Crop Circles

Remember this post?

I wanted to edit that first photo.
I felt the need to play with it a bit.
See what I could make of it.

Although I might not be great at photoshop
or post processing
I like to think I can crop photos well.

I don't toot my horn to often,
but I like to think that I can see an interesting way
to crop a photo
and turn the straight out of camera shot
into something --

This photo has a whole different attitude.

There's a new air about it.

This peacock's not so quaint.

In fact, he's a little fiesty.
Full of attitude.

And you know what?
I think it's hot.



Paper Pieced String Quilt: FAIL

I heard about paper pieced string quilts through a couple of my crafty friends.

They did it.
I figured so, too, could I.

Although I can sew
fairly well
I cannot read tutorial instructions.

The paper I used was too thick.
The stitch length too long.
And my squares got all wonky.

The quilt top that I had hoped would become a duvet cover someday
the one I carefully planned
and designed
and even blogged about (here)
was just toooooo time consuming.

Just tooooo imperfect.

So, I made a snap decision.

The string quilt duvet cover

A crib sized quilt.

The backing is brown.
I have yet to find binding fabric.
I have to save what's left of the fabric I used
as I am still needing it to make a queen sized quilt for DRL and I.

I am still working on the pattern for this new undertaking.

But this one...
this FAILsterpiece
will go to Stella.

The good that has come of this--
the light at the end of the tunnel--
is that I found a stitch pattern on my machine
that makes little stars.

I used it to quilt the top.
I absolutely love how it turned out.

I guess it's not all bad.
I guess it never is.



A Dozen.

There are four cherries in this photo.

There were twelve comments on the "Rock The Vote" entry.
Which means, I have at least twelve readers.
One dozen.

I've always been horribly popular.
It's a curse, really.

*tap, tap*

Are you there?

It's me, Athena?
You know, lover of coffee? Hater of the Yankees?

*is this thing on???*

As a token of my appreciation to you, oh loyal readers,
I will no longer refer to you as 2.5.

Or 3.8.

Thank you for making yourselves known.



Rock the Vote

My Aunt Kristy sent me an email today.
The subject line was "contest."

She told me that Better Homes & Gardens is holding a photo contest.
The grand prize is five thousand dollars.

And then she said I should submit a photo.


I can't choose a photo.

So I thought I'd let you choose one for me.

Below are my favorites that meet the criteria.
I know..
I know.

MOST of them are of Elena.

I can't help it if she's my muse.

Scroll through 'em.
Cast your vote in the comments following the post.


PS> Thank you!

PPS: If I didn't include your favorite photo, please let me know, and I'll add it to the list.

The official details (via Better Homes & Gardens official site)nare here.


Old Dog, Meet New Trick.

Once upon a time I knew nothing about Photoshop.
Then I found out it is really expensive.
And I was grateful to the co-worker who installed his licensed copy on my MacBook.

So I vowed to learn to use it.

That was over a year ago.

Up until yesterday, all I knew how to do was apply a PW Action.

Then I learned how to make a diptych.

And now,
the piece de resistance.
I know how to apply selective color.

This is Kaia Jensen. I am certain you remember her.
I didn't want to leave it at just one photo, though.
So I practiced a bit more tonight.
And again.
Until I knew I could remember how to do it without referencing the tutorial
where I found the trick.




My mom and step-dad were in town for a week.
They headed back north on Friday morning.
We had some fun while they were in town.
Or, as Gramma says,
a little slice of heaven.

Elena had her first ride on a pony.
In the parking lot of the HEB store just up the road from our townhouse.
She checked to make sure she was actually off the ground.
And then she showed us just how much fun she was having..
how truly excited she was to be on horseback
for the very
My mom says the sun was in her face.
But look at the horse
(same photo, different crop)
He's equally as excited.

We went to Lake Travis.
To the park at Lake Travis.
We found a great little picnic area near the boat launch
that was completely
I mean utterly
uninhabited by others.

So Elena and I flew a kite.

Gramma and Elena sat by the water's edge and found feathers.
While Gramma was telling Elena all about feathers
and rocks
and bees
and things

Elena picked her nose.
She's two.
It's what happens.

Stella and Daddy hung out in the shade.
Stella drooled.
A lot.
Papa drank a beer.

We also went to Zilker Park
to check out Barton Pool.

Turns out Barton Pool is closed on Thursdays.

So we had no choice but to find something
to occupy our time.

The Pigeons were happy to oblige.
This caterpillar on the other hand....
I'm pretty sure he felt a bit like Nemo
when the dentist's niece came to claim him.
But the caterpillar,
like Nemo,
got away unscathed.
This cricket wasn't so lucky.
Although he received a kiss,
he hopped away missing three of his six legs.

Maybe "hopped" is the wrong word...


P.S. A very happy Father's Day to all you dads out there.


Bloodsucker. Dog.

I have finished all the books in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight saga.
A book review is forthcoming.
As is the third movie in the series.
I will not review those.
Except to say,
"Watch at your own risk.
And don't watch for the acting."

After much consideration, I feel that in order to give you
dear readers
the best review possible,
I should read the saga 

Just to be safe.

So you'll have to wait a while longer to see what I thought.



What I Know For Sure

Of these things I am certain:

*There is no instruction manual to being a parent. Stella could make it through the night without eating if we forced her to fall back to sleep.
But I don't have the heart to hear her cry.
So I cave.
And I feed her.

*A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.  I won't have time to exercise until she is sleeping through the night and I can give up an extra hour of sleep to work out.  And even then I'll still make excuses not to. That's just how I roll.

*Be careful what you wish for. My new job is everything I thought it would be. And nothing at all like I imagined.  Both at the same time. And it is very very VERY time consuming.

*Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I miss my friends. All of them. A lot.  I cannot wait to visit MN in July and have some quality time with all of you!

*Count your blessings.  My mom and step-dad are in town until Friday morning. I am LOVING having them here and dreading their departure.  Elena is going to be heartbroken when gramma leaves.

*Only the good die young.  I try to break at least one rule every day.  Just to be on the safe side.

*My cup runneth over.  Elena will come up to me, out of nowhere, give me a giant hug and sweetly whisper, "I love you, momma."  I will never ever tire of her doing this. Even if I live to be three hundred and four.  Never ever.

*A propos.  The top photo has nothing to do with this post. Neither does this one.



Lake Travis

This is what most people think of when they think of Texas.

Cowboy hats.

Sure, there are fields in Minnesota.  
But Minnesota is known for something else.
Something that rhymes with

Texas doesn't have that many.
In fact, the only lakes in Austin are "man made."
Lady Bird Lake.
Lake Austin.
And the largest, Lake Travis.

Allow me to explain.

The Colorado River runs through Austin.

There is a dam outside of Austin,
Mansfield Dam to be precise,
situated on said river. 

I thought this was funny.
Coming from a land with so many lakes and all.

I thought.
Texas has to make lakes, I scoffed.

And then
I drove south on RM 620.
Which happens to be the road I live off of.

And then I saw this:

This is Hill Country.

And then.
I saw this:

I suddenly didn't care that this lake was man made.
Created by a wall of cement.
A wall that leaves this lake 600+ feet deep when it's full.
which they report on every night on the local news
because apparently it's a BIG deal when it's not full.
As it wasn't last summer.

But I digress

Not one bit of this mattered.

I was busy trying to catch my breath.

My photos don't do it justice.

I am not sure that any photos can really do it justice.

When you first see it, it comes out of nowhere.
One moment you are on RM 620.
It's like any other road.
Gas Stations.

And then, suddenly
without warning

Please come to visit me.
Come see this lake.

It's worth the drive.

I promise.




What are they doing?
I had no clue.
So I asked Elena. 

Mommy! They are going for a ride.

Oh. Sorry, child. Girl whom I labored over for 15 hours. Who I strained and pushed and expelled from my tired, aching womb. 
You are absolutely right. 
I should have known that.