Photographs & Postcards – Throwback Thursday/Teaberry Gum & Photo Tweaking

couple-with-gum

Does anyone remember the flavor of Teaberry Gum?

“Clark’s Teaberry is a brand of chewing gum which the D. L. Clark Company of Pittsburgh’s north side purchased the patent from Charles Burke, who experimented with various flavors of chewing gum in the basement of 533 McClintock Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Teaberry is currently marketed by Clark Gum Company in Buffalo, New York, and made in Mexico. The gum dates to 1900” ~ Wikipedia

I haven’t seen Teaberry Gum in any large grocers or box stores for many years, but it is still sold in my local Amish Market dry goods store. The flavor is distinctive and so is the aroma.

vintage-5-2

I searched in vain for a copyright free photograph of someone blowing a bubble. I finally resorted to two favorite sites I use for photo tweaking: Adobe Photoshop (Paint, a free computer application also works well for cutting away backgrounds) and the free photo editing site PicMonkey. Most of the applications on PicMonkey are free. The image I used was a postcard stamped with a 1920 postmark.

I cut away the background in Adobe, and used PicMonkey to add the transparent pink bubble.

For those of you who are not sure about images you can use for your blog, look up public domain image laws. I can rest assured that I can use this postcard because it was created and sent before 1920, and the copy I use for my art is owned by me.

“A great source of true public domain images that are available to you are old books and postcards. Look inside the book at the publishing details, if the date of publishing is before 1923, you can legally scan or photograph these images and use at your leisure. The same applies to old photographs and postcards, if the original pre-dates 1923, you can use the image for your purposes without permission or payment.” ~Ebay

Phascination – I’m Happy in New Jersey

Yesterday morning, while eating breakfast, my husband and I saw this short video clip on one of the morning news shows. The first words out of my mouth, “I don’t think I want to move to Florida.”

The gator must be ancient, he walks just like my fourteen year old kitty-cat. Throughout the day yesterday I heard differing reports about this video, so I checked it out on Snopes.com, a website dedicated to dispelling rumours. They said the story and video are true: Alligator in Nature Preserve.

Plants – Atomic Tangerines

img_4605-2

Winter doldrums were certainly sent scurrying as we walked through the Longwood Gardens Conservatory on Saturday. Today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola/Atomic Tangerine perfectly matches what we found within the glass walls. These Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia Uvaria) were stunning from a distance, and up close. I immediately knew I had to try to grow this brilliant variety of the plant in my 2017 gardens.

img_4606-2

My goal this year is to grow most of my plants from seed. It will be a challenge to bring this plant into flower its first year. To get a jump-start on possible bloom this year I am going to try growing the seeds in two ways, Winter-sowing involves placing sown seeds outdoors in a milk carton. More info can be found on winter-sowing here: Winter-Sowing Seeds.

I will also try growing some of the seeds by following the directions on a website called Outside Pride. Their directions call for giving the seeds a period of cold before sowing.

Dampen a paper towel, wring out excess moisture and carefully place the flower seeds on the damp towel. Roll up the towel, place it in a Ziploc bag and place in refrigerator for 4 weeks. ~Outside Pride/Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker plants come in a variety of ‘hot’ colors. An added bonus: Red Hot Poker flowers draw hummingbirds to your yard.

Here are a few additional examples of ‘Atomic Tangerines’ growing in the Conservatory.

Flame Vine
Flame Vine
Lily with Atomic Orange Stamens
Lily with Atomic Orange Stamens
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise

Quote – Continued Resolutions

the-solution

The dawn of the New Year might be two weeks in the past, but every day, the whole year through, holds the potential for forming a resolution that can do much to improve your life. Yesterday, on the hour’s drive to Longwood Gardens, a church sign caught my eye with its wise quote. I resolved immediately to trust the wisdom it imparted and have faith in God that he knows the solution to every problem. A perfect reminder for me to relinquish the ‘accumulation’ of difficulties, large and small, into his care and keeping.

“There are no worries like little worries, particularly if there is an accumulation of them.” ~ George Matheson

GIVE IT ALL TO GOD!

 

 

Quick Tip – Easy Translation

 

Hello, My Friend – English
Helo, fy ffrind – Welsh
Hallo, Mein Freund – German

There are times I will visit a blog and find the post is written in another language. Google Translate is a great tool for detecting languages and translating the words into your own. I’ve also used the translator to compose a comment when a blog is written in another language. In the box above I’ve used the translator to say hello in a few of my ancestral languages.

Painting – Throwback Thursday/Bob Ross & Sepia

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a tribute to Bob Ross and his ‘Happy Little Trees.’ Bob Ross had a magnetic, upbeat personality that came right out of the television and touched your heart. I watched his show many times, and my youngest son, in his pre-teen years, painted using Bob’s techniques a few times too.

Robert Norman “Bob” Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995) was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He was widely known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, and also aired in Canada, Latin America and Europe. With a soft voice and a permed afro, Ross went from being a television personality in the ’80s and ’90s to an Internet celebrity popular with fans on YouTube and many other websites. ~ Wikipedia

Many of Bob’s videos can still be viewed on YouTube. During these long winter days and snowed-in weekends, break out some old paints and try his technique. You might amaze yourself at what you can do.
* Thanks to a comment on this post I can also add Netflix and Amazon Prime as two sources of Bob Ross Videos.

