Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Texture Tuesday . . .

"It is the color closest to light. In its utmost purity it always implies
the nature of brightness and has a cheerful, serene, gently
stimulating character. Hence, experience teaches us that yellow makes
a thoroughly warm and comforting impression."

- Johann Wolfgang Geothe

{KK jamal, violet}

Oh, I had planned on something else yellow, with black and white stripes.

Yes, a monarch caterpillar.

But, this month is proving to be, as always, one of the busiest months. Especially
since at the end of last week I went to pick up our daughter from her first year of college.

That. went. by. fast! #wheredidthetimego

The rain held off while we carried all her stuff down the stairs and to the parking lot. For three hours. And oh, it was 96 degrees (without the humidity index). Amen! (for no rain, not the 96 degrees) :) #badhairday

The next morning we got up and did a whirlwind visit to the San Jose Mission, and then the
rain came. It was torrential . . . we had to pull off the side of the highway on the way home it was
so bad. There was zero visibility and for several hours we all drove with the flashers on. It was nearly
double the time it normally takes to get home. #whiteknuckleride

Today, I lost a caterpillar in the house. Ironically I brought it in to keep it safe. Don't let those things
fool ya, they are fast! I just hope it found a safe place to pupate and that if it makes it I find it after
it emerges to let it go outside. #Igotdistracted #oops

Had to take my son to the doctor today, always listen to your intuition. Now that he has spring football, with full pads, he got a staff infection in the acne caused by the steroids from his sinus infection. #thekiddeservesabreak

I'm now due for an upgrade on my phone after two years . . . thank goodness! #phoneprobs

My daughters entire dorm room is all over my formal living room floor . . .  #itsamess

And, my daughter and I are going to Chicago next week for a week to visit with my mom and family.
#somuchtodo #ifeelsobehind

I may not make it back before we go, so if not I'll see ya in two weeks! ;)

And. . . I am over at Focusing On Life today with some thoughts from my front porch.

Love, Kim

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thank you . . .

"The challenge of history is to recover the past
and introduce it to the present."

- David Thelen

{San Jose Mission, San Antonio, TX)

I hated history growing up.

Having the right teacher can make all the difference.

My teacher today? . . . my daughter.

She is a history major, a future teacher.

Her students will LOVE history, because of her passion and love of it.

Today, in a few minutes I leave to go pick my daughter up from college, in the pouring rain.
POURING rain, 100% chance with thunderstorms.

And I'm so hoping between now and sometime before we leave tomorrow that the sky clears, because
I want to visit a mission (again) before we come back. 

I LoVe the missions in San Antonio,

so much history, so much culture, 

still something to learn each time I go,


This is teacher appreciation week, and I want to thank teachers all over the world for their love and dedication to teaching or having taught our children.

And this includes all the moms who sacrifice so much to home school their children, including some of my very special blogging friends!

Let me just apologize ahead of time for not being able to visit you back this time, the next few days will be crazy, and waterlogued! ;)

Love, Kim

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A cuppa . . .

"In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want
a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if
you're sure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing.
Except the pronounce it ting. You don't need a ting. Well, she says
then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble.
Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't
mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you
a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over
again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no,
and then you don't get any damned tea.

I like the Irish way better."

- C. E. Murphy

Short and sweet today . . . after answering my four questions yesterday for the 
"virtual blog tour" I guess I ran out of words for today, gasp! ;)

Our prompt today is "a cuppa" and I used my grandmother's antique cups and saucers,
with some of the fallen rose petals from my Belinda's dream roses. The petals still smell good!

{KK Start and Chamomile}

{KK 411 and paperlove}

I actually took this one in January and don't remember the textures I used on this one. Since
there was nothing to photograph in January really, I started playing with some still life's and
have had a little love affair with stacking cups and saucers.

{KK 511}

"Tea for Two?"

I may be the only one who photographs my caterpillars as props! haha
But in my defense, I didn't have my enclosure set back up yet and they were
looking for a spot to make their silk pad to hang from.

This was a good way to keep an eye on them.... :)
Two birds with one stone kinda thing, ya know?

Have a great day,
Love, Kim

Monday, May 5, 2014

A virtual blog tour . . .

"To be an artist it is not necessary to make a living from our
creations. Nor is it necessary to have work hanging in fine museums
or the praise of critics . . . To be an artist it is necessary to live with
our eyes wide open, to breathe in the colors of the mountain and sky,
to know the sound of leaves rustling, the smell of the snow, the textures of
bark . . . To be an artist is to notice every beautiful and tragic thing, to cry
freely, to collect experience and shape it into forms that others can share."
- Jan Phillips

Good morning friends, today I'm pausing to participate in a virtual blog tour, invited by my sweet blogging friend Cathy. The idea is that the same four questions will be answered by a lot of other lovely, creative souls and then linked together, kinda like a trail of bread crumbs (or M&M's).

I would love to invite you to check out Cathy's answers here at her blog My Corner Through My Lens, where you can also find links to more goodness. No worries, I"ll wait right here. And at the end, I will introduce you to three more beautiful people who will continue the tour a week from today.

Okay, here we go . . . 

