Friday, October 28, 2011

Sneak Peak – Porcelain In Progress


I've been having such a great time working on my new line of English Staffordshire-inspired porcelain pieces today! This photo shows my work table with a few small ornaments I've just finished glazing which will go into my kiln tonight for a test firing. I have numerous small dishes, plates, platters, teacups and birds, etc. that remain to be glazed, so I expect I will be very busy in my little nest for the coming weeks.

UPDATE: Many of these porcelain ceramic items, as well as my new ceramic jewelry, are now available in my Etsy shop: cynthiacranespottery.etsy.com.

Be sure to sign up with your email using the box over to the right, so you'll be the first to know when new porcelain will be available.


I wanted to share some examples of English Staffordshire china that is available from a few different shops at Etsy.com. Just click each item below to be taken directly to the seller's store where you'll find many more examples of this lovely china.

Boy with Basket
Spaniels
Tea Cup
Posy Pin

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner




With the onset of winter here in North America I thought this would be a great time to share a few tips regarding the housing, food and water needs of birds and other wildlife. Do bear in mind that birds especially can benefit from our hospitality year round, not just during the winter. Ideally they should be offered a variety of foods at any of the “big four” feeding stations: ground, table or window shelf, free-hanging feeders, and feeders fixed on tree trunks or posts. A ground feeder can be as simple as a low stump or split log and table feeders can be placed from 3 feet high to as high as your hand can reach to fill them. Just remember to place all feeders about 10-12 feet from shrubs or brush piles where predators can be lurking.
A mix of seeds can attract a greater variety of species, just take note of any type of seed that remains uneaten and consider making your own mix. Mixed wild-bird food comes in different grades and price is often an indicator of quality. (Cheap supermarket mixed bags are generally not worth the investment.) Read the label and check to be sure that black-oil sunflower seed or sunflower meats are a major component. Safflower seeds are also favored by cardinals as is niger seed by finches.
You can also make good use of your family’s leftover’s and foods that are on their way to the compost bin. Birds aren’t choosy about the perfect stage of ripeness after all. Old bakery goods and wilted veggies from the discount bins at your grocer are another good option. Have left-over dog or cat food that your pet turns his nose up to? Offer that to the birds also! Here are two yummy and easy bird food recipes – Easy Popcorn Balls and Southern Kush Kush.
As for squirrels and chipmunks, you may actually have success luring them away from your bird feeders by providing them their own feeding stations. Just be sure to place it as far away as possible from your bird feeders. Corn, acorns and nuts served on the ground frequently and in generous quantities, as well as corn of the cob, can be a good distraction. Just be sure it’s a good distance from your home and monitor it so that you are not attracting any unwanted guests (such as rats).
Many people also enjoy feeding deer during late autumn, winter and early spring. But although supplemental feeding of deer may be gaining popularity, do be aware of the many problems that winter feeding may exert upon them and their habitat. More information on this topic can found in this report by the Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for the State of Maine.

And don’t forget to provide water, too. Many people overlook this important necessity. Ideally, you should offer several shallow containers placed at either ground level or higher throughout your property. Just remember to keep an eye on them during freezing temperatures.
Shelter is equally important during the onset of winter here in North America. Native trees and shrubs and even brush piles are valuable shelter options. The Etsy treasury above shows examples of some of the many lovely housing and feeding options available on the site. And of course any of the items shown would make great gifts this holiday season! Just click any item to be taken directly to that creator’s Etsy store.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Painting - Winter Woodland Fox

Winter is right around the corner in my neck of the woods. Winter Woodland Fox holds a most precious little red bird close to her heart to protect it from a blustery winter snow storm. This is an 8" x 10" original watercolor painting has sold but note cards are available in my Etsy shop. Soon I hope to be offering prints and if you would like to be notified when new work is available, please use the link over to the right to send me a message. To view more of my paintings just click the links over to the Right.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Certified Wildlife Habitat in a City Garden


What is a Certified Wildlife Habitat anyway?

This is a program sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation which certifies you have completed all the requirements necessary to provide for the sustainability of various types of wildlife in your residential or commercial area. If you are feeding birds, have a birdbath and are growing trees and shrubs on your property you already have fulfilled a few of these requirements. The rest is really quite simple, and you do not need a 20-acre farm or anything close to that to have a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Why is this important?
For me its about spreading the word on the importance of preserving and/or replicating the natural habitat that is essential for wildlife to thrive. It is no secret that across the world animal habitats are shrinking with devastating results, including the endangerment of many animal species.
There is a very small fee required for certification along with an easy form to complete on their website. You will need to upload photos of your areas which, if you are like me and love taking photos of your gardens, you probably already have! After you have completed the requirements the NWF will send you a small sign to post in your habitat. Fancier signs are also available. Below is a list of the NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat requirements. Each one is linked to more detailed information available on the NWF website.

Provide Food For Wildlife

Supply Water For Wildlife

Create Cover For Wildlife

Give Wildlife A Place To Raise Their Young

Let Your Garden Go Green

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Magic Cat!

Meet Gypsy Kitty. A 5th generation fortune-teller, she practices her craft with an heirloom Magic 8-Ball first used by her great-great-great-great-grandkitty in 1958. Unfortunately, the only reading she gets is "Reply hazy, try again." Available now in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Harvest Time!


My menagerie of little animals continues to grow. I call this one Lil Punkin and painted it as a companion to Tomato Thief, one of my very first paintings. Both are available in my Etsy shop. These are one of a kind original watercolor paintings. If you would like to view more of my watercolor paintings just click one of the links over to the right.