Tuesday, January 23

Experimenting with a new look for my blog

Weed Beauty, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

Hello dear blog readers, thank you for continuing to read Raven's Nest blog even though I post somewhat less regularly this time of year.

I am experimenting with a new look for Raven's Nest. I would really appreciate your honest feedback on the changes I have made. The most dramatic change is that now the background is white instead of black. Hopefully this is easier on the eyes -- easier to read (for those of us with vision problems, myself included) I have always liked the way my artwork and photos glow vibrantly against a black background (as it still is at my photoblog, Land of Little Rain) but I think in the interest of keeping my readers happy over here where I post more text, I might keep it white like this.

I am still tweaking the banner at the top (am working on a new design-graphic for the title bar), the sidebar and the html -- My ultimate goal is to clean up the blog, simplifying it so it is super easy to find old posts on topics of interest to you.

Please tell me what you think -- honestly -- of the changes. Thank you very much for any feedback.

Saturday, January 20

Festival of the Trees 7 is up and it's almost time for number 8

If you are a tree-lover, nature lover, ecologist, artist, poet, writer, dancer, baker, or even a logger, you may be interested in the Festival of Trees. The 7th monthly festival is being hosted by Jeremy Bruno at his Voltage Gate Blog. Please visit the Festival of Trees to ooo and ahhhh over the many different aspects of trees and forests presented by a diverse and creative community.

The next Festival of Trees #8 will be hosted in February by Gingko Dreams, a blog I hadn't known about until just now... and wow! Her design blog is tasteful, elegant, and so beautiful -- I can't wait to see how Kelly hosts the tree festival. It will be sumptuous for sure.

If you want to submit something you have made, photographed or written about trees, here is the call for submissions for Festival 8

see you there.

Thursday, January 18

Biomimicry: Wasp Nest Paper/Home/Garment

I stumbled upon the coolest blanket yesterday and wanted to tell my blog readers about this group of artists: Los Osos. Check out their product development slideshows and this awesome wasp nest blanket. I want one of those!

For inspiration, here are a couple of wasp nest images from my flickr pics ... the birdhouse engulfed (swallowed) by a hive of paper wasps is in my sister's garden on Vancouver Island. I've never seen anything like it -- have you?

Margie's wasp nest on birdhouse

Guardian -- look closely, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

I am using the term, Biomimicry, loosely, in an artistic sense rather than scientifically. My examples of a blanket inspired by a paper wasp nest may not technically fit the definition of "biomimicry" put forth by Janine Benyus of Stevensville, Montana in her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. To me, it's a start in thinking about way to innovate by gaining inspiration from nature.

An example of true biomimicry/innovation inspired by nature might be an innovative fabric that changes according to the ambient temperatures -- deer have evolved a fur structure that changes it's properties in response to seasonal temperature fluctuations. Deer fur properties might inspire textiles for human clothing or building envelope structure and materials.

If you'd like to learn more about biomimicry, check out the Biomimicry Institute.
The Biomimicry Institute also has a newsletter available here as downloadable PDF files.

Here are a few other resources about Biomimicry:
Article in Bay Soundings (Tampa Bay)

Book by Janine Benyus

Biomimicry Guild website
World Changing (article)
What people are saying on technorati about Biomimicry
A conversation with Janine Benyus

Monday, January 15

Gabe introduced me to Ben Harper

I have my son, Gabe, to thank for introducing me to Ben Harper's music. I have heard it said about Ben that when he performs in concert, his chair is always set left of center on the stage ... because he leaves "room" for the spirits of the people who inspired, influenced and taught his what he knows. That is so cool. It's like in many traditions, leaving an empty chair at the table or in the circle, to honor and acknowledge those who have come before us, who have nurtured and led us to where we are.

Gabe & Brent playing at the Harbingerous Happening,
originally uploaded by skuz.
(photo by Aaron Rogosin)
Well, thanks, Gabe for leading me to Ben Harper (along with all the many other musicians you've turned me on to over the years)
Ben Harper's raspy voice sometimes whispers sweetly sometimes stretches out to a tremulous wail. Tender or strong. Always powerful. I love his acoustic pieces best -- especially when he slows down, almost stops or does stop, punctuating and emphasizing the heartfulness of his lyrics. He is proficient on a number of instruments. I particularly like his acoustic guitar.

Though Harper often plays alone, when he plays with his band, Innocent Criminals, they combine a variety of musical styles into a style that's almost impossible to pin down. Blues, funk, Latin, hip hop, folk, rock, African beat, jazz -- so versatile! I could listen to Ben Harper all day and not get tired of hearing his voice. his stories. the feelings.

Waiting on an Angel

Waiting on an angel
One to carry me home
Hope you come to see me soon
Cause I don't want to go alone
I don't want to go alone

Now angel won't you come by me
Angel hear my plea
Take my hand lift me up
So that I can fly with thee
So that I can fly with thee

And I'm waiting on an angel
And I know it wont be long
To find myself a resting place
In my angels arms
In my angels arms

So speak kind to a stranger
Cause you never know
It just might be an angel come
Knockin' at your door
Knockin' at your door

And I'm waiting on an angel
And I know it won't be long
To find myself a resting place
In my angels arms
In my angels arms

Waiting on an angel
One to carry me home
Hope you come to see me soon
Cause I don't want to go alone
I dont want to go alone
Don't want to go
I don't want to go alone
Copyright by Ben Harper, included on the album, "Welcome to the Cruel World'

Harper also recorded with The Blind Boys. Check out I Shall Not Walk Alone

Or listen to There Will Be a Light on my Martin Luther King Day post earlier today.

To play any of these clips, click the left arrow inside the button. Volume control is a slider near the right side of the button.

January Calendar: There will Be a Light

Today we honor Martin Luther King by observing a holiday in the USA ... his message was not only about race or what color skin we have ... Dr. King's dream, his teachings to all of us, were about equality among all human beings, not matter what color their skin, spiritual beliefs, gender, sexual preference, political leaning, income level, or abilities. We still have a long way to go, but Dr. Martin Luther King was -- and still IS -- a light shining ahead of us on our journey as people living on this planet together. His light still shines brightly.

Here is a song, There Will Be a Light, by Ben Harper and the Blind Boys in honor of Dr. King today. Click on the little left arrow to play. Volume control is a slider on the right side of this button. (you might want to listen while you download one or both of the calendars below)

It's a little past time for my January 2007 calendar! Sorry for being late. I made two calendar versions this month -- so you have a choice, for your viewing, printing and using pleasure.

Please feel free to print these calendars -- I publish these downloadable calendars monthly as a gift of appreciation to you for sharing your lives with me through your writings and photos and comments on my blogs. You can see my other blog, Land of Little Rain, here.

To download, click anywhere on the calendar and you should get a new window with the image. Click on the photo again in that new window to go to the large version of the calendar. Right-click to download the calendar. It should print out 8.5" x 11" -- if you have a printer that requires a margin, please print this slightly reduced to fit on a standard letter-size paper.

Printing Tip: set your printer to the highest quality print setting and use a heavier weight paper, preferably matte-coated, to get the best quality prints.

I hope you enjoy the monthly calendars, and please let me know if you have any problems downloading I can send them to you by email attachment.

Here is the entire set of 2006 Calendar pages.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 12

Feeling like a truck ran over my face

And this is why ....

who likes going to the dentist?
not me. ouch!