Sunday, May 24, 2015

What's In Bloom in My Garden

By now, with the exception of the flowering ornamental onions, all the spring blooms are done.  We've gotten a lot of rain the past couple of weeks, a couple of frost scares, and some cold weather, so I have not been out in my garden as I should have been.  And it shows…it is very, very weedy.  Because of the rain,  everything has grown several feet in a week, and is very lush and green, but so have the weeds.  Now I am on vacation for nine days, so I won't be able to garden at all.  I can only imagine the mess I will come back to when I return.  Oh well, I will try not to dwell on it and enjoy myself on vacation.  The weeds can wait.

In the meantime, here is what is in bloom in my garden right now:

Wild Columbine and Catmint.  I love Wild Columbine.  It grows in dry shade.  It reseeds nicely, but is not invasive.  It has pretty foliage when not in bloom.  And I love the way the little pink and yellow flowers seem to dance in the air.  Such a graceful flower.

 My Ferns and Hosta are loving this wet weather.  They have filled the hillside with their tall, graceful, plumes.
 Here are the ferns from the top of the hillside looking down.  They are about three feet tall.  Aren't they gorgeous?
 This is one of my favorite trees in our yard.  It has beautiful yellow leaves in the spring, it is very tall and strong, and it has interesting fall foliage as well.
 The size of this Blue Hosta is amazing!  I need to dig another Hosta up that is growing right next to it because it is being swallowed up by this beauty.
 I have two Snowball Bushes in my yard (sorry, I really don't know the real, scientific name.  It's blooms look like snowballs, so I call it a Snowball Bush!  If I had to guess, I'd say it's some type of Viburnum).  One Snowball Bush is growing on my hillside, and another is growing right next to my shed.
 Look at these gorgeous blooms!  LOVE!
 This is my Flowering Ornamental Onion.  The last of the spring bulbs to bloom.  If you have trouble growing plants from bulbs because of animals digging them up, then this is the bulb for you.  Animals will never dig this plant up because it is in the onion family.  In fact, they even say to plant this bulb next to bulbs animals do like to eat, and it will deter them away!
 This is a view of my ferns looking up the hill from the bottom of my garden.  So lush!
It looks like my Iris, one of my favorite flowers (but, like I said in last week's garden post, they are all my favorite flowers.  I love whatever happens to be in bloom at the moment) will be blooming while I am on vacation.  So I will miss that show this year.  Darn.  You know what I'll also miss?  Warm weather!  Apparently it will be cold and rainy (50s & 60s) the entire week I'm in Colorado and it will be warm here (70s & 80s).  I tell you, I jinx everywhere I go when I'm on vacation.  No matter what time of year it is….there is always a 'record cold spell' when I arrive!  Unbelievable.  Oh well, I packed warm clothes and rain gear, and I'm gonna have fun regardless!

Have a great day!  Amy

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Colorful Birthday Balloons

Hello!  By the time you are reading this I will be in my car driving to Colorado to attend my niece's wedding and then enjoy a wonderful week of vacation.  But I hope to have a lot of pre-scheduled posts ready-to-go in my absence. 

Today I have a colorful birthday card to share with you.  I made it with a balloon image from Stampendous called "Party Balloons".  It is a very clean and simple card.  I just stamped both the image and sentiment on white card stock, adhered that over a Tempting Turquoise card base, and added felt adhesive ric rac stickers from Martha Stewart on the side.

 The sentiment is retired Stampin Up! "Alphabet Soup".  I colored directly on the stamp with SU! markers to get the three colored effect.
 Crystal Effects was added to the balloons to make them shiny, and Stickles was added to all the confetti for extra sparkle.
Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, May 22, 2015

Wearing Florals When Your Over Fifty

You would have to be living under a rock not to notice that florals are all the rage this season.  Not that florals ever go out of style, but they do go up and down in the trends.  Right now you can wear florals not only in dresses and tops, but also in pants, shoes, shorts…you name it.  I've been looking for a new pair of floral heels in my price range, but haven't found any yet.  

Now I'm a flower gardener, so I love flowers.  But I prefer to see them more in my garden than on my body.  Floral prints usually remind me of youth…little girls in pretty dresses, or young ladies in romantic, frilly garments.  Now you all should know by now I don't believe in fashion rules or age appropriate dressing, however, if I put on any garment that's too frilly looking (a.k.a. florals), I feel uncomfortable for some reason.  I can't explain it, but it just doesn't seem 'right for me'.

