More bugs and butterflies

Yesterday I was standing at my kitchen sink, lost in thought over a print project I’m designing right now, placing my thrice-filled-and-drained coffee cup in the basin, peering up at the gray skies, and down at the drenched grass, when I caught a flash of orange flitting in and around the buddleia bush. I grabbed the camera and dashed out before the skies opened up with a torrent again. I think this captivating creature is a Fritillary. If anyone else knows otherwise, please post in the comments.

I have also uploaded some new Magnolia seed pod images on Flickr. Click here to see my photo stream or click on the Flickr sidebar to the right.

Just for giggles, I’m throwing in a Soldier Bug image, too. I love these guys! This one was out front on my magnolia tree. Its giant seed pods are beginning to burst.

Just for giggles, I'm throwing in a Soldier Bug image, too. I love these guys! This one was out front on my magnolia tree. It's giant seed pods are beginning to burst.

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More garden guests

I freely admit my penchant for the critters that show up in the garden. Now, I suppose, I’m reveling in it! Soldier bug and Swallowtail. Both are welcome in my yard any time.

Soldier Bug on Cinnamon Bark Crepe Myrtle.

Soldier Bug on Cinnamon Bark Crepe Myrtle.

Swallowtail on Obedient Plant

Swallowtail on Obedient Plant

Swallowtail on Obedient Plant

Swallowtail on Obedient Plant

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?

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:

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!