1. What am I working on?

I'm not sure it's something I'm "working" on, but rather something I feel I've been shifting towards for some time now. Being more receptive to what is around me rather than reactive. Being more reflective rather than having preconceptions, which seems to almost always make me miss something in the process. Especially when I "expect" a certain outcome. I've learned that too many expectations can end in disappointment. And that's in life as well as through the lens. At the beginning of the year Intention was the word I chose, or maybe it chose me, to be a sort of guide through the year. So I guess in a way I'm trying to be more intentional about receiving from my heart in a way that is slow and spacious, allowing myself to see what is there and not forcing what is not. For me, abstract is a form of contemplative photography and meditation that helps me to do just that . . . as I'm mindful of the aspects of an objects essence broken down into parts.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm, is this a trick question? lol

To be honest this is a difficult, and a bit of an uncomfortable question for me. And I feel like in order to answer I would have to make assumptions and that is something in my photography that I'm not willing to do with others. I'm not even sure what genre I would put myself in. What I do know is that as individuals we all come to our crafts with different life experiences and visions that makes what each of us does very unique provided we all follow our own hearts and our own visions. What I hope though, is that my voice comes across as authentic and true to myself, to who I am as a creative soul, and not only my love for nature, but my love for sharing it as well.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I don't know anything else. And I suppose most of us will say we do, because we have to. Like breathing air.

I have, ever since I can remember always created in some way and it may not have been on the same scale as my photography is now, but the need to express myself has appeared through the years in many forms. For me, creating, whether it be in jewelry or photographs, allows me to express myself in ways that aren't always possible any other way. It's my way of working through life, its ups and downs . . .trying to find the beauty in the process through my lens and on paper, and moving from moment to moment.

4. How does your writing/creative process work?

Hmmm, how does your writing/creative process work. Well that kinda makes it sound like there might be a little planning that goes along with that. Something I'm not so good at these days. I probably fit the definition of "artist" in that I'm somewhat scattered and fly by the seat of pants most of the time. When I get an idea for something or want to try a new technique I often just dive in. When it comes to my writing, that just shows up when it wants to most of the time. I do have spiral notebooks that I keep for writing down ideas, although trying to go back to find something is like looking for a needle in a haystack! lol

I have to say that also being a jewelry maker, it has taught me to be flexible in the creative process. I can start with a sketch or an idea, which may morph 10 fold before I'm done. Or I may run into technical difficulty which means temporarily back to the drawing board so to speak.

Yes, patience is a virtue for a creative soul, it allows us freedom for the ride and fuel for the destination.

And now, drum roll please . . . three of my amazing friends, bloggers and creative souls who will continue this blog tour next week, same time....on May 12th. But you don't have to wait until then to visit . . .

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo is a self taught mixed media artist and poet living in South Ohio. Kathryn's work has been published in The Pulse of Mixed Media, Artful Blogging 2012, Poetry Nook Vol 3 with her debut collection of poetry and prose 'The Edge of Silence' self published this February.

To learn more about the artist and her creative journey visit her blog www.dychedesigns.blogspot.com .

Hello, my name is Kim Cunningham. I am the author of Little by Little. I am a mom who homeschools and runs a photography business during my day. I blog about Life, Learning and Light. I'm seeking to capture it all, Little by Little, and one frame at a time.

Kelly Kardos is a photo hobbyist that is always striving for a clear vision in her natural light photography. Life events have helped her to pay close attention to the little things that make up the big picture that often get overlooked if one doesn't' slow down and enjoy the journey. She believes that a photograph should tell a story without words and she has found her "style" by practicing this in her everyday existence and most certainly when she's out shooting. You can find her blogging here: Just a Click Away

Until next time
Love, Kim

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday finds . . .

 We were out and about his weekend
and I actually "found" something in a little gift shop.
I rarely shop anywhere . . . and well, when I saw this
I'm pretty sure everyone heard me gasp!

Not just a little journal . . . 

 But oh my, a wooden journal with a monarch! And the best part . . . less than $10
and the only one they had.  

And my next find . . . if you can call it a find. More like a parting gift from a great night at a good friends
house on Saturday night. They back up to a rice field, and who knew there was a field of rice growing in our town? Not I. Anyhow, when you live next to a really wet area, among "other things" you have a ton of green
tree frogs all over your back porch.

Is he not the cutest thing?

He came home with me, and since it was very late . . . 

I let him go on my front porch the next morning and crossed my fingers that he
stayed for two seconds so I could get a mug shot.

He stayed for four, but not more than that before he jumped ship! lol Just check out those long fingers. Do they even call them fingers? I sure hope he isn't being missed at the gathering pond by all his buddies when they all meet for a drink. Maybe he needs a few more friends?

I can't believe it's Friday already - have a great weekend!

Love, Kim

sharing with Friday Finds

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Note to self . . .

Note to self . . . 

be kind to yourself, not everyone else will

respect yourself even when others don't

you have a kind heart, not everyone can see it

your opinions matter even if no one wants to listen

when you fall down, do your best to get back up

learn to trust yourself, even if others choose not to

love yourself, not everyone is going to love you back

don't let anyone define your self worth, they will put your value below theirs

when things seem overwhelming, keep calm and carry on

and, what you think of yourself is far more important than what others think of you.

Sometimes you start something and you don't exactly know what it's going to look like or how it's going to end up. And, what started out as a photo-art Friday "collage" prompt, quickly shaped up as my photo-heart connection this month. I didn't even go back to look at any of my other photos from the month.

I sat last night in front of my computer, in front of a blank screen with no idea or any feeling of creativity at all. Finally I had to just walk away...it was making me feel even worse than I was already feeling. And I was feeling sad, and somewhat numb and...a little lost. You see every now and again I let people treat me in a way that doesn't make me feel very good about myself. I lose my way, and start to doubt everything.

I let them take control of something that isn't theirs . . . my heart. But I'm taking it back, starting with this note to myself.

Love, Kim

sharing with Photo Art Friday, Photo-heart Connection

My journey with the monarchs: No. 3

Before we go on, remember how I said I might forget something?
Yep, forgot something really important about the milkweed last week.

Have you have ever broken a leaf off of a milkweed plant and seen a milky white substance 
 ooze from where it had been attached? It's a latex that contains alkaloids and other complexes
including cardenolides. It's a form of steroid (and cardiac arrester) and it IS what makes the caterpillar
and the monarch butterfly poisonous to their predators. The fact that they have the coloring they do in the larval stage and as a butterfly is so that they warn their predators that they will not taste very good. You should not put this plant where pets might eat it as it would make them sick or worse. And you should always take care not to get the latex on your skin and definitely not in your eyes. I'm constantly washing my hands after handling the plant and go through a lot of hand soap in my house! And, when you purchase your milkweed, you need to make sure that it has not been sprayed with pesticide! And for the record, I thought I should add that milkweed is NOT a weed, but a perennial herb.

Mammas got eggs:

A female monarch can lay about 300-400 eggs in her lifetime. She will arch her abdomen under a leaf with her wings closed and lay one egg per leaf, usually. I have even  found eggs laid on top of leaves and on the flower buds. 

She will taste plants with her feet in order to choose to correct plant to lay her eggs on, which is determined by certain taste chemicals in the plants.

The egg weighs about .00046 grams and they are tiny, only about the size of a pinhead (1.2mm high and .9mm wide). They're cream colored and oval shaped kind of like a football and have vertical ridges. Once mamma lays the eggs, it will take between 3-5 days to hatch, sometimes longer if the weather is cooler. My first batch this season took nearly 7 days.

In the photo below, you can see there is more than one egg. Either another female came by or the same one came back around after laying eggs on other leaves. If milkweed is hard to find they will do what is called "egg stacking" where they lay multiples on one leaf. But typically she will only lay one per leaf and there is a very good reason for that.

Same leaf, four days later . . . 

Below, you can if you look closely, see the ridges in the egg and that it's becoming slightly translucent. You can see black at the top of the egg which is the caterpillars head and two black dots below that which are tentacle buds. These eggs are almost ready to hatch . . . which brings me to the reason a monarch mamma will try to lay only one egg per leaf. Once the caterpillar hatches it will immediately eat it's own egg casing (chorion) and if the others haven't hatched yet, it's quite possible that they will eat the other eggs. Yes, they can be cannibalistic. And much to my horror I watched a larger caterpillar grab a 1st instar cat  right off of a flower bud and eat it!!

And here it is my friends, a newly hatched (could even be a day old) monarch caterpillar on my fingertip. Isn't it just so cute! They are so very delicate, and I don't recommend holding one at this stage, but I wanted to be able to show you how very tiny they are. Look at your fingertip and imagine how small this really is, about 2mm. At this stage it is now called a larva (or caterpillar) and is in its 1st instar or first stage of 5 in its life as a larva. Since a caterpillars skeleton is on the outside of its body and will need to shed its skin in order to keep growing. During the 1st instar it will be 2-6 mm in length and the front tentacles are only small bumps.

You'll notice it doesn't have any stripes yet and is almost translucent with a greenish-gray coloring...that's hard to see here. Once it eats a certain amount of milkweed it will begin to get it's coloring and stripes.

Here he is a little bigger, still translucent and no distinct color pattern yet - still a 1st instar. If you have eggs and noticed that they've hatched but can't find them, chances are they are hiding in between some of that new green growth at the top of the plant...they are very good at hiding!

Next up we'll be watching them get bigger and bigger and bigger  . . . after hatching, they grow
nearly 3000 times their original size!! Let me just say, by the time they get to the 5th instar, they are
a full fledged eating machine, which makes them pooping machines! And since I rear mine inside,
it makes for a lot of clean up duty right before they pupate! They are kind of like babies, except that
they never sleep, lol.

If you missed the beginning of the series, you can find it here.

Until next time,
Love, Kim

P.S - I've been getting random failure notices when I leave comments on some of your blogs, but when
I go and look, my comments are there. And I have noticed some comments on my blog whereI never
received my email notifications. So, make sure you check your blog for comments in case you just rely
on email. I know others who have had the same issue lately, not sure what the deal is?

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