Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The end of winter, the beginning of spring

Our days have been in the 40s, and our nights have dropped to freezing. The freeze/thaw cycle is terrible for the roads, but man, it make for gorgeous ice! These photos are of a puddle at the end of a nearby driveway. Some of it is hollow; you can see the mud underneath.



I'll be posting more of these puddle pics on my flickr account (click on the flickr link in the margin).

While I remain fascinated by the remains of winter, I am eagerly seeking out the new shoots of spring. My neighbor's crocuses are peeking.

The new flowerbed I planted in the fall has been covered with a huge pile of snow for weeks. At last it has thawed, and I think I may have a snowdrop popping up. I am always thrilled to see my bulbs come to life!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A quick catch-up -- further Manito adventures

Ross and I played at Manito Park on President's Day.

In the greenhouse:


Outside:
We tromped through some snowy areas and discovered some odd-looking lichens (or moss?) that had blown down from the trees.




I think they look like something from the pages of Dr. Seuss -- don't you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Six quirks

I've been tagged for this meme by nonizamboni at Peacock Blue.

The Rules:- Link to the person that tagged you. Post the rules on your blog.
Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Numero uno: I listen to a CD of Brazilian lullabies when I need to calm down and chill out.
Due: I like the way my hands look when I have paint all over them.
Trois: I love flowers, but I will grow tomatoes before anything else in my garden.
Four: It drives me nuts that my husband doesn't seem to mind a dark house during the day. He can go for hours before he opens the blinds and curtains, but I open them as soon as I get up, even before dawn in the winter. I guess I notice light more than he does.
Cinq: I am a very sound sleeper, but I can't sleep on planes.
Six: I love to breathe in the smell of fresh air that clings to my husband or my son when they come in the house.

I tag... my great storytelling sister-in-law Cathy at Camp Chicken Chronicles;
the very talented and delightful Alma Stoller;
fabulous Oregonian photographer Yolanda at Perfectly Imperfect;
lovely dollmaker Inga, at Cotton Picker;
playful bead embroiderer The Lone Beader;
and fellow fabric fiend and eastern Washingtonian Nikki at art:quilt:play.
Wanna play?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Snow mushrooms"

The snow has melted enough that I can walk around the neighborhood comfortably. I've taken the camera out on expeditions, with eyes open for interesting shots.

Duncan Gardens is growing snow mushrooms! Take a look.


They're maybe not as pretty as the usual flowers, but I think they'd feed a lot of folks.

I'm playing with Photoshop some more. This is the "colored pencil" effect:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Woodcutting

The hawthorn tree in our front yard sustained a lot of damage from our big snowstorm. We lost a big limb high up on that Sunday, and then, on that Tuesday as we were shoveling the roof, about one third of the tree cracked off at the trunk.

I don't know if it'll survive. We'll have an arborist look at and give us a prognosis. In the meantime, though, we have quite a mess.

We had to wait for enough snow to melt before we could tackle the job. Saturday, Chris rented a chainsaw, and we began the clean-up.



Ross and I hauled the larger logs to the back yard. We can let them dry and eventually burn them in the fireplace. The smaller branches got broken up and stuffed into our green waste cart. The city won't start picking up green waste until March, so we'll still have a lot of branches on the ground for a while. We won't be the only ones in the neighborhood: I've noticed a lot of downed branches in yards and parks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Heart yo-yos

When it's icy and slushy outside, why not sit inside and make yo-yos for Valentine's Day?

I recently discovered Quick Yo-Yo Makers at my local fabric stores. (JoAnn Fabrics has them in the quilting section.) They are simple, two-part templates; you simply put fabric between the two templates, handsew through the guide holes, remove the templates, pull on the thread, and voila! Instant yo-yo! This is simple enough that my eight year-old son, not a big sewer, can do it with a little coaching.

And maybe best of all, they have templates to make flowers and hearts. Here are a small and a large heart that I made yesterday. (The small ones are approximately the size of a quarter.)


They'll be cute on cards, or strung into garland, made into instant jewelry, or sewed onto any project. I'm going to try using some crinkled metallic gold fabric. Ross suggested making tiny dolls with them!

***********

I stopped to take a quick photo of an icy puddle this morning. This is how it turned out after I played with it in Photoshop.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

5 reasons to smile

  1. The sun is shining, and the sky is blue.
  2. There wasn't a lot of snow to shovel this morning.
  3. No appointments today, no plans. A day to myself.
  4. I was craving something colorful for my wardrobe yesterday, but nothing at Target seemed right. Then, I found a gorgeous skirt and a cute blouse at Goodwill -- I love $8 outfits!
  5. I also found some inspiration at Goodwill. This tiny (13" x 17"!) skirt is being felted in my washing machine right now. I'm not sure what it's going to morph into . . . we'll see how much it shrinks.



Monday, February 4, 2008

Icicles

I went for a walk yesterday afternoon, and came home with 134 icicle photos in my camera! I'm planning to play with some of them in Photoshop Elements. Right now, I'll give you a peek at a few, unaltered.




Saturday, February 2, 2008

Snow week

Part of me feels as if I have spent this whole week shoveling snow.

I have done plenty of shoveling, yes. I shoveled to keep our driveway and walkway clear, even though we did not leave the house much. Ross had no school all week; the roads were impassable for school buses. Chris took a taxi home from the airport late Monday night, and the driver had to let him off a block away because he would have gotten stuck in the snowy mess of humps and ruts. If you didn't have a tall four-wheel drive vehicle, you risked getting seriously stuck on any residential street in Spokane. The city isn't equipped to handle serious snow.

Monday morning was dazzlingly sunny, gorgeous blue sky and blinding snow. I paused to enjoy the view from our front yard.



On Tuesday, Chris and I decided to shovel the roof. Our house is a 1957 ranch with a fairly flat roof. Two feet of heavy snow was already up there, and it was snowing again. News reports of roof cave-ins spurred us on. We spent most of the day up there.


It wasn't all work. Kids were building all kinds of forts and igloos. Ross and Christopher used one of the piles of snow from our roof to build a nice fort.

Toward the end of Tuesday, the sky cleared for a nice sunset. Some of our neighbors were up on their roofs, too.