Phavorites & Philm – McFarland & The Durrells in Corfu

One of my favorite films this year was McFarland. Released in 2015, the film is still available On Demand, Netflix, Amazon Prime, DVD, and other venues. Don’t miss this inspirational true story. Make sure and watch until the very last minute as the original McFarland Cross Country team makes a cameo appearance.

The Durrells in Corfu is another of my new favorites. Episode 1 of Season 1 premiered last Sunday evening at 8:00 on PBS, but you can find it online or On Demand also. I loved the ‘quirkiness’ of this sweet series and can’t wait for more episodes.

Pheathers & Project – Feeding Station

After visiting Rocklands Bird Sanctuary/Feeding Station,  I was inspired to create a few new feeding stations of my own.

I found this comment by Tulani from an old post.

“Years ago, I had made a frame (picture frame if you will) & put legs on it 30 inches long….
then I stapled window screening to the frame….
this was my winter time bird feeder.
It’s very easy to make, & it does not have to impress anyone(except you maybe).
the birds will not care a bit what it looks like, they just want to eat their seed to stay healthy & alive.
I never bought the wood I used to make it….I scrounged around town, to find pallets & such, till I had enough wood for what I need….I still scrounge around town for any & all wood projects(woodworking is more of a hobby for me than anything else).
What you can do with this bird feeder after you build it, is limited only by your imagination. Paint it, stain it, leave it unfinished….or decorate it in any fashion you so desire…
Just thought I’d share…. 8 )” ~ Tulani

I followed Tulani’s instructions and scrounged around for some ‘found’ items, and created a frame for larger birds to feed upon.



I also made use of an old swing with ropes still attached, and hammered a few small nails into the length to anchor down raisins, bread and fruits.


I soon had my first visitor.



Place – Rocklands Bird Sanctuary/Feeding Station

The view of Montego Bay, Jamaica from Rocklands Bird Sanctuary
The view of Montego Bay, Jamaica from Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

“Rocklands was established by Lisa Salmon, a self-taught ornithologist , one of Jamaica’s first environmentalists. Miss Salmon or “the bird lady” as she was affectionately known purchased the Rocklands property in 1954.”

~ Jamaica Travel and Culture


In the mountains of Jamaica, near the town of Anchovy, a thirty-minute drive from Montego Bay, my husband and I entered a world unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. I posted a picture of a hummingbird on my finger a few weeks ago, and this is the accompanying story of that moment in Anchovy, Jamaica, at the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary.


Before we even encountered the birds, we were amazed by the beautiful surroundings. Sitting on a beautiful terrace, bordered by hand-crafted concrete planters, the abundance of lush green beauty began soul-soothing us immediately. For me, this was a slice of heaven on earth. I love plants, nature, and birds and Rocklands Bird Sanctuary perfectly combines all three.


The key to the experience is “patience,” our guide Fred told us, and we found it to be the case. The hummingbirds eyed us up a bit from their perches near the roof of the terrace, deciding if we were worthy of their attention.


My husband patiently held the small bottle of sugar-water and finger at the ready, and was rewarded with tiny bird feet touching down. (There is bird-seed spread on his legs to draw other birds in.)


I came away from the experience with Rocklands Bird Sanctuary forever imprinted upon my heart. I was also inspired to create a few bird feeding stations of my own, but that is a post for tomorrow.🙂

Postscript: Don’t miss out on the trails that surround this beautiful sanctuary if you are able to take a tour.

Product and Perspective – The Laminator


My husband recently brought home this cute photocopy fellow employees at his workplace had posted around the store. I loved the way the photo captured the twinkle in his eyes, and wanted to protect it as a keepsake.

Photocopy paper is fragile, so to protect it, I pulled out the laminator I purchased for just over $10.00 this past year at Aldi Supermarket. Years ago, laminating artwork or important papers was expensive; I was charged for lamination by the inch. Now the lamination of items is an easy do-it-yourself project.


The hat my husband is wearing in the photo expresses his opinion concerning the upcoming election, the button expresses mine.

The quote below is from the transcript of the second debate, and one I agree with wholeheartedly:

TRUMP: We have a divided nation. We have a very divided nation. You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the violence that’s taking place in the inner cities, Chicago, you take a look at Washington, D.C.
We have an increase in murder within our cities, the biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation, because people like her — and believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart. And when she said deplorables, she meant it. And when she said irredeemable, they’re irredeemable, you didn’t mention that, but when she said they’re irredeemable, to me that might have been even worse.
COOPER: She said some of them are irredeemable.

I find the word irredeemable to be a prelude to the word expendable, much as it was applied to those sacrificed in Benghazi in 2012. As a conservative and Follower of Jesus, I feel I must be on my guard concerning Mrs. Clinton. I also found Anderson Cooper’s immediate interruption on Clinton’s behalf, using the word ‘some’ as clarification, to be another example of the mainstream media being biased for Hillary Clinton.

Those who consider themselves the ‘Educated Elite’ are being led to vote for Mrs. Clinton by their egos, and they will be the next to be lumped into the deplorables basket when they wake up with wide-open eyes to the destructive changes she means to bring about in our country and the Supreme Court.

