I’ve wanted an aquarium for a long time, and I’m finally starting to do actual, serious research into it. I think, for cost and trying-it-out reasons, that I’m going to first get a betta and a 2.5 gallon tank, and some live plants, and go really overboard on learning about bettas and taking care of them. This should be good practice for starting small with a marine (saltwater) tank sometime in the future. I’d really like to try a nano reef, with corals, but I also want anemones. As I read and learn, I’m finding out that some anemones don’t get along with corals very well, so it will take a lot of planning.

Anyway, I think I’m going to get a 2.5 gallon Mini Bow aquarium, like so:

It has a blue lid. I like that. I think possibly the filter that comes with it will do well enough, but I need to learn a bit more. I know it has an incandescent light source, which may be adequate to heat such a small amount of water, but I still want to look into that more. Would a betta do betta (ha ha) with a CFL and a separate heater? Should the lights be off at night (which would basically require a heater)? Etc.

It has a lid, too, which I understand is important so the fish don’t leap to their deaths. Even if they weren’t jumpy, I do have three cats, for whom I anticipate this will be a pleasant form of Kitty TV. I’ve been told they shouldn’t traumatize the fish much. I hope that’s true.

I’m also looking into which type of betta to get. There are so many, and I’d rather not just grab one at Petco, you know? I’ve found out there are online fish auctions. Online fish auctions. No, really.

I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m planning to buy the tank and cycle it before I get my fish. Plenty of time. Meanwhile, I’ve got about 900 links to look through and a few books on the way to reserve at the library….


A Very Small Stash

First of all, I would like to say that while I’ve been avoiding knitting like the plague for months and months, I spent some serious time this weekend tracking down my needles and making a spreadsheet of outstanding projects. I also knit an entire five rows of what might end up being a felted potholder. Not much, I know, but it was a huge mental hurdle for me to clear, and I’m very pleased I did. Now I look at my yarn and feel happiness rather than dread. Hurrah!

While I was organizing some of my knitting stuff (I need bigger plastic bags to store and separate my yarn), I also decided to clear out and repurpose a basket to keep next to the couch for current projects. Right now, it mostly consists of needlework stuff, my tiny knitting project, and my sketchbook. Looking at the things I have was really inspiring and I spent a fair few hours this weekend on projects. I thought I’d share some pictures, and not just so you can see my hideous hand-me-down couch.

First, the project I’m putting the most time into right now: The Baltimore Beauty blackwork chart from The Gift of Stitching magazine. I really like this magazine, which is purely digital; I find a higher percentage of the projects are very appealing to me versus magazines like Just Cross Stitch. I had purchased a number of the back issues and today got a regular yearly subscription, and now have the issues neatly stored on my external (blue!) hard drive.

At any rate, here it is; it’s stitched in some variegated silk from Hand-Dyed Fibers on some 28ct cotton from JoAnn Fabrics. I really need at least a small stash of linen, and that’s one of my allowed purchases for the fall, since I have really been enjoying needlework. It must be said that when viewed not in a macro photo, the holes in the fabric are far less obvious.

Next up, the WIP-basket, in case you were interested. On the bottom are my knitting needles and some accessories; my Art Bin with HDF floss; yarn for the potholder; then a mesh bag which I use to keep my project on Q-Snaps along with some floss and its chart. Behind is my sketchbook, paper linen from Hand-Dyed Fibers, and in back a copy of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly featuring a GORGEOUS crewelwork stitching purse. That was a gift from someone on the HDF forums, and a wonderful one at that.

And finally, some of my tiny, tiny stash of HDF silks. From top to bottom, I believe they are:

  • Examplar Blueberry Soup
  • Examplar Cocoa Bear
  • Paua Abalone
  • Hemlock 3111
  • Nile Blue 2425
  • Bird Feathers 4103
  • Variegated pink (a forum points spool; used in Baltimore Beauty)
  • Earth Dragon
  • Variegated green (another forum points spool, also used in Baltimore Beauty)
  • A variegated dark blue/green single stranded premium (forum points again)
  • On the right, skeins of Pressed Petals and Nile Blue 2421.

Doesn’t that just make you want to stitch something?