Cryptic Moths in Spades

Arrrr Jim lad, there’s nothing like a deck of playing cards with moths.

These are the Cryptic Cards by Immy Smith. I suppose you could call this a semi-transformation deck, but her scientific illustrations of moths are gorgeous. She uses acrylic gouache on Bristol card. I’ve had these on my wish list for ages but they are quite costly for a playing card deck at $34 CAD which includes shipping.


But that’s why they call it a “wish list”.

Oh man, let’s all go and draw insects!




Dandelion Finery in Point and Shoot Land

Daily Draw September 28th, 2012

I couldn’t resist picking a card just because it’s my favourite. This is from the Art of Instruction Postcards.

DANDELION ca. 1950s-1960s
Art by Jung-Koch-Quentell

I have some plants that look like dandelions growing in my grass now in late September. They aren’t coltsfoot because they bloom in early Spring, so I looked it up online. They are Fall Dandelions, Leontodon autumnalis, and different from the Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. I never noticed before, talk about a lack of awareness. They do look a bit different, smaller, with tighter buds.

I went stomping out with hiking boots, pink flannelette nightie and leopard print scarf to grab a picture. Yes, everybody’s favourite neighbour, the woman who never comes out of the house except at dawn, flapping about in strange nightwear with alarming pink circular designs.

I also seem to have trouble with my depth of field and focus, probably because I can’t kneel down with my wonky knees and back. The flowers weren’t open yet, I probably scared them off with my scarf.

Look at that dew!

And one last red clover in the lawn. It must be a sign since I am trying to order some red clover tea.

So there you go: one postcard leads me to look something up that I noticed this week, and now I know that we get two kinds of dandelions. Why did it take me 25 years to notice this??

Bloody humans, lurching about not noticing what is under their feet!!!


Lettuce Dispel the Creeping Cold of Winter

Daily Draw October 22nd, 2008

We got snow yesterday and it’s still on the ground. Must dispel. . . winter . .from my thoughts.

What better than a nice botanical card? This is from the set of postcards I bought with antique botanical engravings paired with postage stamps by Helen Buttfield. I refer to it as the Botanical Postcard Oracle, and the cards are huge at 6 x 6 inches. Wonderful, cheering postcards!


And lovely they are. The first produce we get from the garden in spring is leaf lettuce in both green and red and green varieties. They self seed every year and can’t wait to pop up, ready to go, dashing upward to beat the spinach through the topsoil.

I love the Insect Eater Frog and the Slug Eater Toad that Helen has painted on the postage stamps. We have tons of both in our garden. At one point, the frogs are so plentiful that everywhere you step in the grass, a frog flies out with legs outstretched, soaring into another patch of grass and getting the dogs excited. Toads like to nest in the shrubs and potted plants on the porch, but occasionally we find them in their hidey spots. Unfortunately they also tend to sit on the driveway in the dark and sometimes the car runs over them. We are always sad if this happens.

Suddenly, I feel compelled to find out where the name “lettuce” comes from. It comes from the old French laituës via the Latin lactuca for milk, as apparently some species of lettuce have milky juices. These must be very old varieties but I’ll check online. No, not old, they mention Romaine as a milky type, and wild varieties. Basically they are all milky, a fact that seems to have escaped my notice. To be fair, one chap mentions the milky substance is pretty watery so perhaps I merely thought it was water. Not so!

Well, another new thing learned from cards.

And here is a picture of one of our friends, enjoying the garden as it winds down in September. Upon some Internet searching for species in Ontario, I find that this is a Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens), one of the most handsome frogs. Another harbinger of spring are the singing frogs in the pond at the back of our property, a most comforting sound. They literally sing me to sleep when it gets warm enough to open the bedroom window. Spring just hasn’t come until the frogs start singing in the pond.

So perhaps a daily draw of hope and the promise of growth over the winter, and a reminder of my many friends in the natural world surrounding me, hibernating like humans do, and waiting for the good, green food and sweet sounds to come.