Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photos of the day

This is the sight I saw when I first looked out the window this morning. Poor ash tree. It's one that Courtney's daddy brought home from elementary school one Arbor Day all those years ago. Pretty sad to see it so damaged. At least it didn't land on the sandbox under it and break the cover.

(The photos look so much better enlarged! Just click on 'em!)

Incidentally, below is the first photo I took of it through the drippy plasticked window. It made for kind of a unique effect.

Here's the back side of it:

And up close:

Our maple tree lost a lot of branches again, too. As I was outside taking pics, the wind started coming up, and more were falling... glad I wasn't standing under the tree at the time!

We had a lot of rain yesterday, and there are lots of puddles, one of which you can see below. They're kind of a yucky brown color.

I even left yellowish-brown footprints because of all the wetness under the snow:

There were some pretty effects, though, too!  I love the "hooks" on these maple branches! Amazing how they formed, isn't it?!

Here are some more icy maple shots:

Even the asparagus looked pretty:

But the best view, in my opinion, was what I saw in my sewing room window as I walked back to the house:

Yep, those buds will be opening very soon! And green is so refreshing to see again!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I think the drought is over

It's been raining all day. This is the most precipitation we've had since last July. Unfortunately, it's February, and winter. The temperature has been hovering just barely above 32° all day. So this is what we had late this afternoon while it was still light out:

Notice the glaze on the grass:

And on the cement:

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Everything was somewhat icy when I took these photos. You can see some of the buildup starting on the tree in the bottom pic, too. The roads weren't too bad at the time, because of the traffic keeping the ice worked off. It's rained quite a bit since then, and is still raining as I type, with even some thunder. The ice is building. The temperature is still the same. We're supposed to get a little snow overnight. It'll be interesting to see what things are like in the morning. And if the winds get up to 40 mph as predicted, it could be very hard on the power lines. The lights already flicker occasionally.

Whoa! I just saw a big flash of lightning! Our weather site says we currently have "thunderstorm, light snow in vicinity". Weird!

Hmmm.... I think I'll go to bed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Let's go for a ride!"

"What kind of a sleigh is this, anyway?"

"How do we get this thing goin'?"

"Gotta be a starter here somewhere..."

"I think this post is in the way."

"Get up, Hairry! You're not much help layin' there!"

"Patches, you stay back there on the end to balance things."

Yeah, I'm fine (although you may wonder after seeing the above)... just behind on blogging. Because I really don't have much to blog about right now. And then yesterday morning when I was going to sit down and write this post (or whatever I could think of at the time), the power supply in my computer decided it was time to quit on me. So I got delayed again. 

If you have any other captions for those photos, feel free to leave them in the comments. The trailer is what Grandpa uses to haul the skid loader back and forth from here to the dairy once in a while. It seemed to make a good sunning spot the morning I took the pics.

And if you have any ideas of what I should blog about, feel free to mention that in the comments, too. What would you like to see more of? (Less of?) What do you like or dislike? I'll tell you what I like... comments! Comments are what keep a blogger going and enthused... (and the lack thereof sometimes makes me ask what I'm doing this for).

Okay, I'm done for today. Later, folks.......

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An oldie but goodie

Those of you who have been following my blog for 2 or 3 years will recognize my latest sewing project. I made these storage buckets out of Jess's fabrics to sell on Etsy. I still had a few cut out when we closed the shop but never did anything with them. Recently I decided to make one for myself to use for storing fabric scraps.

I designed the bucket myself back then. And although it's been nearly 2½ years since I've made one, it was kinda like riding a bike, y'know? This is the 63rd one I've made!!!

It's amazing how quick and easy it was to put together... seemed like a breeze compared to some of the things I've sewn since then. :)

Linking up to Amylouwho's Sew & Tell:

Monday, February 20, 2012


I mentioned in my post this morning that we could get "a little of the wet, white stuff". We sure did! And I think it qualifies as more than "a little". A lot of it has melted, because it's been just above freezing all day, but it's white all over out there... heavy, slushy, sloppy stuff.

For a while it came down in HUGE snowflakesglobs. Just look!

I hope it melts fast! The whiteness reminds me too much of the last two winters. I'm still preferring brown.

I'm sure our local mail carriers were glad for the holiday today!

Just soakin' up rays

What's this? A skunk?!

Nope.  Just Dots, napping in a nice sunny spot out of the wind.

