Sunflower Field in Autumn

“Sunflower Field in Autumn” by Diane W. aka midteacher

there is peaceful.
there is wild.
i am both at the same time.

nayyirah waheed, “sum,” salt

Today’s sunflower comes from my photographer friend Diane–midteacher on swap-bot. She continually inspires me with her beautifully crafted photos.

For “Sunflower Field in Autumn” Diane tried a creation process she had just discovered.  For this project she:

  • “gessoed” watercolor paper
  • pushed pearlized crackle paste through stencil
  • allowed to dry overnight
  • Used INFUSIONS color stain on background
  • allowed to dry overnight
  • glued photo; adhered paper and ribbon
  • allowed glue to dry
  • added sewing
  • glued cardstock to backside and trimmed

I get to be the “guinea pig” for many of Diane’s experiments with new techniques. Lucky me–especially when sunflowers are involved!

Thanks for the sunshine, Diane!

Sunflower Humans: If I Were a Flower

If I were a flower..I would be a sunflower.

Pam Stewart

My penfriends have been showering me with sunny blooms and sending beautiful reminders to “face the sun,” so my sunflower wall is growing beautifully wild. I’ll have to share an updated photo soon. Until then, I’ll continue to share the individual postcards on the blog.

About a week ago, I received a postcard from Geraldine (Nannydino on swap-bot) that offers a unique interpretation on the sunflower theme. Instead of growing in a field or sitting in a vase, the sunflowers appear to be growing out of a human.

“Sunflower Humans” by Priyanka Parul

Pretty interesting. Right?

“Sunflower Humans” is the work of Priyanka Parul, a young artist from Mumbai, India. I love how the human face is replaced with or masked by sunflowers. Are they human? Are the sunflowers a gift? Symbolic of a sunny disposition? A reminder to “radiate sunshine” from the inside out?  I’d love to know what Priyanka was thinking when she conceived this piece.

In my search for information on the piece, I ran across a post written in 2016, “Are You a Human or a Sunflower.” There are some conceptual similarities, so I wonder if the artist was inspired by the post.

I hope you have your shades nearby. You’ll need them for our final week of sunflower posts for the year.

May you have a week filled with sunshine and good things.

The Bunyip, Magic Pudding, and Maxicards from Australia

I’m back with two more children’s book illustration (CBI) postcards. These come from Yvonne and Jeana [MelbourneGirl on swap-bot], mother-daughter swappers who hail from Australia. I love receiving children’s book illustrations from other countries, and Yvonne and Jeana do not disappoint. The characters and books illustrated were new to me, so I was over the moon when I received these cards.

The first card was sent several months ago for Book Lovers Congregate (BLC) CBI Swap #33; it features an illustration from The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek (1973) written by Jenny Wagner and illustrated by Ron Brooks:

One night something very large and muddy heaved itself on to the bank of Berkeley’s Creek. ‘What am I ?’ it murmured. ‘What do I look like ?’ A platypus told him he was a bunyip. But what is a bunyip? Although everyone had an opinion, no one really knew. So the bunyip set off to find out for himself.  —Google Books

The Bunyip of Berkeley Creek. Illustration by Ron Brooks.

Of course, I had to do a bit of exploring to learn more about the book, and Google did not disappoint. Here’s a book trailer with more wonderful illustrations:

And here are detailed reviews of the book with more images: We Read It Like This or Dad Reads: Stories for Grown-ups About Stories for Children.

The second card, received for BLC CBI Swap #43 just days ago, features an illustration from another classic Australian children’s book, The Magic Pudding, written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay. The postcard celebrates 100 years since the book’s publication in 1918.

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. First published in 1918.

I “found” the illustrated book on Gutenberg. Happy dance! I’ll get my guys to read it with me during the Thanksgiving holiday. Hubby is a storyteller, so he’s always “game” for a good tale. In his “tweendom,” the not-so-little-one eschews anything “babyish,” but he’ll go for it if it’s a family activity.

The Guardian features a cute gallery of pictures in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the book. I learned that Lindsay wrote the book “reportedly to settle an argument with his friend Bertram Stevens, claiming children preferred to read about food than fairies.” I wonder who won???

Did you notice the postage stamp and postmark on the front of the cards? Those aren’t machine errors. They’re intentional. The cards are called maxicards; the coveted postcards feature the “first day of issue” postmark and stamps related to or identical to the images on the front of the cards. You can learn more about them via the Postcrossing blog.

