Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Review of Origami in the Garden

Flying Folds

 Are you fascinated by Origami? Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into shapes that look like animals, birds, etc. I always wanted to learn origami, and several years ago I took a short course on origami while I was on a cruise ship.  What I thought would be very easy, was not easy at all.  I felt like I was all thumbs trying to put together a very basic form.  

I recently was able to view an awesome exhibit of origami, taken to a whole new level.  This exhibit was featured this summer and early fall at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. It features sculptures by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box.  These sculptures were created in collaboration with world renowned origami artists.  The large metal sculptures use a lost-wax casting and fabrication.  Each sculpture glorifies the art of origami through museum quality metals.  They are really something to behold.

There were 18 sculptures placed throughout the gardens. In this review I will share some of my favorite sculptures and tell you a little bit about each one.

 Crane Unfolding



The first sculpture we saw when we entered the garden was the one pictured above.   In this beautiful sculpture you can see a crane emerging from a single piece of paper through the folding process to the finished crane.
Here is the sign by the sculpture that expresses what the artist felt.


Rising Cranes


This sculpture depicts a number of cranes rising from a rock base.  This sculpture was set in a small water feature at the garden and I like the way the sculpture is reflected in the water.

 Emerging Peace


This sculpture is a favorite of mine.  It depicts a butterfly starting out as a caterpillar and finally a beautiful butterfly.  I like the write up on the sign below.


Hero's Horse


I love the sculpture of the horse and the message it sends.  It looks great among the trees in the park.  Here is the sign by the horse.


Master Peace

Asian legend says that if you fold 1000 cranes in a year you will be granted a wish.  The artists who created these sculptures created 1000 cranes and wished for peace.  This sculpture is called "Master Peace" and is made up of 500 of their cranes.  The other 500 cranes are scattered throughout the world.


The sculpture stands tall in the pond in front of the climatron ( a wonderful indoor feature of the garden).  Below is a close up photo I took showing a section of the sculpture.


White Bison

The White Bison were displayed alongside one of the paths in the garden.  I thought they were very interesting in their two tone look.



Rock, Paper, Scissors

This simple hand gesture game is played throughout the world.  I was fascinated to read that it originated in Asia in 200 BC.  It evolved over the years and today uses three common items.  Here is the sculpture depicting the game.


Paper Navigators

The last sculptures in this review are the boats that were placed in the pond in the Japanese garden section of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  They  can be seen as you take the path around the pond. I like the way the sculptures are reflected in the pond.



This is just a small selection of the sculptures that were shown at our botanical garden.  The sculptures will be taken down soon.  I hope you will be able to view them if they come to a gardens near you.

Learning Origami

If you are interested in learning origami you might want to try one of these books offered at Amazon.

 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review of Flags of Valor

 

2021 Display on Art Hill, St. Louis Missouri

St. Louis Missouri has a wonderfully moving display on Art Hill that commemorates those who died on 9/11 and those who have died in the war on terror in the 20 years since 2001.  

This display first was put up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and then again on the 15th anniversary and now on the 20th anniversary.  I have been privileged to view the display each of these times and find it to be a very  emotional experience.  Here is a photo I took this year.





History of Flags of Valor

Here is a quote from the website on the history of Flags of Valor. 

The first display of Flags of Valor in St. Louis was for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  In that display 2977 flags were placed on Art Hill.  These flags represented the individuals who lost their lives in the twin towers attack, the Pentagon attack, and on Flight 93, and the first responders who gave their lives to save others.

2016 Display

On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the display on Art Hill honored those 6869 service members who lost their lives in the following operations: Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom's Sentinel.

2021 Display

In 2021the Flags of Valor organization has refined their purpose beyond remembering to educating.  With a new generation that wasn't even born when 9/11 occured it is important to educate on what has happened and what we must always remember.  This years display is three fold.

1.   Remembering the Victims of the 9/11 Attacks



To remember the 9/11 victims, there are 6 oversized informational boards.  Three are on each side of the Grand Basin.  These boards visualize 2,564 victims of the 9/11 attacks.

There is also a flag with the names of all of the victims.


2.  Remember the First Responders who Died

There are 413 flags above the Grand Basin to remember the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

3.  Remembering Service Members Who Died during the War on terror since 9/11/2001

There are more than 7000 3' by 5' American Flags on the hill below the St. Louis Art Museum.  Each flag represents of service member who has died since 9/11/2001 in the War on Terror.  Each flag is marked with an informational dog tag and a photo of the service member.





