Friday, May 30, 2014

Monkey See, Monkey Do

During a recent visit to see my newborn niece, I spent much of the day playing with her big brother and sister.  Of course, the three of us had a great time at the park, riding bikes, eating lunch at a local cafe, reading books and playing with a few inexpensive toys that I brought for them, including horns for their bicycles.  After the little ones squeeked those new horns (for what seemed like 100 times each) big brother decided to hold his over his ear and squeek it some more.  And, when little sister saw what he was doing, she joined right in.  My initial reaction was to stop them and briefly explain why that wasn't a good idea; however, after only a few direct squeeks to the ears, they stopped -- no explanation necessary.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blooming Now

Just a few days ago while taking a walk I spotted some gorgeous peonies along with numerous bright yellow dandelions.  Although the latter is usually perceived as less than desirable, I found the bold color beautiful in contrast to the lush green lawn in which they were growing.  So, for the time being let's just enjoy these gorgeous late spring bloomers and their delightful colors that currently adorn our landscape.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Stick Horse?

Woodrow by Deborah Butterfield

Yes and no.

Sculptor Deborah Butterfield, who rides and trains horses on her Montana ranch, essentially built Woodrow from a variety of found materials, including wood fragments, wire, scrap metal, mud, straw, brick dust and so on.  According to Walker Art Center information, she took the sticks and bark and cast each in bronze.  Next, she constructed the horse by welding all of those items.  In order to retain the authentic look of wooden sticks, she then "patinated" each element.

This amazing sculpture is at home in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and is one of many outstanding works belonging to the Walker Art Center.  Even if you don't reside in that area, the following link will allow to take a virtual tour of the incredible designs of some very talented individuals:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dreamy Day at the Beach


"The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
                                              --Jacques Cousteau

Friday, May 23, 2014

Birthday Boy

Happy birthday to my nephew and godchild.  May his day be filled with laughter and fun and all the excitement an 8-year-old boy can find, including whoopie cushions, screeching plastic chickens and little orange finger monsters!  (Geeez, I wonder who gave those things to him?)  And, since he loves Legos, I am betting that he will have plenty of new sets to build.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reflection & Fog

This image was taken from the banks of the Maquoketa River on an early winter morning.  In this locale geese commonly flock to the open water; however, not often do I capture the reflection amid the foggy backdrop of this late November day.  And, if you listen carefully or use your imagination, perhaps you'll hear these feathered friends honking loudly overhead.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Exhibit Opens Soon

Peace, Love & Zebras by Stephanie Funke

The exhibit Storm Drains & Sidewalks opens this coming Thursday, May 22, at the Hopkins Arts Center in Hopkins, Minnesota (a suburb of the Twin Cities) and features my photography as well as images by Matt Ross.  These photos include scenes from everyday life that we often overlook or quickly pass by as we rush from one thing to the next, including shots of some interesting graffiti similar to that in the above photo.  Matt and I use the camera lens to draw your attention to many recognizable items presented in unique ways.

If you live in the area and would like to see our art, the following link will take you to the website that contains all sorts of details regarding the exhibit, location, gallery hours and so on:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Skate Park

Within the last year in our community a skate park was constructed for all those brave enough to defy gravity and live with a few bumps and bruises.  While photographing the athletes in this new venue, I quickly was reminded that performing stunts on any type of wheeled object is not for the faint of heart and requires hours of practice to hone their skills.  Check out the tricks these young men performed on a scooter -- pretty cool!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blooms & Spines

Unless one visits a greenhouse or someone with a lot of indoor plants, cacti aren't common in Iowa.  But, on a recent trip to an indoor growing facility, I spotted all sorts of cacti with blooms -- what a treat!  And, after reading about these spiny wonders, I now understand that cacti are considered flowering plants capable of blooming when mature; however, whether or not a cactus actually flowers depends on its age and growing conditions.  For example, the tall, columnar Saguaro cactus (found in the Desert Southwest) may first flower after 40-55 years of growth.  

Enjoy a close-up view but be careful when you touch!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Friday Funny

Q:  Why was a turkey allowed to join the band?