Sepia is today’s Crayola color in Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola.

“Sepia is a reddish-brown color, named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia. The word sepia is the Latinized form of the Greek σηπία, sēpía, cuttlefish.” ~ Wikipedia

img_4534-2

I have a few Sepia tones in this unfinished watercolor. The watercolor, a painting of the creek that runs near my home, has been untouched for months. Why? This might sound strange, or perhaps you can totally relate, but I am so pleased with the form and colors to this point, I am terrified to touch it again in case I mess it up. This came about because the last thing I attempted to paint, or should I say, fix in the painting, was the reflections of the tree trunks in the water, and they gave me a devil of a time. Now, I am afraid to go back into it with my brushes because I don’t want to risk losing what I have done thus far. How silly you are probably saying, and I am saying it too. Perhaps this confession will lift the fear, I’ll laugh at myself and continue on. I wonder if this is why some paintings in museums tend to look not quite finished. Perhaps the artist was afraid he was going to mess it up if he continued. I’ll update…one of these days…when the painting is finished. Sigh….

Perspective – Wisdom on Wednesday – HALT

halt

“We are wise to be aware of our mental state as we approach decisions. The acronym “H.A.L.T.” stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired—four states in which we will likely make poor choices. When considering options, it is well worth waiting until a better time.” ~ Dr. Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries

This is wonderful advice to follow all year through, but in the wintertime, when many of us spend every day in close contact with others, it can save us from countless problems and broken relationships. I sometimes add an S to this acronym, and make it HALTS. It reminds me to also be still and silent, and to make no quick decisions when I am stressed or sick.

I enjoy listening to Dr. Stanley’s daily devotionals while I am working on the computer or creating art and pressed flowercraft. His word from God is heartfelt and biblical, and always turns my eyes toward the Lord and away from myself. In Touch Ministries

I used the color brown for the word Halt. Brown seems to me a color of strength and determination. It often is in the background, highlighting the brilliance of the other colors in the box. Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola

Phun & Photographs – Color Your World – 120 of Crayola

Today I discovered that Jennifer Nichole Wells is running her Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola challenge again. I enjoyed taking part in this last year, and hope to create several posts that fit in with many of the Crayola color themes.

The color of the day is Burnt Sienna. This is one of my favorite colors to use when painting in watercolor. Burnt Sienna brings an earthiness to any color it is mixed into.

A good example of burnt sienna in nature is fallen leaves, much like these my backyard squirrels have woven into their winter nest.

img_4488-3

Seen from a distance, this nest appears precarious. Perched on the end of a trimmed branch it seems likely to fall.

img_4489-3

When I zoom in with my camera though, I see it is a masterful design, the leaves held in place by dozens of small twigs that have sprouted from the cut end. What a great squirrel condo, and also a good example of the many tones of burnt sienna. I would love to take a peek inside at the interior of the nest.

img_4502

I’m also adding another photo of our friendly neighborhood biscuit-loving dog. He is definitely blessed with a heavy coat of burnt sienna…many tones of brown and orange make up his fur. My blogging friend SusieShy asked me if he was a stray. I was able to say no, with surety, since he is wearing a Christmas kerchief around his neck.

Pheathers – Bird Biscuits

I’ve been wanting to create a ‘bird biscuit’ of some kind to feed the birds this winter. Our snowy weather is the perfect time to try; the ground and many other food sources are covered under six inches of the snow.

img_4506-2

I searched through some recipes, and found a few I liked, but didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand. I fiddled around and came up with my own mix of ingredients. The biscuits baked up nicely. Give this recipe a try, adapting it to your own easily available ingredients.

1 1/2 Cups White Cornmeal (Yellow is called for in most bird recipes, but I had white on hand.)
1 Cup bird seed, dried fruits, etc. (I used dried cranberries, hulled sunflower seeds and mixed bird seed.)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening. (Other recipes use bacon fat.)
1 Cup Water

Mix cornmeal, seeds, fruits with shortening.

img_4507-2

Add the water and mix well. Dough will be very stiff.

img_4509-2

I used an ice cream scoop to place dough on silicon pans. A cookie sheet would work also.

Bake in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. While the biscuits were still hot I punched a hole in the center with a plastic straw. Most held up fine to this…a few crumbled.

img_4510-1

I strung the most intact biscuit with a string. I gathered up a broken biscuit, a piece with good form, and the strung biscuit and took them outside to the bird and suet feeders.

img_4514-3

I put the firm biscuit in the suet feeder. Before I even went indoors a woodpecker visited the feeder. I don’t know if he touched the bird biscuit, but I think not.

img_4526-2

Within minutes a small flock of grackles found the biscuit, they pecked away, and the crumbles fell to the ground…to the delight of the grackles waiting below. The fallen crumbs were quickly eaten.

img_4513-2

I placed the crumbles on the bird swing, and tied the strung biscuit to the rope. An hour later all the crumbles are gone, but the biscuit on a string seems untouched. I predict this treat will disappear in a few hours when evening draws near.

img_4525-2

This dove quickly made use of the fresh water I placed outdoors. A reminder to change it daily, maybe even twice, while the freeze continues.

img_4504-2

This bear of a dog is one of the reasons I tried to place all the biscuits off the ground. Yesterday I threw some stale English Muffins out for the birds only to see this smart beast hunting and scooping them out with his snout. He’s visited the yard on other occasions when I’ve thrown bread out. I don’t mind, but he is definitely well-fed and the birds need all the sustenance they can get in this weather. I’m hoping the birds eat the biscuits before the hungry dog is tempted to visit our yard again.

Path – First Path Photograph of 2017

The Woodland Path - January 6, 2017
The Woodland Path – January 6, 2017

I recently blogged about “The Path‘ series of photographs I took a few years ago. The object was to take a photo of the same stretch of woodland path once a week. I was very diligent through the winter, but slacked off when Spring arrived. This year I chose an area that is a five minute walk from my home. I hope to take a photo once a week and post it on the sidebar of this blog.

Planting – Friday Firsts/First Seed Packets of 2017

img_4474-2

The seed racks are out in stores. Hooray! I picked out three packets to sow this weekend. Each of these varieties need a lot of grow time to reach a size that will thrive outdoors.

I will soak all of these seeds in water for a few hours before I sow them. The violas/pansy/johnny-jump-ups needs darkness to sprout. I’m going to cut down a outdoor garbage bag to cover the container. I’ll update as the seeds progress. The weekend is coming, take some time to browse through the seed racks and dream of Spring.

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Shatner on a Plane

I recently read a good post about a daft plane. I’m sorry I can’t explain, but the daft airplane reminded me of this post from 2014. I thought today’s Throwback Thursday was the perfect day to allow it to resurface. If you want to read the post that jogged my memory, you can read more about the daft plane on the Mehrling Muse WordPress Blog.

As a child, my husband saw an episode of the Twilight Zone in which William Shatner, before his Star Trek fame, is horrified by a scary (at least at the time of limited media special effects) monster on the wing of an airplane. My husband says this scared him for years as a child. Guess What? Whenever we fly I always find a moment to whisper in a frightened tone in my husband’s ear, “Shatner.” We always laugh, and he knows exactly what I mean. Seriously, he still tends to look out the airplane window at the wing when I say Shatner’s name. Funny…and true!

Photographs – Dark and Light

A few examples of winter sunshine.

img_4400-2


“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8:12

img_4396-2

The late-day sunshine of December set these trees ablaze outside my windows. When I lowered the top pane to take a photograph unobstructed by the glass, birdsong filled the air. A group of grackles, on barren limbs, were singing an evening-song to put the day to rest.

img_4403-2
These photos are a part of Dark to Light – Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Pheathers – Bird-Watching Cams

I enjoy the many bird cams Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers on its website and Youtube Channel. Even now, as I write this post, I have another window open on my computer and I’m listening to the live chirping of the birds feeding at the Ithaca New York bird feeders.

“This FeederWatch cam is located in the Treman Bird Feeding Garden at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Perched on the edge of both Sapsucker Woods and its 10-acre pond, these feeders attract both forest species like chickadees and woodpeckers as well as some species that prefer open environments near water like Red-winged Blackbirds.”

Watching birds outside your window, or on one of these cams, is guaranteed to brighten the dreariest winter day.

Phavorites – Buttons

img_4472-2

A favorite Christmas gift was this jar of buttons and note from my mother:

“These buttons were from Granny Broadwell’s button tin. Many of them were from the clothes she wore early in her marriage. I can remember some of them. The value of these buttons are not very much, but the person whose clothes they adorned is valuable and precious to all of us. I wanted you to have them. I know you will treasure them. Love, Mom”

I placed the note in an old frame. I want to find a piece of burnt sienna overlay to place over it, for protection, and to give it a look of age. If I can’t find what I want, I’ll try to create a piece out of things I have lying around the house.

Perspective – Let Me Be Resilient

brrr
WordPress Photo Challenge – Resilient

“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

We often visit our favorite seashore towns the week after Christmas. Winter and summer ocean-scapes couldn’t be more different. You can almost feel the cold and hear the wind blowing when you study this photograph of the beach at Strathmere, New Jersey. In this view we are looking across the water to Corson’s Inlet and Ocean City. It takes a hearty and resilient attitude to walk along the ocean water on a cold, windy December day. It takes even more gumption to attempt kitesurfing in cold weather. I doubt I will ever kitesurf, but I’ve walked on a wintry beach many a time. Here’s to maintaining a resilient attitude toward every worthwhile goal, dream and task in 2017.

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Everyone Loves a Slinky

I felt immediate happiness when the Slinky song started in this YouTube video. I had a Slinky, each of my sisters had a Slinky at some point in time. Slinky did live up to the commercial hype and could walk down the stairs. The spring was fun to hold and set into the ‘up and down’ motion. The down side, Slinky inevitably became a snarled ball of ‘precompressed helical spring.’ It’s fun to read the history behind the popular toy. The History of Slinky.