Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mother’s Day Flowers

Many a mom receives a bouquet of flowers, roses or otherwise, on Mother’s Day. This year, put a twist on a bouquet with flower themed gifts that will continue to bloom long after Mother’s Day, or with a flower filled outing.

Give your mom a Mother’s Day Rose photographic art print that will bloom on her wall all year. In addition to floral prints, other photographic art flower themed gifts can include note cards, purse hangers and trinket dishes. Floral themed jewelry and accessories adorned with your mom’s favorite flower are sure to be a hit as well. (Click on the image below to enlarge it.)

Mother’s Day, May 11, falls within National Wildflower Week, May 5-11. If your mother is a nature and/or a garden lover she will appreciate some time spent with you taking in the views at a local garden, arboretum, or nature center. Bring your camera to get some shots of your mom stopping to smell the flowers. Top of your excursion with a light meal or treat.

Here’s wishing you and your mom a fun, flower filled day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day and Arbor Day 2014

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22, while Arbor Day in the U.S. seems to be celebrated in most locations on the last Friday of April. That puts Arbor Day a mere 3 days after Earth Day in 2014. Both days are good days to reflect on the natural world around you and what you can do to keep it healthy.

This is the 44th anniversary for Earth Day, begun as a way to promote environmental awareness and protection. If you take part in local Earth Day events in your area, hopefully you will pick up a few new tips on how to leave a smaller footprint on the earth by recycling, reusing, properly disposing of waste, increasing the energy efficiency of your home and more. The focus of Earth Day TX 2014 (Apr. 26-27) at Fair Park in Dallas, TX is water. The event guide states, “The event showcases the world’s largest public exhibition of environmental and water conserving initiatives from businesses, environmental nonprofits, schools, universities and government agencies. Our goal is to demonstrate how green lifestyle choices can reduce cost of living, improve health and help save the environment.”

With the two environmentally centered holidays coming so close together this year, you will find Arbor Day celebrations on the weekend of Apr. 26-27 as well. Once such Arbor Day celebration is Arbor Daze in Euless, TX. Need a tree to plant? You can pick up one here to celebrate this tree planting holiday. I have several trees on my property that started as small Arbor Day saplings that now provide wonderful shade.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Artist Spotlight – RainDrop Studio

Botanical illustration prints have long been a popular form of art. Brenda, creative force behind RainDrop Studio, has taken the art in botanical illustration up several notches. Imagine combining botanical specimens, painting and quilting and you might have an inkling of the amazing creations she crafts from nature and her skills with painting, arranging and quilting. Her use of color in combining fabrics, paint and plant material is exquisite.

Brenda and her husband recently moved to North Texas and I found their booth at Art on the Greene in Arlington earlier this year when a friend and I stopped in to take a quick look at the artisans’ work in this show. I was so enthralled with Brenda’s work that I told my husband later that there was some art I was potentially interested in purchasing and I wanted him to look at it with me when we went back the next day to listen to one of the live bands play. My husband was as impressed as I was with the beautiful, natural plant representations so we agreed we wanted to add something from this studio to our art collection. The only problem would be what to pick?

We chose one large piece and two smaller companion pieces to go on either side. The only problem was that there was only one of the smaller pieces in stock. Brenda had to go home to see if she still had the materials to craft another original that would complete the set that we wanted to have. Since the show still had a day to go, we purchased the large piece and the small piece was held for us until we had an answer. When we came back the next day we were pleased to find out that it could be done so we took home the small fern art piece that we liked.

When we got home I took down two pictures on the wall where we planned to hang our new, three piece botanical art set and temporarily hung up the two pieces that we already had. The large one looked fabulous, however the dark color of the wall and the way the room was illuminated made the small fern piece disappear somewhat. We decided that what that wall needed was the other larger piece that matched the one we already had. Another wall in the same room with better illumination was a much better place for the fern. So back to Art on the Greene and RainDrop Studio for my fourth visit I went. They still had the larger companion piece to the one that we had already purchased and were happy to have me buy it and cancel the custom piece, since it had not been started yet.

I hope you get the chance to see Brenda’s fabulous creations in person. While they look lovely on the RainDrop Studio website, images of her creations does not do them justice. In addition to her signed original art pieces, prints of some on metal and note cards are also available.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's 2014 Photo Contest

This year the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Photo Contest changed up its entry categories a bit and added a rule that you could enter a maximum of eight photos per person across whatever categories you entered. There was a new category, Birds and Butterflies with Native Wildflowers and Plants, that really appealed to me because of the nature shots that I tend to take as a starting point for my photographic art images. I found three images with birds and five images containing butterflies that I decided to enter this year. (You can click on the photos below to see larger images or go directly to my images on the photo contest page for voting by clicking here or to each individual photo's voting pages by clicking the title under each photo. When you are on those pages, if you click the photo to the left of the title, a much larger image eventually comes up.)

Female Cardinal on Bald Cypress------Western Kingbird on Pecan-------------Field Sparrow on Elm-----

---------------------Skipper on Pickerel Rush-----Gray Hairstreak on Late-Flowering Boneset---------------

---Fiery Skipper on Frog Fruit---Variegated Fritillary on Butterflyweed----Question Mark on Lantana---

Unless something manages to go viral, I don't expect to top the charts on the public voting, however it would still be very useful to me for developing future photographic art images to know which of these photos people like the best, so if you have the time please vote for your favorite(s). You may vote once per day (24 hour period) for whatever photo you like through May 9, 2014 (even if it isn't mine). If you really like an image but would prefer not to vote, please leave me a comment about the one(s) you like. The categories are judged privately, independent of the public voting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thanks for the Treasuries - March 2014

Two different Etsians and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during March. In fact I had more items featured from the TXFriendsTeam than usual because they honored my EclecticSkeptic shop as one of the shops of the week during March. Two March Etsy treasuries in addition to the team treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during March. (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 2 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. You will also see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured items of mine.

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

Cute and clever hand painted signs and more can be found in this shop.

This shop has a great assortment of rag dolls, stuffed animals and mosaics.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.