Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Weekend

In 3rd through 5th grade, my teacher* had us write a paper every Monday called "My Weekend." I don't think I liked it much at the time, but now I often write about my weekends for fun. Weird.

This weekend has contained, among other things:

  • a lot of Chuck (finally finished season three--don't say a word about four!)
  • a movie night with some friends (we watched Fool's Gold)
  • a little bit of cooking (chicken before it went bad, sugar cookies for the movie night, potatoes au gratin to satisfy my craving and use up potatoes)
  • some trips to the store (Walmart and Safeway)
  • a few photos (nothing of interest)
  • a generous amount of sun for January
  • me sadly not taking full advantage of the sun
  • a LOT of laundry folding/hanging/putting away
  • cutting out paper hearts
  • a few pity parties
  • beating my best score on Wii 18-hole frisbee golf (-12!)
  • a couple of phone calls to friends
  • lots of procrastinating
  • Coke Cherry Zero
  • duck watching (two types that I hadn't seen since last winter have finally arrived)

I think that sums up my amazing weekend. You are fascinated. Now, how about a few photos? These are from the past week.

The other day it was really foggy, so I took advantage of all the water droplets around. One day I'll have a macro lens. ONE DAY. That's how people get amazing photos like this.

The female Ring-necked duck that was diving around the lake yesterday. The WhatBird page says this: "This species might better be called the 'Ring-billed Duck,' for its chestnut neck ring is usually seen only at close range, while the white ring on the bill can be a prominent field mark." Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Who names these things?

Okay, I've used up enough of your time.

*I had the same teacher for those three grades--it was a mixed class.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Food Friday

I did a little grocery shopping and had more variety in my meals this week. I bought a few new items to use as props in my photos, and then my awesome sister sent me a Valentine's package full of more props (placemats, plates, etc.)! It's so exciting! And just what I needed, because I was starting to wonder how I'd continue this project. Not even one month in and I was already feeling down about all of it. I feel refreshed now. :)

01/21 - A photo I had seen earlier in the day inspired my dinner choice: grilled chicken breast, baby yellow potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Deliciousness! I need to get some neutral plates, though.

01/22 - Kind of random, but it sounded good: rigatoni, ham and avocado. This was my first avocado of the year, and I'm happy to say it was actually the correct ripeness and texture (finally)! Oh and you're crazy if you think I only ate that much of the avocado.

01/23 - It's rigatoni again! This time with some leftover chicken, zucchini and feta.

01/24 - I had a hard day and almost forgot to take a picture, but remembered right as I made this popcorn. Close one!

01/25 - Ham and tortellini with cheese. Basically, it's a fancier version of macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs.

01/27 - Salmon, rice pilaf and avocado. Kind of bland to look at, but oh so delish. And how fancy am I with the parsley? Some day I'll share the rice pilaf recipe--my dad taught it to me several years ago.

A couple of bonus photos that didn't make the cut. This was mostly because I was excited to use one of these dip bowls (and place mat) that my sister gave me. How adorable is it? Oh and I was excited about the M&Ms too. :)

Another "Just in case I forget later" food photo. I love you, tea! Don't ever change.

Does anyone have fun weekend plans? I am hoping to work on my photography workshop stuff and also sleep in. And maybe fold this laundry...or throw it away and buy all new things.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I got this recipe from a friend the other day, and it sounded so good I had to try it immediately. I brought a batch to work and got several compliments.


1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons peanut butter


In a medium mixing bowl, stir together butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13" baking pan.

In the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate chips with the 4 tablespoons peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. (I just used the microwave to heat the chips 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between and then adding the peanut butter.) Spread on top of the mixture in the baking pan.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour before cutting into bars. Or, if you're like me, for 30 minutes in the freezer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

San Francisco

I was looking at some San Francisco images linked from a blog I follow, and that made me think about how my friend Dania and I sometimes skipped our college classes in Sacramento and drove to San Francisco for the day. Some of the places in Golden Gate Park have free admission on the first Wednesday of the month. One time we were driving over the Bay Bridge and the song Hysteria came on my mix tape, and it just seemed like the perfect sound for that stretch of driving. To me, at least. After that, I always had to queue up that song once we were about to go over the bridge. I'm sure it annoyed Dania sometimes. :)

I've never seen that video until today, so I didn't realize it has a road trip scene in the beginning! Also, some foxy hair styles--guys, take note.

I haven't been to SF since before I moved to Oregon, and I miss it. It's often crowded, trafficy, foggy, windy, cold, and dirty (no offense, SF!). But it also has a lot of great places to visit, many parts of it are very beautiful, and I have several happy memories attached to it. Last time I went was before I was into photography, so I'd love to go back and take more pictures.

Yes, this entry was kind of random.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Restaurant-Style Pancakes

A friend and I were discussing the difference between restaurant and home-cooked pancakes, and he looked it up and saw that it's in the mixing. If you mix it in a blender or with a hand-mixer (as opposed to hand-stirring), it adds more air and makes the pancakes fluffier. I then found this IHOP pancake recipe online and they turned out super delicious with some triple berry syrup.


Nonstick Spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (substitute by putting 1.25 T of vinegar in the 1.25 cups of regular milk and let it sit for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cooking oil
pinch of salt


1. Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. Use a pan with a nonstick surface or apply a little nonstick spray.

2. In a blender or with a mixer, combine all of the remaining ingredients until smooth.

3. Pour the batter by spoonfuls into the hot pan, forming 5-inch circles.

4. When the edges appear to harden, flip the pancakes. They should be golden brown.

5. Briefly cook pancakes on the other side until golden brown.

Makes about 8 pancakes.

VARIATION: The above were made with whole wheat flour. They seemed pretty good but I think they require a bit less milk (I was eyeballing it, so I'm not positive).

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is apparently my 150th post! You may all send me $150 to congratulate me.

Happy Blue Monday! Do something special to take a stand against the blues. I suggest baking a cake or buying flowers. (Or sending $150 to someone you love.)

Here's something I have avoided in this blog so far, but now I'm feeling a little crazy (or lazy?). This was an email forward I got from my friend T, and now I will subject you all to my answers. Feel free to tell me yours. I'm dying to know the location of your cell phone. The idea is to answer each of these questions with only one word. The email says it's hard, but it's not. You're not being graded or anything, so you could put "owls" on every question, if you want. I just mentioned owls because I am hearing one hooting it up outside, and they are so popular these days that I figured some of your eyes might perk up at the mention.

Ready? Okay! *clap*
  1. Where is your cell phone?  Nearby
  2. Spouse?  Nonexistent?
  3. Your hair?  Graying. :/
  4. Your family?  Dispersed
  5. Your favorite thing?  Happiness
  6. Your dream last night?  Mysterious
  7. Your favorite drink?  Tea
  8. What room are you in?  Living
  9. Your hobby?  Photography
  10. Your fear? Injury
  11. Where do you want to be in 6 years?  Married
  12. Where were you last night? Home
  13. Something that you aren't?  Disciplined
  14. Muffins?  Poppyseed
  15. Wish list item? Lens
  16. Last thing you did? Typed
  17. What are you wearing? Clothing
  18. Favorite TV shows? Funny
  19. Your pets? Nelson
  20. Friends? Patient
  21. Your life? Confusing
  22. Your mood? Calm
  23. Missing someone? Indeed
  24. Drinking? Sure
  25. Your car? White
  26. Something you're not wearing? Chaps
  27. Your favorite store? Target
  28. Your favorite color? Green
  29. When is the last time you cried?  Recently
  30. Where do you go over and over? Worryland
  31. My favorite place to eat? Home
  32. Favorite place you'd like to be right now? Sunny

Enough of that. Now I have a few important pictures from the past month.

This is one of my Christmas presents. It's awesome--have you seen these? He's a little electronic butterfly that looks real when he's flying around the jar. I named him Nelson, and normally I don't name non-living things. He's that realistic.Stop by my office and I'll let you tap the jar.

Another cute present I received was this ladybug cutting board/trivet! 

Are these called snow drops? Well, whatever they are, they are now blooming.

And finally, I want to mention two blogs:

MamaFlock - My sister (R) finally started a public blog! It's about motherhood and stuff. Go show your support by leaving a comment saying I sent you. :) That will make her like me more.

Sometimes the grass is greener - This is my friend T's husband's blog. (He's my friend too.) He writes about stuff like being a stay-at-home dad.

Okay, have a great week! Coming soon: pancake recipe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Food Friday

A week of health food!!

