH cooler weather. The high was 23 degrees cooler than the day before.  There were some areas we could not access due to flooded roadways from the previous days rains, but it was still a good day. Probably the highlight bird-wise, was the Little Blue Heron, of which we saw at least 5.

This is a view of a part of the Bayou.

After leaving the Bayou, we headed a bit southwest, again following the Mississippi River, at times on the top of a levee next to the highway. We saw numerous ducks from that vantage point and it was a nice drive to the Red River State WMA, a 78,000 acre area manned by only 3 people. We were fortunate enough to see the only person at the visitor center area as he was just getting off work. He told us we could drive through on the highway, but if we wanted to go on any of the side roads, we would need to get a permit. It was an easy process, and no cost involved, but due to the lateness of the day we opted to not do that and headed back to Natchez.

I will leave you here to anticipate the rest of our travels northward and back home, with a last look at one of the birds we saw that day, a Red-shouldered Hawk.






Southern Road Trip


It is always good to get away, but it is especially nice to get back home.

Last year (2020-remember that year??) before the pandemic I wrote in this space about our day trip that turned into a 6 day trip. What a riot! This year those same two friends and I planned a little better and headed south hoping to see some great birds.

When we first began talking about the trip and where to go, we knew we would need a week to go to Louisiana and Mississippi. Of course the discussion led to what birds we might see and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker came into the conversation. Some think it is extinct, but there is evidence of sightings over the last few years, so who knows? At any rate, we wanted to include the areas of old stands of hardwood trees where it would be if not extinct. Thus, the need for a week to allow time to look for birds and for travel.

Our first stop was at Ted Shanks Conservation Area south of Hannibal Missouri. There were large numbers of ducks, but also Bald Eagle, woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, etc. My favorite find there were the Hooded Mergansers, which we startled and they took off.

Male Hooded Merganser in front with female as they took off from the water as we stopped nearby. Nikon D4 with 600mm lens. Copyrighted.

What beautiful birds they are! The male is especially attractive, which is true of most bird species. This is intentional design as the female is most often the one sitting on the nest, and, being less conspicuous in her coloration, is less likely to be found by predators.

Also seen there were Northern Pintail Ducks, one of my favorites. Bear in mind, I have a LOT of favorites. These are especially striking and not seen as frequently as some of the other ducks.

Northern Pintail male with female and female Mallard in front. Out of focus in the background is a male Mallard. Nikon D4 with 600mm lens. Copyrighted.

From there we planned to head further south, perhaps to either Sikeston or Cape Girardeau, Missouri. We didn’t get quite that far, stopping at Perryville, MO. Next morning our goal was to Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. What a beautiful area for spending some time, with a variety of habitats. Here were MANY turtles sunning themselves on shore and on logs. There was also a good variety of birds, including another favorite, the Wood Duck. These ducks like backwaters and water with plenty of places to hide, and are quite difficult to photograph out in the open.

                                This is the male Wood Duck. Female is out of sight.

Moving on, we decided to just drive for a bit to find a place to spend the night, then cross the Mississippi River into Mississippi the next day. We ended up staying in Helena-West Helena, AR. and had dinner at Sonic. It was Sunday evening and the restaurant we had chosen for dinner was closed for the day, so, Sonic it was. Actually, the meal was quite good.

On Monday we headed east to Mississippi and Moon Lake where we met a lovely lady when we stopped near her house to watch the Purple Martins on the other side of the road. Her name was Cheri and she invited us to park in her driveway and sit in her yard to watch them. She told us how she came to have 3 Martin houses and said she has a 4th that her husband hasn’t put up yet.


She inquired if we would like something to drink or anything, so we asked to use her bathroom. She invited us in and told us they had lived there for 6 years, a lovely spot with a great view of the lake. She had a little shop in the back where she paints metal birds made by a friend. These she sells through craft fairs, but we bought some from her shop. This little owl was unpainted but so adorable.


After driving on down the road, (by the way, we don’t just drive, we stop and look at birds along the route) we found ourselves at Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge. By now it is 1:30, but we planned to spend the night at Vicksburg, MS, another 2 hours drive time, and knew we couldn’t see the whole refuge. That was too bad because we only did a short loop and the refuge is quite large, almost 10,000 acres. Still, we were there and it is a potential ‘return to’ place. Highlight of that visit was, for me, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This tiny bird hardly sits still long enough for me to depress the shutter release, but I did get an image. When excited he shows the red on top of his head, but I guess he was pretty calm.

