Friday, June 28, 2013

Scavenger Hunt - 2

Here is my submission for item #13 - a fence:
This felt like a massive practice shot for everything I've been learning in Photo Style - framing the subject, capturing the light, playing with post-processing filters... and I'm in love with the very dappled bokeh behind my little fluffy-tailed subject.

But just in case you happen to think that is a photo of a squirrel, not a fence, here's another one to fit the bill:
This one was finished off with a RadLab action called "Sparta" and I love the way it warmed up the colors. It's a shame that more fences around here aren't as beautiful as this one!

And not on the Scavenger Hunt list, but included just because he was such a willing subject, this not-quite-timid-enough-for-his-own-good baby bunny:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Finding Your Photo Style

I finally went back and did the Week 2 assignment from Elizabeth Dillow which was to use photos to tell a story.  I think without any journaling, you can easily tell what this "story" is about.  I'll probably add a 6x12 page next to this to actually journal it and maybe include a couple more photos.  Add do you see it??? With Helena's instructions I got that thin white separating line in place!!!

Week 5 with Kate Parker was about finding unique photo shoot locations near your home and shooting photos with black and white in mind.  I was a bit frustrated that all of the instruction was geared toward taking your "subjects" (young children) to these locations you scout and shooting cute little kid photos. Of course that's not happening here, so I had to go out and find my own subjects. The young girl is Jay's niece Tammy, taken at the funeral luncheon.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Mixing It Up post

Lime Green and Purple is definitely not a color combination I would normally choose to work with - a little loud for my taste - but I'm still happy with the way this turned out!  This is Summer of Color week 3 combo combined with the Being Me week 4 assignment.  I used a patterned paper napkin, bits of lime green and purple tissue paper, acrylic paints, rub ons, and a variety of pieces from the happy mail that Deb sent me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Scavenger Hunt - 1

For Rinda's 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, I'm challenging myself not to just get the shots necessary to fulfill the list, but to present each one as artistically as possible.  So here are my first three entrants:

item #21 - a photo of you with an artistic tool or craft supply:
 Let me tell you, one-handed selfies are easier said than done sometimes! But I got this shot of last week's art journal page in progress.  If you look close enough, you can see pink paint on my palm and wrist and orange paint on my index finger. Although I do use a brush, I also do a lot of finger painting when I'm art journaling!

item #16 - a windmill:
 A couple days ago, Jay and I took a walk to get some photos. I knew there was a windmill on this property over by the high school. The folks actually use this as a power supply.  I added a few RadLab filters to add to the "old time" feel of this photo.

While in the process of getting the windmill photo, we spied this very large family of geese on the school property. There were at least a dozen babies. Given the number of adults, we guess this was several families traveling together. When we tried to move in for a better shot, they quickly herded the babies under the fence and left one adult on guard to tell us we were getting too close for comfort.

item #10 - a bench that is outside:
There are several of these benches along the walking/biking trail near my home. Since the subject matter isn't all that exciting, I carefully composed the shot to take full advantage of the sun flare and was very happy with the result. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thoughts on Creativity

I spent last Saturday celebrating the life of Jay's maternal grandmother, who lived to be 95 years old.  She was the kind of person who you envy for the simplicity of her life.  She never owned much, never wanted for much. She spent the bulk of her life in service of others. She was happy with her well-worn, underlined, dog-eared, duct-taped (literally) Bible and her abiding faith in a Lord who would one day call her home.

The service was held in a church in her home town of Thompson, Pennsylvania; one of those idyllic rural towns where nothing has changed in the last 100+ years. Literally. The main drag includes two churches, a masonic temple, and a post office. And not much more than that.  She was buried in the family plot just around the corner from the church.
The service was led by her youngest son, Paul.  Paul talked about his mother's love of the scriptures and how in her later years he made a game of starting a bible verse and she would jump in and finish it.

I consider myself a deeply spiritual person, but not at all "religious" in the sense of being affiliated with any particular church, faith, or belief system.  Yet, as Paul was talking about their bible game, he said something that struck me deeply - and has stuck with me since.  Paul mentioned Genesis 1:1  "In the beginning, God created..."

He stopped at the word "created".  I think that is why it caught my attention.  The first five words of the Bible. God CREATED. The story in Genesis goes on to say God CREATED the heavens, the earth, light, dark, fish, fowl, and animals. Now that is one imaginative dude (or dudette or energy or whatever) - seriously - giraffes, elephants, parrots, flamingos, peacocks, whales, sharks, starfish, lobster - so much color and shape and size and style.

And so I thought, sitting there in that pew on Saturday morning, what greater sanction could we have for the act of creating, for allowing ourselves the time to BE creative, than the idea that being creative is a divine act?

Regardless of what creation theory you subscribe to, it still comes back to being creative, doesn't it?

I have believed for awhile that we are born to create and each of us has a different and unique gift to bring to the table. To share with the world. To let our light shine.  I don't know how to describe the feeling I got when Paul said those five words. It was like an "aha" moment. Like what I've believed all along was somehow being validated in a real and tangible sense. Being creative isn't just a hobby or play. It is an affirmation of my true nature, my divine self.  I am a CREATIVE soul. And it's all good.

I'm interested in your thoughts on creativity... is it in our nature? or is it just a pleasurable hobby?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mixing It Up

If you've been paying attention to my posts lately, you'll notice that I'm participating in a ridiculous number of online classes/challenges right now.  Yes, I'm having a bit of an issue with keeping up, but I'm one determined lady and I'm LOVING all the creating!  You've already seen me combine Finding Your Photo Style with the Summer of Color challenge with some lovely results (IMHO).  I've also combined the assignments for Being Me (which you can still sign up for - ladies are joining daily!) with the Summer of Color challenge.

So Week 2 of Being Me we were tasked to create a personal manifesto. I combined that with SOC week one colors turquoise and citron:

And if these statements sound familiar, most of them came right out of my One Little Word "DARE" intentions for 2013!

Week 3 of Being Me was another writing exercise, the end result of which was to create a list of  5 things we will say "YES" to - which should be the core things that we need most in our life right now.  I limited the list to 3 because the way I wrote it, it covered a LOT... and combined it with SOC week two colors hot pink and orange:

This mixed media page started with stamping textures on a white background, using magenta mixed with varying amounts of white. Next I added in a watered-down "wash" of pink and oranges (almost coral). Then I decoupaged on several different bits of tissue paper and decorative paper napkin.  Added more texture on top of that with pink and white stamping with found objects and hand-painted the word "Yes".  I really was able to "get into the zone" while creating this one and was thrilled with the final piece.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Plans

Having seen a few of my blog friends post rather specific Summer plans, and feeling somewhat disorganized myself, I decided to borrow their ideas and create my own Summer Plan. Even though I still work full time and my kids are all adults now, I do feel a loss of routine and a sense of floundering when Summer hits and they are home from college and underfoot.

For my Summer Plans layout,  I pulled heavily from Lee's design and Rinda's list for my inspiration.  And here is what I came up with using one of those photos that I was up at 1 a.m. editing (you've already seen more of my middle-of-the-night editing work in my Shifting Perspectives layout):

Note - this is NOT the same flower as in Shifting Perspectives.  These tiger lilies are in the front shrub bed and are a much paler yellow (not orange). But to me, the lilies really signify the arrival of Summer. We'll have dark red day lilies blooming in a few more weeks too! 

Having taken the time to jot all this down in a notebook (with far more detail than is included in the layout) I now feel so much more prepared for Summer!  What about you? Do you plan your Summer time in detail or are you spontaneous and free with your time?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Simple Moment In June

My disclaimer - I didn't take the photo. I sourced it via Google Images from here and then changed it up dramatically with filters to fit my layout.

For more simple moments, visit Alexa's blog!

Finding Your Photo Style

The week 4 assignment in Finding Your Photo Style is all about perspective. Specifically, changing your perspective to capture the same subject in different ways. By choosing a fully bloomed orange lily on my deck, I was able to create this layout that also qualifies for this week's Summer of Color week 2 challenge - orange and hot pink:

Obviously by moving around, I not only changed the angle at which you see the flower and what parts become the subject of the photograph, it also changed what appeared in the frame behind the photo (the cream colored siding, the black grill cover, the brown deck planking). I have done this before with photo subjects, but never quite so deliberately, so it was interesting to see how it changed the way I saw the flower.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Finding Your Photo Style

As if you didn't already have enough proof that I'm an online class addict...  I signed up for "Finding Your Photo Style" at Big Picture Classes.  I signed up well before the class started... The class is already into it's fourth week, but I've only gotten started with it recently.

Week One with Maggie Holmes was all about color in your photography.  I grabbed these shots of Summer color around my home:
Then I decided it would be fun to use the photos throughout this course to create a series of layouts, and came up with this:
Which also happened to work for the first week's colors (citron green and turquoise) for The Summer of Color Challenge!

Week 2 with Elizabeth Dillow was all about using photography to tell a story. I haven't yet done the photos for that. Waiting for a new event to scrapbook! (I don't want to use old photos as I think that would be missing the point of the class).

Week 3 with Tracy Clark is about seeing the light and shooting the light. I had to wait for a sunny day, but was finally able to get these shots:

I thought this one was my best for capturing light:
That's a large potted plant in our sunroom and the pot itself happens to have a really cool texture that captures and reflects the light.

Here's the layout I created for Week 3:

Having learned the fine art of creating my own template from the Clean & Simple class, this digi layout is 100% me! Even the patterned papers are recolored to fit the photos!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Clean & Simple - 9 & 10

I have to say, I'm pretty darned proud of myself at this moment for keeping up with this class and doing ALL of the assignments!!!

Here's week 9:
The assignment called for an 8.5x11 layout with a 4 photo grid of places we love, but after choosing these three, I honestly couldn't come up with a fourth that felt worthy of this group. So I edited the photo grid to change it to 12x12 layout and to allow for a 3 photo grid.  And that Jessica Sprague kraft background paper is still one of my favorite papers of all time!

Week 10 also called for 8.5x11 but since we were learning to create our own template ENTIRELY FROM SCRATCH... well, I just started off with the 12x12 background and went from there.
We learned to create our own photo clipping masks and how to use guides to keep everything lined up. I think I will now feel comfortable creating my own templates. One more thing I want to figure out though is how to put thin white lines between the photos. I know that placing photos all next to each other like this is the latest rage, but I don't love it.  We still have two more weeks to go, so I hope that lesson is coming up!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finishing Out Get Artsy & Starting "Being Me"

I used the techniques in Week 4 to create my OLW pages for May.

Week 5 covered water colors and week 6 was about India inks.  I combined both of those lessons techniques (most of which I was very familiar with) to create this art journal layout:
The layout is actually my week 1 assignment for Being Me.  Lots of ladies are still signing up for this 52 week free course about loving yourself. Week 2 has been posted and I can say based on the first two weeks that there is plenty of good stuff happening here even if you just want to do the assignments in a notebook and not get artsy with it at all.  And if you want to get inspired, there is a good bit of creativity being shared on the Facebook group!

Having finished "Get Artsy" I can say I definitely enjoyed the class and love the layouts I created in response to the assignments. But I don't expect to see any more of these type of layouts appearing in my scrapbook albums any time soon. I prefer the freedom of using all the art stuff on art journal pages or mixed media work  where the final result is less important to me in terms of telling a story.  For scrapbooking, I think I'm really a digi girl at heart.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Story Telling Sunday - My Precious 6

I know I'm horribly late this month and I'll spare you all the excuses about how busy I've been - just know it has been a good kind of busy!

I simply can't get through a year of documenting my most precious "things" without discussing my camera.
It's a Canon EOS 60D. The entry level professional camera. It was a birthday gift from Jay to me for my birthday in 2012, so I've had it just a year now. Jay had initially bought the newest version of the Rebel, but it didn't take much convincing at all to get him to upgrade me to the 60D. And it is crazy fun to play with! And I'm still learning all the ins and outs...

