Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Black Cat Collection

I'm not big on collections or knick knacks. I like the style where less is more. When it comes to my kitchen counters, I like them clutter free. Just ask my husband. I do have a few things out that I really love. There are pictures, candles, and a few accessories here and there.

Back when the kids were little I think I collected everything. You name it, I collected it. I had an awesome teapot collection that I do wish I still had because I think it would look pretty on a high shelf in the dining room. Now, I don't keep a lot of things out except at Christmas. I have a lot of decorations!

Those who know me know that I love my black cats! If I see one, I usually have to have it. Above is just a few pieces of my collection.

From upper left to right:

Tote bag mom bought me several years ago

Painted rock that I painted back in my painted rock phase

Tiny stuffed cat that I bought right after I lost our precious Sabrina (black cat) after she died. She was feline leukemia positive :(

Sewing machine cover I made to cover my sewing machine, duh!

Candle holder my mom bought me one Halloween, but you know I still have it out

Black cat that I appliqued on a purse I made

What started my idea for this collection? My Pumpkin! I love her!!!!

Do you have any collections?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Butter

This is one of my favorite recipes. You would not believe how good it tastes, and how easy it is to make:

Pumpkin Butter
1 can of pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
3 Tbsp. lemon juice

**In place of the spices, you may substitute about 1 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie seasonings.

Microwave Method:
Combine and stir all ingredients together in a microwave safe glass bowl. Cook on high for 7 to 8 minutes stirring every 2 minutes. Let cool.

Stovetop Method:
Combine all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Makes about 2 cups.

This is great served warm!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Want My Job?

I can't tell you how many times a day we hear the words, "I wish I had your job." When people say that to us they are usually watching us hold puppies & kittens as they are watching Howard (the owl) roaming the reception area. They are probably also looking out the big windows and watching all the wildlife roaming around our property.

Yes, my job can be fun. I do get to hold puppies and kittens. I get extremely close to the wildlife that most people can only see from a distance or in a photograph. And what I've learned! You wouldn't believe how much I've learned in the past three years since I started there. We work one on one with the humane societies and it's so rewarding to help every animal that we can. I can't complain about the hours either. Seven to three and off on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. And as for Doc, he's quite generous. Our pet's care costs us next to nothing and that includes our surgeries. He also keeps us stocked up on all the chocolate you could ever want. Ok, maybe that goes with the "cons."

But what they don't see is how we go into rooms with clients, and cry with them and hug them while they are putting down their beloved pet, their family member. They don't see some of the many animals we get in that have been so neglected or abused, that the images keep me up at night. That is the hardest part of all because those cases don't have to happen!!! The only way I can get past that is to remember how many animals we have saved from those situations and how many animals we are able to save from illness or injury (like my Bubba).

Then there's the fun of working in one of the busiest clinic in Northwest Indiana where the phones don't stop ringing. Sometimes we are lucky to sneak bites of our lunches here and there. That place is crazy! There are also the physical battle scars of being scratched and bitten. Thank God we have the greatest kennel staff who are so helpful when we are releasing or checking in aggressive animals.

So that's a little bit about my job and my typical day. I look forward to retiring someday and spending my days crafting and creating. I also look forward to the traveling my husband and I are planning in the future. For now, I'll be hanging out with my four legged and slithering (yes, we see reptiles) friends.

Photo above: one of the squirrels we raised.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm Drowning in Supplies!

For the past several days I've been on a MAJOR creative streak and I can't stop! I've designed four Christmas graphic collections (not quite ready for Etsy yet), two quilted projects, and some earrings just for the fun of it.

When I get on these things I become obsessed! Every cloud looks like white frosting or snowman ornaments, while brick buildings look like a texture for a photo. When I take hikes the mushrooms turn into a clipart image, and when I see flowers or even kitchen supplies, I see appliques on a quilt.

There is a positive side to this. While I'm busy creating, I don't think about snacking. And as far as meals, I'd prefer not to take the time out to make or eat them. But I do manage to squeeze them in.

Do you get in these moods too? What does your brain to do everyday objects, and how long do these moods last you? My last one lasted me about 15 years! I think I'm on another roll.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pet Day - Bubba

I thought it would be fun to have Pet Day once a week. Each week I'll introduce you to one of our family pets.
We are going to start off with Bubba. This is our little seven pound Yorkie. He's such a little sweetie. He's also a funny little guy. He chases the gigantic exercise ball around and growls. He's so vicious! Yah Right! He also has a thing for the toaster. He always knows when something is in the toaster and when he discovers this, he runs to the heating vent in the dining room, looks into it and growls and barks. We don't know why he does this.

We almost lost our little guy in January when he became blocked and bladder stones were stuck. I ran him to work (I work for his vet) and I was hysterical! I couldn't bear to see him suffer like that. Doc rearranged his schedule and actually ended up saving his life. He said the stones had caused so much damage that his urethra was surrounded by necrotic tissue. That's dead tissue! When I asked him if the damaged area would heal, and recover, he said, "I don't know, I've never had a dog live with that much damage."

He's now on prescription food that should prevent future stones. He had a few stones removed six months earlier but those didn't cause any damage and they were too big to get stuck like the last ones did.

Our sweet Bubba! He's one tough little guy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mushroom Hunting

I had the day off and I decided to take a little break from crafting. I put on my hiking shoes and hit some local trails to do some mushroom hunting, while spending quality time with my husband. When I left, my hope was to find one or two interesting mushrooms to photograph. Imagine my surprise to find six different mushrooms! It was like hitting the mushroom jackpot.

Now don't ask me what they are because I have absolutely no idea. They just make for pretty photographs. But I am going to research them because I'm just curious if any are poisonous. Doesn't the puffy white one on the upper right look like a smurf? The white things in the top center picture are just weird! I have no idea what that is but it was growing all over the place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Howard is Not Alone...

Some of you may already know the story of Howard. He's the Great Horned Owl that we are rehabbing at the animal clinic where I work. If not, you can read about him here. To make a long story short, he fell out of a tree, ended up at our clinic, we are raising him, and the plan is to release him soon. We normally don't name wildlife but we felt that Howard deserved a name. Anyway, he is not interested in flying or hunting at the present time so I was quite interested in reading about Charlie (below).

Recently Brian and I took a trip to Starved Rock where we did some hiking. They had an owl there that was stuffed and I found it interesting that this owl was born with a disability that didn't allow her to fly. She lived at the park for several years until she died of natural causes. She was also a surrogate mother to many owlets at the park.
I'm just so fascinated with wildlife! If you want to see Howard in action, there is a little video of him at the very bottom of my blog. He's so cute!

Monday, September 19, 2011

50 Year Young Woman Nearly Has Heart Attack

Last night I turned on the light over the back deck like I always do before letting Bubba out. We live out in the country and there is always some sort of animal in our yard, usually deer (or a herd of them), and recently a skunk. The skunk would be a bad encounter and since the deer have fawns, they can be quite protective and my little Yorkie thinks he's a rottweiler and would chase them.

You all remember my spider from a couple of nights ago? Well, if you don't, it's in the upper left corner of the image above. When I turned on the light I saw her there just like every night. She was so busy at work and moving quite quickly around her web. As I look closer I see a praying mantis walking along the upper edge of my patio door. Naturally I grabbed my camera (you all know I would do that) to get a picture. I opened the door to get a closer shot and something jumped in my  hair!
Now remember, my eye was on the praying mantis and not on the spider. I quickly flipped it out of my hair and it was a katydid, not the spider after all. Thank God! I have to tell you, it sure is a good thing I didn't have a full bladder! Imagine what was going through my mind when I thought the spider was in my hair!
It was so much fun trying to get that katydid out of the house. And how odd to have three such big and interesting insects in one spot at the same time!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Organizing Craft Supplies

As I've said before, I've been bit by the crafting bug. But now I can't stop! I got started on a project tonight but before I started I thought I should get my fabric into some sort of organized manner. So that is what I did. And the fabric above is just a small representation of my stash. it doesn't even show all my home dec fabric, fleece, corduroy, satins, silks, and broadcloths. Remember that I worked at JoAnn Fabrics off and on for 10 years, you can just imagine how much I've accumulated over the years with my discount. To think that when I went through a divorce 6 years ago I had about 5 times as much but I donated most of it because I had no room for it when I had to move into an apartment. Now 6 years later I'm happily married, down to working only 30 hours a week, have lots more room, and am ready to craft!
I have a pretty big walk-in closet in the guest room where I store many of my craft supplies. I also store all my beading and jewelry making supplies under the bed in that room in a super big, under the bed storage bin. I keep everything in Ziploc bags (various sizes) so I can see everything at a glance. It works for me. I like to make the most of my space. Unfortunately I don't have a room to call my own for crafting. Does anyone have any great storage ideas? I do find that plastic bags, big Rubbermaid storage bins, and the smaller, clear clothing and shoe bins are very helpful. I'm looking for all the advice I can get!

Below you will see a picture of the project I am starting now. Do you see a pet theme happening here?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Felt Hobby Horse Candy Cane Holder Ornament

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This ornament goes back many, many moons. My grandmother made them for us when we were babies. I'm 50 now so that's over 18,000 moons if my calculations are correct! Anyway, this ornament has been on my tree for as long as I can remember and since my grandma made it, it's even more special to me. My mom has the originals somewhere I'm sure. I recreated it and thought you might enjoy making them for your little (or big) ones. They are super easy and it's basically cut and glue. How easy can you get? I did however update it a wee bit. I don't think grandma had access to wiggle eyes when she made these, and I know she didn't have a glue gun.

If you prefer a PDF version of this pattern, you can pick one up for FREE at my Craftsy Pattern Shop HERE.

Supplies needed to make 3 ornaments:
2 felt squares
3 - 6" pieces of med rick rack
6 - 10 mm size wiggle eyes
3 - 12" pieces of decorative flat braid
6 - 1/2" pom poms
3 candy canes
Glue gun or a thick tacky craft glue
Scissors & pins
Printable pattern (found below this list)
1. Click the horse image above. Save, download, and print out the pattern. Make sure that the line in the image measures 3" for your ornament to be the right size. The pattern is sized at 300 DPI.

2. Stack your two felt pieces together and pin the ornament onto the felt and cut out. You will easily get 3 ornaments.

3. On one of the horses, run a bead of glue down the back from the bottom of the ear to the bottom of the horse. Place the rick rack along this edge so that the "points" extend along the outer edge. Repeat with other two horses.

4. Run a bead of glue around the entire outer edges of horse leaving the bottom completely open. Lay other felt piece on top and press outer edges together. Repeat with other two horses.

5. Glue decorative flat braid to horse as shown in photo. I find that is easiest to leave a little extending at the beginning to trim off later. Flip and repeat on the other side. You will form a loop at the back of the horse. This will be a place to slip the hanger through. Trim of excess edges at nose. Repeat on other two horses.

6. Glue pom pom and wiggle eyes to horse as show in photo. Repeat on other side, and with other two horses.

7. If using a glue gun, make sure to remove any glue strings and slip your candy canes into the horse, hang on your tree, and enjoy!

Do you like free embroidery designs and tutorials?

Be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter to get a free design every weekend (unless I'm running a sale). Sign up for Sher's Creative News

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Know Who You Are Texting!

You know how they say to be very careful to know exactly who you are texting or emailing before hitting the SEND button. If you are not careful, you can get yourself into some serious trouble! Below is my personal experience with this issue:

INCOMING TEXT FROM BRIAN: I’m bored. I wish I could come home.

MY REPLY: You know, I really wish you would just meet some nice girl then you’d have lots to do. I love you. 

Five minutes later the phone rings and it’s my husband calling me from work. I hear him on the other end saying, “What the heck did you just say to me?” OK, so he didn’t actually say “heck.”

What happened here is that my husband’s name is Brian and my son’s name is Bryan (spelled differently). My son was living in Houston at the time. When I got the text message I assumed it was from my son. When he said he wished he could come home, I thought he meant home to Indiana. So my husband got that text message that was meant for my son.

Had I looked at the name before sending the text message, this would not have happened. At least this was a comical situation and no feelings were hurt.

My son did move back to Indiana a year ago and came to visit tonight. I cooked us up some marinated chicken on the grill. If you’ve never tried those marinades in the bottles, you are missing out! Also felt the need to whip up some chocolate chip cookies since they are his favorites. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Welcome Baby Layla

It was love at first sight! My beautiful baby great-niece Layla made her entrance into the world shortly after 6:00 pm today, and I got to be there for it. I'm officially a great aunt! Mom and baby are doing just fine although mom is a little tired.

It's been a long day so I'll keep this short and sweet. Just look at the picture above and you can see that it doesn't get much sweeter than this!

Photos Above: baby Layla, and baby Layla with her favorite aunt (that would be me)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deer, Hairy Spiders, and Crafting?

That title is just a small example of the day I've had!

First, we are on pins and needles around here because my niece who is about to make me a great aunt is getting closer and closer and it could happen at any moment! My cellphone is in my pocket at all times.

