Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Endings... Old Beginnings...

Every new beginning means the end of another beginning... (lyrics of a song, I think)  Today, the last day of 2009, is the end to a particularly trying year.  What is it that really signifies an ending?  Closure?  What signifies closure?  For me it is the changing of a mindset...  This past year (and the last couple months of 2008) I learned what it means to be alive and to be truly thankful for what, and who, I have in my life.  So I'm approaching 2010 with a new mindset... One inwhich I am truly grateful and looking forward to what lies ahead...
Photo by: Jason Utley

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Gift...

I arrived on Christmas morning at my daughter's and was greeted by my 3 year old grandson Austin running out of the house wanting me to come in and see what Santa had brought him and his baby sister Ansley.  I did and Bruce and I hauled in more gifts.  My daughter is very talented at making her home beautiful and welcoming, and she loves to do special things with walls... broad stripes to frame a row of photos, vinyl monograms and beautiful paint colors.  Yesterday, I found something new... well, new on a wall...

a child is that which
    warms your heart
        brings to your home
            does joy impart.
a child is that which
    brings tears to your eyes
        gives you innocent laughter
            fills you with pride.
a child is that which
    you hope will soar
        fulfill all dreams dreamed
            and be all things wished for.

I wrote this poem in 1994 and she stencilled it on the wall between her childrens' bedrooms.  This child of mine, brought tears to my eyes... again.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings!

We didn't decorate this year (yeah, I know... GASP! ), but I thought I'd share a couple of Christmas trees past, along with our wish that all have a beautiful and wonderful Christmas (or what ever holiday you celebrate) and a joyous New Year!

The mail box with Cardinal nest was made by my mom many years ago... It helps to keep her close during the holidays...

My collection of blown glass bird clip ornaments... They are my favorites... The teapot was my grandmother's...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow in Florida?

Nope... Just roosting American Egrets and White Ibis...

A Florida Christmas Tree...

It's a Bald Cypress with beautiful, feathered, living ornaments!

Monday, December 21, 2009

More elf duties!

More wrapping! It's one of my favorite holiday activities...
I made the poinsettia and ornament toppers the same way I made the birds from the last post.

I'll almost be sad to see them opened...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Don't need no stinkin' free dept store gift wrapping...

I've been a busy little elf tonight wrapping presents! I love using brown craft paper... and the green paper is actually painters' masking paper... It's so cool!

Aren't these glittery bird gift toppers cute?
I made several templates and cut them out of various papers, glittered them and put a piece of mounting tape on the back.

I made Christmas tree gift toppers too!

Here's more... I incorporated glittery pipe cleaners too!

This one has red leather cording!

I love this ribbon and vintage paper roses...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Art and Poetry

Just got back in from one of my whirlwind work trips. Hudson to Brooksville to Port Charlotte to Ft. Myers to Sarasota to Brooksville to Hudson... whew. Too tired to write a long post, so in that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth... Here's a poem about another, very spiritual birth.  See if you can decipher the imagery...

The Welcome

The sun turns turquoise to gold
from high overhead.

In the distance, the margin between gulf and sky
is still imperceptable.

A mother pushes her newborn to the surface
for its first breath.

The infant breaks the glass, breathes deep
and dives for the blue.

An angel stands still, knee-deep,
and silently blesses the arrival.

Dancers in red shawls and headresses
reel in celebration.

I watch from the grass flats,
my feet in the water like a mangrove

...and wait for the next breath.
                                 D. Dianne Davies

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I did most of my Christmas shopping today. I always buy all the grandkids pajamas... it's one of our traditions. As I said in last night's post, I either sold or gave away all the ornaments I made, but I still needed to make more for Bruce's grown kids and my brother and sister-in-law, as well as my grown neice and her husband. I needed something that was going to be easy and not time consuming. Soooo... no paint or glue to dry. My friend Maya told me about these terrarium ornaments she saw on Design Sponge, so I had to check them out. ( )

On my shopping trip I went to Michaels and got the stuff I needed for my own version; clear glass ornaments, deer moss, gold leaf skeletons, feather butterflies and irrisdescent glitter. I removed the cap, put moss into each ornament, then shook some glitter into them, then added a leaf skeleton and a butterfly to each and replaced the cap. Here are my versions...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cold Winds, Warm Treats and Holiday Cheer

Today at work my department had our holiday luncheon. Everyone brought a dish to share. I made candied yams, that my director said had just the right amount of brown sugar. There was roast pork loin, green bean casserole, rice and mushrooms, cranberries, peachcobbler and cheesecake! Yum! We always do a yankee gift exchange. This year I put together a tea gift set. A blend of Teavanna loose teas (African Rooibus and Silver Needle White) in a round jar, with a beaded teaball and beaded bamboo (spoon) teaball caddy/rest. My supervisor picked it... the our GIS intern stole it from him.  It's always a good time... What do you think?

I wanted some "Florida Christmas" pictures... So I braved the cold wind and got these photos...

Well I sold and gave all of my slide mount ornaments away... I may take the recycled CD angel magnets and turn them into ornaments.  All I need is some strapping tape, then the recipient can choose to use them as magnets or hang them on the tree.  I think they would make nice ornaments.  Maybe I'll do that this weekend.  Although I do have to do some shopping tomorrow.  I was going to do it after work tonight, but it was cold and windy and started raining as I left work.  So... I came home and fixed my favorite cold weather (yeah I know I'm in Florida, but the cold damp wind cuts right through) treat, milk toast.  This is something my brothers and I ate while we were growing up.  You toast slices of bread and heat milk with butter and a bit of salt, then pour the milk over the toast.  Yummy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the season...

Isn't it starnge how the holiday season, a time that is supposed to be joyous and peaceful, tends to stress us out? Well maybe not strange, but still... Even we artists and crafters become somewhat obsessed with decorating, making gifts, participating in shows and fairs... Of course we love every minute of it.  But if you are like me, my studio becomes chaotic, with numerous projects in various stages of completion.  This year, I've concentrated on ornaments (altered photo slide mounts - see my archives), package toppers and gift boxes recycled from cereal and other boxes.  Last year was microscope slide angel and wooden star ornaments. A few years back I was obsessed with tag art: ornament gift card holders, cards, calendars...  I thought I might share some photos from that Christmas past's projects.

Gift Card Holders / Ornaments

Tag Cards
My camera back then was even worse than the one I have now...
Hey Santa! I'd like a new camera for Christmas!!

Accordian Tag Calendars

Tag per Month Calendars
The photo quality isn't great, but you get the picture...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another. (Juvenal)

Ghost Orchid (grows only in Fakahatchee Strand, Florida)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On Being Literate...

I read the lastest (as of now) post and comments on the Wake Robin blog (see my blog roll) just now.  One of the comments talked about the value in journalling and blogging and being read. The commenter talked about us (people) being literate, even when kids are texting... no real grammer or spelling, yet they still understand each other.  I agree, there is much value in that.

That being said... We ARE literate... and it's true that texting and other examples of communication that kids (especially) use these days keep them connected. There is definitely value in it. They are a part of a "society" and they are read. But I can't help but worry about a generation of kids that grow up not being able to spell because of text speak and relying on spell check. I worry that they won't be able to read a map or find their way without a GPS or can't do long division without a calculator.  I worry that future generations may lose these skills as a society.

As a mother, when my kids were growing up and learning the things they would need to be successful adults, I never gave them digital watches...always analog.  I wanted them to be able to read a clock.  Sadly, there are kids that grew up with mine that still cannot read an anolog clock.  Are we cheating our kids out of these skills by providing them with so many (for lack of a better term) "short cuts"?  Something to think about.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's been a cold and rainy day here in central Florida.  I know it gets much colder elsewhere, and it's only in the 50s... but, combine the cold with the rain and it cuts right through.  We had our annual department offsite today.  This is a day when my department at work goes offsite, usually to a preserve education center, and spends the day reviewing the past year's successes and concerns and discusses how to move forward in the coming year. 

We went to Brooker Creek Preserve.  This is a beautiful wild place in Pinellas County, which is one of the most densely populated counties in the state and is 90% built out.  While we were in the ed center most of the day, before our workday started and during lunch I went outside to take some photos.  It was cold and misting, but I wore tights under my skirt and boots, not to mention my cordouroy jacket and muffler scarf.  I was quite stylish in the woods today! 

Before the day ended, we were treated to a parade of wild turkeys feeding in the drizzle.  I still only have a 6 megapixel camera so I couldn't get a good picture of them, but I did get some shots in the wet woods. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I took a speed reading class today at work.  Actually, it was much more than speed reading.  It also taught us techniques to comprehend faster and remember.  The memory skills are something I will definitely use.  I was trying to think of ways to incorporate this into my art work.  Of course I can use the techniques in all aspects of my life, but I wanted to make art out of something that I learned.  So, I will use the process of "mapping" to create art.  Mind mapping, is a way of learning and remembering aspects of a person's personality.  Book or article mapping is a way to rapidly read amd comprehend nonfiction books, articles and other publications.  I'll be working on this project over the next couple of weeks (along with other projects already in progress)and will document it on my blog.
I've also been looking for creative inspiration at work.  I work at a government agency and we have a rather large campus of buildings, vehicles and equipment.  It's landscaped and we have a small patch of woods, so there is inspiration on the grounds and in offices as well.  Here are some inspirations...

and out...