Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Friends Chillin'

Sparky and Mojo know how to chill:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh Where Have You Been, Charming Lottery Girl?

While I was at the fabric store picking out fabric for Middle Child's outfit, Youngest Child (also known as Biker Chick) found some delightful half-priced Halloween fabric she could not live without, which was all well and good, but what could I make from the fabric? She suggested a vest to match the spider skirt I made a couple of months ago. Here's the entire outfit:

And here is a close up of the awesome spider buttons we found to go on the vest. You can also see that the lining for the vest matches the skirt:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh Where Have You Been Lottery Girl, Lottery Girl?

I've been super-swamped, just like I am every October with school events and Halloween. I'm so excited with the results of my hard work. Some of you got to see the Marie Antoinette costume I made last year, which included green lace (sleeves) and toile (white and green skirt) from the bargain section of the fabric store:

This year I swore I was not making another costume. But of course, that was a lie because middle child is now a senior in high school and will not be with me next year for Halloween. So this is it and it had better be good!

At first, I decided I would only make a quick fairy skirt. Then while I was sleeping, the top came to me: How about something fit for a Forest Queen? Click on the photo for a more detailed view. I made all the leaves myself, as well as the ribbon roses. The top has sewn-in boning as well.

And here is a photo of my beautiful fairy daughter, all set for Halloween:

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Autumn Pics

Tis gloomy out after weeks of breathtaking beauty; we might even have snow this weekend. No matter. I have enough golden memories stored to keep me warm all winter. And in case I forget, I have photos as well:


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Doggie Park

Colorado weather continues to be absolutely perfect. Took the hell hounds out today for a romp in the doggie park and autumn portraits.

Can you believe that the photo below is the doggie park?
Here's our girl Sparky, who is all that is good in a friend:  loving, faithful, loyal, brilliant, intellectual, darn pretty, and a great party gal:  
Here's Mo of the mountain, the most affectionate creature I've ever met.  His joy for life and passion for his family go a long way in making up for... his sins.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quaking Aspen and a Question

I thought I would share one of my favorite sights during autumn: a quaking aspen. (Just click on the photo to start the video.) Aspen trees are members of the willow family.   The leaves are flat and somewhat round-ish, and the flattened leaf stems cause the leaves to flutter and twist in even the slightest breeze. Aspen only grow above a certain elevation.

So here's my question. If you read the fine print here at Blogger, you will note that each time you upload a photo or video it actually goes to Picasa first, then makes its way here to blogland. This short video I created is quite nice when I view it on my own computer through Quick Time. I am disappointed with how it looks here, however, because it's blurry in parts. Yes, I know that the finer the quality of a photo/video the more room it takes up. I don't suppose anyone knows of a way to keep the better quality?

Friday, October 3, 2008


Caught this fellow in the waning moments of sunset:


Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Golden Carpet

This has got to be the most magical carpet I have every seen:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Autumn Means Hatch Green Chile, Part III

Now that the green chile is chopped and ready to go, what can you do with it? My favorite dish of all is green chile enchiladas with chicken :

Sparky and Mojo serve as the quality control experts for the chicken:

Here's my favorite recipe for homemade macaroni and cheese. It's the best I've ever eaten, but only because I add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped green chile.

I also like to use the green chile in scrambled eggs, or cornbread, or on nachos, or as baked chile rellenos, or in pasta, or...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn Means Hatch Green Chile, Part II

After yesterday's post, you might be wondering what I do with the fresh-roasted green chile I buy at the Farmer's Market, especially when I get it home and it looks like this:

Yes, I know. 

It doesn't look too appetizing, but that's only because I've not peeled it yet. You can tell a lot about the chile as you peel it. I like my chile hot enough to make my fingers tingle as I remove the skin, which slides off easily. But if your fingers are on fire and you are coughing from breathing in the chile vapors, this is a sign that your mouth and entire digestive tract will also be ablaze when you consume the chile. WARNING:  DON'T rub your eyes until after you have washed your hands.  

The next photo shows what the chile looks like "naked," or after it has been peeled.    Notice the chile on the right still has seeds in it. Seeds add heat, so I usually remove them. Also, the chile in the middle has already started to ripen, as indicated by the lovely red-orange coloring:

Tomorrow: Ideas for Great Green Chile Dishes!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Autumn Means Hatch Green Chile, Part I

Science tells us that the sense that is the most evocative of memory is that of smell. I know this to be true. Nothing takes me back faster to the autumns of my youth in New Mexico than the smell of roasting green chile. And not just any green chile, but the Big Jim variety grown in Hatch, New Mexico, a tiny hamlet near my own home town.

