Tarantulas, Tea Pots and Tufted Titmice — Oh My!

Assorted Interesting Things, Creativity Link Roundup, from WordPress and the Internet

Art, Photography and the Written Word

Photo by Henry Becerra on Unsplash

I thought the photo above was fitting for this post, because you know what Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” What do tarantulas and tea pot pinatas have in common? Not much — other than things Susan reads on the Internet. Enjoy this interesting assortment, and I hope you make some new discoveries.

An artist friend, Christine Kerrick, wrote about her travel adventures in Mexico for Cinco de Mayo and showed off her painting of a Mexican red knee tarantula. She is, perhaps, the only woman I know with a fascination for tarantulas, particularly the colorful kind. (Sorry arachnophobes.) And, please, check out her art page. There is much more to her art than this particular example.

Jane Austen Runs My Life shared about her Jane Austen themed birthday party and gives the instructions for creating a tea pot pinata, which was filled with — what else? — tea bags and candy.

Donna at My One Beautiful Thing shares birdfeeder photography by Ostdrossel on Instagram. The photos are mostly birds, but she catches some other critters on camera as well, such as bunnies and squirrels.

Photo by Ostdrossel

Pam Webb, children’s writer and English teacher, shares my love of words and etymology. Read her post, Why We Say: From Villain to Windfall, to learn the origins of some common words and expressions.

Allison at A Farm Girl’s Life gives us a tour of her sketchbook. This beautiful farm scene with scattered bovines was one of my favorite spreads. You can find a little this and that on her site: sketches, photography or stories of farm life.

Photo and art by Allison of A Farm Girl’s Life. Makes me think of “All things bright and beautiful.”

Mitch Teemley, who describes himself as a writer, filmmaker, humorist and thinker-about-stuffer, writes some spiritual thoughts about the butterfly effect and repairing relationships.

Photo by Nathan Dunlao on Unsplash

Andrea R. Huelsenbeck of ARHtistic License shares an interesting formula for generating story ideas by selecting random story elements from different columns in a chart. It could be a fun creative writing exercise.

Danish travel blogger and photographer, Le Drake Noir, caught some amazing photos of a hare nursing her babies.

Photo by Le Drake Noir

Another artist friend, Jeffrey M. Green, shares his spiritual thoughts on race relations in God’s Color Palette in Human Design. Unlike many other things we hear these days, I trust his post promotes peace and harmony. Jeffrey is an absolutely amazing colored pencil artist. Below is his drawing, “Respect for Others.”

Wearable Dinnerware — My OBT

I’m sharing this post from Donna at My One Beautiful Thing blog where you can find all sorts of posts about artsy things and various artists. I really enjoyed the looks of this pretty jewelry made from china plates. Click on the link at the bottom for more.

Gésine Hackenberg Amsterdam jewelry designer Gésine Hackenberg punches holes in Delftware and other antique porcelain and ceramic pieces, and turns the circles into stylish, eminently-collectible jewelry. The graduating discs almost give the impression of pearls, and they’re every bit as wearable. I love the one-of-a-kind nature of the jewelry, and the fun use of old […]

Wearable Dinnerware — My OBT

Stunning Beadwork Purse Illustrates Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott”


Sandra Rothers is a beading hobbyist who has won many awards in both county and state fairs in her home state of Minnesota for her work.


She considers her “Lady of Shallot” beaded purse her most ambitious work so far.


Sandra first became interested in beading in the 1990s when she received a Christmas gift from an employee in her parents’ restaurant.

“It was a small kit to make beaded fringe earrings. I was hooked and began making and selling them,” said Sandra.

Around this time, she was helping to run a boutique in Stillwater, MN, and she began to sell her handcrafted beaded products there.

“For a time, I also helped run a bead store and, there, I was able to read and learn many different skills and techniques,” said Sandra.

She later began to enter county fairs with her beadwork and has also entered her work into the Minnesota State Fair for the past several years.

“I have been pleased to receive many first place and grand champion ribbons over the past years,” said Sandra.

This year, she used her favorite Tennyson poem as inspiration. She was first introduced to the poem in the 1980s Anne of Green Gables miniseries. In the series, there’s a scene where Anne acts out the poem, floating down the river in a rowboat and getting herself into a bit of trouble. (In the book, it’s Tennyson’s “Lancelot and Elaine” that is acted out.)

Sandra said she found the poem romantic and tragic.

“Over the years, I have read the poem, listened to the beautiful song by Loreena McKennitt …”

(Warning: The song below is almost 12 minutes long, so you may want to read ahead and come back to it later or just listen to the beginning for now, to get a feel for it.)

and researched the paintings of John William Waterhouse,” said Sandra.

John William Waterhouse [Public domain]
This was the first project for which she created an original chart with her own drawing. She used colored pencils and a peyote grid to create her chart. Peyote is the name of the stitch she uses, a kind of off loom bead weaving technique.


“When finished, the beads are turned into a kind of fabric that is then sewn together to form the body of the purse,” said Sandra.


To this, she added crystals and the focal “Lady” bead. The purse straps were made with a similar technique, with a line of poetry spelled out on it. There are lines of poetry woven into the reverse panel of the purse as well.


Sandra created the focal bead herself, saying it was “especially fun to make.” She first printed out a photo of the Waterhouse painting. cut out the shape of the lady and then decoupaged the image to a glass slide. The finished product was then a partially transparent cabochon bead through which the beadwork behind it could be viewed.



When the body of the purse was completed, Sandra added her fringe.


Sandra said her finished product is heavy, but she designed it to be functional with a cross body strap to help distribute the weight. She has worn it on special occasions.

“I was so proud to receive first place this year and have received much praise for my work. It was truly a labor of love,” said Sandra.