Posted in California Parks, Canon, Travel

Morning Nature Walk

Here are some photos from a state park visit our first year back to California. On this morning we let Bella run in the big dog area, then strolled through the park admiring wildlife.

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It was a lovely summer morning with the lake surrounded by golden hills.

My Canon MX920 was in manual mode that day for practice with a fast shutter speed to freeze the action at the dog park.  Wish I remembered the setup on the black heron photo, it’s my favorite.

Posted in Food and Cooking

Orange Loaf from Fresh Orange Juice

Our orange tree has been beautiful with fruit for a couple of weeks now and we have enjoyed lots of oranges, orange juice, and spritzers. However my family’s favorite use for the harvest is an orange loaf bread from the Happy Foods Tube Website. It’s not too sweet for breakfast but I preferred a slice mid afternoon with tea. If you would like to try a fresh citrusy loaf, I’d recommend this one at https://www.happyfoodstube.com/orange-loaf-cake/

The only change I made to Julia’s recipe was substituting coconut sugar for granulated, which gave it a little more flavor and a deeper color.

It was a messy bowl but the results were so good.

I hope you enjoy the recipe and this slice of California sunshine. Blessings.

Posted in Anna Griffin, card making, craft, recycling, Stampin Up

Recycling Greeting Cards

Anna Griffin Embellishments

As you know, I enjoy sending handmade paper cards with a loving message to the special people in my life, that is a greeting card’s purpose. Just as receiving a card makes me feel someone cares and can lift my mood, sending a card causes me to slow down to remember significant people in my life, which also raises my spirit. This would be a win-win situation if it wasn’t for the paper waste left behind. So to reduce my environmental impact here are some ideas for card material after reading.

Shred and use for:

Packing material – Why buy more plastic when you can use a natural material. This will require saving up the shredded cards unless you are very much loved.

Easter basket fillers – Just a few shredded cards can fill a basket and it’s nice how the card’s color adds a decorative element.

Fire starter – First pack it hard into toilet paper holders or pack then wrap in wax paper to avoid wisps of embers or flames when burning.

Planter or garden mulch – Paper is wood fiber which can be used with other fine mulch on garden beds, though colored paper should not be used around vegetables.

Paper mache pulp – A paper mix to form facial features or ornaments on larger paper projects , here is a link with details and instructions https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/paper-mache-paste-recipes-1245287. .

Use whole for:

Home decorations – Add paper or metallic elements pulled off cards to wreaths or planters around your house. At Christmas try making a swag from previous year’s cards to decorate a doorway or mantle.

Recycled Greeting Cards – Glue a new inside sentiment page in the card you received and send to another friend. A note on the back saying it was recycled would make it even more appreciated.

Paper mache strips – In this case, it’s the building blocks of paper mache not the glue or paste, again check link above for details.

Creating Beads – Create beads for jewelry making with the paper scraps, here is a link with how to information https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-paper-beads-4045300.

Sailing Home Stamp & Die Set

Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we’d like to see them. Thanks

Posted in Food and Cooking, healthy eating

Herbicides on Wheat & Organic Self Rising Flour

My family loves warm banana nut muffins with blueberries, like the ones I made today and with self rising flour they come together in no time. These muffins used up the last of the plain white self rising flour bought for making quick breakfast breads over the busy holiday period. I really enjoy the convenience of having the baking powder and salt already added to my recipes, not having to pull out the measuring spoons seems to make baking exponentially easier.

But I can’t find an organic version in the stores and worry about the risk of herbicides and pesticides in flour today. I recently heard from a friend that non-organic farmers were spraying herbicides on their wheat crops to dry it out uniformly just before harvest. Wow, that was shocking so I had to do some research on the subject. I wish I could say it wasn’t true, but all I can say is the on-line information is contradictory and confusing. I’m sharing the link to a Snopes article which dispels part of the story as an exaggeration but states it is a practice some farmers use and the practice is not illegal or banned.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wheat-toxic/

There are other articles defending non organic farmers which say that weed killers such as Roundup being sprayed on wheat before harvest is not routine and that only small amounts are applied.

https://texaswheat.org/glyphosate-treated-wheat-claims-vs-facts/

I feel for the farmers today, from the little I know about their situation it’s a hard way of life without much in monetary rewards. The information about the risks of using a herbicide like glyphosate is muddled and the task of feeding their world is large. However, for myself even a rare case of herbicide in my flour is a problem. So for some good news finally, at Safeway the cost of generic organic flour is only about 30 cents more a pound and you can make a self rising mix yourself for those early morning biscuits (ironically it will probably be the butter that kills me).

