Friday, January 31, 2014

Grey Days

That is a pretty little quote, but I only chose it because I would like to live with that belief.  I spend far too much time hating on the weather.
 
 
Actually, I really love the rain, and when it's not a torrential downpour, I love to go out in it.  Of course I love the sun, and really, who doesn't?  But the wind and the snow, no matter how much I try to see the beauty in them, I just want to go back inside and wait until that weather passes.  Which in Canada is about 5 months of the year.  Not healthy.
 
Don't get me wrong, I love a gentle breeze on a warm day.  But I live on a Canadian prairie where a 'breeze' is 40km/hr strong.  It's not going to be the sun that ages my skin prematurely, it will be that drying prairie wind causing my face to resemble old leather.
 
Anyway, in an effort to more love where I live, I try to make it out whenever the weather is not too severe.  I get some fresh air and grab a few photos to play with.  Today I thought I'd play with the vintage feature in Photoshop.  The wind had rearranged the snow into some large drifts, and my wonderful husband created a trail for me to walk near them. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bear Feature

If you are looking for the 'Grow Your Blog', and you may want to, as it contains a giveaway, you will find it here.






 

It has been cold outside, and although Bear finds the interior of our house more than boring, that is where we have been doing the majority of our visiting during this nip off your nose weather.
 

 
It is very hard to get this gorgeous animal to sit still long enough outdoors to get a set of nice snapshots of him.  Especially close-ups, because if you are at his level outdoors, that means it is serious playtime.  You are going to get licked and pawed and maybe even turned over if you allow it.



 
He is 120 pounds big, and in my tiny house, Bear has learned that he has to be calm.  He is a 2 year old, and calm equals dull or an opportunity for a nap.  For me, it means I can sit next to him, lay my head on his chest, pet him calmly, or grab the camera and play around.
 



The next picture is a typical "I hope you realize I'm just barely 'putting up with you'" look from my dog.  This is my favorite part of this dog's attitude.  Yes, he gets rambunctious, and out of control playful, but he is truly the lie-at-your-feet type of dog, that will only move if you do.  He doesn't play fetch, he completely understands and listens when you say no, and he is just an all around wonderful dog to have around.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

A January Day

If you are looking for the 'Grow Your Blog', and you may want to, as it contains a giveaway, you will find it here.
 
 
 
 
"The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour."
-  Vita Sackville-West
 
 
Before today, we had some tolerable weather.  'Today' is featured in the photograph above'.  It is -26C with a wind chill of -40C.  The wind is swirling the snow around, stripping it down to the grass in places and building it up several feet high in others.  If nothing else, we do get to enjoy a landscape that changes by the hour.  Once the weather has become a little friendlier, the kids will go out to explore what has become of their yard.  The paths they had made, and the little cubby holes they dug in the last banks are all filled in and will need to be recreated.
 



This little squirrel has been our local dog-tormentor for a couple of years now.  Our dog, Bear, truly enjoys chasing him through the trees, and barking up at him.  The cheeky little thing has actually thrown bits of things from the trees at Bear, and even at myself and the kids.  He is a very well-fed and healthy little guy and as such, he is very active, making it very difficult to get an excellent photo of the wee scamp.



We had a lot more chickadees before our neighbor decided to push down a whole bunch of bush across the road from our yard late this past fall.  We used to see dozens, and now only 3 or 4 at a time.  We also had several blue jays, and since the demolition, none have been here.  I'm sure it will be sad to see how the change in the landscape has affected our spring and summer birds as well. 
The day the bulldozers came, our yard went quiet.  Before that, there was so much chirping, you couldn't distinguish one bird from another.  Now, it's just here and there, and often, not at all.  I've hardly had to fill my feeders this year, and last year it was at least every 3 days that they needed attention.  But, hopefully, overtime, with continually feeding, our population will rebuild itself.
We do have our loyal few, however, and I managed to get a decent shot of one the other day.  I've been learning how to better use my camera, and it really helped in getting this shot.  I just love the chickadees.  They are relatively tame, and given enough patience, will eat right out of your hand

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog

Hi everyone!  I'm Andrea and I live in Saskatchewan, Canada.  I'm surrounded by farmland and we are in the dead of winter, so with the outdoors being so completely asleep, here I am in blogland, whittling down the coldest days of the year.
I'm so excited to be a part of this! Vicki over at '2 Bags Full...' is generously hosting this event, and I'm sure it's an understatement to say it has been no small amount of work on her part to make this event happen.  So first and foremost, a big thank-you goes out to Vicki for making this fun, (not so little) event possible.
The reason I'm bothering to enter my blog in at all is because it is so much fun discovering other thought-provoking and creative blogs and to have others find my blog interesting as well.  I enjoy visiting the blogs I follow, especially the 'daily-life' blogs and gradually but surely building pen-pal type relationships around the world. 
I like writing and hearing about all the different weather we are experiencing, the projects people are working on, the various things we are going through, from sad to happy and everything in between.  Life is so much more interesting when we get to share our experiences, and there is such a wide variety of experience from day to day, that when I walk away from reading all the different posts, I feel very balanced.
Another little tidbit about me is I enjoy working with wire and beads.  I make jewelry mostly, but I also have fun making these whimsical, little bookmarks.  They are often personalized, as I sell a lot of them locally, but many of them are general, like the one in the photo.  As part of the party, and as a thank-you to all who stop by and leave a comment on this post, I will enter your name into a draw for the bookmark you see here.  It is made from copper wire which is stamped, "so many books so little time".  It is embellished with a chip of polished onyx in a little, copper cage.  I will make the draw and announce the winner in a separate post on February 15.  But, just in case you miss that post, please make sure I can easily get in touch with you from your comment, so if you win, I can get a mailing address from you.
Have fun with this party, and I hope you find plenty of blogs that interest you and make some friends along the way.  And again, thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Favorite Sky Shots


I went through my photos and selected my favorite sky shots.  I can rarely resist grabbing my camera when the sky is producing a magnificent scene.  However, I rarely come out with photos that I am satisfied with.  Too bright, too dark, not enough detail and blurriness are common problems for me.  This past week, my husband was going through his computer stuff, a sizeable feat, and he came across an instructional disc that came with our camera.  I plan on watching it soon, and learning more about how to operate this wee beast.  I'm sure it holds lots of hidden secrets that will improve my photography. 

 
 
 
 





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Little Sheep That Wasn't

We've all completed projects that we're not too proud of.  But hopefully, after the frustration passes, we can have a good laugh at ourselves.  That is what happened this morning when my little sister called me up and confessed that the sheep she had started knitting a while ago was now complete. 
 
Now, first let me say how brave I think my little sister is.  She began with no pattern, she has very little experience knitting, and she absolutely knows how to laugh at herself with the right audience. 
 
When I asked her how it turned out, she said, "I'm really not too happy with it."  So, I got her to send me a photo, and that is when the giggles ensued.
 
I said, "Well, the body looks good."  And then I asked, "Are those white blobs supposed to be his eyes?"  She started laughing, and then to keep it going I added, "Instead of a grazing-in-the-field sheep, he's a run-over-by-a-car sheep."  It went on from there, and I threatened to create a blog post about the poor sheep, (which I, of course, have now lived up to).
 
I've included a photo from an Etsy seller to show what I think she may have been aiming for.  She wanted a silly sheep, but she wanted it to be a cute silly not an, 'I'm-not-entirely-sure-what-that-is' kind of silly. 
 
In the end, I think the sheep is, in its own little way, quite adorable, should be kept and given a place of honor in her home.  It is a learning experience, and of course, that is valuable.  If we never kept our first projects, or at least evidence in the form of photos, we could never see how far we've come.  I should show her a picture of my first cake.  That would make her feel a whole lot better.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Photoshop Happy


I by no means claim to know how to work well with Photoshop, but with just a few simple clicks, one can have some fun with photos.  Here are a few I've been playing with.  I've also been working on creating some graphics of botanicals that have been extracted out of photos I've taken.  If I like them maybe I'll figure out how to share them here.  I'd share all the steps I took to achieve this, but I don't remember.  I was just playing around.

In this one, I changed the tone of the sunset to better match Bear and
the bale he is playing "king of the castle" on. 
Photoshop really helped bring out the detail in this one of Bear's pawprint.

This one is a combination of the above two.  It was a bit of work to
get the paw print to look decent.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Texture Segment

Went for a very short walk today with the camera.  Apparently I can barely touch my toes without my gums starting to bleed from the surgery, so I have to be careful not to let my heartbeat go up.  With little to do, and a high wind, I headed for the shelter of the trees in our yard.  Here are some pretty photos from that little break outdoors.

The textures of bark can be amazingly captivating when you're bored out of your mind.  I guess I should say 'bored out of your tree' to take advantage of the pun.
   
I really can't figure out why they don't pay me the big bucks.
My favorite.


Yep.  Captivating.  I'm sure my insight is bringing you to tears.
This is a lilac bush gone to sleep for the winter.  I can't wait to welcome her blooms in the Spring.
One of our Magpie friends lost his home in the windstorm day before yesterday. 
The bummer is, those poor birds can't catch a break, the wind is strong again tonight.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Sad Yesterday


I know what you're thinking, "Oh no...", "Awe, that's too bad.", and "What was that?" are all things that come to mind.  That was my greenhouse.  I 've included a picture from early Spring last year for a 'before' comparison.
 
Last night, when I first noticed it, I broke into tears.  It didn't help that I was at an emotional peak after having undergone oral surgery earlier, and I was all drugged up on painkillers.
 
Today looks a lot better though.  My dear husband said we would be able to salvage most of the wood and rebuild the greenhouse well in time for Spring.  The pain from the surgery is far more manageable today, (thank the Gods - sorry, I've been reading the Percy Jackson series of books to my son every night now for months), and I don't have to take the narcotic today, which was seriously messing with me.  They gave me 40 pills!!!  I've used 4 and don't anticipate having to use any more, especially when an awesome friend/neighbor drops by with homemade tomato soup for me to sip on.
 
Back to the wind here last night.  It was a steady 70-something km/hour, with gusts up to 110 km/hr.  It sounded like a freight train was going through at times. There was also quite a bit of damage to the house.  A lot of shingles are torn up, some are missing altogether.  The soffits, fascia and eaves are damaged, again with some pieces M.I.A..  Parts of our workshop are stuck in the lilac hedges, but at least we have them.  So, today we take stock of the damage, and tomorrow we take advantage of the warmer weather and get it all fixed up.  Well, the greenhouse will probably have to wait a few weeks, but we will get it sorted out and inside the shop to await rebuilding.
 
This is not the first time the wind has caused damaged to our yard in the 2 1/2 years we've lived here.  But it's all been quite manageable, so we have that to be thankful for.  We haven't had to make an insurance claim, and really all it's done is create a few days of extra work.  So knock-on-wood that gusts of around 100 km/hr are about the worst we will see.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Left Wondering


In the fall of 2013, we had local author, Deana Driver come to our school and give a presentation to our students.  She talked about her journey to becoming an author and how important it is to both read and write.  She spoke about a few of the books she wrote and/or published, and 4 of the works peaked my interest.  I just finished "Never Leave Your Wingman" by Deana, and I became not only very interested in the people she was writing about, but very attached also, as though I had made 2 new friends.
The story is about a couple, and the wife's battle with cancer.  The story talks about how they met, how they worked through Dionne's first cancer, only to be faced with another, then another, and yes, then another set of cancers. 
This is the story of a thriving survivor, (and her wingman/husband) who will stop at absolutely nothing to keep cancer from taking her life.  To make a long story short, and to answer the riddle of my title for this post, the ending leaves us with Dionne in stable condition, her cancer not gone, just stopped in it's tracks. 
I find myself wanting to call Dionne, or at least someone that knows her well enough to answer, "How are you now?",  "What has happened since the book was published?".  The fact is, I'm not privy to that information, and nor should I be.  Whether Dionne dies from her cancer or not, the fact remains, cancer never took her life.  That is, it couldn't take the living out of her life.  When she was well, she lived well.  When she was sick, she dealt with it in the most positive way possible. 
I know a lot of people who do not have a clue how to live like this, myself included, even with relatively simple lives.  All thoughts of cancer aside, we dwell.  We dwell on everything.  If today is not as good as yesterday was, we dwell on that.  If yesterday was a bad day, we will dwell on that.  If we plan on having a good or bad day ahead, we can't shut up about it.  How do we live for right now?  There have been many books published on this subject, and 'living in the now' supposedly paves the way to inner peace. 
How we get there is an individual thing.  Some of us will be gifted a sudden epiphany, others will drift in out of this desired state of mind.  Some of us will just slowly improve, gradually living more and more in the moment.  Through reading this book, and 'knowing' Dionne, I have moved a little bit closer to that goal of living life to it's fullest and appreciating what I have now.  And that is what I am thanking this book for.  Thank-you to Dionne and her husband, Graham for sharing their story, and thank-you to Deana Driver for all the hard work in putting it together.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Few Favorite Things

Do you have anything in your home that you just truly enjoy walking by everyday?  I have several of these things, and I'd like to share a few with you now.
The first one is a garage sale find.  It looks like a high-end boutique item, but it is much better.  An original oil painting bought off the streets in Paris from the artist by a couple on their honeymoon over 30 years ago.  It was rolled up in their closet for so long, they decided it was time to get rid of it.  That's where I came in, handed them $5 and walked away feeling elated and a bit like a thief.  The framing was done by a friend who needed her greenhouse taken care of while she was away.  So in exchange for my services, she framed my wonderful painting.  I love it's texture, colors, content, everything.  I could decorate an entire room around this painting.
 
The next piece is an antique replica, very French country.  It's near the dining room table and holds my favorite napkin rings and napkins.  There is also a milk glass pitcher, adorable hedgehog salt and pepper shakers, old owl trivets, and a few other knick knacky things that I like to use on my table.  The two gourds you see there were grown by little sister last fall, and they are just too adorable to send to the compost.  I wonder how long they'll last?
 
 
 
 
This piece of furniture sits underneath the above one and was built by a retired gentleman in the area.  He used reclaimed barn wood and ceiling tiles.  He said this might be one of the last pieces he would be able to create that incorporates the tiles, as they are getting harder and harder to find. Not only were his prices beyond reasonable, but the craftsmanship  was excellent.  Even the hardware is old, but everything opens and closes smoothly and of course, it compliments the piece so much more naturally than reproduction pieces would.   It currently houses vases, cake plates and some cake decorating supplies.  The drawer is lined with an assortment of teas.
To the left, I have a little ladder holding a few of my favorite table linens.  I may eventually change things up and repurpose the ladder, but for now, I really love that display.
We don't have a large, fancy or unique home, but by filling it with only things that we enjoy, and not settling for less, we have created a very comforting haven for ourselves 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Thrifting Success



Of course, you never know what you're going to come across at the thrift shop.  Someone must have decided to downsize their napkin ring collection, and I was the lucky one. 
The first set is wooden and so of course will casually go with just about anything.  I couldn't find a napkin or tablecloth that these clashed with.  There are 8 of them.
The next set is brass, and they have that nice, vintage burnished look.  Maybe not quite as flexible as the wooden set, definitely more formal, but they go with a lot of the linens I own.  There are 6 of these.
The last set is unique, wooden and a dark burgundy in color.  I originally pictured them as a Christmas table adornment, but as I was going through my stash of linens, I was surprised to find how nice they looked in an Autumn montage.  This is a set of 8 as well.
I just love napkin rings, they add that touch of class to any table, and they have a way of saying, "I put some thought into this meal, now let's take the time to appreciate it."  Anything that slows us down and helps us to appreciate the food we consume everyday is not only physically healthy, but it is also good for our spirit, keeping us in a grateful state of mind.
Oh, and by the way I only spent $1.50, that is $.50 per set!  I can't think of a reason not to have several choices when dressing the table at that price, and the money all goes to charity.  A big win-win!
 
I also found a rustic pottery vase, in earthly tones of blue and brown.  It looks great with my current collection.
Another piece I found was quite unusual, and took me a minute to figure out what is was.  I'm fairly certain it would be a utensil/pot hanger for the kitchen.  It is round, very solid, $2, and has all sorts of possibilities.  I'm picturing it in the garden with several potted plants hanging from it, maybe bird feeders in the winter.  I also have a cute collection of various little bird houses that I'm painting, they would look cute hanging from it, at various heights in the middle of a garden as well.  I just couldn't resist, and I'll post photos when I decide what to do with it.
 
 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tabletop Whimsy


I spend so much of my time searching the internet, especially blogs, for creative, decorative ideas that I forget to share some of the things I've done in my home.  I always feature the holiday decorations, but rarely the everyday things.  I know it's a dark photo, but that is the only time I have this little feature lit, when the room is dim, usually during a movie. The large bowl/plate, about a foot and a half across, was a steal of a deal at $2 from our local thrift store.  It is wooden and the color is a gorgeous red.  I've collected some very interesting dried botanicals, and the lights were a Boxing week deal that set me back an entire $3.  They are battery operated LEDs inside various sizes of rattan globes and their regular price was $14.  The nicest thing about this strand is the wire, it is very thin, and translucent, virtually unnoticeable amongst the botanicals.  It even looks great during the day without the lights on.
So there you have it.  If you are looking to add some interest to an existing bowl of whatevers, little lights may be the answer.  This strand came with the rattan globes, but you could definitely buy a plain strand and stick the lights into anything that the light would shine through.  Happy decorating!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Grow Your Blog Event 2014

A few of you already know about the "Grow Your Blog" event that is being hosted by a super-fantastic lady and blogger, Vicki of  '2 Bags Full...'.  For details, click on the link or the picture in the sidebar.  The idea is to meet new bloggers that talk about things that interest you, and in the process you may find some people that are interested in your blog.  In my opinion, the best scenario is when you find a person who is on the same page as you, so to speak, and you can share equally in each others blogs.  When that happens, you've made a friend.  And, it is always nice to make a new friend. 
This is the second go around for this event, and although I did not take part in last year's, I did find the list of blogger's that did.  From that list I've found at least 10 blogs that I am newly in love with, (a great feeling), picked up a follower on my own blog, (yay!) and have also had several drop-in, commenting visitors.
Now why is it so important to have visitors and especially the commenting kind?  For me, it is the interaction, the sharing of ideas and feelings.  Yes, someone may be thoroughly enjoying your blog without your knowing it, but when they interact with you, your blog takes on life.  And, you just can't help but put a little more into it in order to keep that energy flowing.
After a very busy, outdoor summer, (the perfect kind) we are having a very unfriendly, indoor winter.  Although I loosely kept up with my blogging friends over the summer/fall months, I didn't really start to get involved again until I was stuck in my house trying not to freeze to death.  Now, here is the funny part...it felt, in many ways, like visiting an old friend.  So much of one's personality is put into their blog, and I became so familiar with the different personalities, that I quite literally felt 'at home' on their blog.  It was, really, a very comforting feeling. 
Not everyone's story is a happy one, in fact, I've not met one person who doesn't have a sad story.  But, this is our life, and through our blogs we share in the sadness and the wonderfulness of it all.  As a matter-of-fact, an excellent way to feel better about things is to go blog hopping and read about the goings on in other's everyday lives.  This is not a comparison as in, "Oh, their life is so much worse than mine, I have a lot to be grateful for." No, rather it is a perfect balance of an array of feelings.  One blogger will share beautiful photos from their recent travels,  the next one will be asking everyone to pray for a loved one battling cancer, the next will share an inspirational creation.
Where else can you get that broad a spectrum of life experience in about 30 minutes?  I find this exposure healthy and balancing.  Life is no one thing.  It is not happiness, it is not sadness, it is both and everything in between.  Striving for one, or being stuck in the other is no way to live.  Flowing from one thing to the next is the healthiest way to be.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One of Many Different Collections

I fell in love with milk glass years ago while browsing through a Martha Stewart magazine.  So I blame her completely for this little obsession.  I didn't get serious about collecting it until a few years ago when I realized I could get some really fantastic deals on it.  There is never a time when I don't have my eyes open for it.  I never forget to check at garage sales or thrift shops for it, and although there have been several pieces arrive broken, I still find myself looking online for unique pieces.  I love all the pieces, but I have the most fun with this collection when I find a vase or a candlestick holder that I don't already have, for only 10 cents.


I have more pieces than are shown here.  I actually use everything I have for various occasions.  I have an exceptionally beautiful butter dish and covered sugar bowl, currently on my counter.  There are several vases throughout the house.  There are even several broken pieces out in the garden shed awaiting some creative stroke of genius.  I recently bought a well made fake, plastic piece that I intend to use outside when my cutting garden is ready.


