Saturday, August 31, 2013

Garden Path

Is in need of cleaning, etc., but I do love my native plants, and the pollinators that they attract.  This afternoon the thistles were visited by green hummingbirds, this morning goldfinches.

Thistles and Bees

Thistles and Bees are just a few of my favorite things!


Almost spent for the season already!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Woad and Indigo Blog Crawl 2013

List of participating blogs so far, if you have a blog and are working with indigo or woad and would like to be included please let me know!

Janet ~
Ulrike - 
Diana ~ 
Terri ~

Woad and Indigo Blog Crawl

I will be posting the list of participating blogs later tonight!

Angel and Oliver Hanging Out

Taken this past Sunday, hanging out while John chips branches, etc.  They were fascinated by the activity.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oliver and Angel

Chillin on the porch trying to beat the heat!  Notice Ollie has his ears flipped over to cool his head!

How does a Blog Crawl Work?


How does a blog crawl work?  What happens is come late Friday night I put up a list on my blog of all of the participating blogs in the blog crawl.  Then those participants copy that list from my blog and post it to their blogs.  This allows for the blog crawl, featuring Woad and Indigo, to go viral!  There are many artists working with Woad and Indigo this month so I'm hoping that those who are will participate so that we can show the world the beautiful fabrics and fibers being dyed with woad an indigo!

Hope you participate as well.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Woad and Indigo Blog Crawl

I will be hosting and blog crawl for Woad and Indigo this coming weekend, August 30th!  If you'd like to participate just let me know via the comments section.

Indigo and rust on cotton fabric.

Common Phlox

Common Phlox Phlox divaricata

Not worth my time collecting to use in a dye pot, any color it would yeild would fade in a matter of days, if not hours.  The stems would yeild a weak yellow at best.  But given the current extreme heat Iowa is experiencing it is one of the few plants that has survived in my garden without needing watering.


My new puppy, Oliver, and he moves a LOT!

Summer Chores

In spite of the extreme heat and humidity the trees keep growing and need trimming, which means the branches need chipping.  John chipping crabapple and cherry tree branches.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


A wee bit under the weather today, she's thrown up several time since early this morning, still eating, drinking, and everything else like normal and even playing.   I'm not sure what she got into this time.

Compost Dyeing and Other Fermentation Dyeing Techniques eBook

If you purchased a copy of my eBook "Compost Dyeing and Other Fermentation Dyeing Techniques" last year through Kindle and it is corrupted please let me know and I will send you a replacement copy!

This eBook is Currently ON SALE
for $3.99

Compost Dyeing and Other Fermentation Dyeing eBook!!!

If you purchased a copy of my eBook "Compost Dyeing and Other Fermentation Dyeing Techniques" last year through Kindle and it is corrupted please let me know and I will send you a replacement copy!

This eBook is Currently ON SALE
for $3.99

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oliver's Run Part Four

Oliver's run all 10x30x6 feet complete with a tree for, ahem, personal use.  I'm on the look out for two more 12x6 panels for a total of 42 feet of running space, I can take it out as far as 46 feet.  He loves fetching his kong, got shots in my knees today so never made it to the store for tennis balls.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oliver's Run Part Three

No photo's tonight but the run is up and totally usable. It has two doors one of which John will repair this weekend, this door came from the gifted run and looks as if a large tree branch fell upon it at one time.  Total space is 10x30x6 feet all of which he approved of for the 20-30 minutes he spent playing in it with John.

For those that keep emailing me freaking out that I plan to keep Oliver in there full time... what the hell do you really think of me?  I mean seriously??? I'd no sooner leave him in the run unattended than I would a small child! 

Dogs disappear in this community and a fairly regular basis, I could never live with myself if Oliver OR Angel disappeared.  Hell four weeks ago the neighbors little white wonder that was left unattended in their back yard was taken by a red tailed hawk, you should have heard  her scream for someone to call the police because a hawk had her dog.  The only reason I knew about it was because Angel and I were sitting on the porch and watched the whole thing unfold, from four houses away.

This run is soley for the purpose for us, that's me and Oliver, to play in!  John is setting up the pavers tomorrow so I can have a place to put my chair, this area was once a vegetable garden as recently as last weekend, and is quite soft.  Plans are using the Nothing in Life is Free Training with ball fetching, which he adores, as a means to train him for other things.  He rolls over on comand, but won't lay down on command go figure. He's sitting 90% of the time on command, and sorta knows heel. 

More later.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Angel - hanging out on the front porch watching the traffic go by.


Oliver, nine months old last Thursday!

Oliver's Run Part Two

All of the old garden fencing is now gone, everything is mowed and removed save for a few native prairie plants which will be transplanted sometime this week.

Half of the run is up, we will set up the rest of the run tomorrow evening.  I'm just too tired to do so tonight, cleaning up the old garden area also meant trimming back the trees, removing volunteer trees, and the like as well as more mowing which hubs did for me!

Empty Nest

Empty Robins Nest.

