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Showing posts from 2010

Handmade Gifts

I really enjoy making gifts for other people but I wonder how the receivers feel.  I know there are some people who really like a handmade gift and appreciate the effort and time that went into it, but on the downside, when you get a handmade gift that just "isn't you" or doesn't fit, there's no exchanging it.  This year, I tried to keep my handmade gift projects limited to people I thought would enjoy them the most, or things specifically mentioned.  The exception is that I can't help making cute little sweaters for my niece and goddaughter, so I think they are going to be stuck with some crazy-Aunt-Karen gifts!  Hopefully when they're old enough to start telling me what they want, I will not take it personally.  Or maybe they'll think my stuff's wicked-awesome fashion and ask for more!  Anyway, here are my handmade gifts for the year. Saroyan  for Kristina As you can tell from the photos, I finished it last spring!  I have always wanted to try

Winding Down

As Christmas was winding down, I enjoyed the very last of my Holiday Tea in my new Alice cup. I'm looking forward to the clean slate of a new year.

Merry Christmas!!

Crafter's kids:  someone put a fabric swatch on Baby Jesus. I hope you are having a merry and meaningful day!

Random Review Friday: Independent Lens, Between the Folds

(It's not quite Friday but almost...) Last Friday, as I previously mentioned, BFJ took the day off from work, and we had a leisurely lunch out.  We sat down at a table where someone had left a newspaper, and I happened across an article about the movie Between the Folds .  It sounded like a great film for our whole family so we looked it up that evening on Netflix and called the boys in to watch.  I couldn't believe how much moaning and groaning there was!  I told them they had to watch the first ten minutes and then they could leave.  I'm pleased to tell you that they all stayed to the end!  Origami is the subject of this movie, but it's not just about paper cranes.  This documentary really speaks to the ingenuity of art and the human mind.  During the middle of the film, Speed got up and brought back a stack of copy paper and began folding and folding.  I knew this movie would connect with him especially.  Many aspects of origami are showcased in this film, begin

Lunar Eclipse

Did you stay up to watch the lunar eclipse?  Zoom kept reminding me that it was tonight, and wanted me to wake him up, so I did.  Hey, no school this week anyway! Here's my first picture, before I woke him up.  And a little later...  These two pictures are basically the same time but different exposure.  In the second one, you can see how the moon is turning red.  You can see a star in the left third of the picture, toward the bottom.  Here it is almost complete.  Again at the longer exposure first to see the red (and with stars), and then the same phase but shorter exposure to see the eclipse!  And then we were having so much fun that we decided to try and shoot Orion.  I can't believe I got such good pictures, I've actually learned something about photography!  I know lots of people have great pictures of constellations and the moon but this is the first time I've ever gotten better pictures than I expected, instead of much worse

More December

I finally got a picture of some snow on the garden fence.  After a few hours, it was gone.  The best Christmas gift we've gotten so far (okay, the only one) was the roast from Aunt Mary, packed with dry ice!  BFJ happened to take the day off Friday and we spent several minutes putting chunks of the dry ice in a glass of water.  We saved the rest in the freezer to show the boys, but by the time they got home from school, it had disappeared!  I guess we should have left it in the packaging.  I finished a gift for someone from school, and already delivered it, it's the Just Enough Ruffles scarf from Laura Chou.  I have one, and I love it, so I knew it would be a good gift!  I have several other projects in the works and hope to get them all done before Christmas, except one.  I started a blanket for my boys, a snuggle-on-the-couch-watching-cartoons sort of blanket, but I have had other things going on and missed my goal of December 1, so it has been on the back burner. 

December Moments

First, thank you for your thoughtful comments about holiday stress.  I have been enjoying my month since I last posted.  Sometimes it's about frame of mind!  Secondly, Anna asked whether it wasn't time for a picture of my garden in the snow, so I took this picture yesterday morning.  We have had three snows this fall, and each time I think I'll wait until it piles up a little, but by the time an hour has passed, the snow is all gone.  I guess I should be watering the yard still; we could be having some nice green grass!  I've mentioned my mom's homemade soup recipe.  We've had lots of runny noses and sore throats around here lately, and when I saw my sister-in-law Thursday morning, she was also sick.  I knew it was time to make some chicken noodle soup.  My niece helped me roll out the noodles.  She also had fun getting her hands floury like Aunt Karen was doing.  After my sister-in-law was feeling better, she brought me the most delicious smelling lemo

Now If Only I Had a Catchy Title.

New "wreath" for the bathroom.  Someone asked if I decorate every room, and I don't, but I decided to! As I look back through the more than 30,000 (literally!) pictures I have in my files, there is a distinct lack of images from the holidays and winter. Is it because I like shooting outside, and it is cold during winter? Or is it because of the light? Or lack of inviting scenery? Perhaps it is because I haven’t taken the time to pause and notice the details like I do during other seasons. When I discover a new, beautiful blog, I frequently go back through their archives from Decembers past, hoping for inspiring pictures, and general eye candy. I have been perusing my usual faves this year, hoping for lots of red and green, but there isn’t as much as I expected. Is this because everyone’s keeping secrets ‘til Christmas? I had been thinking about this at the beginning of the season and intended to post pictures of all my best, most fun, most beautiful. Howev

Holiday Cookies

In anticipation of all the sweets of the season, I picked up the Holiday Cookies edition of Martha Stewart a few weeks ago.  Finally this week we found time together to make a batch and we started with Double-Chocolate Cookies with Holiday Stencils (p. 62).  Upon the first read through, I didn't catch that only part of the chocolate was to be melted, but fortunately it did not adversely affect the finally result too much.  The first few actually had stencils but by the end we were just going for the free-form powdered sugar dusting!   Pretty easy, and very good!  (And all gone.)  

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? 

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

November Trees

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

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!! 

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 camer

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.

Happy Halloween!

Here's our merry little band out late.  Costume pictures tomorrow...

Downtown Photoshoots

I had two photoshoots in Denver this week for Bijou Basin Ranch .  (They have some gorgeous new colors coming out - not to mention seriously cute patterns!)  I was happy Natalie was willing and available to model for some of them.  She's got such great camera presence and is really fun to shoot.  It's kinda funny, this picture; it really was quite cold.  Marly and I were wearing gloves and hats, but Natalie was a sport looking very Spring in some skirts, tank tops, etc.  The pictures came out great; you can see more of them in January when the patterns are published!  Not only did Natalie model, but she brought along tons of fun accessories from her friends at The Sassy Factory .  I loved the plaid bag but we didn't get it into any of our shots.   For some photos with western flair, we took some pictures in front of  Rockmount Ranch Wear and the shop keepers were kind enough to lend us a cowboy hat for a few minutes. This morning I shot Ashley (also a cute model) in

Wheels are Turning

I acquired this item today, for my costume, and it took quite a bit more than I'd figured to get it into pieces.  It's been a crazy day.  I received no less than twelve phone calls while I was covered in grease trying to get this thing apart.  Some days, my phone doesn't even ring once! Can't wait to show you our end results...  !

What We're Doing This Weekend...

The past week, we've had visits from both of our parents and both of their dogs.  My parents were here very briefly but we had a very nice, leisurely visit from BFJ's parents.  Friday, we had a bit of time without agenda so I talked th em into posing for pictures.  I love this one; it tells you what a great couple they are.  We also celebrated three family birthdays.  Besides cake with homemade frosting - yum, we have been enjoying some zucchini bread with zucchini from our garden, some roasted pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins we carved (apparently the green ones are not for carving) and we are working on some local popcorn picked still on-the-cob...  (I bet Theresa and Steve are nodding at the winnowing) Yesterday, I came home from a meeting to find one of my sister-in-laws here, so I wrangled her into shopping at the thrift store and craft store for some Halloween crafting.  She made a black feather wreath for about half the price of the ones she'd been eyeing brand n