Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Texture Tuesday

This week Kim challenged everyone to stick to a gardening theme.  How exciting!  We actually had sun over the weekend and I was able to get out and take some fabulous photos of some of the plants that are now flowering in my yard.  Bordering the property line we have several flowering weigela bushes.  They are stunning.  I enjoyed photographing them and then processing them with Kim's textures.

For this first image I cropped my photo down to a square shape and tweaked the levels adding in more black for contrast.  Next I added a layer of she loves you on multiply 50%.  I used a mask and removed a bit of the texture from the central buds to help the color pop.  I also added a layer of wet tile on lighter color 30%.  I repeated the process of masking and removing the texture.   Finally I added text identifying the flower.  I picked a color from the flowers and chose soft light at about 60%.  After placing the text I embedded it under the two texture layers.  I used this same recipe for my second image.  I love how both of the photos turned out. 

Here are the original images that I used for this weeks texture Tuesday.

For more Texture Tuesday fun click on the badge in my sidebar or click here.  You won't be disappointed!


Monday, May 30, 2011


What a treat to have everyone off on a Monday!  R and I spent time at 40 M.  The time was bittersweet as 11 years ago we would have been enjoying a cookout with both my Mum and Dad today.  Amazing what a decade will change.  Anyway...I dropped n off at her best friends house to go to the beach and N has enjoyed having the house to himself.  I have tried to be mindful of why this holiday is so special.  I am thankful for all the servicemen and women who have given so much of themselves to allow us the freedom to do as we please.

This weekend was rather busy and being busy prevented me from posting about the day n and I spent at school with my teaching partner and friend S.   Saturday we arrived at school at 10:30 in the morning ready to put together our first Children's Art Show.  Hopefully this will turn into an annual event.  We spent much of the morning matting the artwork.  Some pieces were previously matted, but in order to create consistency throughout the space we double matted everything on black.  I have to say that the pieces all looked fabulous on the black matting, double matted or not.  After our 1pm lunch we began displaying the art in the schools atrium.  We included at least one labeled piece from each child and two labeled pieces from the children in our class.  We are only missing pieces from two children.  It took a lot of thought and planning to install the art.  A wide variety of processes are included: watercolor, collage, mosaic, sculpture, fiber art, print making, drawing, still life, calligraphy, easel painting and mixed media.  The space looks incredible.  I wish that I brought my camera.  I took photos with my camera but am not able to get the photos off my camera!  I'll be taking photos when I go into work tomorrow.  So exciting.  Honestly I can't stop thinking about what a huge accomplishment it was to get just about everything up in one 8 hour day.
I'll be sure to post photos tomorrow.

I hope everyone is enjoying a quiet day today.


Mellow Yellow Monday



Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Time Flies!

So first let me say that social situations make me nervous.  It's in my genes.  My Mum had a variety of anxieties including social anxiety.  I know that I struggle with this so I push myself.  Well yesterday I had the opportunity to see my best friend C's daughter all dressed up for her junior prom.  I didn't want to intrude so I checked and then double checked before heading over with camera in tow.  I'm so thrilled that I was able to spend time with them as she prepared to go and have fun with all of her friends.  When I arrived at C's house I was afraid that I had missed them as her car was not in the driveway.  I backed up and parked by the street in case she was still on her way home from the hairdresser.  As I walked down the driveway my phone rang.  It was C asking me not to leave she was home but her car was down the street with a popped tire!  Ugh!  So the adventure began.

So this 'little girl'  was the first baby that arrived in my young adult life.  I remember holding her and rocking her in her living room.  I can picture her as a tiny blond haired child who looked more like an angel than a child with her halo of blond curly wisps of hair.  When she was in elementary school I spent time reading with her and helping her practice her skills.  I've watched her learn and grow and I have to say I couldn't be more proud if she were my own.  When she walked down the stairs and into her living room she took my breath away.  I thought for sure that I'd cry but thankfully I didn't.  (although I am tearing up now as I type!)

I thought my participation in this event would end with photos at her house but with no car I happily chauffeured M and her Mom over to a friends where all the kids were getting together to have photos taken and board the party bus that would take them to and from the event.  Here is where my anxiety pops up.  I get us over there and then we start walking up the street to the home.  There were so many people.  Yikes! I had that fight of flight feeling.  I pushed through it and focussed on M and her date and took over 200 pictures!  It was so much fun.  All the kids were beautiful.  It amazes me how the prom experience has morphed into something that seems more like a wedding.  I feel so blessed to have been a part of this experience with this special girl and her family.  (not to mention my bestie!)

