Snowflake Bentley would have loved January 21, 2015

1999_Snowflake_BentleyAlthough he isn’t strictly Christmas, I bet Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931), the first man to ever photograph a snowflake, would have loved the wet snowfall yesterday. The snowflakes were huge, ideal conditions for studying the hexagonal ice crystals.

I stumbled across a short documentary about him when I was looking for more paper snowflake crafts.  His obsession with capturing the snowflakes on his Vermont farm required a unique rig of a microscope attached to one of the first cameras.  This type of photography is called “photomicrography.” In his lifetime, he took photos of over 5,000 snowflakes, one at a time–in a place where there snowfall averages 120 inches a year, I guess he really loved snow.  As the flakes fell from the sky, he caught them on a black velvet-covered tray.  Then, he pushed them into position with a chicken feather so he could photograph each one.

(I’ve got plenty of chicken feathers but none of the obsessive patience it must have taken to do this!)

The Jericho Historical Society was established in 1972 to preserve Bentley’s life and legacy, and this year they celebrated the 150th anniversary of Wilson Bentley’s birthday.  In conjunction with the historical society, there are authorized snowflake gifts for purchase.

One way to learn more about this remarkable man is to read about him.In 1998, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Mary Azarian published Snowflake Bentley, based on the true story of his life.  Azarian won the 1999 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations.

I would like to buy a copy of this book for my grandson.  We love “spiriments,” and I can imagine he and I would be out in the cold trying to gather snowflakes to photograph. The photos would make beautiful Christmas cards or winter thank you notes.  Watch out. . .I’m cooking up a great idea. . . and from the weather report, it looks like we might have our photo opportunity this weekend.  Fingers crossed!

bentley-snowflakes

 

 

Podcast #63- 275 Days to Go!

Christmas SPiderPodcast #63- 275 Days to Go! Click here to listen to this week’s podcast- Teens & Spiders!

This week Natalie & Jeremy cover a strange range of Christmas topics.  We start with the legend of the Christmas spider (some get rich slow ideas here). We then move to some discussion on our trees, teapots, old ladies, and a plan.  We wrap up with our actual topic for the show- Teen Gift Giving.  How do you shop for those 13-19 year olds in your life?  What are the best gifts?  Is it a mini-fridge?  A book?  A gift card?  Heck- maybe it’s a spider!!

 

Wreath a month? That’s a go!

1510784_10202631586058118_442989884_nFor 2014 my focus is to try to be more organized with my posts.  My first each month will be about music and my second each month will be about creating something for this year’s celebrations.  It might be a craft, some type of DIY creation, or a home-made gift.  This time it’s a craft project- specifically a wreath.  When I was very young my mother made a beautiful wreath using just a wreath frame, green yarn, some wooden beads, and a bow.  It is one of my favorite decorations today- and I have LOTS of decorations:)

Prior to Christmas I attempted to make a small version of the wreath to give as a gift for Secret Santa at work. It went pretty well but it took WAY more hours to do that I predicted.  The supplies and directions are simple.

Supplies:
Flat wreath frame- I used styrofoam- light-weight and affordable.
Sturdy dark green yarn
Red decorative bow

1538794_10202631585698109_1138671801_nDirections:
Cut a piece of yarn about 12 inches long.  Use this to determine the size yarn you will need.  Wrap it around the frame and tie it into a small bow.  Cut off the excess yarn.  THis is the length yarn you will need.  Cut about 100-200 pieces this length to start.
Take each piece of yarn and tie it into a small bow on the frame.  Yarn should be close together, nearly overlapping.  The bows should be tied at different spots on the front face of the frame to give it a full bushy appearance.
Continue cutting yarn and tying bows until the entire frame is covered.
Add your decorative bow when finished.  You may want to add other beads or decorative items.

