Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Citizen Scientist Opportunity - Invaders of Texas

While the Invaders of Texas program focuses on gathering data about invasive plant species, it does have information on invasive animals, insects and pathogens on TexasInvasives.org too. I'm sure most readers are well aware of how problematic the insect invader, imported fire ants, has turned out to be. They have caused the decline of the beloved horned lizard, inflicted painful bites and been a financial drain. According to Texas A&M AgriLife, "the impact of red imported fire ants in the state of Texas is estimated to be $1.2 billion annually". Plant invaders can wreak just as much havoc on the economy and the environment.

Scientists are striving to understand the range of different invasive plants in order to try to develop a plan to deal with them. Texas is a large state and many more eyes and "boots on the ground" than there are scientists involved with this work are required. This is where you can help. Become a trained citizen scientist for the Invaders of Texas program. This can be done online or at an in person workshop. If you are interested and in the DFW area, one such workshop is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 at the River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington. If you complete the training, you will have the tools to be a part of this important research.

If you don't live in Texas, your area most likely deals with its own set of invaders too. You can find some links to programs outside of TX on the Texas Invasives' website. Even if you don't currently have the time for the citizen scientist project, you can educate yourself about invasive species from the databases on Texas Invasives and others linked to from the site. (The plant invader pictured here is bahiagrass, introduced to the U.S. in 1914 from Brazil and my yard by some passing critter a few years ago!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Design This – Lampwork Fish Earrings

After a long day of shopping, have you ever gone back to purchase something that you had decided would be perfect, only to find that it (or the last one) had already been purchased? I have learned the hard way to pick something up that catches my eye until I decide whether I want to purchase it then or continue looking and be ok if it is gone when I come back. Since many of my creations are OOAK, I have had the same thing happen in reverse when potential customers came back and were disappointed when that perfect something was already sold. Luckily there are times when I can create something similar to suit their needs.

This scenario happened last year when I participated in the Happy Holidays Gift Store at the Arlington Museum of Art. A pair of lampwork fish earrings on bright blue niobium ear wires sold not long before someone else came in looking to purchase them. Luckily I still had some lampwork fish beads and I arranged to be at the store with them when this potential customer could meet me. I let her pick out a couple of pair of fish beads that she thought went well together. My intention was to make earrings out of both sets and let her pick which pair she wanted and put the other pair out in the store. I used the already sold pair of fish earrings as inspiration for both new pair, without copying them directly.

Two pair of earrings were made and shown to my customer, but neither pair ever made it into the store. My customer liked them so much that she decided to purchase both pair. I have since made a couple of additional pair of lampwork fish earrings on niobium ear wires. One pair features black, pink and yellow fish while the other pair highlights pink, aqua and yellow fish.

I'll sum up saying that the moral of this post is that if it looks like you have missed out on purchasing that special something, especially if it is from an artisan, don’t just walk away disappointed. Talk with the artist to see if they can recreate the item or create something similar for you. If they can, it is a win for both sides.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thanks for the Treasuries - August 2014

Three Etsians and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in treasuries during August. Five August Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. One treasury even included one item from each of my shops. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during August. (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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured some 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 links of anything that catches your eye.

This shop has added a new line of big, bold, papier mache necklaces to their offerings.

Find an assortment of handmade crafts in this shop such as jewelry, crochet, candles, leather and woodworking.

Find a perfect gift for any adventurer or wanderluster in your life: Adventure Photography, Wanderlust Prints, Typography Art along with Wildlife & Landscape Photography

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.