It’s here! The 2023 calendar of Birds of the Bible

Good day to all my friends and blog followers. It has been quite some time since I have posted, and have nearly forgotten what I need to do to post! I don’t know where the time has gone….spring, summer and fall have simply flown by, and here we are on the cusp of winter. Are you ready??

Perhaps to help you along with the year ahead, you might like to purchase my new calendar. I am holding the price at $20, even though production costs have risen. Perhaps this will be the last year for the calendar in this format. I will either have to raise the price significantly, which I don’t want to do, or make the calendar smaller. I might even have to go to a desk calendar to keep them affordable.

Above is the cover of the new 12″ x 12″ calendar, with twelve images of birds inside, one for each month, none of which have been previously published. Those of you who know me, know I am continually adding to my stock of images, many of which are birds. I can’t seem to resist grabbing the camera when I see a bird, especially if it is a new one to me. Sometimes they are too far away to get a really good image, but I can usually identify it with even a poor photo. As always, even if I have a great one, there is the hope that one can capture an even better image. So, I keep shooting.

The back page of the calendar shows all the images for each month, as well as my contact information. I will have to add a shipping cost for any that I have to send to you.

Thank you for following my blog, even though I have not posted for quite awhile. I don’t make resolutions for the new year, but I have two of them for 2023, beyond trying to be a better person. They are to post on my blog more regularly, and make and send more cards.

Let me know in the comments, or by email, if you would like a calendar.


Another Creative angle

Well, Followers, I suppose you expected to see perhaps a new card, or maybe some canning, or perhaps even something to do with birds. Nope. Not today. Sorry to disappoint, but, dear Followers, read on. You might be surprised.

I think my headline, or whatever it is called, says, ‘ creative endeavors’. That was intentional to include all the creative things I like to do. Since Covid 19 and all its variants arrived, I have done a lot of reading and not much creating. Why? I really can’t say, but I have read MANY books.

Yesterday we had snow all day and overnight as well, so this morning I had lovely drifts everywhere. Reports are that we received 10″ of snow. Great day to stay in and put together a quilt and read another chapter or two.

Now, I am back to cleaning my house and making things. Late last summer, or early fall perhaps, I was in a little quilt shop in a tiny town in South Central Iowa. The town is Lucas, and the shop is Quilt With Us. There was a notice of an upcoming quilt retreat featuring a Block of the Month quilt called ‘Fair Isle’.

This is a design I really liked, so I signed up for the retreat which is held over 2 weekends, one in January and one in February. We worked on the first 6 months (this is really a Block a Month pattern) the first weekend, and in February will finish (?) the quilt. I am loving the techniques used and the pattern as well. I love traditional star quilt patterns, however, I am not a fan of square quilts, so will add a border at top and bottom so it will better fit a bed. Maybe a row of stars, or extra flying geese?

The pattern calls for 17 different fabrics, which for the first quilt I chose 17 Batiks in Navy and rust colors, with a neutral off white background. I am already thinking ahead to making one from scraps in greens and purples. We’ll see how THAT goes. I am not sure whether the pattern will lend itself to scraps. Gotta finish this one first. Here are some of the components for the Fair Isle.

I am simply amazed at how well the points of the various parts came out. This is probably the first quilt I have ever done so precisely.

This is one quarter of a block
This is a 4 1/2″ block

I also started piecing (from scraps) a Bonnie Hunter design called Rhododendron Trail. It is a mystery quilt with only one or two components featured on her blog each week for 8 weeks. Here are some (90) of the 2 1/2″ hourglass blocks for that quilt.

90 of the 216 required

I will keep you informed of the progress on these quilts. I am still making cards, though I haven’t done as many as I need to do. Next week I will get back to doing more of them. Last week I was chosen as secretary for a group to which I belong. That means I have to keep track of everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries and send cards. Great excuse to make more cards! Now, will someone please add more hours to a day??


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.





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! Snowflake Wishes for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop


Good Thursday everyone! I had planned to visit my daughter in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, but the weather for that weekend included a SNOW storm, so I didn’t go until this past weekend. Which is all to lead into today’s theme for our Thursday blog hop, which is SNOW.

So, come on along on our SNOWY journey, bundle up and stay warm.

I love the SNOWFLAKE WISHES BUNDLE, and all the other elements of the SNOWFLAKE SPLENDOR SUITE…the designer series paper, the embossing folder, just everything.

Here is our theme


and here is my card.

I decided to enter a challenge, the Dream Valley Challenge, which is to use dies and/or punches.

I also entered Ike’s World Challenge # 139. This month’s challenge is the letter W, for White on White/Anything Goes.

I think my card also qualifies as an entry in the Try it on Tuesday Challenge. This one is Embossing, either dry or heat. My card has both!

The Snowflake Splendor Suite is such a beautiful suite, and there are so many lovely ways to go with any of the elements. I chose to use the dies and stamp set.

I like monochromatic cards, and white is a good choice for snow, don’t you think?? I paired the white with a bit of silver and some rhinestones, and I really like the result.

To begin, I spritzed some Thick Whisper White card stock and ran it through the machine in the Winter Snow embossing folder. While it dried, I cut the card base from Whisper White card stock.

Using the So Many Snowflakes dies I cut 2 smaller fancy ones, one in Silver Foil Sheets and one in Whisper White. I cut 3 of the larger plain one in Thick Whisper White. The three plain ones were adhered to each other with Liquid Glue. The silver one was adhered to its mate, then to the larger plain one, also with Liquid Glue.

By now the embossed panel was dry, so I cut it to fit the card base and adhered it to the front of the card base with Liquid Glue. I rounded the corners with the Detailed Trio Punch.

Before stamping the sentiment, from Snowflake Wishes, I rubbed my Embossing Buddy over the panel to prevent the embossing powder from sticking where I didn’t want it. The sentiment was then stamped in Versamark on Whisper White, heat embossed with Silver Embossing Powder, and cut with a die from Stitched So Sweetly.

This was glued with Liquid Glue to a panel of Silver Foil Sheets for a mat, which was fussy cut. This was pretty much straight cuts, and easy-peasy.

Using the Beautiful Boughs dies, I cut 2 of the smaller and 2 of the middle size from Whisper White card stock. In the end, I only used 3 of them, arranged under the sentiment. You know, pine boughs, when covered in snow, are white!

I dry fit everything to the card front, and when satisfied with the look, I used Liquid Glue to attach the boughs to the snowflake embossed card front. The silver matted sentiment was attached over the boughs with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The snowflake was attached with a double stack of Mini Stampin’ Dimensionals on the four points that do not cover the sentiment panel. The final element is the attachment of 3 small and 1 large Holiday Rhinestones Basic Jewels in the Coastal Cabana color. I was going to use regular Rhinestones, but thought the small touch of blue was elegant.

For the inside, I cut a panel from Silver Foil Sheets for the mat, and a panel of Whisper White for the liner. Both panels were given rounded corners with the Detailed Trio Punch. The liner was stamped with the snowflake group in the Snowflake Wishes stamp set, in Versamark. Silver Embossing Powder was heat set with my Heat Tool. These panels were Liquid Glued into the card base.

I chose to not put a sentiment on the inside to leave room for a personal note of thanks.

The envelope flap received a piece of Silver Foil Sheets, and the Snowflake group was heat embossed in Silver on the front.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

Sue Prather

Karen Finkle

Karen Ksenzakovic

Julie Johnston

CARD CUTS: Whisper White: card base 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ scored at 4 1/4″, inside panel 4″ x 4 7/8″, pine boughs 3″ x 5″ or use scraps, small snowflake 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″; Thick Whisper White: embossed panel 4 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ (spritz, emboss, let dry and trim to fit card front), snowflakes 3″ x 9″, sentiment 2 1/2″ x 3″ Silver Foil Sheets: sentiment mat 2 1/2″ x 3″, small snowflake 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, inside mat 4 1/8″ x 5 1/8″, envelope flap 2 1/4″ x 6″

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Peaceful Boughs Fun Fold for Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop


Good Thursday morning everyone, and welcome once again to our Happy Inkin’ Thursday Blog Hop! It has been a chilly week here in the heartland, but today is WARMER, as in summer warmer. However, it won’t last 😦 as temperatures tomorrow are predicted to be lower by 30 degrees!

Today we have for you a color challenge, or, inspiration as I prefer to call it. We are instructed to use a minimum of three of these colors.

You probably took one look and knew what I am making. Yup, Christmas. How did you guess?

My friend Mary, who is also hopping today, did a fun fold recently that I am also using as inspiration for my card. Go here to see that inspiration card, and a video detailing the steps. I could see no point in re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, when her video shows it all.

This card is not at all what I had in my mind’s eye before I actually started the card. I wanted to use plaid and the Poinsettia Petals bundle, but the colors dictated otherwise. None of the plaids matched up with the colors in today’s challenge, so I simply switched paper and stamp sets.

All products used for this card and card cuts are below. So, let’s get going! 

I began with a card base of Garden Green and some of the lovely Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper. Actually, I used two of them, the wood grain and the pine cones. I think this matches up perfectly with the Peaceful Boughs stamp set and Beautiful Boughs dies.

I started with a Soft Suede mat, which is also the ‘fold’ part of ‘fun fold’. Over this I used Liquid Glue to adhere the wood grain Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper as well as the folded up flap. The inside of the flap is the Pine Cone paper. Liquid Glue was used to adhere this to the card front.

The smaller card is a Soft Suede base (also acting as a mat) with the Pine Cone Poinsettia Place DSP on the front and on the inside. The Pine Cone paper is also on the inside (when it is folded up) of the flap

Adhere all DSP panels to their respective backgrounds with Liquid Glue. Adhere the small card on the card front with the fold folding up over it.

Decorate the front of the small card with 2 die cuts of the larger pine bough and one of the single bough, 3 die cut pine cones (all from Beautiful Boughs), one red berry branch from Poinsettia dies, and one stamped and die cut pine cone. I also used a length of Linen Thread wound behind the sentiment.

Stamp the sentiment from Peaceful Nativity in Real Red and use the smaller die from Beautiful Boughs to cut it out. Use your Old Olive Stampin’ Write Marker to make a line around the edge of the sentiment piece. Mine is a squiggly, broken line but you can make it look like stitches if you like.

Dry fit all the elements and when you are satisfied with the arrangement, begin adhering with Liquid Glue. The large pine cone and sentiment piece are adhered with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

For the inside of the small card, use the small pine cone stamp in Peaceful Boughs and stamp off the Soft Suede Ink once before stamping your Whisper White panel. Over this stamp the sentiment from Peaceful Nativity in Real Red.

Inside the large card, on a Whisper White panel, stamp the pine bough from Peaceful Boughs in stamped off once Old Olive. Stamp two small pine cones in stamped off once Soft Suede. The sentiment is also from the Peaceful Boughs stamp set and is stamped in Real Red. This panel was cut with the largest Stitched Rectangles die. Liquid Glue adheres this to a Soft Suede mat and into the card base.

The papers, card stock and inks were all looking brown and green and I wanted a pop of color. I didn’t think the Bumblebee was quite right, but the Real Red adds some relief.

I really like this style of card, and it is much easier than it looks.

To finish, I stamped a full strength Old Olive pine bough on the front of the envelope and used more of the Designer Series Paper on the flap.

Now, I still will make the one I originally intended with the plaids, so maybe next week you can look for that.

A BONUS for you, if you like the lovely Designer Series Papers that Stampin’ Up! has. Many of them are on sale until the end of the month at 15% off. This is a very good deal, so get yours while they last.

Now on with the hop. You know the drill…click next, or any name to hop to a blog. Please leave comments below. If you do not have a demonstrator and wish to re-create this card, you may click on the button that says ‘Shop with me Online’ to go to my store.

Amy Koenders

Mary Deatherage

Kristi Gray

Jaimie Babarczy

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 at 5 1/2″, pine boughs 3″ x 5″; Soft Suede: fold up mat 4″ x 7 12″, scored at 5 1/4″,  small card base 3 1/4″ x 8″ scored at 4″, mat for inner liner on card base 4″ x 5 1/4″, pine cones 2″ x 8″; Whisper White: large inner liner 4 1/8″ x 5 3/8″, liner small card 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″, front sentiment 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″; Old Olive: pine bough 3″ x 3″; Real Red: berry branch 2″ x 2″; Poinsettia Place Designer Series Paper: large front panel 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″, fold up flap 2 1/8″ x 3 7/8″ (one in wood grain, one in pine cones) front and inside of small card 3 1/8″ x 3 7/8″

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2021 Calendar

Good Monday morning everyone. There is no card on today’s post, so if you are looking for that you can stop reading right now.

Instead, I bring you another of my paper creations. Well, sort of. I made the photographic images and put together a calendar, then sent it off to the printer. I guess that qualifies as my creation, even if I don’t do my own printing.

Here is an image of the cover

The calendar is 12″ x 12″ with 13 different images. There are fun facts about woodpeckers also. I had so much fun taking these images and as much as I love photography, I also love putting those images together for a practical purpose.

I know, you can get free calendars anywhere, so why would you want to buy one? I would hope that it would be that you like my images, and want a few for yourself. There is no pressure to buy, I just want to let you know that they are available.

These top quality, spiral bound calendars will be ready on November 8, plenty of time to get them as gifts or for yourself. The cost is just $20 each with special pricing if you purchase 3 or more. Shipping is $5.

Here is an image of the back, showing all the woodpeckers included.

Yesterday I went birding with a friend and we found 43 different species, including 4 of the ones on this calendar. However, those particular individuals are not on this calendar! 

Iowa has 7 of the woodpecker family. They are: Pileated, Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downey, and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted). All are present on this calendar. The others are from Canada, Minnesota, and Arizona. I have a few other woodpecker images, but there are only 12 months in a year.

Although, I guess I could have made an 18 month calendar. Maybe next time, since I didn’t even think of that for 2021.

In addition to the photography and making the calendar, I have been busy of late doing quite a bit of canning. One of my daughters and her husband grow and weed the garden, and pick the produce. I do the canning. They freeze some of it, but I process the bulk of the vegetables. I froze peaches and strawberries this year too, and made peach and strawberry jam. The jars look like jewels on the shelf. I enjoy doing that and do not like to weed and pick. This arrangement works well for all concerned.

We didn’t need corn this year, but did need green beans, tomatoes and beets. I have another daughter and 3 granddaughters who also share in the canned goods, so it takes quite a bit produce for canning. We are at the end of the garden now, but when I finish with the last picking of tomatoes and green beans, there will still be pears to can.

A friend has a pear tree and they couldn’t use all the pears. As is the norm in Iowa, people give away most of their excess, so I was the fortunate recipient of 10 buckets of pears. My son-in-law and John, the tree owner, picked them, while I sorted through the ones that had fallen. That’s a lot of peeling folks!

This year the problem was jars and lids. Due to the Covid19 Pandemic early this spring, more people grew gardens and, perhaps for the first time ever, did some canning. The result has been a severe shortage of jars and lids.

I have always saved my jars (I have been canning since the 60s) but the lids are not re-usable. I usually have a few leftover from the previous year, but never enough for all the canning. It has been a struggle to have enough to do all that I wanted (needed) to do, but over the summer we have managed to scrounge up enough so far.

Here are a few of the items I have canned.

Left to right, front Beet Pickles, Tomato Sauce, Dilled Beans. Back Row: Soup vegetables, Lime Water Pickles and Vegetable Stock. I also canned sweet pickle relish, salsa, tomatoes and green peppers, green beans, beets and whole tomatoes.

The Soup veggies got their start in the 60s when, at the close of the growing season, I just threw everything left in the garden into the jars and called it “end of the garden soup”.

I grew everything back in those days, and now my daughter sometimes does. Sometimes I end up purchasing one or more of the veggies to add to the mix. Most of this years’ 40 quarts contain green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots and potatoes. Everyone in the family loves this as it makes a quick meal as is, or with the vegetable stock,chicken or beef broth added along with your choice (or not) of meat. Sometimes I add hamburger or stew meat, sometimes chicken or turkey, sometimes sausage or ham. It makes a really quick meal and is SO good on a cold winter day!

To go along with all the canned goods, the zucchini and yellow squash were prolific this year (aren’t they always?), so I made many, many loaves of zucchini bread and froze it. All of it will be so welcome this winter.

I know this is not my usual post, but sometimes change is a good thing. I hope you all have a great Monday. If you are interested in a calendar, please comment or private message me.

Thanks for stopping by!