Friday, January 30, 2009

Roses in Treasury

Today I was happy that my purple rose bouquet was included in an etsy treasury. It always feels good to discover that someone thinks my flowers were worthy of a place in their handpicked list of special etsy items.

purple rose bouquet etsy
Thanks ! Be sure to check out the curator's shop, Auntie Mom's Bling on

New Yarn !

Don't you just love when a new batch of yarn arrives? I enjoyed that thrill yesterday when this group came home. I love when it comes in a bag too, it makes the purchase seem even more special.

yarn wool cottonI got some wool and cotton yarn this time. These are popular colors for my flowers. Light green is great for rose wraps, and the pinks and purples never go out of style. Now I'm off to incorporate the skeins into my stash. I keep them in clear plastic bins to protect them, plus I can see the supply easily. What a treat !!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Farm Creatures - Bees !!

This spring our farm will begin an exciting chapter of life - exploring the experience of beekeeping. As part of our goal to live as sustainably as possible, it made sense to add honey bees to the ecosystem of our farm. 

To begin, we are getting two bee hives. The first hive will get 3 pounds of Italian honey bees, the other will get 3 pounds of Minnesota Hybrid bees. Each hive will have one queen bee. Apparently the bees spend the first summer building out the hive, so we should expect honey in the second season.

Bees are having trouble these days. Etsian SturmDM promotes the education and funding of bee research in her shop. She also creates adorable bee themed items, such as this hat/bee combination - I just love it ! This one is sold, but I'll bet she would make another one like it if asked.

So, we begin another adventure. I hope to learn to love the little buggers over time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blogging Tips: Why Do It?

Why blog? What is it good for? When is there ever extra time to fit blogging into the day? These are some of the questions I asked myself when I learned about the blogging world. Sure, as a reader, blogs are often interesting and helpful. For me, it took actually starting a blog to find answers to many of my questions.

I began blogging because I liked the idea of having one place on the web to attract people who are interested in my passion - crocheted flowers. After diving in, I found out there were other things to consider as well. I would  need pictures, interesting topics, and research to make sure my posts were accurate. I would need readers, and would want to spend time exploring other people's blogs. There turned out to be more to blogging than I originally thought, but in a good way.

If you are considering blogging, check out my 'Why Blog' list to see if my experiences might help you decide if blogging is something you would like to do too.

Why Blog? 
  • Gets me reflecting about my life, and what I want to share with the world
  • Helps me explore, learn, and organize information
  • Prompts me to communication with people I've never met
  • Causes me to practice technical skills, like photo editing and html writing
  • Introduces me to current trends on the web
  • Gives me a place to show things
  • Keeps me in the present
butterfly purple

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fun Fact - Spin An Egg

Our Rhode Island Red Chickens have been producing eggs ever since they turned about 5 months old last September. Sometimes they slow down on very cold or windy days. The eggs are great for eating and sharing. I made homemade pancakes for dinner tonight with a couple of them! 

Another good use for the eggs is hard-boiling. Our dogs get these every once in awhile to help with their coats. Do you know how to tell if an egg has been hard-boiled, without cracking it? Give it a spin !!  A hard-boiled egg will spin easily, while an uncooked egg will wobble or stop spinning more quickly than a hard-boiled one. Give it a try !!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wind Power Baby !!

Unlike the north US, Colorado is pretty warm today. The wind is also blowing, so I have lots of power to spare. Our wind turbine is spinning, plus the sun is shining on the solar panels. Yippee ! I've done two loads of laundry and the dogs are enjoying the sunshine. So in keeping with the wind theme, I thought it would be fitting to feature a few etsians today, who, through their craft, also proudly display wind turbines.

wind turbine t-shirt happyfamilyThe first is happyfamily.  They feature "Tees for the whole family ~ Guys, Girls, Kids & Babies!", including hand screen wind turbine prints on tees and tote bags.  These turbines are larger than I have here at the farm. We do have at least two wind farms near here though, with tall beautiful towers like this graphic shows. So cool !! 

The other etsian I want to show is toybreaker. This shop has "ties that don't suck".  I found ties with wind turbine graphics on them. 

Not only are the ties pretty, they take great pictures of them too. Those greens and blues are some of my favorite shades. 

I hope everyone stays warm, and we keep getting nature's energy today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Kiwi the Whippet !

dog whippet pet kiwi birthday
I can measure a section of my life by looking back on the life Kiwi and I have shared over the past 12 years. Digital cameras were just coming about back then when we visited the litter of whippet puppies. I remember using a regular camera to take pictures of the puppies, then having to wait a few days to get the pictures back. Seems like forever ago.

Kiwi is my constant companion and friend. Today is her twelfth birthday !! We probably won't have cake or candles, but she did get a special dog treat, and we will go for a walk later when it warms up. She loves to sniff around, run and jump, and if we get so lucky, chase up a jack rabbit to run after. She can't cover the same amount of ground as she did in her prime, but Kiwi can still give a rabbit a scare.

Whippets are quiet, clean dogs. We lived in a townhouse when we originally brought her home. The breed we selected had to be compact, and not too barky. Kiwi will occationally make a greeting sound, somewhat like 'hoo hoo', but besides that, she is not a barker. She'll kiss intruders, not bark at them. So she is just a sweet companion, who only asks to be included and kept warm. What a great pet she is !

