Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A happy little chorus

a chorus of crickets

Crickets are my #1 favorite sound of summer!  (thunder might be tied with them, but I just can't decide, I love them both so much!) I LOVE crickets.   I've always associated summer nights in Wisconsin with crickets.  Just like cicadas, I always thought that crickets made their music all through the summer, but they don't  They start in late July just like the cicadas.  In the country they start a little sooner I think, but I didn't start to hear them in town until late July.  

The evenings first started with a few singing and as the days went by, it has become a full on non-stop chorus at night.  There must be thousands of these little guys out in our yard!  When I walk through the grass and our garden, they are hopping all over the place.  They are even starting to sing during the daytime too.  I've looked forward to hearing these little guys since last fall after our first frost.  

The anticipation of those warm summer nights and the chirp of crickets=love.  I love falling asleep to their sounds.  I find it  very comforting and beautiful.  It is something that I'm holding on tight to right now because I know it isn't going to last.  

I do wonder though, are their people out their who don't like their sounds?  Do they find it irritating and annoying or maybe they don't even notice it?  It is amazing how truly loud it is.  I remember my first summer back in Wisconsin after living out in Idaho where the nights were very silent.   I was lying in bed listening to the crickets and it was non-stop chirping and I couldn't find a break in the noise or differentiate one cricket from another and it almost felt maddening, but luckily this feeling only lasted for a few seconds.
This little painting was created while I listened to those little guys make their music for me on these last summer evenings.  Oh what a happy sound! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

A little reminder

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."   Dr. Seuss

Remember it is okay to just be yourself, whether that self wants to be a tutu wearing, dancing cowboy who has a frog for a sidekick! 

Friday, August 26, 2011


Here are my finished quilt squares for the Harvest Parade.  It feels so good to be finished with these and not have them looming over my head anymore!  The next step is to meet up with the ladies and put all of our pieces together and finish it up. I can't wait to see what everyone else's look like.

harvest quilt squares

I really had a hard time getting motivated to do this.  The whole time I was doing this, I kept thinking how I couldn't wait to finish so I could start a new painting.  Sewing kind of felt like a chore to me and I was very happy when I was able to tuck my sewing machine away.  I enjoy drawing and painting so much now, that it is all I want to do.  I almost feel a little obsessed about it!  I guess that's a good thing right?

harvest quilt square

Now that my sewing machine is put away, I've got my pencil in hand, drawing up cute little crickets.  This will be my last insect painting for awhile, unless of course I do some butterflies, but they don't really count.

harvest quilt square

Have a wonderful weekend.  Can you believe it's the last one of August already! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's that noise?

cicada flickr


I have to admit, this isn't one of my prettiest paintings!  I've come to love these noisy little guys that emerge from the ground to fill my late summer days with all sorts of buzzing sounds.  As long as I can remember, I've always associated summer in Wisconsin with the buzz of the cicadas.  When I was a kid, I found the noise to be a little irritating, but now I've come to really appreciate it and look forward to it every year.  I always thought the cicadas made noise all through the summer, but upon moving back to Wisconsin a few years back, I realized that they don't start to emerge until late summer.   I think the cicadas that I'm used to are the annual or dog day cicadas, given this name because they emerge in late July and August.  Did you know that the cicada is the noisiest insect in the world and only the male makes the sounds?  I really look forward to hearing my first cicada in the summer.  This year Amelia and I heard it at the same time, it was the last week of July, and Amelia looks up at me very excitedly and says "cada mama, cada mama".  I love that she was so excited about it and that she actually remembered it from last year!  Along with crickets, cicadas are one of my favorite sounds of summer. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Turning 40


Yesterday was my 40th birthday.  This was something that I've been dreading for years.  40!  I just can't believe it.  Where did time go?  I don't feel 40.   Forty just seems like such a big number.  I remember turning 30 and feeling really sad.  To be honest, yesterday I didn't really feel sad like I thought I was going to.  Recently I started to accept the fact that, yes, I will be 40.   What's the point in fighting it, it's going to come anyway.    

The kids and I spent the last week at my parents house  while my husband was out of town for work.  My dad gave me back the coffee cup that I gave to him when he turned 40.  I was 14 when I gave it to him and we gave him such a hard time for being "old".  It was so strange to hold that cup, the cup that I've seen in my parents cupboard for years, and to now be  that person that my parents were,  in what seems so long ago. 

Yesterday came and went and today I feel just like I did on Friday when I was still 39.  I really feel ok about it all.  I'm such a better person than when I turned 30.  My 30's to me felt like when I really started to find myself.  So many things happened in my 30's.  I became a wife and a mother.  I realized how important family was and moved back to Wisconsin from Idaho.    It was through becoming a mother that helped me realize that one of my true loves in life is art.   

