Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scavenger Hunt - 5 - July LinkUp Post

I'm participating in Rinda's 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.  Today she is hosting a link-up so if you want to see what others have been posting in response to the prompts, you can head over there!

Here are my finds for this post:
#19 - A Fisherman.  I watched this guy cut bait, throwing the heads and guts to the seagulls and got photos of the seagulls swooping in to swipe the goods.  I didn't hang around to see if he actually caught anything.
#13 - a Fence.  These fences all along the beach are only there to keep people off the dunes. Because the dunes are there to protect the town from storm surge, so we don't want people trampling them and inhibiting the vegetation growth. Hurricane Sandy wiped out all of the dunes in Ocean City last year and they had to be rebuilt, which is why these fences look new and not weathered. The town did a fantastic job of clean-up and rebuild after the storm!

Bonus Item: A person wearing an outfit that symbolizes your country.  How about all these men in military dress?  This is from the Nights in Venice Boat Parade.

#8 - A Tower.  The Cape May Light House.  It took me several shots to get that sun flare positioned just right, but I love the results!
#5 - A Sunset.  We took a dolphin watching sunset cruise from Cape May one evening. The weather cooperated and we DID see dolphins (or at  least we saw dorsal fins and flukes). In the wild the dolphins don't jump and do tricks, so getting photos of them was nearly impossible. But the sun was setting just as we were pulling back into the harbor, so I was able to snag a few sunset shots!

I couldn't decide between these two sunset photos.  Do you have a preference?

#9 - Something out of place.  When you are boating along the shore of Cape May, you'll see lots of beautifully restored Victorian era homes and hotels.  You don't expect to see this - a WWII concrete bunker. Especially when you don't think of WWII as having been fought along the shores of the eastern United States.  When originally built the bunker was 900 feet inland.  Over the years, the shoreline eroded to the point where the bunker was completely surrounded by water.  Around 2004, the shoreline was rebuilt and the bunker remains.  Sure looks odd though!

#10 - Outside Bench.  These benches sit along eight full blocks of boardwalk in Ocean City.

and almost every one of them has a plaque like this - dedicated to, in memory of, etc. - all with different names and sayings.

#6 - Someone napping.  This shot was taken at 7:00 a.m. on a fairly deserted beach. From a distance I thought this was just a pile of beach towels left behind. It was only when I got closer that I recognized these lumps as people.  And these two were totally out!  They didn't move or stir even with the trucks driving along the beach cleaning up debris and trash.  It appears they may have spent the night on the beach - which is not a typical sight given that Ocean City is a dry town.  But hey, if you are going to sleep on a public beach, I figure you are fair game for my scavenger hunt shots!

You can see my other Scavenger Hunt shots here:  Post 1,  Post 2,  Post 3,  Post 4

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More From The Shore

As I said in my last post, I walked the beach almost every morning, camera in hand. Being out early gave me lots of opportunity for solitude - it was my form of meditation for the week.

Some mornings were very cloudy and overcast. Others sunny and bright. On this particular morning I had a bit of both and some sprinkles thrown in just for fun...

 Looking towards the north end of the beach, I watched the sun rising and finally breaking through the clouds.
It is amazing how much the color changes based on the presence or absence of the sun! 

Being at the shore always reminds me how vast and wondrous our planet really is. The Internet can sometimes make the world seem smaller with friends across vast oceans available to us with a few keystrokes.  But here... you can't count the grains of sand in a small bucket much less the entire beach... you can't count the drops of water in a bottle and here is an entire ocean... and somewhere way beyond where I can see, out past the horizon line, way farther away than I could ever swim... are friends I've made but haven't met in person yet.  And that same sun that is now shining down on me, graced them several hours ago.

 When I looked to the sound end of the beach, I watched this incredible rainbow being formed right before my eyes.
It almost looked like it was dripping rainbow down onto the 14th St. Fishing Pier.
And when it finally came out fully, I couldn't get back far enough to capture the entire thing from end to end. As deserted as the beach was at that time of morning, I almost felt like it was a private show that Mother Nature was putting on just for me!