01/14 - I've been curious about this Häagen-Dazs creme brulee ice cream, so I finally got some since it was on sale. I thought it tasted more like caramel/dulce de leche in rich vanilla ice cream, but it was still very good.

01/15 - I made restaurant-style pancakes after a friend researched a bit on why they taste different from homemade. This IHOP recipe turned out really well, and the triple berry syrup I put on top was PERFECT. I'll be posting the recipe soon.

01/16 - Iced tea is good any time of the year.

01/18 - Happy quarter-birthday to me! I mostly took this photo to practice some lighting techniques I had just been reading about.

01/20 - Some sauteed zucchini. And yeah, I may set plates of food on the floor for some of my photos.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drawing: My general method (part 3)

If you haven't read them already, you may be interested in my first and second posts for this topic. I'm talking a little about my drawing process, specifically for this picture.

[Please excuse the photos from this series--I didn't know exactly what I'd want to cover when I took them, so I am now wishing I had some better shots.]

The first step I took was to make an outline of the main objects by following the grid on my page against the grid over the original image. In the above photo you'll see a reminder of the original picture in the bottom left corner (imagine a grid over it) and part of my first sketch. I marked out where a dark shadow would be over the hand to help guide me later.

Next, I focused on the first hand. (No, I didn't mean to position the kneaded eraser so it looks like the hand is tossing it across the page. :P) Now I'll just talk a bit about drawing as I know it. I don't really know how to organize my thoughts, so bear with me.

So much of drawing (in this style) is not drawing itself, but seeing what needs to be drawn. I have to really study the original that I'm drawing from. If I overlook a particular shadow or highlight, I can throw off the realism I'm after.

To give something a three-dimensional look, it needs to have plenty of shadows and highlights in varying degrees, just like what happens naturally. I try to note spots of dark shading, medium, and highlights, and then plan a range. The darkest shadows can be "black" and the lightest can be "white" (or paper-colored). I need to figure out good mediums for the other areas and be sure they still stand out from the darks and lights. If all of the shadows were just one tone, your picture is then just two "colors" and flat-looking as a result.

Highlights stand out when they are next to a shadow. To bring out contours, it's good to have extremes next to each other. I usually need to exaggerate every darkness and lightness in order to make things stand out as they need to. Note that I put a darker shade behind the fingers so they show up against the background.

Smudging/blending is important, at least in my drawings. Art stores sell stumps and other products to help with smudging, but I find I do the most with either my fingers or Kleenex. I'm classy! I will often start with an overly-dark patch and then smudge to create the medium-range shadows near it.

Erasing is part of drawing. It's just drawing in reverse! I go back and erase-in my highlights since I can't help but smudge too far and darken areas that need to be paper-colored. I erase to bring out bright spots and define edges.

These two images were taken three days apart. When the left photo was taken, I wasn't happy with my work. I almost always get to this point in a drawing where I know something isn't right, but I can't quite figure it out, and I start feeling hopeless like it's too late to fix things. I was having a hard time erasing and blending, so I went to the art store and bought a couple of new supplies. The new pencil I got was soooo helpful in smoothing things out, and the clean eraser helped fix some problem areas.

I also had to go back to the original grid and re-evaluate where I had placed certain shadows and borders. There was some funky roundness on the fingers that didn't look right, so I basically redrew in some of the crucial lines and started over with the shading. It just took some studying to see where I had gone wrong. I don't know if you can even tell (these photos kind of suck) the difference in the two pictures, but some minor changes were done that made a big difference to me.

I had a challenge with my original picture, and that was the blurry patch in the foreground. It's one thing to have blurry cards in a photo, but in a drawing it would just look weird. I decided to just use an actual card as my reference for the card being dealt. I laid down a card and took a photo at an angle that I felt represented the angle in the drawing (and the angle someone would be seeing the card if they were across from the dealer). Then I worked loosely from that photo. It's far from perfect, but I was satisfied (I settle for way less than perfection in my drawings!). I did some vague lines to give the card a recognizable Bicycle look, but didn't stress over the details. I'm just not really a details person when it comes to pictures.

And, as you saw before, this was my resulting picture (after some more shading, erasing, blending, etc. etc.):

Faaarrrrrr from perfect, but good enough for me. I don't know how many hours were devoted to this drawing, but I don't like to push things too far past the Line of Fun, so it couldn't have been that many. 

I hope some of my notes were helpful, though I realize I wasn't ultra specific in this entry. Like anything, it just takes practice (something I could use!) and a willingness to try different things to get your desired result. Thanks for reading!

[Some snippets of pictures I've made in the past.]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Drawing: My general method (part 2)

People are often quick to say they can't do something, such as draw, before they have even given it a good try. It's fine if you're not interested in trying; I'm not interested in trying a whole bunch of things! But don't say you can't when you don't actually know, and don't use that guess as a reason not to try something that you'd actually like to do better. There's my motivational speech of the day. ;) Main point: Let's all stop making excuses and just be honest with ourselves and others.

Last time, I discussed the prep I do for "serious" drawings (I usually skip the grid when I'm playing Pictionary). Today I want to talk about some of the materials I use to make the job easier. It's amazing what a difference the right pencil makes.

As I said, this isn't a passion for me, so I'm not very informed on all the best products, but there are some basic items that are easily obtained at an art/craft store, and they aren't even expensive. You don't need to be a professional to justify the purchase of a few supplies totaling under $20. Also, the following items would make a great gift for someone who would like to try drawing more seriously.

1. Paper. You can use any paper you want, but you might like having a sketch pad that is large, sturdy and textured. The right paper makes it easier to smudge and erase, and sketch paper is made to work with art pencils and other mediums. Strathmore is a popular brand that I've used, though I'm sure there are many great brands.

2. Pencils. Graphite pencils are sold in varying degrees of hardness. They are labeled with Hs and Bs (and sometimes Fs and probably other letters) to let you know how hard/soft they are. HB is your standard Number 2 pencil, which falls right in the middle of the hard/soft scale. If you want something harder (and therefore lighter on the page), you get pencils like H, 2H, 4H, etc., where the hardness increases as the number goes higher. Softer pencils are labeled as 2B, 4B, 8B, etc. I have no idea how many types there are. The softer the pencil, the darker you can draw without much pressure. Drawing is way-the-heck easier with softer pencils, in my opinion. I love using something more toward 6B or higher. For this drawing, I believe I was loving the Pentalic Graphite in 9B for a lot of the shading.

3. Erasers. Yes, there are also better erasers than the pink ones you used in school! Different erasers have their strengths and weaknesses, but one of the main ones I use is a kneaded eraser (shown above in packaging and after use). It's like a piece of putty that you can shape for particular jobs. You want to erase a thin line? Form a point or edge in the kneaded eraser and swipe it across the paper. It lasts a long time because you just knead it to freshen it up for more erasing. You'll likely want an additional eraser for bigger jobs. If you look in the art aisle there are lots of choices meant to erase cleanly without tearing up your paper. They aren't magical, but they are helpful.

That's enough for now. In my next post I'll conclude this little series with some (possibly vague and unhelpful) information on my actual drawing process. Sorry if this groundwork is kind of boring. :) Have a great day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Drawing: My general method (part 1)

Instead of a photo tip, I'm going to mix things up a bit. Sometimes, I like to draw. I bust out the art pencils every couple of years if I want to make a gift for someone special. It's not a passion, so I haven't studied or practiced techniques since college (and that was just because of some required art classes for my first major, interior design). My knowledge has stayed the same for many years, and I have no immediate plans to further it. Maybe someday, though--I would like to take a painting class sometime.

I give you that intro so you know that whatever I share here is just the method I was taught and use, but it's not necessarily the best or most professional method. In fact, those of you who are more experienced in this area might cringe. You're free to comment with further suggestions, just don't diss my drawing, por favor. It's finished and in the recipient's home, and it was the thought that counts. :) I know it has problem areas.

Okay! I did the above drawing a few months ago as a birthday present. I took some photos of the process with a write-up like this in mind, in case anyone's interested. This post will discuss the prep I do before starting a drawing. Next time I'll get into actual drawing techniques.

1. Find a photo to use. I can't draw very many things from my mind with much accuracy. I need a photo or my proportions and shading will start going haywire. Many people do not require photos. Some people might think using a photo is cheating. I say it's cheaper than hiring a live model.

2. Print off or photocopy the photo in whatever size you wish. I change mine to grayscale (sometimes upping the contrast or making other edits) first, since the resulting drawing will be in "black and white."

3. Make a grid on a transparency (like those sheets people put on overhead projectors). You can draw the grid directly on the photocopy/print-out, but it's nice to be able to remove the lines during the drawing process, plus this step is so tedious that you'll be glad to have a reusable transparency for future drawings. You can draw the grid (using a fine-tipped Sharpie) in whatever measurement you wish, but it has to be consistent. I typically mark it off in 1/2- or 1-inch boxes, depending on the size of my printed photo. Use a ruler and a straight edge. Be as precise as possible. (NOTE: In this particular case, I tried to save time by using some semi-transparent plastic that had lines on it (pictured), but it's not preferred. I couldn't see the picture well enough behind it.)

4. Make a grid on the page you'll be drawing on. You'll have to do some calculating and planning to figure out how big you want the resulting image to measure and what that means in terms of the grid size. This whole process can be the least fun and also very time-consuming, but for me it's necessary if I want to keep on track with proportions and have less erasing to do. Make sure to make very pale lines! They will eventually need to be erased or smudged away, so make them only as dark as you absolutely need them.

By now you have a setup similar to those drawing games you find in activity books. You will be following the same concept of transferring what is in one square to another square. Next time I'll talk about that process and some of the tips and equipment I use.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Friday

I wasn't especially happy with my food photos this week, but here are a few of them...

01/07 - More comfort food--apparently that's all I crave right now. I made mac and cheese, but added green chiles, bacon and green onions to make it more of a southwestern style. It was sooooooo good! (Why yes, K, that is the apron you made me in the background! PS I was asked if you sell your aprons--people are loving this fabric!)

01/10 - Mmmmmm chocolate milk.

01/11 - Whenever I have non-casserole meals with multiple food groups I feel so grown up! Potato wedges with sour cream, cube steak and roasted broccoli.

01/12 - Chai tea

Monday, January 10, 2011

Photography: Aperture (and the blurry background)

USUAL DISCLAIMER: I'm not a professional, I don't always know the right terminology or explanation, I'm just speaking from my own experience and knowledge, limited as it is.

It is often asked how a photographer achieves the blurry background that is popular in many professional photos. The simple answer is that it's the aperture setting, but there are other factors that seem to influence the end result.

First, let's talk about aperture. Technically speaking, the aperture is an opening within the lens/camera that can be adjusted in size. The aperture setting (referred to as the f-stop) will influence how much light is allowed in for the photo. Basically, the larger the hole/aperture, the more light is allowed, which makes sense. In addition to allowing more light, the wider aperture also decreases the depth of field.

The depth of field is basically how many objects will be more or less in focus, depending on their distance from whatever you're focusing on. If you have a large depth of field (a deep focus, you might say...but I don't), more of the photo will be in focus even if the subjects are at different distances from the camera. If you have a small depth of field (shallow focus), you have just a small range of distances that will be in focus, while the rest will become blurrier as it gets farther from the target.

Here's a visual aid. Not a great one, but you'll get the correlation between the f-stop and the blurriness.

So, if you know how to change the f-stop on your camera, change it to a smaller number (which is a larger aperture--it's just the way it's written that is kind of confusing) for a more shallow focus/blurry background. I have a lens that goes down to f/1.8 (that's how you state the f-stop) and I generally keep it at that when I'm taking portraits. Many professional photographers take portraits at about f/1.2 or f/1.4, giving the scene a very dreamy look and helping the subject to stand out. I don't yet have a lens that can go that low (they're expensive).

Now, there's something I had to learn on my own, and it's that most point-and-shoot cameras a) don't allow you to set the aperture very wide; and b) even at the same f-stop, they don't seem to match the shallowness achieved by that f-stop on an SLR. I'm sure there's a technical explanation, but I only have a guess about part of it, so I won't be explaining that here.

The thing about photography is that you need to know your camera's limits and work with them. There are other factors that can increase or decrease your depth of field, or at least how it appears. You can manipulate it even if your camera won't let you get a low enough f-stop. I started practicing photography by taking lots of macro (close-up of a small subject) shots on my little point-and-shoot, and because I was zooming in, I achieved a shallower focus. Try it and see what I mean. So one way to help blurry up your background, even with limited cameras or lenses, is to zoom in on the subject.

Here's an example of what I mean. Before I got my lens that allows me to go down to f/1.8, I used my zoom lens to achieve a fuzzy background (the following two photos were taken on two different SLRs but only in that the second photo is a newer model number in the same camera series):

My focal length was 110mm on this, so the end result is a blurry background despite being at f/4.5.