I've decided to share a couple of group shots but none specific to M.  I might check with her at a later date and add some more photos that show her in all her beauty, but not today.

The following five photos really spoke to me as I reviewed all my shots last night.  Here are these beautiful young women ready to have the night of their young lives, looking so grown up, but when you look closely you can see the trepidation in their faces and body language.  These were very quick moments captured in a fraction of a second.  I wonder what they were thinking.  

In a few short years I'll be posting photos of my children.  I'm sure the time will fly.  For now I'll breathe deeply, stay in the moment and enjoy all that is good in my life.  


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday Daybook

Simple Woman's Daybook Week 21


Outside my window...I see the sun setting.  What a wonder to see the son and have some warmth over the last few days!  The humidity is still sticking around but at least it is not raining.  Everyone is happier when the sun is shining! 

I am thinking...that everyone should just stop asking me questions so that I can let my mind rest.  Do you ever feel that way?  Sometimes I just want it to be quiet. 

I am thankful for...sunshine on the last days of school this year.  It enabled us to spend time outside.  Such a pleasure.  I am also thankful that n was able to spend the day with me at school yesterday.  Watching her interact with her former teachers and the children in my classes underscored for me just how grown up my little girl has become.  Amazing to think that not so long ago she was a student enjoying carefree days at preschool.  

From the kitchen...takeout pizza tonight.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  

I am wearing...my pj's!  It's early evening but I had to apply my faux tan so pj's it is!

What I'm creating:  not much right now as we prepare for the art show at school.  We did accidentally come up with a new open ended art activity at school however!  Using colored pencils to draw on painted paper.  The results are amazing.  

I am going...to go to bed early tonight in order to get a good night's sleep.  I'm tired after and emotional day of goodbyes.  

I am reading...still the same old stuff.....blogs as always and I have been spending time wetting my artistic appetite with a couple of mixed media books.  Flavor for Mixed Media by Mary Beth Shaw and  Paint Box Mixed Media Paint Box edited by Tonia Davenport.  Both of these resources are so inspirational.   

I am hoping that the tornados that have been plaguing parts of our country will subside. 
I am hearing...dialogue from N's newest movie craze...the x men series.  I have to say that I'm kind of excited that N enjoys sci fiction type movies.  I love them!

Around the house...everything is a big mess!  I'm looking forward to spending time cleaning and organizing now that school is over.  

One of my favorite things...is spring and summer evenings when the air changes and the cool breeze blows through the windows.  I love experiencing the breeze with all my senses.   Such a pleasure.    

A few plans for the rest of the week:   art show, golf tournament, 40 M and that is enough. 

Here are some pictures I am sharing..


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Texture Tuesday


For the past week or so I've been watching my rose of sharon bush start to green up and leaf out.  Every time I drove past it I made a mental note to get my camera and get myself outside and take some photos.  Well if you've been following the weather in the northeast you'll know that it has been very wet this spring so there have only been scattered days when I could get outside. This past weekend I stole a few moments and got outside to work on my photography.  I then transformed one of my photos for today's Texture Tuesday challenge.  First I cropped the image.   I used two layers of yesteryear.  The first layer is on multiply 100%, the second is also on multiply but only 29%.  I also added a layer of warm sun on multiply 57%.  I like how it framed the photo.  The blues were barely there in my original photo so early in the process I added a color fill layer with a layer mask.  It was time consuming but I liked the addition of the blue.  In the end I thought my image was too dark so I went in and adjusted the levels until I was happy.  I wonder what you all will think of this transformed image. Hmmmm.

In case you are wondering, I thought I'd include the original image.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday


This spring has been so cold and wet that only the daffodils seemed to thrive!  I can't wait for a little warmth so that all the flowers will grow and bloom.   


Saturday, May 21, 2011


We were all up early today, for whatever reason!  It was a slow and relaxed morning.  I love starting my day slowly.  Every other day of the week it is a rush to get up and out of the house.  I am so looking forward to a break in that schedule.  Soon.... I only have three more teaching days and on assist day left.  After that there will be a week of organizing, meetings and preparing for the art show and golf tournament fundraiser.  By the second full week in June I will be on summer vacation.  Yay!

So back to today...our day continued in the same relaxed way as it began.  Banking & lunch was followed by time over at 40 M where R is working tirelessly on the front deck.  He had to hire yet another carpenter to come in and work with us on this smaller job.  The young guy is... well.... young.  They made progress and the rest of the work will be done on Monday and then an inspection will be scheduled.

As for the children; N had a fun day with his buddy up the street and n enjoyed having her best friend come and spend some of the afternoon.  I enjoyed working on my Kim Klassen skinny mini e-class.  Computer work for the art show was also completed.  It was a productive day.  I even spent some time taking photos outside.  Yay!

Well now it's time to relax.  Hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fill Ins

And...here we go!

1. I see another foggy day beginning, but in the long range forecast I see sun and warmth!

2.Yummy food from scratch is the best, I so miss my Mum's food from scratch.

3. They begin their journey to independence the moment they are born as we guide and teach our children unique individuals develop before our very eyes.  There is no greater gift than that of a child. 

4. My last vacation away was so many years earlier almost 10 years actually and now n and I are planning a girls vacation with my sisters for 5 days in Washington DC.  We are beyond excited!  Although it will mean no blogging for a week!  How will I do that???  Maybe I'll schedule my post ahead of time...

5. This I know: everything happens for a reason!  Some say that good can come from everything; of this I am not sure although I do try to see the good in situations.

6. I have absolutely no idea what I will serve tonight for dinner.  I'll take suggestions. :)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a regular relaxing Friday night, tomorrow my plans include going to the movies with the kids to see the new Pirates of the Carribean and Sunday, I want to finish up my continuing ed and work on some computer stuff for the art show!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday Daybook

Simple Woman's Daybook Week 20


Outside my window...I see more rain!  I am feeling the effects of this rain on my mood.  I think that if I could stay home and nest in the rain I'd be fine however working with preschool children who have been cooped up for two weeks with the rain just isn't that much fun! On the up side; my lawn is luxurious and green and my perennials look very happy too.    

I am thinking...that I can't believe it is the end of the school year again.  The weather being cool and rainy feels much more like early or late winter rather than spring.  So interesting how the weather can effect the way we feel.  

I am thankful for...my beautiful children.  The news in our area has been all about a little boy who's dead body was left at the end of a country road up in Maine.  So terribly sad!  It has come out that they have found the child's identity after several days of investigation and that they suspect the mother overdosed the child and then drove him from Texas to dump his lifeless body.  What is wrong with people?  God help the child's remaining family as well as the older couple that found him.  I could cry just thinking about this horror. 

From the kitchen...we had a yummy rice meal this week, chicken fajitas, blt's and tonight will be pizza.  Not sure what the rest of the week will bring.  

I am wearing...my khaki pants with a black silk sweater.  This is my favorite sweater out of my collection.  I'll throw on another layer either a vest of an open cardigan in order to keep the chill away.

What I'm creating:  I must work on cards.... I created a felted wool sampler this morning as an example for the children at school.  Should be a fun project.  Still working on collecting children's art from school for our first art show.  

I am going...to go out to lunch with my cousins tomorrow.  (I hope).  I am also planning a girls trip with n and my sisters to Washington DC!  We are all going to bunk up together and it is going to be awesome!  I've booked the flights already.  Good deal I think... round trip for two only 260.00.  We are soooooo excited. 

I am reading...still the same old stuff.....blogs as always and I have been spending time wetting my artistic appetite with a couple of mixed media books.  Flavor for Mixed Media by Mary Beth Shaw and  Paint Box Mixed Media Paint Box edited by Tonia Davenport.  Both of these resources are so inspirational.   

I am hoping that  Spring will return to New England sooner than later.  

I am hearing...music from the TV.

Around the house...things continue to be on hold until the end of the school year and the eventual completion of the 40 M project.  Happily I was able to organize and clean up the 'nice' living room.  Such a relief to have that done.  

One of my favorite things...is hanging out with my kids.  I love them so much.   

A few plans for the rest of the week:   working on cards, going to the movies and preparing for the end of my school year.  

Here are some pictures I am sharing..







Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Texture Teusday


Today's challenge was based around the theme of 'vintage'.  So I thought I'd look up the word 'vintage' and came up with the following definitions:  the class of a dated object with reference to era ofproduction or use: a hat of last year's vintage.   old-fashioned or obsolete

The question is how do these definitions translate into photos?  I decided to go to my vintage photos from the 60's.  I have many old photos that I have scanned and store in my computer.  I love them all.  As I type this I can think of several that I wish I had worked on for today's Texture Tuesday entry.  

