Saturday, June 27, 2009

My next show: "Art at Ellwood" July 5, 2009

Nature-ally Beautiful Photography
Come see me and my artwork personally at my next craft show! I have a memory or story to share for every image. My images have a way of sparking stories and memories for many people who view and purchase them. I would love to hear your stories too. You will find a variety of my Nature-ally Beautiful Blank Note Cards as well as framed, matted and assorted print sizes at my next show. I look forward to seeing you there.

If you are not in the area visit my smugmug photo gallery where you can view and/or purchase my nature art photography.

My next art show: "Art at Ellwood" Art fair and sale.
  • Ellwood House Museum
    509 North First Street
    DeKalb, IL 60115
    Sunday, July 5, 2009 from 9-4pm
My line of Nature-ally Beautiful Cards are also available at these locations:
  • Made Just For You Handcrafted Gifts
    338 West State Street
    Sycamore, IL 60178
    (815) 895-8122

  • Poppy Seed Primitives
    Owner Sandy Spier
    316 W. Main St.
    Genoa, IL 60135
    (815) 784-4212

  • Dabluz Boutique
    116 East Market Street
    Mt. Carroll, IL 61053
    (815) 244-4058

  • De'esse Scent Shop & Boutique
    321 W. State Street
    Sycamore, IL 61078
    (815) 899-9977

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Have No Fear

How watching the Red-winged Blackbird inspired a feeling of empowerment toward the ability we all possess in regards to facing a fear that seems bigger than ourselves ... and how I channeled that inspiration.

Familiar, abundant, beautiful and bold, all words that describe one of the most widespread and numerous birds in Illinois. If you live in Illinois you probably know what a red-winded blackbird looks like. They can be seen throughout spring, summer and fall near almost any body of water, marsh or swampland area, in open grasslands, fields or prairies.

When I first became interested in photographing birds, this was one of my first subjects to study and fall in love with. It was everywhere and in spring it was quite obvious when you were in their territory. While on a walk one spring afternoon, a loud ruckus and display from a pair of Red-winged blackbirds caused me to stop and look around. A keen eye, a safe distance and patience rewarded me with many interesting stories, great entertainment and field lessons on this bird. This is the bird that taught me to keep a respectful distance. My reward for learning this respect was being allowed to observe and photograph it's nesting habits.

I have recently become re-enthralled by the behavioral traits of this bountiful blackbird. I am sure that it's abundance is directly related to it's fearless disposition in addition to the fact that they raise two or three broods per nesting season. The Red-winged Blackbird will defend it's territory aggressively during the breeding season. They will fly after whatever they perceive as intruders in an extremely combative manner,while boldly displaying it's red-wing patches. These shoulder patches called "epaulets" are more visible in flight.

During the past few months I have watched and photographed this lionhearted bird unflinchingly go up against trespassers much much larger than itself. I watched it chase a red-tailed hawk for quite some time. It pecked at this large bird of prey and even used it's feet to pounce on the hawk's back. I was in awe. I watched a red-winged blackbird squawk at and make the hair on the back of an egret's neck stand up before forcing it to leave the swampland area it was defending. Made me laugh ... and made me think, an experience you can't buy. I was inspired by this bird's ability to face a challenge much larger than itself ... and thought about my friend Christal who wears an emblem of empowerment on her wrist in the form of a bracelet that says 'fearless'. This inspiration led me to a new addition to my card line. Give this card to someone that inspires you or needs inspiration. My line of inspirational cards showcase many of those empowering moments we experience daily. Check out my website at to see more inspirational cards in this line.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wood Duck Rescue

Adorable Ducks
Since I do not live in a forested wetland a wooded swamp or marshland area ... it was quite a surprise to walk out my front door and see a Mama Wood Duck and nine babies waddling down my brick walk! My husband saw my head snap before he took notice. In unison we ran inside to get the camera. Our little visitors waddled into the neighbors backyard where several neighborhood alley cats took notice.

It must have been quite comical to watch us as we noticed the cats ... noticing the ducks ... then abruptly shooing those stealthy cats away. Luckily this little comedy allowed mama to safely lead her babies into our garage where we quickly closed the door and called for help.

A local birder told me the ducklings must have recently fledged. Wood Ducks nest in empty cavities in trees. Shortly after the eggs hatch mama leads the babies out of the cavity in search for water. As mama calls from below the nestlings just take a leap of faith sometimes jumping from heights of 50 feet above the ground. I really wish I knew which tree in our hood she nested in. Seeing a miracle like bouncing baby wood ducks would have made me bounce for sure.

After weighing the consequence of waiting hungry cats outside, and talking to a local birder about what to do, we decided to try and get them back to their own habitat. My Husband and oldest son went into the garage with a cat carrier and didn't come out until they had all of them in it. Mama was very protective, a good mother. She stayed with the babies looking wide eyed as they were approached. Can you imagine how scared she felt? As mama flapped and flopped the babies were put in the carrier. Mama then gave up quickly and joined her babies. We took them to a wooded swamp land area several miles from our home called Wilkinson's/Renwick Marsh and let them go there. We had goose bumps watching mama happily swim away with the ducklings following close behind. Mama and all nine babies are safe. This was a really exciting experience for us. We felt really good about being able to help them. Aren't they adorable!!!!!!!

To see more adorable duck photos from this duck resuce check out my gallery at