Sunday, April 17, 2011

Who lives in your "hood?"

Mr. B and I went for a Sunday drive and this is who we saw. I'm never fast enough to get a good picture when a bird flies across the road in front of us. I barely caught this egret before he landed in a flooded area where we couldn't see him at all. This donkey I wanted to hug but settled for a rub on a velvety nose. The goose was serenely watching the water flow by. We wondered if it was a male being a lookout for a nesting female.

After the downpour last night, the creeks and rivers were roaring! We saw some amazing waterfalls going over old dams. It helps me understand the power of water and why there were so many mills in New England.

Visit Little Red House and see other photo collages.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sun Bath for Plants

My plants are traveling all over the house in search of sunshine! We have to be careful where we step. Here you see my Asian Lilies in plastic bottles I cut off. Mr. B and I bought a box of fourteen bulbs at BJ's. They had white tops which are now turning green.

Only the squash seeds came up. They are thriving in yogurt containers which I will wash and recycle. I think it is not warm enough in the house and there is not enough warm sun for the flower seeds to germinate. We could feed the whole world if everyone would eat squash! I can't get everyone here to eat it unless I make it into zucchini bread. Maybe I should put it in the blender and hide it in spaghetti sauce. Would that work? I'm talking adults, not children.

At last, we had a day warm enough to take things outside! My coleus have done fairly well. I cut off the tops and root them and then pot them in soil. And of course I am always pinching back so they will be bushier.

One day of sunny warmth and now back to three days of rain. No sun anywhere!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Studio

It wasn't even my idea! But it all fell into place so beautifully. My daughter suggested we move the dining room table into the sunken living room so we could eat by the fire. Certainly the living room is large enough. That got me thinking about what could be done with the dining room.
Why not turn it into a studio for me? It would bring me up from the basement where I only have one very small window and where I feel very cut off. The downstairs studio can store my supplies. Now I am next to the kitchen and laundry so I can work and then dash off to stir the pot or transfer laundry. In the photo you can see past the kitchen doorway and into the laundry room.

Where my worktable now sits is where the dining room table was. And I just had to add the shelves for storage! I am trying very hard to keep it neat but am thinking it is not in my nature to work neatly! I am being much more productive in the new location! And there is light - a whole wall of nearly floor to ceiling windows!

Here are my little people and some of my photo cards.

The collage (made in Photo Shop Elements) shows my wild crochet, one of my photos framed in a shadowbox and a basket of fat yarn.

Thanks to all of you who gave me suggestions for making photo collages. I'm going to work with Elements for a while and see what I can come up with.

I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out all the mosaics there.

Now a question for those of you who have Etsy shops. Is it hard to do? Does it pay off? How do you get business? My attempts to find a part time job have not succeeded. I'd rather be home with Mr. B and working in my studio. But a little income would be appreciated. After all, a girl has to buy photo paper, frames, fabric and books. I need to support my habit! Thanks in advance for your answers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reception at Akus Gallery

Exciting evening!! This is me posing with my photo "Shenandoah Valley Mule" at a juried art show at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut. This is the first time I've had a photo in a juried show. I am so proud of myself! Mr. B took family and friends to dinner after the Reception at the gallery.

Click here to learn more about the Akus Gallery. Below is the poster for the show.

There are many opportunities here in Connecticut. Hopefully there will be more shows in my future. I plan to continue with my photography but am also crocheting and working on my fabric sculptures. Let's create!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Collage

Darn! I seem to forget how to use Picasa from one week to the next! But I can't find a simpler way to make a collage. Certainly I don't want to pay for software. When you goggle "photo mosaic" you get those things that look like a puzzle. Does anyone recommend an easy, free program?

Well, here it is. I took this picture last spring. We aren't this far along in Connecticut yet. Maybe in couple of weeks. After I created this in Picasa I put it into Photo Shop Elements and put a border on it.

I am deep into family history research. Learned that some family stories are just that - stories. I've been able to disprove one with research and census records. So rewarding to find tidbits of information.

Join Little Red House to see other photo mosaics.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Snow is almost gone

The woods are almost clear and I have been out exploring. I learned that the ticks are alive and well two days after the snow melted! Who would have thought? I made the mistake of lying down to take the photo of the tree.

As you can see by the photo on the right, things are starting to grow. The tulips I planted last fall are poking their tips out.

Mr. B and I went to BJ's for groceries and were snagged by a display of flowers in boxes. They were bulbs or bare root plants. I chose Asian lilies and echinacea. It was hard to pass up the roses, the hydrangeas and the dinner-plate-sized dahlias. I'm ready to garden!

Echinacea is in the daisy family.

After our furnace needed an emergency repair and we had to replace the burner, we realized we need a newer, more efficient furnace. But none of us like burning oil and the cost keeps going up, so I called a geothermal heating contractor to come and give us an estimate. He did come and measure so now I am waiting to hear how much it will cost. It means changing from a hot water baseboard system to a hot air system. But we need to replace four very old wall unit air conditioners. This way we put it all into one system. Will the cost be prohibitive? I thought our oil bill for this winter was prohibitive!

Friday they come to give us an estimate for a new oil furnace. We have been looking at wood pellet stoves for the living room fireplace as another source of heat. I'm not sold on a pellet stove because of the noise of the fan and the auger. I admit handling the pellets should be easier than stacking the wood and carrying for a wood stove. I'll keep you posted.

I'm joining Mosaic Monday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Working Woman

I've been back to work at the furniture consignment shop. My friend had a long bout with the flu. Still cold there but I wore my long johns and knee socks and boots. Big difference! In between customers I took some photos.

Visit Mary at The Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Even if you don't need anything, it is such fun to browse in antique and consignment shops. You never know what treasure awaits! And it is a good chance to shop for friends and relatives who collect things.

I have joined a photography club to learn more, but mostly I'm learning that everyone's photos are better than mine! But on the upbeat, I did have one photo chosen to be in a juried show at Eastern Connecticut University. A real boost to my ego!

My son-in-law recently gave me the gift of Adobe's Lightroom. I'm struggling with it. I downloaded a guide but I'm thinking I need one of those Dummy books. The instructions say click on a certain button and then I can't find it!

What I'm really doing is fighting off Alzheimer's. Mr. B tells me that speaking two languages can delay the onset of Alzheimer's. He speaks Spanish. Since I will never learn a second language, I'm keeping my brain active by studying photography books and software!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Keeping Warm

Sheila of Starshine Through My Windows asked about what I call my Polar Coat. So here is a picture. Mr. B gave it to me for Christmas. I'll give you a hint and tell you the sizes run small. But isn't that the excuse we always give? So, slim as I am(Ha!), I had to exchange my large for an extra large.

It has metallic cloth to reflect my body heat back to me. It is made by Columbia Sportswear. The tag says "Thermal Comfort, OMNI - HEAT." There are lots of pockets and zippers under the sleeve and a detachable hood. It keeps me warmer than any coat I ever had, even my fur coats. Shelia lives in Alberta, Canada and deals with temps way below zero. Maybe she can recommend a type of glove that would actually keep my fingers warm.

How about these?
This online site called "Heated Gloves" has gloves at reasonable prices. The ones pictured above are sale priced at $19.95. On some sites they are $100 and above. And why shouldn't I keep my feet warm at the same time? These insoles don't even need batteries and can be used time and again. Just put in boiling water to reactivate. Price is $39.95.

I helped out a sick friend this week and minded a furniture consignment shop for a day. It is in a charming old building but the heat came out near the ceiling and never got near the floor. My legs were numb from the knees down!! I was wearing regular shoes and socks as I had not been warned. These heated insoles would have made my day a lot more comfortable! They should be great for snowshoeing, too. Something I would love to try. I'm getting lots of ideas for next year's Christmas list!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Turkeys everywhere!

We did buy corn for the turkeys and they are here at least twice a day to eat. Now in the mornings we hear the males gobbling. They are displaying and strutting for the females.

Here is a closeup. I can't find out anything about that cone on the front of the head. I've been doing some research online. Check out this site for more information and to hear a turkey gobble.

This guy decided to go across the street to eat at the neighbors so I only have the back view!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

His Lucky Day!

This little fella was so happy to discover the peanut butter suet.
And he didn't even have to climb anything to get it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sunny Skies Overhead - Ice Underfoot

It's a hard winter for everyone. Many roofs have collapsed, mostly businesses and large buildings. Today some local schools were closed while the National Guard shoveled the roofs. They were asking for people to loan shovels. We're getting more snow and rain tomorrow.

This morning my daughter woke us up calling, "Come look out the front window!" There was a turkey eating sunflower seeds that had spilled from the bird feeder only a few feet from our front porch. We went to the farm store to get whole corn but they were out so we'll try again tomorrow. We plan to throw the corn off the back porch and it should slide on the ice down to the back of the yard. The turkey was walking on top of the snow and the ice crust was supporting him so the flock should be able to walk in the back yard. Hopefully the flock we saw this summer has survived.

This is the second day the ice has stayed on the trees even though the sun was shinning. Walking anywhere is treacherous. Mr. B and I went downtown to Main Street for lunch but had to give it up when we couldn't cross the big slushy puddles and get up the steep ice bank on the other side. A nice young man offered to help us, assuring us that since he is a volunteer fireman he is very capable. We believed him but decided it was safer to give up and go elsewhere. Now I understand why people go to the mall just to walk.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Continues

Wow! I feel like I am under house arrest! Yesterday was snow and freezing rain. Today was freezing rain and fog. No point in trying to get out. Walking is a risky business but I did get out to take a few pictures. You can see the ice on the limbs and dripping from the leaves.

I thought I was doing so well this winter. After all, this is no worse than last winter in Virginia. But suddenly those ads on TV for Caribbean vacations with gorgeous blue/green water and white sand beaches are looking pretty good!

And while we haven't had a tree fall on the house like last year in Virginia, we have had furnace trouble. We are planing to replace it in the spring and hope the repairs will last until then.

That translates to no vacation in the sun!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Snow!

My seeds! They must be here somewhere!

Lots and lots of snow here. How nice not to have to go anywhere. I did a little shoveling and took some pictures in the yard.

I need snowshoes to get into the woods! Has anyone tried these new types of snowshoes? How about these from LL Bean.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I kept my promise!

I never meant to take such a long break from blogging. Getting the house in order has consumed me and I am not finished yet. I did keep sorting my lifetime accumulation of goods (good stuff!). I had promised to have the garage ready to park cars in by winter. Today we drove a car into the garage!

This picture is of one side of the garage soon after we moved in. The whole garage looked like this!

We thought we could get two cars in but - not yet. If you follow my blog you remember that I first tired to get rid of my excess by having a yard sale. When there was a lot left over Mr. B and I took the small things to a flea market where we only earned enough to pay for our entry and table. Then I checked out an auction as a means of selling the furniture but prices were incredibly low. Then I checked out consignment shops and decided to list things on Craig's List. Most of my responses were scams and nothing sold. I ended up selling things to a consignment shop for half the used value even though the furniture was new! That loss really hurt! But it helped me clear out the garage. Now I still have many boxes of antique collectible items to sell.

Some of my children are home and we have baked tons of cookies. A neighbor sent a wonderful box of fruit. More children still to come and friends will be spending Christmas day with us.

Have a glass of wine and sit by the fire. Merry Christmas!