Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Pansy For Your Thoughts?

Thinking about:
  1. getting my taxes done
  2. the number of days until Friday
  3. wondering if Costco carries the tires I need
  4. Thursday's new class, Art That Happens to be Your Life
  5. eating real food instead of Scharfenberger chocolate pudding with madeleine cookies for dinner

What's on your mind today?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Peeps - So Good Even Cats Like Them

Wouldn't a Peep make a great subject to shoot for spring? I thought so too. And, so did Gracie.

While I was doing more practice shots yesterday with my 50mm lens, Gracie jumped into the scene (natch). If there is food involved (especially pastry), I guarantee she'll be in shot. However, this was a stuffed Peep!

Maybe she thought this one was a cat toy? And the tag on it made it even more irresistable!

You mean I can't play with this?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Of Flowers, Ducks and Camera Lenses

On Friday, I finally got my camera back after four weeks being out for servicing. I had been waiting with anticipation as I had purchased two new lenses since it was gone. One is the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 which has received a lot of positive reviews from users of this lens. I did not purchase the one that came out in December that autofocuses on the Nikon D40x since it retails for $439 (ouch!). Instead, I got the older one that's just over $100 but it works only in manual focus. I really don't like manual focusing but I wanted to try this prime lens, so I went for it. I took tons of practice shots yesterday - these flowers are some of them. It will take a bit of practice to be able to use the lens well (I have lots of shots that are not in focus at all!).

So the rest of this story left me feeling really bummed yesterday. The other lens I purchased was a Tamron 2 - 75mm 2.8 and I was super excited about this. I put in on the camera and couldn't figure out why it wasn't autofocusing. I went to my Nikon group on Flicker (because those people can answer anything) and discovered a post that talked about this lens having a version with the motor and one without.

So, duh, I had purchased one without the motor. I had researched this darn lens beforehand and never came across that information. But to make matters worse, I cannot return it because they have a 14 day return policy and I've had it for about a month at this point (I ordered it about the same time I took the camera in for servicing). Lesson learned - never order a lens if you don't have your camera to try it out once it arrives.

I was so bummed, I went to OSH late in the day to buy some flowers. I got up early this morning to take some photos with the new 50mm lens which is what I've posted here. I have to say, the flowers did cheer me up. And, they look great in front of my house.

While I was out shooting the flowers, these three ducks came quacking up the walkway. Gee, it's really hard to manually focus on moving ducks!

The ducks know that my neighbor has these delicious pink flowers in their yard (shown here below). While they did go in to check them out, they walked right out again and focused their attention on me since I must have looked like I had "FOOD" written all over me.

Here they are as I shooed them away (last time they left droppings all over the walkway. Of course, it didn't help that my neighbors had been out there feeding them on our shared walkway).

And here they are coming back again into my front area by my gate. This went on several times.
And here they are leaving again! I do love having the ducks around as we live near an inlet where water comes in from the bay. I just don't want them leaving presents near my door!

Friday, March 27, 2009

National Craft Month Project #3

I whipped up this birthday card the other night. It is an embellished tag card. After foraging through my supplies for something that inspired me, I found a sheet of Daisy D tags that I'd had for a while. I bought it at a Scrapbook Expo a few years ago with some wonderful matching papers. I not a big tag person, but it occurred to me that it would make a great card. I simply punched out two coordinating tags and inked the edges with brown ink. Next, I rummaged through the giant ribbon stash until I found this yummy brown ribbon to thread at the top. Inside, I added a rub-on for that little extra pop. To decorate the front, I used a paper flower and attached the bling center. Done!

For the envelope, I simply stamped the edges with a flourish acrylic stamp from Fancy Pants in brown ink. Brenda Walton letter stickers were added for the name, and then I used Stickles over each letter for that added glitter sparkle. A happy end result!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nipper, The Tuxedo Strawberry Cat

This cat loves strawberries. She eats them March - November when they are in season. A few years ago, she jumped onto the counter where I was cutting up strawberries for my lunch. She was so interested, I gave her a piece and she loved it. Since then, she automatically comes into the kitchen each morning to wait for her berry. This is one sad cat that can't have a strawberry.

Nipper is even picky about her berries, but I can't blame her. She knows the moist, sweet, deep red ones are the best. She will let out a little meow, then she crooks her head to bump me on my head which is her way of saying, well, I guess she is just saying thank you and hurry up please!

Here's Nip just waiting for me to help her with her berry. Sometimes she likes to pick the one she wants. I hold one up and either she'll bump it with her head or not. If she bumps it, I know she really wants that one! In November when they go out of season, I stop buying them. But come March, she knows it's spring and they are in season; I can see it in her face. Must be some natural feline instinct....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just Because

I took these photos last week because, well, why not. Since when was I able to pass up a flower without snapping it?

The wind was blowing but that didn't stop me. I'm sure I look like a nut in the flower bed, crouching down with my camera. Well, anything for a picture!

Still no word on when my Nikon will be back from being serviced. I'm hoping it will be here by this weekend.