It still feels a little weird to read the saying on that coffee cup and know that it now applies to me, but I've decided to embrace it and know that "Life Begins at Forty"!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T-shirt Design

kickapoo reserve dam challenge copy with words

I thought I'd share my t-shirt design that I submitted for the annual Kickapoo Reserve Dam Challenge.  It is a triathlon where you paddle 7 miles, bike 14 miles and run 3 miles.  My t-shirt design didn't win, I was a little bit disappointed,  but the way I see it is at least  I tried.  It made my brain have to think a little bit differently for a change!  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fruit Flies Begone!

fruit flies

Summer in Wisconsin means lots of fruit flies in the kitchen with all of the fresh fruit and vegetables around.   Did you know that if you take a small shallow bowl, put some apple cider vinegar in it with a few drops of dish soap, it will attract the fruit flies and kill them.  It has worked amazing!  No more lifting up a tomato and having a swarm of fruit flies come flying at your face.  This  wonderful little tip  has made my kitchen a lot more  comfortable this  summer!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I actually had my first etsy sale today!  I can't believe it!  I was starting to think it would never happen.
I just had to share this wonderful bit of news with everyone.  What a great way to start the weekend.  I hope you all have a wonderful one!

Of a Summer Evening
"Of a Summer Evening" 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hopping Along

hopping along
"Hopping Along"

I've had this idea in my head for awhile now of a little grasshopper hopping along on a summery  day.  This little guy is much cuter than the ones in my garden and yard.  I'm not a huge fan of insects.  I don't mind them from a distance, but the thought of touching anything with 6 or more legs, just gives me the willies.  I will catch smaller insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, fireflies, ladybugs and of course caterpillars,  but there is no way I will touch a spider, earwig, centipede, tick, etc.   Of course Fischer loves to catch bugs, what boy doesn't?   Right now he has a pet grasshopper that he named "Target" and Amelia has a cricket named "Chirp", even though she will not touch it!  Amelia has a huge aversion to bugs of any type.  She will let out a high pitched screech when one comes near, even an ant!   I'm not that bad.  I don't want the kids to know that I get a little freaked out by bugs, so I try to stay as calm as possible when Fischer brings over spiders to show me.  
So even though bugs are not my favorite, they seem to be inspiring me at the moment.  I have 2 more bug paintings I'm working.   Hint, Hint, the next one I'm working on is the noisiest insect in the world.  Can you guess what it is?


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Product of Procrastination

our town
" Our Town"

Back in June I volunteered to make 2- 24 x24 inch quilt squares for the upcoming Viroqua Harvest Moon Celebration in October.  I haven't been much in the mood to sew over the last year, so I thought perhaps this might motivate me, but so far it has not.  Ideally the squares should be done for our next meeting on August 17th, which is just around the corner.   There will be 4-6 quilts total that will be marched down main street for the parade and then raffled off afterward.  The theme for my quilt group is "homes/houses".  I've been thinking a lot about my quilt squares but haven't done a thing to start them, for some reason the thought of sewing almost seems painful to me.   So while thinking about homes and houses to quilt, this little painting popped into my head and away I went.  So much more fun than sewing!  I really should be sewing houses instead of painting them, but I'd like to think that this is a way of brainstorming or sketching out my ideas, right?  I'm starting to get a little bit of that panicky feeling I used to get when I would put off home work.  Just like the homework, I'll probably wait until the last minute.  I have a bunch of ideas for  paintings brewing inside my wee little brain that I'm sure I will start when instead I should be starting my quilt squares. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011



This little piece was a fun one to work on.  The paper had been used as practice  for stamping with  the plastic doily that I used in my last piece.  I didn't know what I wanted to do with it and had actually thought it might end up in the recycling bin, but then I just started to draw, doodle and paint on it with no worries of what will happen and this is what came about.  My garden is filled with little seed heads from my poppies and were the inspiration for these little flowers.  
I used coffee again for the background in this painting.  I'm really loving the feel that this gives. I used little bits of painted tea bags for the bottom and also used some little scraps that Amelia painted.  (they just happened to be laying on the table and seemed perfect for the piece, the purple and the brighter blue pieces are hers.) The piece is mostly painted with watercolor, but I did use acrylics in a few areas. 
This piece made me realize that I need to doodle more and loosen up, and that I don't always need to have a plan.  Just go with it, if it works, great, if not, oh well, nothing lost, but always experience gained.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Black eyed susans

black-eyed susans

All in the Downs the fleet was moor’d,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard;
‘O! where shall I my true-love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true
If my sweet William sails among the crew.’

"Black-eyed Susan" by John Gay

(Our native American wildflower probably got its common name from this British poem )

Monday, August 1, 2011

Little wings


Don't these little maple tree seeds look like little wings?  We found them all over the sidewalk in front of our neighbors house.  Amelia and I couldn't resist from picking them up.  Amelia gathered quite a few and put them in her basket on her bicycle and I brought a few home too.  We have quite a few of our own maple trees in our yard, but our whirly birds/helicopters/seeds are single and  they also fell down way back in June.  (when they fall, they love to clog up our gutters!)  Our neighbors maple tree must be a different variety than ours. 

little wings

This little painting was inspired by these sweet little maple tree seeds.  I'm thinking I'll title it "Contemplating Flight".  It's a little different style and colors than what I usually paint in, but as soon as I saw those little seeds, I knew how I wanted the painting to look.  The background of the painting is done with my cold press coffee, nice and concentrated, I love the look of it.  I'll probably be using more of it in the future.  Yesterday I went to a yard sale and found some plastic doilies and used that to stamp the pink image in the back.  A little cheesecloth, tea bags and  scrapbook paper for the dress and she was done!

contemplating flight flickr
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