Thursday, July 29, 2010

Butterfly Beauty in Durham, NC

This week we're enjoying my mother's company here in the Steamy South. Trying to think of air conditioned activities we could do while showing her the area, we decided on a day trip to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. This is a wonderful museum full of "touch me" exhibits for little ones, including a gorgeous butterfly house. If you call ahead, you can find out when staff will release newly hatched butterflies.

We were greeted by charming metal sculptures of insects as we approached the entrance to the butterfly house:

Tired? Have a seat on a clever butterfly bench...

The butterfly house contains several different ecosystems ranging from desert to tropical rain forest. Marble Man looks right at home in front of a Lobster Claw Tree from the tropical area:

Look up! Fluttering all around us were delicate natural wonders.

The interior of the house has a controlled, comfortable temperature. Running around on the ground is a group of funny little partridge-like birds which eat the unwanted bugs that this venue tends to attract, as well as a collection of song birds that eat dead butterfly carcasses.

We arrived in time for the release of the new butterflies. Here I am, handing one off to a little friend. This insect was so new it couldn't fly yet. We watched it exercise and air out its wings until it took off on its own.

Aside from butterflies, this part of the museum also houses a collection of creepy crawlies of the HUGE variety. We're talking about African Walking Sticks that were 12 inches long, tarantulas as big as my hand, and a whole tankful of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches - a pretty high "Ick Factor", but interesting too.

My favorites were the Poison Dart Frogs. So colorful and funny.

After four hours of being in the company of over-wound rug rats, we were ready to head home. On our way out, we came upon this group of youngsters working on building a huge tower of small blocks. A frame from a short video shows them putting on the blocks, one-by-one, and holding their breath with each addition.

The tower got so tall that the other, taller, boy had to continue. Shortly after he took over, it all came tumbling down.

If you are in the Durham, NC area, you should stop by this lovely museum. The exhibits are well designed. There's lots to learn for children as well as adults.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twice Loved Dolls & Trucks - Charity Begins At Home

Aunt Mari (center) with Head Start Program workers

Last May, Marble Man and I took a trip throughout the Northeastern States. One of our stops was at the home of my beloved Aunt Mari and Uncle Ken Share. It had been FAR too long since our last visit together and this short visit was enough time to learn about my aunt's non-profit charity, Twice Loved Dolls & Trucks.

Volunteers working on toys
Our interview:

SG: First-off, when did you begin your twice-loved dolls venture... what was the event that gave you the idea in the first place? Secondly, how did you begin? Did you begin on your own, or did you have people helping from the start?

Mari: Around 1997 I was a member of a Catholic Women's Group. Through discussion of our personal goals I expressed concern with the over-abundance of things in the USA for some children and a great lack for others. That fall I started getting a few donations of used dolls from acquaintances. The group helped me to clean the 30 dolls to nearly new condition. We gave them, wrapped and tagged to a group of homeless children who were part of a Head Start program at a church in White Plains NY. That was the beginning of Twice Loved Dolls & Trucks! I've built & continued this every year since then.

SG: Are there organizations that you work with directly?

Mari: Over the years, we have supported quite a few organizations: Blythedale Children's Hospital, Head Start programs, Church groups as well as private people in need.

SG: What are your sources for toys? What types of toys and books are you looking for specifically?

Mari: We receive donations from churches, from people who have seen my posters, from family and friends

We do not solicit or take money contributions.

We take rubber dolls, plastic dolls, trucks of all kinds, blocks, puzzles, doll clothing, & toys with no small parts. We also take books suitable for 2-6 year olds.


SG: Where should people send toys for donation?

People can send toys to 7 Fenimore Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583.


Volunteers with restored toys (Aunt Mari is on the right)

Aunt Mari has donated toys through the police and fire stations to individual kids who have been devastated by fire or horrendous crimes that have touched them and their families. The toys are gift wrapped by hand and given individually to each child.

If you have kids, or know someone who does, who are transitioning from one set of toys or books to another, please consider sending them to Twice Loved Dolls and Trucks instead of setting them out at the yard sale. You'd be doing a wonderful thing for some children who find themselves with nothing.

Thank you!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where Have I Been?

In preparation for the Tracton Clan's (seemingly) annual trek up to Atlantic City for a week, I was holed up in the studio trying to finish up a bunch of new polymer clay pieces. I enjoy showing new work, and it appears the family enjoys seeing it. So, I came prepared:




My back gave out 10 days before we were due to leave. Rediscovered pounds and the stress of sitting at my work table for hours-on-end doing physically demanding work caused my low back to punk out on me. I needed to park myself on a heating pad on the sofa instead of my work chair. Faced with hours of mindless sitting, I decided to get back to my roots, so to speak. I began this fabulous collar with a Prudent Man Agate cabachon at the center.

Soon it became clear that I was seriously in love with this necklace. Halfway to the end, I decided to keep it for myself and let it get wild. This piece is now in my private collection and gets taken out to dinner as often as I can talk Marble Man into going.

To make up for keeping a big piece, I made this lovely beaded cuff, which you can find for sale in my Etsy shop.

Keep checking my shop for new listings. As the summer progresses, I'll be adding the clay pieces shown here and some other exciting work.
The good news is that my back is doing MUCH better. Weeks of rest, some better-living-through-chemistry in the form of muscle relaxers, and losing some weight has done wonders. Yes, the weight loss battle is back on... I decided to track it on my foodie blog. If you are interested, you can click the photo at the top of my right sidebar. Otherwise, I thought it best to keep it off this blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Have a Winner!

And the winner of the Mad Hatter Tea Party necklace contest is....

Snap, of Tales From The Twisty Lane (It's on it's way to you as I type.) Be sure to stop by her blog and swoon over the beautiful photos she posts.

Thank you to all who left comments here for the contest. I hope you'll stop by again soon.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl