On May 18th, we began creating a new mural at the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Center in Crawfordville, Florida (near Tallahassee). Around this same time last year we had been painting a large outdoor mural in their courtyard, completed in June. This year we had the opportunity to do another mural of a smaller scale, this time indoors.
Please take a look at I and Arianna’s new art and poetry book. I have joined our poems, photos, art, and a few of my comics into an entertaining compilation of funny and amusing poems we’ve written over the years – some of them, more relevant than ever. Much of the content is based on the joy and humor our beloved companions share with us, including a comic/short story called Milo the Millionaire! I wish to make light of some of the things we’ve all been going through lately, so I hope this book can bring a laugh, a smile, or even if just a little breather to your day. This is sure to bring pet lovers a little joy, so please share!
A big hello to all of you, and welcome to our blog again. For this month’s project, I had a bit of help from our little parakeet, Gypsy! Here she is doing one of her favorite things: enjoying the sunset.
This was a fairly simple craft, but it did take some delicate touch to make sure it came out as neatly as possible. I used some black colored cardboard as the canvas, and attached a few feathers that came from Gypsy. The parrots molt their feathers once or twice every year, and Kai keeps all the feathers, so we have quite a few!
I put them on the cardboard with some scraps of laminating vinyl, which was a careful task to keep the feathers neat and straight.
I think these arrangements turned out pretty nice, and I think Gypsy agrees.
Here is a photo of a collage I did a few years back, incorporating feathers from both Gypsy and Milo, our Quaker parakeet. It also has a few pressed flowers that Kai had picked for me, which are purple wood sorrel, a common wild plant we see here in Florida.
These were all enjoyable projects to do, and I definitely give Gypsy and Milo their due credit and thanks, since they were the ones who made the feathers!
Thank you for reading, and I send my best wishes to you all during these difficult times. Stay strong, be creative, and see you next month!
Extremely abstract, this poetic short story, completely rhymed, unlike my other poetry novel, Facing the Phoenix, came about some years ago, after watching some fantasy themed movies, which inspired this piece. I gradually added to it, and detailed it with other poems I had sitting around, to enrich the “end of the world” scenario, and make it my own.
I am proud to say that this time around, the graphics in the background are mine – super simple, but I like them, and I never do digital art, so this is a first. Avery still takes credit for helping me put the book together though, and he always figures out a way to make the cover compelling, even when I choose a difficult art piece!
Follow “Soldier” through an adventurous maze of descriptive places and exciting danger as she finds out just how much trouble her world is in. With her sister, “Flower”, Flower’s boyfriend, “Killer” (also referred to as Young Man), their friends, “Boy”, “Girl”, “Cat”, “Civilian”, and his son, “Shine”, Soldier sets out to save the world, and prevent their planet from being infiltrated by the “Worst Fear”. What happens if the Worst Fear takes over? Perhaps “Salem”, or the mysterious “King El” knows. Soldier and her friends must rise to the top to aid the world and the people they love.
Hello to you all, and my apologies for getting to the post a bit late. I know it’s been a rather crazy month with everything that’s going on in the world, and I hope you have been staying healthy, creative and remembering to be kind to others (and yourself!) .
So for this month’s recycled craft project, I decided to divert from the usual projects and show you some ways that we have been re-using and recycling in the garden. Right now I can definitely see people moving in the direction of wanting to grow their own food, and even just wanting to bring Nature back into the places where it’s been taken away. For sure I feel both of these, and within the last few months I’ve really started spending more time gardening, which can get creative, just like art!
So let me share some ideas with you!
One of the main things I have been doing is starting seeds. I like being able to move them around to make sure they’re getting enough sun and rain, so I prefer starting them up in little cups. We bought plastic drinking cups about 4 years ago (they might be older, I’m not sure) , and we are still using them to this day! Of course we’ve lost some along the way, but they’ve been well used for years now, and they work well for starting seeds. In general, you can re-use the plastic pots your store bought plants come in, or even other kinds of containers. I’ve seen people use juice, milk, vinegar and all kinds of other empty plastic jugs with the top cut off, as planters. Also be sure to pop some holes in the bottom for drainage. Here I have been using some coffee cans for the seedlings.
Kai makes a lot of cuttings from our plants and trees, and found that small but sturdy plastic bags work well for this. To hold them closed, a little scrap of yarn or other string ties it up. Pretty simple, and we’ve been able to re-use bags multiple times.
Art canvases we buy at the store often come with little wood pieces that are meant to be used for hanging the canvas frame on the wall, but it’s not something we really use- until now! I found they make good stakes for marking the names of the plants. I just write the name in permanent marker and poke it into the pot. Another thing I do is use colorful fabric scraps (as long as they are in a lengthy strip) and tie it around the tree or plant stem to mark it. This one is helpful for not losing track of where and what it is, or to be sure you don’t accidentally mow it over with the lawn mower!
In our garden we have several raised beds that were built from old pallet wood. And you could use any other kind of unused wood to make something like this. Look it up on YouTube, you can find all kinds of cool things you can build for your garden there.
Plastic drinking water bottles, or even glass ones if they have plastic caps, can be used to keep your plants watered. I’m still figuring this one out myself. I’ve seen some examples online, and rather than me explaining, it’s probably better you check it out from those sources!
And of course, composting is the ultimate in recycling back to the Earth. We do this as much as we possibly can, composting our fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc. To think all that just ends up in the garbage and not as nutrients and soil for your plants. But do make sure you keep your compost safely closed in a bin, away from critters! Again, there are many resources out there on how to compost, and so look it up if you’re interested.
So I think I covered most of what we have found to be great ways to re-use in the garden. There are countless other creative things you can do, if you just think about it. What is going to be thrown away that might just be a handy treasure for your garden? Hope you enjoyed this post and no doubt I will find more ways to recycle things for the yard and garden to share with you in the future!
As said in the introduction, I’ve been an “animal person” most of my life, less interested in people due to the great disconnects often promoted in society throughout time. For many, I could see how this caused immense harm to them, and I of course, could feel it within myself as well. That is how much of this poetry came to be. While most of it is deep and insightful, I tried to add a touch of cheer to this book by including a couple of my Holiday poems, and a few inspirational pieces.
I intended for this book to be reflective, though my hope is that one day I’ll have a collection of human-themed poetry that will be far more celebratory. “Not Just Me” is dedicated to those ready to wake up, be inspired, understand themselves, learn from the past, and so on. I am ready for change, and I hope you are too.
Hello again! I hope every one has had a good May so far, and that you’ve been able to be calm, creative and kind in the wake of all that is going on in the world right now.
As for the recycled craft of May, the star of this month’s project is bamboo!
I count this as recycling, in the case that we have so much of it popping up around our yard, it gets cut down anyway. And while of course it’s great to let it decompose back into the earth, it is also a very useful and versatile wood.
This started when Kai began attempting to carve bamboo flutes last month, and from there other ideas and inspirations came. Here are a few of the flutes, though only one so far is a working one, but that one is more so a whistle.
Using some of the pieces Kai had left over, I reused them to make a wind chime. It’s a little lop-sided (it is my first attempt at a wind chime) but it still makes a lovely sound.
I also made a drum stick, which I created by taking a scrap of quilt batting and canvas fabric, and tying it to the end of a bamboo stick with a length of yarn.
So these were the projects so far, and you can count on there being more in the future. We want to try some other more complex things using the bamboo, and we’ll be sure to show them to you when we’re done! If working with bamboo interests you, you can look it up on YouTube. There are lots of videos on creating all kinds of things out of this fast growing plant.
Or come up with your own ideas. A lot of us have trees and bushes that get pruned every so often, and rather than throwing away the yard debris, why not use the beautiful wood for a craft?
I hope you guys liked this recycled craft post, and maybe got some ideas and inspiration for something you could create.
So until next time, be well and continue to create.
It is finally finished – my first, full-length novel! I am both excited and humbled that this story is ready to share. The March of Stan A. Solve was roughly written as a young teenager, contemplating the ethics of society. This book is extremely painful for me to put into the world, but as I closed on it nearly ten years later, I realized maybe this was something that the world needed right now.
Other than my poetry books, this will also be the first book I’ve put out for an older audience; particularly teenagers, but I hope there are some adults out there who can relate to Jade’s starvation for a more benevolent world.
This tale touches on issues teens face in everyday life, while interjected with paranormal scenes to entertain a more fantasy-drawn reader. The main character, Jade, navigates his way through high school with a different outlook on life than most of his peers. He questions the way of humanity, how young people are treated, and rebels what he believes is not right, all the while aiding a suicidal friend away from darkness and towards his dream.
I almost couldn’t bring myself to finish this book, but something in me told me somebody needed to hear it. Like Jade, discover the rebel inside, and know that we were meant to follow our curiosities, not the expectations placed upon us. We all want to be the hero in our own lives. I won’t ask anyone to enjoy this story, as I must admit, it is not my favorite either, but rather, the inelegant adventure of an awakening. If anything, I hope you befriend Jade as I have, and cheer him on until the very end.
Hello, every one! Hope you’re all doing well amidst all the craziness that’s been going on. I also hope you’ve taken some time to take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and stayed creative as well!
This month’s craft project came about while cleaning out our boxes of Christmas decorations. I found a nice ornament box (which was now missing its ornament) and decided to use it as the base for my next craft. This ended up as a piece that could be displayed on a wall perhaps, or if I chose, I could put a backing on it so it could be propped on a shelf.
I began with the box, which had foam padding on the inside. I cut a fabric square from scrap material and made a collage flower from other fabric bits, adding some metallic paint to suggest vines and leaves. A big button was placed in the center, and painted as well.
The piece was then tucked into the box, which was then painted with vines and flowers, also in metallic and a semi gloss paint. Also to note, I glued the collage flower on with an acrylic gloss, which I find to work well, if you don’t mind it darkening the fabric’s color a bit.
How do you think it turned out?
I would have liked the flower vines to have looked a bit neater, but this is how it got painted! I do like how the ornament box made for a nice frame, though. Just think about other old cases, packaging and containers we don’t use anymore! I’m sure there are plenty of similar projects that can be done with all kinds of these things, we just have to think creatively about it.
Hope you enjoyed April’s project, and I will be back next month with something else new!
Love you all and stay safe!
Kai: As the home school trend continues, I decided this month to release my new children’s book from my educational series; “Your New Friends”. The new book is about pet fish, though it also contains general fish facts for those who do not have pets, too.
This book was written by me, while Arianna and I collaborated on the art work. Avery was responsible for the digital design as usual!
Please check out the children’s book page for all of the “Your New Friends” titles, and additional stories, which are free to view and download.