Friday, April 30, 2021

Inspired by Nature

Hi everyone. April has flown by, hasn't it?  Today is the last day of Eileen's Inspired By challenge at  Art Journal Journey

I want to say a "BIG thanks" to Chris for helping me to host this month in Eileen's memory.

I'm sure Eileen would have enjoyed all the fantastic pieces  everyone has linked up. I've missed her comments and her inspiration. Hopefully we've remembered her in a good way. 

Thanks to all of you who shared art with us in memory of our dear blog friend. 

My final page for this month is inspired by nature. At this time of year there are so many wonderful sounds in nature, from birds singing,  spring peeper frogs chirping, and even the squirrels still running over the dead leaves still laying on the forest floor. 

I used a lot of layering with paint and tissue paper to create my background.  I also added a bit of stitching at the bottom of the page to give the page a bit of texture. The owl and her lady are stamped on acetate, colored and fussy cut. The 3 flying birds are stamped directly on the page and painted. I'm not sure if you can read the quotes but they say my spirit is...listening to the sounds of the forest.

And if you listen hard enough, you can hear even more voices of nature besides the loud ones that I've mentioned.

It's been a fun month of art, the joy of spring arriving for most of us, and also there's been so much great inspiration in Eileen's memory.
 Happy start to your weekend.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

This Week's Garden Photos and a Tag

Hi everyone. April is about over. That is hard to believe, isn't it?  I've been busy trying to get some spring yard and garden work accomplished, and I have had limited art time lately. Good thing when I do have some art time I get a nice stack of things started and finished. I always work better if I start with some half made pages or tags sitting on my work table, so as I finish something, I usually start something new.

As  you can see I have another tag for Valerie's Anything Goes challenge at Tag Tuesday.  My background is made with inks and some stamping. I cut the heart out of some printed paper, and then I used this paper clay bow that I painted.  One day this past winter I came across a big pack of paper clay that had been sitting in my stash for awhile, so I used it and made some various shapes with the few molds I have. I thought the bow looked great on this heart, and I chose colors that would complement the tag.

This week the weeping cherry tree in my garden is looking really pretty.  We actually named this tree Al, as that was my Dad's name, and my department at school gave me this tree in his memory when he passed away in 2004. 

Just before the flowers fully opened up, I had some bumble bees buzzing around them. 

It's great to see them out buzzing around again.
You can see the flowers in bloom below. 

I also managed to get a raised bed set up in my veggie garden and moved my cold frame greenhouse out there.

I've got some lettuce, spinach and kale planted. I've also used some egg cartons and started some zucchini and cucumber seeds. I've got a month before I can plant the garden unprotected, so I'm hoping to have some nice little seedlings by then. 

The brush from the newly chopped trees (as I showed you for T) has been taken to the dump.  I dragged them all up to the driveway. I walked 4.8 miles doing that.  The hubby loaded the truck and took it to the dump's big brush pile. I think I did the lion share's of that job-hee-hee, but I do feel like yard work is a great way to get back into shape after the winter time lazies. 

I finished my  bark mulching too. It's been nice having the hubby home, but he does wake me up awfully early as he is still in go to work mode. 

He did build me a stand to put my bee hive on.

It doesn't look like much here, but try to picture the hive on top of this. There's still a few more things to get ready before the bees arrive at the end of the month. Most importantly, getting an electric fence in place to protect the hive from bears and also (as I've recently learned) skunks. 

That's life here. Hope everyone is having a good week also.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

DNA Part 2

Hi everyone. I'm back to share another inspired by page with you and also over at Art Journal Journey Sorry  about the wait of a few days.

This month Chris from Pear Shaped Crafting and I are hosting in memory of Eileen.

My page today is inspired by DNA once again. DNA is really an amazing microscopic chemical. If you think about how this little ladder shaped material can determine who we are and how we function. And just as amazing is how we were passed our DNA from our parents, and they get theirs from their parents. 
Et cetera. It still amazes me that if you get your DNA tested, the company that does it (like say Ancestry) can match you up to relatives based on similarities in parts of your DNA. It all makes sense scientifically, but I think  the connection to your past is still rather astonishing.

Sunday I told you about how scientists discovered the structure of DNA. Today I will talk about the rest of the story.

Part 2 of the Story


James Watson and Francis Crick built a model of DNA. They were able to do that because Watson saw a very clear photograph that another scientist, Rosalind Franklin, took with x-rays and crystallized DNA.  Franklin did not know that these men saw her photo, because somehow her co-worker, Maurice Wilkins, got a hold of it and showed it to Watson. It is one thing to openly share info, it is another to share something that isn't yours without the owner's permission.

When the articles I wrote about Sunday were published in Nature, Watson's and Crick worded their's to sound like they had not seen Rosalind Franklin's photo 51. When in fact, Watson had seen the photo.

After the Papers Were Published:

The story here really concentrates on Rosalind Franklin.  Because she was not happy working on DNA at Kings College, she finished her research, and then left to work with Aaron Klug at Birkbeck College in London.  She and Klug were studying very large molecules including those that make up viruses.

The sad news was that  shortly after joining Klug, Rosalind Franklin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She died at age 37  in 1958. You might remember, she worked with x-rays, and there was not all the safety factors we now have.

In 1962, Crick, Wilkins and Watson each received the Nobel Prize for the work to discover DNA's structure. Franklin, because she had died, could not get the award because it is never given posthumously. 
In 1982, Aaron Klug received the Nobel Prize for his work on large molecules, the work he started with Rosalind Franklin.  He at least mentioned Rosalind Franklin and her contribution during his Nobel Prize speech, which did not happen at the 1962 Nobel prize ceremony for Watson, Crick and Wilkins, even though it was her photo that allowed Watson and Crick to build their model. 

If  you think about it, Franklin would have gotten 2 Nobel prizes had she lived, one for her DNA work and one for her large molecule work.

From an internet article about Rosalind Franklin.

I think this would have been the end of the story except that James Watson decided to write a book about how the structure of DNA was discovered. Originally it was supposed to be publish by Harvard as more of a scientific book, but since most of the people involved were still alive, Harvard had asked them to read a  draft of the book and comment.

In this book Watson was not flattering to Rosalind Franklin, and many people, including Crick and Wilkins, said so. He wrote that if she fixed her hair differently and wore make up she might be attractive. He  also referred to her as  the terrible Rosy, a not so nice name the men called her behind her back. Here she was, a very accomplished woman who had died and without whom they would not have been able to build their model as quickly as they did. Yet Watson made her out to be self-centered  "little" woman who was unwilling to show the men her photos, as though her job was to find information for them.

Because of this. Harvard decided not to publish the book. Instead, it was published by a mass market publisher, and the book went on to be a big seller. Probably a much bigger seller than if Harvard had published it.

This book is actually a quick and interesting read, more like a Hollywood expose (I know this word needs a little accent over the final e)  rather than a story of a major scientific find.

The publication of this book  caused many of Rosalind Franklin's family and friends to speak out about how she was portrayed. They were anxious to restore her name. 

Their campaign did bring many people to have a new view of what Rosalind Franklin achieved. A friend published a book about her. Other's began to add to her role to the story, making her a more important player than Watson did in his book.  Hopefully Rosalind Franklin will be remembered for the accomplished woman she was.

All three of the men went on to have long and very successful careers. 

The only one of the 4 scientists directly involved with the DNA structure now left alive is James D. Watson. He is 93, and he went on to have a distinguished career himself working at prominent labs and heading (for awhile) the US's part of the Human Genome Project. He has had some flack however for some of the other public comments he has made during his life. Some of those have had to do with comments that sound almost like he believes (which he may or may not) in eugenics, which is the belief that some races or groups of people are more genetically fit than others. However, one  other interesting thing about Watson is that there are some women scientists that he has helped in big ways in their careers.

There are so many sides to people, aren't there? 

That is not to say that any of these men were/are bad people. In the 1950's science was still a man's world where women were usually just the "helpers".  Times have changed since then, and now more women are working in science and not just being the "helpers".

That doesn't mean that using Franklin's photo 51 without her knowledge was the right thing to do. It would have been interesting to see how the story went if Rosalind Franklin had lived.

Should you be interested in Rosalind Franklin, author Brenda Maddox wrote a very good book about her. There is also a NOVA show (which might be available outside of the US on Netflix) called The Secret of Photo 51.

Rosalind Franklin has become an inspiration for many women in science.  

Watson also wrote a couple of other DNA related books. There are also books by Wilkins and Crick. 

There is also an older film (1987) by the BBC called The Race for the Double Helix.  That film take a more Watson and Crick view. I am not sure but it seems like it is based in Watson's The Double Helix book.