To make your own self rising flour, in a large bowl (make it large or the flour can scatter when stirred ) mix very well 4 cups of flour, 6 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt. Store in an air tight container and remember the effectiveness of baking soda will decrease if not used within a couple of months or stored in the freezer. I made my batch with half organic whole wheat flour and half organic all purpose flout. I’ll let you know how my biscuits and pancakes turn out. Please let me know your results if you have tried a homemade flour mix. As always thanks for stopping by my site.

Posted in Travel, wine

Northern California Coastal and Hill Views

I’m sharing some favorite holiday photos along with my best wishes to start the New Year. I hope whatever holiday you celebrated was blessed!

What a beautiful day we had visiting Capitola Village by the Sea, one of the oldest vacation spots on the Pacific Coast.

Another day we enjoyed an afternoon of wine tasting with a view at the House Family Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Hills.

Posted in card making, craft, Stampin Up

Assembly Line Cardmaking

The deadline to mail your handmade Christmas cards for delivery by the USPS in time for Christmas is December 21st. Don’t despair, if the holiday madness has gotten in the way of your crafting, there is still time. However you are going to have to think less like Martha Stuart and more like Henry Ford. In 1913 he reduced the time to manufacture an automobile from 12 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes with the invention of the assembly line.

So Crafters put down that glass of wine and clear some space for your card making assembly line. If you want to try this idea to speed up your card making, first think about the steps your card takes to assemble and make a space for each one. For my assembly line the card parts are added as it moves from the die cutting station through to ribbon placement . Here is what I did.

Photo 1: Brightly Gleaming and Mossy Meadows

Since I don’t like to move my paper trimmer or Cuttlebug die cutting machine , I start in the craft room. At the first station I cut all the pieces of the Cardstock and Decorative Paper needed plus two in case of mistakes. This greeting uses Stampin up Brightly Gleaming decorative paper , Mossy Meadows cardstock and Very Vanilla for the base.

Photo 2: Copper Ornaments and Sentiment

Next at my Cuttlebug, I press copper ornaments and very vanilla circle backs laying the pieces on the dining room table (see above). As a hint to save paper, die cut embellishments from the center of the bottom card layer that will be covered (see photo 1 where the sentiment “joy” is cut out). As you can see (photo 2) it doesn’t show once the first layer is assembled. I’m going to use my dining room table for the assembly line though I need one more thing to help me push through the construction:

Photo 3: Martinis or Old Fashioneds

Just kidding, what I needed was my Anna Griffin Organizer, which keeps my scissors, adhesives, and tools at hand so I don’t have to run back and forth. For this design there is three adhesive stations, a tape runner to adhere the green strips to the very vanila card, liquid glue to hold both the copper ornament to it’s backing and the sentiment to the card, and Stampin up dimensionals to add the copper ornament. I like the added depth the dimensional gives to the card.

Photo 4: Anna Griffin Organizer

I prefer to stand for some reason while I position the elements on the card. It seems easier and allows me to move station to station accurately placing the cardstock, copper ornament, “Joy” sentiment, and bow. This stage went quickly and these cards were finished in one night, hooray. Though, I have sent many cards after the occasion and they are just as appreciated, so if your cards take longer don’t stress!

Photo 5: Ribbons

This group of cards is for my husband’s work and they were packed up before I could get the last picture of 13 Christmas Cards. But I’m glad he was able to share our best wishes for a “joyful” holiday, which is the most important thing. Merry Christmas.

Photo 6: My Christmas Card to You, Merry Christmas

Posted in charity, craft

Deserving Beads

This week I am sharing the blessing and encouragement sent my way by Caitie, the owner and entrepreneur over at “Deserving Beads” a site for gorgeous handmade jewelry. She gifted me with a beautiful white wood and agate stone bracelet accented with silver that I absolutely love.

Her bracelets and necklaces are designed with natural stones such as turquoise, black onyx, coral, Amazonite, and marbled glass and some include wood beads of magkuno wood, grey wood, and rosewood. My new bracelet seems more substantial then others I’ve held and is of high quality. Thank you so much Caitie for the thoughtful gift.

The website (linked to all pictures) is soulful and filled with inspiration.

But what encourages me most is the honesty in Caitie’s message and the truth she shares of her own life on the website. By being transparent she is breaking down the “perfect person” myth of social media and I think this will be a light to others. In addition to the beaded bracelets she sells “for fun” is a line which benefits breast cancer, congenital heart disease, and suicide prevention charities. What a blessing!

Thanks Caitie for both the lovely reminder of you that I can wear and for creating a peaceful site I can visit.