Information for this article was gathered from the Flags of Valor website at Flags of Valor STL  All photos were taken by Mary Beth Granger.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Historical Fiction by Kim Michele Richardson
I found this historical novel very interesting.  It is based on two pieces of history that were new to me.  The author did a lot of research to make sure she got the significant facts correct and then wrote her novel surrounding these events.

Historical Facts

The novel takes place in the 1930's and was inspired by the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and Kentucky Pack Horse librarians.

The Blue people of Kentucky were first discovered in the hills of eastern Kentucky.  They had an extremely rare disease that causes the skin to be blue.  This disease limited oxygen to the blood and caused a bluish tint to the skin. It is called Methemoglobinemia. These people lived in remote areas of the Kentucky hills near Troublesome creek and were shunned by other people in the area because they looked different.

The Kentucky Pack Horse librarians were started with the signing of Roosevelt's New Deal Acts.  The Pack Horse Library project was established in 1935 and ran until 1943.  It was created in an effort to both create jobs for women in rural Appalachia and to bring books to the people that lived in the poorest and most isolated areas of eastern Kentucky.  These librarians were known as the Book Women.

 

The Novel

The book takes place in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky in 1936.  It follows a pack horse librarian,  Cussy Mary Carter (also known as Bluet) through her travels as she delivers books, magazines and compassion to the poor people in the remote areas of the Kentucky hills.

Bluet has blue skin and is shunned by many of the town's people because she looks different and they feel that she has something they could "catch".  She finds peace in her job as a pack horse librarian and in the joy she brings to the people in the hills as she brings them reading materials.  She also will take the time to read to those who are not able to read themselves and she shows a lot of compassion to these people who have little food and possesions.

We also see Bluet as she works in the library storage area once a month and interacts with the other librarians.  Some are very mean to her and others are very kind.  

Bluet's mother has passed away and she lives with her father.  Troublesome Creek is a mining town and her father works in the mines.  A side story with the father shows the troubles that the miners have and the way  they live with the black lungs they got from working in the mines.

I found the main character Cussy Mary to be someone I really got to know in the book and looked forward to continue reading the book.  This is a book I would strongly recommend.

Another Book on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians

The book club I belong to read another book on the pack horse librarians.  It was called The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes.  I also found it fascinating.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review of Sunflower Facts and Photographs

Fields of Sunflowers


Each year during the month of July, I anxiously wait for the sunflower fields to bloom.  Several years ago I discovered some sunflower fields in the Missouri river bottom land about 10 miles from my house.  My granddaughters were visiting and I took them to the fields to take some photographs.  I wrote this article telling about my experience in photographing the sunflowers. Photographing Sunflowers   

Before they Bloom

In reading about sunflowers I have found that there are actually five stages in the life of the sunflower.  Three of those stages take place before they bloom.
 
1.  The first stage, the germination stage, takes places when the seeds are planted.  This stages takes about eight days.  After the seeds are planted the roots develop and seep into the ground and then a shoot will start peaking out of the ground in search of sunlight that it needs to grow.
 
2.  The second stage is called the vegetative phase.  During the first 13 days after the seedling starts its  growth toward the sun it is in the vegetative emergence stage.  Then the first leaf comes and it is now in stage 1 of the vegetative phase, a second leaf comes and it is now in stage 2, this keeps on as  more leaves are added to the stalk.
 
3.  The third stage is called the reproduction phase.  In this stage a bud will form between the cluster of leaves.  It will initially be star like in appearance but in time will grow into the tall beautiful plants with bright yellow flowers that we know so well.  This whole stage takes about 30 days.  In our area I know that this stage should be coming to an end in mid to late July.  This year I was out with friends in mid July and we decided to take a drive to see how the sunflower fields were coming along.  They were right in the middle of the reproductive stage and I got some nice  photos of the flowers in this stage.
Reproductive Phase


Blooming Stage

During the blooming stage the sunflowers are in full bloom. During this phase you will see lots of bees busy fertilizing and pollinating the flowers.  This stage will only last for about 20 days so I knew I had to get back to the fields quickly if I wanted to see the fields in full bloom.  Fortunately about a week after my first visit a friend posted some photos  showing the flowers in full bloom.  I grabbed my camera and hopped in my car and headed right out to take some photos.  I was rewarded with the following glorious sights.




Harvesting Phase

After the blooms are finished the seeds are harvested.  You will want to wait till the flowers turn brown and start to bloom and then you cut the stems about 4 inches from the head of the flowers. Sunflower heads should be stored upside down in a dry and breathable bag.

Sunflowers are annuals so they must be replanted each year.

Fun Facts and more Sunflower Photos

The Sunflower has been named the plant of the year for 2021.  In her review of this information, Olivia Morris shares more fun facts and photos about the Sunflower.  Hope for the New Year Sunflowers Plant

Zazzle Products from My Photographs

I enjoy making cards and other Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I hope you like.



Here some more Zazzle Sunflower gifts from my photographs.

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Review of Photography Scavenger Hunt Game

B=Butterfly

 At our last photography meeting we were told to meet at a local park.  When we arrived we were given a sheet of paper with rules for a photography scavenger hunt.  I wasn't sure about this game, but it turned out it was a lot of fun and really got our creative juices flowing.

Rules for Scavenger Hunt




The sheet of paper we were given had place to enter our full name at the top.  We would then circle 7 letters from our name.  Below that were ten lines each starting out with a box for the letters we had chosen.  We entered the 7 letters from our name and then added three additional letters of our choosing.


My Letters and Photos


The letters I chose from my name were: M-Y-B-T-H-A and R.  The three additional letters I chose were L-D- and S.  When we chose the letters we were not sure what we were going to do with them so they were pretty random.  After we chose the letters we were given the rules and then we had an hour to go through the park and find something to match each of the letters.  I found the first few letters to be easy.  I took a photo of a tree for the T, a bench for the B, a house for the H and a sculpture in the park for the A (art).  I got down to the M and Y and really struggled to complete the last two.  I ended up photographing a yellow flower for the Y and mulch for the M.  I finished in about 35 minutes and then took some additional photos that could also be used with the letters.  I found it a fun activity to wander the park with a purpose and take photos.  It will be interesting to see what photos everyone took when we share them at our next meeting.

Photos Taken  during the Game



B-Bench

Y= Yellow Flower

Amazon Products on Scavenger Hunts



This one looks like it would be great for children to spark their interest in photography.




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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Review of My New Air Fryer

 


My brother and my neighbor have both been telling me about the wonders of their air fryers, so when I found a great sale on Amazon I decided it was time for me to buy one and give it a try.  I had been getting in a real rut with my cooking and in fact I dreaded to have to cook meals each day.  Well, I will tell you with my new combination air fryer griller I am looking forward to each mealtime and deciding what I can make next.  The possibilities seem endless.  So far I have made shrimp, chicken wings, waffle fries, grilled sandwiches, donuts, apple chips, and reheated toasted ravoli.  All were very easy and what was really great was how easy it was to cleanup the fryer.

Features of my Power XL Grill Air Fryer Combo

The air fryer that I choose has 12 different cooking modes.  Although I don't anticipate using all of them, I can see where several will come in very handy.  There is a separate lid that I can use when I want to slow cook, steam, saute, rice, simmer, sous vide, fry or keep warm.  When I want to use the following modes: air fry, grill, bake, or roast I use the air frying lid.


I really like that it has a slow cooker option too.  I was worried about space for the air fryer but now I can put away several of my other appliances and just use the Power XL for everything.

I have not made fried food for years, but with the option of using little or no oil for the air fryer I can have crispy food and they can still be healthy without compromising any of the taste.

 

Recipes I Have Tried

My Power XL  came with a recipe book so it gave me some good ideas to start. I also found that if I wanted to cook something I could just ask Alexa and she would give me a recipe.  For instance I asked our  Alexa to give me a recipe for shrimp and she provided me with several options.  I could also ask what time and temperature to use for cooking chicken wings and she gave me the answer.  There are also tons of recipes online to try for air fryers.  

The first recipe I tried was one for shrimp.  It was so very easy. I brushed the raw shrimp with a mixture of olive oil and seasonings and then put them in the basket of the air fryer.  I cooked them at 400 degrees for 8 minutes and they came out perfectly cooked and a little crispy on the outside.  They were wonderful and this is a recipe I am sure I will use often.

For a breakfast treat I made some donuts in the air fryer.  They were also so simple and delicious.  I took a package of Pillsbury Grands biscuits and cut out a hole in the center.  I then cooked them for 6 minutes in the air fryer.  When they were finished I took them out and brushed them with some melted butter and sprinkled on a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  They were delicious.  Here is a photo I took.

I also made some apple chips by slicing an apple thin and adding a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg.  They were a wonderful snack.  Here you see them laid out in the air fryer.


What I am Looking Forward to Trying

I have a lot of different recipes marked to try in the future.  In the cookbook that came with the PowerXL was a recipe for a cherry dump cake that I will be trying this weekend.  My brother made it and said it turned out great.  A nice feature is that you can bake a cake without having to turn on the oven and heating up the house in the hot weather we are having.

