Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I finally finished my January Journal Quilt. Well, maybe not completely finished, but close. I chose a photo of the forsythia bush with frost on it at sunrise. When I looked close, there was one flower already opening, even though spring is still weeks away. It seemed to symbolize the eternal nature of, well, nature.

I used that photo, and two others of the same bush, and played with them in Photoshop, then printed them out on fabric. This month's technique was embroidery, and I did some hand stitching and beading. The border is velvet - I tried several other fabrics, but the stark contrast and simplicity worked best. In the photo you can't see the quilting on the border done with black thread, but it looks good in person. The theme was fire and ice, and I think that was captured with the sun and the frost. The color was blue, which I didn't use...

This was a struggle for me - first, when my old sewing machine broke down, I had to do handwork, which I wasn't planning on. Then, I had a hard time getting the whole idea to work, and ended up taking out stitches several times. But, that's what this is all about; learning and improving!

Here's my big score - a Kenmore sewing machine for $5 at a rummage sale! It is clean, solid, runs smoothly, and most important of all - the tension is good! I had been looking for a good old machine like this, so it was a thrill to find it! And, I ordered a new manual and darning foot from Sears. It must be more than 30 years old, but parts are still available. It is all metal, and does buttonholes, zigzag, and a few decorative stitches.

Tonight the sun was peeking through the trees, and coloring them golden. A gorgeous end to another pretty day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It was sunny and nice again today, and as I worked, I would look out and enjoy it. Then, all of a sudden, it was sunset, and I hadn't been outside! I jumped up and put on my shoes, and Buzz knows that's the signal for "going for a walk", so he started dancing around.

In the front garden, the wisteria has been trying to get to the light by climbing up over the roof. The bare branches looked so interesting against the twilight, I just couldn't resist this shot. Then I took another with the flash on, and it's almost like a negative!

A couple more steps in the garden, and the bulbs are pushing their way up through the soil. I see that someone is nibbling on the crocus leaves - I hope they leave it long enough to bloom!

The fat leaves are the hyacinth - these are all white, and smell heavenly.

Then Buzz and I took a brisk walk down the driveway and back - the moon is almost full, and it cast plenty of light.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another cold night. Supposed to be sunny today, but we had fog, then high clouds most of the day, until late afternoon, when it cleared a bit, but left some interesting clouds viewed from my deck.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another sunny day! And no fog this morning, just a clear blue sky. But the other side of having clear skies is that it freezes at night. Lots of frost! This lichen-covered alder tree came down in the winter storms, and I've been trying to get some nice artistic photos of it. So today was it - frost on the branches and lichens, sun shining through the trees... There are so many different lichens on the limbs - what a diverse species.

Even the blackberry brambles look lovely with their frosty icing.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Today was just amazing - sunny, clear and warm. It started out foggy, though - here's the sun through the fog from my deck.

And here's some shafts of sunlight shining through the trees. I had to drive up the Island to Oak Harbor, and it was so beautiful. I took the scenic routes along the water.
Mt. Baker was so clear I just had to find a place to pull over. Every turn of the road brought another great view! These are mussel rafts in Penn Cove, which produce mussels sold across the country. You can see the moon, too.

After finishing my errands in Oak Harbor, I took a little hike at Joseph Whidbey State Park. There is a loop trail through a wildlife viewing area. Since it was the middle of the day, I didn't see much. One little Douglas squirrel, who objected mightily to having his picture taken. A couple of eagles sitting in the top of a tree, quietly chirping to each other. And some redwing blackbirds singing in the swamp.

And, to end the day, the setting sun, from Ebey's Landing.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter has relented for a while - we're getting clear, sunny, WARM days! Here is the morning sun shining on the trunks of our Scouler Willow. They are beautiful trees - an oval shape, glowing golden with fall colors, early green leaves, and, already starting - pussy willows. You can almost see some at the very top of the tree.

But, they are not very long-lived. When they aren't crowded, like this one, the multiple trunks grow in a circle. As they get older, they start falling down. You can see cracks and holes in the bark on this one - we know it won't last much longer. We have one in the swamp that fell apart all at once, but more often the trunks go one at a time.

