Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Project!

Well, newly started. I've had the cross-stitch pattern for about 10 years. It will be a Valentine gift to myself, full of hearts.

I'll post a picture of the design later ... but look! I've started!

Maybe I'm getting my creative mojo back after all.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Time for a Meme

Whenever I go through a creative dry spell, I reach into my bag of blog tricks for ideas. Today I pulled out this meme as a writing prompt. 

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW the piles of snow have turned to ice. The street is slick as snot as I cross it to get to the mailbox. One piece of junk mail. Ugh.

I AM THINKING about what trouble my daughter Jeanne and I can get into when she comes for a visit tomorrow. (Hooray!) Baking? Crafting? Puzzle making? Massage?

I AM THANKFUL FOR a warm home, my husband's love, hot food, iced tea, a sense of humor. Not necessarily in that order.

FROM THE KITCHEN some sugar cookie dough is calling my name. Valentine cookies, perhaps? Snickerdoodles?

I AM WEARING my pussyhat. It's cold in our home office and I lose too much heat out the top of my nearly bald head.

I AM CREATING a life that I love. Also ... I may start a new cross-stitch project this week.

I AM GOING to a painting party for the first time. I'll be with a group of women and we'll paint decorative "pallet" signs to decorate our homes. Mine will have a Valentine theme.

I AM READING The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup M.D. I didn't realize just how wise I get to claim to be!

I AM HOPING that all the protests around the country will encourage our lawmakers to formulate true immigration reform. I'm hoping Congress will step up and help the president understand that the executive branch is one of three branches ... he is not a king.

I AM HEARING the hum of my computer. My husband's yawn. The refrigerator running.

AROUND THE HOUSE is a feeling on contentment. This is a cozy place to hang out.

is an extraordinary night of restorative sleep on crisp clean sheets. It gives me energy and focus ... and helps my skin to glow.

A FEW PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK? The aforementioned visit from my eldest. Some deep cleaning under the fridge and stove. Watching a movie based on a book I really enjoyed, Paper Towns. Probably writing more letters to my senators. And let's hope a few more nights of extraordinary sleep.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

How I Spent My Sunday

  1. Reading a book that is just a slog to get through. I've been trying to get around to reading this non-fiction, informative book for 10 years. I'm just over 60% done with it. But, boy, is it a trial.

  2. Writing letters to my Senators and Congressmen. I think I wrote a total of eight letters today on the subjects of cabinet confirmations, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the immigration ban. I felt awful after that, having put my emotions on the line while keeping them grounded in logic and reason.

  3. Laundry. This I didn't mind at all. I get to sleep in crisp, clean sheets tonight. Every week, it's a special treat for me.

  4. Went out to dinner at one of my favorite places. But the restaurant was not fully staffed, and the cook burned my food.

  5. Had a Pecan Mudslide from DQ to end our dinner on a high note.

  6. Watched Mythbusters. The final show of the final season. It went out with a bang.

  7. Watched a lot of YouTube videos. This was my favorite for a good laugh:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Be A Part of It All

I've stayed away from the news most of the day. When I checked in, I heard the good news that the courts put a stay on Mr. Trump's order to ban particular folks from particular countries from entering the United States.

I am heartened by the protestors at the airports around the country. So many of us want to be a welcoming people.

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, shared this story today of a woman in a Muslim country who welcomed her and brought her back to health when Liz fell sick in a far-off land. It's well worth a read.

Friday, January 27, 2017


There are times when a glass of ice cold fruit tea is the thing helps me get through the day.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


I haven't been feeling very creative this week.

Maybe because of this:

The agitation the country is feeling this week is resonating in my bones.

So I wrote three more letters to government officials to express the concerns of this informed citizen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Desire

I keep trying to find some of this:

I want to help build a better world.

I've been very animated since the Woman's March. I've been called to action. I've written letters, and will continue to do so. I share my letters with other women to give them a starting place to write their own letters to our country's leaders.

I want to be part of this building a better world thing - perhaps with a louder voice than I've had in the past.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


We've had a "warm" day today, with temperatures hovering just over the freezing mark. What light precipitation we had melted as it hit the pavement. By late afternoon, the temperature dropped just a bit. The precipitation rose just a bit. Ideal conditions.

As I took the trash bin to the curb for tomorrow's pick-up, I lifted my face to the sky to feel the snow brush my cheek. Then I looked down at my dark sweater where I saw some perfectly formed, whole flakes.

I hurried inside to get my camera, attaching the macro lens. I tried to add an extension tube, but I don't have that technique under my belt yet, so couldn't figure it out quickly. The sun was fading. The temperature could change at any time.

Camera in hand, photo background under my arm, I headed to the front porch. I alternated between holding the black backdrop in the open air, then scurrying to the porch to take some photos. Even with a wide open F-stop and high ISO, it's tough getting photos once the sun goes down.

Handheld. Yeah, I need to learn to quickly set up my tripod, too. I might also try and get a handle on the macro flash unit waiting on my shelf.

But for a half-hour's effort, and a little bit of editing, this photo isn't too bad. It felt really good to be back in the macro saddle.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Melty Melty Drip Drip

It's icicle time of year. They're forming around the edge of the roof.

Each year, I attempt to capture a drip. Getting them in focus, however, is a test.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ah, Honey, I'm So Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired

It's been a rough day.

I got so amped up about the events of yesterday
that I had a hard time going to sleep,
then a hard time staying asleep.

The backlash against the March today ...
sucked all the air out of the room,
out of my lungs.

I like feeling the way I did yesterday.
Like I wasn't alone.
Like there was still hope for the less fortunate among us.

Today I wrote to my Idaho senators regarding confirmation of a cabinet position.
It's a little step to uphold my end of the democratic process.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March

I've been blown away with the Women's March on Washington and all the sister cities. I've known about the march from the inception and thought I might go to the event in Boise, Idaho or Spokane, Washington.

In the end, I stayed home, wore my hat all day, and was constantly flitting from the TV to Facebook to the computer, round and round, sucking in as much info as I could and posting more political posts on Facebook in one day than I did all last year.While watching the coverage on TV, I marched in place for an hour, just to feel a part of it.

Why did it matter to me so much?

Well, my irritation with Mr. Trump started with that Access Hollywood tape. Like so many other women, it dredged up from my past old memories that I'd dealt with and didn't think I'd need to address again. HOW DARE HE? How dare any man talk like that about women? How dare they do things like that to women? How dare he invade my dreams at night and cause restless nights of sleep? How in the world could this be OK in a president? Hadn't we dealt with such actions in presidents in our recent history? How dare WE consider electing a man with a history of this repulsive behavior?

So, there was that.

But the kicker was learning that Mr. Trump made a habit of not paying people for the work as laid out in the contracts he made with them.

I haven't worked outside the home in a while. I've been lucky that I was able to stay home and raise my daughters. I did work part time for a while. Gratefully, my husband's job is such that his salary is enough to meet our needs, and neither of us spend a lot of money on excesses. We're homebodies and enjoy simple pleasures. We've always lived within our means.

But when I DID work, it bothered me so much that, in one job, I had more education than the three bosses over me, but made just over minimum wage. There was not a lot of room for upper mobility in that job. I did advance quickly and, indeed, even earned "Employee of the Year" faster than any other employee in that department.

So I know what it's like to not be paid what I was worth, something many women deal with. BUT AT LEAST I WAS PAID FOR ALL THE WORK I PUT IN!

I can't imagine doing my work, fulfilling my part of a deal, and then getting paid only a fraction of what was promised.

I can't imagine the folks who voted for him believe Mr Trump will follow through any more as a president than he did as an employer. I do not believe he will fulfill his social contract.

The most accurate predictor of future behavior is recent past behavior.

There are many other reasons I think he is a poor choice to lead our nation. But if I had to pick, these are my top two reasons.

