Monday, November 12, 2018

Fall Colors and Spring Promise

If it was not for the pretty colors leaves take on before they drop from the trees, I might have more trouble enjoying the mild fall temperatures since falling leaves signal winter approaching right around the corner. Here in North Texas we seem to have jumped this year from just beginning to experience fall temps, which I will admit can be pleasant, to full on winter. Our high temp for the day occurred at midnight and the reinforcing cold front will put us in the upper 30s shortly (relative to when I am typing this). The wind chill already is in the lower 30s and gray skies make it feel even colder to me.

We are expecting our first freeze of the year tonight. Any tender in ground plants will need to be covered and any tender potted plants need to be moved inside. The majority of the trees I can see from my office window are actually still green. If the freeze is strong enough their leaves might just fall without changing color. Going straight from green to bare without a pretty change in color would be a shock to my system, so I am glad I got some pictures a week ago of the pretty reds showing on my dogwood and red oak. I am sharing a couple of them here to brighten the tone of my post. The dogwood tree even shows promise of the spring to come in its swollen flower buds nestled among its crimson leaves.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Design This - Amethyst Earrings

After putting on my dark amethyst colored sweater and accessorizing it with a light and dark amethyst chip necklace a couple of days ago like I often do, I looked in the mirror and once again wished I had a pair of amethyst earrings to go with this outfit. I looked at my clock and had some time before I needed to leave for my meeting, so I decided to do something about that wish.

I pulled out some strands of faceted amethyst beads to see which ones might do the trick, along with some silver findings. I picked a pair of the larger, faceted teardrops and used triangle jump
rings to turn them into dangles. I decided I wanted longer earrings than just that dangle however so I picked out a pair of faceted square amethyst beads too. I decided the design still needed a pop of something else. Instead of using a small, lighter colored amethyst bead with the dark square ones, I picked out a pair of small pearls. I liked their shape and color contrast better in the overall design. Now that I had the design complete, I had just enough time to put it all together and wear my new earrings to my meeting.

My amethyst and pearl earrings are a welcome addition to my jewelry collection. Do you have a wish to match an outfit or other jewelry component of yours? I might just have the right supplies to help you out. Contact me to discuss custom earrings, necklaces or bracelets to fit your needs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New Listing for EclecticSkeptic - Celestial Stud Earrings

My EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop has a new science jewelry listing. Space buffs will appreciate the new planet and star earrings. I discovered some cute, plated brass, ringed planet earrings. I made dangles for them to expand on the celestial theme. The first joint of the dangle is a dark blue teardrop shaped Czech glass bead with a pop of AB coating that represents the fabric of space. Below this bead I attached two separate small white star dangles.

Check out these and other science themed jewelry and gifts in my EclecticSkeptic science geekery shop section.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Murder of Crows

A few weeks ago I saw the biggest gathering of crows that I have ever seen. (The photo above captured just over half of them.) I am used to seeing murders of crows of six to twelve in my backyard, but to see two dozen in a single group was quite an experience.

Crows are loud birds and in this group they were constantly communicating. Sometimes they would all hang out in the tall pine trees just off the corner of my pasture. Then some of them would fly to nearby treetops before returning to the big pines. Eventually something signaled to them and they all flew off and out of site. Calm and quiet returned upon their departure.

(Click the images to enlarge them.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Queen of Monarch Butterfly Mimics

I have written several blog posts about monarch butterflies and have pictured queen butterflies in a couple of posts. (You can use the search box at the right to find them.) However I don't think I have discussed monarch butterfly mimics before. There are two butterfly species that mimic the monarch butterfly. It is thought that doing this affords them some protection from predators since birds generally leave monarch butterflies alone because they taste bad from feeding on milkweed as caterpillars. The two mimics are the viceroy butterfly and the queen butterfly. Viceroys are supposed to be in my area but I only recall having seen queen butterflies along with monarch butterflies. You can see one of each feeding on the same blue mist flower in the first photo. The queen butterfly is on the left with the monarch on the right side of the photo.

Until this week I did not realize that the queen butterfly caterpillar also mimics the monarch butterfly caterpillar. I was excited when I saw a small yellow, black and white banded caterpillar munching on a new milkweed shoot so I grabbed my camera to record it. While I was taking its picture, I was thinking that something seemed a bit off though from what I remembered monarch caterpillars looked like. My hunch was correct when I compared my images to those of monarch caterpillars, so now I had a mystery caterpillar eating milkweed that looked similar to a monarch caterpillar. What was it? I found out that it is a queen caterpillar. Queens have one more set of "horns", three instead of two to be exact, than monarch caterpillars. The monarch's are at each end, while the queen has an extra set near its midsection. While doing my research I also discovered that their chrysalises are almost identical. The queen's is a bit smaller and can take on a bit of a pink hue but unless they were side by side, I'm not sure I could ID which one I was looking at.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Customizable Owl Earrings

These delightful filigree owl antique brass tone charm earrings are a great fall fashion accessory. You can personalize them by choosing the color of the central crystal bead of the dangle below the owl charm. Pick your birthstone, a favorite color or a shade to match a particular outfit.

These charming earrings are available in my EDCCollective Etsy shop. The pair of earrings pictured sport the color of November's birthstone, topaz or citrine. The crystal colors that I use to represent the other months' birthstones are shown in the chart. The dangle will be made with the beads shown on the golden wire. I do have a few additional crystal color choices. Please contact me if you don't see the color you would like to customize your owl earrings with.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Eclectic Design Choices Artwork Included in GPAC 2018 Juried Art Show and Sale

I delivered my entries to the Uptown Theater in Downtown Grand Prairie earlier today. The foyer of the theater will be home to more than 125 pieces of art from 58 regional artists. It will be open to the public beginning with the reception for the show on Sunday, September 23 from 2-4pm. If you are unable to attend the reception for the Grand Prairie Arts Council 2018 Annual Juried Show and Sale, you can view the art in the lobby of the Uptown Theater until the artists remove their work beginning at 10 am Saturday, October 20.


My triptych of moonlight on the waters around the Galapagos Islands is one of my three accepted pieces.

Update 9/23/18: The piece I shared above won third in the photography category. To see the other pieces I entered, check out my awards tab.