Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finding a Niche or 'I'm a Button Maker'

A few weeks ago, a friend took me to a great little quilt shop in Prescott Valley, AZ. Quilt ‘N Sew Connection   www.QuiltnsewConnection.com  My friend, Luana, quilts.  I don’t but I do love to look at fabrics and how patterns are being put together.  I noticed the buttons on the checkout counter and found out some were polymer clay.  The owner and I chatted and she said it would be nice to have a local source for the buttons.
If you’ve been following my blog posts about polymer clay extrusions and buttons, you know I’ve been experimenting and getting a system that works.  I made several buttons (27 to be exact) some are one of a kind and some two of a kind and even 8 of one kind.  I was wondering how to package them and came on the idea of using thank you cards from a previous business.  They had my logo on the front that I could cut off and attach my buttons with double sticky tape.  It worked!  I put them in a box and Luana and I went back to the quilt store.
 
I asked if these were the kind of thing the owner was looking for and to my amazement, she bought them all.  I don’t even have pictures of all of them!  So I’ll be making more buttons.
Even better, I was wearing a pair of earrings I’d made from the ‘Rob Peter to pay Paul’ quilt design and she will be interested in selling them in the shop around the holidays!  Quilting in a different medium. 
 

 
It turns out that I may have found a niche that will help finance my play!  Never had I dreamed of being a button maker or a quilter but here I am….   

Friday, July 27, 2012

Using Polymer Clay Scraps and a little about Extruders

The red and light beige finished quilt pattern
What to do with those scraps?  Having been raised in Missouri and having an artist for a mother taught me not to throw away leftovers before I played with them to see what they could become. 
I finally finished the red/light beige quilt pattern I had been working on in polymer clay and after storing the canes, I had scraps. 



For anyone who does not know about polymer clay extruders here is a quick description. 

Makin's Ultimate Extruder
There is a tube with a plunger and on the other end of the tube is a cap where you place a disc with a shape cut out. The clay is pushed through the tube and out the cutout in the disc.  The shapes are then put together to form a pattern called a ‘cane’.   The cane in this case is a square and can be reduced or lengthened to be the size I want.  You can see various sizes in the photos.  The design continues through the entire cane making it possible to slice several pieces.
Extrusions for the quilt pattern and one section of the cane
When the cane is reduced, the ends are cut off and you have some ‘waste’.  When you make uneven slices, you have more waste or scraps.  I decided to see what I could do with those scraps.  Sometimes happy accidents occur and sometimes I just create more scraps.


I took the scraps, made triagles and a center roll and formed a new cane.

This is one end of the new cane after I reduced it unevenly.  The other end of the cane is the 5 pointed flower below.  I can't wait to see what happens when the two very different patterns meet somewhere in the center of the cane!

The front piece is  an attempt at sculpting a flower.  I need more practice!

This became a pin.  I took a slice of the new cane and ran it through the pasta machine.
I ended up with beads and earrings too!


For Polymer Clay Artists interested in problems with Extruders:
You might want to see my last 2 Friday blogs to understand how I got to this state.  I attached the Wullen’s Adapter to my ¼” drill and to the Makin’s Ultimate Extruder.  After using it for several extrusions, it stopped working.  The plunger just would not go forward or backward.   I researched, asked questions and found no suggestions to solve my particular problem. 
I bought another extruder thinking the first one defective.  I also purchased the Makin’s handle that makes turning by hand much easier.  After turning a couple of extrusions by hand, I decided to try the drill again.  This time I used a low rpm ½” drill thinking there were be more torque and it would be easier to push the clay.  It worked until I only had 4 triangle strips left to extrude.  Then it also stopped and would not go forward or backward.  Must be something I don’t understand. 
I called my brother who explained that brass (there is a brass nut in the plunger) seizes with heat.  Perhaps I was getting the extruder too hot.  And I did remember holding the tube thinking it was rather warm.  The fix was to use 3 in 1 oil each side of the brass nut and see if it would release.
One of the Makins extruders released and works.  The other does not.  I’m sending it to my brother to see if he can fix it.    
In the meantime, I bought the Walnut Hollow Extruder and finished my required pieces.  I guess a girl can never have too many extruders!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Standing Still

