Friday, June 22, 2018

Name That Job!

What do all of these critters have in common with regards to an important function they perform? If you know or have an educated guess, please answer in comments below. (Hint: The senate passed resolution 580 in 2006 creating the first National ______________ Week in June of 2007.)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Milkweed on the Move

The milkweed pods on the green milkweed, Asclepias virids, in my pasture are splitting open to allow the seeds inside a chance to catch a puff of wind and ride to a new location in hopes of establishing a new plant. This past weekend I watched as the silky puffball of threads attached to each seed were pushed this way and that by the wind. Occasionally one would let loose and a seed would begin its journey from the mother plant to a bit of earth to nestle into.

Another common name for this green milkweed is green antelopehorn. The problem with common names becomes clear when you try to figure out what type of milkweed a given plant is. There are several with common names of green milkweed or antelope horns. What they all have in common is that Monarch butterflies search them out as the host plant for their progeny. When Monarch larvae eat milkweed they
sequester toxic cardenolides in their bodies. This makes monarch larvae and the adult butterflies they turn into taste bitter and develop a level of toxicity for potential predators. Monarchs' bright orange coloration is thought to warn off predators from eating them and taking on the ill effects of this toxicity. It is thought that other species of butterflies mimic this coloration to trick predators into thinking they are toxic too.

However, there is a delicate balance that must be met in order to survive growing up on such a toxic diet. The toxins are produced by the plant as a defense and the Monarch larvae must avoid the sticky latex sap containing the toxins that is exuded when a milkweed plant is chomped on as well as not ingesting too much cardenolide. I came across a very interesting article describing this delicate balance that you might want to read too.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Two Photographic Art Prints Selected for Exhibit

Last year I told you about a new botanical art group formed in North Texas that I joined. They have formalized the name of the group to the Botanical Art Collective of North Central Texas and are about to open their first juried 2D art exhibit at BRIT. Members could submit up to four pieces for consideration to be included in the exhibit. Two of mine were accepted, a Mother's Day rose and a close up of a branch covered in a variety of lichens.

The opening reception will be held this coming Thursday, June 14, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Unfortunately, I have a City budget meeting that begins at 6 pm that night so I will have to view the exhibit at another time and miss getting to talk with everyone at the reception. If you are also unable to attend the reception, the exhibit will hang from June 14 - August 9 and BRIT is open to the public Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm and the first Saturday of
the month from 9 am - noon.

Having seen some of the other member's works, I am expecting this to be a fabulous exhibit. The name of the exhibit is Botanical Art - Flowers, Fruit and Fungi. This exhibit is a celebration of the world of botany and will feature depictions of flowers, fruits, seeds, vegetables, fungi, and grasses executed in a variety of mediums by local artists. Come view the exhibit and explore the joyful intersection of two distinct yet closely related disciplines - botanical art and science.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Design This - 26 Music Note Keychains

Sometimes everything falls in place for an unusual request to be able to be fulfilled. Earlier this year, I just happened to look at my emails much earlier than normal on a Friday morning and found a rush request. Someone had seen my music note keychains in my EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop and wanted to know if I by chance had 26 of them ready to ship so she could receive them the next day. I did have two keychains shown in the listing to choose from, however those were the only completed ones I had. I do generally have extra stock to make up more of many of my items so I checked to see what I had
on hand. Luckily, I had just enough of the easy open flexible keychains but I did not have quite enough of the eighth note charms. I did however have some sixteenth note charms that my potential customer was happy to have me use. I looked at my schedule and figured that if I could start on the keychains after my morning meeting, I would be able to complete them in order to get them packed up and to the post office in time to get next day delivery to my customer's location. Luckily my customer was watching for my response and after a couple of convos to tie down details I was able to put together a custom listing for her and send her the link. I told her if it was paid by the time I made it home from my meeting I was about to head out to, that I would be able to fulfill her request in time. (Click to enlarge the photo.)

Just before my meeting ended, my Etsy app made that lovely cha-ching sound to let me know my listing had been purchased. I got home and got to work in an assembly line fashion to create 26 new keychains to fulfill the order. As I got started, I remembered the 16th note charms were actually connectors so I had to find gemstones with a larger and smaller size to make those work. It was a bit
of a free upgrade but since I did not have 26 eighth note charms, I was happy to do this. Even with a couple of small things I had to attend to during the day, I was able to complete, pack and ship this order in time, not with lots of time to spare but I got it done. Now, I held my breath in hopes that USPS would fulfill its next day shipping. Happily the package was delivered prior to noon on Saturday.

If you ever need multiples of any of the items I have created, please contact me to see if I can help out. It would be a good idea to give me more lead time than I had on this request however. There really seemed to be an aligning of the stars so that I could turn around this order in such a short time frame.

As I looked for replacement eighth note charms, I found a supplier who carried golden ones in addition to the silver tone ones I originally stocked so now I can offer my music note keychains in two colors, silver or gold. I made my first golden music note keychains using picture jasper and a tan and black dalmatian jasper.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Artist Spotlight - Frontier Gallery 2

I first shared a piece of rustic home decor from this artisan after buying one of her wonderful gourd art pieces several years ago. At the time I mentioned that it had been difficult to decide between Dee's gourd art, pine needle baskets or pine cone duck, but I finally chose a gourd creation. When I was at Art on the Greene a couple of year's ago, this time one of her pine needle baskets spoke to me loudest and I brought it home to add to my collection of fabulously crafted objects.

If you are looking for your own Frontier Gallery creation, you may need to do some detective work
these days. Dee's rustic home decor seems to have taken a back seat to her polymer clay Texas wildflower and naughty Christmas ornaments in her Etsy store. However if you are lucky enough to trip across her at a local arts festival, I know you will enjoy seeing all of the different materials she combines into the variety of shapes and sizes of objects she creates. You could also try contacting her through her Etsy store to see what she has ready made in this category of decor or see if you can commission a custom piece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Herb Festival at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens Sat. May 19

I will have most of my photographic art and a limited selection of my jewelry with me this Saturday. I won't have as many of my ready to hang pieces with me this year because I have several of them hanging in the Inspired by Nature art exhibit in Mansfield. You can see those weekdays through May 22 from 8:30-4:30pm at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts. I will have a good selection of my matted prints, note cards, bookmarks and more at the Herb Festival at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Inspired By Nature Art Exhibit to Feature My Photographic Art

All six featured artists plan to attend the reception on Saturday, May 12 for the Inspired by Nature Residency at the Center art exhibit from 6-8 pm. You will be treated to high fire ceramics, photographs, basket and gourd weavings, paintings, mixed media pieces featuring polymer clay and photographic art images. Browse over 70 pieces of art, all inspired by the natural world around us. If one speaks to you, you will be able to purchase it, however it must remain in the exhibit through May 22.

In addition to the reception from 6-8 pm this Saturday, the exhibit is open to the public at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts from May 7-22, Monday through Friday from 8 am - 4:30 pm.