Poppy Seed Macro
With the deep cold of the past week, I've been staying snug inside.  What better time to play with the macro lens!  I'd seen photos of poppy seeds before that intrigued me, so I got out the spice jar and had some fun.  Who would have thought that what appear to be little round black seeds to the naked eye are in reality colorful textured bean shapes!  It was the purple and reddish colors that surprised me the most and that blush of sage green or aqua on some of them.

Poppy Seeds in a Dollhouse Spoon
Tucked away in my treasure box, I found some teensy dollhouse spoons.  It makes it look like a spoon full of blackberries!

Collared Dove
Outside it has been very cold.  The birdfeeders have been kept well stocked with food.  A pair of Collared Doves have become regular visitors!  I loved them in Flagstaff and love that I have them here as well!

Inside, a pot of blooming crocus keeps the hope of warmer days to come alive!

Tiny Handmade Books
There have been a few crafty pursuits as well.  I made these tiny books years ago but got them out as inspiration for making some new little books.  These are little bitsy books, only 2" tall by 1 1/4" wide.  Someday I'll put little poems in them.  In the meantime, they are inspiring some new bigger books.

Red Heart Coaster
I wanted some new coasters for the living room to liven up these cold winter days.  I found this pattern from Red Heart that was perfect!

Crafting Hearts
Red seems to have become my winter accent color this year.  It's made it into my wardrobe and my home!  Ever since I saw Jude's lovely heart, I've been wanting to make one of my own.  It's just getting started, but offers a bright bit to work on during the cold grey and white days of winter.

Latte on Coaster
A mug of vanilla chai is the perfect compliment to a chilly day!  Stay warm dear friends!


More Nature Notes

Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker
With the long stretch of cold weather we've had, there have been an assortment of birds at the feeders.  One of the most interesting that has shown up is this Flicker.  Normally, we get the Red Shafted variety, but this is a Yellow Shafted one as you can see by the bright yellow on the underside of the tail.  When he/she flies, the yellow is visible on the underside of the wings as well.  That spotted breast is just fabulous!  

House Sparrow
The little birdhouse on the porch was there when we moved in.  I left it up as I keep seeing birds going in and out of it.  Love the aqua roof on it!  Even better with a house sparrow visiting!  

Squirrel in the Bird Feeder
This furry fellow spends more time in the bird feeder than the birds!  We now have 6 squirrels, all quite healthy and fat, visiting many times a day.  They all come at the same time from several directions.  It makes me wonder how they communicate that it's time to go eat!  Should we walk out the door, there is a mad flurry of activity as they scale the tree in leaps and bounds, up onto the roof or make a mad dash down the driveway and across the street!  Though a couple of them are getting bolder and now watch from the heights of the tree to see if we are adding more feed to the feeders! 


Nature Notes on a January Day

January Morning
Morning arrived with clear blue skies and the low rising sun sending long blue shadows across the snow.  The snow covered yard has become a record of neighborhood wildlife, showing the pattern of their days.  Squirrels use the same pathways over and over again, while the visiting turkey meanders each day from it's trip up the road and into our yard to scavenge for fallen seed.  It is a joy to read each day's record in the snow.  

Aspen Trees in January
The aspen trees surrounding the house show off their leaf bud sheaths against the blue sky.  What a promise of spring to come they are.  Later in the day, this tree will be filled with little birds as they take their turns at the feeders.

As I read over the Psalm I've chosen for this month's meditations, the words seem so appropriate on this frosty cold morning.

Psalm 147:15-18

He sends forth his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts forth his ice like morsels;
who can stand before his cold?
He send forth his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow. 


2013 ~ Looking Forward

May health and joy and peace be thine
Upon this New Year's Day, 
And happy faces round thee shine
As plenteous as the flowers in May!

Cozy Kitty
It has been a lovely quiet start to the New Year here.

Painting supplies
Time to think and to create!

Painting in progress
I've been pulling out old unfinished paintings to work on while my painting skills get refreshed.  To be painting again is such a joy!

Amaryllis and Crocus
The Christmas decorations are being put away and the rooms simplified.  The amaryllis, which had gotten lost among the Christmas decor now take center stage.  It won't be long and the basket of crocus will be in bloom as well.

While in England and Scotland, I spent much time thinking about the life I had been living, about the lifestyle I was experiencing in the UK and what I wanted to be different when I got back.  The trip changed me, clarified what I wanted out of life, and though I was already headed in that direction - it sped it up.  It made me realize that I don't want such a busy life that I don't have time to pause and reflect daily.  I loved being able to walk everywhere.  I realized that I was living comfortably, adventurously even, with just the contents of a suitcase and backpack, and that I lacked for nothing.   I also realized that I need to watch the books!  They are too easy to accumulate in large numbers!  There was also the realization that the fabric arts, lovely and beautiful as they are, don't stand the test of time... sadly.  But that paintings do, something my mother had been trying to tell me for years!  I found that I reveled in the time spent in worship in the big cathedrals and small churches across the UK and in the glorious music I found there.

My goals for 2013 are to pursue some of these things.
~ Spend time with my journal or blog daily, to pause and reflect
~ To walk more
~ To spend more time with people and to broaden my circle of friends
~ To live simply (which includes the subcategory of continuing to downsize my belongings!)
~ To not buy every book I want to read ~ try the library instead!
~ To paint more in both oils and watercolors
~ To spend more time in worship, which means finding a new church home in my new community

And the big goal for the year
~ To find a job that facilitates living the quiet, relaxed life that I want, with time for travel, writing, introspection and art

Wishing you all a Blessed New Year!