Posts Tagged ‘take better pictures’

So I’ve been neglecting this blog badly, and I’m sorry.  Here are some lovely pictures in way of apology. Back in May I went to the Renwick with my daughter, Dottie, my sister, Alice, and my mother.  It was pretty amazing.

There was a gorgeous string rainbow sculpture:

A string and light sculpture based on maps of a tsunami. The colors shifted to show how ocean depth changed over time:

A construction of twigs (willow?)

and an amazing marble installationIMG_1754

I’m so sorry I don’t have better notes.  There was also an installation of huge mounds made from file cards (which was my daughter’s favorite).

I’ll try to post more regularly going forward.  Hope you all had a great spring, and will have an excellent summer.

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Once again, I had all sorts of plans for posts which got preempted by life and by other post ideas. So, today, I will bring you some photos I just had to share.

The first is a series I took at sunrise in Ocean City.  This series was taken from the balcony of the condominium we were lucky enough to stay at.

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I would have done better with a tripod here, but I think the iPhone camera wasn’t too bad.  Of course, the suns disk was visible to the naked eye up until the last one, rather than being full of fire as the camera saw it.

The other great sky scene I wanted to share with you was from just a couple of days ago.  This one was also taken with the iPhone, from a moving car.

Stormy SkyI took a whole series of pictures, but none of them really captured the menace of the scene.  This one came closest.

So that’s it for today.  I hope you enjoy, and I expect to be posting about WiPs and FOs within the week.

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While walking in my neighborhood a couple of days ago, I spotted a very large bird, scavenging something off of the closely cropped lawn.

I immediately pulled out my iPhone and began taking pictures. I would snap one, take a few steps forward, and then take the next.

At some point, the bird began to become nervous at my approach. He picked up his meal and dragged it a few steps away, but he (or she) never flew off. In the end it worked out very well for me, because he ended up dragging the rabbit carcass out of the shadow.

I got very close indeed.

I’m pretty sure this is a Black Vulture.  They are evidently common birds (though I haven’t seen many around), and their habitat is expanding.  I’m not much of a bird watcher, but it’s nice to document one now and then.

Childsafe 4th

childsafe_4th_mediumWe had a lovely Fourth of July out at my in-law’s homestead.  They have a delightful little place with chickens and horses and my almost two year old niece.  Unfortunately neither horses nor two year olds mix well with fireworks.  Fortunately, cheezombie (on Ravelry) has a yarn version of firecrackers and sparklers.  I made a few from odds and ends of (mostly) acrylic, and they were very much appreciated.



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In case you haven’t heard, the National Zoo will be closing the Invertebrate Exhibit tomorrow.  It’s almost certainly a ‘done deal’, although you can sign the petition at Change.org to express your concerns (I did).

What the News Has Been Saying

The announcement was made Tuesday (though someone said Monday).  Animals will be found other homes, either in other parts of the zoo (such as the rainforest exhibit) or at other institutions. No animals will be harmed.  The five animal keepers who are employed at the house will be assigned to other parts of the zoo (which is understaffed).  There will eventually (probably) be a biodiversity exhibit and many of these exhibits will be restored then.


I get that the hall needed to be revamped, and that the $5 million cost of renovation will instead go to making other exhibits more humane.  I get that there are hard choices that had to be made, and that I would probably be distressed by any choices that they made.  I just really, really wanted to take one last trip there to say “Goodbye”, which I did on Thursday (18 June).


So I Went to Say Goodbye

As always, the exhibit was full of visitors and FONZ volunteers.  Many of the visitors, like us, had come for one last goodbye.  Some seemed unaware that the exhibit was closing, which is not surprising, as there had been a total and complete news blackout about it up until the announcement.  I can understand that.  The Zoo, and the Smithsonian, must have anticipated that people would be irate, would attempt to organize and protest, and I’m sure they just wanted to avoid an uproar.  The decision can’t have been easy, and anything they chose to cut would have been controversial.  I’m sure they just wanted to be able to concentrate on what would be best for the animals.


While I was there I spoke to several of the volunteers, and I learned something which, rather than allowing me a sense of closure and acceptance, really changed the focus of my discontent.

What the News Has Not Been Saying

The story the volunteers told was not touched upon in the news coverage.  The thing is, the staff, and the volunteers, were told about the closure just barely before the news media.  They were told on Monday that the exhibit would be closed on Sunday.   Certainly, there had been rumors, and speculation, for months.  There was no training session for new volunteers when one would normally have been expected.  The giant octopus, who had lived for an exceptionally long time after she laid eggs, was not replaced once she passed.  There were plenty of signs and hints, but no official word.


The Smithsonian press release (linked above) does say that permanent employees will be reassigned.  There is mention of what happens to researchers or volunteers. I, personally, find this unconscionable and undefendable behavior from some of the few institutions which have maintained my trust for years.

comb jelliesIt’s very hard for me to find myself being this critical of the Smithsonian.  It’s even harder for my Mother, who has been a Smithsonian supporter for as long as I can remember, she’s already decided not to renew her  FONZ membership, and is considering letting her Smithsonian Associate membership expire as well.

Obviously, this is an emotional issue for me, and I’m probably rambling. I feel betrayed.  I trust that the zoo is honestly trying to do the best it can for the animals it cares for, but I cannot say that I trust that they are making the same effort for the individual humans they employ, or who help out of the goodness of their heart.  It just seems to me that they were so afraid of the public outcry which closing any exhibit would bring, they rushed to make it a fait accompli, and betrayed their own people in the process.

I want to see the Smithsonian treating it’s people better, even if it means they take a public relations hit in doing so.  I think they made the calculation that by rushing this through so fast, the population as a whole would just blink and move on without really seeing it.



I’m afraid they’re right.

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I have in my hands a curious little envelope.  My mother found it when cleaning out her basement and my sister thought I should have it. Not to use, but just to own.  (click on any of the pictures for larger images)

It must have belonged to my grandmother, who would have learned how to knit in the first decade of the 20th century.  It’s clear, from a very little examination that it’s not in it’s original packaging, because this needle is about 15″ long, not the 24 -29″ indicated.    There’s nothing on it telling when it was made.  I’m guessing it was sometime before 1939 because that’s apparently when the patent for circulars with ‘flexible cables’ came out, and I wouldn’t call this a ‘flexible’ cable.

The cable is basically a fine coil of wire.  The text on the back which warns not to wind the needle into a circle is hardly necessary for this length, because it won’t really do that, but I’d imagine that if it were the length on the packet it might be tempting to try it. I’m a little bit afraid to cast on to these, I imagine that they would catch yarn pretty easily, but the joins between cable and needle seem smooth enough.  Still, my Addis and KnitPicks Interchangables are in no danger of being replaced by these classics any time soon.

There’s nothing on my package telling me who manufactured the needle or when.  I’ve found pictures of the 1934 Boye package.  The needle itself looks very similar to one sewmuchfrippery sold from her Etsy shop, labeled as “Vintage 1920’s 1930’s Circular Knitting Needle / Pin“.

I have a vague memory of reading about knitting needles like this, the ‘old style’ of cable which were basically unusable.  I believe it was in “No Idle Hands” by Anne MacDonald but it’s been ages since I’ve read it, so I can’t be sure.  It may have been a comment by Elizabeth Zimmerman, but I don’t think so.   I wasn’t able to find very much more about the actual history of circular needles than I’ve already linked to, which is mildly disappointing.  I’ll be keeping my eyes open in the future.

In Other Blogs

There’s a great series of posts on photography for yarn projects (and other objects) at Fresh Stitches: 5 Easy Photography Tips, How to Take Great Photos with White Backgrounds and Photography Resources.  Anita asks what to name the baby (always a fun topic).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t even realize there was a drawing on the FaveFitzgerald tag at Craftlit, and I won it.   There’s a second drawing (enter by the 17th?) so you can win your own WWMDfK bracelet!

I didn’t win the Red Heart Yarn of the Month giveaway for March, and am not entering the April Soft Baby Steps giveaway.  No official word on BluetoothToaster’s Fandom Yarn giveaway, but I’m assuming I didn’t win.

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I took a few pictures of the family Easter celebration.  Here are the ones whose subjects did not object to being posted online.  These two were at M-i-L’s house

Poor Walter was traumatized by S-i-L and B-i-L’s puppy Ernest Jackson (who didn’t really pose for any pictures himself).

Adlai on the other hand, was totally at ease.


At home the situation was much more settled.

The holidays were very nice.  The oldest came home from college to get in on the baking and egg dying.  My mother declined to host the Sedar this year, but youngest and M-i-L went to B-i-L’s parents for theirs, and the girls went to M-i-L’s Easter service (hubby and I were supposed to go, but it didn’t work out that way – maybe next year).

In Other Blogs

Stacey reviewed the Knook (crochet hook for knitting), which I’ve been mildly curious about for a while.

I Love My Ott!

I got this little baby when I ordered my  Amigurumi Knits book.    It seems almost overpowering, doesn’t it? It’s not actually that bright (and I don’t set it down on what I’m working on anyway). It has a little bank of LEDs which give a great quality of light.  I really like how it brings out colors.  I like to bring it with me on yarn buying trips, so I can really see what I’m getting (the other option being to take the yarn up to the front of the store and look at it in actual daylight).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win Techno Hookers copy of  “Custom Crocheted Sweaters“, but I did enter Sandra Singh’s Spring Maple Shawl Kit giveaway (drawing 21 April), and the Yarn Exploder’s drawing for Vampire Stitch Markers from Decor Noir  (end of April)


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I didn’t post here yesterday, because I spent the day running an RPG, something I haven’t done in a very long time. It’s not crafting, but it is one of my very favorite favorite creative outlets. There’s a shared, improvisational aspect to it which just works well for me. I’m also a sucker for world-building, and this particular format lets me do that as well. Follow the link (above) if you’re interested in an overview.

I think I’ve got a handle on the color balance of the camera now.

The picture’s not bad, and it’s nice seeing them be friendly with each other once in a while.

I did not win the Kama Suutra sock yarn, but they have two more giveaways for fiber. Since I have a lot of unspun fiber already I’m not entering, but you might want to hop over to Phat Fiber and check them out.

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2 gingersI’m really pleased with how this picture came out.  First of all, I think I’ve got the color right this time (yes, her hair is really that red).  I managed to capture the personalities of all three of them.  I’m even happy with my own reflection (well, half reflection) in the glass door.  The only thing I could do without is the reflection of the white car.

It’s too early to have results from the previous blog giveaways and contests I entered, but I did find another pattern and yarn giveaway at Knitting Pipeline (one of the many podcasts I’m catching up with).  Once I’m up to date on all of the ones I’m following I’ll subscribe to another book or two on Podiobooks, because it’s nice to have a guaranteed podcast download every day.  I’m still waiting for the sequel to The Crown Conspiracy.  I’ll have to be patient, though, the author hasn’t even updated his website since October (hope everything is OK there…)

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First of all, I’d like to thank Sunsetseasanity (of the artismysanity blog) for the advice on the camera.  I had to play around with it (and turn off the ‘idiot proof settings’) but I think I can find the right light level now.  Next step will be to replace my tripod (lost with the last camera).

the beginning of my "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE" square

Here’s the beginning of the square for the Chosen One project.  I’m using this to knit down stash, so it’s a hodgepodge of yarns.  I’ve got some old Lion Jiffy for the square, a little Cascade 220, Lion Trellis and some ‘mystery yarn’ held together for the letter.  I’m working a garter stitch border around the square, and a moss stitch border around the letter.  I’m knitting across the letter rather than bottom to top, so that I won’t have to break the yarn for the multiple parts of the H.  We’ll see if I’ve overcomplicated things, but so far, so good.  I’m half tempted to frog back and make the letter a bit bigger.  I’d better think on it a bit and keep working on something else  in the meantime.  I expect to be spending a chunk of time in a waiting room today, so I should get a fair amount done.

Current WIPS include the mini wrist warmers, the tea cozy and a cat bed made from recycled plastic bags.  The tea cozy is the most portable, so that’s probably what I’ll take with me.

Speaking of the Chosen One project, I just realized that I’d never posted the link to the KnitNotWar 10o0 project.  Check out the installation, it’s lovely.  My ten were all tan and brown.

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As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I got a new mp3 player for my birthday.  I’ve been listening to the backlog of podcasts I’d built up (and there are a lot of them).  Yesterday I got to episode 193 of Craftlit, in which Heather Ordover talks about the Tucson shooting (her son played little league with the 9 year old girl who was shot).  Very touching, very upsetting stuff.  I found it even more troubling, because my elder daughter touched base with her seasonal after school job this week, and learned that a co-worker died last week.   It’s a small family business, and a very personal loss for everyone involved.

This is Comet

Here's the cat I had to save the knitting from

Still, this is my craft blog, and I’m not going to more than touch on the sad stuff.  So here is something from playing with the other birthday gift I mentioned, my camera.  You can see the tea cozy sticking in the foreground, and a bit of the teapot it is being made to fit.  It seems to pick up and brighten colors, and I haven’t found any way to filter that.  I think it’s time to break out the manual.


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