Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pine cones, twigs and leaves for Christmas

I have always loved to decorate with natural elements which is a plus when you are on a tight budget.
I told a friend that I always seem to decorate with twigs, rocks, feathers, etc. And she suggested I wanted to live in a cave instead of a house. Yes but it would be a very classy cave!

I love several ways of Christmas decorating but I think "natural Christmas" may be my very favorite. And while I didn't go all out this year, what I did decorate was called "cozy" and I think that is a lovely compliment.

Pine cones I collected (small ones) in Sunriver and larger "frosted" pine cones I begged off a seller at a craft bazaar I attended and the largest pine cone I saved from my pine tree before it had to be cut down. I saw this on pinterest and loved it so much I wanted to try my own version.

The oak leaves I collected from my neighbor last year when I raked his lawn for him after back surgery. I put them away and forgot about them and when I came across them this year knew I wanted them gold (which I've tried before) and knew I wanted a garland.

To make the garland I used a large strand of jute and used thinner jute string to simply tie the leaves in place.

I think I was channeling a little bit of Donna with the rusty bucket tree.

A tree branch that blew down in a windstorm, a hole punch and some ribbon allowed me to display my Christmas cards.

Herbs in small canning jars brought some greenery into the kitchen.

You can't tell in the photo but we couldn't find the tree stand so instead have it in a large aluminum pot/cauldron thing we found in a barn and put gravel in to stabilize. Funny thing is, I think it works better than any tree stand we have ever used.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Furry company

I can't even begin wrapping gifts without something like this happening.

Oh. You wanted to wrap this? But I need to sit on it.

And I'll never have to sit by the fire alone because Spud discovered that's where the warm comes from.

These indoor/outdoor cats have become decidedly less outdoor lately.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First shot

I used last month's Black Friday to my greatest advantage and bought myself a Canon DSLR.

I have managed to get some really treasured (to me) photos from my little point and shoot cameras for years but I felt like I wanted to make the big step up. Of course...I didn't make the biggest step up (considering my last camera was only $100 this felt like a gigantic leap), but I feel like this camera and I can go places even if those places are just of delight to me.

I am a complete photography amateur but that doesn't make me love it any less. However, I knew I would not be fantastic right away and I'm glad I knew. I've taken probably 150 photos with the new camera so far, but really only liked a few. I figured I would shoot tons of photos just to get to know the camera. And let me tell you how many times I've gone out shooting and singing this in my head.

I have noticed an astonishing change in clarity and color and that is what I was really wanting.

tiny succulent w


Tiny succulents in the oak moss.

Spudnik w


Calliope w

Calliope keeping watch. She doesn't like her photo taken so she's hard to catch.

kestrel in tree w

"My" little kestrel. I usually see it only in passing as it sits on the fenceposts and I drive by on my way to work.

tree full of birds w

A tree full of birds! There's a line of trees quite a ways from my yard out into my neighbor's field. Birds love these trees. Here we've got robins, starlings and crows.

I can't wait until my ability catches up with my desire.

Do you know of any good photography tips blog posts, web pages, etc? Please share!

P.S. I hate new blogger. Sorry my post is messed up and I've given up trying to fix it.
Also if you want to see the photos of some photographers that really inspire me:

Gypsy Mare Studios

Little Red House

Mt. Hope Chronicles

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why not? I'm a fungi!

One of the cedar trees in my yard died and had to be cut down. Near where the tree fell is now full of fungus - all different sizes and types I've never seen before.






I don't care for edible mushrooms so I'm really not going to know non-edible types. Can anyone identify these for me?

I had a lot of "help" when I was taking these photos...

Spud, the rescue kitty, has been made of velcro lately. And here he is trying to see what I was bending down to photograph. He was very puzzled by the whole thing but loved to bat at my dangling lens cap and rub (ie bump) on my arm just as I was about to press the shutter button.

And my real velcro cat, my little white shadow, was none too pleased that he was so close to me and she wasn't.


Death glare.

Ah, cats.

Monday, November 12, 2012


You may notice some changes going on. Really all I changed was my header and I changed it to match my newly renamed Etsy shop DearMollyAnne.

I've been thinking about the Etsy change for quite a while but I wasn't ready to let go of my "mollythepirate" nickname I've had so long. When I got a full-time job and my shop and blog went neglected I kinda forgot about it. Lately I've had the bug to get back into that creativity and I thought a push in the right direction was a name change that reflected my life and style a little better. I've spent this last weekend doing inventory, updating the shop, renewing listings and filling up the shop which was down to about a quarter of the items I used to have.

I've spent the past couple of weeks ordering supplies for some new goodies that should be in the shop in time for the holidays and. Feel free to stop by the shop and see the changes. You can also find me on twitter and instagram as well where I frequently talk (and show) about what I'm working on.
So I'm back in the saddle, so to speak, and it feels quite good to be back.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Casual steampunk mantel

There's steampunk and then there's I want to be slightly more subtle steampunk. I happen to be a fan of both. I love to think how fast I would trick out my living room in nature/scientific Victorian splendor if I had the stuff; but in reality I'm a little more casual. When some friends gave me an old microscope in a wooden box I knew I wanted to make a steampunk-inspired display.

The box the microscope is stored in made a great stand to get different levels.

A jar (I think it once held fruit preserves and then I removed the label and spray painted the lid) full of old keys sits in a candle stand.

