Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birthday Time!

Sunday was hubby's birthday and the family got together to celebrate. I chose this image for his birthday card because he used to play the organ (first the accordian when he was younger) and I long for that music in the house. But the player has no interest anymore. I never stop hinting.

He loves to go out for dinner. Now, I have no interest but...he never stops hinting. We went to "Rocco's Little Italy" in Tinley Park with our kids and grandkids and it was very good indeed. I recommend the Baked Shrimp and I have to tell you especially that they have the most excellent tiramisu!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ready to go!

Sprigs of "nest" material added, and some hugs and kisses good-bye, and "Hope is..." is off to the Palmer House for Lewis University's Signum Fidei Fundraising gala! "The Signum Fidei (Sign of Faith) Celebration is hosted annually by Lewis University. This event honors and celebrates individuals who demonstrate a commitment to creating a world of faith and justice rooted in community. Additionally, this fundraising event provides much needed financial assistance to deserving students."

And this, my August ledger page to do, gets mailed out. The theme being "Exotic Places Remembered or Imagined". It grew from a figment of my imagination while researching poetry for another collage. I love being by the water and outside painting or drawing nature, and envision that I could spend days there.

I found this picture of an easel in a magazine and replaced the painting that was there by reducing one of my own that I did years ago of my dear cousin and her dear husband on the beach.

Then I replaced the mermaid's head with an old photograph of my daughter when she was a teenager at the lake with a wet head. hehe
I started early - took my dog
And visited the Sea
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -
And Frigates - on the upper floor
Extended Hempen Hands
Presuming Me to be a Mouse
Aground - upon the sands.
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Biology lesson for today

"The Tomato Hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata (Lepidoptera Sphingidae) is native to the United States. Tomato hornworms feed only on solanaceous (related to the potato family) plants, most often on tomato. However, larvae will also attack eggplant, pepper and potato. There are also many solanaceous weeds that also serve as alternate hosts, including Horsenettle, jimsonweed and nightshade. They do not typically reach economically damaging levels on commercial farms, but large numbers of larvae can sporadically occur in home gardens.

The adult moth, sometimes referred to as a "sphinx", "hawk", or "hummingbird" moth, is a large, heavy-bodied moth with narrow front wings. The moth is a mottled gray-brown color with yellow spots on the sides of the abdomen and a wing spread of 4 to 5 inches. The hindwings have alternating light and dark bands.

Eggs of the tomato hornworm are deposited singly on the surface of leaves in late spring. The eggs hatch in six to eight days and are oval, smooth, light green to yellow in color.

Larvae are pale green with white and black markings and undergo 5-6 instars. The first instar is yellow to white in color with no markings. Later instars develop eight white, lateral "v-shaped" marks. A black projection or "horn" on the last abdominal segment gives the caterpillar the name "hornworm".

The caterpillar reaches the final instar in 3-4 weeks, and is 3-1/2 to 4 inches when fully mature. Fully-grown larvae then drop off of the plants and burrow into the soil to pupate. During the summer months, moths will emerge from pupae in about 2 weeks. Moths emerge from the soil, mate, and then begin to deposit the eggs of the next generation on tomato plants. By early fall, the pupae will remain in the soil all winter and emerge as a moth the following spring. The larva is the damaging stage." www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/hornworm.htm

The first time I noticed a "hummingbird" moth, I truly thought it was a hummingbird. It was in the flower garden at The Wayside Chapel, just going from flower to flower drinking the nectar, with it's little wings going a mile a minute. I have seen them in my garden by my flowers, but not every year. I think they're fairies.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mr. Hornworm

It is a hornworm. I found his horn. I was looking at the wrong end!

It's on the left. That's his back end.

"What's so interesting besides me?"

The Moon and Jupiter

I tried to get a picture of the moon and Jupiter this morning. Both are currently in the constellation of Pisces the Fish.

"Pisces resides in a part of the sky that is home to other "watery" constellations, including Aquarius the Water Bearer, Cetus the Whale, Piscis Austrinus the southern Fish and Eridanus the River. Peter Lum, in his wonderful little (out-of-print) book called The Stars in Our Heaven, wrote that Chaldean astronomers referred to this region of the sky as 'The Sea'.

It's not entirely clear what these stars have to do with water. This part of the sky is relatively dark (except on nights like tonight, when the moon and king of planets are firmly ensconced in its midst). It may be that the darkness of this part of the heavens reminded the ancient stargazers of some black depth of the ocean.

And, in a way, there is an ocean to contemplate here, but it is an ocean of space. This part of the sky is well away from the flat disk or plane of our Milky Way galaxy, the home of every single star you can see in the sky. The greatest number of stars are concentrated along the plane of the Milky Way, which is the part we see in the sky as a long hazy band.

But in the direction of Pisces, where the moon and Jupiter are tonight, there are few stars because we are looking away from the flat plane of our galaxy. Imagine tht you are in a well-lit house at night, looking out a window to the darkness outside. You can see things around you in the house, but, outside, perhaps all you see are a few faint outlines. That's a bit like looking outward from our position in the Milky Way, toward the great dark universe beyond. We see lots of things (stars) around us in the house, but outside (beyond the Milky Way) not so much. We know that there is more out there, but it isn't readily visible.

Knowing this, you may better relate to Carl Sagan's reference to standing on the shore of the great cosmic ocean. We stand here on the star-studded beaches of the Milky Way and contemplate the largely unknown darkness beyond." from www.earthsky.org .

The Moon


Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost done

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

More interesting than pretty...

I knew this tomato plant was growing outside of my garden bed. It just planted itself. I knew it because I hadn't planted anything in that garden this spring.
When I went out to feed the birds today, I noticed that the two tomatoes that I had forgotten were on that vine, had fallen over and hmmmm...what was that other thing? My goodness! Just look at the size of him.

