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.

DSC_1417

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.

spring and inspiration

I've enjoyed the cold winter weather these past few months. Handknits and boots and sweaters are nice. But spring is my favorite time of year. I can't get enough of spring flowers, and I love the green hillsides, the buds on the lilacs and Easter and my birthday. The longer days boost my energy, and I want to soak up as much fresh air and sunshine as possible, despite spending eight of those sunny hours indoors at work five days a week. 

I'm still loving the daffodils in our yard, and picked an enormous bunch today. With each new type that blooms, I declare a new favorite. Today I love the little apricot ones (center left).

image from www.flickr.com

Of course I can't forget the tiny grape hyacinth and snow drops with their green-dotted bells.

image from www.flickr.com
We don't have any ranunculas in our yard, but Trader Joe's was well-stocked the other day, so I brought these peach beauties home for just $4.

image from www.flickr.com
What are your favorite spring flowers?

While in Spokane, I got to spend a fun day browsing antique shops and malls with my sister-in-law (her excellent finds are here). I showed you the elephant pitcher I couldn't resist as we were checking out of our last stop, but that's hardly all I brought home. 

I also couldn't resist this tiny pink dress, not with it's $5 price tag (actually, the shop owner quoted me $6 and then lowered it as I got ready to pay). 

image from www.flickr.com

I've been wanting to start designing some knitwear patterns, and one of my first ideas is a sweet little baby cardigan. The details on this dress are providing all sorts of inspiration, and I am thinking I will document the design process here as I figure it all out. I hope you don't mind. 

I love this round, smocked yoke:

image from www.flickr.com
And the miniscule embroidered pocket:

image from www.flickr.com
I have a couple things to finish up, but once my needles are free, I have the perfect pink yarn and a head full of ideas to turn into a sweater.

I'm also enjoying playing around with the video camera on my phone, and I so loved the lodgepole pines surrounding my brother's house in Spokane. I'm still figuring out all the editing, but I rather like this brief glimpse of the wind bending the trees.

 Did you catch that brief glimpse of my nephew and his chip bag kite? I will have to tell you more about that, but in the meantime, here he is with his "smile for the camera" smile, curved lips just like a smiley face. He is the funnest 7-year-old I know, and I miss him already.

image from www.flickr.com

a yarn and cupcake kind of day

No time for blogging, I’m visiting family in Spokane this week. I went to a nice little place called A Good Yarn yesterday. After you buy your yarn, they let you use their swift and winder. That was much more fun than doing it myself at home.

I am vacationing without my laptop, so I hope this post works from my phone!

a yarn and cupcake kind of day

tall

I like giraffes, don't you? Maybe it's because they are tall that I find them so appealing. I do not, however, have quite as long a neck.

Giraffe

This is from my trip to the Boise Zoo last month. It's a nice little zoo, and I had fun getting photography tips from my brother as we walked around. It was like we had our own little photo safari.

I've been working on my jelly roll quilt. 126 triangles down, 78 more to go. I've started putting pieces up on my design wall and I think I'm going to love this quilt. I really like creating my own originals, sorting through fabric and finding just the right combination, but sometimes it's so nice to just let someone else do all the thinking work, and just enjoy the patchwork zone that I get into, cutting, sewing and pressing.

Winston is laying on his back, paws in the air, and just started wagging his tail for no apparent reason. He's such a happy dog, I can't help but smile when I'm around him. Yesterday morning I was loading the car with bags for Good Will. I left it open while I went back in the house to get ready for work. When I cam back out to leave, a good 20 minutes later, there he was, sitting in the driver's seat, ready to go! I was tempted to take him with me to work, but it wouldn't have been much fun for him to lay under my desk all day.

farming FAIL

I don't even want to write this post, but I just have to do it anyway. It's going to start out bad, I'm just warning you. I'll try to end on a happier note, though, so I hope you stick with me.

Saturday I came home from visiting my family in Idaho. It was lovely, but earlier in the week Mr. HeyLucy called and said that something was wrong with Sally, she wasn't eating and was mostly just sitting on the nest she made to lay her eggs earlier this Spring. He was bringing her water and setting her in her little pool regularly, and she would drink, but wouldn't even eat apple slices-her very favorite food. This continued the rest of the time I was away. When Mr. HeyLucy met me at the airport he said she was in her pool when he left, and had even gotten in all on her own, so we were hoping that she was improving. Sadly, by the time we got home she was gone, we found her body still in her pool. I was glad that she was at least in one of her favorite spots, but so sad that I wasn't there for her at the end.

Sally70s 

Good-bye little Miss Sally, we're going to miss you!

We're not sure what was wrong, but it could have been one of several things: 1) I was gone, and she was really bonded to me, so she felt abandoned. She followed me all over when I was outside, and she didn't particularly like being held, but would let me pick her up any time I wanted. I really hope this wasn't why she stopped eating. 2) She and Bear had a rather rocky relationship. She would often pull on his tail, and he knew he wasn't supposed to hurt her, but sometimes he just couldn't take it and would pin her down between his front paws and really growl at her. He might have unintentionally hurt her internally. Or 3) She nibbled on something poisonous. I can't think of anything that she might have found, we don't keep any plant food or weed killer around, but who knows what could be out there, she wandered all over the whole yard.

As if this wasn't enough to spoil my homecoming, I went and checked my garden and found two little hens having the time of their lives out there. Apparently a four-foot fence is not enough to keep a couple determined chickens out of the garden. I suspected chickens were the mysterious diggers, but I hadn't ever seen them out there. I guess I should be glad that mystery is solved.

Of course, while I was there I had to check on the bees. I noticed that they had pushed another rubber band out the front door, but not all the way, so I thought I'd help them out, and pulled it out the rest of the way. Unfortunately, there were a few bees hanging on to the other end and they were not happy about being yanked out of the hive. A couple of them were mad enough to sting me, one on my calf, just below my knee, and the other, through my pants on the front of my thigh on the other leg. I got the stingers out right away, and went straight to the house where I took a Benedryl and crushed up some aspirin, making a paste with a little water to put on the sting sites. I read about these treatments on one of my beekeeping lists, and I have to say, they worked brilliantly! Of course the Benedryl put me to sleep, but the aspirin got rid of the pain within minutes, and I didn't have any swelling at all. Now there are just small red blotches and they itch about as much as a mosquito bite, but that's it!

How about some better news? Remember these little creations? I got to see them modeled on this pretty little girl. My brother had a portrait session with the new family, and I got to be the lighting assistant. I have more photos to share from my trip, but it was really nice, and a lot of fun, and I'm still recovering at the moment, so the pictures will have to wait a few more days.

happy new year

I'm back from visiting family for the holidays, and I have so much to show and tell. I also had a long day at work, so I'm just popping in to share some pictures of the quilt that was worked on, although not finished, and I'll catch up some more very soon.

I took the four-pointed star quilt with me, and my sister, sister-in-law, and I put it up. Cary didn't like the way the corner was looking, so he decided to fix it for us.

Caryquilting

Please notice that he is wearing a wrist pincushion. Maybe I should add this to his mySpace. I'm sure his fans would be impressed.

Quilt1

We didn't get a ton of quilting done, but it's well underway and I hope to finish it soon.

Quilt2

hanging out

Turquoise

Hello lonely little blog. I have been doing lots of stuff and taking lots of pictures and right now I’m visiting my family in Idaho, which is so very fun. The above was taken in Idaho City at this crazy, strange, abandoned second hand store. I’ll be back soon!

done

Sheesh, I finally did it. I sewed the darn pocket on.
Tulippocket
I was hoping it would look like a tulip. It sort of does, right? I’m okay with it, I think.
Tulipapron_2
I’m getting pretty good at sewing binding to things. Here’s my helpful hint for seam binding: if you’re going to be going around curves, make sure you use bias binding. Sure, it’s more of a pain to cut out, but there’s no way I could have used straight binding to do this.

Another project I’ve been working on is up and running. This one is a collaboration with my sister. We both have new cameras and new-(ish) versions of Photoshop that we want to learn how to use, so we decided to share the process with everyone. Each week we’ll exchange pictures and then play with them in Photoshop-she has Elements, and I have CS2, so there should be something for everyone. We’ll also share links and resources and other fun stuff relating to photography and Photoshop. I thought it would be kind of cool to have a site for those of us who don’t really know what we’re doing, but want to learn. We’re posting step-by-step what we do, so you can follow along at home. And of course, participation in the comments section is highly encouraged. So please visit, and spread the word!