My Gracie

Meet Gracie. I swear she was meant to be a human. This girl talks constantly. She hates it when I go to work in the morning. Each day, when I'm ready to leave, she runs me to the back room where she wants to play. It might be in the tunnel (she likes me to drag it around the room with her in it), or the mousie-pole. Or she might just throw herself on the ground in the sun and roll on her backside. It really doesn't matter what, she just wants me to be in the room with her. She has lots of little balls she likes to play with but they usually wind up under something; the bed, couch, dresser drawers, table, trunk, etc. Then she crouches in front of it meowing until we come and fetch it out for her. And if we don't, she tells us again later. She has a memory like an elephant. Sometimes I don't know if she was actually meant to be a dog, if not a human. She's my precious girl, and I love her just the same.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finally Organized...My Craft Room

For the last three months, I've been taking the Big Picture Scrapbooking class, Get Organized and Be Inspired. It is based on the book The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker by Wendy Smedley. I had purchased the book a while ago when it came out but was not motivated enough to actually follow through on it. The class was just what I needed to start working on the room. This room is challenging because 1) it is used for the computer, 2) tv watching, 3) bill paying and 4) crafting, so there's a lot going on in this space. But, it's always for more fun and motivational when you do something in a group.

I was a little hesitant about taking it at first, since it seemed kind of weird because it was an online class and I still had to do all the work by myself, but it actually worked out really well. The lessons were great, the message board was really helpful with so many people posting questions, answers and just their thoughts and feelings about undertaking this big task. Everyone could post pictures in the gallery of their rooms and that's always fun to see. I'm really happy with the progress I made as it feels so much better to be in that room now. I still have quite a few things I need to find a home for elsewhere in the house and I have not yet tackled the closet, but it's one step at a time. My goal for the room was to have elements of French country, whimsey, shabby chic and a feeling of light and airiness. I have not put out all of my decor because it's just too much, so I might have to rotate things. As it is, Nipper my cat thought the feather Christmas tree was a big cat toy, so back in the closest that went! Did I accomplish my goal for this room? Let me know what you think...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Trip to Michael's Craft Store

Today I finally made it to the new Michael's store. I was very impressed with how bright, light and fresh it looked. They had tons of scrapbook papers both in pads and single sheets. Lots to choose from including a lot of Basic Grey. They also had a nice selection of Prima flowers. The placement of the magazines was a little weird. They were mostly distributed in front of each cash register so that was a bit awkward if the cash register was open and someone was there paying. The bead department was hopping - I saw quite a few people there although I did not venture in much. I did meet Skipper, a darling dog that was shopping with Mom. Not sure what type of craft he was into....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome Spring

As we say goodbye to winter, we welcome spring; a day I look forward to each year. When spring arrives, it means the days are getting longer and gradually warmer. It's time to plant; flowers will be blooming all around us. The ducks are already pairing up and soon we'll see the baby ducklings following their mama around. Light and sunshine will flood through the windows allowing the cats to sunbathe throughout the day. The layers of clothes begin to go away and out comes the lighter, brighter spring wear. There's just something downright happy about spring.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Love Animal Planet, Finding Nemo...

A cat that watches tv? Yes! Here's Nipper watching Killer Jellyfish on Animal Planet tonight. She usually likes to lie on the bed and watch the large screen in front of her but this time she was just on the floor watching the small screen. She watched a good portion of Finding Nemo one night and truly looked like she was enjoying it. We never know when we will catch her watching. If only she weren't such a couch potato kitty!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Card Made Simple

This is one of my favorite cards to make when I don't have a lot of time or am having a creative block. Simply choose a nice cardstock to start. For this card, I used a piece of Amy Butler cardstock and cut it to fit the envelope. Then, pick some favorite ribbon and flowers to embellish the card. I chose a cream colored twill to match the card, some pink tulle, and two flowers. The top flower has the rhinestone embedded but I also use plain flowers to which I add my own bling. On the inside, I cut a piece of cream paper, stamped flourishes around the edges and adhered it inside. I mimicked this on the envelope as well because, really, who doesn't like to receive a special envelope in the mail?

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Treasure Where You Least Expect It

So often when I walk along Laurel St. in San Carlos, I've seen a little park nestled in between the row of shops. Each time I saw the lion's head fountain, I thought how I should come back and take photos. Recently, I brought my camera and to my surprise, a new fountain had been installed. There's still a lion, but now it is surrounded by two cherubs. How lovely that someone thoughtfully placed the flowers so carefully into their hands. I also like the way the moss is forming, adding character to the image. Sometimes you find a treasure where you least expect it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nature Walk

Sunday afternoon I took a walk along the pathway near my home. The water inlet comes from the bay, fed by the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate Bridge area. Across the water are the Oracle company headquarters in Redwood Shores. There is a walking bridge that connects the two pieces of land.

When I walk out here, I always look for egrets. They are such majestic, beautiful birds. I always spot at least a few of them. Besides the egrets, there are all kinds of shorebirds in assorted sizes. And of course, there are always plenty of ducks.

One neighborhood has water ponds in it which attracts the ducks. It's easy living for them as there is always somebody feeding them. At the next neighborhood, I spotted a patch of glorious cosmos in assorted colors. What a perfectly pleasant day to take a walk.