Thursday, February 28, 2013

Crafting with Courtney

I've been trying to get in as much camera practice as I can, using different settings for various lighting situations. Courtney and I made these little people, using pretty tapes for clothes, on Monday after school, so I decided to see if I could get the colors to be true without using the flash in the not-the-best incandescent lighting. Not perfect, but fairly close:

Of course I'm still kinda slow at figuring out the settings, and she was getting impatient to get at playing "school" with the little people. She was being a little less than cooperative, and we ended up with somewhat of a photo bomb. ;)

Here they are, all together... all set for "school":

This look says it all: "PLEASE, Grandma... can we be done with the picture taking?"

Okay. Enough of that. Poor little girl. ;) We played lots of school.

Speaking of school, I love how she's learning to read and write by sounding out words. Here's a little note and drawing she made for me. Unfortunately the pen wasn't working the best.

Can you tell what she's written next to the drawing? C'mon, sound it out! It's perfectly written phonetically!

Maybe you can't quite see the letters. They are: i s k r e m. Does that help?

A clue: both vowels have the long sound.

Need another clue? They describe the drawing!

Answer: "Ice cream", of course! Silly inconsistent English language, anyway. All words should be spelled phonetically, right? :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New babies and old(er) babies

Remember these cows? They've started having their babies! The first one was born on February 17th, which was kinda cool because it was Grandpa's mom's 91st birthday. :) There have been 3 more born since then. I decided yesterday was a good a day to go over and get some photos of them, since Courtney could go along and see them, too. It was another foggy day, making the lighting in the barns extra dim, so I was extremely glad for my camera classes, because I was able to get some fairly decent photos without even using a flash. No spooky eyes this time - yay!

Here's the first calf we came to. The babies learned quickly that the fresh, dry straw in the stalls makes for a pretty nice bed. Their moms seem a bit reluctant to go into the stalls, though, and prefer lying in the aisles. I suppose it's because they used to be range cows and aren't used to closed-in spaces.

Here's a closer look. This one has a cute white face, making it a "black baldy".

This is Mama looking on.

Grandpa decided to get the little one up so I could hopefully get a closer shot with the camera. Mama wasn't so sure she liked that idea, but she only watched closely.

Here we are... pretty cute, huh?

This is the only one with a white face so far.


Here's a younger black one with its mama:

And another black mother/calf pair:

I even got a little video clip of "lunch time". Look at that tail go! :)

In that same blog post, you saw these guys as babies. Have they ever grown since then!

That barn is looking pretty full now!

I wanted so bad to get a good picture of this red guy, but he wouldn't stand still for anything. So you have what's called a "blurred motion" effect in this pic. :) But at least you get to see his pretty color.

That's the progress so far. There are many more babies to come... like 167 or something like that!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So white

It was an awfully white world yesterday morning. It was very foggy, and the trees were covered in hoar frost once again, so along with the 4 inches of new snow we got Thursday night, everything was white, white, and more white.

I didn't realize there could be so many different types of frost formations. These new ones were kind of globby... like popcorn with teeny spikes.

These were a little harder to photograph, probably mostly because of the lighting. Too much fog still in the air.

The fog hung around all day long. It did leave for a while last night, as I couldn't see any when I went to bed, but it was back again this morning when I got up. When I went out to feed the cats, I noticed the frost looked a bit different again. I considered going back for the camera, but decided I have better things to do with my time today. Use your imagination: onto slightly enlarged popcorn globs, lengthen the teeny spikes a wee bit, blunt their ends, and then give them some itsy-bitsy popcorn globs of their own, keeping the whole spike to about a quarter-inch long. Now you know what they look like. ;)

I've had enough white now. Blue sky is so much better!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A bit after the fact, but....

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony... a.k.a. "The Oscars"... was on TV last night. I'm not such a big fan of all that hoopla, although it's pretty interesting sometimes to see what the ladies wear. ;) I was actually more interested this year in seeing a certain pre-Oscars program.

It was LIVE with Kelly & Michael, which aired last Friday.

It's not really my kind of show. In fact, I never watch TV. But I did on Friday.

Among other Oscar-related topics, they were talking about how to throw a great Oscars party. Not exactly my 'thing', either.

However, I had a special reason for watching last week. Jess's Oscar Bingo Game was featured on the show! Yep, she (well, her blog name, that is) was mentioned on live TV!

We knew it was going to be on. Well, at least we hoped it was going to be on last Friday, as Jess had been told it was. But then, she'd been told that it was going to be on the week before, too, and it wasn't. And I wasted a whole hour watching the show for nothing. But this week we had a little more hope.

