The Big Acorn Race Update: We’ve Got a Cover!

Squirrel Picnic has been one of my favorite blogs for some time now. Jennifer has been working on her very first book and has announced her new cover. Hop on over and see what this is all about and give all the team at Squirrel Picnic some lovin’!

Squirrel Picnic

This has been an exciting month! It’s also been extraordinarily busy. (Isn’t it funny how the two always seem to go hand in hand?) I promise to write a separate post about designing and creating all the new patterns, working with pattern testers, choosing fonts, and hashing out what will go in the techniques section. But for now I just really want to share with you something near and dear to my heart, something I’ve dreamed of for over two years now… we have a cover for Squirrel Picnic’s very first story and pattern book!The Big Acorn Race by Jennifer OlivarezBig love and thanks go out to Sylvie Abecassis for designing the graphics and working her magic on my photos. I am always amazed by the talent she possesses. She has a big heart, a wealth of design knowledge and skill, and a generous and caring spirit. I can’t thank her enough for this beautiful gift.

Now…

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A Wonderful Love Story

I haven’t been on here for quite a while. I know. Many things have happened.

In order to get myself hopefully back on track I would like to share this with you.

It’s beautiful. And right now this is almost how I feel. Only the first part. My end of the story hasn’t arrived yet.

Enjoy!

http://sfglobe.com/?id=16809&src=share_fb_new_16809&m=0&btn=popup_endvideo&grp=do_91

Houseplants and Helping Hands

Howdy ya’ll!

As usual I’ve been keeping busy with my art. So to give myself a break I decided to work on my houseplants. I don’t just have a couple small potted plants. I have many with LARGE plants growing. Large, that is, for me. I’ve never been known to have a green thumb. I reckon that the older you get the greener your thumbs grow. (hee hee). Anyhow, since I live upstairs I got permission to use the extra area on the landing. Take a peek:

Plants on the landing

Plants on the landing

As you can see, they have come to be quite unruly. There are three or four pots with Mother in Law’s Tongue and Snake Grass. Those are the long leaf ones. There’s a corn plant/tree in the back left too. I honestly don’t know what kind of plant the one is on the wall. I think of it more as a tree. So did my neighbor boy. Seven years old and wanted to help. I was glad for the company.

I want to show you a trick I learned quite some years ago. It is possible to have planters that don’t have holes in the bottom and still grow your plant friends. It’s all in the preparation. You simply need a drainage system UNDER the plant. Yep, down at the very bottom of it all. How?

Check this out:

place rocks in bottom of planter at least 1 inch deep.

place rocks in bottom of planter at least 1 inch deep.

I love rocks. I am always picking up pretty ones I find on my many walks with my sidekick, Daisy. (she’s my dog). Put a good inch deep of rocks in the bottom of your pot. Spread them out to cover the bottom as close to level as possible. Then add a coffee filter on top.

Scrunch the edges real good.

Scrunch the edges real good.

Scrunch down the edges along the side. You can even press the filter down around the wall and the rocks if you like. The filter helps to keep the finer more important additives to the dirt from sifting through. (Shh! The plant thinks this is the bottom of the planter now!). Now, on top of the filter add a piece of round plastic canvas, cut to fit.

plastic canvas into bottom of planter on top of filter and rocks

plastic canvas into bottom of planter on top of filter and rocks

 The plastic canvas can be rough on the edges. The plant doesn’t care. I happened to have some that were already round. I cut off two rows for it to fit. Now you can finally add some dirt. The canvas helps with filtering too. You always want to put the canvas on top of the filter. First the big and then the small, let those silly particles fall. (Hee, hee! I felt like a rhyme).

The neighbor boy enjoyed trimming leaves and shoveling dirt into pots. I let him take home this very pot I’ve just shown. You probably noticed it’s not really a “pot”. I used a food service container. It’s sturdy and plastic so it won’t leak. Thinking children here….

My neighbor with his new plant.

My neighbor with his new plant.

This has pretty much been my day. Fulfilling. Wholly.

Until next time….

Enjoy life as it comes, even in small packages.

Bonnie

Keshia’s Kakes on Super Bowl Desserts

This is SOOO good! I just have to share!

Super Bowl parties are all about food you can eat with your hands.  Fussy cakes and pies are for another occasion.  When it comes to parties like this,  your guests will be grazing throughout the evening, so having food you can leave out for a bit, is easy to eat, and portable is key.  These little Football Peanut Butter Truffles will give your guests something they won’t forget in one tasty bite.

Football Peanut Butter Truffles

Ingredients

½ cup Peanut Butter

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

8 ounces chocolate-flavored candy coating (Wilton and Nestle make these, but be sure to buy something labeled for use in candy.  Not all chocolate is created equal.)

¾ c white chocolate chips

Directions

1. In a mixing bowl stir together peanut butter and butter. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until combined. Shape into 1-inch football shapes; place on waxed paper…

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DayTrippers

Greetings friends! Have you missed me? I’ve been out and about with family recently.

I grew up enjoying weekly “Day Trips”.  As a child my family usually took us to see extended family. Sometimes we would spend an entire day picnicking and hiking at any number of state parks within a two hour drive. A few times dad would drive even farther to an amusement park or a special zoo attraction. After I became an adult I continued this tradition with my girls. And now that my girls are grown, they are continuing our family tradition with their friends and family.

Recently I was treated to one such outing by my oldest and her fella. Travelling a bit closer to home, we visited Merom, Indiana, and the park known by locals as “Merom Bluffs”.

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There are numerous historical signs like this all around the area. Merom sits on the banks of the Wabash River. It is rich in American Indian history, Christian history, and, as you can see, cultural and even political history! The 10 day Chautauqua festival has since been whittled down to a weekend event. We showed up prior to the event.

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As mentioned before, we went to the main attraction here:  Merom Bluffs. The actual bluff is what we went to enjoy. I have no idea how old the wall around the bluff is…you can see some places where the wall has been mended and other places where it’s rather broken down. Not really a safe place for children, the elderly, or drunks 😉

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We considered this entry point to the bluff. It was quite broken down so we decided to take another route.

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The tree in the right of the last photo is the same one seen at the top and left of this one. That’s the Wabash River in the distance and Illinois just beyond that. This photo is looking slightly north-north west.

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This is about the center of the wall. I tried really hard to get a good picture of the horizon. I could barely see the stacks at the refinery in my town. Not as the crow flies (because I’m no crow) the distance is well over thirty miles to the horizon. Probably a bit more like forty.  As you can see, the sun is shining but it’s also cloudy/hazy. You will notice in the next few pix there is a storm rolling in…If you look really hard you will notice a building just to the center left in this photo above. I will show you the same building in a bit.

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Here’s a view back to the south along the wall. I had forgotten but this was a military wall during the civil war!!!

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One of the original cannons! It’s actually a pretty good walk to see this too. I had to use zoom just to see it this well.

And FINALLY, we find a relatively new bridge and trail! This had never been here in times past for my visits.

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And so here begins a hike downwards to the river. I will share several pix to show how steep this hike was for me. Image

Doesn’t look so bad yet? Alrighty then…I DARE you!

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Well, well…hmmm….and this isn’t even the steepest part!

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Yes, this is carved right out of the stone in the bluff. STEEP! My rump got real familiar with this set of steps 🙂

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Here is evidence that some form of this trail dates back an incredibly long time! Rock carvings! Yeah, some is “new” but you could also see evidence of some very well worn carvings too. I’m going to guess that this is at the halfway point.

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Looking back up into the dizzy view. Still on the trail. the stairs rather disappear into the upper right of this photo.

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HAHAHA!!! The stairs on the left here only go to a shelter house with a picnic table! Where we came out was in the far distance!

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This shelter sat a bit closer to the actual ground!

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Remember the building I said to notice before? Here it is again, just across the river, at the bottom of the bluff.   🙂

Once we DID get to the bottom, I realized there’s a ROAD that you can take to get to the bottom! Sheesh! My legs felt like jelly rubber bands so I made the kids hike back UP the bluff, get the truck, and come back for me.    🙂 

After regaining ourselves a bit we drove back around town to the only other attraction.

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I thought this history sign was placed rather close to the street sign. Made for an interesting photo, wouldn’t you say?

And when I turned around while standing pretty much in the same spot I photographed the BIG sign.