Second, I've been bitten by the crafting bug again. I made two projects tonight but I can't tell you about either one of them because they are both surprises. One is a surprise for my niece and if she sees this post, it will spoil it. The other surprise is because one of the projects I made tonight will show up in a tutorial real soon on my blog. It's a pattern of my grandmothers, from 1961, that I've recreated. So simple, cute, and you'll all love it!

Third, I had more visitors. As you already know my backyard seems to be the place where the neighborhood deer like to hang out. Well, the fawns were back today as usual, but we had another visitor, an ugly hairy spider! This thing is HUGE too! You can actually see the hairs in the photo!

I took Bubba out tonight when I saw it. Creepy!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shopping & Lunch with Sis

Sunday was a great day. The weather was perfect, hubby was watching his Chicago Bears, so what's a girl to do? GO SHOPPING! Deb (sis) and I planned a trip to the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets today. It's one of our favorite things to do on a Sunday, heck, any day. While we were there we stopped at our favorite little spot for lunch. Lakeshore Coffee is across the street from the mall. I don't think the tourists are on to it yet because it's not "in" the mall. Anyway, they make the ultimate best panini you will ever have. They don't have a big variety on their menu, just fancy coffee and sandwiches but they are delicious! It's a cute little place too and they have free WiFi for those who want to sit and surf.

Yes, my loving family, I bought a purse. Yes, ANOTHER purse! When I showed hubby he said, "It looks just like the 25 purses you already have." He just doesn't get it. This one is much different than what I'm used to. For the past few years I've been carrying a big gigantic thing around and I thought it was time for a cute little snappy one. What do you think?

And I bought one more thing, a long sleeved onesie for baby Layla. My niece will be making me a great auntie any day now and I can't wait! And you all know I'll be taking lots of pictures.

So it's back to work Monday. I hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Real "Dream" House

Did you ever have one of those dreams that you tried to go back to sleep so you could continue your dream to see how it turned out? Well I had one of those a couple of nights ago. I never could go back to sleep so I decided to create my own ending and it was so cool!

I dreamt that Brian and I decided to retire early so we bought this house in the beach community near where we live now. It was such a charming house on the outside with flowers and gardens. Looked so cute and cozy. When we went inside it was like, WOW! The place was huge! As I stood in the kitchen which was stocked with the coolest bake ware and serving ware, I looked through the big arched doorway and could see the dining room. It wasn't your average dining room at all. It had six big rectangular tables which each had six chairs. Nothing was crammed together, it was big and roomy!

To the right were windows and hutches. These hutches were filled with expensive antiques that we could sell for way more than the $50,000 we paid for the house. Like I said, it was a dream. These days you might get a big storage shed for that amount.

Straight across from where I was standing was this beautiful entry way with a Christmas Tree beautifully decorated. Why the Christmas tree in late summer? No clue!

Then to the left were lots of closed doors. I opened each one to find the cutest bedrooms, lots of them! They all had little desks and dressers and each one was decorated differently. Then I woke up! Darn! I wanted to see if there were more treasures, or what I ended up doing with the place.

Sher's "awake" finish to the dream:

If I did indeed find a treasure such as that I would have all the family parties and no one would have to drive home. But it doesn't end there. First I thought a bed and breakfast would be cool but I wanted to take it one creative step further...

I opened a Women's Creative Getaway Cottage! Yep! Women from all over the world could hold their creative conventions there. Clubs and groups could spend weekends, weeks, or just a day of crafting, photographing, scrap booking, cooking, praying, or whatever they do together. I'd also book baby showers and small wedding receptions.

So how would you write the ending to my dream? What would you do if you found a super cool house like that

Photo Above: Nothing exciting, just the cornfields behind my house. I see lots of them on my drive to work.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby Ducks on Lake George

A few years back when I worked at the printing business with my Sis, we worked in an old turn of the century building. Out the front window we saw the historic downtown and out the back window was the newly renovated lakefront.

One day I'm looking out front and I see a woman standing in the middle of Main Street stopping traffic. Being the nosey concerned person that I am, I had to see what the heck she was doing. I saw a momma duck and 8 or 10 baby ducklings all in a neat little row behind her. They walked along side our building until they ended up at the lakefront. Of course I had to grab my camera and follow. As I look over I see mom jumping into the lake before turning around to face her babies. Next thing I see, after a little pause, are the baby ducklings jumping in next to her one at a time. After they were all in safely, mom turned around and swam away as they all followed close behind. It was as if they were hesitant at first but they had complete trust in mom.

I even got some cute video of them jumping in and as soon as I master editing and uploading video, I can share some with you. This is why I carry my little camera with me everywhere I go.

I really enjoyed sharing that little moment in their little lives. It may sound odd to some, but to me, moments like that are a real treat!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

It was a wonderful three day weekend but as usual, it always goes too fast. I didn't have many plans this weekend but I was in the creative mode in a very BIG way as you can probably tell. I've also been working on a big project but I'm not telling what it is yet. You'll find out soon enough.

We did go to the neighbor girl's Sweet 16 party today. It was nice and they sure do have a lot of friends! We are so lucky to have great neighbors. Well, there is one neighbor that is the Evil SheDevil, but doesn't every neighborhood have at least one?

On another note, where else but in the great Midwest does it go from 95 degrees and humid to 60 degrees in little over a 24 hour time frame? Well that's what happened this weekend. We had to face the fact that it was time to close the pool. Hard to believe that the falling leaves were already filling up the pool. I sure am seeing a lot of early signs of fall this year. Yes, it's a sad, sad day when we have to get out the big pool covers and shut down the mechanics.

How was your weekend? I hope you were able to do something fun, productive, or some well needed slugging.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Silly Little Things

First and foremost, what makes me happiest in life are my family and my pets. There are lots of little and fun things that always make me smile. These things are also important because if it brings a smile to your face or brings you some enjoyment, it adds a positive glow to your being and can also lower your blood pressure. Here are just a couple of my silly and simple little things:

1. A refreshing glass of freshly brewed iced tea with a slice of fresh lemon. It's an "Ahhhh" moment!

2. Wearing my fun jewelry like these cinnamon bun earrings I just bought from ScrumptiousDoodle. How does she make them look so real?

3. Watching the fawns lounge around in my backyard. This picture was taken yesterday. Now that the crab apple trees are producing apples, they are always in my yard.

4. Sitting on top of a sand dune and looking down at the Lake. So relaxing.

5. Coming home from work to find that my husband has cleaned the entire house and my kitchen actually sparkles!

So those are my silly little things. What are yours?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is it Art or is it Just Rundown?

Ever since I got my first digital camera I take pictures of everything! I was just looking through some photos I took a few years back and I came across this one. It's the back side of a turn of the century building in the tiny and historic downtown where we used to have our family's business.

It's just a simple spiral staircase leading up to the roof of the building next to ours. It got me wondering if that staircase had been there since the building was built in the late 1800's, or was added on at later time? Did it lead to something other than a roof? Why would you put such a fancy staircase that leads to a roof? Maybe there was a rooftop patio. And what was that building used for back then? Some said it was a rooming house, some say a hotel, and some say something else, questionable I might add . At Street level it is a bar. Upstairs there are lots of tiny little rooms. What was the upstairs of many rooms and who visited or lived there?

When I see something like that I like to imagine it back in it's day. My imagination goes wild! Does that happen to you when you go through old down towns, or drive past old farm houses in the country?

So, is it just a rundown old staircase attached to an old rundown building or is it at artistic photo op? One thing is for certain, there are probably many, many stories attached to that old spiral staircase.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bats Overhead!

First I want to thank all of you for participating in my "3 Quick Questions" post. It was so nice to get that little glimpse into your lives and get to know my fellow bloggers and readers a little better. I especially enjoyed hearing about your latest projects.

Now, on to today's subject which is about bats. Bats are nothing new to me since I work with wildlife at the clinic but last night was my first experience with them flying over my head. Normally they are handed to me in a box or a bucket, and they are usually orphaned or injured. But last night I took Bubba (the cute little guy in the picture above) potty and I went out with him like I usually do after dusk because I'm afraid of coyotes getting him. There they were, flying around my backyard like they owned the place! So creepy!!!

I though it would be a perfect opportunity to share a couple of facts about the little guys. There are a lot of misconceptions about them so I gathered some information to share. Did you know:

1. Bats are very clean animals and are constantly grooming themselves.
2. In Indonesia they have fruit bats (flying foxes) that have a wingspan of almost 6 feet.
3. There are over 1200 known species of bats. Most are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
4. One little brown bat (myotis) can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in an hour.
5. Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline or endangered.
6. Their wings are actually skin that is stretched over their "fingers."
7. Bats are NOT big spreaders of rabies like people think.

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