July 26, 2013

garden love: poppies

Bright sassy fireballs that burn quickly. But oh-so-startling orange lovely while we've got them.

A funny for you. This is what the closed bloom looks like:

And this is what a newly-opened one looks like! The green shells cling to the petals and remind me of fuzzy caterpillars!

July 24, 2013

I'm curious about Marüshka

I know I've seen it. I've loved it.  It's bold, graphic, inspired by nature, and by now considered vintage. I think my aunt has one or two. I just never knew the name – Marüshka.

Marüshka is the name of a local silk screen company founded in 1971 right here in west Michigan (Grand Haven to be exact). I love the story of Richard Sweet, the founder, a high school art teacher who quit his job to follow his passion and start the company. I've seen prints hanging on walls and I know there was clothing but I am also told there was fabric you could buy  – how cool would that be?!

Want to know more?

Check out:
• A blog devoted to Marüshka prints
• A post by Apartment Therapy
• Introduction to Marüshka by Study Hall

Want to buy some?

Check out:
Limited edition reprints by a company called Study Hall
Marüshka Handprints – offering clothing

July 22, 2013

nests are nice on the mantel

To continue with my nest obsession, let me show you who my collection looks displayed on a summertime mantel. I am curious about what bird might have crafted the small nest in the center. It is not small enough to belong to a hummingbird from what I have read but it is clearly smaller than the others.

And just because I really loved it that much, I am going to again mention the book Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build by Peter Goodfellow.

July 19, 2013

garden love: peonies

These bloomed much earlier in the year but I came across the photos when I was getting photos organized and realized I hadn't published these. And I just can't resist sharing their lush, many-petaled layers.

July 17, 2013

I'm curious about bird nests

If you've been reading the blog awhile, you may have figured this out. I collect the ones I find on the ground and keep them. They appear on display in various places – perched on candlesticks or tucked into a wall display.

Here's the newest additions to my collection:

My mom found this in the parking lot of the bank where she works. She actually watched sparrows building it. I like that it is made of fresh green grass clippings. I've had it about a month and it has retained its green color.

I found this one while out on a run. And I picked it up. And I kept running. Yes, I am crazy like that. Had to have it though. It is a nice size.

To satisfy my curiosity about bird nests, I headed to the library (but of course!). I am happy to report there are books written just about nests. And you can get nest guidebooks for your area to help you identify what species of bird built the nest you are studying.

My very favorite book was called Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build by Peter Goodfellow. I read it cover to cover. There is a chapter on each type of nest birds build along with case studies of specific birds. And lots of great photographs. I enjoyed it immensely.

July 15, 2013

on leaf shapes

I've been observing and photographing leaf shapes lately. I have visions of patterns and repeats and overlaps and color combinations for fabric designs.

July 12, 2013

July 10, 2013

I'm curious about red and white polka dot mushrooms

You know, the cartoony ones you see. Like on my daughter's lovely birthday card:

Card by Papyrus © Hilary Yafai, courtesy of Rafale Design

Why red with white dots? Could those be real? Oh yes, my friends, they are! According to some brief online research these are properly known as amanita muscarias. Read the details here on wikipedia. Here's photo proof for you as well:

Photo credit: Stu Phillips / Wikimedia Commons

Don't you feel better knowing this?

July 8, 2013

So what's next?

Hello friends! It has been way too long. Let me tell you about June. School ended, my job ended (by choice but still a big giant life change), we camped, we had a death in the family, we mourned, and to tell you the truth I still find myself surprised that my grandfather is actually gone.

And then to kick off July, we camped again. So I haven't been too focused on "making time for art." And the art I have done or noticed or been inspired by just hasn't made it up here on the blog quite yet.

But I am back now! So without further ado, I present you with not one but two "what's next?" items to ponder.

The first is a gigantic bolt of fabric. There is a custom drapery and curtain shop in my neighborhood. They are not going out of business but they are closing their showroom. It was a mere $10 for this bolt of lovely fabric. Apparently it was used on curtains in the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital (ooh – found a photo here!). So unlike a cotton fabric or even a home decorator weight fabric you might buy at the store, it is meant to be viewed on both sides. It is quite heavy in weight but smooth and soft. I have no plans to use it as curtains. In fact, I have no plans for it at all. This is dangerous territory people, buying supplies with no project in mind!

I have pondered a teepee like the one seen on the cover of Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes and Projects for Your Creative Child by Meg McElwee. Other than that, I got nothing. Any thoughts or inspirations?

The second is this stack of frames. My other grandma is on a cleaning binge and this is one of the treasures I decided to accept despite their bulkiness. They have solid wood beneath the green felt and were used to display watch fobs. I think I could easily replace the wood with cork or whiteboard or with chicken wire or something equally fabulous to make some classy bulletin boards. Or maybe I could get the green felt off and paint the interior with chalkboard paint. I am having visions of spray painting the frames fun glossy colors too. Hmm... Any other ideas?