Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It was so cold the past couple days, I had to make a quick cape for my daughter so she wouldn't freeze. My Gandalf was pretty warm in his double robe/cloak combo and wool wig/beard. The rest of us, bbrrrr.... My face is completely windburned from the trick or treating trek. Nothing that a quiet chocolate filled Sunday can't fix, but it wore me right out. 10:20 on a Saturday night and my bed is calling.

Good night and Happy Halloween 2009!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The nature walk blog...

Where I turn this blog into all nature walks, all of the time... at least it seems like it lately.

The sun came out after a solid week of dark gray skies. We grabbed the kids, grabbed the camera, and stumbled into the most amazing day I've ever experienced, and living in Michigan that is saying something. The air was so still the water was a perfect mirror. I only wish there was a way to capture scents as the air smelled even more amazing than the autumn colors looked. Indulge me a bit with all my nature photos lately. Soon it will be snow, snow, snow for about half a year. Snow is beautiful too, but it isn't this... Kaleidoscope of crazy color, so much it feels like visual gluttony.

Can you see the heron in the middle of this picture? If you click on it, it blows up the picture with more detail.

If you are going to click on any of these pictures, let it be this one. This one looks so much like a kaleidoscope if you see it enlarged.

I had to turn this one into sepia tone. It just called for it.

My husband requested that I take this picture as he was intrigued by the circle that the branches made with their reflection.

My wacky duck picture. This wasn't just a freak picture, I have a whole series of them. The lighting and reflection made them into an impressionistic painting.

Other than the almost unbearable beauty of nature exploding around us, it is just the regular stuff going on around here. Work, play, learning and putting the finishing touches on the Halloween costumes. I just have to tackle Gandalf's beard and my son's costume is done. (To be honest, I think the kid is going to look like Moses in a pointy hat.) I'll try it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dear Only Hearts Club...

Please let boys join the club. Sometimes this little boy likes to play with his sister, and this mother likes to encourage cooperative play. However, that sister doesn't appreciate the presence of a Spiderman action figure camped out in the club headquarters. There have to be some rules, I mean really. Otherwise the word 'club' just sort of loses cohesion. And when simple definitions start to break down, then we might as well all just give ourselves over to chaos.

So doing my part to prevent anarchy, I had an interesting afternoon trying my hand at a gender reassignment surgery. I am thinking poor Lily Rose might need a little more testosterone to make the transformation more complete... but for lack of resources, the hair cut, lipstick removal and Captain America sticker will have to do.

So, meet Luke, the newest member of the Only Hearts Club - local chapter.

Today was gray and rainy...

The kind of gray and damp that makes you feel like you are in an underwater bio-dome. So we kept busy inside, working and playing. Sewing. Lots of sewing was tackled as the children informed me that Halloween is just a howl away and I haven't finished one costume yet.

Here I am dismantling a worn out/too small fleece sweatshirt. I am hoping to use this as the body of a jacket for my daughter's costume. Wish me luck on that vision. I haven't quite figured it out yet.

Some pieces of my daughter's costume. Orange and pink is her 'funky witch' color scheme. I am currently trying to sew this pattern. It is so cute... but maybe beyond my skill level? Not sure yet. I've never successfully gathered a skirt before. But there is always a first time.

I had help! Don't worry, he's not putting his cute little fingers that close to the needle in action. He is raising the presser foot.

More help. Actually, they helped my mood a lot, but didn't actually sew on the costumes. They love the sewing machine so much, it makes it hard for me to hate it - even when it is giving me trouble. They sew paper, trying out all the fancy stitches to make pretty cards and decorative paper. Every time they hear the machine start up they come running asking for their turn. I love how familiar they already are with a sewing machine. Maybe next year they can take over sewing the family Halloween costumes. I was joking, but that would actually be pretty cool.

So that was part of our day. I do like rainy days, but it is hard to be patient with them during fall. There is just such a short time that we get the amazing color from the leaves. Selfishly, I'd like the windy, rainy days to happen after all the leaves have fallen. Then again, I suppose if every day was gorgeous outside then I would definitely not get the costumes done!

Can it always be autumn?

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Some shots I took on our drive to the state park this afternoon. The clouds were amazing.

Our walk today was interesting. The state park trails are quite torn up as it looks like they are widening many of the main paths, possibly preparing to pave them. An old bridge is torn out and they are starting to build a new one. Lots of orange do not cross tape which contrasted interestingly with the inviting nature of fall at the park. I took a lot of pictures because I've grown up with that park and watching it change over the years/decades has been interesting. I used to hate every little change, wishing it all could just stay the same, but I've learned that the changes help to keep people from destroying nature and usually make the park more user friendly as well. I am excited to see all these promising changes happening in spite of the tough economy. But enough thought about that for now.... yawn. I am in a cozy sort of stupor tonight.

A lazy night awaits me. I've thrown a potato/cheddar casserole in the oven for daddy and me. Just because it felt right to have something warm baking in the oven after a chilly day. I've brewed some tea and plan on knitting and listening to an audiobook. Goodnight all.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One hat down...

Three more to go. Maybe we can all be witches since this hat was easy to make. I wonder if the boys would go for that. ;) The tutorial for the witches hat on the previous video was awesome. It was a quick hat to put together and very fun to decorate. That fuzzy orange trim is already shedding though. I will probably regret that impulse purchase every time I go to dust and vacuum. But she loves it...

Hey, the dress she is wearing would almost work for her costume. Hmmm... That could put me further ahead than I thought. I wonder if she'd go for it?

Halloween Costume Day

The kids have a friend over all morning and into the afternoon so I am taking advantage of being stuck in one place. I've been watching this awesome witch costume tutorial. I am making the hat from this video as I already have a skirt, vest and cape pattern I've been itching to use, but I'd love to try to make the whole costume from this video sometime.

My daughter is going to be a witch this Halloween in non traditional colors, pinks, oranges and greens. This has already been a productive morning, and I have her hat half done. Next I will tackle the brim so I am off to see if we have any wire hangers. There has to be one floating around somewhere.

I must say that this hat is going a lot faster than my son's Gandalf hat (or I should say the trial hat I am currently working on before I attempt my son's Gandalf hat). But I am much more skilled with glue and sewing machine than I am with knitting needles. I had found the perfect knitted/felted hat pattern that I thought I was capable of and went for it.

I might need to rethink that however as this instant gratification stuff is really intriguing after the knitting and knitting and knitting. We'll see. For now I'd better get back to the costuming. Pretty soon the friend will return home and I'll have nothing keeping me from dragging the crew out to a park somewhere to crunch through some leaves.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I just finished a freelance project for the local newspaper. This is a project I agreed to do after I thought I was done with freelancing for the year. But when a paycheck is involved, my mouth has a habit of saying yes, even as my brain is screaming NO. It seems like my computer was angry with me for the extra project and decided it was time for my mail program to have an issue with my graphics programs and they took turns crashing each other, and then any pdf's I created decided translating gradients was optional. Fun times. I am not even going to talk about my printer. I just don't have the stamina.

So my desk has been looking a lot like this...

And I've been looking a lot like this...

I know, that isn't me. But trust me you don't want to see what is behind the curtain today.

And things seemed dark and dreary and stressful and all full of fantasies about computers being thrown from second story windows. You know, that old chestnut.

Then this happened...

Yes, that is TWO boxes of truffles from a specialty chocolate shop. (And yes, there are already three missing from the box... WHAT!?) The story is it was buy one get one free day at the local chocolate shop because it is about to close for the season. But I secretly suspect I just looked two boxes of chocolate away from the far edges of sanity. Whatever the reason, my sweet husband picked up my favorite chocolates to ring in the weekend with.

He is a lovely, lovely man.

Hope everyone's weekend is calm, relaxing and filled with random chocolate moments.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Show and Tell

My little guy caught me admiring his picture and wanted me to put it on my blog to 'show all your friends'. Who can deny such a cutie? I was actually really excited to see his picture because I believe it is the first time he has ever incorporated writing into a picture all by himself. My boy's memory is sharp and his physical ability is amazing, but his fine motor skills came later than my daughter's did and he embraced writing more slowly. I've never forced him because even his pictures stayed scribbles for a long time, just recently taking actual form and more recently having detail. So this year was the first realistic year for him to tackle letter formation. Now he is naturally embracing the letters as a tool for expression and this mama is happy!

A detail of the masterpiece. Notice the little caveman yelling, "Ahh!" :) Also, right by my thumb he wrote 70000 (backward 7). He told me that was the time. He is a bit obsessed with time and watches the clock a bit manically. I taught him a little thing I learned as a child, when the clock says 11:11 it is time to make a wish and he has expanded this. Now we make wishes when the clock says, 11:11, 12:12: 12:34, and 'mini' wishes for when the clock says three similar numbers like 2:22. He even hollers out to 5:55 that it is the last wish of the day. He's like a little cuckoo clock of wishes.

But I was a bit puzzled at the extra zeros, for a kid so time obsessed it seemed odd. I asked if it was 7 o'clock and zero seconds. He informed me that it wasn't clock time it was year time. It was 70,000 BC because he thought that might be when the cavemen lived. My first thought was 'Yay! He's been listening!' As I really had no idea if he was grasping the whole BC/AD time thing, so this was cool. My other thought was how I just glossed over the stone age because I wanted to get into the ancient civilizations and the cool projects they promised, and that I have no idea of the actual place on the timeline where my son's little guy belongs. So I stopped on here to google that info for him, but had to take a second to share my son's picture with all my friends, as requested.

It is currently 12:35 pm, and if you were at my house you could hear my son hollering, "Make a wish because it is past the time!" Hope everyone is having a Monday filled with good wishes and happy surprises.