Love Inspired: Loyal Birds and “Fowl” Words

For a recent “Love Inspired” swap for the “A Thousand Words” group on swap-bot Gale D., my partner, went birds and feathers on me.  The goal of the swap was to pair a love quote with an appropriate photo.

Gale settled on a quote from  A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh:

Some people care too much.  I think it’s called love.

Gale does a lot of bird photography, so she sent me two of her favorite photos.

The first, a pair of Mute Swans:

“Mute Swans” by Gale D., grstamping on swap-bot

According to Gale’s note, the Mute Swans “stay together forever. It saves time and energy, and they produce more cygnets this way.  They make a great team.”

I found some interesting tidbits about Mute Swans on Cornell University’s All About Birds Site.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Mute Swans are not native to North America
  • The swans pretty much mate for life, but will find another mate if a partner dies
  • Their reputation for monogamy along with their white plumage has helped establish them as a symbol of love in many cultures
  • The Mute Swan is the “star” of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling
  • The swans are pretty aggressive (so give them lots of space)
  • The oldest known Mute Swan is 26 years, 9 months old

Gale also sent a pair of Canada Geese and their goslings.

“Canada Geese,” by Gale D., grstamping on swap-bot

Gale wrote that she loves Canada Geese, but although they adapt around humans well, she hasn’t had much opportunities to get close to the geese.  Ironically, she lives in Canada.  This particular photo was shot in a cemetery pond.

There are a LOT of Canada Geese on the university campus where I work.  She’d have no problem getting up close and personal with them. During early fall, they pretty much rule the campus, even stopping traffic at times.  That can be annoying, but it is a pretty glorious sight to see them take flight in formation.

During the second year of their lives Canada Geese find a mate, and like Mute Swans, they are monogamous and mate for life.

It truly is inspiring to find such “faithfulness” and “loyalty” in the animal kingdom.  We often think so little of them, but we have so much to learn from them.

Microblog Mondays: The Wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

I recently began a new swap series in the “All Things Book-Related” group on swap-bot. For the series, swappers must send partners a book-related postcard with a quote from a fictional or poetic work that enlightens, inspires, or “shows us the way.”  The quote may be printed on the front of the postcard or written on the back.

This is the most recent card I received–for Literary Wisdom #3:

Literary Wisdom

Literary Wisdom from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

The postcard came from Mandi of Lake Elsinore, California.  She writes, “We hear so much bad news these days that we forget there is still love and happiness in the world.”

The Tolkien quote served as a perfect ending to a class discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  One of the most important take-aways from our discussion was the need for us to remain vigilant in the quest to protect our freedoms and preserve our souls while doing so.  We protect ourselves during perilous times–such as these–by recognizing the struggle is not all there is, by praying/mediating, by moving in love, and by immersing ourselves in the love of family and friends.

microblog_mondays

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Cute Kids, a Dog, a Cat, and a Tea-Drinking Rat

Every two weeks I host two children’s book illustration postcard swaps on swap-bot.  One “public,” which means any swapper can participate and the other for members of the Book Lovers Congregate group.  I posted the first 10 swaps in the second series of swaps that began last year: here and here.

The 125+ postcards of the first series of swaps can be found by clicking the links that follow: part i, part ii, part iii, part iv, and part v.

To avoid posting dozens of children’s book illustration postcards in one post, I’m making an effort to share the postcards as the swaps complete.  This way, we can spend a little more time on information related to the postcard.

Swap #11 (Public) came from Israel, from Lihior, who remarks that she loves these swaps, and I’m happy to have seen her in every swap so far!ch-bk-illustration-received-11-1

The postcard Lihior sent (above) is from The World of Peter Rabbit, a collection of postcards that features the illustrations of Beatrix Potter, the beloved English writer who penned and illustrated more than 20 children’s books in her lifetime. This particular postcard is from the book The Sly Old Cat, 1907.

According to the information provided on the back of the postcard,  “the book was the third in the series of concertina-bound books that started with The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit and The Story of Miss Moppet, but was canceled when the format proved too fragile for bookshops.”

