Monday, December 28, 2009

✻ Knitting in the New Year ✻

Crocheting flowers will always be my number one hobby, but I am also going to take up a bit of knitting in the new year. Why the knitting itch? Hard to say, but the art of perfecting knitted socks is a challenge I'm taking on !!

To begin, I had to do some research to find out which method of sock knitting I wanted to learn. Since I am a clean slate sock maker, this was an exciting part of the journey. I found out that there are three main methods. The standard way uses multiple sticks called double pointed needles. There is also a method that uses one very long circular needle. In the end, the technique that snagged my real interest was one that uses two circular needles to create the sock. Now how was I going to learn to do this?

Santa brought me two Cat Bordhi books for Christmas, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters" and "Personal Footprints". Her instructions are written for her preferred two circular needles method, but she also gives tips for the other techniques. I've been pouring over my new books - fascinated by the art of knitting footwear.

I finished my first two baby sized socks yesterday, after much learning and stumbling. Knitting basics were something I have picked up over the years, but this experience tested my ability to teach my hands new crafting positions, and my mind new pattern reading skills. Getting used to using two circular needles was very interesting. I almost thought it was impossible, then I found Cat's teaching videos. Seeing the needles in action was very helpful indeed !!

knit sock circular needle cat bordhiSo here is my little learning sock. I am amazed that I made this cutie !! It is knitted all in one long thread, from the cuff to the toe. Cat's method keeps everything logical and flowing. Next I'll learn how to make the sock from the toe to the cuff. Great fun to come !!

And so you know that I'm still making my crocheted flowers, here is a side project I've been doing. This are a bunch of crocheted blue columbines. These blooms are the state flower here in Colorado where I live.

Colorado Blue Columbine Crocheted FlowerWhat challenges are you taking on in 2010?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

♥ Love The Holidays ♥

My online community has not let me down this holiday season. I went looking for some great items and I was not disappointed. Here are 4 of my favorite holiday inspired, Christmas tree related, finds. Please click each picture to be taken to the item, and spend some time looking around the fine shops of these artists. I guarantee doing so will bring you holiday cheer !! christmas tree
Let's start bold. This pendant is called "Christmas Tree on The Window Ledge". So fun and creative ! The artist is Zeba, who makes "jewelry that dares you to be different". noel christmas treeNext, is a Christmas Tree hanging ornament, handmade by DycheDesigns. This piece is sculpted from clay, painted, then sealed with a clear spray. I like the elegant simplicity of the symbol and the message.

christmas tree bumblebeeThese sweet plush bumblebees are wearing Christmas Trees on their heads. Just for fun ! Artist BombusLane created these two from fleece, and has a number of other critters in the shop too.

bell holiday red greenThese unique tree ornaments are made from actual acorn tops, with festive bells attached. I just get filled with holiday cheer thinking about them decorating a tree, a package, or even hanging in a doorway !! Artist pinkbeeb0 has certainly created something special and fun !!

I hope you have enjoyed exploring on Please have a peaceful, wonderful holiday season.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

✈ Bird Watching ✈

Birds are a special feature on our property and surrounding grasslands. We share our land with meadow larks, hawks, sparrows, burrowing owls, lark buntings, and occasionally golden and bald eagles. In the spring we also see herons migrating through. Although our lake dried up in the 2002 drought, we are planning to build a new one that birds can share with us.

With winter now set in, temperatures are cold, winds are blowing, and snow is not uncommon. Despite these conditions, a nice group of Horned Larks are outside our windows on most days.

bird larkI took a few pictures of these cute little birds this morning. The wind was blowing our fresh snow around, yet there were about 15 little birds working the ground for food.

bird larkThe second picture shows the little horns these birds are named for. It was hard to get a picture of their faces since they were so busy pecking for food.

I hope you enjoy bird watching too. Leave me some comments about what kind of birds you are seeing this time of year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Violets & Gnats

My pretty violet plant is thriving on the windowsill. Unfortunately, so is the gnat population.

gnat violet plant bug
The pesky little flying bugs seem to like the damp soil and standing water in the violet pot. After some Googling for suggestions to help control the bugs, I implemented these two changes.
  1. I am trying to capture and remove the larvae by placing a potato slice on the soil and keeping it wet. The gnats are supposed to like putting their next generation in the potato. So then when I pick it out and toss it, the kids are supposed to go along.
  2. I place a small amount of Mosquito Dunks into the watering can I use to keep the plant wet. The bacillus ingredient is natural and non-poisonous, so it seemed like a good thing to try.
After using these treatments for about 3 weeks, I don't see much of a difference in the gnat population. I'll keep trying though !!

violet plant gnat
Do any of my readers have suggestions that have worked for them? Please leave a comment with the information if you can help. Thanks !!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

☆ Holiday Flowers ☆

I think I've started thinking about the holidays a bit early this year. Maybe because of the two batches of snow we have received already here in Colorado. I made a few holiday flowers for my etsy shop, including these roses and a single poinsettia bloom.

I was also lucky enough to snag a treasury this morning, so I filled it with red poinsettia flowers. Here's a picture of the treasury:

Maybe all this holiday talk will bring us weeks of warm weather. That would be great !!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

♪ Honey From the Bees ♪

This is the end of the season for our first year of beekeeping. The bees need most of the honey they made this year to get through the winter, but a bit of it will also be enjoyed by us. Here is a frame removed yesterday that is partially filled with honey:

honey bee hive harvest
The wax frame expands as the bees fill the combs with honey. The bees then cap the cells with bees wax. To get the sweet liquid out, we will have to extract it. This wiki page gives good information about how that is done.

Here is another picture of the unopened honey combs, a bit closer:

honey bee hive extraction comb
I'll let you know how the honey turns out once we extract it from the honey combs !!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

✈ Venus Flytrap ✈

Can I grow this unusual plant on my windowsill? Time will tell I guess. Isn't it pretty, all fresh from the nursery?

plant venus flytrap
I was at the store checking out what I could do about my violet's gnat population. While there, I spotted this adorable Venus Flytrap. I decided it would be fun to try to keep alive in arid Colorado.

The wiki page on Venus Flytraps tells me that this plant likes humid air and wet peat moss for soil. The pot came with an inverted clear cup, so I plan to keep that on top of the plant to make the humidity. I won't transplant the fella for awhile, but when I do I'll use peat moss and wet sand. I read on another website that the mix should be 50:50. If you get a chance, visit the wiki page and check out the cool animated pictures that show the traps closing.

green flytrap venus plant

Here is one of the traps on my plant close up. Some of the traps have a red tint inside. They really are facinating and I'm sure this will be a fun adventure. Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions to help.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

♥ Celebrating Customers ♥

As of today, my etsy shop has 196 sales. It is pretty exciting to be getting near the 200 mark! I have my wonderful customers to thank for getting me to this point. As a way of saying thanks to the customers, I'm offering a special treat to whom ever becomes the customer to tip me over the 200th mark.

crochet rose contest etsy
Here is how it will work: these roses will be given to the first customer to purchase a mailable item that puts me over 200 sales. For example, if the 200th sale is an emailed pattern purchase, then the next mailable purchase after that will be the winner. I will cover any additional shipping costs over your original purchase.

These roses are made from wool yarn, and are my popular 10" long stems. They look great in vases by themselves, or mixed with other stems. They also make nice gift decorations. Use your imagination and leave me some comments on how else you think my rose stems can be used.

Thanks again to my customers for getting my shop to this stage of success !!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

✻ ✻ First Colorado Snow of 2009 ✻ ✻

There are parts of the state that have already seen snowfall, but here along the Front Range, this is our first snow of 2009. The weather forecasters are calling for only an inch or two, so it shouldn't slow anyone down much.

I have some crocheting to do today, so it is perfect weather for me to stay inside and play with yarn. From my window I can see the flowers of the summer covered in white fluff, including some now dry wild sunflowers, and my potted marigolds.

Here are some pictures I snapped this morning of the lovely white snow on the flowers:

colorado snow
marigold snow

Saturday, October 3, 2009

☆ Sunflowers ☆

Today as I was crocheting some Sunflower Coasters, I thought I'd take a look around etsy to see who else made things with one of my favorite flowers. Here are my coasters:

Doing a fast search on "sunflowers crochet" turned up a couple of real head turning creative items. Take a look !

In SturmDM's shop I found this wonderful Sunflower Hat with an adorable bee perched on top. What a unique and beautiful creation !! Click the picture to go to the listing and see more pictures of this special hat.

Next I found a bright and cheerful crocheted Sunflower, which as it turns out is a listing for a crochet pattern:

RippingYarn's shop is a great discovery for me. Besides the pattern for this lovely Sunflower, this mother and daughter team has other lovely crochet and knit patterns available. I am going to enjoy looking around this shop !!

As often happens, I enjoy exploring on etsy. What are you looking for? Check etsy and you'll be amazed with what turns up !!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

♪ Crochet Studio Move-in Day ♪

My little studio is ready for my craft things to move back in !! Yippee !! This building has been a side project for a few years, giving me a place to do my creating. We have been putting it together when there was time, and even though the walls still need finish work, they are insulated and sheet-rocked now. I will unpack and use the studio while other projects move forward.

Here is what the building looked like before we finished the exterior:

It has 16 sides to make a circle, and inside it is 20 feet wide all around. In the center inside stands a natural wood post that supports the roof. The stucco is a clay pot color. Here is what the building looks like today:

Inside my crafting supplies have all kinds of room to spread out. Here are a few pictures that show my yarn, vases, and shipping supplies:

So I'm slowly finding all the supplies I packed away about a year ago when the wall project began. Some boxes have been packed for a few years, so it will be a treat to open them and find what treasures I socked away back then. All through the construction, my little friend Kiwi, the whippet, has been with me. Today she was enjoying being back on her blue couch, watching me go about my hobby.

Be watching my shops for more variety in my products, since I have access to more supplies to make them from. What fun !!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

✈ Fudge Popsicles ✈

One of my favorite treats is a recipe I made up in order to get some protein powder into my diet. My fudge popsicles are easy to make, and provide fairly good nutritional value. To start, I got some rocket popsicle molds like this from Amazon:

fudge chocolate protein powder popsicle
Then, I mix these ingredients in a bowl:
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Skim Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 1/2 Box Chocolate Instant Pudding Powder
I then carefully pour the mixture into the 6 molds and cap the rockets. If I get a bit extra, I pour it into a small container to make an extra serving. Freeze the rockets, and there you have it ! Instant fudge rocket popsicles.

Your nutritional values may vary depending on the product brands you use, but in general mine breaks down like this for one popsicle:
  • 75 Calories
  • 0 Grams Fat
  • 175 MG Sodium
  • 14 Grams Carbohydrate
  • 0 Grams Fiber
  • 4 Grams Protein
Let me know if you make these and how you like them !!

Monday, September 7, 2009

༺ The Violet Mystery is Solved ༻

Well, it wasn't much of a mystery, but now I know what color flowers my new violet plant will create.

!! PURPLE !!

Why the fuss? Those bloggers who have been following the story will remember that my violet plant was a gift from a friend. Last June I posted a picture of what the plant looked like - just a sprout with about 5 leaves. Since that time, I have given updates as the violet grew larger. Finally, at the start of September, I was pleased to discover that I will have the treat of seeing lovely purple flowers on my houseplant from now on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

✈ Milk in Your Eye ✈

Recently I learned an interesting remedy for the pain of getting hot pepper oil in your eye. Milk or Soy Milk ! We have started cooking up some of the vegetables coming out of the garden. The hot pepper made the dish spicy and good. However, after the meal, a tiny speck of pepper oil made it into my husband's eye.

In pain, he asked me to do a fast internet search to find out how to relieve the pain. A number of pages mentioned milk, so he tried some soy milk to see if that would work. He said the relief was immediate after he dabbed the corner of his eye with the soy milk. So, apparently either milk or soy milk is a good remedy !! Here is a picture of our pepper plant:

garden pepper milk
My sweet potato plant is doing well in the garden. Remember how it started out on the windowsill?

This picture was taken last March. Soon it sprouted deep red leaves, and by May, the spud had a whole lot of light green leaves growing all over it. I took out the stakes, planted the sweet potato plant in the garden, and it is still growing as of September. I haven't looked for any sweet potatoes yet, but hopefully in a week or two the digging will begin.

Here is what it looks like now:

Hopefully there are nice sweet potatoes under the ground. Regardless, this was a fun experiment and I learned about a new garden plant.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thanks From Karla

Just a quick post to tell you that Karla is pretty much back to normal now, recovered from her rattlesnake bite from last week. See this previous post for the details of that day.

doberman dog KarlaShe runs and plays outside now, bouncing and bopping just like always. Her brother Oz is happy that she's better too, because all the extra attention she was getting just didn't seem fair to him.

Thanks those of you who sent messages and thoughts to Karla.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

♥ Doberman Sculpture ♥

Karla, our beautiful doberman dog, recently inspired an etsy artist to create a sculpture of her. The timing of this gesture was special, since Karla had a real health scare this week and there was at least one moment when it appeared she might be in real trouble.

dog doberman sculpture
The etsy artist who created this lovely piece is DustyRoseDesigns. I had previously blogged about her sculptures in this post. Later, she was reading my blog and spotted the picure of Oz and Karla sunning themselves on the patio. From this picture came the inspiration for this beautiful sculpture of Karla. Please visit DustyRoseDesigns shop for more lovely items, including this bunny, and these charming squirrels.

Karla was bit by a rattlesnake last Monday. It got her twice in the back leg as she ran by. She probably never even saw what caused the pain, as usually she barks and backs away from snakes like a pro. After a fast drive to the vet, an injection, and a prescription for antibiotics, Karla was able to come home for recovery time.

Today is about the first time she has seemed close to feeling normal again. At first she seemed to be in pain, and was cycling large quantities of water and going outside. This was hard because of the leg's swelling, but she was brave. This pattern continued for many days and nights. Slowly she started being able to put more weight on the leg, so laying down and walking got much easier. Today, 6 days after, she is doing much better.

So thanks DustyRoseDesigns, for capturing this special dog in sculpture. She means a lot to us and we are so happy to have her feeling better now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

✻ Bumblebee ✻

Today I was hanging around inside and I noticed that a bumblebee kept landing on the window ledge. This seemed like a good opportunity to snap a picture or two, so off I went to get the camera. This is my favorite shot:

I like how it shows the segments on the legs, and the texture of the wings. The bee seemed to like the view, as it kept flying off but coming back for more posing. Here is another picture of the bumblebee:

This picture makes the eye look interesting and it almost looks like the bee is smiling! It was fun capturing images of this busy bee !!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

♫ Hearts ♫

It has probably been around for a bit, but I just noticed that craftopolis has a new tab that shows off hearts from etsy ! For those of you not familiar with these hearts and why this feature is cool, let me explain. I'll use my etsy shop as an example.

First, go to the homepage of my etsy shop. Then move down the right hand side until you see "Favorites". Click on "See Who Hearts This Shop" to see all the etsy users who have selected my shop a favorite. The list is long though, so it is difficult to see, for example, how many hearts I got on a certain day. Here is where craftopolis comes in.

Craftopolis is another website that offers personalized information to etsy shop owners. We can find out a number of things, including the details about how many hearts were obtained on a given day. Here is the page that shows my information. Now I can get a really nice visual image of the heart situation, and also when I click on a particular day, the shop icons appear so I can go explore their shops as well.

By the way, hearts are a nice way to keep track of your favorites as you look around on etsy. You can give a heart to a whole shop, and also to individual products. Some people do this to remember something really nice to get as a gift in the future. There are a lot of possibilities.

So check out craftopolis sometime, and enjoy looking around at all the interesting features this website has to offer.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

♥ Sun Dogs ♥

The calendar says end of summer, but don't tell that to Karla and Oz !! These happy doberman dogs love to sun themselves on our patio. Yesterday they were so content that I was able to snap a couple of good pictures of them enjoying their basking.

dogs doberman summerKarla is the black one, full of energy and curiosity. A biting fly was trying to land on her so she was alternating between keeping an eye on it and sniffing the light breeze for any sign of something interesting. Oz is the red doberman. Sometimes I think he is more like a fluffy teddy bear than a big dog, that is until he detects potential trouble. He can create quite the intimidating look when necessary !

dog dobermanThis picture surprised me !! Karla decided to give me a shot that I didn't expect. Isn't she cute ???? Help me think of a cute caption for this picture !!

I love the warm weather too. Shorts and no coats, sunshine to warm the skin, not a worry in the world as far as snow drifts on the roads. But with the cooler nights and mornings, longer pants and fleece jackets are starting to come out of the closet again. There is something good that happens when it gets cooler though: the mosquitoes, little bugs, biting flys and pesky moths leave us alone again! So this post is dedicated to enjoying the change of seasons here in Colorado, as August turns to September and the cooler temperatures become the norm instead of the unusual.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

☆ Who Let the Dogs Out? ☆

Today was family day - including Kiwi (the whippet), plus Karla and Oz (the dobermans). Since we got a vehicle that can hold the whole family, a new tradition of visiting garage sales began this year. We don't usually find much to bring home, but the road trip with everyone is the best part anyway. Since the sales were slim today, I did a little clothes shopping at my favorite thrift store while my husband played with the dogs in some shade. Win-Win !!

To stay with the dog theme, I searched around on etsy and found some whippet and doberman treasures:

DogFaceGirls makes great needle felted items. Here is a cute whippet:

This sighthound is felted from wool, has hand-blown glass eyes, and a handmade beaded collar. This is really a one-of-a-kind item ! If you love this dog, click here to read all about it.

Whippets are such good dogs, in my humble opinion. We lived in a townhouse when we started investigating dog breeds. Whippets were not a breed I knew much about. What I found out was that they were clean, quiet, fun, and very sweet dogs. Kiwi is 12 years old now, and still has all those qualities.

I found another adorable whippet in the shop of DustyRoseDesigns. This artist sculpts polymer clay animals, including this Sleeping Hound:

This sculpture is white and grey, and measures 3" by 4". The features are so delicate and so pretty !!

Since we live in the country, large dogs are important to have around. Karla and Oz are brother and sister, and constantly keep us amused with their antics. They have short hair though, and do get cold in the winter months. Cozy Horse has amazing products to keep dobermans warm no matter the weather. Check out this fleece snood:

I know a few dobermans who would appreciate the warmth this snood would provide to their sensitive ears. This one has a skull and cross bones pattern, but the shop owner says there are other colors available by special order. Check out the listing for more adorable pictures of this cute dog!

These etsy shops have other great items too, so be sure to visit them and look around. I hope everyone had a great family weekend and that the week ahead is lots of fun too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

༺ Violet Update ༻

Another month has passed, and the violet plant has certainly grown!! I just put it in a larger pot, so now there is nothing to stop the little fella from developing flowers. I have a feeling they will be dark purple, but the true color is still a mystery !!

violet flower
I first blogged about this violet in June, then gave an update in July. Click here to read those articles. I had no idea this plant would grow so many leaves this quickly !! When I finally see a flower, I will update an let you know the color.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

✈ Thirsty Buzzing Bees ✈

bee water buzzOn my patio next to the flower pots, sits a blue dog water bowl. Or so I thought. Since we got bee hives this spring, it has become apparent that this bowl belongs not to my dobermans or the whippet, but to a constant collection of thirsty bees!

At first the bees were having difficulty getting out of the water when they hung from the sides to take a drink. I would walk by and see a bee struggling and all in a panic, floating in the bowl. I used dried grass to pick the bee out, but before long he was back in the water doing the frantic swim moves.

So I put a small piece of wood in the bowl to help the bees in their thirsty quest for a drink. Now, all throughout the day, the stick has bees all over it ! I had no idea that bees drank so much water.

The bees are enjoying their new home and seem to be busy making honey in the hives. It is too early to know if we will get honey this year, but if we don't, at least we have all learned to live together in harmony.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Feature This !

It is always nice to be noticed, right? I had this pleasure when Bead Happily Ever After put my crocheted flowers in a story on her blog. She featured one of my arrangements, made to look like a group of violets in a tweed basket. What a nice treat !

I hope you get noticed by someone today too !

Sunday, August 2, 2009

✈ Ants All Over Me ✈

Here in prairie grasslands country, once a year the ants take to flight and do some really strange things. I just checked on wikipedia, and found out it is called the Nuptial Flight. For me, it means flying ants are swarming around the house, birds are eating them and sometimes hitting the windows in their excitement, and generally I want to stay indoors.

In trying to be more positive about this normal event, I decided to look around on and find some examples of ants that would make me smile.

This adorable sandwich bag comes from the shop of Shale Photography. The ants don't have wings here, so I am good with this cute ant example. Stop by and see all the other items in the fun shop, including this beautiful greeting card.

I found this linoleum ant print in the shop of Bello Books:

This ant is pretty realistic looking !! Check out this shop and take a look at this other cute print of a couple of baby birds.

I'm all about finding solutions to situations, which is what lead me to this next picture:

In the shop of We & The Bean, I found the perfect antidote (in my mind anyway). Now I have to think up a way to lure a couple of ant eaters to Colorado. Take a look at this adorable owl I also found in this creative shop.

Thanks for peeking in on my blog today.