Snowy Tree In Black & White

I really need to get off my butt and get some new photos, but I just haven’t had much time. I’m not sure when I will, either, so… there might be a few repeats that I use to see what I can do with all the fun new features in Photoshop.

Switching to black and white isn’t all that hard. Even getting the higher contrast isn’t a big deal. What I like about this one is the fact that it really brings out and highlights all the tiny details. If that was ever a feature or ability in the old version, I never tripped across it.

I didn’t use it here, but this also allows you to to go to the other end and lower the amount of detail to get a much softer look without really blurring out a photo, something I was never able to quite pull off with the old version.

So far, I’m really loving what I’ve found. That said, it does allow a less skilled photographer to end up with a great photo if they know enough to use the software. Not a bad thing exactly, but I wonder if knowing I have the ability to fix a lot more mistakes will lead to me being a bit lazier. I really hope not.

A Pretty Kind of Snow

We are getting another snow. Thankfully, this is one of the pretty ones that is wet and sticky and coats everything it touches. I am hoping that it stays that step or two above freezing until everyone is home safe, though. As of right now, the roads are the only thing the snow isn’t coating.

I think it is supposed to snow even more later, so I hope I get a chance to get out and take pictures tomorrow. I’m not moving today. I always forget how much of a work out it is to kneed fondant and you have to do a ton of that to work in the color. I need to remember to maybe try and add color while I’m mixing the batch in the mixer so I can save my arms and chest. That is so much easier than actually working out those muscles so I don’ fee like an out of shape noodle every time I work with fondant.

Maybe if I go lay in the snow, everything will quit hurting. I may be numb and get frostbite, but at least I won’t hurt!

Powdered Sugar Tree

Okay, so not really powdered sugar, but it reminds me of what it looks like if you dusted something with powdered sugar. Can you tell my brain is shifting into cake mode?

BG’s birthday is coming up soon. My girl will be 16! Ugh! Another driver and way too soon and not soon enough. Anyway… since she is the only one that lets me make an actual cake anymore, I spend a lot of time trying to come up with a great idea that she will love and I get to play the way I want.

For a little while, I thought I’d do another costume inspired cake since her point costume this year is a really simple, but elegant white with black accents (they are doing a piece from swan lake). I didn’t want to do a full out costume, just a small layered cake that mimicked the black applique from the costume. When I mentioned this idea, she didn’t seem thrilled as I’ve done a couple of ballet costume cakes now.

I went back to brainstorming and I came up with an idea that, if I can pull it off (which is always a question), she is going to absolutely squeal over. When I told her I had an idea that she would love and asked if she trusted me to just make it without her actually knowing what I had planed, she gave me the go ahead. I love that she has no clue what I’m going to do and it will be a surprise for a change.

I won’t say specifically what I’m going to do yet in case she decides to get nosy and drop by here, but I’m so excited about working on this. I won’t really be doing anything new as far as basic design or technique really, but it is also unlike anything I’ve done so far from a finished project standpoint. I’d say the chances of it turning out like I imagine are on the high side.

I still have a little over 2 weeks to get the design planned out and I need to find a few reference photos to help with some details, but I’m so excited and can’t wait to work on this.

Snowy Start

I don’t think it is supposed to amount to much, but we are getting some snow today. I did a quick test and it is cold enough to freeze bubbles, but they aren’t freezing fast enough and it is just a tad too breezy, so they don’t last. I’ll be watching the weather all day hoping I might get a chance to get out and play for a bit.

Interesting

Coincidence? They are now calling for a potential for significant snow the next couple of days. Guess we will see.

I’m still trying my damnedest to cough up a lung and haven’t managed to do much else. I haven’t gotten out to try and take any new pictures because the cold air kicks that effort up into high gear. Granted, any movement does that. So does breathing. And… I think blinking.

If it does snow, I’m loading up on meds and cough drops and heading out anyway. I want snow pictures, dammit!

It’s A Baby Lemon!

Yes. I know. It isn’t yellow.

I was making homemade lemonade and was inspired by the mess and all the seeds to attempt to grow a tree. I honestly didn’t expect the seeds to sprout as much of what you buy in a store has sterile seeds unless it’s organic. I didn’t know one way or the other with what I’d bought. A little over 2 weeks later, I had a sprout. I planted 8 pots, a couple I dropped more than one seed in because it looked a little anemic. I now have 9 little sproutlings growing (2 of my pots have yet to show) and I have no clue what I’m going to do with them all as lemon trees don’t grow here. I figured I’d get lucky to get one.

Still, it is really cool. My kids, even being teenagers, got crazy excited about these. They’d come home from school and most days would make a beeline to where they were to check to see if they’d sprouted yet.

My goal is to attempt to keep at least one of them alive to live in the house. I’m not a black thumb when it comes to plants, but I tend to forget they need water. The few I do have living have been so well conditioned, they could probably now survive the worst drought in history.

Hanging In There

My maple is hanging in there, still full of leaves and color, with the core still being pretty green. I’m expecting that to change rapidly over the next few days with the crazy cold heading our way. One of the things I love about this tree is the range of colors we get from it throughout the season. Bright, vivid reds, deeper burgundies, oranges, all set against the darker looking branches and the central green (at least for a chunk of the time until we hit complete color). Maples are one of my top favorites for that very reason.

I didn’t get a chance to work on my revisions yesterday, but I spent close to 9 hours working on Monday and only got through the first two chapters. I’m not even completely certain I’m done with those. It isn’t flowing like it did when I sat down the first time to write. Or even when I did my first round of my own edits before sending it off. I’m still hoping that changes some when I get a little deeper into it, but I’m not expecting it to be easy. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m slowly chipping away at it. Progress, that is what’s important.

Refining My Perspective

BG graciously agreed to help me work on my book cover concept this week. I adore the fact that she is not only willing to help, but pretty excited to be a part of this with me.

Continue reading “Refining My Perspective”

Chokecherry Blossom

The Chokecherry is one of my favorite trees. While it is in its growing season, it is just almost always interesting or unique. When it comes out in the spring, it starts with these medium green leaves and shortly after, usually in mid to late April or early May, it puts on these gorgeous white blossom clusters, much like a Lilac bush. The entire tree is just covered in them. Sadly, I didn’t manage to get a pic when the blooms were at their peak. These have already dropped about half the flowers from the clusters.

After the flowers are done and you are left with what looks like most any other tree, June hits and suddenly those pretty medium green leaves start to change to this beautiful, deep plum color that it hangs on to until the fall where that darkens before the leaves finally drop for the season.

I have two of these in my yard and would probably have at least a couple more if I had the room for them. It makes for a stunning show when they are paired with other trees that remain vibrant green through the summer. It has taken several years, but I have this park like feel to my back yard now that these and my other trees have finally gotten some good height and growth on them. The blooms are done for the season, but I will be watching for the signs of the color change towards the end of the month.