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I dare say there weren’t many Christian colleges in 1859! AND now, just to the right of this sign is the triumphant LONG lane that frames the main college building.

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Those are glassed in doors at the bottom front. Until recently the building had been vacant and vandalized. There was a news story about this building and it’s bell tower on one of our local (CBS) news stations prior to these doors being built. Fascinating interior. Alas, there’s no evidence of tours.

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One last view. Very picturesque. This older gentleman was taking some finer photographs than I have capability. There’s that building across the river again. And the storm looming in the sky just to the right of the photo hits us as we leave for home.

I do so hope you have enjoyed day tripping by photo and blog with me. If you are ever in the area just shout across the river. I might hear you 🙂

Until next time (and I hope to be sooner than later)

~ Bonnie

 

 

 

Remembering our Veteran

How can a person say “Happy” Memorial Day when the memories can be so bittersweet? For some of us the memory is still quite raw. My family lost our Veteran just last August.

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He had been a quadriplegic since his accident in 1974 I believe. May have been 1973. I was there when we got the call. I was there a bit later when he came home. I have no photo to share of him strapped into a wheelchair, a Stryker frame drilled into his skull, and that also strapped to the wheelchair. He was jaundiced quite badly, emaciated. His neck and every bone downward had been broken. His spinal cord had been mostly severed. Yet he was determined to walk. And he did!

It wasn’t until several years later that I married him. We had an unusual life but good all the same. 12 years later, though, I was frustrated and stupid, and took our daughter and handed him a divorce. Even so, we remained friends. He still loved me. Truth be told, I still loved him too. He was a constant part of our lives for the next 17 years. We had talked to length and I was helping him to try and get a handicap equipped house. I was once again going to be his personal care giver.  After all those years, though, our government resources had failed him. He was struggling, looking quite emaciated once again. And then He got to celebrate the second greatest thing to ever happen in his life. (The birth of our daughter was the first 🙂  Our daughter had her first baby, our very first grandchild!

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One month later, shortly after coming to visit, he was killed, along with two other people in the other car that hit him head on.

Those memories of that day are ones that EVERY lover of veterans lost will know quite well. I can scarce share even now.

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The salutes from the local VFW chapter touched me deeply. He was so proud to have been a Soldier.

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Then the tears of seeing his Urn at the grave sight.  I never wanted to steal something and run as badly as I did at this moment.

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The twenty one gun salute. There were only 7 men available for this service so they fired 3 times each together. It was loud and amazing all at the same time. I was in a dream.

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And then our daughter was handed the flag that stood beside him throughout the funeral. Our son-in-law and His mother sit beside, with his mother holding our grandchild. His favorite hat lay in our girl’s lap. Some of His veteran friends can be seen standing at ease in the background. The Marine with the beard was to die just nine months later. The last thing the friend told his wife was that he was going to go see our Veteran.   😥

I personally took these photos. If they are blurred it is because they are seen through tears.

I am crying still.

Please, remember your Veteran this Memorial Day.

~  Bonnie

 

 

 

Painting in the Park

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Howdy Ya’ll!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in South Eastern Illinois. I got stir crazy to get away from the apartment so this is what I decided to do. I took my dog and some painting projects to the conservation area north of where I live. As it turned out I was the only one there all day! I love being away from the hub-bub of the apartment and the “city”. Birds and frogs sang to me all afternoon.   🙂

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This conservation area is quite large, several hundred acres I believe. There are a few lakes and ponds for fishing and plenty of hunting. This area I settled into is the “park” area where there’s an easy access lake, the one shelter building, plenty of frisbie throwing space, and a couple of out houses. Yep, they still exist in my part of the world.    🙂     Since this is a primitive area I had to pack my own water. I’ll have to remember to bring more for the next time. Too bad there’s no camping allowed here. I could have stay for a couple days.

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My companion dog, Daisy, loves having the space to sniff and mosey. She tucked her tail in this pic because I had called for her and she thought she was in trouble. She never gets very far away from me. When she does she is always sure to keep me in her sight. Poor thing is 13 years old and doesn’t see as well now.  It’s nice here when nobody is around because I can let her off the leash. Of course, I seldom ever need to use the leash.

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Until the next time….enjoy your life! It’s the only one you have on this side of Jordan.   🙂

Bonnie