Saturday, November 29, 2008

Polar Express

Polar bears have been in a lot of news lately. So, I thought to paint them this week. I saw a couple of photos of polar bears sleeping together when I was browsing the web – they look so adorable and peaceful. As we all know polar bears are potentially endangered species due to the rapid and unprecedented shrinking of the Arctic’s sea ice, which they use as a platform to hunt seals, fish and other sea creatures.

I used the back of the watercolor paper to paint on. I’m not sure if I’d do it again. The colors were not as vibrant and it did not absorb the water well. I had to use a towel to wipe off excess water and to try to blend and smooth the surface. Although, the colors were not as vivid as I wanted to, I really love the “dream-like” effect. I wish I had a bigger scanner to really capture the subtlety of the colors.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


A page from my sketchbook.

For flowers that bloom about our feet;

For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Capturing the World

No paintings this week. I have been so busy working and getting up at 5 am is such a drag. I’m glad it’s over now. I have four days to devote to painting, cooking, planting and maybe sleeping :)

Today I decided to post some photos I’ve taken over the years. I am not a photographer but I love capturing things in the camera. I bought an inexpensive camera this year so I can take it wherever I go. I used to borrow my sister’s camera, now I have my own. So cool!

I took this picture for my first photography class. I believe this was from Ocean City.

Who would have thought a rooster and a dog would get along. I love this one. The dog looks a little apprehensive in approaching the rooster.

Arachnid. I saw this big spider while we were walking to visit some relatives in the province. This was taken during my vacation to the Philippines.

One of my top favorites! I don’t remember the name of the garden but this was taken during one of my garden trips.

“What a wonderful world,” says the bug. It seems like it’s really enjoying the scenery of Huntley Meadows.

One of my favorite movies is Bambi. I always take pictures of deers wherever I see them. This is one of my favorites. Taken from Shenandoah National Parks.

Lovely ladybug. How cute are they?

And here’s some more photos of one of my favorite subjects.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rodents with PR

Has anyone seen squirrels attempt to get inside a bird feeder? It’s one of the most amusing things. Although it gets a bit annoying when birds run out of food. I have two feeders and normally fill them up every two weeks but once they located them, it was all over for the birds. I recently took them down because it’s winter but I’ll put them back up in the spring.

I don’t know much about squirrels except that they’re cute :). But did you know that the squirrel’s name can be traced back to ancient Greece, from the word “skiouros,” used by Aristotle – skia meaning shade, while “oura” means tail. Thus the meaning “he who sits in the shadow of his tail” was originated. In the subsequent centuries, the French created a noun “esquirel” to describe this creature. And that’s where the present word “squirrel” was derived.

More very interesting trivia:
  • Squirrels communicate through a series of chirps. The frequency, and the duration of the notes communicate everything from laughter to alarm. Their frequency range is normally between .01 KHz. and 10 KHz. (kilohertz). These sounds when used in conjunction with tail gestures, form the basis for squirrel communication.
  • A squirrel will break the shell of a nut with its teeth, then clean the nut by licking it or rubbing on its face before it is buried. This action applies a scent to the nut which helps the squirrel find it later, even under a foot of snow.
  • The squirrel’s erratic path while crossing a street is an attempt to confuse the oncoming vehicle... thereby causing it to change direction. This is obliviously the squirrels biggest, and often last mistake.
  • The male tree squirrel takes twice as long, as the female, to groom itself. They are the cleanest animal in the rodent family.
  • A squirrels teeth grow continuously. Their incisor’s will grow six inches per year, but stay short due to the constant wear they receive.
If you want to know more about these voracious creatures. I couldn’t believe it existed but here’s a website dedicated solely for them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It’s Kids Night at Old Town!

Add ImageWe are holding a Tasting event exclusively for kids at Whole Foods Market Alexandria from 5 -7 pm. That’s three hours of fun and great food! In addition, you’ll also receive free goodies to take home. So, don’t forget to mark your calendar. We hope to see you there!

(I just noticed the little girl is wearing two different gloves. I’m so glad, I haven’t printed them out *sigh)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Healthy Diet

I love watching and listening to birds. I have seen, Cardinals, Catbirds, Sparrows, Mockingbirds, Tufted Titmouse, Chickadees and even Ruby-throated hummingbirds visiting our garden but I have yet to see Bluejays. I hope I get to see one next year !

One of our frequent visitors is the American Robin or Turdus Migratorius. They are migratory birds of Thrush family and are constantly foraging for worms. Contrary to popular belief, they catch worms and other insects using sight not sound. It may seem like robins are fond of worms; however, they eat mostly berries, fruits and seeds. Only 42 % of Robin’s diet consists of meat and the rest is vegetarian. Pretty healthy huh?

