Creating A Butterfly Garden For Beauty And Peace Of Mind

Creating a butterfly garden is beneficial in several ways. If done properly, it provides a natural, healthy environment for butterflies, but it is also therapeutic for human consumption. And it need not be difficult nor stressful to accomplish.

Start your butterfly garden with a plan. Now, that does sound stressful, but the plan does not have to be a “21-day complete it or fail” exercise in futility. Just calmly consider how you can convert your available area into one that is inviting for butterflies. It can take a few weeks or years. It’s your plan, so don’t stress out over it, enjoy the process.

Creating a butterfly garden is definitely a process and a mindset. Each time you buy a plant, think about how it will fit into your landscape and if it will be an added attraction for your winged friends.

Butterflies are definitely attracted to certain areas, and you can transform your planting area to meet their needs by thinking through the kinds of plants and where those plants will be located.

Flowers that work best are those that have many blooms clustered together and are shallow so that nectar is close to the surface. Here are a few great plants that will bring quick results:

  • Brazilian Verbena
  • Purple Cone Flowers
  • Zinnias – all colors
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Milkweed
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Sedum
  • Salvia
  • Heliotrope

This list is certainly not exhaustive since there are many nectar producing flowers. Also, keep in mind that there are different species in different areas. It has everything to do with your climate and elevation. Find out what types of flowers are best for your particular area.

In addition to providing food for adults, you can also provide host plants for birthing and nurturing larvae. Again, the kinds of species in your area will dictate what host plants you should consider. Just know that if you are successful, the caterpillars will be very destructive to the host plant.

Two other ways to improve your chances of having frequent visitors are to have water and protection available. Water is best provided in very shallow pools or even simple puddles. Protection from wind and harsh elements can come in the form of a wooden fence next to your garden or an overhang on a shed or house.

One not so well know fact about butterfly feeding is that some are not nectar lovers. Instead, they feed on very ripe or rotting fruit or carrion. A plate of sliced bananas or papaya might be just the ticket for attracting some very beautiful creatures.

The whole process is quite therapeutic. Provide beauty in the form of attractive blooms and flowers and you will be able to enjoy them yourself. You can sit for long periods of time and watch as the butterflies and other insects browse each little nook and cranny for their nectar reward.

And don’t forget to have a camera handy so you can capture photos to view during less warm and beautiful seasons. Use the macro setting on your camera and you will discover some really interesting markings and body parts that are not usually seen.

Butterfly Candle Holders

Butterfly candle holders are easy to make and a great gift idea. The materials are very inexpensive, and you can use your imagination for a variety of designs. To get started, you will need:

Materials:

Small glass candle holders

Butterfly wrapping paper

Yellow tissue paper

Decoupage

Cuticle scissors

Small paintbrush

Damp paper towel

You can buy whatever glass candle holders you like (or use some you already have laying around). I bought mine at Walmart for about $0.59. You could also find them at thrift stores or yard sales.

I chose butterflies for my design, but you could choose whatever design you’d like–maybe keeping in mind the tastes of the person you’re making them for. You can cut out pictures from anywhere, including calendars, greeting cards, magazines. Thin paper decoupages best.

After you have some pictures in mind, use cuticle scissors (the kind you cut your fingernails with) to cut out the pictures. These scissors work best on small pictures and cut rounder corners than regular scissors. If you’re not going to use the pictures right away, store them in ziploc bags.

You can buy decoupage at any craft store. It is normally found with the glue. It allows you to permanently affix a picture to another object, giving the object an overall glossy effect. Make sure the glass you’re working with is clean. Tear a piece of tissue paper into small (approx. 1 inch) pieces. Using the paint brush, brush some decoupage on to the back of one of the pieces of tissue paper. Position the tissue paper on the glass and then brush some more decoupage on top of it. Continue gluing on pieces of tissue paper, overlapping at the edges, until the entire candle holder is covered (including the bottom–set the candle holder on its top to dry). Brush one last coat of decoupage over the entire candle holder. Use damp paper towel to wipe off any excess decoupage.

After the decoupage has dried for about an hour (or more), position the butterflies (or other pictures) on top of the tissue paper. First brush some decoupage on the backs of the pictures and place them on the glass. Brush another coat of decoupage over the entire glass and set the candle holder on its top to dry again. After the decoupage has dried, add 2 or 3 more coats of decoupage after each coat has dried.

That’s it! These candle holders are only limited by your imagination. Use different colors of tissue paper and a variety of pictures for different themes. You could make these with holiday themes, like for Christmas or Easter. They also make great birthday presents, hostess gifts, or party favors. They are very easy to make and you can make several of them at one time.

Photo of completed project:
http://www.crafty-moms.com/articles/102701a.shtml

Walk and Shoot Weight Loss -5 Photo Tips For Better Results

If you want to really lose it, pounds that is, photography can be a great vehicle.

Surprisingly, a DSLR camera could actually become your ultimate, hand-held, total-mind-body fitness machine. However, like most fitness equipment, the only time it provides a real benefit,  is when you use it.  

Heading out for a walk in the park, along the beach, or on a hike through the wilderness -or even the “urban jungle” with  camera in hand can give you a great cardio workout that’s fun. It might even seem like the fastest hour of exercise you ever had, because when your focus becomes taking pictures you forget that you’re getting exercise!  

So let’s get started.   Before heading out, you need to have a subject. A purpose. A focal point. A good photo outting, like a good photo, must have a singular point of interest. To wander around aimlessly has it’s place, but as motivation to action it won’t work here. So decide where you want to go,  pick one place, and go. Once there you can begin your walk in search of great photographic subjects.  

For maximum enjoyment on your photo-fitness adventure, keep these secret photographer’s tricks in mind and you’ll be bringing home the best photos possible:
 
1. Rule of Thirds: Imagine your view screen is cut by 2 lines vertically and 2 horizontally, creating 9 equal squares on your viewfinder. Always try to place the main subject of your photo along one of those horizontal or vertical lines. Avoid placing your subjects directly in the center box, unless absolutely necessary. You’ll see an instant improvement in your photographic skills.

2. Contrast: Light against dark or vise versa. Try to photograph a dark object in front of a light background. Or a light object in front of a dark background.

3. Color Contrast: Imagine the color wheel (or better yet, get one) to see which colors are opposite on the wheel. Try to find subjects together that are opposite on the wheel for maximum visual interest (contrast).

4. Angles: Try to create a diagonal through your photos with streets, or grassy edges or buildings, fences or any natural element. Start it from the lower left corner of your viewer in towards the center of your photo. This helps to draw the eyes into and toward your subject.

5. Focus: A couple of points here. Eyes should always be sharply in focus when photographing people or animals. To have your subject stand out from the background, blur the background by using a large lens opening on (D)SLR cameras (that means a small f number like f4.5 rather than f8 or f16).  

Browse through magazines, retail stores or anywhere pictures are found and you’ll be getting great ideas about the most popular things people like to see: Flowers, trees, gardens, garden paths, butterflies, stone walls, architecture colorful umbrellas, sea shells, fountains, statues, pets, animals, birds, reflections from puddles, windows, lakes, ponds, farmer’s markets, countryside, cows, horses, tractors, kids, couples, doors, churches, clocks. Then, for variety and challenge, each day pick only one subject and try to photograph as many examples as you can. On your next trip, choose another. 

Get out, look around with purpose, and a whole new world will begin to reveal itself to you. I guarantee, once you get out there, you’ll be hooked! Getting exercise will be fun!  

As a bonus, once you get home and look at the photographs you took, you’ll be like a kid on Christmas eve…eager for the new morning so you can get back out there to capture more of the beauty that surrounds us. All the while burnin’ calories without the dreaded…”exercise.”  

Try to get that excited about your treadmill!  

Photography can be a great vehicle for fitness and a great motivator if you’re trying to lose weight. With just a few simple tips to get you started, and a regular program of activities to follow, you can be looking slim and trim in no time.

Of Cats and Butterfly – Clocks!

Some people love cats, while some just detest them. What about butterflies. They are so cute you could possibly count of the number of people who think other in your fingers. And when these are taken up as clock designs, innovation it is all the way. The manufacturers have broken all the norms and have come out to play their business game in an absolutely mind blowing manner.

Clocks these days come with alarms that meow like cats. Awakened in the morning by the sweet sound and sweet purrs of the cat can be a wonderful experience. These days, digital types have come up where the cat is on the screen animatedly playing with its tail, chasing butterflies or simply snoozing. They are fun decors in children’s room or rooms of a cat lover.

You can make your own cat clock. Take the battery and ticking compartment out of an old one and attach that to a photo of your cat or kittens. You can think of ways to make the cat background dynamic. Else, a static background does serve the purpose

Some of the popular designs are black cats on their bellies. This one is fun to look at and comes in painted black wood and even artificial fur. You can make them from recycled greeting cards and floppy disks too. Butterflies are symbol of happiness, joy and sunny positivity. They come in umpteen designs. Every year new designs come up and one of them for sure contains butterfly in them. The alarms in them are of chirping and tweeting bird, giving the impression of early morning nature’s bliss as you wake up. Just makes the entire day!

To make your own butterfly type, you can print out some glossy pictures of beautiful butterflies or paint your own. Instead of going in for traditional butterfly, try to make some out of weird prints or mix match. This gives a cool new out look to the age-old concept. Design hands that are associated with butterfly, like flowers and grasses. Attach a ticking booth to it to make it work.

A recent design has the clock with 3 or 4 separate pieces of butterfly which can be placed in such a way as to create an impression that they are flying away from them. That is a butterfly one but with a nice creative twist. Improve your home d├ęcor with lovely designs.