Hope you've enjoyed your little biology lesson.
And hope you week is going well also.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Inspired by a Song

 Hi everyone. It's time once again for another challenge at Try It On Tuesday.

Thanks to those of you who shared art for our Rainbow challenge.

This time we ask you to create some art from an inspiring song. You can post any type of art, and you have the next 2 weeks to share that art with us.

The song for my piece was "Light My Fire" by the Doors. 

The background was made with multiple colors of spray inks and paints.  I then added some printed tissue paper. I stamped lots of hearts and circles in the 2 corners to make a sort of frame for my main piece.
I recycled the main centerpiece heart with it's flames from an old journal page. I did add the quote and the couple sitting on the heart. I also added the butterflies and the the single rose.

I am also linking this piece up to Eileen's Inspired By challenge at Art Journal Journey. Chris from Pear Shaped Crafting and I are hosting this month in Eileen's memory.

Don't forget to check out all the design team's inspiration. There's some great pieces.
I look forward to seeing your song inspired art.
Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 26, 2021

T Stands for a Friday Night Pizza Party And a Few Other Things

 Hi everyone. 

It's been a busy week around my house. I've been doing lots of yard work (in between wind and rain), and the hubby is on vacation this week. I know he wants to bring his boat home from his mother's, but otherwise I think we'll be doing more things around the house, including moving more brush as he cut  down a few more (luckily smaller diameter)  trees  this past weekend.

  I now have some  daffodils blooming in my garden as well as some hyacinths  too. 

I love how daffodils are no work flowers that just come back thicker and thicker as years go by. 
More garden photos another day. Today is Tuesday, so it is time for T over at  Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog.

This week I want to share a fun Friday evening pizza party we had last weekend. My daughter and her beau came to visit for the night. 

My daughter's beau Zach was taking his professional engineering exam that day. Passing this exam  allows someone who has been working in certain engineering fields for at least 4 years to be able to stamp their own designs. Once you pass the exam, you can apply for a licence in whatever state(s) you do work in, and those states, if they approve you for your license, will send you a stamp.

 The 8 hour test is on top of weeks of studying for it. Without passing the test, these engineers legally must have someone else stamp their drawing before they can be constructed. For example,  if an engineering team designs a bridge, someone on the team must have passed the test and become licensed in that state (or states) to stamp the drawings and say that the design is safe. That person is often the team leader. The test, therefore, is a pretty big deal in the engineer's career.

Since my daughter and her beau live on the opposite side of the side from us, Zach had to leave the house before 4 AM in order to be at the test center by the 7 AM check in. The funny thing is the testing center is in the same building where my husband works. Because it would be a long drive home after an already long day, my daughter and her beau decided to come spend the night with us.

 Since my husband is a civil engineer just like Zach (and my daughter also, although she has worked in community planning rather than engineering), he knows what kind of day Zach had taking the test. The hubby thought we should celebrate with something Zach really likes to eat. One of those foods happens to be Pizza Hut pizza. Since there is no Pizza Hut in their part of the state and since it was Friday night, we decided to have pizza and beer to celebrate the test being over. And I bet you can guess who we let pick the type of pizzas we had.

That was a lousy pour with all that foam though. All the beer photos in my post today are my ticket to T.

And here's everyone but me (I was busy taking the photo) enjoying some pizza and a drink. We had 2 different beers, both microbrews from Vermont.  As my daughter is not a beer drinker, she had a hard flavored seltzer water. 

I hope Zach's test went well, but he won't know the results for a couple of months while they grade it. It has yet to become an online exam like so many other tests have become.

Lastly, some of you might recognize the building in this photo that I took this past Sunday.

Just saying, if the weather doesn't get cold and wet, there is a chance you might see it again next T day. That is, if we visit when they open this weekend for the season.  It's very exciting to see things starting to open up again. 

I hope everyone has a great upcoming week as well a T day too.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Happy Sunday everyone. Hope your weekend is going well.

My page today for Art Journal Journey  and this month's Inspired By theme is to celebrate one of the other hats I wear. That is my biologist side.

Today is DNA day, the day back in in 1953 when the 4 scientists who worked on discovering the structure of DNA published their papers in the scientific journal Nature.

My journal page was made with some new Paper Artsy stamps that are DNA like with the double helix shape (spiral staircase-twisted ladder shape) and the base pairs in the middle. I stamped them in pink and black, and then I stamped in green the letters of the chemicals that form the steps of the ladders, known as the base pairs. You can see the AT and CG combinations in green. I also added a bit of washi tape with some stitching on it, because DNA stitches itself together in a way, and I also added a bit from an old illustrated science dictionary. The 4 Janet Klein figures represent the 4 people involved in DNA's structure discovery, and the Marie Curie quote is from another Paper Artsy set, even though she personally never worked on DNA.

The story of DNA's discovery is one for the annals of thief, acclaim and human nature not always at its best.
I used to always share this story with my kids at school, but since this year there are no kids at school, I will share it with you. It is a bit of a read. Sorry about that.  Maybe you will be interested or have the time to read it. I assure you this is a very condensed version as most of the people involved have written long books about this. If not, I enjoyed writing this.

The Background:
This story has  2 sets of characters. I need to briefly explain them first. The 2 people on the left on my page are Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins. 

Rosalind Franklin  was a distinguished British researcher and crystallographer. Crystallography is a technique used to get x-ray photos of microscopic items, such a molecules. It uses x-rays to make images on film. Franklin had been working in Paris and had become one of the best crystallographers in the world when she decided to move back to England. She took a job at King's College in London to work with DNA.
Maurice Wilkins was also at King's College working with DNA. He was away on holiday when Franklin arrived. Somehow, roles were never clear and Franklin believed she was in charge of the DNA research. When Wilkins returned and saw that Franklin was doing what he believed was his own job, there were a lot of not so nice feelings.

The 2 people on the right of my page are Francis Crick and James D. Watson. Crick was at the Cavendish Laboratory, a part of Cambridge University, working on an advanced degree. Watson, an American, came to the Cavendish on a fellowship and ended up sharing an office with Crick. Those 2 hit it off and were great office mates.

The Events:
Here's were things start to get complicated.

Watson  was one of those extremely bright people who was working on advanced work. He had earned his PhD at age 22 in the states and still at a very young age, went onto to do some advance work at the Cavendish. He believed (rightly so) that anyone who discovered the secret of the gene would be set for life.  He managed to get Crick onboard, even though Crick was still working on hemoglobin structure for his PhD thesis. So Watson and Crick began to work on building a model of DNA.

Their methods were a bit different from the usual. Instead of doing research and using their own data, they used information from many other people's research. They found a lot of information that way, but they still didn't know the shape of DNA.

There's another plot twist.  Crick and Wilkins, although they worked at different universities, were friends. Wilkins was not happy to come back from his holiday and discover his DNA research was now being run by Rosalind Franklin. He called her secretive as well as a few other things. Most likely, based on what I have read and seen about her, she wanted her research to be thorough and complete before she shared it.  She wanted plenty of data to back up her conclusions.  She didn't think of Wilkins as her boss since they were equally qualified scientists, and so, why should she share when nothing was complete? 

The lab of Kings College London, where Franklin was researching, was also not very welcoming to women. She must have been very unhappy with her environment, but very happy with her research.  

Watson met Wilkins through his friendship with Crick. He was warned by Wilkins about Franklin's unfriendly character. Watson went to see Franklin to try to get her on board, but she snapped at him and he went away afraid of her. At least that is how Watson described it in his 1960's bestseller The Double Helix.

Photo 51:

Maurice Wilkins on the left, Photo 51 in the middle, and Rosalind Franklin on the right

OK, I'm going to skip some things and leave out some important people (just to get to the point) and jump to photo 51. Rosalind Franklin took this photo (her 51st) with  x-ray crystallography that proved DNA was a double helix, that twisted ladder shaped structure that I stamped on my page. The photo proves that DNA is a twisted ladder/ double helix because of the X shape. Picture standing on the top of a spiral ladder and looking down on the ladder. You would see an X shaped structure, with a point where the 2 sides of the ladder cross each other as they twist. That point where they cross is the center of the X in the photo. Each of the 2 arms of the X (the one going left to right and the one going right to left) would each be a strand. You can even count how many steps would be in each single twist of the DNA from this photo, but let me get on with the story.

Franklin thought she had filed the photo away with her other research notes, but somehow, the photo made its way to her co-worker Maurice Wilkins. Franklin didn't know about this. I don't think Wilkins actually stole the photo, but there were graduate students working in the labs, and one of them probably went to show it to Wilkins.

Wilkins showed the photo to Watson. Watson took notes and went back to Cambridge and shared the info with Crick.

That was all Crick and Watson needed to start building their model. 

Watson and Crick felt that finding the structure of DNA was something they needed to do quickly. There were other scientists working on this same problem in other places. One of them was a very distinguished chemist named Linus Pauling in California.

Linus' son Peter came to the Cavendish on a research fellowship also. Therefore Watson and Crick were learning information about his father's research from him. Linus Pauling tried making a bigger helix than the yet to be discovered 2 stranded one, but knowing this made Watson feel that he and Crick really had to charge forward to beat Linus Pauling to the "prize" (the actual structure of DNA).

The Model:

This is a very famous photo of Watson (left) and Crick (right) with their finished model.

At this time Franklin had made plans to leave Kings College to go to another research facility. She first wanted to finish her research. Wilkins, while talking to Watson and Crick, said as soon as Franklin was gone the 3 of them could start working on the model.

Watson didn't want to wait for Franklin to leave. Now that he had seen photo 51, he and Crick got permission to start building their own model. (This was actually their second attempt because the first model they tried was  checked by Rosalind Franklin herself,  and she said it couldn't happen. She was that qualified that her word meant the model was wrong.)

So Watson and Crick built their model, and Franklin, unaware that Watson had seen her photo, went to check  out this latest model. She said that  it all matched what she had found in her research. Many other scientists also agreed. 

So Watson and Crick had built the model of the structure of DNA.
In order that everyone involved could get some credit, the scientific  journal Nature agreed to publish 3 articles on this day in 1953. Watson and Crick wrote one, Wilkins wrote a second about his research, and Rosalind Franklin wrote the third about her research. 

This is only half of the story however. 
I'll be back to share the rest of it with you on Wednesday.

Enjoy what's left to your weekend and the start of the new week.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Happy Friday

 Hi everyone. Happy Friday. 

This week, as usual, has flown by. I do feel like I missed a day being down from vaccine #2 , but I'm not complaining. Better than being down weeks with covid.

This is a short post today. I just want to share a tag for the newest challenge at  Tag Tuesday .
Valerie is hosting, and her theme is Anything Goes, so my tag today has this fun lady with the fruit bowl on her head. 
I had fun making this tag. I used some rainbow colors and soft modeling paste through a stencil for the lower background. I used a bit of stamping at the top, as well as some bits and pieces laying on my work table.  Then I stamped the lady, colored her, and added her to the tag.  I thought the quote worked, but needed the me word which I created with  M and an E stickers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Hope you have a great start to your weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Celebrating Mother Earth

 Hi everyone. Happy Earth Day. 

And  🎂Happy Birthday 🎉 to my good friend Elizabeth too. I hope you have a great "bearthday".

Thanks to those of you who sent well wishes with my second shot. I woke up with a low grade fever, and Tylenol helped for awhile.  I had hoped I would just keep improving during the day, but as soon as the Tylenol wore off my fever hopped up a bit again. My plan was to take the day easy and that I did. I think I caught up on a month's worth of sleep-ha-ha. I finished writing this post last night shortly after taking some Tylenol, so I'm hoping as you read this I am back to feeling myself. 

Today I thought I would share this collaged and painted journal page with you to celebrate Mother Earth.

I particulary like the tree on the left. I used some textured paper to make it, and I love how it really looks like bark.

I am linking up to Art Journal Journey where this month's theme is Inspired By. Chris, also known as Pear Shaped Crafting and I are hosting in Eileen's memory.

This week is also US National Park Week. 

I'm a big fan of National Parks, as well as National Monuments and Historic places. There are 423 of these in the US. I have made it to 137 of them in my life, so far. I don't think I'll ever get to them all, as they keep adding new ones, but that's OK. I am hoping to add some more in the future though, once travel is easier.

Here's some  photos from a few places I have visited. I took the photos off some of my old blog posts, and depending on the camera I used for the photo,  a few aren't as clear as others.

Lassen National Park

Lava Fields National Monument

Crater Lake National Park

Redwood National Park

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Death Valley National Park

Glacier National Park

Saguaro National Park

Acadia National Park

Northern Cascades National Park

And the only one in my state of New Hampshire, St. Gauden's National Monument.

Arches National Park

Biscayne National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Everglades National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mount Ranier National Park

Badlands National Park

Devils Tower National Monument

Mount Rushmore National Monument

The last park I visited was Chaco Canyon in New Mexico in February of 2020, just before the world came crashing to a close with covid.  I wonder what my next park will be?

Thanks for visiting.