So I watched. I also had my camera all focused in, had taken a few practice shots (above), and I was all ready to get a few snaps of Jess's part in the show. Here it came... they were talking about parties. AHA! They mentioned playing bingo, they mentioned "a great little blog called How About Orange", and there on the table was a copy of one of Jess's Bingo cards! I pushed the button to take a photo............. and my camera said: "Memory Card Full". Aaaaaaccckkk!!!

So I quickly deleted a few pics and did manage to get a couple of not-too-clear shots.

That was Jess's Bingo card on the right (and one in Kelly's hand). Here's another blurry shot zoomed in:

At least I got a couple pics, even though I was so distracted with the camera that I didn't exactly catch all of what they said. Ha!

BUT... if you go to the show's web site, you can see clips of the whole show. Jess's part is on the one called "Oscar Party Ideas!" I can't guarantee it'll still be available when you read this, though, as I would assume they'll put up new clips of the most recent show once it's aired. Jess wrote kind of a fun blog post after the show aired on Friday. For a giggle, be sure to check out the links to what Kelly and Michael were secretly thinking! ;)

We didn't tell many people about this beforehand, since we weren't sure it was going to air. It's a good thing we didn't the first time around! So only a few were disappointed that time. ;)

Did any of you happen to catch the show? Did any of you watch The Oscars last night?

Friday, February 22, 2013

So busy

Courtney's concentrating pretty hard on something on her LeapPad, accompanied by Marie Grace. Josie is... hmm... the teacher?

Marie Grace got the glasses for Courtney's birthday. Aren't they cool? She looks so studious! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A tiny heart for a little heart

I found something that Courtney can put in the heart pouch that I made for her for Valentine's Day. I was looking in a drawer for a bookmark for myself, and I came across this one that someone had given me many years ago:

I thought it would be appropriate to pass it along to Courtney, and I figured she'd think it was pretty cool. She did. She even took it for "Show & Tell" at school the next day, because she needed something light and small enough to fit in her hand. Perfect! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Yesterday morning it was below zero, and the winds had howled all night, so there was still some snow in the air after the sun came up. The sundogs were brilliant. These photos don't begin to do them justice. I wish I had used the old camera, because it does do a better job in some instances, and I think the colors would've shown up truer in these pictures.

You'll just have to imagine the huge, bright sun in between the "dogs".

We have more 'winter' on the way. Not only is it well below zero now, we have a winter storm watch for Thursday/Friday, and then the potential for an even worse storm beginning Sunday. But I guess as long as the power stays on and I can still sew, I can't complain. ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Falling flooff

As I mentioned awhile back, I'm taking an online photography class to learn to use my SLR camera. It's proving to be very informative, and this ol' brain is doing its best to take everything in... and REMEMBER it (that's the hard part). A recent lesson was on using a faster shutter speed to "freeze motion". As I was outside freezing fingers taking the pics for yesterday's post, a light breeze was picking up, and the flooffy frost began falling from the trees. I thought it'd be good practice to try to catch some of it with the camera. I think I was pretty successful... here are the results (click to enlarge):

I should've tried a slower shutter speed, too, to give a blurred effect to the falling frost for comparison, but it was just TOO COLD to stay out there any longer!!

Monday, February 18, 2013


It was a white world again Saturday morning. I thought, "No, I've taken enough frost photos!" But looking out the window, I could tell it was a very different kind of frost from the spiky stuff I showed you last week. 

It was also very cold out, like about 8°F. I thought, "Okay, I'll take the camera along... and to avoid freezing my fingers off, I'll just take ONE photo, to show the difference in the frost."

You know me better than that, right? I can't take just ONE photo of something beautiful!!  So here y'are, folks... that white world. Click on any photo to enjoy it larger.

This frost was very light, flooffy, and delicate. It seemed to be layered in individual flakes.

Yet it was very thick.

Even the overhang of our roof was decorated with the flakey bits:

This icicle was also covered with it, and I thought it'd make a cool picture. Unfortunately my camera focused on the tree behind it instead (maybe because it was almost too bright out to see the monitor... or because my fingers were so numb I couldn't push the buttons correctly), but I thought it made for an interesting look, anyway:

My favorite photo of the day:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Here he(?) is again

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is what I made for Courtney for Valentine's Day. The tutorial for the heart pouch was from Erin Erickson, and the idea for adding the strap came from Debbie Jeske.

The lining matches part of the strap.

I was going to stick this little hologram card, which is about the size of a credit card, into it, but it's such a tiny pouch that it wouldn't fit!

What to put inside?! I decided on this little zipper pull. I always get a free zipper pull when I order from ZipIt, and this one just happened to be the right color and even has almost little heart-shaped designs on it. Perfect!

I delivered it to Courtney after school yesterday. She was scheduled to come here today, but plans got changed, and I didn't want to wait till our next Courtney/Grandma day on Monday. So here she's modeling it, the purse version:

And the necklace version:

I hope she has fun with it... and finds some very tiny things to put inside! :)