Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Wine Glass Charms Are Not Just for Stemware

I have been making nature themed wine glass charms now for a few years. They are very useful to help your guests tell their drinking glasses apart when they have been set down.

It occurred to me last night that they might also be useful if you are serving your guests drinks in coffee or tea mugs that have handles. I grabbed a mug from my cabinet this morning and placed a couple of wine glass charms on the handle to see how they would work hanging from different locations. I liked the end results. The design of your mug handles will affect the usefulness on this type of drinkware to some extent. Mug handles that arch up slightly at their top attachment point will be the most useful for utilizing my wine glass charms.

So when you are comfortable hosting some number of guests in your home again, make sure you have some wine glass charms on hand. Now you know you have an alternative to serving your liquid refreshments in stemware to be able to utilize the benefits of wine glass charms. Help your guests easily identify which piece of drinkware sitting on the table is theirs for them to safely drink from.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Happier 4th of July 2021

We have come a long way from cancelling or at the very least making significant changes to our 4th of July celebrations of 2020. However, it is very easy for those of us who are fully vaccinated to forget that Covid-19 has not been fully defeated. And it is very easy for the vaccine hesitant to take their cues from the fully vaccinated who are now so much safer ditching their masks and not social distancing. Unfortunately we are not out of the woods yet, but if everyone continues to take appropriate precautions and preventative measures like getting vaccinated, handwashing, wearing masks appropriately and being aware of when social distancing is still a good idea, we will gain our independence from this virus.
So on this Independence Day of 2021 as we celebrate the birth of our nation, let's do so in such a way that we can continue to celebrate and protect our independance from the strictest restrictions we experienced from this past year or so of the pandemic. And while you are at it, don't forget the sunscreen. Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Edgy Filigree Jewelry

What do you get when you cross geometric polygonal shapes with scrollwork? You get edgy filigree (filigree with hard edges, literally).

As often happens, I bought some supplies a while back that I really liked but life was busy and they got tucked away for future use. I was looking for something else when I came across them recently and decided I really needed to make some jewelry from the geometric cutout brass shapes and get them listed in my EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop.

The novel pose, coupled with the polygonal cutouts of the brass unicorns seemed an unconventional take that screamed strength and attitude but still needed some rainbows. I thought they would be perfect as long, dangle earrings. Each unicorn is topped with two faceted, rainbow colored beads.

The geometric T-Rex seemed perfect for a simple, short necklace that would sit about at the collarbone. I paired the dinosaur charm with a golden cable chain and spring ring clasp to create the necklace.

Additional mythologically themed jewelry, accessories and art can be found in my Math and Myth Geekery shop section. More dinosaur jewelry can be found in my Science Geekery shop section.

Friday, April 23, 2021

New Cardinal Art from Eclectic Design Choices

Images of northern cardinals have been a popular subject with my customers. I have created two new photographic art images recently to celebrate this iconic bird. Both of these images are of male cardinals, which a lot of people refer to as red birds (for obvious reasons).

I developed one of the images for my most recent substrate for my artwork, vinyl stickers. Like my other stickers, these cardinal stickers are made from durable, weather, scratch and fade resistant vinyl with a laminate coating. A male cardinal stands on a rock slanting towards the flowing water in my backyard stream. He is looking around warily before dipping his beak into the water for a drink.

The second image was developed for one of my traditional offerings, a matted print. (The unmatted, signed 4x6 image is shown here.) I seem to have unintentionally chosen a theme for the photos I have developed this year. This picture is also of a male cardinal coming to my backyard for a drink. He stands on a branch just above the surface of the water in my pond. The water is still and allowed me to capture a great reflection of the cardinal and its surroundings.

I expect to have each of these items with me the next time I am able to do an in person show. Until then, you can reach out to me to inquire about purchasing these or other images in my portfolio.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Dig Native Plant Month (April) by Planting Some Native Plants in Your Garden

Native plants make great choices for your garden. They are usually more insect and disease resistant and better adapted to your climate than non-native species. They also are more likely to benefit local wildlife populations. Hurray for the U.S. Senate passing a resolution declaring Apr, 2021 - National Native Plant Month.

Fragrant prairie phlox is a perennial that I have growing on one side of the berm in my backyard when we had a waterfall installed. It is a true Texan, transplanted from a pasture an hour or so away. It has established itself and does not require any additional water. Its leaves appear when rains return in the fall and blooms profusely for several weeks this time of year and goes dormant over the summer. It spreads by underground stolens.

Giant spiderworts are another plant I brought to my waterfall berm garden from the wild. They flower in a wonderful assortment of colors, hot pink and various blues and purples. They reseed easily but if you do not want more plants, just cut off the seed heads when they're done blooming. They also go dormant during the summer and do not need watering once established.
The last two native plants I am featuring are wild on my property. I mow around pink evening primrose. I learned the hard way that if you do not, it gets unhappy and dies out. The blue-eyed grass is a bit more resistant to being mowed. It is a tiny member of the iris family. I do mow around them this time of year to make sure I get to see their flowers which open up when it gets bright enough during the day. (Note: This blue-eyed grass plant was in my garden, but they do not usually last long as they don't seem to like mulched gardens.)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Spring has Sprung

What a difference a month and a half makes. We have gone from frigid temperatures and snow from storm Uri to spring green showing up in the form of new leaves on most of the trees and green grass and clear blue skies.

I had a flock of cedar waxwings visit my bald cypress today. I'm not sure if they were eating buds or bugs but they stayed there for quite a while and I got some nice pictures of them. It would have been nice to have the sun at a different angle but you take what you can get. At least the birds were so engrossed in what they were doing that they ignored me. Cedar waxwings are usually flighty and difficult to capture "on film". They were also much less vocal than I am used to. I love the sounds cedar waxwings make but they were pretty quiet today.

What birds have you seen recently?

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Snowy Valentine's Day Great Backyard Bird Count Pictures

Because of the pandemic, my city was already planning on one part of its Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) event being virtual, but due to the weather, all of it was moved online. I hosted two livestream sessions. One on Friday, February 12 where I gave background on and how to participate in the GBBC. We added a livestream on Saturday instead of heading out in the weather for socially distanced guided bird walks. In this livestream, I chatted with a member of the Fort Worth Audubon Society about her birding experiences and we discussed several local birds featured in photos provided by another resident. You can find both of these videos on my personal Facebook page.

These images are from today. Click on them to enlarge them. Even though I have only been counting from inside my house and the bad weather, I think I have counted more species than I have ever counted during a four day GBBC and we still have Monday to go. I have seen at least one of each of the following birds: American Crow, American goldfinch, American Robin, Blue Jay, Carolina chickadee, Cedar waxwing, Dark-eyed junco, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Gull sp., House finch, House sparrow, Lincoln's sparrow, Mourning dove, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Northern mockingbird, Pine siskin, Red-bellied woodpecker, Red-tailed hawk, Ruby-crowned kinglet, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey vulture, White-winged dove, Yellow-bellied sapsucker and Yellow-rumped warbler. There are other birds that can be around my property this time of year, but I think this is pretty good. In fact the bird in my last post showed back up for me to count. If I do not get a correct guess in the comments as to what it is, I will add another photo and identify it after the GBBC is over.

If you have not gotten a chance to count birds for the GBBC this year. If you are cooped up because of our strong winter storm in Texas, take some time to count the birds. Merlin is a great, free app for android or iOS that helps greatly with bird identification. The count runs through Monday, February 15, 2021.