Friday, April 18, 2014

From the sewing room window....

24 hours later......

It only got to around 40° yesterday, but the sun's powerful rays melted that white stuff very quickly.

The birds were enjoying bathing in the puddles left on the driveway:

This guy was busy looking for something to eat:

It's a flicker. I kept waiting for him to turn his head the right way as I was snapping pics, but then Grandpa drove in and scared him away. You can see his bright red slash, though:

We're looking forward to mid-upper 60's by Saturday and even well into next week. It seems a miracle after Wednesday!

But rather than snow and its melting, let's think of the miracle that we celebrate on Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus! I hope you all have a happy and blessed Easter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

From the sewing room window....


The good news is... I was sewing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blood moon

I can't believe I did this. Surely you've heard about the "blood moon" by now, with all the hype it's had. It was the total eclipse of the moon in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. I didn't intend to take pictures of it. I thought it would've been nice, but I value my sleep. ;) 

My thought process went like this:
  • As I was heading to bed at nearly midnight, I noticed how bright the full moon was.
  • I wondered if I should set my alarm and get up and try to capture the predicted "blood moon" with my camera.
  • I decided not to. I knew how tired I'd be the next day.
  • I wondered if I should get my camera settings ready 'just in case' I happened to wake up at that hour (2:00 a.m.) for some reason.
  • I decided not to. I knew I'd sleep through it.
  • I went to bed, fully expecting to miss the whole thing.
  • I woke up at about 1:30 a.m. Hmm... not nearly as bright outside as it had been earlier. Interesting. Tempting. But too early to get up... I'm going back to sleep.
  • I woke up again at 1:56 a.m. Hmm... it's about the right time. I'm too tired. I do NOT want to get up. I knew if I did I'd lose not only the sleep time of taking pictures, but also considerable time after I went back to bed wide awake.
  • But it's such a rare thing. And would be very cool to see. Oh... so tired.
  • Maybe since oddly I'm awake, I'm supposed to get up and watch it for some reason.
  • Against my body's protest, I got up.
Sooo... I didn't turn on any lights... didn't want to lose my night vision. We have a yard light, so there was still a little light, despite the moon darkening. I dug my camera out of its case and switched to the zoom lens, feeling my way as I did. I went to a south bedroom window from which I could get a good view, and the moon was indeed mostly dark.

I couldn't see the camera buttons, so I was again feeling my way around. At least I could see the settings on the screen, and I experimented a bit. I found what worked best, and I took a bunch of shots. Ideally, I would've been outside using a tripod... BUT it was only 20° (on its way down to a record low in the low teens!), and I was not about to go outside to shoot! I braced myself against the window frame, held my breath, and snapped the best shots I could get. And here they are in the order I took them, not the best shots ever, but the best I could do:

The little dot is a star called "Spica".

I didn't think the moon looked all that red, but when I zoomed out a bit (below), it did appear just a bit redder.

If you noticed the white dot in the upper right corner above... that's Mars, which happens to be unusually bright right now.

Here's the last one. As you can see by "Spica", there was a wee bit of camera shake, but it's still better than I expected to get, considering the darkness.

I gave up at that point. It was changing excruciatingly slowly, and I was satisfied to get the shots I did. It was a very cool experience, and I'm glad I did it, despite the loss of sleep. It took me a while to get back to sleep, but not terribly long. I'd do it all again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I saw him!

Look who I saw in the back yard last evening. It's the Easter bunny, right? Gotta be! Getting ready for the big day coming up this Sunday.

Yeah... and I'm short of photos. Too much computer time last week, and no time for taking pictures. Not much to take photos of, either, for that matter. Everything outside is for the most part pretty brown yet. As you can see above, there's a slight tinge of green to the grass, so it's coming. But these 20-degree overnight temps the last couple of nights are feeling too much like winter again. Ugh.

I'm sewing again, though!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Drawing with Courtney

A long time ago, I set up a free Zoodles account for Courtney on Grandpa's laptop. It's a safe, fun site for kids, filled with games, learning tools, videos, stories... all kinds of goodies... and the content changes often. Courtney occasionally will ask to go on Grandpa's laptop, in other words Zoodles.

A couple weeks ago when she was here, she was on the Zoodles site, and she discovered some videos teaching drawing. She'd watch a bit of the video, then stop it and draw what had been shown, then watch, stop, and draw some more until she was done with the picture. She watched 3 videos that day and drew each subject. I think she did a great job! Here are her little drawings:

Pretty cool, huh? Her Auntie Jess will be proud of her! I'm glad to see her so interested in drawing recently, and her skills are definitely growing!