Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's Pistachio Day, Bring on the Dumante!

Being an urban gardener as well as a designer of cards that go beyond communication, I often receive notices about how things grow and updates on unique holidays. Today, February 26th, encompasses both because it is National Pistachio Day, and if you are one who needs rationale to indulge in a treat, this is the day you can eat pistachio nuts with good cause knowing you are honoring a national holiday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Steve Jobs, Happy Birthday to you!


Today is Steve Jobs' birthday and I certainly wish him good health. When I learned last month that he was taking another leave from Apple to "focus on his health", I was at a loss for words (as I stated in a previous post), and since that time, I have replayed a video of him making a commencement speech in California (which I included in a prior blog entry that you can view by clicking here). In that speech, Steve Jobs said, "If you live everyday as if it is your last, one day you will be right." I pray that Steve Jobs is not even close to his last day, but my blog post is not intended to dwell on the philosophy associated with such a statement; rather, it is to ponder a reason for the pressure shareholders and influential investors are putting on Apple Inc — a reason which I believe goes beyond monetary concerns. Since I hold no stock in Apple and have very little cash flow in general, my insights may prove to sound altruistic, but please, hear me out:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Released! Photo-Art Movie Trailer Designed and Produced by Yours Truly


If you have been following this blog, you will know that I have made an origami-style slide presentation as well as a mini-movie to promote products offered via Gifts by Helen (see this entry and this entry), and that I have made slide presentations in a virtual flip book form to introduce some of my works on paper (designed for greeting cards that are about more than communication, invitations that preserve a moment in time, and event program covers that enhance any occasion). These virtual flip books provided sneak previews and or samples of new works. Because my readers have enjoyed these presentations, I have now produced a DVD which is a trailer that includes snippets of all of these presentations, and in today's post, I am offering my readers a chance to view this DVD via Vimeo by clicking here where you.

My goal in producing this is to reach out to people who need their products or services to be promoted via a slide-show or mini-movie by me for a very reasonable fee.

ADDENDUM: I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances.

My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series (pictured below)whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal.  

As of May 22 2018, I have rendered some images from these books into greeting cards and they are available on Fine Art America, please click here for more info.

Re my book seriesWords In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

At this moment, May 2018, both volumes one and two are in hardcover format (as seen below) and are available wherever  books are sold.


*Here's the  purchase info for the Words In Our Beak book series:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529:
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2AFZDCz
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2AAnB26
book culture On Columbus: http://bit.ly/2FsC1Uf

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2q75g8e
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2G65m6H

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Kalomeris's Garden


New York City dwellers who own and maintain urban gardens (such as yours truly) are often artists and tend to find each other by happenstance, as was the case when I met Cecilia Kalomeris, an urban gardener and fine artist  (known as Cecilia Abs André), who lives a couple of blocks north of me. I had admired a postcard that featured her painting, Bird/Vessel (a photograph of the painting can be seen above). Cecilia had used the postcard as an invitation to an art exhibition of her paintings which had taken place several years prior, and when I met her we were both working on building projects in iWeb at the Apple Store on 67th Street and Broadway in the Upper Westside of New York City.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sansevieria trifasciata and Other Delights in Tony's Garden


Even though Phil and Chuck, the respected northeastern groundhogs did predict an early spring, it is still winter — mid winter — and although the temperature in the New York City area where I live is predicted to reach near sixty degrees by the end of the week, my urban gardener-comrades  and I will continue to give our respective outdoor gardens (and ourselves) a much needed rest. 

However, indoor gardeners, such as Tony (whose luscious succulent garden can be seen on a window-sill facing Seventy-Second Street in the Upper Westside of New York City and is  the subject of the photograph posted above) continue to find exciting opportunities in maintaining a succulent garden. His succulents vary widely in form, texture, and color mirroring his design potential. At the moment, his Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law tongue/ Snake plant) stands proudly (as seen in the left corner of this photograph) and seems to watch over the succulent community around her as a lioness would watch over her cubs. Tony's garden exudes the warmth and wonder of exciting places like North Africa, Australia, and Yemen — a much needed respite in the bleakness of winter. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HAPPY GUM DROP DAY: "Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream"


Yes, you read the title to this post correctly, Happy Gumdrop Day. Today, February 15th, is National Gumdrop Day. One way to honor it is by having a soirée and serving champagne flavored gumdrops, such as the variety found at The Sweet Life (as seen in the photograph posted above), or make your own concoction by following a "traditional" gum-drop recipe and tweaking the ingredients to suit your taste buds. Another way is to just serve the "standard" gumdrop variety mixed with cashews and peanuts, as my grandfather used to do when he invited folks over to play cards, while the younger grandchildren amused themselves by going down Gumdrop Lane to find the lost king in Candy Land (the board game invented by Ms.Eleanor Abott in 1945 when she was recovering from polio).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be it Ystävänpäivä or Sõbrapäev or Valentine's, Here's to You, Dear Reader


I don't usually post on Mondays, but, on this day of Ystävänpäivä, Sõbrapäev, and Valentine's, when we honor our dear friends or our lover and others in our life with a gift and a card, I want to thank my readers for their support and offer a sincere wish that "they" always will be playing your song! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

. . . there is always edit/undo and control (or command) "Z"


As I have stated many a time, designing cards that are about more than communication, invitations that preserve a moment in time, and event program covers that enhance an occasion, has led me to information about many traditional and non-traditional holidays. In several of these cases there are silicone bracelets to go along with such events, and, if you can't find the bracelet that suits your needs, the made-to-order possibilities are at your disposal — courtesy of the Internet — as evidenced by a photograph posted above of the silicone bracelet honoring Don't cry over spilled milk day, (a day associated with optimism) which incidentally was yesterday, February the Eleventh.

For this occasion, many folks indulge in dairy products! And if you know someone for whom this may be the case, they might like both my black and white card as well as photo-print known as Cow With Children. It can be seen below, and viewed on my web-site, where purchase information is available.





Other folks chose to honor this day by sending a card or photographic print that "represents" another dairy product — yogurt —as seen in the image posted below known as Early A.M.




So, if you missed Don't cry over spilled milk day, there's no need to cry over that; rather, revel in the idea that every day represents a holiday of some sort and an excuse (if you need one) to have a soirée or send a card.

Besides, if you are a MAC user, when it comes to editing your artwork or prose, there is little reason to cry-over-the-spilled-milk of hitting the wrong key on the keyboard because there's always Edit/Undo and Command (or Control) Z for that — ah if that were only true in 'real-life' . . . 


ADDENDUM: I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances.


My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series (pictured below)whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal.  

As of May 22 2018, I have rendered some images from these books into greeting cards and they are available on Fine Art America, please click here for more info.

Re my book seriesWords In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

At this moment, May 2018, both volumes one and two are in hardcover format (as seen below) and are available wherever  books are sold.


*Here's the  purchase info for the Words In Our Beak book series:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529:
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2AFZDCz
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2AAnB26
book culture On Columbus: http://bit.ly/2FsC1Uf

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2q75g8e
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2G65m6H

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughts on Arthur Miller

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store AND it’s on Amazon.

On this sixth anniversary of Arthur Miller's death, I came across this disturbing article about his son, Daniel, whom, apparently Mr. Miller refused to acknowledge, because the son had Down's Syndrome. Having associated Arthur Miller with a reconciliation of sorts that I had with my father (referred to in a previous post), as a result of an audition (where I met Mr. Miller) that I had for a 1980s Broadway production of his play, Death of a Salesman, I was now sorry to hear of Miller's inability to enjoy his son, Daniel, because of his having Down's Syndrome. There was a time when a "well-meaning" aunt would tell me that my father did not want to be around me (he moved out of our family's house when I was a child) because I was a reminder of his failings. She was referring to (among other things) my having very poor eyesight — which he had too — and she "reassured" me that she was telling me this "to make me feel better," to which a friend said "tell your aunt if that is supposed to make you feel better, perhaps she should tell you something to make you feel worse."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Confessions of a Pink Panther Wannabe


Hello there! Please allow me to introduce myself,  I'm one of the latest in the collection of painted rocks that can be purchased (yes even I have my price) via Gifts By Helen (an entrepreneur discussed in four previous posts on this blog which you can read by clicking here as well as here and here and here). Being a cat who is pink has led me to having aspirations of being as popular as The Pink Panther, and so I have just produced a little movie to offer more detail on the textures found in the products offered via Gifts by Helen, which are PURR-fect for Valentines Day, Sõbrapäevand Ystävänpäivä, as well as any holiday or special occasion. I've cast myself as the host, and now I'll invite you to view it on Vimeo, by clicking here.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Helen, sole proprietor of Gifts by Helen, passed away in December of 2014, and at the time, I announced it on Facebook. Her business is closed. My entries about her will remain in honor of her legacy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Funny Valentines (Influence of Snowmen/women on my new line of Valentine's cards)



"The snowman is an integral part of our world culture," writes Bob Eckstein (The History of the Snowman),"and pops up in rare prints, paintings, early movies, advertising, and over the past century, in every art form imaginable." Eckstein's tribute to this "King of Kitsch" is a fun read and informative too — especially for those who want to know about the snowman's roots (it happens to be the Dark Ages). I, too, have been inspired by snowmen — or snow sculptures — as I have called them (in four previous posts which you can read by clicking here as well as here and here, and here), especially the ones I've seen in Central Park in New York City, such as the one in the photo posted above this blog entry. It is a snow figure I pegged as Snow Diva in Central Park and subsequently rendered into a single-sided all occasion greeting card. (This can be found in the storefront pages of my web-site where purchase information is available.)

The problem for me in building snow sculptures is that it usually too bloody cold, so, recently, in my quest to create a snow sculpture and still be warm, I came up with a unique snow figure in the warmth of my studio, and then rendered it into a limited edition of valentines which you can send on Valentine's Day (reminder it is only nine days away) also known as Sõbrapäev or Ystävänpäivä as I've discussed in previous posts. 


You may click here to view a slideshow of these new cards in Vimeo.

ADDENDUM: I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and greeting cards, but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances.

My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series, whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinalWords In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

At this moment, May 2018, both volumes one and two are in hardcover format (as seen below) and are available wherever  books are sold.


*Here's the  purchase info for the Words In Our Beak book series:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529:
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2AFZDCz
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2AAnB26
book culture On Columbus: http://bit.ly/2FsC1Uf

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2q75g8e
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2G65m6H

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Unlucky for Lucky Brand's "hood" (in the twinklin' of an eye . . . )


"For Rent" signs are all too familiar  a sight in New York City (and I imagine in many other parts of the country). The "For Rent" sign in the photograph posted above can currently be seen in the branch of a LUCKY BRAND store that was located on the southwest corner of 70th Street and Columbus Avenue. As seems to be the case with stores that go out of business in New York City, this happened without warning, or in the 'twinklin' of an eye' as  the saying goes. LUCKY BRAND at 70th was in full swing one day, and had a 'ghost-town' look the next. I confess I only bought a few things over the years at this store, but was very aware of their presence for a number of years — and not for the apparel that they sold. As it happens, I live in a "hood" where shopkeepers reach out to their comrades (other shopkeepers in this instance) as I discussed in a previous post this past fall (Nothing Small Minded About Small Business). HoweverLUCKY BRAND, reached out to individuals, and not just to sell their products.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Staten Island Chuck AND Punxsutawney Phil's "News"


This is an unscheduled entry as I normally post on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but occasionally I offer an additional post when a noteworthy event occurs, or when I need to follow-up on a given topic. I wrote about the importance of following-up on entries this past fall, and since in Tuesday's entry I discussed the meaning of Groundhog Day (which is today), I am happy to report this: For those who have not heard, our beloved: New York City rodent, Staten Island Chuck, did not see his shadow this morning, which those weary of winter will be happy to know, because this is a traditional sign that spring is on the way.

Staten Island Chuck was in agreement this year with Punxsutawney Phil, who did not see his shadow either. Rare is the case when New Yorkers and those from Pennsylvania agree on much — especially when it comes to their respective sports teams — but today, these citizens do agree on one thing: they hope their "meteorologist-rodents" are correct in their prediction of an early end to winter.

As for me, I'm not hurrying outside to de-winterize my ice-caked roof-extension garden by unwrapping any plants. In fact, maybe I'll invest in a shovel (since they apparently are on sale, as many shop-keeepers have taken on the sentiments of the cartoon posted above) for the snow that's still predicted.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy February! Tomorrow is Imbolc Day....What will the groundhog have to say?

Tomorrow, February 2nd, is Imbolc Day, the day that marks the point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (this day is celebrated on August 1st for those living south of the equator), and a day also known as Groundhog Day, when in New York, a rodent known as Staten Island Chuck annually makes a prediction on whether the coming days will be an early spring or prolonged winter. He does this by coming out of hibernation to see if he sees his shadow.

The deal is this: If the groundhog sees his shadow, mend your mittens, as winter will remain fast and furious; but, if he does not see his shadow, an early spring is in the wings. As an urban gardener, I am certainly eager to undo my urban garden winterizing although I hardly rely on a groundhog's predictions — even though in New York the groundhog has been right 85% of the time. A true New Yorker, this little rodent even stood up to Mayor Bloomberg (in 2010) by biting Bloomberg's finger in response for allegedly being coaxed out of his warm home and deep sleep to perform his see-or-not-see-his-shadow task.

I say allegedly because there is speculation that Staten Island Chuck was miffed at Bloomberg (for cutting the Staten Island Zoo's budget from 1.6 million dollars to 1.3 million dollars), and grabbed his chance to retaliate by biting the mayor's finger.

Now, with the mayor's recent arrogance over the response to the mishandling of the December 27, 2010 snowstorm, and his lofty manner regarding third term limits, New Yorkers are waiting in anticipation for tomorrow's event — not only to see if Staten Island Chuck sees his shadow, but to see if this little rodent will reprise his role of standing up to "his honor"— as only he seems to be capable of doing, as evidenced in the video posted below: