Thursday, March 29, 2012

Waterwise Gardening

Recently many areas of the US have experienced more severe than normal droughts. Last year’s drought in Texas even damaged some locally native plants. What can a gardener do to have a chance at pulling through their garden in a hot, dry year?

There are many resources available for tips on this subject. One of these is my article “Summertime Gardening” on pages 18-19 of last summer’s online De-Stress 4 Life magazine.

For those of you that are local to Arlington, TX a free “smart yard” symposium with some speakers addressing this issue will be held at Arlington City Hall and the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market this Saturday, March 31, 2012. Information about speakers, times, etc. for the symposium is found on the Green Source DFW website.

I will be a vendor this Saturday from 8 am - 1 pm at the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market with some of the native and adapted plants that do well in my north Texas garden. If after listening to the speakers and visiting my booth, you still need some direction to help you implement a water saving garden plan in your yard, I’d be happy to discuss my garden coaching services with you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Promoting the Arts

A fairly recent development in my life has left me with the opportunity to do more to promote the arts. After doing some research and thinking about what would fit into my life and be of benefit to the Arts Community, I decided to turn this opportunity into a place to promote ways for artists to engage and for anyone to find fun arts events to attend. This place is called 817ArtsAlliance. On this site you will find a curated collection of other links to direct you to art exhibitions, musical and theater performances, craft shows and arts organizations to name a few.

If you live in the DFW area or plan to visit, bookmark this site as a “go to” place to find the full spectrum of arts happenings all in one spot. You can also follow by email and you will receive new blog posts about upcoming events. Additionally if you are involved with an arts group and don’t see a mention yet on this site, use the "submissions” tab to let me know of a site that would fit under one of the tabs at 817ArtsAlliance. These simple text listings with links are free. If you would like me to blog about your Arts Community event, please add 817ArtsAlliance to your press release distribution list and I will schedule a post as time and space allow.

I also anticipate that 817ArtsAlliance will produce or be a part of arts happenings in the DFW area. If you would like to receive information on how to participate as an artist or attend the events, please sign up for the 817ArtsAlliance newsletter. This newsletter will only be sent in conjunction with 817ArtsAlliance sponsored events.

So whether you are searching for something arts related or looking for a way to get your arts group, institution or event “out there” in the DFW area, please check out and engage with 817ArtsAlliance.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Submitting My Art

When I was in high school, my art teachers included my work in school wide displays of student’s work and asked me to bring back pieces that I had taken home to be entered in the district wide art show. Most of my work was nature themed acrylic paintings. It was over three decades later before I again submitted any of my creations to contests or exhibitions for judging and viewing by the public.

My foray back into competitions and shows began with some small Etsy team design challenges. My photographic art garnered good feedback and I found myself with my first actual placing in January of 2010 with my “Sparkles” holiday card. In February of that same year one of my recycled wood creations was selected by the eco-friendly category judge as one of twelve finalists in the 2010 Handmade Olympics. With the exception of the Handmade Olympics, these were all fun, peer reviewed and voted on contests that I have continued to submit pieces to as a design theme matches something I have already created or am inspired to create. It took a push from another art teacher and artist for me to submit my art for viewing and review by a larger audience and jury.

After my "push", I submitted two framed photographic art series pieces to the Arlington Museum of Art’s Community Showcase last fall. I entered one of those pieces in the Arlington Visual Arts Association’s Regional Juried Show in February of this year. I was keeping my fingers crossed that my entry would get chosen just to hang in the show. I was very happy when it was picked to hang and received a merit award too. My Gulf Fritillary series piece is currently hanging for public viewing with the other works selected for the show at the Bob Duncan Community Center in Arlington through March 30, 2012. It and the other winners will be moved to the rooftop gallery at the Arlington Museum of Art for display through May 25, 2012.

All of this, in addition to customer feedback at the local arts and crafts shows that I have participated in, led me to contacting a local gallery to see if they would be interested in displaying my work. As a result, my framed Jacobean Lily Series piece and gallery wrapped canvas print of Aliens Have Landed (seen above) are currently hanging at Gypsy Riddles Boutique and Gallery in downtown Arlington TX.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Butterfly Watching

Have you seen them yet? Butterflies that is, fluttering around your garden. While I haven’t seen a large number of individuals yet, I have seen a good number of types of butterflies and moths fluttering around or on my plants. The images in this post are of a salt marsh moth, Estigmene acrea, that seemed to show up from nowhere just after emerging from its cocoon. (After reading about its pupal stage, I think it most likely emerged from the leaf litter at the base of the wall and crawled up the wall a bit to a sunny spot to “stretch its wings”. It was fascinating to watch its wings expand and become ready for flight over the next couple of hours.

You may be lucky enough to see something similar at the Butterflies in the Garden exhibit at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. They usually have a butterfly hatching area. The butterflies that you will find at the exhibit are all tropical varieties. They are a lot of fun to watch flying around the conservatory. Sometimes they even land on visitors. This exhibit will be in Fort Worth through April 8, 2012 and you can find out more information on the Botanic Gardens website.

You can usually find information about out how to attract butterflies to your garden at this exhibit that comes to the Botanic Gardens every other year. One way to encourage butterflies to come to your garden for you to watch is to plant nectar plants for the adult butterflies. I will have some good butterfly nectar plants available for sale at the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market on Saturday, March 31 from 8 am to 1 pm. There will also be short gardening talks at the Market that day on a variety of topics as part of the Smart Yard Symposium. If you are in the area, come out and say hi. Contact me if you want an on site evaluation of how to attract more butterflies to your garden.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thank for the Treasuries - February 2012

Four different Etsians let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during February. Six February Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my items. One of my items even showed up in two different treasuries. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during February. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 4 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Corkycrafts' unique wine cork wreathes and cork crafts make the perfect gift for the wine lover.

This seller creates unique pieces of jewelry that tell a story.

In this shop you will find handknit and crocheted items by a passionate knitter.

This shop carries fabric supplies such as quilt squares and yoyos in addition to lovely handmade purses, placemats and more.