So then the question is, how do I incorporate the floral trend into 'my style', so that I feel comfortable in my own skin?  One way I do it is to include it in small doses, like in a floral bag or shoes.  Another way is to edge it up a bit by adding a more masculine piece.  

For today's outfit, I am wearing a floral top from J.C. Penney (none left in my size, but the Plus sizes are still available HERE).  You may have previously seen this top in THIS POST, where I wore it with a sweater and scarf to my son's graduation.  Here I had my personal stylist, my daughter Ashley, style the top with a light wash Levi Trucker Style denim jacket, cantaloupe colored denim skinny jeans, and striped loafers.  

 Because the floral is in one small dose (just in the top), and paired with a masculine element (the trucker style denim jacket), it doesn't overwhelm me and make me feel uncomfortable.  It's just the perfect blend of masculine and feminine and just the right amount of floral for my comfort zone.

I never would have dreamed of pairing this top with these colored jeans, but Ashley said "The color is in the top, so why not?"  I really liked how this outfit turned out.  Thanks Ashley!
 Ashley added turquoise colored jewelry to pick up the turquoise color in the top.
 I chose the loafers to complete the outfit because I liked pairing a stripe with the florals, and I also felt the loafer style kept the outfit casual.  Florals usually always appear more dressy, and wearing casual loafers toned the formality down a bit.  I also felt the color in the stripe matched the color in the denim jacket very well too!

And here are some more ways to incorporate florals into your wardrobe that I like from Pinterest:

A dressy floral top paired with casual denim:

Photo Credit

A formal floral blazer, paired with a tee shirt and distressed jeans:
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Gotta love this gorgeous floral handbag!
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One of my favorite ways to wear floral….in a scarf!
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Pair floral pants with a dark, masculine style shirt.

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Edge up a pretty floral skirt with a graphic tee shirt!
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I want these shoes and I want them now!  Gorgeous!
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So what about you?  Do you like to wear florals?  If so, how do you incorporate into your personal style?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up With:  Passion 4 Fashion, Budget Babes, Charming Friday, Favorite Fashion Friday,  Mix it Up Friday, and Fashion Should Be Fun.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brighter Tomorrow

A gentleman in our church lost his elderly mother and this was the card I made for him.
 The image and sentiment are both retired Stampin Up! "Brighter Tomorrow", and  "Thoughts and Prayers".

The tree image is a solid stamp, so to get the various colors I colored directly on the stamp with Stampin Up! Watercolor Markers.  I then stamped the image directly onto designer paper by Prima "Fairy Flora".  I colored in grass beneath the tree, stamped the sentiment directly onto the same panel, and cut out the unique shape with a Spellbinder's Nestability Die.  I inked the edges with Tim Holz distress ink to make it pop more.
 I used only a simple organza ribbon for embellishment.
Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Christmas Cards

Getting ready to take a vacation is a lot of hard work.  I will be leaving for a nine day trip to Colorado soon (sorry burglars, but my house will not be vacant, I have a house sitter) and the preparation before and after a trip is a lot of work and almost requires another vacation from my vacation!  One of the things on my "Must Do Before I Leave List", is to make my May Christmas Cards.  As most of you already know, I play the Splitcoaststampers Christmas Card Challenge where we make Christmas Cards all year long so that were not stressed out during the busy Holiday Season.  I make five cards a month so I will have about sixty cards at the end of the year.  I make a long card, 4 x 8, so I can put a Christmas Letter and Photo Collage inside.

Because I was pressed for time this month, I tried to keep it as simple as possible and chose to use some pre-printed Pure Innocence Digis that I had already laying on my craft desk.  All I had to do was cut them out, color, and create a layout for them.  Here is what I came up with:

 I had three of this image already printed, so I did three of this same card.  All the paper is from the same DCWV Christmas Stack.  I cut the banners with an MFT Die, and inked the edges of the blue banner with a marker to make it stand out more.
 I put Liquid Applique on all the hats, and added two different types of ribbon for embellishment.
 Flower soft was used to create all the snow in all the cards.  The sentiments are all retired Stampin Up!.