So there I stood, head swiveling back and forth like I was watching a tennis match, trying to figure out which way to look and when to capture the moment. And it was glorious.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Scavenger Hunt - 4

I can't get the song out of my head "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone..."

so...did you miss me?  I left for vacation with the best of intentions and highest of hopes.... the vast majority of which never happened.  What I did NOT do on vacation:

  1. Catch up with my online classes. In fact, I didn't look at a single one of them.  
  2. Read blogs. Well, not entirely my fault. The Old Reader was down for several days. I tried signing on to BlogLovin but I seriously can't make heads or tails of that set up.  So I skimmed through the 50+ posts waiting for me today, but didn't comment.  I promise I'll try to make it up during the week.  
  3. Lay on the beach soaking up rays like the rest of my family... sorry, I burn way too easily for that. And I'm not a fan of the mid-day humidity either.
  4. Stick to my grain free, sugar free diet.  Let's just say I'm a sucker for ice cream and once you've strayed off the path, it is so easy to keep going further over to the dark side.  But I need to get back on track PRONTO.
  5. Spend time being creative. I took watercolors. But I only played with them once. I had intentions of doing some digi-scrapping. But my heart just wasn't into spending time with my computer. 
What I DID do on vacation:

  1. Walked on the beach every morning - early - before most of the people were even out and about. And really upped my step count. It was awesome!
  2. Read four novels - totally useless trashy chick lit - and enjoyed every minute of it.
  3. Spent quality time with my family.
  4. Ate out a lot - including ice cream sundaes and cinnamon buns. yes, plural.  Yum.
  5. Cooked a little. Did four loads of laundry. Picked up constantly after messy teens. Being on "vacation" doesn't ever really mean a free pass for Mom, does it?
  6. Took tons of photos - nearly 500 actually.  I'll have to thin that out, a lot of them are rubbish, but the practice was good.  And allowed me to add to my collection for Rinda's Scavenger Hunt.
 #15 - fire truck or police car
Our first night in Ocean City was the "Nights in Venice" boat parade on the bay.  The Ocean City Police were out in force.  And I guess when you protect and serve an island, it makes sense that you drive a police boat!

#4 An Airplane:
While waiting for the boat parade to start,  this old-fashioned prop plane flew by.  I wish I could have gotten better detail, but I was practically shooting into the sun to get this.

I kept watching the sky, hoping I would be able to capture sunset, but we were a tad early for that (especially since the sun sets over the bay).  However, the sun and clouds were doing some glorious things and I kept shooting.  So after weeks of gazing at the clouds and seeing nothing but clouds, I finally captured

#12 A Cloud in the Shape of Something:
What I see is at the bottom right. A young girl, head titled back, arm and hand raised to her face, shouting into the wind. I see a defined chin, lips, a button nose, eye, and ear.  Do you see it???  I was seriously beginning to doubt my imaginative capabilities until I saw this.  The sun rays are real. I did add a couple of rad lab filters to boost the turquoise and blue - straight out of the camera this is more pale blue sky and grey clouds.

All that on our first night!  I'll share more of my finds from Ocean City throughout the week.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mixing It Up - Post Five

But with a twist... I did NOT mix it up this week!

The Being Me theme for this week is happy and here is the page I made for that:
The background is a really fun technique that I will likely revisit.  Just glob several colors of paint on your page and then spread with an old credit card or gift card.  Creates a fun marbling effect! The color combo - lime green, bright yellow, and various shades of turquoise truly is my personal summer palette and the colors make me happy!

The Summer of Color challenge combo for the week is sage and sepia.  And this is what I came up with:
The butterflies are actual lace. The owl is from a paper napkin.  The "remember" is ribbon.  The girl is a Unity stamp. All of the stitching is from an OLD set of rub-ons.  I love the way this page came out and how the elements worked together.  And I'm really going to miss this challenge now that it is ending. Working with specified color combos forced me out of my comfort zone and into areas that really allowed me to capture feelings.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Simple Moment in July

It is just before 2:00 p.m. and I'm sitting in my office at work, desperately in need of a nap.  I've just hit a brick wall.  My eyes hurt from the glare of fluorescent lights, my brain is buzzing from information overload.  I'm so distracted by all of the tasks ahead of me that I am not even aware of any of the sounds or smells around me.  It is so hard to be in the moment here.  And it is for this very reason that I have such a love/hate relationship with office days.

I hate the commute.  An hour each way in heavy traffic and turnpike construction.  Today I stopped for gas.  $3.65 a gallon.  Up ten cents from two days ago, up thirty cents from last week.  Sheesh.

I love the people I work with.  Good-hearted, hard-working, goal-oriented folks, who also know how to laugh and have fun while being productive.

I hate the morning rush, the disruption to my normal routine, the lack of time for journaling or meditation.

I love the collaboration.  I feel useful, grown-up, maybe even necessary when I'm here.

I hate the meeting, break, meeting, lunch, meeting pace of the day.  It is simply exhausting.  So much so that by the end of the last meeting I'm fried.  2:00 p.m. has come and gone.  It's time to power down the computer and head home.  I can finish my work day there.  

I have three office days this week.  I hope I survive.

For more simple moments, visit Alexa's blog!

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Happy

My latest digi layout using Krystal Hartley's new kit "See Jane Smile".  This kit includes lots of pink and yellow and an adorable She Art style doll that just didn't fit this particular layout.  Photo was taken by Becca on her iPhone during our Capitol Tour.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just A Quote

If you read my Story Telling Sunday post, you've already seen this photo.  I loved it enough to use it again!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mixing It Up - Post Four

click on the photo to see larger and read quotes
The week five Summer of Color combo is candy apple red and yellow.  Initially I resisted this color combo and had a hard time getting started because all I could think of was McDonalds (yuck!).

I created this page with a wash of yellow acrylic, layered on the b&w wrapping paper, red tissue paper heart, and white heart shaped doily. Then I used purple spray mist and dripped red ink.  Added texture with yellow and orange acrylics.   Added some word and music washi tape. Inked the edges of my quotes and applied them with gel medium, allowing some of the paint and spray mist to smear onto them.  And then finished it off with some stamps with red ink.  Nice and messy!

The week 6 Being Me topic is being kind to yourself, banishing negative self-talk, etc.  I found a handful of quotes that I really loved to include with this page as personal reminders.  You can click on the photo to make it larger and view the quotes!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Story Telling Sunday - My Precious 7

I was at a loss this month. Not in the mood to discuss another piece of jewelry with specific meaning and honestly couldn't think of a travel related "precious" having already shared my pin vest and my sea glass collection. I'm just not really into tchotchke type souvenirs.  So I waited and thought about it.  And thought some more. And wandered my home aimlessly, looking for inspiration.

Then I decided to just start reading other bloggers' Story Telling Sunday posts.  I got through the first six on the linky list and observed that "precious" really does come in all shapes and sizes and styles.  And that's when my idea came to me....

Today I'm celebrating something that is precious simply because it brings me pleasure.  It has no history, no back story, and isn't anything I would grab in the event of a fire. It is all easily replaceable.  My Precious this month is:

Tools of the Trade:
*warning - mildly racy tongue-in-cheek commentary follows! ;-)

If you follow my posts regularly, you won't be surprised to know I've been having a bit of a fling with these guys the past few weeks. I couldn't believe how much I really missed them until I started hooking up with them again on a regular basis. 

No, I don't have a favorite. Each one of them has a place in my life and meets my needs in their own unique way. So whether I'm rolling around with my brayer, turning up the heat with my Ranger gun, sticking to the sheets with my washi tape, or just spreading color love with random brushes and paints, you can be certain that I'm having a good time! 

But please don't think less of me.  I can assure you this is no tawdry affair, no one-night-stand, no short term thing. It's honest-to-goodness real L.O.V.E. love!  These guys just know how to make a girl happy... seems to be built into their DNA or something. And I intend to keep them around for a long time.

For more Precious Stories visit Sian's Story Telling Sunday.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Scavenger Hunt - 3

It has been a wild and crazy last couple of weeks, but with lots of photo ops!

