Japanese Plum Tree

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Mar 302012

 I did some more playing around with photographs tonight. I took these photos yesterday at the same time as the hellebores, but I did the photo editing tonight. First I tried the same technique of selectively colorizing a photo, with a more subtle effect since the flowers were white instead of pink.

Next I used a different image to play around with changing the color of the blossoms (from white to pale pink). This one turned out a bit harsher than I like – I need to work on adjusting the different levels to give it a more natural look.
Both of these images were edited using Gimp – a free open source photo editing software that’s comparable to Photoshop (or at least close enough for it being a free program).

Origami Tuesday – Wait, Is That A Thing?

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Mar 282012

It is now! I had no idea what to do for a project today, so I went browsing on the web and stumbled across some origami. First via Pinterest I found some really cool looking flowers with a YouTube video tutorial but there were a few problems – first was the video was in German (but with subtitles in English), and second its 13 minutes long, so I went looking for something easier to start with (my origami talent is limited to paper cranes and maybe a fortune teller if I have enough time to mess around and remember how to do it).

Next on the same site as the flowers I found a tutorial to make an origami butterfly. I don’t have origami paper on hand, and since it seemed easier to follow the instructions with patterned paper I made some out of plain construction paper and ink stamps. As I was folding my paper according to the instructions I came to a step to “collapse into waterbomb base”. Uh, ok? Google to the rescue – here’s how to fold a waterbomb base. The rest was simple to follow, and here’s my little butterfly:

This origami butterfly reminds me more of a moth.

So since that didn’t seem so complicated I went back to the Carambola (Starfruit) flower. Yeah, that one didn’t turn out so well:

I think the paper I used was too soft, so the creases didn’t hold as well as they should have. Anyways, it was a fun hour, and I’ll try it again but next time I’ll use stiffer paper.

Organizing the Playroom

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Mar 272012

Today’s project veers dangerously into the area of doing laundry, but it had to be done and I do manage to get my creative juices flowing when I’m deep in an organization project. Two weeks ago when we moved the kids into one room and reorganized their toys into a rotation system I ignored the mess in our playroom (and home office/library/family room/junk room) but I knew it needed the same attention so today was the day. First here’s what the play area looked like this morning as I got underway:

Most of the mess in the playroom consisted of play food sets that go along with the toy kitchen and trains and roadway sets with the train table, plus some puzzles and a few variety baskets for good measure. One of the big clutter challenges we always face are the food sets with their multiple pieces – the kids love to dump them all out, or combine them into big baskets or backpacks of mess that then get abandoned (since they’re no fun to play with when they’re all mixed up). I hunted down all the missing / misplaced pieces from each set from around the house, and divided the food up into three separate groups, with a few dinner, dessert and breakfast sets in each group. Then I got the trains and cars into three sets, and organized the puzzles into three groups as well, in themes that reflect the themes of the initial bedroom toy sets. Here’s what the space looks like now (well, not exactly right now – right now the three sets of food that were left on the shelves are now dumped on the living room floor):

The train table only has one roadway set on it now, and the kiddos have already played with that set more today than in the past month. They are really enjoying the toy rotation. I’ve just switched things up for the first time this weekend and it went smoothly; no one complained about toys going away.

Easter Eggs in the Trees

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Mar 252012

We finished part two of our garden Easter decorating today. We took plastic Easter eggs, strung heavy-duty thread through them using a sewing needle and hung them from our front-yard oak tree.

The smaller solid colored eggs were super easy to string because each egg already had two small holes at the top for the needle to pass through. The striped eggs didn’t have holes in them, but I was able to use the needle to punch holes (although I did need to push the needle against a piece of wood – it was too hard to puncture the plastic with my hand strength alone).

We hung 18 eggs, which seems like a lot but on the huge tree it really doesn’t look like that many at all. I’m interested to see if they all stay in the tree until Easter in two weeks, or if they blow off in the wind. I tried to hook each one securely on its branch.

Decorating the Garden For Easter

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Mar 242012

It was so beautiful today that on the way home from the store my daughter and I had the same idea – lets decorate the garden for Easter! We got out the eggs we made last year (plastic Easter eggs stuck onto little sticks to go into the garden beds and lawn) and the kids got busy sticking those into the yard while I cleaned up some of the winter debris from the garden beds.

 Then I updated the packing crate chalk table on our front porch from its late winter scribble to something more appropriate.

Finally, we went back to the store for a few more plastic eggs to hang from the oak tree out front. We ran out of time and energy to take on that project today, but hopefully there’ll be some sun left tomorrow to get that done. (Edited to add: There was more sun, and we got the eggs up in the tree!)

Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

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Mar 232012

I worked on a lot of stuff today but don’t have much completed to show for it.

The temperature finally crept above 50 degrees here (well, okay, it was right AT 50) so I got some more paint on the headboard. It still needs a few more coats and I’m wondering now if it might look good distressed. I’m going to sand it a bit and see what that looks like.

I worked on the coverlet some more – I’ve got all the hems done but still 8 more strips to gather and sew together. This is beginning to feel never-ending!

I helped my daughter with her sewing project – sewing scraps from the coverlet into a rug. She conceived it, did the trimming, helped pin it, did the sewing (mostly) and decorated it. I was the hired hand to do what she told me!

Lastly I made salmon burgers for dinner, accompanied by broccoli and French fries. No complaints from anyone, so, success!

Now it’s time for a cup of tea and a movie – at last . . .

Evolution of a Bracelet: Beaded Friendship Bangle

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Mar 222012

I started out with plain knotted friendship bracelets, then I moved on to beaded bracelets, then I made some plain knotted bangles, so the obvious evolution was:

Beaded knotted friendship bangles!

Oohhh I’m liking this one, and I’ve still got a handful of bangles ready to modify so there might be more of these in my future, plus I think they’d look great stacked.