Hackberry tree seeds now inhabit the nest.

Burdock - Arctium minus


Burdock, aka cockle burr.
Arctium minus

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Oliver's Run Part One

Before, this is my garden that literally went to seed and to the weeds, this summer.  John mowed almost everything down, and now there's room for the new, to Oliver, dog run.  Our neighbor, Praise God, is giving us their dog run to add to our dog run so it'll go from being 12x16x6 feet to that size plus another 12x8x6 feet, I think it may actually be larger than that, we'll know for sure tomorrow once we have it all set up.

After, a few native plants were spared the lawn mower blade. Specifically the milkweed and the two white plastic buckets, which have their bottoms removed, are protecting my prairie dye plants.

Will post more photos tomorrow once we get the dog run up and usable.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day Eight - The Oliver Files

Day Eight with Oliver - Progress. Consistancy in training is the goal here.  And in other news Happy Nine Month Birthday to Oliver!!! He was born on November 15th, 2012

On My Desk

Working late tonight.

Birds and More

Getting ready for my Open Studio, for Art Crawl Iowa, in October. 
Ink on watercolor paper.

And then some down time with some hand carved and mounted stamps.

Ink on watercolor paper.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Art Crawl Iowa Artist Interviews

If you are an Iowan Artist would like to be interviewed for Art Crawl Iowa Blog let me know through PM and I"ll email you the questions.  Please include with your questions 3-4 images of your work, an image of yourself, and your blog, website, and/or email contact.

Artist Interview with Brenda Backman

Brenda Backman 

I began my current series, Lines Threads Connections,  working within the parameters of a challenge which limited the size of the piece.  While stitching the felt and seeing the stitches interlock and connect with one another, I thought of how we are all connected.  The connection of living on our planet and being from our beautiful Earth, and the connection of our DNA and being made of stardust, all draw us together.  I’ve enjoyed exploring the different aspects of this idea with different colors and textures.

I’ve been making art and stitching since I was twelve and started making my own needlepoint designs.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  In 2000 I graduated from Iowa State University with a BFA and began my professional art career.  I’ve shown my work all over the US and internationally as well.  My work is characterized by a lively use of color and a heavily detailed surface which gives an intimate quality to the pieces.

Lines Threads Pebbles
Q. How did you get your start as a professional artist?

Brenda:   I've been working on my art since I was a teenager, and have been sewing since I was a child.  I developed a love of embroidery and fibers from my mother and grandmother who both sewed.  I further developed my skills at Iowa State University and have been working as an artist since graduating.

Q. How long have you been working as a professional artist?

Brenda: I've been working as a professional artist since 2002.

Q. What are you currently working on?

Brenda: Currently I'm working on my Lines Threads Connections embroidery series.  The series explores how we are connected to each other and our environment.

Q. Your current body of work depicts?  

Brenda:  My current body of work is abstract and uses color and shape to depict connections.

Q. What materials do you work with and why?

Lines Threads Ripples
Brenda:  I'm a fiber artist.  I work mainly with embroidery threads, felt, cotton and silk fabric, and beads.

Q. What excites you about using the materials you work with?

Brenda:  I love the textures my materials can create.  They seem endless!  Fabric is so versatile, it can be soft or stiff, the beads give shimmer, and threads have so many textures to work with.

Q. Tell us about some of the processes you do in your work

Brenda:  I work in machine and hand embroidery, combining the two to create a dense textured surface.

Q. When you make a piece where does the inspiration come from?

Brenda:  I take inspiration from my materials and sometimes from dreams.  I find the textures and colors of the fabric, threads, and beads to be inspiring.

Q. Do you make art every day?

Brenda:  No I don't make art every day.

Q. What other artistic interests do you have?

 Brenda:  I'm also interested in painting

Q. Tell us something that most people dont know about you thatthey would find interesting.

I enjoy cooking and creating new dishes.

You can see more of Brenda's work here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On My Desk 081313

Before - See the media trays on both sides of the table?  Well Oliver noticed them as well, turns out he has expensive tastes loves those soft paint brushes and those spendy colored pencils.  Sooooo...

Hubs made me a shelf last night, out of mdf, for my media trays and other supplies.  One of the perks was a spot for my sketch books on each shelf, now they are close at hand.  The biggest perk is having a larger work area and a spot at the left hand of my table for my large sketch books!

Oliver in My Office Chair

Oliver sitting in my office chair, am wondering if Pepper will actually defend his spot from the dog?

Day Six - Morning Six

Day Six it took less than an hour this morning for Oliver to calm down once he was out of his crate.  Hyper doesn't even begin to describe his energy levels!  If I can get him to sit still long enough I'll take a photo of his face, we trimmed his "bangs" last night so they no longer hang in  his eyes.  He has very pretty eyes!

Monday, August 12, 2013

On My Desk 081213

A View from My Porch and Corn Head Girl in Orange
Watercolor, pen, ink, on mixed media papers.

Oliver and Angel


One dog per side of the drawing table, both snoozing away!