We were really there for my husband… to help him find a day hiking backup at Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna, New Jersey. It’s one of those times when you find something special for yourself too ;). Fairly often I find myself slightly dehydrated and fatigued on longer hikes despite bringing along a bottle of water. No longer do I have to take such conservative little sips hoping to reach the car before running out of water. I believe my new Raven will definitely level the playing field for me. There’s also ample space to carry other little necessities AND I was able to find it in a lovely purple violet (Royal Purple) as well! Because I’m a stickler for cleanliness, I bought a perfect fit Osprey Bite Valve Cover for it. The cover is compatible with other Osprey products like a few of their water containers etc. Recently I purchased a raincover to protect my backpack from inclement weather; its ever so slightly big but it’ll do. Both the bite valve and raincover were purchased from Amazon.com.
In the past two years I began delving into Project Life and all it has to offer. It is the very clever invention of Betsy Higgins. BTW, her website is a wealth of crafting tips! Like many crafters Project Life appeals to, I love documenting my experiences and treasured memories but don’t always work well under the pressure of having to find creative ways to dress my pages. I’m a novice level crafter who started not too long ago so I don’t have an arsenal of crafting skills under my belt or the supplies to go with it, nor want to due to space limitations. Project Life has been a great fit for me in the craft projects I have endeavored to complete in countless ways…
My pages look beautiful with minimal effort
Affords me a potentially quicker process time overall; no more big backlogs for me ;)!
I can choose to further embellish or not (a potentially neater process as well). The cards come pre-printed with very cute or pretty designs. Many are even lined for easy writing.
The pages can lay flatter with less layers of embellishment (I very often tended to overstuff)
I can concentrate on my documentation without becoming overwhelmed with decorating the pages; this was a big point of frustration for me.
the kits are reasonably priced (I prefer the smaller Value & Mini Kits over the Core Kits)
I can use 6×8 albums instead of the huge 12×12 albums
the supplies are stocked by many retailers
I can change the pages/themes much more easily than if I used the traditional scrapbooking method
I can easily make my own cards with a paper cutter, patterned cardstock, and the optional corner punch
I haven’t tried this yet but there’s an option to have digital PL albums made then sent right to your doorstep
The supplies are easily transportable to craft crops etc.
Recently, I was researching ways to print pictures from my phone on a whim (I’m mainly an iPhone photographer *blush*) and found an affordable, light-weight option called the HP Sprocket. It uses Zink photo paper. Since my birthday is coming up in June, it makes a most opportune time and excuse for me to buy it :). I was considering other similar devices but overall I was most impressed with it. I’m including a link so you can see for yourself if you’re at all curious.
HP Sprocket: https://www.amazon.com/HP-Sprocket-Portable-Printer-sticky-backed/dp/B01LBWELHI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1495486507&sr=8-3&keywords=HP+Sprocket
HP Sprocket Case: https://www.amazon.com/Storage-Carrying-Polaroid-Sprocket-Portable/dp/B01MTBG9SL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495486507&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=HP+Sprocket&psc=1
HP Sprocket Demonstration versus Other Similar Devices: https://youtu.be/mfs2qIaN11s
*Photo Credit: Hewlett-Packard Development Company
It’s been my pleasure to be our hummingbirds’ (Scout, Honey, Tibolt, Lili, +?) temporary guardian until their return to the South. I like to believe that Westchester NY is home and the Carolinas, Florida, or Mexico are their version of a holiday ;) This year I began putting out feeders in the beginning of June but I plan to hang feeders perhaps the last week of April 2015 to welcome them back home =). As I have promised… hummingbird care…
Nectar Feeder & Nectar Guard Tips/Feeding Port Guards: Aspect’s HummBlossom 4oz. red/rose & purple/plum. I have two extra HummBlossoms to maintain a constant rotation… for them, no waiting ;). BTW, if you were wondering whether red or purple makes a difference, know that they will gladly accept nectar in either colored feeder.
Shelter from the Elements: A Humbrella provides the following… “protects hanging hummingbird feeders from the elements and crawling insects. Solar grey color slows evaporation,” as per Amazon. I’d like to add a shady place to take a short rest and a way to still be able to watch the environment around them while they are feeding. I have been very pleased with all my purchases.
I’m reserving the red hummer-friendly dome especially for end of the season when there might be a few hummingbird stragglers desperately searching for food. Since this is my first year caring for hummers I’m not sure what to expect; I may need to keep my feeders out until October/possibly November? A friend who also lives in Westchester NY has told me that she and her husband have seen more hummers and other hummingbird species aside from the ruby-throats beginning late summer. Something to look forward to =)!
Recently we’ve endured some heavy rainstorms so unfortunately one of my nectar feeders came flying off the Humbrella hook, but fortunately the feeder was found intact (was afraid that it would break against the stone path which cuts through my garden or that it couldn’t be easily located after the jostling from heavy winds). I had thought long and hard to consider the best way to secure the feeder to the hook and remembered that I had successfully used twisty ties to prevent our squirrels from stealing an entire cake out of our suet feeder. If you are not a fan of the twisties, you may also use a medium-sized gear tube tie/rubber tie (can be purchased from Home Depot or any local hardware store)… I find that it has done the trick perfectly…
Nesting Supplies: Female hummingbirds use spider webs (to help hold nesting materials together), lichen, parts of flowers e.g. dandelions, and bits of cotton or thick threads for nest-building… and this is where you come in ;) (see below). Male hummingbirds do not play a role in creating the nest or rearing young or even feeding the mother of their offspring like in other bird species so let us do our part to help the females; I’m sure they would appreciate it… Also, while male hummers have ample opportunity to bulk up before flying south, the new mothers may unfortunately lose a lot of their weight in caring for their young. Please take into account their arduous flight south during the Fall, leaving very little time for the females to rebuild their nutrition and regain some weight :(. I believe this makes them even more deserving of some extra help. I keep these nesting materials either under a weather dome or tied to a tree branch below thick foliage; they dry amazingly quickly after storms so not to worry!
Nectar: 1/4 Domino pure cane granulated sugar + 1/2 cups hot water (to melt sugar) + 1/2 cups cold water (please remember to cool the solution before offering to them!)= will fill 2 HummBlossoms perfectly with no leftovers. I have refrigerated the homemade nectar solution for a day or two if I made early preparations then re-heated (again, only offer nectar after cooling!) My personal preference is to not use commercial or red-dyed nectar because using granulated pure cane sugar is affordable, healthier, and meets their nutritional needs (comes closest to the nectar of flowers). Please don’t use honey, syrup, or any artificial sweeteners since these have been known to be harmful!
Cleaning: Dishwashing liquid, warm to hot water, dedicated sponge, bottle brush, mini brushes, plus very thorough scrubbing and rinsing! Remember to carefully clean and rotate usage of nectar guard tips as well!
Nectar Change: Every 2.5 days (though it has been listed on various websites that 3-4 days as still okay; remember to keep in mind the weather conditions & temperatures), I do spoil them a little but honestly I wouldn’t want to drink from the same dirty glass for 2 days, would you? The development of black mold in nectar can make your little feathered friends very ill and has been known to cause death.
Jeweled Hummingbird Swing: This isn’t a must but it’s a cute idea… a hummingbird swing, which provides a place to rest as they are keeping vigil near their food source. I’ve seen small birds perching on the one my husband had set up but in the following You Tube videos, you will see that hummers are indeed also drawn to it given the right spot…
I purchased most of my supplies through Amazon or my local markets. Click on the pictures for product brand names and descriptions. Please view my previous post regarding ant guards. Feel free to contact me using the webform below if you have further questions. I will cover the topic of Zone 6 plants and flowers to attract hummingbirds in an upcoming post.
Hummingbirds play a very important role in pollination (especially consider the grave decrease in the honeybee population). Hummers also eat undesirable soft-bodied insects like ants, mosquitos, aphids, gnats, among others… so in caring for them, you are also contributing to the balance and well-being of nature.
I’m posting this segment slightly out of order but my take on hummingbird care is soon to follow. I have fortunately not needed this form of ant guard due to the type of nectar feeder I’ve been using. I do however use Aspects 384 Nectar Guard Tips, pictured last below, over the individual feeding ports to protect the nectar from bees, ants, etc. and in turn preventing the nectar from spoiling sooner. Just fill part-way with water and hopefully your insect pest issues will be a thing of the past!
Granted that this post is quite a deviation from my usual, I promise it to be well worth it…
I had taken a journaling course fairly recently and though I love paper products and writing into a tangible journal (whether homemade or not), I figured that a digital journal for Apple users would suit my needs best. After a week of research, I concluded that MacJournal by Mariner Software might be just the program for me. I was so impressed with the free 15 day trial that I just purchased the MJ download this morning so I thought I’d share this discovery with you. Here are some of the highlights I love about the software:
A variety of icons to mark your entries and journals with the option to use one of your own.
Add a mood e.g. happy, so-so, etc. to your entries.
Sort your journals by topic, date, mood, content size, and more.
Use the Statistics Menu to view words, characters and lines in an entry.
Timer to monitor yourself.
Select the Timeline Mode to view your daily writing activity chronologically or the Calendar Mode to see your entries by month and year.
