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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Painting Everything Bright and Fun


I just couldn't resist adding a little color to this old, black pool cue case. I still haven't decided what kind of design that I'm going to paint on the top but I imagine this will be quite a little conversation starter the next time I out to play pool. I'm really looking forward to it.







 Yes. I'm still painting posts and rails on my wheelchair ramp too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Greeting cards and other Projects


 Inspiration comes from all sorts of things and all kinds of places.


The first thing that caught my eye was the paper plate that I'd been laying my paints out on. It occurred to me that elements of the design (dots and comma strokes) will lend themselves well to paint and folk out projects. I think it's got real possibilities.


I've tried this floral design and variations of it on many posts on the deck and wheelchair ramp here.



I was writing someone about the ramp hen it occurred to me that it would be nice to use the same design to decorate the card and envelope with.



After decorating the ramp card I thought I'd pursue the design further as the whole design for a card.



This last card was a lazy experiment using a cut out from a coloring book.

The important thing is to be spending time with paint and pencil whether or not you're creating art.

Things like this get me loosened up and ready to do some serious painting.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Raising Butterflys

It's that time of year to get started in the garden and as the weather warms one of the reasons I've really been watching the weather is so that We can get started with our raise and release butterfly program. As you can see the first caterpillars are off to a good start. Just last week they were barely the size of ants!

TUESDAY APRIL 13, 2017


For the time being they live on a tiny corner shelf in my living room and it's kind of fun to watch them crawl around the jar in the course of the day while I wait for them to head for the top and make cocoons. It won't be long now before they'll be ready to put into the screened habitat when they'll be transformed into painted lady butterflies that we hope to release at a small family reunion so everyone can enjoy them. 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 2017



It is surprising how quickly they grow.

THURSDAY APRIL 13, 2017


It was only a matter of days before they reached for the top.

FRIDAY APRIL 14, 2017


It was fun to watch them wrap the cocoons. I've just never managed to see them shed exoskeletons before that point.

FRIDAY APRIL 14, 2017



Someday I'm hoping to have the equipment set up to film the whole process and share it with you in a time lapse video.

SATURDAY APRIL 15, 2017



I'll be moving them into the screened habitat next, It should only be a week or so after that before the butterflies emerge and just days after that before they are ready to release.

SUNDAY APRIL 16, 2017



MOVING DAY, WEDNESDAY APRIL 19, 2017


It is important to remove the dark bits (exoskeletons) and waste at this point (tan balls) but the most important thing to do is remove the extra silk strands so that they won't become tangled in it when the butterflies are emerging from the cocoons.


I find cotton swabs work best for this task. Mostly because I don't want to get my hands in it but you're welcome to use whatever works best for you.





Once they're cleaned off they're ready to place into the screened habitat for a week or more until the butterflies emerge.



The reason that some of the chrysalis's are blurry is that they don't like anything coming around an this point and begin to fibrate and swing back and forth to scare anything away and protect themselves. It sure scares me! if you move away from them and leave them alone they will settle down and be still again.


Here's what's left after cleaning them off. Just put the lid back on and put it in the trash.

Relax and join the wait for your butterflies to come out and begin to dry their wings before they start flying around.



What a Difference a Day Makes


 With recent temps around 60 degrees I'd been planning to get out in the garden an do some transplanting. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to snow! I took these photos about 10:00 AM.


It, of course changed my plans a bit but was a pleasant day all the same.



You have to love weather in Minnesota, the snow had gone again by 2:00 PM



I have another painted post ready to add to the ramp and have been busy painting 2 more.





One of the reasons for painting all of the posts differently is so that I can use it as a reference when trying to choose the best color combinations to use for various designs. Another of course is so that when people ask me what sorts of things I paint I can merely point them to the ramp instead of having to launch into long discussions or descriptions. There are a lot of reasons for doing this project but of course best of all, it makes everyone smile and makes me happy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Takiing some time between projects

Not much going on as far as art goes the last few days, just a bit of sketching on the corners of envelopes as I sent out some Easter Cards. I mostly did variations of little egg designs on most of them as I experimented with different color combinations.


On the computer I've been designing a line of clothing in classic styled black and white floral patterns.


In between things I've had a few folks in for tea.


I also took some time to repaint one of the laths on the arbor in the front yard. I plan to paint sections of it to go with the posts on the wheelchair ramp.

It's not only a grand entrance to the house but a bit of a resume' for anyone interested in painting here...and an opportunity to join in and stay for the fun.