Upon leaving the refuge we drove on to Vicksburg, arriving too late to attempt the auto tour at Vicksburg National Battlefield, one of the sites of the Civil War. We did discover that the Visitor Center was closed due to Covid 19, but the auto tour opened at 8 a.m.

We asked about places to eat and discovered a great Barbeque place very near our hotel. Great food and very friendly staff. Next morning, Tuesday, we drove the Battlefield.

The auto tour was 16 miles long with numbered stops where you could use your cell phone to call a number and input the sign number to listen to a recording (complete with rifle fire) about that particular area.The red signs designated Confederate lines and the blue signs were Union lines. This is a map of the tour. It was nearly 1 p.m. when we left the park.

There are numerous memorials from all the states who fought in that battle. This is the Iowa Memorial, but throughout the park are smaller Iowa Memorials and markers telling where certain units fought.

In addition to the recordings, there are many descriptive signs explaining what occurred there from March 29-July 4, 1863. To read these signs, just click on the image.

There are also signs giving names of places of battles, and casualties of both North and South units.

While everything there is quite sobering, the area is beautiful now. The redbuds were just starting to bloom and there are a lot of birds there as well. We saw MANY people walking various portions of the park, and one man stopped to visit with us twice. He was very knowledgeable and answered a lot of our questions.

                                      These were Union cannon on a ridge. Trench to the right.


I leave you with these thoughts:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Abraham Lincoln

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the Southern Road Trip.






Stampin’ Up! Peaceful Boughs Sympathy

Good Morning Everyone. Well, we are getting down to the wire pretty quickly here. My family will not be gathering at my home this year. Due to Covid 19 some family members do not want to gather, though we would be a rather small group. Others can’t come due to distance and work responsibilities. I hope whatever you have planned you remember the REAL reason for this season, and every season for that matter, the birth of our Lord.

Today our hop is centered around a sketch, with which I have taken a couple of liberties. The sketch is just a starting point, right? I sure hope so, since that is what I have done…used it as a starting point for my design.

Here is our sketch

And here is my card.

What can I say, except that I love the Peaceful Boughs stamp set and the pine cone paper in the Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper? Yes, I used it last week. Yes,  I will probably use it again. And, it isn’t my fault that I need so many (too many) sympathy cards.

I started with a card base of Soft Suede, cut 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″. The mat is Garden Green, cut 4″ x 5 1/4″. I used Liquid Glue to adhere a panel of the Designer Series Paper (3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″) to the mat, then to the card base. A scrap of Gold Foil Sheets (3 1/4″ x 5 1/4″) was the center panel. I used the Subtle Embossing Folder to emboss, then wrapped Linen Thread around 3 times and taped it to the back.  Liquid Glue was used to adhere it to the card front.

The sentiment from Well Said was stamped in Versamark Ink on Garden Green card stock, then sprinkled with Gold Stampin’ Embossing Powder. Using my Heat Tool, I heat set the sentiment. The Label Me Lovely Punch was used to cut out the sentiment, and Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered it to the front.

A loopy bow of Linen Thread attached with a glue dot (or 2) finishes the card front.

For the inside, I cut a mat from the DSP (4″ x 5 1/4″). The liner of Very Vanilla was cut at 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″. Garden Green ink stamped the sentiment from Woven Heirlooms on the liner, as well as a bough from Peaceful Boughs. Again, Liquid Glue was my go to adhesive.

Another piece of the DSP covered the Very Vanilla Medium Envelope Flap, and a Garden Green bough adorns the front.

I hope you enjoyed seeing another way to use this lovely paper and stamp set.

Please continue on the hop to see what the very talented Amy and the Inkin’ Krew has to show you today. Just click on the ‘next’ button….you know the drill.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are here

Oh, yes, and I hope, in spite of restrictions, that you will be able to have a very merry Christmas!

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Stampin’ Up! Peaceful Boughs Sympathy for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

Good Morning Everyone! I hope your week is going well, and that you have all your Christmas cards mailed out already. Sorry to say, I still have a few to send. Gosh, where did this year go? In some ways it went on far too long, thanks to Covid19, and in other ways it flew by.

At any rate it is Thursday and my creative, talented team mates have some lovely things to show. Our inspiration this week is color. We can use all of them, but must use at least 3. Here is our inspiration:

I chose to use Pool Party, Early Espresso and Old Olive for my sympathy card today. Here it is:

The card base is Pool Party (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) as is the front of the card. I cut a separate panel of Pool Party (4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″) to emboss with the Evergreen Forest Embossing Folder, then used Liquid Glue to adhere it to the card front.

Using the Beautiful Boughs dies, I cut one large and one small bough from Old Olive. For these you will need a piece of card stock about 3″ x 5″. I then cut 2 large and 2 small pine cones and 2 large and 2 small pine cone details from Early Espresso ( 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″). In hind sight, I think I should have used a sponge and some ink to highlight them, but, I didn’t. Just an idea you might want to try.

The smaller label die in that die set was used to cut the Pool Party sentiment panel (1 1/2″ x 3″) AFTER I stamped it in Early Espresso. The sentiment is from the Well Said stamp set. Using my Early Espresso Stampin’ Write Marker, I penned some stitches around the edge.

The elements were dry fit, that is, laid out without any adhesion. When I was satisfied, I took a photo with my phone to ensure that I could repeat the layout. The larger bough was Liquid Glued to the card front. Over this I glued a small pine cone, then used Stampin’ Dimensionals to adhere the larger one over the small one.

The smaller pine branch was partially adhered with Liquid Glue to leave some of the needles loose. The other small pine cone was adhered with Liquid Glue. Over this, Liquid Glue was used on the sentiment corner that overlaps the 2 pine cones, and Stampin’ Dimensionals adhere the other corners. Liquid glue was used to stick down the last pine cone under the sentiment.

The finishing touch is a Linen Thread, loopy, casual bow, which is attached with a couple of Glue Dots.

For the inside I cut a panel of Early Espresso (4″ x 5 1/4″) as a mat for the sentiment liner. This  liner was cut from a 3 1/2″ x 5″ piece of Pool Party with the third largest Stitched Rectangles die.

I laid this on a piece of scrap paper so I could stamp off the edge without getting my mat all inky. The Peaceful Boughs stamp set coordinates with the Beautiful Boughs dies and is just simply beautiful. Using Old Olive ink, I stamped off the larger bough once, then stamped it in the upper left corner. The middle sized bough was used twice in the lower right, and was also stamped off once each time. The pine cones are the smaller ones and stamped full strength in Early espresso. Lastly, with the sentiment from Woven Heirlooms and Early Espresso Ink, I stamped the sentiment.

This liner was glued to the Early Espresso mat and into the card base. This finishes the card, but we can’t have naked envelopes, now, can we?

I put the flap in the Evergreen Forest Embossing Folder and embossed it. Then, with Old Olive Ink I stamped a couple of pine boughs, full strength, from Peaceful Boughs, on the front.

I hope you enjoyed this card, and will want to make one yourself. Now, on with the hop. Just click the button below to go to the Amy’s blog, or any individual’s name to go directly there.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are Here

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Thank you

Stampin’ Up! Dandy Garden Thank You Sneak Peek for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop

Good Thursday Everyone! I pray this finds you safe and well.

My how the weeks roll by, and here it is Thursday again. Glad you could join our hop today, as the gals have some special treats in store for you.

Time is at a premium this week, so I am letting the wonderful Dandy Garden Designer Series Paper do some of the work for me. You know, it takes talent to put the proper papers together so they look good! 🙂 This paper and the Dandy Wishes stamp set that I used for the bee will be available to you on January 5 in the new January-June Mini Catalog.

It also takes talent of a different kind to make a card then look at it and say, “I can’t believe I did that!” Uh-huh, I did that. You will soon see, as I decided that A: it was too late to fix it, B: I didn’t really want to, and C: Waste not want not. Yeah, I did that. Just goes to show you that we all make mistakes. You also know that often it really doesn’t matter in the big picture.

So, let’s get on with it. Thanks for joining us on the hop today. Our talented team has lots to show you.

Today we are all working with a sketch. Easy Peasy!

Here is the card I created using the sketch as inspiration:

There are 2 kinds of cards of which I always have need, it seems: Thank you cards (I don’t send enough of these) and sympathy.

During these trying times I know I forget to thank those who work in thankless positions in Long-term Care, Healthcare, and other places such as our fire, law enforcement, and military personnel. With today’s card, I am making the start of trying to be more aware of the difficult jobs that they do, perhaps more mentally and emotionally difficult than physical, by sending this card to the staff at a long-term care facility. I think I will also include a check to cover the cost of a small treat for each staff member. It isn’t much, but at least they will know they are not forgotten.

