Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are you ready for Christmas?

In the event that this is my only blog entry before Christmas:
Have a Merry Christmas!
Happy Holidays for all you non-denominational folks!

I have to work every day this week, so as per the usual, all non-working / non-sleeping hours will be spent finishing whatever it is I was making for Christmas... and by the time Christmas finally arrives, I will be exhausted. At least I only have 2 graphics to finish for the traditional family calendar, the one shown in this blog entry is one of them. I'm currently waffling on whether or not there should be ornaments or lights on the tree or something... Surely, I will change my mind 5 or 6 times in the next 6 days.

I also apparently have a field of poppies to draw, which is what's holding up the other graphic, since I have all the other parts for that one complete.

Tomorrow morning I think I'm going to come home and make the traditional ridiculously large quantity of christmas cookies, so at least there'll be something to snack on while I'm wishing I had a clone who really really likes to work 10 consecutive days in a row all the way up to Christmas. That, of course, would be in addition to my other clone who also really really likes to tidy up :D Oh, imaginary clones...

These are some shots from last year's cookies.

The recipe makes at least 80 cookies. Excessive? Perhaps. But it's a tradition. Plus I usually end up frosting them in about 12 different colors (and sometimes more than 12). Yes, I am one of those people that owns not only the 4 basic colors of food dye, but also the neon pack. I just keep adding a little more color & a little more white frosting to my bowl until it's time to move onto the next color... it satisfies my inner artist, I suppose.

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas! And you only have 7 days, so get cracking and get your stuff done!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Oh, snow.
Which quickly turns into "ugh, snow."

The first time it snows, and it isn't that powdery stuff that comes with frigid temperatures, it's kind of pretty. In a different time, under different circumstances, I might find snow delightful... but I don't.

It was fun & wonderful for a while when it was falling from the sky like a scene from a Christmas card... and that's when I took these shots.

As you can see, it was still very wet. And I was at home. Hence the relative mundanity of spruces and the apple tree covered with lichen covered with snow.

But then it snowed all day, and I had to drive to work in the snow, and it was really apparent that no one bothered to plow anything (proficiently). And then I drove home from work. Let's just say that US 12 was a sheet of ice and we were doing an average of 30MPH (on the 'country highway' part), crawling around each of the 6 curves, avoiding that tree that toppled into the road, and watching the traffic in the other direction come to a complete stop on the highway (not for an accident, but for an ice covered curve).

Snow is fun & pretty if you don't have to drive in it in an area where the road commission didn't bother to take care of the roads.

If it all melted, that'd be great.
I'm enjoying a cup of dark hot chocolate as I type this and thinking about how tired I am of spending twice the amount of time to make one trip to work. Of course, this is just the first day.

Ugh, snow.

If you have warm snow-free weather wherever you are (and it isn't like monsoon season) then relish in your good fortune and easy travels.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: tree bark

It's cold here now, so, outdoor photography has pretty much ceased. I really don't like being cold, so the less time I spend in the cold — the happier I am.

Anyhow, every year when I go out on treks of sidewalk tourism — along with photographing leaves and flowers — I also take pictures of tree bark. I'm sure this must seem very weird to anyone who sits on their porch or in their home who happens to be watching me do this. Of course, I'm sure it also seems weird that I'm taking pictures of the leaves on their tree too. Apparently photography is a weird hobby when not being done at a nature sanctuary or a tourist attraction or a family gathering...

I never sat down in school or at home and learned to identify plants, so half the time I have to ask someone what it actually is that I have taken a picture of. I know this is a birch, a pine, and a sycamore respectively, but I'm not all too particular with my tree types or identifications... although, apparently there are a lot of sycamores in town, as well as maples... but not too many birch trees. There aren't a lot of oaks either.

Photographing tree bark was actually something I started doing for my Christmas cards. I thought it would look cool as a background. And the process of doing it actually taught me how to use my camera more effectively. Let's say my first sets of photos were annoyingly out of focus, since the camera is one of those autofocus digitals, and I had yet to figure out to flip through the settings to find the "close up." Once I had this figured out, the picture quality improved dramatically.
You can check out my cards here:
birches | sycamores | more birches | variety of barks

Holy cow, it's December, and I have like 2 weeks to finish 4 graphics for the family calendar! Eek! No matter how far ahead I have attempted to plan, this happens every year. So, I hope you're all out & about & getting ready for the holidays in spite of the cold!
: )

Friday, December 3, 2010

let it snow

I feel like I need a note from my mom, something that says tomorrow I'll visit a cajillion blogs, but today Sarah is being analog and needs to stay off the computer and go to bed on time.