We went to D.C. for the weekend of June 29/30 to visit Sarah and celebrate her 23rd birthday.  D.C. is always good for scavenger hunt photos and this weekend did not disappoint:

#3 - The Capitol - how about the Capitol of the United States?  Up close and personal:

We had scheduled a tour of the Capitol. This is the wall inside, just above where you pick up your tour tickets:

Once inside, we got to see the Rotunda and the Hall of Statues and hear some fun facts.  But what was even more exciting for me, was later that evening we went to the movies to see "White House Down" (I can't understand why this movie is only getting 3 out of 5 stars in the ratings - I thought it was fantastic - drama, comedy, action - it had it all! And was way more engaging than World War Z.  IMHO).

Having just been inside the Rotunda, watching the scene where the bad guys blow it up was so much more real to us. and Crazy.

After the Capitol, we used the passageway over to the Library of Congress where I captured #14 a stained glass object:
One of six identical stained glass windows in the ceiling of this lobby area  AND

#14 a mosaic:
This was one of a series of three mosaics reading "Theology", "Law", and "Medicine".  Again, on the ceiling. From the distance it is hard to even see it as a mosaic, so here's a closer look:
I also caught #15 a police car:
It was mid-day and the sun was particularly harsh, so I'm definitely going to be on the look-out for a better shot for this one...

and #8, a tower:
Here is the Washington Monument, completely ensconced in 500 tons of aluminum scaffolding to enable repairs to damage caused in the August 2011 earthquake.  Apparently it is going to look like this for about a year while the repairs are being done.

July 4th was a quiet day around here.  Our girls took off to the shore, but we couldn't join them because Jay was on call.  So instead, we drove to Country Junction, billed as the "World's Largest General Store".  The interior has a "yellow brick road" pathway to guide you through the various sections of the store. They sell everything from groceries to furniture to puppies and chickens to home repair supplies.  If the Scavenger Hunt had included a pirate, I'd have been in luck, several life-size options there, including Johnny Depp himself.

I found # 20, a dinosaur:
I know you can't get any scale from this photo, but this guy was the size of a very large dog or small pony.

And # 7 a funny sign:
This one was a good play on the word "pour/poor" but what I thought was funny was that the word "judgment" was misspelled.

But I liked this one even better:
My apologies to anyone whose sensibilities are offended by the language, but this one really made me laugh out loud, right there in the store.  It is one of those retro-style signs on tin. I was tempted, but, no, I didn't actually purchase it.  In fact, all we purchased was some blueberries.

On the drive home I saw a large red metal dinosaur on a property on the side of the road - a sculpture that looked ridiculously out of place.  Unfortunately, no place to pull over and snap a shot.  And then, a billboard about Girl Scout cookies... in SPANISH???  We have no significant spanish-speaking population in this area, so that also struck me as odd and out-of-place. At some point I'll be in a place where I can actually take a photo when I see these things!

We capped off the evening with some television - knowing Sarah was attending, we were watching bits of the televised July 4th celebration from National Mall on PBS.  And we caught Sarah ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!  Jay and I were both pointing at the television and saying "oh my god!"  Rachel and Becca thought we were both insane (why don't they think this is a BIG deal???)

Sarah and her co-worker Chad are at 1:14, immediately after the shot of the Washington Monument. 

We didn't make it out to the Perkasie fireworks last night. Both of us were just way too tired after a day of house work.  Maybe next year...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mixing It Up - Post Three

The week four Summer of Color combo is pale pink and charcoal grey.  I created this page with a wash of pale pink acrylic and a little bit of "Diva Pink" for depth.  The flowers and leaves are created with light modeling paste mixed with a couple drops of black ink to create a dark grey and then applied in a thin coat through a stencil.  The quote was provided as part of week 5 of the "Being Me" course.

Monday, July 1, 2013

One Little Word Blog Hop - June version

Whether you arrived here from Margareta'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 Monday at 6:00 a.m.  You can always check back later if someone's post isn't live yet.

June brought us a writing assignment which I finished early on in the month.
And since the page speaks for itself, I'll let it go at that.  

If you are continuing on in the hop, your next stop is  Missus Wookie's blog.

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