Here we go!

My card base is Bumblebee, cut 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ and scored at 4 1/4″. Fold and use in landscape style.

Cut 2 Misty Moonlight panels for mats (3 5/8″ x 4 7/8″)

Cut 2 panels, (3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″) one each from different pieces of Designer Series Paper. I used the Dandy Garden DSP. Use Liquid Glue to adhere these to the mats, then glue them cattywampus to the card base.

Stamp the sentiment from Loyal Leaves in Misty Moonlight on a 7/8″ x 4″ strip of Bumblebee. I used the Triple Banner punch to punch the ends, shortening it a bit. Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered this to the card front.

I thought it looked a bit plain, so I fussy cut a bee from the DSP and used Liquid Glue to adhere it to the sentiment label. This finished the card front.

Now, for the inside. Cut a mat (3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″) from one of the patterns of Designer Series Paper that you used on the front. This will be the mat for your sentiment liner, which is Whisper White (3 5/8″ x 5 1/8).

Stamp one sentiment from Loyal Leaves in Misty Moonlight. Use the Marker to Stamp technique to ink the hero stamp with Bumblebee and Misty Moonlight Stampin’ Write Markers. Huff on the stamp to re-moisten the ink and stamp below the other sentiment.

Adhere the liner to the mat and into the card base with Liquid Glue.


See what I did there ????? Oh, my goodness. My heart fell to my feet. What to do, what to do? Start over? Rip out the inside and re-do just the inside?

Well, I am not much for wasting time worrying about things, just get on with it. My answer to this dilemma was to just leave it alone. They might not notice. Or, if they do, they will just think I should join them in the long-term facility! Or, they might even think it was intentional to give them a much needed chuckle.

Anyway. There it is. At least they will be thanked.

The medium Whisper White envelope got more of the DSP on the flap and a Misty Moonlight/Bumblebee bee stamped on the front.

I hope you enjoyed my foolishness today and will go on to see what the rest of the gals have created for your enjoyment. Just click the ‘next’ button to go on to the next blog, or any individual name to go straight to that blog.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston YOU ARE HERE

The Dandy Garden Designer Series Paper and the Dandy Wishes stamp set are not shown in the product list as they won’t be available until January 5. Trust me, you will want these!

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Stampin’ Up! Peaceful Nativity to Celebrate the Birth of Christ

Good Tuesday morning to all of you. I sincerely hope this post finds you well and in good spirits. My prayer is that it will be so.

Yes, Christmas is coming and soon. I have a Christmas card for you today, but I have so much more. While I pray for a safe Christmas for everyone, I know that there will be families with empty places at the table this Christmas.

In spite of the trials we have all had this year, the Birth of our Lord, Jesus, is to be celebrated anyway. Even if we can’t share that celebration with our families and loved ones, we will still celebrate.

And, speaking of celebrating, it just so happens that our theme for today’s hop is CELEBRATE! We have a choice of events to celebrate, so I chose Christmas.

The stamp set I have chosen is Peaceful Nativity.

I like fun folds, just to make things interesting, so I found several different ones on pinterest.  Oh, to decide which to use. I think the bridge card fills the bill.

Many of the Nativity cards I saw had gold, or some other metallic to glitz them up. The reality was that it was a very humble manger, so I wanted to reflect more of the rustic feel of it.

While the event of Christ’s birth was earth shaking, he came as a  baby to a lowly carpenter and his wife, in a stable no less! I cannot imagine what it was really like. Perhaps like this card, perhaps not.

I don’t really know if this was a night time event, but have chosen to make it a night scene to show the bright star that led the wise men to where he lay.

The base for this card is a piece of Misty Moonlight. Cut it at 4 1/4″ x 8 1/4″. On the long side, score at 1 3/8″, 2 3/4″, 5 1/2″, and 6 7/8″. Fold mountain, valley, valley, mountain and burnish to make a sharp fold.

Cut 4 side panels of Night of Navy for mats (1 1/4″ x 4 1/8″). Cut 4 panels Snowflake Splendor Designer Series Paper (1 1/8″ x 4″). Use Liquid Glue to adhere DSP to mats. Randomly stamp, sparingly, the small star in the Peaceful Navitiy Bundle on these panels. I used Bumblebee.

Cut one panel Night of Navy for a mat (2 5/8″ x 4 1/8″). To this adhere a panel of the Designer Series Paper (2 1/2″ x 4″).