I think he's going to be a moth. Maybe a Tomato Sphinx Moth Hornworm, although I did not see a "horn". I guess his pattern is pretty and so I just left him to his munching.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The morning sky was so pretty today. The sun was glowing through the trees and all the clouds were pink. But it didn't show up well on the camera. boo-hoo.

This week, I've been working on three collage pieces that need to be done...now. oh-oh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Full Moon

Here is the Green Corn Moon. This August 24th full moon is the smallest, farthest full moon of the year. Interesting to read on www.earthsky.org that "the farthest and closest full moons recur in regular cycles. The closest full moon comes 7 lunar months - in other words, 7 full moons - after the farthest full moon. Then the farthest full moon comes 7 lunar months after the closest full moon. That means that, for the next 7 lunar months, the full moon will come progressively closer to Earth. Seven full moons after today's full moon, the closest full moon of the cycle will fall on March 19, 2011".
"The moon is near a bright object on August 27, 2010, but - no matter what anyone tells you - that bright object is not the planet Mars. Instead, it's Jupiter."
I don't know why I'm drawn to this stuff. Actually, it's rather scary to me to peer into the sky. We all have a phobia, don't we? I almost just want to hide and peek through the curtains. But my mother loved to look at the stars and the moon, so I guess I just have to do it. And then I have to photograph it yet! And I can see Jupiter out there this morning, getting closer to the moon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting ready for Quilting

I've been wanting to make one of those "rag" quilts for Danielle and so I decided that will be my first project for the fall quilting class. I took her to the fabric store to choose some patterns for her quilt. I did have one bought already with tiny pink and brown dots on it, but I had also picked one that was a soft pink with pale brown bunnies in a kind of countryside scene like those Old English patterns. Oh no! Here's what our little fancy miss picked. Pretty bright colors and patterns!

Glory be!

I just love my morning glories. I know I keep taking pictures of them. I love the vines...
and their heart-shaped leaves...

and how they sometimes peek out. Now these have been there for a long time, but last summer vines began growing on the other side of my backyard but they never flowered until now...

the same color as the others...

and these are the ones that are growing up the downspot...

and visiting the waiting fairy.

No flowers in here!

we creative spirits

Yesterday the Creative Spirits met and everyone had an unfinished or continuing project to work on and we also brought new techniques and ideas to share. Just look at these wonderful little boxes made from magazine paper or scrapbook paper.

Here is something called "wood icing" being pressed through a lovely stencil to make a lovely pattern.

And here we refreshed our memories on iris folding, making pretty little designs for cards.

Love these tags! They're done with Rainbow Sponge & Inks. Then we also experimented with Citra Solv to distress magazine papers and I guess I didn't get a photo of that!

And finally, we made papers to use as background paper or to cut and use in collage. It is Rit Dye on wet watercolor paper. It was an exciting day with a "collage" of things to do!

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday!

It's Friday, and I almost forgot it was Friday, and so here is something that I am working on today. I'm using this paper that I painted for a background on a collage that I am doing. In fact, I may use it in a couple of pieces. Seems to go.

Interesting washes whatever way you turn it.

oops...seems this beautiful figure doesn't have a head. I think she's kind of Art Nouveau.
Well, that's what I came up with for my Friday Pretties! www.iloveprettylittlethings.blogspot.com
A surprise! My name in the newspapers two days in a row. First, a rather interesting article about my collage class and then the next day, the photo I took of that pretty bird on my fence. My husband says he wonders who he is living with!

...and this morning as the morning coffee is brewing, I am hoping for great inspiration for collages that I have started. Important ones. Oh, aren't they all? But I'm waiting for the muse to fly in and grant me some beautiful thoughts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tea Cozy!

Yesterday afternoon, in Denise's quilting workshop, we made a tea cozy. It fits perfectly and here you can see my teapot peeking out.

A tea cozy is a cover for a teapot, used to insulate the tea, keeping it warm while it brews. The first documented use of a tea cozy in Britain was in 1867. It is probably the Duchess of Bedford who, by establishing the activity of afternoon tea in 1840, would have brought the popularity of the tea cozy.

Afternoon tea was the time for keeping up to date with aristocracy gossip and news. With all the chatter at teatime the teapot would get cold. And so, the tea cozy came about.

A Workshop of Little Cards

"The true treasures in life are found in the simplest things." from Nature's Sketchbook by Marjolein Bastin.

Yesterday was my workshop at The Center and we made little gift cards. Above, Linda was off to an enthusiastic start.

Here's Denise searching for images and colors to add to her pile of ideas.
And here is a collection of hers as she is working.

Peggy found an interesting image here and added a part of it onto the envelope for continued interest.

Peggy, busy thinking.

She found just the right message!

Linda's very pretty "sweet dreams" design.

Joan concentrates on the seasons.

Her favorite, Autumn.

Linda was excited over the ideas that kept popping into her head!

It truly was a fun project! I love those "ransom note" letters!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Marge and i took a drive out to Wheaton College today to see the most wonderful calligraphy collection, "Bound For Glory", by Timothy Botts.

This beautiful and inspiring exhibit is housed in the Billy Graham Center Museum. It is an exhibit of African-American Spirituals expressed in calligraphy. He speaks of Ethel Waters and Mahalia Jackson and oh, how i remember them from my childhood.

A breathtaking and impressive entry.

A lovely day in lovely surroundings.

The exhibit is there until September 8th. If you can, go and absorb the beauty and meaning here.
And then we went on to check out the DuPage Art League, Carlson Paints and Dick Blick! A good day!