Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flamingo Flip Flop

I've never been a flamingo kind of gal. At least, I've never much cared for the neon pink plastic lawn ornament on stilts. It's not because I don't like kitsch. Anyone who's been in our home knows I can do kitsch. It might be that I don't like the color pink. Or, it might just be that pink plastic flamingos aren't my thing.

But, on my weekend garage sale journey, I came across a treasure that changed my perspective on the flamingo as a garden ornament.

Flamingo Terra Cotta

I call her "Flamingo Terra Cotta." I don't know whether she's contemporary or vintage. But, as her name implies, she is made of terra cotta, not plastic. When she was new, she must have been prettied up nicely with a coal black beak, black eyes and a whitewash of feathers. Her features are now worn away in spots. When I picked her up off the garage sale table, she was caked with dried mud on one side. Cobwebs replaced feathers. She had no legs.

Despite her unfortunate flaws, she was beautiful. I took her home, bathed her, gave her legs--plant stakes from the local hardware store--and put her in a place of honor between the feather reed grass and the Knockout roses.

Welcome to my garden, Flamingo Terra Cotta!

Linking to:
The Colorado Lady

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moments Are Enough

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
--Rabindranath Tagore

As far back as I can remember, I've been drawn to butterflies the way moths are drawn to flame.

When I was in elementary school, we lived across the street from an empty lot. The owners let it become overgrown with wildflowers--weeds, really--and cut the snarl of knee-high growth only a few times each summer. I suppose the neighbors considered it to be an eyesore, but to me it was Wonderland and I was Alice.

Every summer day, that corner lot was aflutter with sulphurs and whites, admirals and monarchs, painted ladies and buckeyes, giant fritillaries and tiny blues. I can't imagine how many hours I spent watching, counting, studying and trying to get a closer look at some of the most beautiful creatures in nature.

Since 2003, I've kept a butterfly journal--a recording of the species I observe in my own garden. Most years, the number and variety of visitors to my garden have been good. This year, however, has been an odd one. An anomaly, I hope. Until the last few days, I've seen only cabbage butterflies (hoards of them that actually did devour my cabbage), a couple of skippers, a few monarchs and a couple of fritillaries. Not nearly the turnout of summers past. Could it be the cold spring? The abrupt changeover to a blast-furnace summer? Stifling humidity? Who knows.

I do know this:  like everything in nature, butterflies grace our lives only on their terms. At long last, here's what graced my garden this week. Ain't she grand?

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Linking to:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dance a jig or squeal with delight?

Ever come across that little treasure tucked away on the thrift store shelf or buried under piles of clothes on a yard sale table? You know, the one that makes you want to squeal in delight? That is, if everyone around you weren't inclined to pull out their cell phones and report you to authorities for being too giddy.

One of my recent finds was just that sort of treasure. I stumbled across a garage sale at a small photography studio and just couldn't drive by without stopping (no I don't have an "I Brake for Garage Sales" bumper sticker, but maybe I should). Right inside the door was an adorable vintage slide tote. I didn't know whether to dance a jig or squeal. This isn't like the flat, metal case I stored my slides in back in the '70s. This one looks like a small make-up or train case, maybe from the '60s or earlier. I'd never seen one like it before.

See, isn't it cute?

I also snatched up the camera at the same sale. (Have you seen the sample of my camera collection on the Collections tab?) This one is a Falcon Miniature, manufactured by the Utility Manufacturing Co. of New York. This little bakelite number most likely was manufactured between 1934 and 1940--before Utility was sold to the Spartus company. It's in excellent working order and was quite a bargain! And, it looks great in its new home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Welcome to Moonbeams & Fireflies!

And so I venture out

The internet is flush with excellent blogs that give voice to talented creative women and men. For me, venturing into this space is more than slightly intimidating. But, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so, as I often do, I’m jumping into the deep end of the pool knowing little more than how to dog paddle. It’s bound to get easier as I go along, right?

Since our children have left the nest, I’ve rediscovered the rewards of doing the things I’m passionate about:  gardening, sewing, treasure hunting for items to fill out my various vintage collections, photography, repurposing found items—and the list goes on. My husband is my biggest supporter. And, he’s a good sport about the mess I make and time I devote to my many projects.

Moonbeams and Fireflies is my way of sharing thoughts and experiences about all those things I enjoy in my “free” time. And, it’s a way for me to link up to and share some of the incredible work I’ve discovered others are doing.

Moonbeams and Fireflies also is a tribute to my wonderful parents.

Dad loves astronomy and remains a star-gazer into his 80s. When I was eight or nine years old, he built a telescope so we could experience the moon and stars at closer range. It was during those heavenly outings with Dad that I fell in love with that mysterious, round-faced Man in the Moon—a romance that continues today.
On summer nights, star-gazing often was combined with a thrilling dash to catch fireflies. Mom outfitted canning jars with fine mesh in place of the metal seals, turning them into firefly lanterns for my sister and me. The release of the fireflies at the end of the evening always seemed so bittersweet.

Many years later, when my children were small, Mom created a more whimsical version of her canning-jar firefly lanterns. What wonderful treasures these are!

Building on a foundation

In the past couple of years, I’ve discovered a multitude of exceptional blogs that have inspired me to go digital with my writing. My 30+ -year career (it's not over yet!) is built on a foundation of writing and editing—for other people and mostly in the world of print. This writing, now, is just for me. And, if you’re inclined to follow along with my ramblings, I’m happy to have you be a part of the world of Moonbeams & Fireflies.