Category Archives: A to Z Challenge

2014 Goals. How’d I Do?

So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.

Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL

So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?

bold = success

tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year ๐Ÿ™‚

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Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, Diet Dr Pepperbut steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*

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School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but itโ€™s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.

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Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and Iโ€™d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammyโ€™s book

Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…

This is the audience for the launch of Fae at WWC
Audience at Fae Launch at WWC

First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?

I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.

I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.

C.S. MacCath reading from her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014
C.S. MacCath reading her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.

We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.

I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.

A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists, end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.

Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.

Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style ๐Ÿ™‚

I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it ๐Ÿ™‚

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Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as โ€˜Hollowโ€™
    • By โ€˜completeโ€™ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. Itโ€™s not huge, but Iโ€™ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word โ€˜NaNoโ€™ in the title is optional
    • โ€ฆexcept NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered MondaysMythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.

I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass ๐Ÿ™‚

I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…

Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…

I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.

Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.

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Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Ocean At The End Of The LaneAccording to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:

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Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt Iโ€™m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Photo stolen from Billie Milholland --> https://www.facebook.com/billie.milhollandSo… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.

Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)

~*~

And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.

On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.

I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine ๐Ÿ™‚

Z is for Zoo

ZThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

Z is for Zoo.

When I was a kid I used to love the zoo, but as an adult, every time I go I just find them more and more depressing. I understand that zoos play a vital role in conservation and that entertaining the public is how they fund that but seeing those animals in captivity (and in some cases very obviously distressed about it) breaks my heart.

I think I’ve shared this photograph previously this month, but I really like it, so I’m going to share again. I call this one ‘Fascination’.

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This emu didn’t seem to me (in my ignorance of emu psychology) to be upset about being in the zoo. Also, it was a lovely photographic subject:

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This arctic fox nearly broke my heart. He was frenetically running around his enclosure. It looked like he was desperately looking for a way out.

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I’ll end with this photograph of a wolf. Every time we walked by its enclosure this is what it was doing. Every. Time.

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As this year’s A to Z Challenge comes to an end, I want to thank every one of you who stopped by, but especially those of you who came day after day. Thank you SO much. Your comments, encouragement and flattering words about my work really meant the world to me. Thank you, thank you. I hope we continue to visit one another long after this blogging challenge comes to an end. You’re awesome.

Some of you have asked about prints of my photos (OMG I can’t even begin to tell you how flattering that is!). It’s not something I’d ever considered but now that I know people might be interested I will absolutely look into that as an option. If you know of a place online that will help me provide prints I’d appreciate it if you let me know. I’m not looking to make a mint, just find an easy way to get my photos in the hands of people who want them which means I can’t really afford any of those places that charge an ongoing fee.

 

 

Y is for Yellow

YThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

Y is for Yellow

I’m pretty sure this shot was just taken in my yard and then processed using Camerabag (as pretty much all my shots are nowadays):

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This little guy was also in my yard ๐Ÿ™‚

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I took this shot when I went back to Southern Alberta for Thanksgiving a couple years back:

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And I really like this shot of lichen I took in Nova Scotia. I think it’s the depth of focus that makes it…

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W is for Water

WThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

W is for Water.

Let’s start with this shot of the river valley here in Edmonton ๐Ÿ™‚

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Also, did you know that I totally adore ducks? I do. And ducks love water so…

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I took this shot at the Muttart Conservatory here in Edmonton. It could have used a tripod and a neutral density filter, but it was my first attempt at long(ish) exposures so I like it anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Finally, how can you not love dew drops on a flower? Though… if I remember correctly these might be rain drops. Either way. Drops. How can you not love water droplets on a flower? ๐Ÿ™‚

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V is for Vibrant

VThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

V is for vibrant. Specifically, vibrant colours ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes I like over saturated colour, sometimes I don’t. Today I do ๐Ÿ™‚

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I pretty much always like flowers though ๐Ÿ™‚

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Including this one which I shot in Wolfville, Nova Scotia:

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This shot I took during my photo safari to the 401 student lab at the University. It’s not flowery, but it’s definitely vibrant:

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U is for Upside Down

UThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

U is for Upside Down

When my youngest niece and nephew were born I didn’t plan to take photographs of them both, at similar ages, upside down… but as it turned out, I did.

Jayde:

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Sheldon:

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This is another of my young nephews. Dominick is not upside down, but he is awesome and I wanted to include all my nieces and nephews who are under 7 LoL

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<3

T is for Two Totally Different Things

TThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

T is for two totally different things.