And lastly, if you need a song for your Valentine on Thursday, I must admit to being partial to this one. You can buy it on Cary’s Myspace page.

lampshade

Lampshade I got a lampshade, so that’s one project down. I took my lamp with me to Lamps Plus, and tried a bunch of different styles, and I think I was right about the drum shape, and Keri was right about the burlap-y fabric. I still think I’d like a yellow shade, but I think I’d have to do that myself. Maybe one day I’ll get brave and recover this shade, but I’m enjoying this one in the meantime. It creates a really lovely glow in the room too.

I tried a white shade and it looked really horrible, it made the lamp look rather dirty.  I mean, I know it’s old and a little dinged up, but i love that about it. In fact, when the salesman came over to help me, he changed out the old harp for a new shiny brass one. Then he thought he was being so generous and offered to let me keep the new one for free. I didn’t bother trying to explain that I like the old, tarnished one much, much better, and please get that nasty shiny one off my pretty lamp. I just smiled and nodded, and changed it back as soon as I got home. I know it doesn’t even show with the lampshade on, I just don’t see why I’d need a new harp when the old one works just fine and the patina matches the lamp. There was also a lady at the store offering me advice on the shades that I was looking at, and she was all for me getting a bell-shaped shade because it was more feminine. She claimed to be an interior designer and I didn’t know how to politely tell her that despite the fact that my lamp is, in fact, quite flowery, I didn’t want it to be too frilly. I’m such a wimp that I bought my shade and walked around the perimeter of the store to get to the exit so she wouldn’t see that I ignored her advice. It’s so good to know that I can come here, to my blog and there will be you lovely readers who understand what I’m doing. Thank you!

Lucylamp I stuck to my Saturday plan pretty well, and finished reading Harry Potter late that night. It was a very satisfying read, and although the book has its flaws, overall I liked it. There were a couple deaths that were particularly heartbreaking, and I was feeling emotionally drained the rest of the weekend. If anyone wants to talk about it, add your thoughts to the comments, maybe we can have a book discussion there. I really need to talk about it! So if you haven’t read it yet and want to remain un-spoiled, stay away from the comments!

And now I have another request. If you have a moment, could you go here and submit my brother‘s name for unsigned Sunday? I would love to hear his music on the radio, and if he has more fans in San Diego, that means he’ll play down here more often, and I’ll get to see him more. That would make me happy! I’ll have a little thank you giveaway later this week :o)

Lucy approves of my lampshade choice too.

taking care

Snowyviolas
It’s always good to come home. I’ve been back since late Monday night, but have been busy catching up at work and at home. Next week will be all about catching up on blogs and comments, I think! I love getting comments so much, so if I haven’t responded to your comment in the last couple weeks, you’ll be hearing from me soon, I am definitely not ignoring you!

Smalltown
I went to bed last night to a light, sprinkling rain, and woke up to a few inches of snow. The picture above is my little town. Click it to see a really big version. That’s pretty much the whole town right there. Sometimes it feels like stepping back in time when I come home.

This is chicken alley. You can’t see it, but our shed is to the right (the bikes are leaning against it), and there is a short wall on the left, so the chickens hang out there a lot because it’s sheltered from the weather. We had some pretty high winds last week, and Mr. Lucy told me that one of the Barred Rocks had ventured out of the alley onto the driveway where she was caught in a gust of wind and went feet over tail, just like a tumbleweed. And then she went back into the chicken coop. I guess she didn’t like the wind too much. In this picture, several of them are running to me, hoping for a treat. Too bad I just have my camera, they already had plenty of treats today!

Chickenalley
In another wind and animal story, there were also some very large gusts that blew a chunk of shingles and the top of our chimney off the roof. Our insurance company sent someone out the other night to tarp the roof, knowing that we had a storm coming in. The contractor put a big, black, plastic bag over the chimney pipe. Yesterday morning when I let the dogs out, Bear was looking at the roof and barking suspiciously. I think he thought the plastic bag was a person standing on the roof. It’s good to know that we are safe from suspicious plastic bags.

So it’s a new year, and I’m not making resolutions, exactly, but I do have plans to take better care this year. I’m going to take better care of myself and my home and of course, Mr. Lucy, who is going to be eating more vegetables this year, whether he wants to or not. Happily, I have a three day weekend, so there will be much cooking of aforementioned vegetables, as well as some serious cleaning and clearing out of the house.

Oh, and you can read more about how I rang in the new year here. There may be video of me behind the microphone, but I plan on doing every thing in my power to insure that it does not see the light of day. All in all though, it was a crazy fun time. Although why does silly string take less than 5 minutes to spray out of the can, and 5 hours to clean up?