Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lovin' the New Camera

Peony Closeup
Originally uploaded by crafty dad
Here's a shot I took early yesterday evening. I love the detail of the paper-thin petals of this peony. I am really happy with the camera. I still need to learn how to take better indoor/flash shots, but in general, this is a fantastic camera for the money.

My wife took several inside shots of the park model yesterday. I'll post those tomorrow so you can see just what our version of 'camping' is. Here's a hint: it's NOT the pitch-a-tent-and-rough-it version. :-)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane ...

... no, actually we're driving. To the lake for a three day weekend. And with the mad rush of end-of-school-year activities, my wife and I need some 'down time'. I mean it's all been good: the boys got awards at school and that's ALWAYS a good thing. Then there was the band concert (Son No. 1 plays a mean alto sax.) And the field trips. Our oldest was just in Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry. (See photo above.) And, just today, my wife accompanied our first-grader to the Ft. Wayne Zoo. So..it's been a busy, busy time.

My oldest 'graduated' from elementary school this year. It's off to the big middle-school next fall. Yikes! That's a transition for all of us. (Perhaps more for my wife and I than him....we'll see about that.) He was honored last night with a President's Circle Award for academics. The boy is bright, I'm telling you. (He takes after his mother, you know.) Books? Oh, heck -- he devours them. And that's a very good thing. (On that subject he takes after his dad.).

So...it's off to the lake for some good ol' R & R. Here's hoping the sun shines for at least most of the weekend.

Have a very good weekend, peeps! See you next week.

P.S. I don't want to forget our 'little guy'. Our six year old is a smart little cookie too. He has been recognized a few times this year as well. And that boy....oh, he's a charmer...so watch out girls.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Backyard Beauty

After I cut the grass last night, I was playing around with the new camera and came up with these.

[Our Patio]

[The most beautiful geraniums I've EVER seen.]

[Closer view of the geraniums.]

[Close-up shot of geranium. Click the photo for a better shot.]

Oh I love summer, the patio and our new camera. :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Ghost of Vacations Past

So...I'm going through some old photos on the computer and I found a ton of Walt Disney World vacation photos. The boys are so small. So young. Oh my gosh. I got choked up looking at them. So to avoid that teary-eyed look, I moved along. And I found this one:

[Sea gulls on the umbrella fountain - Cedar Point.]

Since it's 76 degrees outside, I thought this photo was fitting. The sun was shining bright that day and the sun is shining beautifully today, too. Cedar Point has been a favorite vacation and/or long-weekend destination for our family for several years now. This is the "umbrella fountain" in the pool area of the Hotel Breakers. The hotel has some great history. Click here to learn more.

Okay....now back to reality.

P.S. I hope the sun is shining on you today too!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fantastic Fabric Find

You just never know what you're going to find at the thrift store. I really lucked out a couple weeks ago and found a TON of great stuff. I made three or four trips to St. Vinnie's and I found new stuff each time. The fabric gods were certainly shining on me that week.

This is just a sample of the yardage I bagged. There's lots of cotton, heavy-duty cotton, some oil cloth, and more. I brought my new stash into the house and walked it right back out to the patio so I could take advantage of some late afternoon sunlight. I found that the hot tub makes for a nice backdrop.

[View No. 1]

[View No. 2]

And yes, my wife asked me what the heck I was going to do with all of it. Hmmm, that's a very good question. I see lots of opportunity here. Lots.

UPDATE: Here's the thrift shop that I frequently frequent. (That's not a typo.) Frequently as in multilple times a week. I'm hooked. I'm a thrift shop addict. I can't stop. I can't help myself. There should certainly be a support group for me. (I'll look in the yellow pages when I get home tonight.) For now, I will practice the following line: "Hi. My name is Mike and I'm a thrift-shop-aholic."

[My favorite lunch-hour destination.]

Another Member of our Family

Let me introduce you to Hershey. She's one of the four-legged members of our family. Umm, yeah, we also have two rabbits. She's a super-sweet (no pun intended) Chocolate Lab . We love her dearly and she loves us back -- big time.

Here's a picture of her on the deck at the camper. She looks tuckered out, don't you think? Must be all that fresh air My six-year-old shutterbug took this one. Good job dude!

[Hershey at the Lake - Mother's Day Weekend, 2007]

She loves to go camping with us. She nervously paces the floor as we pack the van for the trek to the lake. She is so afraid she'll get left behind. When we reach for her leash, that tail wags so hard you better watch out! She knows exactly what's next: the door opens, she prances out to the back of the van and 'ummmph', she jumps in and sits right down. Let the road trip begin!

Friday, May 18, 2007

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast - 5/18/07
Originally uploaded by crafty dad.
What better way to start you day than with breakfast? The expiration date on the egg carton was telling me to "use these today", so I did. I boiled a dozen eggs and ate three of them for breakfast. Along with a piece of raisin toast and two cups of strong coffee (with creamer, thank you very much.). It was a wonderful way to start a Happy Friday.

This was my 'test egg'. It's a bit softer than a hard-boiled egg, yet not quite a soft-boiled egg. So..whatever you call it, it was de-licious.

What did you have for breakfast?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Stroll through the Greenhouse and Garden Center

Ahhh, the sights and smells of springtime.

Last Saturday, my wife and I left the boys at home and snuck off for a few minutes to our favorite greenhouse and garden center. The guy that owns it was a classmate of our's. He started out mowing lawns and doing some basic landscape design. Now, Mark owns one of the biggest and best places in town. And..although he's our neighbor (lives right across the street from us), we don't get any favors. Nope. No discounts. No free lawn service (and I could use some of that about now!). Umm, Mark if you're reading this, I hope you didn't mind that I took these photos, and please don't take offense to my comments.

Anyhow, enjoy the sights:

[Inside one of the greenhouses.]

[A beautiful hanging pot. ]

[Pansies. An oldie but goodie.]

[Rhododendrons. Almost pretty enough to eat.]

Monday, May 14, 2007

Real Simple

More pictures from Mother's Day (using the new camera).

Here's a shot of the deck in front of the park model at the campground/lake. The hostas are really doing well. I love to see their perfectly-shaped, variegated leaves (before the bugs start gnawing on them). The boys have outgrown the little picnic table, but my wife and I can't part with it. We've been hauling it out each spring for many years and summer just wouldn't be summer without it.

With all of the colors in the kitchen sink, I had to take a quick shot. I love the new camera!

Here's another. The sectional plates were a find at WalMart. At 98 cents each, they were a no brainer. And since we couldn't decide on blue, green, yellow or coral...we bought one of each.

[Click on the image above to see the droplets of water. I really, really like the new camera!]

A close-up shot of the hosta.

And, one more!

Yep, sometimes it's the simple things.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


[Flower pot of marigolds at the lake.]
[Picture taken with new camera!!!]

Just one of our Mother's Day activity. There were many more. Stay tuned for details and pictures. I sincerely hope all the moms out there had a wonderful day. My wife had a great day with the boys.

My wife and I spent time thinking of our moms today. Both have passed away: mine almost 12 years ago, my wife's almost two years ago. We both have wonderful memories to cherish!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Recent Thrift Store Find

I've spent way too many lunch hours (and money too) at my local thrift shop.

But....my visits have paid off. Check out the beautiful 'in process' Granny Square afghan I found. The center square is finished and the first round of squares is attached. And...all the other squares are in the bag, just waiting to be attached. I think I paid about $2.00 for it. I call that a very good deal.

I found a ton of other really great fabric this week. Cotton, wool, linen (or at least very close to linen), and something that reminds me of silk in an oriental-style pattern. All of it is perfect for lots of craft projects.

Some of it was in one yard lengths, some in five and EIGHT yard lengths. Very, very nice stuff for super low prices. Now....all I have to do is find some time to convert these raw materials into something. That's always the problem: lots of ideas, little time.

I have pictures and will post them soon.

Good Things Come in Threes

Sometimes 'good things' come in threes. Like these:

[Three Mini Canvas Bags -- Waiting for some embellishment.]

[Three great magazine issues.]

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lunchtime Trip To WalMart

Okay...my wife and I generated the following shopping list this morning during breakfast:

  • 2 jars of salsa
  • 1/2 flat of marigolds
  • 1/2 flat of red impatiens
  • 1 package of napkins
  • 1 package of sandwich bags
  • 1 sting stick
  • topsoil

So, what's in the cart? Hmm, let's see....there's a case of Diet Dr. Thunder (I'm a cheap-ass, okay?). I spent $1.97 on twelve cans of diet soda and $249.00 on a new digital camera (Fujifilm FinePix S700). Digital camera? Ummm, that's not on the list, is it? No it's not. Let's just say I'm somewhat of an impulse buyer. Sometimes I buy a magazine at the checkout counter, sometimes I buy a digital camera and memory card in the photo department. It's just the way I am. Acutally, it's all Alicia's fault. Click here and see why.

What else is in the cart, oh....two jars of pineapple/peach/chipotle salsa (very, very good), a box of 100 sandwich bags, some filtered drinking water (for the steam iron), a pack of 400 napkins, an "After Bite" stick for bee stings and the like (a handy item to have when you are outdoors with the kids), and, oh yes!, a greeting card. (Don't tell Hallmark or WalMart, but I took a photo of the card so I could go home and make one just like it. Price on the card: $3.83. Cost of my card: priceless. Seriously, it will be much less, trust me. The design is wonderful and I'm sure it won't take too much effort to duplicate it.

[Click on the image to get a better view of the greeting card.]

Okay. So have a great weekend!

P.S. Maybe I'll see you at WalMart sometime. :-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Crafty Dad Van Gogh -- Or...something like that

Call me crazy, but I was messing around with a photo in Paint Shop Pro and ended up with this. I think it has a certain Vincent Van Gogh-ness to it. What think you?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Craft a Story or Craft a Craft?

My oldest son is a sixth grader and has been studying the 60's in America. His class has been reading lots of stories about racial segregation, marches, very important speeches and some very troubling times.

His latest assignment was to either write a bibliography about a person who lived through the 1960's or create a God's Eye. He's been writing LOTS of papers lately, so he chose the craft project. (The boy takes after his dad, doesn't he?).

Here's a link to help you create your own God's eye. We used two dowel rods and three skeins of yarn. (We have quite a bit of yarn left over for other projects - woo hoo!!)

Here are some photos of our project:

[God's Eye -- 50% Complete]

[God's Eye -- Finished!]

[God's Eye -- Proud Owner Displays his Finished Project]

And in other craft news, here's a project I managed to eek out while I was home with a sick kiddo last Wednesday. My little guy camped out on mom and dad's bed while I traced, cut and sewed up a couple bibs (they each need a snap, but otherwise they are d-o-n-e. I found the fabric at WalMart. One of the bibs is a birthday gift for a curly-haired cousin, the other is for sale in my Etsy shop. You choose: snap or Velcro™

[Front and back views of the bibs.]

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fabulous Friday. Funeral Home Friday.

It's one of those days -- warm, sunny, breezy and funeral home visitation time. It's a sort of a silver-lining-in-the-black-cloud kind of days.

My wife and I will be making a call to the funeral home late this afternoon to pay our respects to my aunt's father. Now, you may be thinking: 'Aunt's father', hmm....what relation would that be? We'll you have to understand that since my mother passed away (very unexpectedly, twelve years ago) my aunt and uncle (Mom's brother) have been like my second parents. And like grandparents to my boys. So...that's how it goes.

He was 92 and was very active for a 92 year old. Still driving a car. Still mowing the grass at his house and the lake cottage. Still LIVING. And now he's moved on to another place. Bless his heart. And my aunt. She's taking it very hard. She was very, very close to her dad. It's a tough time for her. My prayers are with her as she grieves the loss of her father.

So...perhaps it's time we all pick up the phone and call our folks. And tell them how much we love them. Life is precious, people. Let's not take it for granted.

God Bless all of you. Have a great weekend.


Update: The funeral service was really nice. All the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were there. At the conclusion of the grave-side service, the kids all took helium-filled balloons and set them free. How cool.