The cupboard that is shown is old, obviously and all decked out for Christmas.  It was also handmade and the person who sold it to me said it was built between 1890 and 1900.  It is heavy, a bit crooked and the most solid piece of furniture I have ever come across.  I have loved it since the day I came across it, and I knew from the moment I saw it that it would be the home of my collection.  I came across the punch bowl unexpectedly this summer while on a little camping trip in Moose Jaw, Sk.  I was so excited to meet the antique dealers there and learn that they travel frequently to search for items that are uncommon up here in Canada.  I look forward to visiting them again soon.

Of course, it is only natural, if you collect something, to have a Pinterest board dedicated to it.  Some of these pieces I have, others I dream of finding.  I don't have any blue milk glass yet, but I do have some black pieces that I bring out at Halloween.  They would also look fantastic in a formal setting.  The little blue birds in the bowl were put out by Avon, in the 70's I think.  The bowl is milk glass and the birds are soap.  My birdies are a wee bit discolored, but still adorable.

I should really be careful when I ask this question, as hearing about or seeing other people's collections can send me off on another tangent, but what is it that you love to collect?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Taste of Summer

It is the coldest day of the year here so far.  With a wind chill temperature of minus fifty degrees, let's hope it doesn't get any colder.  What is there do on a day when any travel is dangerous and stepping outside, even for a short walk is painful?  I've journaled and read and worked on a puzzle.  I've done some housework and watched some TV.  I've played the piano and hung out with my kids.  Of course, I've had a long, hot shower and I've been drawn to my computer several times.  I have even had a short nap.  Now, with a mocha nearby, I am keeping my spirits up by playing with some bright colors and doing some shopping on Etsy.  Looking forward to warmer weather, days when I can go outside without risking permanent scarring via frostbite, when I can get regular doses of fresh air and generally feel better about life.

I put together another treasury this morning, more suited to the mood of the day.  I love the raven and all the lore and symbolism it brings with it.  It is one of the few birds that can weather even a day like today, and you can find them soaring the skies reminding us that life hasn't ended out there.
This past fall, I had one that would watch for me and when I got to the garden, he would soar down and land on our nearby fence.  He would turn his head sideways and caw and screech at me.  I would respond by chatting some friendly words back, "Hi, how are you today?" or, "Boy, your feathers are shiny!".   The conversation would go on until Bear, my dog, would get jealous and chase off our new friend.  This went on for a few weeks, and then the visits abruptly ended.  Maybe he'll be back again later this year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Thinking Ahead



 
There are so many varieties of pumpkins and squash that I find it very difficult to choose which few to grow.  For now, I have limited space in my two relatively large vegetable gardens.  But, pumpkins take up a lot of room and although it can be a fun experience, I try to avoid cross-pollination.  Last year, in garden number 1, I had 2 rows of corn and 6 rows of potato plants between 2 varieties of pumpkins, and I didn't notice any strange hybrids there.  It was a similar scene in the second garden.  So with room for only 4 different varieties, how do I go about choosing out of a collection of hundreds? 
My first concern is carving.  We do a large display for Halloween, my husband has grown as an artist over the years, my kids will carve as many as you will throw in front of them, so I need a nice selection of reasonably easy to carve pumpkins.
Color is another important factor, because as soon as there are a few mature fruit on the vine, I start taking them off for displays around the yard and house.  Last year, I found myself wishing for more color and varieties.  While the displays were nice, I found they lacked interest.  So I need to grow various sizes and colors.
The picture above was taken in 2012, the year I ended up with a lot of hybrids.  While this was a lot of fun, we didn't have a whole lot of nice carvers.
I do have 10 acres of land, so I have to decide whether or not to create more growing space for the sake of more varieties and more pumpkins, (and a lot more work).
Here are a few varieties I'm thinking about for 2014:
 
 
Aren't they beautiful?  From top left to bottom right, Warlock Hybrid, Fairytale, Goosebumps and Cinderella.  I love to break the stems off the flat ones and perch a happy jack o'lantern on top.  Or take a few of graduating sizes and stack them up.  When fully mature, the Fairytale variety look like carved wood.  The Warlock variety come out with just the occasional warts making it a lot of fun to work a face around.  The Goosebumps just look wonderful at Halloween and add texture to the displays.
I could go on and on about all I want to do with all various kinds of pumpkins and squash, but for now I have to work on making up my mind about which seeds to order.