From the beginning of the idea of this march, I didn't see it as an anti-Trump protest. I saw it as being against many of the ideas he purports. I saw it as a way to say, "We're watching. We're not going to allow you (Mr. President, Congress) to change laws that are helping the disenfranchised and poor without insisting that you hear our voices. We refuse to go backwards. We refuse to pretend we can live an insular life and not be a part -- indeed a leader -- in a global economy."

As a country, we are so blessed. There are ways to help those in need here at home without cutting out the rest of the world. We can help the world rise up together. I truly believe it. It's one of the reasons I make a loan through Kiva nearly every week. Those that have help those that have not.

So, today I joined the hundreds of thousands of women and feminists all over the world. I marched with them. My heart remains with them. My words support them.

We will do more than march.
We will act.
We will hold to accountability.
We will uphold our end of the democratic process.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Sea of Pink

:: shuddering ::
... this day ...
:: covering eyes and shaking head ::

but tomorrow ...
I'll be marching at home

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ice Waves

After weeks of snow and below freezing temperatures, we had a warm-up today. The foot+ of compacted snow and ice started bending and shaping itself.

It's "cool" watching the ice curl under its own weight

click for larger image

and form waves, dripping from the deck railing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grandma's Knitting

A few days ago, my cousins and I were talking on Facebook about our grandma. Kathryn (daughter of Joe), Kim (daughter of Carmen aka Cody) and I (daughter of Tony) chatted about our different talents and abilities and whether or not they are inherited. Kim makes some lovely crafts. You ought to see her wreaths. Kathryn likes to cook and likes dogs. My primary love is needlework.

Our grandma loved her doggie. Queenie would sit by Grandma's side as she rested and did needlework. Grandma was a great cook. I'll never forget watching her make pasta from scratch. It was like watching a dance. She also loved to knit. She had three or four pair of slippers on her needles at any time. When she came to visit, she'd open her bags and we'd get to pick out whatever color of slippers we wanted. Then we'd get a running start and see how far we could slide on the linoleum floors in the hallways.

In 1965, while my mom and dad went to the New York World's Fair, I got to stay with my grandma. Some memorable things happened that week, like dancing the jerk with a next door neighbor, helping Grandma make apricot jam from the tree in her back yard, and getting to stay up "late" and watch Peyton Place before getting tucked into bed.

It was during that week that Grandma taught me to knit. Or tried. I'm left-handed and she was right-handed, so it was a bit of a test. She was so patient! She taught me just the knit stitch, with the hope of making a narrow-but-long strip of garter stitch that could be put over a wooden hanger and used so clothes wouldn't slip off.

Well, I may have knit about four inches, with several dropped stitches! It was pretty frustrating. Grandma sent me home with the ugly gold yarn and double-pointed pink knitting needles so that I could keep working at it. I never finished. Even if I had, I didn't know how to bind off!

Mary Ferrianolo
aka Fortunata Mary Midili Codispoti

But I'll never forget how good it always felt, snuggled up on the couch next to my grandma. You see, I was named for her. In my adult brain, I'm sure she loved all of us. But the little Mimi girl in me still wants to think I was special. I always felt special with Grandma.

Anyway, as we cousins were chatting a few days ago, I told them that I still have the knitting needles Grandma gave me when I was 8 years old. I like how over the years, the one earned the nice bend at the tip. I doubt that was from knitting. More likely, one of my seven brothers was using it as a sword or spear, flinging it across the room or shooting it out of the blowing end of the Electrolux. I know they did that with the broom from Charmin' Chatty's Cinderella costume. But that's another story.

I'm pretty sure I have the last pair of slippers my grandma made before she moved from Idaho back to California. If I can find them, I'll take a picture. They have an extended story, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prepping for the 21st

I won't be at the huge march in Washington, D.C. I won't even be at the mini marches in Spokane or Boise. Even so, I plan to make my hat this week and wear it at home on Saturday. I can be a part of the Women's March on Washington in a small way.

