Playing with Color

I am a day late with this and I do apologize! I brought back some kind of respiratory bug from Mexico and I’ve just been dragging since I got home. It’s not bad by any means (trying not to jinx myself here!) but it is definitely sapping my motivation.

Better late than never, though!

Selecting colors and putting them together in color stories is one of the most fun parts of what I do. And it has really changed the way I look at the world! I am literally always scouting for colors, looking  at the way colors work together in nature and studying the colors that people put together when they aren’t thinking about color.

One of the best ways to capture color is with photography and two of my favorite apps for identifying the colors in pictures are myPantone and Adobe Kuler. I use both of them all the time because their functionality is slightly different. Both apps let you import existing photos and take pics on the fly.

 

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With myPantone, when you take or import a picture, the app draw out the color story in the row above it. (The row below can be used to save your favorite colors. I don’t generally use it.)

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The pallets are limited to 5 colors, which is a drag. I would love 10 or 12, which is closer to the number of colors in my color stories.

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The app lets you store up to ten photos and palettes at a time but you can export them easily to email.

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This app may seem expensive at until you realize that I spent nearly $1000 for a Pantone book a couple of years ago! The app is a bargain at $9.99.

The Adobe Kuler app is free but specifies colors in RGB numbers rather than Pantone numbers, which makes it less functional for me.

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As in the myPantone app, you are limited to a five color palette, but the cool thing about this app is that you can hand pick the location in the photo you want the color drawn from. The little dots that you see in the picture move around on their own and you tell them where to stop, and you can also drag them to where you want them.

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In the examples above and below, I’ve moved the dots around to get the palettes I want from the picture.

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This app also doesn’t store the reference picture with your palette, which is kind of a bummer.

Both apps give you the ability to tweak the colors and pallets, and have features like complimentary, monochromatic, triad and other palettes based on the one you created.

For more color inspiration, be sure to check out Design Seeds. Jessica creates all her palettes by hand and by eye without the use of software and they are amazing.

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Modern Country Knits is Coming!

10277411_10204167108195715_5419423139784895054_nWhile I was in Mexico earlier this month, I received the final proofs of my new book for approval and just before I came back, I got a sneak peek at the cover.

I am not sure adequately describe my reaction when I opened the email and saw the cover. It was all suddenly very real, and felt so much more professional that I was expecting. I’m not articulating this well at all, I suspect, but my first thought was how legitimate and book-like it looked. Isn’t  that odd?

The book will be available on November 4th and it’s full of patterns by some incredibly talented designers. Mostly gorgeous new designs but also a few of our “greatest hits”, if you will. The patterns that I felt best epitomize the Juniper Moon Farm style. I was just stupid lucky to get to work with all these geniuses!

I was also lucky in that so many lovely people pitched in to help with this book. I hope everyone who had a part in it is as proud of it as I am.

 

 

Tune in tomorrow for a rundown of the way I pulled colors from my vacation pics.

The Caribbean Blues

I spent the last two weeks in Mexico, partly because I felt like I needed a creative battery recharge. When I feel like I am completely tapped out, I’ve found that a complete change of scenery and culture is the fastest way to get my mind working in interesting ways again. Plus we got a screaming deal on place tickets and lodging,  win/win!

I am always surprised by the color of the ocean in the Caribbean.

It’s just so impossibly blue!

I was so fascinated by the way the color changed throughout the day  based on the weather and the position of the sun.

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I decided to make a study of all the kinds of blues I saw. I took pictures of the water at just about every time of day.

Then I pulled the colors out of each photo so I could look at them more closely.  The variety of the hues is really quite amazing.Theme 17

All of these color are extracted directly from a photo of the water. I’ve done no manipulation at all. (The occasionally tans and grays you see are the colors of the sand or the foam on breaking waves.)Caribbean Theme 15 Theme 18

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This little experiment has really changed the way I think about the colors all around us. I’m sure you’ll see it’s influences in our upcoming yarn lines!

This Evening in Pictures

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The Gift of Sleep

Not too long ago I got pretty sick.  That’s probably a bit of an understatement, actually. I was really, really sick for almost a year.  Then I got some better doctors who figured out why I was sick and what I needed to do to get better.

Besides some amazing and horrible drugs, my rheumatologist prescribed a number of lifestyle changes that she said were just as important. Number on on that list was getting as much sleep as possible. “If you can sleep till noon, then sleep till noon,” she said.

I can’t adequately explain how important those words have been in my life.  For the better part of a decade I had been plagued with insomnia, and sometime didn’t get to sleep until three, four, five in the morning.  The only way I could function at all was to sleep until 10 or 11 a.m., and that wasn’t nearly enough sleep for me to perform well.

But here’s the thing– I felt incredibly guilty every time I slept past 7 a.m. It was something that was ingrained in me since I was a teenager, this idea that it was sort of immoral to sleep late. Sleeping in was equated with laziness in my family.

So, when my doctor told me that getting as much sleep as possible was as important to my recovery as the chemotherapy drugs she prescribed, it was like someone had given me an incredible gift! I had be given permission- no!- I had been given an order to sleep anytime I could. There was no longer a moral component attached to napping. It was so liberating.

And, almost immediately, my insomnia went away. I think that was because my brain was no longer under pressure to get to sleep ASAP so that I could start tomorrow on time.

Today, I make it a project to try to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every single night.  Some nights I get ten, and on rare occasions I sleep for 12.  And if I find myself getting sleepy at 2 in the afternoon, I take a nap.

In spite of all that time spent snoozing, I am more productive than I’ve ever been. It’s amazing what being well rested does for your ability to function and be creative!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you get enough sleep? And do you think there’s something immoral about sleeping late or napping? Let’s discuss.

 

Surprise! We’ve re-decorated!

Lately, I’ve been making all kinds of changes. Setting new goals and boundaries. Drawing a hard line between my personal life and my work. Re-prioritizing my time and the amount of headspace I allocate to my business and my family.

I thought all of that work would be exhausting but, honestly? It’s been completely inspiring! I am more excited than I’ve ever been about Juniper Moon Farm and the things we are planning for the future.

All these changes seemed to call for a fresh new home for JMF on the internet and this is it!

The site is still a work in progress. We will be unveiling a new shop in the next 24 hours that is easier to use and more functional and we’ll be refining the site design, adding more pictures and stuff, but the main architecture is in place and I love it!

I hope you like it too!

There are good things to come, my friends. Very good things.

Meet me at Jimmy Beans!

This Saturday I will be in sunny Reno, NV at Jimmy Beans Wool. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary and, knowing the Jimmy Beans folks, it will be lots and lots of fun.

I’m coming with a big trunk of garments from our Spring/Summer collection for knitters to see and try on. Trunk shows are a great way to see what you want to knit next. Every time I do one of these, someone comes up to me to say that they never would have knit X had they not gotten to try it on, because they just assumed it wouldn’t look good on them. That’s the magic of trunk shows!

If you’re in the area, come by. I’d love to meet you.

Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Tell Me Something Good Tuesday!

I’ll go first. It’s 10:46 a.m. and I have already finished everything on my To Do list.

Your turn! Go on– tell me something good.

The Farm Report

We’ve had some spectacularly mild weather here this week!  I could get used to low humidity and temps in the mid 80′s.  If this was always what summer was like I’d be MUCH more inclined to have it stick around longer.

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July has been pretty dry, and I’m not one to complain about it.  Not after last year’s sogginess!  I think it may be helping keep  much of the bug populations rather low.  The one exception seems to be the flies.  They are HORRENDOUS right now.  Speaking to our vet this week, she agreed that this has been a terrible year for flies.  I’ve been having to spray down the sheeps’ back ends with fly spray every few days, and the vet assured me it was the smart thing to do.

Right now my main objective has been to keep the flock comfortable and well-fed.  They have plenty of shade throughout the day, and I have put an extra water tank out as well.  They are getting a dose of electrolytes in their water and so far it hasn’t been hot or awful enough out to warrant a heat tonic.  (We still have August, though, so…..)

I want them well-fed to give them the best chance against any parasite that may pop up.  We did copper them this spring, and they get Levamisole every so often to be safe.  We are taking NO chances.

Aside from that, I have had a few opportunities to get to know our new vets.  Most recently we had a farm call to take care of a ewe I’d found with a prolapse.

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Sunday evening when Oona and I went out to take care of feeding, I noticed one of the colored sheep has quite a lot of red going on under the tail area. My first thought was flystrike (it’s terrible.  Don’t click on that link if you don’t really, really want to know).  There were a lot of flies buzzing about and her tail was wagging a lot as though she were itchy.

I dropped everything and ran for my permethrin spray and gloves, prepared to do battle with maggots. But as it turned out, there was no fly infestation.  Her vagina had prolapsed and pushed out of her body, and that was what was attracting the flies. As bad as fly strike is, this felt much, much worse.

Thankfully, our vet arrived with confident reassurances, and after an epidural was administered to the bewildered ewe, the whole area was washed well, pushed back up inside where it belonged, and a large stitch was put in place to make sure it stayed put. The bad news is that this ewe cannot be bred again. Ever. Once the vagina or uterus collapses outside of the body like that it has a tendency to want to continue to do so.  That stitch that the vet put in her is permanent.

Today I did a thorough check on everyone and she is healing well, and there are no more flies buzzing about her ladybits.

Also doing well is Mr. Paddington.  When he and his twin, Piccadilly, were about a week old, we noticed he had a limp.  It got progressively worse over the next two or three days and then we discovered a large lump above his front hoof. When we picked him up, it burst.  Susan and I were stumped; when a second spot appeared on his back leg and a third on his chest, he went straight to the vet.

She found that his hoof was broken.  Most likely his mama stepped on him, or one of the other mamas.  When they are that little and trying to nurse, they tend to get underfoot a lot. The broken bones were surrounded by a pocket of infection, which was spreading to other parts of his body.

After lancing and draining his abscesses, she scrubbed him down well, splinted his leg and bandaged him up.  I was sent home with instructions to re-bandage every two to three days, administer antibiotics and a painkiller.  The kicker, for me, was that the bandage changing and scrubbing of the wounds required him to be asleep, so I was given a vial of sedative to knock him out every few days for a good cleaning.

If you’ve never had to knock out a small animal, it’s rather disconcerting at first!

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Despite his handicaps, Paddington continued to thrive and nurse and hop along after the other lambs.  We have been calling him “Hop-A-Long Paddington” ever since.

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He’s a bit crooked, since his other joints and muscles grew disproportionately in response to how he was using them.

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He will win no prizes for conformation.  But this lamb by all rights shouldn’t even be alive.  It’s a miracle the infection didn’t settle into his bones.  It’s amazing that he never stopped nursing from his mama, despite the fact that she was not the most attentive parent.  He is the friendliest lamb in the field, owing to the time he spent being handled by us, and even though he’s crooked, he is growing just as well as the other lambs.

And if we are all very, very lucky, there will be no more vet calls this year!

Cha-cha-cha-changes…

You know what’s hard to believe? I have been blogging right here since February 10, 2008. That’s six years and five months of almost daily blogging, for a total of 2469 posts. Of course, I didn’t write all of them. I’ve had various staff members over the years who contributed to the blog, and plenty of good friends who pitched in from time to time. But the over all responsibility for this blog, and the one that came before it, has always been mine.

In the beginning it didn’t actually feel like work at all! Whenever something exciting happened on the farm or I stumbled across a great new book or website, I couldn’t wait to come here and write about it. I used to say that nothing felt like it had actually happened until I told the blog readers about it.

But lately… Lately, writing the blog has become more of a chore. A burden, almost. Not because I don’t love communicating with you lovely people. Blogging has just started to feel incredibly one-sided. And not even a whole side at that.

When I started this business, it was just me and the sheep. I wrote about what I was feeling, what was going on on the farm, what it felt like to be responsible for 100 sheep and goats well-being. I vowed right from the start not to write about religion or politics because that wasn’t what this space was all about. It was about bringing people who love knitting and fiber animals together– there were more than enough forums out there that point out our divisions. I wanted this one to be about this little piece of commonality that we all agree on.

But as Juniper Moon Farm grew, so did my responsibilities. First it was with the addition of staff. Then the larger, more expensive farm. By the time I started working with KFI as the creative director of a commercial yarn line, I had a whole lot of people’s livelihoods that were resting (at least in part) on my little business, and by extension, on this blog.

I started pulling my punches on a lot of topics that I thought would be too controversial for my blog. Things I wouldn’t have hesitated to write about in the early days started to scare me. I put more and more of the responsibility for writing light and breezy blog posts on the shoulders of my employees and I policed their content for anything that might offend. Coming up with suitable blog topics became a weekly task that we all dreaded.

But mostly? I just I think I just got burned out.

2469 blog posts is a whole lot of blog posts, y’all.

What does all this mean? It means that I will no longer be blogging daily in this space. When something awesome happens, or I read a really good book or try out a fab new recipe that demands to be shared, I will blog. When Amy has animal news and pictures, she will blog. And when we have news about the CSA Shares and our commercial yarn lines, we will blog.

If you’d like to be notified when we DO blog, you can follow our Facebook page, follow us on twitter, or you can just check back here from time to time. I will also be posting mini updates on the Facebook page. And I will try to post more moments on Instagram as well.

As an added bonus, when you come here to read a post, you’ll know that I’m blogging because I have something to say– not because I have to keep my stats up.

I am so grateful for the time I have had writing this blog and getting to know all of you. I promise, I’m not going away– I’m just changing my expectations of myself. I hope that makes sense.

 

 

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