About Me

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i am a creative person. mother to a daughter who is an active young woman and a constant blessing in my life. i hope that you enjoy your visit here and that you will return often.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my garden and i are tired today.
all twisted up inside.
worn out.

and definately in a funk.

i've been thinking about what i might do for the SPA challenge which is "BONES & SKELLIES" . . . when i went out in the garden with my camera i ended up finding lots of both~!~ i suppose if i could master something (anything!) within photoshop elements 7 i could do something creative and postcard-like with one of these shots but have been totally frustrated trying to figure out the simplest stuff within that program. ~aaaaaarrrgh~!!~

doesn't this look like part of a dried up old finger bone?

and this stick looked like a bit of bird skull . . .

black and white felt right for these shots . . . can you tell that i'm missing summer already~!?!

i'm also missing my daily photography discipline. i don't seem to find myself with camera in hand nearly as often and really wonder if i shouldn't still be doing it . . . if i do the photography than i have to let something else go as i just can't juggle too many creative "balls" at once.
is anyone aware of photo blogs and or challenges that i could check out? maybe a group getting through a particular book or set of photographic challenges . . . or maybe some sort of BEGINNER photoshop elements type of exercises being done as a group . . .

Sunday, September 27, 2009

stripey legs-yours for the growing!
this week's challenge was "stripey legs". i've temporarily given up on trying to create a card on photoshop elements 7 and so this one is made the old school way: glue, scissors, colored pencils, etc.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

i have finished the small gift/donation quilt top and will be doing a final pressing of it and the backing fabric and then getting it to the machine quilters. this is a detail of the top and the fabric that i chose for the backing. some happy (and bright~!~) little monkeys romping around on this yardage~!!!~

i've completed six more string/crumb pieced nine patches.
i have some fabric paper (Christmas themed) postcard sized (6" x 4") bases for trade. these have not been embellished. they are simply the fabric paper cut to postcard size with a basting stitch around the outside edge. they have a muslin foundation and are ready to be finished into postcards. you may remember that my daughter and i made quite a lot of this fabric paper back in june and i have a few more than i need. so if you would like to trade some fabric paper postcard bases that you have made for these Christmas ones let me know. i would like to trade them in bundles of between three and six cards and i do have a limited number of them. they are all different to some extent but we used Christmas music, ribbons, tissues, images, wrapping papers, etc to make them.
if you would like to check out some other photos of this fabric paper and what i have done with some of the card bases you can check out my blog entries for june 21st, 23rd and 26th as well as an entry on september 3rd. you should be able to click on any of the images and enlarge them for a detailed peek.
~!!~if you are interested in a trade let me know~!!~

after reading my final post i can see that this postcard image is the only one (of course) that will not enlarge . . . no idea why but i did check on the other photos and posts referred to above and all of those can be enlarged so you should be able to get a good idea of what they look like.

i have also posted these on my flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/28992970@N02/3951665270/). and they can be super enlarged if you would like to see the details of this shot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

this is Oscar.

i received this fun postcard from Mandy aka Farstarr (on flickr). http://www.flickr.com/photos/farstarr/

Mandy writes: "Oscar wished he had a regular old map when his GPS (Guppy Positioning System) wanted him to take a sharp left into the vortex!! or The GPS isn't always right!"
so you see, this isn't just a problem for us humans~!~

love the card Mandy~!~ Thank You~!!~

although this card is a lot of fun, i have to tell you that it's also really well done. i love the colors and she's got some great texture worked into it. my very favorite thing about it is the torn tissue paper waves at the bottom. i'm not sure how Mandy did it but there is a beautiful embossed seaweed type texture within this wave area . . . clicking on the photos should enable you to see them larger.

i've been working on getting some of the ripening tomatoes and zucchini into canning jars. so far we have jars of pickled zucchini, salsa and crushed tomatoes stacking up in the pantry. it's been lots of work but i love the satisfied feeling that i get when i see those jars waiting to be used during the cold winter months~!~this, in part, helps explain why i've been unable to blog as much as i would like to just lately.

and winter may be closer than we think . . .

today is the first day of Autumn and last night we had our first hard frost. luckily the cold frame has been raised back up around the maturing tomato's and we should be able to keep them from freezing for at least a few more weeks while we continue to harvest them and get them processesed into even more jars~!~

as you can see by the following photos we still have quite a lot more ripening up. in fact we have a lot more ripening then we have already picked so far. there are three early girl plants that are bearing prolifically.
and one cherry tomato plant that continues to produce heavily too. despite having only one of these plants we have been eating these small gems by the handfuls, like grapes.

i have one heirloom variety tomato plant and the fruit that it bears is just gorgeous~!!~! and very tasty. i think the inner flesh of these looks very similar to the inside of a peach . . . with a red marbleing throughout . . .
they are quite meaty and not as acidic as the early girls. i had this one for lunch today with some cottage cheese. yummy~!!~

there are also a lot of these heirlooms still on the vine ripening up.

despite the frost i was able to get a few shots earlier today of some flowers that were spared.
i have hops growing up a fence behind my pond area and although the leaves are looking a bit tattered, their little cones are a sure sign of fall.

the nasturtiums are still throwing a few flowers.

and the hollyhocks are still standing tall.

the roses grow in a part of the garden that has it's own warmer micro climate due to a lot of pavers that absorb the daytime sun and then release it well into the night so they were not effected by the frost at all. so i have a few shots of the prettiest ones to share with you as well.

it's good to be back~!!~

Thursday, September 10, 2009

i received my giveaway package from Eileen of Keeping it Rural in Wisconsin (http://ruralwisconsin.blogspot.com/ )

and it is truly fabulous~!!!!~

i love the way that she bundled up these vintage linens into such a charming presentation~!!~

but that was only the tip of the iceberg . . . (and who doesn't love an iceberg arriving in the mail on a hot sunny day~!?!)

this package was stuffed FULL of all sorts of beautiful things vintage and i can hardly wait to do some clever fun stuff with my incredibly varied and wonderful treasures~!!!~ but for now, i just want to look at it all and admire, aka fondle every single bit of it~!~

i'm not exactly sure why but the flickr mosaic that i created and pasted into this post has decided that it is going to stay HUGE. so if you click on it you should be better able to see all of these charming details and hopefully enjoy them almost as much as i am~!!!~

don't you just love the way a person's handwriting is almost as revealing as their photos/portraits~!?!~ some of the antique/vintage postcards had lovely old handwriting on them which i think makes them as fascinating to look at on the back as the front . . .


i couldn't be any happier with this incredibly generous giveaway goodness that came in my mail~!!!~ you are an angel~!~

and now, regretfully, back to the more mundane in my life:
i've managed to sew up five Christmas postcards for my daughter's collection.
she chose some fabrics before she left that she thought might work up nicely into holiday cards and i think that they are working out very well. i will spend the next week or two embroidering/embellishing and binding/finishing them up for her and of course i will post them here as they are finished.

the other bit that i worked on this past week was a child/crib sized quilt top from some nine patches that i had made up from my scrap management project. they were re-cut into a disappearing nine patch setting that i found on flickr. it is currently too small and i will need to add some borders to bring it up to size but i expect that to go quickly and then it will be on it's way to the machine quilter's house. when it is finished and bound i will put it into my "gift and/or charity stash". it's always nice to have a few things on hand for those purposes as there seems to be no end to the need for those quilts.
btw: i'm considering a skinny yellow border followed by a fatter red border followed by another skinny yellow border . . . what do you think?

progress on this quilt will be duly reported in future blog posts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bugs and an Adventure Story from Honduras

the garden is currently plentiful of more than just flowers, fruits and vegetables. when i was out with my camera it seemed like there were beautiful bugs everywhere that i looked~!~ this butterfly was about the size of my thumbnail and the inside of the wings were an electric blue similar to the brightest blue areas on the outside of it's wings. the wind was blowing pretty hard but it was very patient with me and i did manage to get a couple of decent shots although none with the wings opened up. i'm not sure what kind of a butterfly it is. i do know that i used to see many more of them a few years ago than i see now.

not only are the (yukon gold) potatoes in abundance but so are the garden worms~!~ which is supposed to be a very good sign of soil health. are you able to find the worms sticking out from the dirt in this shot?

this mantid was basking in the last of the evening sunshine. i'm pretty sure it was a female judging by her super extended abdomen . . . and i think she's giving the camera the stink eye~!~

this little grasshopper thought it was all about camouflage and so didn't hop away when i was taking it's photograph.
i loved looking at all of the amazing details in this shot (both of the grasshopper and the tree bark it was sitting on)~!~

there are quite a few of these spiders in our garden. i know them to be an orb spider and generally beneficial. i managed to get a photo of both her (i think this one is female) topside (above) and her underside (below). she was accidentally disturbed when weeds were pulled from beneath one of the pine trees and so she is perched here on a tiny pine bough. she was roughly an inch and a half long (including leg span). usually they like to sit smack in the middle of their web and almost always have a zig zag bit of creativity woven into it. i will try to get some shots of one of the better looking webs before the summer is completely over.

