Is this a weird year or what???

Well, folks, last week it was 75 degrees, trees are budded, my daffodils bloomed as did an early tulip and my Lenten Rose.

Lenten Rose and remains of Crocus
Early Tulips

Easter Sunday it rained. Actually we had thunder and lightning too, along with .9″ of rain. Monday, the wind was howling like a banshee, whatever that is! Yesterday was still windy and cold to boot. The temperature dropped 30 degrees Monday in just a few hours.

Then overnight last night we had a couple inches of snow. WHAT? This is April. April 15 to be certain, and the day, in a NORMAL year that is, when we would have to file our income tax report. Well, not THIS year, thanks to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Nothing is normal as we know normal. And, for all us procrastinators, we don’t have to file with the IRS until July!

Here is my house a few minutes ago, but the sun has been out and some of the snow has melted. I still had enough to have to use the snow shovel, which I hadn’t gotten around to putting away, yet.

Since it is already a strange time, and since there is snow on the ground, I decided to go out and have some fun in the snow. I made a small snowman

Then, I sent it to some of my family members and friends via text. Then I decided since this is not a normal year, we couldn’t have a normal snowman. So, we ditched the hat and donned a mask instead!

Poor guy! Since Great minds think alike, my daughter sent a text suggesting I put him on my blog at the same instant that I thought, “I should put him on my blog!”

There you have it folks. Might as well have some fun during this UNFUN time! He is so small that probably no one driving by will even notice him, but I am sharing with all of you, dear readers, so you can remember that we will get through this.

I do believe God has a sense of humor, so we might as well have some fun at the same time we are practicing social distancing and staying well.


Stampin’ Up! Free as a Bird CASE

Good Tuesday all! Today is Amy’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop day, which is the second Tuesday of each month. All our hoppers are very talented ladies on the Inkin’ Krew, so I hope you will hop along with us. I also hope you had a Blessed Easter even though we are practicing social distancing, and probably few of us celebrated Christ’s resurrection with a family dinner. We may have Easter dinner in July or September, whenever this virus business is in the past.

My card for today is a CASe of one that Mary Deatherage did last week. Mary is also hopping today. She did a video of this card with a masculine flavor last week. Since our hop today is to be a feminine card, I switched things a bit to turn it from a card for him to a card for her. I love fancy folds, or even simple folds, so this one intrigued me. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if she did the same card today for a woman? To see Mary’s video go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0tVhEPlePk

Here is my version of the card

My colors are what I consider feminine, Pool Party and Petal Pink. I also used some Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper, which has a feminine flair. One thing I did not do as originally intended was to scallop the edges of the ‘gates’. After two tries that failed to produce the desired look, I just left them plain. Perhaps one day I will perfect that idea.

For the tent fold card base, cut a panel 4 1/4″ x 11″, score at 5 1/2″. I used Petal Pink card stock for this.

The card front is the fancy fold and is made from a Pool Party card stock panel that is 5 1/4″ x 8″. On the long side, score at 2″ and 6″. Leave flat for now.  On the 51/4″ side make a pencil dot at 2 5/8″. Repeat for the other side. To cut the points, line up the pencil dot and the score line along the cutting groove of your trimmer. Cut the point. Repeat 3 more times. Fold on the score lines.

Cut from one DSP a strip 2 3/4″ x 5″, which you will cut in half lengthwise giving you 2 strips that are 1 7/8″ x 5″. You do this in the case of a continuous pattern so that it will match when applied to the card front. In the case of my dotted DSP it didn’t matter, but some repeating designs will look odd if you don’t do this. Mark the center of the 5″ side at 2 1/2″. Cut the points as before.  Use liquid glue to adhere these to the outside of the gate fold panel.

Open the gate fold and attach, with liquid glue, a different panel of Designer Series Paper, cut at 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″. I used Bird Ballad DSP for both the front and the inside of the gate fold.

I stamped the sentiment from Timeless Tulips for the belly band in Pool Party on Whisper White and cut it with one of the dies from Stitched So Sweetly. I then stamped a bird from Free as a Bird in stamped-off-once Petal Pink.

For the belly band, I cut a strip of Petal Pink 1″ x 10″ and stamped the leaf design from Free as a Bird randomly over this in Pool Party. Wrap this strip around your card front, not too tightly, overlapping on the front where you will cover the seam with your sentiment die cut. Adhere the ends with liquid glue.  Slide the belly band on the card front and center the die cut sentiment over it. When you are sure of the placement, use liquid glue to adhere the sentiment to the belly band.

For the sentiment inside the gate fold, I cut Whisper White with the second largest rectangle in Stitched So Sweetly dies.  I used part of the large birds design in Free as a Bird and stamped it in stamped-off-once Pool Party. When dry, over this I stamped the sentiment, also from Free as a Bird, in Petal Pink. Center this die cut (dry fit) under the gate folds and slide on the belly band. Make sure none of your inside design shows behind the belly band die cut.

