Gizzy in Heaven!

Gizzy in Heaven!
I love you forever and ever, Amen!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Rooster Blog Party!

First of all, thank you, Bella Vista, for inviting me to your Rooster Blog Party! I hope to make many new friends! Here are my roosters. I crocheted these and they are for sale in my shop called Honey Bee Crochet by SturmDM. Most of them are potholders, a couple of kitchen towels with crocheted toppers and one tortilla/flatbread keeper that I named Senior Gallo. I hope you like them. I can make them in any color combination you like. Just let me know. Happy Rooster Party - Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm finally painting again

It's been a long time since I've painted anything, but it's always been one of my lost loves. Since ever I can remember as a child, I have drawn, painted with water colors or colored pencils, and even in school other kids asked me to draw something for them. My uncle Ernst, my dad's youngest brother, was a very good artist and I always pestered him to "please draw me a horse, uncle Ernst." A long time ago, I took some oil painting classes at a local community college in California and thought I did pretty well. I always enjoyed it and that's half the battle. Even if you never turn out to be a Picasso, at least you've spent your time well and it was not a waste. This morning I had a painting date with a lady who also likes to paint. We were to meet at 8 am at Bank's Lake where we would paint on the pier. Lo and behold, it started to rain and we had to postpone our painting session for another day. I, however had my heart set on painting, and just set up my supplies at home, in front of my computer, and began to sketch the rooster I found online that struck my fancy. Since tomorrow is a "Rooster Blog Party" hosted by Bella Vista, I've got roosters on my mind and searched for some good photos of handsome roosters. I'm not good enough to draw/paint freestyle and need a model, so this is the handsome fella I'm trying to paint: I think he looks magnificent! Here's an interesting tid-bit of information that I learned yesterday whilst browsing for rooster pictures: Did you know that the roosters used in cock fighting get their combs and wattles removed? It's called to dub - or dubbing - and sometimes they do it to chickens if they live in very cold climates, so that they don't get frost bitten there. It sounds painful to me, but they cut dog's ears and tails, don't they? Strange, what people do to animals - and to each other, for that matter! Here's my beginning sketch and my set up whilst Gizzy sleeps on the Lazyboy. (I guess he finds watching me paint boring.) I am using acrylics with some Gel canvas medium that makes acrylics perform like oils since I don't like the strong odor of oils in a closed up area. The canvas was already triple primed according to the packaging, so I didn't bother using any Gesso and it seems to be working. Besides, I'm a mere fletchling at this, so I won't worry about technicalities for now. It's still raining, so I'll make some hot tea and continue with my picture.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Honey Bees in Georgia

Since I've not talked about our beloved honey bees for a while, I am pleased to share some bee information that I found on the University of Georgia's website: Honey bees have been a subject of teaching and inquiry at the University of Georgia for decades. These marvelous insects are manageable and used to produce honey and pollinate crops. They are practical models of biological organization and social behavior. Honey bee research at the University of Georgia emphasizes sustainable bee health management as well as more basic questions on bee pollination and foraging ecology. At our dedicated facility at the UGA Horticulture Farm, we have space for offices and labs, trucks and equipment for managing up to 200 bee colonies, and easy access to perennial and annual crop plants. In all its initiatives, the UGA Honey Bee Program aims to develop research, teaching and extension initiatives that are locally responsive while globally relevant. If I ever decide to become a beekeeper, I can go here Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association and become familiar with Georgia bee laws and other valuable information. Here's something I look forward to, namely the Honey Bee Festival in the city of Hahira, GA, the first weekend in October. In 2007, during our first Honey Bee Festival's visit, I entered my dog Gizzy in a dog show and he won a trophy for placing 2nd in the Best Groomed category. It was an impromptu entry on my part, since I had no idea there would be a dog show. Maybe this year (if I'm not going as a seller) I could actually work on getting my boy spiffy so that he has a chance at winning first place - IF he doesn't bite any of the judges (well, he was a good boy and didn't' bite anyone, well, not a judge anyway...but that's another story.) I can only go as a seller IF I can find someone to go with me to help me because it's still pretty hot during the first weekend in October. I can't possibly carry my goods and the set up all by myself without suffering a heat stroke. Setting up for a crafts fair is exhausting work! Besides, walking through all the different vendors and looking at everyone's items is so much more fun than being tied down to a booth for two days...they also have a parade and a lot of tasty foods to try. I recently became fond of boiled peanuts, which is something I never had living anywhere else, so it must be a Southern thing. I also tried the deep fried pickles (because I love pickles) but they were too salty and just not my cup of tea. I'd rather eat my pickle straight from the barrel or jar. If you are in the area, plan on visiting the Honey Bee Festival in Hahira, Georgia, on Friday and/or Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd, 2009. Here are a few examples of my crocheted bees, more of which you can find in my shop called Honey Bee Crochet by SturmDM on Etsy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Puppetry Progress Report