A:  Because he had the drumsticks.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

FLW in Iowa: Stockman House

Mason City, Iowa is home to three structures designed by world-reknown architect Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW), including this home, a bank and a hotel.  Currently all have been restored and are open to the public -- perhaps a visit during the warm summer months would be something you'd enjoy.  And, if you go, be sure to get the Mason City Walking Tour Guide as it highlights over 70 structures that any architecture aficionado will want to see and learn more about.

Anyway, built in 1908, this home was specifically designed for Dr. & Mrs. George Stockman and based on what FLW described in a 1907 Ladies Home Journal article as "A Fireproof House for $5000" with a "flowing 'L' floor plan in which there was no physical boundary between the living and dining rooms."  Other noteable features include a prominent central fireplace; veranda; broad, overhanging eaves; ribbon windows; and an entrance on the side, through one of the two, single-story wings.  This home, with its classic Prairie School elements, became a popular design for the housing needs of middle-class Americans and was influential throughout the country.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May Flowers

"Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul."
                                                          --The Koran

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Springtime Romance

What a creative way to ask someone to prom!  To the left of the couple can you see the colorful flowers arranged to spell the word P-R-O-M?  If so, you did much better recognizing the term than I as someone had to tell me just what the message was!  Anyway, enjoy the blossoming trees, green grass carpeting the landscape and a hint of romance in the park.  Ahhhh....  Finally, spring is here!

Monday, May 12, 2014


"It does not matter how slowly you go

as long as you do not stop."


Friday, May 9, 2014

Honoring Mothers

She broke the bread into two fragments
and gave them to her children
who ate with eagerness.

"She hath kept none for herself,"  grumbled the sergeant.

"Because she is not hungry,"  said a soldier.

"No,"  said the sergeant,

"Because she is a mother."

                                          --Victor Hugo

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Time to Plant

Finally Mother Nature has provided weather conducive to planting corn and soybeans, and farmers across the state are taking advantage of this opportunity.  That also means that producers are going day and night in the fields to get the crop in the ground.  And, although I don't participate in the farming operation, my husband and his brother are currently two of those guys running in overdrive to get the job done.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More 'JUNK'

Like the past two days, this post features more scenes from a junker's annual sale that takes place in our community on the same weekend that many folks hold their annual garages sales.  A red wagon, crates of discarded license plates and many types of saws are just a few of the items available for purchase.  In fact, I suspect that if there is something you want but this junker doesn't have he probably can find it as he spends much of his free time in search of all this stuff that many of us would never consider owning or deposit in a landfill. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Got Buttons?

As promised, here is another round of images featuring my visit to the junker's annual sale.  Buttons, buttons and more buttons -- made me wonder if anyone really uses or can find the spare button that accompanies a new blouse or men's dress shirt, or, if we all just buy something new when a button is missing??  Anyway, if you can use buttons of all shapes, colors and sizes for a reasonable price, this is the sale to attend.

More STUFF tomorrow!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trash or Treasure ?

In these parts at this time of the year garage sales are quite common.  Bargain hunters, serious shoppers and those just out to see what is for sale all brave the often rainy weather as they make their way through neighborhoods in search of a great deal.  Annually, in our community, a "junker" (as he refers to himself) displays thousands of items that he has accumulated from other auctions, estate sales and so on, and I look forward to exploring the inventory.  And, in order to share a glimpse of ALL that he has for sale, throughout the next few days I will feature images from that collection.

Friday, May 2, 2014

BEAN Here?

If you have recently been sightseeing in the Windy City, there is a good chance this image looks familiar as it is "The Bean" in Millenium Park.  For obvious reasons, I proclaim this site the selfie capital of the USA.  Take a close look and notice all the individuals posing for a camera -- heck, perhaps you'll even spot me!  Anyway, if you intend to visit Chicago this summer, make plans to see Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Anish Kapoor, situated just off of Michigan Avenue in AT&T Plaza and atop Park Grill.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A May Day Birthday

Recognize this guy?  If so, you probably know that today is his birthday.  So, to my dad -- a man often recognized for his choice of bourbon and his slim & trim body by bacon -- enjoy the day and here is wishing you many happy returns!