Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! But Don't Drink and Drive!

happy new year, squirrels, happy hour
Happy New Year!

Just dropping in to wish you a very Happy New Year! But remember, don't be a silly squirrel...don't drink and drive!

May 2015 become the year you always remember for making your dreams become a reality. See you in the new year!

new year, squirrel, drinking, cocktails

happy new year art

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Avoid Stuffing Your Face During the Holidays

squirrel, cookie jar, ginger jar, between a rock and a hard place

Do you know how to avoid stuffing your face during the holidays? No? Well, neither do I! If you came here hoping for some advice about that particular problem, I'm sorry to disappoint you because I haven't got a clue. 

This past week it was like I was possessed by a sugar-craving demon. It started innocently enough...I mentioned to my husband that I felt like a little treat. After a few moments I specifically mentioned that something like a dark chocolate bar might hit the spot. I envisioned having a few bites and leaving the rest for him.

What did he do? He brought home a humungous double chocolate cake/brownie thing from the supermarket. With icing. And extra chocolate bits inside the cake/brownie. So of course I had to at least sample it. I had a smallish piece and I thought that was that.

"Oh no, you don't!" said the cake. "You don't get off that easy. It's December and that means Christmas is coming and that means it's time to loosen your belt and let the calories fly!" I swear the cake was speaking to me. It told me to keep eating it until it was all gone. It took my husband and me a day to wipe that cake off the face of the earth. He'd have a piece, then I figured I deserved another, and so it went.

A day passed after the cake was no more. I was in the supermarket and I swear a "party tray" of goodies called my name as I passed by. Before I knew it, the party tray was hitching a ride in my grocery cart. I threw a bunch of carrots in there too just to feel a little better about things.

My husband had two little treats from the assorted goodies in the party tray. He said he felt like his face was vibrating afterwards...from the sugar, I guess. He very kindly left the rest of the goodies to me. One thing about party trays is that you have a fine selection of things from which to choose. It's like taste-testing and it's basically your job to compare and judge each treat to see which one you like best. Then you have to rate them in order of preference. Well, for me it's no contest, Nanaimo bars always come out on top. I'm not even sure if they're made anywhere besides in Canada. If not, you really should travel to Canada just to taste one because they're out of this world. Talk about a sugar rush though...wowee!

Right after I wiped out the party tray of little cakes and such, I was selling my wares at a craft market and of course the woman next to me was selling fruitcakes and cookies and this sort of thing. My husband dropped by and bought her last fruitcake. What I didn't mention to him was that I'd already bought a package of shortbread cookies from her and ate all four cookies. 

Anyway, I'm swearing off all the sugar again. I'm going to straighten up and fly right for the rest of the holidays. I notice my immune system takes a dip whenever I get into the sugar like that and really, who needs it? Sugar is the devil in disguise, I'm convinced. 

No more cookies
No more cake
No more anything
Sweet you bake

I mean it!

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cookie jar art

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rainy Days

leaves, waterdrops, dewdrops

Yesterday I told you about getting stuck in the rain when my van broke down on the side of the highway.

It wasn't just any old rain...we had two days of heavy rainfall warnings and wind warnings. It was actually scary to go to sleep the first night because the wind was gusting at about 90 kilometers per hour. Our house is surrounded by tall trees so it's a little nerve-wracking when the wind gets to blowing like that, as it often does in late fall and winter. I kept wondering how the Anna's hummingbird managed to stay on the branch...I'll bet he or she didn't get a very good night's sleep either. But he managed to survive several days of snow and below freezing temperatures a couple of weeks ago, so I imagine a little old wind warning doesn't phase him.

Anyway, we made it through o.k. and the power even stayed on, unbelievably. I read, however, that the lower Sunshine Coast had some flooding. One woman told me that it felt like a hurricane ripped through the area. Such is winter here on the coast. We don't get much of the white stuff but wind and rain...well, that's our specialty.

Art Prints

waterdrops art

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Old Car Blues

old car, antique car, rust, abandoned car
Rusty Old Car in the Forest

Today I had the supremely fun experience of walking the dogs in a torrential downpour (during a so-called "rainfall warning"), then having my van die on me on the highway as we drove home.

Yes, it was big fun indeed! First the radio went off. Then the ABS (which I believe stands for auto brake system) light came on, followed by the seatbelt light (I was wearing mine). Then the rear windshield wiper started by itself and all the wipers slowed to a fraction of the speed they should've been, which of course wasn't enough to keep the driving rain off the windows. Then the van waited until we hit a dangerous curve before it decided to give up entirely. I was able to pull over just enough to get off the highway.

I called our local tow guy, Chad, who has helped me out before. Luckily he lives just around the corner from my enforced pit stop. He was kind of happy because he hadn't been called out in a couple of days. He told me it was probably the alternator. Chad towed my van back home and set it down next to my other van that's been sitting there, broken down, for a few months. Now I'm waiting for the local shop to get a new alternator in.

I've got the old car blues.

antique car, old car, forest, rusty, junkyard

rusty old car art

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nature Photographs on Throw Pillows

throw pillows, hummingbird, crow, blackbird, tulips, poppies
Nature Photographs on Throw Pillows

As of today, throw pillows are available from my online gallery. You can have a pillow made from any of my photographs, vintage collages or digital art. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 14" x 14" to 26" x 26" in square size, and 20" x 14" in a rectangular shape. Just click on the links above to see any of the pillows pictured above or go to my gallery and click on any image that you like to see how it looks on a pillow.

I think I'm going to have to order a batch of these for myself...I love the look of them! If you're more into graphic type designs, check out my gallery of abstract and digital art which includes colorful mandalas...they look fantastic on pillows, if I do say so myself!