Male Gambel's Quail

Prescott’s parks are open on Wednesdays with no fees.  Today we took advantage of this and went to Watson Lake and Willow Lake.  It has rained a lot here and we were expecting normal to high water in the lakes but we found low water levels.  The bird populations were reduced also. 
Willow Lake - low water - great reflection!
If we had not stopped and really looked we would have missed lots of action.  I found myself thinking, “here I have my camera but not much picture material”.  That’s when I remembered to stand still and really look.  All at once two groups of Canada Geese flew from Watson Lake into Willow Lake while I was standing still.  
Canada Geese Flying In
The Mallards and the Grebes were swimming with their babes.   The Cormorants were sunning and drying their feathers.
Mom Grebe and Babe
We had our scope and found lots of Red-winged Blackbirds mixed with Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  Those Yellow-heads would make anyone become a birder!  At first I saw none and then as they flew up and over to the next green area, there were dozens.  They settled again sinking back into the plants. 
And at my feet there were several mayflies and butterflies, an iridescent bug, a couple of tiny bees flitting on a plant and a lizard basking on a rock.  
When I remember to stand still, I find so much photographic material and am amazed at the variety nature presents. 







Friday, July 20, 2012

Ohio Star Quilt Block in Polymer Clay


It looked so easy!   I had almost all the tools.  When I was at the Quiltedinclay.com website, I thought, “ooh what fun that will be.”  So I ordered one of the quilt disc sets and later realized if I was serious about this project, I should have ordered the 2nd set.  So I did.
I decided to make the ‘Ohio Star’ pattern when the disc set came.  I read the instructions – 3 times.  Since I wanted to make the extrusions that night, I had to find enough light and dark clay of one color for the project.  Yellow and Copper. 
It seems I need more practice reading instructions.  I kind of ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ and when I see something I make up my own instructions to get it done.  Usually that works.  But I know enough about quilting to know these shapes of clay need to be precise. 
24" long extruded triangle and squares

I figured out I would need a total of 13 long extrusions of dark and light colored clay. The extrusions as you can see in the photo are about 24” long.  That is quite a bit of clay.  Well that worked.  But after I finished I understood that the directions told me to make one extrusion and see how many 4 ½” pieces I could get and make as many extrusions as it would take to get the correct number.  That would have given me one 4 ½” x 1” cane.  My way gave me about five 8” canes -a lot more than I needed or perhaps wanted.
A yellow and a copper triangle are put together to become larger triangles.
There were a few other problems going on in this learning experience.  I used Kato clay which is great polymer clay but it is very stiff.  Probably not the choice I should have made but remember it was all I have in the quantity I thought I needed.  I used the Bullen's Wullens Adapter, the Makins Ultimate Extruder, and my drill for the extrusions.  (I talked about those tools last Friday in my post.)  All went well for the first 4 extrusions and then I noticed the drill was getting really hot.  I stopped and got another drill.  This one started smoking.  Not a good sign
Stages:  extrusions in the left lower, triangles in the center, squares on the right of the tray.
After talking with my brother, who is tool knowledgeable, I went to Lowe’s and bought a bigger drill with lower rpm.  As I finished the last extrusions, I had stripped the threads in the extruder.  But I finished all the triangles and squares I needed....
Today I bought some FIMO clay and a new extruder.   I’m going to conduct some experiments on drills versus clay!  I’m determined to understand what I’m doing!  In the meantime, I have my first quilt canes.

 
Finished Canes - Only the two on the right are the Ohio Star

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Magic of Polymer Clay Extusions!


Finished Button and Beads
After two days of being on the phone with a credit union, a bank, Medicare, and social security, I needed a distraction.  It was time to open my new package with the polymer clay ‘Ultimate Clay Extruder’ by Makin’s and the Bullen’s Wullens Driver Adapter.  I’ve had these tools for weeks and just kept putting off setting them up.  Found an old variable speed drill and I’m ready!
This project started when I signed up for another online ‘Craftcast’ class.  This time it was ‘Extrusions’ with Cynthia Tinapple.  http://www.craftcast.com/class-or-recording-item/279652-learn-to-make-extraordinary-polymer-clay  I attended class and was intrigued.  Of course I ordered all the tools to make the class project and waited.  This evening I watched the class video again and assembled everything.  After conditioning 6 colors of clay, I rolled them through the pasta machine on the widest setting.  I used the Kemper Cutter to make the correct size circles of all the colors, stacked them in interesting color sequences.  I put one roll into the extruder remembering that the color that goes in first is the color that comes out first.  The disc I chose was a triangle.
Stacks of Colored Circles
It was when I turned on the drill that I realized I would have to keep the tube from turning with my hand.  That’s why the suggestion was made to use a vice!  Stopped everything, found the vice, and set the tube in the vice.  Now when I turned on the drill, the clay came out of the disc and made a long triangular string.  I was so disappointed.  The string of clay was BROWN! What happened to the 4 other colors I stacked together? 
The Extruder, Bullen's Wullens Adapter and my drill extruding!












My stacked tiny triangles that I thought were brown.
I figured it was just that kind of day and I would watch the video again to see what I did wrong.  But in the meantime, I cut the triangles into 4” lengths and stacked them together to form one large triangle.  I cut the end off evenly and got the surprise of the night.  Each tiny triangle had the 4 colors inside and it was beautiful.  I just felt like I had done a magic trick. 
Magic! Not brown inside!




Of course I had to slice some for buttons and for beads and just to look at.   I also used Buna cord for the first time and the two cylindrical beads have great holes in them.  I stretched the Buna cord with the polymer clay around it, let go and pulled the cord out.  There it was… a clean hole for stringing the beads.  Cynthia Tinapple teaches the best classes!  http://polymerclaydaily.com/   Thanks Craftcast!
Finished Necklace

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Worry from a Distance – Unproductive and Unstoppable

My Two Brothers and Me Several Years Ago
Musing-
Many years ago when I was in my early 20’s I decided to get married and follow my husband wherever.  It was in the Viet Nam era and instead of being drafted in the army, he joined the Navy.  So we moved from Missouri to Tennessee to California and he went on two cruises (not the kind going to the South Seas for fun) to Viet Nam.  After the Navy experience, we went back to Missouri where I taught at Stephens College and he finished his Master’s Degree.  Then it was on to St. Louis and back to the Bay Area (Mountain View, CA).  We moved to Tucson where we lived for 22 years before he passed away from a brain tumor.  Eventually, I found Peter and we moved to Prescott AZ where we live today.  The point of sharing this with you is to point out that the early decisions we make continue to have effects years later.
I was the only member of my family to leave the Kansas City area and move across the country.  So I missed (except for long distance phone calls) most family events.  When Mom had a stroke and Dad had a car accident, I flew back to help for a few weeks at a time.  I had a business and a life that I needed to continue.   I worried from a distance and everyone tried to understand that I could not be there more.  I worried and still felt a little guilty for being so far away. 
When Allen was ill my network of friends was my daily support combined with family phone calls.  Good friends understand when you need support and when you can give it.  Selecting friends and building networks is of utmost importance no matter where we are.
Two years ago, my younger brother had an accident that left him disabled.  Now his wife just had surgery.  Both my brothers are in Kansas City area and I am still across the country in Arizona.  While I could move back to Missouri, my life is in the West.  I continue to worry from a distance. 
I’ve learned that as family members decrease in number, they become even more precious.  Life is finite and made of memories.  The farther we are from each other, the harder it is to make new memories.   I also know that worry seldom does much good.  I still do it.
We make decisions and there is always a price to pay, a responsibility to take and a realization that nothing is free.  We make our own happiness and I am happy.  Still I worry. 
 Each of us travels on our own journey.  We can help others but ultimately each of us takes a road and goes our own way.  Others may not understand it and we may wish at time the path was different.  We worry from a distance (any distance) knowing it is unproductive and unstoppable.  We can assist someone on their journey but it is their journey as it is our journey.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Lover of Dragonflies

The magic of a dragonfly in flight with the sun glinting on its wings holds me spellbound every time.  For several years I’ve been fascinated by the variety of colors and challenged taking their pictures.
The current issue of Audubon Magazine (July-August 2012) has an article on the increasing popularity of ‘Chasing Dragons’.  The article points out that birding and butterfly watching have long been popular and that watching dragonflies is new to many people.  There are, of course, great photographs accompanying the article.  http://mag.http://www.audubonmagazine.com/audubon.org/
Not to be outdone, I’m sharing some of mine with you!  It seems I need to write a post once a year about dragonflies!  If you really look at these fascinating creatures, you’ll see large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body that ends in a variety of shapes.


Some dragonflies tend to perch and fly from plant to plant.  Some seam to flit all the time and make me wonder where they get their energy.   They do not sting, bite or cause humans problems and they eat insects like mosquitoes!