 I put Crystal Effects on the berries in this card, and because the blue sky I colored in seemed to clash with the blue in the papers, I sponged some white ink over it.
For my last style of card, I added a different retired Stampin Up! sentiment and cut it out with a coordinating Stampin Up! punch.  I attached it to the image panel with a brad.  I put red and gold Stickles on the Christmas Tree.

 I stamped some extra snow in the background using a retired Stampin Up! stamp and Bashful Blue ink.
I'm not sure how often I'll post next week, if I even post at all.  When were on vacation, my husband and I like to leave the cares of this world behind us and just focus on each other, so if you don't hear from me for awhile, don't worry, "I'll Be Back!".

Have a great day!  Amy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happiness is a Grateful Heart

"Happiness is a Grateful Heart".  Today, those words are especially meaningful to me,  for last night we had a bit of scare.  Even though we were unhappy about the situation, I am grateful because it could have been so much worse.  My son is home for the summer and we just gave him the second best car we own as a graduation present.  He was driving home from work in the dark, his very first shift, and he hit a deer that was already laying dead in the middle of the road.  He never saw the deer until it was too late.  There was another car coming towards him in the opposite lane so he had to turn his brights off.  By the time he saw the obstacle in the road, it was too late to brake, and he couldn't swerve or he would have hit the other car.  So he drove right over the deer, and damaged the car.  Were not sure exactly what is wrong with the car right now.   It appears to still be running, but it's making a squeaking noise when you turn the wheel, and some piece of metal became unattached and was dragging by the tire.  My husband was up till 12:00 a.m. trying to fix the car so my son could get back to work today.  We won't be able to take it in to a shop till he has a day off.  

Where we live, driving is always dangerous.  We don't have to worry too much about other crazy drivers, but we have to worry all the time about poor road conditions due to snow, and wild animals running into the road.  Even though I'm upset about the car, and worried that now Jordan won't have reliable transportation when he moves, I'm so grateful he is all right.  It could have been so much worse.  He could have swerved into the other lane and killed himself and/or anyone in the other car.  It would be so easy to whine and moan right now because of the situation, but all I can do is thank God it wasn't worse.  

So I am so pleased to show you my card this morning, and truly say "Happiness is a Grateful Heart".
 I made the card with the MFT image 'Happy Harvest'.  I used MFT dies for the scallop, banner, and leaves.
 The image was colored with Copic Markers, and the paper is from DCWV "The Pumpkin Patch Matstack" and "The Pumpkin Patch Card Stock Matstack".  The flowers are little Primas with a brad in the center.

Being grateful for what you have, it truly is happiness.

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, May 18, 2015

Going Nautical

I find it quite humorous that for someone who cannot swim a stroke how much I love the nautical look. I think it's a combination of how clean, fresh, comfortable, yet somehow dressy nautical fashion is, and also how much it reminds me of the lazy days of summer, warm breezes, and water.  Even though I'm afraid of deep water, I still love taking boat rides, laying in the sun on a beautiful beach, and watching ocean waves and wildlife.  

For today's look, I'm wearing a nautical sweater from Talbots (old), linen drawstring pants from J.C. Penney, a polka dotted red scarf (old, JCP), and white loafers (old, Dr. Scholls).  
I wore all red jewelry (old, Old Navy) and carried my new yellow bag (Charming Charlies) to bring in a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit.
 My nautical sweater actually has an interesting story behind it.  Two years ago we were vacationing in New Hampshire and one of the things we did was visit Mt. Washington Park and hike The Frankenstein Cliff Trail.  Well on that hike, I wore a white sweater that ended up getting completely ruined due to the difficulty of that hike.  (You can read my humorous account of that hike HERE).  Since I was on vacation and I only had limited clothes with me,  I needed a new white sweater to replace the one that got destroyed.  The next day we visited the sweet, but affluent town of Hanover where I found a Talbots.  Now, even though I like some of Talbots clothing line, they are usually a bit too pricey and 'old looking' for my taste.  However, I did find this sweater on a clearance rack for about $20.00.  I bought it on the spot for it was perfect for getting me through the rest of my vacation, and it was such a classic design I knew it would be a wardrobe staple forever (unless I wear it hiking on a treacherous mountain).  :)  I love it when clothing has special memories connected to it…don't you?  It does make it hard to clear out your closet however!
 My scarf I bought last year and this was the first time I ever wore it.  I absolutely love it, but it has always been hard for me to accessorize with it.  If your wondering how I tied it, I simply wrapped it around my neck (like a choker), several times, then tied it in a knot and tucked the knot underneath.
 These linen pants from Stylus are so cool and comfortable I have been wearing them non-stop since I bought them.  I'm sure they will be worn out by the end of the summer.  I love the relaxed fit and drawstring waistband.  They are perfect for lounging around the house in.

 Since I wasn't scheduled to sing this Sunday at church, I was able to wear something more casual.  Even though the weather was in the upper seventies, the scarf and sweater kept me comfortably warm against the strong breezes of the ceiling fans…yet I looked summery!
These are my go-too summer shoes!  Because they are white, they go with just about anything, and I love the distressed look.  The fact that they are made by Dr. Scholls is even better…because they are so comfortable!
This look is a great example of how you can look like spring or summer, and still be warm.  It would be a great look on a cool spring day…or on an actual boat ride since the temperatures are so much cooler on the water.  
Have a great day!  Amy

Linking Up With: Visible Monday,  Style Swap Tuesdays, Bloggers who Inspire Me, Confident Twosday,  Turning Heads Tuesday, All About You, I Feel Pretty, Trendy Wednesday, Tucker Up, Oh, Hey Girl,  Jersey Girl/Texan Heart,  Style Me Wednesday, Sydney Fashion Hunter, Throwback Thursday,and Look What I Got.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

More Spring Beauty

Sorry, but this week's garden post is a little photo heavy because I didn't do a garden post last week due to Mother's Day.  Just looking at these pictures, which are several weeks old by now,  I'm amazed at how much my garden has changed since these photos were taken.  We have gotten so much rain lately that it's starting to look like the Amazon forest in my yard.  Everything is so lush and green, (but also very weedy), and growing by leaps and bounds.

I'll begin by showing more spring bulbs.  These are grape hyacinths.  

 In my last garden post, I showed a lot of white and yellow in my garden.  Now the colors are predominantly pastels in pink, blue, and white.  Here are some pretty pink tulips.
 A bold yellow tulip.  I love the black stamens against the strong pop of yellow.

 A bed of creeping phlox growing happily on a sunny hillside.

 Looking up at my house on top of the hill.
 Hot pink tulips.

 Coral tulips with a view of my potting shed in the distance.
 The western view of my garden as seen from the front entry porch.  I have a small pond right in front of my door, and my kitchen window also has this view.  I put the bird feeders here so I can watch the birds while I do my dishes.
 A white flowering crab apple tree.

 A pretty  ground cover with wild columbine not yet in bloom in the background.
 White tulips.
 A close up of the ground cover.
 Pink Bleeding Heart.  These re-seed like crazy for me, popping up in places I really don't want them.  I have so many I need to dig up and re-locate.
 A close up of my pink flowering crab apple tree.
 A close up of my white flowering crab apple tree.
 A Viburnum Bush in bloom.
 Leopards Bane.  One of the first perennials to bloom in the spring.
 Cushion Spurge:  another early blooming perennial.  But this one also re-seeds like crazy and can be a nuisance.
 The yellow plant is a very invasive ground cover that grows on a steep hill in a shady, root area.  Once it takes off….watch out!  It could be a nuisance, but it's perfect for the spot I'm growing it on because nothing else will grow in dry shade but this plant.  I think I only planted about 3 plants and it covered the hillside in no time.

The purple plant in front of it is Cat Mint.

Last year, all our local grocery stores ran out of grape jelly to feed the Orioles when they arrived in the spring.  I couldn't find grape jelly anywhere!  But this year, Aldi was well prepared and ordered a lot of extra grape jelly for bird lover's like me!  I came home with two cases after seeing this display:

 And here is one of my little buddies:  I absolutely love Orioles!  They are my favorite bird.  Their song and appearance are both so beautiful.  I also find them very friendly compared to a lot of other birds.  They love to follow me around the yard and hang out in tree branches above me and sing.  Oh, how I love to hear them sing.

I had to sit and wait patiently for twenty minutes before I got this shot.  I just used my IPhone, so I had to sit in a chair only a few feet from the feeder.  But eventually my patience paid off, and this handsome gent landed just long enough for me to take his picture.
Have a great day!  Amy