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tulips watercolor art

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here Comes Christmas

christmas, squirrels, funny christmas

Hard to believe it's already December and Christmas is right around the corner. I've been selling my photography and jewellery at Christmas craft fairs since the beginning of November. For anyone who lives on the Sunshine Coast, my last craft fair of the season will be on Saturday, December 13th at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. See you there!

I've been selling a lot of the above picture on wrapping paper through my Zazzle store, Fun Nature Photography. In fact, it's on the best seller list. Just click on the picture or link below if you want to check it out.

Christmas Squirrel with Candy Cane Gift Wrapping Paper
Christmas Squirrel with Candy Cane Gift Wrapping Paper

I'm hoping for a little snow soon to make it feel more like Christmas but we have a rain warning as well as a wind warning in today's forecast. So what I'm really hoping for is the power to stay on!

Art Prints

christmas squirrel art

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

chipmunks, bank, piggy bank
Chipmunk Saving for a Rainy Day

Hey hey, it's Fun Friday!

Yesterday I read on Facebook that a cougar had been spotted about 20 minutes from where I live. I've yet to run into one and I'm not sure I ever want to, even though it would make a great picture. This morning while walking my dogs down a forestry road, they started reacting big time to something about 10 feet away from us in the bush...and then I heard a twig snap. Just a little unnerving! The ferns and bushes were low enough that I know it wasn't a deer or elk in there. It could've been a coyote but I've also seen wolves and bobcats up there. What's bigger than a bread basket but smaller than a bush? Hmmm...

Anyway, I was so distracted (glancing over my shoulder as we continued on our walk) that I didn't see it until we headed back. Right there, in almost the exact spot where the dogs had smelled an animal, I saw $10 bill lying on the road. It was soggy and dirty, but whatever, it works for me!

I have a hard time hanging onto money though. I mostly spend it on books and courses. Aside from photography, learning and creating are probably my two favorite things to do. One thing I'll say though, I think I spend much less money on gear than the average photographer. 

Are you a saver or a spender? What do you like to spend money on?

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piggy bank art

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Colorful Chrysanthemums

chrysanthemums, mums, colorful flowers
Colorful Chrysanthemums at the Market

I don't know about you but I could use a little color around this time of year. November and December are my least favorite seems like it rains more than in any other months.

So to cheer myself up, and maybe you as well, I'm posting this photograph of bunches of orange, yellow, and red chrysanthemums that I took in ByWard Market (a well-known outdoor market) in Ottawa a couple of years ago. I played around with the picture using some Topaz filters to give them a slightly abstract look.

It's raining right now so I think I'll just gaze at my flowers for awhile longer. Sigh.

chrysanthemums art

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Read Any Good Books Lately?

squirrels, books, library, dictionary
An Educated Squirrel

Have you read any good books lately? I have a habit of reading three or four books at a time. I almost finish a book but something else will catch my fancy. One strange thing is that I haven't read a book of fiction in many years...the last time was when I was visiting Costa Rica and found myself kind of bored because I was there alone. Somebody had left behind "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy in the lodge where I was staying. If you ever want to feel suicidally depressed, read that book. Why I was reading it in a tropical paradise is beyond me. Here I was bawling my eyes out, alone in my room, when outside the door was a gorgeous beach and bright sunny days. The book won a Pulitzer but still...

I like to read non-fiction. I got halfway through "102 Minutes, The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers". Believe it or not, I started that book a few days before I was going to fly back east. But then "Proof of Heaven, a Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" caught my eye in the Vancouver airport, so I started reading that on the plane. I was quite enjoying it and got very close to finishing it, except then I had a look at my Amazon wish list and couldn't resist buying "The Suitcase Entrepreneur". So that's what I'm reading now. Next up is "The Self Illusion, How the Social Brain Creates Identity", which is another book I bought in the airport (two books for $20, who could resist?) Actually, first I'll finish "Proof of Heaven".

The book has to be pretty captivating for me to finish it. The last one that I read all the way through and had me enthralled was a Canadian bestseller called "A House in the Sky" by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. I like books about strong women and let me tell you, Amanda Lindhout definitely fits that description. The first part is about her travels, and a good travel story is also something I enjoy. At times the book is tough to read because she goes through some brutal situations but her endurance and compassion are compelling. Check it out if you get a chance.

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funny book art

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Birds in Winter

birds, winter, snow

 Continuing on with my theme of birds in winter after posting about a hummingbird who's been showing up at the snow-covered feeder... Awhile ago I did a collage of various birds I've photographed over the years hanging out in the snow. We usually only get a couple of snowfalls each winter but when it happens, I try to take advantage of it and photograph as many birds as possible.

So in the collage above (starting from the bottom left) we have a stoic great blue heron, a Brewer's blackbird making a rare appearance, Steller's jay, northern (or red-shafted) flicker, chestnut-backed chickadee, spotted towhee, varied thrush, red-breasted nuthatch, snowy owl, downy woodpecker, American dipper, and in the center with snow on his cute little beak, the chickadee once again.

I photographed the hummingbird and also an eagle sitting on a snowy branch after I had made the collage...I guess I'll just have to start another collage now!

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birds in winter art

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Hummingbirds Part 2

hummingbird, winter, snow

Technically speaking it isn't winter yet but I thought I'd share another photograph of an Anna's hummingbird braving the ice and snow. A couple of days ago I posted about our snow and resident hummingbirds.

The snow is sticking around since it's still close to freezing and the forecast is for possible snow flurries tonight. I feel sorry for these little birds but apparently they're able to tolerate the cold weather alright. I upped the amount of sugar in their nectar though. I still don't understand how they can survive with the lack of flowers and insects to snack on.


annas hummingbirds art