Thursday, March 31, 2011
Gayle has arrived tonight for her birthday weekend festivities. Lindsay has looked (and smelled) pretty muddy and icky for a while so I decided she needed a spa day in order to get ready for the long weekend. Here she is - post spa. She smells as good as she looks.
On the way to the groomer today we had to wait for the train that runs near our house all through the day and night. I tried to capture a shot while we sat waiting at the railroad crossing. I didn't like how blurry the color shot was but I think it works okay in Black and White.
The Silver Star bag (a gift-giving tradition between Gayle and I) is loaded with some silly birthday gifts - her real present is a day of shopping and dinner at Melting Pot - looking forward to the fun.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I guess that's an appropriate way to start today's post because I had this odd encounter with visual cues today (and that button I've been pushing in Flickr every day for almost three full months now threw me for another loop). Are there certain visual cues you watch for that just signal to you that you're in the right place? Ever had one of those cues be off before? They've been painting the first floor hallway in our building this week and today they painted the doors directly opposite the elevator door. When I was leaving the building tonight, the elevator stopped at the first floor and the door opened and I nearly didn't get off because my visual cue for the first floor which were ugly gray doors were now deep, dark green. I momentarily had no idea if I was in the right place. As someone who is directionally challenged I do too much direction off of visual cues but it was especially jarring to me today with that experience with the elevator. They just shouldn't change things like that on a person.
This is a rambling post - my apologies for that - it's been that kind of week. I took Dippy's picture tonight because he was playing tonight (obviously not when I took the picture). He used to be extremely playful - running around the house calling all his fuzzy mousies to play. However, since the diabetes struck, his moments of big energy are few and far between. Tonight must have been a good night because he was quite playful this evening.
I hope the week is being kind to you.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Happy Birthday to Gayle today!
About today's photo - I always forget I have daffodils (is that how you spell that). They grow on the side of my garage and they just don't catch my eye. However, I saw them today - beautiful!
I think they literally just popped out of the ground to look this beautiful today. The photo doesn't do the muted yellow of the outer part of the flower any justice. After all the rain and wet weather we've had, these flowers are a great reminder of the beauty we get to enjoy in Spring. So pretty!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Lindsay and I headed out to the back yard to play ball for a while tonight (it's cold but the sunshine was gorgeous!) and the elusive heron was sitting on top of the fountain thingy in the pond. I figured the silly bird would NEVER stay there long enough for me to run back in the house and grab the camera and some shoes (socks are fine on the patio - right?), but I decided to try it anyway. I went inside, ran upstairs, and grabbed camera and shoes and flew back downstairs. I could still see the heron sitting on its perch when I got to the back door. Lindsay was pretty quiet, but I figured as soon as I opened the door again the heron would spook - but not so. Apparently, my bird was in a mood to pose tonight. I took a few shots from inside my fence and then decided to risk going through the gate near the pond to get closer.
I got out of the gate without incident (Lindsay did protest a bit as she would have liked to have made her way INTO the pond - silly pup) and walked into the far side of the first neighbor's yard (the bird was about four houses down) before the heron took off. None of the shots of my feathered friend flying away were any good, but this one below was taken just fully zoomed - I didn't crop it to get in closer like I did the one above. I'm surprised at how close I actually got tonight.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
For the past few days I have been hinting at a project I was working on. That project was making 10 handmade post cards for the iHanna 2011 Postcard Swap. I've read iHanna's Blog for three or four months and had seen info about her 2010 swap. When the opportunity to participate in the swap this year came up, I decided I wanted in. My postcards are now addressed and ready to go to the post office in the morning. I thought I'd share my process - I'm really happy with the finished product - one of which is shown above.
I started with actual postcards as a base. These were from the back of Keri Smith's fabulous book Living Out Loud. I wasn't sure how else I might use them so using them as a base for some art to trade seemed like a really good use.
I built the actual postcards on mixed media paper that was first decoupaged with torn paper from a cool book called The Spark. I had read it once and knew I wasn't going to read it again - but thought that a book about creativity would be an appropriate base for a creative project. So...yes...I tore up a book and glued those torn pieces of the book pages down onto mixed media paper. Those dried for a few days (and curled a lot - how do you keep that from happening?).
