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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Woodland Diorama - Hollow Log with Toadstools






Photo from Pinterest source unknown
Photo from Pinterest source steep ravine.com
My love affair with the miniature flora of the forest floor continues........

I came across these wonderful, magical photos on Pinterest and was inspired.  The photo of the giant hollow log is from our recent trip to the botanical gardens (more on that later).  They remind me of all the wonderful fairy tale books I poured over as a child, and I realize that this was where my real love affair with the forest began.  These are tiny, secret places where magical things can happen.  Where magical creatures live and play.  I so wanted it all to be real - the beautiful worlds I found in books - and I suppose I still do.  So, that is why toadstools.  For me, they represent the fairytale forests of my childhood imagination.  That is why I adore them and can't seem to stop myself making them - trying, I suppose, to hold onto some of that magic and perhaps, to pass it along.

Love and blessings from the Woods.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mr. Mushroom Goes to Town



You know I'm a country girl. But what you may not know is that I also love the city. As in, "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."  Well, I did live there for 12 years.  I grew up in the country where I spent most of my life at my grandparent's farm.  My best friends were the farm animals and the woods surrounding their farm.  Then I grew up, went to college, got a job and found myself moving to the big city at the tender age of 22.  Honestly, I loved it! I loved all the restaurants. The shops. The museums and art galleries and concerts and plays.  I loved all the different cultures that came together in the funky downtown districts where you could find any kind of ethnic food imaginable.  It was a melting pot filled with new and exciting people and ideas and art.  I took to urban life like a duck to water. Really!  It was wonderful to go to a coffee cafe' at midnight and drink cappuccino (this was the 90's after all) and have fascinating conversations with other young people from every walk of life.  It was during this period of my life that I fell head over heels in love with art, and my favorite was modern, abstract art.  It was edgy.  It was cool.  I loved it.

But, as you know, I eventually returned to my roots.  I am a country girl again, and always was deep down in my heart.  Though I enjoyed urban life when I was in my twenties, when I had my boys, I yearned to return to the country to raise them.  But, I have not lost my love of modern art.  To this day when we go to a museum, I am drawn to the modern works.  This little canvas is sort of a representation of everything I love in art.  The background is a stylized, abstract representation of tree bark and lichen, and then of course in the foreground is my sweet little toadstool with his cheerful red  face and white polka dot spots.  He represents the woods I grew up in and the woods I love today.  So there you have it. Yesterday and today contained in a tiny 5x5 inch canvas.  For sale in my Etsy shop.  I hope you like it!

Happy hump day :))

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring!









It's here! It's here! All of a sudden, our world has burst into bloom.  We have been blessed with a string of warm, sunny, gorgeous days strung together like pearls on a necklace, and the woods are exuberant with blossom and bloom.  Like the rosy cheeks of a baby when awakening from a long and restful sleep, the woods are blushing pink and vibrant with new life.  Am I gushing? Yes, I'm gushing. But the feeling is contagious! the feeling of freshness and renewal and oh the possibilities!! So much inspiration everywhere, my head can barely contain it all.  And there is a feeling of urgency too. So much to do! So many creative ideas to explore and so much garden work to do.  There is planting and transplanting and bed preparation to be done.  Trips to the plant nursery, the botanical gardens to see the cherry blossoms, OH! so many wonderful things to do and enjoy. I    love   spring!!!  Can you tell? ;))))

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shop Update




I was so encouraged and uplifted by your kind comments on my last post that I decided to turn my nest embroidery into a little artwork.  And the more I worked on it, the more I liked it! I added some beads and some turkey stitches to nest them in at the bottom, signed it, and mounted it onto a little 5 x 5 burlap canvas I bought ages ago.  It is now listed in my Etsy shop.

The sun is shining, the birds are quite frankly ecstatic, and the woods are calling to me; so I am off for a hike.  Enjoy your day :)))

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nesting











Nesting. Nesting in all sorts of ways. First, an experiment in paint and stitch that turned into mostly stitch.  I got a teensy bit carried away with trying to create a realistic looking bird nest and completely covered most of the painting.  Back to the drawing board with this one :)

Prepping a garden bed for veggies this summer.  We are trying the lasagna method.  The boys had great fun hammering and nailing together scraps of lumber for the borders and not so much fun gathering humus rich top soil from the woods to fill it.  Dad and I reassure them that hard work will make men out of them.  I secretly hope it won't for some time yet. I'm not ready for them to leave the nest any time soon.

Making my grandmother's "hushpuppies" to feed the hungry menfolk after a hard day's work.  This is super simple Southern goodness.  Peasant food at its finest.  Just mix together one egg, 2-3 tablespoons of finely minced onion (I use scallions and sweet onions), 2/3 cup self-rising cornmeal mix, 1/3 cup self-rising flour, and enough buttermilk to make a batter similar in consistency to pancake batter.  Fry in shallow oil until crispy and golden brown.  Absolutely delicious - can be eaten alone or as a side for almost anything else.  I especially like them with collard greens and field peas.

Rain soaked ground and spring storms brought down a huge hickory which will be split and stacked for firewood next winter and grilling this summer. Nothing smells as good or makes meat taste as good as hickory smoke.

Spiders build the most amazing "nests".  This one is a towering labyrinth that makes me wonder how on earth the spider doesn't get caught in its own web. Absolutely amazing - and very effective.

And then there is the beginnings of a tree fort for the boys.  This is stage one, which is basically just a raised platform at this point, but is already being used quite a lot.  It's far enough away from the house for young men to feel as though they have a bit of privacy and a place of their own, but still close enough for me to hear them laughing and playing or screaming bloody murder if someone gets hurt.  They pack their book bags full of water and snacks and books and slingshots and head off to the woods when they finish their school lessons.  And I stand on the back porch with my binoculars and watch them laughing and talking and just enjoying being young and exploring the world a little bit on their own. And my heart fills up with gratitude and then I can't see anymore because my eyes get all blurry with tears and I go back inside and make their lunch.

Thank you, God. Thank you so much for this wonderful life.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mushrooms Mini Wreath Ornament



Here is the latest edition to my shop.  It's a little mini-wreath hanging ornament perfect for hanging from a drawer or cabinet knob or even your rear view mirror! It was crafted from honeysuckle vines and mosses gathered here in Wonderland Woods and hangs from a length of jute twine.  The little toadstools were crafted from Creative Paperclay and then painted with acrylic paints.  This was so much fun to make!! Another one is already in progress :)  Wouldn't these be sweet hanging on a woodland themed Christmas tree?  I really need to have a whole tree decorated with toadstool ornaments. ***happy sigh*** I'd better get busy!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thanksgiving

They say that Gratitude is the wellspring of Joy.
So, today I am thankful for......


banana bread fresh out of the oven


quiet, early morning creative time (whilst munching on aforementioned banana bread - tee hee!)



the incredible freshness and beauty that is spring!!


my first sale!! thank you Constanza :)


new projects in the works that make me really excited!! I can't wait to see if it turns out like I imagine it in my head


the sweet, wonderful creativity and generosity of friends.......this is Bugsy.  You may recognize this sweet little guy from Penny's blog Art Journey.  He has recently come to live with us, and I think he is quite happy here.  Here he looks a tad disappointed not to find any bugs under this log, but the poor dear didn't realize that it's a petrified log :)


So now he is busying himself with inspecting the houseplants.....careful Bugsy! that one's tricksy!!

And finally, I am so very grateful for the outpouring of support I received after my last post.  I am no longer all alone in the world of social media!! Thank you to each and everyone who found me and friended me on Facebook this week and for all the encouraging and uplifting comments I received.  My heart is just so full of gratitude today.  And you are a very big part of that. Thank you!!

Blessings,
Starr