Monday, April 29, 2013

The lake is out!

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Every Minnesotan knows what it means when you say the lake is out. It means the ice has melted. Ding, Dong the winter is dead! And that happened this weekend at Lake Harriet where I live. Finally.  We even had our first picnic.  So I decided to post what is probably the most beautiful lake I've ever seen.  In honor of the big ice out.  This lake never freezes.  But it's beauty is frozen in time.  It sits in the scenic Orosi Valley of Costa Rica. 

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These floating pads lent a magical quality.

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Another breathtaking perspective. Lakes are so much better melted. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

If I had bird feet...

White egret feet

5 things I'd do if I had bird feet...

1) I would fly up to a random red winged black bird and claw it in the head.  Sorry.  A red wing did that to me once.

2) I would swoop down and pick up a fish.  But I wouldn't eat it.  I would fly over someone I dislike and drop it on them.  Hopefully it would go down their shirt.  Then I'd laugh.  Unless all I could do was chirp and ca caw.

3) I would paint my claws rainbow colors.  No reason. 

4)  I would place my bird feet in different colors of paint and then walk back and forth over a canvas. I bet I would finally become rich selling my art.  

5) I would swoop down and pick up one of my cats.  It would scare the whiskers off them!  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brown Jay

I love this photo because the Jay blends completely with the dry brown leaves.  It is a perfect match.  Unless you don't like matchy, matchy. 

I photographed Mr. Brown in Belize this winter.  For more bird watching visit Paying Ready Attention 

And have you checked out my latest post? Where is your favorite place on earth? Leave a comment and tell me where yours is.  Just curious...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Where is your favorite place on earth?

We have been suffering through a never ending season of Winter here in Minnesota.  And last night I was feeling nostalgic for the beaches of Dominical, Costa Rica. I thought about how there is no place I would rather get out of bed today than Dominical. I would wake up to the loud and exotic sound of Howler Monkeys. Then head down to the beach for a heavenly walk. Afterwards, I'd have breakfast at Tortilla Flats. Yum. Then relax.  For awhile.  And after lunch maybe do some boogie boarding.  So in honor of Earth Day I'm sharing my favorite spot on earth.  Sigh.

I think these photos really portray the joy I feel in being there.  The frolicking dogs are so happy to be alive.  I felt like I was at one with them when I snapped these photos.  I felt the same joy in my heart.

The morning Sun slowly warmed the earth and cast beautiful shadows.

Just another day in paradise. Happy Earth Day!  Here are some things to consider today...

(at participating locations)

1)  Caribou Coffee is offering free coffee when you bring in your own mug. Plus, when you "like" Caribou on facebook they will plant a tree in Central America.  I might have to break my facebook fast for this one.  

2) Free totes with eco goodies and coupons at Target.

3) Free seeds at Pottery Barn Kids.

4)  Free entrances to our National Parks today!

5) Text "RELEAF" to 273283 and Michaels craft stores will make a donation to plant a tree on your behalf. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

5 great things about a pizza box...

1) The box usually has a coupon attached for more pizza.  As little Caesar says, "Pizza, Pizza!"

2) Sometimes there are snarky comments printed on top.  Toppers, you know who you are.

3) Any thing inside it tastes good.  Just like magic.

4) You can return it and get a free pizza.  O.K. that is not true.  But it should be.

5) It is all warm and toasty and a great place to sit down.  If you are a cat... 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heron Habitat

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I think this is a yellow crowned night heron.  He looks like a realistic painting of a bird on an impressionist background. But of course it is just a photograph at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida. 

And he is part of the blog hop over at Paying Ready Attention

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Lucky Liebster

The talented and funny Nina Victor Crittenden surprised me with a Liebster awhile back. Thanks Nina!  I still don't know what the heck a Liebster is, but it was super nice of Nina to honor me with one.  So the scoop is to post 11 random facts about myself, answer the 11 questions that Nina asked me, then nominate 11 blogs for the honorable Liebster.  Here goes...

Eleven Random Sharon Facts: 

1)  My middle name is Renee.
2)  I wanted to name my first born Lindsay until I married a Wagner. (I didn't have kids anyway)
3)  My first car was a Dodge Charger with a Harley Davidson sticker.  (Used)
4)  I don't know my blood type.
5)  I used to be a flight attendant!
6)  It has been 10 years and I still miss Fiesta Chicken Pasta at Sidney's.  A doomed restaurant in the Twin Cities.
7)  When I was in high school I wanted to be a fashion designer.
8)  I have a drawer just for feathers.
9)  I make a killer gin martini.
10) I drew one of my high school teachers with a pig face and my friends still remember it.  For shame.
11) I wish I had someone to arm wrestle with.