These cards are just so delightful! Thanks, Yvonne and Jeana for introducing me to classics in Australian children’s literature. I’m looking forward to reading both books!

The Elephants Know–It’s Been One of Those Days

Photo by Stefanie Powers/Viesti Associates

Look at what I found! A postcard from the ’90s!

Wow! That’s longer ago than it sounds. In fact, based on my address at the time, this postcard was literally sent at the beginning of the decade. 28 years ago. Can that be?!

The postcard came from the same friend I “mused” about a month ago. I found it in a file folder with some other postcards from lifelong friends–as I was cleaning out old stuff to make room for new stuff. It was odd to find them there, since I normally keep letters and cards organized in boxes.

The card is perfect for today. It matches my mood.

I’ve been stuck indoors all week because of cold and rainy weather, and I’m over it! I’m so over it! It’s cramping my autumn-loving style and hindering my ability to think straight and get things done. Including blog posts.

So, enjoy the elephants.

I’m going to curl up under my favorite blanket with a piping hot cup of pumpkin spice tea and a good book. Not Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I’m saving that one for winter break. 😉

Eric Carle’s Bears: What Do Bears See?

It’s been several months since I last shared children’s book illustration [CBI] postcards, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I assigned partners for the public and group swaps #44 [on swap-bot] a few days ago, but with the exception of the special posting of the sunflower from one of the #30 swaps, I’m only up to #24 on the blog. So much for not falling behind.

Instead of picking up where I left off chronologically, I decided to share the four “bear” cards from the Brown Bear collaboration of writer Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrator Eric Carle.

All were sent to me by Geraldine [Nannydino on swap-bot], one of the swappers who faithfully joins the CBI swaps. The postcards she selects for me always, always, always result from a careful reading of my profile, but it was [still] so thoughtful of her to send me every one of the bear book covers for four separate swaps. It freed me to send these blank Carle cards in my own collection to someone else. After all, postcards filled with ink, stamps, and postal markings are way more interesting than blank postcards.

Here are Carle’s bear illustrations–sent for swaps #33, 36, 38, 41.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is the first book in the Brown Bear series; it was originally published in 1967. The cover above is from the 1992 edition.

The duo came together again more than two decades after Brown Bear to collaborate on Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? The book, published in 1991, was designed to help toddlers identify animals and their sounds.

Published in 2003, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? focuses on the world of endangered animals.

Published in 2007 Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? is the final book in the Brown Bear collaboration. In this one Baby Bear learns about North American animals while on his quest to find Mama.

Baby Bear holds a special place in my heart because I have a wonderful recording of my son “reading” it when he was about 18 months old. My mommy heart swoons each time I hear his tiny toddler voice rhythmically repeating the lines from the book. The Carle illustrations were among his favorites. And they are still among mine.

If you’re interested in the unique way Carle creates his illustrations, follow the link in my sunflower post. 

Until tomorrow…

Quotes: The [Prophetic] Wisdom of Lincoln

Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, Manchester, Vermont

As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

–Abraham Lincoln, letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 22, 1855

***     ***     ***

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed.

–Abraham Lincoln, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, November 21, 1864

***     ***     ***

The ballot is stronger than the bullet.  –Abraham Lincoln, speech, May 19, 1856


Note on Postcard: Sheila L, one of my Love Notes friends, sent the postcard above featuring a bit of the garden and house at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home. You can find out more about the Vermont home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlon Lincoln by clicking the link: Hildene.

You Are Here to Risk Your Heart…

“I have been quietly standing in the shade all my days.” Artwork by Shannon N.

Even though I enjoyed watching the trees through the rain yesterday, I missed spending time in their presence. The mail gods knew, so they arranged for the tree above to arrive in time for a day too rainy and gloomy for time outdoors.

Rainy days often bring the best gifts.

The apple tree art is the work of Shannon N, eleveneleven on Redbubble.  It was gifted to me by Geraldine, my swap-bot friend who has been consistently sending random acts of happy mail my way. The card came with condolences and a Louise Erdrich quote befitting the image on front:

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.  —Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Wow! My knowledge of Erdrich’s painful, life-shattering story makes these words counsel to heed, particularly when I’m tempted to survive by not feeling or dealing with a host of pent-up, mixed-up emotions.

Although I really enjoy Erdrich as a writer, I haven’t read any of her novels since I was working on my doctorate (gasp!). So, thanks, Geraldine, for the three gifts embedded in one 4×6 postcard–the tree, the Erdrich quote, and a book suggestion for the next rainy, stay-indoors day.

May you have a weekend filled with reading, rest, and random gifts!