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Straight from Mom….. Halloween Highlights….. November 7, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — designbycyn @ 9:31 am

The only thing about Halloween that I like is our daughter Maureen, her husband Kevin, and the grandkids! It is their favorite holiday, hands down. They decorate for Halloween outside, the way I decorate for Christmas inside. It is truly a family affair. They spend 3 months (at least) on making their costumes and a week decorating the yard. This year was no exception!

There used to be a fantastic haunted house in the neighborhood, but it was closed down last year by the city due to traffic issues. So, this year the kids did up the garage with voice/movement activated items. My mom and I sat inside and gave out the treats to the tricker-treaters. The witch’s eye would light up and she would talk to the kids, they had a book that opened and talked, the cauldron had icy smoke pouring out of it, and a spider dropped from the ceiling. Wonderful screeches and laughter ensued.

garagehalloweenPictures just don’t do it justice. All night long the parents were taking pictures of their kids in front of the table. The yard has wonderful tombstones with great epitaphs on them. A neighbor posted them on her facebook page even. The owner of the closed down haunted house, even stopped by to see what all the kids had been talking about. He thanked them for picking up the gauntlet and creating something fun for the kids to look forward to every year.

Now, I know I have shown you the costumes from past Halloween’s that my daughter has made, this year is no exception. KevindonincostumeKevin is “Pinhead”, Maureen worked a long time on making this one. Donovan is “Hawkeye” (hair colored even). This costume they bought, but Donovan and Kevin made some kid friendly arrows for his quiver.


Keegan wanted to be a “Rose Fairy”. Maureen found a dress from the Goodwill and added the roses on the bodice, all the kerchief style ruffles to the skirt, and added wings to the back. Oh, and lets not forget the crown! Keegan insisted that Mom be a plum fairy, so Maureen made herself a costume too!

We all got a surprise when Auntie Colleen was able to come for the weekend, due to Halloween being on a Friday nite!grouphalloween2

Even Colleen had worn a costume to work! She was an attendee at the Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Ball. Overall a wonderful night for all. The neighborhood kids loved the effort they put into their decorations, my mom (Great Grandma Snow) got to see everyone in their finery, and the two of us got to view all the costumes as we handed out candy.

Now Maureen has another year to plan out costumes and decorations for next year! Cyn


Rehab 101 – On the Healing Road….. September 30, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — Colli @ 8:22 am
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Success is so sweet, no matter what form it comes in!  When I started my Physical Therapy, it was with the understanding that I may not improve very much.  I accepted this, the twist fracture had been severe.  My main goal, as you know, was SLEEP, sleep, and to sleep with out pain.  This goal has been slowly achieved, with this goal came the rest I needed to gain the perspective to move forward with my plan.

My Rehab 101 has been more successful than I ever thought possible!  By setting small goals for myself, I haven’t had the disappointments, set-backs, and depressing weight of failure.  The first goal I set for myself was to be able to use the scissors, seemed very attainable.  My garden and iris had been sorely neglected and it seemed like a good place to start.  That was say a month ago.  I am finally on the last leg of my yard.  I saved the worst for last, my driveway which edges my vegetable garden.


Oh so sad and neglected.  For this part of the yard I needed to be able to use the shears/clippers, much better cutting ability than the scissors.  The mums and peonies needed to be coiffured, such a tangle of weeds, dead branches, and very overgrown.  I wasn’t sure if I had the strength yet to use the clippers, but I was ready to try.

drivewayafterAs the Wizard of Oz says, “Well, Bust my buttons!”  I did it!  I was only able to get 1/3 of this last stretch finished, but Yeah Baby it looks and felt great!  Thank goodness the yard bin was full cause my wrist was screaming with fatigue.

Nature still amazes and teaches me daily.  It gives back what it is given ten-fold and is always grateful for the time spent.  The ability to keep giving me what I needed, even when I wasn’t sure what that was.  Such peace and acceptance is always found in my yard and gardens.  The doctors recommended lots of rests, sleep, and relaxation in order for this fracture to heal.  Well, nature is the epitome of all they recommended, relaxing, restorative, and restful.  Try it sometime and remember it is free!

After my 3rd appointment with the wrist therapist, she was amazed at the progress I had made.  I guess most folks can’t work through the pain to get their mobility back.  Ummm, no problem there, I want to be able to hold a tiny paint brush and an embroidery needle again!   Thanks to my rehab 101, my therapy was extended further.  The more I progress, the longer the therapy will continue.

Seems simple enough and I am motivated.  Now to find the next task to continue my healing process…….. Cyn


Straight from Mom….. The Exercise of Healing…… August 19, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — designbycyn @ 2:19 pm

Designbycyn's Blog

Wow, I am amazed and amazed at the same time!  Amazed that it has been 2 months since I last posted to myself (most of you know that I post for myself and if you find it enjoyable, awesome!) and I am amazed that I didn’t go absolutely stark raving mad in the meantime!  My cast came off August 5th, but the real work has only begun.  I have quite a bit of trapped edema in my fingers and hand, a frozen wrist and shoulder, and the strength and ability of a wet noodle.  Here take a look so you can sort of visualize what I mean……

edemahandSorry bout the fuzziness, I took it with my left hand.  My knuckles are non exsistent and my fingers are so swollen that they were getting sores in between.  Just ignore all the dead, yucky skin that I hadn’t completely cleaned off, I…

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Gourdtastic……. June 11, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — Colli @ 11:33 am
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Finishing this gourd basket has only fueled my interest in creating another one! For once the first one will be in my living room. LOL. The earthy textures, natural colors, and freshness of this piece have completely drawn me in. While I was finishing the last lacing of pine needles, I knew instantly what I would love to see showcased in the basket. My pine cones!gourdfinished1Once I got over the fear of the first cut, this project surpassed my hopes and expectations. I think I will be planting some basket gourd seeds this year in our garden! Remember, it takes a good year+ for these beauties to dry, got to get the cycle started for new blank slates for me to play on…………….Cyn


Needled Gourd June 6, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — Colli @ 11:31 am
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Wow, I am finally making some progress! You probably have forgotten the basket gourd that I got started back before Christmas sometime, even I can’t remember when LOL. It only took two years to get the gourd completely dried, so who’s counting now! When I visited my parents before my Pop broke his hip, they sent me home with the pine branches I was going to need for the edging of my basket.

pineneedles1The needles also took some time to dry. I was worried about all the sap from the fresh needles, so I separated them from the branch and left them to dry.

pineneedlesAmazingly, the needles still retained some of the green pigment. After measuring and marking the edge with 1/2″ increments in pencil, I took out my dremel and drilled the holes.

holesingourdThis delay of drying time for the pine needles actually worked in my favor. Every time Steven and I looked for leather cording, we couldn’t find any. Just when I needed the cording, I found it! A nice buttery tan color.

Getting started was the tough part, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I only knew what I was hoping it would resemble. With a deep breath, hearing my Pop whisper “Go For It”, I dove in with both feet! My yarn needle was perfect to lace the leather through. Grabbing probably 8 or 9 of the needles and making sure they were all facing the same direction, I got started at the lower corner. Adding more with every 5th stitch.

pineneedleedgingcloseupI realized I was holding my breath, ha ha ha. Stunning how beautiful nature is! I decided to leave the basket unlined, I loved the texture of the gourds interior. Not wanting to detract from the gourds beauty also, the lining might have taken the focus off the basket as a whole. Once I became more confident, it went quickly.

pineneedleedgedoneOne half of the edging finished! Time to play coming to an end for today, we have a Little League Game to attend for our grandson, Donovan. I will give you an update of the completely finished basket soon………………. Cyn



Summer is Blooming June 2, 2014

Filed under: Straight from Mom — designbycyn @ 10:56 am
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Spring is turning hotter and soon it will be summer! Ok so it feels like summer already.

Last year I shared with you the planting on flowers and since them trees in our yard. This year I have the blooms to prove it!




My Day Lilies are blooming and it is a heart warming site. Heart warming to me because we are in a drought with water restrictions so I was afraid that I would have no plants, let alone blooms this year. I am excited to see what other blooms I will be blessed with this year. It might be time for me to fence in the yard and put a seating area in so that I can enjoy all the beauty with a cup of coffee, what do you think?


Beeeautiful! May 26, 2014

We are always on the watch for a new plant to add to our garden, an unusual bloom or foliage. We sometimes have to wait two years to see a plant finally bloom! We check every morning or evening to see which of our plants have bloomed and to keep an eye on which one might be next. Anticipation is one of the things I never tire of in anything. We all need something to look forward to, no matter what it is.

We came across a plant called “The Tower of Jewels” , Echium wildpretii. The name itself was intriguing, the foliage was fuzzy, and it was said to have a tall spike of red blooms. We couldn’t wait to see this bloom! In the first year of planting it, it went from a 4″ pot to a two foot round fuzzy green growing tower.

After 1 year

As the tower of fuzzy green kept growing, I truly was getting so excited. Only to be heart broken when a gopher compromised it’s root and it wilted and died before I could save it. Determined to see this bloom for myself, we bought a new 4″ plant. This time we planted it near our well, the vibrations from the well keeps the gophers from spending much time in the area. I had a good feeling this time we would be able to see the tower of blooms the following year. So, the wait and anticipation started anew.

So far so good, it’s first year under its belt, we waited out the winter watching for any sign of distress. Spring has come around and we watched the tower grow and grow. Then practically over night the blooms started to open up. On Easter, we were all treated to it’s gorgeous, beautiful splendor.

4 feet tall and still growing and blooming

Just look at it’s bloom close up. So stunning!

Close up of bloom

It now is about 4 feet and the bloom is still unfurling and growing. Who knows how much taller it will become. With this show stopper, the wait was so worth it! We go out every evening and take a look. I don’t think I ever tire of viewing this stunningly beautiful plant. The wonderful thing is that this bloom will take it’s time unfurling and we will get to enjoy it for a good long time.

We are truly blessed to be able to watch this unfold, oh and our hummingbirds are grateful as well as the honeybees! Cyn