Friday, March 29, 2013

Amaryllis problem

I was late bringing my amaryllis bulbs out this year. Procrastination, out-of-sight/out-of-mind, and laziness were the main reasons. Laziness in that I figured the later I brought them out, the less time I'd have to be watering them in the house before setting them outside for the summer. So they're just now beginning to bloom. 

This is what they're supposed to look like:

(March 2, 2010 - Courtney, age 3)

However this one, my oldest one that I've had for 33 years (!), has a definite problem this year, which it's never had before. The flower stalk is not only very short, but it's quite deformed.

It as this rust-colored stuff on the stalk, and the stalk has not only split open lengthwise, it has also split the other way, too. See where it looks like there's a big chunk out of it? It just split apart right there.

Something kept it from growing properly. I've only done a quick search for "amaryllis rust" which told me that it could be a fungus or mites. I need to investigate further.

Whatever the problem is, it didn't stop it from blooming!

It was a little hard to find a place to set it for picture-taking.

You can see there's a new flower stalk coming by the leaves. I wonder if that'll be affected, too.

One of my other bulbs is affected, too, but not as badly. It'll be blooming soon. My third one looks like it won't be blooming at all. It might be because it has a "baby" bulb attached to it. It's been there a couple of years or more, so maybe that means it's time to divide them. I've read that you're supposed to leave the new bulbs attached for 4 years before separating them.

They've had little rusty spots on them for many years, but there has never been any noticeable damage until this year. I wonder if it was because I brought them out so late (I doubt it), or if it had something to do with the weather last summer, or what. If anybody has any great information for me, please share!

Update: For anyone googling about this problem, I thought I'd let you know that I did nothing to treat it, and I am happy to report that the following year there was absolutely no sign of any of the rust problem or splitting on any of my plants. See this post.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Because some of you asked...

I thought I'd share with you the results of my final photo assignment for my camera classes. I sent in these two photos:

About the Courtney one, my "tutor" said:

  • "Nice job using the white card to get the good looking color.  This stimulation is a hard one since you have a mixture of colors from the lights; there's cooler light coming threw the window which is blue and there's warmer light coming from a lamp.  The lights makes this image real and stand out; makes it feel like I'm in the room looking at this little girl with a missing tooth smiling back at me.  It's great when you're able to have the viewer make a connection with your images."

(Note that all misspellings, typos, etc., are his. This was sent to me at 11:39 Saturday night, which was unusual, since the others I've gotten had all been during the work week. He must've been working overtime and tired. ;)  His previous correspondences were better written.)

And about the frost one:

  • "Great job making the background soft, this really makes the frost/snow flake become the focal point stand out in the image so we can see all the beautiful little details and.  Your color balance is really nice here too; it's cooler so the blue tone really gives the feeling of the scene being cold.  I'm not sure what program you're using on your computer to work on your images, but I would see if you could retouch out a few specs of dirt here and the water streaks on the on the top; it's a bit distracting and it would make the image pop more."

He doesn't like my dirty window! Hahaha! Actually, I hadn't noticed the spots myself (maybe I'm just too used to seeing them? Did YOU notice them?), and I also didn't know we were allowed to edit the images we sent in. However, I had hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button in Picasa on the frost pic, which mainly added contrast (where that blue came from, I don't know, but it's in the unedited photo also). I guess I wasn't "lucky" enough for Picasa to wash my window, though!

He gave me a score of 9 out of 10 points. I was pleased with that! Now all I have left is to leave some feedback on the website, and I'm all done... except for lots of practicing so I don't forget what I learned! Where is the pretty springtime green outdoors to take pics of???

Wow, that's the first class I've taken in 40+ years! I feel like a kid again! A graduate, even! Anybody wanna throw me a graduation party? Okay, maybe not a graduate... it was only one class. But I feel good in having this ol' brain still able to learn new stuff. ;)

Now I need to take some new pics (or at least choose some old ones) for a new blog header, because I'm getting really sick of this old one. Besides, it has the wrong camera on it now!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Hi again. Sorry for the unpredicted absence. Life's like that sometimes, isn't it? Quite unpredictable. That's what this week's been like... unpredicted craziness. Those of you regular readers that I know personally know what it's about, and I'll leave it at that.

Now I'm catching up on some things. I'll have some fun photos coming soon (after I take them - ha). But for now I'll just show you what Courtney and I worked on for our craft project on Monday. Yes, Monday instead of Tuesday. That was part of the unpredicted.

We found a fun printable. Part of it was a big egg shape, which we printed on cardstock and Courtney decorated. The other part was Disney characters and fun shapes which we printed on regular paper, colored, cut out and she glued to the egg for decorations. Here she is, just finishing up with the glue stick (which was when I remembered to grab the camera).

And this is how it turned out. With her signature 'eye', of course. ;)

Betcha can't even tell which ones she colored and which ones I did. She does a great job!

You can find this project and some other fun Easter coloring pages here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Another contender

Here's another photo I took as a possibility to submit for my last camera class assignment. I ended up not using it, but I think it's a pretty cool photo, anyway. This is my pretty boy Rusty. It's not too often that a cat will pose so nicely like that. He had been doing the 'peeping tom' thing in the window, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera to catch that. Isn't he beautiful, though?

His mama was doing a little peeping herself, so I snapped a pic of her, too. She's such a lovely cat. She's also Josie's mama, although from a different year than Rusty.

I did submit my final photos for the class, just to get it over with. I don't think it really matters how good they were... not to me, anyway.  It's not like my "grade" is valuable for anything. I accomplished what I wanted to from the classes, and that was to learn how to use my SLR camera. The classes were great, well-written and easy to understand, and I was pleased with my results. I still need to practice a lot, and it'll be fun doing that once there are green and growing things outside to take photos of... if spring ever really does arrive, that is.

The photos I ended up sending in are the one of Courtney missing her tooth (over on the right sidebar) and one of the last frost ones (see those comments for which one). It'll be interesting to find out what my "tutor" has to say about them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Since it still appears to be winter...

I'll show you some wintery shots I took a couple weeks ago that I never got posted. This was a scene I saw from the bedroom window early that morning. That little trail on the right goes all the way around the far end of the asparagus row and starts back this way on the other side.

See that messy-looking spot just to the right of the trail below?

There was another bigger spot on the other side of the asparagus... quite a pile, in fact.

There were also some spots like that near the sandbox.

Interesting, huh?  Although there are some cat tracks there, too, I believe the ones over by the asparagus, at least, were made by a squirrel. It must've been searching for food it had buried last fall.

Or does someone have a better guess? Dale?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Another harbinger, Dale!

Happy first day of spring! It's finally here. According to the calendar, anyway. You'd sure never know it by our temperature this morning!

I took these photos last Friday. Surely tulips peeking out are a sign of spring, right? The way they must be shivering out there right now, though, probably makes them wish they'd waited a while.

Right next to them was still some snow. I thought it was interesting how these maple leaves had melted right down into that snow, leaving a very clear imprint. It's a little hard to see the depth in these pics, though. I should've taken that bigger leaf out and then snapped another pic. Hindsight is so great, y'know.

That was the second pic of the leaves. The first one looked like this:

That's what happens when the camera's white balance setting isn't right. It does make for kind of a cool effect, though, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This is so wrong!

I found these forming on our windows yesterday afternoon! It was 6°F when I got up this morning! Boo, hiss!!! And brrrrr!

I was trying to get a good shot for my final camera class assignment. I'm not sure whether I'll use any of these or not, but which one do you like best?

Tomorrow's the first day of spring. Will someone inform Mother Nature of that? Meanwhile, I think I'll go sew some more doll clothes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Le Marais Coat

Remember this picture I teased you with on Friday? Of course you remember! You've been holding your collective breaths in anticipation of more, right? (Well, maybe one or two of you have.)

Yes, it's a hat... and now you get to see the rest of it. You must pretend that little red bottle is a head, okay? It was the quickest thing I could grab when taking the pics. And hey, the colors are right!

The hat can be worn with the brim up or down. It's also reversible!

What would a little girl (particularly an American Girl doll) need to go with a hat? A bag, of course. And since I'm a bag lady, I was easily able to make a tote bag to go with the hat. For the little girl's library books, I'm thinking. The bag is also reversible, and is solid red inside.

Is there anything else a little girl would need to go with a hat and a bag? How about a coat?

A nice, warm corduroy coat...

...with princess seams, even!

A fully lined coat, of course. With a lining to match the hat and bag.

So here you have the whole ensemble:

The coat is the Le Marais coat, made from a pattern I bought from Liberty Jane Patterns. I've found and downloaded so many free patterns that I certainly wasn't going to buy any doll clothes patterns! Until I came across the Liberty Jane website. Oh, my... you can't imagine all the adorable doll clothes patterns they have! I may have bought a couple more. ;)

There were 20 pattern pieces for the coat! All but 2 of them were cut double, so that made for 38 fabric pieces total! It wasn't hard to sew, but time consuming because it was sew/press/topstitch a lot, plus some hand sewing on the lining. But well worth my efforts, I think. I'd make another.

The hat is the Reversible Bucket Hat from I don't remember for sure, but I think I got the free pattern by signing up for their newsletter. If you can't find it but would like it, email me. It states right on the pattern that it can be shared freely. It was very easy to sew.

By now you're surely wondering what all the waiting was for! Why did I keep you in suspense for a whole weekend?

Because an outfit just isn't right without the full picture (pun intended)! It needs a model, right? Well, here she is... Marie Grace, warm and beautiful in her new coat and hat, and sporting the new bag!

Courtney was... um... ever-so-helpful in dressing Marie Grace and setting up for the photo shoot. ;)

Of course it wouldn't be a proper photo shoot without a picture also of my little assistant, so here she is, all ready for bed last night, after we'd shared some pizza.

It was a little on the dark side for photo taking, and that combined with the green background made for pics that also have a greenish tint, but since I was trying to hurry, and more importantly, since it was St. Patrick's Day, we'll go with the green. ;)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just a peek

It's all done! Sorry for the teaser, but this is all you get until I can connect with my little model. ;)

Hopefully I'll have more photos by Monday. I can't wait to show you!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

'Nuther quick update

It did it! It ripened! It took a whole 3 weeks, but it finally ripened! Yep, the other lemon plum. It's so pretty, and it smells soooo good! This one's yours, Grandpa (if you want it, that is... if not, I'll be glad to eat it for you)

Here it is next to a pear, just for a little size comparison:

I have a couple of sewing completions, and I'm working on another. I need a model before I can photograph and blog them, though. A very little model. ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just a quick update

It's gone!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Behind the scenes

I've been sewing and not taking many photos lately. So I'm just going to give you a photoless post today.

First off, I want to thank all of you who've left comments at one time or another (and better yet, many times). Bloggers really, REALLY like comments! Keep 'em comin'!!

Now I'm going to show you a couple of comments that were left that you haven't gotten to see (I hope). The spam comments. I don't get a lot of them, and Blogger is pretty good at filtering them out, but it doesn't get them all, so I have to check each one that comes through in my email to see whether or not it's been published on here as a legitimate comment. It's a pain.

Here are a couple of examples. This first one was actually quite nice, but of course it contained a link back to 'wherever' that I'm not including here. I NEVER click on those links.

  • I am really impressed along with your writing abilities as well as with the
    layout for your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize
    it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high
    quality writing, it is rare to peer a nice blog like this one these days.
Here's another that gave me a chuckle. Please don't take it personally! ;)
  • I leаve a гesρonѕе when I especiallу
    enjoy а article on a ѕite or I hаve sοmething tο contгіbute to the сonversatiοn.
    It is a result of thе sincerness communicated in thе article I browsed.
    Anԁ on thiѕ post "So busy". I was actuallу exciteԁ enough to
    post а thought :-) Ι ԁo have 2 questions for
    you іf you do not mind. Coulԁ it
    bе јust me or do a few of the сomments look like they аre left by brain dead indіvidualѕ?

    :-P And, if yоu are ρostіng at additіonal
    onlіne sitеs, I would like to keep up with everything new you hаve
    tο poѕt. Cοulԁ you list all of уour publiс ρages lіκe уοuг tωitteг feeԁ, Facebooκ pаgе or linκedin

Yeah... junk. Could be worse. A LOT worse. You should see the tons of junk Jess gets!!!

Okay... I've got a lot of sewing to do. I'll be showing you some completions before too long. But if I don't post some days, just assume I'm sewing. To get something done means something else doesn't get done, unfortunately... so consider yourselves forewarned. ;) Then again, if something cool comes along to take pics of, I'll for sure show you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Panorama puddle play

It rained all day Saturday. The areas of water standing in our front yard kept growing and growing. I could no longer capture either whole "lake" in one camera shot... from the windows, that is, and I wasn't about to go out in the cold rain with my camera. So I decided to play with my panorama program again. 

This first picture was actually taken with four shots, then I used the program on my computer to blend them together. It turned out very well, except for the slight bending of the deck railing, which couldn't be helped.

These pics don't really look like much until you enlarge them, though. Click on them to get the full view! That's a lot of water!

This second pic was made from 3 shots:

The water in the pic just above was up onto the driveway and seeping over it a bit by the end of the day. That's a first! Speaking of firsts, though, I also saw my first robin of the year late that afternoon!

By yesterday morning the water was all frozen, and it remains so today. It's cold again! Poor robin.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


It's a good thing we had a day of sunshine yesterday to charge me up a little, because this is what it looks like around here today:

It's been raining for quite a while.

These guys don't look too happy, either, do they?

Brrr! Look closely and you can see the streaks of rain coming down:

At least it's moisture, which is badly needed. But it sure is messy out there. And sooo dreary. I think I need a nap............