Tuesday, May 22

A Shared Birthday

Gabe and John share May 22nd -- they were both born on the same day, 5 years apart. Both are good men: creative, artistic, musical, smart, Gemini's. I am honored to know you, to be in your family.

Happy Birthday to Gabe and John -- I wish you both adventure, love, fulfillment and good luck in the coming year.

above left, Gabe doing a live painting (photo by Aaron Rogesin) and right, John playing his guitar in our living room (my photo)

Gabe lives in Portland, making a living as an artist.

John lives in Salt Lake City, earning his keep as a server in the best (imho) Japanese restaurant in the west -- Takashi's

Sunday, May 20

Helper extraordinaire

Jack is in Helena for a few days and while visiting, he wanted to earn $$ to continue on his bike trip. Since my clients who might have hired him are all out of town, I hired him to help me in my garden. Specifically, to remove the 1500 square feet of black plastic (yes, plastic) that has been covering our front garden for the last 9 months (in a last ditch attempt to kill the weeds) ... fold it up and pull the few straggling weeds that managed to survive total darkness and dry soil all that time.

Jack is also helping me upgrade my garden pond, which has intermittently leaked since it was installed. I have decided to line the pond with concrete and pea gravel over the rubber liner, both for practical and aesthetic reasons.

I was thinking last night about that pond -- about the motley assortment of helpers I've had working on it. First, our son, Mickey, dug the original hole bigger on one of his visits home, then left to go back to university leaving me with .... ummmm ... a bigger hole. Then, my youngest son, Gabe helped me make the hole bigger and better shaped. Next I lined it with a pond liner. Then, not liking how I had the rocks and waterfall, I hired Gabe's friend, Clancy Williams, to reconstruct the pond enlarging it again, and adding huge slabs of slate around the edges. In the course of installing the slate, we might have poked a hole in the rubber liner and ever since, the pond has leaked. Or not leaked. I can never figure out why it stops leaking, nor can I find the damn hole in the liner! Very frustrating!

So, a week ago my poor little pond was only about a quarter full of stagnant smelly water, decaying worms and beetles and a few very unfortunate goldfish I couldn't catch last fall when the water started to freeze. Oh yeah-- mustn't forget to mention the mosquito larvae. They were starting to worry me.

So that brings me to Jack -- who has kindly cleaned out the smelly water, cleaned the liner, removed all the stone and prepared the pond to be improved with the addition of concrete and pea gravel.

Now it's raining (bless the rain -- we really really need the moisture in Montana!) and work on the pond has come to a screeching halt. It's way too muddy to be digging out there.

Jack is leaving in a few days. If it doesn't stop raining soon, I will be left with a half-finished pond yet again. Big sigh.

Oh well. That gives me an excuse to hire some of Mickey and Gabe's other friends to help finish it. Hmmm, Brent? Kyle? Andy? Matt? Are you guys going to be in Helena any time soon? Want a little paying work? ;-D

Friday, May 18

Design by Nature: generate color schemes from your photos

Web designer, John (fd on flickr) at Big Huge Labs, recently introduced a fun, fast and easy way to generate a harmonious color scheme from a photograph. Imagine using this tool to quickly generate color combinations for graphics, painting, design, interior design ... whatever you can come up with. They new tool is called Palette Generator -- it works with any photograph on your computer, on the web, or in your Flickr account.

I used this series of stormy weather photos:
to generate this palette, complete with color specific numbers:
#595f56; #9ca99f; #333126 #484f49; #3f483b; #4d4a3d; #5f6653 #423926; #8a8a79; #827e78; #304150; #6a655b; #716f67; #344451; #716c61

Of course, this color combo includes lots of grays and browns because there are some sepias and black&white photos in the group. It's a slightly brighter palette if I analyze just one of the storm photos:

Below is a another color scheme generated from this photo of Dune Juniper I shot at Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

In the past, when I've had the urge to create a palette based on a photo (for instance, when I'm laying out a print ad and want some harmonious solid color areas surrounding a photo) I have used Photoshop's color sampling (eyedropper) tool to do that. It takes time to generate more than just a few colors this way.

Have fun with this new tool/toy from fd. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Thursday, May 17

June Calendar

Dear Readers:

welp, it's that time of month ... guess I'm a bit early this month, but wanted to get out the June calendar because it's the month my family (my mother and siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews) are having our 2007 Family Reunion and there is lots of planning still left to do.

Sooooo.... please feel free to print the calendars for your own use -- I publish downloadable calendars monthly as a gift of appreciation to my readers, for sharing your lives with me through your writings and photos and comments on my blogs.

Click here see my photoblog, Land of Little Rain.

To download, click anywhere on the calendar and you should get a new window with the image. Click on the photo again in that new window to go to the large version of the calendar. Right-click to download the calendar. It should print out 8.5" x 11" -- if you have a printer that requires a margin, please print this slightly reduced to fit on a standard letter-size paper.

Printing Tip: set your printer to the highest quality print setting and use a heavier weight paper, preferably matte-coated, to get the best quality prints.
I hope you enjoy the monthly calendars, and please let me know if you have any problems downloading I can send them to you by email attachment.

Here are the 2007 Calendars so far. Check back monthly for the latest calendars. To see a large version of just the original photo I used for June's calendar, click here or see the photo on my flickr page

Friday, May 4

Bye for now ....

Bye for now ...., originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

We're off for a bit -- Tim and I are heading down to the desert near Zion Park for almost two weeks. It's our annual spring retreat.

I hope I can share the beauty of the desert in springtime with you on at Raven's Nest and Land of Little Rain when we return.

Have a wonderful next couple of weeks, everyone. -- Maureen