Eleven Questions from Nina:

1) What did you want to be when you grew up?
     A rich fashion designer. I used to draw beautiful women in dresses and every time company came over I made them look at my designs.

2) Who was your celebrity crush as a kid?
     Indiana Jones

3) Favorite movie?
    Jane Erye on tpt

 4) Favorite book/author/illustrator?
     (Current)  Game of Thrones  George R.R. Martin

5) Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
     Yes, I stayed at an extremely haunted house in New Orleans once.  But they left me alone as always.  I think I have a guardian angel that scares them away.  

6) What is your stupid human trick?
     Shaking my leg annoyingly
7) If you could go back in time and tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?
     Don't drink so much in college

8) Most embarrassing moment?
     This one is kind of a sensitive subject.  But I was face painting at the Mall of America and I had brought my camera to get a photo of me painting a kid.  When I had a victim/child my co-worker took one of me and asked if I'd take one of her when her next subject arrived.  So when a family came up to her side of the booth I waited until she had started painting and went over with my camera.  I asked the mother if I could take a photo of her child and the face painter.  She said no.  It turns out (I couldn't see the other side of the booth) that it was conjoined twins.  I'm sure the mother thought I was being one of "those" people that I'm sure she had run into a thousand times.  Ugh.  But it was just a coincidence.

9) What’s the one thing you’d most like to be remembered for when you’re gone (you know, dead…sorry, kind of morbid, but it’s a deep thought kind of question).
     I would want some of my art to have staying power.  I better get busy!

10) Do you talk to yourself (out loud, when no one else is around)?
     Yes, I have a swearing go to phrase that I spew all the time.  But the cats are involved every single time.

11) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
     A Salted Caramel Brownie from "Bogart Loves".  But I don't feel guilty.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Neon Giraffe

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I thought my Neon Giraffe would be a good pick for the theme wild.  I love to paint animals.  But my giraffe is not only a wild animal, but is painted in a wild and crazy color palette. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Bins, Bags, Baskets and Boxes

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I hooked up to Random 5 Friday last week.  And since my cat Hana got the spotlight treatment I thought this Friday I'd share 5 Akua facts.

1) Akua has never met a bin, basket, box or bag he doesn't love.  He'll just climb in and zone out.  He is very zen when he's doing the pail treatment.

2) He is a living Teddy Bear.  

3) He is a lazy Lion.

4) Bacon is the only thing that brings out the beast in him.

5) As soon as my husband opens the bedroom door, Akua races up the stairs to see me.  His only non lazy adventure and the sweetest thing in the world.  That's my boy!



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Parrots with a View

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I was going to crop this photo. But I love the faded hillside in the background.  I took this photo while admiring the view at Cahel Pech in Belize this winter.  I think they are Red-lored Parrots.  But they could also be White-fronted Parrots.  Bird names are so funny.  We were lucky enough to go birding with the bird book author Lee Jones this winter.  And he also joked about bird names.  Like the White-fronted Parrot.  It does not have a white front.  All I know is that it is pretty unmistakable when a parrot flies by.  They chatter so loudly.  Obnoxiously is more like it.  But I sure love seeing them.  

Be sure to check out the birds this week at the blog hop Paying Ready Attention

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rio Frio Cave in Belize

This post isn't so much for the people who enjoy my blog photos. These cave photos are really not that exciting.  It's more for the people that actually read my posts.  Whoever you are.  We visited Rio Frio Cave in the Mountain Pine Forest region of Belize this January.  It was a giant gaping hole in the cliff side.  With a river running through it.  It was definitely worth exploring.  But it was what happened after that made it interesting.  First we drove to the end of the road and parked.  Then hiked down near the cave entrance.  Of course the first thing we encounter are armed guards.  They were just sitting on a picnic table with machine guns. Just typical.  Ha! 

As with most out of the way destinations in Belize there are no signs to point you to a trail.  So at first we thought we had to forage through the river to get into the cave.  But as it turns out there was a trail.  Of sorts.

Once inside we realized we would need a flashlight to make it all the way through.  This photo is the other end.

