Tuesday, January 27, 2015

valentine's day inspiration from the archives

valentine's day is fast approaching!  it is actually one of my favorite holidays.  it's just so nice to do sweet little things for other people.  plus, it's a great excuse to give yourself chocolate and flowers.

i'm needing to get busy on the valentine's front.  i have plans to make an addition to my mantel decorations, join in a postcard exchange, and make the best classroom valentine's ever (g's in the 5th grade, so this is probably my last hurrah).

here is a bit of inspiration from last year to get us all motivated.  this first one is a sample of g's class valentine's.  i've been working through his collection of little plastic animals for the past few years.  i think this year is supposed to be ugly bugs.  i have already done these lizards, dinosaurs, and ocean animals (all of which can be seen in the link above).

a sweet little heart garland that i crocheted for last year's mantel.  it's already up decorating my new vintage map this year (my 2014 valentine mantel can be seen in this post as well).

a valentine page i made for my baby last year.

and the february pages in my holiday mini album.

how about you?  any valentine crafting plans in your near future?

good blog reads

we had such a great time last weekend with our cub scouts.  this was our view from our tenth floor hotel room.  it actually snowed the first night we were there.  what a beautiful scene to wake up to.  ice skating was no g's favorite, but snow skiing was.  i am so thankful for the opportunities and friendships we've had with these people.  it is bittersweet to think about crossing over and moving on next month, but the future waits for no one.

a few new blogs to share on another snowy morning:

lifestyle - http://www.makelight.io/blog/

interior design - http://eclectictrends.com/

planning - http://vincens.typepad.com/

gardening - http://www.blindberryfarm.com/

cooking - http://smittenkitchen.com/

photography - http://www.xantheberkeley.com/

Monday, January 26, 2015

qualitu literature: out of the easy

out of the easy is by the same author as between shades of gray.  it was equally as amazing, if not more so.  i am anxiously awaiting word of a new release from ruta sepetys.  so far, she is that good.

the books are completely different, except for the outstanding and strong female protagonist.  this one is set in the french quarter of new orleans in the 1950's.  the main character, josie, is the daughter of a brothel prostitute who has no mothering skills.  josie ends up more or less raising herself with the help of the brothel madam and the owner of a used book store who semi-adopts her.  it is a fabulous read.  i remember waking up the morning after and feeling a little emptiness because i was no longer a part of josie's world.  i had become that attached to her.

genre: (psuedo) historical fiction, chick lit
setting: 1950's new orleans french quarter
reading level: adult, high school

cocoa daisy: scrap room tour

i made big plans on january 1st to get my whole house (including my car, computer, and shed) cleaned, tidied, and purged this month.  i started out strong, but seem to be peetering out.  oops.  at least the craft room is done, right?  i have a full tour up on the cocoa daisy blog today.  you can see it HERE

this is a bonus shot just for you though.  i finally found a semi-permanent (hello, the thing has wheels) place for my raskog cart.  now what the heck do i put in it?  what do you store in yours?  i know a lot of you put mixed media  stuff in it, but i've already got that housed nicely in other places.  i did just move most of my stamps to the bottom spot.  i want to use them more this year and though having them out in the open might help.  this freed up the mesh bin you see just to the right.  my washi tape was overflowing the basket i had them in, so i moved them into the container that my stamps were in.  i worried that this wouldn't be a convenient spot, but turns out it is.  i moved it to where it is from the far right side of the shelf and it's made all the difference.  i can reach them from my chair there and grab them all the time.  they are actually more convenient now.

on the middle shelf i've put all my freckled fawn kits.  i haven't been using those either, so i've gone through them, broken the kits up, and reorganized them according to type of product.  also, i have all the stamp sets out front and center.  must stamp more!

the top is currently just a catchall spot.  we all need one of those, right?

and here is my little buddy playing legos in his favorite spot in my craft room.  our craft room, actually.  this is our most used spot in the house.  when we are awake, i would say we hang out in here 75% of the time.  together.  so sweet.  

and also, how sweet is it that he's so into his legos again.  this comes and goes with him and i'm sad every time it goes, worrying that he's done with kid toys.  but then they come back again and i'm happy once more.  this time, they've come back full force!  he's currently working on the entire set of bikini bottom!  love it!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

the b&w photography project: first timer

these photos were also taken on our interstate hike.  i had been toying with the idea of joining in on the b&w photography project at the podcast for quite some time now, but never gotten around to it.  while i was going through my pictures from the hike, i had a good 40+ that i liked and decided it was a good time to finally dabble with converting some to black and white.  i've never really done black and white for the artistic element.  mostly it's just been for poor quality or noisy photos with the occasional one for "emotional impact" on a scrapbook page.  this was an eye-opening experience.

there is a nice write up of black and white photography tips at the podcast and two of those really stood out to me.  one is the idea that you have to begin seeing the world in black and white.  i think i am very much color driven, so this will be something to really focus on.  the second tip that practically made my head spin was that overcast days can be good for black and white photos.  i am very much into lighting in my photography.  finding out that i can pursue interesting photos in flat lighting is mind blowing.  this could be the answer to my winter photography blues!

wasp's nest.

as i was choosing which to convert to black and white, i mostly ignored the ones i had chosen for a specific color quality.  that was a no brainer to me.  the part that surprised me was that 90% of the ones that i had taken because of lighting conditions, didn't show well in black and white.  wow!

i'm really quite excited to explore this aspect of photography more.  it's fascinating!

g trying to make it through the fence gap on his own.

finally he needed a helping hand from his mama.

i'm curious.  do you have a favorite out of these?  there are several that i like for various reasons . . .

bird nest.

here is something else to analyze.  this portrait i thought was so striking in black and white and the one in the previous post was taken just a few seconds prior and lost something when i tried converting it to black and white.  like i said earlier . . . fascinating!

joining in with the b&w photography project on podcast.

quality literature: between shades of gray

another recommendation from a librarian friend, this one at the high school.  i think reading books recommended by friends is a double bonus as you connect with a book and a friendship.  so, so good.

between shades of gray deals with a "forgotten" segment of world history that i knew nothing about,  the invasion of lithuania (and other countries in the baltics) during the stalin regime and subsequent deportation of the "undesirables" to work camps in siberia.  it is a beautifully written debut novel from author ruta sepetys.  this one is heavy, but worth it.  very impactful and thought-provoking.

genre: historical fiction
setting: upper middle class latvia/work camps in siberia, 1940's
reading level: adult, high school

Thursday, January 22, 2015

roadside attractions: bucket list

we caught a couple days of freak 60 degree weather last weekend and i made sure we got out and enjoyed it.  the sun's rays were so nice to warm these chilled bones.

looking at this picture of my son playing in the water in his shorts, it almost looks like summer.

we discovered a new creek to explore.  g's anxious to go back once it warms up for good to see if there are any more creatures that come out to play.


bridge over cold water.

 g found these teeny tiny succulents.  it looked like a little fairy world.

nature bares her soul in winter.

 gold on blue.  g even recognized this was a gorgeous shot.  i'm training him well.

capturing sunlight.






fuchsia cascade.

sunflares on roadkill.  is this poetic or just morbid?

we found a break in the fence line and were able to take a hike up the cliffs on the side of the interstate spur by our house.  does anyone else have crazy things on their bucket list like stopping on the side of the road and walking off into nowhere?

i am anxious to go back and photograph these beauties in bloom.

our school off in the distance at sunset.

we made it to the top!

 my favorite smile in the whole wide world.  on top of the world.

linking up with mamasaurus and "how does you garden grow?"