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Playing with the camera again

In a need to stay sane in the non-gardening months, I’ve been playing with the camera again, trying to learn the settings.  It’s a point & shoot and I love it but it does everything for me.  Good, because I’ve been going on auto all of these years and didn’t have to think about a thing.  Bad, because it also has various settings to mess with to better control things and I need to force myself to take it off of auto and tinker.

This one, I love.  I love that I caught Nellie not usually posing and all fake smiles like she likes to do.  Blur Girl in the background, though, not so much.  She seems to have gotten the camera ham bug like Nellie.  Anytime I whip out the camera, she comes running into the shot.  Zoom!  But I’m pretty happy with the Nellie part of it.

Blur girl again.  She just cannot sit still.  Ever.  It’s go, go, GOOOO!! from morning ’til night.  I’m not so good with the action shots yet so I Photoshopped the crap out of it since it was a cool angle.  Some sharpening & lightening, etc, and playing with whatever action sets I had, and I think it isn’t too terribly bad.  Let’s face it, there aren’t going to be many good shots of this girl’s toddlerhood.  I’m willing to lower my standards.  (No, don’t remind me that have no standards.  I’m pretending to be hoighty toighty, dang it.)

Beginnings of the future herb garden

Most of you know that Steve now works for a wheel manufacturer.  Really big wheels!  When something goes wrong in the process, the imperfect wheels are thrown into the scrap pile.  Occasionally, Steve gets to bring one home.  The ones pictured below are what we have collected so far.  Each wheel is cut in half so that we get two from each.  They’re still plenty tall enough to be used as perfect raised beds.  Once spring arrives, these (and others still to be brought home) will be planted with herbs and berries, garlic and onions.  We’ll probably end up painting them for looks and, of course, arranging them nicely.

Today, we have several new inches of snow and the wheel halves are buried.  Glad I got a pic of them before the snow began.  I’m in a garden frenzy right now but not able to do anything — at least I can make a garden-related post.  That’s gotta make me feel better, right?  Right??

Nope.  It didn’t help.

Nestbox II

Having left the nestbox behind in the move, the girls have been slumming it.  But remember the pile of scrap wood Steve brought home the other day?  He turned some of it into a beautiful nestbox and the girls are loving it.  Like everything else, a paint job will have to wait for warmer weather.


I got a bit cocky for Christmas, thinking I’d get artsy-fartsy.  It started out innocently enough, with visions of making freezer-paper stenciled… somethings.  Coasters?  Wall hangings?  Bean bags.  Oh, yes.  Bean bags!  The world definitely does not have enough bean bags.

David (brother o’ mine) is, among other things, an iPhone app developer.  So, of course, I painted a few of his app icon doohickeys.  (YoFrog, Simple GPS, BangBang Diet, Simple Budget to see the artwork I was copying.)  (The kids painted a couple hanging, quilted art pieces for his wife, Miranda, but I didn’t get a pic of those.)

But what to do about my other brother, John?  He and his significant other, Caroline, have a couple of adorable furkids:  Chuck Norris and Margaret Thatcher.

Clearly, freezer paper stenciling would not do them justice — and this is where I started getting cocky.  I have absolutely no drawing/painting skills.  I can’t even make stick men.  And, having a $0 budget, I had to work with what fabric paint I had on-hand:  white, black, yellow, red, blue.  I had to mix my own colors.  Are you seeing where this is going?  Uh-huh.

Margaret didn’t turn out too badly, considering.  I mean, she does look a bit in shock from the goiter-like chin I gave her but she’s still somewhat reconizable as a dog.  Right?  Um, right?

But Chuck.  Poor, poor Chuck.  He looks like Shiloh — and he’s very, very sad about that.  I’m terribly sorry, Chuck.  Please don’t hurt me.

Still, I pressed on, the harsh reality of my lack of artistic talent not yet hitting me.  What else to make for them?  Two bean bags would get very lonely indeed.  Ah, an ugly sweater!  They throw an ugly sweater party each year.  I could do an ugly sweater, no problem!

But what about a fourth bag to round things out?  Hmm…  There’s a pic of John & Caroline from Facebook that I love, love, love and it’s how I always picture them when I think of them.

Wow.  This is where it all hits bottom.  Oh, poor, poor Caroline, I am so sorry for what I did to you.  And your tongue.  Please forgive me.  Please don’t have Chuck hurt me.  (John, just consider what I did to you payback for being annoying when you were two years old.  Or something.)

And thus ends my attempt at artistic genius.  Good gravy, I’m glad they all have a sense of humor.

They’re a-pickin’ and I’m a-grinnin’

Our friends, Susan & Bob, got the kids a guitar for Christmas!  They’ve been wanting to learn guitar for a long time now so they’re all excited!  With the help of a couple of decent books, I’ve started teaching the four boys.  (I’ve not played guitar since…  in my 20s??  A long time ago!  While it’s coming back to me pretty easily, I’m having to relearn right along with them.)  I really am amazed at how quickly they’re picking it up since they’re starting completely from scratch.  They didn’t even know how to read music so we’re having to cover that at the same time.  A lot to learn at once and they’re all doing so very well!

Should I be concerned?

(What kind of kid knows how to make a noose?)

My new baby!

Ooh!  Ahh!  Isn’t she beautiful?  Steve brought this darling home this week.  Big Brownie points for Steve!

We had to leave our tillers behind in the move and I’ve been bellyaching about it ever since.  Now I have to find something new to complain about.

The January Camping Trip

(And why I haven’t been able to sew in three days.)

At least they went to “bed” without complaint for a couple of nights.

Today, I take the sewing room back!

More matchy matchy

For Christmas, I sewed matching hats for Steve, Steve Sr (father-in-law), and Kevin (brother-in-law).

Nothing new & exciting but I do love that blue watery fabric!

There never were such devoted sisters… *

Oh, the girliness overwhelms us sometimes!  It’s not something they’ve been taught because I’m not girly.  They seem to have been born with very pink genes.

Playing beauty salon nearly every day?  They got this for Christmas thanks to a very generous friend (Thanks, Mary!) — and knew exactly what to do with it.  They’ve never been to a salon, nor have they seen me in one or heard me talk about the subject.  Yet they know.  Sure, they’ve probably seen the general idea on television but, really, they KNOW.  Scary girly stuff.

Snuggles and “mommying” a baby doll.