The opening.  So did you read it this far? Well, the reason I'm posting this today is because my husband and I were talking about vacation memories over happy hour this weekend.  And the topic of this cave popped up.  We visited this cave after a long day at the Mayan Ruins site of Caracol.  And being that the armed guards at Rio Frio had put in a long day as well they asked us for a ride back to their check point.  Our vehicle was a tiny 4 wheel drive jeep.  Our picnic basket that the wonderful Gaia River lodge packed for us took up most of the back seat.  But somehow these two huge dudes with their machine guns crammed into the back.  A little conversation ensued and an unforgettable memory was born.  I was too embarrassed to photograph them.  And no one got shot. 

P.S.  I held the picnic basket!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Miss Sassafras

I decided to have a little fun today and link up to Random 5 Friday  I've been a good illustrator and have been linking up to illustrationfriday for a couple years now.  Not today.  Today I'm sharing 5 random facts about this naughty cat. 

1) She is named Hana after the quiet town at the end of the Hana Highway on Maui.  The dangerously twisty but scenic road is what life is like with this devil cat.  It's a fun journey.  But you have to be on your guard.  She can outwit a rocket scientist.  Outplay a toddler high on birthday cake and infuriate a Buddhist monk.  

2)  This tongue photo is photoshopped.  But not in the way you might think.  The tongue is real.  I just didn't have a digital file of it.  Only a poorly printed old photo.  Random fact?  She has a long tongue of course!

3)  One of her nicknames is little Froggie.  Because I remarked when she was a teenage kitten that her skinny little legs looked like frog legs.  Not anymore.  She's a jumper. (she's jumping in the photo)

4)  Her newest nickname is Miss Sassafras.  Because of all her sassy cries.

5)  One of her cutiest habits is leaving fuzzy socks by the front door after we leave the house.  Smile.  I'd go on but that makes 5!  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fluffy Gray Bird

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I bought a new camera this winter with a 30 + zoom.  It has been really fun.  I don't carry a tri-pod so it takes a steady hand.  I just snap any one or any thing that poses nicely.  And this gray bird certainly did.  I took this photo at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida.  What a beautiful and peaceful place. I do wish that my husband and I started charting our bird discoveries years ago. We encounter a lot of serious birders on our trips to Central America.  And we joked that we would become one of them someday.  Now it doesn't seem like a joke.  I don't even know what this common bird is off hand.  I think it is time to invest in a thick bird book.  The khaki outfit will be determined later.  

It is Wednesday and I am not posting a recipe.  What gives?  But I came across this blog hop Paying Ready Attention and since I have hundreds of bird photos (plus my desire to wear khaki) I thought I would try something different for awhile.  If you are in need of a new recipe see my labels.  They are just waiting to be fried, baked and savoured.  But for now feast on birds.  Just not literally.  Wednesdays are now up in the air.  Literally.  Ha!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recycled Art

I don't want the Belize tourism board to come after me. So before I tell you that the beaches in Belize are filled with garbage, I have to point out that this is where we stayed.  An enchanting private cabana on a beautiful beach.  Just a few feet from the waters edge.  Heaven right?  Well, sort of.  Don't get me wrong.  This cabana was one of the highlights of over 12 weeks in Central America.  Amazing.   

Sunrise outside our front door.  But...

The beaches are filled with garbage.  At least on the main land.  We stayed on the beach in Hopkins on our first trip to Belize.  I loved it.  But I vowed to start picking up garbage on my next trip.  And to turn lemons into lemonade I decided to do a little art project.  So when we arrived in Placencia, I started collecting on our very first beach stroll.  And as you can see I stuck to a specific color scheme.   It actually became kind of fun to discover so many different shapes,  mysterious containers and the not so mysterious.  

The first thing I did when I got home was select a canvas that fit all of my art (excuse me) garbage. I laid it all out in what I hoped was an interesting manner and took a photo.

Then I painted the canvas in a kind of rustic, textured and sandy tone.

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Then for the fun part.  I started gluing all the garbage onto the canvas.  And so far everything has stuck!  Please take a moment to look over all the different pieces of plastic.  My favorites are the curlers and the little rocket.  The phone and mirror are also pretty fun.  But the story isn't over.  I plan to adhere more plastic shapes to a frame and then spray paint it.  I got the idea on Pinterest!  If you have any small plastic toys, junk or odds and ends please send it to me.  I would love to be able to complete the frame with all found pieces. I haven't even started the frame. So this post will be continued...

P.S.  If this post tickled you please pass it on to your friends.