We women are not leaving the public arena or allowing our issues dissipate. Hear us roar.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Nice 'stache

Today I got another photo app to play with.

Havin' a little fun on a vacation day.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quilt Layout

After considering several options and laying things out on my "design wall" (aka living room floor), I came up with this layout for the quilt. That blue is ... very very blue. But the green and orange squares in my mom's stack looked even worse when laid out next to the softer pink and yellow. Plus, the quilt had to have a llama, right?

This photo is very fuzzy and it's nearly impossible to see the outlines of the animals on the colored squares here. That's OK. I took the photo so I have a record of what goes where once the squares are embroidered. I don't want to have to make this layout decision again. I got the animals to all face each other and be amused by each other. Reminds me a bit of The Brady Bunch.

The squares are about 9 inches right now. After washing and trimming, they'll be about 8 inch squares. I'll add some kind of border to each square, probably a solid color fabric. And I'm thinking about some kind of print between the squares. I'm guessing the finished quilt will be someplace around 36 inches wide by 48 inches high. I like hand stitching, so I may quilt it by hand. I've been meaning to learn to make prairie points for years, so this might be a good excuse to try that technique when I bind it. I haven't considered what kind of backing.

So many decisions to make! Ahhhhh!

I'm not sure about any of this. I'm "talking out loud" and throwing ideas against the wall. We'll see what sticks as this project progresses.

At least I know my next steps: embroider these six squares.

To be continued ...

Saturday, January 14, 2017


The is the second of the quilt squares I embroidered. I attempted to make it look like a calico cat.

The results? This is where my mom was more free with color than I am. Whatever. It's cute.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lamb with Butterfly

So here's the first of the quilt squares that I stitched, trying to match my mom's style.


Luckily, this one is centered on the square well.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What's Next

An embroidered quilt!

When my mom died 19 years ago, among her sewing treasures I found these quilt squares. They reside in a bag with a whole bunch of non-stitched squares on white, pink, yellow, bright orange, bright bright green, and nearly-electric blue squares. I'm not sure when she started stitching this quilt, or for which of her 19 grandchildren they were intended. So not being able to part with them, and not knowing what to do with them, they sat for nearly two decades on my shelf.

This year, I'm making a concerted effort to do some downsizing. Nothing radical. One item per day is enough for me to feel accomplished. In looking over my shelves, these quilt squares came to the fore.

Now I have something to do with them! My daughter Julie and her husband Jeff are expecting a baby girl in May. I've decided to embroider some of these squares and make them into a quilt for our new granddaughter. This way, Baby Otto will have something from her great-grandmother and her grandma.

There are some issues with the quilt blocks, though.

  1. The fabric Mom stamped on is very thin, so I will need to do some interfacing. Even then, I think some of the carry-over stitches on the back will show through.

  2. The stamping on several of the squares is quite close to the edge of the quilt blocks, rather than centered in the squares. (Note the yellow flower on square with the deer wearing an orange scarf). I'm going to have to take that into account when I square the blocks before sewing them together.

  3. My mom had an odd sense of color. She always liked grayed tones mixed in with bright tones. I did my best to match floss colors with the squares she finished, then added to that color pallet to expand my options.

  4. My mom and I don't have the same embroidery style. Her stitches are much larger than mine, plus she had a playful side where she freely added embellishments. I tend to be a "color within the lines" kind of gal. Or as my son-in-law said, I'm "orderly." (He hit that on the nose!)

    Mom embroidered the four blocks in this photo. I'm trying to match Mom's style so the quilt will be cohesive. So far, I've finished stitching one square. I think I've decided that it's OK that things don't match precisely. It will be apparent who stitched which blocks, and that may well add some charm to this four-generation quilt.

  5. It doesn't look like Mom washed the fabric before she stamped the images on the squares. Some of the fabric is 100% cotton, like a muslin. Others look like a cotton/poly blend. I'm hoping that doesn't become too much of a problem, but I'm afraid it might due to possible shrinkage. I think I may need to wash the squares before squaring them up and sewing them together. I could use some advice on this matter.

  6. The style of animals on the various squares morphs a lot. These four squares, and 3 or 4 others, have a hand-drawn look. Some of the other squares have animals with more cartoonish shapes (for lack of a better word). They don't exactly go together. It's likely just fine, but I need to noodle out which designs to use and how to place them for a cohesive quilt that I'll find aesthetically pleasing.

  7. Then there's the little concern that I haven't made an entire quilt by myself since college. I'm going to have a learning curve here. With my personality, that often means thinking about something for months before starting the process of hands-on working through the problem. And, well, I have just five months.

So, this will be interesting! I like that I can think of it as a series of little projects, stitching just one square at a time and showing my progress. That will be the fun part. Maybe by the time the embroidery is done, I'll have worked out the other technical issues.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jodie's "Mom Gift"

My daughter Jodie has begun collecting postcards. She buys some vintage cards from antique shops. She also LOVES to receive postcards from friends and acquaintances all over the globe. She even has an Instagram account called postal.revival whose purpose is "Reviving old stories in antique and vintage postcards. Celebrating the joy of a handwritten letter."

So when I discovered this idea of turning a vintage postcard into a little journal, I had to try! I decided to make a special postcard journal for Jodie's special mom-to-daughter Christmas gift.

I've never attempted to make a book before, though I've long been interested. Of all the crafts I made in 2016, this little postcard journal may be the craft I'm most excited about.

Here's how I did it:

I found a vintage postcard in my stash. It was 5 ½” x 3 ½” This is the cover of the journal.

I measured on back of postcard to the center 2 ¾ " and marked a line. I then marked dots ¾” from top and bottom along that center line. I marked a third dot at 1 ¾” for the center. Then I punched holes at these three points with a ⅛” hole punch. You could also use a large sharp needle.

I gave my journal a ¼" spine by measuring ⅛" on each side of the center line. I then scored on these lines and folded them to make a crisp spine. Once that was done, I erased all lines and set the cover aside.

Next I cut 20 pieces of paper 3 ¼" x 5 ¼". You could use a handmade paper or other special paper to give a more vintage feel. I used a specialty paper that was part cotton that was translucent and had a nubby texture.

I folded each page in half, then stacked them 4 to a stack. I marked ⅝” in from top and bottom, and I marked the center at 1 ⅝” . I punched holes at these marks. Next I stacked the pages inside each other (one signature) and placed them inside the cover, aligning the holes.

To assemble the book and cover, I cut a piece of string/twine 18” to 24”. I pulled the string/twine through beeswax a few times, then put the string through fingers a few times to warm the wax and infuse it into the string/twine. This strengthens the fiber.

The next step was to thread the needle and sew from the outside of the cover through the center hole of the cover and through the center hole in each page. I needed to go through a few pages at a time to make alignment easier.

Then I sewed from the center of the book, through the top hole, to the outside.

Once again, I sewed from the outside through the center hole to the center of the book.

Finally, I sewed from the center of the book, through the bottom hole, to the outside.

On the spine, I slid the needle under the loop from the center hole to the top hole and pulled the string/twine taut. I tied a surgeon’s knot to secure the pages to the cover. I trimmed one end of the string to about ¾” and left the other end of the string long.

When I closed the book, I noticed that the pages didn’t align properly (too many pages in the single signature). The center pages stuck out more than the pages next to the cover. So I trimned the pages so they are even, ending approximately ⅛” from the edge of the cover. I chose to use scissors with deckle-edge blades to make the edges of the paper purposely uneven.

To finish the spine, I cut a piece of duck tape three times as wide as the spine. Because this journal is so small, I found it easier to work in centimeters rather than sixteenths of an inch. So I cut the tape 3 cm x 9 cm.

