Saturday, July 18, 2009

Passing It On

Hey all! I just wanted to pass along a link to an uplifting blog entry I read. It's Aunt Ruthie's site (link in my sidebar). She's done a great job with this entry. Want to be uplifted for your day? Need an attitude adjustment? A gentle reminder you are loved.

Now, go have a great day!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Applique Dazzling Dogs Quilt

Dazzling Dogs pattern pieces drawn on fusible web.Since I am side-tracked with my injury I've set aside my Rattlesnake quilt for awhile. I've gone back to working on the applique Dazzling Dogs quilt. I started this some time ago and have all the pieces drawn on fusible web. Now I'm ready to look through my stash to find all the various fabrics that make up the images. That's going to be my goal over the weekend.

A quick peek at the background fabrics for my blocks.Here's a quick peek at the fabrics I chose for the backgrounds of my dog blocks. I wanted to go with something that would coordinate with the living room so I could throw this across the back of the couch. The brights shown on the pattern photos would have been nice, but we don't have much in the way of brights in the house. Here's hoping for more of a cabin/country look to my dog quilt. I've got lots of fabrics that should fit this kind of a relaxed, cabin category. Maybe one day when I am able to get a vintage trailer I can use it there to take it out on campouts. I'm looking forward to getting this one going.

The plan is to decide on all the fabric pieces for all the blocks. Then heat up the iron and fuse them all down in place as the pattern pieces direct. And last will be the stitching on all the blocks. I think doing all the sewing of the blocks together will save time in the long run and keep from having to make so many thread changes.

An important safety device for quilters - Safety Guards for rulers.Here's the best advice I can give to anyone in blogland who is a quilter. Be sure to adhere these safety guards to your rulers. They will go a long way toward helping you stay safe. They will definitely help to avoid the type of accident I just had last week. We had them on the rulers at the sewing/quilting store where I used to work so I can't use the excuse of not knowing about them. I just always thought I wouldn't be so careless as to ever really need them. I assumed because I had gone for years (lots of years!) without them and without any accidents, that it wouldn't happen to me. But the whole definition of accident leaves the possibility that something like this could happen to anyone. Accidents aren't planned, they just happen. Okay, enough of the safety speech. Just wanted to pass on some good precautionary info. Plus, they're easy and quick to apply. Do it once and they're always there keeping you safe from accidents without you even having to think about it. And they make a good handle grip to grab your ruler just a bit faster. Can't beat that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ouch! A Quilting Injury

I have a boo-boo.I have a boo-boo! Yesterday I was sewing with a friend, working on my Rattlesnake quilt, when I had a rotary cutter accident. I feel really dumb for having this happen. I know how to use a rotary cutter. In fact I've been using them for years with no problems . . . until yesterday. It took only a split second to happen. I ended up slicing half of my fingernail and the tip of my middle finger off of my right hand. Ouch!! What hurt worse than the actual cut was the huge needle jabbed into my finger when the doctor shot lidocaine in it to numb it. It took five stitches to help close up the wound before it would quit bleeding. The doctor said when the nail grows back it should help hide the scar that will be there.

Needless to say this will keep me from sewing and doing much with my hand for awhile. It's pretty tender even with the pain meds prescribed for me. I don't like to take too much of that because it makes me loopy, nauseous and sleepy. I'm going to be kicking back, taking it easy for the next several days.

Ouch, even typing to my blog is affected.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain, Rain - Wet Robin

Raindrops look like round circles in the light of the flash.We got a good thunder and rain storm tonight. Thankfully the tornado from the warning west of Mandan didn't cause any trouble for us in Bismarck tonight. We did manage to get quite a bit of rain in a short period. I thought I'd snap a few photos to put on my blog. Little did I know at the time the raindrops falling would be caught in the light of the flash and appear as blotchy round circles in the picture. This is not rain on the lens, but rather rain as it was falling from the sky and suspended in motion with the flash of the camera. I took several more photos trying to get some good shots of how the heavy rain and blustery blowing wind made it look outside. Most are so splotched with round circles like this you can hardly make out anything else in the photo. They look so dark - much darker than I remember them in person.

Robin's nest being rained on.The robin I blogged about a few days ago got another good dowsing with water tonight. And its nest is tipped to the side again. Perhaps we can try putting it upright tomorrow in the daylight. Seems it wasn't such a bright idea for it to nest right under the eaves after all. The leaves of the grape vines have grown quite a bit more this past week, but they offer no protection at all. Poor thing, it's bound to be cold out there when it gets drenched this much. It seemed to stick to the nest throughout the whole thing. I wonder if those eggs have hatched yet. I haven't noticed any activity that way in it yet. We'll check it better tomorrow.

See the details of this robin's predicament.Okay, here's the details of the photo highlighted in case you couldn't make it out too well in the previous photo.

We listened to weather on TV while the sirens were going off. Thankfully there was no damage from tornadoes or water damage from rain or flooding with us. In the middle of it I went to check all the basement windows. Everything was sealed up tight. I'm glad about that since I just so recently re-arranged and organized so much of my stuff down there. I would hate to have to pull it out from water damage. I'm definitely thankful for that.

A recent fishing outing on the river.We took the boat out on the river a few days ago. We didn't go far because some dark clouds and lots of wind blew in. It only made good sense to head back to the dock. Along with the clouds and wind, it turned chilly, too! No bites this day. It was kind of fun to get the boat out on the water, though. In the photo the waves are fairly calm. By the time we headed back they were substantially more choppy. Oh well, there will be more days to try for more fish.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Making Zines and Quilting

I signed up on a couple on-line sites to make some zines. For those who are unaware of zines, they are self-published (maga)zines or any small self-published book or booklet. Etsy has a whole category for selling and purchasing zines. I've purchased a few from artists that fall in the art zine or craft zine category. Those are the most interesting ones to me.

I joined Alma Stoller's 'I Heart Zines' swap and also a swap on The GleanerZine yahoo site. The zines I'll be swapping are due in July. So that is what I've been working on recently. That as well as some sewing on my Black and White Rattlesnake quilt.

Alma's zine swap theme is an Art focused theme and is supposed to include an art or craft project with instructions as well as anything else we might want to include. The other swap, GleanerZine, is an open theme. I chose 'Dakota' as my theme. This group includes extras like ephemera and bits and pieces of things you might have 'gleaned' from around you. These artists are often collage or mixed-media artists who incorporate the additional things in their art. I'm planning on making up some extra zines to sell on Etsy.

As far as the quilting goes . . . progress continues on the Rattlesnake quilt. I got a few more of the 'football' shaped paper piecing done. A little bit more each time - it adds up. Nearly a third of them are pieced now.

I joined Facebook this week. Thanks Dorothy for the invite. I've spent a bit of time looking around the site to check things out. It will take a bit to get used to it. It's been kind of fun peeking in on what everyone is sharing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tipping Bird Nests

Robin's nest has tipped to the side.We have a bird's nest in the grapevines. It is about twelve feet from the door. I noticed it for the first time about a week ago while I was letting the dogs out the back door. The bird would always fly off as soon as I opened the door. Now it is used to me letting the dogs in and out. It still flies off if I go out the door, but won't budge if it is only the dogs.

We got quite a downpour of rain and thunder storms over the last couple days. With that rain we discovered the nest was now sitting tipped off to the side. The bird was still doing its best to hang on, but it looked like the nest was about to completely tip over. We felt the eggs and/or babies would eventually fall right out with the rain and wind that is expected for the next several days.

Robin's nest placed upright again.My husband and I decided to try tipping the nest back into position. He reports there are two blue robin eggs inside at the moment. Apparently it is fairly securely woven in among the grape vines and just needed to be turned up a bit to go back into position. This photo shows mama robin back on the nest after it was pushed back up into position. It seems she is just under the eaves of the roof enough to miss the rainfall now. Now there's not as much chance for the babies to fall out once they hatch. It will be fun to see the progress of the little ones over the next few weeks. If I get more opportunities for photos I'll post them here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nature Girl

Here's evidence: there's lots of fish in these waters!When I was a kid I LOVED to be outside absorbing various elements of the natural world around me. Seems like growing up has meant getting away from that. Not so for this blogger this past weekend. My dh and I took the boat out to a local lake and enjoyed a pleasant time fishing and taking in some warm sunny summer-time weather. I loved it! We caught fish, had a good time of togetherness and both of us enjoyed getting outdoors for a great day. I shot this view of the fish finder showing there's lots of fish in this lake. How cool it that?! Fish finders - what an awesome invention. It's good to know they're down there even when they're not biting. On this day, however, they were indeed biting. We caught a couple large mouth bass, a crappie, a sun fish and a trout. It was all great eating that night!

bird nests under a bridge ledgeWhile we were out on the lake I had my camera out to snap a few photos. Under this little bridge we caught a couple fish while up above us the birds were flying in and out of their nests. These birds were quick, flitting to and fro.

A beautiful view of one of the cliffsApparently I was paying equal attention to the local wildlife, other than the fish. It was fascinating to watch the birds that made their homes in the sides of these cliffs. Actually there were quite a few of this type of cliff creating the landscape around this lake. I had lots of opportunity to try to take photos of the birds, but have to say I missed them in a multitude of shots, or they were flying faster that the camera's shutter speed. I took lots of photos, but none of the birds showed up in any of the shots.

bird homes in the side of the cliffHere's a close up of the holes that make up the doorways to their nesting sites in the side of the cliff. Nary a bird in site although I witnessed lots of them flying in and out of these holes while we fished.

Sun dappled water - talk about 'bright light'!I have to admit with the recent acquisition of my new drivers license I discovered the state of North Dakota has required me to wear my glasses while driving. That's a first for me - to be required to do so. One of the pitfalls of aging I guess. Anyway, I invested several hundred dollars recently in purchasing a pair of prescription sunglasses so I could protect my eyes from the sun while driving and still meet these new state directives. Polarized glasses, no less - they're the best - especially when out on the water. But this view of the sun reflecting off the water had me squinting and averting my eyes. A somewhat cloudy day with the sun warming things up for awhile in a direct manor and other times hidden behind the clouds. This sparkling water was a glorious thing to see in person. I'm afraid a photo just doesn't do these outdoor scenes justice. It appears darker in this photo, but it was actually a VERY BRIGHT day and the light was blinding reflecting off the water.

All in all, it was a great day out on the lake. I got to spend time with my honey, we caught fish, enjoyed some warm weather and came home warmed, worn out and relaxed from the sun.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Documenting Life with the Digital Camera

Lots of bugs sacrificed their lives on the grill of the truck recently.I recently drove four hours to help move some of my oldest son's things back home for him. He has relocated to another state so is further away from us at this time. Thankfully we will have the opportunity to see him later this summer for a visit. He'll have the opportunity to pick up some of his things we're storing for him now. Now that I'm in the "clearing clutter - get rid of the junk" phase of reorganizing my home for better living space I will look forward to the day the kids have taken all of their belongings with them to their new homes. Meanwhile, I've still got plenty of my own "stuff" to sort through. I'm told they get the packrat outlook on life from me. What? Really? Times, they are a changin!

So yeah, here's some documentation of the trip. It's kind of an "Ode to Bugs" and a fitting tribute to all the many insects who sacrificed their lives on the hood and grill of the truck. A huge number must have recently hatched as it seemed the sky was full of them. Don't you just love spring and summer? It's a bug's life.

Squirrel inquisitiveness.
Here's peek at who was watching me last week. This little squirrel was the one that stayed behind to keep an eye on me. It's brother (or sister?) wasn't having any of it. I found a few fat quarters and bought fabric to record my actions for this spring and summer.

One of our friendly neighborhood squirrelsYep, the same squirrel. Boy was it inquisitive as it stayed around to keep me in line.

Another view of one of the neighborhood squirrels.Yet again, another pic of the squirrel. It must be doing fairly well in our neighborhood. Look at that fat little belly it's got!

I chose hibiscus for two of the post in the front of the house.lWe've got a number of neighborhood squirrels that live around here. This is a photo of one of them as it watched me one afternoon dinking around in the yard.

My new plants in their pots on the front steps.I'm surprised it sat still long enough for me to send my dh into the house to fetch the camera then go back an get some new batteries so I could snap some photos of it. It's either a very curious young squirrel or very brave. It was about 3-4 feet away from me at the time. Just beyond my reach, but close.

Sugar checks things out.I noticed a number of squirrels living the carefree live a few days ago as they chased one another to and fro, up and down the sidewalks of our street.

Ginger doing what she does best - overseeing a job well done!Ginger found the perfect spot to oversee my spring planting of the front yard flowers. I put in a number of perennials to help cut back on yearly expenses with this home decor. Perennials are more expensive than the annuals, but given the fact they will survive to come back year after years makes them a wonderful value.

Sparky in his element - master of his domain.Sparky was in his element wandering around the front yard, going around all the walkways. He managed to mark territory in a wide perimeter area in the front before I put him back behind the backyard fence.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Painting Gold

Okay . . . I've been absent from posting for quite some time. Lately I've been busy with painting my 'red room' to a golden yellow color. I really like the way it has turned out to this point. Now I have the windows and wood trim around windows and doors that need a good sanding and a couple coats of paint. I'll get some photos tomorrow when the sun is shining. I can tell you this, it sure is bright and sunny in this room now!

I have carpet to be installed, hopefully next week, that is a deep chocolate brown. The carpet has arrived in town. As soon as I get done with painting it will be ready for installation.

I plan on bringing my quilt frame into this room when all the new changes are complete. That move will take place just as soon as the new carpet is installed. I've got my shelves and other furniture for this room standing by, ready for installation as well.

Yeah! It's looking good so far!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nice Warm Day

Rake the leaves, see the green foliage.
Here's a quick snapshot out the front window that was taken the other day. My husband took some time to rake the leaves out of this part of the front yard. How amazing that after just a few days of warm weather to melt the snow that we have so much green foliage showing up now. This ground cover is what was hidden under all those leaves.

My friend said she and her husband stopped at one of the local garden centers to check on availability of new garden plants. Apparently there's not a whole lot in stock just yet. As soon as I get some plants and flowers I'm going to make up this big clay pot in the front. I'll be checking out my garden books and magazines for ideas over the next several days.

Here the yard looks so good after it was raked. It didn't take long with all the wind we've been getting to have more leaves blow in. Looks like my hubby will wait a while before he gets out there again. It's been pretty breezy lately and we're forecast to get rain over the next few days.

It was such a beautiful sun-shiny day outside today! I was out a few times. Took the dogs out for a good walk. I was out a couple times just to enjoy the day. I went to visit a friend for a short time, walked the dog, then went for a Mocha Frappuccino. When I got home I took another walk with all three dogs. Thus I had a fun visit with a friend, got some exercise to stretch my legs and a yummy, frothy drink to top it off. I'd say it was a perfect day!

Later in the afternoon I had an opportunity to gather together some of my machine embroidery designs and do a little sorting and organizing. I have some projects in mind, and wanted to locate the designs I want to work on. The other day I picked up some pleather (that's faux leather - if you didn't know - the artificial plastic leather) and also some real leather. I will be doing some pillows as a sample test-run of a few machine embroidery designs. I want to eventually put the designs on a jeans jacket. The pillows are my practice run to make sure I have the machine applique technique down and catch on to any 'surprises' in the way the designs are digitized before I commit to the actual jacket. I looked around a little bit at the mall for a jeans jacket and didn't find one I wanted to spend money on. I may go check out our local farm and ranch store tomorrow to find out their price on a jacket.

While I was at the mall I stopped at the RCC Western store. When we were there last weekent I fell in love with a pair of cowboy boots I saw. They've been on my mind ever since I saw them. I hesitate to pay the price that's marked, but I do really like them. I just might consider it a good investment if we spend much time on my husband's motorcycle this summer. They would protect my feet and ankles a lot better than the tennis shoes I've been wearing lately. I'll be giving it some thought.

Meanwhile, after much requesting from my dear hubby, I took a ride on the bike with him today. He kept insisting it would be less bumpy (from the potholes this spring) on a motorcycle than in the car. After our ride and a few serious bumps, I'd say it just isn't so. It was still pretty bumpy. Perhaps it's just too soon after the surgery to give a good objective opinion on this. My vote right now says it is just as bumpy, if not more so. Although it was a fun ride (we saw two wild deer along River Road coming back into town) I think I'll wait a few more weeks before I take another ride. A few serious bumps made me feel really tired out from that ride. I came home, took some Motrin and then settled into my easy chair for the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pops of Color

Gorgeous Get Well Gerber DaisiesI've been enjoying this colorful potted Gerber Daisy that's now brightening up our front room. Thanks to a thoughtful friend who brought it to cheer me up during my recovery. Everytime I look at it, it cheers me. These are such fun flowers I just wanted to share it with all my blog peeps. I love the extra pop of color it brings to the living room.

The view out my front window-notice the much reduced snow level. Yeah!The nice warm weather has really made headway with melting the snow around here. You can see there's just a bit left in the front yard. There's more than this in the back, but at this rate it won't last long. Lot's a wind today means some of the moisture of the wet, soggy ground will dry up also. I'm loving it! Did you notice the decidedly greenish cast to the ground? It's not just all browns and grays - that beautiful green is starting to pop up!

Progress report on the 'Squares' quilt.Here's an update on my progress on the 'Squares' quilt. I am starting to sew the blocks together. So far they are attached in pairs. I tried to mix them up as far as colors go as I was sewing the pairs together. Looking at the color distribution, I think I may need to still do a little more shuffling. I love the random pop of colors from pinks, purples, aqua, orange, greens, etc. There's a lot of color here. They are all black center squares to anchor each block and give some sense of unity to all that randomness.

I am pleased with the overall look of this project. It is made from 2 1/2" strips cut from scraps. They are mostly small prints, tone-on-tones or solids with just a few bold pops of color from that large daisy print. There are enough squares here to make it a full size quilt - 64 squares all total. At this point I'm considering a black border around the perimeter with another bright, colorful border just beyond the black. I'll make my final border decisions once I get all the squares together. If you're curious, check out some earlier photos of this quilt's progress here, here, and here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

71 Degrees Warm Today!

My two chick planters.I purchased these two chicken planters at a local garden shop a couple years ago. They usually house some annuals like petunias or other simple kind of flower. I'll clean them out for replanting over the next few weeks when we're experiencing consistently warm days and nights.

Freeze damage shows on the smaller of my two chicken planters.Oops! Unfortunately this winter was a bit harsh on my smaller chicken. She lost a portion of her head. I'll have to rearrange their position so she faces the other direction this summer. She looks a lot better from the other side. Next winter they'll both have to move into the shed for better protection from the elements.

New growth in the rock garden.We've got a small rock garden along the west side of our patio. There are a variety of perennials planted among the rocks. I'm pleased to see them starting to shine. I will have to look closer at this tag to remember what type of plant this is.

Amazing that a few nice days reveals this wonderful spring growth.Another of the perennials in the rock garden. It's so exciting to see new green growth again.
We've got lots of trees in our area. Now with most of the snow out of the picture all the underbrush, leaves and dried plant material needs to be cleared. I'm hoping to be able to get outside to do that kind of clean up soon. I'm trying to pace myself; allowing enough recovery time post-surgery before I can be more active with all the bending, kneeling, raking and pullng up dried material.

Iris sprouting up along the west side of the house.These iris plants were relocated from the backyard to the side of the house when we put in the patio. I may relocate a few of them again this year. I think they may do better in a sunnier spot.

Yes! We've got strawberries peaking through the leaves along the patio border.We put in a few strawberry plants along the border of the patio. We've managed to pick a few berries just as they are starting to ripen. The birds are usually the beneficiaries of the fruit. They seem to keep a close eye on the ripening process. We have not bothered to put nets across the strawberries yet, but probably should. It seems they're all picked clean the morning we plan to go out to harvest them. Smart birds!

Ginger up close and personal.The dogs enjoyed going outside with me for awhile today. In fact they were in and out numerous times throughout the day! They got in some sunbathing while I took lots of digital photos.

Our two little chiquaquas waiting to come back indoors.The temperature reached 71 degrees today. It was such a wonderfully warm and sunny day I stepped outside a few times to take it in. Most of the snow has melted around here; with just a bit more to melt from both the front and the back yard. Here Sugar and Sparky are waiting for me to open the door so they can run back inside. They truly are "house dogs". One would think they'd want to stay outside longer with today's warm temps.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seeing Green Again!

Evidence of snow meltingAll-right!! It is so encouraging to see this snow melting away! Here's a shot of the front sidewalk. The large clay pot to the right with its second tier planting basket was completely under snow this winter. It only peaked out a time or two when the sun or the wind beat down or blew away the snow.

We took a short drive today to check out the view of our new landscape, sans snow. There are patches of green across the yards along the dirty, muddy streets and sidewalks. How great is that!?! In another week or two it will look even better. I'm looking forward to that.

We had the opportunity to visit with our older son this weekend when he came home for a visit. That was nice to see him again. It was a long time since he was last home; we really enjoyed our family time together.

I've calmed down since my last post and managed to work it out with my email account. So yep, I have access once again to my email. Plus, because of the wonders of Microsoft and its new system I also now have another new email account. I have the feeling they'll be phasing out the original hotmail accounts in favor of their newer program. Guess that means I'll have to start using the new account one of these days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Access to Hotmail

Uugghh!!! I'm so mad at myself for updating my Internet Explorer. For some stupid reason I thought, "Oh, an update. Let's see what improvements Microsoft has come up with". Stupid, STUPID, STUPID!!!!! There was absolutely nothing wrong with what I was currently doing with Internet Explorer or my Hotmail service. I didn't need anything more, or new, or different about any of it. And now I have lost access to my Hotmail account and emails and messages from friends and family, including photos and various other info I had been saving in some of my messages. It's all gone now because I no longer have access to my Hotmail account!

Apparently now, now with the improvements, I have the "privilege" of signing up for a new account and a new LiveID. It presently won't accept any input to establish a new account or a new LiveID and locks me out. I am stuck not being able to access my previous Hotmail account and get my email or start a new one!

I am so mad at myself for being dumb enough to try the update. I should have left well enough alone!!!

Okay, sorry to be ranting here on my blog about it, but I am just SO MAD!!

To all my friends and family, sorry, I am not trying to ignore you and your email messages, I just can't get to them. Hopefully you stop by my blog here from time-to-time and will see this message. Once I do get an email account re-established I'll need to give everyone else I know something more to do in updating my email info so they can contact me. Sorry Every One, more work for you coming your way!!

Meanwhile . . . my day really has been going well (up until later this evening when I made the aforementioned stupid decision). Our older son came home for the weekend. We had a great day of visiting and getting reacquainted. I'm still getting my rest in (one REALLY long nap late this afternoon) and healing and recovering from my hospital visit last weekend.

The dogs got a bath and a fun visit to the vet today. We fooled them into being excited to go outside by getting the leashes out. They thought they were going on a walk. Ginger was the one to be most disappointed that it was a visit to the vet and not a walk. I think they'll forgive us if we actually take them for a nice outdoor stroll tomorrow. The weather has been warmer (mid 40's) so we'll likely do that tomorrow. I'm hoping most of the water from the snow and ice has had a chance to run off the sidewalk by then. Don't want to have to go through baths again with them right away.

Okay, so I'm trying to calm down. I'll try my email again tomorrow and see if I can make any progress. Meanwhile . . . anyone want to leave any comments about other email servers besides Hotmail they would recommend? I'm ready to make a switch to another company, I'm so mad! If I have to start all over I might as well do it through someone else. I might even switch Internet Explorer to Firefox or something else, too. Any Suggestions or Comments?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Floral Welcome Home

Welcome Home FlowersI'm working on getting back on my feet after a short hospital stay over the weekend. My friends at work supported me with a Get Well Soon Cookie Bouquet and my dear hubby brought me this Welcome Home Floral Bouquet along with a great hug and a kiss. It will be a while before I am fully recovered. I'm being told to take it easy over the next 6-8 weeks. It's certainly wonderful to be back home again. That phrase, "There's no place like home" is right on target. Coming home really refreshes your spirit!

I'm looking forward to being a bit more active as the days progress. Right now I'm just pacing myself. A bit of time on the computer, doing a bit of reading, doing a lot of sleeping. And that's as it should be in this recovery phase. While my body is resting, my mind is reviewing ideas of futures plans and projects I want to do. I think tomorrow might me a good list making day. Having this down time will be good to enable me to get in some pre-planning and starting the prep phase for my spring and summer plans.

As for now, it's time to wind down for the evening as I prepare for more sleep. Yeah . . . more sleep . . . getting drowsy . . . G'night all.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More Snow in North Dakota

We woke up to another white winter wonderland. It started snowing last night and continued throughout the night.

These photos were taken this morning around 10am. As you can see, the snow was still falling as I was taking the photos. It has remained snowing all day. The wind is currently blowing snow around as well.

Weather reports indicate there was between 12-16 inches of new snow today depending upon which side of town you're on. It was 16 inches at the Bismarck Airport and 12 inches south of town. We're very close to breaking the record for total inches of snow in one season. We are at 98.5 inches now with the record at 101 inches in one year. Reports indicate we'll break that sometime during the night.

My younger son came home for the weekend. He planned on leaving early this morning, but now will try to leave tomorrow morning if the roads are clear. Since this storm is heading the same direction he wants to go it will be a wait and see scenario as to when he'll be going home. It looks like he'll have to travel further north then east to by-pass most of the snow covered roads.

Concerns with the flood waters rising again are in the news. They say it is a blessing this moisture came as snow and not as rain or it would be flooding right now. It is supposed to warm up later this week, so the potential for flooding is still there. It may just be delayed.

My husband and son were busy outdoors snow blowing and shoveling snow from our driveway and sidewalks. They also worked up and down our street to assist the neighbors with their snow removal. While they were outdoors, I spent time cooking up spaghetti and a carrot cake and doing a bit of clean-up in the kitchen.

These snow pictures show off the yard so different from what it normally looks like. It's hard to see over the piles of snow in some places. I have a large clay pot in the front that showcases an extension to plant at too levels. Last week's slightly warmer temps made it somewhat visible for a short while. Now with this snow it it completely covered once again.

I suspect it will be quite some time to wait for all this snow to melt. Hopefully it warms up gradually and more of this moisture is absorbed into the ground, more than what runs off directly into the river.

Thankfully we have not lost branches from our trees. I noticed there was one very large broken limb hanging, but entrapped, among other branches above the end of the driveway. I don't know if that happened last night with this snowstorm or a storm earlier this winter. Our lilac bushes are fairly well covered in snow, but seem to be okay.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Updating Links

I spent some time tonight updating links on the sidebar to the right. I love to check in with other bloggers and have acquired quite a list of favorites. Those listed here are some I enjoy visiting most often. There are lots more in my favorites that I check out from time-to-time. It can take up a lot of time to stay up on other blogs, but I usually find something uplifting and refreshing after visiting a few each day. I am planning on updating my own blog more often once I start working my own business. I'll also be working on a website to feature some of my products. That should keep me busy as I begin to devote more time to building a customer base.

There's not a whole lot new going on to blog about for now. I'm still recovering from my recent illness, working to regain my strength. The weather has been very "wintry" lately. We were just being teased by those few days of warmth recently. The flooding here in North Dakota has affected many here in Bismarck and across the state. A federal disaster was declared today. While I've been recuperating from being sick my husband has been busy filling sand bags the last several days. He's feeling tired out, but is glad he's participating in the effort with so many other volunteers. We made the national news broadcasts. (To all my family, we are fine.)

We are all looking forward to spring and having the grass and garden plants start growing again. I have a green indoor plant on the kitchen table. It reminds me spring will come . . . it's just around the corner.

