Goldfinches Come for a Visit

This year I planted some cornflowers that grew in front of the window. They were planned as degu treats, but with one thing and another, I didn’t get around to harvesting and drying them. They do look pretty sad to human eyes now, but they look damn delicious to the goldfinches. I rarely get to see them, so I was all the more surprised to find them within 30 cm of my nose, happily munching the seeds.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved This one’s grainy because I took it with my phone

Most Boring Game of “Find That Lizard”

In case you don’t already know, “Find that lizard” is a fun game Dr. Earyn McGee is hosting on Twitter, where you get a photo of a yard or something with a lizard hidden somewhere, often showing how well these creatures blend with their environment. Well, my own lizards are lazy, which is why I got to take this shot:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As you can see, the little fellow lost its tail and is currently regrowing it. You sure deserve a break, buddy!

The Art of … Can we talk?

The Art of… started life as The Art of Books back at a time when the numbers for this blog began to drop off. The column did little to change that, so I switched to a more general Art of in a further attempt to stave off obscurity. I’ve had fun with the idea, finding a lot of art that I personally enjoyed, but it hasn’t had an effect on the number of views to the blog. I’ve taken the time to find the highest quality images possible and to add tidbits here and there that make it more than just finding a pretty picture and showing it to you. And still, the numbers keep dropping off.

Marcus did an excellent post yesterday (stderr) about similar problems with his blog, except in Marcus’ case he spends a lot of time researching, referencing and writing quality material that puts my small effort to shame and it left me feeling even more panicked about the losses here. If a good writer who deals with important issues the way Marcus does is losing readers what hope is there for me.

When Jack was alive and Jack’s Walk was still a thing, numbers didn’t matter as much. I knew people cared about Jack and those people became an extension of his family, our family. When Caine died and Affinity became a team blog my first goal was to help keep the community Caine created together. Once the initial loss of readers stabilized, I felt that our team had achieved that. Then I began looking for new goals and the one I settled on was to pass on my love for the simple things in life, to share the beauty that still exists despite the ugliness of our modern life. Jack was my main vehicle for doing that, but another element that had meaning for me was the submissions we received from readers. I loved posting and your art and I still do, but there hasn’t been much lately and that has me worried.

I hate that numbers matter to me, but before I lose all of you I want to know that what I’m doing has some relevance. I’m not an artist and I don’t consider the bits of card making/scrapbooking/paper crafting that I do to be art, but are any of you interested in seeing what sorts of art I do enjoy looking at? Would you prefer if I made changes? For example, instead of ping-ponging around, would a longer view of a particular artist be more appealing? Say a week at a time on a single artist. Or would you prefer I focus on modern artists or classical artists or expand my view of art to include craftspeople, musicians, poets, photographers, buskers, etc.? Have the plethora of well-presented vlogs and multi-media channels made diving into static images boring.

Alternately, I’ve wondered about creating content related to Jinx and Sophie, my 3-month-old kittens. They don’t get out and about much, but they do keep me grounded and with a bit of practice, I could use them to share the simple sort of worldview I shared with Jack. I think. Cats are more sedentary and their worldview is more self-serving, but I might be able to make that work. The internet seems to love silly cat videos, does that extend to getting to know 2 silly cats through stories and snapshots, or is that also better done with quality video production values, which I have no desire to learn.

I’m not ready to go away, but I’d appreciate any honest feedback you can give me.

Kestrel Maneuvre

Unfortunately, I was taking these pictures against the sun and I did not have too much time to get the exposition settings right. The little bugger hovered in one place exactly as long as it took me to take a focus and press the trigger button. So this is the “whoosh” sequence.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Why Grow up When you Can Be an Axolotl Instead?

Axolotls aren’t just every cool animals, they are also extremely cute, so when the author Seanan McGuire posted the current project of a Patreon creator whose monthly pattern was an axolotl, I couldn’t resist. Also, 7,50 each month for a sewing pattern including machine embroidery files is dirt cheap. I know I’ve paid three times that money for some. I also like the idea of having a new small project every month. So please meet Seanan, named after the lady whose fault it is.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved Bulbasaur approves!

I’ll have to make a second one for my sister, but not in black, because tracing a pattern on black minky is a job for people who murdered mother and father. If your sewing fingers are itching, give NazFX Studios a try.


These incredible images come from the camera of quotetheunquote, who took the photos on June 10

of the solar eclipse rising over the rural landscape of southern Ontario. I’ve seen a few partial eclipses before (never a full one, alas) but this was definitely a special occasion; it was like a rising crescent moon, except for some reason, this moon was burning red hot.  I doubt that I will ever see anything like this again!… We also got a photo of some eclipse-lit heifers, who were thoroughly unimpressed with the whole thing.

©quotetheunquote, all rights reserved.

©quotetheunquote, all rights reserved.

©quotetheunquote, all rights reserved.

©quotetheunquote, all rights reserved.

Jack’s Walk – Jack Comes Home and Marcus Makes Fine Art

That’s My Buoy. Jack is home ©voyager, all rights reserved.

As you can see above, Jack is home. We had him cremated, and he now lives above our fireplace with my other dog, Lucy. This photo is a special outing to the backyard for a final few pictures beside his favourite buoy toy, which he found and proudly carried home all by himself.
This will also be the final time I post a Jack’s Walk, and that’s been difficult to wrap my head around, but I have one last Jack story to share. That, of course, is the completion of Project Bubbapaw (Jack’s Walk) (Stderr)(Stderr), an artistic endeavour of Marcus’ to make a resin copy of Jack’s foot.

Lovely, custom made felt protectors. Such attention to detail! ©voyager, all rights reserved.

Well, about a month after Jack died, I received a package from Marcus with the resulting sculpture. And It’s an incredible work of art that has quickly become very precious to me. I apologize for taking so long to show all of you, but I wanted to keep it private for a while. Now, I’m ready to share, and so, Ta-Da, here is the polished, resin-bronze foot created by Marcus from Jack’s pawprint.

Oh My! It’s Bubba in Bronze. Art by Marcus Ranum. ©voyager, all rights reserved.

It’s very detailed, although my photos don’t really show it, but it’s remarkable. It looks just like bronzed baby shoes, only better because this is my baby’s actual footprint. Every nub, scar, crook and crevice are there, and it feels comfortably familiar when I rub my thumb across it.

Sorry about the harsh lighting, but I wanted you to see the detail. Art by Marcus Ranum. ©voyager, all rights reserved.

When we talked about making this sculpture, Marcus suggested he might use a bit of sand and sea glass, so I sent a bit of both along with the molded print that Jack and I made at home. I was a bit disappointed not to see them. Then, I opened the second envelope, and my heart stopped for a moment. Marcus had used the sand and glass to make a second pawprint in clear resin.

This is genuinely my Jack. Happily roaming at the beach. Art by Marcus Ranum. ©voyager, all rights reserved.

This piece is even more beautiful than the first. It’s a memory capsule with Jack’s footprint in the sand from his favourite Perce beach (which I keep in a jar on my desk), along with bits of sea glass and shells that I’d found while walking with him.

Together on North Beach, Perce. Sand, shells, glass and Jack. Art by Marcus Ranum.  ©voyager, all rights reserved.

These photos don’t do it justice. I couldn’t capture the shine in the sand nor the subtle colours in the glass. I do have one photograph of it, though, that isn’t perfect, but is my favourite way to view it, and that’s through my window in the morning when I rise.

That’s my Boy. Jack is home. Art by Marcus Ranum. ©voyager, all rights reserved.



Marcus, my friend, thank you. I know you understand how precious these pieces are to me. Thine Art is Great, and so are you. Fabulous, in fact.