Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garden Update

Earlier this month, I wrote about all the different vegetables we planted this year.

The things we started from seed are doing pretty well. The starts I bought from Lowe's, not so much.

The spinach is hanging in there, but only one of the four butter lettuces is still alive.

As for the broccoli, well. . . .

Of the four plants, two produced a few rather sparse-looking florets. But nothing even remotely resembling the thickly packed heads you see in the supermarket.

A few days ago, I noticed a hint of yellow, and I knew what was coming.

Broccoli blooms.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


A number of years ago, my sister gave me a poster she had designed and made from construction paper and posterboard. I've displayed it on my wall at various residences, but for quite awhile now it has been stored away with other old wall art. But I've kept it all this time because I treasure the things that were handmade especially for me.

The colors have faded over time, but the graphic appeal remains.

A few months ago, I was casting about for ideas for a new Craftsy pattern, and this poster came to mind. I called up my sister and asked her if she minded if I turned it into a quilting pattern. (I recently took a course on copyright law; it was very eye-opening. Apparently, any original work that is "created and fixed in a tangible form" enjoys automatic copyright protection.) I would have been surprised if my sister had declined, but asking still seemed like the right thing to do.

It has taken me a fair bit of time to make the project and complete the instructions (this past quarter of school was particularly challenging and time-consuming), but it's finally done. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some Eastern Washington Wildlife

My husband and I left last Friday for a long weekend in eastern Washington. Friday night and Saturday night we camped at Lake Wanapum. Sunday night and Monday night we stayed at the Well Made B&B in Chelan. Along the way, I took some photographs of some of the critters we saw. (Not pictured are the bunnies we saw near the campsite; I didn't happen to have my camera with me.)

First, I saw this striking black and white bird near our tent. I snapped some pictures and later found out from a ranger that it was a magpie.

I've included these two because each shows the bird and its coloring from a slightly different angle, providing a fairly complete image.

On two different occasions at two different locations, we saw a little sandpiper.

We also saw some little lizards. They blended in so well with the gravel, they were difficult to see.

But of all the fauna we saw, my favorite was the brood of merganser chicks we saw at Lake Chelan. I couldn't decide which of these photos was my favorite, so I'm including all three. I especially like how some of the chicks are riding piggyback on Mama.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

My husband likes anything tiki. In our world, there are tiki mugs, a tiki T-shirt, tiki statues and tiki lights. He is always on the lookout for tiki-themed drinking establishments.

Last quarter in my photography class, for the assignment on lighting, I took some photographs of this particular tiki figurine he had picked up at Goodwill one day. I ended up using a different subject for the assignment, but the effect that the different lighting angles had on the figurine's appearance stuck in my mind.

Fast forward a few months. For the final assignment in Photoshop class, we had to design a movie or game poster. I decided to work up a poster for a B-movie.

There is a possibility that I can get it printed out full-size on the large-scale printer at school. That would be so cool!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm Done I'm Done, It's Happy Dance Time!

Wow! I had forgotten that rush you get at the end of the school term when your last test is over, especially after a particularly demanding and challenging quarter, and suddenly your time is all your own again, at least for a week or so.

Technically, I'm not done yet, because I still have to turn in a take-home test tomorrow. But I've answered all the questions and printed it out. I suppose I could email it to the instructor, but I'd like to see her tomorrow and tell her in person how much I learned in her class.

But, like I said, for all practical purposes, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

My one class today was Typography, where we viewed everyone's final project. The assignment was to design a piece of experimental typography. Here is mine, created in Adobe Illustrator.

It is an updated version of a piece of calligraphy I did more than 30 years ago.

Through the magic of the Interwebs, when I searched for the entire text of the piece, I found this site where it is attributed, not to Anonymous, but to a fellow named Charles Finn.

Web Design 101

Yesterday, students presented final projects in two of my classes — Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

For Dreamweaver, most people designed a personal portfolio web site, which was the primary assignment. However, with the instructor's approval, I chose to redesign the web site for a friend of mine, quiltmaker and teacher Sally Schneider. We had had lunch over spring break, and I had mentioned that I would be taking a class in Dreamweaver at some point. At the time, I did not know that I would be taking it spring quarter.

A couple of days later, I received an email from the department's program manager informing me that my Flash class had been canceled due to low enrollment and I needed to pick something else.

So, when the final project was assigned about a month ago, I emailed Sally to ask her if it was okay with her if I redesigned her web site. She said, Sure!

It's still a work in progress, but here are screen captures of three representative pages. She likes what I've done (thanks, Sally!) and we're going to work together to complete the site.

Tomorrow, I will feature the movie poster I designed for the Photoshop final project. (It's awesome!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thai Batik

My daughter returned from a trip to Thailand a few days ago. Before she left, she asked me what I would like her to bring back. I told her some cotton textiles would be nice.

I haven't opened the package yet to see how much yardage there is, but it feels like it might be a yard or two.

I'm sure I will use it in a project at some future date. I don't yet know exactly what or when. For now, I'll just look at it and think how pretty it is.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lots of Green Stuff

Last year was a sad year for our backyard garden. The raspberries were later than they've ever been (normal: mid-June, late: late June, last year: after July 4), and the pumpkins Tim planted never amounted to much. The only thing that did at all well were the wild sunflowers I planted from seed gathered from my sister's yard in Omaha.

I am a little more optimistic about this year, however. We had some warm days in May, and even though June has been a little on the damp side, there has been some sun.

In April, we started indoors, from seed, two kinds of lettuce (green leaf and red leaf), basil, pumpkins, and zucchini. Moved stuff outdoors in mid-May. We've pretty much given up on the basil, but everything else seems to be doing fine, so far.

I also bought some starts in May — spinach, broccoli, and butter lettuce. They're doing OK, but maybe not as well as the stuff from seed.

Two of the broccoli plants. Down in the center, very small, there are embryonic broccoli heads.

Two kinds of lettuce in a planter. I foresee a dinner salad this weekend. That was one of the best parts about visiting my folks at their house in Ashland, Oregon — fresh lettuce from my dad's garden.

My raspberries. They're still pretty green, but I anticipate a good crop in two or three weeks. A little on the late side, but looking better than last year. Also, the new canes coming up (which will bear this fall and next spring) are as tall, or nearly so, as the old canes.

Two of our spinach plants. Not doing as well as the lettuce from seed, but perking up.

Wild sunflowers, second year. I was happy to discover that, yes, they are in fact perennials.

Three kinds of lettuce. Green leaf (bright green at the top), red leaf (lower left), and butter lettuce (middle bottom and middle right). The other small green sprouts are the extra lettuce seeds we planted outside just to see what they would do.

Two zucchini in a planter.

Two zucchini and two clusters of wild sunflowers started from seed this year.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Down to the Wire

Spring quarter is almost over. Next week is the last week of class. The following week is Finals week.

This has been a rather intense quarter. Advanced Photoshop, Beginning Dreamweaver, Typography, and a course in copyright law. Talk about forming new neuronal connections!

Today I finished up the last tutorial in my Dreamweaver class. We dipped our toe into the world of javascript, incorporating some javascript code into a simple web page.

That class has been fun, interesting, and challenging. Even, possibly, more than Photoshop. I knew a smattering of Photoshop before, but this was completely new. HTML, CSS and all that.

If I can, I think I'd like to take the Advanced Dreamweaver class, even though it's not require for my course of study.