Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3 x Cool In My Mailbox

I received three very cool things in my mailbox today.

#1 = a postcard sent by one of my fellow Canadian participants in the National Letter Writing Group that made me laugh out loud.  She's from Edmonton but was vacationing in Florida.  Her husband picked it out for her.
Ironically, she mailed it on April 15th, the day last week that we had snow here in Toronto!! Katarina, how did you know??!!  And considering today was a chilly spring day with a windchill of minus 3C when I headed out to work this morning, bundled up in my winter coat, scarf and a pair of leather gloves, maybe I shouldn't be laughing at this postcard!?

#2 - a redecorated postcard that has been forwarded twice so far, I'm the 3rd recipient. How cool is that? I am now contemplating how to add on to it and forward it on.

#3 - a letter from a first grader.  One of the NLWM participants is a teacher and arranged for 17 of us to receive letters from kids. Thinking of something special to send back.

Such magical stuff being delivered to my mailbox this month!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mail Love

Thought I share some pictures of some of the beautiful and oh so creative artwork that has been arriving in my mailbox the past few weeks.

This pretty card came all the way from Catherine in England:
while this gorgeous one arrived from Letitia in Italy.

Funny how both of our 2 international participants both chose people with umbrellas for their artwork. Perhaps they're thinking of those April showers? (of which we haven't had too many so far this month, although there was a light rain as I headed off to work this morning)

My very thoughtful designated penpal Christine from Alberta made me this lovely fabric covered journal
and included some fun-in-the-sun style stickers to use in my Florida journal.
Some people have been making envelopes out of magazine pages. I love how this one has a bit of text washi tape that reads "Clanging Cyn" (the rest of the letters that make up the word "Cymbal" was cut off, quite perfectly, says this Cynful Cynthia!).
Some cards have been handpainted or drawn, like this pretty floral one from Sandy in Louisiana:
Others have sent collaged postcards, like this one from Jackie in California.
Stay tuned for more peeks at the mail art I've been receiving in tomorrow's post.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Mailbox is Full!

Full of wonderful, amazing, delightful, beautiful cards and letters from my fellow participants in National Letter Writing Month, that is!  I was away in Florida for the first 10 days of the month and came home to find a whole stack of deliciousness waiting for me.  My cat sitter was very impressed with all the colourful mail she was collecting from my mailbox each day!
Since then, there has been at least one and usually 2 or 3 pretty things in my mailbox each day (don't worry, I'll share photos in future posts).  A special thank you goes out to the people who sent these reminders of spring, which arrived on the day it snowed last week - I really needed something to cheer me up that day and these wonderful pieces of mail definitely did the trick!
Many thanks to everyone who has written to me so far.  I'm keeping all of this year's treasures in a stamp collecting book I found at the thrift store.
I've been putting them in the book in order of date received.
I'm a little bit in withdrawal right now, since there was no mail delivery on Good Friday or today, Easter Monday, but at the same time, it has given me a chance to catch up on my responses, as I always write back to anyone who writes to me.  Looking forward to checking the mail tomorrow!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

Happy Easter and/or Passover to those who are celebrating.  Happy Spring to all! (thank goodness it finally feels like it again here in Ontario - let's hope this warm weather stays!)  For many of us, this is a time to spend with family but for mine, April has become a bittersweet month, as my dad passed away on April 19th nine years ago.  I have learned that the grief fades over time but the sadness remains, you never quite stop wishing your loved one was still here, especially when holiday celebrations are taking place.

This weekend, while visiting my mother, my sister and I were delighted to have the opportunity to help her go through some family treasures, including a collection of old photos from when my father was a young child.  I don't remember seeing many of those pictures before, so it was a real treat to look through them.

Much to my delight, Mom let me bring home some of Dad's artwork he had painted as a young teenager, including this Easter-themed painting:
It has always been a bit of a joke in our family, the fact that the bunny is coming out of the egg and not the duck.  Even when he was alive, Dad never really had an explanation for why he painted it this way. We'll just call it "artistic licence"!  Nevertheless, it has always been a favourite of mine.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Haiku My Heart Friday: Patience

She sits on her nest
Waiting for the eggs to hatch,
Teaching us patience.
Tri coloured heron (with breeding plumage)

Haiku My Heart Fridays are hosted by recuerda_mi_corazon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Birds and Iguanas

I've slowly been going through all the photos I took in Florida last week, close to 2,000 in all.  Still liking the bird photos from Wakodahatchee Wetlands the most, with the birds from the aviary at Butterfly World coming in a close second.  Now in the process of trying to identify the birds.  Like this little guy with the big yellow feet and striped neck:
A very lonnnggg neck when extended!
Update: I have since discovered the bird above is known as a least bittern, described here as "A tiny heron, furtive and surpassingly well camouflaged, the Least Bittern is one of the most difficult North American marsh birds to spot."  Sounds like I was pretty lucky to see this fellow!

And this pretty bird with the plume on his or her head:
Update:  This is a tri coloured heron with breeding plumage.

Both places had identifying signs posted, like this one:
which have been quite helpful to me after the fact, but the ones from the Wetlands don't show every bird that we saw that day. Which means I am Googling things like "bird with striped neck", hoping to match a name to the picture.

I went looking for "duck with orange beak" for this photo
and one of the results was (no surprise) this:

but it was quite easy to find out that these ducks are black bellied whistling ducks, thanks to this post by Kelly of Red and the Peanut (she has some great closeup shots of this breed).

What I didn't notice until I cropped this photo to get a closeup of the ducks was that there was a huge iguana in the grass right behind them, how cool is that??!
The same iguana we'd seen in a nearby tree earlier? Or a different one? Who knows? I did observe that they puff up that bit of skin under their chin when they are disturbed, as the one on the branch below only puffed up like that when a grackle landed on the end of the branch he was sitting on.
Before that, that piece of skin was nowhere in sight.
If you recognize either of the birds above, please leave a comment to help me out with this identification process! In the meantime, I'll keep looking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Musical Pages

Here at the rest of the journal pages created by my fellow Journal Junkies, as revealed at our monthly meeting held at Bizzy B this past Monday night.

Laura's page contained all of the musicals she has seen performed live:
She also did a page of lyrics and read them out for us to see if we could identify which show they were from. We got most of them right and of course, had to sing the words!
Helen's page focused on Gilbert and Sullivan:
As usual, Marilyn did several journal pages.  One of her "Musicals" pages was based on The Wizard of Oz:
The second was devoted to musicals in general
and featured this image from the Internet of the first show ever performed on Broadway, "The Black Crook":
She also did a couple of pages using the alternate theme for April, fruits and vegetables:
My favourite was this one, "lettuce turnip the beat" - she is so clever!
Kelly's page was wickedly good:
Louise did Jesus Christ Superstar. Man, I loved that movie. I'm sure I wore the grooves out on that soundtrack, I played it over and over again back in the day.
Heather's pretty page featured The Sound of Music:
Donna's page had to do with an opera called "Tales of Hoffman".
Many thanks to Heather as well for bringing book pages for all of us to use in our artwork - much appreciated!

The theme for May is "accessories".  Can't wait to see what my artist friends come up with for that theme!