Saturday, March 31, 2012

calvinball the final countdown + more peeks!

8 hours left in calvinball and 8 hours till the april jbs mercantile reveal. oooooooooooh. aaaaaaaaaaaaaah. :)

current calvinball standings:
calvinball points: 33
calvinblog points: 31.5
bonus points: 5.5
handicap points: 1
total: 71

Friday, March 30, 2012

art journal

my poor art journal seems to have fallen by the wayside in the month of march.  i'm not sure how or why that happened.  This spread was actually mostly done in february.  i just threw the bottom of the bee page on last night to call it done.  i think sometimes it's best to just move on and start fresh.  but seriously, i really liked how these were going, so i don't know what derailed me.  the lazies i guess.  hmmm.

the little bee a drew from my bee pinboard on pinterest.  i kinda did this page as a rough sketch of a canvas i'd like to do one day when i actually start doing canvases.  one day.  the background was playing with the watercolor crayons i splurged on and the water colored pencils that i found in my stash and had totally forgotten that i owned.

the clouds were made from gesso swirled in circles.  look closely and you can see that it can leave a nice texture behind.  the stickles i got from jenni.  i didn't think i'd like stickles, but i kinda do actually.

then this page was a fun dabbling into collage.  the frame around the girl is more gesso and stickles.  the background is more watercolor crayon and pencil play.  i (wet) glued down some sewing pattern paper and stamped on it.  that's my favorite mercantile exclusive stamp from last year. 

overall i remember this being quite fun last month.  i need to get back to it.

if you're interested in art journaling, julie balzer's "art journal every day" posts are a great place to start.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

elementary school mini-album

this is a little mini-album i have started for g's elementary school years.  it's not everything he's brought home.  not at all.  really it's just a brief synopsis of each year.  kind of a "how the year went" sorta thing.  or it will be when i'm done.  i don't have much done yet, but my plan is to include the following items for each grade level:  a piece of his writing from the beginning and end of each year, a class picture, a couple big events or projects from the year, and some notes from me about how the year went, you know, the highs and lows. 

i've made it mostly from a read hodgepodge book, the march mini-album kit (i used the tiny cigar box from that kit to make this project), and a pack of fancy pants school ephemera that i've been hoarding for this purpose since the november artisan add-on.

besides the cover, i've gotten a good start on the 2nd grade year which he's in now.  it's very simple.  this is basically the header for the 2nd grade section i guess.  the two stickers are from the first day of school.  you can also see the proof sheet from his fall class picture (i was too cheap to buy any of them) and behind that is a little "get to know you" writing assignment he did on the first day.  i'm planning to write a few words about his teacher on the back of that little tag you see and back the proof sheet with lined patterned paper and write some notes about how his year went there.  i have a little envelope to add with his honor roll award from the first nine weeks and then i'll include maybe one or two more event like a spring field trip or something about his AR point parties from the library plus a writing sample from the last month of school.  that's it.  simple and a nice documentation of the overall vibe of his elementary years.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

nature journal: murexsul emipowlusi

every family has its claim to fame.  that "story" that gets tossed about at family gatherings.  ours is that there is a shell discovered by and named after my grandpa eck that resides in the smithsonian's archives.  i had heard this tale since early childhood and it was a great source of quiet pride for me as i played with my own little shell collection while growing up beside the gulf of mexico.  the story came up again at our last family cookout, but this time it didn't stay just a story.  this time my sister pulled out her iphone and began googling and now the miracle of modern technology has backed our story with fact.  she quickly found the excerpt below, but no picture to assuage our virtual curiosity.  i must have been dreaming about it later that night because i woke up around midnight and began a smartphone search of my own.  i eventually found that the original name was changed for taxonomic purposes and from there i finally found a picture of the shell that bears my grandfather's name.  g was, of course, charmed by the story and is thrilled that a shell from his family is down there amongst the archives of "night at the museum 2."

the shell itself is very small, less than a half inch in length, and found in deep waters of the gulf of mexico, approximately 1200 feet down.  it's a murex, a mollusk that lives on rocks.  my dad says that grandpa eck used to have a heavy metal "bucket" of sorts that he used as an anchor and a dredge.  this bucket had holes in the bottom and was a source for several of his shell discoveries.  -source

i've included all the information i found online below for the family.  i wanted to keep it all in one place here as the google search was actually quite difficult.

"The gastropod name Ocenebra empowlusi Abbott, 1954 is named for Marland Eckley Powlus, Apr. - Bloomsburg, Columbia County, PA) 1909-80 (Mar. - Port St. Joe, FL..). His niece Barbara Powlus Hays has kindly provided the following information: The childhood was chaotic. His father worked on the railroad which necessitated often changing location. Unfortunately, the marriage soured, and physical abuse caused my grandmother to divorce and thus ended the family circle. My grandmother moved to New Jersey with the boys to protect them and her from the father. She then raised the boys on her own supporting them from her luncheonette business on the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey. Uncle Eckley was very creative and talented . He engaged in singing and drawing. He first made his living by doing charcoal sketches of people at the beach in Wildwood, NJ and singing in public places. Neither his daughter nor I know for sure, but we both suspect that he did not complete high school. My father did not either and he was the more intellectual of the two. Uncle Eckley married and shortly thereafter children came along. Uncle Eckley's free bohemian spirit and wanderlust would not let him stay in one place very long. If I were to compare him to some notable character it would be Ernest Hemingway. His charismatic personality endeared him to all in spite of obvious faults. It was his habit to pick up stakes and move southward get settled and then send for the family. At one time he worked at making mirrors. This pattern continued until he got to Florida approximately 1941 with five children and another born soon after his arrival there. He took a job in the shipyard, but such occupations could not hold him. Since he could no longer continue his southward pilgrimage on land, he took to the water which suited his restless spirit. He teamed up with a Dan Seiger who was a deep sea fisherman and shell collector. The shells they obtained appealed to my uncle's creative side and he acquired a large and varied collection. Certain folks interested in rare shells evaluated his collection and discovered that a shell of a certain type of deep sea murex was previously unidentified. At some future time parts of the collection found its way into other hands. His daughter mentioned both Ringling Bros Circus and the Smithsonian. A gentleman in St. Petersburg owns a copy of Abbott's book published in 1954 where the name is given to the gastropod. I am in contact with him. He is looking up the information in the book and I will speak with him again to see if there is more information to add. Uncle Eckley also engaged in shrimp fishing and spent the rest of his years working in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean going as far South as Honduras. When he finally put the boat into the dock for good he took up residence on his daughter's property and ended his days in Port St. Joe FL."  -source

"Species Ocenebra (Ocinebrina) emipowlusi accepted as Murexsul emipowlusi" -source

"The gastropod Ocenebra emipowlusi R.T. Abbott, 1954 was dredged from aboard the shrimp trawler, "Sea Hag" off Florida in 1953 by Captain M.E. Powlus, 1???-, after whom the species is named."  -source


"Shell. — Small, from 7 to 8 mm. in length, broadly fusiform,
and somewhat resembling a Favartia; color white throughout ;
3y2 post-nuclear whorls ; last whorl with 6 rounded axial, varix-
like ribs; penultimate whorl with 7 to 8 similar ribs; the spiral
sculpture consists of strongly raised, squarish, slightly fimbri-
ated cords of which there are 17 to 20 on the last whorl, and 4
to 7 showing on the apical whorls. The one nuclear whorl is
pronounced, glossy-white and bearing on the first half turn a
strong, smooth spiral, carina, which gives the nucleus an obliquely
carinate appearance ; last half or third of nucleus without the
carina, and succeeded abruptly by the well-sculptured post-
nuclear whorls. Aperture oval, almost complete and somewhat
spout-like, with a thin, sharp inner and outer lip. No anal
fasciole present. Inside of outer lip with 5 or 6 weak, elongate,
glossy-white teeth of spiral origin. Outer lip slightly crenulate.
Siphonal canal well developed, and almost closed along its length,
except for a narrow slit. To its left are the ends of 3 or 4."  -source

Monday, March 26, 2012

jbs mercantile april peek (and calvinball update)

my favorite thing about the kit this month is the colors.  love.  and if you look closely you'll see this month's exclusive stamp that has the design team all aflutter.  mmm. mmm. mmm.

and calvinball.  5 days left.  gotta kick it in gear!  my goal is 31 "legitimate" points by midnight saturday.  think i'll make it?  i think i will.  i'm going to a crop friday night!  wish me luck!

current calvinball standings:
calvinball points: 31
calvinblog points: 29
bonus points: 5.5
handicap points: 1
total: 66.5

Sunday, March 25, 2012

g's bookshelf: a series of unfortunate events - a bad beginning

"If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched and will most likely fill you with deep despair."  - lemony snicket

please do heed this warning.  it is entirely true.  the baudelaire children lose their parents in the first few pages of the story and then you will be reminded of their deaths in practically every chapter ever after.  i was hesitant to read this with g.  he has been known to tear up at the thought of leaving me to go to college, so i worried that reading about children who tragically lose their parents would be somewhat traumatic for him.  he seemed to handle it well though and we both thoroughly enjoyed the tale.  if i told you the plot you might think it a rather strange read for an eight year old.  i kinda do.  but it is brilliantly written.  quite perfect for a read aloud.  the words just flow.  and children are never talked down to by lemony snicket.  big words are used and explained in a most charming way.  two thumbs up and we already have book number two on hold.  it's called "the reptile room."  you can see why g is anxious to get it.  oh!  and a shout out to the illustrator as well.  delightful drawings!

here's what g has to say about it:
sad.  and happy.  it's filled with a lot of books and new words that it tells the meaning.  it's exciting.  the man's very scary looking and mean.  and it's sad when their dad and mom burn in their mansion while they're at the beach.  and the man's trying to get the money from the girl.  it was very interesting and i liked it because the kids were all smart and it was really really funny that that little baby bites.  she bites you real hard if she doesn't like you and she bites you soft if she likes you.  and she says words that are funny.  the oldest makes contraptions.  that was cool.  i want to read the next one.

quality literature: odd thomas

i've never much cared for suspense and mysteries beyond dabbling in nancy drew and the bobbsey twins in elementary school.  and i had a narrow window of opportunity with horror.  it wasn't until my very late teen years that i could handle that genre at all.  i remember "watching" a freddie kruger flick behind a pillow at a sleepover once in high school, but by college i was able to watch "silence of the lambs" in the big theatre although i did sleep with a butcher knife under my pillow that night.  i enjoyed horror flicks throughout my twenties and early thirties, but when g came along he seemed to restructure my psyche so that i have come full circle, barely tolerating horror film trailers out the corner of my eye and not even considering watching one in its entirety.  can't hardly handle the genre in written form either.  i didn't get around to reading the twilight series till the fourth was out a friend convinced me they weren't "that" scary.

all this to say that i read two or three dean koontz novels back in the late 80s when he was reaching megastardom.  these handed to me by the middle sister who thrives on horror and suspense.  i liked them fine.  i would categorize them as the horror version of my trashy romance novels though.  entertaining, yes, but not a great deal of depth.  i obviously hadn't read any dean koontz in the last 8 years and 7 months (g is already telling everyone that he's "almost" nine).  but my older sister has been reading my blog and handed me "odd thomas" when i was in florida last week.  i really like it when people know what i like and what i'm looking for and hand it to me.  it saves me the trouble of looking for myself.

in "odd thomas" dean koontz has matured as a writer.  i wish that i had been able to slow down and enjoy his words more, but the driving plot and need to "find out" pushed me on.  while this book is suspenseful and has a bit of the fear factor in it, the heart of the story is the hero and his eclectic collection of quirky firiends.  dean koontz weaves their stories and personalities together seamlessly with beautiful wordplay.  while it isn't exactly a "happy" book, it's a joy to read.

i also noticed while writing this that "odd thomas" has become a series and there are three more in the collection.  hmmm.  wonder if my sister knows this.  wonder if she has them.  wonder if they're as good as the first.  hmmm . . .

menu plan 13: honduran baked salmon and potato soup

i love honduran food.  most people assume that it's "mexican" but it really isn't mexican at all.  it's honduran.

g's dad cooked lunch for us today.  it was delicious.  i think g's abuela makes this dish.  i'll try to recreate the recipe here for you (and me).

fish:  put two tablespoons olive oil and three tablespoons water in a covered pan on low.  add salmon wtih salt, black pepper, and bell pepper slices.  cook 20-30 minutes till done.  take the lid off now and then so the water steams the fish but doesn't boil it.

potato soup:  dice 10 small peeled red potatoes, a whole large tomato, a half a bell pepper, and a quarter cup water.  add 4 tablespoons olive oil, and two tablespoons butter, plus salt, pepper, cilantro to taste.  slow boil till it gets thick added a tiny bit of water as needed.  this will take a while.  maybe an hour.

eat the fish garnished with the soup and fresh avocado.  it truly is delicious!

this week's menu plan:
saturday - webelo crossover cookour
sunday - salmon with peppers, potato soup, corn on the cob, avocado
monday - pork chops, salad
tuesday - tortilla soup
wednesday - redfish (caught by my brother in florida), corn on the cob, baked green beans
thursday - steak (tbones are on sale again this week at kroger), salad
friday - open

Saturday, March 24, 2012

what did you do with your friday night?

after reorganizing my scrap crap, i took g's playdate home at 10pm. the playdate's older sister then proceeded to show the playdate's mother and i her collection of pinterest funnies. when she left the room for a moment i confiscated her ipad and took it down a notch by entering "fart" in the search window. she had opened up a whole new world of entertainment for me you see.  i progressed to youtube shortly thereafter. my sense of humor has never matured beyond the 5th grade.
here are my favorites:

jurassic fart

jurassic fart 2

mythbusters: to pretty girls poot?

mythbusters: flaming flatulence

tom cruise on letterman

tom cruise on oprah

could someone please explain the farting unicorn phenomenon on pinterest to me?  i don't quite get that one and they're everywhere over there.

Friday, March 23, 2012

calvinball countdown: 9 days to go

about to hit the homestretch in calvinball.  9 days to go counting today.  and i'm finally kicking it in gear.  here are a few more pics of my october mini-album.  i'm tired of photographing, editing, and uploading the pages (31 days makes a fat mini!), so i've just snapped a few favorite spreads from the end.  and then one of the edges to show how fat and fun it is.  fat is fun, right?  don't answer that.  heh.

i seem to be in the mini-album mood of late.  i finished the baby kitty album today, a page in g's school mini, and am contemplating printing pics for the beach mini.  oh!  and then i got this month's jbs mercantile mini-album kit courtesy.  april is designed by lisa dickinson.  and it's awesome.  must think of a plan for it.

i guess today is the last "official" day of spring break.  that's what sherri's boys tell me.  their philosophy is that we'd have the weekend off anyway.  i don't agree with this philosophy.  i'm still in full on spring break mode.

hmmm.  what to do with the rest of my afternoon.  should i put away the mega october mini-album basket?  start on the april jbs mercantile kit extravaganza?  edit florida pics?  catch up on the rest of the blogging?  run to walgreens for a trashy romance novel since i've already finished my second piece of quality literature for the month?  what do you think? 

current calvinball standings:
calvinball points: 30
calvinblog points: 24
bonus points: 5.5
handicap points: 1
total: 60.5

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

g's bookshelf: warriors - into the wild

this one was painfully boring for me.  it's one looooooooong cat fight amongst a clowder of felines that take themselves way too seriously.  not seriously enough to tackle the redundancy in their word choices though.  the last 5 chapters were somewhat interesting, but after 231 pages of mewing dialogue and paw paw tongue twisters the final battle wasn't enough to redeem it.  watership down it is not.

g seemed to like it quite a bit though.  here's what he had to say, "exciting!  sad.  exciting names.  windclan went missing and shadowclan is ruled by a cruel kitty.  thunderclan has been doing the same rules for thousands and thousands of years.  tigerclaw seems nice, but he's not.  he's been trying to get rid of ravenpaw.  firepaw and greypaw took him to barley to keep him safe.  barley is a cat that doesn't live with a clan and he's not a kittypet.  firepaw defeated shadowclan's ruler, raggedstar.  when firepaw becomes a warrior, his name turns into fireheart.  i want to read the next one right away."

menu plan 12: operation clean out the fridge

vacation was fun.  our healthy eating habits went to pot.  got home last night.  now i must assess what is salvageable in the fridge and make a concerted effort to get back on track asap.  but that obviously wasn't today, lol.

saturday - raw bar (hello crab legs)
sunday - cookout (papa's grilled chicken and family potluck)
monday - leftovers (deviled eggs, popcorn, and cupcakes)
tuesday - cracker barrel
wednesday - mexican
thursday - sherri's?
friday - salad.  really.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

on the road again . . .

racing back from florida today to get home in time to chat with my girl may!  join me, won't you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

calvinball update!

 i haven't scrapped up a storm as i intended, but i did get my october daily finished!

 12 more calvinball points!  cha-ching!

 plus i gave myself double bonus points for scrapping on my birthday while on vacation.

 happy birthday to me!  cha-ching!

 i didn't get my inbox cleaned out, but i got gma and papa's yard raked!

about 77 piles of leaves dumped in the ditch!

 and 4 new blisters!  go me!  do i get calvinball points for that?

 i didn't finishe reading and discarding all my old craft magazines.  again.

 but i had lots of fun hanging with the family!  and i have lots of new pictures!  hooray!

current calvinball standings:
calvinball points: 20
calvinblog points: 20.5
bonus points: 5.5
handicap points: 1
total: 47

Sunday, March 18, 2012

quality literature: american chica

i ran by the library last week to grab g and me some books for the trip.  since there were 52 holds for miss peregrine's home for peculiar children and just two for american chica i went with american chica and luckily it was in before we left town.  i had seen this one on jill sprott's february 12 on the 12th layout and thought i'd probably like it.  misjudged that.  i LOVED it and these are the reasons why:

  • i'm a speed reader and do a lot of skimming with novels.  the truly great books for me are the ones that hold my attention, getting me to read every single word.  the great books fall into two categories, those with driving plot lines and those that are beautifully written so that every word is infused with many levels of meaning.  this book falls into that second group.  wow.  brilliantly written.  stunning.
  • this is an autobiography written by a woman who grew up straddling the line between the worlds of her american mother and her peruvian father.  it's the most insightful peek into cultures that i've ever read.
  • there is history infused throughout as the story unfolds.  and the history is blended into the storyline so that it becomes alive on the page as opposed to stale facts in a history book.
  • the book is packed.  packed.  every page is a little vignette and then another and another, but they're all woven together seamlessly to create a charming, poignant, thoughtful tale.
  • it left me thinking.  and aware.  eyes wide open to the idiosyncrasies of my own culture. excellent read.  excellent.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

dancing riley (at the raw bar)

i believe we have a modern day shirley temple on our hands.  the 3 year old niece is destined for stardome.

Friday, March 16, 2012

catfight caught on film . . .

pinkie turned 3 a few days ago.  red turns 3 in august.  i think they will be really good friends one day.  but right now the baby girl cousin outings usually entail at least one catfight.  it's really quite amusing.  :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

nature journal: deer moss

quick!  where was this photo taken?  except for the lack of pine straw, i'd totally think it was the north florida pinewoods of my childhood.  i've seen many a clump of deer moss there in my day.  but no, these photos were taken on our cedars of lebanon hike right here in tennessee.

what is deer moss you ask?  why deer moss is a slow growing form of lichen.  large clumps like this can take decades to develop.  "a big chunk could be 40 years old or 100 or more." - source

what is lichen you ask?  lichen is a composite organisam which basically means it's made of two organisms that are in a mutualistic relationship.  these two organisms are a fungus and an algae that work together to provide an improved living arrangement.  the fungus provides structure while the algae provides food through photosynthesis. - source

"like all lichens, deer moss has no roots and gets all its moisture from the air – when the weather is dry it is brittle and crunchy, after rain it can be as soft as a cotton ball."  -source

this rootless characteristic makes lichen is a pioneer "species."  since lichen doesn't root in the soil it can come in and take up residence in harsh environments.  the lichen then, through the process of just living, will create soil where other more complex plants can take root and thrive.  thus succession takes place.  -source

is it delightfully obvious that my kid is a scrapbooker's son?  "careful of mommy's depth of field babe!"  i have him well trained.  he's a good boy.  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

menu plan 11: florida style

eating florida style at grandma and papa's this week.  mmmmmmmmmmmm . . .

saturday - tin foil meals at baloo training
sunday - cracker barrel on the road
monday - steak, baked potatoes, and green beans
tuesday - papa's pork chops and fried potatoes plus a side salad
wednesday - hotdogs and marshmallows hand roasted over an open fire
thursday - baked mullet, saltines, and cucumbers
friday - grandma's chicken (noodles) and dumplings and salad

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

march jbs mercantile gazette! hot off the press!

the march issue of the jbs mercantile gazette is hot off the press with a fresh new spring look from the fabulous lisa dickinson!  in this issue you'll find our regular features like mercantile multi-photo, a new video tutorial from the amazing may flaum (we're chatting with her on march20th!), the guest bio from the delightful natalie elphinstone and our monthly specials, as well as some great new articles like one on project life, another on hybrid scrapbooking, and this month's challenge . . . buttons!

each month the design team is challenged to use the main kit (only) with the addition of one item from their stashes.  this month our additonal item was buttons.  how fun!  be sure to download the gazette to see how the other team members interpreted this challenge.

i'm calvin-lagging:
calvinball points: 8
calvinblog points: 15.5
bonus points: 3.5
handicap points: 1
total: 28

Monday, March 12, 2012

Science Shenanigans

i should have expected this from any son of mine.  his speech is permeated with scientific jargon.  i would expect most 8 year old boys to ask how old they'll be when they grow up not "what age will i be when i reach my full maturity?"  he is one funny geek in the making.  above is an experiment we conducted last week.  public service announcement: when your kid's debating between a $30 science kit and a $12 science experiment book at books a million do not rejoice when he chooses the $12 book as you will then spend countless more dollars and hours running around town to groceries and pet stores for "science supplies."

today has been another good day for my budding biologist.  within an hour of arriving in florida he had his habitat filled with toads and crickets and had scoped out the good lizarding spots at the grandparents'.  even better he'd talked papa into hunting a queen ant for his new ant habitiat.  yes my 80+ year old father was wandering the yard with a shovel digging up fire ant hills.  fun times. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

jbs mercantile march: gallery updates

isn't he cute?  "oui!"  i've named him pierre.  since he's sporting the little yo-yo beret, he seems a bit french to me.  the hard boiled egg was misted with jenni bowlin for ranger spice tin.  i then drew in his eyes with a fine tip sharpie (fyi - "easter" is a critical word addition when googling "cartoon chicks" - just sayin') and glued on his beak (a square of cardstock folded in half on the angle).  this was all from the antiquarian kit with the exception of the vintage button, paper easter grass (target), safety pin, tag (avery), and alpha sticker (magpie hexagon sticker sheet).  the vintage spool was painted with a jenni bowlin for ranger stick candy dabber.

you can see the rest of my march jbs mercantile projects and the fabulous work from the rest of the design team in the gallery.  i have one more layout there that i'll share here in a couple days when the march gazette comes out.  it's for the main + button article for this month's design team challenge.

i forgot to post my calvinball points last night.  it's been a blurr lately, i tell ya, but spring break has started and i'm "this close" to being caught up on all my work.  watch out world!  i plan to make a calvinball comeback this week!!!

calvinball points: 8
calvinblog points: 13.5 (only got a half point yesterday as i missed a day in between. them's the rules!)
bonus points: 3.5
handicap points: 1
total: 26

Saturday, March 10, 2012

10 on the 10th: october daily 5-9

so many to dos and deadlines hanging over me lately.  no time no time.  this isn't the 10 on the 10th post that i wanted to post, but it will have to do.  ten more pages of the october daily.  hooray!  now back to work for me!  but you can check out all the other tens on shimelle's blog!  and maybe even become a ten yourself!  it's fun!