Friday, June 24, 2016

Urban Sky Glow Obliterates the Milky Way for Many

Calling out light pollution in a post has been on my mind for a while. A recent article on gave me the little push that I needed. You see, my mom was affectionately called Susan Kay of the Milky Way by family and friends, so it really hit me and made me sad to think that the Milky Way is currently hidden from one third of the earth's population. I used to be able to see it where I currently live but not so much now. It is beautiful and awe inspiring and everyone should be able to take in the beauty of our galactic neighborhood. An amazing example the effects of what many consider to be standard outdoor lighting can be found here (scroll down to the before and after picture).

Back in college I used to help give astronomy point outs to students in a local park, until some apartments were built and you could no longer see all of the stars that the students were required to learn as part of their course due to the added light pollution. Once upon a time a full moon was the biggest bane when trying to see meteors during a meteor shower. Fast forward a decade or two and research began showing that urban light pollution was disruptive to its human and nonhuman occupants. Several groups started to tout the benefits of dark skies such as Dark Skies Awareness and the International Dark-Sky Association.

Two of the biggest reasons for lighting the night is to facilitate moving from point A to point B and to increase security. The funny thing though is that over lighting actually decreases the ability to safely navigate and is detrimental to security. To quote Dark Skies Awareness, "Our eyes, when dark-adapted, have good natural capacity in lowlight situations. But when nightscapes are over-lit, eyes never have a chance to become dark-adapted, and areas adjacent to brightly lit areas become impenetrable, reducing safety. Some communities have experienced a decrease in crime by reducing or eliminating nighttime lighting in appropriate areas."

You can make a difference in your life and the lives of the people and critters that live around you. Lighting that is shielded so it falls only where needed or turned off when not needed is within your control on your property. For a wider influence, educate the public, especially public officials so that commercial developments are required to install dark sky friendly lighting, so that street lamps are properly shielded and citizens are taught the benefits of dark skies. You might just sleep better and feel better when the light trespass in your home goes down. Don't let the mythical flying pig be the only creature to see the stars in the future.

Update: June 10, 2016 artificial sky brightness atlas image with key.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

National Week of Making - June 17-23, 2016

What a nice thing, to have the Etsy Craft Party weekend fall within the National Week of Making. The DFW Artisans Etsy team along with local artisans teamed up with Sparks Studio in Downtown Arlington to create a craft party for the DFW area. We hosted guests from as far away as Plano. Two crafts, yarn flowers and origami butterflies, along with snacks and drinks were enjoyed by the guests and craft instructors alike. Lots of making was undertaken by all.

Sparks Studio offers classes in jewelry making, painting and more so that you can continue learning new making techniques. The studio was a wonderful backdrop for the craft party. Thanks go to the local artisans and makers who donated their time and materials to make the craft party a success; Cynthia (seen below with one of the yarn flowers in her hair that she made) and LeAnne from ClayBabies, Cathy from Eclectic Design Choices (moi), Van from VanArtLife and Ellen with the fabulous polymer clay creations.

So what exactly does National Week of Making celebrate? According to the Presidential Proclamation, "Since our earliest days, makers, artists, and inventors have driven our economy and transformed how we live by taking risks, collaborating, and drawing on their talents and imaginations to make our Nation more dynamic and interconnected. During National Week of Making, we recommit to sparking the creative confidence of all Americans and to giving them the skills, mentors, and resources they need to harness their passion and tackle some of our planet's greatest challenges."

We all have some amount of creative talent. Some of us use it for relaxation, some bring it to bear in our jobs and others have yet to discover our true creative talents. What is yours and what will you do with it? Etsy encourages everyone to get in touch with their creative talents and maker selves through their annual craft party. Etsy is also working to "support the maker movement and expand resources available for creative entrepreneurs and young makers." Young or old, as a hobby or your vocation, take some time during this National Week of Making to expand your creative side.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Dalworthington Gardens' 80th Celebration - Join in the Fun in the Park

It is difficult to believe it has been 5 years already since I shared the 75th anniversary of my great little city with the longest city name in Texas, Dalworthington Gardens (DWG). This Saturday, June 11 marks the 80th anniversary of the incorporation of the Dalworthington Gardens Homestead Association. This was the beginning of what would eventually become the City of Dalworthington Gardens. To celebrate, we will have a dinner on Friday night, June 10 and all day fun in Gardens Park on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

A DWG resident created the logo that we are using this year. We have had t-shirts made with the logo on it in either green or white. They are very sharp looking and will be available for sale at the all day event on Saturday.

Saturday kicks off with a 1 mile and a 5k run. We will have a four city softball tournament, lots of family fun activities in the evening, musicians, a movie in the park and more. Check out the day's schedule and join us for anything that interests you or stay for the day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - May 2016

Three Etsy shop owners and one Etsy team let me know they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during May. Eight May Etsy 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 May. (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 one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. In addition you will see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured a couple of items of mine.

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

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

Handcrafted quilted items make cheerful gifts full of homemade goodness & care.

Choose from original handmade photo greeting cards, note card sets, home & living items and more.

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.