When I moved to Colorado two years ago, I nearly cried when I caught a whiff of pure heaven at the Farmer's Market. I followed my nose, and here is what I found:

YES!!! The gentleman in the above photo is roasting HATCH GREEN CHILE!!!

Now you could roast chile in your own oven at home, but only if you like the idea of cleaning chile off the inside of the oven for months to come.

All this is well and good you say, but what do I do with the chile? Tune in tomorrow...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Halloween Skirt #2

Done with skirt #2 for other daughter. You might remember skirt #1 from the summer. I am done, done, done. Yeah me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy First Day of Autumn

Today is the first day of autumn, although the equinox does not officially take place until tomorrow. I took this photo yesterday during a hike and thought I'd share it:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Memories of Summer

(Subtitle: I CAN'T BREATHE!!!)


Now that we have that out of the way, did your kids whine this summer about the lack of entertainment?

Mine wouldn't dare, because being my mother's daughter, I tell my children that if they complain about being bored, I'll be happy to find something for them to do, all right!

Anyway, my darling girls invented this game all on their own. I'm so proud of them! Isn't it great to see the love between these siblings?

Three Leaves, Three Colors

I saw these leaves clumped together on a rock at the Lake this weekend and thought they were so pretty. I thought it strange that they were all different shades of gold and red. Of course, I am assuming they are all from the same tree and fell off about the same time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby Pine Cones

When I was a little girl, my parents would take us to the mountains for a respite from the heat of our desert valley. I thought it miraculous that we could go from 100 degree weather to the 70s in two hours. Like most fantastic trips, we used an enchanted passageway, in this case a tunnel bored right through the heart of a granite peak, to get to our Uptopia. The tunnel was spooky for this little kid, but I knew if I could brave it out, my beloved mountains awaited me on the other side.

I loved everything about these trips, from the smell of fresh mountain air to the quaint old lodge where we stayed. The Lodge even had peacocks strutting around the grounds, and on one terribly exciting occasion my older brother and his friend lured an enormous peacock inside our room while my parents were elsewhere.  We sure knew how to have a good time! 

I always made it a point to collect pine cones freshly fallen from the soaring trees above my head.  I figured that if you could take sea shells from the ocean and still hear the sounds of the shore when you returned home by placing the shell up to your ear, surely you could take the pine cones and experience the grandeur of the mountains once again no matter where you went.  Pine cones still thrill me now, though I no longer put them in my pockets and take them home. I may pick one up from time to time to admire how each one is uniquely colored and shaped, but then I return it to the bower of the soil in hopes that it will grow into a new tree.

For all the years I have been enjoying pine cones, it never occurred to me to wonder what they looked before they turned into the brown pine cones that are on the ground. Sure, I see paler, brown pine cones still clinging to the branches all the time. Then on last week's hike, I practically bumped into these guys on a low branch of a tree:  

Bitty-baby pine cones--A new joy for me to behold!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Autumn is Underway

I am sitting in my coat inside my house as I write this, because it is only 36 degrees outside and I'm too cheap to turn on the heater this early in September. The dogs have a better way of handling this situation: After eating their breakfast and putting on their sweaters, they've crawled back under the blankets in bed to dream of our next hike.

Last weekend we hiked here in the Foothills of the Rockies both Saturday and Sunday, and I expect to do the same this weekend. Most times I go I take along the camera, though I've already taken thousands of shots (not an exaggeration) of the same sites for the past two years. But I never tire of seeing the same trees or mountains or shrubs, because for me, these things are never the same, not even from one day to the next. The light in the sky may cast itself differently upon the face of the mountain, or clouds may shadow or shroud us.  

And surely I am different each time I come to the ascent, somehow altered simply by living a few more days.  

I'm fortunate if I get even one fantastic photo out of the 60 or 70 shots I may take over the course of a couple of hours. Last weekend I got TWO such shots. It's not that these are marvels of photography--the reason I love these both is because I can actually see autumn, transforming my surroundings one leaf at a time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I love walking around the lake in the center of my little town. But the sign on this lone gate in one of the nearby yards mystifies me:

There is even a padlock on the gate, making me think that it is still in use. I can see no hint that there was ever a fence attached. Perhaps the fence is invisible? And... the gate keeps in an imaginary dog? What do you think?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Do You Need Physical Therapy?

Whilst on holiday last month, we saw the following sign:

Interesting Concept.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Rebellious Teen

(Photo above:  Krull getting his books out of his locker at school)

Meet Krull, the Warrior King, who came from Florida to live with us last Christmas when my oldest thought it would be a great thing to save him from a house where he was largely ignored. Oldest kid's idea of rescuing this bearded dragon was to stuff Krull in the car with the rest of my son's college dude friends crossing the country from Florida to Colorado. When my son arrived here, he cleverly disguised Krull as his sisters' Christmas gift. Those kids do the darndest things. Sigh. 

Krull is adjusting well to being a Colorado lizard, although like other teens, he sometimes succumbs to peer pressure. Like yesterday, when the family was out for an extended period of time,and we returned to find Krull with this new do:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You Saw it Here First!

Examine the photo above closely and see what is hidden in the aspens.  
The leaves are beginning to change!  That's right, soon the mountains will be ablaze with Fall colors.  This is my favorite time of year to hike and take photos.  Stay tuned for updates.  

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, I'm lying.  

It's not my birthday.  But those of you who know me well will remember I adore having "practice birthdays" several times per year.  Practice birthdays are great fun for everyone.  The most obvious perk is that you don't have to get any older when you have a practice birthday. You can even buy yourself lovely gifts and act surprised as all get-out when you open them. Family members also love it when you have a practice birthday because there's no pressure on them whatsoever to get a gift, etc.  Practice birthdays are pure fun for everyone!  

On this particular birthday, I decided to bake myself a huge cake.  I made "Superb Lane Cake" from the Southern Living Cook Book.  It's a four-layer cake with a cream sherry, nut, raisin and cherry filling.  For those of you not familiar with regional United States cooking, traditional Southern cooking was and still is the end-all in extravagance.  So put on your best Scarlett O'Hara and go ahead and ask me how many eggs went into this cake.  Eight. And butter?  Three sticks, darlin'!  And sugar?  Why Fiddly-Dee, a tad more than four cups!  Of course I'm not the least bit concerned about fitting into my corset in the morning.  

Anyhoo, when I presented myself with this gorgeous cake, I was almost moved to tears at my thoughtfulness.  What a lovely thing to do!  Aren't I sweet?  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Double the Luck

I'm going to be flitting about for the month of August going here but mostly there, so blog posts will be limited.  Thought I'd leave you with a photo of an incredible DOUBLE rainbow.  Click on the photo to get the entire effect.  Last night we got to see an entire rainbow, with a second one forming behind it.  WOW!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Felted Bags

Yesterday Biker Chick (she doesn't want me to refer to her as "youngest child" on this blog anymore) and I took three purses we knitted to the laundry to felt them. In case you are not familiar with felting, all it really means is taking something made from wool, and shrinking it by means of heat and moisture, like using the washing machine. You yourself may have felted something accidentally when you washed your favorite sweater in the washing machine only to take it out and find it doll-sized.

Now why would anyone purposely shrink something? Because the resulting fabric is much stronger and warmer. During the felting process, fibers mat together and create a smooth surface.

So when did people start felting wool? I'm sure it all began by accident when our wool sweaters started smelling quite awful and the laundress tried to remedy the situation on wash day with a pot of boiling water and a stick. People were already felting on purpose in the 12th century, and Ken Follett describes this process in his historical fiction book Pillars of the Earth. Creating yards of felted fabric, or boiled wool, was a hellish process for the medieval characters. Someone had to beat the fabric with a stick while the fabric was covered in boiling water.
Here's one of the purses before it was felted. Notice that while it is attractive, it's quite floppy and probably would not last long as a purse:

Here's a close up of the strap after felting. Notice how the stitches have "blurred" together:

And here's a look at the finished bag:
This is the second bag before felting:

This bag, which was made of sheep's wool and mohair, shrunk up considerably more than my other bag, which was all wool. During the drying process, I shaped it somewhat like an acorn, which I thought was fitting for the fall colors. Here's a side view:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's have a Picnik!

I'm always looking for new things to do with photos, without spending money on outrageously expensive software I may not even use.  With this in mind,  one of my kids suggested I go and have a Picnik. So I took one of my best buddies, Sparky, and headed on over to this awesome photo site.  We sure had fun playing around. While Picnik seems to have dozens of cool editing features to fix most any photo problem, I concentrated on Picnik's extra features I don't already have in my iPhoto program.  

Let's see what Sparky looked like when we started:
This special effect is called Lomo-ish, and blurs the edges.  Sounds pretty simple, but I'm quite pleased with the results.  Brings out Spark's angel-nature, don't you think?  
Here's what Sparky looks like through night vision: 

Heat seeking:  
Sparky and I used the Doodle feature here, for when Spark is feeling silly:  

I'm loving the way Sparky looks here with the posterize effect:  
Signing up with Picnik is free.  There are premium features available for $24.95 per year, but I haven't had a chance to see what those are. For now, I'm going to stick with the free account.