This image was taken in '66 or '67 by my Mom.  It is the home that I grew up in before it was raised.  I love the look of this simple home.  If you enlarge the photo you can see the reflection of the ocean and beach in the upper right hand window.  In the left hand window is  a reflection of an old car from that era.  If you'd like to see how this house was transformed originally check out this post

So to add to the vintage feel of this image I used several layers.  I started with kk's golden on multiply 70 %, next I added kk's luminous on color burn 38% and finally I added a layer of kk's dusty rose  on screen 39%.  I added a mask to each layer and removed the texture from the two windows so that you could see the reflection.  I am pleased with the final result. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Helpful Insights and Reflections

So my dear friend Alicia over at Forever Changed was kind enough to leave a comment sharing her insights on my dreams.  Sometimes it takes seeing something through another's eyes in order to regain clarity or to at least begin the process of looking at something from a different view point.  How can one go about interpreting such a heavy dream without some distance.  Clearly I was stuck in the concrete and visceral images and reactions I experienced both in my dream state and as I woke from that state.  Death and dying, my father, my brother, my childhood home are all subjects that are so close to my heart that it is difficult to get beyond the emotional response and move toward clarity.  I tend to begin with my emotions and can easily let them run away with me.  I can feel the reaction in my body even; my heart races, my thinking speeds up and my breathing changes...if I remember to breathe at all.  I have to stop and remind myself to take a deep breath and move back to my rational self.

Alicia shared her outlook on interpreting dreams:

"The approach I have found most helpful for thinking about my dreams -- which may not work for you -- is to realize that the mind is a narcissist. Even when I'm dreaming about other people, I'm not really dreaming about THEM. Rather, each person in my dreams is some aspect of myself. Or, if it's about people I am close to, the dream may be about a part of me most dominated by my relationships with them."

This thought is so helpful.  I think I may even know this deep down yet for weeks I have been trying to figure out why my father is angry with me in my dreams.  It has made no sense to me and has been a burden to reconcile.  Again I have been working to decipher this from a very literal view point.  Hmmm so interesting. 

Alicia goes on to say: 

"I obviously don't know any more about than what you've written here. Aside from the obvious father-daughter relationship, you were also your dad's caretaker in his last illness (I think I remember that right). Why is caretaker-you mad at you? Is there someone you're not taking care of properly? Yourself, perhaps?"  

This statement hit me like a ton of bricks!  Do Moms ever take care of themselves as they should?  No and I am no different than any Mom out there, but I don't think this is what my psyche is working out.  I think, no I know that there is a part of me that is angry with myself for not doing all that I perceive that I could have done for Dad.  I know my cousins reading will be shaking there heads at me but it is how I feel.  I wish that I had spent that Thursday night before he died at his house.  I wish I had taken him to the doctors sooner.  I wish that I could have stood up for him more than I did.  There are so many things that I wish I had done differently.  I'm sorry that I didn't do these things.  I know that I have work to do in this area.  I have to let these thoughts go because I know that he wouldn't want me to feel badly, but I do.  I guess writing about it and perhaps creating some art in honor of those feelings might help.  We'll see.  

 "And your brother? Who is he in your life (aside from brother)? What part of you feels sick? With something that slowly, inexorably is taking its toll on you? You're hungry. What are you looking for? Where in your life are you not being fed? The cabinets that used to hold sustenance are bare. And so, you are all in the desert, the parched wasteland, no shelter or protection from the elements or the vicissitudes of life."

These pieces are all intertwined with my relationship or lack there of with my brother.  I love him so much but we have not talked in almost a year.  As much as I love him I know rationally that we have completely different perspectives on life.  We do not share the same parenting philosophy, work ethic or desire to preserve family bonds.  I guess we are a little like night and day.  This makes me sad.  I guess you could say that the lack of a healthy relationship with him and his children has taken a tole on me.  I long for a relationship with a brother who does not need someone to take care of him.  I hunger for a relationship that will fill me up rather than deplete my energy.  I have searched for this in him for years and years.  I have opened the door so many times just to be disappointed once again.  I think that there is a certain level of anger that goes with the loss of this relationship.  I can't hide from the anger.  When I think of all that has gone on over the last 10 years and beyond I can feel the rage bubble up in my belly.  It is hot and scorching like the sun of the desert.  It too is something that I must let go.  

So perhaps these dreams are nudging me to do the work that should be done to let go the sadness, self loathing, anger and grief.  Beyond this I must figure out what it is that I can do to truly care for myself, by nurturing the child, daughter, woman, wife, mother and artist within.  What fills me up?  What will quench the thirst that has been brought on by too much time in the desert?  A quest of self discovery and renewal.  

Well I cried as I wrote this post.  Perhaps that is the beginning....


Mellow Yellow Monday

I miss this little yellow fellow!  He has left a hole in my heart and a void in our home.



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