Sunday, April 19, 2015

Awesome April - Sea Urchin Month


Every April I'm greeted most mornings with a fragile Sea Urchin Cactus 
bloom, lasting only for the day of its birth. The challenge every year
is to  photographically create new versions of this awesome event. 
The first bloom of this year was photographed against a pot on the patio that 
only came to life with a watercolor app.
The second image is a straight iPhone shot.


s

 Canon PowerShot, PSE 13 manipulated
blended image.




Late afternoon garden shot, 
Canon PowerShot through window.



Canon PowerShot.



iPhone with PowerShot image of fireworks.


iPhone, DistressedFX app

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January has flown by . . .

 Being January has flown by I'm dedicating this post to birds. I can't remember a
time when I didn't love them. I'm not sure what it is about them that speaks to me
and maybe I don't need to know . . . They don't even need to be exotic for me to
take notice of them. I can't imagine a garden without them and feel
blessed to have so many visit the feeders and fountain.
Yesterday the dove in the above photo posed for me.


 I've been gifted with 4 nests, all of which are constructed in 
unique ways. I'm pretty sure all of the nests were made by
finches. 


The one  above is the most delicate and intricate one. One lone dove feather
was caught in it. A neighbor brought it to me after
her dog had sniffed it out on the front lawn.


The top one was created in a grape vine and the one below was in
a vine against the wall.  



Maybe my love of birds started when I was around 12 and had 3 pigeon coops
in the backyard. My father built a small one thinking that I'd have a few birds
and then built a second one and finally built a walk-in one. All of the coops
were full and my brother swears that at one time there were 60 pigeons. I only
remember about 20 which was more than enough. Only 2 were of the grey and
black variety, 4 white ones and the rest were fan-tailed, feather footed, or owl pigeons.
In the afternoons after school I would spend some time in the yard with them, letting
them out of the cages while I cleaned up their messes. Mom would always flee to the
house and it wasn't until years later that she told me how frightened she was of them. 
When we moved from Costa Mesa to Huntington Beach homes needed to be found for
the flock. While at the time is was legal in Costa Mesa to have coops it wasn't in HB. 
      To ease the pain of leaving my friends behind I was give a parakeet who talked some
and sat on my shoulder when I did homework. Following that little blue guy were a few
cockatiels and a parrot all of which I eventually found homes for.
 I much prefer outdoor birds. 


 At the Living Desert Zoo there is currently an exhibit of The
Birds of Australia. Thinking that the birds would be exotic
in nature we went to see them last Friday. While they're calling the
above Parakeets Budgies I don't think of them as exotic. 
Definitely cute though.



Checking us out.


A line-up of cockatiels. I had grey ones so the yellow ones were
"exotic." There were a couple of parrots too. The best part about the
exhibit is that it's interactive. Stacy loved having the birds land on her
while she held sticks of food for them. One 
attempted to climb into my purse, thus
the search for hitch-hikers when 
departing the aviary. We'll visit them again before they
depart in April. 


At the Discovery Center, this fella, a Kestrel, was getting quite a bit of 
attention. Being able to get this close to him was the highlight of the day!



A second highlight was seeing the two Giant Kudos off in the distance 
in route to visit the giraffes. Giant Kudos are native to south Africa.


Some of the Living Desert grounds.


Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she
feels bending beneath her,
still she sings all the same, 
knowing she has wings.
Victor Hugo
 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

My Wish for everyone is that 
the struggles that were experienced
in 2014 will be the fertilizer to
fuel Wonderfulicious dreams in 2015.





Woke up to a rare sight, snow! The mountains behind
the house aren't high enough to normally be
dusted with snow. Not much rain
hit the desert floor during the storm
last night and definitely no
snow.


A bit windy.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

End of the Year


And the skies lit up!


Love of trees and iPhone apps.
A tree outside of a Palm Desert pizza place caught my eye.



In this area birds on wires are becoming a rare sight.
 I do appreciate the tidiness of under-ground wires so
I have no idea why I'm enthralled with the
sight of birds hanging out. Nostalgia? 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas - The Living Desert



Ever since moving the desert 8 years ago I've thought about purchasing a membership to The Living Desert in Palm Desert, but by the time the temps rise in May I change my mind. Late Spring to late Fall are just too hot to be outdoors much less enjoy the Living Desert grounds. This year I heard about a yearly discount provided by a local furniture store and the car seemed to turn into the parking lot of its own accord. So far we'e been twice and plan on visiting at least once a month until it's too hot. Happily, we got membership just before the Wild Lights show was open to members for free and were able to attend that night. 


These photos are from the night show. 


Tunnel of lights.


The first day we visited The Living Desert the only phone I had
was the iPhone. Next time I'll be prepared with better walking shoes, water,
and a camera. I like the
effect I got zooming in on the back-lit 
perfectly framed giraffe. 



The guy below posed while waiting for his dinner. His gaze was intent on the gate
where the food would be coming from. A volunteer called out to him
and he turned a little. We were told Norman is a very gentle Ankole. I'll take
their word for it.


Giraffe watering hole.



Nice surprise to get so close to these two.



Dancing cranes.


Backyard dove. Sometimes all that is needed
it to look outside to see a little wild life. 




Saturday, November 01, 2014

11/1 Happy Birthday to my oldest daughter

111 is said to be a magical number for making a wish. Birthday wishes to my oldest daughter who is 47 today. At 8 months of age we were told she wouldn't see her first birthday. She's beat the odds many times. Kidney failure being right up there with a high fever that left her brain damaged. Last month marked the 6th year since the kidney transplant and two years since the last round of chemo I had. For some reason I decided to have an October health breakdown and ended up in the hospital for a night with intense vertigo. The world wouldn't stop rotating upside down. I can finally say that the health crisis is over. Done!


Fall in the desert isn't exactly spectacular: leaves don't turn colors but a 
little color has shown up.





 The sunsets have been glorious!
Sometimes the sky looks like it's on fire.




A finch on the water fountain looks decked out in Fall colors.
And the occasional dry grape leaf is wind-tossed into a tree.




White doves may be the symbol for  love and peace
but the gentleness and serenity that this daily visitor provides
never fails to delight.



Playing with some of the sun-prints that I created
over the summer. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to me . . .

   Two years ago I made these Breast Pockets when Melanie Testa put out a call for them. And this month the bottom right one was published in "Quilting Arts" magazine. At that time I had just finished 4 grueling rounds of chemo and was about to start 33 days of Radiation. Fast forward and today I'm celebrating a birthday that I've always had doubts I would live to see. Too many health issues.
    Melanie received hundreds of pockets so to say the least I'm thrilled that the one I made for mom was published. I might make one or two more to send into QA for their challenge.
   The one in QA was made from fabric that I created using a glue resist and paint. The two hearts are copper that was soaked in vinegar until the patina developed.

 The Spread in QA.

 Close-up.



And mine was even chosen for the contributors page.

In the studio. Pouring paint experiments.



Simply, black and white acrylic paints. . . the bottom painting was tweaked with
an app. to achieve the red tones.