Monday, March 21

Personal Disaster, and Pray Without Ceasing


A shocking, terrible personal disaster has happened in my life. I have to go on, for my son needs me, but I would like to just cry, scream, and run away.

I think it will be many months before I can return to blogging. Courts, lawyers, selling off every possession worth anything, etc. are ahead of me.

I wish my blogging friends all good things, and ask for your prayers, and I will also pray for all of those hurting in the world.

 

Sunday, March 20

Opposites: Bright and Cheery Orange and Blue Floral Tags


Color opposites - I love them in the garden or a bouquet. Red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple: Beautiful!

Why is it that in the garden, no color combination seems tacky? 

Here is a quick tag set with two finishes, one of them a bit strange, both PNGs for best image quality. Just click, click again to blow up and examine, then right-click if you wish to save. Only click on the "P" if you are pinning it.

Thank you for stopping by.




Saturday, March 19

A Queen Bee, and Antique Spring Blooms Tags / Scrapbooking


How I love the smell of fresh lilacs, fruit tree blossoms, and other harbingers of spring!

Here is a little tag set to brighten a gift, pin board, or scrapbook page.

A queen bee has ventured out on the last tag. She is looking for a quiet place to start a new hive. I wish Her Majesty much luck. Bees are wonderful creatures.

As always, thank you for stopping by. Click, right click, and save or print. Or use the "P" to Pin!


Friday, March 18

Fanciful Flower Faces


Ah, the strange and wonderful fancy of the artists of yesterday. Children's faces in flowers was a favorite subject of painters of postcards, and here are some examples, made into tags for scrapbooking, decorating, or tying to a plant or basket for Easter.

Many speak of the cute faces pansies have, and they do. They look rather like puppies to me, or Persian cats with their flat faces.

It was a difficult process to make a lithograph in those days, so the fanciful creations surprise me. I would have thought only safe and bland images would have been commissioned, but no, weird subjects abound. 

Can it truly be so close to Easter? How the year flies! 

To save, click on the image, avoiding the "P." Then right-click to copy or save. The "P" is clicked only if you wish to "Pin" the image to your Pinterest board.


Thursday, March 17

The Dogs and Their Pear Tree




When we moved into our present house many years ago, the back yard had an old, but prolific, pear tree. And we had two middle-aged dogs, a black Labrador named Gracie and a mutt named Twinkie, who was allegedly half-Golden Retriever. Never were two dogs closer friends, with our Lab being the leader, and our mutt being her loyal sidekick.

When the pear would bloom, Gracie would start looking up at it each day, very carefully. As soon as she saw any wee pearlets beginning, she would circle and bark at them. As they grew, she would continue to eye them and bark. And as soon as they began to ripen, she would stand and stare at the one she wanted, barking furiously until it was picked and handed to her. Twinkie always stood by, curled tail wiggling over her back, politely waiting for her pear, too.

The years passed, and the tradition of observing the pear tree closely continued, and as more and more time passed, both the dogs and the tree became weaker. Finally one last autumn, when both dogs were 16 years old and had eaten the last of the pears, they declined rapidly. They died within minutes of each other, Gracie carefully watching over Twinkie until she was safe, and then dying herself, after weakly shaking hands with our vets, who had rushed over to help. 

And the pear died, too, and like our precious dogs, never saw another spring. 

We have their urns, and we tell our new rescues, Sophie and Piglet, all about their older "sisters." One of the joys of my life has been rescuing animals, and our newest rescue, Piglet, not even here a week, already has a special place in my heart. He is disabled. It's a labor of love for that dog to haul his tiny self to his feet and totter over to us dragging a leg damaged from being caught in a chain for months. But he always does get up, "burbling" and smiling and tiny corkscrew tail shaking. I know some people feel they cannot "replace" one animal with another, and we didn't, but we did rescue these dogs in honor of Gracie and Twinkie.



Free printable antique fruit tags. Click the "P" to Pin, and click elsewhere on the image to enlarge it. Then right-click to save.

Wednesday, March 16

Remembering the Gardens of Yesteryear


I've written before about my mother's mother, my Granny. Her garden was a wonder, and I bet the few commercial nurseries that remain today would love to have had some of her cultivars. She had everything from common monkeygrass to rare and wild specimens, including wild azalea trees and wild grapes, and more than a few bulbs I have never seen anywhere since. Her arbors were festooned with both perennials and annuals, with Spanish Flag and Cypress Vine climbing all over the passionflowers. I can remember her fussing over Mr. Lincoln, the deep red rose that was never as robust as she had hoped. 

This little collage shows just a tiny fraction of the plants from my childhood: Spirea Vanhouttei, scented geraniums, tallow tree berries, loquats (colloquially called "Japanese Plum") with their double seeds, and the unreal color and metallic shine of beautyberry.



Are gardens and gardening less popular now than a few decades ago? Or does it only seem so to me, because I know of no one who really gardens much, and I live in a particularly barren part of the desert? 

I think there is more emphasis now on food gardening, and less on specimen trees and flowers, perhaps because yards have shrunk. My neighbor's yard is so shallow that they can't park their truck in their own driveway. It hangs out into the street. Free time is a rare commodity now, too. Most women work outside the home. Multi-generational households are back up percentage-wise, but everyone's working or in school. Gardens take time, especially in the "establishing" phase.

I miss the colorful catalogs of yesteryear (and how I wish I had kept a few circa 1970!): Burpees, Gurney's, Park's, and the "newcomers" decades ago, Seymour's Selected Seeds (we called it "Lady Seymour's Seeds") and Johnny's from Maine. I would almost tremble with excitement when they would arrive in winter and I'd make my choices. And the choices seemed limitless, with variety after variety filling the pages. I guess they are now on the Internet, and I've seen rare, strange, and fantastical seeds for sale on Ebay. 

I think it's time for me to stop looking back at the heyday of the seed catalog, and start looking ahead. Even if the gardens of my youth have disappeared, perhaps I can plant a garden for my old age, with all the old favorites in it, and some of those new seeds from Ebay, too!

Tuesday, March 15

DIY: Make a "Bunny Munch" Jar


I've been making little (and big) Bunny Munch Jars for some friends and co-workers who could use a little lift. It's easy, and it's a good way to use up some of my canning jars!

These can be made as healthy or as candy-laden as you wish. I have started eating a lot of Jordan almonds - delicious and healthy, too.



Supplies:

Canning Jar
Edible Easter Grass
Variety of small goodies to put inside

Take your clean, very dry jar, and pull off some strands of edible Easter grass. Curl them around your hand and place in the bottom of the jar.

HINT: If you don't have edible Easter grass, a good work-around is to take a handful of regular basket grass and put it in a plain baggie. Twist the baggie shut and place in jar, twisted side down, so that it doesn't open. If you're out of baggies, use a piece of plastic wrap.

Add in the goodies you want the recipient to have. I advise eating any and all "odd" looking pieces of candy. You know, the more I looked, the odder they looked, so I had to eat quite a few. *wink*

Screw on the lid.

Optional: Hang a tag from the neck of the jar, or tie some raffia or a ribbon around it. 

DECORATION HINT: If you have a plastic or china bunny or fluffy chick, put a glue dot or some hot glue and glue it to the top of the lid! I often use a little salt shaker for my top decoration.

I was going for a rustic look, but the lid from the jar just pulled right off (and darned if it wasn't a new jar), so I hunted up a pink lid and went with that. There's no way to do these wrong!

Monday, March 14

Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere - Free Printable Tags for Easter Baskets


These images are from a piece of old wrapping paper, featuring anthropomorphic bunnies enjoying spring with their friends, the butterflies.

Did you remember to "Spring forward" yesterday? I was finally used to real time - now that dratted Daylight Savings Time is here again! When I lived in Tucson, we didn't have to bother with it - Arizona sensibly keeps it on real time all year long! 

JPEG and PNG files are below. Avoid the "P" unless you wish to Pin the image. Click on the edge of the image, then right-click to save when the bigger image pops up.


Sunday, March 13

Vintage Strawberries and Vintage Memories of Them


I love strawberries. I love everything about them: The leaves, the little flowers, the seeds a la Fibonacci, and of course, the taste.

When I lived in Arkansas, we lived on quite a bit of acreage, and on the banks of the creek that chuckled by the house, tens of thousands of wild strawberries grew. They were tiny, tiny berries, coming after yellow blossoms (the commercial berry and man-bred berry has a white one), and the taste is indescribable, except to say they were the "truest" strawberry flavor on earth.

I love a wild yard and houses set in the midst of it. Oh, not an unkempt city yard, but a natural yard, where nature wasn't scraped up by a bulldozer and remade in some cheap contractor's plastic vision of non-native plants set among swaths of sad lawn. 

One place I lived was out in the country, up in the far Northwest, somewhat free of the idiotic regulations of town life -- somewhat. I didn't plant a lawn, much to the horror of my neighbors. I planted Dutch Clover, and never had to mow. My neighbors complained, sneered, threatened to contact "authorities," and then followed suit in "clovering" their land. I had creeping wintergreen all over, too. The dogs' feet smelled delicious after they were outside.

Here are some tags that might be pretty decorating your home. Thank you for stopping by. Click, look, click again for a closeup, and right-click to save. I was a bit messy on this set, and wasteful of ink, but I like the leeway in cutting them out.





Saturday, March 12

Happy Saturday from Hilda and Me!


A Hilda image to brighten your Saturday!

Hilda is the creation of artist Duane Bryers. Hilda's doing what I ought to do, if these old knees would just cooperate. I love her tummy in this painting. Why doesn't my tummy look as good? We're about the same size. That's what a few extra decades will do to a gal.

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Friday, March 11

Frolicking Lambs Thoughts and Tags


What says "spring" more than frolicking lambs?

Lambs are one of those things that actually were never a part of my childhood in the Coastal South, but are deep, deep in my psyche. The seasons and traditions, foods, sights and smells of England and New England are firmly entrenched there, through the world of reading and from my early education. We didn't have leaves turning in autumn, or lambs being born in spring, in our world, but that was the stuff of our lives, somehow. 

Years spent in many strange places has done nothing to erase that early imprinting of what the seasons "should be."

In a small city about two hours east of here, lambs are part of their world, and more so in the past. San Angelo still has many thousands of sheep. I always felt sorry for them, in their heavy fleeces, stuck in an arid and blazing hot place far from the rolling hills that are perhaps in their instinctual memories.

Thank you for stopping by. JPEGs and PNGs below. Avoid the "P" unless trying to Pin. Click away from the P, click again, and right-click to save.



Thursday, March 10

Free Printable Children's Easter Bookmarks


I think a book tucked into an Easter basket would be just the thing. It could even be one of those sugary sweet stories, so as to keep with the theme of candies and confections.

Children's literature, in my day, was filled with frightening, sobering, and sad scenarios. I wonder if it's the same with "young adult" literature today. Even as far back as third grade, the books had many an unsettling theme. Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, and My Friend Flicka were all quite tough on the tender mind.

And here are some bookmarks to go with the book! Big bookmarks for little hands.





Wednesday, March 9

On Being An Automaton at Work, and A Big Hilda


Despite the nonsense that too often defines my workplace, I really enjoy going to work and work in general. As the receptionist at a billion-dollar company, I chit-chat with those who pass by my desk and come to our office. It's usually just surface, meaningless pleasantries, but sometimes a caller or visitor or co-worker has something weighty on their mind, and I hear it. And sometimes we get a maniac and I have to press the "silent alarm" that summons the police, and try to keep the person from doing something extra-stupid until they arrive.

The reception desk reminds me of a confessional. I keep many, many secrets for the company, and a few of my own. One secret is that I do not like everyone I work with, but I feel that no one can tell who I like and who I greatly dislike. I strive for a combination of being both bland and bubbly, and I know when to stay silent and when to call out a cheerful hello to someone passing. Or so I hope.

Each day brings a different set of remarks that I trot out, dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times.

Mondays tend towards asking people if they had a pleasant weekend, or if they did whatever it was they had told me they were going to do back on Friday.

Tuesdays are all about how it isn't Monday anymore.

Wednesday has its share of hump-day remarks, and I'm known for anxiously asking people "how are you holding up?" I don't know how that got started, but they love it, from the high to the low. People are strange.

Thursday I call "Friday Eve," and "Not not long now" is my stock remark.

Friday is "TGIF," "Yay Friday," and "What plans do you have for the weekend?"

My work persona is bought and paid for, and they want me cheerful, motherly, interested in discussing the weather, and smiling gently. Interestingly to me, and a bit insultingly, no one ever asks anything about my life. But I put on my "interested face" and always inquire about theirs.

I do enjoy serving others, but the work persona is far from my real self. I'm shy and very hermit-like off the clock, and my pets, art and reading are my passions. 

Since it's Hump Day, might as well post something for those who do dread the day. Big Hilda, the creation of artist Duane Bryers, is always good for a HEARTFELT smile! This Hilda is one of my absolute favorites. Just everything about the scene speaks to me and makes a lump in my throat. I have a vintage bike very much like Hilda's, but turquoise blue.


Tuesday, March 8

Rustic Easter Hang Tags -


Many of my prim friends love the grungy, well-loved rustic look, and simple designs. Sometimes simple is just the thing!

Here are some tags in that tradition.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy! Both JPEG and PNG files are provided today.


 

Monday, March 7

Olden Day Fabrics, and Primitive Hare Ticking Tags for Easter


Here are some hare-raising tags. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Ticking - I love the name! Such an old fabric, woven to keep down feathers from escaping from mattresses and pillows. It's interesting to me how certain fabrics and weaves were gussied up with a traditional design, just for the beauty of it.

Few people know the difference between material types and weaves any longer. I guess it's just not necessary. For example, many think twill and satin are fabrics, not weaves. They are distinctive weave styles and can be made from many different types of threads. And even the threads have different names and types - combed, twisted, and so on.

Something I miss very much is batiste for nightgowns. Even at the more "high-end" stores, batiste is missing in the lingerie departments. Perhaps this is not true in Europe or the Northeast, as I don't have access to those stores. 

I always had beautiful batiste nightgowns, usually in palest shell pink, when I was a young woman. They were often finished with a small smocked panel at the neckline. Batiste de soie is how they were known: Exquistely soft and light, but opaque. It seems to me that not only has society been quite coarsened, but the objects we use have become so, too.


Sunday, March 6

"Chocolate" Easter Banner to Print


Here is a simple triangle banner or bunting that spells out "Easter" and has a few bunnies to add if you like. The letters are a chocolately brown color. I don't know about you, but I'll take all the chocolate I can get.

It takes two letter-sized sheets to print out "Easter," and an extra if you want the bunnies.

Thanks for dropping by!



 


Saturday, March 5

Shabby Spring Bulbs Tags / Mini Banner Set


One of the most wonderful parts of spring, for me, is the profusion of bulbs that come up after their long sleep in the cold soil.

Here are some tags that can be strung on ribbon or just stuck wherever it suits your fancy.

Before our long drought out in West Texas, certain bulbs would bloom from year to year in this area. Our first year after moving here, we were delighted when narcissus popped up and turned the entire front hedge into a show-stopping cloud of yellow. I interplanted muscari (grape hyacinths) in with them, and the blue and yellow were even prettier. The small muscari is a tough and under-appreciated bulb, but being a short plant, keep it in the very front.

Thank you for stopping by. As always, click the "P" to Pin, but avoid the "P" when clicking to isolate and save the image. Click, click again to enlarge, then RIGHT-click to save.


Friday, March 4

Pinch-Crazy Prevention: St. Pat's Clovers to Cut Out and Wear


At work, they are frankly pinch crazy on St. Patrick's Day. If you are so unfortunate to forget to wear green that day, you will receive many a sharp pinch, with some loving to pinch more than once, and people coming down from other floors to search out more victims.

Here are some little graphics to print out and have handy if you, too, might encounter some people who are prone to imitate crabs. I am not a "pincher," and really dislike the birthday "tradition" of "a pinch to grown an inch." Maybe that's why I have grown ever rounder - all those pinches.

Work is hectic. With so many getting the ax, those left are frantically training those hired to replace them. Don't ask me how they even have the heart to do it. For every person "let go" because of the economy, supposedly, they have hired two in their place. Hunh?!

The competent people were fired, the incompetents left could not pick up the slack, and then young people were hired to replace the orginal, good workers. Since the young people they hired lack good work ethics, they don't keep up with the work and don't really have the skills to do so, or the brains to care. So, another young person is hired, too, to help the helper. We have assistants with assistants with assistants now, all of them so self-important that I've actually had them call me to come "look for their cell phone" or "bring a bottle of water" or "put this letter into an envelope." Now, this isn't to denigrate all young people, but the particular bunch they hired are dreadfully immature and unpleasant.

It's all going to topple down soon, but I'm just working, keeping my head down, and wondering about the ways of this crazy world. And I sure hope the new hires forget to wear green March 17th.

To save and print, click on the image (don't click the "P" unless posting to Pinterest), then click again, then right-click to save. JPEG version is first, then the PNG version. 

Thanks for stopping by!





Thursday, March 3

Shabby Bunny and Chick Tags / Banner Pieces for Easter




Here we have two similar tag / banner piece sets. One has a "warmer" tone than the other, but that's the only difference. 

I had all kinds of ideas for a fun post, but by the time I'm off work, done with dinner, laundry, pets and other chores, I usually draw a blank and post an image with little chitchat. 

I'll share that I have heard two songs that I had never heard before, and now I listen to them again and again on Youtube. These songs are so pretty! One is "Come Down from the Tree," and the other is "Seasons of Love." I heard both at a memorial service this past Sunday. The singers sounded professional, and indeed they were, being musical theater people. 

I have a singing voice that is banned in 52 countries. It's not just untrained; it's horrid. But I often sing despite its sound, when no one is around. My father had a fantastic singing voice, and could whistle and yodel beautifully.

CLICK to open (avoid the "P"), click again, then right-click to save!







Wednesday, March 2

Loopy Voting Lines and Some Pretty Easter Clock Tags to Print!


Yesterday I voted in the Texas primary. I tried to pick an off-the-path polling place, but they all were packed. It had what I call a "Disneyland Line." That's a line that at first appears somewhat reasonable, but the longer you inch along, the more you find out that it isn't. There were hidden loops of about 50 people per loop all along the length of it, and although the ballot was short, people took quite a bit of time with it.

I stood about 35 minutes before my turn. It was not disabled-friendly at all.

Here are some "tapestry" tags featuring Easter motifs. Might be fun to print out! JPEG and PNG versions are posted.

Thank you for stopping by, as always.






Tuesday, March 1

Vintage-Style Easter Postcards to Print


Here is a set of three vintage-image "postcards" for decorating - but you could also actually mail them, too, if printed on cardstock.

Back in the 1960's and 1970's, pen-pals were common. One of my classmates had a pen-pal from Japan. Now, I guess that the Internet has rendered pen-and-paper correspondence with pen-pals quite obsolete. I do think the Internet has given a great boost out of loneliness for many who crave connection, with literally millions who might possible become a modern-day pen-pal. 

Blog visiting is certainly a type of connection reminiscent of friendship through correspondence. Like actual pen-pals, some are good about the give-and-take of communication, and some are very poor.