Rainy Day: Perfect for Hobbies

Today is cool and raining. I have a feeling I won’t get any sympathy from those of you that are covered in snow. But I still need to find things to do and I just don’t want to go outside. Thankfully, I have a few hobbies. Well, maybe a lot of hobbies. So after finishing breakfast dishes, I contemplated doing laundry, but those creative things were calling my name.

I’ve been making progress on the doily that I began over Thanksgiving weekend. Only a couple more rounds to go and then I can block it.Thanksgiving Doily

Last year I made this art journal page. Things have sure changed! No more pop-up! So, I definitely want to work some more on my drawing and painting. DSC_0441 3

The Butterfly Rejoice project is almost finished. I just realized as I photographed it that I haven’t put my initials and date on it. Must do that. Then I am contemplating how to finish the edges. I’ve thought of painting them different colors. Or maybe add fabric. Here are two fabrics that I’m considering. Still not sure.DSC_4850-1-2b

Lastly, I’m excited about a photography venture. This is my “new” camera! I will write more about it at another time, but isn’t is gorgeous?! It’s a treasure that we found on ebay. I just loaded some black and white film into it yesterday. Next sunny day, I am going to try it out!DSC_4835 2b

So, what do you do on rainy days?

Does Anyone Want to Hear About Florida?

We escaped! In one way I feel bad because so many of my friends are still in the cold winter weather, but WE MADE IT TO FLORIDA! Even though I put the spring dogwood wreath on my front door at home, ummmm…it was still cold, cold, COLD.DSC_4807

But we had planned way back in July to make the trip south with all the other snow birds. And all the snow the week before we left made it all the more appealing.20140121_125757 2

That fluffly, cold, white stuff swirled all around my face as I loaded the camper. I caught this orange headed man helping me out. lolDSC_4812

Icicles on the camper?! Yep, time to leave.DSC_4809

Finally we were all packed up and ready to go!20140124_085432 2

And now, we are settled. I wondered if all the freezing folks up home would even want to hear about the warmth and sunshine. But, here I am and I want to write, so if you read anything here for the next few weeks, it might look pleasant! Hope you enjoy it along with me!

Here I am enjoying the warmth in my new flip flops and with tea in my new mug. Both were presents from my awesome DILs!

Here I am enjoying the warmth in my new flip flops and with tea in my new mug. Both were presents from my awesome DILs!

 

Lake George and Our 500th Geocache

As I sit here watching the snow swirling, I’m reliving warmer days on our New England trip. We had one more stop on our way home, Lake George, NY. I had often heard of people talk about Lake George but hadn’t ever been there. So, I wanted to see what everyone was talking about.DSC_9275 3

We parked our camper at an RV park and began exploring. First of all, I must say that the actual town of Lake George was not my kind of place. We didn’t really stop, but it was full of signs. No charm. So, we started driving around the lake. I thought we’d be able to see the lake as we drove around, but I wasn’t seeing it at all. Finally, we rounded a turn and came to a nice view. It was a marina with a sign that said only members could park in the lot. We thought maybe we could just stop for a photo but as we drove into the lot a man immediately stormed out of the little building and charged at us. With veins bulging in his neck, he yelled and wondered about our literacy. We explained that we just wanted to take a photo of the beautiful lake, but he screamed at us to leave. I hope he wasn’t the salesman for new members! So far, my opinion of Lake George was not that good.

We gave up the idea of just driving around to see the sights and decided to look for geocaches. We found a trail that led around part of the lake and had geocaches along the way! Now this was more like it!! This is the view that I often have while geocaching.DSC_9209 3

I follow while Matt looks at his GPS to see which way we need to go. It took several years of geocaching to convince him that there is usually a path to the cache. He instead just wants to “bushwhack” and hike straight to the cache, no matter what we might have to cross. We have fought our way through many a bramble thicket and sloshed through bogs. Thankfully, after hiking through the woods a bit, we did come across the path. And soon we were in the area of our first geocache of the day. DSC_9211 2

What a clever one it was! This was hidden up in the crook of a tree! Do you see it up there?

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We only had one more cache to go to get our 500th one! We were excited to find it and I was pleased to see that this one had been placed by another creative person. What a lovely paint job!DSC_9234 2

And Matt was excited to reach 500! Can you tell?!DSC_9235 2

Isn’t that just the best geocaching photo ever?! We tried taking a shot of the two of us on this momentous occasion.DSC_9213

Finally, the path led us to some beautiful views. Lake George really IS a pretty place!DSC_9238 4

On the way back to the campsite, I saw this painted shed. Somehow it encapsulated how I feel about our travels. We want to take that dreamed of trek across our great country! DSC_9182 3

Soon it will be time for another trip! But I’ll never forget this one to New England.

A Day in Vermont

We only had one day in Vermont, but I loved it! It was time to start the trek home from out New England trip, but instead of going straight south, we decided to see a bit of Vermont since we were up that way. Besides, we are on the hunt for geocaches in every state. So, we went from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to Vermont’s Green Mountains.

First we spent a day of Matt working and me doing laundry and cooking. Most of this trip was actual vacation, but since he didn’t have enough vacation days, it was time for Matt to work again. What a blessing it is that he can work wherever there is internet. He even works in the passenger seat while I drive the rig. That turned out to be a challenge in Vermont. Those roads are so bumpy that he could hardly type! But after a day of work, it was our day to explore a bit of Vermont. The friendly woman at the Lake Champaign Campground in Randolph suggested a drive on Route 100. She promised lots of pretty scenery and Matt said there were geocaches along the way. Sounded perfect, so we drove through Randolph and were on our way.DSC_9017 2

Our first geocache of the day was at Glen Moss Falls. As Matt searched for the geocache, I endeavored to take a silky shot of the falls. This is something that usually requires a tripod, but that was back in the car, so I attempted it without. None of them were satisfactory, so after Matt found the geocache we went back to the car for the tripod. Here is Matt holding a travel bug that he found in the geocache.DSC_9056 2

On our way there, we stopped to chat with Pop. He had his attractive stand at the falls parking lot. Now, Matt and I had decided to purchase maple syrup in each New England state. Pop bragged that his syrup was the “world’s best Vermont maple syrup” and gave us samples of different grades.DSC_9082 2

He was such a friendly, fun man and his syrup was indeed yummy. I’m still sad that the syrup we bought from him is all gone. I think it was not only the best Vermont syrup but also the best we got from our trip! Pop also told us that we should head back the way we came for a mile and visit the glassblower we had passed. We gathered the tripod and tried the silky waterfall shot again.DSC_9096 2

Yes! Finally nailed the silky shot! So, we were off to see the glassblower. I thought maybe it was just going to be a shop where he sold his art, but Michael Egan was hard at work in his Open Studio. As he crafted beautiful glass pumpkins, Michael chatted with us about his work and his love of the area. Another friendly Vermontian! Or is it Vermonter? I couldn’t resist and bought a few glass pumpkins. So pretty!DSC_9099 2

Our stomachs were telling us it was lunchtime. On these sorts of outings we pack a lunch and look for a scenic spot to eat. This one was scenic, included another geocache and had a lovely name: Blueberry Lake.DSC_9112

Continuing on our drive, we passed lovely fields ringed with gorgeous mountains.DSC_9127 2

Beauty was everywhere we looked!DSC_9131 2

We took a cross road over to Northfield where we had heard there would be covered bridges. It seems that Vermont is the land of covered bridges! We stopped and found three of them right in a row. I found this home’s architecture to be interesting. Where I live, most of the homes look like they came from a cookie cutter. But the homes in Vermont showed real character and individuality.DSC_9143

Of course, there were geocaches at the bridges so while Matt searched for them, I shot photos. This sign amused me. I’m sure the problem is not something to laugh about, but still…DSC_9145

The bridges attract lots of attention and we became friendly with the other people there. They were each from different states and were traveling the country looking at covered bridges. One offered to take our photo.DSC_9155 2

Shadows were becoming long and the sun was low on the horizon when we took a turn in the road and both gasped! You see, throughout our trip I had been searching for the quintessential New England church photo. Finally, here in Vermont, we found the perfect one! East Braintree Congregational Church sits nestled in the little town with mountains and trees all around. It was just lovely in the late afternoon sun.DSC_9174 2-001

Vermont is another place that I would love to revisit. One day was not nearly enough! But what time we had was lovely!

Complete It

As I wrote in another post, I am working on an embroidery project. This is only the second piece that I am designing myself and it’s an interesting journey. It’s actually the first piece that I am not drawing out first but rather just doodling with thread. It started like this:DSC_0244 3

But here is how it looks right now:Butterfly embroidery

It’s amazing how self doubt starts to creep in with projects like this. I mean, who am I to think that I can just wing it and come up with a good embroidery piece? I do think with the next piece I will plan it a bit more. Maybe draw out several versions from which to choose.

And that self doubt. Well, it comes honestly. I’ve let myself down so many times. And sometimes it is difficult to think I’ll ever really live up to my potential. But God….

I love that, don’t you? But God. …  It’s not up to us! That really struck me again today as I read in Philippians. Verse 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What a joy to realize this and really internalize it! God began the work in me and He WILL complete it. Sure, I have a LONG way to go, but He is in charge and doesn’t give up on me. I don’t need to worry or to feel guilty. Those things are from the enemy of my soul. But the Lover of my soul is sweetly crafting me…bit by bit. Unlike my project, He does have a plan…a perfect plan…and he is absolutely going to complete it!Butterfly photo

So, I continue to be inspired. Not by my own efforts, but by the Master Creator and Finisher. Who knows how this butterfly embroidery will turn out, but it will be my tiny effort to reflect His beauty.

The Flume and Old Man

Now that the holidays are over, I think it’s time to finish writing about our trip to the New England states. We visited two more interesting sites in New Hampshire. Both showed the ravages of time and weather.Entrance to the Flume Gorge

We had to stop at the Flume Gorge because I had seen photos that my friend, Patti, took while there. So beautiful! And it was!DSC_8863

The flume was formed years ago with granite walls, but then molten lava pushed up and filled in some areas. It’s a lovely treasure that was first discovered in 1808 by 93 year old Jess Guernsey. No one believed her at first, but she finally convinced others to come to see the beauty. Folks have been coming ever since.DSC_8867

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The visitor center showed photos of times past. There used to be a huge egg shaped boulder hung suspended between the walls. It fell during a storm in 1883. They still point out a portion of the rock. The walk through the gorge and back was two miles of high walls, water, moss, bridges and waterfalls. Just gorgeous.

A visit to New Hampshire wouldn’t be complete without visiting the state’s emblem, right? I had heard of the Old Man of the Mountain especially in 2000 when the state quarter for New Hampshire featured his profile. This Old Man first became famous because of Daniel Webster who once wrote,  “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoe makers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.” Isn’t that cool?! Who wouldn’t want to see this Old Man of the Mountain. But unfortunately, time and weather had struck again. In 2003, the formation that had been the state emblem since 1945, collapsed to the ground. It made me sad to learn this and I’m not even from New Hampshire. The natives of the state were dismayed and often left flowers at the base of the cliffs. Nine years after the collapse, a memorial was opened to the Old Man.DSC_8977 2

It was quite a unique memorial. Stones on the ground marked where you should stand based on your height. Then if you looked towards Cannon Mountain a steel sculpture allows you to view what the Old Man looked like while still in all his glory.DSC_8975 2

I was intrigued with the steel sculptures on the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza but so disappointed that the real man wasn’t there anymore. Just one more reminder that things are always changing. I’d like to think that something as long standing as a state emblem would last, but it didn’t. One more reminder to enjoy the beauty of the moment and the things that are here…now…before time, weather or whatever takes them away.

Creative New Year Beginnings

I’ve been MIA on the blog for a bit. But with good reason! Christmas and New Year kept me busy, I’ve had the killer cold that lasted a month and our beautiful family came and stayed with us for a whole week! We were pretty much tripping over each other in this house, but enjoyed every minute of it. We ventured out between storms and took photos at the park. Here is my favorite family shot.Family photo - Christmas 2013

Aren’t those baby girls adorable?! And all the rest are too, of course. 🙂

Now that things have calmed down, my creative juices are flowing. I love the thoughts of being creative in a new year. Who knows what this year will bring, but I want to continue to see the beauty around me no matter what and create beauty too. My sweet hubby gave me items from my Amazon Wish List that will help in my creative endeavors. I love the wish list idea. Everyone should have one! As I see things that interest me on Amazon I add them and usually forget they are on the list. So when I opened my gifts I was still surprised and Matt have the pleasure of knowing that I would love each one. But enough about the great wish list idea.

One of the gifts were watercolor crayons. Other artists had sung the praises of watercolor crayons online. I wondered why they would be better than watercolor pencils. I’ve played with them a bit and already see their advantage.The colors certainly seem more vivid than the pencils I have. The yellow and orange really pop on this butterfly!Watercolor crayons

As soon as I got them, I sat down and tried various crayons on a journal page.  They are going to be a great addition to my journaling supplies.DSC_0261 2

Two books were also gifts from my sweetie. Sometimes I really do think I have too many interests! But I don’t seem to be able to help it. Butterflies are a fascination for me. Such transformation. Such a beautiful illustration of beginning again.  When I’m not photographing butterflies, I want to paint them or embroider them! These books should help.DSC_0263 2

Right now I am continuing to work on the new idea of working embroidery on a canvas that is prepped for painting. It is more difficult to embroider through the canvas so I don’t think I’ll be able to work intricate stitches, but I’m still figuring it out. I like the idea of embroidering and painting on the same surface. Here is what I have so far. I’m just winging as I go.DSC_0254 2

So, are you being creative thus far in 2014? How will you help yourself focus on the beauty that God has placed around you? I’ve love to hear your ideas. Now I’m going to stitch some flowers in this moment of quiet. Happy Creative New Year!