The Perfect Time

Autumn is the perfect time
to take account of what we’ve done,
what we didn’t do,
and what we’d like to do next year.

This weekend, I received three stunning autumn-themed swaps from Diane W. (Midteacher on swap-bot). Each was sent for a swap in the A Thousand Words group. The handmade postcard above was sent for the “Autumn Postcard or Notecard” swap.

The gathering of leaves met Diane at her back stairs and she couldn’t resist taking the shot. She provided details of her creative process on the back of the card. Don’t you love all the layers and textures?

I am always inspired to do more with my own photos when I see her work. One day, I will…

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!

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…

Let’s Take a Drive (or a swim?)

I’m back with more happy mail! This time, I’m sharing the photos Gale D (grstamping) shot for the “Take a Walk” photo series hosted in the A Thousand Words Group on swap-bot.

Gale’s July “walk” took her to the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario where she has been asked to photograph exhibits to make cards for the museum gift shop. While there, she takes her time noting the details of each object, as you will see from the photos in this post.

“Car Lamp” by Gale D.

I don’t know much about old cars, but I’m drawn to them, especially the vintage elements and features like the lamp (above) and the steering wheel (below).

“Steering Wheel” by Gale D.

Here’s a fun “don’t touch me” sign sitting on a car seat.

“Don’t Touch Me” by Gale D

And what would a photo walk through an automobile museum be without a whole car?

“Amphibious Car” by Gale D.

According to Gale, this amphibious car has never “seen water. The collector kept it dry and clean.” She did a little work in Lightroom on this one to give it an [even more] vintage feel.

Wouldn’t you like to learn more about this car and see it on water? Thanks to YouTube, you can!

I ❤ museums and museum shops, so it’s nice to take a brief “walk through the museum” and find the cards I would have purchased in my mailbox! Thanks, Gale! 🙂

Enjoy your ride!

Possibilities

“Possibilities” by Diane W., Midteacher on swap-bot

The academic year began with far more drama than I expected, and I’m finally finding a few moments on a less crazy night. I’ve been reflecting on the mixed media photography piece Diane W., Midteacher, sent for the “Raindrops” swap I hosted a few weeks ago.

Last Monday, I marched into my office after dropping my son off for his first day of school, happy to have a full seven hours to transform “possibilities” to realities. I had such plans! But one obstacle after another hindered any progress on anything day after day for almost the entire week.

When my own classes began two days later, I was not prepared. I “faked the funk” and pushed through, but by Friday, I was deflated–my only solace was knowing I had the weekend to recuperate.

Today, I took a short walk after my morning classes, annoyed by another hindrance. Through some connection in my thoughts, the words Diane worked into her photo surfaced–“today is full of possibilities.”

Was I going to let one thing gone wrong ruin a whole day filled with possibilities? Was I going to allow my week to be hijacked again?

Of course not! There’s too much at stake.

I shook off the icky feelings, returned to my office and got to work…chipping away at the possibilities.