Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 144

The dolly that I was sewing for yesterday required a bit of embroidery cotton, so I dug out my stash that I hadn't used in an age.  Mmmmnnnn...yummy.  Makes me want to pull out the aida cloth.  But if I did that, I wouldn't be able to do other things I like to do.  Sigh.  I hate having to prioritize! 

And I love these little stork embroidery scissors.  Thankfully, I can still use those plenty when I'm just cutting regular sewing thread.  They're adorable, and remind me of little old ladies doing dainty handwork in their comfortable chairs by a bright window with needlework in their lap

I've been getting a lot of anonymous spam lately, and although I would like to block just anonymous comments, I can't without also blocking people who aren't registered or who want to comment only using their name and URL.  Sooooo, I'm either going to have to go back to word verification, which I know some of you (you know who you are Kathryn!!!) hate, OR comment moderation.  Which would you guys rather I do? I know it's nice to have your comment come up right away, but seriously, I'm checking my email often since I'm sitting here at work, so if you commented, I'd catch it and it would show up pretty much right away, unless you post at night, of course. 

I guess that's one advantage to Wordpress.  But I kind of like my little blogspot spot!

So.  I'm leaving it to you.  In the meantime, I'll just snag the Anonymous posts when I can and hope none are sent to my junk mail and are missed.  It's soooo annoying.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 143: A bit o' sewing.

When my daughter was 5 months old I made her and her cousin a rag doll for Christmas.  OK.  Mom helped, coz I couldn't figure the hair, but for the most part, I made these dolls.  Made the dress for the cousin's, but didn't get Miss J's done before Christmas.  The intention was that I'd do it when we came back from Canada, where we spent Christmas that year.  And since she was so little, there wasn't much of a rush.  It wasn't like she'd be really playing with it at that age anyway.

Flash forward 6 years.  I'm up in the attic the other day, and here is this nekkid dolly.  I handed it to Miss. J and said, "I made this for you when you were little.  It doesn't have clothes, but you can play with it if you'd like."  I know, I should have saved it, made the clothes, and given it to her for a special occasion, but the way things have been going, she'd get it when she had grandchildren, and only because she was cleaning out my attic after my demise.  Sad, but too true.

That was about three days ago, and she and the dolly, who is as yet unamed, are inseparable.  But the lack of garmentness was damaging my delicate sensibilities, and that of Miss J as well.  Not to mention that running around without clothing in this weather is likely to cause frostbite.  This morning when Julia had wrapped the poor thing in a pathetic little rag, my conscience got the better of me, I took pity on her plight and went upstairs, found the pattern and some cotton (no mean task, mind you) and made a dress.  The pinafore isn't done (I didn't have the lace), but at least the dolly is decent.

Although I don't have a photo of the finished product, since I want to wait until I have the pinafore made, here is what I was staring at for most of the day:

The dolly also has a little dolly of her own (Bald, tho.  Still haven't attached the hair!  HA!), who also needed a modest covering.  So now J has two little matching dolls.  It's the cutest thing.

And as I type, both dollies are sweetly tucked in underneath her chin as she sleeps.

Sweet dreams.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 142: More kids

Grabbed a family from church to practice with today.  Oh my word, are the kids the cutest!  Here are a couple shots:

They have five kids, so I'd better get back to editing, or they'll never see their pics!

Christina, at  Soul Aperture asked us to talk about the simple things this week.  I completely forgot on Tuesday to do so, but it's a lovely idea.  So here are a few of mine:

Quiet mornings when the kids sleep in a bit and I can snatch a few minutes in the pages of a book.

Hot chocolate on cold days.

Playing board games with my family.

Finding something small and simple and beautiful in nature.

Good friends.

Finding the matching sock/shoe/glove

A cat purring while warming up cold toes.

The smell of fresh bread.

"Look mommy,  I made this for you."

Cozy socks.

Crawling into bed and realizing that hubby has turned on the electric blanket and the bed is warm.

Finding a dollar in my pocket just when I'm needing a chocolate fix but can't justify using my check card for a chocolate bar. 

Realizing how exquisite the smallest of God's creations are.

My son's kisses, both the regular ones and the raspberry ones.

Reading fairy tales.

The giggles of children.

Being able to stop and think about the simple things.

There are many, many more, but for now, I'll leave it at that!  Pretty mundane, most of them, but they're like little pearls that make living sweet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 141: Gelin'

A few cheapo gels came with my light kit, so today was gel play day.  It took a loooong time to figure out how to make it slightly work.  I think a problem may be the white light that escapes from the little clippy doohickey that the gel is attached to.  And it probably has something to do with that I am clueless!  But anyway, after much trial and error, and with the help of an amazing model who sat for ages without complaining, here is what I came up with. I know that there is a way to make the color way more vibrant, so any tips would be helpful.

Pretty cool!  I found this site yesterday for making your own gels, and I'm going to give it a shot.  Looks pretty interesting.  And a video that I found yesterday showed the photographer just using elastic to wrap the acetate over the light, which would solve the problem that I had with the white light slippage.

I so need a new lens.  Jing-Jing the dolly was a good 5 feet or more from the backdrop, and I was right in her face, and the depth of field was still too deep, so you can see the wrinkles.  Maybe I need to work on the camera settings a bit more to compensate, but when I do, I end up with sync problems with the lights.  It's just another wrinkle (HAHA!) that I need to work out, but there's only so much I can do with a lens this short.  The depth of field thing with the light kit is driving me batty!  I could have edited the wrinkles out a bit, but the point of these was simply messing with the gel colors, so I didn't take the time. 

Think of it as artistic.

Or something!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 140: Corner View: Favorite Hang Out

This was a tricky Corner View.  I really don't have a favorite hang out.  But I do like to be warm, and sometimes on cold days, the best place to be is with my hiener being warmed on the radiator.

Oooh yeah. 

A cushion on here (coz it gets a bit too warm otherwise), a cozy throw over my shoulders, and a book.  Yup.  That's goooood!

Now it's time to head over to Spain Daily and see where everyone else is hanging out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 139: A little company

Yesterday, I quickly mentioned that my uncle and his girlfriend came by for the day.  We only get to see them about once a year, so it is always really exciting around our house when they arrive.

We spent some time this morning taking some photos before they had to leave, but I knew they would rather not be posted.  They were humoring my desire to take their photo more than wanting a photo for themselves.  Anyway, I didn't push it.  But then tonight I realized I hadn't taken any other photos today.

So, standing in proxy for Gerry and Barb, we have:

Yeah well--what can I say?  They're cute, and I don't have to get them to sign a model release.


good night.  It has been a busy few days, and I haven't commented or visited in bloggy land the last day or so.  I'll get at it tomorrow.  I love what you guys have to say and am looking forward to being able to savor your writing and/or photography tomorrow.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 138: Neighborhood Wander

Dusky, but managed this photo of someone's windchimes.

My uncle and his girlfriend are here. Two of my favorite people, so it has been a great day.



Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 137: Demented Mosquitos

For once we made the valentines well before Valentine's Day.  Usually the kids and I are madly trying to put something together at the last minute.  But we saw these in the Family Fun magazine, and we had a long weekend, and it was raining, and it was craft time! 

They're so silly looking.  I love it!  We had hoards of them standing around the house drying.  It was like we'd been invaded!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 136: The kids across the street

The kids from across the street came over today so I could practice more with the lights.  I think I went a bit overboard on the vignette in editing.  Might want to change that...

I look at these and I do the Marge "grrr."  I have so much to learn to make things look better.  And I need to stop being so sticky about shoes on the white backdrop.  Socks just looks silly...

BUT these kids are adorable, proven by the fact that in spite of my being at the beginning of the learning curve, we still managed to get a few good photos.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 135: Faded Florals

Remember those roses from ages ago?  They dried beautifully, and I just don't want to let them go. 

So I took some pictures.

Cos that's what we do around here.

I love how they dried with such delicate, papery sweetness.

And then *sigh* I pulled them apart and put 'em in a bowl, so I could enjoy them just a wee bit longer.

Just love the faded, old-fashioned colors. 
Thanks for lingering a little longer, sweet flowers.

I've been given this award by Suzicate at The Water Witch's Daughter, who I've just recently run into and who I love.  She is just so funny--but heartfelt.  Check out her place, OK?


To accept this award I have to list ten things that make me happy.


Family, friends, testimony, snuggles with kids, listening to daughter read, warm toes, getting a break from cooking occasionally, baking (and eating) decadent desserts, getting lost in a good book, and playing the piano until my shoulders and back hurt.

And now 10 blogs that I love.  The problem is that I'm fairly new, and have been tagged a few times, so I don't know that I have ten more blogs that I haven't mentioned previously that I can post here!  But I'll try.  And if I mention you here, and you don't wish to play, I completely understand!  I just think your great and want to send people your direction.  No obligation to play is being asked, here.  Also, if you're on my blogroll and I haven't mentioned you yet--I apologize.  I simply can't remember who and who I haven't mentioned before, so please feel free to play.

Take Note (She probably doesn't even know me!  I just bumped into her place yesterday!)
A Design So Vast (Just found her today!)
I Can Do Lots of Things (Just found her as well, and I'm loving it!  Sweet and funny!)

And I'm out of my list, methinks!  I'll try to come up with three more, but right now, it's past midnight!  I'm off to sleepy-land.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

134: The doctor's...around. (Straight from the camera)

The guy who invented wax crayons?

My Hero.

And restaurants that give the kids crayons and an activity page with the menu are brilliant.

Wax crayons, my colorful, all purpose situation saver.

Like today at Miss J's well checkup.  We did the vitals and such, and then waited in the exam room for an age.  With no books provided to look at.  Eep!

Me and a feisty three year old and a slightly anxious Miss J. 

And then I see the paper lining the exam table.  And it was wax side down.  And remembered that I had restaurant crayons in a pocket of my purse.

Art time!!!

Meet Rainbow, beautifully rendered by Ms. J.

and Bumpie, by Sir. A.

(Sorry, this photo stinks.  Everyone was so involved in coloring, I was having a hard time getting in there.)

Lovin' colored wax.

And nice, long, blank canvases begging to be taken over by children.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 133: Corner View--Your Style

I feel my best when I am clothed in or surrounded by contrasts

Denim and diamonds.

Silk and leather.

Weathered wood and sterling silver.

Jeans and a heeled shoe.

Old metal and soft, luxuriously draped fabrics.

Busy, heavy antiques against the backdrop of clean, modern furniture.

An old fashioned, ruffly, shirwaist blouse with a sleek skirt.

I love the feeling of being dressed casually, but wearing a pretty bracelet.  Or that underneath my raggy sweatshirt that I am cleaning the house in, I'm wearing the diamond necklace given to me by hubby.


(oops.  Gotta dust up there...)

Love it.

I grew up in casual surroundings in the country.  Makeup and those girly things weren't really encouraged much, probably because it wasn't part of our lifestyle then, and I was too awkward to broach the topic.  I always shied away from asking whether it was OK to start wearing makeup or jewelry, and nobody else in the family was really interested in those feminine things.  I was under the impression, probably wrongly so, that they were thought to be frivolous and silly, and I didn't want to be seen as such by being interested, so I never opened up the discussion.  I know now that I could have, but back then I didn't. 

Then I was all of a sudden an adult, and someone said, "You should at least put on a little bit of lipstick once in awhile.  You look tired!"  AH!  Now I guess it's OK!  Good!  Now I do wear makeup--but minimally, and these days it's usually applied quickly in the car mirror after getting to my destination, even it's just a bit of lipstick/gloss. And I still feel awkward wielding an eyelash curler and mascara.  Although I love washing my face, and will scrub away with the Neutrogena Wave cleanser thingy as long as possible, loving how it makes my dry as a desert skin feel smooth again, I think my makeup application routine is under two minutes!  I could never be one of those gals constantly checking her compact (uh...don't have one!) and powdering her nose!

