Friday, December 23, 2016

I have new babies...

I took out my box of Christmas 'mousie' bits when I searched for the Christmas cards in the storage area awhile back.
It was a Herculean feat just to get into that storage area believe me.  It is still stacked with all manner of "stuff" we had to move in there to get it out of the way so we could make our renovation mess.   There were rolls of excess carpet, boxes of record albums, boxes of electrical and electronic gear, my massage table, boxes of tiles, golf clubs and carts, the other pop down movie screen and two long blinds from upstairs reno of 3 years ago....acckkkk!! Disaster area of the first order.  In January, I am going to do a major purge... what fun that'll be.  No, really, I'm actually looking forward to throwing out anything and everything related to renovations.  Goodbye and good riddance to it.  I no longer have to save any of it.  Wheeeeeee!!  oooh, sorry, got a bit giddy there for a nano second..  Oh, alright... perhaps maybe one box of tiles in case there is an accident and something needs replacing.  But, there is going to be a lot of stuff piled out by the fence in the New Year.  We love doing that... we have some regular scavengers who stop by to check it all out and in no time at disappears.  Perfect.  I bet some of them have built houses with all we have chucked over the years.  Complete houses.

Back to the mousies.  It appeared that I had cleaned out several walnut shells last year so I had a head start... thank goodness, as we finished this reno so close to the festive season I didn't have much time to tinker around.  Managed to find a few hazelnuts in the box as well, to make into the actual mice... so, lots of drawing eyes and noses and gluing and playing later...I have several new babies to hang on our own tree or to give to various neighbour kids.. I sneak out on Christmas eve and hang them on doorknobs for a laugh.  Only got caught once when somebody decided to drive home at the exact time I left the porch.  Probably I looked like a deer in the headlights.  I was busted there.  And, one dog barked his head off inside a house...but nobody figured out why, so I sprinted down the block before they opened the door.  Whew.

I love them on our tree... and little kids and parents alike think they are so cute... I make a dozen or more every year it seems.

Here is a shot of a portion of my tree...  you can see a few of the little guys on there.... along with origami and all my other fun little things.. it looks like one of those pics you could make a puzzle out of doesn't it?
Click on any pic to biggify

Here are the little mousies... all the same and yet...all so different.  Just like little babies in a nursery...hahhahahah.... oh, I'll take that one please, the one with all the lovely black 'sticky up' hair...oh, just a minute there aren't any.  Not since my nephew was born.  Okay then..the one with the little blue flower between the ears please?  She's mine, all mine.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Changed my header

That's little Darla, my tiny needle felt I made way back in... uhm.....just had to go to the photo for info.... can't believe it was in 2009.  Good grief!  Time flies. flew past me on the latest renovation as well.... we began it at the end of March and lo and is now ... December.  Great.  Remember when Sumbunny said it was only going to take "about a month"?  I knew better and said at least 3 ... but, little did I know it would escalate into 8 months plus..... sheeeesh......

My life has definitely not been my own and it was a lot of mess ... and re-creating, and then... well, you get the drift... last Friday the guy came to switch around the glass panes in the office doors and we declared us officially finished!!!  I do have the tree up and am ready for the 'sparkly' season.
Wooohooooooo !!!

Still have to put up my little tree downstairs on the new carpeting and can't wait to see that.... it's totally different now with new carpeting and newly painted and the main wall of speakers etc re-done.  That wall was the main thing we were planning to do when we began things...but, you know how it goes... every project just seems to grow.  Takes on a mind of its own.

I have to say though, that this final renovation has gone the easiest and the best of all we have done in the past 30+ years as far as the professional trades went.   We did lots of it ourselves ... and, then... had professionals finish off baseboards, casings, painting, carpeting, etc.  This time... it was great....I called or emailed them... we set a date for them to show up...they did, I paid them... they went away and we were happy with all the work they did.  Can't say enough good things about all the guys we hired.

All of our worries about each and every stage were totally unfounded... but, in fairness to us... we have gone through some pretty trying times over the years with various trades.... somehow this time we got all the right guys.  What a treat.

At the beginning it was just us, and much as we've done renos for years...... by the time we got it demolished... I think we were saying, "what have we done"??
When a room looks like this.... it is a daunting task to make it right again.

End of March...

By April 19 we had the wall re-built and speaker boxes in place... not too bad for a couple of amateurs.  We did feel proud of our accomplishment at this point even though the end was a very  long way off and seemed even further some days.....

Now, it looks like this.

We re-built that wall around the doorway and also did the ceilings in both rooms and had new carpeting installed.

Here is what it looked like before.... this was the renovation we did ourselves in 2004.  I know that because we take lots of photos of all of our "work".. plus, there were some nasty comments on a 2 x 4 under the wall that I wrote about my "boss" that time around.  No more components collecting dust now.. all hidden away behind the wall in a small "server" room we also built.