For the inside of the card, stamp the sentiment from Woven Heirlooms in Petal Pink on a 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″ panel of Whisper White. When dry, stamp the large birds on a branch design in stamped-off-once Pool Party. Use liquid glue to attach this to a Pool Party panel that is 4″ x 5 1/4″, and adhere this to the inside of the card base, also with liquid glue.

To finish the card front, I made a 4-wrap  bow with some leftover organza ribbon and adhered it with a couple of glue dots to the lower right of the die cut. A leftover petal pink flower (I don’t remember how long I have had this!) was glue-dotted to the upper left corner. Now it is truly a feminine card! This card will be hand delivered, so the bulk of the flower won’t be an issue.

The envelope front is stamped with the single bird from Free as a Bird in petal pink and more of the DSP covers the flap.

I hope you enjoyed this card, as well as Mary’s video, should you decide to watch it. Now to see what the rest of the Krew has done, just click the ‘next’ button or on any name to go to her blog. Enjoy the trip!

Thanks for stopping by. If there is anything I can do for you, please contact me. If you need to purchase items to make this card, just click on the ‘shop online with me’ button at right.

Karen Ksenzakovic

Connie Troyer

Mary Deatherage

Akiko Sudano

Leslie Larkin

Karen Finkle

Julie Johnston-You are here

Amy Koenders

Product List


Stampin’ Up!, Color Palette and More

Well, a few days ago I posted some images, one of which was of some leaves, seed pods and such on the ground. I made that image primarily for its color palette, which I then used in a card and a piece of jewelry. Here is the original image.


Here is the color palette I made from that image.

color palette

And here is the palette from an online service that takes your uploaded image and within moments gives you a color palette.

canva palette

Now I will show you what I did with this palette. I promised a card, but first I had to make a piece of jewelry. I used beads and components I had in my stash, which is pretty considerable when you realize I have only been doing this a couple of years.

I used semi-precious stones such as Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli and Dumortierite, as well as some metal beads, Czech glass beads and Japanese seed beads, to make this necklace. The focal is a large silver colored leaf with an antique silver willow charm and another antique silver charm strung with some beads. The toggle clasp is also antique silver. I tried very hard to use only the colors in the palette, matching the beads as closely as possible.

Here is the finished product.

necklace2And the color palette. My purple shades are more purple than those in the palette, but I am very happy with the way it turned out.

color paletteHere is a closeup view.


Having felt successful in transforming a photographic image into a color palette and into a completed necklace, I decided to attempt to make a card in the same color palette.

I am not happy with the result, so, to my mind this is not a success. I think in the end it is the gray I do not like, but, there you have it. Not all attempts turn out well, we just don’t usually broadcast our failures. In this case, I think sometimes it is helpful to acknowledge that while the idea is valid, perhaps it is the execution that is not so great. Maybe I will try another, perhaps not. Sometimes you just move on.


My card base is Smoky Slate with a Coastal Weave embossed panel in Seaside Spray, cut to fit the front of the base and adhered with Liquid Glue. Next, using a Stitched Rectangle die I cut a panel of Purple Posy and overlaid it with an Heirloom Frames cut from a Parisian Flourish embossed Night of Navy panel using Liquid Glue to adhere them. Before gluing down the Navy frame, I placed a fern from the Positive Thoughts stamp set.

My thinking here was that: Number 1, ferns are green, not blue or purple, and Number 2, I didn’t want it stamped on Whisper white or Very Vanilla which would be too much contrast. But, I thought the card needed some relief from the color scheme. So, I opted to stamp it in Soft Seafoam on Smoky Slate. It is soft and not contrasty but I don’t like it. At this juncture I should probably have given up on the fern.


With Night of Navy ink and a sentiment from Here’s A Card, I stamped the sentiment in the center of the Purple Posy. I set this off-centered and attached it to the card base with Stampin’ Dimensionals. A small butterfly of Highland Heather, cut with a die from Nature’s Thoughts was adhered just above the sentiment with liquid glue.

Three butterflies stamped in Purple Posy, Blueberry Bushel and Highland Heather on the same color card stock, and cut with the Nature’s Thoughts butterfly die, decorate the frame. All were attached to the frame with Liquid Glue.  Three small 2019-2020 In Color Faceted Dots in Purple Posy complete the front.

On the inside a Purple Posy panel sits on a Seaside Spray panel. Both were outlined with my Night of Navy Stampin’ Write Marker. The Purple Posy sentiment panel was stamped with the fern in stamped off once Highland Heather. The sentiments are from Positive thoughts and are positioned the way they are because I had a Navy ink smear that I needed to hide. A larger Purple Posy Faceted Dot completes the inside.


For the envelope I Stamped off once the Soft Seafoam Fern, only using the tip of it on the front. A Highland Heather butterfly, also stamped off once, completes the front. For the flap I stamped several of the butterflies in Blueberry Bushel, Seaside Spray,  Highland Heather and Purple Posy.

That’s it folks….my experiment in using a photograph to make a color palette and seeing what I can do with it. At present I am working on a bracelet in the same color scheme using a silver button, purple leather and some assorted beads. We will see how it turns out.

Now, continue your social distancing and stay well. I am in the process of prepping fabric to make masks for our local hospital. One of the churches in town has taken on this projuect. Remember, God is in control, so have no fear!

Thanks for stopping by. Should you feel compelled to make a similar card, the list of supplies needed is below. To purchase, just click on the Shop online button at right.

Product List


Best Dressed

Apologies to all my card making friends, to whom I promised a card. Somehow I got sidetracked and never made it to my card making table.

Instead, today I offer you an article I wrote one evening. Since this is the first day of spring, I think it appropriate, although it was written later in the spring. Yesterday it felt like spring with rain and 64 degrees. Today, not so much. It is very windy, cloudy and the temperature is a chilly 34. One thing about it, cold and snow don’t last long this time of year.

I am including a few photos to illustrate my best dressed friends. Enjoy the post.

“I have been gone all day. It is the day my garden club meets and we have been to 3 nurseries, buying more plants for our gardens. There should be at least 2 more hours of daylight for me to get some of them in the ground before it rains, again.

The sun just disappeared behind a bank of threatening looking clouds. Should I hurry and get done what I can, or wait until possible severe weather has passed?


I guess if you really want to get some work done, nothing will get in your way. Tonight though, as I finish eating a cookie, for strength, you know, to get those holes dug, I stand looking out the kitchen window thinking where to put my acquisitions and pondering how much I can accomplish before dark.

The mums will go along the front of the deck and the hosta, most of them, in the berm bed. Oh, my! There is a lovely visitor at my bird feeder. He is the first of his kind to appear this spring, wearing a black suit striped with white on his wings, over a white shirt. At his neck is a deep rose ascot. This is none other than the Rose-breasted Grosbeak male. Last year I had two pairs and wonder where the others are. Perhaps he is the scout and the rest will arrive soon.


Since the feeder where he is dining is in the berm where I planned to work tonight, I guess the work will have to wait. I wouldn’t want to interrupt his dinner.

Wait! Another diner has arrived, again the first of the season. The tiny iridescent blue jewel of my garden, the Indigo Bunting male, has returned. I am not sure whether his mate has accompanied him as she is a drab brown color, looking much like the finches and sparrows that are already here. Indigo Bunting
Jefferson County

That does it! There is no way I can scare them off now. The planting will have to wait.

These backyard, or frontyard if you prefer, birds are some of my favorite photographic subjects. To let them dine in peace means they will no doubt return when I have better light and time to set up my tripod and camera. So, priorities are priorities, and the planting will have to wait.

While I ponder whether to move my work to the back yard, more diners arrive. There is a male Cardinal, 6

a pair of Blue Jays, 1

several Goldfinches goldfinch

and, oh joy, another Indigo Bunting male just flew in! They are so much fun to watch, but then I am easily entertained. Their colors are glorious.

My grandma never liked Blue Jays as she said they were mean to the other birds. The jays must have a reputation among other birds, too. Whenever they swoop down to the feeder, the others lift off to land on the branches above, where they wait for the jays to leave.

Even the jays leave though, when the distinquished Red-Headed Woodpecker decides to feast at the same feeder. It is a wonder they don’t need air traffic control with all the landings and takings off, but all the others keep a wide berth from the woodpecker.


My decision to watch and learn from my feathered friends paid off again as I now see the house wren, who sings gaily all day long, and another migrating visitor, a White-Crowned Sparrow and his mate. 10

Of course there are the usual diners, the robins (yes, they eat from the feeder), 8

House Finches, House Sparrows, Mourning Doves,5

Downey Woodpeckers and Grackles.

Early tomorrow I will be waiting when they come for breakfast, with my camera set up behind a blind to hide my presence. Perhaps I will get that perfect photo of one of them to add to my portfolio.

The rain has moved in, so I wouldn’t have gotten much planting done anyway. There is always tomorrow.

I am thankful to have such a colorful group of friends, all dressed in their best, dine with me.”

As I stated in the article, I am easily entertained. Give me some birds to watch, a book to read, a recipe and the ingredients for it, or some beads and stringing material and I am a happy camper. Of course, there is always work waiting to be done as well.

Enforced isolation (sort of, as I have a telephone and the internet) allows me to indulge in these happy pastimes, or accomplish tasks needing to be done,  and not worry about those things that worrying won’t change.

Stay safe and I will TRY to get a card posted soon.


Peace that passes all understanding

9“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:7)

Peace? Control? Certainty? If we don’t have control or certainty, can we have peace?

The myth of certainty and the illusion of control are out the window as we face the uncertainty and loss of control brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. If we think we are in control and certain of outcomes, does that not make us like God? Isn’t that the devil’s greatest temptation? To be like God? Where do we find peace?

