Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Niagara Botanical Gardens First Visit of the Spring

We took our first visit of the season to the Niagara Botanical Gardens. We purchased a parking pass for $10, (which is good for an entire year!) and brought the boys' bikes for the first time. A beautiful, sunny crisp Sunday. 
This year the Spring has been a long time coming, with parts of the province still receiving snow, the flowers are playing shy (and I do not blame them!). Regardless, there's always something to see at the Botanical Gardens. 

Getting mittens on 

Magnolias will be out soon! 

Biking through the rose garden

I love this little "woodland" path

so blue


These remind me of Cotton Candy

I wonder if they rebuild this every year?

Lots of bullfrog tadpoles in the small pond

Griff checking out the pond

Top of the stump!

Taking a break

You Are Here

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

I am so excited to be participating in The Artisan Group's "Earth Day Gifting Event" this year.
What a great opportunity to get my artwork in the hands of some savvy, A-list, eco-conscious celebs!

Yes, all of these folks will be receiving 2 (yes, 2!) of my original watercolor feathers. I went a little nuts and thought I'd paint two each). Haven't brushed up on your celeb name-game lately? Here they are:

Those being gifted with The Artisan Group's Earth Day Gift bag:

First Row: Woody Harrelson, Ted Danson, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Rachel McAdams, P!nk, Orlando Bloom

Second Row: Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Malin Akerman, Leonard DiCaprio, Kate Bosworth, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hartnett

Third Row: Jake Gyllenhall, Hayden Panettiere, Ginnifer Goodwin, Emily VanCamp. Edward Norton, Daryl Hannah, Courteney Cox

Fourth Row: Cameron Diaz, Barbra Streisand

 Fifth Row: Alicia Silverstone, Adrian Grenier

My plan was to paint feather studies from Birds of Prey. Raptors are protected birds and some are "species at risk", (which is pretty much endangered, in my opinion)
I had been rolling around the idea of somehow "giving back" to the birds. After all, I never started out painting with a focus on birds, it just...kind of happened. I felt like donating to a Raptor Centre would be a good option. I visited the Mountsberg Raptor Centre, met with Amy Fennell, the Raptor Centre Lead, and was so blown away by what they do. Mountsberg is currently home to 33 protected birds of prey. With 4 staffers (One Full Time), they rely heavily on volunteers and donations.
I included information on Mountsberg with the feather studies for Earth Day, in hopes that maybe something good could come from it. I also decided to donate 50% off any of my Raptor related prints sold to The Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

The Original watercolor has been sold. Prints available here
Here are a few progress shots of some of the Earth Day feathers.

Let me just say, finishing those 60 feathers felt awesome!
If you are interested, I have made an instant archival quality collection of prints of a selection of the  Raptor Feathers that were gifted to the celebs. 50% of the sale of these will go to Mountsberg. :)

Raptor Feather Collection
Wondering what else was included from my The Artisan Group members? Wow, you are going to be blown away! So much talent.

Look HERE to see what's inside those packages

Friday, April 12, 2013

Earth Day Giveaway

This year I have so many Earth Day plans. One of these is to celebrate Earth Day by participating in a great Giveaway with some of my fellow TAG members and their shops. SariBlue organized this and I was so happy to be asked to participate. The giveaway co-ordinates 11 eco-friendly artisans with 11 ways to win. 
Please enter the giveaway for a chance to win some gorgeous items. The rafflecopter has all the info on how to enter and we all appreciate your support. Please feel free to share this with your friends! I will be giving away a small collection of Raptor Feather Prints. (More on those, soon! ;))
If you click on the arrows beside the photo in the giveaway below, you will be able to see pictures of all of the amazing items included. I wish I could enter, myself! LOL
Good Luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 8, 2013

Crystal Garden

Now that the boys are getting a little bigger, we thought we would do some fun "experiments" with them. I purchased the Schylling Crystal Garden at a local toy store. Turtle Pond Toys. I like to support local shops. If you can't find it in a shop near you, you can find the kits online.

The pieces. (Our base was clear plastic)
Instructions, 4 packets of clear liquid, treated cardboard cutouts

I let the boys (ages 5 and 3) help me "put together" the pieces. What a pain.
I can see why it is for ages 8+
The pieces don't really fit/stay in place, so it's frustrating for little fingers (and big ones)
to get all of the pieces to stand up. 
Because the directions stated the Crystal Garden would start growing "within a couple of hours",
we waited for Griffin to get home from school before adding the "magic solution".
We carefully poured the clear packets into the "channels" the pieces started soaking up the liquid immediately.

Two Hours Later
"Something is happening!"

The boys were excited to see the crystals "growing" on the trees and the grass.
This is the last picture I took on day 1.

The Next Morning!!
I was impressed and the kids were very excited about their trees. It turned out far better than I had thought it would.
Hard to have high hopes for some cardboard and unmarked packets of clear liquid.
I think it turned out looking very close to the picture on the box!

Now, I'm not sure how long this would normally last. After two days of the boys being very careful not to touch it, I knocked over one of the trees, myself. (Wonder where they get their clumsiness from?) It crumbled apart immediately.

I haven't tried this myself, but it looks like it's basically the same experiment: