Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Possible New Project

Granted I haven't picked up a crochet hook in over 20 years, but I'm hopeful that I can make some sense of this easy, free crochet pattern for a cowl.  My expectations are realistic & on the lower end in that I am just wanting something to help keep me warm at the horse barn.  My sister was better at crocheting than I'll ever be, but surely I can do a bunch of single crochets (which is all this pattern is).  I haven't started it yet, but I have my materials bought (hook & yarn - even bought the same dye lot - yeah me).  Right now, with all the holiday madness, I'm trying not to start any new projects or start reading any new books (which is a tough challenge), but I'm ready when I do have the time.  In hindsight, it would have been nice to be able to make a few of these for Christmas gifts - maybe next year.  Is anyone planning on making their own Christmas gifts or returning to an old hobby?  In all honesty - I really have no business restarting an old hobby - I can barely keep up with my life as it is - but something about this one project really calls to me (or is that my age?).

In case you wanted to try this free pattern - here's where I found it:  http://www.kraemeryarns.com/patterns/ (scroll down to "Crochet" & you'll find it among several other free patterns, will open up in separate window as PDF).  If you decide to try it - let me know how it turns out.

UPDATE:  My sister beat me to this project & sent me a finished cowl in a tan color.  I've enjoyed wearing it to the barn & it has helped keep me warmer (or maybe the warmer winter has helped too).  I still intend to make this for myself, but it has obviously been pushed back on my to-do list.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I know it is too early to be making resolutions for the new year, but I seriously need to make one that applies to getting (better) organized with my pictures/videos (not to mention my life in general - but I'll tackle this part first).  This picture of the area in front of my computer is merely a very small sampling of what I'm dealing with.  I realize I'm on borrowed time not having more than 1 backup (and in some cases - no backup - YIKES), so this is/could be a serious issue for me.  It is especially challenging this time of year because of all the extra pictures & videos I'm taking for the holidays.  But sitting in front of my computer for days on end just sorting/organizing backing up just doesn't sound like much fun (never mind the huge accomplishment in the end).  Has anyone else already given thought to a resolution?  Maybe you've got one similar to mine?  How are you going to tackle that monumental job?  Good luck to all of us.

just a very small sampling of the mess that needs tackling - ugh

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nature Center

Blue Crab

American Alligator
Corn Snake

My son & I (along with a group) visited a nearby nature center/wetlands area.  I've always enjoyed visiting these kinds of places and this one was not a disappointment.  A lot of hard work went into their museum area, including live exhibits of a fish pond (complete with alligators), box turtles, snakes (all non-venomous), just to name a few.  There were beautiful murals and touch boxes - many things to touch, experience, and all very nicely done.  Since it was chilly, dreary, & windy all of our activities were inside, but the staff really did a good job - alternatng between classroom work & hands-on exercises in the museum.  I hope to go back one day and walk the trails of this nature center - it is esturary, salt water, marsh type environments, different from some of the freshwater ponds/creeks that I usually visit.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Temperatures

Honestly I realize that this daytime high is not considered cold for many people, but for us along the Gulf Coast in early December - it might as well be freezing (our normal average daytime temperatures should be in the mid-60s).  Cloud cover all day meant no sunshine at all, and temperatures at night dipped even closer towards actual freezing.  We recently had rain, wind, and a 15-20 degree temperature drop during the day which made the weather feel extreme.  It has been one of those weeks where I got chilled to the bone (even shivering), and haven't been able to fully warm up.  The thought of sitting in my chair, wrapped in a blanket, reading, and drinking hot chocolate seemed like the best plan of the day (never mind the clothes that needed washing, bills needed paying, etc), but sadly that plan didn't work out.

About reading - a friend & I have, for the last several years, read the same books.  We plan/discuss what book to read next as if it were a life changing decision.  I'm little behind her on a few books simply because at the time they didn't interest me.  We are both lovers of books & love to be surrounded by books (including many that are in our "to be read" pile).  I think we are headed towards the Cassandra Clare books (The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices series) and are considering the Marie Lu book, Legend, as well as James Patterson's Witch and Wizard series.   During my research into which series/books I would suggest as our next reading adventure, I browsed through an author's blog that included what she was listening to, reading, watching on TV, eating and drinking.  I thought it was an interesting addition - a peek into the real world life of an author. 

I'm not an author (but hey anything is possible - still deciding on that "what to do when I grow up" plan), but here's what is going on with me at this moment.

Listening to:  early morning sounds of the house - mostly everyone else sleeping
Reading:  Twilight/Midnight Sun (yes I'm behind the rest of humanity in finally reading this series, and yes I'm cheating & alternating between the 2 books, even worse - I read Breaking Dawn first - drives my friend crazy too)
Cooking/Baking planned for today:  Brownies - for our afternoon snack

I won't bore anyone with this info in every post, but if something signficant changes I will let you know.  I haven't had as much time for reading as I would like - the holidays, afterschool activities, etc.. seem to be getting in the way.  The cooking/baking will soon be in high gear - preparing for gift giving.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Early Morning Learning

I'm usually awake early in the morning, ahead of everyone in my house and probably earlier than most, especially for a weekend.  I've been trying to use this quiet time to get ahead in my day (check all my "stuff" online, start washing clothes, etc.), but lately I've been learning even more more tricks/tips that apply to photography - mostly post processing.  I have updated/installed the camera raw plug-in for my photo software (only took me 2 tries), and I found an easy way to make bookmarks from pictures.  This is something I've been wanting to do - easy gift ideas or gift tags.  I haven't printed it on card stock yet, but I'm hopeful it will be as good as it looks on my computer.  I may print on photo paper, then glue onto really heavy cardstock (not sure that weight of paper will feed through my printer) for extra durability.  I'm not always crafty, but this I can do. 

the hands of a dressage rider
This section of the picture is actually placed on 1/2 of a 4x6 size image, so you can get 2 different bookmarks out of 1 printed photo.  I didn't figure this out for myself - I found someone online who explained it in a few steps.  You can find it here:  http://flyingsamphoto.com/digital-photo-guide-article-009.shtml  (My personal notes:  I rotated the original photo, then cropped out what I didn't want in Windows Photo Gallery, then reopened photoshop elements & resized the cropped picture - not exactly the way it was explained, but worked for me.  If someone would like exact steps I followed, let me know & I'll post).  I'm finding that several of the things I would like to do require the photo to be processed through several different photo processing sofware packages - my own shortcuts.  I'm sure the PSE7 that I have does it all, but I just haven't mastered it.  So, if you are on my Christmas list - you may be receiving something like this.... of course I'll need my days to be 48 hours long each... Christmas is getting here too quickly.