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 : )