Friday, May 27, 2011

Link Roundup

It is a long weekend for us as Monday is a holiday. Here in the states, we have Memorial Day which honors those who have served for our country in the military. I'll return to normal life on Tuesday. Maybe.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

Lee Greenwood

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. ~Genesis 9:16

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

On April 12th, I noticed Gracie going bonkers at the sliding glass door. I opened up the curtains and spied a huge lizard that was tormenting my little girl. I found it humorous and grabbed my camera. Due to her constantly moving and my not wanting to take the time to set up shots (for fear of missing opportunities), these pictures are not all that great.

A rare moment when Gracie was calm. She was either taking a break or seriously thinking about how to get that lizard. I know that she was getting frustrated. She is quite the huntress in spite of her being a tripod. She has even managed to get a fly once much to my surprise.



Awww Man! Y Cant I Git You?

I Wants to Taste U

She kept trying for a long time to get him. This lizard got between the screen and the glass and was sort of trapped. The lizard eventually ended up at the top of the glass/screen door and Gracie soon lost interest because he did not move for the longest time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Layer Cake Quilt Along: Block 8 & 11

I finally got my sewing machine back from the shop a couple weeks ago. It took me some time to get back into the flow of things; but, once I got going, things started flowing. I still have one more block to make, block 12, before I can start making the quilt top.

This Quilt Along is long finished; but, I am determined to plow through and get it done as I am tired of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) lying around the sewing room and in boxes.

Block 8

I love the process of making this block. I think it might be fun to make a quilt out of this one block alone. You can find the instructions here.

Cut Fabric Pieces.

Sew Together into a Block.

Cut Block into four equal parts...

and Arrange to Your Heart's Content. Design 1.

Design 2. I went with this one as I liked it best.

Finished Block!

Block 11

This block was a pain in the you-know-what to make. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it right. I made sure of the sizes of all the fabric pieces before piecing them together and they still came out terrible wrong. The instructions, for me, were hard to follow and I also believe that it is inaccurate. I do not have the time nor the inclination to figure out what is wrong. But, I like this block well enough that I want to use it in the final quilt.

It is off by 1/2" in one direction; so, I will need to square it. I have decided to add a border to all the blocks in a solid coordinating color and then square them all up before putting it together into a quilt top.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Link Roundup

To begin, begin. ~Wiliam Wordsworth

  1. Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine plus Clown Face page/pattern

  2. Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine
I'm going to have to see if any of my quilty family members would like to have the second magazine I won and pass it on. :-)

  • Scalloped Trivet Tutorial Crafting; Sewing
    Note: This uses the Scallop Ruler, which I don’t have. But, I do plan to get me one someday as I love me some rick-racks! These rulers can help you make some gigantic rick-racks! How cool is that?

  • Scalloped Ruler Tutorial Crafting; Sewing
    A tutorial on making rick-rack using the Scallop Ruler.

  • My Love Affair with Shutters DIY; Decorating Ideas

  • Why We Burn Our Pastures Educational? By Marlboro Man of Pioneer Woman’s Blog
    I found this interesting and informative

  • Birds Nest Necklace Crafting

  • Flying Geese – Waste Free Method Crafting/Quilting
    This blog author found and shared three different links on how to make Flying Geese without wasting much fabric – A blog Tutorial, PDF file, and Google Doc. The Google Doc also includes measurements and/or calculations for certain size units.

  • Make Your Own Confetti Partyware (Tutorial) Crafting using recycled jars, vases, and glasses

  • Beaded Bracelet Crafting; Jewelry; Tutorial
    This is similar to how I make mine except I create a beaded loop and I use a cute button to go through beaded loop. This would be cute to make for your little girls in your life. And, if you wait for sales/coupons on beads at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, you can make them cheap.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DIY Tuesday: Trash to Treasure

On Saturday, April 30th, I went for my usual walk and I spied a nightstand out on a curb waiting for the trash man to come and pick it up. I took a look at it and started thinking…

A little while later, I made the decision that I would like to try to salvage the nightstand and totally change the look. I asked Dan to take a drive with me to check it out. He gave the “go ahead”. We took off with it feeling rather weird for dumpster diving. But hey, if this works, I will get a cheap nightstand out of the process.

When we got it home, we made the decision to postpone the work on the desk because I felt that the work on this nightstand would go quicker. The work on the desk is slow going as we do not want to destroy it in the process. It really was put together by an amateur woodworker. Dan found sandpaper between two pieces of wood. He had hoped it was newspaper with dates. Ha!

Anyway, we have been working on this "trash to treasure" in our spare time. Actually, in Dan's spare time. I would say that it is about a third of the way done. So far, I am thrilled with the results. I have always had round tables with skirts. I must confess that I hate them. I have been looking forever for nightstands; but, I am too cheap to spend a lot of money to replace something that we already have that is functional. I am excited about getting a "new" nightstand soon!

Below is the trash (before) pictures of the nightstand.

Shocking News: The Medallions are Plastic! Ha!

Details of Ugly Feet.
More Shocking News: The Feet are Plastic Too!

More Details of Ugly Feet Including a Broken Back Foot.

I have been taking pictures of the work on it periodically. I plan to post pictures of the process when it's almost done (before painting). I also plan to post pictures of the completed nightstand (after painting).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pictorial Monday: Self Portraits

There is a site called Digital Photography School that I follow (via RSS feed) and, in general, it has been very helpful. I like the challenges they present once in a while; but, I rarely participate. Well, sometime last week this post popped up in my RSS feed and intrigued me. I decided to go for it as I thought it would be fun.

Let me tell you, the creativity aspect is tough not to mention attempting to take a self portrait is even tougher. My lack of knowledge did not stop me - I was determined to plow through in spite of myself and learn. I learned more about lighting in these exercises. I also learned about aperture and depth of field.

Dan was my willing assistant. He sat or stood while I focused on him to make sure I would be in focus in the picture. He explained (or attempted to explain) concepts to me. He deserves a lot of credit for the pictures below because without him, I do not think these would have been as good as they are.

Below are the pictures that I came up with for the three different challenges that were presented. I have to say that I do not like myself in pictures – I am not photogenic unless I am laughing. At least, I feel that way. Dan feels otherwise; but, love is forever blind. These pictures were all taken this past weekend.

Self Portrait Challenge #1: Props

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Material Girl written by Peter Brown and Robert Ran
sung by Madonna
I had originally thought about laying among a bunch of fabric; but, that would have been too tough to implement as I do not have a remote switch nor would I have been able to set the camera high enough to get a picture of me wallowing among fabric. At least, it would not have been easy or safe to attempt this scenario.

The above shot was thought of by Dan as I was talking to him while sitting behind the sewing machine. I liked the idea well enough that we set it into motion by piling the fabric around the sewing machine. It took many attempts on my part to finally get the lighting right. The above shot is the one we both liked. So, I picked it to use in the challenge.

Self Portrait Challenge #2: Light

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we're going,
There's something ahead, worth looking for.

When the light of time is on us,
We will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Light a Candle by Neil Young
When I received the #2 challenge in the RSS feed, I immediately knew I wanted to do something with candles. I love candles of all kinds and am addicted to the Yankee Candle brand. However, the candles I used here were cheap ones I had purchased specifically for this challenge from Walmart. I envisioned using dark candles so that only the candlelight would be evident and this one came out very well.

I had a problem with lighting and shadows. I ended up with one candle sitting just outside the right of this picture on a chair. Dan held another candle on the left and I finally had an acceptable shot.

Self Portrait Challenge #3: Mood

My soul is weak
My heart is numb
I cannot see
But still my hope is found in You
I’ll hold on tightly
You will never let me go

Clinging to the Cross by Tim Huges
This was the toughest challenge. It is extremely hard to convey a mood through the camera. I had a hard time imagining something that conveys a particular mood of any kind through the camera. My mind was working really hard and then I thought of something that might be doable. I had envisioned a cross in the background blurred with me a distance a ways to convey the feeling of "lost" which I sometimes feel due to depression. At the same time, I am holding onto the Bible to convey that I am clinging to my faith. I also felt that a black and white photo would be best in this situation.

I had to make the cross that you see in the background. I made that prop almost entirely by myself with the guidance of Dan (who is into woodworking). I even used power tools - a duel-beveled, sliding compound miter saw and a router - and did not hurt nor kill myself in the process. Also, this did not cost anything as I used scraps.

It took a better part of a day to finish the prop as priming and painting takes time not to mention allowing time for the wood glue to dry before painting. I'm quite pleased with end result. It just needs one more coat of paint, which I will give it someday. I'm planning to keep this prop. After all, It is my very first woodworking project that I have completed from start to finish.

This time, Dan helped me immensely because I had an idea and every shot I took just wasn’t cutting it. He finally understood what I was going for and helped me in the process.

A lot of credit goes to Dan for this photo because he put his 50mm lens on my camera and explained some details to me. I took one shot at f/4.5 and it wasn’t what I was going for. I took another shot at f/1.8 and the shot was very close! Dan had taken the time to explain to me that the bigger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field. I wanted to understand the why of it all. He smiled and said that he did too - this is just one of those things you have to accept. Ugh. However, I see that it is true. It works. So, it is just one of those things I am just going to remember and accept.

I hope you enjoyed reading this long winded post and viewing the pictures. Note: all the lyrical quotes I added were an afterthought - not the basis for the pictures themselves.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Link Roundup

I did not see any articles/posts on other subjects I'm interested in (besides Christian) that I thought was worthy enough to pass on. Maybe next time!

  • Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday? Christian
    Be prepared to read as it is lengthy

  • A Beautiful Mess Christian; Inspirational
    Despite my mess, God sees the best in me. Where others see failure, the LORD sees potential. When He looks upon my mess, He sees His Son. Jesus took my mess to the Cross. And because of Christ’s great sacrifice, I can boldly approach the throne and present myself to God. Mess and all.
  • Depression Can Drive Us Off The Edge Christian; Inspirational; Women
    “You know it’s okay to ask for help right? It doesn’t make you a bad person."

    It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help.

    Do you hear that sweet sister? It’s okay to ask for help!
  • Lunch Date with Ann Voskamp, Elvis, and the Pinball Wizard Christian; Inspirational
    I found this to be a hilarious post

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Unphotographable Memories:1, 2, & 3

I first encountered the concept of unphotographable moments quite some time ago and fell in love with the concept.

The purpose is to write an extremely long sentence or short paragraph about the "pictures not taken that weren't meant to be forgotten". I took it one step further and included moments in time remembered with such clarity and refuse to be forgotten.

I thought it would be a excellent way to practice and stretch my writing abilities. I have decided to share some recent ones with you. So, here are several that I have written since encountering the concept of unphotographable moments.

Warning: The last one may be a tough read.

This is a picture I did not take of a well groomed young boy sitting on a piece of burlap on top of a huge slide gazing up his Mother with utter trust in his face reaching out his tiny hand for her to hold while she sat beside him on the adjacent slide looking at him with a big smile and reached out her own hand to grab his.
{Witnessed at the San Antonio Rodeo Feb. 6, 2011; written February 2011}

This is a picture I did not take of a shiny black car with a man in white standing beside it in the middle of a brown field after it ran through a section of green grass, crossed an exit ramp, knocked down a sign, ran through another section of green grass, crossed the frontage road, and crashed through a barb wired fence finally coming to a rest in a field of brown.
{Witnessed on April 15th, 2011; written April 2011}

This is a memory forever engraved upon my mind of watching a man lying on a hospital bed with an oxygen mask having difficulty breathing slipping off to forever sleep under the influence of morphine all the while I am mentally screaming “That’s my Daddy. That’s my daddy. Oh daddy”.
{January 13th, 2009; This was not written until recently - May 2011}

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

{photo credit: Dan}

This picture was also taken during our anniversary weekend. The gardens on Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas had a few statues and plaques and this was one of them. I thought it would be humorous to pretend smoking the "peace pipe". Right?

[knocks on computer screen]


Monday, May 2, 2011

Pictorial Monday: Anniversary Weekend

On April 15th, we went away to a Bed and Breakfast located on the outskirts of Fredericksburg, Texas. I had snagged a free night stay via Groupon last year and we decided to make reservations for our anniversary weekend. We stayed in the smallest of the rooms at the place.

It is the cutest little apartment over a garage with a nice little seating area outside.

Coffee and Tea is available. Breakfast is delivered daily. There is a small refrigerator and microwave.

The cutest tiny toilet closet I have ever seen.

This cat visitor is always outside on the balcony.

We spent Saturday at a Peddler's Market where I ended up blowing some money. We also went shopping on Main Street in Fredericksburg. And yes, I blew some money there too. Our last stop for the day was in the gardens located right on Main Street.

We grabbed a microwavable dinner and crashed for the night. Actually, we shared the dinner and then ate some delicious chocolate cake we had bought from a bakery on Main Street.

We then hung around outside for a bit and had some visitors.

This little fellow absolutely basked in the attention we gave him. He is one of two dogs and three cats living on the property.

And, deer by the dozens came up to feed. Apparently, they come up every evening to feed on the grounds.

Wait! That is a cat. He was calmly watching the deer feed. {The silver in the foreground is the railing on the balcony.}

We went shopping in Comfort, Texas on the way home. This is where we found that old desk we are "restoring" to use as a nightstand. Comfort, Texas is most likely going to be the new place to go junking (antique shopping). I loved the small little town and antique stores.

It was a wonderful getaway. We need to do this a little more often. Although, I cannot see spending that much money for a room. Maybe at a hotel; but, not at a B&B.