Apr 30, 2013

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Desert Tortoise

Hi friends!  Meet one of my favorite animals, the desert tortoise!  This is Duey...

Tortoises, as opposed to turtles, live their lives on the land.  This species can be found in the deserts of the Southwest United States.

Their shells are made out of bones, and the scales covering their shells are called scutes.  You can see the different lines of the scutes below...

Contrary to what you may have heard, you cannot count the lines on a turtle or tortoise shell to accurately know its age.  Desert tortoises can live a very long time--up to 80 years!

Tortoises and turtles have no teeth, but they have a very hard, beak-like mouth.  The desert tortoise is a herbivore and will feed primarily on cacti, which is also their source for water.

Because they live on the land, they have very stumpy feet (much like an elephant's foot).  They also have very large, hard scales to protect their bodies from the harsh elements of their desert homes, but they also use these thick scales for protection from other tortoises or animals they may need to fight.

It may seem weird, but I just love watching tortoises eat. I tried to tempt this guy with a strawberry, but he wasn't interested.  I did get another animal to partake in the berry...but you'll have to wait a while for that one. :)

So cute!

Apr 27, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 17

I was a bit short on time, so I made something simple, yet whimsical for this week's project.   I guess we could call this guy a punk monster??  Check out his earring and his braided tail!

Oh, and today is my birthday!! Woot woot!  Don't worry, I'm celebrating in a big way today (more on that later), and we can celebrate together next week!  I'm thinking a birthday giveaway is in order...

What would you want to win??

Apr 25, 2013

Fur, Feathers, & Scales : Dove

Hi guys! Meet Dolly the dove!

So, I have a confession.  It wasn't until I took an ornithology class in college that I realized that birds are amazing creatures.  They have such incredible adaptations!

Their beak shape corresponds with the foods they eat. They have no teeth, so some birds eat small rocks or other gritty things to help crush their food. Dolly here eats small seeds and grains, vegetation and small insects.

Doves and pigeons spend a lot of time walking on the ground, so they have large feet with wide-spreading toes to help them balance.  Birds in general also have scaly feet, which really aren't that pretty up-close...

This particular dove is pretty awesome.  She will sit on my hand, preen herself and coo.  Doves make the most pleasant noises.

If you like birds too, I highly recommend the book, Birdology.  It's a very fun and informative read.

Apr 22, 2013

DIY Tassel Necklace

Hi friends! Today my friend, Holly, is sharing a really cute necklace DIY with us.  Her blog is full of fun tutorials, book reviews, yummy recipes and much more.  Be sure to check it out!

I hope you enjoy her tassel necklace tutorial--I'm definitely making one of these! (They'd make great gifts too!)

Hi Good Natured readers!  I'm so excited to share this project with you :)

I love a big statement necklace as much as anyone, but sometimes I want something simpler.  So, I decided to make a fun but basic tassel necklace!

To make your own, you will need:

  • Chain, two different varieties
  • Large jump bead (a bead with a jump ring on each end)
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters

    First, cut approximately 30 inches of chain for the necklace.

    Then, cut the remaining chain down to four inch pieces.  You will need seven pieces that match your necklace chain, and three pieces of a different accent chain.

    Open one side of your jump bead, string on the short chains, and close the jump ring securely.

    Do the same on the other end to attach the necklace, and voila!  You've got yourself a chain tassel necklace.

    Apr 20, 2013

    Happy Anniversary, Brandon!

    Today is my fifth wedding anniversary, and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the wonderful man that is my husband.  We've been together since junior high, and I can't imagine my life without him.  He is so supportive, thoughtful and loving.  I'm so glad I said yes when he asked me to the movies all those years ago.

    Happy Anniversary, baby!

    52 Weeks of Felting - Week 16

    Happy Saturday!  Since I shared a Toad Abode DIY with you earlier this week, I thought I needed to create a toad for the shop!

    Haha, I love this guy!

    He will be available in the shop after I return from vacation! 

    Apr 17, 2013

    Make a Toad Home for Your Backyard

    So, it finally feels like Spring around here!  Spring at my home means it's time to garden.  I probably don't have to tell you this, but gardening, whether it's growing your own food or pretty plants, is so good for many reasons.  You're growing your own, healthy food, which means you're probably cutting back on buying produce that travels hundreds of miles to reach your grocery store.  You're putting nutrients back into the Earth.  Landscaping, especially with plants native to your region, is also important for your local environment.

    But let's not forget about the critters that live in your yard and garden. You can make homes for them and encourage helpful critters to stick around. If you're lucky, you can get a toad or two to take up residence in your yard and help you keep the populations of insects, centipedes and slugs in check. Who wouldn't want that? ;)

    So, today I'm showing you how to make a Toad Abode for your backyard! 

    Here's what I used:

    I've had these vintage trays that belonged to my great great aunt that I thought would be perfect for this project--so cheery and floral!  Using a tray like this has some advantages.  First, if you are trying to attract an amphibian like a toad or frog, they're going to need their home to be somewhat moist.  A tray will help collect and retain moisture. Using a tray also makes your toad abode easily movable in case you need to change locations.

    Building your toad abode is super simple. Turn your broken pots upside down.  Layer rocks.  Have fun with different layouts and substrates.  I used peat moss and not dirt because it holds moisture better. 

    Toad approved?  I think so!

    Here's another example:

    Place them in a safe spot away from pets, like a garden fence corner...

    ...or nestled among some ground cover. 

    You'll need to make sure that whatever substrate you choose to use stays moist. Just give it a squirt with a spray bottle every now and then.

    There are so many possibilities.  You can even decorate your pots with weatherproof paint or sharpies.  Maybe drawing little flies on your pot will attract more toads...

    Have fun!

    Apr 13, 2013

    52 Weeks of Felting - Week 15

    Happy Saturday!! I attempted my version of an "impressionistic" felt painting this week...

    It was fun, but I don't think I'm thrilled with the results.  I need more practice with landscapes, for sure.  What do you think?

    Apr 6, 2013

    52 Weeks of Felting - Week 14

    Happy Weekend! I made another felt painting---are you surprised?  I thought I'd try my hand at an animal this week...

    I think I'll try a felt painting version of my Sleepy Fox. :)  (These will be for sale later this year....I'm thinking around June. )

    Have a GREAT weekend!

    Apr 5, 2013

    The List - April

    You guys! IT'S APRIL!  April is my favorite month for lots of reasons! My birthday is in April, my wedding anniversary (5 years!) is in April, my favorite flowers (tulips) bloom in April....I mean, come on.  Oh, and I'm going on a trip soon....can't wait!!

    So anyway, I'm linking up again with Erika and Beth for The List!

    I usually start these lists with some exercise goals for the month.  Let me just toot my own horn for a minute. During the 31 days of March, I worked out 32 times! Can I get a hell yeah?!

    I've been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and am really seeing and feeling results. I'm definitely stronger.  I will be continuing this.  I don't do it every day, because I've also been running, biking and doing other classes, but I do it at least 4 times a week.

    Since I'll be on vacation for part of the month, I will do my best to keep my strength and cardio fitness up, but I'm sure there will be a bit of a decline when I get back.  No biggie, though. 

    Oh, and tomorrow is The Color Run.  Wish me luck for my first 5K!

    I tried a new felting technique last month.  These are my first two felt paintings.  I really, really like them, so expect some more.

    Some products I'm loving right now:

    From left to right:

    --The Guv'ner by Lush.  We picked this up in Ireland last year. (I visit Lush when we go to Europe, because there aren't any too close to my home...) Apparently, this is supposed to be for boys.  My husband uses it too.  It's a powder, and not an anti-perspirant, which is something to get used to.  But the scent is very herbal, and not overpowering.

    --No Drought by Lush: This is my first and only experience with dry shampoo.  I never thought I could be one of those girls who could skip a day of washing their hair.  But turns out, I just had to train my hair and scalp.  It probably took about six weeks of not washing my hair on the weekends and wearing dirty hair in a ponytail, but it was worth it! I LOVE my second day hair! And I love this herbal scented dry shampoo!

    --Argan Hair Oil: I've been using hair oil for a while, but recently switched to this brand, and I'm loving it so far.

    --Mineral Fusion makeup. I also recently switched most of my everyday makeup to this brand.  The coverage of the concealer and pressed powder foundation is decent without being heavy.  And I'm really impressed with how the nailpolish wears.  Usually I have a chip within 12 hours, but I can wear this for a few days without issues. And that coral!

    Oh, I think that's enough rambling for now.  Come link up with us!

    Apr 3, 2013

    Fur, Feathers & Scales : Chinchilla

    I've got a huge amount of cuteness for you today!  It's time for a furry installment of this Fur, Feathers & Scales series.  Meet Cashew the Chinchilla!

    Chinchillas are small rodents (yes, like mice and rats) that come from South America.  They live in mountainous regions in Chile in the higher elevations among little crevices and caves in the rocks.

    They eat vegetation like leaves and seeds, but will opportunistically eat an insect or two.  As a rodent, they have front incisors that are always growing.  Chinchillas keep them filed down by chewing on harder items like seeds, woody plants, etc. 

    They are nocturnal, so they have big ears and eyes to help them navigate the darkness and incredibly long whiskers!

    Chinchilla fur is incredibly thick and soft.  Instead of using water for bathing, chinchillas will roll around in dust to keep away bugs and moisture. In the wild, Chinchillas are legally protected because their populations are low due to people trapping and killing them for their fur.

    Chinchillas are very quick.  This little guy was hilarious to photograph.  For every good shot, I took quite a few "motion" shots like these:

    Have you ever "met" a chinchilla before?