Friday, October 30, 2009

The year of the DRAGONFLY!

It began as an idea and evolved into a masterpiece! (well not really a masterpiece, but I put a lot of hard work into it)

daisy and jolene bugs

My place of employment is having a very festive week of pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed tasting and my favorite, a costume contest. The contest was to be done in departments... so we needed a theme. Since I am the only one in my 'department' I teamed up with the pediatric clinic since I work with them the most. So there is three of us, we decide to be bugs.  We had to pick something easy because, well you know how working in a group can be... they're not going to participate if you don't make it easy.

My friend Jolene decided to be a Ladybug, while my other co-worker picked a bumble bee since she had wings at home... that left the door open for me... what bug could I be- well the good ones were taken, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. So I fished for idea via Facebook status and got some great suggestions.  My decision was made when I found dragon fly wings at the halloween shop... there's wings - so really how hard could this be?

I am a master thrift store shopper (you know I don't like to pay full price for ANYTHING) and I found this super cute teal/turquoise dress that was raggedy at the bottom and had some great texture in the body and I thought "this is a great start!"  And besides I had a coupon (for a thrift store, yes this is true) and it ended up being $3.00.

The dress was spaghetti straps and a little revealing so I knew I needed something to cover up my top part, but I didn't want to disguise the cool texture on the body part. So I searched for a shrug.. I search high and low, thrift store after thrift store. I found a shirt that matched the color and bought it thinking I could work with it. Then I decided maybe black would be easier to find rather than trying to match colors, so I bought another one at a different thrift store. Luckily the first shirt was returnable, where as the $5 black sweater shrug was not (oh well, maybe I'll wear it with something..???).  So I searched a little longer, good thing I got working on this early, right? I decided the image I had in mind just was not going to come true unless I made it myself.

*Note to self - do not search all over creation for something I can go to JoAnn's and spend less than $10 to make myself

sewing costume

So I proceeded to create the top shrug part of my costume in the very image I had originally planned. Now I have never really sewn anything and WORN it before. Yeah I created some pajama pants, and Harpo some boots and a rain coat, and Kyle some boxers - wait that reminds me - why doesn't he wear them?  Anyway you see that what I have made hasn't really been anything that the public sees... so this was a first. But I am very happy how it turned out. 

So I have the dress, the wings, and the shrug thing to cover my upperness. I needed tights (you gotta wear tights on halloween) and shoes.

I had bought some great tights at JCPenny's... but I had spent $14 on them.  This ate at me for a few days so I decided to take them back. I never have coupons for JCPenny's where as I have coupons for Macy's... so Macy's is where we went.  I found some great bright yellow (to match my wings) that would work good - AND I had a coupon so even better :-)

Okay tights check... now shoes.  Shoes was the longest part of this halloween costume journey. I searched all over thrift stores again.... but I needed teal/turquoise shoes to match my dress! Shoes aren't really something I could make - otherwise I would have. Now why I didn't search for shoes while I searched for a shrug the first time around is a mystery to me, but when I am focused, I am focused and get a very bad case of tunnel vision. So a week or so passed and I hit all the thrift stores again, finding the perfect color just too small, another color that would work, but too big.

Well Tuesday evening I ran to Wal-Mart to pick up some table clothes for the work pumpkins (if you know me, you know I don't shop at Wal-Mart. I live in a city - where there are none, except for out in the suburbs.. so it ends up being a last resort when I do get to one) Anyway I was picking up some table clothes and had to mosey through the halloween section and came across an excellent accessory to my costume.... EYELASHES!

dragonfly eye

They matched my wings perfectly. (and after the fact have become the most complimented piece of my costume, no one even notice the shrug I made from SCRATCH ::tear::). So I picked up those, only to find that they are NOT fun to put on in the morning when you're already 10 minutes late for work and haven't fixed your lunch for the day.  Before I left Wal-Mart I strolled through the shoe department hoping to come across something, and I did! It wasn't the best color to match, but it would work and I was running out of time. And for $5, it beat having to keep running all over the twin cities.

costume set up
So my costume was complete!  Or so I thought....

antena supplies

Tuesday evening when I was carving pumpkins with my ladybug friend, Jolene. She had some antennas that came with her wings... very weak, pitiful antennas at that. We ran to JoAnn's to gather supplies to jazz up her antennas, while in the check out line we turn to our right and see these sparkly headbands - LIGHTBULB! This would be so much better, so we run back and get some pompoms and end up making antennas for all three of us, bugs.

ladybug ears

Now THIS completes my costume.

daisy dragonfly

But I do want to share that tights are always an essential to a halloween costume. While we were at JoAnn's Jolene found these tights which added even more jazz to her ladybug.

jolene tights

Now that the day is over and done, I am a little disappointed, I put a lot of work into gathering up the pieces to my costume... but the final result is really nothing impressive.

