A thousand tiny butterflies

Week Two: (Day 14) Make something microscopic. How small can you work? Can you make something that requires a magnifying glass or microscope to see?

I could have created a super small butterfly shape on a white background, but it felt like the old polar-bear-in-a-blizzard shtick. So, instead of just one minute butterfly, I decided on thousands (probably, I didn’t count them). Here’s a detail shot of the finished image. Each individual butterfly is only 15 pixels.

The butterfly pic came from Pixabay, my favorite go-to source for free, hi-res, open source images. And, the Photoshop tutorial came from Blue Lightning TV on YouTube, a treasure trove of great Photoshop videos.

(Day 14) is the prompt designation in Noah Scalin’s book, 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! I am using this book as the catalyst and inspiration for these weekly posts.




Teacher’s pet Bud-erfly


Day 15 – Make something inspired by an important teacher in your life.

Bud Webster was, has been, will always be one of my favorite teachers. He led a writer’s critique group of which I am still a member, even though he’s no longer with us. Bud was genuinely passionate about the written word, brilliant and funny as hell.

I did my best to capture his quirkiness. A sad smile tugs at my mouth every time I pull this image up. I posted it almost immediately to his fan page on Facebook. But, somehow, it never made it to my blog.

So for punishment, I’ll sacrifice a live squid…

Potato Dreams, a short story


Potato Dreams, a short story

A lowly potato has few aspirations. Herbert knew his purpose maturing in the soil. He had been created for sustenance and he did not fear his destiny. When his skin hardened and his starches formed, he knew the time had come. Throughout his harvesting experience, he set forth his intention to be enjoyed.

To be prepared with love and devoured with pleasure was the highest hope he or any of his fellow tubers could conceive. Holding onto his dream, he waited in the market and celebrated when he was purchased and transported to a residence. Stored in a bushel basket with several more of his kind, he waited patiently in the cool dark pantry.

His whole world changed when he saw her.

She gleamed like a star from the wire shelving above him, so Herbert decided to call her Celeste. He wondered if she would be offended by this, having a name already. Did a soda can have thoughts like he did? If so, would she communicate with him? Perhaps the thought of conversing with a sod-speckled spud was distasteful. Or, maybe she was choosing not to reach out to him because her sisters so closely chained to her might disapprove. He decided none of that mattered. Her precisely machined shape and bright colors intrigued him, so he gazed lovingly at her with as many of his eyes as he could.

Celeste’s body seemed to attract and magnify the light that crept in from between the slats in the pantry door. She shimmered even more brilliantly when the door opened. Herbert watched as human hands took items from the pantry, but it wasn’t until he saw those hands grasp the cylinder of one of Celeste’s sisters that he wanted to be a human.

Only a human could truly experience Celeste, holding and feeling her with sensitive fingers — fingers that could trace the smoothness of her body and the sharpness of her edges. He yearned for ears to discern any sounds she could make. He wished for a tongue to taste her and a nose to smell her. The intimate details of her essence were lost to him. He cursed his limitations.

With each opening of the pantry door he wished for another day to bask in the glory of his Celeste. As her sisters and his fellow potatoes were taken, his wishes became desperate pleas. If there were a potato deity, Herbert was throwing himself at its mercy.

Too soon, it seemed, Herbert was lifted from his bushel basket. He watched Celeste fall away beneath him and disappear. His pleas for more time went unanswered.

Herbert’s skin was scrubbed, pierced and oiled. Wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, he was placed in a hot oven to bake. He felt his starches break down into sugars from the heat. His original dream was coming to fruition. He was going to be consumed. But Herbert was in love, he had transcended his small potato aspirations.

Losing his perception of time, he struggled to focus, to remember Celeste before there was nothing left of him. Then in the next moment it seemed, he was on a plate and the foil was peeled away. A knife sliced through his crisp, brittle skin and his now soft innards were pushed up. He was seasoned. The salt, pepper and butter sent new sparks of sensation through his consciousness.

He could feel rather than see the great salt mines, and the excavation and iodization. He sensed the growth of the peppercorns in the field. Their harvesting was not unlike his, but the impression of being dried and crushed felt peculiar. The butter told a longer story of life as a bovine grazing in a pasture. The sensation of the milk extraction, the separation of the cream and the churning gave Herbert a new appreciation of his simplicity. The salt, pepper and butter merged with him in his new cooked state and added to the whole of his experience.

Reveling in this new awareness, he barely noticed the transition to a new space. As the shock of the merging subsided, Herbert became mindful of the small table his plate now rested on. His awareness stretched out to the other items on the table with him. Two cylinders, one tall, clear and open at the top with clear cubes at odd angles filling its interior space. The other, to his delight, was his Celeste!

Herbert’s newfound joy subsided when he felt a portion of himself being lifted away and placed into a warm, moist cave. Agitation and dissolution, then another sense of expansion as he became aware of what had ingested him. Immediately, his awareness became focused in a totally new way.

Through this being, he could sense an entirely new dimension of physical depth. And, with the sensation came human understanding. The taste of himself, the potato, with butter, salt, and pepper were closely connected to the smell. He could feel his substance being chewed and swallowed and he knew he was dinner. He saw himself on the plate, he saw Celeste, and beside her, a glass with ice. He saw the markings on Celeste’s container and understood their meaning, she was a soda, a Sierra Mist. It was overwhelming to simultaneously be aware of himself and to see himself from an outside perspective.

Another bite taken and Herbert gained even more insight. There was a sense of identity: the human was a fruit-bearer, a female. She had a name, Nicole. Permeating this were feelings of being separate from everyone and everything else. And, with that came loneliness and an attitude of resentment for having to present herself in a certain way to be accepted by others. Learning did not happen from an internal feeling of rightness, but from external stimulus. Those others, parents and teachers, instructed and trained, monitored and judged.

Even more foreign to Herbert was a constant string of language and images, the concepts coming through in fragments.

Quick, quack, fix the crack
Broom, broom, vacuum
Painting in the hall, trip to the mall
Trash goes out by the back door

Trick, track, carpet tack
Drive, drive, nine two five
Sheets on the bed, mower in the shed
Lather and shave with a razor

Slick, smack, pain in the back
Lather, rinse, repeat
Loads of debt, no outlet
Want to leave it all but got to have more

Herbert couldn’t believe he had once envied these humans. These new physical sensations were a small reward compared to the constant noise and feelings of separation. How did these beings function with their attention diverted away from the essence of life?

His wandering awareness regained focus when he felt the soda can in Nicole’s hand. He watched her fingers lever the tab up and back, snapping open Celeste’s mouth. The liquid inside fizzed and popped, spritzing effervescence out of the opening. Nicole’s hand lifted Celeste and poured her contents into the glass. The clear liquid foamed, a white rush of excitement, then subsided but continued bubbling softly.

Nicole’s hand moved to the glass, lifting it. Herbert’s anticipation heightened by this new shared awareness. Nicole expected the cool refreshment, the sweet taste, the feel of carbonation on her tongue and throat. Herbert was eager to merge with Celeste.

The liquid passed easily and with another bite of Herbert’s substance he could feel his connection to Celeste. Her story was dramatically different from his. She had very few roots in biology. Her existence in nature was brief. All of her natural components were modified chemically. Herbert felt the sterile laboratory, processing factory and packaging plant. The creation of her container was a distant and separate thing and perhaps slightly more natural that her contents. He had faint impressions of the aluminum ore and the bonding with additional materials to form an alloy. He could sense the sheets of metal being stamped, pressed and formed into the cylinder that had sparked his fascination.

Bite after bite and sip after sip, their consciousnesses merged. Herbert and Celeste were blending into Nicole. Soon their individual essences would give way and their existence as they knew it would be changed forever.

Herbert was grateful for his life as a potato. He was even more appreciative of his experiences. He felt beyond what had been his material self and knew that his purpose, although simple, was never truly complete. Aware of his physical starches breaking down into glucose as his smallest particles were carried through Nicole’s bloodstream to fuel her cells, he knew he could never cease to be. His second wish had indeed been fulfilled. He had become a human.

This new adventure was just another beginning.

**This short story was my response to the prompt: Take the following list of six words and use them in a story, between 1000 and 1500 words: potato, carpet tack, shed, razor, outlet, soda can. Use them in any order, as nouns or verbs (as appropriate), in dialog or exposition, but use them creatively.
This story was originally submitted to my writing group in November 2010. I revisited it with my group again for our December 2016 meeting. What I’ve submitted for this post is culminated from all the feedback I’ve received. If you have any thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear them.
Happy eating and may all your potato dreams come true!**



Getting excited about 2017


2017, a universal year holding the energy of 1. New beginnings, new directions…

I sat down with pad and purple pen the other day and the ideas just flowed. A bubbling excitement filled me as my list grew. This reaction is quite contrary to my usual feeling of overwhelm when I see a long to-do list. This time I actually felt hopeful and anticipatory.

Mostly, my focus is on growing this blog and building a Pinterest presence (right now, I’m more of a follower than a creator). Here are a few of my long-term plans for 2017:

Blog post ideas (to be mirrored on FB):

  •  Writing
    • I’d love to be able to post the status on my novel on a weekly basis, but it’s resting right now. I like to think of this first draft as bread dough that needs time to rise before I pound it into shape. Once I’m ready to face it again, I’ll post the first three chapters.
    •  In the meantime, I’m submitting short stories at my monthly writers group. When those have been edited and are ready for human consumption, I’ll post them. My goal is monthly.
  •  Artwork
    • I’m looking forward to picking up where I left off on Butterfly-of-the-Week. This should resume in February.
    •  I’m also toying with other ideas for weekly posts: Doodle-of-the-Week, Inspirational Quotes, Zentangles, Mandalas/Chakras, color palettes (a photograph with a color range picked out), there’s even a part of my fashion-design-college-major self that wants to post weekly outfits or fashion plates that I’ve designed myself.
    •  I also received an iPad and iPencil as Christmas gifts! (Lucky girl? Yes, I am.!) So, I’d like to post about my learning experience with Procreate. I have a lot of learning to do though…
  •  30-day Challenges
    •  I plan to participate in at least two 30-day challenges, like CreativeSprint, 64MillionArtists and WordPress’s Photography101 or some other class.


  •  Mostly with Pinterest, I want to develop my own public boards and hope that folks will actually follow them:
    •  Art and artists that inspire me
    •  Fashion, beauty and hairstyles (I have really long curly hair and I’m always looking for cool up-do’s)
    •  Writing tips
    •  Inspirational quotes
    •  My own art, digital and otherwise. (Is it uncool to Pin your own stuff? Hmm…)

So here I am, excited all over again!

Wish me luck as I endeavor to post weekly (my biggest challenge) and I’ll see you out in the blog-sphere.

My big Christmas project

or, how I spent the month of December…

My boyfriend is very hard to shop for. Usually, what he wants he buys for himself and it’s usually something tech and out of my price range.

He let me in on a secret though, he likes to receive gifts that are handmade. They’re unique, made with love and made specifically for him. So, after Googling “handmade gifts for guys,” I stumbled upon this gem of an idea: a chess set made of hardware (nuts, bolts, washers, etc.)

It took a bit of planning and several trips to Home Depot, but I managed to make a nice set that comes close to the project as pictured.

My boyfriend loved it!

He cautioned me from making one every year though, so I’ll have to hit the creative drawing board next year. I’m up to the challenge.

100_1341 100_1342


Good day, Sunshine!


Day 23 – Interpret your favorite song lyrics.

I have a lot of favorite songs. Good Day Sunshine by the Beatles captured my inspiration for this challenge.

Good Day Sunshine

The Beatles

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about
I feel good in a special way
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
We take a walk, the sun is shining down
Burns my feet as they touch the ground

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Then we’d lie beneath the shady tree
I love her and she’s loving me
She feels good, she knows she’s looking fine
I’m so proud to know that she is mine.

Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day sunshine, good day sunshine, good day sunshine
Good day…