After 30+ years of renovating this house... we quit.  Yep... that's right.  Nobody is doing renos again in this place.  They can't.  We've done every single thing that can be done.  It can't get 'old' for many years now.

Somewhere in between things I still managed a bit of golf, practiced at the driving range and on this day..wandered into the park area with my camera... so I give you this pretty one too...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday

It's been so long since I posted anything that I almost forgot how.

On Sunday, I heard a "ponk" sound and immediately thought it was the fridge.... we've had a lot of trouble with 'fridges since our major renovation, but, then... had a horrible thought that proved to be the case.  I little bird had flown into the front room window and bounced off ...  I ran to the window and sure enough, there he/she was lying feet up on the rocks below the window.  I felt sick to my stomach.

But, ran to find a shoebox as quickly as I could.  My Mom used to do it all the time and it's always been a good way to salvage them and try to revive them.  By the time I got out there he had righted himself and was sitting up a bit.. sort of... so I carefully got him and put him into the shoebox...he did shriek and I was hoping it was just fear and not in pain.

I closed the lid and put the box in the patio.  There were a few holes in it so he had lots of air.  I went into the house but kept a close eye on the box.  After about 10 minutes...I was thinking ...would he try to fly and be panicking if he was trapped in there or would he just stay resting because it was nice and dark?  I waited a bit more and then went out and carefully opened the lid.  His eyes were closed... but in the light...he opened them and actually looked pretty good.  Almost perky.  I had hope.  Back inside I went, but kept an eagle eye on the box in case a cat or something showed up.  Actually got out my camera and went out on the patio steps and got a great photo of him.  I keep saying him, but I do think it is a little, young female.

I had one other little birdie hit our patio window and it killed her.  I just didn't have the heart to take her photo even though she was beautiful.  I think with this little one, I felt hopeful and wanted to document a success.

Several more minutes... so, a total of only about 25 minutes total from the time of impact ... and, off it flew.  I cheered right out loud!!  It was a fluttering up and out and I did wonder if perhaps it might  not have cleared the patio wall or that it landed nearby the went out to check.  Nowhere to be found, so I guess it is a success.

Poor little thing...I sure hope it was alright and can continue on it's intended path.  I think they must be migrating now and it could have just been a fly by... I have only ever seen one or two and only about this time of year.  I suppose they could live here, but like I say... only ever seen one or two... and, sadly this little guy had a run-in with our window.  Darn it.

Without further ado.... here she is.  I think she is a young American Goldfinch ....

If any of my birdie blog buddies see this... please let me know if you think that is what it is.

So.... update:......   I got two comments saying they thought it is in the Empidonax genus, and Dave from Birds from Behind gave me all the clues to look for which one.  Apparently a "gnat master" if you will  ..   (not Dave, the little birdie that is ) .. empis meaning "gnat" and anax meaning "master".

I looked for photos of Canadian flycatchers and lo and behold, found photos identical to this little one and so it is....    An Alder Flycatcher!

Check out other beautiful birds over at Paying Ready Attention by clicking on the birdie below....

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Danielle Donaldson

I've taken some of her online classes previously.... and all were fun.  So, when I saw this one for drawing whimsical little animals (little is the key word here) and how to watercolour them ... well, it had to be done.

What fun!

It is also a bit more than that ... she calls the bottom portion of the projects Story Blocks...  I still don't really get it.  I guess my mind just doesn't work that way.  To me it is collaged bits and bobs and using pretty colours that I think look good with my little guys I've drawn and painted.

So far I've only done a few... we are re-building a wall that divides the exercise room from the tv I don't have many spare minutes to rub together... darn it.  I would much rather be having fun with paints and papers than making eleventy nine trips up and down the stairs every 10 minutes.  I have buns of steel already... and, we are only two weeks into the project.  But, we re-built the front side of the wall already ..and, will be starting the back side framing after a bit of re-wiring ...   It will be close to 2 months by the time we are finished it all I'm sure.  In between it all I try to find a few minutes to draw a few lines and even to drop on a bit of colour.

If you want to check out Danielle's class (or other artists) you could go to Jeanne Oliver's site to see what I'm talking about.

Here is my first little dog . ....

and.... some little bunnies that I did ...

Click on them to make bigger if you like...and, you will have to imagine them matted ... and/or matted and framed for the time being....

Friday, March 11, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday

The tiny Red Breasted Nuthatch.

I love these little guys ...and, little they are too.  Not much bigger than some hummingbirds really.  But, feisty.. just like a hummer.  They don't take any flack from the bigger birds and dart in and out and get their fair share of the seeds. Sometimes they even try to hog the feeder all to themselves...

They hang upside down from the mesh to get a seed, (which I'm sure is the proper way for a nuthatch) ... but, they also perch on the little wire perches..or...they don't mind taking seeds from the board near the water..or on the ground ... as a matter of fact... they are everywhere ..all at the same time it seems.

