Monday, June 30, 2008

Holy Sweet Cherry Trees!

Cherries in tree
Originally uploaded by cshella
Andrew was out at the property yesterday morning when he discovered four cherry trees on our property! Most of our 18 acres is open field. There is a tree line on our Western boundery. We have always assumed that most of the trees on that property line were Crab Apples. Last summer we had so little rain that not much beared fruit anyway, so we never paid too much attention to them. Well yesterday, Andrew was out there with the dog and actually looked at the trees and discovered they were not Crab Apple trees but Cherry trees and loaded with fruit!! We took the girls back out there later in the day and loaded up our baskets! It was so great to discover this right on our property. I told Andrew that we should look at this as a special gift from God because earlier in the Spring he wanted to buy a couple of cherry trees from the local nursery but we really couldn't afford it. Now we have four fully matured (big and large) Cherry trees already on the property!! Have a great day!

Cherries, Cherries and More Cherries...

We were able to pick almost two quarts of cherries. Along with about a half a quart of black raspberries. There are two different varieties of cherries; the one is a dark red cherry and the other is a golden/pink cherry. The golden cherries are much more tart than the dark red ones. Andrew would like to make a pie, the only problem is that because these cherries have been left to go wild they are smaller than cherries you would buy in the grocery store. This makes using the cherry pitter almost impossible as the cherries are too small. So we have to cut the cherries and remove the pits by hand which is turning out to be time consuming and messy! That's okay though, the find of all of these cherries on the property is well worth the mess!

Lots of raspberries!!!

Originally uploaded by cshella
While Andrew was discovering the cherry trees, he also noticed that all of the wild raspberry bushes were bearing fruit this year. We had so little rain last year that we didn't even bother with these, we figured what little fruit was there should go to the birds. We have had plenty of rain so far this year though and there are more raspberries than we know what to do with. We picked enough to make muffins, and have some left over to snack on. Not quite enough to make jam, but there were plenty more not yet ripe. Hopefully, I can make wild raspberry jam the next time around!

Our First Fruit!

Originally uploaded by cshella
These are peaches growing on one of our peach trees out at the property. They are the first fruit to bloom of the 30 fruit trees we planted a year ago this past Spring. We can't wait to eat them! We have also discovered that two pear trees are bearing fruit, as is an apple tree. Thank you to the bees for helping to pollinate!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wonderful Sunshine!

Cassie's Family
Originally uploaded by cshella

"Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful." Ralph Waldo Emerson

About two weeks ago I was visiting Suzanne's blog "A brush with color" (fantastic blog by the way!) and she had this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. It inspired me to take some pictures of objects/things beautified by the sun. I love this picture of Fiona even though it is about three years old. I took it at our old house in Cleveland. She was watching the neighbor outside and I snapped this photo with my film camera and later scanned the image into the computer.

A peaceful morning breakfast and a favorite coffee mug...

Morning coffee and toast
Originally uploaded by cshella
I LOVE early morning sunshine. Especially when I am the only one in the house awake, it's quiet and my favorite coffee mug is full. I have several of these mugs, the artist is a potter who lives in Maryville, Ohio and does one show a year: the Yankee Peddler Festival in Canal Fulton, Ohio. ( I do have his business card somewhere! When I find it I will post his information for anyone who may want to check him out.)

Little pearls of water...

Green leaf
Originally uploaded by cshella
Nothing makes a simple blade of grass more beautiful than sunlight and water. I love to take pictures of the simplest things and make them look absolutely beautiful. I think that through the lens of a camera everything looks the way God really intended it to look.

An evening lace shadow...

Newell post with lace flower
Originally uploaded by cshella
This picture is a little grainy and out of focus but I didn't want to use my flash. The sun was setting and shining it's last evening rays through the front door and landing on the newell post at the bottom of the living room steps. This shadow formed because of the lace curtain on the front door. I love the way the picture is timeless... it could have been taken a hundred years ago or yesterday and it still looks just as beautiful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A little tree for the front porch...

close up of front porch tree
Originally uploaded by cshella
Back in May my husband, Andrew, and I attended a benefit for the Norwalk Catholic School. We went with another couple, Monica and Mike, and had a really nice time. There was a silent auction and Monica bid on this little tree that had three wooden ballerina ornaments on it. All she really wanted was the ballerina ornaments for her daughter's dance recital. On the way home we all joked about what she was going to do with the little tree (there were no other decorations on it, just the three ballerinas which she had already removed). Andrew had jokingly told her to leave it on some one's tree lawn. Well low and behold when we woke up the next morning there sat the little tree on our front porch! I brought the tree into the living room with every intention of putting a note on it that said "tag, you're it!" I was then going to sneak over to her house and put it on her front porch. However, as of Monday, it was still sitting here in my living room. I finally decided that the tree just had to be decorated. I added some red beads, some pheasant feathers, some buttons and some embellished tags and voila a pretty little tree for the front porch!

Tags to decorate...

Front porch tree
Originally uploaded by cshella
While I was organizing my little craft corner I discovered I had some tags (K and Company) that I had never even opened. I printed out some of my photos of the girls and the farm and attached them to the tags. I laminated them to protect them from the wind and rain (it has been very rainy here in Ohio this past week) and tied them with olive green ribbon. They really give a personal touch to the tree and to the front porch. The girls like to sit out there and look for the tags with their pictures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shades of Blue

blue flower
Originally uploaded by cshella
I have been noticing all of the beautiful pictures coming out of the Shades of Inspiration challenge over at Sadie Olive (see banner at left). I couldn't resist and joined the Flickr group. The color for this week is blue and I happened to take this picture yesterday of a wild flower in our back yard. The little bee was determined to be in my picture, he was to busy to care.

A Grandma's love...

moms day collage copy
Originally uploaded by cshella
I did this photo collage for my mom for Mother's Day. These are pictures of my two girls at the bottom, Fiona and Alexa and my niece, Giada, at the top. It was, however late as I was having problems with my Photo Shop program. My parents love to camp. They have a very large camper that they travel all over the state with in the summer time. (Now, I must tell you that when my sister and I were younger, we always camped in a tent!) The inside of their camper looks like a shrine to their grandchildren! My father is an avid photagrapher so all of his pictures that he takes of the girls are hung up in there plus the the pictures that I give them are hung up as well. Fiona and Alexa love it when we go camping with them. Although my girls are spoiled; they have yet to sleep in a tent! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!! I have three projects that a just about done. I will have pics posted this week! Blessings...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Tidings...

We spent the day at my inlaws having a picnic and watching the kids jump in and out of the pool. Sometimes it is really nice not to have to be rushed anywhere! Before we headed out for the day Fiona and Alexa wanted to give Andrew his Father's day gifts. Fiona made him a lovely tie (as in the kind that go around the neck) card at school. She was very proud of it. She would not however, allow me to take a picture of it! I took some of the girls painted rocks and embelished a picture frame for Andrew for his office at work. The girls were very excited about it, they so look up to their daddy! Fathers are so special through the eyes of a young girl: a father has the ability to determine how his daughter will not only see him when she grows up but how she will see herself and the world. That is not something to be taken lightly...

An embelished picture frame

Father's Day Frame
Originally uploaded by cshella
Fiona and Alexa love to paint rocks with my husband Andrew. He will take them outside and give them river rocks/garden rocks to paint while he does yard work. Of course they also like him to stop his yard work and admire their perfectly painted rocks! For father's day I painted a simple wooden frame with an antique copper paint. I added the painted rocks to remind him of the girls, the pheasant feathers to remind him of hunting season and the quotation to let him know that time with his daughters is much more important than any amount of money he could make. Fiona told him he had to put the picture in his office at work.

Pretty handpainted paper...

Handpainted paper
Originally uploaded by cshella
I saw an older episode of the Carol Duval Show the other day (it was at seven o'clock in the morning-the only time I get to myself!) and she had a recipe for taking brown paper bags and turning them into hanpainted papers. I was so excited to try this because for once I had all of the necessary supplies right at home, and, it was something that my girls could partake in too. I didn't have any brown grocery bags so I used brown painter's paper; it comes in a big roll and you buy it in the paint department at the home improvement store, it makes great craft paper for the girls. I also used washable tempura kids paint intstead of acrylic craft paint. I wanted the paint to come out of my daughter's clothes...and hair, and hands. The colors came out great and every one looks fantastic! I'm so excited to do this again and experiment with different colors and textures, maybe even some stamps, I could go on and on...

Alexa wetting paper

Alexa wetting paper
Originally uploaded by cshella
My daughter Alexa loves anything that is "squishy qooey". This recipe was so easy. It was equal parts of cups of water to ounces of glue that you mixed in a big bowl. You then crumple your brown bag paper for texture, next get it all "squishy gooey", then take it out, lie flat and paint it. Once it has dried for several hours you can iron it with a pressing cloth or another piece of paper. They turned out great and the girls had a blast!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A wonderfully wooly evening!

alpacas staring at me
Originally uploaded by cshella
I would have posted earlier but I am helping to coordinate vacation bible school at my church and it has consumed most of my time this past week. On Monday evening I attended a potluck for the Black Swamp Spinners Guild. It was hosted by Deb Yeagle, owner of Lofty Pine Alpaca and Llama Ranch. You can visit the web site at My original intention was to take pictures of all of the truly amazing things some of these women create. We had severe weather though and actually ended up in Deb's basement for a while. Deb herself needle felts three dimensional characters that are whimsical and great! She also knits and spins. Another woman, Pam, creates absolutely gorgeous felted jewelry that is truly gallery quality. I don't get to attend a lot of the guild's events due to taking care of the girls and other family obligations, but when I do go I'm like a sponge; soaking in as much knowledge as I can! Have a great week!

Through the fence...

Through the fence
Originally uploaded by cshella
After the severe wheather had past, I decided that if I couldn't get pictures of everyone's creative work, I would get pictures of some of the Alpacas that had ventured back out of the barn. This guy came right up to my camera through the fence. Alpacas are cautiously curious. He wanted to see what I was doing but if I tried to approach him he would back away.

Mama and baby

mama and baby
Originally uploaded by cshella
I caught these two peeking out of the barn after the big storm. A baby alpaca, called a cria, will stay with it's mother for approximately two years after it is born. This little one was curious as to all of the commotion in the front pasture.

Alpacas waiting for dinner...

Alpacas waiting for dinner
Originally uploaded by cshella
These guys were all about me and my camera until they saw Deb enter the barn! They knew it was dinner time and they were hungry. No pushing or shoving though, they all waited very patiently for her to get their food.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Art as a History Lesson...

About ten days ago, I was asked to participate in a truly unique and wonderful project. I received an email from Jillian, a fellow blogger. She is a homeschooling mom who is working on a great project for her son's history lesson. They are studying the Holocaust and, as a way to remember all of the victims that lost their lives to this great tragedy, they are collecting stars. The stars represent the Jewish people that perished during this horrible time in world history. They eventually will display the stars in the front yard and donate them to a charitable cause. READ THIS: as of last week, she and her son have collected over 700 stars!!! She is posting some of the stars she receives on her blog. If you want to participate in this awesome project visit Jillian at Post a comment that you want to send her a star and she will be in touch with you. Wouldn't it be great if she and her son could break a record or something? Have a blessed day!

Always remember the past...

Star project 2
Originally uploaded by cshella
I painted my wooden star red as I wanted it to be a strong color. I also aged it with sandpaper making it look a bit worn. This is to signify the resiliency of the Jewish people. I used a decorative paper for the background with newsprint on it. ( DCWV Once Upon a Time Pack) The newsprint represents truth in history. The picture of the woman is free clip art from the May/June 2008 issue of Somerset Studio by Stampington. She represents the humanity of the Holocaust. The hearts are paper die cuts that I embossed and aged representing the Souls of all of the victims. Finally the stamped butterflies represent all of the angels in heaven that those victims have become. This project was really special for me as it was the first time anyone has ever asked me to contribute to anything like this. My favorite book in the fifth grade was "The Diary of Anne Frank" fitting that a favorite project be for a history lesson on the Holocaust. Let's all remember victims of genocide and other atrocities, and be thankful for the truly blessed lives we lead today.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A great day for planting trees...

My family owns 18 acres of land just south of town here in Norwalk. We intend to someday put a house up on the property. (And maybe have a few fiber animals!) Right now there is a half built barn the that my husband, Andrew, started last summer. For now, it's a nice place to go and walk, play, or plant trees. Andrew has been collecting the little helicopter seeds that fall off the Maple trees in the Spring. He had about two five gallon buckets full of them and yesterday we took them out to the property. We have planted thirty fruit trees and numerous saplings, this however, is an experiment. At home, in the front yard Maple tree saplings seem to sprout up everywhere you don't want them to! The hope is that by spreading all of those Maple tree seeds around the property at least two or three of them will actually sprout and servive the first winter. It was very fun none the less. The girls had a blast and it was a nice way for the family to spend the afternoon/evening. Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Sitting Pretty...

Little Bird
Originally uploaded by cshella
This little bird was sitting in a tree behind the girl's little cabin. He was chirping a little tune I think in hopes of attracting a mate. He would chirp and then ruffle up his chest feathers. I swear he was posing for me when I took the picture! Almost as if he was saying "here get my good side".

A contemplative mood...

log end from cabin at property
Originally uploaded by cshella
I like to go for walks outside, preferably in the woods, and just contemplate things. I think Henry David Thoreau had it right when he stated "above all, we cannot afford not to live in te present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past. Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barn-yard within our horizon, it is belated. That sound commonly reminds us that we are growing rusty and antique in our emplyments and habits of thought." Take a walk outside today and live in the moment and be thankful for it!