Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baseball Fever

Baseball fever is going around at all levels of the game. It is mid spring and players, umpires and fans from Little League to the big leagues have been out practicing, playing, calling and watching America’s favorite pastime.

My husband started umpiring for Little League when my son started playing in grade school. About a decade later, he is still at it because he has developed a love for umpiring. How can anyone develop a love for anything that is likely to involve jeering from the crowds or in your face confrontations from managers as can be seen caught on tape at many major league games? My husband’s response to that question often includes comments about personal growth and the challenge of staying focused in order to be able to take in all of the elements of play so that each call is accurate and the kids get a chance to play a fair and fun game that unfolds in an orderly fashion. He must be successful at this as he has been honored with an invite to umpire at the Little League regionals in Waco later this summer.

Evidently the answer to why someone would put so much time and effort into volunteer umpiring is of interest to the media as well. Recently, a reporter from Texas Country Reporter contacted another long time umpire, who has been rated as qualified to call at the Little League World Series, to find out what makes umpires tick. The reporter joined the weekly Saturday morning umpire breakfast and then followed my husband and his fellow umpire as they drove off to call games. The resulting story is slated to air on the weekend of May 21. The first photo in this post shows my husband after he dropped off his car after that breakfast to ride with the other umpire to that day’s games.

While I still don’t totally understand why my husband has developed such a strong case of baseball umpiring fever, I try and get out and support him at important games by being there. (Umpires really deserve their own fans too.) When I do, I like to add a bit of baseball bling to my outfit to show my support. I have designed baseball themed gathering pins that I wear as sleeve or bodice pins as seen in the second photo. These may be available through my EDCCollective shop.

No matter what level of baseball you enjoy participating in or supporting, have a great season!

Update: The Texas Country Reporter story actually ran on Sunday, August 7. Also, I posted a follow up about the 2011 Little League Southwest Regional Tournament.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Texas Natives for Your Garden – Sage n Gaura

The berm that I have planted mostly with Texas natives has been alive with lovely pinks, blues and purples from the blooms of native prairie onion, spiderworts, phlox, mealy blue sage and guara for a few weeks now. While the first three plants listed only bloom during the spring, the mealy blue sage and the gaura will bloom on and off through fall, although their heaviest blooms for me are during springtime.

Mealy blue sage is a perennial whose clumps will expand and new ones may form for you from seed. Slight variations in flowers and flower stem color occur in the seed propagated new plants. The sage plants in the photos of this post are offspring from seed of plants that I dug with permission from a ranch in Cresson, TX. Many wonderful additions for your garden can be found in uncultivated areas. Before collecting any plants from the wild, please make sure that you have the property owner’s permission and that you are not digging any endangered species. You will find cultivars of mealy blue sage available in many nurseries.

While gaura is native to Texas, the pink variety as well as the white one in the accompanying photos are store bought cultivars rather than native transplants. This plant is often referred to as “whirling butterflies” in the nursery trade.

Even though my area is experiencing drought conditions, these Texas natives are holding their own and blooming wonderfully without any supplemental watering. I do keep the garden mulched to help conserve water, however planting the correct plant for your area goes a long way on cutting down or eliminating your garden’s water needs. Additional native and adapted plants from my North Texas garden can be found in my Texas Stars photo album on my Facebook business page.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Open Link in a New Tab

When I am reading or browsing through a website and find an interesting link that would take me to another website, I really appreciate it when clicking on that link opens up the other site in a new tab in my browser. I like having where I started from still visible and easily found again after perusing the new link. Yes, you can always use the back arrow, but if you find an interesting link on that second page and click on it too, getting back to where you started is more difficult if each link just opens up on top of the old one in the same tab. Usually the links I click on are related to where I started from so being able to click back and forth between the tabs in any order I wish makes it much easier to cross reference each page of information.

I also want other people that land on my pages to be able to easily find their way back to my page if they click on a link that I have included. Therefore I add a small bit of html code that makes links to other sites in my blog articles, etc. open up in a new tab. You can check out this behavior be looking at and clicking on the links in my recent “Thanks for the Treasuries” blog post. While I hope readers of this post will check out my shops, an enlarged image of my items and the other shops that I feature, I also want them to easily find their way back to my blog post when they have finished checking out the other links. That is why I add the bit of html that makes links open up in a new tab. (Sometimes when you are adding links to a blog or website, a particular widget or module will be hardwired so that you cannot add this bit of code. However when you can access the html, here is what you do to make your link open in a new tab.)

The html circled in purple above, not including the bit circled in turquoise, is the html generated by most sites when you add a link. This bit of code will cause the link to open up in the same tab “on top of” where someone was when they clicked on the link. If you add the bit of code in turquoise ( target=”blank”) to this html, your link will open in a new tab. The image below shows a portion of the screen shot that I took when clicking on the word (link) “EDCCollective” in the above referenced post. The tab circled in turquoise was added when I clicked on the link and the tab for the original blog post, circled in pink, is still visible making navigation back to the blog easy by clicking on it.

(Each screen shot opens up larger in another tab when clicked on.)

So make it easy for me and your other visitors to get back to your page after clicking on links on your site by making sure they open in a new tab. It’s a snap.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thanks for the Treasuries - March 2011

Three different Etsians contacted me to let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during March. Six of my items were featured in Etsy treasuries last month. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that I received notification about being featured in March treasuries. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 3 different Etsians that let me know that they featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop or profile that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Look no further for gifts for a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items.

This wonderful Etsian supports the artists on Etsy by creating lovely treasuries.

Whoopsie Daisies uses rescued vintage & retro fabrics to create one of a kind tooth fairy pillows, scarves and aprons.