a blog about what interests me! birds, baskets, butterflies, moths, biking.............

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Birds and Dogs

We're in the middle of our first big snow storm. An American tree sparrow is taking advantage of the suet.

A flock of common redpolls sit in the bare branches of the autumn olive bushes.

There's nothing brighter in the storm than the male cardinal! Here he sits with a goldfinch.

Besides this dark-eyed junco (aka snow bird), we've had black-capped chickadees, hairy and downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, white and red breasted nuthatches and tufted titmice visiting the feeders during the storm.

Snickers and Pippin make their way through the snow. Notice what a smart guy Pippin is as he follows, using Snickers as a wind-break!

On the other hand, Merry stayed a little too long at the woodpile and had to race up the path all by herself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Basket Progression

I started a new piece the other day and thought I would record its progression.  I start with a sketch - very simple with some notations for number and length of the spokes. This piece will have three small, pod-shaped baskets with coiled "stems" connecting them.

After dyeing ash, cutting and tapering spokes, the next step is weaving the 3 small pods. I use black ash, dyed black and the spokes have been tapered so I can form the wide to narrow shape.

Once the pods are woven, I choose what combination of beads I will use. I have boxes of beads that I have previously dyed to choose from. Here I have some beads, glass seed beads and fish vertabrae.

Using a needle and nylon thread, I sew all the beads onto the outside of the baskets.

I use waxed linen and coil over paper cord to make stems and finish the tops of the baskets.

The finished piece. It's about 12" long and 8" wide.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Westies and Squirrels

 Merry and Pippin think they've discovered squirrels! Since our last furry "squirrel catcher" died, the population has sky rocketed! I'm a "live and let live" type of person but this spring those 4 footed rodents ate all the little green peaches on my one peach tree! I wanted them dead.............or relocated.

 Since I started working more in my basement studio (the house is built into the side of the hill so the windows are ground level), Merry and Pippin are spending more time in a room with a view. All those nose prints on the window need cleaning..............ugh!

   I put one of the dog beds on a box which makes their perch pretty comfortable to see all the activity.

   There's a pretty pink ball out there but these two don't care, it's that big, fat gray squirrel that they want. When Willy (squirrel catcher extraordinaire) died, the population was pretty low, but he took care of the slow and weak so what was left were the fastest. In other words, we have a super race of squirrels.

   This is as close as these two will ever get to those rodents. I let them outside on occasion to give chase but they make so much noise getting out, the squirrels are out of sight by the time Merry and Pippin get there.

   Who knew watching squirrels was such tiring work!
   Snickers could care less.