Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baby Cardinals!

I know I have other things to write about, but I’m distracted by the baby cardinals living next to my kitchen door.

baby cardinals

They are in a honeysuckle bush (? is it a bush? a vine? just a plant?) that’s really right next to our kitchen door.

cardinal nest in the honeysuckle next to our kitchen door

Their nest was previously very well hidden in the honeysuckle, but after a bad storm the other night, I found the nest had tipped over some and all the babies were on the ground!  I tried putting their nest back upright (and securing it with a second piece of trellis! ha! I am not a nest-builder.), but after mom and dad came to feed the babies, I found that the nest had been tipped the other way and 2 of the 3 babies had fallen again.  Luckily there was a nest “next door” in the bush, just a few inches away, so I moved the remainder of their nest and the babies to that old nest. Momma and Papa Cardinal don’t seem to mind, and so far everything seems peachy. They’re not quite as hidden as they were before, so I hope everything stays good.  (I’ve also “built” a little barrier of garbage cans and an old door to keep Grounder away from them!)

Here are the babies in their new-ish nest after I saved them for the 2nd time yesterday.

baby cardinals

Three cute/ugly little babies.

I was able to get one picture of the eggs before they hatched, too!

cardinal eggs

Again, their first nest was super well hidden (and of course, I didn’t want to panic Momma and Papa by being too invasive).  In the above picture, I zoomed in on the computer to find the eggs. Here’s the picture without lots of cropping.

baby cardinal eggs

Isn’t it nearly impossible to see the eggs? They’re in the lower left corner.

Besides the headache of trying to keep Grounder away from the nest, it’s been fun seeing Momma and Papa Cardinal try to distract me and the dogs.

papa cardinal

I’ve never gotten to see cardinals so up close before!  Generally they do a good job of distracting Grounder, too.  He'll sit for hours, absolutely focused and watch some point in the trees (like doggie TV) that I can only assume is a parent cardinal taunting him. It’s pretty great.

I’m happy I was (so far) able to help these little guys along and that their parents are on board with the change of address.  Here’s hoping they actually make it to flying!  Has any wildlife been distracting you lately?

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Toy: Holga Lens for DSLR

We all have fun playing with the fun filters on Instagram and similar programs, so when, during my daily immersion in the internet one day, I found a plastic Holga lens to fit on a DSLR, I thought it might be a fun thing to play with.

Blue Holga Lens on Nikon D5100

I got the blue version :) because I love blue and because I didn’t really care if it looked a little nutty on my camera (there is a black version, as well as lots of other colors!). It’s a toy lens after all!

Before I got it, I read some reviews, so I was prepared to mess around with manual settings to be able to actually take pictures.  (Thanks, Shoot Fly Shoot, for teaching me how to mess with those!) 

taken wiht plastic Holga lens; 1/25 sec, ISO 400
Puppy the cat in the yard

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/25 sec, ISO 500
Shadow the dog

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/25 sec, ISO 500
Flowering bush

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/50 sec, ISO 800
Siberian Wallflowers

The opening on the camera side of the lens is the tiniest hole ever, and the whole thing is plastic, so there are no aperture settings.  You adjust the brightness or darkness of the picture with shutter speed and ISO settings, and even then, it pretty much only works outside. :)  The day I took these pictures was sort of overcast. I can’t wait to get to try it when there’s some cool bright spots and shadows.

Here are some pictures where I was changing up the settings.

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/50 sec, ISO 800
1/50 sec, ISO 800

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/15 sec, ISO 800
1/15 sec, ISO 800

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/50 sec, ISO 800
1/50 sec, ISO 800

taken with plastic Holga lens; 1/25 sec, ISO 800
1/25 sec, ISO  800

There’s a “focus ring” on the lens…I put it in quotes because it’s pretty primitive :) and really, the point of this lens is that it’s a toy lens, so I wasn’t too worried if the pictures were really in focus or not. I did notice when I took some flower close-ups it looked better when I had the lens set to “portrait” or whatever on the focus ring. The whole thing’s plastic, so I did have to be really careful when I was adjusting anything, for fear that it might pop off the camera! :)

I definitely want to keep playing with this lens and having fun with it. What do you think? Like the pictures? Would you want to play around with a lens like this?

Bigger pictures on Flickr.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living Room Curtains Done!

*Thoughts and prayers going out to everyone across the US affected by tornadoes and storms.*

Over the weekend, I actually got my living room curtains sewn and installed!

living room curtains done!

The fabric is from It’s by Premier Prints – this one’s Barber Powder Blue Twill.  I ended up getting the lining from because it was on sale and I didn’t have to leave the house. :)

living room

I’m so happy with how they turned out and how the living room looks now. I’m so inspired to keep working on the living room and really finish things off.

On my to-do list are:

  • make/find throw pillows for the couch
  • decide how to re-finish/paint the lamps
  • make some sort of cool gray background art for the mantel…along these lines
  • reupholster the red chairs with already purchased chevron fabric
  • ugh…finish taking the behind-the-couch bookshelf to the ceiling

I also think I’ll be posting some behind-the-scenes of curtain-making, but this whole project was not full of my smartest moments…so an actual “tutorial” might not be what’s coming. :)  But I’m sure I have more to say on the matter of these lovely curtains.

Do you have any projects that have got you all inspired to do more?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday, Grounder!

Brian was at work all day today and I was working on my living room curtains and some other things…so I almost forgot!   Happy 10th Birthday, Grounder.

Happy 10th Birthday, Grounder!

You’ve been on this planet for a decade!  I’m surprised the planet has survived. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AeroGarden Update #5: First Flowers!

I love watching this AeroGarden grow.  Every week there are significant changes. I’ve already got some flowers from my Love Blooms kit!

First flowers from the Love Blooms AeroGarden kit

Much different than it looked 10 days ago.  Even just 5 days ago, this is what the garden looked like…smaller with just a few buds.


first buds!

And here was the first flower:

first flowers from Love Blooms AeroGarden seed kit

I love seeing the flowers with the basil. I can’t wait until there are more.

First flowers from the Love Blooms AeroGarden kit

I didn’t forget the other garden. The parsley and oregano are going strong!


I hope the little cilantro can catch up!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day!

I know it was yesterday, but I thought I’d share a few pictures from our little Mother’s Day get-together.

I attempted cake decorating :)

mother's day cake

My mom and me:

my mom and me

My mom-in-law and her kids:

mom and kids

And then my life was pretty much complete when this happened:

silly moms

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers near and far! :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

AeroGarden Update #4

Just a quick AeroGarden update…my little petunia’s doing great!

petunia's doing well and the basil's not too shabby

Much bigger than last post, and that was only what, a week or so ago?  The heavily-pruned basil’s not doing too poorly either. Those plants are putting their growing efforts into making the remaining leaves bigger.  I can’t believe the basil plant on the right is almost a year and a half old!

In the new garden, things are coming along nicely as well.

real sprouts on parsley!

Nice growth on the parsley – the leaves are really starting to take their shape!  Some more visible sprouts in the oregano and under all that condensation, the cilantro has some tiny sprouts as well.

I just love watching these things grow! :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Living Room Curtain Fabric Purchased!

I finally took the plunge and bought 12 yards of this fabric for my living room curtains (from thanks to a $5 off coupon posted on Facebook!

I'm pretty excited for it to come! I know I have a million projects in progress (yard, sewing room, life, living room chairs to be recovered) but I hope I get on this one soon.  It should be pretty simple and I think it will make a big impact on the living room.

I think I'll swing by JoAnn's later today for some lining. Their home dec fabric is all 50% off and there's an extra 15% off coupon through Saturday. Gotta love multiple discounts!

What (many) projects do you have going on?
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