Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday giveaways...

Give aways, prizes and all sorts of holiday wonders are all over the internet and blog world right now.

Here's an opportunity I stumbled upon where you can do very little and receive a $25 Amazon gift card.  We are big fans of Amazon around here... bet you are too!

Now, I'm also a big fan of 'it'sThoughtful' too.  Check out their website...
click here

Here's the $25 Amazon card opportunity...
$25 Amazon Card 
If you've got a great Christmas gift idea you can win hundreds more!

Happy December!

I've been swamped with a couple more College early action deadlines, Thanksgiving and other things.  Injured the thumb joint of my right hand and haven't been able to draw, or write so no art to share till I heal.  Life is full and good, though.

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That in the time to come you may be blessed with health, friends, unclouded joy, and the best satisfactions of life is my heartfelt wish. ♥

Things are super busy right now, and likely to get busier as the holidays sweep in. I pray you all have a season filled with love, peace and joy. The sweet sentiment in the title came from an antique calligraphied card that a blogger I visit discovered at a rummage sale, I was enchanted by the well spoken message, and share it with you.

Hopefully I'll find a moment to blog before January... but who knows!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished page...

nature journal grand-darling, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
I spent some more time to finish up the shading and detail on this little nature journal page. I think it's finished. :) I am not at ALL happy with the plants, I get frustrated trying to figure out what detail to leave in and what to leave out. Also, I was working from a black and white copy of the photo, which didn't help. I would go and pull the color photo up occasionally on the computer for reference, but that isn't the best way to proceed. : / Anyway, some of you asked to see it when finished, so... ta da.  Also a note to my fellow artists and other visitors, if you have an art website or blog or flickr page, please include the address in you comment, I'd enjoy visiting your pages.  Thanks so much. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moving on the more artful side of my life.  (do I hear a collective sigh of relief?)   ;)  Sorry, I've been battling some serious blues lately.

Here are a couple things I've been very slowly working on in my spare seconds.  Most of  the past month and then some has been spent working on my high school (homeschooled) son's College applications, research and paperwork (TWO acceptance letters now grace our bulletin board, and some nice scholarship possibilites!), also I've been recovering from an infection that seriously hindered my ability to do much else at all.

I managed to finish this nature journal page about the bullfrogs I visit at the DBG... (sadly I recently learned they are an invasive species not native to AZ, and they are threatening many native species of wildlife)
It encompasses Every Day Matters challenge #183 - Draw something dangerous.  You can read how the American Bullfrog is a danger to Arizona's native species here.

The next page in my Nature Journal that I've been working on, again, in very spare moments, is a departure from the rest of the book because it includes the sketch of a human.  A very special and dear to me 'human' first grandchild.  This past spring she accompanied granny to the Desert Botanical Garden to the butterfly pavilion, she loved it, and she was not yet 2 years old!  The experience merits inclusion in my nature journal because it was a purposeful excursion toward the hope that she will develop a deep love for the Creation and the natural world all around us.  Here in this unfinished entry, she is admiring a butterfly.  She was so good to 'look and not touch', she was as gentle as a lamb, and as curious and unafraid as she could be.  It was a beautiful morning.  :)

This watercolor and ink sketch fulfills Every Day Matters challenge #54 - Draw someone or something you love - and journal about it.

I need to add more color, depth and tone to the overall page, as well as fill in her shoes, and the butterfly.  More to come, soon hopefully!

May you be blessed by time to notice the beauty around you today.

embracing the future...

embrace the future..., originally uploaded by Az~Kate       
 For what other choice do we have?

A blessed, thankful, praise-rich, God infused, grace and truth filled November to us all.

May the good longed for, for which I (perhaps you, too) have lost hope, be resurrected; sacredly received and the glory given to Him - through whom every good and perfect gift comes.

I will cast my anchor into the future, my trust is in God. Goodbye past, farewell lost loves, be gone regrets.

I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.

If God be for us, who can be against us?


Friday, October 15, 2010

soul affliction and pieces of heart

Today it feels as if there aren't any pieces of my heart left that are large enough to break.

I have always believed that I'm supposed to hold the things and people I cherish with open hands, not to grasp and cling, lest I have them painfully wrenched from my grip.... well, what's the difference? It seems they fall out of my life and are lost either way.  Gone is community, gone are some dear ones, gone a sense of belonging, gone my joy and hope.  I like Job simply wait to see what God will or will not do with the way things are, the way He's allowed them to be.  I know better than to challenge Him with unanswerable questions... Job tried that and was barraged with equally unanswerable questions put to him by God Himself...He is sovereign, He is good, not all things are for us to know.  So, I'll try to turn my attention where Job was guided to turn his... to prayer.  Prayer for his friends, his accusers. This is more humbling than it sounds, more humbling and more and more, I think one never finishes eating humble pie.  There's always room for more, at least in my life that seems to be the case.  I don't expect restoration till Heaven, that's where the bits of my heart are today.

Psalm 42

 1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
         So pants my soul for You, O God.
 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
         When shall I come and appear before God?
 3 My tears have been my food day and night,
         While they continually say to me,
         “Where is your God?”
 4 When I remember these things,
         I pour out my soul within me.
         For I used to go with the multitude;
         I went with them to the house of God,
         With the voice of joy and praise,
         With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
         And why are you disquieted within me?
         Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
         For the help of His countenance.
 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
         Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
         And from the heights of Hermon,
         From the Hill Mizar.
 7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
         All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
 8 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
         And in the night His song shall be with me—
         A prayer to the God of my life.
 9 I will say to God my Rock,
         “Why have You forgotten me?
         Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
 10 As with a breaking of my bones,
         My enemies reproach me,
         While they say to me all day long,
         “Where is your God?”
 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
         And why are you disquieted within me?
         Hope in God;
         For I shall yet praise Him,
         The help of my countenance and my God.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everyday Matters

or otherwise known as EDM, Everyday Matters is an online sketching support group, of sorts.  I discovered them recently via flickr where there is a pool that members can contribute photos of their sketches into.  EDM  has a very long list (287 so far and counting!) of 'drawing prompts' which I've printed out to give me ideas and inspiration for my doodles.  The creative prompts have been helpful for me in getting back to my love of art.  Here are some of the sketches, and simple watercolors I've done so far, oldest to newest... 

EDM #1 draw a shoe

EDM #136 - Draw or paint something that's alive - a living thing - animal or plant

EDM #34 Draw a fall leaf

EDM #44 Draw an animal - a pet, a zoo animal, a stuffed one

 EDM #116 - Draw something green

Everyday Matters  #287 Draw Something Colorful

Everyday Matters #235 'draw a butterfly'

Today I did this colored pencil sketch 'en plein air' at a park while waiting for Jesse to get out of classes.
EDM #22 draw the moon 

If you are interested in joining the sketchy folk at Everyday Matters here are some pertinent links where you can find more information.  The Yahoo group is FULL of very encouraging artists of all levels, including some impressive authors and professionals too!

The Everyday Matters Yahoo group

Danny Gregory's blog, which EDM grew out of back in 2004

Everyday Matters Flickr group

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recent art endeavors

Just some photos of this summer's sketching progress in my nature journal.
(clicking on each photo should open it up in a larger format, easier to see and critique!

A Gilded Flicker enjoying the saguaro fruit in our front yard.

The molt of a Calfornia Spiny Lobster found while walking at Doheny Beach.

Some wildflowers found hiking South Mountain and at the DBG.
I photographed the flowers in March, but just finished this page last week!  

And this unfinished page still in progress is of 3 black butterflies...

Friday, August 13, 2010


Booty!, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
If at first you don't succeed TRY, try again! AND WIN! I did. :)

Remember my hummingbird photo from the Desert Botanical Garden: that 'almost' won a photo contest?  Well guess what, The Arizona Office of Tourism has a contest every couple months, and June/July's contest theme was 'Water'  So I browsed through my Arizona photos that featured water and entered several photos again.  One of an afternoon stroll near Wild Horse Pass in Chandler was chosen, along with 4 other beautiful photos.  And thanks to many lovely facebook friends I won!  My prize is this super nifty camera slingpack by Tamrac.  ($$ value!)  Not too shabby!  I love that it includes the Arizona logo in vibrant stitching.  Maybe I'll actually get a real dslr camera and some lenses to put in it someday.  (I think it's pretty funny that I won with my little point and shoot camera photo... others had very expensive equipment to take theirs with)  Just goes to show you that you don't have to have expensive equipment to make beautiful photos... especially in a state with as much natural beauty as God has given us in Arizona.  :)  Here's my winning photo...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday's Child Has Far to Go

Thursday's child has far to go...

Did you know there are 2 versions of the poem 'Sunday's Child'?  I didn't till just now.

So how did I learn this random fascinating factoid?  Well... I wanted to share this photo I took last night, of this cute, soft, teeny, baby bunny, which I delivered from the jaws of death (Petey again!).  And since it's Thursday... the line above came to my remembrance and certainly seemed fitting for this little critter.  I hope he hopped far away to safety.  I've seen no trace of him this morning.   So God speed little fella, and beware of our backyard, there lurks a seemingly friendly pooch with a strong hunting reflex!  

Anyway... here are the two versions of Sunday's Child (and I am Sunday's child, by the way)
                      1  (old fashioned version)

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.


Sunday's child is full of grace,
Monday's child is full in the face,
Tuesday's child is solemn and sad,
Wednesday's child is merry and glad,
Thursday's child is inclined to thieving,
Friday's child is free in giving,
And Saturday's child works hard for a living.

We can all be Sunday's children by the grace of don't let a poem define you, especially you Thursday kids!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

how much time to heal all wounds?

Isaiah 30: 8-26
8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.

9 These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.

10 They say to the seers,
"See no more visions!"
and to the prophets,
"Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.

11 Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!"

12 Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
"Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,

13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern."

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

16 You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.'
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."

18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." 22 Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!"

23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

chariot clouds

chariot clouds, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
Hooray! The monsoon, with the beautiful clouds have arrived at last! Can you see the tiny little sliver moon in that photo? I took this picture a few years ago, it's one of my very favorites. :)

Happy Monsoon!

Totally off topic, I am extremely annoyed with trying to format my blog with the new background... first I lost all my 'gadgets', now I can't post large photos without them being cut off!  Someone needs to give easier instructions on changing backgrounds!  (my old one is still on, embedded underneath the new one.  I can't figure out how to get it off!)  ugh!  Good thing the sky is pretty... it calms me down.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Birthday Cake Parade

Happy Birthday to ME!

(I'm home alone having a very special, birthday pity party)  So I thought I'd share the joy with my throngs of followers.  (I really don't want throngs, so that's not what I'm pitiful about, ha ha)   No, I'm having a pity party over the fact that for the last few years on my birthday I've CRAVED birthday cake, and not gotten any.  I don't remember all the reasons why, but it just didn't occur.  This year I, unfortunately, will not have cake either.... because I'm very frustrated with the extra poundage I've acquired of late, and so I won't eat it.  So I decided to throw myself a 'If I Could I Would' have these cakes, all of them, a picture cake parade!

I collect antique teapots and tea cups, so here are some darling cakes from that genre...

Victorian-esque and feminine.  (I'll have this one in the parlor, thank you!)

This one is a funky and cute tea party cup cake!

This is my most favorite 'tea cup' cake of all... pretty and whimsical!

Now, these here are not cake... but I actually prefer cookies in real life and these are simply tea-lightful!  (help yourself, dears!)

Leaving the 'tea' theme, how about this fantastic cake!  I'm amazed at the gorgeous cakes that 'cake artists' are making these days!  (my mother once made me a pink circus carousel cake, complete with tiny carousel horses, that was the envy of all the girls in the neighborhood... it was enchanting!)

As I am an avowed Nature enthusiast, I would like some cakes that honor my love of God's creation as well...

I love this one featuring twigs and birds.

Oh, perfect!  This one matches my new blog layout!  (sorta)

What amazing detail... so many things I love on this one!

So those are all very festive and beautiful to look at, and probably quite tasty.  But the truth is, for cake which I would faint, and then lick the platter clean... we must incorporate CHOCOLATE... lots and lots of it.
I'll take these 3...

traditional, rich and classic...

Modern, dark and studded with truffles!..

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting was my most requested as a girl, still LOVE it!

Where's the candles?  All 52 of them.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mercy and Truth

I am thinking about the beautiful picture of God we are given through scripture of His amazing character... only God, it seems, is able to perfectly extend mercy while never compromising truth.  I just did a search at Bible Gateway of the words 'mercy' and 'truth' to see how often the 2 words are paired.  Nearly every reference (23 of them, total) is in the context of describing God.  What a wonderful reminder to those of us who love the hard black and white solidity of truth, that truth alone, is well... cold and hard, at times.  Mercy is necessary... it's the sugar that helps the medicine go down.  And what a wonderful reminder to those who are certain that compassion, grace and mercy are the pinnacle attributes of a godly person.  Mercy without truth becomes enablement; dysfunction, tender comfort for the terminally ill (spiritually speaking) but leaving out the cure. (Cures can be painful, you see... and those gifted with great mercy and grace are reticent to inflict pain of any kind.)