I learned that if I take the lens to maximum zoom and shoot things up close (like flowers) I can get a wonderfully short depth of field with great blur and/or bokeh in the background.  I've learned what the "drive" button is for. I've learned how to set the camera up on a tripod and use the remote trigger for selfies. I've learned how to change the white balance setting to deal with different light situations. I'll readily admit that I still don't truly understand aperture, f-stops, shutter priority and shutter speed, but I'm still learning and this camera should keep me busy for years! I pick up something new with every class I take.

What I love about learning with this camera is that it allows me to see the world through my artist's eye. I see the play of light and shadow, the saturation and depth of colors, the beauty in tiny details. And this camera has the inner workings necessary to actually capture what I see. So I'm getting better photos straight out of the camera and needing less post-processing to make them presentable!  And learning to play with my camera allows me to take shots like this:

showcasing my package from Alison in the Great Big Swaps of Very Small Things. Let your eye wander through this smorgasboard of fun stuff and note all the blue and green and pink and butterflies of all kinds! I think Alison definitely has my number!

For more precious stories, visit Sian's Story Telling Sunday post.

Monday, June 3, 2013

And now I'm 52

My birthday was last week, just in case you missed it. I am now 52 years young. I don't feel old, so must be I'm not, right?!

I wanted to say thanks to all my bloggy friends for making my birthday such a great day! I had so many well wishes on Facebook.  And then there was the happy mail...

 First came this adorable card and assortment of butterflies from Jacky.  This actually arrived well in advance of the actual day and I got to just admire it for awhile...
 Then came this happy package from Deb, which arrived the day before, but which I saved until my actual birthday to open.  And I've already put some of those K&Co embellies to use. So much lovely here!
 And then this package from Melissa, which arrived a day or two after the big day.  Those fabric butterflies are so pretty!
And somewhere in the mix, this card arrived from Karen - and with her big trip, I can't believe she thought of me and got a card in the mail!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for making my day so special - and for stretching it out over half the month!!!

On the actual day, Jacky posted about an online class... Being Me - 52 weeks of soul-searching and loving myself.  It's an art journaling class based on a weekly prompt.  Given the serendipity of the timing and the number, I decided for to celebrate being 52 by spending 52 weeks following these prompts and allowing myself time to get messy in my art journal at least once a week - it's a luxury I just haven't given myself the time for!  The first week has just been posted, so it's not to late to join in and play along (the art journaling is optional if you aren't into that and just want to check into the loving yourself part!).

Saturday, June 1, 2013

One Little Word Blog Hop - May

Whether you arrived here from Lee's Blog as part of the One Little Word Blog Hop, or you are here because you love me and drop by regularly... Welcome! I love visitors! The One Little Word Blog Hop is a monthly hop run by Lee for members of Ali Edwards' One Little Word class over at Big Picture Classes. The hop goes live on Saturday at 6:00 a.m.  You can always check back later if someone's post isn't live yet.

The May assignment for One Little Word was to listen to the messages that we are getting from the Universe that resonate with us and to capture those on little artsy cards.  I waited until nearly the end of the month to actually execute the assignment, but spent the whole month listening for those messages. I used techniques from the  Get Artsy class by Mou Saha over at Big Picture Classes to create the background for my cards and then added washi tape and a few little embellishments at the end. This is what I came up with:

It is nearly impossible to tell from the photo, but the word "Joy" and the butterflies are a shiny blue foil transparency material and really add some sparkle and shine to the spread. The background was created using watercolors and modeling paste with a stencil.

My major "DARE" for May was to participate in and complete the LOAD challenge. And I did! At least one new layout every day for 31 days. And if I include the 33 pages that I completed for Sarah's baby album, my total for the month (I haven't finished counting yet) is about 70 pages! That is a record for me.

To close out May, here's my tracker: 
I'm still eating mostly Paleo and doing very well with it. Those four little sad face days are the ones that I indulged in dessert of some sort.  But hey, if you are having your birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, you really HAVE to finish it off with a piece of cheesecake, right?

If you are continuing on in the hop, your next stop is  Naomi's  Blog.

And just in case you get lost, here's the entire list: