Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yellow Star

I wanted to try an experiment with my smartphone's camera. Smartphones have a wide-angle lens that makes all elements in a photo equally sharp, whether the objects are close to the camera or far away. I wanted to see if I could take a photo where the flower would be sharp and the background still be out of focus.

After cropping a lot, then playing in editing to lighten the background and tweak the light levels in the flower, I came up with this photo. I'm rather pleased.

It won't take the place of my macro lens on my Big Girl Camera, but it still has a pleasing effect.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Banquet Time

These white flowering bushes are a feast for the eyes

and for little bug tummies

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer in the Soil

I spent most of yesterday playing in the dirt. The weather was sunny with a few puffy clouds, the temperatures in the 70s. I dug up the bulbs in the Garden of Hope and replanted them closer to the house.

I stopped by a home improvement store and looked through their highly discounted plants. I found violas with spindly fronds, dead leaves, and wilting flowers. They were only 79 cents each (used to be $3.00 each). So I brought them home, cleaned them up, planted them, and gave them plenty of water.

By this morning, they were looking much perkier. I hope they'll enjoy their new home.

I also spent quite a bit of time cleaning grass and weeds out of the phlox beds. Then I started digging up tulip, hyacinth, and grape hyacinth bulbs in the back yard. I plan to replant them closer to the front door. I hope they'll survive the move.

A Bucket of Bulbs

I was covered in mud and had several splinters by the time I got back inside. It was a glorious day and I was feeling sore and worn out in the best of ways. I'm healing up today, but hope to get out in the dirt again this week.

Friday, June 24, 2016


A little further down the path from the dragonfly, I saw my first butterfly of the season.

I hope to see many more ... and much closer. I had to crop into the photo I took quite a bit to see any of this butterfly's details. I'm enchanted by the spider webs on the flower. Such harmony and ability to live side-by-side in the bug world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cinquefoil Glen

Here's one of the reasons I love to walk in the woods

A bright spot of color in the midst of the shadows

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


As a lucky happenstance, I saw this dragonfly while walking through the forest. It's the only photo of him I captured before he flew away.

The detail in the wings blows me away!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Movin' On Up

Now that summer's here, the bugs are out in force.

Don't mind me. Nothin' goin' on here.

click for larger image

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Micro Makeover

After noting how dated my self paper was in April, I decided to do something about it. The entire kitchen is due for a makeover, but until we can get to it, at least these small sections will look a bit more crisp.

I did a little rearranging, a little cleaning, a whole lot of scraping, and a tiny bit of swearing trying to get the new sticky paper to lie straight and without air bubbles.

More to do. Pretty happy with the result.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Study in Five

For this week's coloring meditation, I decided to limit myself to five colored pencils
black, grey, silver, magenta, and turquoise. It was a little out of my wheelhouse, but it became an interesting exploration for me. I played with it in editing and like the way the grays and silvers broke down and look like smudges and fractals.

Drawing by Thaneeya McArdie from her book Flower Mandalas

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Our Yard in Spring - Hosta

The variegated hosta are showing off in the front yard in beds around the pine trees. Green and yellow leaves contrast with their quirky purple flowers.

Buds rise on spindly legs

Open slowly

Then burst into a lily shape

They attract slugs (none yet!) and flying bugs

Including this pretty green-on-green number

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our Yard in Spring - Columbine Part 2

More photos of my beautiful columbine.

These exquisite shape of these flowers are lovely in profile

as well as in full face.

 Inverted, they look like colorful water fountains

and practically glow in the dark.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Yard in Spring - Columbine Part 1

I love this flower so much! I took so many photos that it will take two days to show the seven best.

click for larger image

They start out looking like some kind of sea creature swimming through air

then sunning themselves in filtered light.

Monday, June 13, 2016


This bug should not have visited me in my office today! After trying to urge it out of the room several times, I gave up, grabbed a votive candle, and trapped it.

As you might guess, it went a little crazy -- especially as I slid the upturned glass around the table and stuck a harsh flashlight on it so that I could try and photograph the little monster. After a bit, the bug stood quite still, then somehow barfed up a blob of sticky substance.

I'm not sure what this creature is. It's wasp-like, but doesn't appear to have wings. What I do know is that it will remain under glass until someone braver than I will remove it.
:: cough cough :: Dale!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

By the River

It's an absolutely gorgeous day in north Idaho. I went on a photo safari at the park by the river. I have photos to fill my blog for weeks!

These two enjoyed dipping their toes in the water.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed

I like this slouch hat pattern. A lot, it seems, since this is the third one I've crocheted. Each time I make one, I tweak the pattern just a little to make it more appealing.

On this incarnation, I used a softer yarn and a larger crochet hook. I kept the changes from the last hat (every other row is double crochets instead of half double crochets). The larger hook makes for a looser, less compact stitch. Combined with the softer yarn, it makes for much more fluid folds.

I'm going to try this at least one more time. I'm thinking ... stripes. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Our Yard in Spring - Iris

Spring is now over. The temperatures climbed to nearly 100 degrees this week. Our red rose, which had just bloomed, had its petals singed black by the heat.

But for this moment, the iris is still budding and blooming on the cool north side of the house.

This extreme close-up was captured with the new macro lens I bought for my smartphone's camera. It's astounding how detailed it gets - if I can just hold the phone steady enough. Every small movement shows up when the lens is this close to the subject.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Flower Garden Wreath

Project Pinterest 10

I decided to make a new wreath for the front porch. Though I prowled through Pinterest looking for ideas, I didn't really find a wreath I wanted to replicate. Instead, I was inspired by all the photos I took of the flowers in my Our Yard in Spring series. Like the previous wreath, I wanted the project to be quick and inexpensive. With a few buys from our local Dollar Tree store, and using supplies I had on hand, I made this wreath for only $3.00!

I started by using the base from the Easter wreath I made earlier this year. (A new foam base would have been another dollar).

From the dollar store, I purchased two sets of flower leis. There were three leis in each set. I first wound the leis around the foam base, holding them in place with florist pins.

I also purchased this very cute plastic child's watering can which was found in the summer toys section of the dollar store.

These silver foil shreds were left over from my 25th wedding anniversary. (These, too, are available from the dollar store).

With the help of a flat-head screwdriver, I took the two parts of the watering can apart. I threaded a needle with both ends of a foil shred. I tied a knot in the center of the shred. Then I threaded the needle through he holes of the watering can. This way two strands of the silver foil came through each hole, while the knot kept the foil from slipping out of the holes. This gives the illusion of a nice full spray of water.

Once all the holes were filled, I snapped the watering can back together. I used a floral wire to attach the watering can to the flower-covered wreath. I tilted the watering can to make it look like the foil "water" was pouring from the spout. Finally, I trimmed the foil shreds to a pleasing length.

It's a sweet addition to our front porch.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Bunny Time

With the sun rising earlier and earlier each morning, I'm having a hard time staying asleep past 6 am. Since the weather forecast predicted that the temperature was going to reach nearly 100 degrees today, I decided to get up and go for an early morning walk to beat the heat.

Along the way, I walked passed our neighbor's bunny. This bunny goes home to get fed, then prowls the neighborhood with the outdoor cats. I think she's the gang leader. She doesn't like to get too close to us two-legged sorts.

So I was stunned to see the bunny sitting by the curb on the opposite side of the street from her home. I walked past. She didn't move. I grabbed my phone's camera and stepped back. She didn't move. I took two photos. She didn't move. Her eyes appear to be open. She didn't move. Do bunny's sleep with their eyes open? (Google says yes).

The bunny didn't move, so I proceeded on. Soon enough, this bunny will be on the move and out of reach again.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Dale and I spent several hours with these blokes today.

Parts one and two. Not a bad way to while away a 90 degree day.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Another Flower Mandala

Today's coloring meditation ...

I twisted my ankle yesterday, so spent the morning watching movies and coloring.

I used colored pencils. Then scanned it. Opened it in a paint program, and played with the color saturation, contrast, and noise levels to achieve this watercolor-like effect. I sure like the results.

Drawing by Thaneeya McArdie from her book Flower Mandalas

Friday, June 3, 2016

Lilac Slouch Hat

Project Pinterest 09

I've joined a group that crochets and knits hats for charity. My mother-in-law recently gave me and my daughters a lot of yarn. This will be one way we can use it.

I decided to make another slouch hat, using the same pattern that I used for my own hat last week (with a few modifications). In this plain color, the Xs in the design are much more apparent.


Inspiration is the Kisses Slouchy Hat by Kristina Olson Designs