Some other recipes I have found that I will try in the near future include: chicken parmesean, chicken drumsticks, french toast, egg-bacon-cheese biscuits, air fried vegetables, and fried zuccini.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Beneath Devils Bridge by Loreth Anne White-A Book Review

 

A Book Review
Beneath Devils Bridge is a compelling mystery that had my attention from page one.  In this story the author weaves a tale about a ambitious podcaster, Trinity  Scott, who is interviewing a condemned murderer. She wants to tell the story of a 24 year old murder of a 14  year old girl in a small town in British Columbia.  The  story flips between the present day story of the podcaster and her quest for the truth and the crime that took place 24 years in the past.  The murderer Clayton Jay Pelley confessed to the crime and is now serving a life sentence, but is that all there is to the story.  When Trinity starts to dig into the past the members of the small town community are not anxious to help her uncover what really happened.



Characters

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way the author developed the characters as the story progressed.  Here is a short synopsis of some of the main characters.

 Trinity Scott

 Trinity is an interesting character.  She is a podcaster who is very ambitious.  She researches cold cases and features them  on her podcasts.  At first glance you feel that her interest in this case is purely to have a great podcast.  But is that completely true or does she have some ulterior motive?

Leena Rai

Leena Rae is the murder victim in this mystery.  She is a fourteen year old girl who wants very much to belong, but she is very plain, shy and awkward.  She is often bullied and made fun of by others in her class.  On a cold November night she is brutally murdered on her way home from a "secret" bonfire in the small town of Twin Falls.  The circumstances of her murder are covered up by the people in the village till podcaster Trinity Scott brings up the case 24 years later.

Rachel Walczak

Rachel is the lead detective on the case and also the mother of one of Leena's classmates.  When she and the other detective start interviewing the students after the murder they both feel something is being hidden from them, but when a teacher confesses the case is quickly closed.

My Thoughts on the Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I like the way it was written giving both Trinity's and Rachel's perspective.  The book really pulls you in and has several twist and turns that I did  not anticipate.  It also has a lesson to be learned on what happens when bullying becomes the norm and a small town sticks together to hide the truth.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review of Lavender Farm

Lavender at Entrance to Long Row Lavender Farm

 If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend a late spring day, I would suggest visiting a lavender farm.  In the St. Louis area we have a farm about an hour west of the city that my friend, Barb and I spend some time exploring on a beautiful June day.  

Long Row Lavender Farm




Long Row Lavender Farms is located on 15 acres just south of Wright City Missouri.  It is a family owned farm that was started in 2007 by 6 family members as a way to bring the family closer together and work toward a common purpose.  They see the farm as a midwest destination and offer a variety of activites and services.

Cafe


One of my favorite features of the farm is the Cafe.  The cafe offers a small but delicious menu that you may eat at a variety of small areas around the farm.  There is seating both inside the remodeled barn, outside on the porch or down by the pond.



I enjoyed a delicious  sandwich of grilled cheeses, tomatoe and bacon on sourdough bread.  I also had a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade from their menu you can see below.


One of the walls in the cafe has live  wall hangings, which I found fascinating.




 Gift Shop


Inside the barn you will find a gift shop full of lots of handmade products from the farm.  There is a variety of bath and body products, seasonal clothing, and home decorations.  You can also buy plants at the shop.



Workshops


Lavender farms offers weekly workshops at their facility where local artists teach of variety of different crafts.

Enjoy  the Grounds


The  grounds of the farm are beautiful and full of flowers  and lots of little nook and grannies to sit back and relax.  There are benches on the porch, a wonderful porch spring, a pond, and lots of flowers.  Here are a few of the photos I took around the grounds.




Lavender


Of course it wouldn't be a lavender farm without lots of lavender.  In looking up  lavender online, I found that the name is Lavandule and lavender is the common name for the genus.  There are 47 known species of these flowering plants and they are members of the mint family.

At Long Row Farms they have about 1200 lavender plants and 7 different varieties.  The varieties they  have are : Provence, Phenomenal, Hidcote Blue, Twickel Purple, Edelweis, Grosso, and Ellagence Pink.  Here are some photos I took of the different plants.







In the midwest the lavender blooms in early to mid June.  The blooms are then harvested a few weeks after  they bloom and then go through the drying process which takes about 3 weeks.  The drying takes place in the loft of the barn where they are hung up in bundles to dry.

The farm also grows peonies, zinnias and sunflowers so there are lots of blooms to see throughout the summer.


Zazzle Products


I always enjoy make products from my photographs.  Here are some from my visit to Long Row Lavender.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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