A Full Screen Mode to give you a full writing landscape for all your thoughts, choosing your own color background, and your own color of type.
Privacy and public settings
Your MacJournal entries can be published to any of the popular blogging services such as Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, Tumblr, and more.
MacJournal is equipped with two-level security – password protection and AES-256 encryption.
As for mobile journaling… it’s available for iPad & iPhones =)
It’s reasonably priced though you will have to pay for updated versions like most other programs
My husband found these bookends online for me. They are a real gem of a find too because I was using regular metal bookends (which can be purchased at Staples, etc.) for my shelving. Honestly they didn’t work out too well due to the large number of binders I keep and were also less appealing next to my white wall tracks). My shelving system was purchased online from an out-of-state specialty store (Spokane Hardware Supply/Hardware Hut) and closely resembles The Container Store’s Elfa system. Sorry, I don’t know if my shelving brackets are compatible with TCS’s track standards. My shelves (made of pine and poplar) were purchased from local lumber yards and Home Depot.
Supplies Ordered for My Office Improvement Project:
For Christmas I received a cute and useful pair of black earmuffs + headphones from my husband’s family. I really like them =)! Not only do they keep my ears warm, they also allow me to listen to my favorite songs on-the-go. The description states they are compatible with any standard 3.5mm jack socket. They also feature volume control, if anyone was wondering ;). I was this close (thumb and index finger barely touching) to purchasing a similar pair from the holiday Juicy Couture sale, so I’m glad I prevented myself from giving in.
While walking around The Container Store one Saturday, I lifted my gaze and spotted the perfect belt organizer to suit my needs. It was the Round A Belt organizer by Evriholder Products LLC. I wish I had known about this holder years ago! I normally wear belts to adjust my jeans but over the years have acquired several thin dressy ones used to cinch dresses or re-adjust dress pant waists (many times they are included with the clothing purchase). This organizer can hold quite a bit but I wouldn’t suggest over-loading it. Other great features are, it’s a very convenient sorter and has kept my closet looking neat, with the ease of finding a good match for my overall outfit. I’ve also seen crafters use the Round A Belt to organize their ribbons and trims.
Just a short post regarding an affordable space saver which has worked wonders for me… I like Honey Can Do and have been using various products by this brand for over a year now. One of my favorites is the Over-the-Door Folding Hanger Holder in chrome. I live in a small abode where space can be a luxury. The hanger holder is hooked onto one of my closet doors which I keep conveniently open at all times. I hang my dresses on this HCD gadget; it’s quite sturdy and does the trick! Mine was purchased from Amazon.com.
You can also use it like a valet stand of sorts by hanging outfit(s) for fast-approaching events, clothing to be altered/repaired, highlighting favorites from current season wardrobe, or new outfits you’d like to wear (reminder tool).
Amazon’s & HCD’s description of it:
“Hanger holder is 17-inches long x 2.875-inches in width x 3.375-inches in height
Soft lining protects door surface
Folds flat to 2-1/4-inch depth when not in use
Sturdy metal construction with a polished chrome finish
Hanger arm swings up and locks into place to offer ten storage slots
Works with all types of hangers and doors 1.25″ to 1.75″ thick”
Lately I’ve been under a lot of stress from a family project I took on and feel that I had emotionally missed a good part of the summer with all the chaos and bustle. Even earlier (during the last part of 2011) and before the onset of this project, I had found inspiration in shells and organza blue ribbon. More so now than ever before, I wish to recapture (in a small semi-permanent way) the beauty of a beachy summer by changing my bathroom theme. Perhaps my initial hopes to have been able to enjoy this summer have not been completely dashed =)? Memories of cute Nantucket cottages, the salty ocean breeze, soft sand, and pastel colors…
While shopping for Halloween decorations at Pier 1, I was amazed to find a similar but much cheaper dupe for Gianna Rose Atelier’s seashell soaps. In the package are two sea star soaps, two sea snail soaps, and one shell soap, which fit perfectly into my lidded glass jar purchased from Michaels Craft Store a couple years back. Kismet, I say! The only thing missing are soap corals, sea grass, sand dollars, sea glass, and driftwood.
I’m excited to show you my beach-themed terrarium and mini tabletop zen garden but that will have to be in future separate posts.
Everything is slowly coming together (family project included, I hope) as it should and my creative energy is renewed once more =)
*I have also included below other beach-themed items you may like which are not necessarily new goodies for my partial bathroom re-design. Either way, I hope you will feast your eyes on these pretty little things.
*Photocredit: Gianna Rose Atelier, Pier 1, eBay, Pottery Barn.