I have a feeling the pairing of the words 'grace' and 'truth' would turn up many such verses too... verses that illuminate what God is like, and Who He is.  The pain He allows needs to be accepted in context with His great mercy and grace... both are necessary for wholeness, deliverance and freedom.  One without the other falls short of the goal, misses the mark.  God's Spirit is hovering over His children seeking to form us more and into Christ likeness.  I need to be more conscious of the fact, and deliberate in adjusting my attitude to the scriptural truth that both are necessary in me, to reflect a complete & accurate likeness.  Lord, may I more and more grow in my ability to shine forth a witness of God's truth and His mercy. 

Psalm 25: 9 The humble He guides in justice,
         And the humble He teaches His way.
 10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
         To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
 11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
         Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

John1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.


Monday, July 12, 2010

more than a song

more than a song, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
Just a little photo I took today. There's a story behind the title of this picture and the title of the hymn, but I'll have to write that up some other time as I need to get out the door just now to babysit. :) Hope my 2 readers are doing well! Hugs... K

Monday, June 14, 2010

We Are His Bees

bee blessed, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.

(This is a presentation I gave years ago at a Women's fellowship. I was cleaning out a drawer today and happened upon it and thought I'd post it here. Kind of odd to read it now, and recall the circumstances then versus now. Now I have no Church affiliation what so ever, but I find myself engaged in the 'ministry', perhaps more significantly than ever...)

Do you ever feel that you are overwhelmed with one chore after another, one need after another, one call after another from the Lord to serve… your husband, your children, your parents and family, your job, your neighbors and friends, your church needs….etc. etc.

Do you feel like you are lost in a sea of demands and needs that sometimes seem impossible to meet? Do you ever think…“What about ‘me’ what about my needs?”

Once during a time when I was praying for direction about whether or not God wanted me to become involved with helping in Women’s ministry I came across a newsletter with an interview between 2 very busy Christian women. I felt God helped me see His perspective better through some things they shared.

In this newsletter, there was quoted a portion of a diary of a woman named Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), in her day she was a renown artist, a devoted Christian, and a missionary to the Muslim people in Algeria for 40 years (particularly ministering to women). Her life inspired the hymn ‘Turn your Eyes upon Jesus’

One woman shared this… “in your book about Lilias you share a passage from one of her diaries that has been an incredible encouragement as I try to accomplish one little task after another, I am sometimes overwhelmed with the precious lives that God has entrusted to me, as well as His call for my ministry to others. I know this passage will be a blessing to other ladies as well.”

Before I read the passage here’s a definition! Miss Trotter had an excellent vocabulary!

Desultory (desultoriness) –1.Moving, jumping or passing from one thing or subject to another, without order or natural connection; unconnected; immethodical. 2. Coming suddenly; started at the moment; not proceeding from natural order or connection with what precedes; (this is my life! one thing interrupting another!) Haphazard, random, aimless, lacking method or application.

Now here is the quote From Lilias’ diary…

"A bee comforted me very much this morning concerning the desultoriness that troubles me in our work. There seems so infinitely much to be done that nothing gets done thoroughly. We seem only to touch souls & leave them. And that was what the bee was doing, figuratively speaking. He was hovering among some blackberry sprays, just touching the flowers here & there in a very tentative way, yet all unconsciously, life- life-life-- was left behind at every touch, as the miracle-working pollen grains were transferred to the place where they could set the unseen spring working. We have only to see to it that we are surcharged, like the bees, with potential life. It is God and His eternity that will do the work-- Yet He needs His wandering, desultory bees!"

Maybe you sometimes feel like I do, that there is simply too much to do all the time… how do we ‘fit in’ women’s ministry events and meetings too? I believe coming to women’s events is one way to be sure that we are ‘surcharged’ with life, Gods life inside that the seemingly random tasks of our daily life, will impart God’s intended life-touch to others.

At women’s meetings we’ll hear the Word which itself is alive with God’s power, we may hear testimonies that will increase our faith and our own commitment, we make friends and create bonds that strengthen us in our inner man. No matter what the ‘function’ even if it’s not something you’d normally be drawn to…it can be a time of drawing closer to your sisters in Christ imparting the “pollen” of truth, love, faith in God etc. with one another. I believe we need to and are meant to come together to build one another up, to hold one another up in prayer. To comfort, encourage, exhort and spur one another on to fulfill the unique call God has given each of us as His sister, His Bride, the stewardess of His children and on and on.

God is the one who created families, and God is the one who created the church, and HE plants us in the place He chooses.

If we neglect assembling together we may be contributing to the weakening of our own spiritual lives and the lives of our sisters. We’ll miss out on what God wants to bring to our body of women through YOU.

We all need friends, we need fellowship, we need one another to pray for us in our struggles, God ordained community within His church. In order to see God’s plan for the Church fulfilled it requires our responsiveness. Women’s ministry times (formal and informal) should be times of receiving and giving of God’s life, love and wisdom into one another like the desultory random transfer of pollen among the flowers. We are His bees.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Organic Foods: When It's Worth It & When It's Not

I am blogging this mainly for my own reference.  It's from a Magazine article I'd saved, but I don't always remember where I've put it, and I never remember all of the foods on the lists.  The article goes into detail about why each food is on the list, the names of the pesticides and chemicals involved, but I'm not going to type all that up here.  Suffice it to say that the list of 12 Fruits and Veggies you SHOULD buy Organic are really bad for you if you don't!

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3.  Pears
4. Winter Squash
5. Green Beans (ugh! almost never buy these organic)
6. Grapes
7. Strawberries
8. Raspberries
9. Spinach
10. Tomatoes
11. Cantaloupe

crazy article, that makes 11, not 12.  Being that Spinach is on the list, I'm going to suggest all leafy lettuces, as well as chards and other greens ought to be here too. 

And fortunately there are 12 fruits and veggies that you can go ahead and buy conventionally grown; generally these have been found to not retain pesticides and other chemicals used.  :)

CONVENTIONALLY GROWN ~ OKAY to buy and eat, no need to buy Organic with these.
1. Bananas
2. Kiwi
3. Mangos
4. Papaya
5. Pineapple
6. Asparagus
7. Avocado
8. Broccoli
9. Cauliflower
10. Corn
11. Onions
12. Peas

The article mentions a couple of noteworthy points.  First, one year olds eat 3 times as many fresh peaches, per pound of body weight as do adults, and more than four times as much apples and pears!  Their bodies are also more vulnerable to the toxins.  Secondly, pregnant woman should take care because many pesticides cross the placenta to the fetus. 
Thirdly, (this is from me) the article focuses on produce, and I want to mention that meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products can contain antibiotics, and heavy metals such as arsenic which are used to promote growth in animals.  So... stick with organic for your proteins folks. 
To our health!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Backyard Massacre

a backyard tragedy., originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
I have a sad tale to tell. Last night we went out for Thai, and when we came home Petey (our mixed terrier mutt) was quite excited...we figured he'd been barking at something outside the wall, as he commonly does.

However this morning, I noticed a couple adult Gambels Quail continually pacing atop our block wall. And while watering the garden, Petey was nosing around under a shrub as if on the hunt. The mama Quail just above him on the wall would not leave. uh oh.

I put Petey in the house and sealed his doggie door. Hunted around the shrubs hoping to spot a chick who couldn't get over the wall to rejoin its family. Nothing. Eventually I gave up, then was tending the pool, when I found a tiny quail chick near the leaf catcher... I cried. Figured Petey chased it into the pool where it drowned. But I knew this chick was not very old, too small to have come into the yard, had to have been born here. Oh dear. First quail nest in our yard in 14 years... what were that pair thinking! Petey is a notorious bird chaser.

So, I started looking again and found 7 more dead babies all in the pool pump enclosure, and a small ground indentation in the corner behind the filter, their ground nest. I had a full blown nature massacre taking place while I was enjoying my Spicy garlic eggplant! I was heart broken and have declared our once beloved pet, an evil monster.

I cleaned up the remains, and noticed the parents still scurrying atop the wall and calling out warningly... could any of these tiny babies have survived? What a large clutch, this must have been. There was no way for them out of our yard at this tiny, too small to fly, size. The drain holes were full of rocks somebody had put in them to keep bunnies out (not me!). Ron and I opened up several of them, on the chance that the parents would escort any remaining chicks to a safer place.

Lo and behold Ron soon discovered 2 which had managed to escape the slaughter! The photo above is of one. He is no more than 2 inches tall. The other one scurried under the wall (through the freshly opened drainage holes) before I could snap its picture. It was a paler, lighter colored baby, perhaps a female. I'm glad at least couple made it, I am still mad at the dog and wonder why the parents dared put a nest here. The Mama scurried them to the wash behind our yard, I hope they are safe now.