The series of books was written for younger children and was designed to introduce the children to the world of Peter Rabbit.

The Sly Old Cat was finally published in 1971. It tells the story of a cat who invites a rat to a tea party with the intention of eating him.  No worries.  The mouse outwits the cat and escapes.  He even gets a yummy muffin for his trouble.

The postcard for the Book Lovers Congregate Swap #11 came from Xira in the Netherlands.  She posted a picture of the postcard on Instagram with some other outgoing mail.  I “liked” the photo and “exclaimed” over Jip and Janneke, but I had no idea it was headed my way.  Imagine my surprise!

If you’ve read any of my other children’s book illustration posts, you know that I love the pair of friends from the Dutch preschool children’s books, Jip and Janneke.  The books are written by Annie M.G. Schmidt and illustrated by Fiep Westendorp. The two have been writing and illustrating the children’s books together for more than 30 years.  They feature the best friends living as preschoolers–lives filled with play, mischief, interpersonal conflicts, and loads of fun.  The children and their pets are always in black and white as you see them here.

This particular image is from a 1993 illustration.  The postcard features Jip (pronounced “Yip”) and the Janneke (pronounced “Yan-nic-a” with the stress on the first syllable) and Weenie and Sippy, Jip’s dog and Janneke’s cat.  The postcard back does not indicate from which book the illustration comes.

A few years ago one of my first-year students, after engaging in lengthy conversations with me about the duo, gave me a collection of Jip and Janneke stories on CD.  In Dutch.  One day, I’ll know enough Dutch to understand what I’m listening to. 😀

Jip and Janneke

Jip and Janneke Audio CD Cover

I have already received half of swap #12 and swap #13 is underway, so look for more children’s book illustration postcard posts soon! Until then, spend a few moments revisiting your childhood and pick up some kiddie lit!

 

 

Cup and Chaucer: Mini Pocket Flipbook

One of the most enjoyable snail mail projects I worked on this year was a mini pocket flipbook for a swap in the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot.  Cup and Chaucer, as you might have guessed, is a group of swap-bots who love mulling over a great literature with piping hot cup of tea.

I’d never done a flipbook before, but my interest was piqued by the theme–books!  How could I resist?  Besides sticking to the theme, the only other requirement was that we incorporate a pocket.

My “receive from” partner, AnnaM, created a beautiful flipbook–lots of purple and gold, pretty embellishments, and many thoughtful handmade items.  Overall, it was an elegant flipbook, nicely presented.

This is how the flipbook came out of the envelope:

Flipbook Packaging

Flipbook Packaging

Here’s the front cover:

Flipbook Front Cover

Flipbook Front Cover

And the back cover:

Back Cover

“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as the faint subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” –Arthur Conan Doyle

And everything in between [click an image for a closer look]:

Here’s a closer look at some of the tuck-ins [click an image for a closer look]:

There was just so much “eye candy.” I remember doing the happy mail dance when I opened the package.

The swap came at a crazy time for me–April.  The cruelest month. Remember?  I didn’t even see an opportunity to work on it until the mail deadline date.  I ended up grabbing a bunch of supplies on my way out the door one morning, working on it, and completing it in record time in my office (between classes, of course).  I posted it on my way home.

I chose a color pallet and crafted without a plan:

fullsizerender-57

It was early spring and I was happy to see and play with color again.

True to my “English professor” word, I finished the front cover last (I tell my students to write their essay introductions last).

Bookish Flipbook Front Cover

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”  –Charles Williams Eliot

Here’s the back cover and everything in-between [click an image for a closer look]:

My favorite part is Dickens’ Dream by Victorian artist Robert William Buss.  I scavenged it from a mailer from one of the textbook publishers. The curly haired lady was also salvaged from an envelope or the back of a postcard.

The flipbook was 5 x 7 inches, a manageable size.  It was bound with washi tape. I tucked in Jane Austen postcards, Project Life cards, star-shaped Post-it notes, washi tape, and paperclip bookmarks–something else I learned to do this year.

