Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring 2016 Pantone Colors

In a departure from the past, Pantone has declared two, not one, colors as color of the year for 2016. They are rose quartz (a blush pink) and serenity (a calming light blue). Another difference this spring from recent years is to promote the same 10 colors for both men and women, a unisex palette, instead of having separate sets for men's and women's fashion. Rounding out the colors for spring 2016 are peach echo (soft orange), snorkel blue (soft navy), buttercup (sunny yellow), limpet shell (green leaning aqua), lilac gray (neutral gray with a hint of lilac), fiesta (a fiery yellow-based red), iced coffee (neutral brown) and green flash (spring green).

I am particularly fond of the choice of rose quartz and have included images of my quartz necklace that includes rose quartz beads and a new pair of gathering pins that incorporates rose quartz beads and lampwork beads with this color. You can also incorporate these colors into your home decor with a color wall, fabrics or home decor such as the green flash and buttercup found in my photographic art night light.

If any of these colors speaks to you and you want to see if I can bring them into a piece of jewelry or photographic art print please contact me to see if I can create a custom piece for you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count 2016 Summary

Two years ago I shared a my 2014 GBBC results with you. I decided to put together another montage of this year's counted bird species. Below you will see many of the birds that I saw during this year's count. Many species are the same as in 2014, with some additions and some subtractions. All of the photos below were taken this year, most of them during the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Click on the montage to enlarge it.

(birds in the montage - center: male House Finch; clockwise from top left: Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, female Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren, female Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, two Yellow-rumped Warbler color variations, Mourning Dove, male Northern Cardinal and Ruby-crowned Kinglet)

Following is a list of all of the birds that I was able to identify during this year's count: Cormorant, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, small to medium hawk - probably Cooper's, sharp-shinned or red-shouldered, gull, American Crow, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, European Starling, Great-tailed Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, House Finch, Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Carolina Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Downy Woodpecker and Eastern Phoebe.

If you participated this year, I hope you had fun. If not I hope this post is inspiration for you to do so next year. If you have been hesitant to count because you are unsure you can identify enough species of birds, try out the free app for you from Cornell Labs, Merlin. It is different than flipping through pages and pages of a field guide and I find it to be very easy to use.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oak Leaf Blister vs Oak Wilt Leaf Damage

Each year I try to get my oak trees trimmed in January, before the beetle that can carry oak wilt fungal spores gets active. This is also the time of year when the leaves on my live oaks look the worst. They have been on the tree for almost a year and are beginning to be shed so they can be replaced by new ones. Often I get startled by a few leaves that have browning on them that reminds me of water spotting. This makes me go inside to verify that is not what oak wilt looks like before I get started pruning. This year the browning was much more pervasive than usual so in addition to making sure what oak wilt symptoms look like on live oak leaves, I also wanted to know what the water spotting was and if I needed to do something about it.

It turns out the browning on my live oaks' leaves is oak leaf blister. The images in this post are of leaves infected by the fungus Taphrina caerulescens. Luckily I have not been around oak wilt to get a photo of it for comparison, but you can see what it looks like by clicking here. While oak leaf blister is a major disease of oaks in Texas, it is luckily not a likely death sentence like oak wilt is. After reading about the fungal infection it made sense that I saw much more on my trees this year after after last year's wet spring.

I was glad to know that I did not need to take any further precautions while pruning my trees earlier this year. However in addition to pruning early, I also guard against oak wilt by painting the pruning cuts I make as I work. While using pruning spray has been found to generally be unnecessary, it is an important line of defense for your oaks where there is the potential of infection by oak wilt beetles.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - January 2016

Six Etsy shop owners and one Etsy team let me know they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during January. Twelve January Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. One treasury contained two of my items. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during January. (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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. In addition you will see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured an item of mine.

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

If you know a wine connoisseur who appreciates hand made items look no further, you have stepped into the right place!

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

Spider ornaments, fleece blankets and crochet are found in this shop.

This shop carries organic neck and eye pillows, and body products.

Take a stroll down memory lane, all items ready to ship, Vintage toys, 1970s collectibles, and memorabilia.

This shop offers wonderful vintage finds, original and one-of-a-kind art and special things that you can use to inspire your own creativity.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.