UPDATE on June 8.
Well later that day the quail family was back in the yard, apparently the chicks were too young to make a significant move, or for some other instinctual reason of which I am unaware.  So over the weekend we kept Petey under a tight rein.  I was able to get a few more pictures of them, below.  Yesterday morning they were nowhere to be found, and I can't hear the rest of the covey calling from the wash any longer, so we assume they've finally moved to a safer place.  I am wary of cleaning the pool leaf catcher again though, afraid of what I may discover.  It was sweet to watch the tiny 2 surviving chicks over a couple of days though.  I can't say I'm terribly impressed with the parents protective tactics though.

Above, mama quail watches the chicks who are at the base of the wall... whenever she'd hop out of sight they would start peeping and running in circles, which is why I thought her continuing to do that was not a very protective move!  When she would stay with them, they'd quietly sit with her under the shrubs, well hidden.

  Here they are the last afternoon we saw them around the yard, the next morning there was no sign of them.  There are still some bowl shaped 'nests' under the shrubs they spent the most time around... pretty easy nest construction, and not too effectively camouflaged.  God speed little quails, you'll need it!  ;o)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Awww shucks, but still honored!

dart, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
The Arizona Touism & Travel group  sponsors a monthly photo contest to flickr members who submit  photographs that feature the beauty and attractions of the state of Arizona to its Flickr group 'Arizona Passages' HERE  . A couple weeks ago I was notified that my photo, above, of this hummingbird taken at the Desert Botanical Gardens in April, was one of 5 photos chosen for May's contest. Wowza! And what is more 'wowza' is that I actually came in second place! ;o)

I sure do wish I would have won... I would have had my photograph featured in their next newsletter and received a cool backpack camera bag...that I may have loaned to Jesse for his upcoming trip to Oregon to shoot a wedding. Oh well, you can be sure I will keep trying to get some lovely photos of our beautiful state to enter into their monthly contests!

You have to belong to their facebook group to vote. So if you'd like to be in on this fun in the future... be a facebooker and 'like' the group titled 'Arizona The Official Grand Canyon State' HERE 

Here's the very beautiful and deserving winning shot...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Recent Project

I recently completed a fun acrylic project.  I used to do LOTS of these wall plaques, and other acrylic tole art projects along with lots of wall murals.  Because styles have changed, this one was enjoyable as it brought an 'old' craft form into a 'new' look, more in line with contemporary designs.  (most tole painting is traditional or folksy, which is fine too)

So the project was at the bequest of my step-sister whose baby girl was turning one.  I had painted plaques for her 2 other girls who are quite a bit older (in their teens).  Baby Sofia's room is in a pink and brown asian theme, featuring a damask crib quilt of intricate cherry blossom design.  Here's what I came up with...

First I scoured the internet for Asian themed fonts and graphics.  I printed out my choices, seen below.  Then I sanded the plaque and sealed it with an off white acrylic base coat. 

                            (click on photos to view larger, if desired)

Next I sanded the sealer coat and painted another coat of base color on (this one a soft golden beige by Cremacoat, which I prefer.  I used the Plaid brand for the sealer coat).  Then I drew the designs on the plaque with transfer paper.  And began painting the blossoms, like so...

First light pink, then adding darker shading and highlights...

Next I used a dark brown acrylic to paint the stems and letters...  (several coats required, here's the first layer)

You can see the transfer lines here and there, so the next step is to use a soft eraser and get rid of them all.

Since the baby's crib bedding had a frosted gold satin finish, I added some metallic gold highlights to the flowers and a thin glaze of frosty gold acrylic (Cremacoat) over the whole plaque.  I painted the birds eyes with gold and repainted their wings with brown, to stand out from the frosted bodies.  Here's a close up...

Lastly I painted the beveled edge of the plaque pink, and coated the plaque with several layers of clear acrylic top coat.

The whole project only took a couple days, working intermittently, and was fun.  My lil sis loved it, and that's the most important thing.   Hopefully Sofia likes it too!  She's the cutest baby... almost as cute as the grand-darling.  ;o)   (now, if I could just get some inspiration to finish that huge asian landscape I'm doing for Jesse's room!)  Hope you enjoyed my little project.  Bye for now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

artichokes are beautiful

artichokes are beautiful, originally uploaded by Az~Kate.
Another picture from my visit to the Botanical Gardens last week. This was in the herb garden...the artichokes are blooming, isn't this beautiful? I guess an artichoke is just a giant thistle. :) Now that I've discovered this flickr 'blog this' link, maybe I'll have more posts with my photos.

Have a good day!