28 April 2012

Hummingbird Haven

Although not the best images from a technical point of view I think they give can give you an idea of what sunset is like at our house. On this side of the house we have 4 quart sized feeders out. They are filled daily. At sunset we can hear these little creatures tanking up for the cool night - they create a steady, strong humming noise that is unmistakable.  As near as I can count there are at least 25 birds around each feeder as the sun sets - on some nights it seems like there are even more
I am in awe of these hardy little creatures who make such long journeys and always see to come "home" in the Spring. This year we did have two over wintering pairs - so we kept "juice' up all winter - thawing it as needed on very cold days. They amaze me and I am always excited to see their them return around Saint Patty's Day each year - and leave in mid July. I wonder if the same two pairs will remain behind this year too?!

15 April 2012

Lost Crates Encore! Treat Yourself To A Stylish Surprise!

"Crated" items: Bottom right to left : Skillet Bacon Spread, Alchemy Goods 'Night Out" wallet, Chef'n Pinch & Pour little bowls, and a wonderful bamboo dry-erase note board
The wild and fun entrepreneurs at "LOST CRATES" sent me a surprise in the mail. My last review of this very cool company was in OCTOBER 2011 and they have grown their business by leaps and bounds since then. They now offer a multitude of new theme crates that include: Eco, Foodie, "Found In", Housewares, Stationary (of course!), Jack's Picks, Angie's Picks & Petite Stationary. Another new, upgraded feature is that, rather than having to sign up for a monthly surprise, you are able to choose to receive a 'quarterly' mailing. Just think of how much fun it would be to find an artfully decorated "crate' on your doorstep"- a surprise that will make you smile widely.

In addition they now offer "a la carte" shopping - a real boon if you have a hankering for one of their nifty, unique products but can't go all out this month or that for the whole shebang Crate experience. We all deserve a surprise - a mystery gift that we give ourselves. 

I should mention that Lost Crates has retained their wonderful, whimsical, little test that I had mentioned in my earlier post about this unique companies vision) - lest you are not sure what Crate is really "the" one for you.  Crates are also a wonderful gift item - a mystery for both you and the recipient...but a gift that you can be sure will bring much pleasure and delight!
My Crate is "Found In: Seattle" - near enough to my magical rural island to bring me a taste of what's in vogue in our Emerald City by the sea.  Each item was useful and unique - and things that I have doubt I would not have encountered without "Lost Crates" magic. 
  • The Alchemy Goods 'Night Out' wallet is thin enough to stash in a back pocket - ready to carry the essentials of a good evening. Best thing about the wallet? It's made from recycled bicycle inner tubes - soft, pliant and oh! so green.
  • Bamboo Dry Erase board makes you think twice about leaving a note for your family. The bamboo board is beautiful to feel and look at and it works perfectly with the dry erase pen (provided) . This is a rockin' little board. 8.75 inches tall and 5.25 inches wide - it comes with a non-slip backing too. Made from 'green' managed forestry.
  • Skillet Bacon Spread: I think it's safe to say that most of love our bacon in one way or another. This yummy spread can be used as a saute or spread on the bun or bread for your burger or sandwich. Serving size is one ounce that provides 80 calories, 4g of protein and only 3g carbohydrates. Yes, it really IS good stuff! No nasty ingredients were noted on the label either!Another Seattle find!
  • Chef'n Pinch & Pour mini ingredient bowls. I have to admit to having lusted for this colorful little culinary bowls in the past. Personally, I think that they are super useful both in the kitchen and in the studio. They are really a handy item and I thrilled to see them nestled in the package.
This is the wonderful stamp that adorns each Crate. I love the design and it does remind me that snail mail still rules when it comes to fun and memories. You can't quite take the same sort of pleasure from an email as you can for a surprise "Lost Crate" !

Give yourself a mystery box of goodies designed just for you. Head on over to Lost Crates and make yourself the happy expectant recipient of your very own Lost Crate!

09 April 2012

Speak To Me Of Spring: Lily Of The Valley

I've enjoyed being a member of Kim Klassens   PhotoShop Test Kitchen for some time now. Kim offers a fresh take on textures, Photoshop CS, Photoshop Elements and she always has lots of surprise video how-to's to offer. It's well worth the small amount you pay for the education and fun you receive!

Today Kim offered a great little tutorial on how to add a color code to bottom of an image. It's a sampling of some of the colors that are contained in the main image and I really what adding this element can do for some images! Kim has a way of making things clear - she teaches using PhotoShop CS as well as Elements version. Thanks Kim !
Lilies Of The Valley have always been one of my favorite Spring flowers. Surely their scent is a foretaste of heaven! That's what I had to choose a photo of them to use for this experiment !

08 April 2012

Chickens & Roosters & More Oh My!

The Head of the Harem!
What a great week this has been! My friend/sister, Lauren, and I have wanted to have chickens for some years now. She and her husband, Carlo, made our wish come true this week! We has planned to get chicks and raise them but this little flock of Buff Orpington's had been in peril and so Lauren brought them to her house to rescue. Their former mistress has been unable to care for them any longer and god had climbed into the coop and attacked and killed two of them last week. They needed some upgraded nutrition and a more secure, calm environment.
Leading the way for the girls
Lauren & Carlo did all of the difficult work - and my job, it appeared, was just enjoy. I've spent some time in the pen with them just observing chicken social dynamics. It's already been quite enlightening! The rooster began to become a bit aggressive and we briefly considered giving him away. The consensus now is to give him some time to settle in and realize that there is not the danger there used to be. Today (Sunday) he already seems a bit less alpha but he is, most assuredly, the king of his harem - and that's pretty funny to watch.  They've been laying - but not as much as they should be. Once again, we believe that they need some time to settle and relax. They're getting excellent nutrition and supplements now and I expect that they will be good, dependable, layers soon.
I know it's a little strange but seriously, could a chicken butt be any cuter???!!!
The first home grown egg - what a thrill. Warm to touch and as clean as could be!

I had stopped over after work but had brought along my muck boots - with chickens on them of course! Quite a classy combination don't you think ?!
Flowering Cherry Tree
 Thursday we took a bit of walk - or maybe this was from Friday - but anyway the weather was glorious and being outdoors with my special friend was really energizing for me. These are a few of the things we saw along the way.
 A neighbor's whimsical yard provided this image as an inspiration. I love this flower 'pot' chair!
 An old growth tree mesmerized me with it's majesty. 
This week, with sunshine, chickens & friendship I began to feel the warmth of Spring and the many blessings of nature. It was a phenomenal week to be alive; enjoying theses simple, but oh so wonderful things.
This vintage dart board just called out to me. There are so many possibilities for this image! Yes, I was quite inspired by it ! 
What's inspired you this week?

02 April 2012

Noro SIlk Garden Shawl

This is a new shawl and I enjoyed making it from start (about a month ago) to finish. It's another shawl that was made, essentially, from my left over bits and bobs of Noro Silk Garden yarn - one of my all time favorites. I had to supplement my left overs with several balls of a variety of blue and green mixes - not bad for a shawl that I've already fallen in love with.  I am, as many of you already know, a "warm" side of the color wheel kind of gal. Blues have never been as enticing for me. That was one of my challenges to myself in making this shawl - working with blues, purples and greens. I have to admit that I'm smitten and perhaps you will see more of these colors finding their way into my work
The patter is from Cheryl Oberles's book "Folk Shawls" and is called "Simple Garter Stitch Prairie Shawl". I altered a bit along the top border to add a little more textural effect
Detail 1
I had to finish this shawl before I allowed myself  begin working on Cheryl Oberle's Fundamentlly Faroese Shawl #1. I'm making it with Malabrigo Arroya yarn in their Arco Iris colorway. Began it last evening after I washed and blocked this one! 

My husband asked why I'm making so many shawls? What can I say? I love them - and find that they are the perfect garment for our temperate climate.
Detail 2 - showing my new Jul shawl pin that got (on sale even!) in honor of finishing the shawl!

01 April 2012

Photo Heart Connection Images for March

March's Photo Heart Connection has just been posted on Kat Sloma's website. I look forward to these heart connections links because I really do believe that each month there are photographs that I take that really speak to me.

I was trying to decide between these two images. The bottom one taken on March 1st on San Juan Island, my home, and the top one taken on March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day, on Vashon Island, during our annual retreat.

I finally chose the top image because I find this particular tree to be so utterly mesmerizing each year that I get to see it during our retreat. It's such a perfect time of year too - although year there were very few weather breaks. This year we had a cold snap with thunder storms (rare on the West Coast), driving hail and pounding side ways rain storms. I was fortunate to have found a perfect sunny break to snap a few photos. This tree just always calls to me - that's why I've chosen it for my photo-heart-connection for March.
I loved this image too though - taken as March began on my morning drive to work. I'm a  'mist hound'. I love what mist and fog can add to a landscape and the clouds this morning were truly a gift to behold!