I have at least two different ones coming and going on a regular basis.. I only know this because sometimes there are two here at the same time.  Also these same ones or ..maybe others... enjoy my suet feeder at the back of the house.  Their favourite... peanut butter and bugs suet... which the Downy woodpecker and the Flicker ...and a damned Magpie also enjoy.  I do shoo away the Magpie when notice it there.  It can get plenty of other "food" anywhere...

If they don't take the seed and fly directly to their "stash" ...  which they save for rainy or cold days.. they will often beat the heck out of it on the patio wall.   Unlike the sparrows...they are dainty eaters and like to nibble tiny morsels ..much like the chickadees do when they take a seed and fly into the lilac and nibble it for quite some time before returning for a second.

Here is one just for Dave ...  ... a perfect butt shot... which I get plenty of ...I just wasn't quite as clever as he was in naming a blog after the fact.  I love your fun blog Dave .. and all of your perfect butt shots.. as well as all of your other beautiful bird photos.

Look...sometimes he shares.... let me see what is that other bird? .... mmm.... perhaps ... it was a Pine Siskin that day.

We all know this look...... "Hey's empty...... more seed!!@"      Worse than a pirate... "oi .. ....where's me grog wench ?!..."

Sheeesh.....  birds are cheeky.

And look how easily he does that major stretch.... wow.... .. I wonder if their legs are situated differently in their anatomy than other birds or if they just have stronger groin muscles ... I must search for a straight on shot or two to see if it is noticeable...

Check out many other beautiful and interesting birds on Wild Bird Wednesday (even if it is Friday today) .....

Just click on this badge to go there....

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Look who came to dinner

at........... the birdie feeder.

The only sparrow that didn't fly off was this Clay Coloured Sparrow...okay it is actually a clay sparrow ... but,  there is a sparrow called a Clay Coloured .. and, it looks pretty real doesn't it?  There are 3 on this little fountain.

The real ones quickly dived into the nearby juniper shrub and stayed there, quivering, 'til long after Curious George left the vicinity.

I got some photos of the cat and sent them to my neighbour to see if she recognized it.  We don't see many loose animals in our neighbourhood.  We live beside a golf course and do have coyotes and owls and hawks about all the time.  This guy would make a pretty good sized snack for somebody higher on the food chain..well, maybe not higher, but bigger.

He didn't get lucky ..   but, he was definitely checking out the menu.

Then, down he jumped and sauntered off in the direction of the next crescent ..where we think he lives.

Apparently, his name is actually George.  And I have no idea why he is out and about pretty far from home.  I would have thought people might be a bit more concerned for a lovely cat like this.  Looks like a Himalayan to me.  They aren't cheap.  Neither are vet bills.

So, actual birdies today on Wild Bird Wednesday...but, he is a visitor to the bird feeding station in my patio.
As usual, click on the photos to see them bigger ...what a beauty he is.

Bad George!  Bad CAT !!@

hahahah... yeh, as if I said that.  I just grabbed my camera and took his photo.

Check out real birds on Wild Bird Wednesday by clicking on this image.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Alice ..

With a bit more clay here and there and some sanding done... that scratty mohair is not the actual hair ...but a bit of see if she is getting there.  Just getting a feel for her "look"...   who knows what she will end up wearing on her head.

Added some more clay to the hands and they are actually beginning to look more like hands ...but, not quite there yet.  Wish I could make myself add a bit more clay than I do each time...but, that's me I guess.  Must make them before I get tempted to paint her face.

Good thing Maggi mentioned about not painting her face till we have the hands done so that we get the same colour for flesh... 'specially if we, you know,   ....    ....  mix colours to get "that perfect shade"  hahahah.... been there before.  I think she knows me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Alice in Steampunkland

The new dolly I am making.

Not much new happening with her ... she will be a long time in the making.

However, I did add some tiny bits of clay to her face and head and got her sort of how I like her ...and, I began the hands.  We'll see if I use the hands or not.  I might have wanted to give a bit more thought to the position of the hands and fingers.  Like, if I want her to be holding something or not.  They won't hold much in this position.

The pattern shows perfect skinny sausages for fingers.... whereas mine definitely look more skeletal.  Nobody mentioned having to put on alternate fingers...but, I found I was having great difficulty doing one wet piece of clay that close to a second piece of clay.  So, finally did alternate fingers and let them dry and then did the rest.

I was thinking how the fingers looked weird and sort of pinched together where they joined each other finger.  But, once I got the little bit of clay onto the back of the hand, I discovered I could lay it up further on the fingers a bit more to give them slight space or a bit of a web between each finger. That'll be more like it.

It looks like a bit (or, a lot) more work is needed on them yet.  I'm so slow and tentative with clay.  I have no idea is easy to sand it's just paper clay.  But there you have it... working with clay tells you something about you.  Hahahaha,,,, as if I didn't already know that I am cautious and a bit tentative with a lot of things.

Coming along, albeit very slowly.

Click on the pics to see them bigger.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday

This is supposed to happen on Wednesday of course, hence the title..hahahha....but.... I'm late.  Worse than the Mad Hatter I am.

Today I have a few photos of another bird that has a bit of red colour on its head and breast area.  Well, of course, only the males have the blush of pink on the breast ...

It is called a Common Red Poll, although, like some others with that word 'Common' in their names ... not really common at all... certainly not to me.  In reality, they are quite cute and really quite beautiful in colouration.

Very tiny compared to a sparrow...even compared to a chickadee.....more the size of a little Nuthatch.

I love them.  We haven't seen them around before..  and, now ...we've seen about 5 or 6 hanging about in the past few days.  My neighbour was trying to explain them to me as she had them at her feeder... and I thought she was talking about the House Finches when she mentioned some reds in the colouring...but she did say they had the streakings of a Pine Siskin... so was very happy they showed up here as well and I got to identify and also to get some lovely photos of them.

Click on the photo to see them even closer....

Look at the pretty colours....this shows off the "blush of pink" they speak of on the breasts of the males.

This little one was clearly showing me the Poll or cap on his head... either that or he was busy napping or thinking intently.... or maybe he spied a seed or something....

They definitely like the black oil sunflower seeds....

Check out Stewart's blog for more birds ...
Just click on the Wild Bird Wednesday pic to be transported directly there....

Monday, January 11, 2016

Special friends

Among my friends, I'm lucky to count a "speshol brown bear" and a "litol gween dwagon pwincess".....  That's right.  I have unusual friends.   And how I love it.

When I was down for the count just before Christmas; sick and coughing and aching all over and just downright miserable.....     I received a card from the two of them and it made my day.  They had drawn and coloured and written special messages just for me.  How cool is that?

I set it on a table with some other cards and looked at it several times during my wandering about trying to find somewhere comfortable to sit or lie... nowhere was any good.... so I kept on walking til I fell on the bed.

The next day I noticed that a late bud on the Christmas cactus had grown larger ... remember the plant?  It bloomed way back around the first of November.  There were a few extra little teeny buds on it that didn't amount to anything and fell off.  But, this bud stayed....

It got much bigger the next day and Dilly had her eye on it... the third day it opened slightly and the next was in full bloom!  Oh, that did it...she moved her card right up close to it.  She loves pink and declared that it was the perfect colour and actually the very same colour her "pwetty pink dwess" .. and, that she must sit right beside it.  She admired it for days ....

I had to take a few pics of them together ....

Of course, Bob T. Bear (esq.) ...  not to be outdone..... found a couple friends to hang out with as well.  Some sheepies and a mini Santa....

They kept it up for several days .....I never knew where to look for the card; some days it was on the sheep table..some days it was next to the cactus flower.  Seeing as Dilly found the flower first.... she got the most "me" time... well, that and she does have a very insistent way about her......

Thanks so much Bob and Dilly for my great card (and, the nose hugs!! )  You guys are the best!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday

I haven't been very regular in postings for Wild Bird Wednesdays ... but, on occasion I get a pretty capture and want to share it with here it is for today.

If you want to check out beautiful or unusual birds ... please go to Stewart's blog ...

Please meet Mister and Missus Chirpy ....  aka House Finches.  They have a lovely warbly sing song which is why we call them Chirpies.....they seem to hang around during our winters... but, we don't see them all the time.

Click on any photo to get a closer look at them ...

Right now they are coming to the seed feeder along with sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches and a lone Pine Siskin.  There was a horrible accident one day with my damn kitchen window and a lovely little lady White Winged Crossbill.  She flew full tilt into it and killed herself immediately.  I did go right out to retrieve her and bought into the house in a shoebox to see if she could revive.  Many hours later she had not moved at all..    I cried.  She was so pretty and so dead.  My only good thought was that it must have been instantaneous and that she didn't suffer unnecessarily.  Mister BV had to dispose of her...I couldn't do it.  Poor little thing.

Anyway ... on to another photo of Mister Chirpy ...

Here is a nice clear one of himself ... him I can identify immediately...but, unless I am looking through my camera lens..I am not always sure if the Missus is a sparrow or if she is a Chirpy.  They are smaller than our sparrows but unless you see them side by's hard to tell.  And, she is mostly browns....

Here is Mister Chirpy and a sparrow having a chat .... you can see the size difference ..  and Missus Chirpy is even more elegant, somewhat leaner, and a bit smaller overall than her mister.

Here is the link to Wild Bird Wednesday if you would like to join in with a photo of your own .. or just have a peek at other birdies.....