They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. Some 5680 different species of dragonflies are known in the world today. (Quote from Wikipedia)
There are many good books and blogs if you are interested in joining the ‘dragon chase’!
http://www.amazon.com/Stokes-Beginners-Guide-Dragonflies-Nikula
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=dragonfly+field+guide&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=1148127041&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1971794551439504251&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_11i65f6o67_b

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finding a Niche or 'I'm a Button Maker'

A few weeks ago, a friend took me to a great little quilt shop in Prescott Valley, AZ. Quilt ‘N Sew Connection   www.QuiltnsewConnection.com  My friend, Luana, quilts.  I don’t but I do love to look at fabrics and how patterns are being put together.  I noticed the buttons on the checkout counter and found out some were polymer clay.  The owner and I chatted and she said it would be nice to have a local source for the buttons.
If you’ve been following my blog posts about polymer clay extrusions and buttons, you know I’ve been experimenting and getting a system that works.  I made several buttons (27 to be exact) some are one of a kind and some two of a kind and even 8 of one kind.  I was wondering how to package them and came on the idea of using thank you cards from a previous business.  They had my logo on the front that I could cut off and attach my buttons with double sticky tape.  It worked!  I put them in a box and Luana and I went back to the quilt store.
 
I asked if these were the kind of thing the owner was looking for and to my amazement, she bought them all.  I don’t even have pictures of all of them!  So I’ll be making more buttons.
Even better, I was wearing a pair of earrings I’d made from the ‘Rob Peter to pay Paul’ quilt design and she will be interested in selling them in the shop around the holidays!  Quilting in a different medium. 
 

 
It turns out that I may have found a niche that will help finance my play!  Never had I dreamed of being a button maker or a quilter but here I am….   

Friday, July 27, 2012

Using Polymer Clay Scraps and a little about Extruders

The red and light beige finished quilt pattern
What to do with those scraps?  Having been raised in Missouri and having an artist for a mother taught me not to throw away leftovers before I played with them to see what they could become. 
I finally finished the red/light beige quilt pattern I had been working on in polymer clay and after storing the canes, I had scraps. 



For anyone who does not know about polymer clay extruders here is a quick description. 

Makin's Ultimate Extruder
There is a tube with a plunger and on the other end of the tube is a cap where you place a disc with a shape cut out. The clay is pushed through the tube and out the cutout in the disc.  The shapes are then put together to form a pattern called a ‘cane’.   The cane in this case is a square and can be reduced or lengthened to be the size I want.  You can see various sizes in the photos.  The design continues through the entire cane making it possible to slice several pieces.
Extrusions for the quilt pattern and one section of the cane
When the cane is reduced, the ends are cut off and you have some ‘waste’.  When you make uneven slices, you have more waste or scraps.  I decided to see what I could do with those scraps.  Sometimes happy accidents occur and sometimes I just create more scraps.


I took the scraps, made triagles and a center roll and formed a new cane.

This is one end of the new cane after I reduced it unevenly.  The other end of the cane is the 5 pointed flower below.  I can't wait to see what happens when the two very different patterns meet somewhere in the center of the cane!

The front piece is  an attempt at sculpting a flower.  I need more practice!

This became a pin.  I took a slice of the new cane and ran it through the pasta machine.
I ended up with beads and earrings too!


For Polymer Clay Artists interested in problems with Extruders:
You might want to see my last 2 Friday blogs to understand how I got to this state.  I attached the Wullen’s Adapter to my ¼” drill and to the Makin’s Ultimate Extruder.  After using it for several extrusions, it stopped working.  The plunger just would not go forward or backward.   I researched, asked questions and found no suggestions to solve my particular problem. 
I bought another extruder thinking the first one defective.  I also purchased the Makin’s handle that makes turning by hand much easier.  After turning a couple of extrusions by hand, I decided to try the drill again.  This time I used a low rpm ½” drill thinking there were be more torque and it would be easier to push the clay.  It worked until I only had 4 triangle strips left to extrude.  Then it also stopped and would not go forward or backward.  Must be something I don’t understand. 
I called my brother who explained that brass (there is a brass nut in the plunger) seizes with heat.  Perhaps I was getting the extruder too hot.  And I did remember holding the tube thinking it was rather warm.  The fix was to use 3 in 1 oil each side of the brass nut and see if it would release.
One of the Makins extruders released and works.  The other does not.  I’m sending it to my brother to see if he can fix it.    
In the meantime, I bought the Walnut Hollow Extruder and finished my required pieces.  I guess a girl can never have too many extruders!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Standing Still

Male Gambel's Quail

Prescott’s parks are open on Wednesdays with no fees.  Today we took advantage of this and went to Watson Lake and Willow Lake.  It has rained a lot here and we were expecting normal to high water in the lakes but we found low water levels.  The bird populations were reduced also. 
Willow Lake - low water - great reflection!
If we had not stopped and really looked we would have missed lots of action.  I found myself thinking, “here I have my camera but not much picture material”.  That’s when I remembered to stand still and really look.  All at once two groups of Canada Geese flew from Watson Lake into Willow Lake while I was standing still.  
Canada Geese Flying In
The Mallards and the Grebes were swimming with their babes.   The Cormorants were sunning and drying their feathers.
Mom Grebe and Babe
We had our scope and found lots of Red-winged Blackbirds mixed with Yellow-headed Blackbirds.  Those Yellow-heads would make anyone become a birder!  At first I saw none and then as they flew up and over to the next green area, there were dozens.  They settled again sinking back into the plants. 
And at my feet there were several mayflies and butterflies, an iridescent bug, a couple of tiny bees flitting on a plant and a lizard basking on a rock.  
When I remember to stand still, I find so much photographic material and am amazed at the variety nature presents. 







Friday, July 20, 2012

Ohio Star Quilt Block in Polymer Clay


It looked so easy!   I had almost all the tools.  When I was at the Quiltedinclay.com website, I thought, “ooh what fun that will be.”  So I ordered one of the quilt disc sets and later realized if I was serious about this project, I should have ordered the 2nd set.  So I did.
I decided to make the ‘Ohio Star’ pattern when the disc set came.  I read the instructions – 3 times.  Since I wanted to make the extrusions that night, I had to find enough light and dark clay of one color for the project.  Yellow and Copper. 
It seems I need more practice reading instructions.  I kind of ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ and when I see something I make up my own instructions to get it done.  Usually that works.  But I know enough about quilting to know these shapes of clay need to be precise. 
24" long extruded triangle and squares

I figured out I would need a total of 13 long extrusions of dark and light colored clay. The extrusions as you can see in the photo are about 24” long.  That is quite a bit of clay.  Well that worked.  But after I finished I understood that the directions told me to make one extrusion and see how many 4 ½” pieces I could get and make as many extrusions as it would take to get the correct number.  That would have given me one 4 ½” x 1” cane.  My way gave me about five 8” canes -a lot more than I needed or perhaps wanted.
A yellow and a copper triangle are put together to become larger triangles.
There were a few other problems going on in this learning experience.  I used Kato clay which is great polymer clay but it is very stiff.  Probably not the choice I should have made but remember it was all I have in the quantity I thought I needed.  I used the Bullen's Wullens Adapter, the Makins Ultimate Extruder, and my drill for the extrusions.  (I talked about those tools last Friday in my post.)  All went well for the first 4 extrusions and then I noticed the drill was getting really hot.  I stopped and got another drill.  This one started smoking.  Not a good sign
Stages:  extrusions in the left lower, triangles in the center, squares on the right of the tray.
After talking with my brother, who is tool knowledgeable, I went to Lowe’s and bought a bigger drill with lower rpm.  As I finished the last extrusions, I had stripped the threads in the extruder.  But I finished all the triangles and squares I needed....
Today I bought some FIMO clay and a new extruder.   I’m going to conduct some experiments on drills versus clay!  I’m determined to understand what I’m doing!  In the meantime, I have my first quilt canes.

 
Finished Canes - Only the two on the right are the Ohio Star

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Magic of Polymer Clay Extusions!


Finished Button and Beads
After two days of being on the phone with a credit union, a bank, Medicare, and social security, I needed a distraction.  It was time to open my new package with the polymer clay ‘Ultimate Clay Extruder’ by Makin’s and the Bullen’s Wullens Driver Adapter.  I’ve had these tools for weeks and just kept putting off setting them up.  Found an old variable speed drill and I’m ready!
This project started when I signed up for another online ‘Craftcast’ class.  This time it was ‘Extrusions’ with Cynthia Tinapple.  http://www.craftcast.com/class-or-recording-item/279652-learn-to-make-extraordinary-polymer-clay  I attended class and was intrigued.  Of course I ordered all the tools to make the class project and waited.  This evening I watched the class video again and assembled everything.  After conditioning 6 colors of clay, I rolled them through the pasta machine on the widest setting.  I used the Kemper Cutter to make the correct size circles of all the colors, stacked them in interesting color sequences.  I put one roll into the extruder remembering that the color that goes in first is the color that comes out first.  The disc I chose was a triangle.
Stacks of Colored Circles
It was when I turned on the drill that I realized I would have to keep the tube from turning with my hand.  That’s why the suggestion was made to use a vice!  Stopped everything, found the vice, and set the tube in the vice.  Now when I turned on the drill, the clay came out of the disc and made a long triangular string.  I was so disappointed.  The string of clay was BROWN! What happened to the 4 other colors I stacked together? 
The Extruder, Bullen's Wullens Adapter and my drill extruding!












