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Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Praying Mantis ImageOh! Hello, young praying mantis. Would you mind holding that pose while I run inside to get my camera and tripod? Minutes later, I came out to find my new garden friend still sitting there on a leaf by my front door. As my camera lens zoomed in on him, I saw one of his five eyeballs rotate towards me and I noticed the slight up and down bobbing of his curled tail. I’m still experimenting with the macro aspect of my new camera, but fortunately I’ve found a “willing” subject to pose for me!

#1 – Praying Mantis Trivia
Praying Mantis Image In case you’re like me and you think it’s always good to know a little something about everything, here’s some interesting information about these fascinating creatures from the site ThePrayingMantis.org:

A. The word “mantis” comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

B. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

C. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.

D. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around!

E. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to 25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

F. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!

G. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!

#2 – A Happy Home
Entry way bench No matter where you live or what your state insect is, being happy in your home adds joy to life. The site Hooked on Houses posted this list of 10 Ways To Be Happy At Home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any – crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

The author then asked for readers’ input which led to an additional 20 More Ways To Be Happy At Home.

#3 – The Pixel Painter

Art by Hal Lasko

Art by Hal Lasko

97-year-old Hal Lasko is an incredible and inspirational man. He is now blind and deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what what he loves to do – create art. An online article about Lasko says this: Using an outdated version of Microsoft Paint, Hal Lasko is able to create anything from pixelated nature-inspired sceneries, animal portraits or abstract pieces. Building works of art pixel by pixel is a time-consuming process, but 97-year-old Grandpa says he has learned to be patient and never rush the creative process.

Prints of Mr. Lasko’s art are for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to Veterans of Foreign War programs.

#4 – Mah Jong Addiction
Mah Jong After my husband helped my mom upgrade her computer software, she complained that she didn’t like the new computer Mah Jong game he installed. There was one specific version she liked for its layout. After some searching, he found a compatible version for her to try. She’s very happy with it, but the only problem now is . . . he and I can’t stop playing it. Rev up those brain cells and try playing this Mah Jong game, but tell yourself you’ll only play it once! Click here for a link to a video on how to play the game.

#5 – Life
“Don’t go through life; grow through life.”
Eric Butterworth

Have a great weekend!

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What's Stuck On Your Stucco?What’s stuck to your stucco? Possibly, a lot more than you think. My stucco patio overhang has been a pit stop for praying mantises, dragon flies, pipevine swallowtail caterpillars and their chrysalises, and even an injured squirrel. Whenever I walk out my back door, I always look around to see what interesting critters might be stuck to my stucco!

#1 – Swirling Paint
When my brain gets stuck on overload, I give it permission to rest and play for a little while. I like to give it a break by doing mindless, yet creative things. One way I do that is to create instantly-gratifying art or what I call art-for-the-moment on my computer. The best part about art like this is that it’s not around long enough for anyone to judge it — not even myself! There are many sites where you can paint or draw computer-generated designs. Here’s one I found today. It’s super easy to do: you just move your computer mouse around to create swirls of colored patterns. You can experiment with three different “trails” or versions.

#2 – Cinder Block Projects
Cinder Block Centerpiece When I was a college student, all my friends made bookshelves out of cinder blocks and planks of wood. Well, cinder blocks and concrete, in general, have come a long way in versatility. Take a look at the projects shown in Rethinking Concrete – 5 Cinder Block DIY Projects and 12 Awesome Concrete and Cinder Block Outdoor DIY Projects!.

#3 – Common Cooking Mistakes
Sometimes cooks are stuck with a culinary problem and need a quick fix to avoid a disaster. According to Cooking Light’s article The Most Common Cooking Mistakes, “A creative cook can often cook her way out of a kitchen error, but the smart cook aims to prevent such creativity from being necessary.” Yes, a little knowledge can prevent big mistakes. I liked looking at the photos of “good” versus “bad” examples and reading the helpful tips. Want to know the best way to keep guacamole green? Check out tip #43.

#4 – Playing With Food

Food Art by Hong Yi

Red Cabbage Marchesa Salad by Hong Yi

Artists like to think outside of the box. For a month, Malaysian artist Hong Yi did that by playing with her food. For her project 31 Days of Creativity With Food, Hong sliced, boiled, chopped, stirred, etc. to create her artwork. Picasso’s quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up,” inspired her to “see joy and fun in ordinary everyday items that I come across, and to paint and create objects as I feel and imagine them, not just as I see them.”

#5 – Don’t Get Stuck In The Box
“They say to think within the box, but it’s funny how those in the box never go anywhere, where those outside it, get to see the world.”
Anthony Liccione

Enjoy your weekend!

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