I intend to make a full size wreath this month.  It will go to the Festival of Trees in November as a donation.  This is the first of my  wreath plan for 2014.  I happened upon a post on the Buzzfeed website titled “50 Wreaths You Can Make Out of Anything”.  Of course I had to read more.  There are lots of great ideas in there.  Some are pretty elaborate and time-consuming (#s13, 18, 37, and 50).  Some are quite simple and quick (#s 4, 16, 33, and 36).  Others are pretty weird or just not my thing (#s8, 14, 41, and 44).  But then there are those that are just right!  My first four to make are #s 2/3, 9, 32, and 43.  That will get me to June.  On our next podcast Natalie and I will be discussing some of the wreaths.  Maybe we can each do one a month?  That would give us 24 wreaths created by the Yule Log.  Sounds like the start of a great plan!

Podcast #56- 109 Days to Go!

christmas_RETURNSPodcast #56- Click here to listen to this week’s podcast- We’re Back (again)!

We’re back was what we said on our last podcast way back in June.  We took a long summer hiatus from our Christmas sharing, but don’t think we haven’t been busy with Christmas planning, thinking, and prepping.  THis week we get back in the swing of things and discuss the “fall” approach to the Christmas holiday. With just over 100 days remaining there is MUCH to share with everyone.  Don’t miss the announcement about our plans for this year’s Festival of Trees!

We share what we think you should KNOW about prepping and planning ahead for all your scheduled holiday events and happenings.  We discuss how best to PLAN for that Christmas budget and ways to continue to get some great finds for the holidays.  We encourage everyone with a plan for what to DO to take advantage of discounted school supplies and materials now to be ready for CHristmas.  Enjoy the discussion and apologies for the sound quality.  Turns out having all the studio windows open didn’t work so well.  Merry Christmas!

Find your Christmas Spirit on Pinterest

If you are feeling the dog days of summer, or you are in the dumps about school starting in just two weeks, now if the time to start following The Yule Log 365 on Pinterest. We’ve been collecting inspiration, and visiting the boards of ideas we’ve saved–Christmas trees, wreaths, gifts, and more–reminds us that Christmas is only months away (4+ if you are counting with us). I got some inspiration from Thrift My House for recycled sweater balls.

20130802-224341.jpg

I felt I could tackle these babies. No problem. My results are mediocre compared to the original design, but I’m pleased to say that I used what I had on hand.  On Saturday, I made a trip to the thrift store for a white sweater, but Shirley spotted a two-dollar white scarf instead (and paid for it so, in essence, it was free).  Ready to try again!

Sweater Ball 1

Podcast #50- 336 Days to Go!

Christmas Books 2Podcast #50- Click here to listen to this week’s podcast.  Books, Books, and More Books!

This week we join you from our first Yule Log field trip of 2013.  Our journey took us to the Hagerstown Wonder Book and Video.  We had a little contest to see who could get the most Christmas gifts in 30 minutes with just $25 to spend.  Listen to find out who wins with 12 gifts found.  We also continue to share something to KNOW, something to PLAN, and something to DO.  All of these can be traced back to books in some way or another.  Give a listen and let us know what you think!

 

Downton Abbey – A Christmas Treat

ScotlandAccording to the Style section of the Washington Post, the first episode of Season 3 of Downton Abbey drew 8 million viewers to PBS on Sunday night.  Roger and I were two of them for sure.  I can give you about a million reasons for my Downton Delirium, which, I think, must be as bad as a teenage girl’s Bieber Fever.

On the other side of the pond (and at the White House where Michelle Obama saw Season 3 this past fall–that’s one of the perks of being First Lady), they’ve already seen all of Season 3, culminating in a Christmas Day airing of Episode 7, where the Crawley’s go to Scotland. I am including this Telegraph Review, but don’t click the link if you don’t want your American viewing experience spoiled.

Meanwhile, we wait until February 17th for the final episode of Season 3, with five delicious Sundays in between.

Thinking about the Downton fans in your life?  Highclere Castle, where the series is filmed, boasts an online gift shop.  PBS has quite a few Downton gifts, too.

Want to try your hand at creating Downton Abbey at your house?  Check out this gingerbread video.  The windows are melted butterscotch candies–even if I won’t ever get to see the real Downton, I can try my own version in cookie form?