Tuesday, April 30, 2013

They got a trim

Grandpa and his farming brothers arrived yesterday morning with a chain saw to clean up the broken mess of the trees on our lawn. This ash tree looks much improved although bare in places.

They got rid of the biggest branches. I began working on the mess of twigs in the afternoon.

The ground was covered with little branches and twigs like this.

I managed to get everything picked up there. That's a lotta sticks!

The guys trimmed the poor maple tree, too. It looks better....

... and reminds me of an elephant. :)

I just barely got started raking under it. There are a lot more branches there than there were under the ash. It's gonna take a while. Maybe I can bribe convince Courtney to help me. Hmm... how can I turn this into a "craft project"? ;)

Looking up, I noticed this baltimore oriole nest from a couple years ago survived all the ice and falling branches. Pretty amazing builders, those orioles are!

While I was taking pics, these big birds tried sneaking by in the background.

Did you notice how green the grass is getting?! It'll slow down, though. It's gonna get cold again. Bah! The only good part of that is that it'll delay mowing a little longer. I won't mind that at all.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Courtney's first prom

For the last several years, our local women's group has sponsored a Father-Daughter prom. It's always held the day after the high school prom, to make use of the decorations. This year was Courtney's and her daddy's first time attending. It couldn't have been a nicer day for all those little bare shoulders - it topped out at 84°!

This is the walkway for the Grand March. I was seated directly in front of it, which was nice, but I was a ways up in the bleachers, and it was kind of dark, so the pics aren't as good as I'd have liked them to be. Oh, well....

I don't know what the theme for the h.s. prom was, but it must've had something to do with butterflies. There were a lot of them.

Here are Courtney and Daddy, way off in the distance from me, waiting their turn for the Grand March.

Okay, here they come....

Daddy was really nervous... look at that sweat stain on his shirt!

Oh, wait... it was only a shadow. In the next shot it moved to his arm to look like a burn scar. Ha!

Here they are, posing for 2 seconds for photos. No retakes here. ;)

There was time after that for a brief visit with the couples before the rest of us got kicked out for the big dance. Here's my best shot of Mommy, Courtney and Daddy. Sorry, Daddy... you're out of focus, but I like the pic, anyway. :)

Then Daddy made an "oops". He caught Courtney's heel with his shoe, so there were a few tears. But at least here you get to see her pretty wrist corsage that matches her dress so perfectly!

Everybody tried to cheer Courtney up again... but she milked it for all it was worth. Heheh.  Daddy finally convinced her to go out on the dance floor with him.

Okay, so he had to 'hold' her while dancing. Note the pout. ;)

But then I think it got to feeling pretty good, snuggling in Daddy's arms.

So Grandma and her camera left. Ahh... kids. ;)

While I was waiting for my pair to take their turn, I did a lot of practice shots on other couples, to make sure I had the focus, etc., set right. I found the outfits of the daddies rather interesting. There were everything from full suits, to cowboy hats and boots...

... to faded jeans and caps... to pink ties and matching sunburned cheeks (yes, it was 75° and sunny on Sat., which I'm sure a lot of daddies took advantage of to get rid of downed tree branches, etc.).

But I think this guy gets the prize for... something... maybe "busiest daddy"? He brought FOUR daughters to the prom. He literally had his hands full!!

All in all, it was nice... and hopefully a good daddy/daughter bonding time. ;)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturday observations

We had an absolutely glorious spring day yesterday... blue sky, gentle breeze, and it topped out at 75°! The urge to grab the camera and capture interesting views overcame me, and now I'll share with you what I observed.

The lilac bushes are ready to pop into green leaves:

A cat was on the ball... a robin was not:

Our maple tree has lost so many branches due to winter storms in the last few years, but this year's ice storm did the most damage ever.

(If you noticed that spot of color in the background behind the tree, that was some
 of my laundry on the clothesline. It was too nice a day to NOT hang things out!)

The tree lost BIG branches this time. So sad.

(Those black spots on the bare wood are flies.)

The rhubarb is ready to burst out:

But there was still plenty of snow left in places.

That glaring fleshy-white photo bomb in the foreground of the next pic was intentional. I wanted to show you that I was out checking the snow with BARE arms! :)

Most of the snow is gone from the fields, thankfully.

My tulips suffered no damage from the snow and cold temps. They're doing nicely.

Lastly are two photos of a puddle on our driveway. Do you see what I noticed?

Here's another look:

Yep, the bottom of the puddle was covered with bird tracks.

That was yesterday. Today should be warm again, then it's downhill from there. Down so far, in fact, that the 's' word is in the forecast again. Hopefully nothing measurable, though!

Coming up tomorrow... pretty prom pics (if all goes as planned). Daddy's taking Miss Courtney to the Father-Daughter prom this afternoon! Way to go, Daddy!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kindergarten program

Courtney was in her spring kindergarten program yesterday. We (Mommy, Daddy, other Grandpa and I) were in the balcony in a semi-dark auditorium... not a good setting for picture-taking.  But I had my SLR camera along and actually managed to get some fairly decent shots (and a lot of awful ones, too), although it took me most of the program to get the focus and lighting right. The few I took of the first graders afterwards were much better. Of course.

How's this for a bored-looking lineup... waiting for the program to begin? :)

Okay... time to perk up!

Singing one of the songs....

... and a couple more in action:

This last shot is on their way out of the auditorium. Courtney looked so sad... I think because she couldn't see us where we were sitting, and she may have thought we didn't make it to her program. We connected up afterwards, though (and even got to see the newly hatched chicks in her classroom), and she came home with me!

The kids were all so cute!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crazy Josie

Josie hasn't been in the spotlight much lately, so here's a whole post dedicated to her. :)

This seems to be her favorite position for eating. She paws at her bowl (and I hear it going "clunk, clunk") until she spills some food out, then she eats it off the floor. It seems to be too much work to sit up and eat. Whatta brat goof!

Here's another of her favorite poses. I think I'm disturbing her a bit here:

Courtney was teaching her how to do "high five":

I think she needs a few more lessons. ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More birds

Speaking of confused birds (comments on previous post), I'll bet these blackbirds have also been wondering what's going on with our crazy weather. I took these photos nearly two weeks ago, when the blackbirds were showing up by the hundreds. This was before the last couple of horrible snow dumps. I just thought these made for some kinda cool pics.

This was way back when most of the 'winter' snow was gone, and there was plenty of bare ground so the birds could find food. Those front couple of birds are starlings, most of the rest are blackbirds.

At least they haven't headed back south. When the sun is shining, like yesterday, they're singing like it's really spring!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Knock, knock. Who's there?

Last Friday I was in my sewing room, getting my exercise on the NordicTrack, reading blogs or something on the iPad, as usual. I was very surprised to suddenly hear someone knocking at the window! Especially since there was a big snow drift right outside the window. Who would bother to tromp through the snow to get to the window to knock on it? Who even knew I was down there???

I looked up and saw nothing. I waited a bit. Suddenly there was more knocking... and I knew who it was! I ran upstairs for the camera, hoping he/she would stay there.

Can you guess who it was? Here's a peek:

Have another peek:

If you guessed a robin, you are correct!

It was a robin who was very anxious to get into the house. Not that I blame him/her. There's so much snow out there, and every time a patch melts off the grass so the birds can find food, it snows again. Yesterday (as of this writing last evening, and it was still coming down) we got another 6-8" of new, heavy white. UGH!!! You must be tired of hearing about it... but not nearly as tired as I am of seeing it.

The good news is... our forecast says it's supposed to get to 74° on Sunday!!!  (But I'll believe it when I see it.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

American Girl doll hair styling capes

I managed to get some sewing done over the weekend. Anything to keep me from looking out the windows was very welcome. The whiteness just can't seem to stop, and we are in for another 3-4" of it today. ACK!!

American Girl dolls' hair can be styled, but it needs to be done carefully, and directions say to spritz a little water on the hair to help with the brushing. So to protect a doll's clothing, she needs a hair styling cape, right? Of course! So I made two of them... one for Courtney's Marie Grace, and one for my own Kit.

Courtney has told me a number of times that you can tell an American Girl doll is "real" if she has the teeth showing. Of course, ours are both real. A real AG doll should also have a "real" hair styling cape, too, right? Well, these are both "real", in other words, authentic hairstyling capes... or at least made from one. One that I, in fact, begged from my very own hairstylist! She was very generous in giving me one of her older ones!

I made the first cape from this tutorial. I dressed it up a little bit and made it more colorful, just for fun. I happened to have some appropriate ribbon, designed by none other than Jessica Jones, so I added a little of that on the front.

This one is for Courtney's doll, since hers has much longer hair, and this cape covers more. I also decided it was much more convenient for the ties to be in the front. It seems to me the brush would get caught in the ties if they were in the back, not to mention being harder to tie under the hair.

I'll keep this next cape for my own doll, Kit, who happens to be my model for both capes. Since she has short hair, she doesn't need all the coverage of the other cape. Where the above cape is a circle, this one is made from a rectangle. The tutorial for it came from here.

It is also decorated with one of Jess's ribbons.

It's open down both sides, although it doesn't really look like it in these pics. It's only tacked together under the arms.

They were very simple and fun to make. What took the longest, of course, was deciding how I was going to trim them. I went with what ribbons and bias tape I had on hand, fortunately colors that went together well. Courtney hasn't seen them yet. I sure hope she likes hers best!

Thanks so much for the "real" cape, Lori!! If Natalie ever needs one for her doll, just let me know. I have enough left for at least one more of the smaller cape!