Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good-bye January

I have to pinch myself to actually believe this is the last day of January!  Usually it is such a long, cold, rather dark and dreary month, but for some reason (of which I am extremely grateful), this year has not been so frigid.  Oh, of course we have had very cold temperatures and one big snow storm, but all in all, it's been quite uneventful so far.  Yes, we have a big storm coming tonight with predicted high amounts of snow, but after all it is February first tomorrow.  This is winter; we should expect snow at this time of year. If we can get through February and into March, I always figure if it snows in March that it won't last too long before it melts and spring will be here.  Right?

It's been a while since I took any photos and it seemed a good morning to try out and practice different things with the camera.  I strolled around the house and decided to see what kind of pictures could be created.

I started out with the items on the dresser in my bedroom.  The morning light was bright, the day was shining and joyful looking.  The mirror reflected light onto the items.  They were pretty; the sight made me happy. I shot some pictures, trying out different camera settings.

Then I meandered through the rooms searching for subjects for another picture where I could practice another setting or two or three on the camera.

Ah Ha!  The apples and tangerines in the basket on the kitchen table.  Yes, let's try that.

OK ... what next?  The bouquet of fresh roses, a gift from my beloved brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  They came to town to visit my dear niece and stopped by to tour my new home, bringing with them this colorful bouquet.  Aren't they lovely?  Especially so in the middle of winter.  My brother-in-law has been a dear friend since the day my family moved here to Central Indiana and we were next-door neighbors.  I married one of his older brothers, and he has been a precious part of my life for all these many years.  We've shared deep sorrows, many joys, trials, happy memories and great loss .... he's been  a strong and steadfast part of my life through it all.  The flowers are special.

The sun was streaming in this southern facing room, making it feel warm and summery.  How can I resist taking more pictures of china in the cabinets?

 The china comes from so many places and situations - flea markets, heirloom pieces handed down, gifts, and finds from antique jaunts.  Lots of memories attached!

Last, but certainly not least - no certainly not least - is the sewing/laundry room.  Admittedly, it is not the neatest area in the house.  Too many tools and jars of buttons, thimbles and spools of thread and pieces of lace, clothes to be folded or mended ... but it is maybe one of my very favorite spots to spend time.  Going to try another few settings on the camera and practice.

                                             (My latest little playing with the water colors!)

Thanks for sticking with me while I practice on the camera this last day of January 2015.  I have so very much to learn on this photography 'thing' ........... so very very much - but that is part of the fun.  Learning something new and trying to improve on it every day.  Must never stop learning, trying, exploring, experimenting, following our dreams and the ideas God plants in our hearts.  Life is good.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Before Thanksgiving I purchased three big Amaryllis bulbs at a local nursery, dreaming of beautiful blossoms bursting forth at Christmas and lasting for weeks during the January freeze.  For several weeks only one of them grew.  Then the second began to sprout, but the third bulb did not even peak above the dirt until just before Christmas.  The first one bloomed in time for Christmas and really looked spectacular ... the second bulb peeped up, started to sprout, and  kept growing and growing and growing until I wondered if it would stop!  Then it bloomed in all its glory about a week after Christmas ... the third little fellow is sprouting well but no blooms yet!  It's been interesting watching them and wondering what will happen next.

I decided it was rather nice that one bloomed in time for the Christmas celebrations .... and then this second one that was getting taller by the minute bloomed about a week ago after all the decorations were dismantled and tucked away.  Instead of the naked emptiness that often seems to be left after the tree is down, there is a bright and cheery Amaryllis standing proud and tall.  And ... there is still the promise of the third bulb getting blooms later this month.  Rather nice.

I think I'll try this again next year .... and may try to save these bulbs in a mesh bag hanging in the basement.  Do you think they will winter over for another year when they are finished blooming????

With the evenings so dark and still and way too cold to go outside, I decided to try my hand at doing some watercolor. I love to draw and have painted with acrylics,  but I never did any water color painting,  It always seemed to me to be too hard to control or something.  I thought it might run all over the paper and get soggy and drool where I didn't want it to go.  After a visit to Michael's and a dig through my art supplies in the box here at home, I bought a product I did not even know existed.... water color PENCILS!  Using the pencils and also some water color paints, a wet brush and a pad of water color paper, I played around and experimented one cold night.  Then I got brave and decided to try a flower.

It was fun and relaxing.  The time flew by.  Before I knew it, the evening came to a close and it was time to go to bed.  I may try another picture and try to get better at this.  Perhaps something like a violet next?



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Below zero temps - cozy inside!

Well, the January blast from Canada has worked its way down to Central Indiana, and we are enduring the minus zero temps and several inches of fresh snow.  I don't even want to think about those 'wind chill' temperatures the weather people like to throw into the reports.  This morning they were telling us something like "Minus 23 degrees wind chill."  The schools were cancelled and in the big city the garbage collectors were not on their routes.  Thankfully, in this town the garbage trucks came trundling down the road right on time.  All we had to do was be sure we dragged the bins down the driveway.  Nice.

Beekeeper daughter brought a big jar of honey from the summer harvest of her hives, a special request from one of the Monday night crafter/quilters.  She also brought over six fresh brown eggs from her hens.  Beekeeper daughter has remarkable hens - they have lived far longer than 'the average' chicken lives, most likely due to the exemplary care she gives them and the organic chicken feed she takes great pains to feed them.  She is remarkable.  I wish I had the touch she has for caring for critters and gardens.  Her thumb is the greenest one; plants just thrive under her care.  I know Duncan loved being at her house this summer and hopping around her yard with the chickens!!!!  He was in "bunny camp heaven" with her.  Even now when she stops over, he basks (I am not sure, but I think he was even smiling) when she pets and talks to him.

 What is better on a cold day than a cup of Peppermint tea with a piece of spearmint candy melting in the bottom of the cup to sweeten it up.
Two of those fresh organic eggs from Beekeeper daughter's hens.  I decided to make some fresh Country Bread from the recipe my dainty little sister shared with me several years ago.  It called for two eggs ....Yum.

 Sandy cannot keep his eyes open curled up in the spot of sun!

 Some of that DELICIOUS honey from Beekeeper Daughter's hive ..... nothing like it!  Pure gold on your tongue!
 Apples from KY .... getting ready to bake that apple crisp!

 Scenes out the kitchen window Tuesday morning when the cold front moved in with snow and frigid temps.  Beautiful, but oh so cold!

Stay warm, cuddle up with a warm blanket and a good book and eat some comfort food - enjoy the time to 'nest'.....