Here's a comparison with a photo I took with my newer lens at f/2.2 (with the focal length being 50mm). Please never mind the tree growing from K's head.

Also, placing your subject farther from the background will obviously help, since things get blurrier the farther they are from the item on which you're focusing. Leaning someone against a brick wall isn't going to make a crazy-blurry brick wall, because it's so close behind them. But if they are standing 10 feet in front of it and you're zoomed in on their head and shoulders, it'll get blurry.

This is a concise way to explain things as I know them. I don't want to bog you down with too much info, so feel free to ask more questions in the comments.

Did this make sense or did I only confuse you more? I need feedback so I can actually be helpful!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I don't like asparagus

My friend Jennifer thought I had posted about asparagus, but I hadn't. Here I am to change that! After that popular post about Brussels sprouts, I think I should start writing about vegetables more often. They really get people talking!

Anyway, I don't like asparagus, and I never have. I won't gag if I eat it, and if someone fixes it, I'll eat it to be polite (which I would NOT do with peas), but it has a weirdness about it. It tastes like it's built with floss and algae, and you have to tear through the stringy stalk for what reward? A dull flavor that sort of has an aftertaste.

Also, it broke my camera. That picture up there was the very last photo taken by my first DSLR, may he rest in peace. There was a click, an overly-long pause, and then an error message.

One more thing about asparagus is that my late grandma pronounced it like "asparagrus," with an extra r. One time we asked her about it and she thought it was a kind of grass and spelled A-S-P-A-R-A-G-R-A-S-S. We even had to show her the real spelling in the dictionary.

Doooooo youuuuuuu like asparagus?

(You can tell I'm very on task today. Well...I am if my task is to play Wii Frisbee Golf and discuss veggies.)

Stay-tuned for a photo tips post coming on Monday.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Food Friday

I think I'll post some of my daily food photos for you each Friday. It's about time I have some kind of routine in my blog.

01/01 - There was leftover good bread from my NYE party (thanks, D!), so I had to make a grilled cheese sandwich out of it. I'm going to work on not pointing out problems with my photos in this project, so that's all I have to say. :)

01/02 - More leftover usage! I cooked a little extra ground meat for my NYE meal and saved it to put in eggs/etc. later on.

01/04 - K had me over for dinner and a movie (the third of Anne of Green Gables--yes, I know it's not popular with those who read the books :)) and she made this delicious meal of potato soup, salad and homemade biscuits. So good! I should really get a crock pot one of these days.

This project puts food photography on my mind and makes me think about all the things I need to try and ways I need to improve (many, many ways). I hope I can show you better photos as the year goes on.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Friend Links

Happy new year! I am on my final day of vacation, which I can't believe. I certainly haven't done everything I had hoped, but I got all of the mandatory stuff out of the way. Today's theme is folding laundry. I'm so excited!

I had hoped to go take some kind of winter photos, but it's been pretty cold and I've been incredibly lazy over the weekend. It was to make up for all of the busyness of last week. The only thing I have for you is this closeup of the ice in my hummingbird feeder:

Now to the main point of this entry. Here are some of my online friends' blogs, etc. I like spreading the word for others who wouldn't mind more readers. Sorry if this bores you--feel free to skip. :) Also, see my "links" topic for other recommendations.

Danielle Carey - Danielle is a friend from Australia who writes (well!) about her life--mainly the pleasant little aspects of her days--and posts fairly regularly. Oh and she's a very nice and awesome person. :)

small pieces of inspiration and accomplishment - This friend grew up in the US but married an Australian, so she now lives there with her three kids. She's funny, smart and crafty, and doesn't post nearly enough (she may be a little busy), so hopefully this mention doesn't put undesired pressure on her.

Also, her younger sister is a really good artist, and I have enjoyed following her blog. Go look at her pictures!

Softly Sweetly - My friend's etsy store for handcrafted marshmallows. I'm not even a marshmallow fan, but I enjoyed them (as did my family) and want to try more. She has built up her little business and now makes several flavors that sound really tempting! Go check it out for fun, even if you have no intention to buy. (R, I hope it's okay that I stole one of your store photos to make my entry look more interesting. :))

Okay, that's good for now. If your blog wasn't mentioned, it might be that I linked it previously, didn't get your permission to mention it, or will catch it on a future post.


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