autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

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  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

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  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

lovely things

lake waterI think I need to make this a regular post topic: things I found this week that are lovely and inspiring.

I love this crocheted trim on a cozy blanket. I’m going to take a crochet class this fall, and finally learn how I should properly hold a crochet hook.

This site is full of beautiful video and photography of the Serengeti lions. Navigation takes a minute to figure out, but there is lots to explore. I hope I will have to opportunity to go on safari again someday, South Africa was one of my favorite places (not that I’ve been to so many places), and I’d like to see more of the African Continent.

I’m not huge into Halloween, but I do like pumpkins. This is a fun and easy way to make a really cute, carved pumpkin. I might need to do this next month.

We’ve been watching Hell on Wheels on Netflix. I’ve especially liked the music, so I did a little digging and made a playlist on Spotify with some of the songs from the series.

The photo is from my vacation last month, I love how the lake was calm and almost ombré striped.

idaho

The last week of August I met up with most of my family in Northern Idaho. It was beautiful and I was so happy to spend time with my favorite people. I almost don’t want to share photos, because what if everyone realizes that Idaho is a really beautiful state and they all go there? DSC_1482-2

Because there were so many beautiful scenes to photograph, I am thinking about my photography skills lately. I think I need to take some classes to learn how to improve. I feel like I’m sort of stagnant. I’d like to find a style and some originality.

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I’ve been playing with Lightroom, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’d love to find a group or class or something where we could critique photographs, and learn how to improve.

lake pend oreille

As per usual, I have a Pinterest board of photos that I admire. I think I need to articulate just what I like about each photo that I pin, and then see if I can incorporate that in my own photos. DSC_1504

Here’s an example: the photo above was inspired by the series of deer beds by Katherine Wolkoff. I love that there is a story behind what otherwise just seems like a swirl of flattened grass. DSC_1530

My sister sent me a link to photographer David duChemin, who publishes ebooks on photography. I downloaded a free one called Ten Ways to Improve your Craft. None of Them Involves Buying Gear, which is great for me because I’ve felt lately that I’m limited by my little entry-level Nikon and inexpensive lenses. Instead of lusting after a fancy new camera, I should be working on seeing with what I have. I know this, but it’s good to be reminded. I think one of my favorite pictures I took on the whole trip was this one, taken with my iPhone:

stormy skies

I liked it so much, I had a 12×12 fine art print made at Ink361 (mini-review: my print is beautiful, the paper is thick and has a subtle, but very nice texture. I’ll show you when I get it framed. I will definitely be using them again.). So this is where I need to figure out what is so appealing to me about this photo. I like the colors and moodiness and the luminescence of the water. I like that the trees a sharper but the fuzziness around the edges feels like I’m peering through a looking-glass. I think the horizon could be straighter, and the focus could be sharper.

Sorry for the navel-gazing post. I have more photos from my trip to edit and share, but I will save them for another day.

cool things

Here are some things I’m thinking about right now:

::One:: Oyster is like Netflix for ebooks, and I’m thinking it could be pretty cool. It’s currently iPhone only, and you have to sign up for an invite. I put in my request a week or so ago and haven’t heard back yet. I’m looking forward to trying it out, the design looks really nice. I prefer reading on my Kindle, but I’ve read plenty of books on my phone too.

::Two:: I often listen to music while I work, and have several Pandora stations to choose from, depending on my mood. Lately I’m enjoying my Django Reinhart station. It’s cheery and soothing and I like the vintage sound.

::Three:: I went on vacation the last week of August. It was a family reunion at a beautiful lake. I will make you look at all my vacation photos eventually (I’m currently learning to use Lightroom and want to edit them all first), so here’s just a sneak peek:

boat house

dogs in hats

 

I promise this isn’t going to become a pugs-in-clothes blog, but now and then I am going to be compelled to make things for Pulley to wear. I particularly have a thing for dogs in hats, as evidenced by several pins on my ‘best friends’ board (which I recommend that you peruse when you are stressed or sad, it is my cure when I’m having a bad day), also there is this board, which is not mine, but will also cheer you right up.

Back to Pulley. There is a certain sci-fi show which had a tragically short run, but if you are a knitter and watched the show, you will remember a very distinctive hat. Apparently, there are now licensing issues, so I won’t mention the name of the show or the character that wore this most excellent article of clothing. I will just let this photo of Pulley speak for itself.

pulley in a shiny hat

 

He wears it with such dignity. The pattern formula was courtesy of Stacy from Boondock Studios.

list of the week

  1. Have you heard of Skillshare? I’m taking a class to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator. I think it will be fun, even for a non-artist like me.
  2. Another photo printing app: Printic prints cute little photos that look like Polaroids and come in a cheery orange envelope. I think they make a nice thank you gift. printic
  3. A few books that I’ve read recently and really liked (you’ve probably already heard of most of these, but just in case): The Fault in Our Stars (YA, and I listened to the audiobook. my advice: don’t listen in the car on the way to work. my mascara was just ruined one day), Phantom (the best in the Harry Hole series, I hope it’s not the last), The Paris Wife (now I want to read A Moveable Feast and re-read A Farewell to Arms), Dark Places (Gillian Flynn’s second novel, I liked it better than Sharp Objects, although it was dark, it didn’t have quite the twists and turns of Gone Girl). I’ve been reading the Isabel Dalhousie series, but now that I’m on to book four I’m realizing that I don’t care all that much for Isabel, so I don’t know that I’ll go any farther.
  4. I made this and it was really rich, but also really delicious.cheese shrimp flatbread

this spring

This spring has been nearly perfect up here in our little mountain town. I have loved every last daffodil that has bloomed, cutting weekly bunches to enjoy on my desk at work.

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I usually had some company while I cut my bouquets. Hi Pixel!

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I don’t have any ranunculus growing in the yard, but a $5 bouquet from Trader Joe’s in shades of peach and coral made me happy for over a week.

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The lilacs were amazing this year, and I  use that word sparingly. Last year, just as they were about to bloom we had an icy snow storm that killed them all. I guess they decided to make up for it this year.

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I’ve been documenting all the ways I’ve been enjoying my flowers on Instagram, if you need to see more.

I’m momentarily without flowers for cutting, so I’m planning on some summer dahlias (see here for some of my inspiration), and ordered a few varieties from Swan Island Dahlias. We have lavender and roses growing now, so I’m hoping to have a few little bunches to clip and arrange soon. In the meantime, I’m also thumbing through The Flower Recipe Book, and dreaming of filling the house with bunches of flowers.

out of hibernation

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Hello! Spring is here and I’ve been wanting to write and share pictures, but haven’t found a way to make the time. Soon, though! I’ve been taking lots of photos of all the spring flowers and sharing them on Instagram. I’ve been working on some projects, and reading books, and playing with Pixel (and the other dogs, too), and making plans, and working at a new job, so I’ll tell you all about it all very soon, I promise!

puppy

pixel

I haven’t taken enough pictures of Pixel. Here he looks so sweet and innocent, doesn’t he? We just started going to training classes, and he’s catching on, I just need to work harder at being consistent with him. As I’ve been sitting here editing his photo and writing, he’s been barking at Winston for stealing his chew toy. Ahh, puppies.

I’ve still got a lot of cleaning up to do, but I’m happy enough with the site as it is for now. I still have all the pictures from my missing posts, so I may try to duplicate some of them. Things have looked a little messy around here lately, though, so I think I’ll look on this disaster as a chance to start fresh. I might even go through and delete some of the more whiney posts from past years.

p.s. I used the apricot glow action from besotted blog on the photo. I like what it does for my little guy here, isn’t it pretty?

some things to do with iPhone photos

At any given time I have hundreds of photos on my phone. It seems a shame to just leave them there, but it always seems like so much work to do anything else. Well, actually, it’s not really. There are several really easy ways to transform those memories and little works of art from electronic media to real life photos, which are much more fun to look at and share, and there are tons of fun ways to display your photos once you get them in your hot little hands.

Postal Pix

First up is PostalPix, a free iPhone app (and coming soon for Android!) that makes ordering photo prints right from your phone really easy and inexpensive. The service is also really fast, shipping is reasonable, and you can even use PayPal to pay for your prints. The last order I placed got to me in just a few days. They offer a nice variety of sizes, including square prints (4×4, 5×5, and 8×8!), which means they can print Instagram and Hipstamatic photos, no problem. They also print standard sizes up to 8×10. I’ve ordered from them a couple times now, and I’ve been very pleased with the quality. The paper is nice and sturdy, with a matte finish. I’ve even downloaded some of my Nikon photos to my phone from my flickr account, and had those printed and they came out absolutely crisp and clear, and were nice enough to frame!

Here’s what I did with some of my Instagram prints from Postal Pix:

Postal Pix encaustics

I’ve heard of encaustic painting before, but reading this post inspired me to give it a try with some of my photos. I ordered some 5″ x 5″ boards from Dick Blick, and I had some beeswax, so that’s what i used. I definitely need to practice my technique, I messed up a couple prints because I think my iron was too hot and I probably held it in place for too long. Still, I had plenty of successes too. I like the warmth and texture that the beeswax added.

more encaustics

PostalPix also offers aluminum prints, which are so nice. They are a bit pricier, but I ordered this 4×4 print of a photo I took while in Africa, and I love the way it looks. It’s nice and sturdy and seems to be scratch-resistant. The finish is smooth and slightly glossy. I like that it’s something different, and doesn’t need framing. I made a quick little stand for it with a chunk of wood from the yard. I sanded it a bit and then just pounded in a few nails-two in front and one in back. I have a scrap wood/stick thing going on, as you’ll see throughout this post.

aluminum print

Another free iPhone (and Android) app is Postagram. With Postagram you can order postcards, and have them sent anywhere in the world. What’s nice about Postagram is that you can choose not only photos from your camera roll, but also photos directly from Instagram and Facebook.

Postagram postcards are also nice, heavy cardstock, with a glossy finish. You are limited to only square photos (which you scale and crop as you place your order, if they are not already square), but the photo itself can actually be popped out of the postcard for display. You also have the ability to add a personalized message and your own little avatar. For just 99 cents, it’s a nice way to send a greeting to a friend, with the bonus of a nice photo they can save and display.

Postagram is powered by Sincerely, which is also behind the lovely Cartolina Postale app I talked about earlier this year, and several other printing apps that look fun, like Popbooth. You can also buy credits and add contacts to your address book online, to make checking out from your phone even quicker and easier.

Printstagram lacks the convenience a standalone app, but it makes up for it with the variety of products. To order from Printstagram, you’ll need to go to their website and connect to your Instagram account. Then you can choose from a variety of products, from square prints-in two sizes, to stickers, mini books, posters and more. I ordered a set of the mini prints, and chose all my Africa Instagram pictures, plus a few others. They are business card-sized, and extra thick and sturdy. They came nicely packaged in a little brown box, but at the time they took quite a long while to get here, it was a good three weeks or so, and I’m not sure that they are shipping faster yet. While the company is based in California, their products are actually printed and shipped from Hong Kong. You also don’t have the option to order just a print or two, you have to order in the quantities they specify. Still, the quality is good and their products are unique, so if you’re not in a big rush, they are worth the wait.

Printstagram tiny cards

I’m using most of my little prints in a scrapbook, but I wanted to display a few around the house as well. I found some more bits of wood and a few bulldog clips. I had some fun with paint and finishing wax, and used someCommand Picture Hanging Strips for hanging (I only recently discovered these handy little things, I love them!).

display stick

wood block photo holder

Do you need a little more iphoneography inspiration? I thought this was nice:

iPhone shooting techniques

 

Whew! That was a long post with a lot of photos. I hope it was helpful! Has anyone else been printing photos from their phone? Do you have a creative display idea to share?