Even though we live in the middle of a city, our neighborhood is full of wildlife. Our one-acre lot backs onto a steep ravine with a small creek at the bottom.
While the wildlife is interesting, it can also be frustrating. I declare war on the deer every summer when they chew my hostas down to nubs. We curse the raccoons every fall when they tear up the lawn looking for grubs.
We get frustrated with the wild turkeys when they scratch up the mulch and when Barney rolls in their poop. What is so attractive to dogs about that stinky stuff?
Truth is, though, the turkeys are a hoot to watch. Our turkey clan consists of anywhere from five to 23, depending on the day. The mating rituals are fascinating, the hen fights somewhat disturbing and the gang of young jakes amusing.
Don't you just wonder what a conversation between these two young dudes might be?
Recently, my makeshift jewelry hanger collapsed and all my necklaces ended up in a heap on the floor. What a mess!
I laid the mish-mash of chains on the daybed in what we fondly call our "Patriotic Room" and planned to create a new hanger.
At an artisan boutique the following weekend, I came across this eco-friendly hanger made from a birch branch and equipped with rustic nail heads. Perfection!
Now I needed a unique to display the hanger, so I set out to find something at the local craft store. I found a nice burlap square with a black metal hook. Right piece. Wrong finish. Nothing I couldn't fix, though.
I also bought a couple of inexpensive rusty keys that coordinate well with the rusty nail heads on the wood and the wire hanger. And, I decided to use the artwork I recently created for my peat pot project so the hanger would coordinate with the peat pot.
As much as I like the natural look of burlap, I decided to paint it antique white. I like the way it blends with the birch of the jewelry hanger.
The black hook definitely didn't work. I mixed a couple of different brown paints with gel medium and dabbed on a fairly heavy coat. When it dried, it looked pretty close to the rusty, crusty finish on the keys I had purchased.
Finally, using Mod Podge, I added the scrolled crowned bird image I created using three wonderful images from The Graphics Fairy. You can find the individual images I used here,here and here. I printed my creation on medium-weight card stock, tore it into a shape I liked and lightly applied stamping ink to the surface and edges to create an aged look.
The natural jewelry hanger works well with the rustic burlap hook. And, it's great to get my heap of necklaces off the daybed.
First, please excuse the quality of these photos. Then, let me explain.
My iPhone 4 takes bad photos. The problem simply couldn't be me, right? Add to the subpar camera on my phone the fact that Barney isn't a cooperative subject and I'm lucky to have gotten this shot. Barney likes to jump right up and run over for a hug when I get down at his level. It's a miracle he was still long enough for this snapshot.
Barney's pal in the foreground was added with Mutual of Omaha's My Wild Kingdom app. This adventure app can be downloaded free from the app store to any iPhone or iPad. And, it's a hoot to use! You can go on adventures, earn badges and add wild animals to any of your photos with this app.
Make your animals various sizes, change orientation or angle and use filters to create a classic film look. These features all work with your video, too.
I added this penguin and his melting ice in front of the fireplace in the dark hotel lobby on one of our recent weekend trips.
These are my first attempts at using the app and, admittedly, aren't the best representation of what the app has to offer. I haven't had a chance to try some of its other features.
Check out the My Wild Kingdom app if you want something fun to do with your kids this summer. The whole family will have a blast taking quirky photos with this awesome tool.
Mom and me in 1954. Mom made the dresses we're wearing in this photo. She was a skilled seamstress.
[This post first ran on Mother's Day, May 13, 2012]
When I became pregnant with my daughter--my first--I was 29. I had a career. I had hobbies and interests--I was occupied with hiking, biking, fishing, gardening, photography, sewing, crafting and frequenting auctions, estate sales and garage sales.
I recall telling my mom that I hoped things wouldn't change too much after children. To this day, I remember her words: "Once a mother, always a mother. You can never go back."
So true. Our three children are grown--scattered around the country. They're all doing their own thing, as I did at their age. None is married. All are in relationships.
I love my children. I'm proud of them. I will stand by them always. Mom was right. No matter that they're adults now. I can never go back. I will always be their mother.
I lost my mom in 2006. Sometime after I started blogging, I began to connect the dots. It became clear to me that who I am at my core and who I have developed into was no accident. Sure, the genetics could be considered a happy accident. But the nurture part was BIG.
On this Mother's Day, I am sharing something I wrote about my mother after she passed on. If you follow my blog, you, too, might recognize some of her influences on me.
She was an only child, a farmer’s daughter
She was born in Minden, Neb., home of Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village
On the farm, she milked cows, dressed chickens and slopped hogs
And, she churned butter, baked bread and washed laundry by hand
When we were girls, Mom was our Girl Scout and 4-H leader
She always loved nature, respected the environment and taught us to do the same
She liked to tent camp when we were kids
She loved the mountains of Colorado, but was afraid of heights
By choice, she became a working mom long before it was fashionable
Still, she made time to sew stunning Barbie clothes and prom dresses (and many other great things)
She taught us to cook and bake (that didn't stick for me)
She always enjoyed traveling, especially with her children and grandchildren
As an empty nester, she took up tole painting and became quite an artist
She lost her dad early in her adulthood and took loving care of her mom
until her mom died
She let her creativity shine through in her daily life
She passionately watched birds and had a special fondness for cardinals and hummingbirds
She didn’t like snakes!
She taught us to believe in ourselves and to make our own decisions
She tackled every challenge head on
Throughout her life, she remained a voice of reason
For as long as she could, she gave back to the community as a volunteer
She deeply loved our dad, her two girls, our husbands and all of her grandchildren
But, she never meddled in our lives
She was unique and special and she was ours
Footnote: My one sibling, my dear sister, is as much a reflection of our mother as I am. We are a couple of lucky women, indeed, to have such a wonderful role model and mother.