Yeah, it's been a busy and sleepless week. And holy crap: it's December! How did that happen? November, where did you go? I have 4 graphics to create for a calendar and Christmas gifts to figure out... I think I need 30 more days and to figure out where I can find some cheap peanut brittle.

Anyway, I spent the morning catching up on some beloved reruns on the television while putting up the winter decorations (which I may get around to taking down approximately around April). I literally took the hummingbirds & butterflies down a couple days ago and it snowed for the first time. Appropriately, my winter decorations are snowflakes.

And as usual, I got halfway through actually putting them all up.
I have a collection of snowflakes. Most of them are plastic or resin and covered with glitter, some of them are metal or wire or have mirrors or rhinestones. The vast majority of them are unique (in that mass produced holiday decorations can be 'unique') - in other words, it's not like I just went to the store and bought the package with 10 of the same snowflakes in it 10 times over. No, I have about a hundred snowflakes, and 90% of them are not multiples.

I hang them from the ceiling, which means that each snowflake is strung on fishing line. Now, if I was "organized" — then I would probably possess some sort of box with dividers in it so that when I finally get off my lazy bum and take them down well after spring has started— well, they'd be neat and organized and I could just plow through hanging them. Pfft, where's the fun in that? Besides, it sounds like work.

No, these things go in a plastic bin, so every year there is a comedy routine involved in separating them from themselves, because the fishing line somehow gets tangled... I pick up 1 snowflake and end up holding a clump. Yes, it's silly, and probably time consuming, and yet amusing enough that I cannot be bothered to buy one of those ornament boxes with the dividers.

So, I'm covered with glitter, the floor is covered with glitter, and so far there was only one "clump" that I had to separate with scissors...

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be done, and then I have to vacuum. And even then everything will still be covered with glitter.

Hopefully, your home is decorated for the holidays : )

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas card giveaway

The holidays are over, right? I don't have to make sure I didn't set the house on fire cooking the turkey or wonder what in the world happened to that extra can of whole cranberry sauce that I was sure I bought until I was in the kitchen rummaging through the cupboards pondering where I could have possibly put it (only to find it in the trunk of my car the next day)...

It's Tuesday now, and I finally got my make-up sleep for the holiday.

Anyhow, Christmas is around the corner, and I design snowflakes & make Christmas cards — so it's time for a giveaway.

Up for the taking are 8 snowflake Christmas cards (the ones pictured above; the winner gets 4 of each design)
The cards measure 4.25 X 5.5 inches & come with envelopes.

The message inside of the cards reads: Have a lovely Holiday Season! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The message is printed in violet colored ink in a cursive style font.
(wanna see: click here)

To enter:
send an email to with the word "giveaway" in the title of the email.

The names of the entrants will be written on paper, and one will be drawn from a vessel of some sort. The drawing is this Friday (3 December 2010). I will then email the winner, because, obviously, in order to send you the cards — I need your address, and I don't expect anyone to publicly declare that sort of thing in a blog post, hence the relative privacy of email.

I don't have a mailing list, newsletter, or forward email addresses, or anything spammy like that. The email is exclusively for the giveaway.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Eat, drink, be merry, but mostly eat.

I spent a good portion of the morning making food - and I look forward to eating leftover turkey for a week : )

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Autumn Leaves: more of my favorite maple

Please excuse my brevity and / or lack of posts this week. It is, as perhaps everyone knows, Thanksgiving week here in the States. I have to go procure a frozen turkey, get those last odds & ends for various family dinners that I haven't yet gotten, and then tomorrow I have to make a bunch of food... and then turn around and do it again on Friday. On top of that, by Thursday morning I will have worked 8 days in a row...

I would like to see a nap in my future.

Anyway, these are some more shots of my favorite maple...

Yeah, I took like 60 shots of this tree — hey, it was a cool looking tree.

Anyway, I hope you all have lovely Thanksgivings. Hopefully, there are no food catastrophes or mishaps.

If you enjoy cynicism or sarcasm: read on... otherwise, I am about to be snarky (it's working 8 days in a row with no days off coming up on a series of dinners that is making me neurotic)

This Thanksgiving my inner-cynic is hoping that some of the people on my Dad's side of the family + extended family will have sharpened up on their culinary skills. It's not that I'm a food snob, but if you're going to bring something to what is essentially a potluck, then it should be edible without hassle. When a steak knife with teeth is required to cut your "home-made" apple pie, this is a learning moment. You should feel a little embarrassed looking at the mess in the pie plate. You cannot add extra water to pie crust (whether it's regular or dutch) it just turns into cement.

I'm serious, this has actually happened multiple years in a row: apple pie that cannot be cut with an ordinary knife. And I sit there at the table and wonder how hard it could possibly be to make apple pie. And I say this as someone who has made a number of pies in my day (in fact, I have made apple pies). Because if we can't crack the crust of your pie with a regular knife, how the hell is a fork supposed to tackle this problem once its on my plate? Just ponder this with me for a moment (and laugh). I mean, there is no shame in walking into the grocery store and walking out either with a frozen pie shell or Betty Crocker pie crust mix in a box, and then following the directions. Hell, apple pie filling in a can - have at it.

I'm cynical, but honestly, I don't understand how I'm supposed to appreciate the "hand-made" effort that went into a food item that in the end is inedible, especially when it's apple pie of all things...

And then there's Grandma's new found recipe for "chocolate pie." I wish Grandma would lose the recipe for chocolate pie, or that someone would have the heart to tell her that it's terrible and that in her 70+ years on this planet she has made some excellent food items, but this is not one of them. You know, I like those frozen triangular patties of fish (the ones that come in the blue box) — but I also know they're 'horrible,' and I only buy about 4 boxes of them a year.

You might be thinking — chocolate pie — that sounds fabulous. Sure, it does. I mean, there's like chocolate cream pie, Boston cream pie, chocolate mousse pie, chocolate pudding pie, chocolate cheesecake... but this chocolate pie is none of these things. It's like if you could suck all the fun, taste, and chewy-deliciousness out of a brownie - and then throw that in a pie shell. It barely tastes like chocolate, it isn't chewy, it crumbles apart, and like the aforementioned apple pie - it's a mess to cut.

Every time we have an event and this "chocolate pie" thing appears, I want to run screaming in the other direction.

Don't get me wrong, I have made some terrible food blunders in my day... there was that time when I tried some recipe involving cake mix without making it as cake mix — it was terrible. It has not since re-appeared in my kitchen... So, yes, figuratively, my fingers are crossed that cement-crust apple pie and chocolate pie will not be appearing on Thanksgiving day.

Don't get me wrong, I am being snarky, but man, do I hope Thanksgiving goes off without the same weirdly annoying dessert blunders this year... and in the even that it doesn't, in spite of the fact that I'm working 8 days in a row - I am bringing a pie. All things left to chance, 1 out of 3 desserts will be sliced without turning into a mess and have an edible crust. How do I know this? Because my pie filling comes from a can, and because graham crackers + butter is pretty hard to screw up. When all is said and done, the thing that matters most about a food item is that it tastes good and you enjoyed eating it, without guilt, shame, hassle, or having to use inappropriate utensils to apportion it.

Yes, I am confident in my ability to follow the directions on the can.
Anyway, on Friday is when I put on Thanksgiving. The menu is as follows:
• turkey
• bread stuffing (bread cubed, craisins, diced apple, onion, celery, sage, parsley, chicken broth)
• pink jello salad (strawberry jello, sour cream, whipped cream, pineapple + coconut)
• cranberry sauce salad (whole cranberry sauce, raspberry jello, diced apple, walnuts)
• Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes
• Betty Crocker cranberry-orangebread + cream cheese
• Pumpkin pie / cheese cake hybrid (garnished with walnuts) for dessert

Anyway, we'll be eating Turkey for the next week...
Enjoy your Thanksgiving — I hope your food is good and edible, and hassle free.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Snowflakes

September is when I'm supposed to get all the "Christmas stuff" done... and that never happens. I think I'm on year five of this pattern. So, it's mid-November, and I finally sat down on the couch and watched M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening." Yeah, clearly I'm a bit behind on my bad movies... that and it beckoned me from the cheap DVD bin at Walmart. The funny thing is, I generally like M. Night Shyamalan movies, but this one - I think I wanted a plant to reach out and strangle Mark Wahlburg by the end of the movie...

Anyway, the point is that popping in a movie that I had paid for was incentive to actually sit there on the couch and fill in an entire snowflake template, which is what I did.

I now have at least 16 new snowflakes for this year — TA-DAH:

I think (actually — I know) I have now designed over 100 snowflakes in the span of 5 years.
You can see 94 of my designs in the listings in my "sarahknight" shop on etsy: snowflake prints
They're spread out in 3 'templates' — 1 | 2 | 3

Are you getting ready for Christmas? Eef, I still have 4 graphics to produce for the holiday calendar. I so need a clone, specifically one that likes to do work.
: )

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn Leaves: colorful still

I think these are some shots from Saline. I took a lot of photos, so it's iffy sometimes if I remember where they were.

It's been a busy week so far (yes, I know, it's Tuesday). I spent 2 of the last 3 days coming home from work to then spend my awake time filling orders, printing things, packing them, and finally driving off to the post office just to come home and head for bed. So, my scenery has pretty much been the printer, the other printer, the other printer (is 3 printers really that excessive?), the paper cutter, and my beloved imac.

I just needed a little change of scenery.
That and last night I literally had a dream about getting in bed and trying to fall asleep. I'm sure dreaming about going to sleep is my unconscious mind trying to tell me something...
Who needs sleep?

I'm a glutton though, so if you're looking for something colorful & whimsical, then stop by:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: heirloom pumpkins again

This post is a sequel to my previous post about the heirloom pumpkin pile (which can be found here).
I took a lot of pictures of those pumpkins & squashes... I mean a lot. And then I went back and took some more photos a couple weeks later. And eventually I went back and dropped off some prints of some of the pics I had taken.

Anyway, since I do all of my wandering around in town where there are sidewalks (on which people presumably wander) - well, it's in town. There are a lot of two story houses with fancy architecture and tiny manicured lawns. So, when I saw this pile of pumpkins & squashes one of the things that I wondered was where they came from. There's actually a chain of grocery stores in the area that had been selling heirloom pumpkins and squashes, but those things were like $5.99 a piece (scroll down to the last picture and do the pumpkin math - eek!). That would have been a hell of an expensive decorative seasonal yard display...

As it turns out, the homeowner actually grew them on a friend's farm out in the country (like where I live; where we lack the city amenities such as sidewalks, city water, and street sweepers).

So, there was a lot of effort & care that went into this tremendous display.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: my favorite maple

Of all the trees I photographed this fall — this was my favorite maple. It's somewhere in Saline, MI. Of course, I don't live in Saline, and I'm one of those people who is terrible with street names, so, I know where it is, and yet I have no idea where it is...

Anyhow, I was mesmerized by this tree. Standing under it and photographing it was a sublime experience, even if it did happen to be really really cold that day.

I would like to thank Hilary at The Smitten Image : )
for being featured on her blog post: Three Photos and the Posts of the Week


Please excuse me if it takes me a day to make rounds with comments. I've been working on a time consuming project this week, complete with a number of "5 hours of sleep" days. I am exhausted. Fortunately, it should be done today (I hope). So, take a nap for me : )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: ginkgo leaves

These are some images of the ginkgo tree I am so very fond of. I wish we had one, they're just such beautiful and interesting trees.

This tree is leafless now, much like most of the rest of the trees in the area. We've had a lot of cold spells lately and some strong winds. It was funny, because I snapped the first shot, and when I was on my way back to my car about an hour later — most of the leaves had fallen to the ground.

I've been planted in front of the computer lately working on projects. It's getting on Christmas shopping season, so I've been working on calendars and Christmas cards. I have calendars up in my Artfire shop: SunshineSight and in both my etsy shops: sarahknight & sarahkdesigns. I encourage you to check them out. I had a fun time picking out the graphics.

I'm happy to be done with my latest batch of projects and to just get to veg in front of the tv. I hope your fall is a relaxing one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Autumn Leaves: carpet of leaves

I've been super busy with projects this week... I look forward to being able to just sit down and relax, preferably in front of some episodes of CSI:NY or Fringe or Bones.

Anyway, autumn is omnipresent, and we've had our first frost recently. This first shot with the carpet of ginkgo leaves — they were actually covered with frost when I took the picture.

