I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How I Feed and EnJoY NaTuRe: Outdoor Fun, Animals, Coy/Koi fish & pond, bird watching, deer, racoons, squirrels, woodpecker.

I enjoy numerous animals; here are pictures of the birds, coy/Koi fish, squirrels, deer and racoons that visit our yard. *Note: click on picture to make it larger, if it is to hard to see.

Birds in the Winter appreciate a buffet
I put a Varity of food out to attract a range of birds. This time of year, there are fewer to be viewed. Welcome to Birdville... Birds:

It is very hard to capture a woodpecker. We get a variety of them. As you can see this one knows I am there, trying to get his picture. So he stays just above where I want him to go. Red Headed Woodpecker (He is sitting just above the corn and wooden perching spot):

More of the Elusive Red Headed Woodpecker: 

Here he is again, on the corn: 
Here is a close up of a Titmouse:

And here is a close up of some Yellow Finches:

You can see five birds in this last picture of my birdville (might as well play "I Spy" with this one):

Koi/Coy Fish:
I enjoy my Koi/Coy Pond tremendously! While sitting on a rock taking the pictures of the birds, I could hear the babbling water behind me. It is so calming. In the winter the fish slow down, eat less and move slower. The ice has melted, so you can see several of them.  Since Coy means artfully shy and quietly sootheing, I affectionately call them my Coy Koi; Coy for short. The name suits them. ;0)
You can see the plants around and in the pond are dormant for the winter. Most have been pruned and their roots are alive and well; just waiting for the spring!

Squirrels (and the Woodpecker again):
While taking this picture, behind the pond, our friendly neighborhood "Fat" squirrel caught my eye:
Can you see him?
There he is, "gee, I wonder why he is so fat?"

I put out peanuts yesterday; as you can see, he likes them best because they are all gone. He is just like my kids, vegetables get eaten last.

Here he is on his perch, that is where he consumes his nuts:
Now he is sitting and eatting his corn:
Taking these from my deck:
Now two squirrels:
I was very excited about getting these pictures of the Red Headed Woodpecker with the Squirrels. It looks like he is waiting for the squirrels move away from the corn (He is perched in the upper lefthand corner of the picture):
And he is still waiting:
Here are two squirrels with the Red Headed Woodpecker (Woodpecker still in the upper left tree):
 Woodpecker in upper lefthand corner, Squirrel lower right:
I love these next shots, the Woodpecker is trying to sneak in:
It is like he is saying, "If I could just get a little closer, I can have some corn."

Nature and it's critters give me so much pleasure; I find it a value to my day, so the expense of their food is like buying myself a smile. ;-)

Now, our neighborhood deer that is another story. I love to watch their pastoral presence; however, my yard is not their smorgasbord! It is hard to grow fruit trees and anything edible with their regular visits. Still how can Bambi not affect us with a sigh when we see one? I have stood at my window watching 5 deer eat my garden, and didn't move because I was enjoying watching them so much! A fence maybe in our future. We will see...
Around here, they are not too shy: Whenever I catch them in my front garden, this is what they do; they stand across the street and look at me.  I go out and will stand in my garden with hands on my hips; they walk to the edge of the woods (just a street between us) and look at me like, "Well, aren't you gonna leave, so we can finish eating?"
How would you like to come home to this in your front lawn? We counted about 20 standing in a small area where we had planted new grass seed, they liked the young grass. Four of my crepe myrtle trees, that I had pruned --well, that I had my husband prune, into a desired shape had broken branches.
I'm not really complaining, who would not like to see sights like this?

Then there are the racoons that are really uninvited also. They find a way to unscrew my birdfeeders take them down and help themselves. They like it whenever I forget and leave bird seed on the deck. They also are able to open my compost bin and eat whatever fruit scraps they like:
So, we have many "pets" and creatures to enjoy. In the summer we can include caterpillars and butterflies, frogs and turtle visits to our pond. Snapping turtles we relocate because one ate my koi fish, named Lemon Drop, he was painted with yellow like a painted pony. Now we have a Lemon Drop Jr.    
Nature... I love her!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snowman, 2011: Outdoor fun, Play, What to do with Snow.