Cut one panel Crumb Cake 1 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ for the floor of the stable. I used Cinnamon Cider ink and the grass stamp from Nature’s Beauty to replicate hay on the floor. I just inked and stamped randomly over and over, turning the stamp to make it really random. I did not leave any bare spaces. Adhere this with Liquid Glue to the large, matted DSP, placing it at the lower edge of the panel. This panel is the back of the stable.

Using the Nativity dies, cut one stable from Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper, the wood grain one. Again, using Liquid Glue, adhere to the back panel, just above the floor piece. Cut one large star from Gold Foil Sheets and adhere above the stable with a Stampin’ Dimensional.

Stamp the Holy Family in Memento Tuxedo Black and color as you wish. I used Stampin’ Blends in Pool Party, Daffodil Delight, Cinnamon Cider, Crumb Cake, Bronze and Ivory, but you can use markers, pencils or whatever you like. Stampin’ Dimensionals were used to adhere this to the back panel over the floor/stable seam. Use Liquid Glue to adhere this finished back panel into the card base.

Adhere the two side panels next to the back panel. Now, you have a decision to make…whether to adhere the outside panels now and attach the bridge over them, or attach the bridge, then the outside panels. Strictly your choice.  I did the former.

Cut the bridge from Misty Moonlight (1 1/4″ x 5 1/2″). To this Adhere a panel of the Snowflake Splendor DSP cut to the same size. Stamp the sentiment from Peaceful Nativity in Misty Moonlight. Use Liquid Glue to attach the ends to the outside panels, keeping the bottom edge flush with the card.

Stamp the Rejoice! sentiment in Misty Moonlight on Very Vanilla and fussy cut whatever shape you like. Stamp the sheep in Memento Tuxedo Black on Whisper White.  Stamp the donkey in Smoky Slate on Gray Granite. Stamp the stable in Early Espresso on Crumb Cake.

Die cut all these with the dies in the Peaceful Nativity Bundle. Also cut 4 palm trees from Very Vanilla. I colored the trees with a Garden Green Stampin’ Write Marker for the fronds, and Soft Suede for the trunks.  For the fronds, I used the side of the brush marker to make it look more like a leaf. Using the bone folder, I very carefully curved the palm fronds for some dimension.

With Liquid Glue, adhere the stable front to the two side panels. You only need a bit of glue on the outside edges of the posts, and the ends of the roof. The lower end of the posts will just go over the edge of the bridge. I ran a dab of Liquid Glue along the trunks and a tiny (1/2 mini) piece of a Stampin’ Dimensional in the center of the fronds to attach the trees. Liquid Glue the Rejoice! sentiment over the trunks and the stable post. Use Stampin’ Dimensionals for the donkey and sheep. 

To finish the card with a place for another sentiment and a brief note and signature, I added a Very Vanilla panel (2 1/2″ x 4″) matted on Night of Navy (2 5/8″ x 4 1/8″) to the back of the center panel. The sentiment is stamped in Misty Moonlight, with a single star in Bumblebee.

The medium Very Vanilla envelope flap has more of the Snowflake Splendor Designer Series Paper, and the front has a few of the larger stars stamped in Bumblebee in the lower left corner.  


Truly, it is time to celebrate, even though we may not be able to gather with family and/or friends this year. May God richly Bless you in the coming year.

Jaimie Babarczy

Karen Finkle

Karen Ksenzakovic

Akiko Sudano

Tara Carpenter

Mary Deatherage

Sue Prather

Julie Johnston YOU ARE HERE

Terry Lynn Bright

Donna Leonard

Amy Koenders


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Christmas, Uncategorized

Stampin’ Up! Toile Christmas for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop


Good Thursday ‘week after Thanksgiving’ morning to you!

It doesn’t seem possible that a week has passed already and Christmas is getting ever closer. Next thing you know it will be 2021, which HAS to be better than 2020. Right? I am praying that it will be so. Meantime….

Our team has some very talented, creative souls who will share their gifts with you today. Come on along and hop with us!

Our Hop theme for today is:

My answer to the theme is a faceted gift box. I also make jewelry, and often give it as a gift. While trying to find some unique ways to package the jewelry instead of the typical flat jewelry box, I came across an older You Tube tutorial for a faceted box. You can find the video here

Here is my version of the faceted gift box:

To begin you will need a 12″ x 12″ sheet of card stock. I chose Real Red from the Regals collection for this box. Cut it down to 7 7/8″ x 11 1/2″ and stamp whatever design you desire all over it randomly. I chose the berry branch from Toile Christmas, and stamped it in Real Red.

