Monday, July 7, 2014

WTF Is Up In The Garden?!?!?

I've seen some pretty strange stuff on my gardening rounds, but last week's shocker takes the cake. As I neared the veggie garden one late afternoon, a flash of yellow caught my eye down by the cedar planks of the raised beds. Hmm - that's weird. I didn't plant anything that yellow . . . or in that space . . .  or that looks like - YIKES!!!!
Holy cow I thought. This is bad. Who vomited in my veggies????  What to do? Google it of course! Surely somebody else on this planet has had the same shrieking reaction when encountering something like this in their yard. BINGO! It has a name. YELLOW DOG VOMIT SLIME MOLD (I kid you not). Harmless. People in Mexico even eat it, cooking it up like scrambled eggs. They call it "Caca de Luna". Appetizing name? Not so much. So, what's it doing here, you ask? Evidently it probably hitchhiked in on some mulch I put down, and conditions were just perfect for the stuff to blossom (if you can call it that). BTW - the scientific name is Fuligo Septica, in case you want to sound all smarty-pants.

Slime molds are considered beneficial organisms in the garden because they decompose dead organic matter. They also  eat plant pathogenic fungi or bacteria in the soil, so they help to reduce plant disease. Sounds pretty good to me and my organic garden.
By the next day, it had somewhat coalesced into a less yellow, more rounded mass, moving it's way up onto the board.
By the third day, it had started to turn a dark grey color and shrink a bit. It looked like it had gotten harder too (although this is totally conjecture on my part, because I wasn't going to actually touch the stuff). NO WAY. And eat it? Yeah - NO. Not in this lifetime anyway.

So there you go. Another installment of WTF is Up in My Garden. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Artwork . . . Three Adorable Pups!

Recently I created a portrait of three really adorable dogs. Here are a few photos of the process from start to finish:
After lightly penciling in the layout, I inked the main elements of the portrait - the three dogs, plus the shell border (my client is from Key West, so the shells were a great addition).
I then added the color,  using watercolor pencils to add a nice wash-effect and make everything pop.
The finished portrait with all the details added, matted and ready to be framed!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ides of March 2014

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Trio of Kitties

As I gear up again for an art-filled Spring, and I wanted to share with you some ornaments I created before Christmas as gifts for my brother and sister-in-law. 

A trio of kitties - Jupiter, Julie and Tonsley - are their beloved pets, and I wanted to immortalize them some way. So this year, this was what I created for them. I was itching to post a photo of them before the holiday, but not wanting to spoil the surprise, I held off. And yes, Julie (in the middle) is a one-eyed kitty (only as of this past Autumn), but she is as cute as ever!

I create custom pet portrait ornaments as commissions as well; they make great gifts anytime of year and look great displayed on a wall or even framed.

Winter 2014

Winter 2014 in Connecticut
 This time of year, Winter starts to get old; after so many snowstorms and single-digit temperatures, it's tough to get up each day and face the cold once again.  But I really try not to let it get to me. I must remind myself each day to live in the moment (no matter how hard that might be). Winter affords us many wondrous moments if we really take the time to observe it's gifts.

Looking through my photos taken in the past few months, I've chosen a few above that really show the beauty of the season.  Sometimes we forget just how colorful nature in winter can be. Honestly, it even surprised me as I put this collage together. The reds, yellows and oranges are incredibly vibrant alongside the icy blues and bright whites we come to associate with winter. Maybe that's another reason why Valentine's Day is such a welcome holiday this time of year, with it's signature fiery red colors (thanks to Madison Avenue in some part) juxtaposed against the snow-covered scenery outside our windows. How can you not generate a little heat with that combination?

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse of February in the Northeast, and I hope it inspires you to venture out and take a look around your corner of the world to see what Winter has to offer you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

And Your Bird Can Sing . . .

It's hard to believe we are almost mid-way through January; after the "polar vortex" which swept the nation in the early part of the month, things have thankfully moderated here in Connecticut.  A balmy day in the 40s was on tap for today, and it was hard not to get lulled into thinking Spring was around the corner. Get over it - it isn't. 

Of course, that's what I tell myself, but I can't shake the wishful thinking of revving up the garden again, starting the first clean-up of the beds and searching for the first signs of crocus. But it's way too early for any of this. What's got me in this mind is no doubt the little jaunt we took today to the towns of Middlebury, Woodbury, Southbury among others - you know, all those quaint little "burys" in the middle of the state that are perfect for antiquing and just general perusing of wares on a Sunday afternoon.

What I'm searching for this time around is a vintage (and/or just plain old, but with character) chest of drawers, sideboard, or other similar piece of furniture that I can transform into a cool kitchen island. This is one of my New Year's resolutions, to re-purpose a find into a fabulous island, with plenty of storage (a must when you have a tiny kitchen) and maybe a nice marble top to boot.

I didn't find that special piece this time around (oh, it has to be inexpensive too, so that is adding to the difficulty, especially when the words "marble top" crop up), but what I do find is a couple of mid-century (1957 to be exact) Hull Pottery pink bird vases at a steal of a price at an adorable boutique having a clearance sale. These cheery birds immediately put me in the mind of springtime. I guess birds in general do that for me. One of my favorite quotes is from Dorothy Parker:

“Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.” 

 That just about says it, right? I also picked up a couple of contemporary ceramic birds (too cute to pass up and also priced ridiculously low) to round out the collection.

One of the Hull vases at left; close up detail bottom-middle and contemporary birds top-middle and right

So along with some "birdy" napkin holders already in my collection, these new pieces should feel right at home. And (most importantly) when things are looking bleak weather-wise, I will just have to look at them over the next few months of blustery winter to be transported back to thoughts of Spring and the ground "all mucked up with plants" - ha! I can't wait.