Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Tree is Up!

I'm planning to repaint the walls, soon.  I love the green, but it's just so green.  It doesn't go with everything.  Opinions? 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A is for Advent

Advent:  a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

Every Christmas growing up, we had an advent wreath.  I don't know what we started out with, but I remember one year my mom made one out of clay or dough and baked it, and we had that one for several years.  My parents may still have it!  

It dawned on me a couple of years ago that Advent is something my children know nothing about and I asked my dad to make an advent wreath for me out of wood.  Last year he made it but I didn't manage to fit it in to all that was already going on.  A few weeks ago, I was cleaning up my laundry / craft room and came across it.  So often, I find something I meant to do for a holiday a month or two after the holiday has passed; I was glad I found this in plenty of time.  I bought candles for it but did not know what scriptures are read or what they are supposed to signify.  I asked my dad if he had a group of readings, and he lent me a booklet called 'A is for Advent.'  We read the first page tonight, and lit the first candle.  The boys seemed to enjoy it, and hopefully this will begin a meaningful tradition for them, as well. 

I like that this piece of tradition is something that actually has first person meaning to me, unlike a lot of the things we do without knowing exactly why.  Although, I do love traditions in general, especially Christmas trees.  I also like that this wreath reflects us, simple, wooden, rustic.  I asked my dad to put all the candle holes on one side, instead of spreading them out evenly.  That's just the way I wanted it; it turned out perfect. 

I'm looking forward to lighting the next three candles.

November Trees

And here's a picture of beetle kill - the brown pines.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Water on Leaf

It's wet, it's dry; it snows, it blows, it's warm again.  I took this picture earlier this week and didn't download it right away.  Now that I have, I wish I'd taken the time to really get down close and take a few more, but I do like this picture: 

I have gotten a few things really cleaned up but you know, other stuff piles up so it seems like I haven't accomplished a lot.  I am hoping to paint.  Did I already say that recently?  I took some 'before' pictures in the hopes that I'll have 'after' pictures soon!! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Many Things

I write posts in my head all the time but sometimes they don't get finished.  Sometimes, there are just too many things I want to post about.  Sometimes, I don't have any pictures! 

Last week, we tried a new recipe: corn chowder.  I am sure corn chowder is familiar to many of you, but to me it was new.  I love it!  In fact, all three boys cleaned their bowls.  We tried Tyler Florence's recipe, it was delicious.  I have a picture but it just doesn't do justice to the dish.  I don't believe the words 'corn chowder' are all that enticing but maybe I'll get better pictures next time I make it.  I will tell you, we used fresh thyme and parsley from our garden.  This is the first year I've grown parsley.  I didn't know it was going to stick around after the first frost, but I'm glad it has. 

I've been knitting lots.  I am working on a sample piece and at least three Christmas presents.  I've been playing, and experimenting, with my camera.  Yesterday, the boys and I went to a park after school and had a little walk around with the camera.  We had our first snow this past week.  This is the latest I can ever remember having our first snow. 

Today, I received several packages, Christmas presents I'd ordered.  I also received a catalog in the mail today, for Heirloom Roses.  All of my rose plants are from Heirloom Roses, I believe I have four.  One thing I really like about them is they rate the fragrancy of the roses so you know if you're getting one that will really have a nice scent.  I never realized that some roses don't really smell, and I didn't know how many kinds of smells they have - citrusy, cloves, "old rose", and more.  I was going to put up some rose pictures but that seems wrong because a) we should enjoy November for November's sake and b) if you're not enjoying November weather it will just make you long for summer flowers all the more!  However, I may put up some rose pictures in January, when I'm planning my garden for spring, and missing the sunshine.  Scrolling through my past 'Garden' posts, I see I have not posted many rose pictures.  I'll have to work on those for next year.

Well, that's what I've been up to.  I've also enjoyed reading tons of creative, inspiring blogs, and not even taken the time to comment.  Perhaps I'll have more to say in a few days, maybe some new pictures.  For now, I hope you're enjoying November!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Costumes: Finally!

Greetings, noble readers.  Your faithful observer spotted this swell and his ladykin, The Honorable Cornelius Trigg and unconventional wife, Duchess Iphegenia Trigg, victorian world travellers, out and about on All Hallows Eve.  The pair were accompanying a trio of small hoodlums brandishing outlandish irons in pursuit of small candied treats, and nary a passerby escaped them.  It may be said that the Hon. Trigg is heard late nights hurling wrenches and insults at a contraption invented for "traveling time" but it's nothing to the scandal of a lady with ink on her fingers, striding around in breeches!

Okay, you might want a little more clarification.  We were steamers!  When I saw How to Train Your Dragon last spring, I was mesmerized by Astrid's terribly knit sweater, and knew I could make one for Halloween.  Over the summer, however, as we've enjoyed looking at steampunk gadgets online, my mind detoured and I thought it would be fun to make a steampunk hat.  We were discussing Halloween plans last week at friends Ed & Steph's house when it came up that Ed had some "timely" accessories so BFJ was coerced into being a steamer as well.  He might not admit it but I think he enjoyed dressing up, and was amused by the guesses of what he was (magician, undertaker...) 

Despite the fact that I've heard several times that you can find adequate welding goggles at "your local hardware store," this is apparently not true.  I went to several, then finally to a welding supply company and had to order them!  I took them apart and painted them, beginning with primer, then brown and black spray paint, and finally gold, and changed the chain over the nose to a strip of leather.  I also painted my compass gold although the bright colors on the face did not lend themselves to the vintage look.  My friend Marly crocheted the lovely blue choker of her own design.  I bought the key for my necklace as part of a ring of keys, and put it instead on a strip of leather.  I also painted a gun but it did not turn out as well as hoped and was more of a nuisance so I mostly did not carry it.  My persona, which was too much for people who didn't even understand "steamer," was that of a cartographer, so I had a cannister (from the odds and ends pile in the basement) with a handdrawn map in it. 

Oh, the blouse!  I purchased it at ARC along with my boots and belt.  You can see its original style here.  I took in the sides, removed the sleeves, recut them and reattached them.  I thought it came out really well!  The only problem is that the cuffs were meant to go around wrists, not arms, so they don't close as they currently are.  I will have to fix that if I wear it again. 

I made the hat using this tutorial from Threadbangers, attached ribbon, feathers from Kristina's wreath, and some wheels from the clock. Originally I put a brooch which belonged to Marie on my hat, but I was asked several times Friday whether I was Amelia and I thought the clockworks would indicate steampunk to those in the know. It did not; perhaps next year I'll have learned to sew well enough to make myself a victorian dress! 

A little too much thought?  Perhaps, but we had a lot of fun, and as I mentioned earlier, we enjoy "making things" around here. 

Oh, I almost forgot, I was working on fingerless gloves for my costume as well, but it became apparent midweek that it was going to be a warm Halloween so it did not stay on the top of the list, and I didn't get the second one done...yet.

Now, Happy November!  I will  be SO GLAD when the politicos stop ringing my phone!!!