It's always interesting when the leaves appear to represent all the colors of the rainbow.

Sidewalk compositions are just artful sometimes : )

Hopefully you're enjoying your autumn & keeping warm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: jack-o-lanterns

A few years ago I went out and bought fake pumpkins. While I like the end result of carving pumpkins, the actual work part is not a favorite of mine... well, that and I carved my fake pumpkins to have the faces of Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia, so re-carving the same design every year just didn't seem terribly efficient. Plus I don't like touching pumpkin goop.

Anyway, other people are still industrious and carve them fresh — so here are some of the pumpkins I happened past while out on some of my many treks of sidewalk tourism this fall.
Yeah, I know, this would have been more appropriate on Halloween, but well, there just wasn't any time, and that's the way it turns out every year. It's Tuesday now, so I've recovered... although there still is leftover candy hanging around.

Hopefully, your Halloween hangover has subsided.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sidewalk tourism: heirloom pumpkins

I rarely plan whether or not I'm going to go out and take pictures. Usually, it just happens. So, the following pictures came from an instance of serendipity. I had a package to ship, and just decided to park the car and go wander around and take pictures. There's actually a ginkgo tree in town, which is like the only ginkgo tree in town, so I like to wander past it. I suppose, technically, I am stalking this tree — waiting for the leaves to turn from green to yellow... it's getting there. Don't worry, once it's leafless I promise to stop wandering past it with my camera until next fall...

Anyway, when I was done with the ginkgo I decided to walk down a side street I usually avoid given that someone owns a really lonely / angry barky dog. It's awkward to stand there on the sidewalk and photograph trees while someone's dog is howling murder at you from behind a fence or a screen door...

So, anyway, there was a yard with some flowers, and I had just gotten done taking some shots of one of their pine trees, and I kept wandering down the sidewalk, and all of a sudden there appeared a pile of heirloom pumpkins, squashes, and gourds. Now, I don't mean like 1 or 2 or 10 pumpkins, I mean upwards of 25. Yeah, I didn't count them, but my lands, there was a pile of pumpkins of all types and colors. It was magnificent.

I took at least 70 photos. Yes, it was that damned cool.

I invite you to stop by my Artfire shop: SunshineSight to check out some of the rest of the shots from my awestruck moment with someone's decorative pile of heirloom pumpkins.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn Leaves: water droplets

It has been like Indian Summer here lately. And apparently with Indian Summer comes the trappings of summer, warm weather, sunshine... and wind. Yes, there was a tornado warning here yesterday. Oh, Indian Summer.

Anyway, in my travels of sidewalk tourism I have photographed many leaves, and trees, and tree bark (and even the occasional squirrel). And every once in a while (since I am a sidewalk tourist in the morning) I see dew on fallen leaves. There's something about water droplets that is just intriguing.

On a completely unrelated note - my collection "autumnal mood" made the front page of Artfire on Tuesday - whoo-hoo! You can check it out here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Outside: colors of autumn

A bit of a break from just leaves & trees... although technically, there are still autumn leaves here. It's somehow amazing how there are still flowers blooming, but then it has been like Indian summer presently. So, on with the color:

It was serendipitous that there happened to be a ladybug puttering around on the sweet gum. And that bird taking off to flight as I was taking my shot was a bit of a delight...

This last one is for sheer gluttony. I have now made my first pumpkin pie. Of course, being of the slacker generation, I did not hand mash a pumpkin or something exotic or earthy like that. Yeah, it's Libby's "Easy Pumpkin pie mix" - yeah, not "pure pumpkin" — I mean the stuff that you just add eggs and concentrated milk. Of course, I did dress it up with top layer of cream cheese with sugar, garnished with walnuts and cinnamon, and made a graham cracker crust.
It's delicious; and I'm not exactly a fan on pumpkin pie. I'm generally that person at Thanksgiving who buries the pumpkin pie under a heaping helping of whipped cream...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn Leaves: sweet gum

I spent most of the morning wandering around photographing leaves and other autumnal things that are out & about.

These are some shots from the sweet gum, veining is always interesting to look at.

Enjoy your fall!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Autumn Leaves

Yes, more autumn leaves. This time ones that have fallen...

I have this song stuck in my head presently: "Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

And I've been enjoying the new Donal Logue series on FX called "Terriers"
Yeah, I have a bit of a school girl crush on Donal Logue.