Making the flipbook was an easy and fun activity; I’m looking forward to crafting another one. If you’d like to make your own flipbook and need to see more of the process, here’s the YouTube video I reviewed before making my own:

Doesn’t this look like fun for a rainy day?

Abandoned…

While traveling around Northern Alabama, I encounter many abandoned buildings–homes, businesses, barns.  Some of the buildings obviously lack love and care, and passersby watch them slowly fall to pieces. It seems time stands still for some other buildings since there are no visible signs of neglect (other than overgrown grass and bushes).

I often wonder why these buildings are empty and alone and what stories they have to tell.  This intrigue led me to create an “Abandoned” swap in the “A Thousand Words” group on swap-bot.  It was for this swap that Midteacher sent the package I received yesterday.

She sent several photos of two abandoned buildings.

"Abandoned Building" by DBW aka Midteacher

“Abandoned Building” by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr with canvas overlay.

This is a building Midteacher passed on her way home [from work].  She loved how it was falling apart.  In her note she wrote that “the roof caved in from last winter’s heavy snow and then, sadly, it was torn down this summer.”

Here’s another slightly different view:

Abandoned Building

“Abandoned Building” by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr.

Here’s an old barn found on her friend’s property:

"Old Barn" by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr.

“Old Barn” by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr.

And here’s a view of the silo:

"Silo" by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr.

“Silo” by DBW aka Midteacher. Edited in Pixlr.

I sent SilverD, my “send to” partner, a notecard featuring an older photo and a building we pass three times a week, but finally stopped to photograph a month or two ago.

"Abandoned on a Corner"

“Abandoned on a Corner”

SilverD thinks the building was an old store or saloon. It also looks like a home with many additions. I’m not sure.

Here’s the altered photo in black and white:

"Abandoned on a Corner"

“Abandoned on a Corner”

Its neighbor is also abandoned.

"Abandoned's Neighbor"

“Abandoned’s Neighbor”

Though perhaps not as abandoned.

I have a whole collection of “abandoned buildings” buried on my computer. Perhaps, when life slows down a little, I’ll take the time to pull a few and share them.  Maybe, by then, I will know some of the stories. 😉

Until next time…

 

Autumn Happy Mail

I hope you’re not tired of reading about autumn, because I received a bit of autumn happy mail today and I have to share!

Swap-bot’s Midteacher sent a swap in an autumn-themed envelope with a gorgeous autumn card and photo.  Autumn was not the theme of the swap, but it is not unusual for swappers to send extras that the receiver will enjoy. Of course, my love for the season is no secret.

I will share the swap items tomorrow, but for today, let’s just take a look at the envelope and the autumn extras.  Here’s the pretty mail art:

Zentangled Leaves by Midteacher

Zentangled Leaves by Midteacher

Just seeing this envelope makes me smile.

On the inside was a card designed with one of Midteacher’s photos and embellished with paper, ribbon, and other items.

Fall Card made by Midteacher

Fall Card made by DBW aka Midteacher

I mentioned Midteacher’s card-making techniques in a post earlier this month.

She wrote a special thank you note inside which made me feel warm, fuzzy, and appreciated.

She adhered a little photo  inspiration to the inside of the card:

Photo Inspiration by Midteacher

Photo Inspiration by DBW aka Midteacher

And added a photo featuring her favorite autumn mug and a crunchy, frosty pile of autumn leaves:

"Leaves and Tea," Photo by DBW/Diane aka Midteacher (swap-bot)

“Leaves and Tea,” Photo by Diane aka Midteacher

Now, I have to make a decision: Should these go on my “Fall Wall” or should they be used in my journaling?  Maybe, they should go on the wall until I’m ready to use them in a journal. Hmmm… I’ll figure it out later. For now, I’ll just enjoy the little happy-makers.

“See ya” tomorrow…

 

Autumn Has Flowers Too!

At the mention of spring, we imagine an explosion of blossoms in many, many colors. At the mention of autumn, we think of the changing of trees.  But autumn has flowers too, and that was the point of the photo postcard swap in which my penfriend Beckra and I participated.

On a walk in the woods, Beckra captured Ladies’ Tresses which is a kind of orchid.  She writes that it is “great that when autumn brings some relief from Arkansas heat, it also brings flowers. We call it a second spring.”

Ladies' Tresses, photo by Rebecca R. (aka Beckra)

“Second Spring.” Ladies’ Tresses, photo by Rebecca R. (aka Beckra)

She points out that in this photo the blooms have not fully unfurled.

When I was at the Nashville Zoo last month, there were flowers everywhere.  In addition to some “still flowering” rose bushes and hydrangeas, there were mums everywhere (I think they’re mums).

"Mums the Word"

“Mums the Word”

And there’s always, always something blooming on our beautiful campus. This caught my eye while I was having a very rare moment to chit-chat with my friend, Meli.

Campus Bloom, iPhone Photo

Campus Bloom, iPhone Photo

I was grateful to see some pink dancing with the oranges, yellows, and reds of autumn, but I decided on “typical” autumn colors for the swap.  I played around with a couple of photos in the iColorama app and ended it up with way too many versions, so my hubby and son helped me select some of the edits. From their selection, I sent three or four to Beckra. [Click an image for a closer look]

 

“Behind the Glass” was inspired by an autumn photo Beckra sent to me.  “Van Gogh” is my favorite of the set, probably because he’s my favorite Impressionist.  “Nautilus” and “Ray” tie for second.

The advantage of a late fall here in Northern Alabama is that everything is still so beautiful and brilliant, but I have a feeling that is going to change with the blink of an eye, so I’m pretty sure this is going to be my last autumn post for the year. Until next year, I’ll just enjoy this year’s photos. 😉

Fierce Woman: “Ride, Sally Ride!”

Some time ago, I coordinated a “Fierce Woman” photo swap.  A fierce woman, for the purpose of the swap, was defined as: a mover and shaker in science, music, politics, history, art, dance, theatre, literature, activism (etc.) who inspires other women to strive for excellence.  Participants had to find a quote by a fierce woman and capture (or choose from their collection) a complementary photo.  Tynkerbelle aka Zoey aka Peppie, shared a shot from a launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  She appropriately paired the photo with a quote by Dr. Sally Ride (1951-2012) who was the first American woman in space (1983).

Sally Ride by Tynkerbelle aka Zoey Rayne aka Peppie Selders

“All Adventures…” by Tynkerbelle aka Zoey Rayne aka Peppie Selders

Being a “wordsy” type of woman with a son who is both “wordsy” and “sciencey,” I have to keep up with space, astronauts, and a lot of other science stuff that usually holds my attention for only a few minutes at a time.  I enjoyed being able to share Zoey’s photo with him and teaching him about Dr. Ride, but I learned a little something myself.  While I knew Dr. Ride was a physicist and (of course) an astronaut, I did not realize that she also had an undergraduate degree in English.  Of course, that did my English professor heart a world of good! I tell students all the time that a degree in English can place them on the path to any career they desire.  Dr. Sally Ride is evidence–with a degree in English, one can soar!

All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.

I keep the photo inspiration on my desk as a reminder that it is natural to be afraid when I venture into new territory, but I shouldn’t allow fear to keep me from moving in the direction of my dreams.

What’s your favorite “fierce woman” quote? Share it in the comments, and maybe, I’ll make some photo inspiration with “your” quote.

Series Two: Children’s Book Illustration Postcards 6-10

As promised, I’m back with more children’s book illustration postcards–swaps 6-10.  The postcards below are from various parts of the world and include some of my favorite characters and/or themes–teddy bears, Classic Pooh, Moomin, and Alice in Wonderland.  I was very pleased to be introduced to Rosalie and Truffle (the pink pig and the brown boar–see public swap #7).  Amazon’s description:

Love at first sight does exist! Rosalie and Truffle fall in love when they meet under an apple tree. But their well-meaning friends and relatives discourage them from meeting again. As time goes by, and Rosalie and Truffle improve their lifestyles with yoga and dancing, they realize that neither material growth nor physical perfection guarantees happiness. At last they return to the apple tree and reunite.

Rosalie and Truffle, Truffle and Rosalie is an endearing story of love and trust, with wonderful illustrations. And the story is narrated from both points of view: flip the book over to read the story from the other perspective. This is a charming gift book, perfect for Valentine’s Day or for any special occasion.

Aside from their story of self-discovery and love, they remind me of strawberry and chocolate ice cream.  Yum!

BLC PC #6: From Swededreams (USA): Happy Birthday, Kirsten. From the American Girls Series. Kirsten and her friends traded scraps of cloth so everyone could make a colorful design on a square of white muslin. The designs they made from the bits of cloth slowly grew in their hands the way wild violence bloomed on the prairie. Hallmark.

BLC PC #6: From Swededreams (USA): Happy Birthday, Kirsten. From the American Girls Series. Kirsten and her friends traded scraps of cloth so everyone could make a colorful design on a square of white muslin. The designs they made from the bits of cloth slowly grew in their hands the way wild violence bloomed on the prairie. Hallmark.

 

Public #6: From Mollypop (USA)--From Pleasant Lands 1936. Illustrators: A. Gladys Peck and Eleanor Osborn Eadie

Public PC #6: From Mollypop (USA)–From Pleasant Lands 1936. Illustrators: A. Gladys Peck and Eleanor Osborn Eadie

BLC PC#7: From Eloise (Mexico)--The Family from One End Street, 2004. Cover illustration by Eve Garnett. Puffin.

BLC PC#7: From Eloise (Mexico)–The Family from One End Street, 2004. Cover illustration by Eve Garnett. Puffin.

 

Public #7: From Am-Sophie (Germany): Rosalie and Truffle by Katja Reider. Illustration by Jutta Bucker

Public PC #7: From Am-Sophie (Germany): Rosalie and Truffle by Katja Reider. Illustration by Jutta Bucker

 

BLC PC #8: From Ladybug (Canada)--The Tiny Seed, 1987, by Eric Carle.

BLC PC #8: From Ladybug (Canada)–The Tiny Seed, 1987, by Eric Carle.

 

Public #8: From Milkiss (Korea)--Moomin Characters

Public PC #8: From Milkiss (Korea)–Moomin Characters

 

BLC PC#9: From Sarah (USA)--Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1956. Cover illustration by Cecil Leslie. Puffin.

BLC PC#9: From Sarah (USA)–Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1956. Cover illustration by Cecil Leslie. Puffin.

 

Public #9: From Jennifer (USA). From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Illustration by George Soper. "At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her."

Public PC #9: From Jennifer (USA). From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Illustration by George Soper. “At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her.”

 

BLC PC #10: From AmyD (USA)--Classic Pooh, "HMS Piglet," A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

BLC PC #10: From AmyD (USA)–Classic Pooh, “HMS Piglet,” A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

 

Public PC #10: From Widelo123 (USA)--From the cover of Hello, Mallory. Baby-sitters Club #14, 1991.

Public PC #10: From Widelo123 (USA)–From the cover of Hello, Mallory. Baby-sitters Club #14, 1991.

Many of the participants in this “new” series of children’s book illustration swaps also participated when Marjan hosted the swaps.  They are so appreciative of the swaps’ return and that makes hosting them extra pleasurable.  Thanks, Marjan, for laying a strong foundation; thanks swappers, for joining in and spreading postcard happiness!

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with swap #11.

Until then…enjoy these!

Series Two: Children’s Book Illustration Postcards 1-5

Back in June I posted a five-part series on the children’s book illustration postcards I’d received through 122 consecutive weeks of swaps hosted by Marjan.  She ended the series in December 2015.   I really missed the swaps, so as I reviewed my blank CBI postcards “crying out” for new homes, I knew it was time to start the swaps again.  Marjan gave her blessing and the swaps began (again) in July.  I host the swap every two weeks–in the “Book Lovers Congregate” group (BLC) on swap-bot and as a public swap (which means any swap-bot member can join as long as she/he meets swap criteria).  I hope to eliminate the public swap eventually and only host in the group, but so far, the public swap participant roster is three times longer than the group’s.  For now, it’s been fun hosting in two places.  Besides, I have more than 300 blank children’s book illustration postcards to share with the world; I plan to host the swap until I run out of postcards…or steam.

We just completed the 10th swap.  Here are postcards from the first five swaps–with illustrations of books from Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (USA).

BLC Swap #1: From Ksenia (Israel)--

BLC PC #1: From Ksenia (Israel)–“What’s the Story?” Ksenia found this postcard at an illustration exhibition. There was no story attached, but it feels like a children’s book illustration, so it counts. 😉

Public PC #1: From Marloucat (Netherlands)--De Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson and Avel Scheffler.

Public PC #1: From Marloucat (Netherlands)–De Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson and Avel Scheffler.

BLC PC #2: From Owlsinathens (Vienna)--Findus flyttar ut (Findus Moves Out), by Sven Nordqvist.

BLC PC #2: From Owlsinathens (Vienna)–Findus flyttar ut (Findus Moves Out), by Sven Nordqvist.

Public #2: From Pikkis (Finland)--From Nu skall har bli andra bullar by Gunilla Hansson.

Public PC #2: From Pikkis (Finland)–From Nu skall har bli andra bullar by Gunilla Hansson.

BLC PC #3 From PeggyO (USA)--From The Children's Own Readers. Book One, 1929. Illustration by Marguerite Davis.

BLC PC #3 From PeggyO (USA)–From The Children’s Own Readers. Book One, 1929. Illustration by Marguerite Davis.

Public #3: From Jeepermom (USA)--From the Tale of Benjamin Bunny, 1904. Peter drops the onions he has gathered.

Public PC #3: From Jeepermom (USA)–From The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, 1904. Peter drops the onions he has gathered. “Presently Peter let the picket-handkerchief go again.” Illustration by Beatrix Potter. The World of Peter Rabbit.

BLC PC #4: From DebR (United Kingdom)--Cinderella, 1964. Series 606-D-Well Loved Tales. By Vera Southgate, Illustrated by Eric Winter

BLC PC #4: From DebR (United Kingdom)–Cinderella, 1964. Series 606-D-“Well Loved Tales.” By Vera Southgate. Illustration by Eric Winter

Public #4b: From Karen07 (USA)--Something to Do, 1968. Cover Illustration by Shirley Hughes. Puffin.

Public PC #4: From Karen07 (USA)–Something to Do, 1968. Cover illustration by Shirley Hughes. Puffin.

Public #4: From Karen07 (USA)--The BFG by Roald Dahl, 2007. Cover Illustration by Quentin Blake. Puffin.

Public PC #4b: From Karen07 (USA)–The BFG by Roald Dahl, 2007. Cover illustration by Quentin Blake. Puffin.

BLC PC #5: From Jeepermom (USA)--From the Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902. Mrs. Rabbit in the woods.

BLC PC #5: From Jeepermom (USA)–From The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902. Mrs. Rabbit in the woods. “Old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and when through the wood to the baker’s.” Illustration by Beatrix Potter. The World of Peter Rabbit.

Public #5: From Karen07 (USA)--Street Fair by Marjorie Fischer, 1949. Cover Illustration by S. Dyson. Puffin.

Public PC #5: From Karen07 (USA)–Street Fair by Marjorie Fischer, 1949. Cover illustration by S. Dyson. Puffin.

Public #5b: From Karen07 (USA)--Avalanche, 1959. Cover illustration by Alice Evers.

Public PC #5b: From Karen07 (USA)–Avalanche, 1959. Cover illustration by Alice Evers.

That’s it for now.  Tune in tomorrow for swaps six to ten.

Ciao!