A blue bird that is often mistaken for a blue jay is the Western Scrub Jay. It's prominent color is blue with light grays and white but does not have a "crown" on its head like the blue jay.
Nothing is more satisfying than growing a fruit tree that bears four different kinds of fruits. Plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines make a healthy harvest when these are ready to be eaten.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February. It is a beautiful purple quartz which is believed to have healing qualities whether displayed in your home or worn as a piece of jewelry.
Buddha postures and hand gestures have interesting meanings. The hand gestures called mudras are believed to have healing benefits when practiced in yoga.
Birch trees with their white trunks and markings have always been a favorite of artists and photographers. Not only are birch trees beautiful, these have medicinal properties.
I brought so much joy to my mother's heart with a portrait of herself painted by me for Mother's Day. It was something she always dreamed about but never expected to receive.
A recent stroll in our garden made me discover the world of pine cones peeking out of pine needles in the trees--tiny pine cones to very large ones. What are pine cones for? Can you tell the difference between a male...
In the winter, when most trees drop their leaves, the gnarly knobs of some trees with antler-like branches stand out among the rest. Learn more about pollarding here.
The Venetian jester mask is the classic male joker face with red and black velvet tines tipped with gold bells. This is handcrafted and fashioned after the centuries-old clown masks worn by professional actors in the...
Succulents are beautiful, colorful, hardy, easy to take care of and does not need frequent watering. The rosette-shaped blooms are actually leaves which can be propagated to make new plants.
"The Gift of the Magi" by the great American author, O. Henry, is a treasured Christmas short story that is timeless and beloved all over the world. Written in 1906, this bittersweet story is about a poor...
Some plants look so creepy and spooky that these belong in horror movies. Plants that look like bats, monkeys, bleeding teeth, eyeballs, smell like skunks, are only a few of the fascinating specimens.
What is the next best thing to a new pair of shoes for someone obsessed with footwear? A miniature collectible version of just the right shoe. "Just The Right Shoe" or JTRS by Lorraine Vail also known as...
Birds gravitate towards power lines to rest. This is true in cities where there are few trees. However power lines can be dangerous to birds when they touch two wires.
This Anton Schneider Black Forest cuckoo is my most treasured collectible from Germany. It is displayed in a litte alcove next to the fireplace in our family room. Aside from the fine craftmanship, reputation and...
This lens is about my pot belly gramophone circa 1920's, which is neither a stove nor a pig, but an antique handcranked phonograph player. I described it as "pot belly" because visitors that come to my home...
The tiny feet of women who had their feet bound since childhood in China were deemed attractive, erotic, and a sure way to find a rich husband. Foot binding was painful, but practiced in old China.
Paper quilling is a fun inexpensive project that only needs imagination, creativity and patience. With a little practice, a whole new world of possibilities can be created.
Every item in my home has a story behind it. One of my most treasured items is a Burmese kalaga which is the traditional name for an embroidered tapestry from Myanmar (Burma). This style comes from the Mandalay region...
Navajo rugs are beautiful woven art pieces created by skilled hands. Aside from the geometric designs, some of the prized collectible pieces depict colorful Yei spiritual beings or warriors.
Yves Saint Laurent started the Pop Art movement in couture fashions with his most famous design, the Mondrian dress. In 1965 Saint Laurent adapted Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie painting to clothing to create a...
One of the joys of the changing seasons is seeing migratory birds make their journey in the impressive V formation. Larger birds, like geese, pelicans, swans and cranes head south for the winter and in spring, head back...
The first silent spaghetti westerns were filmed in Niles, so were some of Charlie Chaplin's classic movies, like The Tramp. A visit to Niles will beckon you to come back again and again.
Every child growing up has heard the threat at one time or another "The bogeyman will come and get you." This scare tactic was often used by parents or elders as a way of controlling their children, by...
A kitchen witch came into my life more than three decades ago in the form of a gift from a young friend named Sarah. When I first saw it I did not know what to think. She told me that I was supposed to display the...
Some people believe in luck, other do not. Noone will turn down good fortune, happiness, prosperity and good friendship, if given a choice. There are many items in my home which I have chosen based on aesthetics,...
The word mother is synonymous to someone who feeds, cares, nurtures and protects. A mother will go to all ends to keep her young from harm's way.This is true for all animals where the maternal instinct is believed to be...
My fascination with storytellers began on my first visit to the American Indian Guild Show at the local fairgrounds several years ago. There were weavers, artisans, jewelry makers, and potters selling their creations...
This is the story of two baby hummingbirds growing up in my garden. The discovery came as an unexpected surprise which just blew me away. I stumbled upon a mossy wad of lichen and cotton fluffs with spiderweb all over...