Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Postcard of the week...

A friend recently mailed me a beautiful watercolor greeting card. I will eventually frame it, but for the time being, it brought me daily inspiration displayed right by my computer. I featured it on my "postcard of the week" bulletin board. I bought a cheap, very small (8 x11) cork board where I highlight one happened-upon visual every week or so. I'm inspired by many wonderful images that pass before me, it's nice to concentrate on one. I have a big bulletin board where I post a lot of things, but this tends to collage together, with no single focal point. With my wee little bulletin board, I can look over and get a respit from the screen with whatever piece of art is currently on display- a tiny British vintage poster, a postcard from my favorite museum, a friend's original watercolor...it's changeable, personal eye candy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The faces of Java

Friend and fellow Iowa City business owner Niki Neems (RSVP) is a long-time patron of the downtown Java House. I've illustrated her personage into the design of the to-go cups before. This next version, she's there again, reading, studying, enjoying her morning cuppa...Niki has a lovely stationery shop in the North-end, with a brilliant card selection, mouth-watering jewelry, and quality custom invitation design services. Check it out sometime. And see if you spot Niki on the Java House cup when it comes out later on this summer.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

a cappuccino in the garden

Who can resist buying a petunia called "Cappuccino"...the lovely cup is one of my favorite garden companions and was made by fellow Eastside Artisan Kim Friese.

And speaking of coffee, I'm currently working on a new Java House cup design (when I'm not planting petunias in this perfect spring weather). Iowa Citians, watch for it's arrival sometime this summer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Season of the Firefly

Keeping an eye out for the first fireflies. I've kept a garden journal for several years and this coming week is usually it.

And, as advised on a recently seen bumper sticker, I'm thinking big thoughts and relishing small pleasures. Like seeing fireflies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fresh Eyre

I saw the film Jane Eyre last night- a spooky re-telling well worth seeing on Big Screen. The location and windswept landscapes are stunning. The actors bring the book characters to life (although Rochester will always infuriate me, no matter what form he takes.) But personally, the real eye candy is the costuming, from the ragged orphan girl's school wear (authentically grimed out), the everyday Governess dresses (think somber Cath Kidson print!) to an amazing fashion-of-the-century wedding gown. The costume designer Michael O' Connor did a brilliant job. What really caught my eye, and I have friend Michelle's passion of knitting to thank for my awareness, are the gorgeous knit shawls worn by a couple main characters. Here's one capture from the film (I hope the Copyright Gods will forgive me) above. Isn't the above shawl so beautifully contrasted to the smooth dress fabric underneath? Love it.

It's cool to see knitting associated with literature, even if it may be a Hollywood/BBC version. My friend Michelle Edward's new book The Knitter's Home Companion, also makes connections in a literary way. Check it out! Then go see Jane Erye and be transported.

Here's Michelle's site and a site that offers the pattern for the Jane Eyre shawl:



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jackie's Ruby-breasted grosbeak

My friend Jackie saw two Ruby-breasted grosbeaks in her Mt. Vernon, Iowa back-yard yesterday. Another friend Mark reported last week that he'd seen a Ruby-crowned Kinglet here in Iowa City. Both are somewhat uncommon summer dwellers to this part of the state. They may be travelling north soon, but perhaps the cool spring has given them pause to stay awhile locally.

I was envious of both sightings. Mark said he planned on keeping a list of the birds he sees now. Bird-watchers of course keep a "life-list" of birds they see world wide. Even though I've written and illustrated a book on birds, I don't have an official list of birds from in my own garden. So I started one. The list sits next to my drawing board. I keep an extra eye out at the feeding tree for new-comers. Especially those with the word "Ruby" in their name.

So far:

Winter visitors:
Northern cardinal
American goldfinch
House sparrow
Blue Jay
Black-capped chickadee
Mourning dove

Summer visitors:
Ruby throated hummingbird
gray catbird
White-breasted nuthatch
chipping sparrow
American robin

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