Here were the other entries in my works costume contest:
1st Place: 80's Theme

2nd Place: Medieval Times!

3rd Place: Thing 1 & Thing 2

And the rest of us losers:
bug wings

sports 2

witch and cats

My office-mate June had my favorite costume:
076 costume contest

Thanks for reading!

My Normal

my feet

Before my husband and I got married we did a seven week pre-marriage class with 3 other couples. (the best thing I think we could have done in preparation for marriage) One thing we talked about, that ended up making a lot of sense was 'our normal'.  Getting married is the unity of two separate, different families... yeah on the surface that is kind of a duh statement, but really have you thought about it?  A spouse is just more than a person... they are what they grew up with, what their parents grew up with and so on. Some families learned to dunk their peanut butter sandwiches... others learned not to. Some families learned that you keep the door shut when you go to the bathroom, while others were care free and visited with their brothers while taking a poop and the other is in the shower.  Even things such as when you have something to say you say it even if it's not nice verses you never say anything not nice, you just keep it to yourself and bottle it up.  When a couple starts their own family, all these things collide to 'his way' 'her way'... but what we learned is it's 'our normal'... and recognizing this from the beginning and accomodating each other is one step closer to happiness :-)

That just brings me to share my normal... my halloween normal :-)

Growing up we ALWAYS dressed up. It was fun! And my mom was the BEST costume maker! We would go all out, because well it was fun and that's what we just did.  I remember one year, third grade I think, I was going to be a genie and not just any genie, not just a genie that you bought off the rack at Osco-Drug... a UNIQUE genie that only my mother would make and only I would be wearing!!! 

I remember that evening clearly, it was just me and my mom in the front seat... buckled in to probably the only two seat belts located in that big white hoss of a van... hey it was the early 90's you didn't really wear seatbelts if you weren't in the front seat.  We had just found the perfect material at the FM store and were headed home on hwy 65. When out of NO WHERE came this big brown blog, right in front of us. There was nothing else to do but to hit it... I remember seeing a head fly left, some legs fly right and a body fly over us! Luckily our tank would not let a wondering deer stop us... although it did cause some grill damage. I then cried, I was scared and sad that the pore little deer was now shredded to pieces. But I will never forget that halloween year. And I will never forget our dedication to have a kickass halloween costume.

**Later I learned that the deer wasn't shattered to pieces... but for some reason that is the image I held.

costume set up

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

finished pumpkin

My work was having a pumpkin carving contest... as usual. So my friend and I carved our pumpkins together.  I forget how much work goes into getting a pumpkin cleaned out and carved!!

pumpkin scooping

It takes a bit of elbow grease! Scooping and scraping!  Then all the little pokes, that killed my wrist too!

jo carving

But we had a fun time, much better than if we were to carve our pumpkins alone.

daisy and jolene

Here's my pumpkin:
073 carved pumpkin

I decided on this little furry creature because he was too cute. He did originally have horns, but instead of carving horns I carved two more little fur patches. I've never been a fan of the devil... when I was growing up we were never those scary things like devils or demons... we always dressed up in fun, happy things like crayons, bears, and rainbow bright!  I remember one year... maybe I should save this story for the costume post... our costume contest is Friday, so stay tuned! :-)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's a P.A.R.T.Y.!

Birthday presents

Guess who turned three today?
Harpo is three

None other than our fur-baby, himself.... HARPO!!!
We got some family shots:
daddy and harpo   mommie and harpo

And also had a 'cake' and 'candles'. First he had to 'blow out the candles'
blow out the candles

Then eat the said 'candles':
eating treat

Then after a little persuading, he got into the 'cake' a little bit:
chew on the cake

It's becoming a tradition for us to get him a new collar every birthday, so this year we went with a blue/grayish toned one... hopefully it compliments his fur well! Since he'll be in it for another year.
new collar

Who knows if he realized we're celebrating his birthday, but I think he was pretty happy to have lots of fun treats!
harpo bday boy

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall came out of hiding

With the way this month started off I thought we were going to go straight from summer to winter. Well with the snow on October 10th and 12th.... it had me rather worried!

Yellow Tree Leaves

But the past two weekends, fall has finally arrived.  The weather has been so tolerable... finally mid 50's!!!

070 Fall Tree

I had to get some shots of the beautiful leaves before they all fall off. And I just love the contrast of the bright yellow and dark brown trunk and limbs!

yellow leaves dark trunk

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week-o Ten-o

Week 10 blogsize

#64: Wedding Cake Topper in China Cabinet: This day we got a china cabinet from craigslist. I had been wanting a china cabinet every since we got married to store our wedding artifacts in. This was my favorite part of getting that cabinet... to display the cake topper I had made just for our wedding. It matches what we wore as well as has our little Harpo on it.

#65: Work Wheat Sunrise: I happen to just snap a few shots this morning and that was all that I took the whole day. I wasn't very impressed with what I got, but I guess it was something to work with. I jumped out of my car in my work parking lot and a few cars had piled up behind me so I was rather rushed. But it was a beautiful morning and I just wanted to capture it.

#66: Museum Trip: Tuesday I went to the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul with my friend Lisa and her two boys. It was a fun day to hang out with a friend and also watch the boys enjoy the museum.

#67: Harpo is a big boy: This was the first night at our attempts to let harpo have run of the house (well living room and kitchen) while we are away. We had tried back when we first moved into the house over a year ago... but he became a crazed paper shredder while we were away. Now that he's almost three - I think it's time to try this again, so far so good!

#68: My Nikon: So the view changes.... this is what has been taking all my pictures :-)

#69: 409 Fall Exchange: About a year before I got married I joined an internet group on 'The Knot'. It was a group for brides all getting married in April of 2009. Since then a group of us have become fairly close and talk pretty much everyday. After our weddings we moved to a private board and carry on daily conversation there - we call ourselves 'Team 409' (get it 4-April 09-year hee hee). Well for fall we did a 'fall food exchange'. We all signed up on a group on and it randomly picks name for you. So we each got assigned another gal and baked goods or gathered fun fall/halloween goodies and sent them to each other. This is my package from the lovey Amy of Georgia :-) How she guessed I was a funky sock fan, was a great surprise!! And the chocolate chip banana bread was MMMmmmm good!!!

#70: Fall Tree: I drive by this tree almost everyday. The past few days I have loved how the yellow leaves and dark trunk stick out. It has been rainy lately and I haven't really had a chance to stop and get a photo. So while the sun was out shortly this morning I went and got a picture of it. I just love the contrast of the leaves and branches... God's creation is too beautiful!

Thanks for reading!

Museums and Cropping

Last week I met a friend, Lisa and her two boys in downtown St. Paul. We all went to the Minnesota Children's Museum. It was quite fun! Getting to play with all the kiddie stuff again.. although if I ever went back with-OUT children in tow I might look a little creepy, lol. But still it was fun to watch her boys explore what it had to offer. We even got to experience a little 'Spooky Woods' exhibit that they had set up for the Halloween season.

066 Museum with Lisa

I choose this picture to share with you because I wanted to show what a little crop action can do.

I had snapped this picture while on the other side of a some plexiglass, it's Lisa's son: Eldon. I liked the pretty leaves and being able to see him head on.

But when I opened up the picture when I got home, I really wasn't impressed with the huge glare that showed up.... but really all it took was a little cropping to make the picture workable again.
DSC_0570into this: 066 Museum with Lisa

That was my little mini-lesson for the day :-) hee hee
Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 23, 2009

He's growing up

be a good boy harpo

A few nights ago I thought it was time to try and leave Harpo out of his crate again....

We have tried this before, with not much success. He is excellent at not having any potty accidents, but it's the chewing and separation anxiety that has been the issue. He loves his crate, he even gets in it sometimes when we're home. But when there are days like Wednesday was, when if I didn't leave him out he'd be in it for over 14 hours, I would much rather know he wasn't closed in a box for that long.

067 getting left alone

About two years ago when we had tried, he ended up chewing up the presents under the Christmas tree. My mom had to use a taped up gift certificate... luckily they still accepted it.

We have tried since we lived in the house and came home to find what looked like a paper shredder had puked all over the house.

So after some time we tried again, for a short 4 hour period... and condensing his 'free' space to the kitchen and living room. (and leaving the TV on for some company for him)

see you soon harpo

And he did EXCELLENT! I even left him for another 5 hours today while I went to work and he did perfect again! Hopefully this is something we can start doing.

Isn't he just a cutie patootie!?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One man's junk...

Is my temporary treasure!!!

We finally found a china cabinet for the dining room! With Kyle going back to school we decided we should probably create a little study area in the dining room. We have plenty of room in there, it has just been used up by boxes. Since the wedding I have had lots of things I've wanted to display in a china cabinet, but well we didn't have one. So these things have been sitting in boxes, collecting dust... and bugs.

The search started a while ago, looking for a china cabinet that is. I kept checking craigslist, looking for something that would work. We didn't want to spend more than about $200... well the weekend before we had found one that we had liked more than any of the others. They were asking $499.... a little steep for a used china cabinet that was an hour away from the cities. So I offered her $300 and she said they had an offer at $400... I told her to keep us in mind if that doesn't work out.

Well since I was in this mood of checking craigslist regularly I was familiar with the old ads, and recognized the new ones. Now if you're a craigslist shopper you know this is key. If you want a good deal you have to get to it pretty close to when it's listed and you also might know there are those that are trying to sell something to make some money... or sell something to get rid of it.  Well Saturday evening I saw one listed for $20 and thought "I bet it's already gone, but I'll give it a shot".... sure enough we were the lucky winners!!! So Sunday we got the measurements, measured the back of the jeep before heading south a ways (the cabinet was located about 20 minutes south of us) and realized... it wasn't going to fit in the jeep. So we called Home Depot, ahhh it is such a wonderful place. We picked up a truck from there 10 minutes later (for thirty bucks!) and headed to get the cabinet.

Now it's nothing fancy... just your ordinary china cabinet... but it gets the job done. I mean it holds stuff and that's what we wanted it for. And we'll probably just sell it when we move anyway:
china cabinet

It's even got a light in the top:
Cabinet Light

I was so happy to be able to put our cake topper in there... I had been waiting over 6 months to do this!
064 cake topper

As I stood back and smiled Kyle asked "that is the only reason you wanted a china cabinet isn't it?" I smiled :-)

So that was Sunday... Monday we got a little winterizing done.  I took the hose to the garage, turned the water off and covered up the spicket:
spiket insulator

We got all the patio chairs put away and I mowed the yard... with our NEW electric mower!!! Oh yeah, while taking the truck back to Home Depot we couldn't help but notice the last electric mower we'd had our eye on was marked down again... so it jumped in the car with us. Hey it beats raking leaves :-P
front yard mowed

I used the left over leaves on the sidewalk to give my poor hydrangeas some insulation for winter:
insulated hydrangeas

All that's left are two more windows I need to put plastic on... they aren't is bad as shape as the other's I've already covered... they are just harder to get to.

This weekend and week, so far, we have finally had fall weather. A few weeks there we jumped straight into winter and I was afraid it was here to stay. But at least a few days came to greet us!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Fall Harpo

There are many blogs I try and keep up with, but one I fancy a lot is The Pioneer Woman's blog. I have talked about her before, but there's always stuff worth sharing. She had a recent photography assignment of texture. She has group set up on flickr where readers post their photos. She then posted three groups of photos on HER blog and today she will pick three winners from those groups.  Well none of my three photos were picked (it's safe to say there were over 300 entries.... when she has contests on her blog there are over 37,000 entries)

But I didn't let that stop me from sharing them with you. Just because they weren't featured on her blog... doesn't mean I can't feature them on my blog... RIGHT?

my snuggle bug

That little assignment has sparked my passion again. While out and about I have been finding more things to add to my texture collection... bed of leaves, mossy bark, scratched cement sidewalk..... it's rather fun. If you notice in my past two blogs, I used texture on the picture of the escalator and at the halloween house. It's kinda addicting... there is so much to do post editing, that I don't really think I give myself enough time to sit and work with it all, makes for some fun, spiced up shots.

When I first read about PW's assignment I first thought about the shot of the boat garages... which now looking back I'm not really happy with the texture I added at all (this was before I ventured out to get my own textures). It was my first texturized photo... and well I can safely say I really didn't know what I was doing:
boat garages w texture

Here's the tutorial that shows how to add texture to photos in photoshop.

Thanks for reading!
All images are copyright of Daisy Simpson. It is unlawful and illegal to copy, scan, alter or edit the images in any way. This depreciates the photos value as well as my reputation, I take great care in capturing and editing each image and they are each important to me. Thank you for respecting my passion and my copyright.