Now, it was time to get really creative. I started by laying down a thin coat of gesso over all the pages because I knew I was going to use watercolor but I didn't want it quite that translucent. After the gesso dried, I layed down watercolor in various shades of blue, red, and orange (one shade per sheet so they are monochromatic). On a few pieces I tore some of the underlying paper a bit so the gesso acted like a resist if the paper was covered with gesso and it soaked in more on pages where I had torn back the gesso coated paper. You can see the difference in this.
|Piece with lots of torn paper for darker color|
|No turn paper - just a wash of color over gesso|
After the watercolor dried it was time to decorate. I got so excited when the embossing powder and glitter and stamps came out (what girl wouldn't?) that I forgot to take photos of a lot of the parts of that process. I stamped all the designs, added embossing powder and then heated to set the embossing powder. I did take one shot mid-decorating.
All of the post cards dried and then got glued to their real postcard base. Everything then spent some time (about two days) inside a stack of heavy books. Of course the orange one at the top of this post is my favorite (orange is my signature color) but if you want to see the others, this flickr set shows all ten. I can't wait to see the postcards I get from other swappers!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I did go to Evansville today - but the SNOW (ugh!) made me decide not to go to French Lick Winery on the way home - just headed back up 41 through Terre Haute like normal. Got home and Google chatted with my sister Susie, while talking on the phone with best friend Gayle - all the while trying to make up for the 12 hours Lindsay and the kitties had been home alone. The super awesome Dog Walker Bill checked in on everyone twice so no pet neglect charges need to be filed - but it's nice to know that even though they love Dog Walker Bill that they miss me when I'm gone.
Anyway, my planned photos at the winery got nixed due to the change of route and I just wanted to get home so didn't stop to take a photo of the giant peach or the weird and creepy giant Santa or the kind of cool Giant elephants I noticed at a nursery just north of Evansville. What is it with Southern Indiana and statues of giant things? So, as Gayle and I were wrapping up the phone call I was itching to figure out what to take a photo of - and wasn't really in the mood to get out the Nikon. I had her on speakerphone on the Android anyway so just started playing with Vignette Camera App on my phone and snapping some fun toy camera and polaroid pics of my Project Life and some random art laying around downstairs. None of them great but they are photos and they express where I am tonight pretty well - just too tired to get the big camera out and compose a decent image. So, instead you get geeking around with the piece of technology I had in my hand at the moment.
My Saturday was filled with a fun presentation to a bunch of Wimba Boot Campers at the Adjunct Faculty Conference (you all rocked!! - so fun to meet all of you) and about eight hours in the car. I consumed entirely too much caffeine so I'll definitely be reading another chapter of The Negotiator tonight - one of my all time favorite books - I've read it at least four or five times...AND... since I've picked it up, I now of course will have to read the entire series from beginning to end again.
Hope you had a great Saturday. Should have a wrap up of my cool art project from yesterday on here tomorrow if the world goes as planned. Good night!
Friday, March 25, 2011
It was a busy day today. I had meetings on my side of town this morning as well as web conferences so I worked from home today. The "making" of the title was more in the evening and I'm planning on blogging a whole post about that project as soon as everything is done, but I'll hit a couple of high points here.
I have developed a bit of a fondness for the Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Latte with Peppermint. So much so that in a week a cheapy espresso machine will pay for itself. Made my first attempt today. Pretty good if I do say so. I made it with a spoonful of white chocolate chips and a spoonful of peppermint hot chocolate mix. Add espresso and steamed milk made with the Mr. Coffee Espresso maker that I just added to my kitchen arsenal and you've got a pretty good representation of the Starbuck's version in my opinion. (It should be said I'm not even a remote coffee snob - I don't even like coffee - I'm going for the chocolate and mint taste in this). Yum. And, at the cost of the coffeeshop, in three drinks the whole ensemble pays for itself.
I've been trying to get a picture of this blue heron since I moved in to the house three years ago. I finally got a shot of it today that I thought was at least postable. Still not perfect. I've never seen a bird so easily spooked.
I was in my "studio" most of the evening tonight working on a project. You saw the papers that got built over the weekend with the torn book pages. They got a whole lot more treatment tonight. Everyone helped (although Lindsay declined the photo opp)!
Right now the art pieces are hanging out in this stack of books flattening out until tomorrow or Sunday when I can mount them and get them finalized for sending off to their new homes. I'll do a full post with loads of pictures before I send them off.
I'm off to Evansville tomorrow for part of the day for a conference for work. I will go down the normal way, but think I might swing back home through West Baden Springs and stop in at the French Lick Winery. That sounds like a good way to break up the drive and relax a bit.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Had a chat with my friend Chris today who called attention to my turning to art to fight away the craziness of life. Tonight I must have been feeling a whole lot of crazy because there was lots of doodles, gluing, cutting and pasting tonight. These postcards are starting to turn into something else. I'll show it to you when it is done.
Finished another Diva's challenge - challenge #14 is straight lines only. I started with several overlapping squares and then filled in with the Kaleido pattern from Totally Tangled - just turning the tile each time I finished filling in a part of a square. I might try this again with some curves and colors but I'm really happy with the finished product.
This one and "Palace Wall" (below) is heading off to Patty for a swap - can't wait to see the tiles I get in return. So fun!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I don't think this was what I planned to take a photo of today - and it was a beautiful day to have gone outside and taken some shots. However, I stayed late at work again tonight and when I got home I had a couple of student questions to respond to in my online algebra class. As I was setting up to answer those questions I was struck by the ways in which we reach students now that weren't possible just a few years ago. I used our live classroom software to record two quick problem demos using the web cam and my microphone, posted them to the discussion board and got a student - hopefully - happily along her way. Kind of amazing and a little scary all at the same time.
Happy "hump" day.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The photo prompt this morning from Picture Spring at Big Picture Scrapbooking was related to morning rituals. I'm not much of a ritual person in the morning. Most mornings start something like...alarm...snooze button...alarm...snooze button...alarm... ... you get the idea. Once I do get up, Lindsay has to go outside, then Dippy and Fluffy and I have a little conversation while all the breakfast dishes are prepared, Lindsay comes back inside and everyone eats. Whether or not I get breakfast or not varies indirectly with the number of times I hit the snooze button.
However, now that we've had two days of warm weather our breakfast ritual has to be expanded to include allergy pills - but not for me - for my pooch. Lindsay has terrible allergies. We've had one day of warm weather and she's snuffling and sneezing like crazy. So, tomorrow morning we start our Benadryl ritual with breakfast. I can't believe that last fall I was wishing for the first freeze so she wouldn't have to deal with the allergies and could get off the allergy meds again. I won't be wishing for a first freeze again this fall I don't think - I had no idea I was going to get so much freeze when I was wishing for it. We'll just keep up our Benadryl ritual as long as needed.
What are your morning rituals?
Monday, March 21, 2011
The first day of spring came in just like the first day of spring - warm and just a little bit humid. Lindsay and I headed out into the back yard to play ball for quite a while. It was pretty cloudy so the picture isn't all that bright but today was the first day the fountain was on so I thought that was significant enough to take a photo. This fountain was one of the primary reasons I bought this house - after looking at something like 23 houses in one day, we walked into this house. I think I heard the fountain from the front door (which you really can't do - or at least I don't notice it now). I walked out the back door to see the pond and fountain and it actually seemed like there was an angelic glow around the fountain. Have I mentioned I'm a water girl - I just need to be around water. I love sitting on my back patio and listening to the fountain and watching the ducks.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I've been working on and off all day getting a little bit caught up and a couple of things ahead of "the immediate" point in time. I've realized you never get ahead nowadays but if I can get a few things ahead at least I feel less overwhelmed. In between the work I've been doing some painting and gluing and doodling - always a good way to spend part of the day. I checked out Art at the Speed of Life and Print & Stamp Lab for the Mixed Media Artist from the library yesterday so I wanted to prep some mixed media pieces to play around with at a later time. I don't mind painting one evening during the week, but I really hate getting glue and multi-medium everywhere on a busy evening so getting this messy job done ahead of things seemed like a good idea. I now have seven pages prepped for later artwork to be applied - whatever it may be.
In addition to some partially prepped pages, Big Picture Scrapbooking had a blog post a couple of weeks back about a project to gather Thank You cards for a young man to send to the troops overseas. My thank you cards for the project turned out okay. They are ready to go in the mail tomorrow.
Of course while I was at Big Picture Scrapbooking looking at the details of the Thank You Card project I decided I had to register for Picture Spring which is 30 days of photo inspiration centered around Spring Time. I'm in the year long Picture Inspiration class which I'm thoroughly enjoying, but I feel like my photos are getting a bit stale so this class will take me through to my big cruise to Alaska so hopefully you'll see some more inspired shots here in the near future until I get off to Alaska.
I hope you have a great week.