apparently the bugs are plentiful in Honduras too, as last evening brought a call from my daughter with tales of a very large (5 to 6 inch) tarantula that came visiting one evening right before bedtime. the one thing that this courageous girl of mine seems to be truly afraid of is spiders. i don't have to tell you that in a tropical environment they thrive (meaning they grow quite large) in many variations and this has been a difficult thing for her to deal with. for the most part she manages to keep herself calm and does her best to ignore them, but apparently this particular specimen was just "too much" and she was forced to run for help. she describes a lot of arm waving and heart palpitations at this part in her story. the family that she is staying with was quick to jump into action with "dad" bearing a broomstick and "mom" at the ready to squash it. in the end, the reportedly large mess of the squashed spider (and all of it's remaining parts) was swept up and deposited outdoors. so other than a restless night of sleep and her host family's gentle teasing, all was once again well. poor kid.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

yesterday i discovered that i am the very lucky winner of a blog giveaway~!!!~yiipppeeeee~!!!~i participated in a giveaway hosted by Eileen of Keeping it Rural in Wisconsin (http://ruralwisconsin.blogspot.com/ ) and it's been promised that it holds some surprises, but i do know that there are vintage linens and ephemera handpicked from her very own antiques and collectibles store~Wellers (http://www.wellerstore.com/).

of course, all i can think about is what sort of wonderful art i can morph these goodies into . . . a package is on it's way and when it gets here i'll be sure and share the details within my blog. until then you should make a point of stopping by her charming blog as well as the Weller website to see what is going on. i understand that the store merchandise changes daily and is overflowing with fabulous collectible treats of every kind~!!~

speaking of art from ephemera: earlier this week i received a package from Viv Sliwka/Hensteeth (www.hensteethart.blogspot.com). i placed an order from her etsy space and am quite thrilled with, not only her work, but her incredible customer service. for those of you who don't know of Viv's work you really must take a minute or two (or five or ten) and visit her site. it's chocked full of fabulous handmade goodies that have the sweetest whimsical nature about them. her art is a treat for any eyes~!!~

i went out into the garden today and was overwhelmed with the enormous amount of tomatoes that i have ripening. i think there will be some canning/preserving in my upcoming weekend~!!~

and check out the size of that zucchini~!~i don't know how it got overlooked but once it was finally discovered it was promptly picked~! it's ginourmous~!!~

i also met up with cricket, our calico kitty who wanted to help with the gardening glory. isn't she a sweetie~!?!~ looks can be a bit deceiving though . . . she used to be an inside cat until she became very territorial and especially honry with gracie, another one of our cats. in the end, the only way to make it work out short of finding some new homes for both of them, was to make one of them a house cat and one an outside cat and keep them separated at all times~!!~ cricket actually prefers being outside anyway and as long as she has the shelter of the garage at night and during bad weather seems quite happy to be the queen of her own kingdom. meanwhile gracie sits in the windows and makes faces and hissy noises through the glass at her every time she gets the chance . . .

a couple of weeks ago i posted some shots of mayflies hatching from our pond. i've recently been able to capture shots of what looks to be either a dragonfly or a damselfly doing the same. in the top photo there are some fantastic details that can be seen, especially if you click on it and look at the larger version of the shot.

it seemed to be a lengthy and difficult process for the dragonfly and at times it would just hang limp and exhausted from the "skin" bit. in the lower photo you can see the papery shell that it has nearly completely labored out of. just a bit of one wing to go . . . unfortunately i did not get to witness the end of this drama as i had to move on to other things that needed doing. i noticed later that evening that it was gone and am assuming that all went as it should have for this "baby" dragonfly.

i continue to make good progress in rearranging my schedule for more art making. i do still have to work on giving some things up and deciding just what my priorities are . . . it's tough when you like doing everything~!!~!

this week i managed to get six tulips done and three crumb pieced nine-patches.

the nine-patches take a surprising amount of time due to the crumb/string piecing of the "darker" squares. these will measure nine inches when sewn up.

i've also begun to sort out the very smallest scraps so that i can streamline them into a project and make them useful too . . . was going to brainstorm that this afternoon but am running out of time . . . please feel free to share ideas if you have any.

the Christmas card (#4) that i was working on last week is now bound and complete. i went around the edges with a machined zig zag stitch in a variegated thread (Christmas colors). time to start working on # 5~!~
i have been working on my SPA postcard and this week's theme is "school".

while thinking about what i wanted to do i was remembering what my own favorite things were about starting a new school year. i know for some it was all about getting a new pair of shoes. i did not grow up wealthy. my parents both worked hard providing for our family and although there was always "enough", brand new shoes were not a part of every new school year. so what got me excited was that new box of crayons that i would get at the beginning of the year. that was back in the day when the school still provided those supplies . . . new crayons, new pencils, new erasers and once in a while a few colored pencils(!!!) . . . and the books . . . i was a voracious reader~!~ so share with me what memories you have of school. i want to know what you did or did not enjoy about school. what year you remember as being particularly good or eventful in some way and why . . . were you a social butterfly or more the wall-flower type? or maybe you were one of those rebel types that the rest of us wished we had the courage to be . . . in the meantime; i'll work on my postcard and you can pop back in on sunday and have a look.