Both of which are in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

First of all, T is for the Titanic Graves. There’s a section of a graveyard in Halifax which is reserved for the graves of the victims of the Titanic disaster. Seeing row after row of identical (or nearly so) graves all with the same date of death… it’s a moving experience:

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And on the exact opposite side of the emotional spectrum I offer you Theodore. Because he’s a tugboat and a friendly tugboat too (a friendly tugboat too). Oh, Theodore! He likes to do the things that friendly tugboats do!

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S is for Snow

SThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

S is for Snow.

S has to be for snow. Not because I like snow (though I don’t *hate* it like I do ice and cold LoL) but because I have to deal with snow for more days of my life than I don’t. #goodtimes

Speaking of dealing with it… I don’t know if the shovel is a good enough object to have left there for scale, but it was all I had at the time:

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When it’s not being a pain my back (though to be fair Jo shovels more often than I do LOL), snow can be quite pretty. Like in this shot looking down our street:

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Or this shot of our backyard (interestingly, I took this picture in April LoL):

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The only one around here who really loves snow, is the dog. You know how with some dogs, when you take them for a walk they need to stop and sniff every leaf on every tree? Tre is like that… but he also wants to roll around in every patch of snow. >_<

Monochrome Mutt

 

R is for Red

RThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

R is for Red

I don’t remember what the story behind this one was… but it’s red, and flowery, and I like it… so there’s that…

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I took a solo photo safari to the U of A campus and before I headed out I asked for photo prompts. A friend said ‘red leaves’. It was autumn, that made it a perfectly reasonable prompt… but I couldn’t find a freaking red leaf anywhere. Yellow, orange, brown and green, no problem. Red? LoL No way. Then I found this one.

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One Sunday I went into the university and took some pictures in one of the student labs there. This is one of them (I don’t remember what that thing is… What? I’m not the scientist in the family LoL):

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I did a collaborative project a couple years ago that was a cookbook. This is one of the photographs I took for it:

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Lastly, when we were in Nova Scotia in 2012 we went whale watching. Well, I should say, we went out into the middle of the ocean to see whales, but there were no whales to be seen LOL Anyway, this is the flag from the back of our boat ๐Ÿ™‚

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Q is for Quilts

QThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

Q is for Quilts

Quilting is among the many crafty-type things I enjoy doing. It also happens to start with the letter Q lol so that’s what today’s post is going to be about. These aren’t great photographs, but they are nice quilts that I’ve made over the years. I haven’t any photos of things I’ve done super recently but here are a few from the last decade or so LOL

I made this one for Dani’s grade two teacher. That’s a grade-two sized Danica holding it up, in fact (she’s gonna kill me for this! LoL). One thing I really like about this quilt is that I handpainted all the fabric for it… except the brown for the dog.

dog

I made this quilt as a mystery quilt project… but I can’t remember where I got the pattern from anymore. It’s been a while. Speaking of mystery quilts, though, I run a mystery quilt website where I design and post mystery projects (Jofigure Mystery Quilts). It doesn’t get updated super regularly, but I do what I can. Right now I’m working on a memorial quilt project for my Mom, but I’m painting the fabric for it as well, so it’s taking a while.

Star

Speaking of my mother… I made this log cabin quilt using 1″ scraps that I had left over from other projects. When I got it done I didn’t know what to do with it, but I gave it to my Mom and she finished it (put a back on it, quilted it) and gave it away to charity.

LogCabin

I’ll end with this quilt. I made it for my mother and father-in-law. I have a love/hate relationship with it… I like it well enough, and I love that my in-laws really liked it… but I find it a wee bit too busy for my personal taste. Possibly the best part about this quilt (other than that its recipients liked it LoL) is that the flying geese blocks there (the burgundy triangles on the ivory background) are actually three dimensional.

MandM

P is for Pine

PThis year I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge again. I thought it might be fun to share some of my photography instead of always my words. They say a picture is worth–well, you know what they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will try to keep these blog posts short and sweet, while still offering a little bit of insight into each photograph, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge you can check out these links:

~ What Is The Blogging from A to Z Challenge? ~ Participants ~ย My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2013): All About Niteblade ~ My Blogging from A to Z Challenge (2012): Unthemed ~

P is for Pine.

Well, actually that’s a little deceptive. I don’t know if these are all pine trees I took pictures of. They are all coniferous, but beyond that I can’t say. In my defense I grew up thinking all coniferous trees were pine trees LOL I was in my late teens before I figured out how wrong that was ๐Ÿ˜‰

I took this one, which I call ‘Beautiful Disease’ in my front yard. There is a great “pine” tree there. It’s not healthy and I’ve been told by an arborist that we should cut it down but the birds still use it and he didn’t think the disease it had was contagious, so I resist…

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The following two photographs, which I probably shouldn’t post back to back but I’m going to anyway, were taken in Nova Scotia:

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And this last photograph I took last summer, during our very freaking rainy teepee camping trip.

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