Phun – Sea Beans

One topic I really like to talk about, and participate in, is beachcombing. When I am on a beach I can’t seem to sit under an umbrella for very long. You can usually find me walking along the edge of the water, head down, attempting to find ocean treasures. I search for seashells and other drift brought up by the waves, I also scan the sand for sea beans. A former post on this activity can be found here: Sea Beans.

Sanibel Island, Florida, yielded quite a few sea beans this year. I threw out any I thought might be Castor beans since they are poisonous. The others I sorted, soaked a few, and planted. The small sprouts in the terracotta pots are the results.

You can search for sea beans along any coast. Most times, you will find local seeds that have washed into the waterways, but you might get lucky and find a sea bean that has crossed the ocean. The first sea bean you find will perhaps inspire you to start a collection, string it as a pendant, or do as I do and try to grow them for houseplants. Enjoy yourself as you search for sea beans. Finding them is free and brings happiness that can’t be bought.

Product, Phun, Project – Color Shift Paint/Painting with Natural Objects

Shiny metallic paint and glitter prompt me to create Christmastime art. This year I came upon a paint by FolkArt called Color Shift. I’ve been pleased with FolkArt paints in the past and Color Shift did not disappoint me.

The area above my Christmas village needed some color. A quick Christmas painting was my intent. I painted the background bluish-black to depict a nighttime sky. After the background was complete, I realized the composition needed something to break up the darkness by accentuating the outer edges. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with a complicated border. Hmmm, what to do?

Stenciling, or printing with an object seemed a good idea for a quick border. Outdoors on my lawn lay exactly what I needed, fallen leaves from my Bald Cypress tree. I also gathered a few ‘holey’ oak leaves while walking around the neighborhood. More on that later.

The Color Shift paint worked perfectly. Fluid enough to fill in the lettering without clumping, yet thick enough to dip my Bald Cypress leaves into for printing. (The paint looks a bit faded in this photograph, but it is only intense sunlight beaming across my work area.)

I needed a randomness of mind when I painted the stars. This is an artistic area I struggle with when painting. I find I quickly become uniform in design when painting a large amount of subjects such as stars or dots. The oak leaves came to my rescue and forced me to leave left brain logic behind and create with the bold randomness of the right side of my brain. I used the holes of the leaves to paint the stars. The pattern on the leaves, created by hungry bugs, quickly depicted the scatter of stars I wanted in the background. I’ve used this technique in the past and once again I found success using leaves as a stencil.

I also indulged the child within me and glittered the trees, top to bottom, with glittery balls and stars. The glitter, very fine in texture and easy to use, was found in the local dollar store in gorgeous colors. So much fun. This project was easy and under twenty dollars. The Color Shift paint was a bit pricey, but any other metallic paint could be used in its place.

Phun – Ten-Second Timer

We haven’t sent a photo Christmas card for years. It’s time. Yesterday’s sunshine and mild temperature was the perfect time to go outdoors and attempt to take a presentable photograph, but since it was just the two of us, we didn’t have the advantage of a photographer. We had to rely on the ten-second timer on my Fuji camera and a trusty tripod. Here are a few of the bloopers—

Blooper 1 – Clicked the shutter button without setting the timer. Who is that old woman? Yikes. How did time go so fast?
Blooper 2 – Silly me, hit the two second setting instead of ten seconds.
Blooper 3 – Tried to get tricky and run from setting the camera for ten seconds, smashing my way through strands of briars, slipping on damp leaves, climbing onto a log bridging the creek, balancing myself, managing to smile and maybe look presentable—all in ten seconds??? I’m amazed I got as far as I did. This was the first time my feet got wet during our photo shoot. I also fell, and the front calf portion of my jeans were stained by watery muck. Do you see the person standing safe on the log laughing? That’s my husband!
Almost – This was almost our choice, but it is so sunny and somehow the camera has condensation spots on the lens. But still…might be a keeper. Can you see me trying to hide my dirty jeans?

Another maybe, but I’m pretty much blocking most of my husband out of the photo, and there’s a bit too much sun on our faces.
Here’s the photo we decided to use, cleaned up, and cropped below. Our legs are a little off kilter, but that’s because to get back to where my husband stood in ten seconds, I had to jump a smaller creek that joined the larger one. He is actually helping me find my balance. I fell once at this location as I misjudged the distance and hit the sloped, wet bank too short. In this shot we are both laughing at all the trouble it was to take this photo. It was fun though, and after the photo was cropped we decided it was truly us. It’s a little early, but we wish everyone the best, and merriest Christmas ever.

Phun – Avatar Tweaking

Watercolor Filter

I decided it was time to create a new avatar. The unfiltered, natural photograph was too lifelike; I looked all of my 60+ years. BooHoo! I was hoping for miracles. Smile! I decided it would be fun to use Lunapic-Free Online Photo Editor and tweak the photo into something a little younger. To be honest – too much fun! I had to make myself stop or I would have played around all day. Here’s a couple of my creations with Lunapic.

Warhol Effect x 9
Cartoon effect with Beauty Art Filter Applied First
Floating Art Filter
Toon Face – Cartooned without Art Filters

Which one do you like best? If you have a chance, and a good block of time free, take a few moments to play around with these filters. It’s so much fun. My choice: I think I like the two cartoons best. I guess it brings out the child in me. I can just see the last photo as a character in an episode of The Flintstones. is a fun site to share with children.

Phun – Happy February/Valentine’s Decor

Valentine’s Day is a spot of brightness in the middle of winter, yet I often shortchange the house of decorations to celebrate this special day. This year I found a satisfying, but also easy and inexpensive approach to create a bit of February cheer.

I cut about 25 paper hearts out of red-toned paper, punched a hole, used leftover Christmas ornament hooks, and hung them on a lightly twisted ribbon of burlap. A little hint here: you can NEVER have too many ornament hooks. I use them for so many projects throughout the year. They are durable, near weightless, and can be twisted into so many shapes and sizes. I always keep a bag of them in my desk drawer. The green wire hooks are my favorite.

I also found some old cardstock tags I had crafted years ago with swirls of words and twirly lines. The pressed flowers I glued in place with rubber cement have faded, but still are holding on firm. I hung these on drawer pulls, clocks, light fixtures—anywhere an almost weightless tag could hang. I’m pleased with my easy and LOVE-ly decor. Happy February!

Phun – Snowflakes

One of my favorite Christmas activities is cutting paper snowflakes. I usually start in October or November and cut several each day. I need near 100 to fill the windows.

I use washable school glue sticks to keep the snowflakes in place. When it’s time to take them down just pull the paper away from the windowpane and swipe with a wet washcloth once or twice. Let the moisture soak in for a minute, wipe again, and all the paper and glue washes away. Sometimes, if I use the right cloth, I don’t even need to use window cleaner. Anyone who has ever picked transparent tape off of a piece of window glass will know how tedious it is and how long it takes. Gluing the snowflakes to the windows sounds scary, but believe me, I’ve done it for years and it is SOOOOOO much easier than taping because of easy removal.

If you live in a cold climate, and put your snowflakes in windows, they will be more durable and condensation resistant if you iron them between pieces of wax paper first. After ironing, pull the wax paper apart gently, and the snowflakes come out intact with an invisible layer of wax on their surface.

ALWAYS start with a square piece of paper. Computer paper works great! Four through eight inches are the sizes I use. The larger squares are easier to cut, but a variety of sizes on a window looks more interesting. Have fun!!!

Phun – Beary Nice Day

Did you hear about the Teddy Bear Scavenger Hunts? I don’t always follow the crowd, but this fun idea is too wonderful to miss participating in. Children, walking around neighborhoods, are going on scavenger hunts. Teddy Bears are fun to hunt! Since I have Teddy Bears in the house, I placed them in my front window. Two are very old, passed down to me from my grandmother. Since this is the grandmother who told wonderful stories about dolls and stuffed animals coming to life, I know she would approve. What a good distraction from all the mess surrounding us right now.

“God Bless Us, Every One!” ~Tiny Tim (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

In the same token, this activity reminds me of an amazing show I’ve begun watching, ‘The Chosen,’ on PureFlix.

Through this trying time of dealing with Covid-19, I want to live with the pure faith of a child.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~ Matthew 19:14(NIV)

Phun – National Smile Day

It’s National Smile Day, not to be confused with World Smile Day, celebrated on October 4th. Every now and then I like to post a photograph of myself so you can see just who is writing this eclectic collection of blog posts. This photograph was taken by my husband. (You can see him reflected in my sunglasses.) We were gathered together with family for a Memorial Day Picnic.

Have a happy Friday and blessed weekend.

Phun & Philm – Sleepovers, Scavenger Hunts and Dragons

This post is for all the wonderful people who create fun for the little people in their lives. My grandsons love scavenger hunts. It’s been awhile since they have slept over so I wanted to have a special movie night for them. First we’ll barbecue some shish kabob on the grill, then we’ll have a scavenger hunt all around the house. I’ve hidden quite a stash of items in various hiding spots, all with a movie night theme.


I’ll give each of them a basket, the first clue, and there will be some wild scampering around the house to find the treasures and the next clue.


I have several movies on hand for them to choose from tonight. One of those is Pete’s Dragon. We all saw it together a few months ago in the theater. It is now available on DVD, and because I loved the story as much as they did, I bought a copy for all of us to share. Disney Films, Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, the children who play the leading roles, along with Pete the Dragon, do a wonderful job in making this story magical.


Phun & Photographs – Color Your World – 120 of Crayola

Today I discovered that Jennifer Nichole Wells is running her Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola challenge again. I enjoyed taking part in this last year, and hope to create several posts that fit in with many of the Crayola color themes.

The color of the day is Burnt Sienna. This is one of my favorite colors to use when painting in watercolor. Burnt Sienna brings an earthiness to any color it is mixed into.

A good example of burnt sienna in nature is fallen leaves, much like these my backyard squirrels have woven into their winter nest.


Seen from a distance, this nest appears precarious. Perched on the end of a trimmed branch it seems likely to fall.


When I zoom in with my camera though, I see it is a masterful design, the leaves held in place by dozens of small twigs that have sprouted from the cut end. What a great squirrel condo, and also a good example of the many tones of burnt sienna. I would love to take a peek inside at the interior of the nest.


I’m also adding another photo of our friendly neighborhood biscuit-loving dog. He is definitely blessed with a heavy coat of burnt sienna…many tones of brown and orange make up his fur. My blogging friend SusieShy asked me if he was a stray. I was able to say no, with surety, since he is wearing a Christmas kerchief around his neck.

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Shatner on a Plane

I recently read a good post about a daft plane. I’m sorry I can’t explain, but the daft airplane reminded me of this post from 2014. I thought today’s Throwback Thursday was the perfect day to allow it to resurface. If you want to read the post that jogged my memory, you can read more about the daft plane on the Mehrling Muse WordPress Blog.

As a child, my husband saw an episode of the Twilight Zone in which William Shatner, before his Star Trek fame, is horrified by a scary (at least at the time of limited media special effects) monster on the wing of an airplane. My husband says this scared him for years as a child. Guess What? Whenever we fly I always find a moment to whisper in a frightened tone in my husband’s ear, “Shatner.” We always laugh, and he knows exactly what I mean. Seriously, he still tends to look out the airplane window at the wing when I say Shatner’s name. Funny…and true!

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Everyone Loves a Slinky

I felt immediate happiness when the Slinky song started in this YouTube video. I had a Slinky, each of my sisters had a Slinky at some point in time. Slinky did live up to the commercial hype and could walk down the stairs. The spring was fun to hold and set into the ‘up and down’ motion. The down side, Slinky inevitably became a snarled ball of ‘precompressed helical spring.’ It’s fun to read the history behind the popular toy. The History of Slinky.

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Padiddle


When I was young we played several games in the car to occupy the time. One of these was ‘Padiddle.’ The rules of Padiddle are easy: If you spot a car with only one headlight, be the first to say, “Padiddle,” and earn a point. This game could only be played at night.

Another game my sons played, that sometimes caused spats in the backseat due to too much ‘ooomph’ given to the punch, was ‘Punch-buggy.’ A Punch-Buggy was a nickname for a Volkswagen Beetle. The first person to spot one would yell, “Punch-Buggy,” accompanying the shout with a punch in the arm for his/her seatmates.

A few other backseat games:
The Alphabet Game – finding the letters of the alphabet in order on roadside signs.
The License Plate Game – Trying to find all continental state license plates on long trips.

Do children/teenagers still play these games or are their eyes always focused on a phone or tablet?

Can you think of any other games such as these that you played in a car?

Phun & Preparedness & Place – Ingenuity Part I


Jamaica is one of our favorite places to visit. I love the land, the sea, and most of all the people. The DeCameron, a lovely hotel in Montego Bay, is one of our favorite places to stay. They are expanding in size, and we enjoyed watching the work going on around us. We were very impressed by this man’s ingenuity in shielding himself from the hot sun with a large piece of cardboard. The cardboard is light in weight, but its broadness cast a large shadow, protecting him from the heat. I would never have thought of such a good idea, but I will definitely file it away in my thoughts as a perfect solution for blazing sunshine.


Phun & Pheathers – Funny Fowls

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my back yard, minding my own business, when lo and behold two chickens strolled into the yard as if they owned it. I was instantly IN LOVE with them, grabbed my camera and documented their visit. (Their home is on the street behind mine.) Their visit provided me with quite a giggle.


I’ve wanted chickens or ducks of my own for ages. Town ordinances have changed in many areas and it’s now permissible to have “pet” chickens or ducks in the backyard. On the other hand I am thinking of the feistiness of Blue Eyes the goose. Maybe a pair of geese would be a better idea. I wonder if it’s true that geese can be good “watchdogs?”

ducks 4

“Police in rural parts of China’s Xinjiang Province are no longer turning to dogs to stand guard at police stations at night. They’re using geese instead. And it works.” ~ Honk if You Think Geese are Good Guard Dogs – National Geographic

I’ve had most of my gardens devastated this year by a horrible groundhog who invades my yard weekly to eat my foliage and garden plants. Would a big white goose honking like mad and chasing him do the trick? The key word might be big. Should I get a goose now and coddle it all through winter, and have a big, big bird come Spring? Hmmm….I’ll have to think on it a bit and let you know!

“Chinese geese, like Africans, are a more talkative breed of geese. Due to this characteristic, they are the best breed if you want to be alerted to intruders or other strange occurrences. They love to talk back to you – especially if you have raised them from babies.” ~Metzer Farms

Phun – Paper Airplanes

Instead of coming back with what sounds like profound wisdom after my recent hiatus, I’m sharing a way to enchant children, and even a few adults.

Nothing can alleviate a child’s boredom quicker than a terrific paper airplane. When my youngest grandson asked for an airplane, Daddy and Papa were both busy doing other things; the task was up to me. I tried to fold a rendition of what I thought a paper airplane should be…it looked good…but flew like a piece of lead. Hmmm…what to do? Search Youtube of course!

I found this sensational five-minute video, followed along, pausing when I was behind, and OH MY, created a paper airplane that really FLEW and SOARED. I impressed everyone, including myself, with this small paper aircraft. We tried it in various weights of paper, all did well. Give it a try! I guarantee not only will children be impressed, but so will adults. Happy Flying!

Phun – Throwback Thursday/Marbles

marbles 1

My grandsons had a sleepover date with us last weekend. The oldest is nine, the middle grandson seven, and the littlest is three and a half. I enjoy planning special activities and crafts when we have time together, and decided the uninviting weather outdoors was the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the classic game of marbles.

marbles 2

Marbles can be played indoors or out. When I was in elementary school we played the game on the playground in a circle drawn in dirt. For our indoor play, we created a circle with a piece of embroidery floss. The classic rules of marbles are abundant in web searches, but we played by our own rules: one shot, no need to shoot with your thumb, a good hard roll with the shooter marble  was all the skill that was needed.

What is a shooter marble? It’s the largest of all the marbles, a bit like the cue ball in a game of pool. The shooter is used for knocking other marbles out of the circle. When you knock a marble out…it is yours to keep. We were shocked at how well the three year old played. He came close to winning most of the marbles, but came in second place to his dad.

marbles 3

Marbles come in many colors and designs. In a canister you might find cat’s-eye marbles, clear, with a swirl of color in them. Fancier opaque varieties that  resemble planets in the solar system are also in the canister, but in lesser quantities. These mango-tango cat’s eye, a perfect choice for today’s Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola challenge, were purchased in a local craft store. I bought our big canister for under three dollars with a 40% off coupon.

Phun – Solving Mysteries/The Scent of Violets


I come from a long-line of women who love to read. The china hutch was my grandmothers. Granny was an avid reader; I think she would understand why I am using her hutch as a library, rather than keeping my mismatched china pieces inside.

When I read the blogs of other readers, I am interested by what they loved as children. Although I still read daily, I’ve never quite found the magic in books that I did as a child.

Recently, while reading the blog of Joeyfully Stated, I came across a mystery:

“My grandmother must have bought them used, because they were well-worn paperbacks. I have absolutely no idea what they were, or who wrote them. Yes, I have Googled, thank you. My memory describes them to me as Southern turn of the century historical fiction. Each book focused on a young woman in a specific family whose surname I do not recall. Each book included a mystery and clean romance in the plot lines. The ghost matriarch of this family (Augusta? Agatha?) haunted each girl with the smell of violets. You can read the entire post and comments at: Joeyfully Stated’s Blog Post – A Ghost So Old I Can’t Remember Her Name.

If anyone has a twinge of memory as to what these books might be titled, and where they can be found, please comment here or on the Joeyfully Stated Blog. Thanks!