Thursday, January 31, 2013

Glistening trees

The freezing rain we had a few days ago has made for some interesting decorations in the trees, especially when the sun came up and highlighted them this morning. These little icicles look like they should be hung on a Christmas tree.

Below is the same view, only my flash went off unexpectedly. It made for a little different look. I think I like it better.

Here's the other side of that tree, with more sparkles:

Behind the tree you can see the the sun glaring off the ice on the driveway:

Yeah, we have plenty of ice. It only got warm enough to begin melting the compacted snow, and now it's frozen hard into solid ice. 7°F below zero hard, in fact! This is what our driveway looks like at the turn coming up to the garage:

VERY slippery, especially with that little skiff of snow on top! :(  I don't look forward to backing out and making that turn when I have to go into town tomorrow. That ditch on the far side is pretty steep! But, I've made it on worse... like a smooth sheet of glare ice. Scary, though!!

Here's some more living room window frost from this morning. I especially like that "bush" or "mini forest" or whatever it is in the upper right portion of the picture:

I've been working on my camera classes. So much to learn... I don't know if this ol' brain is up for all that. The settings on my camera are different than those in the classes, so I'm having to study the manual really hard, but I'm pretty confused at this point. I'm REALLY appreciating all the automatic things my old camera does for me!

Last night I finally cut some fabric again. I haven't sewn a stitch since I made the little AG doll hobo bag. That's over 2 weeks ago - yikes! Okay, life's been a bit crazy here lately, and it's not done yet, so my focus is off, to say the least. But today I think I'll get a little sewing in. Creativity is great therapy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guess what's coming?

Somebody has a birthday coming very soon! Soon as in Friday, February 1st! Last week when Courtney was here, she decided to make a crown. Then suddenly she realized it could be a birthday crown... for herself! Here's a hastily-taken picture of her modeling it.

And here's a closer look at the crown itself. With the token 'eye', her favorite pose. :)

We got a party invitation in the mail... we'll be having fun this Saturday! I can't believe she's going to be SIX years old already!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Designs of a different sort

I've been playing. Sort of. Wasting time? Maybe a little. But it's been mostly while Courtney's been here and busy with something, so it's not like I should've been doing housework at the time or something. ;) Actually, this was supposed to be a project for myself AND Courtney, but I think she felt a little intimidated by it. Look what I did!

I colored it... all by myself! Except for the yellow centers that are done with a marker, the rest was done with colored pencils. I'm crazy, huh? (You might notice a line going across the bottom of the page. That's where my printer messed up, so I had to splice the pieces together.)

There is actually a Pattern and Design Coloring Book, by Jenean Morrison, which contains 50 pages of designs to color, and that's where the page came from. No, I didn't buy the book, but I did come across a web page where 2 of the pages were downloadable for free... right here, if you're interested. The other design I got looks like this, but I think it'll be awhile before I tackle it, since my project to-do list is overflowing. It was fun, though!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I can't stop doing this! I hope I'm not boring you with these similar posts. But there are so many lovely frost designs on our living room windows, and I'm finding their intricacy to be just fascinating! I'm also trying to do a little comparison between the new camera's shots and the old one's.

These first three shots are from the new camera. I don't have any special lenses for it (yet?), and so far it's just on Auto mode (+ macro setting).

The rest of the pics are from my old camera. Also Auto mode (+ macro).

Whaddya think? So far I like the old camera's shots better. But just wait'll I learn how to use the new camera! Ha!

Comparison aside, aren't those designs just amazing?!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sunset window decor

The sun was coloring the frost on the windows last evening and giving everything a beautiful glow. I couldn't resist grabbing the camera once again.

These are still from the old camera. I haven't had time to start the photo classes yet to learn the new one. It's been kinda busy around here lately.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We made donuts!

Courtney and I decided to make donuts yesterday after school. Here she is, working hard, stirring them up. She loves getting her picture taken nowadays, can you tell?

But she stirred on...

And on, diligently.

After the batter was mixed, I put it in a cupcake pen that I'd read was recommended for making it easier to fill the donut pans without making a mess. I didn't get any pics of that. I was pretty busy guiding the little hands that were squeezing the batter into the pans. Just click on that link, and you can see what one looks like. It worked quite well. It was easier than trying to pour the batter into the pans from a bowl. The only thing I didn't like about it is that you end up with quite a bit of batter left in the "pen", so either you have to reach in and scrape it out (which is not too easy to do) or it gets wasted. I did read a review that recommended spraying Pam into it before adding the batter so it slides out more easily. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Here is one of the two pans, which I got for Christmas. (Thanks N&S&C!) This was after removing the baked donuts. They came out very nicely, and the pans were a breeze to wash up afterwards!

Here are the donuts, in a photo taken very quickly with poor lighting:

Here's the donut tester:

I think this is a smile of somewhat-satisfaction:

Conclusion from the tester: They needed some sprinkles. :)

I thought they were pretty good, although not exactly like fried-in-oil donuts. They're a bit cakey, yet denser than cake or a cupcake. I suppose a glaze and the requested sprinkles would've added something, but I was just wanting to test the donut itself first. Maybe next time. I used the recipe that came with the pans for these. I've found a few other recipes that I want to try. We'll see how they go.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby, it's COLD outside!

This was my sewing room window view around noonish yesterday. It had gotten to -10°F the night before, and it barely got above zero during the day. The window never did clear off, even with the sun shining on it.

Now, if I had my new camera figured out, these pictures would've been much nicer, I'm sure. But I thought the frost was interesting, anyway. This is to the left of the flowers:

To the right:

And at the bottom right:

The gerberas themselves made for a nice silhouette:

(Click on any pic to enlarge.)

There had been FIVE blooms, but I'd had to cut one off that morning, because it was finished. There are no yellow ones right now, but a number of buds are coming.

I did at least figure out how to take a basic picture with the new camera... and get it into the computer. Here is one of my first photo attempts:

Not bad for just experimenting, huh? She, of course, had to be 'right there' as I was figuring things out. At least she's pretty photogenic, even if she doesn't sit still very well. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Look what I bought!

Look at my new (to me) camera! I got it yesterday, delivered to my door, on a Sunday, even! It's a Panasonic Lumix FZ20 SLR camera.

Nope, I didn't pay any special delivery charges to have it delivered on Sunday. I actually bought it from a relative and she brought it yesterday. I really got the best end of the deal... not only did I not have to pay much for it, but I got the bonus of getting a visit with its former owner and her mom! Awesome!

Hopefully, sometime in the future, you'll be seeing some wonderful photographs that I've taken with it. Notice I did not say 'near' future. I'm thinking it's gonna be a while, as I know nothing about SLR or DSLR cameras! I have a lot to learn! However, I've also bought an online photography class to learn from. That was another great deal... a $199 value for only $25! I love Groupon!! I'm excited! And my pile of intentions is growing exponentially... yikes!! ;)

(By the way, if any of you want to sign up for Groupon deals, which is free, I'd appreciate it if you'd do it through me, as I'd gain a few Groupon dollars that way. Just send me an email, and I'll give you the info.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend bonus

For all you sunset lovers out there... Friday evening's sunset:

(Click to enlarge.)

Did you notice the standing water at the bottom center of the photo? Yep, we've had some 40-degree days recently! However, it's down to minus 13°F tonight and minus 14°F tomorrow night. Need I say brrrrrr?!

Friday, January 18, 2013

More tree sightings

Remember this winter view from last week?

Yesterday I had a different view of black objects in a nearby tree:

Did you notice them both? I like how the bottom one shows up so contrastingly black! I stepped out the door and got some shots from a little bit closer:

I guess they were enjoying the nice, spring-like day!

Later, on the deck... Rusty and the bottom tree-dweller (Miss Black):

Scoot and two more blacks (Mr. Black [the upper tree-dweller] and little Hissy Sissy [who is now known only as Sissy because she doesn't hiss at us anymore]):

If only it were spring to stay. Word from the National Weather Service, though, says it's going to get down to about 12°F BELOW ZERO Sunday night! The cats will have to be snuggling together then instead of climbing trees!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Looky what I got!

Since Jess mentioned on her blog post yesterday something that she and Alex got me for Christmas (that I'd put on my most-wanted list), I thought I'd show you!

Yep, they're purse frames! Here they are again, opened up (although opened backwards, since they wouldn't stay open otherwise):

And with them came the glue to hold the fabric in with:

I've never tried this kind of bag before, but now I'm all set! I've found lots of tutorials for making them... I just have to decide what style I want to do, and choose fabrics, of course, which is usually the hardest part of all. :) Jess shows some examples of some really cute framed purses in her post, plus where to see more and a source for buying the frames and glue if you're interested. So I won't be redundant and give you links, too.

I'm sure my first attempts won't be anything as fancy as some of those. I'd better practice with 'basic' first. They're supposed to be a quick project. Let's see how long I can make them take. Ha! I will surely show you when I'm done!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

American Girl doll fashion accessories

Oh, boy... I had so much fun making this project! So much fun, in fact, that I stayed up way too late last night (but not quite into this morning) finishing it up, because it was so dang cute I just couldn't quit until it was done! The farther along I got with it, the more I smiled, and I was just chuckling by the time I got to the end. I love it!

Every girl needs fashion accessories, right? Particularly bags! And of course if you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know I'm a bag lady. When I came across this pattern for an American Girl sized "Hobo Bag", I just knew I had to make one for Courtney's "Marie Grace". Here it is!

Yes, it's a very little bag. Note the size compared to the clothespin:

But it's fully lined!

Wouldn't you just love a bag like that? I hope Courtney and Marie Grace do! (It might not go too well with the outfits she has right now, but I don't think Courtney will mind. And I hope to correct that situation soon, perhaps with a nice pants and top or something. ;) )

Sooo... what does an AG doll put in a brand new bag? I'm sure Courtney will think of something. She loves tiny things, and she has plenty of them. However, I thought a wallet would be in order. A very tiny wallet, of course! One like this:

It's even made of laminated fabric! (Bet you never thought I'd find such a tiny use for those scraps, huh Jess?) And it sports a vintage button from my grandma's stash:

Well, what's a wallet without money? An empty wallet. No fun. It needs money! Like this:

Yes, "real" money! LOTS of money!

Did you notice that last bill?! Here's a closer look:

Woohoo! Lots of money, indeed!! Here's how I printed it. Front sides and back sides, perfectly lined up and printed on one sheet of paper:

Pretty cool, huh? Don't you wish you could make money like that? Hmm... does it make me a counterfeiter if I print it that small? I hope not! ;)

I can't take credit for any of the above except the sewing. The fabrics, of course, are by none other than Jessica Jones herself. The bag and wallet patterns, plus the money file, come from You have to jump through a couple of hoops to get them, like sign up for their newsletter and 'Like' them on Facebook, but I was happy to do so. There are other little free projects on the site, some sewing tips and tricks, plus there are some really awesome patterns that you can purchase. What a fun and useful site for doll lovers (or for grandmothers who love to sew for their granddaughters' dolls)!

I can't wait to see Courtney's reaction this afternoon!! :)

Linking up to AmyLouWho's Sew & Tell: