Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take a moment and RELAX!

After a very hectic weekend, I found this wonderful picture by
Julie Magers Soulen.

It just makes me want to forget the world, drink a cup of coffee and relax!

It's nice to dream!!
Enjoy the rest of her work at

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dragonflies & Butterflies!

I just love this time of year! I'm beginning to see more & more butterflies visiting my garden! The first one I saw was a black swallowtail. I haven't spotted a dragonfly yet, but I love them too! Many of the plants in my yard specifically attract different types of butterflies, so by mid summer, my garden has a wonderful variety of butterflies fluttering about!

'Flight of the Dragonfly Necklace' -
Gorgeous brass Dragonfly has a
sky blue/lt.turquoise patina, giving it that
beautiful shabby chic look! Amazonite
semiprecious chips beautifully complement
the dragonfly. Antiqued brass chain.

The Monarch Butterfly is one of my favorites, mainly because they are becoming a rare site. Their host plant is milkweed, which is the only plant that they lay their eggs on! Once the larvae (caterpillars) hatch, this plant also becomes their only food source! With the dwindling fields of milkweed, caused from development, it is becoming harder for them to survive. There is a great site that I reccomend visiting if you want more info. on monarchs and interesting activities to do with your family.

I have introduced more and more milkweed into my garden because one little catapiller can eat several large plants! The 'Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle, was always one of children's favorite books!

So, now that you know how much I love these amazing insects, you can see why
I have introduced them into my work! Here are some examples!

'Butterfly Dreams' is a mosaic jewelry box created with sea shells,tumbled stained glass, freshwater pearls,and glass nuggets

'Sea Glass & Butterflies' Antiqued Brass Necklace A beautiful little filigree butterfly has a sky blue patina, and is complemented with a piece of genuine sea glass from Hawaii! An antiqued brass filigree leaf and turquoise glass flower bead completes this wonderful necklace!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Heart With A Connection!

My 'Heart With a Connection Collection' began when I started collecting sea glass and seashells from several different countries around the world. I especially loved the stones and seaglass I received from Israel. The thought that these treasures had actually been sitting on the beaches of a country that is so rich in history, was amazing to me!

I paired them up with my wood heart boxes, and fell in love with the idea of having something that I could use as a little jewelry or keepsake box with a sea treasure from a place that my ancestors were from or I had vacationed at. This collection, and my 'Shore to Please Collection' of mosaic boxes, offers people a meaningful link to a country or place through the sea treasures found on their shores!

East Coast Shores USA!
'Heart with a Connection Collection'
Hand collected seashells from the New Jersey Shore are combined with a metal star to create a beautiful heart shaped box ---perfect to store a vacation memory, jewelry or give as a gift!

Israel Dot. Dot. Glass-
'Heart with a Connection Collection '

This rare textured piece of amber sea glass, was hand collected and sent to me from the shores of Israel! This wonderful sea treasure is combined with a pretty white sand dollar and a heart shaped metal tag that has the word love on it.

Irish Sundrops & Pink Polka Dots!
'Heart with a Connection Collection'

This beautiful wood box has a heart connection to Ireland. Hand collected and shipped to me from Kerry, these yellow Irish seashells have a bit of Irish folklore to them! The three Irish sundrops, white starfish and pink shell all come together as a beautiful reminder of those Irish sunsets!

Israel Rocks
'Heart with a Connection Collection'
This beautiful wood box has a heart connection to Israel. An interesting rock and two beautiful pieces of sea glass (one white and one amber honey colored) are wonderful sea treasures that were hand collected from the shores of Israel and sent to me to create this one of a kind box! A little starfish and two blue mussel shells (not from Israel) also add a bit of magic to this lovely box!
For more information on these boxes, visit my shop at
If I can customize a box for you with your sea treasures or mine, contact me and I would be happy to work with you to create something special just for you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Birds in My Garden, Birds in My Art! (Part Two)

One of my next endeavors was to design a Courtyard Habitat for my children's elementary school. Several Moms got together one afternoon with a shared idea. That idea was to turn the unused school courtyard into an outdoor classroom, where children could interact with nature. As a landscape designer, I was able to volunteer my design skills and knowledge of nature to help develop a beautiful place for the children and teachers. After creating a master plan, we developed a 5 year plan to convert this unused space into wildlife habitat. Through donations and lots of hard labor our Courtyard Habitat became a reality and has won several awards and grants. It is now a registered Schoolyard Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation and a certified Monarch Butterfly WayStation.

This charming bird house was inspired by a recycling project we did with the children for our Outdoor Art Gallery (part of our habitat). We asked the children to create birdhouses out of recycled materials. It was our first project to utilize the Art Gallery that we created by using log pedestals made from the trees that had been taken down on the school property that spring.

My children decided to use recycled aluminum cans along with other collected items on their bird houses. We had such a good time that I became hooked, and began making them! After their debut at the school's Art Gallery, we brought them home and immediately a Carolina Wren moved in and had a family! I hope to track down some of the pictures I have, and add them to this post!

Has anyone else been involved in creating a habitat at their
school? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birds in My Garden, Birds in My Art! (Part One)

Birds have influenced my life and my art since I can remember! As a child I remember setting up a laundry basket with a string tied to a stick and carefully putting a few pieces of bread out in a neat trail leading under the basket! I would quietly sit there for what seemed like hours to capture some poor unsuspecting bird. They almost always got away and if not, I would happily let them go, it was just very cool to get so close them!

Red Bellied Woodpecker 'Winter Birds' o8 Collection
Hand painted glass ornaments.

Years later, my sister brought home a pigeon for me to raise. She found him on the ground at her elementary school and knew exactly who would love to take care of him! I could write a book on my life with 'Babes'! I was inspired to draw and paint him, I created a beautiful lithograph in my high school art class, and photographed him! He was amazing and challenged my art skills as I tried to capture his wonderful personality! He followed me to college and actually introduced me to my husband! He was my companion for years!

Winter Birds '08' Collection:
Male Cardinal,Rose Breasted
Grosbeak, White Throated Sparrow

This love for Babes gave me a love for birds in general. I began learning to identify the birds around our yard and quickly realized how unique each one was. It gave me a whole new appreciation for birds.

When my husband and I moved into our home I found an injured Catbird that had flown into a window. He lived in one of our empty bedrooms until he could fly again. I set him free, but he stayed around my garden! Perched in a branch, he would call out to me to let me know he was nearby watching me work outside! He came back year after year! Eventually, people would bring me their injured birds to rehabilitate.

After having my first child I could no longer take on the responsibility of taking care of a bird 24/7. Investigating my options, I later found a wonderful place that would take in these birds called the Raptor Trust. This is an incredible place that I was so lucky to have found. I try to donate to them when I can, it's an incredible facility and provides a wonderful service! You must check them out!

With three children, I began to see that many children had little knowledge of the the plants and wildlife in their own backyards. I decided to fill that gap and became a 4H Leader. With a group of my children's friends, we began our two year journey and called ourselves the Backyard Nature Explorers !(this would make another book!) Here I introduced them to anything that one would find in their backyard. I taught them how to identify birds, make bird feeders, bird houses, dissect owl pellets and mount our finds. We learned the different owl calls and visited the Raptor Trust. The money we raised at the 4H Fair was also donated to the Raptor Trust.

Now you can start to see how my love for birds has intertwined through my life in many ways. Forgetting that I only started photographing with a digital camera several years ago I will have to scan pictures before I include them. So here are a few of my very recent items.
Sorry I can't seem to get any of my other pictures up! I'll try later. See my shop on Etsy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

May is spectacular! Shooting Stars, Trilliums, Wild Phlox, Violets, Mayapples, Bleeding Hearts, these are only a few of my spring flowers blooming! I have been photographing many of them and will be sharing some with you.

Virginia Blue Bells

I have a beautiful woodland path that I started the day we moved into our home 24 years ago! Being a hiker most of my life I wanted to be able to walk through a path everyday finding surprises at every glance!

Wildflowers are amazing and I decided to only incorporate plants that would be found in our natural woodland here in NJ and the surrounding area. I quickly found out that wildflowers are extremely picky about their habitat, and through alot of reading and experimenting I finally have a beautiful path that blooms from February through November. Some of my favorite flowers that are in bloom now are Virginia Blue Bells and a Violet called 'Freckles'. I have freckles too, so this quickly became one of my favorites!

Violet 'Freckles'