I never really fit in the country life, though, much as I love that I lived it.  When I moved away to a city, I found that I was more inclined to sophisticated things, but my personality didn't quite let me be as sophisticated as my brain wanted me to be.  I really didn't fit in the city, either, at first.  Does that make sense?  I was awkward in the settings that I enjoyed. I felt that I didn't really belong all dolled up at the symphony, even thought I loved the symphony,  and that someone would see that I was an interloper and lead me out the door, even though I knew not to clap between innings  movements!  And then I decided that it didn't matter.  If I wanted to go to the opera, because I loved the opera, why couldn't I go as ME, and not as me imitating a sophisticant?

My personality wasn't about country.  And it wasn't about city.  It was a lucky combination of both, and it was fine for both sides to be seen in public at the same time.

And that's when I realized how much I  loved Contrast and discovered how strong and complimentary two opposites can be when paired together.

My style.

For more stylish corner views, check out Jane at Spain Daily.

Corner View

Hey, Corner View people!  I'll be putting up my post on "Personal Style" this evening. Have to get back to work now, so no time to take photos sure what.  But I'm looking forward to this assignment, so I hope you check back later.  In the meantime, whether you participate in Corner View or not, you'd enjoy paying a visit to Jane's place at Spain Daily and checking out posts by those who were on the ball enough to post early.  There's always interesting things to view in other people's corners!  After that, if you still need help in filling a few minutes, there's always my post from yesterday...  Ugh.  :oP 

Have a loverly day, all.  See you this evening!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 132

I couldn't think of any cute way to title this post.  In the past, I have alluded to my husband being out of work, a victim of the lovely US economy.  Be that as it may, he hasn't been able to find employment in any sort of career related field, though not through want of effort.  And although we can say over and over again, "IF there had been a way for him to finish his doctorate and IF we lived in a place where he could complete it and IF we lived in a home that we could easily sell and IF..." the point is that there came a point when something needed to happen.  We've been thinking and praying about it for quite some time, and although what happened today seems the thing to do, I can't help but face the future with a great deal of trepidation.

Hubby has joined the National Guard and signed a contract for 4 years of service.  The reasoning behind it is a good one.  He passed the tests to go in Intelligence and become a crypto-linguist in Arabic, which is very cool and proves that my hubby has mucho-smarts (like I didn't know that).  And this means that he'll be able to get a really good job, civilian or government, when he's done.  And that's great.  And it means that while he's in training for the next 20 months or so, we'll get a paycheck and health insurance and all of those lovely things that we haven't had much or any of over the last 15 months.  BUT it also means that he'll be leaving for California in the next couple of months for intensive training.

For 20 months.

Where will we be, you ask?

Here.  Yup.  Not knowing where we'll be when he's finished, and not being in a house that is rentable by anybody who would keep it up, the only thing to do was for us to stay here while he goes there.  It will also help keep him focused, because he'll be occupied by language school for 7 hours a day, plus three hours homework a night, plus PT and details and who knows what else.  It was a forlorn nondecision.  Unless we figure out another way and find great renter who we know will keep things in good shape and doesn't mind the house's state.  But for now, we're anticipating being apart for awhile, at the very least.

Although I'm sounding pretty down, up until today when it actually became a reality, I was pretty calm and positive about it all.  Now I'm starting to panic a bit.  I'm trying to reassure myself that it's all for the best and this was meant to happen for a reason, but while I keep telling myself this, and knowing that in the end we'll be able to be in a much better position and the pros outweight the cons, little glimpses of anger and fear are trying to nose their way in.  And I'm going to need every ounce of energy to push them out.  There is simply no room for them here, thank you very much.

And I can always remind myself that a man in uniform is tres sexy.  Yes? And it's only four years total.  And a man in uniform is tres sexy...

Oh!  And he'll have six-packs abs from the physical training.  I'm not quite sure how I'll handle having a husband that's physically fit, but I believe I'm willing to take on that challenge.  Uh-huh.  Yup, I am.

Bring.  It.  On.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 131: Slinky

Zone, that is.

It was a holiday, and the kids were, I must say, model children all morning.  I don't know what they ate, but I wish I did, because I'd make it a vital part of their diet.  Anyway, they had wanted to go to the Slinky Action Zone in Altoona for awhile, and since they were behaving so well, we decided to surprise them and bring them over (it helped that we had coupons!  YAY!).

Brought the camera along, but couldn't get any good pictures, really.  So much netting everywhere that it kinda got in the way of things.

But I thought this looked kind of neat, so amused myself for awhile trying to take photos of the chairs.

It's the small things in life that count so much.  teehee

The people sitting at the table next to this one probably wondered what I was up to. 

Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the Slinky and in 2002 the Slinky became Pennsylvania's state toy.  Isn't that cool?  PA has an official toy!  Whodda thunk? 

I think I'm going to have to decorate in this color scheme, using Slinkies on my lamps.  So fun! 

I was thinking of John Cage the other day, and how he'd put goofy things on the piano strings, like nails and such, as part of his compositions.  He wrote a piece of music in the late 50s that was scored for things like a piano (normal), canaries (musical, at least), a broom (???) and an amplified Slinky! 

And with that piece of life altering trivia, I'll let you go for the evening.



If you couldn't comment

I apologize.  I was trying to just block anonymous posts, since I received a spam message, but in the process bocked lots of people that I enjoy reading!  Sorry about that.  It's back the way it was, now, and I'll just delete spam myself. 

See you later!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 130: Sorry! (neener-neener)

J was sick last night, so we kept her home from church today.  I went to the first meeting, since I was playing a piano solo, and then came home and hubby took A to the rest of the meetings while I got to hang with the girl.  We played almost every game we had in the house today--including this never ending game of Sorry!  We realized that we had been playing it wrong since the beginning, and when we implemented the actual rule of the slide, we ended up constantly sending each other back to start.  It was pretty funny.  Made for some good one-on-one time, of which we haven't had a lot lately.  And she wasn't feeling as bad as she was yesterday and last night, so things were a bit more cheerful.  It was another good day.

Notice below the blue piece at home base.  That's J. Then notice the green ones on the lower right.  That's me.  Sent back to start.  Notice how many she has at start?  None.  That would be Zilch. 


Guess who won?

Me.  Not sure how.  J is cut-throat at this game.

Not sure what this face was about, but she probably had just slid me back to start.  Again.  The meanie!

I got my first blog spam today.  I have now arrived!  But anonymous comments are now blocked, so please identify yourself!

Piano solo:  It's a piece I've known for almost 30 years.  I can play it almost by heart, but I get so nervous playing in public that you'd never know it.  My hands get stiff and sweaty and my brain turns off.  I completely flubbed the first two lines, but knew that if I kept going, it would only get worse.  So stopped.  Reloaded, and with a prayer and probably a prayer from others in the congregation, the second time was a charm.  Phew. 

Serious stage fright when it comes to piano.  Choir directing, I love.  Not even a hint of jitters.  But the piano kills me every time.  I remember in high school receiving a scholarship for a summer music school, and we had a master class, where we had to play a piece and then it was critiqued.  I put my foot down on the pedal, and COMPLETELY forgot to lift the pedal for the full piece!  They must have wondered how I snuck in.  LOL  Looking back, especially experiencing the nervousness I feel now, I can't imagine how I made it through the music festivals years ago.  But it was just a part of things, and I don't remember being so nervous then. 

Anyway, it's over.  At least after the falst start, things went better than expected.  But it has taken all day for my heart to get back to it's regular rhythm and my stomach to navigate back down to it's proper position.  I keep telling myself that the stomach dropping and rising is a way to get fit.  HA!



Day 129: Cont'd

After receiving permission, I can post more photos from yesterday's play-time!  It was pretty funny, because these kids are over at my place so often to play that taking their photos like this was a bit of an adjustment.  LOL  But I was glad everyone came over.  I was (and am) having sync issues.  It's just a thing I have to learn about, so having friends that were patient and friends with my kids so they could play while I tried to figure out technical issues was nice. 

Whoohoo!  Loving the lights!

Today's photo has been taken.  I'll post it tonight.