Just look at that blue sky!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

OK - so this may be cheating a little! I had to take a bunch of photos of this little building for a new job. It is actually located in a nursery, but has been vacant for a number of years. The owner wants to add an upper floor with office space, and remodel the lower floor into an employee lounge and restrooms. It will be a bit of a challenge, as you can see! But don't we love challenges??

On a sadder note, a good friend of ours lost his home to a fire. Of course you always hear about house fires on the news, but when it hits someone close to you, it's a lot scarier. Luckily, he got out without injury, and no one else was home at the time. But, he lost everything, the most important being his photo albums and mementoes. The community rallies really fast, though - he has already been given more clothes than he had owned before the fire! And countless offers of places to stay, temporary and permanent. He has always been the one to support his family and friends, and now we get the chance to help him.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You may have noticed by now that I like photos of the sun's reflections, especially on water. This is Goss Lake, where I am working on a remodeling project. It is a small lake, but deep and clear, and since motors are not allowed, it's a favorite swimming lake.

Here's the cabin that will have a new addition added to it, taken from their dock on the lake. And, while I was there, a doe and fawn came down next door to see what I was doing! I didn't see the fawn until they turned to leave - it stood completely still.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Up early for an appointment in Clinton -view after view unfolds as you drive along the highway. This view looks south over Useless Bay toward Seattle - if you look close (you can click on the photo for an enlarged view) you can see skyscrapers directly in the middle of the horizon, and just to the left of the poplar trees, you can make out Mount Rainier catching clouds.
It is such an amazing sky day! The photo on the left is the full version of the zoomed-in view above, taken a few minutes before, but enough time passed for another contrail to appear in the sky.
I look up everywhere I go, as the sky is constantly changing (especially around here!) and I am fascinated by the light, clouds, and other inhabitants of the air.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It sure felt like Monday today! I almost forgot to take any photos, and when I remembered, I couldn't think of what to take a picture of. I looked around, and saw this metal basket, which I just won on EBay. It was a real score - I got it for 99 cents! When I bid I didn't realize how big it is - it's 11 inches across, heavy and strongly made. It is silver plate, and looks pretty old, but no way to really tell. I love the symmetry of this photo.

I have a collection of wire and metal baskets, mostly antiques, so I'm often looking for that great deal. Just since I've been collecting them, the thrift stores have started charging more for this kind of thing. How do they know? Anyway, here is another view of it, next to a needlepoint pillow I made years ago.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This is the ferry dock at Clinton as the boat pulled in tonight. You can make out the green traffic lights, with a car rolling down the hill under them. The lighted building is on the dock, casting reflections in the water. I love night shots, but really need to use a tripod or something!!
So here's a view from the ferry boat looking south, and the next photo is the same view after dark. You can barely see the city lights on shore, and reflected in the clouds.
This last photo was taken as the ferry went along the shore - these are lights of houses on the Island, showing the movement of the boat. I love the designs the lights make.

I had a good day in Town - met up with Cody for lunch, got some shopping done, had a good Guild meeting, and then got more shopping done!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It was finally sunny and warmish - perfect for a tromp in the woods. This is a seasonal stream flowing into a peat bog. During the winter it fills up with water, and gradually dries up in the summer, leaving a mat of vegetation that you can walk on. The transition between the woods and the bog is thick with willow and brush - almost impossible to force your way through!

We did get a lot of trees down in that transition zone - here are a couple of leaners. The birch tree will survive - it is actually growing from a downed tree. And if you look at the stream photo above, far left in the middle is a leaning tree - that's this one from a different angle.

It was great to be out there with my dog, Buzz. He has so much fun racing around, and loves to play in the water. He gets way more exercise than I do! I like to follow the trails every week, and see what is changing, and who has been there. The deer leave well-traveled trails, but you have to look close for signs of the coyotes. We have lots of birds, too - I startled quite a few pairs of mallards, and saw signs of the pileated woodpeckers working some of the tree trunks.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The weather has calmed down for now, which is a relief. I've been wanting to try this for a while - taking a photo of the image in my rear view mirror. It was harder than I thought - the automatic focus wants to focus on the mirror, not the image. But I finally got a decent shot of my driveway as I went to run my daily errands.

Today is my Mom and Dad's 68th wedding anniversary. We are very blessed to have them so happy and healthy - these photos are from last summer. Mom will probably kill me for using the one on the right, but it is one of my favorites, taken on a little hike at Brandywine Falls.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

We finally are warming up a bit - still in the 40's, and very windy today. The ice is sloooowly melting in the ponds, and creating some wonderful patterns. Although there is clear water all around the shores, the center still has quite a bit of slushy ice. The ice crystals form around the edge of the ice when it gets below freezing again at night.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

David has spent the past week or so working to clean and organize his shop - pulling everything out, cleaning it, putting things in place where they belong. He has found things he had thought lost or forgotten, and acquired a pile of junk to get rid of. But he can already see how much better it will be! Now he's all set up for cutting up the hot water tanks, and creating loads of wonderful things with them. This view is off to the side of the main shop, which now has lots of floor space to lay out large items.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Things are finally starting to thaw out! The threatened snow this morning didn't materialize, and it has been warming up (slowly!) and the ice in the swamp is receding, although there is still a little bit of snow in the shady places. The willows reflect in the clear water. And yes, that strange shape on the water is ice - it's soft and slushy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Another cold, cold night - we are setting records for this month! Sunny again, and Amy is taking full advantage of the warmth. She spends her time looking either for the sunny spot or a warm lap.

Here is a picture of the beads we were given at Bead Nuts for the Bead Challenge. The challenge is to use all of the beads in a project, in addition to anything else we may want to add. But we have to use them all, somehow. I still don't have a clue as to what I'll do, but I thought I had better start thinking about it a little more seriously.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cold, cold night. COLD, cold night! The snow was so frozen it squeaked under my shoes. Everything is covered with frost, but this brave forsythia already had a bloom opening - life forces itself forward, no matter what! The sunrise was very pretty - this photo was taken just a little earlier, from my deck. The fuzzy stuff on the wind meter is the heavy frost.

The sun is about at it's furthest point south, starting now on it's way back to the north. The McNaught Comet was visible here the last couple of days - for about 30 minutes after sunset and before sunrise. I missed seeing it, though, because after our clear days, it clouded up. And now it has traveled to the southern hemisphere.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another view of the willow in the swamp - the snow is still around, in fact, we had some flurries and got another inch or so! The water is frozen around the tree, showing the new snow.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Everything is still frozen today, but again the sun was out, and melted some of the surface snow. I found this puddle in the driveway with it's spiral design - I haven't seen one like that before!

And this shot of the ice on the pond was interesting - the flash illuminated everything underneath the ice - you couldn't see it normally. I thought it might produce a glare, but it sunk in, instead. What caught my eye was an air pocket around the tree trunks, which looked white, but didn't show with the flash. In the background you can just see some snow still on the ice.
OK, so I just realized you have a choice of the size you want your photos - I'll be going with the larger size.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

An absolutely beautiful day! It snowed yesterday, and our Guild meeting was cancelled, as well as really fouling up the traffic in Seattle. Today dawned clear and sunny, but will stay frozen. We got about an inch of snow - just enough to enjoy, but it shouldn't make the roads too bad.
Buzz, of course, loves the snow, and condescended to pose for me. This is one of David's arbors - he's glad to have work he can do inside the shop today!
The big news, though - they found Cody's car! It was in an apartment complex near where he lives, and it was full of other people's mail. Apparently they were using it to steal mail. And, they painted it black. He doesn't know if they've messed up the motor, although he said it was smoking when he drove it home. So, while we're glad it was found, we'll have to wait and see what kind of shape it's in.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Caught a shot of a coyote across the field - certainly not much of a photograph, but they are very shy, and we don't see them that often. They have a hard time in the winter - the pups have been kicked out, and have to fend for themselves, so we hear them crying in the woods when the weather is scary.

09 JANUARY 2007

Well, the power went out YET AGAIN! Our book group had a dinner out planned, and the restaurant was able to serve without power, so we had a great time! The wind was blowing hard, and each of us had a tree-down-across-the-road story to tell. So, maybe it wasn't the smartest thing to be out in the storm, but, hey, you can't sit at home every time the weather gets bad! And, luckily the power came back on in the middle of the night. It has been happening so often this winter that I've lost count of how many times it's been off for more than a couple of hours.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Well, here it is, 2 weeks after Christmas, and I'm still not quite ready to put away the decorations. I just love the lights - after dark, and all the other lights turned off - I can just sit and stare. My sister made this beaded ornament for me.