Fun facts about robins:
  • Robins usually lay three or four light blue eggs.
  • When a baby robin is born, its skin is transparent enough that you can see through it.
  • Robins fly 30 to 36 miles per hour.
  • The robin is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Next time you encounter a robin, you’ll know exactly what season it is depending on what’s on the menu. I guess we can all learn from the robins when it comes to a healthy diet ;)

Source: Oregon State University and Annenberg Media Learner

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flame - The New Face of CQ

This is Flame, the latest addition to the family. Flame is normally shy but he has another side...a camera hog. Sorry Flame but that was a little too much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All Purpose Bag

Looking for a great gift or a nice reusable bag? Look no further! FEED bags are great for everyday use. It’s simply designed for your convenience – you can easily fit it in your purse! Made from 100% organic cotton and natural burlap, this bag is very sturdy! But the best part is when you purchase one FEED bag, it helps one child in Rwanda receive 100 nutritious meals through the United Nations World Food Programme.

FEED bags are available in all Whole Foods Market locations. Normally sold for $29.99, they are now on sale for only $24.99! Hurry while supplies last!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hey Jude

One of the cutest videos I have ever seen. It makes me laugh every time.

Monday, November 10, 2008


My grandfather used to raise chickens when we were back home. It was a small henhouse at the back of the house. Every morning I woke from the sound of a rooster, which was great because I did not have an alarm clock. I normally woke up at 5 am to get ready for school.

He had chicken coops of different sizes and one large coop built especially for the hens, so they could lay their eggs safely. And we hatched some of them in the incubator that my dad built. I remember watching the chicks crack their way out of their shells. Some of them were too weak to break the eggshell; so I would peel some of the shell off. I loved them so much that I would also purchase them from school with my lunch money. I made them little beds from old shoe boxes and I added some torn newspaper and old notebook paper as bedding.

There was one hen who stood out amongst the rest and her name is “Japanese Chicken.’’ She was my little brother’s pet. She was given to my grandpa by one of his Japanese friends, hence the name ‘‘Japanese Chicken’’ (we weren’t that creative with names). We got her when she was just a chicklet but she did not grow much larger. She was only 10 inches long including her tail when she reached maturity. Sometimes we would play with her inside but she enjoyed the outdoors the most. We had so much fun with her. When we came to the US we couldn’t take her with us. Then we found out that one of our neighbors was so fond of her that he kept “Japanese Chicken’’ forever; so we never saw her again. I miss her dearly...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Falling For You

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.


Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I love how the leaves turn into different shades of yellow, red and orange, as if someone had painted on them. They are most beautiful when they are falling from the branches, like butterflies retreating for the winter and sparkling like the glitters inside a giant snow globe. It delights me greatly as I watch them falling, covering the verdant lawn like a carpet of gold, red and fiery orange– what a beautiful sight! And then you see the birds enjoying the red berries where the leaves left exposed.

So, what causes the leaves to turn into different colors?
The leaves serve as food factory for the plants. During spring and summer when daytime is longer, the leaves are able to produce plenty of food for the plants. Plants obtain light from the sun using chlorophyll found in the leaves. By using light energy, plants are able to turn water and carbon dioxide to glucose. However, in the fall, daytime is shorter and less light are absorbed, which means less food for the plants. In order to preserve its energy, the factory shutdowns and the plants live off the food they stored during summer. As the process begins, the green chlorophyll starts to disappear and exposes some of the colors found in the leaves. Few trees such as Maples, trap glucose in the leaves after photosynthesis ends. Cold weather and sunlight cause glucose to turn red. There are several factors why leaves turn color in the fall. If you want to learn more, visit Gonewengland.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hanging By A Moment

When we were kids, we used to chase and try to catch frogs – they are such fun creatures. And then my grandma told us that we can get warts from touching a frog; from then on, I stopped trying to pet them. I do not remember when I last touched a frog, probably in sixth grade.

The truth is you cannot get warts from being in contact with a frog. Warts are caused by human virus and not by frogs or toads. They might have slimy and bumpy skin but these help keep them from drying out and camouflage in their habitat. Some frogs and toads have paratoid glands which secretes poison that causes irritation and may be toxic to some species. So, if you see a frog and you want to touch it, it’s okay as long as you’re gentle with it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Meeting An Emperor

Happy Feet is one of my favorite movies of all times, in both live and animated categories. I even have the theme song downloaded into my computer and played it a hundred times, literally! It just makes me happy listening to “Boogie Wonderland.” On the other hand, who can resist penguins?! They are one of the cutest animals in the universe and they also love to play; some of their favorite pastimes are:

Penguins lie on their belly and toboggan through the ice and snow. This helps them move quickly.

Diving: Penguins dive off cliffs and ice flows into the water, hop back up onto the land and dive down again. Line-ups for good diving spots can get very long.

Surfing: Penguins are often seen surfing through the waves onto land.

Source: Kidzone

A Visit To A Meadow

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a botanical garden is explore the meadow. I love seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. There’s nothing more magical than being surrounded by butterflies, wildflowers, and wildlife. I would love to create one someday, which means not mowing the lawn forever! Now, that I can do...

Did you know?
Some weeds in your lawn such as: plantain, fennel, dock, sorrel, wild radish, clovers, cudweeds, and even thistles are excellent host and nectar plants for the butterflies.

Above is my interpretation of a meadow, using watercolor and pen. I hope you enjoy it.