On the first day of Christmas...

 Okay, okay, so technically the 12 days of Christmas happen after Christmas, but that wouldn't really be as fun for you guys, and the build up helps you get in the spirit. 
 Fun fact, the gifts in the song seem super weird because they are actually symbols for the tenets of Christianity. The "true love" is representative of the Judeo-Christian god, and a partridge was chosen because this bird displays a behavior to protect its young wherein it will lure predators away from the nest and go so far as to feign injury to keep any threat away. 
Man, I love birds. Nature is so cool.
 The printable page of the line drawing is available to download on my Patreon page for supporters at the $10 level. It can be used for coloring, wrapping paper, or various small pet bedding when properly shredded. Printed at a very small scale, they may enjoy the artwork, too.
 Not into coloring or supporting independent artists monetarily? That's cool. Interject your new carol knowledge at the office party to make people uncomfortable when they thought they were singing strictly secular songs. 
 FYI- the Cyber week sale has ended and the extra Patron codes have expired, but as an extra thanks during the holidays, there is a 30% off code for $10 Patrons on the Patreon page with the Partridge download. 
 Thanks again for stopping by!
See you birds soon,
D. Renée

Gemini Journey

Gemini and some Cosmic Communication

(to see a bigger view-visit Gemini Journey; Pollux Pleads in my shop.)

Wowza. It's June already.  It's also already pretty hot here in Florida.
The heat has me a bit spaced out and that's totally fitting since I got a request to make this month's Patron rewards theme "something cosmic".
 With no more cosmic specificity than that, I chose the May/June sign of Gemini and melded astronomy and astrology into one, because that's how Gemini floats. The air sign has a unique mythology and history behind it. I TIED IT ALL IN, there's a lot to unpack, but I'll try to be brief.

The gemini (Latin for twins) Pollux and Castor are the namesake of the stars in their constellation. To make a long story short,  Queen Leda, the mother of the infamous Helen - was seduced by Zeus/Jupiter in the form of, wait for it, a swan, and became pregnant. In the same night, she was also made pregnant by her husband, Tyndareus the King of Sparta, hence the twins. One was immortal- Pollux, one was not- Castor. These twins were super tight, fought in the Trojan War, had major adventures, and when Castor finally died, Pollux couldn't handle it. He went to dad (Zeus/Jupiter) and begged him to do something.  He did. He made them both immortal, flinging them into the sky to shine as stars, forever and ever, (well you know) and that's the happy shiny ending.
(Click here to see rewards for $10+ Patrons- )
 Geminis are ruled by "air" making them a thinking yet very chatty bunch, and that chatty part is in tune with the next connection- Mercury. 
Hermes, or Mercury, was the god in charge of messages. To the gods, between gods, between gods and mortals, between mortals and the dead (he also took the dead to the underworld/Pluto-that's coming up) you get the idea.

 Okay, I mentioned Mercury/Hermes and communication. Mercury got his moniker as the quicksilver messenger with winged feet because Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. This makes its orbit much faster, hence the speedy association. Messengers need speed, hence communication was probably just a natural trait to ascribe to this planet. So, as DMB would say- Sa-te-lliiiiiiiiiiite. Find the Astronaut. In the second, I just put together a nifty mandala of the stations of Saturn with some fun doodles and comet thingys. Lots of artistic license in that one, but the planets positioning in the Gemini Journey printable ($10+ ink line drawing, $20+ reward print download ) was fairly accurate as of a few days ago, so think about the symbolism in twins positioning, Pluto & Jupiter. What do you see? What does it say to you?  Talk to me about it!  

Okay- this month also couched RN week! Yay, nurses!!! I love you, we all love you! Thank you. <3 I'm sure you've all seen the caduceus on some nursing stuff. It's a staff with two snakes wrapped around it. Here's the fun part- it's not actually the symbol for healing, that would be the staff of Asclepius, which is one snake wrapped around a staff. The caduceus is actually Mercury's/Hermes' staff, and is a symbol for merchants, commerce, and communication/messengers. However, snakes are super symbolic of healing because of their regenerative powers, and nurses are very much the intermediaries between life and death (Hermes and Hades!) so that makes the caduceus an entirely appropriate symbol. Boom. Caduceus away, nurses. One of the repeat patterns is a caduceus. Do with it as you will.
 The second repeat pattern is about cosmic communication on a much larger scale. Om . The sound of cosmic creation, but, ummmmm, more meta? All that is, was, or ever will be. It's nebulous yet simple. It's also relaxing to hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
So that's the story behind this month's rewards! Stay tuned to the next few Patron only posts  over on Patreon for your downloads and let me know if you have questions.
This is a communication themed month, so please let me know how you're doing, or just say hi.   :)
Email me, hit me up on insta  or facebook .
As always, thank you so very much to my Patreon Patrons for their support. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart, even though I'm floating and I don't quite know which way is up or down...
In gratitude,
D. Renée

5 ways Lovebirds are not just for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yeah, I know the historical attributions of the holiday are shaky at best,
and the modern romantic trappings of the day are somewhat commercial,
(see the previous link for a fun article from NPR, and if you want to look up more on your own, I suggest a more in-depth googling of the roman fertility festival Lupercalia )
but I don't think there is anything wrong with celebrating romantic love.
In a time fraught with political strife and and all sorts of lower level vibes,
a day that panders to our softer sides is so very welcome.

Each year I create something for my beau mari that symbolizes love within nature.

This year the subject was the lovebird. These particular birds came from my imagination, and are not based on a real species, though there are now almost 70 different color variations and mutations from the 9 species of African lovebirds.
The green and pink plumage symbolizes the colors of an open heart chakra in harmony with the vibrant teal of a throat chakra for loving communication.  

Lovebirds on Society6

Cool traits and behaviors of these colorful beauties include;

Once bonded, a pair will mate for life.

They feed each other to bond and to strengthen bonds after any separation.
Their oxytocin levels are incredibly high (the love hormone), and this leads into the next trait...

Upon death or separation, the remaining lovebird will display behavior that we might compare to depression. This is probably linked to the decline in oxytocin in the bird's brain when separated from its mate. This means pizza & Netflix with boo after a long work day IS totally romantic.

These birds have very high energy and intelligence for their size.
They will jump around and hang from perches to entertain each other, as well as work out escape plans if they are not occupied. This makes enrichment toys and puzzles important for birds kept in captivity.

Seven of the nine species of lovebirds are androgynous, making it difficult to tell a female from the males. The colorful plumage and size are same, and some even carry nest making materials around in feathers to showcase their homebuilding skills. Very progressive, Lovebirds.

So, there ya go. Lovebirds aren't just all cuddles and chirping. There are quite a few traits we can emulate to strengthen our relationships.

For the first time ever, I will be posting a free download of the Valentine's Day tribute painting for Patrons on my Patreon project page, and I have started a campaign to raise money for the African Wildlife Foundation.
If you donate at least $10 to the campaign, send me an email an I'll send you a printable pdf of Lovebirds. I really wanted to do something to help the organization that helps the near-threatened Fischer's Lovebird & so many other endangered species. Your help would be so appreciated. <3
If you're not into Patreon or Wildlife fundraisers, I get it.

I still have something for you. How does $10 towards your first Society6 purchase, sound?

It doesn't even have to be from my shop.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Click here to get $10 towards you first Society6 purchase.

Black Friday Crowds? Nah, Free shipping code.

 We had a great trail ride and now we are prepping our veggie feast. 

(We sort of avoid holiday shopping crowds at all costs.)

Today only there is FREE shipping to any destination- even international orders- on any product offered on my FAA/Pixels site. 
You can click this link to see the artwork available in reproductions there. 

If you're more into a personal touch, I'm also matching this awesome offer in my Etsy shop on signed prints & originals,
just use the code #faaholiday at checkout in my Etsy shop today.
or you can enter code SHOPSMALL for 30% off orders $50 & up now through Monday.

Free shipping offer expires at midnight, so jump on it! 

How is your Friday going?
Let me know in the comments!

Almost wordless Wednesday; A break in Paris & Pere Lachaise

   After a blogging break, some upheaval, and a lot of travel, there's really so much to say...
but it is wordless Wednesday, so I'll compromise.

Pere Lachaise is probably one of my favorite spots in Paris, and I took more photos, but this one captured the overall feel.

 While strolling the streets of Paris is beyond amazing, there really isn't a better place for a quiet, reflective walk in the city than Pere Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondisement. The cool of autumn provides the perfect light and temperature for the kind of contemplation that comes with a walk among the graves.

 If you aren't too star struck by the monuments to famous people like Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison -and the list goes on- you'll see that everyone lying in repose here is equally still, and your mind will settle on the sunlight. Your senses will heighten as you feel the breeze and hear the leaves rustle, because you are enjoying these small pleasures while you can.

Do you like to walk or sit in cemeteries?
What's your favorite?
Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, 
~D. Renée

Something wicked this way comes...

It's heeeeere!
October, aka the most wonderful time of the year, is back, and along with it all things Halloweenie.
The Patron reward printables are posted to the Patreon page, so visit there if you're interested in supporting art & getting benefits like freebie downloads & reward codes.
(This month's mid & top tier Patrons get treats from Paris! Read the post for more.)

If monthly subscriptions aren't your goodie bag but you like spooky DIY decor & coloring pages, swing by the NouveauNiche shop for a special bundle featuring 5 Halloween themed pages including one new (to Etsy) owl page. Patrons will remember this guy from last autumn!
And make sure to subscribe to the Collector's Circle newsletter on my website. You'll get a reward code to my Etsy shop when you confirm. :)

I'm heading out today to do a little fall shopping. (This girl needs some more closed toe shoes for the colder climate of the catacombs.) And I might pick up a few more things for our October tree.
What do you do to decorate and get in the mood for this season?
Let me know in the comments!

Happy Haunting!

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