Beautiful Taking Flight…


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© Joan Currie – Detail of my watercolor of a Grosbeak

When a bird, takes flight
Wings, sail on air
Silhouettes of time
Upon clouds, inspire
No height, inconceivable
Nor dream, unreachable
Fear, no longer, an obstacle
Hunger, no more, high I soar
Tears retreat, from, the earths floor
The sky, stretches out, its arms and opens its door
from A Bird Takes Flight by Bernard E. Harris

After months of contemplation, I awoke this morning and knew it was time to move. Although I haven’t settled on the exact location for my new home, I am ready to take flight!

Beautiful Do What You Say You Are Going To Do…


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© Joan Currie – My self-portrait in acrylic on canvas

If you don’t mean it with every bone in your body, then just don’t say it. – Danielle LaPorte

I have learned over the years that beguiling promises, theatrical proclamations, and seductive statements of intent mean absolutely nothing without action, follow-through, stepping up to the plate, becoming a stakeholder, and/or demonstrating observable results. So please, no more talk – take action!

Beautiful Bugs…


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© Joan Currie – Fun watercolor bugs in my sketchbook.

It‘s a children’s book…It’s mostly about very small animals; the hero is a moss beetle. – Noël Coward.

For several months I have been utterly enchanted with the animal world and now insects, in particular, are capturing my attention. Previously, I associated insects with mostly the stinging kind; yes, occasionally a monarch butterfly or ladybug would land on me, but mostly I was a target for anything that would bite, be it mosquitoes, bees, wasps, deer flies, fleas, spiders, fire ants, etc. So my relationship with bugs has not been the best over the years.

But last October that all changed when I attended an exhibition called Crawly Creatures at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and became fascinated with the images of bugs on the pages of illuminated manuscripts, oil paintings, and ornaments. Since then I have discovered the beauty of these small creatures – be it their colors, textures, and/or intricate body parts- especially the wings!

Last week, as I walked around my neighborhood, I starting noticing insects everywhere- lurking on the edges of branches, flower greenery, and flying through the air. They have transmuted in my mind from being creatures of nuisance, to be cast off (or squashed!) to being fellow creatures to adore and to behold for their sheer beauty!

© Rijksmuseum

Beautiful Primroses and Kaffe Fassett…

© Joan Currie. My newly completed Lichen Auriculus needlepoint designed by Kaffe Fassett

Welcome pale primrose, starting up between,
Dead matted leaves of oak and ash, that strew
The every lawn, the wood, and spinney through
‘Mid creeping moss and ivy’s darker green,
How much thy presence beautifies the ground!
How sweet thy modest, unaffected pride
Glows on the sunny bank, and wood’s warm side!
And where thy fairy flowers in groups are found
The schoolboy roams enchantedly along,
Plucking the fairest with a rude delight,
While the meek shepherd stops his simple song,
To gaze a moment on the pleasing sight,
O’erjoyed to see the flowers that truly bring
The welcome news of sweet returning Spring.

From the sonnet To a Primrose by John Clare

The Primula auricula, common name Primrose, is one of my favorite flowers! When I was a child, my mother would take me to tea parties at her friend Dorothy’s house. Dorothy had a reputation as the local green thumb and garden queen. I loved going there because this lady had a magnificently fecund display of primrose plants. They were housed in a jumble of assorted clay pots sitting on exquisite porcelain saucers lined up along the sill of a huge picture window. The plants’ petals were enormous and each plant boasted a unique two-toned color combination. My favorite colors were: magenta, fuchsia, violet, and sap green. The centers of the petals were a very deep yellow. Those wonderful colors have remained in my memory and although I have never been able to grow primroses with the same success as Dorothy, I take time to admire them whenever I get the chance!

Bloemenstudie by Maria Margaretha van Os at the Rijksmuseum

Beautiful Pre Springtime Starlings…


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© Joan Currie – Starlings from my sketchbook.

The starling is my darling, although
I don’t much approve of its
Habits. Proletarian bird,
Nesting in holes and corners, making a mess,
And sometimes dropping its eggs
Just any old where – on the front lawn, for instance.

It thinks it can sing too. In springtime
They are on every rooftop, or high bough,
Or telegraph pole, blithering away
Discords, with cliches picked up
From the other melodists…

From The Starling by John Heath-Stubbs

Despite the snap of cold weather, the starlings were out in full force today perched on the branches of crabapple trees – mostly hidden by the burgeoning pink blossoms. It seemed as if they were rehearsing a mixture of musical numbers and squeaky songs for a springtime premiere. They put a smile on my face!

© Joan Currie – Crabapple blossoms from my sketchbook.

David Bowie and Beautiful Repurposing of Ticket Stubs…


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© Joan Currie – Some of my old ticket stubs.

An art book is a museum without walls. – Andre Malraux

A while back, I came across a box of old art museum, music, and attraction ticket stubs from my various travels. I am so glad that I saved them as not only do they serve as touchstones for wonderful memories but because they are quite beautiful – miniature works of art in their own right! I took them out of the box and now use them as bookmarks in my art books. I have also done the same with airplane boarding passes, tram and train tickets.

During my travels last year, scan codes were used for all the attractions and I did not come home with a single ticket stub from any of the venues I visited! Photos, postcards, and maps will have to suffice but will not be the same as ticket stubs. Now I have no tangible connection to the time and place I visited nor do I have a beautiful work of art or photograph that was the best part of the art museum and attraction tickets.

My David Bowie concert ticket stub (above) reminds me of David Bowie performing on stage in a torrential downpour in Wellington, New Zealand! A scan code on my phone would not evoke that memory the same way the ticket stub does.

Beautiful Atomic Habits and Needlepoint Projects…


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Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound and turn into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years. – James Clear

I began the needlepoint project, pictured above, in October. It is entitled Hedgerow, from Elizabeth Bradley’s Natural History Collection. After I started working on it, I realized that it would take me about a year to complete due to the size of the canvas, the number of color changes (24 different colors of tapestry wool!), and the amount of time I had to devote to it – typically on a catch-as-catch-can approach. It usually takes me about three months to finish a needlepoint, so this one was a bit daunting by comparison. I knew I had to just get on with it. The needlepoint wasn’t going to get done by itself, but I wasn’t sure how to speed up the process.

However, last month I read James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, after which I decided to make some changes to my morning routine. I now get up an hour earlier every morning to work on my needlepoint. The needlepoint canvas and wool are laid out on the sofa ready for me to pick up in the morning so I am able to start working right away – no set-up time is required. This activity may or may not be accompanied by a podcast or new music stream or just thinking about how I am going to structure my day to get the tasks done on my to do list.

Although it is still early with my new habit formation, I have to report that I am thrilled with my progress! I only complete a tiny square of stitches each day but I can see that over the last few weeks these tiny squares are accumulating nicely and the textile will, indeed, be completed by the summer – probably four months earlier than my projected finish date! Yay! (I will still have to sew it into a pillow, but that is another story.)

I have so many textile, studio art, and home improvement projects in the works that I have been somewhat frustrated (more like overwhelmed) wondering how I am going to get them all done. This needlepoint project is only one positive data point, but I plan to apply this process to the other projects and I am looking forward to the results!

Beautiful Valentine’s Day Thoughts…


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© Joan Currie My champagne and raspberry truffles.

Both feel that this first touch of a hand in a cab, even if it was expected by the woman, means a decision of the first order; it contains, basically, all of what is to follow. There is nothing to compare with this gesture in all the living together of human beings. The man felt nothing at all like this, when he kissed that hand of the lady, at their introduction, though he was in this way very close to a strange lady; but today, the little touch of her glove means a surrender that makes both tremble.
– Emil Ludwig

Happy Valentine’s Day, especially to those who truly and unabashedly take joy in making those they love feel cherished! ❤️

Beautiful Bighorn Sheep…


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© Joan Currie. My watercolor of a Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis).

Horns are found on members of the Bovidae family, which includes species such as cows, sheep and goats. They differ from antlers because generally, both males and females have horns and they will continue to grow throughout the animal’s life…

Since horns stay with the animal its entire life, you can age an animal by the number of growth rings on its horns, just like you can age a tree in the same way! Edmonton & Area Land Trust

The young children in my family have ignited in me an interest in the animal kingdom. Other than dogs, I really have never taken the time to learn about animals, but now I am completely besotted by “all creatures great and small!”

Five Beautiful Tips on how to Upcycle Clothing…


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© Joan Currie – From blouse to bag. Simplicity pattern #2685, style D.

Upcycle definition: reuse discarded objects or material in such as way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Last summer, I made a last minute purchase of a blouse to wear at a family celebration. Although I liked the fabric, it never really fit me properly despite my best tailoring efforts to salvage it. Yesterday, when I needed a black bag to go with an outfit, I thought it was time to put the blouse to a better use. I am happy with the result and thought I would share some upcycling and sewing tips:

  1. Source the fabric for your project from your clothes or family and friends’ donation boxes, garage sales, and thrift stores. Look for the largest sizes to yield the most fabric yardage.
  2. Be resourceful and don’t limit yourself to just clothing: wraps, and even sheets. drapes, and tablecloths can work well.
  3. Find a simple sewing pattern that will be easy to modify. I had found Simplicity pattern #2685 on Etsy. It required more fabric than what I could harvest from the blouse, so I decided to use a different, but complementary, fabric from my quilt stash for the lining. The lining fabric I selected wasn’t quite wide enough, but by decreasing the size of the lining pleats by a little, I got it to fit.
  4. Be creative by adding embellishments such as buttons and piping on the outside placard to make the bag truly your own. In this case, the fabric was so busy, I decided to eliminate the decorative placard all together.
  5. Don’t be afraid to mix and match pattern pieces from the various styles within the pattern package to meet your needs. I usually lengthen the straps, add an interior pocket for my phone, and attach a carabiner for my car and house keys.

There you have it. Happy Upcycling! xo

Simplicity pattern #2685 D.