The other side is a necessary lamp, an old glass insulator and a metal tray and metal bowl with a glass "lid."

The "lid" is actually a light fixture cover I bought at a thrift shop and I spent months thrifting and antiquing to find a bowl it would fit inside. I'm using it to keep dust out of a bird nest I found when I trimmed the pampas grass and a little half eggshell I found elsewhere in the yard. Wrong egg for the nest but you work with what you find, right?

A look at the whole: casual steampunk-inspired style.

Really casual.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saw it on pinterest, did it in real life

I have almost 2,000 things I have pinned to my pinterest boards. That site has become where all my messy thoughts, dreams and projects have a resting place instead of floating around my cluttered brain. But as with most projects I find it harder and harder to have the time and energy to try them. There are however, a few that I managed to accomplish and I thought I would show you that pinterest ideas can work in real life.

I saw this and knew I had more than one of these old rake heads lying around.

Here's mine:

It works great! I only put my most frequently worn necklaces (ie my costume jewelry ones, nice ones don't go on here) but it makes it a snap to pick and choose which to go with my outfit for the day. Since I answer phones all day earrings are kinda out for me, and necklaces and bracelets have become my thing.

Scarves are another of my things. I have tons of them and can't seem to stop buying them in every color. There are a lot of ways to organize scarves but I found this idea:

I found a package of metal shower curtain rings at Goodwill, put them on a wooden hanger and tried it myself:

I like the way it keeps them tidy and also displays them in a way that is easy to make a selection. They do have a tendency to slide to one end if you don't have them spaced just right. My plan is to just get so many scarves they can't move anyway. :)

I also did this and put them in one of these.

I also did this which I blogged about before.

Not to mention numerous recipes I've tried!

You can find me on pinterest here, but I warn you I'm currently obsessed with Doctor Who and pin like it...which is a whole other blog post on the way.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Strange Animal Encounters Abound

It always concerns me when animals start behaving in ways they don't normally because animals know what is up and it makes me wonder what they know that I don't. Lately it seems like every weekend is filled with some strange animal encounter.

Two weekends ago I was standing in the kitchen drinking coffee when a coyote ran through my yard....while both cats were outside. The cats were unharmed (because I RAN outside like a maniac) but coyotes aren't normally *that* close to my house and especially not during daylight hours.

Last weekend I was sitting on the loveseat drinking coffee (huh...I'm starting to notice a trend here) when I see one of the cats climb a tree outside. He does that all the time so I chuckled. Shortly after a gigantic white and tan bird lands in the same tree. I grabbed my glasses and ran outside yelling "what do you think you're doing? Get away from my cat!" turns out it was a barn owl and it looked stupidly at me a moment before moving one tree over. Oh thanks, that's much better. I'm not certain the owl even knew the cat was in the tree because quite honestly that cat is like a ninja and half the time I'm almost stepping on him before I see him.

I kept an eye on the owl, called the cat and ushered both (who came when I called) into the house where I promptly ran for my camera because hey - predatory animals may frighten me for the lives of my pets but I still love animals and I still love taking photos. I had to follow the owl after I spooked it twice more out of the tree cluster but it landed alongside my driveway and I was able to sneak around the house and take its photo from under the car park - which you see part of in the photo unfortunately. And oh YES that owl still knew I was there. Good hearing those owls.

You know I don't recall having EVER seen a barn owl here. Great-horned owls? All the time. Never a barn owl. And it's appearance in later morning was strange but at least explained the large white feather with faintly tan markings I found in my lawn a few days before. I just didn't feel it had come from one of the hawks and hey I was right. I also want to add that this owl, despite being largely white, blended really well into the trees when it was holding still.

Later that afternoon we found a dead weasel. A weasel! You know when I've seen a weasel? Never in my life. I didn't even know they were around here! I pondered that perhaps one of our predatory birds dropped it...?

Now to yesterday. Certain times of day will guarantee that I am outside taking photos. Nevermind that it is mid-October, frequently raining and a biting wind, I'm out there in shorts and flannel and boots snapping way because nature is amazing and I'm always trying to find a way to show everyone else the beauty I see.

The cats are with me because they are my shadows and apparently I'm not to be left unsupervised. I know both the cats are to my right so what do I see waddling along the fenceline to my left...? I stare. No. Way. I stare some more as it keeps right on trucking. What. In. The. World. ? !

This very purpose-driven skunk was not far away from me but thankfully uninterested. I don't know if you've ever watched a skunk traverse a large patch of ground but it was frankly hilarious the way it waddled. Granted they have such short little legs so I can see why. And I kinda know what that's like being rather short-legged myself. I think skunks are adorable but um...rabies...also...smell. So I'm not sure if I've now got a family of these things living in the bramble patch it went for or what. I did wonder why I kept smelling skunky smells when I was out in my herb garden / raspberry patch area and now I see it was simply because I was down wind.

When was the last time I saw a skunk in a field? Probably when I was in 4th grade.

So. What is happening around here that animals I've never seen or animals I haven't seen in ages are suddenly everywhere all the time? It makes me wonder.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Scenes from my life - in Cinemascope!

I love how the cinemascope photo edit makes everything more glamorous. I used it on some of my photos from this summer and cinemascoped them into perfection (with two exceptions - I used two filters on them and I'm sure you'll be able to pick them out.)