Grandpa’s wish for the merriest, happiest year
Darrell signed a Christmas card for our granddaughter Zlata with a wish for a “Merriest Happiest Year” to celebrate her first Christmas and the beginning of a New Year. She is about to crawl, so things will get merry, fast.
We haven’t hand-inscribed Christmas cards for friends and family for years. However, this year we bought some Charlie Brown stamps, sat down with our list, and started writing.
I was charmed when Darrell signed our granddaughter’s note wishing her a “merriest, happiest year,” and thought it a perfect sentiment for all as we begin a New Year.
Darrell gets a little wild when he signs cards. To share the full effect of his signature with you, I scanned it. Then traced his ink letters in Illustrator, and added a frame with some embossing in Photoshop.
A new year of bird watching
We fill our bird feeders in the fall when the birds are shopping the neighborhood for their winter resort location, hoping they will pick our yard and winter with us. With the leaves gone, winter is a great time for bird watching.
My Chip art of a chipping sparrow was drawn from a photo Darrell took in the springtime. I began drawing the bird in its natural colors, on our tulip tree, but the illustration soon turned festive. Before I could stop myself, my sparrow had a gold crown, red and green feathers, and was perched on a red-and-white, polka-dot branch.
The chipping sparrow was aptly named for its lyrical “chip” sound. Chipping sparrows make welcome and cheerful yard guests.
Although their gray and brown plumage seems rather ordinary, the chipping sparrow is not. One distinctive characteristic is the “he” and “she” share similar markings, which is uncommon in birds where the male of the species tends to have more outrageous plumage than the female.
Birders know chipping sparrows by these characteristics:
- gray and brown feathers
- clear, gray breast feathers
- rusty or burnt sienna crown
- white eyebrows
- black eye line
- thin, gray-black bill
- and two racing stripes or bars on their wings.