Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Coming to a Close

Almost every blog you see lately, people are talking about how quickly 2011 flew by. Maybe it's cliche, but really, 2011 did fly by in a flash. This has been one of those years where so many things happened for our family - many changes and new experiences - that it couldn't help but go by quickly.

This was not a very productive year as far as creating new art, though. With moving and starting a farm, spending time making art was not on the priority list. Right now, most of my art supplies are packed in boxes, awaiting their new home. I hope to get a studio spot set up within the next couple of weeks. Then hopefully, I'll spend some time doing art again. I miss it. I miss having ideas and taking time to implement them. I miss selling things and talking to people about things related to art and creativity. I feel that ache in my soul every time I see something I made last year or when I think of things I want to make, but don't have the time to right now. I never want to get to the point where I don't make time to do something creative on a regular basis.

I'm looking forward to 2012 and hoping I will find more ways to incorporate art into my daily life. I hope to write more and be a little more disciplined in my blog writing (yeh, I know, you've heard this from me before).  I appreciate that you have continued to be on my "follow" list. I hope 2012 is an amazing and wonderful year for you.

Happy New Year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Long Pause

Many things have been happening on the new farm. As I type, we have a new high tunnel that is being built, 40 chickens that need to be processed, a new compost bin that needs a lot more organic matter, a messy house and a couple of experimental garden beds that need more logs/sticks and organic matter. I'm also going to start a separate farm blog, but every time I sit down at the computer, I'm either distracted by Facebook or too tired to write any entries.

I'm so grateful to be living in the country and working toward growing food. So far, the things I do here feel like they have more meaning than any other job I've had. It hasn't hurt that the weather has been amazing and the tasks do-able. Check back with me this winter when I have to find ways to unfreeze the chickens waterer, shovel the 300 foot driveway and find a way to get tons of snow off the high tunnel so it won't collapse!

Here are some photos of our place:

The "skeleton" of the high tunnel. Dan is working on anchoring it, then we'll put plastic over  it. The plan is to start growing veggies this winter

Hugelkulture bed with my little "helper" chewing on the sticks

Our neighbor Buzz, who decided to come visit one Sunday morning. We don't have cows of our own, but this guy is so cute, it makes me want to have a few of my own!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Current Big Distraction

This is a view of our land from where the barn is being built. The old barn beyond the hay bales belongs to our neighbor.

Last July, I wrote a post announcing that my husband and I are planning to start farming (you can read the post here). Since the decision to become farmers, our lives have been filled with workshops, classes, reading and talking about farming - pretty much non-stop. Our 8-year-old son, on more than one occasion has said "I think you two are taking this farming thing a little too far". Maybe we are, but he hasn't seen nuthin' yet!

Currently, we are trying to get a barn built. The barn is divided into 3 sections: a 900 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment, a middle section that will eventually serve as a place to host events and a big storage area that now houses our tractor. (Eventually the tractor will "live" outside under a covered area behind the barn).

The construction of the barn has been a slow process. We started planning sometime in the Winter, which turned out to be unusually cold and snowy, then Spring was unusually wet and now this summer seems to be unusually hot. All of these things seem to have some sort of effect on getting our barn finished. But it's ok and I want to share some photos with you.


Working on staking out plumbing and all that important stuff.


South side of the building. The window on the left is a bedroom, window on right is the living room.


Front of the building - all nice and "airy". It was really nice when the roof was put on and the walls weren't up yet. It was so nice to sit and feel the breeze blowing.


The front of the building a couple of days ago. The rocks piled on the front porch are going to be mortared onto the lower three feet of the front. Right off the front of the porch will be landscaped flower beds.


My husband has been working on insulating the inside, the past couple of days. Today I helped put up a few strips of insulation, but decided I needed to leave before I got too overheated (I'm a heat wimp). The heat index was supposed to be 107 degrees. I'm not sure what the actual number turned out to be, but it was hotter than H-E-double toothpicks! I've got a good man - I'm so thankful for him.


While I was stapling insulation, these suckers kept buzzing around. There are several of them in the windows of the barn. I used to think they were called "horse flies" because they liked to hang around horses. Now I know they are called "horse flies" because they are big enough to actually saddle up and ride off into the sunset!


Finally, I'm leaving you with this photo of the beautiful sunflowers I planted. I didn't want your last memory of this post to be of nasty ole horse flies! 

Thanks for stopping by and looking at the barn progress. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Etsy Treasuries

I am a woman who has no business spending time putting together Etsy Treasuries. But sometimes I just want to look at beautiful things and put them all together on the same page. So here are a couple of Treasuries I've done in the past couple of days.







I am amazed at the beautiful, amazing art that is inspired by some of my favorite things. What are some of your favorite things that inspire wonderful works of art?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Return of the Absent One

Dang! Where does the time go?! I was perfectly aware that I had not posted anything for quite awhile, but TWO AND A HALF MONTHS! Gee whiz.

So now I've returned with an obnoxious vengeance - posting yesterday and working on 2 posts today, without any explanation of my whereabouts the past 10 weeks. But since you are a faithful blog reader, I'm sure you are used to such blogging behavior and perhaps you have even behaved this way yourself. Anyway, on with the post...

I have many things to tell you about but right now, I need to keep it short since I'm procrastinating cleaning the house. I still need to get the house done in about an hour, but I like living on the edge, so I'll cram this post in as quickly as I can (for the added adrenaline rush).

The past couple of nights I've been working on posting new items in my Etsy shop. I painted these wooden necklaces quite awhile ago, but just got around to posting them:


I hadn't planned on selling any jewelry, but these tiny pieces of wood were so fun to paint, I couldn't help but make them into something. If I do some more, I might think of some other purpose for them, like a tiny wall hanging or something.

Last night I worked on these:


I've been a little down/grumpy lately, so working on these have been very calming. I love to make tags and carve rubber stamps. I think I'll have to keep doing this - it's much cheaper than therapy!

I currently have 54 items for sale in my shop. I'm hopping to get up to 100 items in the next few weeks. I've read that more items helps increase shop traffic and I would love to have more traffic.

Ok, well, better go clean so my kids won't be embarrassed when their friends come over! :)

Positive Response to Newer Items

I've been fortunate enough to be featured in a few new Etsy Treasuries. I want to post them here. I hope this is not too obnoxious, but feel free to let me know if it is. I'm still in the phase where every Treasury feature feels like I've won some special award! Be sure to check out the shops of the artists included in these treasuries - You're in for a real treat. Thanks for looking.




The curator of this treasury is Distinctive Decor. You can visit her shop here.



Curated by Shanali Designs



Curated by Carol Annie Poo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Only Peas I Love

Hi. Here's the latest Etsy Treasury I put together. Take time to check out the shops I've included.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Treasuries

It is a great honor to be included in Etsy treasuries. It means someone has seen my work and liked it enough to include it with 15 other favorites. I'm always happy and pleasantly surprised when someone has taken the time to acknowledge me in this way.

Here are a couple of treasuries I've been included in lately. Please take time to visit the shops that are represented.






Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bee Hive Construction Part One


This is my first bee hive.  It looks different than one might think. That's because I have to actually build it.  We worked on building one in "bee class", so apparently that "experience" made me think I was an expert in bee hive building. What I forgot was, I had the assistance of 3 men in my group, 2 instructors for the class and a number of fellow students who were also building the hives. The other thing I forgot is that I didn't actually build an entire hive, just the little inserts where the honey is made.

Oh. And I lost my instructions.


This is the bee hive lid, filled with 40+ pieces of wood.


More pieces to put together.


All of these wood pieces were quite interesting to my "helper" (aka Russell)


In this photo Russell is chewing on a stick from a tree not from the hive. But I had to chase him away several times to keep him from gnawing on all the small pieces of wood. He was kind of obsessed. He did finally get a piece of wood, while my attention was focused elsewhere (like trying to figure out which nails I was supposed to be using and the fact that there seemed to be a lot fewer pieces when we did this in class). Luckily, I caught him before he totally destroyed the wood. I won't know for sure how much damage was done until I put that part of the hive together.


Here's another shot of Russell's "helpfulness". I was starting to feel a little stressed about this project, so I decided for the health and well being of our relationship, he needed to spend a little quiet time in his kennel. He was ok with that, he was more comfortable in the kennel than in this hive box lid anyway!

After a couple of hours, one smashed thumb, (I'm proud to say that I didn't even cuss and I could have. The kids were at school and no one would've heard, but I suffered the pain in silence), several nails and a few ounces of wood glue later, this is what I had finished....


And these are the pieces I have yet to put together:

I was expecting I would be able to accomplish more than I did. Maybe I need to fire my helper and find someone who knows a thing or two about building? Stay tuned for hive building part 2. Hopefully, I'll actually be able to finish it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're Home!

We arrived home Sunday night around 8:30. The trip to California was wonderful. Our last night was spent visiting Cline Cellars for a tour and wine tasting. Afterward we went to Vineyard's Inn where we experienced a Basque style, seven course meal that was fabulous and included much, much more wine. It was just a wine-a-thon kind of day/evening.

Here are my photos of the day:




These were floor to ceiling antique barrels that are currently used for wine storage. They were huge and beautiful.






Wine barrels in storage. There were several rows of these barrels - pretty amazing that there could be that much wine in one place.



For some reason I cannot resist photos/paintings or other art showing poppies. I love poppies and these just happened to be at the winery. What's a girl to do? I had to shoot some photos!




A photo of the vineyard at Cline Cellars, with a cover crop in between the rows of grape vines. I think the cover crop is mustard - it's lovely, isn't it?





Another shot of the vineyard with one of the winery buildings in the background. It was a great day and the scenery here was beautiful. Our tour guide Darryl, did a great job showing us around and teaching us how to taste wine. It's a lot different than my college days when I would buy a $1.99 screw top bottle of TJ Swan Easy Nights and think it was good!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farming in California

My husband has been attending a beginning farm program through the University of Missouri. It's a wonderful, intensive 4 module course that helps entrepreneur farmers learn how to develop an idea, write a business plan and network with other farmers. The third module is being held in Petaluma, California and I am fortunate enough to be attending the conference with him.

In fact, that is where I am this very minute...sitting in a hotel, writing a little about our adventures.

Yesterday was a big day full of farm tours around the region. We saw some beautiful farms, met some interesting, funny and opinionated farmers. Our dinner last night was held in the Baker Creek Seed Bank which is in downtown Petaluma - located in a beautiful old bank building. It was a long day and our brains were pumped full of information. It was great!

Here are some photos from our tours.

This is Bob Cannard of Green String Farm. He has an amazing amount of information and experience with regard to natural farming practices. He is passionate about teaching others to farm in a way that is sustainable and provides safe, healthy food for people.


Bob Cannard of Green String Farm



Bob's House





The most beautiful Rosemary hedge I've ever seen. If this had been the only thing I saw on the trip, it would have been totally worth it!











Cowgirl Creamery produces delicious, organic cheese. The cheese in this photo is waiting to be wrapped. All the cheese is wrapped and packed by hand. We got samples of several of their cheeses - it was very yummy!






Tara Firma Farms was the last farm we visited. We met one of the owners, Tara Smith, who was very kind, funny and passionate about healthy food. I found her very inspirational, especially since she is doing a similar kind of farming that Dan and I want to do.  She and her husband also come from non-farming backgrounds and are learning "by the book" (Joel Salatin books). I admire people who aren't afraid to admit they are just in the learning stages. This is a new farm - only two years old- I look forward to seeing how they grow over the next few years.

















Happy Pigs

I'm in awe of people who are so willing to share what they know about farming, just because they have such passion for small farms. I think it takes a lot of courage to let a group of strangers from Missouri romp around your farm and let them ask all kinds of probing questions.

I learned a lot yesterday. The tours were informative and inspiring. Most of all, listening to the stories of how people got started, made me just want to get out on the land and start planting! But I'll have to wait until next week, when I'm home. Tomorrow we are discussing writing a business plan and strategic finance. It's not as much fun as learning about composting or seeing baby chicks by the hundreds, but it's necessary, so I guess I'll do it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Treasury

I've been included in another beautiful treasury. This time one by Berkeley Bloom. Take a moment to look at all of the colorful offerings from some wonderful Etsy artists:


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Recent Artwork

It seems like it has been such a long time since I have done any work in the craft cave. Last night I did a new (small) painting and in the past couple of months I've done a couple colored pencil pieces. I thought I'd post them so you wouldn't think I'm a total slacker! :)

Blue & Pink Flower by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011


I started this one yesterday when I was working a shift at the art gallery and finished it last night at home. It is done with watercolor pencil and black ink and sharpie marker.


Rainbow Heart by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011


I did this drawing a few weeks ago. It's done in colored pencil and black ink.


Colors on Kraft by Laura L. Pugh copyright 2011
I did this drawing a few weeks ago too. It's the first time I've done anything on colored paper (aka paper other than white) and I really like how it turned out. I also love the white pencil and how well it shows up on the Kraft card stock.

Thanks for stopping by. My plan is to get these three designs made into prints and greeting cards. For sure, the greeting cards will be in my Etsy shop. Stop by to see what's new over there!  I hope you have a great weekend!

Divinely Swirled Treasury by Sampler Village

Recently, I contributed some tags for a couple of sample boxes through Sampler Village. If you aren't familiar with sample boxes, they are quite amazing. It's an opportunity for a buyer to purchase one box that includes samples of goodies from many online stores that specialize in handmade items. I bought a box in December and it included candles, cookies, lotions, cupcake toppers, wine glass charms, lip balm and more. So for a very reasonable price, I was able to try out products from several different stores.

As a seller, I provided samples of my tags and cards which were distributed in sample boxes and mailed. It's a great way to get some exposure and all I had to do was supply a few samples.

Sampler Village was started by Traci Porczynski in 2009. She spends many hours and expends a lot of energy helping promote handmade sellers. I am thankful for the work she does! I hope you will take time to visit the Sampler Village blog for more information.

I'm also a member of the Sampler Village Etsy Street Team. Traci compiled an Etsy Treasury for some of the Team members and she picked some of my tags. Here it is:




Thanks Traci, for all your hard work!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken Update

Ok...I don't want to be someone who only writes about chickens all the time, but I had to post some exciting news. Well, it's exciting to us.


Velma and Hilda


It turns out that all of our chickens are hens! Yay!

This is exciting for a couple of reasons. #1 We will be getting more eggs than if we had less than five layers. #2 if any of our chickens had been roosters, we wouldn't have been able to keep them. We are in the city and we value our relationships with the neighbors. Crowing roosters don't make for happy neighbors. I wasn't ready to give any chickens away or, more than likely, cooking one up for dinner.



This is Caroline. We've been thinking she's a rooster for several weeks now. She makes weird noises and is kind of assertive - things that roosters are supposed to do. We started calling her Carlos, but after learning that she is truly a hen, she can go back to being Caroline again.

Thank you to the experts at Backyard Chickens dot com for being patient and kind and for helping those of us who are clueless in the ways of the chicken. If it weren't for you, I'd still be waiting for "Caroline/Carlos" to crow.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Let's Talk Chickens


In late July 2010, we became back yard chicken owners. This is what the chickens looked like when we first got them. The mom (Velma) and her four babies. We optimistically named all the chicks girl names, except KC (the white one) because my son was being very practical about the possibility that one might not be a girl.

We've been getting quite a few eggs lately, so we suspect that we have at least 3 layers (including Velma) maybe even four. The problem is, being novices and all, we are having problems figuring out if 3 out of the 5 are male or female, boys or girls, roosters or hens. That isn't an easy thing for me to admit...I took biology in school and I feel like I should know these things. But chickens are different than the beings we studied in biology.


This is Caroline. For the longest time, we have been thinking she is a rooster - so we've also been calling her "Carlos". Now, we think she/he may be laying eggs.


This is KC. We thought KC was a rooster, then a hen, then a rooster, then...you get the picture.


This is Hilda. I think we're pretty sure she's a hen. I tried posting photos on the chicken forum I belong to, so that we could get some expert advice. However, the website has been experiencing a lot of spam lately and since I'm a new member, I've been banned from posting photos or links. They have to check me out first to make sure I'm not a spammer. So, if you happen to be a chicken expert and would like to offer an opinion, I'd love to hear from you.


We do know for sure, someone is laying eggs. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing, tasty eggs! Every day it's like a treasure hunt and every day it's exciting to see how many eggs we have. We are truly blessed! I look forward to the day when we are getting enough eggs to share with friends.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Daily Planner by Geninne

Artwork by Geninne Zlatkis

Like many other people, I could spend hours upon hours lost in the online world. I am often amazed at how much time goes by and how lost my focus becomes when I'm looking for something. This is especially true if I'm looking at art online or if I'm reading blogs. One click leads to an amazing blog or website, then to another, and another until I have forgotten that my original purpose in turning on the computer was to see the weather forecast.

Sometimes when I am looking around I stumble upon an Etsy shop or blog that takes my breath away. I get that feeling of awe and wanting to see more and more of what the person has created. One of the artists I've found that keeps me continually amazed is Geninne Zlatkis. I don't know when or where I first saw her art, but I've been a fan for awhile. In fact, I follow her blog and on facebook. Sometimes I feel a little like a cyber stalker, but I try to keep it under control. :)

I'm not very good at buying art for myself - which is something I have in common with a lot of creative types. But for the longest time I've been telling myself that when a birthday, Mother's Day or some other gift giving opportunity comes around, I'm just going to have to buy a print (maybe this print) from Geninne. Her art work is gorgeous, beautiful, amazing and fabulous! She works in brightly colored watercolor with white acrylic ink highlights. She often does mixed media collage and makes her own hand carved rubber stamps.





Back in January, she announced on her Facebook page that she had a new daily planner available. It had several of her paintings throughout and I decided this was my opportunity to own some of Geninne's work. I'm not sure how many she had available, but they have since sold out. I wasn't surprised since around the same time she had come out with some mini books that sold out in a flash!





My daily planner arrived on Valentine's Day and I love it! It has many sections to help keep me organized: monthly calendar, checklists, weekly calendar, notes pages, contacts and even a section of drawing paper - which I used to doodle on this past Sunday while I listened to the sermon at church.



The best part of course, is every day on every page, seeing one of Geninne's beautiful birds, butterflies and flowers. It's very inspiring!



Be sure to check out Geninne's blog and Etsy shop to see more of her beautiful artwork - you'll be inspired too!