Killer Clowns Snuck Into Yard

Just when you thought it was safe to visit your front yard…
you see this…

Killer Clown

It’s not every day that we have killer clowns show up in our front yard, but yesterday was my Sweetie’s birthday. We both love love love Halloween, so I decided to pull out a few of our skellies to help pull off a front yard birthday greeting.

But they needed something. I found these awesome killer clown masks at KMart and thought they would look awesome on the skellies. Heck, everyone loves clowns on their birthday, right?! And what killer clown would look right without a shiny birthday hat on too!

Birthday Sign

I have been doodling lately a bunch of these 3D ribbons on paper, and thought to myself, I wonder how hard it would be to make one life-sized. Well, here is my first attempt at one and I think it turned out awesome!  The entire sign was made on the side of a cardboard box that I opened up.

Cardboard Cake

Since I made the birthday sign, I had to have a birthday cake to go along with it, so I grabbed another box and cutout a birthday cake, all from the side of a cardboard box.

Roy with Clown Skellies

Here is my Sweets with the killer clowns! He loved the front yard display and could not stop from laughing at the masks on the skellies!

Clowns at Night

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

You’re In The Digital Age, Baby!

One of the fun things about digital photography, is that you get to see immediate results of your photo. You’re in the digital age baby, so no more using those old film cameras, finishing off a roll, rewinding, then taking them to get developed, then wait to pick up your pics. Boy have a lot of things changed since I was younger.

Popart Effect Used

Popart Effect Used

This is the normal photograph

This is the normal photograph

I love it how I can take a photo, plug my USB cord into my laptop and upload my pics within seconds. Now that is satisfaction!

One of the other great things about being in the digital age, are all of the photo editors that are available to us online. I use quite a few of them to enhance my photographs, and they are free to use. The majority of them do have subscriptions that you can pay for that give you access to more awesome effects, but most of the time, you can get the effect & enhancement you are looking for without having to pay a dime.

The one photo editor that I am currently using is called BeFunky. As with all the other photo editors out there, BeFunky gives you a plethora of choices to enhance your photo, add text, photo frames, and much more.

Using a photo editor gives you lots of options that you can use on your blog:

  • Enhance your photo from normal to black & white, or sepia to give it that nice aged look
  • Special effects can be added to make your photo look like an oil painting
  • Got a blemish? Your photo editor can erase that!
  • Want a tan without the harmful rays of the sun? Yep, your photo editor can give you a golden tan too!
  • Want to make a header for your blog? You can do so with a photo editor
  • Ever want to create a widget for your blog? You can resize a photo to 300 x 300 and add it to your sidebar as a widget
  • Adding text to a photo is a breeze too
  • Ever want to create a watermark to add to your photos with your blogs name? You can use a photo editor to do this too
DSC_0195

This is the normal photograph

 

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

Now, with all of these great enhancements you have at hand, why are you still placing thumbnail sized photographs on your blog? Show off your photographs on your blog!! When you upload them for your posts, use the LARGE size option (584 x 388), and center them on the page!

I have seen so many blogs still using those thumbnail sized pics and while yes, we are actually reading what you write in your blogs, we also want to see the photographs too! So ENLARGE them on your next post, everyone will thank you!

The one last thing that I want to touch on is how do you store your digital photographs? I used to just have a file folder on my laptop where I saved, well….every photo I ever took. Then came the day that I was looking for a specific photo and could not find it. I needed to do something about that! I pain-stakingly went through each and every photo by date and moved them into a) year folder (2015, 2014 etc.), and then inside each of the year folders I created b) by month folders (January, February etc.).  Now, if I needed to find a photograph that happened last July (like my birthday pics), I can find them in a flash! (all I would need to do is click on the 2014 folder, then open up the July folder)

So there you have it, my quick down & dirty photo editing tips for the day! What are you going to tweak today?

Thawing Out

In our little spot in the world today, we started to thaw out. The temps were around 40 degrees, water was flowing through the gutters which was a pleasant sound since they have been a solid block of ice, and the poop pit is no longer an ice skating rink. It was a good day today.

Yahoo, I can smell Spring!

Yahoo, I can smell Spring!

When Nikita went outside today, she jumped up on the side of the snow mound to look around, and stuck her head up in the air to take a good sniff of the air. She smelled Spring today!

NIKITA1 3-8-15

Nikita took a running jump and she was up on top of the snow mound in seconds!  I snapped this photo at the perfect moment and got the snow flying through the air.

NIKITA4 3-8-15

Nikita got so excited when she saw Daddy in the bedroom window looking at her playing.

NIKITA2 3-8-15

I love this photograph of Nikita enjoying her day in the snow.

NIKITA3 3-8-15

Nikita is so photogenic.

BELLA3 3-8-15

Bella, of course, wanted a chance to show off her mountain goat abilities too!

BELLA4 3-8-15

Ok, I’m done with this snow mound!

BELLA2 3-8-15

I’m so tall, I can see into the neighbors yard!  Hey, there’s birdies over there!

BELLA1 3-8-15

What do you mean I have to come down now?  I’m king of the hill!

SNOW DOGGIES 3-8-15

With the perfect temps today, I just had to make some snow doggies in the front yard! As you can see, I tried to make a snow doggie Nikita and Bella! (and, if you look at the front door, Nikita is watching out the door too)

SNOW DOGGIES3 3-8-15

Snow doggie Bella!

SNOW DOGGIES2 3-8-15

All in all, we had a good day. We started to thaw a bit and look forward to the upcoming week of temps in the 40’s where we can get rid of a lot of this snow. The dogs had an awesome play day in the high snow mounds, the poop pit thawed so no more pee pee splits, and snow doggies now sit in the front yard to wave to people driving past. It was a good day.

Gardening Is Like A Slow Dance

When you decide to become a gardener, you have questions, and lots of them. What do I plant? What do I plant them in? How do I plant them? Do I start my own seeds or do I just purchase my plants? These are all good questions, which might leave you wondering where to begin.

We were once there years ago too. We got encouraged to start our own garden from gazing at our neighbors garden. He has a green thumb. We asked him tons of questions. (thanks farmer Steve!) I remember that first year we wanted to plant something, just to try it out and we purchased a couple cherry tomato plants from a local nursery. We planted them in large flower pots and when we saw how well they grew in just a pot, we were hooked and wanted our own garden! That’s when we decided to build our own raised garden beds in the backyard! We have never looked back and every year we get so darn excited about gardening every year.

Now, a few years of gardening under our belt, we feel that we can start and maintain a garden with confidence.

Gardening to me, is like a slow dance. You gather your seeds, soil, and plant trays, then stare at the soil for days until you see a little something “green” poking its way out of the soil! Success! You have officially germinated a seed and you are on your way!

GARDENING: STEP ONE
CREATE CUTE PLANT LABELS

When you become a gardener, you definitely learn from your mistakes. For example, last year I made some cardstock plant labels and taped them to a toothpick. I placed these labels in each seed section to identify what was planted in there. What I learned from this, is that the condensation that happens under the lid, those cardstock labels got destroyed and fell apart. That’s where the “learn” from gardening mistakes come in.

PLANT MARKERS

This year, I made some cute plant labels on cardstock, but I laminated them first! Now I’m on the right track! I got those cute labels all cut out and taped them to the toothpicks again and now know that through watering and the condensation, those labels will hold up until we take the plants out to the garden.I am happy.

PLANT MARKERS2

GARDENING: STEP TWO
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STARTING SOIL

Choosing the right seed starting soil is important. I remember a few years ago we got some cheap crap soil at Marcs (will never do that again) and the soil was like a bag of fluff. Yes, I said fluff, because the soil was horrible and we lost all the seeds that we had planted. Nothing grew in this cheap soil.

STARTING SEEDS

We changed our starting soil to either a Burpee seed starting soil, or a nice organic soil and have had much success with both of these. It’s better to spend a few dollars more on your soil than waste seeds.

Once you have the correct seed starting soil, you are ready to start your seeds. This part is fun, but a little tricky because most of the seeds that you will probably be starting are very tiny in size. I had to use a pair of tweezers just to grab the seeds out of the bag. For example, the Flat Dutch Cabbage seeds are the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

GARDENING: STEP THREE
PLANTING YOUR SEEDS

For a first time gardener, I would suggest you read the planting instructions on all of your seed packs before you attempt to plant your seeds. The depth of your seeds is important.

ROMAINE

We start our seeds in the 72 cell seed starting trays. Each kit comes with a bottom (to catch & hold water), the 72 cell tray (8 sections for 9 plants each), and a clear lid (for the grow light to shine through). I normally use the sections to plant the same seeds, and always plant a few seeds extra, just in case one seed does not germinate!

ZUCCHINI

You take your good seed starting soil, NOT potting soil, as there is a difference. Potting soil is for house plants, not for starting seeds. Fill up each seed cell with your soil, and very lightly pack it in, but not too much, then take a toothpick and poke a small hole in the center of each seed cell, this is where you are going to plant that seed! (now remember, I told you first time gardeners to read the seed packet first, because some seeds just lay on top of the soil, where others have to be planted at a certain depth)

Once you drop your seeds into the soil, lightly cover them up with a dusting of soil. Lightly water the entire seed cell tray, and put the clear lid on.

GARDENING: STEP FOUR
GROW LIGHTS & KEEPING YOUR PLANTS WARM

Other than choosing the right seed starting soil, keeping your seeds under a grow light is important. We hung our grow lights off the beams in the ceiling in our basement. The lights hang from a chain and we use little metal “S” hooks on the chain, as this is used when we change the height of the grow lights.

SEED STARTER

Since our seeds were just started, we keep the grow lights a few inches above the closed lid on our seed cells, as this keeps the seeds warm and with the moisture in the soil from watering, it produces condensation. Always keep those lids closed on your seed cells until you need to water your plants.

PLANT MARKER CABBAGE

As the seeds germinate & grow, they are still kept under the grow lights, but the lights on the chains gets moved up a few notches. You don’t want to burn your plant leaves with too much heat.

Well, that is it for now! You have successfully planted all of your seeds! Now you wait, and wait, until you see that little piece of green popping through your soil and then you rejoice! Normal germination for seeds can be just a few days, but others may take a little while longer, so be patient, you did nothing wrong!

Gardening is definitely like a slow dance, taking it nice and slow. Stay tuned for more gardening tips as we progress along our way!

Slight Sign

In the midst of our Winter hanging on, I saw a sign this week. A slight sign that things are changing and perhaps we might eventually see a Spring this year.

SLIGHT SIGN OF SPRING

Now, I am not getting too excited about this sign, because it will snow again and cover up these bulbs trying to emerge from the frozen ground, and if it is like last year, they never had a chance to bloom.

SNOWED IN GARDEN

This is a depressing photo. All we are dreaming of is gardening again. I can’t remember when we have had this much snow in our backyard. Our poor garden gate & fence is all bent out of shape, but I will fix it.

The Poop Pit is a sheet of ice. The dogs put on a show trying to not do the splits when doing their business. I feel for them, but I do have to laugh a bit when they think they found the right spot, and their legs are sliding out from under them as they slowly slide to the ground. They re-position again to a new spot, and the same thing happens – “splitsville”.  I wish I could relocate them elsewhere to potty, but the snow everywhere else is super high. We just have to wait on the weather to change to get us out of these frigid temps, and a Poop Pit Thaw will be a happy thing!

THE POOP PIT

The only one thing that I fear is when all of this snow does actually start to thaw. Then we will have to deal with potential flooding, and we hope that does not happen.

For now, I will take & enjoy my slight sign of things changing, as it gives me hope that we are heading in the right direction – – – right out of this season, because I have officially cancelled my membership to Winter.

Fast Forward

I wish there was a fast forward button on some magical remote that I can push to get us out of Winter already. I am truly beyond my tolerance of this white stuff. I have never recalled a month where so much snow has fallen and the temps were below zero for days in a row. It’s endless. Hence the yearning for that magical remote where I can fast forward us right out of this season.

SNOW FEB

Last night was the worst and coldest night I can remember. The dogs did not even want to go out in it, and I knew they “had” to go, but hesitated on asking to go out. Nikita and Bella chose not to sit by the back door like they usually do, rather they stayed on their pet beds all warm and cozy. Phew! That saved me the ten minutes it takes me to put on my snow pants, boots, hat, scarf, coat and gloves to take them out, not to mention I have to put their warm sweaters back on them too before we head outdoors.

SNOW FEB WHITEOUT

These temps and snow dumping has got to stop already. I can seriously see where one can get cabin fever or depressed seeing things like this on a daily basis, and it is understandable. I just feel really bad for those who have fallen in the snow while shoveling, got frost bite, or even died from these severe temperatures. It’s been rough dealing with it. I know I have had to call it quits many times while trying to clear off our driveway because I could not feel my fingers any longer, nor could I bend them to just open the back door to come in to get warmed up.

SNOW FEB UG

I have limited the dogs time outside too because their paws get frost bitten really quickly. If I could get them to wear little booties, I would, but I know that booties are not in our dogs future. When I am outside with them, I am always watching how they react and when I see them walking with a paw up in the air, it is time to head inside and fast.

TUG OF WAR BOOT

I know that the dogs are getting a little stir crazy from being cooped up in the house with all these frigid temps of late, so we always have play time activities like hide and seek, keep away from Bella, and tug-of-war games are always fun too. I normally don’t win any of these games, because Bella is always the one who sneaks off with the toy at hand. Nikita always gives up the toy to her, but loves the chase!

TUG OF WAR1

Gimme gimme gimme, this is my toy!

TUG OF WAR BELLA WON

I always get the toy in the end! LOL

NIKITA LOOKING FOR BELLA

Bella is hiding behind the couch as Nikita looks for her.

NAP AFTER TUG OF WAR

Nikita figures it is easier to let go of the toy some times, rather than chasing Bella for it. She knows that she will get it back sooner or later.

So what are you doing to keep yourself from going insane from being cooped up inside during these frigid temps? I see another game of hide and seek in the near future, but the dogs always find me hiding behind the bedroom door.