Friday, 15 August 2014

Animals of the Alphabet A to D

Back in May, I joined an Animals of the Alphabet swap project on . So far, we are up to G, and I've been enjoying some pretty exciting returns from around the world, including cards from England, New Zealand, and United States! For each swap, I draw four animals that start with the assigned letter, and receive three in return from different artists (the fourth card is a gift for the host).

Here are a few of the animals that I have drawn for A to D.

A is for Andean Short Faced Bear by smallgirl
Watercolour pencils on bamboo paper
The Andean Short Faced Bear, also known as the Spectacled Bear, is a small bear that lives in South America

B is for Black Bear by smallgirl
Watercolour pencils on bamboo paper
The black bear is a familiar sight here on the West Coast, but can be found throughout much of North America.

C is for Cuban tody by smallgirl
Watercolour pencils on textured paper
The Cuban tody is a small insect eating bird that lives in Cuba.
D is for Dall's porpoise by smallgirl
Watercolour pencils on textured paper
The Dall's porpoise is another familar West Coast creature that frequents our waters. Appallingly, this intelligent dolphin relative is slaughtered for food in Japan.

I will continue to post about this project, as well as some of my returns. In the meantime, if you like animals, check out my youngest cousin's new blog, CRAZY AMAZING ANIMALS!!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

West Coast Creature Feature-The Curious Whiskey Jack

Adult whiskey jack by smallgirl
Juvenile whiskey jack by smallgirl
Also known as the Canada Jay or Gray Jay, the Whiskey Jack is a friendly mountain corvid that I frequently encounter while hiking on the local mountains. There are many subspecies spread across North America; the one pictured here is  the West Coast subspecies, P. c. griseus, found in southwestern BC and Vancouver Island, and parts of Coastal Washington and Oregon and mountains in Californa. They mate for life and usually have an assistant/helper bird while caring for hatchlings.

A friendly whiskey jack consuming seeds
These medium sized gray birds are curious and friendly. They have many nicknames, including camprobber, meat-bird, and lumberjack, due to their tendency to try to take food, or willingly accept food, from humans. They cache their food and retrieve it from memory. Foods include: insects, seeds, carrion, fruit, occasionally small birds/mammals. They also rob nests.

About the feeding photo...I have very strong mixed feelings about feeding wildlife. I am absolutely against feeding wild mammals (safety for the animals and the people), but I have read credible research supporting backyard bird feeders with appropriate seeds. Obviously me feeding seeds to this whiskey jack by hand in a wild space where there is food readily available does not qualify as backyard bird feeding. In this photo, I am continuing to contribute to this bird's habituation to humans (it is at a very well-attended alpine lake). Will this action make the bird forget its evolved instincts? Will this action help the bird cache more food for the winter? I don't know the answers, but I (selfishly?) cherish the moments when I can bond with a wild thing.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Teddy Forest Returns!

It has nearly been a year since my last visit to Teddy Forest I have been very busy with working, a bit of gardening,  a lot of ATC making, and playing in the forest. However, now bears and I are back to share the fun with you!

The Monthly West Coast Creature Feature will return shortly, but the Weekly Bear has been put on hold.

I hosted a Bear Swap - Beautiful Bears of the World on and am currently working on an Animals of the Alphabet project (currently on G).

Swap Gallery for the Bear Swap:

ATCs by smallgirl, blueeyedlady76, deer blossom, Marryth, crisbear, GwennieJo, ferretgirl,  Jewels,  Tandy, donnacr, Sarnie, Elena, and spineofafish.
Cards were from Canada, USA, England, and Indonesia

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Weekly Bear-Polar Bear Pair

Finally a new Weekly Bear! This ATC is a collage made from mostly recycled materials: paper from a card, bear pictures cut from my stationary, and the "True North" words from my old agenda. If you'd like to trade, it is available in my gallery on

Polar Bear Facts:
  • Their reliance on Arctic sea ice makes them "marine mammals." This designation is usually used for animals like seals, porpoises, and whales.
  • 60% of all polar bears live in Canada
  • They are genetically close to grizzly bears, and due to climate change, interbreeding may become a reality. At least two "pizzlies" have been documented in Canada
  • They are threatened by climate change, due to the shrinking of sea ice
Help polar bears by conserving energy, taking your bike, and spending lots of time outdoors, rather than online reading this blog! :)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Back Again

Hello. I am back again in Teddy Forest. Had a busy summer and am now feeling a bit blaugh. Here are some things from summer.

Blue Bear for a swap on
Watercolour by smallgirl
Said it once and I'll say it again, I wish I was that little raccoon
"Campfire Friends" ATC by smallgirl
Hope I start to feel like this again soon.
Dancing in the Rain, atc by smallgirl

Have a Happy Wednesday!!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Summertime "Crops" in Teddy Forest

Here are some little crops from Teddy Forest...
The bears want to make these into preserves, but there are only enough to enjoy now.

The bears turn their noses up at green vegetables like kale, but love to eat swamp lanterns.



Sunday, 30 June 2013

West Coast Creature Feature- The Breathtaking Western Tanager

Male Western Tanager by Smallgirl

This flashy bird migrates between Mexico, Costa Rica, and the West Coast. This year, we were lucky enough to have this beauty visit our garden for a few days.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Another Weekly Bear...and some bees.

"Oh Bother! Bees!" by smallgirl
I realize that my Teddy Forest posts are getting a little sporadic, and this trend may get worse as I am teaching this summer. However, here is another Weekly Bear, created for the My Sweet Honey Bees swap on

The rest of the cards in the set are bee themed.
Queen Bee by smallgirl
Fraser Valley Honey by smallgirl
Tricoloured bumblebee by smallgirl

Have a berutiful 

Friday, 31 May 2013

West Coast Creature Feature-The Beautiful Banana Slug

On May 24, I spent about 20 minutes watching urban elementary school students interact with this banana slug. It was amazing, because half an hour before meeting the slug, the students were afraid to leave the path for fear of getting "dirty"
by smallgirl

Yes, banana slugs are beautiful!! These fabulous friends of the forest can be found in West Coast rainforests, and are the largest slug species native to the area. A banana slug is a "decomposer," meaning that it helps break down organic materials on the forest floor. These amazing creatures have no legs, so rely on slime to propel themselves across the forest floor. They actually move quite fast and are very friendly! I love picking up banana slugs and introducing them to children, who are fascinated by their tentacles (used to sense light) and sliminess.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Weekly Bear #10- "Remembear" that a baby bear is a baby bear!

It's Spring and on the West Coast that means that baby black bears and grizzly bears are emerging with their parents. They are soooo fluffy, and soooo cute, and soooo totally still BEARS!
Grizzly bear cub by smallgirl
Black bear cub by smallgirl
Cute as they are, bears are wild animals and should not be fed, pet, touched, or interacted with in any way by people. Each year, many black bears are destroyed here on the West Coast because of negative interactions with humans. We can all live together safely if we follow a few basic precautions like: if you live in bear country, store your trash and pet food properly, clean up and pick fruit from fruit trees quickly, leash your pets when hiking, and travel in areas known to have bears in groups and with caution.

Check out this amazing video for more information about why bears are deserving of our respect: