Praying mantis — or preying?

If you look it up, it’s “praying.” But today I found one doing both. I think mantises are my favorite garden insect, next to bumble bees. (And it really has nothing to do with the fact that they eat their partners after mating.) All green and gorgeous and alert, they appear contemplative and curious at the same time whenever I’ve come across them, like little Yodas for the insect world — “Impress you, I will.”

I stumbled upon this one after noticing a goldfinch was just way too interested in the Rose of Sharon bush by our back porch (click on the images for a larger view).

Brunch in the sun

Honey bee brunch in the sun

She's almost smiling, isn't she?

Free ephemera images

In a bout of shameless self-promotion, I’m adding a post about my FREEBIES 4U page. A little while back, I was pawing through my stashes of ephemera and realized that it was time to share some of the pieces I’ve accumulated over the year. With trusty new uber-scanner in place, it is now possible. So, I’ll be uploading 1-3 images a week (or thereabouts) to my FREEBIES 4U page. Feel free to download them for your own personal use, but please do not resell them. That takes all the fun out of freebies.  So go now to FREEBIES 4U.  Uploads expire after 2 weeks (for the most part).

Here's the uber-scanner and my laptop -- with this blog post in the works.

Here's the uber-scanner and my laptop -- with this blog post in the works. And, yes, that is my dining room table.

Goldfinch garden brunch

I had my Sunday morning coffee on the front porch, new Canon camera (love it!) in hand. With the coneflowers fading, and their seeds ripening, it’s the best time to watch the goldfinches, whose yellow plumes are extraordinary right now. They’re shy and speedy, though. Not at all obliging like my lizard friend. Nonetheless, a pretty portrait:

I love Polyvore — collage fans will too

I just found Polyvore.com (should also be known as “Playground for Collage Fiends.”) I am in love with this site for so many reasons … the color and image choices (not to mention fonts and music!!!) and the entire freedom to combine them; the fashion ideas; the sheer talent of the guys who built this software to be so user friendly (and fun!); the community aspect; and mostly, the marketing genius of allowing any user to create beautiful palettes of purchasable items and then pushing them forward in a viral marketing effect. Brilliant.

For some background information about this site, see this article from The New York Times.

Here’s my first collage — of many, I’m sure. So sure, in fact, I’m adding a section for them to my sidebar. Have a few minutes? GO PLAY!

Flower Soft to the test

I have been playing with a new-to-me product called Flower Soft® (along with my new camera and scanner, I might add!)  It’s a fascinating jar of fluff that, when paired with super tacky glue, can turn a paper surface into a 3-D wonder of texture and color. A little like flocking, but coarser in appearance. I chose the Poppy Red because I adore its tomato-y goodness — a little like my mother’s lipstick that I used to wear on Halloween as a kid (but that’s another blog).

I bought the 30 ml jar, which I think will last me into my eighties. A little of this goes a long way. Opening the jar is a bit like opening a canned snake (remember those?), because the product compression is surprising. I should note, too, that once the fluff expands, it’s hard to get back into the jar (word to the wise, plan to put leftovers in another container). That said, it’s a heckuva lot of fun to work with … glue and sprinkle, glue and sprinkle. A bit like glitter, but I didn’t find it all over my face afterwards!

Here’s the product (and I should mention, this is not a paid endorsement … just me trying out new stuff):

30 ml container will last seemingly forever!

30 ml container will last seemingly forever!

Here are two variations of designs incorporating the Flower Soft:

Bonjour! Stamps by See-D's (grunge boutique), Stampabilities (bonjour), All Night Media (bee)

Bonjour! Stamps by See-D's (grunge boutique), Stampabilities (bonjour), All Night Media (bee)

It's always good to DREAM!

It's always good to DREAM!

The lizard king

OK, OK. I know! I’m too enamored with the critters that visit my garden. I need a 12-step program! But, really, how cool is this lizard? He was soooo patient with me as I clicked off 30 or so photos. Maybe I’ve watched too many Geico Gecko commercials, but this little guy almost spoke to me with a British accent. “How ’bout you snap me on the pole, here and here?” “How ’bout here in the Veronica, with me showing you my stuff?”