My stacked tiny triangles that I thought were brown.
I figured it was just that kind of day and I would watch the video again to see what I did wrong.  But in the meantime, I cut the triangles into 4” lengths and stacked them together to form one large triangle.  I cut the end off evenly and got the surprise of the night.  Each tiny triangle had the 4 colors inside and it was beautiful.  I just felt like I had done a magic trick. 
Magic! Not brown inside!




Of course I had to slice some for buttons and for beads and just to look at.   I also used Buna cord for the first time and the two cylindrical beads have great holes in them.  I stretched the Buna cord with the polymer clay around it, let go and pulled the cord out.  There it was… a clean hole for stringing the beads.  Cynthia Tinapple teaches the best classes!  http://polymerclaydaily.com/   Thanks Craftcast!
Finished Necklace

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Worry from a Distance – Unproductive and Unstoppable

My Two Brothers and Me Several Years Ago
Musing-
Many years ago when I was in my early 20’s I decided to get married and follow my husband wherever.  It was in the Viet Nam era and instead of being drafted in the army, he joined the Navy.  So we moved from Missouri to Tennessee to California and he went on two cruises (not the kind going to the South Seas for fun) to Viet Nam.  After the Navy experience, we went back to Missouri where I taught at Stephens College and he finished his Master’s Degree.  Then it was on to St. Louis and back to the Bay Area (Mountain View, CA).  We moved to Tucson where we lived for 22 years before he passed away from a brain tumor.  Eventually, I found Peter and we moved to Prescott AZ where we live today.  The point of sharing this with you is to point out that the early decisions we make continue to have effects years later.
I was the only member of my family to leave the Kansas City area and move across the country.  So I missed (except for long distance phone calls) most family events.  When Mom had a stroke and Dad had a car accident, I flew back to help for a few weeks at a time.  I had a business and a life that I needed to continue.   I worried from a distance and everyone tried to understand that I could not be there more.  I worried and still felt a little guilty for being so far away. 
When Allen was ill my network of friends was my daily support combined with family phone calls.  Good friends understand when you need support and when you can give it.  Selecting friends and building networks is of utmost importance no matter where we are.
Two years ago, my younger brother had an accident that left him disabled.  Now his wife just had surgery.  Both my brothers are in Kansas City area and I am still across the country in Arizona.  While I could move back to Missouri, my life is in the West.  I continue to worry from a distance. 
I’ve learned that as family members decrease in number, they become even more precious.  Life is finite and made of memories.  The farther we are from each other, the harder it is to make new memories.   I also know that worry seldom does much good.  I still do it.
We make decisions and there is always a price to pay, a responsibility to take and a realization that nothing is free.  We make our own happiness and I am happy.  Still I worry. 
 Each of us travels on our own journey.  We can help others but ultimately each of us takes a road and goes our own way.  Others may not understand it and we may wish at time the path was different.  We worry from a distance (any distance) knowing it is unproductive and unstoppable.  We can assist someone on their journey but it is their journey as it is our journey.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Lover of Dragonflies

The magic of a dragonfly in flight with the sun glinting on its wings holds me spellbound every time.  For several years I’ve been fascinated by the variety of colors and challenged taking their pictures.
The current issue of Audubon Magazine (July-August 2012) has an article on the increasing popularity of ‘Chasing Dragons’.  The article points out that birding and butterfly watching have long been popular and that watching dragonflies is new to many people.  There are, of course, great photographs accompanying the article.  http://mag.http://www.audubonmagazine.com/audubon.org/
Not to be outdone, I’m sharing some of mine with you!  It seems I need to write a post once a year about dragonflies!  If you really look at these fascinating creatures, you’ll see large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body that ends in a variety of shapes.


Some dragonflies tend to perch and fly from plant to plant.  Some seam to flit all the time and make me wonder where they get their energy.   They do not sting, bite or cause humans problems and they eat insects like mosquitoes!

They are usually found around marshes, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. Some 5680 different species of dragonflies are known in the world today. (Quote from Wikipedia)
There are many good books and blogs if you are interested in joining the ‘dragon chase’!
http://www.amazon.com/Stokes-Beginners-Guide-Dragonflies-Nikula
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=dragonfly+field+guide&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=1148127041&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1971794551439504251&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&ref=pd_sl_11i65f6o67_b