I’m horribly ashamed of, and disillusioned by, all the Republican politicians who have changed allegiances.

Never in all the years I have voted have I felt my vote is more important.

Plantings – Tip on Tuesday/Collecting Seeds

Coleus seed pods
Coleus seed pods

The beautiful blossoms of summer have dwindled leaving an abundance of seeds in their wake. It’s time to collect for next year’s garden!

Hyacinth Bean Vine Pod
Hyacinth Bean Vine Pod

Recycled water bottles are my container of choice this year for collecting seeds. I’ve overturned many a plate, glass and paper bag while collecting in past years. I’ve found holding a water bottle between my body and upper arm frees both hands. Even if I drop the bottle, the small opening keeps a good portion of the seeds from spilling out. Give it a try!

  • Let the seeds dry for a week or two in the bottle before packaging/storing
  • Store your foil-wrapped seeds in a jar/container in the fridge or cold garage, some seeds need a period of cold (cold stratification) to germinate.

Phlowers & Plants – Yellow

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge  for this week is yellow. I love yellow. I plant yellow flowers, wear yellow clothing, and find ways to use yellow in my artwork and projects. For me, yellow signifies joy.

Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background
Mint seed head with yellow bumblebee in background

The photo challenge for this week is the word “Local.” The challenge states—

This week, show us where your heart is.


My heart is happiest when I am in my home or garden, add my family into the setting, and I will not be able to think of any situation sweeter. Today as I strolled around the yard, camera in hand, searching out bits and pieces of yellow for Cee’s challenge, contentment filled me much the same as the yellow sunshine flooded warmth all about me. Yellow…a perfect celebration color for an Autumn afternoon. Thanks Cee. Your challenge brought me joy today.

Fallen Oak leaves
Fallen Oak leaves
Gold Marie Vining Bean
Gold Marie Vining Bean

I end this post of yellows with one of my favorite vegetable garden plants – Gold Marie Vining Bean. This luscious bean grew prolifically in my garden this year. I planted the seeds  after the cucumbers bloomed their last in mid-summer. I enjoyed the color and taste of these beautiful beans. Even better, they were easy to grow and needed no help vining around the trellis. These beans and other heirloom vegetables are available at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

P.S. This is not an old photograph, it was taken today. In mid-October the vines are still producing fabulous beans.

Phun & Preparedness & Place – Ingenuity Part I


Jamaica is one of our favorite places to visit. I love the land, the sea, and most of all the people. The DeCameron, a lovely hotel in Montego Bay, is one of our favorite places to stay. They are expanding in size, and we enjoyed watching the work going on around us. We were very impressed by this man’s ingenuity in shielding himself from the hot sun with a large piece of cardboard. The cardboard is light in weight, but its broadness cast a large shadow, protecting him from the heat. I would never have thought of such a good idea, but I will definitely file it away in my thoughts as a perfect solution for blazing sunshine.


Pressed Flowers & Foliage – Autumn Leaves

Blog Leaves

It’s time to be on the lookout for Autumn leaves. I press them between the pages of books and use them for crafts and Thanksgiving table scatter. They look lovely hung from mantels or chandeliers. They make great place cards. Write the names of your guests on them with metallic felt-tipped markers. Encase within pieces of glass, seal edges with copper tape or decorative duct tape and use as trivets for your holiday table. Have fun!

Problem-Solving – Cleaning Stains from Ugg Boots and Other Suede

I repeat this post almost every year when I pull out my Ugg Boots.

Cleaning Salt Stains from Ugg Boots

My Uggs Boots were stained by salt last year. I don’t know why I waited a whole year to clean them off, I suppose it is the classic, out of sight, out of mind syndrome. Thankfully, I do know a good way of cleaning them by applying shaving cream and rubbing with a soft cloth. Below you can see my progress. As I write, the boot I treated is sitting beside a heater vent drying. If there is any residue still left I will repeat the steps.


Dampen the entire boot so there is no line of demarcation when they dry. Apply the shaving cream and gently rub the soiled area with a soft cleaning cloth. Spread the shaving cream lightly around the entire boot with the cloth. No need for a heavy coat, just a light touch of the shaving cream will keep the color and texture of the boot uniform.


The boot on the right was previously treated. You can see the slightest bit of salt stain around arch of the boot, but all in all, unless someone was looking for the problem area, I don’t think it is very noticeable. Give this money saving tip a try. It certainly beats spending near $15.00 to have your boots professionally cleaned.

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Pleasures – Fresh Air

The weather is quite cool now in the evening, windows are shut, the air in the house becomes musty and stale. I love organic/natural solutions for cleaning and adding a touch of scent to the air. This mixture is soft and lovely, and leads me to experiment with other combinations of herbs, pods and citrus skins.

Fill an aromatherapy pot, a small crock pot, or a pot on the stove with water. Add a capful of pure vanilla extract, some fresh lemon peel and snips of rosemary. I used fresh Rosemary, but I think dried would work just as well. Heat to a simmer. This fragrance doesn’t seem to cause anyone, even those with allergies, any breathing or headache problems.

Problem-Solving – Conquering Houseplant Pests Part II- Spider Mites

Spider Mites are a pest I hate to see indoors or out. They are microscopic in size, and usually, they have caused quite a bit of damage before you are even aware they are on your house or garden plants. Here is some good information on what a spider mite can do to your foliage. Spider Mites


This week I noticed some yellowing leaves on my Mandevilla Vine. Because I have had problems with spider mites in this area of the basement in the past, they were tops on my list of possible pests. Instead of peering at each stem individually, I used my quick and easy solution. I sprayed the entire plant with a mister. Sure enough, the webbing the spider mites leave behind on the leaves caught the droplets of water and glowed in the sunlight. Since I want to keep all my pest control organic, I have found that the best approach to controlling spider mites is to spray the plant with water every day. This keeps the spider mites under control until it is warm enough for me to take the plant outside and really douse it with a hard spray of the hose. Daily sprays of the hose for a week or two will obliterate the spider mite colony. This technique also works on aphids. The only other solution is to spray with dangerous chemicals or toss the plant in the garbage heap.


Spraying the infected plant with water will allow you to see how badly infested your plant has become. It is a good idea to spray all your houseplants to see if there are any errant mites on surrounding greenery.

Problem-Solving – Conquering Houseplant Pests Part I – Mealybugs

At this time of year many of us are bringing houseplants indoors from their ‘vacation’ time on porches and the great outdoors. Unfortunately, when we do so, we often bring in a few hitchhikers in the form of mealy-bugs. Here’s a timely repost of a few tricks to control houseplant pests organically.

While watering my succulents I noticed the dreaded white fluff of a Mealy Bug. Oh no. I have had experience with these pests in the past and know they can become a full-blown infestation. I wasted no time in treating the infested plant.

I like to use organic products and things I already have around the house. For Organic Mealy Bug Treatment Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol is a good choice. Using a Q-tip I touched the saturated tip to the back of the mealy bug. As I checked the plant I saw a few more of his family residing along the stems and treated them too. Further down there were more, oh no, it was beginning to look like an infestation, time for more drastic measures. I filled an atomizer with some of the alcohol and sprayed the entire plant. I left it on for a few moments and then washed all the foliage in tepid water. Most organic pest control sites recommend watering the alcohol down first, but for a hardy succulent, straight out the bottle did no harm. If I was treating one of my african violets I would definitely water the solution down before using.

I knew I had to check all the plants that were in the same room with the infested succulent, and sure enough, on one coleus I found the beginnings of more mealy bugs. Hopefully the intervention with rubbing alcohol has eradicated the problem.

Project & Plants – Growing a Sweet Potato

It’s time to begin a few indoor gardening projects. At the top of my list is growing a sweet potato plant with my grandchildren.

Growing a sweet potato is easy. Buy a good-sized sweet potato or yam from a farm or organic market; they are less likely to be  treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.  Insert three or four toothpicks around the widest circumference and place the bottom in water. A flower vase with a slender neck is the perfect container to choose.

The tuber grows quickly and develops a large root system. In just over a month it will be ready for planting in a pot of soil.

I left a portion of the tuber above the soil line. I think it adds a bit of interest to the look of the plant. I also like the way the tuber mirrors the golden-orange brown of the pot’s ceramic finish.

Growing a sweet potato is a fun and easy project for Autumn or Winter.

Project – Halloween Masks & Bats – Spooky!

How much fun is this? The project was easy. I held black construction paper just below the eyes of each portrait, and lightly drew a mask shape to match each face. After cutting out the masks, I applied Elmer’s Glue stick…one of my very favorite craft tools, and attached the finished masks to the glass.  Elmer’s Glue stick (washable variety)  washes off and is easier than tape to remove. When Halloween is over I can easily pull off the paper masks and bats, wipe away the glue with a damp rag, and then Windex. Spooky and easy!

Problem-Solving – The Uncollectibles

I posted this for the first time in 2012, but it’s a good reminder now that Autumn is here once again, and I thought it was worth a repost. It’s fun to collect colorful leaves to press or use in projects, but there are still some plants to be aware of as you collect.

Many adults and children collect colorful Autumn leaves for projects and pressing, but beware, poison ivy is still growing,  and it’s leaves are now cloaked in a gorgeous array of crimsons and golds. The urishol oil stays active on the leaves and vines. Picking up even one leaf for pressing can cause a nasty rash. When the poison ivy leaves fall off the vine, they fall solo, not in groups of three. This makes it impossible to follow the wise proverb of, “Leaves of three, let it be.” It is much harder to identify poison ivy when it has fallen off the vine. One thing to look for is an oblong shape, and many of the leaves have a notched appearance. Take a good look at the veining on the leaf in the above picture…that’s a good clue too.

If you see a leaf that might be poison ivy, take a look around to see if you can spot a vine with berries that look like the sample in the photograph above. If you see these berries, don’t pick up or brush against any of these vines or leftover leaves.