Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seven Swans A Swimming Into 2014

A preview of my Christmas card still on its way to friends and family...


Thinking Of You,
Wishing For You and Yours
All The Beauty and Grace
Of This Christmas Season
Continuing Throughout
The Coming Year

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Poem of the Cicadas

First summer I've had a car in several years 
Maybe that's the only reason I'm noticing: 
Driving around with the windows open,
The sound of cicadas is as steady as traffic noise.
I've always noticed the hum of them late in summer, 
Along with the cricket chirps of evening
But this is the first time I can remember the sound of cicadas 
Following me everywhere I go, 
The volume almost constant
As if every tree in every neighborhood 
had the exact same number of cicadas. 
If only they lit up at night,
What a sight that would be

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oh The Things You Will See At The Minnesota State Fair

Summer is coming to an end however you measure it:  the calendar, the beginning of school, the weather or the activities. The Minnesota State Fair is usually a big 12-day finale to summer in this state. After a cooler than normal season here, we got our 90-degree days this past week.  If I hadn't bought tickets for an event at the Grandstand, I might have skipped it altogether, but I found new things to photograph this year, so I'm glad I went.


The first things I saw in the Creative Activities building were these animals made from hundreds of folded bits of paper. There was no label, but I have to assume they are a sort of origami.


The shape below is a temari ball, a form of Japanese embroidery.


Nice assortment of crocheted Christmas ornaments:


An award-winning quilt: these are my kind of colors!


I've tried quilting, but nothing as labor-intensive as hardanger (har-dang-er): counted and pulled-thread embroidery.


Another never-seen entry: some sort of artistic contraption.


Then I moved outdoors and took some close-ups of sunflowers.  The actual seeds are visible.




Our car and canoe never looked like this, but it makes me nostalgic nevertheless:


The buildings were relatively uncrowded, but still too hot for much browsing, so I took this one quick photo in the Fine arts building, and left.


Cooling clouds had formed by the time I reached the Horticulture building, so I was able to spend some time at the flower arrangements. The theme this year was All Things Seuss.


And the displays were delightfully whimsical.






 If you remember any of the books, you will see some very specific inspiration.






But most were just interpretations of Seuss's colorful, playful drawings.





The theme was used in the center atrium as well, something I've never seen done before.




"The Lorax" movie just came out this year.




"The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins" has always been one of my favorites.






When Craig arrived, we strolled over to the Eco Experience Building.  Once again, we didn't stay inside very long, but I snapped this pic of cans that should be - but are often not - recycled.  "Stop Treating Us Like Garbage" is the caption. Craig and I like to tell the story of our car trip all the way to Maine and back, during which we threw out not a single recyclable container.  We simply bagged them up in the back of the car and dropped them off at the first recycling receptacle we found; no coincidence that we were almost home in Minnesota when we found it.


Then, the event we had waited for: the Internet Cat Video Festival sponsored by the Walker Art Center. The videos didn't start until after dark, but there was pre-video entertainment as people continued to fill the seats. 


One of the stars of last year's Video Fest was Grumpy The Cat, shown in seed art below. The cat is actually a female named Tardar Sauce.  She was on local news with her owner this morning, and on stage this evening.


The first 1000 or so to walk through the gates received a film canister with a DVD inside.  We also got a bookmark, pin and letterpress poster.




Total food count: 3 cups of diet pop, one salmon-on-a-stick with rye krisp and lingonberry jelly, one foot-long corn dog, half a fudge puppy (Belgium waffle covered with chocolate on a stick), one pineapple shake, and one frozen custard sundae.  Too hot to eat more than that - and I was only there 8 hours, ha ha!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Paisley Thank You

Just a quick post about a fun-to-make thank-you card. This was made for a business-woman, so I wanted it to be simple, but not too dull.  I stamped the various sizes of paisleys on plain cardstock, colored them and the surrounding space with watercolor pencils, blended with blender pens, then cut out the circle. The border was made with my favorite use-the-scraps technique: simply tape together random pieces of scraps to cover the card edges, and trim.  Since the center is covered by another panel, it doesn't matter if the scraps fully cover the card, and that's what makes it so easy to do.


The sentiment was stamped on the same watercolor paper as the center panel, and then attached with dimensional (foam) tape.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesdays Around Town - Victoria, MN and Red Cow

Last Saturday, I took a little drive to Victoria, Minnesota to check out the 2-day Volkfest.  There were art and food booths, games like a dunk tank and bean bag toss, and an auction of Adirondack chairs.


The chairs were decorated by different artists.




These gorgeous tomatoes were actually painted on canvas attached to the chair back.  I watched the first few chairs being auctioned. A couple went for just $50, but several others brought in $250. I would have bid on one myself, but really had no way to get it home. Adirondacks are my favorite outdoor chair.


The town is on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail,


Along Stieger Lake.


On Sunday, Craig and I tried the Red Cow restaurant in SW Minneapolis for the first time. Although it's a fine burger place, we ate light and split the ahi crisps and the hummus with housemade crackers and veggies. Both appetizers were excellent, as were the wine and beer.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesdays Around Town - Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Last Friday, AJ and I went to the MN Landscape Arboretum. Neither of us had been there in years. We passed this natural sculpture along the entrance drive.
  

The Visitor Center is a good place to start. There are guide maps, restrooms, a gift shop, and a restaurant.


One of the first flowers I saw - as large as my hand - would be a great selection for my Fall garden.






I tried to take photos of signs whenever possible - for future reference.


The photo below represents what is called "bokeh", or blurred image. It wasn't intentional, but I love how the flower is crisply in focus against the unfocused background. It can be a nice artistic effect.


We walked around on our own...
















...then took a ride on the free circulator trolley along the three mile drive...




...past the new sculpture garden.




This color of coleus caught my eye: another selection for my all-yellow-orange-blue garden.






Our last bit of walking took us through the forest...


...and on to the Japanese garden.








This cabin (below) is the original building on the property that would become the Arboretum.