This guy seemed to like the sunshine, too:

What a lovely "winter" we've been having. It barely qualifies as a winter! Sounds like we'll be getting a little of the wet, white stuff this afternoon, though. That's okay... we need the moisture.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Belated Valentine

Courtney wasn't here on Tuesday, because it was Valentine's Day and her daycare party was that day, which of course she didn't want to miss. We did a switcheroo and she came here yesterday instead. It worked out well for me, because being the last-minute person that I am, I didn't have her Valentine gift ready yet! Heheh.

Since I knew she'd get enough sweet treats from the parties at daycare and school, I wanted to give her something that wasn't candy. So I gave her breath mints instead!

Well, not exactly. I gave her a breath mints TIN.... one with a little surprise inside!

A bed! And it was occupied!

Yep, the bed contained a mouse (now named Squeaky). Squeaky has his very own teddy bear [now named Rainy (Raney?)].

(Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile may notice that the pillow even matches the ones I made for Courtney's daycare and for her dolls! She said: "Now I have 3 pillows... a large, a medium, and a small!")

I have to confess that the teddy bear wasn't finished by the time Courtney arrived on Thursday evening for her sleepover. That didn't matter... she was totally THRILLED with the bed and the mouse! I promised her there was one more part to the Valentine gift and that I would finish it after she went to bed so it would be ready for her in the morning. I wanted her to leave the mouse and tin out so I could take pics when I got it all done, but that was not to be... she insisted on sleeping with it. She promised the mouse could sleep in his bed so he wouldn't get all smooshed for the photo shoot the next day.

She didn't know what the extra part would be. She guessed maybe a house to put the bed in. Ha... not quite. But I think the teeny tiny teddy bear made her even happier than a house would have. Here she is first thing in the morning, still in her jammies, after having found the teddy waiting for her:

She LOVED them! She barely let them out of her hands all day long! Of course that made Grandma super happy, too. :)

I cannot take credit for designing any of it. Nope, it was a pattern I purchased from Larissa Holland of mmmcrafts (who also wrote the tutorial for the tooth fairy pillow I made). You can see her originals here, with links to purchase the pattern yourself if you want to make them for someone you love, too. It's a very well-written pattern, with lots of helpful tips for sewing something that tiny. I had fun making it! The only change I made was to add the hearts to the chests of the mouse and teddy bear, because of course they were Valentine gifts!

Linking up to Amylouwho's Sew & Tell:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nature's beauty

There hasn't really been much pretty stuff to take pictures of this winter, what with our lack of snow. (I'm NOT complaining!!) We did have some fog about 10 days ago, though, that left things very frosty, so that was rather pretty until it melted off later in the day (lovin' the warm temps we've been having, too!).

I took these first pics in the area that was dug up for the new well, where there's very little grass or anything. I thought the way the frost was arched on the blades of grass was rather interesting.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

The branches on the nearby lilac branches were pretty loaded with frost, too... on the north side:

This is what they looked like on the south side:

And here is what remained of a puddle on the driveway, after it had frozen overnight:

Just looking at it all from a distance, it seemed pretty dreary... but looking closely gives a whole new perspective!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fabric basket

I've been wanting some kind of a little basket to carry little things between my basement sewing room and upstairs once in a while. So rather than try to carry a bunch of stuff (thread, needles, scissors, whatever) in my hands and possibly drop things along the way (it's been done, believe me), I could just put them in it and have them all together.

I'd seen a tutorial for this little basket on about 3 different sources. It's been on my "pile of intentions" for quite a while.  I finally got around to making one. 

It was very easy to make. The hardest part was deciding which fabrics to use and what to put where. I thoroughly enjoyed matching up those little points and trying to get them 'just right' (it really wasn't hard).

I also enjoyed "fussy cutting" the tulips. (Did you hear that, Cindy?!) I think the perfectionist in me liked the challenge of it all. ;) Now I'm also wondering if there's a bit of 'quilter' in me coming out! Hmmm!

Anyway, the basket is little. It measures about 9½"x5"x6" tall. Here's some size perspective:

It's just right! However, the original tutorial, found here, was for an even smaller basket. I think I may have to try one of those soon, too, just for fun. The larger measurements were found on the FAQ page of the same blog. However, they were only correct if you also increased the seam allowances. I've emailed the author about that and suggested she change them. So be aware if you decide to try this basket. Just do the math (or ask me, Cindy). ;)

The print fabrics I used in my basket were from Jess's Outside Oslo Dawn collection. They look great in my turquoise sewing room! And the basket still qualifies me as a bag lady, I'd say. ;)

Linking up to amylouwho's Sew & Tell:

Friday, February 10, 2012

The mystery continues... BUT, a clue!

(If you haven't read my previous post, you should do that before you read this one, so you'll know what I'm talking about.)

This morning when I went out to feed the cats, I thought about bringing an extra Cool Whip bowl along, just in case. But I thought nah, nothing would take a Cool Whip bowl.

