Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Letting Go

So last month our 1990 Mazda went on to a new family.

A bittersweet moment as we watched her pull away.

We first got Mary (yes we named our vehicle and it is a she) in January of 2013.

She was in a wreck within a month of her purchase.  And for most people that is where the story would end.  Who would keep a car that the insurance company said would cost more than it was worth to repair?

Us!  That's who.

Along the way we learned a lot about car maintenance and painting cars.  We swapped the engine.  Once out of need and another time for more power.  She started out white and then was gray.  Then we painted her black and white.  Now she's tan and black.

We discovered the joys of driving with the top down in all the seasons.  We auto crossed and met other Miata fans.  My favorite Mary moment was driving through the Norfolk Botanical Gardens for their holiday light display with the top down.  You know you wish you could have been there.

Darby loves the convertible.  What dog wouldn't?  Top down and you feel like you're flying!

We even did a scenic cross country drive in Mary.  That was interesting.  No cruise control, power steering, A/C or radio.  There was only the driver side air bag and it's a manual transmission.

Whew!

However, we are getting older and Mary just isn't a daily driver.  A sad realization for us, but a true one.

Fortunately we have a friend on the west coast who will use her for auto crossing.  Now she's off for more adventures.

 Farewell Mary!  We'll miss you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Holiday Thoughts

So Valentine's Day has come and gone.  The hubby and I don't really 'celebrate' this particular holiday.  Too much importance has been placed on this fictitious holiday, so we just don't do it.   We don't really need one day to prove how much we love each other.  However, we do love baseball.  And the day before Valentine's Day is the day that pitcher's and catcher's report for spring training.


My heart fills with joy!  Finally I don't have to hear about football!  That's a sport I could care less about, but is all that ever seems to be reported about.  So let's leave it be until after the world series, please.  But that is a rant for another time though.

Hello baseball season!  I can't wait to enjoy you.  The smell of fresh cut grass, the feel of the sun on your face and a cold beer in hand.  Ah bliss!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Crafty Days & Crafty Nights: Coasters

Rolling
Twisting
Please note, I wrote these a while ago and they've been sitting in my draft file.  I'm so sorry that it has taken a move and the holidays for me to finally get to them.  Please read on!

So I've been in need of something to do during the evening to keep my mind busy.

I figure it's better to keep my hands busy, because then I won't be tempted to eat empty calories.  Snacking when you're bored is a REALLY bad thing.

So I wanted something fun that's kind of just for me.

So I perused the internet.  That in itself can take a LOT of time.  I've got lots of things pinned on Pinterest.  It's high time I started trying some of these out.
Roll into ball

So here we go.

I can't remember which site I actually got this from, so I apologize for not giving credit where credit is due.  I shall endeavor to do better in the future.

Roll flat
My first project is coasters.  Who couldn't use some coasters right?  I'm forever breaking the ones I've bought from the store.  My animals may or may not also help with the breaking of coasters too close to edges.  And that can get pretty costly after a while.

So let's get cracking!  No pun intended.

What you need.

Sculpey Clay (you can find this at Walmart)
Parchment Paper
Metallic Paint Pen (I like gold)
Round Cookie Cutter (make sure it's bigger than you cup bottoms)
Sculpey Gloss Glaze
Rolling Pin

Cut with cookie cutter
First you cut your clay into 1/2 inch pieces.  You'll need six pieces for one coaster.  I like to use 2 - 3 different colors for a really cool marbling effect.  In the photos I've used blue and yellow.  Navy theme going here.

You then roll each piece until they are 8 - 9 inches long.  Twist the strands together and then roll them into a ball to mix.  To get a color block look, twist once.  To get a more intricate marbled look, which is what I did, continue to twist multiple times.

Ready to bake
Roll until 1/4 inch thick.  You don't want it any thinner, believe me.  If you don't like the look of the colors, roll into a ball again to blend.  Roll again if you need to and then cut with cookie cutter.  If they are too thin, then the edges will be wavy.  Not at all conducive to being a coaster if it won't lay flat.

Be sure that your cookie cutter is wide enough for your glasses to sit on.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  I didn't have parchment paper at the time, so I used my cookie sheet liner.

Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  I went for the longer time because I wanted them thoroughly baked.

Let cool.

Paint the metallic color around the edges.

Coat with gloss glaze.

Let dry.

Then. . . Use.  Use.  Use!

I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.  Quick, easy & fun.

*Note: I might use a bit more clay for each coaster so I can make them thicker.  I like my coasters thick.  This would also mean that I need to bake them longer.  Live and learn.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Crafty Days & Crafty Nights: Mosaic Mermaids

Starry Nights
One of the groups that I was involved with is the Tidewater Officers’ Spouses’ Association (TOSA). TOSA has two charity boutiques in the Hampton Roads area: The Tidewater Collection on Naval Station Norfolk, and the newly opened Tidewater Collection Too at Naval Hospital Portsmouth. Once on base, anyone can shop at the boutiques where the unique line of handmade mosaic mermaids are sold. 