I centered the spine onto the tape, being sure to catch the short end of the string/twine under the tape, lengthwise on the spine. I pulled the other end of the string/twine perpendicular to the spine along the back of the cover. To tidy things up, I trimmed the tape at the top and bottom so it didn’t protrude further than the cover.

For a closure, I sewed a button to the front cover, using a second button on the inside of the front cover to act as a stabilizer. It's wise to keep this sewing a little loose so that you can wrap the string/twine once around the entire book, then once around the button to keep the journal closed closed. To make sure the string didn't fray, I tied a little knot in the end.

If you'd like to send my daughter a postcard, let me know. I'll exchange mailing addresses with her for you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Gift Tags

Each year while I'm putting away the Christmas decorations, I take a little time to once more look over the Christmas cards I received and think of the special people who mailed them.

Then I recycle those cards into gift tags for the following Christmas.

This process used to take an entire afternoon. I'd get out my stencils and find just the right size and shape to get the most out of each image on the cards. I'd use scissors with fancy blades to make the edges of the tags sculptural.

Last year, however, I bought myself a tag punch. Now the process is a snap! It goes very quickly and the tags are more uniform. I have the Fiskars punch model #1335 to make the tags. They create a tag that's about 2-1/4" tall and 1-1/2" wide.

I used a regular-sized hole punch in the tab, then a piece of crochet cotton for the string.

This year's cards made for a nice little stack of gift tags, all ready for next year. I store them with the Christmas wrapping paper (in a hanging garment bag!) so they're easy to find when I need them.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


My daughter Jodie gifted this rose-colored hat to me two or three years ago. Though I really like the softness and the ribbed design, I didn't wear it much because it didn't fit quite right. It was too wide at the brim, and not long enough to cover my ears.

So last year I checked my stash to see if I could augment it so that it would fit better. I didn't have any coordinating pinks, so I went for a bright white 4-ply and added a band around the brim. Now it fits tight against my head and keeps my ears warm in snowy weather.

Something about it still wasn't working for me. It looked out of balance. So today I grabbed that white yarn and made a nice big tassel for the top. That ties in with the brim and pulls the colors together better. NOW let's seek if I get more use from it!

It's pretty poppin'!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Julie's "Mom Gift"

Project Pinterest 24

Last week, I blogged about Jeanne's "Mom Gift."  What's a "Mom Gift"? Well, every Christmas I try to come up with some special little somethin'-somethin' to make for my daughters that is unique to their current station in life. My goal is to make something that will either make them laugh uproariously or make them tear up and go, "Ahhhh!" Jeanne's made her laugh.

This one, for Julie, received the "Ahhhh!"

Julie likes penguins. So I crocheted a penguin pouch for her. She says it's just the right size to fit her iPod.

The penguin's bill holds the closure in place. The buttons I used are from my grandmother's button collection. 

The directions were easy to follow ... except for the feet. I "winged it" and created my own version.


Inspired by Repeat Crafter Me

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rustic Reindeer

Project Pinterest 23

Every year I make a new ornament for my family. Because Dale and I downsized Christmas this year and, for the first time, had a theme tree, I almost forgot to make family ornament in 2016. So a couple days before Christmas I was scrambling. I tried two other ornaments that day, using materials from my stash, but just couldn't get them to work.

Then I came upon this reindeer idea, and set to work. Luckily, I had these materials in my stash, too.

The burlap is cut about 1" wide by 1.5 inches long. I didn't measure. I had a burlap ribbon. I folded it widthwise in thirds or fourths until I liked the proportion. I did cut off the selvages. Because the burlap frays, I painted a strip of glue along each edge.

While the glue was drying, I cut some glitter stems (like pipe cleaners) into pieces, and wrapped short pieces around longer pieces to create the antlers. I took a 1/8" red ribbon and cut it into pieces about 4 or 5 inches long. I counted out google eyes and pompoms, then set everything out assembly-line style.

I used white glue to adhere the eyes and nose. I tried to do the same with the antlers and ribbon, but they wouldn't stick to the burlap. So I pulled out a needle and some tan thread and whipstitched them into place on the back side of the ornament, catching the pompom through the burlap just to make sure it didn't fall off.

I suppose hot glue could be used. I didn't have my glue gun ready, though, and it likely would have left lumpy globs on the back and seeped through to the front. White glue dries clear.

As I was stitching, my hand holding the ornament ended up pushing the google eyes around a bit. I love that happy accident. It gave each reindeer a unique expression! The whole herd makes me laugh.


Inspired by Fun Family Crafts

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Puzzled Over This

Over the weekend, Dale and I completed this Wasgij puzzle called Sunday Drive. This is another where the picture on the front of the puzzle box is not the same as the picture on the puzzle itself. Instead, the picture on the puzzle is from the point of view of one of the characters in the picture on the puzzle box. In this case, it's from the viewpoint of the driver of the hay wagon.

I worked about 75% of the puzzle; Dale worked on it between sessions of shoveling the foot of snow we got.

Our thoughts? Well, this was as clever as the last one we put together. The detail in the storytelling is stellar. But we'd much rather work on 500 piece puzzles than that larger 1000 piece puzzles. We do this as a fun activity to last a couple days. This one took longer (tying up the dining room table too much) and there were enough frustrating points that the difficulty gets in the way of the quiet fun.

Another point? The quality of the puzzle is not the greatest. On really good jigsaws, the puzzle pieces are thick and have a nice weight to them. When they fit into place, they have a very satisfying snap and you don't have to guess if the piece fits or not.

OK. Call us jigsaw snobs. We don't care.

We have one more puzzle in our closet ... then it will be time for a visit to the thrift store. We like to buy 'em cheap, have a couple afternoons of fun puttin' 'em together, then re-donate. Win-win.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This Guy

Because I love him. That is all.

Oh. And because Dale got my camera lens fixed and let me take some test shots of him with it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Last Day of Christmas

The box of gifts that Dale and I sent to our daughter Jodie and her fiancĂ© Ken arrived in Oregon today. Jodie and I went on Sykpe to share the unboxing and unwrapping and oooos and ahhhhs. I took screenshots of her expressions as she opened her gifts (the lighting is quirky due to screenshots).

We got them a number of gifts. She thought the book lamp was particularly cool. It's a lamp in the shape of a book. When you open the book's cover, the lamp turns on. I may get one for myself, it's so cool.

 Jodie loves to bake, so we got her several kitchen tools. She got a big kick out of the instruction guide for the silicone pie shield.

Another of Jodie's hobbies is to collect postcards, then share them on Instagram. I gave her my entire vintage postcard collection with a note of the approximate year and the place where I picked them up. My favorite reaction came when she opened the tiny journal I made from one of my mom's vintage postcards.

I'll be sharing a blog post later on with some close-up images of that little journal.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Four Seasons

I've already posted this on Facebook, so most of my friends already have the news. But I wanted to add it to my blog so that my real-life non-Facebook friends can know, too.

I'm part of a community called How To Photograph Your Life. Our fearless leader is professional photographer, Nick Kelsh. He's written and photographed a number of books. He's had cover photos on National Geographic. He teaches beginner and intermediate photography classes online and master classes in person. He's the real deal. (The guy needs a Wikipedia page!)

Nick encourages us to post our photos on the group's Facebook page. Every weekday he chooses one Fan Photo of the Day to highlight. Over the years, I've been awarded a Fan Photo Of The Day several times. At the end of each year, Nick sifts through the hundreds of Fan Photo Of The Day images, then chooses his top 50.

For the first time, one of my photos (well, four actually) was chosen to be included in the Top 50 Fan Photos of 2016! When you see the other 49 photos, you'll understand just how impressive the photographers in our community are, most of whom are also amateur/hobby photographers. I am incredibly honored to be featured among this group.

Click for larger image

Be sure to stop by the How to Photograph Your Life website to see all the photos. You'll want to look at them over and over. Gorgeous.