Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring is in the Air

The spring equinox is one of my favorite days of the year. According to the calendar, we can officially say we are through with winter and can welcome in springtime. Unfortunately Mother Nature does not always follow the calendar. In North Texas it feels a bit like we jumped straight from winter to summer with a forecast high today of almost 90 degrees. Signs of spring have been around here for a few weeks already, from spring blooming bulbs to flowering trees and the pretty green of new leaves on trees that don't put out a flush of flowers. I have been watching birds gather nesting material. I saw a crow this past weekend flying with a big twig in its beak and the blue jays have been gathering up fallen bald cypress leaves.

Along with the signs of spring outside, it is almost time for a favorite indoor spring event, Spring Gallery Night. Join the Texas Pottery and Sculpture Guild (TPSG) for their 2017 Spring Gallery Night Sale at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. The sale begins Saturday morning, March 25 at 10 am and runs until 9 pm that evening. The guild has invited a few non-pottery artists to join them and I will be one of them. Many of my photographic art pieces are spring themed. Watching this YouTube video showing examples of artists work will give you an idea of what works you can expect to find.

Typical Gallery Night crowds are fairly large, so if you want to avoid the crush come early to do your shopping. The Fort Worth Community Art Center is located at 1300 Gendy, Fort Worth TX, 76107 across Lancaster from the Amon Carter Museum.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day 2017

Since 1989 math and science geeks have celebrated the all important mathematical constant pi and used the day, along with other folks, as a good excuse to indulge in their sweet tooth while eating some pie. The society of physics students has also turned Pi Day into a celebration of support for undergraduate involvement in the physical sciences. Pi appears in more than just mathematical equations, it is also found in many science formulas. You can help support STEM by helping undergraduate physics students get a piece of the pi(e) through your donation. (If you don't know, I have a Bachelor of Science in Physics so I think this is a great cause.)

The pi in this piece was made from some leftover pie dough from last year's Pi Day project.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Design This - Short Flying Pig Earrings

Last spring I received two convos from a nurse, each with a request for an alteration to one of my flying pig listings to make a short pair of earrings. The earrings needed to be short for wearing at work. One request was to have just the flying pig charms dangling from French ear wires without the heart in between the two and the other was to ask if I could use the image on my flying pig cufflinks to make a short pair of earrings. And she had sensitive ears so she initially asked for sterling silver ear wires.

The first request was easy to fill by making a new pair of earrings with just the flying pig charms. I did want to ask her about ear wire choices for sensitive ears though. Niobium ear wires are a great alternative to expensive pure metals and they come in a variety of colors. Luckily the second request was also fairly easy to fill since I was already doing something similar with my music note bezel earrings. This customer was a joy to discuss her options with. She was very upbeat and excited about having a variety of choices for new earrings with a flying pig theme based on her needs.

After nailing down the details I was able to get started on this custom order after finishing up another project I had in the works. The bezel earrings take a couple of days to complete. Once they were finished I took a picture for review by my customer. She was very pleased so I got them boxed up and shipped out so they could wing their way to their new home.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Butterfly Weed Named Perennial Plant of the Year

Asclepias tuberosa or Butterfly Weed is capable of being at home in gardens across much of the country. It grows in zones 4-9, likes full sun, is deer resistant and attracts plenty of pollinators, including a large variety of butterflies. In my North Texas garden it is very drought resistant. Once established, I don't supplement its water. In fact it is rated to need as little as 10 inches of rain annually and will tolerate as much as 40 inches of rain if it has good drainage. No wonder it has been named 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

Butterflies pictured in this post perched on butterfly weed blooms are a monarch butterfly (top) and a variegated fritillary butterfly (bottom). Because butterfly weed is a host plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars, if you are lucky enough to have monarch eggs laid on your plant(s) and witness the growth and transformation of the caterpillars, your plants may temporarily look a little worse for wear, but they will bounce back and you will have helped a generation of monarchs get off to a good start. Your local honey bees will also thank you for planting butterfly weed.