Next, you will take out your Simply Scored Scoring Tool and score this sheet on the patterned side. This might look scary, but take your time. It isn’t hard at all.

With the short side up, score at 2 1/2″, 4 5/8″,and 7 1/8″.

Rotate the card stock so the narrowest horizontal line is at the top and score ONLY to the SECOND line at 2 1/2″, 5″, 7 1/2″ and 10″.

Rotate 180 degrees and score to the first score line at 1/4″, 2 3/4″, 5 1/4″ and 7 3/4″

Your paper will look like this:

Turn it over and it will look like this:

Now you will score on the diagonal, matching up the vertical scored lines like this:

When you flip the paper to the back side and make pencil lines where the score lines are, it will look like this, with the shaded areas being the ones you will cut away.

After cutting it will look like this on the patterned side

And like this on the back side:

Next, cut the vertical lines to the horizontal scored line. (cut three at the bottom and one at the top). You will also need to trim the narrow flap at the top so it will close properly, and take a couple of small wedges off the bottom flaps so they will fold easily. Now fold and burnish all score lines. It will look like this.

I know, it sort of looks like a holy mess doesn’t it?? Never fear, all is well and you will soon have a box with a square top and bottom and 8 sides!

I used Tear and Tape, but you could just as easily use Stampin’ Seal or Stampin’ Seal+. See those 4 bottom flaps? Turn your paper so they are sitting on your table and begin to fold them in on one another to form the bottom of your box. You can decide which ones on which you will use adhesive. I put 3 strips on the WRONG side of the first one, which became the very bottom. Then I folded in the next 2 and put adhesive on the RIGHT side of the last piece as it folded in on top of the other 3. The funny little triangle on the side also was adhered with Tear and Tape under the larger triangle. Then your box looks like this:

Yep, looks weird doesn’t it? But it really is a square box with 8 facets. Pretty cool! You will have everyone thinking you are a genius. Fold in the side flaps and close the lid:

Here is is closed:

And a side view of it closed:

Now for the real fun….decorating the top. Remember, it is a small square, about 2 1/2″, so you will want to keep everything small, including the tag. I cut 2 berry branches from the scraps of Real Red using the dies in the Poinsettia Petals Bundle, and fussy cut one of the smaller flowers from the Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper. I used my Paper Snips Scissors to cut apart one of the berry stems and used Liquid Glue to attach them to the back side of the flower. A couple of Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered this to the top of the box.

The sentiment is from Toile Christmas and is stamped in Real Red on Whisper white. This was cut with a die from Ornate Frames, then edged with my Real Red Stampin’ Write Marker. A couple of Stampin’ Dimensionals adhered it in the corner of the box top.

This finished the box, but I wanted to show you how I used it. I placed some fiberfill in the box, then added the bracelet.

I think this makes a very nice, unique gift box for any small item that needs a special box. Don’t you?

I know this was a rather lengthy post, but I did want you to see it step by step as I don’t do videos. Of course, you can always watch the one I found, by going to the link at the beginning of this post. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave comments below! To go on with the hop, just click on the ‘next’ button, or on any name to go to her blog.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are Here



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Stampin’ Up! Plaid Poinsettia Petals Fun Fold

Good Thursday morning Everyone, and welcome to another Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop! The ladies have wonderful projects in store for you today as we follow a red/green/white color scheme.

I do hope this finds you, and yours, well and following safe practices in these uncertain times brought to us by Covid19. Please, wear your masks in public and avoid going where there are crowds of more than 5 or 6 people. I have been ordering my groceries online and picking them up curbside, and doing very little socializing in person, unless it is outdoors and socially distanced. I would urge you to do likewise.

My family is foregoing our Thanksgiving gathering and probably Christmas, too, as numbers escalate.

OK, on with today’s post!

Our challenge/inspiration for today is based upon color:

I started in my mind with Shaded Spruce, Cherry Cobbler and Whisper White, as those were the predominant colors in the Plaid Tidings Designer Series Paper that I chose to use. As I began cutting and laying out the parts of the card, I changed my mind (woman’s prerogative you know!) and decided to use all five colors. I think adding the Real Red and Garden Green made for a brighter, more cheerful, card. Let me know what you think.

And here is my card.

The card base is Garden Green. The mat, which is part of the fun fold is Cherry Cobbler. The part above the fold is Plaid Tidings Designer Series Paper, as is the outside of the folded up portion. The inside (when folded up) of the easel is a panel of Poinsettia Place DSP, same as used on the small card.

On top of the plaid base is a smaller card, so you get 2 cards in one with this fun fold. The base of this one is Cherry Cobbler. The front and top inside are panels from the Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper.This smaller card is the base of the decorations. If you use a paper that has a directional design, be sure to double check that your designs all run the same direction. Plaids, even though they may look even, often have a bit of difference if you turn it, so watch for that. On this card, with the fold up, it really needs to match.

For details on how to assemble this card, visit my friend Mary’s blog for a video with the basic details.

My card has a few changes as I used the Poinsettia Petals Bundle for the decorations instead of a wreath. Otherwise just substitute the papers and card stock colors.

Use Liquid Glue to adhere all card stock and designer series papers.

I find it easier to put the finished sentiment liner inside the smaller card, assemble the decorations, then attach it to the larger card. You may find it easier to do things in a different order.

Adhere Poinsettia Place DSP to front and upper inside of small card. Stamp sentiment from Merry Moose in Shaded Spruce on the Whisper White panel. Stamp the whole poinsettia flower in Real Red after stamping off once on a piece of scrap paper. Liquid Glue this to the lower portion of the small card.

I cut one each of the 3 sizes of poinsettia, then used the embossing part to emboss them. I used my bone folder to give a LITTLE curl  to the petals, using a very light touch. Three leaves were cut, 1 large and 2 small, from Shaded Spruce, and embossed as well. Cut 2 Real Red berry branches and one Cherry Cobbler branch. Stamp the sentiment from Merry Moose in Real Red on Whisper White and use the smallest Stitched Rectangles die to cut it.

Do a dry fit, and when satisfied that this is the look you want, take a photo with your phone so you have something to which you can refer if you can’t remember where each piece was. I used Liquid Glue to attach the leaves first, then added a Stampin’ Dimensional to the center back of the largest poinsettia and stuck it on. A dab of Liquid Glue on the center of each flower layer is all you need to hold it together and leave the petals free. Use Liquid Glue to attach the Bumblebee (yellow) center.

A dab of Liquid Glue on the lower portion of the berry branches is enough to adhere them as well. With only one Stampin’ Dimensional under the poinsettia (I would recommend a whole one), it is easy to slide the berry branches  underneath. The sentiment piece is adhered with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

Use Liquid Glue to attach the finished small card to the card front easel(plaid). The fold up portion of the easel will fold over the glued down small card, with the front of the small card closing over the folded up portion of the easel.

For the inside of the card base (tent card), I cut the Whisper White liner with the largest Stitched Rectangles die. I must have measured something wrong, because I had to cut one end off by about 3/16″. Not a big deal, just so you know, in case you measure ever measure wrong.

I stamped the sentiments from Poinsettia Petals in in Shaded Spruce on this die cut liner, then used Liquid Glue to adhere it to the Cherry Cobbler mat and into the card base. Card done!

The envelope is graced with a Real Red poinsettia on the front and more of the Plaid Tidings DSP on the flap.

I do hope you watch Mary’s video. Her instructions are very clear. Now, on with the hop. Just click the ‘next’ button to go to the creative Amy Koenders, or just click on any name to go to her blog. Enjoy!

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Akiko Sudano

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston – You are HERE

Card Cuts:

Garden Green: card base 4 1/4″ x 11″scored and folded at 5 1/2″

Cherry Cobbler: easel (the folded up part) 4″ x 7 1/2″ scored and folded at 5 1/4″; small card base 3 1/4″ x 8″ scored and folded at 4″; mat for inner liner 4″ x 5 1/4″; berry branch 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

Whisper White:  front sentiment 1″ x 3″; inner liner 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″; inner liner for small card 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″; poinsettia 4″ x 6″

Shaded Spruce: poinsettia leaves 2″ x 6″

Plaid Tidings 6″x6″ Designer Series Paper: large panel on easel 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″; small panel on easel (outside) 2 1/8″ x 3 7/8″;  envelope flap 2 1/4″ x 6″

Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper: panels on front and inside of small tent card (2) 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″; inside panel on easel 2 1/8″ x 3 7/8″

Real Red: berry branches 1 1/2″ x 4″

Bumblebee: small scrap for poinsettia center 1/2″ x 1/2″

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