I promised to keep you informed of my progress concerning my puppeteering efforts. I already wrote the play, today I made the flyer on my computer and since I'm out of ink, I'm making copies at the library. Here's what it looks like: Since the actual plays last only about half an hour, I decided to have three performances, one on Friday afternoon and one each on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Each session begins with a brief introduction and a short explanation of Puppetry history and therapeutic benefits. My main goal at this time is to collect feedback and suggestions in order to conduct a quality performance. As I said before, the play is laid out in such a way, that just two puppets are on stage at any particular time. It is a very simple script for the very young. Here are the five players for "A King's Lullaby and the mischieveous Monkey" Top L > R: King, Princess, Policeman/Bobby Bottom L > R: Kasperle, Monkey They look pretty much ready, except for a little spot cleaning and ironing of frocks. I still have to find (or make) some props (a picnic basket, trees, rope - don't worry, nobody's going to get hung) but the biggest part will be making my stage. I already have a good idea in mind, so that I can start working on that tomorrow or today after I get back from the library and distributing some flyers. Yesterday I learned about the Valdosta FreeMarket Classifieds where one can place all kinds of ads for free online, sort of like Craigs List, but provided by Valdosta Daily Times, so I placed an ad and now I'm totally committed...sounds scary, doesn't it? (NOTE: I just received an inquiry from a small Christian school about performing for them - that was quick!) I have enough card board boxes to make a table top stage. I need to find my glue and stapler. I have some scrap material I can use and some paints, only I have to use them sparingly since they are not inexpensive poster paints, but my acrylics for painting pictures...I'm determined to use only what I have around the house this time, because all too often I went all gung-ho about a project and spent a lot of money on supplies, only to let it fall by the wayside. (Yeah, the old gal actually learned something over the years!) Off to the library. Ta-ta!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Got Puppets?

At long last I decided to pull out my old hand puppets to see if I can organize some performances for young children. These puppets are pretty old, some of them are probably as old as I am, or even older (poor things.) They all need some gentle cleaning and the frocks could be washed and pressed. A couple need some minor repairs, but other than that, they're ready! - probably more than I am. I finally decided the time is now, because sometime "ain't never now." I heard Sean Penn say that in one of his movies that I saw yesterday. (If you can guess which one, I'll send you a surprise!) Mine are the simple hand puppets that were used in the 17th Century that have the vinyl heads and cloth arms and frock/dress. They're easy to maneuver and I'm familiar with them, because that's what I used as a child in Germany. Then it was called the Kasperle Theater. In England it's called Punch and Judy, sort of a slapstick theater. My performances will be slapstick - without the stick. I want to spare the young children and NOT get sued. I have to tone things down here because I tell you what, the German Fairy Tales are quite scary and brutal at times. I doubt the American parents would allow their children to read most of them - they'd all have nightmares. Oh, well... other places, different traditions, right? I think it's all very interesting and I feel fortunate to have had experienced Germany and Europe vs. America. It's all good! Puppeteering actually has a very long history and has been around for centuries in one form or another. For instance, in China they used shadow puppets (the two-dimensional cut outs on a stick) and then there are string operated marionettes (I really like those a lot.) Then there are little finger puppets and the stick puppets (like the Muppets) where one hand operates its mouth and the other a stick that's connected to the puppets arm. Ventriloquists usually have a big, full sized puppet where they whole arm slips in...I'm sure there's lots more, but if you ever search on the Internet you will learn that Puppeteering is alive and well and still very much in demand. Here's a couple of websites for you to explore. Puppeteers of America International Puppetry Museum Nowadays, puppets are widely used as educational tools. They teach children to interact. Puppetry encourages children developmentally in so many ways, inspiring creativity, firing imagination and helps development of language and motor skills. So, I spent a few hours today writing a simple puppet play for one (me) that entails the use of five puppets. It's arranged in such a way that there are never more than two puppets on stage at the same time, seeing how I only have two hands. Maybe later I can have someone help me so there will be more action, but I'm just getting my feet wet again. I've got a pretty good plan and I think I will start by having a performance for the small neighborhood kids next week to get their reactions. I will use the recreation room across from where I live to make it easy on myself. I don't have a proper stage yet, but the good part about my kind of puppeteering is that it can be as simple or complicated as I want it to be. I can hang a blanket up somewhere so that I can sit behind it or build a table top cardboard stage with duct tape and colorful paints. I want to try the latter. I am planning on catering to the very young that are not yet influenced by technology and computer games, so that the actual play can be only about 30 minutes, since young children's attention span isn't very long. The best part is that my performances will be interactive. I will encourage the children to talk to the puppets, cheer, even boo and sing along. All in all, I have about 22 puppets and I'm sure that I can get them to entertain the little ones without making them cry. If there's anyone out there with puppeteering experience/knowledge, I would love to hear from you, because I've not done this for a while; however, I'm excited, enthusiastic and resourceful. I also have an imagination that won't quit and am semi-ambidextrous. Semi meaning I can write with my left hand, but only in mirror-image. (I know, that's so weird!) When I was in school, the kids used to ask me to write secret messages and then run to the bathroom mirror to read them. I can also write with both hands at the same time, only the left hand does everything in mirror. That is kind of freaky, but hey, that's me ;-) I will keep you updated of my progress!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An enjoyable summer morning

This post is a little out of sequence because there are so many photos involved that I kept putting the project on hold. This is a picturesque tour of one morning in July when Gizzy and I got out early and visited all three of our most favorite places to go (1) Lake Erma (2) Bank's Lake and (3) Roquemore Park, all of which are located right in my town. I feel very fortunate to have these places in such close proximity. As I drove by Lake Erma, you could see the wisps of early morning fog still hovering over the water. At Bank's Lake, the sun had just started to rise and you can see a faint hue of pink shining through the landscape. Gizzy's paying close attention to everything around him as he sits on top of the picnic table that's located at the pier where people fish or just observe, like I and Gizzy like to do. Ever so slowly the sun was rising and the colors of the sky and water grew more vibrant each minute. I don't know why, but Gizzy loves to watch people fish, like he's doing here. It looks like a father/son team are fishing on the opposite pier and Gizzy's paying close attention. As for myself, I kept on admiring the beauty of nature and took one beautiful photo after another... Gizzy watches me take his photo while people fish in the background. My photogenic boy! As we walked back to our car, I stopped to take some more closeups of the water's edge with all the cypress trees and water lily pads. Back on solid ground and into the car to go visit another place in town. When I first moved here, I was told this tiny graveyard across the elementary school was a pet cemetery. Only upon closer inspection, I discovered that it is a very old graveyard that has headstones from the 19th Century. Look at those dates on the toomb stones. They're barely readable, but I enjoyed walking through and reading all those unusual names that are no longer used today. Right next to the graveyard (and across from the school yard) live these rescue horses. When they saw me standing there with my camera, they decided to mosey on over to see if I have anything good to eat. Suddenly, they all bolted away, because the owner was calling them to breakfast. You can tell they love to eat and are well taken care of. At Roquemore park this beautiful crepe myrtle caught my eye as the morning sun eluminated the red blossoms. It seemed to glow! Heading towards the bridge, I saw this lovely reflection. Leading the way, Gizzy's looking down into the water to see what's there. Just sniffing around at the 911 Memorial Prayer Garden and checking things out. This is the attractive foliage of the Lacetop Hydrangea that I failed to photograph this summer. I love this photograph of this weeping willow. There is no editing here and the sun actually made a spotlight for that pretty willow. They remind me of being a young child in Germany because we had lots of them growing on our property near the ponds. One of my favorite sitting spots, right beneath the tree. Gizzy checking things out and enjoying the morning. Here I photographed the water to capture the sun. I'm very pleased with the outcome. A blue dragonfly, one of my favorite insects since I discovered they eat mosquitoes and gnats. I chased this butterfly all over the place before it finally landed up in a tree and I had to crop the picture to get a better view of him. It looks like a Monarch to me. On the drive back home, I saw the Anhinga bird sitting on his usual rock in the middle of Lake Erma worshipping the sun (as I call it.) You may need to click on the picture to see him better since I don't have a strong zoom lens on my camera. A white Heron stalking for food at the water's edge in Lake Erma. Another Heron sitting on the little peninsula at Lake Erma. This pretty moss next to my back porch under the tree is normally nonexistent in the summer, but since we've been having so much rain, it's green and vibrant looking and I simply love it. It looks like green velvet. And since he was such a good boy, he gets a treat...Vienna Sausages cut in little chunks all in a row... My little monkey face and I had a very nice morning indeed!