WRONG!! It was gone. Nowhere in sight. And it was so cold (minus 2° and minus 20-something wind chill) that I hated to have to run back to the house for another one. So I decided to hunt a bit. Lo and behold, I found it! Way back in a dark corner of the shed, next to the combine's corn head. Hurray, now I won't have to run back to the house! 

WRONG!! I got a little closer, and this is what I found... just look at it!!

That certainly wasn't a tongue-stuck-on-the-bowl problem! And Mark, I don't think Grandpa could do that work with his teeth. A nail, maybe, but...... Heheh. I don't think so.

Okay, I think we actually have two clues here: #1) Look how dirty it is. When I put that out there yesterday, it was brand spankin' clean. And cats don't make it dirty. They just drink.  #2) Since it was back by the corn head, I strongly suspect that's where I'll find my 2 missing stainless steel bowls. If only I could lift up that head. Will I actually have to wait till next fall when the corn's ready to combine in order to get my bowls back? *sigh*

Question #1:  Is it a 'coon?
Question #2:  How do I prevent this from happening again???  I do have a pretty good supply of Cool Whip bowls, but they won't last long at this rate!

Update!:  Grandpa found one of the stainless steel bowls tonight... as suspected, under the corn head.  Unfortunately, he left it by the food pans (where it belongs, but.... ). It remains to be seen whether it'll still be there in the morning. It's really cold out, though... maybe the 'coons will be hibernating... I HOPE!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Okay, whodunnit???

When I looked out the window this morning, I noticed this:

I actually took that picture last, so ignore my tracks in the frosty grass.  But notice below how it looks like something has scraped up grass and dragged it onto the snow on the left.

A closer look:

Then there's the grassy path to the culvert, also:

And a nice little pile on the snow:

(Click any photo to enlarge for a better look.)

Soooo.... what kind of a critter would be doing that, do you think? The snow is frozen too hard to see any tracks.

And a second mystery! I've been using a stainless steel water bowl for my cats outside. (I used to use Cool Whip bowls, but they tend to crack if there's quite a bit of water left and it freezes.) A few weeks ago, I went out to feed them one morning, and the water bowl was gone. Totally GONE. I looked everywhere, but found nothing. I happened to have another ss bowl, so I put that out. A few days later, I found it about 20 feet or so from where it was supposed to be. Now this morning, it too was GONE. Nowhere to be seen. Grrrr!

When the first bowl disappeared, I thought perhaps since it had just turned to some really cold temps, that an unknowing cat (or 'coon?) licked the bottom of the bowl and got its tongue stuck and ended up dragging the bowl off somewhere. But now I'm tending to not think that. Grandpa thinks a 'coon simply TOOK it. I think he might be right. What they plan to do with it, I have no clue. It just makes me mad.

Okay.... help me out here! What do YOU think happened in each of my mysteries? I need some expert opinions (or not so expert, too) here. Even a crazy wild guess would do. ;)  Let's hear from you. Mark? (Okay, I know you're really busy... you're off the hook.) Dale? Bart? (Yeah, I know you're out there lurking... it's time we hear from you!) Anybody else? Comments, please!!!! :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And the winner is......

(The winner of the dress, that is)...... Molly!

It fit close enough. :)

(Can you tell Courtney was still fighting that cold? Stuffy noses are no fun.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The party!

Courtney had her 5th birthday party last Saturday! Here's what she was wearing when I first got there. Methinks the girls had been playing a bit of dress-up.

Look at the cake Mommy made for her. She even made her own fondant. Wow, huh?! Courtney helped make some of the little balls decorating it.

Waiting to get the picture-taking underway (Grandma was already busy with her camera):

Cake, some of the food, and some of the cousins:

Did anybody see Carson up there? Let's look behind the cake. There he is!

Add a couple more cousins:

And finally it's time to blow out the candles!

Here are a few of the gift-opening shots.

(Click any photo or collage to enlarge.)

Did you see that huge jar of craft supplies?! She got other craft things, too. I think everybody knows about her creativity and how much she enjoys making things. There were also some things to put on her LeapPad, some Legos, a few clothes and a rainbow necklace. She's all set, for sure!  

I wonder what she'll be bringing along with her for me to play with today! She promised to bring some of her new stuff. I can't wait to play! :) Maybe we'll make something to show you.....

Update:  Welllll... I was SO disappointed... Courtney brought NONE of her new things along for me to play with! And she'd PROMISED!! ;(

All she brought was 2 dolls to try the new dress on. Luckily, it works pretty well for Molly.  Sorry, J&J!