Jun 30, 2014

A Week in the Life....My Zoo Job

As a zoo educator, my job is different during the summer than during the school year.  I primarily do outreach programs during the school year, where I leave zoo grounds with some critters and go to schools to teach kids about them. During the summer, the kids come to us and we hook them up with cool classes like "Zookeepers in Training."  My summer classes at the zoo started a couple weeks ago. These particular classes are for kids ages 10-12, are two days long and are area specific, meaning each class will focus on a different part of our zoo.  Last week kids learned about zookeeping for African animals and for Reptiles and Amphibians. Below are some photos I took of Henry the Hippo.  The Africa class kids cleaned out his indoor housing and then got to toss him some produce.

The reptile/amphibian class kiddos got to feed our giant aldabra tortoises.  There are two males and two females, and they are estimated to be over 70 years old!

Below are some photos from my phone of other activities and animals we saw during classes:

I didn't have class on Friday, but I did have a morning program at a local elementary school.  We talked about animals from all over the world.  They got to see and touch a chinchilla, bearded dragon, tenrec, and a dove.  (I just realized that I haven't done a Fur, Feathers & Scales post on tenrecs yet...you can look for that coming up soon!)

Also on Friday, we had a quick photo shoot with a new eastern screech owl, Dr. Whooo.  He was giving us hilarious expressions, so I thought I'd share those with you.  The last photo is the shot we decided to use for our project. Silly owl. 

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my day job!  I want to know what you guys do too!  Share about your job in the comments!

Jun 28, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 25

I was perusing our travel photos looking for inspiration for a felt painting and came across this photo of wonderful buildings in Bruges, Belgium.  I love the different lines, colors and textures:

This painting, even though it's small, was not easy.  I tried to get as many details in as I could without going crazy. 

Needle felting definitely seems more suitable for organic forms rather than rigid lines. I think I'll find some more fun buildings or structures to practice on--the Eiffel Tower, maybe?

Jun 25, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Running

And so it begins...my love/hate relationship with running. I need to train for a 15k trail run in October (the same one I did last year), but I haven't been seriously running for a while.  I haven't been able to consistently run since I've been getting frequent work done on my tattoo.  But, with only one more session left, and a good two weeks (at least) before I go back and have to restart the tattoo healing process, I've decided to jump back into it. I want to do better than last year's 15k run, but I feel like I'm way behind on training.  I suppose we'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Do you run, too? Do you follow any specific plans for upcoming races? Please share!

Jun 21, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 23

Apparently I have a thing for poppies lately...

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 24

This week's felt painting was inspired by an acrylic painting that I did last week.  My coworker is leading an art class at the zoo for kiddos, and I used up their leftover paint.  I've never actually painted with "fancy" acrylics before this.  I didn't have any subject in mind when I started, but eventually it morphed into this. It was fun!

So here is my mini felted version:

By the way, I'm almost caught up now! It took forever, but it's a relief to be creating felt paintings for the correct week!

Jun 20, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 22

I came across a beautiful picture of a swan online and decided to make a felted version.  I think this might even be my first water scene on a felt painting. The colors came out so bright, and I love it!

Have a great weekend!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Jun 17, 2014

Do You Recognize These Flowers? (You could win!)

Do you fancy gardening? Lately our garden has been very inspiring to me.  I've started a nature journal (more on that later), and all the pretty plants in my yard are just begging to be drawn, painted or photographed. 

I thought we could play a game with some of my photos!  These are all flowers of foods or herbs found in my garden.  See how many you can get correct!  Post your answer in the comments below, and I'll share the answers in a week or so. I'll randomly pick a winner from all the entries, and I'll send the winner something from my shop!  (You don't have to get them all correct to win.)

Good luck!

P.S. Make sure your email is available through your blogger account--if it isn't, or you're not sure, leave your email with your comment. Thanks!

Jun 16, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 21

I love these mini paintings, so I have a few more coming up.  This one is a tiny farm!

By the way, I'm almost caught up on this 52 Weeks project. Phew.

Jun 13, 2014

I tried something new!

The classes that I teach at my zoo job started this week.  They're called Zookeepers in Training, and kids 9-12 years old learn what it takes to be a zookeeper.  It's really fun, even for me.  I get to hang out with the zookeepers and animals, too, and I usually learn a few new things each class.  This time, our class got to help plan a new puzzle feeder enrichment item for the Capuchin monkeys.  It involved tacking a few pieces of metal together with a welder.  The kids each took turns with the helmet and watched the zookeeper weld.  Then, it was my turn to watch, and I actually attempted some welding.  Let's just say I need more practice!

Here's to trying something new! Have a great weekend friends!

Jun 12, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 20

I got such a great response from Week 19's poppy, so I'll have to do some more bright flowers on black backgrounds.  Buuuut, for now, I've got some miniature landscapes.  Here's the first one!

Jun 10, 2014

Tattoo Update - Fourth Session

So, we worked more on my leg on Saturday, and we finished all of the six remaining flowers!! It took about five hours, and for some reason this time seemed easier than the last session. We only have one more session planned--my artist wants to darken up some of the blacks and do any needed touch ups.

Here are a few photos from Saturday...

I'm thrilled to be nearly finished, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already thinking of another project.  I think I might be hooked.

Jun 9, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 19

I didn't felt a food painting this week!  You're shocked, I'm sure.  Actually, this week's painting is a combination of wet felting and needle felting.  I wet felted the black background and the general shape and base colors of the poppy, then I needle felted some of the blending color work and details. Let me know what you think of the dark background in the comments below!

Jun 8, 2014

Florida Favorites - Part Three, Go Pro Edition

Hello, hello! I've got one last post of my fave photos from Florida. (You can see Part One and Part Two here.) My husband took his Go Pro camera along, and we had a lot of fun capturing some interesting pictures. 

I hope your weekend has been great!

Jun 2, 2014

Tattoo Update - Third Session

You guys, I'm blown away.  It's like there is a beautiful painting on my leg--except this was created with needles and ink rather than a paintbrush.  I'm so impressed!

I tried to refrain from looking so I could be surprised.  That lasted about 45 minutes.  But when I did look, I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. Here are some progress pictures for this session.

(The photo below is what we finished this time and was taken the day after.)

We finished three flowers this session, so we have six more flowers to go.  This was by far the hardest session, even though it wasn't my longest.  My artist did a lot of work in a concentrated area, so it got really painful.  My leg was none to happy afterward either.  It was nice and swollen for two days.  It's been eight days now, and it's almost done peeling and looks and feels great.  I'm ready to go back!

(In case you need to catch up---> First Session, Second Session)