With all the snow we've had this year it's no wonder the flood water has risen so high. There is still so much ice jamming the rivers and causing it to back up across the riverbanks. They cut the flow of water at Garrison Dam, but probably cannot do that for long since they are not generating electricity when they do that. Those cities further down stream will be seeing a lot of water coming their way over the next month or two as well as this ice is cleared and the water can flow downstream more. They used dynamite to blow up the ice jams (4 ft thick in some areas) two different times today and another scheduled for the morning. They had Blackhawk helicopters from the National Guard dumping huge buckets of salt across the frozen river jams to help clear and open channels to increase the water flow. It's the same big buckets they use to dump water on forest fires in the dry heat of summer.

The amount of snow to melt this year means we'll be enjoying higher lake levels and water levels this summer. That will be good. It's just the current crisis to get through with flooding for now. I am glad our house sits higher like it does. We are not having to deal with it directly here at home. It is involving and affecting lots of businesses and people across town. The mall was closed today, the schools were closed, many businesses were closed, many streets were closed. What a time of it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Upcoming Changes

I will be taking a new direction in my life soon. I will be directing my attention to building my small business. In a few weeks I will be moving on from my current place of employment to go it on my own. This is something I am looking forward to. I will also be devoting a large part of my time to refreshing and learning more info on building and designing websites. Changing my everyday activities around will be a bit of a change. Instead of reporting in at "work" I will be reporting in at "work at home". Things will be different for me -- I'm excited about the new changes.

On another subject -- I just received notification I am the newest member of Sisters On The Fly. I'm Sister #1129. It is a group of women (over a thousand strong) who love getting together to participate in small groups in outdoor activities like vintage trailer camping, fly fishing, horseback riding and "having more fun than anyone". These are all things I like to do in the summer - usually going out with my husband to local rivers and lakes for boating and fishing. We don't have a vintage trailer -- y e t ! I am hoping to locate one that I can refurbish later this summer.

Another group I have recently joined is MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Sisterhood. I am now an official member - Farmgirl #520. This is a group of women who celebrate the farm life even if you don't own a farm. I'm a "farmgirl at heart" and fit right in with the easy-going, down home way of life. It's about simplifying, getting back to basics, and learning to live a more organic, self-sufficient healthful life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taste Testing for Better Flavor

Taste testing eggsAfter enjoying the opportunity of tasting some real honest to goodness farm raised eggs we've become enamored with that excellent home-grown flavor. We have decided we no longer like the bland taste of pale yellow flavorless eggs from the grocery store. We have our hearts set on finding a source for eggs with that tasty good old fashioned flavor. As yet we have not located a local source of fresh farm eggs, so we're still shopping at the big box mass market grocery store. Meanwhile we've been taste testing other brands of eggs hoping to find some that come closer to that farm-fresh flavor.

Here we are sampling Eggland's Best, Sunny Meadow Farm, and Eggland's Cage-Free eggs. We agree that of these the Cage-Free are the best so far. Once we have some farmer's markets start up this spring I'm going to ask around to try to find a local source of farm-fresh eggs that are full flavor. I cannot wait to pin down a source. We're likely to find more fresh farm flavors with veggies and fruits, too. I'm looking forward to that as well.

Close up of my heart pincushionI found a free pattern on-line to make this Heart Pincushion from The Pattern Basket. One day last week I had some time to sew with a friend. This was my project for the day -- to sew up two of these pincushions. One for my friend and one for me. It went together fairly smoothly, but it sure is surprising how long things take to make. I had it in my mind they would only take an hour or so. What with all the chatting and visiting, these two pincushions took the whole afternoon. That's okay, though. We had a good visit while making them. In fact it turned out to be a very pleasant day. It's always fun to spend time with a friend.

Blogging about my heart pincushionMy friend picked the pink color fabric. Then we selected the dark blue print with pink accents to go with it. I changed it a bit from the pattern instructions. I quilted both the top and bottom pieces instead of just the top. Then I could not find the plastic pellets for weighting the pincushion so I used glass marbles, used for flower arrangements, instead. A handful of those shiny glass marbles was plenty to weight them. I think if I make any more of these I will do them in a smaller size. It is pretty large as far as pincushions go. It could easily be made smaller for a nice, handy size pincushion.

When looking again to re-locate the source of this free pattern I ran across this site with a tutorial for a similar 1800s Heart Pincushion.