Nearly Finished
The mermaids come in several different sizes with each one is hand-crafted and donated to the boutiques by members of TOSA’s Mosaic Mermaid Club. The boutiques are run by TOSA volunteers, and all profits generated from the boutiques’ sales are donated to charities that support military families. Because the volunteers donate their time and materials are donated and purchased through a generous donation from USAA, TOSA is able to donate 100% of the proceeds from the mosaic mermaids to military charities. 
Needed Materials

I'm sure you're thinking to yourself how is this relevant to the blog title.  Read on!

Design In Progress
Each month, Mosaic Mermaid Club members meet at the Armed Services YMCA on Independence Blvd., and spend four hours creating mermaids to donate to the Tidewater Collection charity boutiques. Armed with brown-bag lunches and creative ideas, the volunteers select a wooden mermaid form (a licensed replica of the Norfolk mermaid) and begin picking out the glass they will use. There is a table full of tools to score, cut, break, and shape the glass into the perfect pieces. Some mermaids have incredibly intricate designs, reminiscent of the painting technique, pointillism. Others are more like a watercolor, awash with brightly colored glass in a fluid design. The group has just started making multimedia small ornament-size mermaids to complement the growing collection of 15- and 24-inch wooden mermaids. Once the mermaids are complete, they are displayed for sale in the boutiques, and all the proceeds benefit military families.
Ready For Grout

Once the tiles have set, the mermaids are grouted (my least favorite part) and taken to the boutique for sales.

So this is one of my favorite crafts.  It involves being 'artistic', socializing and just being out and about.  

What's not to love?

I really miss this group of creative and wonderful ladies!





Friday, December 30, 2016

Year of the Monkey?

More like year of the Grim Reaper!

Dear 2016,

You suck!  And here's why!  This year we've lost the following people:

Norfolk Botanical Gardens: Children's Adventure Garden

Yes, this is another post on Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  There's so much that you can do there that I felt I needed to break it down into sections.

And yes, I felt I should get this out there before the new year started.  I've been a bit slack on my blogging for my sites.

So hang on for another exciting adventure with my friend, Elizabeth, and her two sweet little ones.

This is about the World of Wonders, which is a children's garden.  Talk about fantastic!  They had little stations set up around the area all educational.  What a fabulous idea!

This area is a three-acre garden is dedicated to families and children. World of Wonders has several distinct areas, each offering different interactive lessons, but all offering excitement, enrichment and entertainment. 

World Plaza is the area that we stayed in.  The day had become hot so it was the perfect place to be.  And the girls came prepared to get wet.  Here you can splash your way around the world! Through fountains, bubblers, foggers and jet sprays, explore the oceans and other major waterways on Earth. 

What a refreshing way to cool off.  

We spent a good chunk of time here.  The little ones weren't the only one to have fun.  Fortunately I didn't get as wet as my little buddy.  But we did splash a lot!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Botanical Gardens: Butterfly House

Stop To Smell The Flowers
So a while back I marked another thing off my 757 Bucket list.  I was able to visit the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with one of my girlfriends and her two little girls.

These posts have been sitting in my draft folder, so please forgive me.

Mini Tour Guide
Can I just pause a moment here?  I just love viewing the world through a child's eyes!  They see things that you may never notice.

There are lots of things to explore there, but I'm going to focus on the Butterfly House in this post.  This is what I really wanted to see when we went there.

The enclosed house provides an unbelievable opportunity to observe butterflies as they circle and land on their favorite nectar flowers providing amazement and educational opportunities. It’s the perfect compliment to the 2.5 acre Bristow Butterfly Garden and the giant Butterfly Maze. Included with regular Garden admission.
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

My buddy has a membership so I didn't even have to pay for admission.  Not why I'd mentioned wanting to go there though.  It's just something I've always wanted to do.  Wish I'd read about the Butterfly Maze before just now.  I would have liked to explore that as well.  Oh well!


Identification Charts Help
It's really cool to walk in the enclosure.  There are butterflies everywhere! I honestly hadn't expected to see so many butterflies.  They even hand you a chart so that you can identify the butterflies there.

There's are ribbons tied to plants so you can spot their eggs on host plants and watch as the caterpillars continually eat and grow. The opportunity to witness their final transformation as the chrysalis opens to reveal a winged beauty is what makes the Butterfly House so thrilling.

A big shout out to my buddy, Elizabeth, and her little girls for taking me and sharing a really great experience.