Saturday, July 22, 2017

New Visitor - Can You ID This Frog?

A couple of times this year I have scared up a frog that I did not recognize while mowing. It always disappeared too quickly for me to get a good look and be able to tell for sure. Finally about a week ago I got lucky and one stopped in an open area when I paused the riding mower to try to get a good look at it. It was quit a bit bigger than the cricket frogs and definitely a frog and not one of the Gulf Coast toads that hang around. I have never seen a bullfrog with stripes down the sides so I ruled out it possibly being a very small bullfrog.

Luckily my other half was home and I was able to phone inside and ask him to bring out my camera. I got lucky and the frog hung around during this process. It got skittish when my camera was handed to me, but I did manage to get one shot of it after it hopped through the chainlink fence.

This brings me to another curious thing about this new visitor. I had only seen this frog while mowing various areas of my property but never very close to water. I don't know if I have seen one well travelled frog or if I have several of them hanging around.

A couple of days ago I finally spotted one in my pond. I would love to know what species this frog is. I've not had a chance to look it up since I got pictures. Please leave a comment if you think you know who my new visitor is.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Decorated Agate Night Lights

While I have talked about my agate slice and nature charm night lights online in other places, I was surprised to see I have never devoted a blog post to them. They have been seen on my blog but only as part of my retired "Thanks for the Treasuries" feature, when they were included in an Etsy treasury. I first tested this product by providing nature charm night lights wholesale to the Arlington Museum of Art's gift shop in the summer of 2014 when they featured an Ansel Adams photography exhibit. The agate night lights were well received and because they sold well, I decided to add some to my EDCCollective Etsy shop after the Ansel Adams exhibit closed.

It is fun to pick an agate slice and figure out what type of scene can be created on it with the various nature charms I have acquired. Some slices have what looks like a horizon line and are fun to add trees and shrubs or critters running across the landscape. Others are less specific and work well with a variety of critters flying across their face. Once I've made the charms suitable for mounting, I fix them on their slice. The agate is then attached to a bracket that then is fixed to a switchable night light base.

These night lights add a decorative touch to any room by day and a welcome low light to navigate by at night when switched on. Keep one in a guest bath or bedroom to make it easy for guests to navigate when they come to visit. I use one in my house whose light can be seen from my front door so that I can leave a small, low energy using light on when I know I will be home after dark. It is nice to have that bit of light to welcome me home without making the electric meter spin as much as a larger light left on would.

Since I started making my nature charm night lights, I have found some more wonderful silhouettes to attach and have added these to both of my Etsy shops. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you have already seen them. If not, you can check out my night light listings at EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic. I will tell their stories in a later blog post.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New Science Geek Gifts

Being a science geek myself, I am always on the lookout for ideas or supplies to inspire new goodies for my science geekery section of my EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop. I was excited to receive a new shipment last week that included items I could use to create math, mythology and science themed items for EclecticSkeptic.

The science themed items will thrill dinosaur buffs. I have already added two new listings. The first item I made and listed was a pair of gold plated ceratopsian dinosaur post earrings with a lapis lazuli dangle. I also have silver plated available and lots of different gemstones that I can make dangles with. Contact me if you have a specific gemstone or pearl request.

The second item I listed was a sauropod necklace. I love the colorful dino teardrop pendants. The teardrop bezels are antiqued brass plated and I thought a thin, black satin cord necklace finished off with the same color findings would be a perfect pairing. If you prefer a different length necklace, contact me to create a custom length piece for you.

Stay tuned for T. rex earrings or contact me about them.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Artist Spotlight - Ecuadorian Artisan Coop

Recently several entities in Arlington teamed up with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market to bring the concept to Arlington. The Arlington show was held on the Green at College Park on the UTA campus earlier this month. Almost three dozen artisans from around the world had a chance to showcase their creations to North Texans and anyone else who showed up for the event. I had a chance to check it out a couple of hours before the market was due to close. I went out of curiosity, not with the intention of buying anything.

That changed when I saw the lovely seed bead work at the booth of La Mega Cooperativa Artesanal de los Saraguros. One necklace in particular caught my eye. It was a collar necklace beaded to look like it was made up of many peacock feather eyes. I decided to look around the rest of the market before determining whether to purchase the necklace or not. It was still there when I got back to the booth so I tried it on. I really liked it but I needed to think if I already had at least one thing in my wardrobe I could pair it with. I decided the necklace should look stunning over a black mock turtle neck of mine. I was happy to make the purchase and help support this artisan coop.

When I got home I tried it on with the shirt I was thinking of and had my husband take a picture of it so I could share it with my readers. When I took it off and was deciding where to store it, I was thinking it was a shame not to have it on display somehow to be able to enjoy it even when I was not wearing it. We have a large red blown glass vase that I thought of as a possible support. I draped the necklace over the vase and they complimented each other wonderfully. We both enjoy getting to see this wearable art more often by displaying it this way.

The original Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is coming up the middle of July in, where else, Santa Fe, New Mexico. They will have many more international artisans there. If you happen to be in the area, it should be a fun event to attend.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Daylily Design Garden Element

Several years ago I healed in some daylilies that caught my eye in a garden center. I knew I wanted to have a section of daylilies in another area of my garden once I finally got rid of the bindweed. Since I had no clue how long that would take I decided to purchase the daylilies and find a temporary place for them to live. That has taken more years than I care to admit, however this spring when I finally got a
chance to finish chipping that area of my garden and start moving some other plants around, I decided where I would dedicate the space to a variety of daylilies. I have a few in other areas that will stay there but the two that I knew I put in temporary locations have a place to go to now.

I was not actually planning to develop a design in this newly designated daylily area because late fall would be the best time to move the plants. So what happened? I knew this was the time of year that I might still find some daylilies in bloom in garden centers so I kept my eye out for some that would go well with the ones I want to move later. I found one and was just going to keep it potted until fall when I spied another that I brought home too. That did it. I was motivated to figure out a design. I could just mass the daylilies and
let their variety of blooms play off each other. That would be very showy while they were in bloom but a bit boring the rest of the year. I needed another design element. This could have been garden art but my go to is often rock, so I took a trip to the local rock yard to see if anything jumped out at me. I found a nice piece of obsidian and some granite boulders with subtle color variations. I looked for stones that had a flat base for stability and settled on three small granite boulders of different shades and shapes.

When I got the rocks back to my garden I arranged them to create separation between the daylilies. The mounding form of the daylilies will contrast nicely with the angularity of the stones. I placed the two
potted daylilies I had recently purchased and used a newly purchased rain lily and a sign stake as stand ins for the daylilies I will transplant later this year to ensure that I liked my rock placement. At this point I added a couple of small pieces of basalt that I had lying around. Soon I will tuck in the potted plants. There is also room for me to pick up a few more daylilies in the future that speak to me and sneak them into this area of the garden.

Daylilies are a wonderful choice for many areas of the country. I have found most varieties to be very drought tolerant and reliable perennials in my garden. They even have varieties now that will rebloom so that you aren't limited to enjoying their beautiful flowers once a year.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Design This - Variation on a Sold Item

Sometimes a custom request comes in that is for a variation on something seen in my sold items in my EclecticSkeptic shop on Etsy. If I have what is needed to recreate a sold item or a variation on it, I am happy to help.

Someone contacted me because they had been searching for a bead much like I had used in my previously sold flying pig moon and stars pin but with a silver cast instead of a gold one. Luckily I had a few moon and star beads that I had not used yet, specifically because they lacked much of the golden hue of the ones I had paired with my golden flying pig charm. This person wanted to attach their own charm to such a bead, as I had attached my flying pig charm, and use the combination as a lapel pin. They wanted the loop under the bead to be sterling silver and the tie tack back to be silver tone instead golden.

I had the materials on hand to be able to achieve what this person wanted so I was happy to be able to create a custom listing for her. If you see something in a current or sold listing that you want to know if I can recreate but make it a different size, color, style or other variation, please contact me. I enjoy tailoring my creations to exactly what someone is looking for when I am able.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fellow Etsian Sighting - ClayBabies

If you are a potter and you need a new backsplash in your kitchen that you are remodeling, what do you do? You make tiles of course! I got a chance to see the finished product earlier this year after having seen the tile pile grow from one visit to Cynthia's studio to the next. She had a lot of fun making a variety of tiles with different stamps and textures. The photos in this post show only a small portion of the varied tiles she made. The look is at once both uniform and individual. The colors of the tiles blend to give a unified palate and it is so much fun to look at all of the individual imagery on each tile. I don't think any two repeat exactly.

Tiles are a departure from the thrown pieces that comprise the bulk of the work Cynthia offers for sale. You can find her work on Etsy in her ClayBabies shop or at arts and crafts shows in the area and in some brick and mortar stores as CiCi House of Clay. You can see the bowl of hers that had to come home with me in an Artist Spotlight post from earlier this year. Most of Cynthia's pottery can be classified as functional art. She makes bowls, vases, teapots and much more.