When things are uncertain, or upsetting, I look to Jesus’ words for comfort and guidance. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus knew that fear paralyzes us and hinders our ability to respond effectively to the challenges of life. Fear also lowers our immune system’s ability to ward off sickness.

That said, in these uncertain times when nothing of the world is what we have, until now, considered ‘normal’, comfort is to be found in scripture. God and his word are the only certain things upon which we can rely. I also find peace and comfort in the world around me….not the infectious COVID-19 world, but in the natural world.

Because…..”All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) Thus, the natural world, made by God, is of great comfort.

Today I will share some images with you that, I hope, will bring YOU some semblance of peace and comfort. I do not live in a fantasy world where all is well just because I wish it to be, but in the real world where sickness, death, financial issues, hatred, anger and all the other symptoms of our fallen world exist. Therefore, I NEED to know that God is there, that God loves me, and that, no matter what, God is in control. ‘Nuff said.

4It is spring, or nearly so, and the crocus, ferns and other early plants are bursting forth. This is all part of the order of the universe, made by God.

6God cares for all of creation from the smallest Lichen to

10Majestic mountains. Think of the power behind the creation of this mountain. He cares no less for you.

I love seeing as much of the whole landscape as I can, and sometime make images of the larger picture. However, there is something to be said for looking more closely at the parts that make up that bigger picture.

8I like to take a closer look at the veins of leaves or

5the seed heads of grasses. I find all of it fascinating. And nearly beyond my comprehension of how wonderfully it is made. Without the knowledge that He created it all, it would truly be beyond me.

7There is order in the natural world. The sun rises. The sun sets. The moon rises. The moon sets. Sometimes the sun comes up before the moon goes down. This was one of those times…October, 7:15 a.m. in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

Actually, all the images you see here were taken in that 1.9 million acre wilderness. Obviously, I was only able to be in a fraction of the area in 10 days. I must return someday.2I love to make images of trees, large, small, dead, alive, or dying. All serve a purpose, and each has its own beauty. Even the trees that don’t quite make it as a tree, but only as scrub brush or shrubs have their own kind of beauty.

3These ‘trees’ are only scrub brush in the desert sands. However, where there is water, there are real trees, as evidenced in the left side of the image. There is a creek there, which nourishes the trees that grow along its banks.

1I made this image for a couple of reasons. First it reminds me of the cycle of life. Secondly, I see it as a color palette, perhaps as a sweater, or a piece of jewelry, or maybe as the inspiration for a quilt. My computer software lets me pick colors, then gives them the Pantone equivalent. This is helpful in choosing materials for a project.

color paletteThis palette is done in my computer software. I chose to have 7 colors from the image because I would need that many to make a Fair Isle sweater.

canva paletteThis palette was done online through a company called Canva which lets you upload an image and their software chooses your palette. The 3rd and 4th ones in this palette are the same, or nearly so, as a couple of the colors in my palette.

As you can see there are many ways I see the world around me, and many ways that I can use what I see. Primarily though, I am at peace in these surroundings, and only need to remember: God is in control and God loves me, even when I am not out there. For that matter, even when I am not very lovable!

Now, May God’s peace be with you in the days ahead.




Where do we go from here?

Or, perhaps the question should be, where are we today?

I am not a preacher, and I tend to not talk much about my faith. That said, if you perceive this post as preaching, or disagree, or are of un-belief, you can stop right here to save your sensibilities from being offended. However, I would urge you in any case to hear me out.

This worldwide mess is unprecedented in the fact of almost instant information, if of nothing else. Besides that, much of the information we get so quickly is mis-information, or misleading at best. Thus, we have many people, who have no faith background to sustain them in times of trouble and stress, who are SCARED! Due to the overwhelming overload of information, we are facing a situation never before seen at the level we have today.

Yes, there was the bubonic plague, the 1918 influenza, and others over the centuries. They were different in that they did not have access to information, and did not (or could not) know that

For those, I pray that they might find peace.

To prevent this post from being totally boring, I am attaching a few photos, just to remind you that:

1-God is the Great Creator

2-God is in control


In the beauty of a single flower is SO much more than we see with our eyes. Think of the many kinds of flowers and thank God for the beauty therein and the eyes to see. Think Peace.

I am a healthy adult in the ‘over 60’ group, so I guess I am considered elderly and at higher risk than someone younger. I am not afraid. Cautious, yes. Fearful, no. I always do due diligence in the hand washing department, cover my nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid, when possible, those who are sick. Beyond that, since so many events are cancelled, I will be self-isolating.

I view this as an opportunity to be un-busy and to accomplish things I might not otherwise have the time to do: Spend more time in prayer, make cards and SEND them, make jewelry, knit, read, rake the lawn, clean closets, etc.  Of course, I will do some birding and photography!! That is pretty much an isolated activity with great rewards. 7

This is one of the rewards. Who knew that the feathers on the face of a Northern Saw-whet Owl (a little guy not much bigger than a pop can) were so intricate?

There is always an upside to every downside, so think positively. Perhaps, if you have children at home, you will be able to spend more time with them, and teach them things important that are not taught in school. Have them help you prepare dinner, then sit down to give thanks and enjoy the food, TOGETHER. Get outside with them and teach them things of nature (which are things of God).


An example might be found in these seeds of a milkweed, which you can use to teach about the Monarch Butterfly life cycle and why it is important to help them.


It is spring and birds are beginning to migrate, starting with geese and ducks who nest in the far north. These are Greater White-fronted Geese. Another lesson for your kids. How many kinds of geese are there? Why do they fly north? How many eggs do they lay? Where do they lay them? (Hint: you may have to educate yourself!)

You may ask, “Why is God giving this virus to us?” God is not giving anything bad to us, but sometimes He allows bad things. All bad things are a result of this fallen world and the work of Satan, who is fighting God every day for your soul. Following God does not mean bad things won’t happen, rather that you will have peace and comfort when they do, instead of fear.

The beauty of our natural world is a testament of God’s love for us. We are surrounded by that love and the beauty he created. If you see ugliness, it is most likely made by mankind. Ugliness in God’s creation is a matter of our perception of beauty/ugliness.


There is an element of beauty in a dying plant, as well as another lesson in the life cycle.

I would urge you to take advantage of these trying times and make the most of this gift of TIME, which you now have if you are not attending sporting or social events, school or work. We all complain that we don’t have enough time, so now that you have some, what will you do with it?? Whine and complain, or make the most of what you have? Call someone who may need to hear a friendly voice today. Send a card. Get outdoors.


Many do not see the beauty around them, simply because their minds are full of the next busy thing on their calendar. Now that your calendar is empty, see the beauty in a dead tree, blue sky and green moss.  This image is one of the many beautiful scenes in my state. Get out and enjoy the scenes around you, wherever you are.


More evidence of spring.


A Blue Grosbeak

OK, enough for today. Now that I have more TIME, maybe I can post more often. It might be a project, it might be photos, it might be sharing my love of God, Family, Country, or it might include one of my many interests. Tune in again next time to see what awaits you.

Until then, remember, God loves each and every one, no matter the circumstances. He loves YOU where you are, in whatever situation. And, don’t be afraid.





Blossoms Birthday for Amy’s Inkin’ Krew Team Hop

inkin-krew-blog-hop-banner2Welcome to the Amy’s Inkin’ Krew Team once-every-month-on-Tuesday Blog Hop! What a mouthful! We have a nice line-up of card makers on this month’s hop, so, come on along for the fun and inspiration. I haven’t hopped for awhile, so it is good to be back with these talented ladies.

Our theme this month is ‘Birthday’ and any thing to do with a birthday qualifies. My family has LOTS of January and February birthdays, so the theme isn’t a problem. My problem is whether to post a card for a child, man or woman. So many choices! To add to  the mix, I had to send some belated cards, so those were a possibility, too. I finally decided on a feminine card.

I know you don’t care about my indecision, so let’s get on with the hop!

The recipient likes purple, so I used Gorgeous Grape, Highland Heather and Purple Posy for this card. I began with a card base of Whisper White Thick card stock and added a Gorgeous Grape mat, cut with the largest Stitched Rectangles die and adhered with Liquid Glue.4

The sentiment, from Grace’s Garden Bundle (purchasing the bundle saves 10%), was stamped in Gorgeous Grape on Whisper White. I then cut this with the Heirloom Frames die, saving the center for my card.

The real frame was cut from Highland Heather, which I embossed with the Parisian Flourish 3D embossing folder. This was attached to the card front with Stampin’ Dimensionals. I then inserted the sentiment piece and adhered it with liquid glue.

A side note: The Heirloom Frames comes with an embossing folder, but I had a leftover piece of Highland Heather already embossed with the Parisian Flourish folder, so I used that.

For the flowers, I stamped the large spray in the Forever Blossoms Bundle ( save 10% by purchasing the bundle) in Gray Granite, then colored them in with my Purple Posy and Crushed Curry Stampin’ Write Markers and Light and Dark Old Olive Stampin’ Blends. I then cut them out with the appropriate matching dies. I repeated the process with the small flower and leaves.


The finishing touch was a small bow, left over from a previous project and I don’t remember what the ribbon is called. I think it is retired. This was adhered with a Mini Glue Dot.

For the inside, the Stitched Rectangles dies cut the Gorgeous Grape mat and the Whisper White sentiment panel. These were Liquid Glued to another mat of Purple Posy.


The sentiment is from the Special Celebrations stamp set and is stamped in Gorgeous Grape. I masked the upper portion of the large spray used for the front, then inked it in Gray Granite, removed the mask, stamped it off on a piece of scrap paper, then stamped my sentiment panel. Again using the markers and blends, I colored the image.

This finished the card. For the Medium Whisper White Envelope, I embossed a piece of Purple Posy (I am out of Highland Heather! How did THAT happen?), and used Liquid Glue to attach it to the flap.

I had stamped two of the large spray images and colored them, so I just cut the second one apart with my Paper Snips Scissors and used Liquid Glue to glue it to the front.

I hope you enjoy the hop, so to continue just click on the NEXT button. To reverse, click the PREVIOUS button, or select any name to go to her blog. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave comments below.

If you don’t have a Stampin’ Up demonstrator, and need help with anything, please contact me. I will be happy to help you. To order products, just click on the SHOP button at right.



Jaimie Babarczy

Connie Troyer

Akiko Sudano

Mary Deatherage

Karen Ksenzakovic

Leslie Larkin

Sue Prather

Julie Johnston-You are Here

Karen Finkle

Amy Koenders

Product List


One Day Road Trip!?

Good Tuesday Morning All!

I planned to do this post yesterday, but getting caught up took more time than I figured. Caught up from what, you ask? If you have a minute I will explain.

My two birding friends, Gay and Therese, had invited me to go with them on a birding trip to the south last week. We planned to leave on Sunday and return on Saturday or Sunday. The weather didn’t cooperate, giving us snow and ice on Friday and Saturday, making for treacherous travel on Sunday, so we decided to leave Monday. Monday was no better, so it was decided to just do a day trip on Tuesday.

“Just in case…” we decided to pack an overnight bag in the event we got too far away to get back in one day, or the weather made that decision for us. The radar map looked like a lot of precipitation, and who knew whether it would be snow, ice or rain? So far, so good.

We first went to Keokuk, IA to Lock and Dam #19, thinking we would see lots of Bald Eagles, and maybe some ducks. We saw a few, but not as many as expected. We moved on into Missouri, stopping at Canton at Lock and Dam #20.

Pay dirt! Over 100 Bald Eagles were there along with numerous Ring-billed Gulls, Common Mergansers and Common Golden-Eye. The Black and white ones are the male Golden-eyes and the darker one is the female. Pretty ducks.

common goldeneye

Several of the 100 or so Bald Eagles were perched, but some were fishing and I managed to get a couple of shots. This one is of an adult coming in for a fish (he hopes), and the next one is hitting the water. He did get the fish, and somehow transferred it from talon to beak.

bald eagle

eagle hit water

fishing eagle

That was pretty exciting!

After that we thought we should go into Illinois for a stop at Lock and Dam #21 at Quincy. On the way there we stopped at a small pond where there were thousands of geese and a few Trumpeter Swans. It was quite a sight and noisy too! This is just a few of the Canada and Greater White-fronted Geese, maybe 1/8 of the total on the pond. There were 6 Trumpeter Swans there also.


When birding with Gay and Therese, there is always a plan, but that plan changes frequently! You just never know where you might find birds. From there we went to Quincy, Illinois to Lock and Dam #21 where we saw more Bald Eagles and plenty of ducks, mostly Mallards but a few Redhead Ducks also. This guy is SO handsome (or maybe it is a she since it is so big-females are larger than males).

sitting eagle

Nearing the end of the day we decided to hit one of the 9 National Wildlife Refuges in Illinois, and spend the night nearby. From there we would follow the Illinois River upriver toward Peoria, to see what we might find, then find our way home.

No lodging in the town nearest the Meredosia NWR, so we went to the next town, thinking to double back the next morning. We never made it to Meredosia NWR. Nor did we get very far upriver. The next likely place for birds was Emiquon NWR, also on the Illinois River, but there wasn’t much there as the water was frozen. This would be a place to return to in the spring.

We did see a couple of Bald Eagles, but more birds were seen along the road en route to Emiquon. Among them were 1 Eagle, 1 American Kestrel, 1 Eastern Bluebird, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Song Sparrow, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, 1 Blue Jay, 3 Northern Cardinals, 5 Dark-eyed Juncos, 1 Swamp Sparrow, 2 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 House Sparrows and 6 Pigeons. Not terribly exciting.

We then took a side road through the Emiquon NWR and came to a spot where we saw a gorgeous Northern Harrier, a smaller hawk that used to be called a Marsh Hawk. It was sitting in a grassy field, so we stopped, thinking I might get a photo. It apparently had some prey in mind as it began to hop around and fly a bit, then hover. I love birds of prey, and the Northern Harrier is my favorite hawk.

northern harrier

I wish he had been a bit closer as I had to crop the image a lot to get this view of him hovering. So far, this was the highlight of the day, actually the trip, except for the fishing Bald Eagle the day before.

In discussing heading home and checking the weather, which was worsening (at home) as we talked, we decided to head south and maybe miss the 5-8″ of snow expected at home that night and the next couple of days, along with some mixed precipitation. It turned out to be an excellent decision.

Long story made much shorter, we did head south  and crossed back into Missouri. Moving on, we went south in Missouri then crossed over into Illinois at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where we found a lovely lake called Horseshoe Lake. It was what we were looking for….open water. There were hundreds of ducks there as well as crows, woodpeckers, White-crowned Sparrows and geese. Greater White-fronted geese are quite handsome with their white faces and orange feet.

Greater White-fronted Geese

We then went south into Kentucky, Tennessee and into Arkansas. Our day trip turned into a 6 day trip!! Good thing we are flexible and not afraid to wear the same clothes for several days! We each had a change of clothes, and it was no problem to wash underwear at night. Also necessary were the meds that some of us have to take, and fortunately they had taken enough with them for several days.

What I missed most were my battery charger for the camera, and my computer. I thought for one day I wouldn’t need either, and I probably didn’t, but it would have saved me some anxiety to have had the charger. I did take an extra charged battery, but who knows how long it might last, right? It turned out to be enough.

Crossing into Arkansas at Memphis, TN, we spent the night at Marion, which is near the Wapanocca NWR. We got an early start and went directly to the refuge where we saw maybe 52 species. The area has forest, grassland, wetland and open water, so many species were present.  Not many photos here, as most birds were either in trees and half hidden by branches, or too far away for a decent shot. Also, they do tend to fly around! However, I did get a Pied-billed Grebe to share with you.

Pied-billed Grebe

We spent about 4 hours at the refuge, and, speaking for myself, I would like to go back in the spring. There were THOUSANDS of Snow Geese on the lake as well as many duck species. Who knows how many species would be there as the weather turns warmer? Leaving there put us on Interstate 55 which quickly took us into Missouri and back home. On the way we saw our target bird, a Loggerhead Shrike. Woo-Hoo! Every time we go looking for birds, we say we would like to see a Shrike. This was the day for our Shrike. It is not a great photo, but he was pretty far away, and it is a SMALL bird.


According to texts from family and neighbors, the highways at home were clear, but side roads still pretty icy. We spent one more night in Missouri and made the final leg of our trip on Sunday, crossing back over into Illinois on the chance that we might see an Eastern Screech Owl located at the river cabin of a friend. The owl was cooperative, so we added one more species to our list.

Lisa has named him (or her) Ollie, who hangs out in a Wood Duck house on their property. As an interesting side note, Lisa is the daughter of the publisher and editor of the local newspaper (back in the 1980s), who gave me my start as a photographer. Dean Gabbert loved the Mississippi River and spent as much time there at this cabin as he and his wife could manage. They are both gone now, but I think Dean would be pleased that I have a decent photo of the owl.

screech owl

Back in Iowa at Fort Madison, we took secondary roads, you know, so we could see more birds. You can’t just stop on an interstate highway to look at some birds and try to identify them!

On Highway 16 we saw MANY Horned Larks, 3 Northern Harriers, and a Rough-legged Hawk, as well as other species. The Rough-legged Hawk cooperated to land on a utility pole long enough for me to get a photo. Until this time, I did not have a good photo of a Rough-legged.

rough legged hawk

By now, it is about 3 p.m. on Sunday, and our day trip on Tuesday was just about to end. You probably (if you are still reading this) think we must be a little bit crazy to do what we did. Maybe so. But, I am thinking that life is short, and you have to be willing to bend a little bit to take advantage of opportunities that you would otherwise miss.

For the trip we saw 84 species of birds, which is not too bad to my way of thinking. Some species we saw in every state (5 states) and some only migrate through and are only where habitat allows. Others are indigenous to certain areas. No matter, it was fun, educational, and gave us an appreciation for other places. It also gave us an appreciation for home, clean clothes, and chargers! We did have phone chargers, so we were not completely out of touch.

In anticipation of a week-long trip, I had notified the post office to hold my mail, and asked my granddaughter to check in on my aging cat and feed the birds. After our plans changed, I had let her know we were only going to be gone ONE DAY, so she didn’t need to go over to my house. By the time I let her know we were going to be gone much longer, the roads were too bad for her to risk the 7 mile trip. Thus, my greatest concern was that my poor kitty would be very lonely, and that the birds wouldn’t be able to find food with all the snow.

Everything was fine…the cat was lonely, but had plenty of food and water and litter box for survival. The birds ran out of food, but came back quickly enough when I filled the feeders. My excellent neighbor, Rick, cleared out my driveway. All I had to do was unload my car and scoop off the sidewalk. Easy Peasy!

All’s well that ends well. I thank God for the blessings of good friends, good weather (where we were), and good BIRDS! It was a wonderful day trip and we think we might try another one when it warms up a bit.




Stampin’ Up! 24 hour 15% off sale on select stamp sets


Stampin’ Up is offering 15% off on select stamps, but only for 24 hours. These stamps are in the annual catalog. Sale day is Wednesday October 23, but only for 24 hours. If there are some stamps you have been waiting to purchase, now is the time.

Don’t miss out. Below are the sets you can get and save 15%. Make your list today and don’t forget to order on Wednesday October 23!


Stamp Set Sale Details:

  • Get select sets at a 15% discount.
  • Ordering Deadline:  October 23, 2019; 11:50 pm (MT)
  • All order types qualify for this promotion.
  • All selected stamp sets can be applied to Starter Kits.
  • Discount applies to select stamp sets only when purchased individually during the 24-hour promotion period.
  • Bundles featuring stamp sets from the promotion will not be discounted.
  • If you purchased a stamp set prior to the sale, Stampin’ Up! will not be offering exchanges or credits.
  • In the event that Stampin’ Up! runs out of any item offered, promotional pricing will be honored on items backordered, up to the point it reaches the backorder limit. Once an item reaches the backorder limit and is not orderable, it will no longer be available during the promotion and will not be available to order until additional inventory arrives in stock.

Wa-Hoo for a stamp sale!!


Stampin’ Up! Day of Thanks

Good Tuesday morning to Everyone out there!

Today is our monthly Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop, so come on along and see the projects by the very talented ladies on this team. Our theme is “Giving Thanks”, and I have also chosen to play along with the Sunday Stamps challenge as well as the Library Challenge. Let’s Hop!

The Sunday Stamps Challenge 215 is ‘Fall Harvest’, and while there is nothing to harvest on this card, there are plenty of fall leaves. I did try to stick to the colors of the challenge though. The colors used for this card are Cajun Craze, Mango Melody, Crumb Cake and Black, along with some Copper, which I hope is construed as a neutral, which is allowed.

For the Library Challenge, I chose the cover of this challenge book, “The Secret Garden” as my inspiration.

I had so much fun doing this card, it probably should be against the law! I began with a card base of Cajun Craze and used the new Basic Pattern Decorative Masks and Crumb Cake ink to sponge the tree design. The design isn’t overwhelming, but I just wanted the impression of a forest. On top of this I used Liquid Glue to adhere a panel of Copper Foil Sheets. I then set about making the artwork.

For this, I used the Stitched Rectangles die to cut a panel of Basic Black, then used the Woodland Textured Embossing Folder to add more trees to my forest. This was then Liquid Glued to the Copper panel.

I stamped the fox from Nature’s Beauty in Cajun Craze on Cajun Craze card stock and fussy cut him. Yes, it is a he, a fox, not a vixen. He will be adhered to the card front with Stampin’ Dimensionals, but not yet. I will dry fit everything before doing anything permanent.

Next, I stamped the bunny from Nature’s Beauty in Crumb Cake on Crumb Cake card stock. This was also fussy cut. (I don’t know if this is a boy bunny or a girl bunny. You choose.) Whichever, it is wary of the fox.

The fall leaves in the upper left are in Copper Foil Sheets, Cajun Craze and Mango Melody. All are cut and embossed with the dies in the Gathered Leaves die set. These are bundled with the Gather Together stamp set, which will save you 10%. I also stamped two of the large leaf in the To Every Season stamp set in Versamark ink and heat set the Copper Stampin’ Emboss Powder with my heat tool, then added one to the other leaves. The other is at the bottom of the card front. Obviously, there are different kinds of leaves here, but that is what you would find in a forest.

I stamped two more leaves from the To Every Season stamp set, one in Crumb Cake on Mango Melody and one in Cajun Craze, also on Mango Melody, then dry fit them along with the copper embossed on to the bottom of the card front.

Before I adhered any of the elements, I used my Stamparatus to stamp the sentiment from Day of Thanks in Basic Black on the card base. After I stamped the sentiment and re-arranged the elements, and was satisfied with the placement of the leaves and animals, I adhered everything with either Liquid Glue or Stampin’ Dimensionals.

For the inside, I kept things pretty simple with a Crumb Cake mat under a Basic Black liner. The sentiment, also from Day of Thanks, was stamped in Versamark ink and heat embossed with Copper Stampin’ Emboss Powder  and my heat tool. It looked a little TOO simple, so I added a few Copper embossed leaves from To Every Season.

I cannot send a card in a naked envelope, so the Whisper White Medium Envelope flap was sponged with Crumb Cake using the Basic Pattern Decorative Masks tree again.

The front I kept simple with just a Crumb Cake bunny in the corner.

I am very happy with the way my card turned out, though it wasn’t exactly what I started out to do. It just took on a life of its own and told me what to do.

I hope you enjoyed my card, and you are certain to like what the others on my team have done. Just click the ‘Next’ button to continue on to see what the clever Karen Finkle has done, or to do the hop in reverse, click on the ‘Previous’ button to go to talented Sue Prather’s blog. The other option is to just click on any name to go to her blog. Happy Hoppin’!

Karen Ksenzakovic

Mary Deatherage

Jaimie Babarczy

Shirley Gentry

Akiko Sudano

Sue Prather

Julie Johnston – You are here

Karen Finkle

Amy Koenders

Product List