Thursday, January 15, 2009

etsy Hooker Team Challenge

Valentines Day Red Romantic RosesEvery few months the etsy Hookers Team holds a challenge. We are given a theme and a time schedule. Everyone heads off to create a new item to fit the topic. After all the entries are in, we hold a public vote. The winner is selected and gets to pick the next theme. It is a lot of fun, and offers a way to promote your etsy shop. I love seeing the creative items everyone comes up with.

The current theme is romance, due to Valentine's Day being near. My entry features red wool roses in a lace vase. Check out the button accent stems ! These button flowers are a new interest of mine. By combining different button shapes and beads, pretty little flowers can be made.

Everyone can check out the challenge entries on the etsy Hooker Team's website. They are not posted today, but when a few more entries are received, the items will be displayed there.  Join me in checking out all the talent from this great group of Hookers. To find out more about the team, visit their main website too.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Love the Healing

Today I was fooling with pictures and found out I'm in love with the Photoshop healing tool. I took this picture of peacock feathers, but it had a few light spots I didn't like.

peacock feather photoshop
So I tried out the cool healing tool. I selected the tool that looks like a bandge, held down the option key, then clicked on the source pixels. This picks the colors to use in the bandage. Finally, I clicked on the light spots. That's it ! The source pixels covered up the problems. No more white spots, just a pretty picture of peacock feathers.

Honey, Can I do the Laundry Today?

At our farm we rely on wind and solar power to generate electricity. The nearest power line is about 2 miles away, so in order to live on our isolated prairie grassland homestead, we made our own local utility system. 

solar panels, alternative energy, sunThe solar panels tilt to follow the sun throughout the day. This generates more electricity than if they didn't move. You can practically tell the time of day by watching where they are pointing !

In the power shed there is a gauge that I've become vary familiar with. It shows how much electricity we have on hand, and how much we are generating. I need to go check it today, since it is partly cloudy, and the wind is not blowing much.

wind turbine, alternative energy, wind power
Our second source of power is a wind turbine. It sits on a 100 foot tower, which is the recommended height for wind in our area. We get a lot of wind, sometimes too much ! It has become a habit to look up at the blades when outside to get a sense of the weather situation.

Between the solar panels and the wind turbine, we meet our energy needs most of the time. Right now we are in the worst season though, since the days are often cloudy and the wind is not always available. 

So I'm off to check the power supply in a minute. Hopefully it tells me that I can do laundry, vacuuming and maybe even run the dishwasher this afternoon. It isn't hard to live with an alternative energy system, you just have to be aware of the weather and plan energy use around it. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dobermans are Hams !

Besides chickens and a peacock, our household includes a whippet dog and two dobermans. Today I was watching the dogs and enjoying the 60 degree day. Karla and Oz volunteered to pose for some pictures.

Karla is the black doberman and Oz is the red one. They are brother and sister. We adopted them this fall as full grown dogs. I wish they had natural ears, but we didn't get to make that choice for them. They do strike a powerful pose with the erect ears though. 

It was so nice outside today ! The sun was shining, and the wind was calm. Having weather like this in the middle of winter is quite a treat. Colorado could use some moisture here in the eastern part of the state, but I did enjoy being outside with the dogs.

Karla helps with all human activities. She pokes her nose in everywhere ! But with a cute face like this, she is usually a welcome companion. 

I hope your day was nice too !!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cutting Up the Peacock

No, we are not having Pete for dinner any time soon !! 

I've just been practicing my Photoshop skills. This picture was made by extracting the peacock out of an existing picture, then adding a layer of rendered clouds behind him.

What a handsome bird !

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Made A Photoshop Room

A couple of my flowers on have new pictures today. I created a virtual room to put them in. Here is one of my favorite pictures, featuring a vase full of yellow wool roses.

crochet rose vase cobalt blue
I need to figure out how to add shadows and light sources to make it look more three dimensional. More to learn, more to experiment with !

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Got An Old Typewriter?

Who knew that creative artists would think of making jewelry from typewriter keys? I've been seeing adorable items on lately that remind me of old typewriters from my past. Here is a great piece from retrocafeart:

typewriter key jewelry retrocafeart
My grandmother was a small town newspaper reporter. Her job was to collect local news and type it up for the weekly paper. What I wish I remembered more clearly was how the whole production worked. I know she sat in the front of the office, but in the back of the business interesting things were going on. There was lead to melt, and typesetting to be done. I wonder if anyone makes art from those old lead typeset letters?

My college papers were all written on a typewriter. The big deal back then was if you had an electric typewriter or not.  My parents sent me to college with a beautiful blue electric typewriter. It didn't have self-correction or anything fancy, so white-out was the way to fix the inevitable mistake I'd type near the bottom of the paper.  I appreciate the ease of computer typing so much more having gone though those times.

Another nice key piece comes from the shop of KeysAndMemories:

On a recent visit with my brother, we looked over a vintage typewriter he has. Remember the manual return that you had to hit at the end of each line of type? Or the way the keys themselves look like hammers on a piano? It was always important to set the margins correctly. The keys themselves really are special and their worn surfaces speak volumes from the past.

I hope you have some good memories of the typewriter too !