What do you do with all that lovely white stuff?                      
How to Make YoUr OwN FrOstY; a Snowman how to... hee.

You will need:
Plenty of moist packing white snow
a carrott, or button
2 pieces of charcoal
a small curved thin stick, or several small rocks
2 large thin sticks with little branch outs on the ends
Corncobb pipe, or a cigar

1. Roll the base into a large fat ball shape. It has to be larger than the other two balls you will make. The fatter, the better for stability.
2. Pack a second smaller fat round ball. Place on top of the base ball.
3. Roll a third, smaller than the second ball for the head of your snowman.
4. Place the third, and smallest ball on top of the other two that are now stacked.

5. On the top ball that is the head, push coal into face, fairly hard to get them to stay in place.
6. Make a small hole for the carrott nose, and insert carrott.
7. Use small rocks to shape a smiling mouth, or a curved thin stick will work. Pace the pipe or cigar by mouth.
8. Stick the longer arm sticks, with little branches on the end (resembling hands) into the middle snow ball.
9. Wrap scarf around the neck.

10. Place the hat upon his head... Yes, I am being silly.

The FuN Had to come to an end.
The remains of our SNowMan...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to make a Valentine Wreath for your front door, or a sport theme one for your Sweetheart! Arts & Crafts how to make seasonal displays & centerpieces. Father's Day or Mother's Day.

  For Valentine's DaY:

How to make a Valentine Wreath for your front door, or your Sweetheart
Materials Needed:
A wreath form found at a craft store. (Purchase a grapevine, metal-wire, straw, or Styrofoam wreath in the shape of a heart from your local craft store). Here is a link to one found on Oriental Trading, or they can be found at most craft stores: http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=41/1556&prodCatId=501071&mode=Browsing&sp=true&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&tabId=2&Ipp=16&No=32&sd=Grapevine+Heart+Wreath#RL9
Obtain your desired items for the wreath: lavender, baby’s breath, silk roses, Hydrangeas, eucalyptus, ribbon, feathers, bird houses and etc from a craft supply store, or an online store.

For the Sport Lover:
 If you are looking to make a Valentine gift for the man in your life, a sport theme wreath would be something he would hang happily on his door! Items for a sport theme wreath can be trading cards (found at Wallmart), sport flags, ticket stubs (either real or a handmade imitation of them), footballs, even figurines (found on Ebay).
Materials Needed:
Florist wire and hot glue gun

Ribbon and Scissors
Valentine card and Whole punch
Camera (optional)
Wreaths are too easy to make. Take your grapevine wreath and insert flowers, or feathers into the groves of the wrapped vine. Hot glue them into place or wrap your florist wire around the wreath and items to hold them into place.

If you want to wrap a ribbon around the wreath that would work too; simply wrap in one direction and you can use a different colored ribbon to wrap in a criss-cross pattern the other direction, tie a bow at the top of the heart, or the bottom of a round shape. Or use a metal frame like this one and tie ribbon or fabric scraps to the frame.
For the sport theme:
You can make your own sport flags that resemble a narrow diamond shape (It should look like two of these flags back to back, or end to end) and wrap and tie the flags around the wreath, or a wire wreath, tie onto the wires.  String ribbon through trading cards, ticket stubs and handmade footballs that have been holepunched. You can glue figurines and footballs too.

Holepunch the Valentine card, string a ribbon though it and attach it to the wreath. Now you may give it to its recipient.  Or take a photo of yourself holding a message and use it as a card. Or you can let your children get involved, and take a photo of them with a card they made.

Fyi: other blogs that I did on wreaths: 

http://lisakramerartlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/12/today-i-made-two-wire-and-fabric.html --How to for a Christmas or July wreath.

http://lisakramerartlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/09/i-wanted-to-make-new-autumn-wreaths-for.html --Detailed instructions on how to make fabric wreath on wire frame.
http://lisakramerartlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/11/autumn-thanksgiving-wreaths-easy-how-to.html --Details on how to change out the autumn Halloween decore wreath to a Thanksgiving one, using the same wreath.