Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Butterflies 2009

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore
One bonus of prowling around with a camera is seeing things that you would otherwise miss. Early last Sunday morning, I was out taking photographs of daffodils, when I spotted my first butterfly of 2009. I believe it is a common sulphur and the butterfly was very obliging about posing for a picture, as it was very cool outside and its flight muscles were not quite warm enough to fly.

Later Sunday afternoon, I spotted an Eastern tailed blue that was much less willing to pose for a picture. It had warmed up quite nicely outside and was favorable for the thermodynamics of butterfly flight. I have borrowed a photograph from Flickr so you could see what he looked like. Eastern tailed blues are fairly small but intricately and delicately colored. The blue color is on the upper side of the wings. You see the underside wings here. Check out the striped antenna.

No butterflies are hidden in this picture, but I just wanted to include another daffodil photograph from the yard.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

When Round Robins Collide

Actually, 'when round robins converge' would have been a more accurate, if less dramatic, title for this post.

As you may recall from previous posts, I am involved in various round robins through Yahoo groups. No, silly, a round robin is not a particularly plump, red-breasted bird. It is a type of project in which several participants take turns working on a project.

In these necklace round robins, we each start with a focal piece on a chain that is ours. We mail that on to the next person. That person then contributes an element to our necklace and sends it on to the next artist. All the pieces are in rotation, so ideally you have only one necklace at a time to work on. Each necklace has its own theme. They are all different.

Here the model dubbed 'Jane' shows off my additions to Raquel Fraga's necklace. Raquel titled her piece "Vintage Elegance" indicating that she likes things which are vintage, retro, and funky. As the third of nine hands this will eventually go through, I introduced the middle chain, using a Swarovski bracelet slider and bicone beads as the focal.

What about the collision/convergence, you ask? Well, the necklace above is part of the most recent round robin I am involved in. The previous one is now finishing up. My original piece has come home and I will be the last person to work on Dawn Seller's piece before it heads home to her on the west coast.

Until I head off to the post office this morning, three projects are at my house.
In a future post, I promise to relate how 'no-arm Jane' came to be my necklace model.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Neighbor's Weeping Cherry Tree

"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough."
- A. E. Houseman, Shropshire Lad

On the morning walk, the dog and I pass the neighbor's weeping cherry tree, in lovely abundant bloom right now.

While it is difficult to see in these photographs, the flower petals are a lovely shade of pale pink.

And below the tree, the pachysandra also blooms.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More shamrocks than a box of Lucky Charms - Happy St. Patrick's Day

Everyone is supposedly Irish today, so I will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with this post.

I was driving through Johnson City last Saturday and spotted this neon sign. It was perfect for St. Patrick's Day. The image would have been even more dramatic at night, but my excursion and the advent of daylight savings time had me home before sunset.

Let the photo above serve as today's warning to avoid combining large quantities of green beer and tattoo shops. Actually, I don't know these folks. The picture came up when I searched Flickr for shamrocks and they were more entertaining than green clover.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Garden photos for the past week

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

Here is a wee and brave daffodil that blooms lovely amongst the crocus.

The week that was, brought overnight lows of 11 degrees and a few days later, daytime temperatures in the 70's. By weeks end, the large, late-season crocus were in bloom.

This striped variety of crocus is my favorite.

At first opportunity, the honey bees were out performing their appointed tasks.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

A mere 100 minutes from home - Daytrip to Asheville , North Carolina

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville scheduled their Spring Break during this past week. My daughter came home for about half of her scheduled time off. During the second half of the week, she met a friend for a 4-day stay in Asheville, North Carolina. She invited me to come down during one of the days, so I took a short road trip to join the two on Saturday.

No, we didn't do any Easter shopping, nor did we try on any Easter bonnets, but I did appreciate this shop window on Lexington Avenue, shown above. Uh oh! Look out, Mr. Easter Bunny!

Several weeks ago, a co-worker rescued some plain Styrofoam heads from the trash and gifted them to me. These heads you see above, photographed at the resale shop Madame Butterfly, will serve as inspiration for some future alterations.

I just love having friends and co-workers who are willing to rifle through trash for me.

The weather was t-shirt warm and sunny. Here, the daughter is posing in front of some new Obama graffiti in an alley just off of Lexington Avenue.

After checking out the art at Blue Spiral Gallery, we ended our afternoon with dinner at Doc Chey's Noodle House. Doc Chey's sits on Biltmore Avenue and is located in downtown Asheville's oldest building. The eatery serves up affordable, Pan-Asian food with several tasty vegetarian options.

Afterwards, I headed back up over the mountains for home. The college seniors, on the other hand, set out for a night on the town. Apparently, I missed a good time at Club Hairspray.

Ah, to be young again!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Artist Trading Cards - Artfest 2009

Marine biology is the theme for the 2009 Artfest ATC book project hosted by Bee Shay. "Sea Monsters are obviously included" Bee adds in her task instructions.

The picture above is one of 32 cards I created for this year's book. They are a 3-layer confection, with an embryonic octopus in the background. Craft foam forms the gasket-like spacer of the second layer, allowing for internal embellishments. The inclusions combine little, blue seahorses and blue topaz glitter. The seahorses are free to"float" about within this environment. The top layer is a transparency of Gabo jellyfish.

Port Townsend, Washington, is the destination for my second out-of-town adventure of 2009. Artfest, now in its 9th year, is the conception of Teesha Moore. It takes place at Fort Worden State Park, involves over 500 artists and runs 5 days. This will mark the 4th year that I have taken part in this inspiring event.


ATCs are individual works of art, measuring 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches. Originally conceptualized and popularized by Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann in 1996, they are an ideally-sized art form for making, sharing and collecting. Matching the proportions of playing cards and baseball cards they neatly fit into sleeves designed for that purpose.

Over the past four years, Bee Shay has been behind the scenes, the mastermind of the Artfest collaborative ATC book. Fatbooks, it seemed to her, were intimidating to many new artists. She developed the ATC book to provide an opportunity for new artists to play in a safe and nurturing environment.

Pictured above is the 2007 ATC book with its intriguing zigzag binding.


ArtFest is coming up, and I couldn't be more excited.
This year, I'm taking my sister, Lisa.