• lusting after - a DSLR camera
  • crocheting - Crobaktus scarf & Queen Anne scarf
  • reading - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Pride And Prejudice
  • cooking - BBQ pork ribs in the crock pot
  • knitting - Lacy Baktus & homespun mittens
  • gardening - a few tomatoes each day

Thursday, October 7, 2010

front garden

Originally uploaded by yarn dirt words
New shoots starting pushing up through the dirt a few weeks ago. I planted bulbs the spring we moved in and they've bloomed every year but I can't for the life of me remember which ones come up first. So it's always a surprise when they bloom.

This was taken with my point-n-shoot Canon SD1400 which does a pretty good job. I had it on 'foliage' setting which makes the greens pop. It poured last night, our first big rain of the year, so the little water droplets are an added photo bonus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

channeling those creative urges

I loved crazy quilting. It was free-form enough to get my creative juices flowing, but simple enough to learn that I could jump right in. I met my friend Julie thru CQ, she of the cool chicken coop which I need to blog about soon. I have tons and tons of stuff to do CQ with. The only problem is my hands. Over the last several years, I developed osteoarthritis in my fingers to the point where I can no longer do the fine stitching which is one of my favorite aspects of CQ.
This is a pincushion I made using a CD for the base. You can almost see the little running bunny at the bottom.

So I got back into knitting and crocheting, which I like just fine, but it isn't real creative. For me, anyway, in that I don't create the pattern, I just choose it, then knit it. That process just doesn't scratch my itch, altho
I ended up with some nice items for this winter.

But then I stumbled across a couple photography sites and was very intrigued by the things you can do with a camera and in Photoshop.

Then I googled 'collage' for some reason and was hooked. The combination of all three is something I don't need exceptionally deft fingers to do, and the creative aspects are limitless. Well, the limits will be my patience and ability to learn PS, which already has been giving me fits. By that, I mean big loud prolonged swearing fits.
But I have managed to create a collage from papers and laces and paints and stamps that I'm pretty happy with. I read on someone's blog to just try and be happy with what you produce. Don't hold it up next to someone else's work and pick it apart - just enjoy it for what it is and learn from it.

So... here it is.

I like autumn, altho a lot of the emotions connected with it are melancholy. I started with autumny colored papers, torn and pasted down. On some of them, I rubbed a brown ink pad to darken the edges. The image of the girl had orange and red mums on it, so I added that. Once I had all the papers on there, I gently rubbed all over with brown stamp pad ink on a rag to age it a bit.

Then I started adding buttons and laces and the tag stamped with Autumn. I bought a pack of those tags at Staples the other day, crumpled them up and dunked them in strong cold tea. DH stopped and watched for a minute, then said, "Oh, the collage thing, I bet." Good guess, honey.

I cut the definition of autumn from a little dictionary, then cut out the words 'another year gone' from an old book

The lace along the bottom is the fringe off an ancient shawl that I paid a buck for at a flea market at least 25 years ago and have been hauling around ever since. I couldn't ever stand to throw it away, even when it started to fall apart, but I had no problem whacking it up for my new hobby LOL. The bit of lace around the girl and hanging down below her are also from the shawl.

I lay in bed last night trying to think up a subject for my next one. That's my biggest problem - that initial spark of inspiration. But as I mulled it over, a few ideas came to me and I fell asleep making a mental list of photos I'd need to take, the doo-dads I wanted to add to it, what to use for the background, etc, etc.

It's good to be interested in something again, to look forward to time in the craft room.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Landing Pad

Landing Pad
Originally uploaded by Kausthub
Just stop whatever else you're doing and look at this gorgeous photo.

The colors... the clarity... the composition... it's just perfect.

Monday, September 20, 2010

photo fun #2 - post and wire

What difference just a few changes make. This old post and barbed wire was shot out in the country  when S and I were driving around yesterday. I pulled over to the side of the road, he rolled down the window and snapped the pic. No effort expended and a so-so shot.

But... I played with it a little in PhotoScape, sharpened it, intensified the color, brightened the front of the post, stuck a rustic frame around it, and now... now it's something I'd stop and look at twice in a photo exhibit, something I'd maybe put on my wall.

I'm going to play with it some more, try to get the grass more golden without looking garish, but for 15 minutes worth of fiddling, I'm quite happy with it.

branching out

I love photography, always have. A really good photo can bring me to a halt for quite a while as my eyes roam over all the details. I dabbled in it years ago when you had to actually print the pictures out on paper to see what the heck you had. After going broke taking a lot of crappy pictures, I gave up.

But that was then, this is now and digital photography means it's practically free to hone your picture taking skills, hitting 'delete' on all the lousy ones until your portfolio contains nothing but wondrous images of the world as you see it. I've been longing for a DSLR, looking at them on eBay and Amazon, haunting photo blogs and flickr. But. Several buts. They're pricey, they don't fit in my purse, and I'm lazy about learning all the stuff that makes them cool to begin with. It would be like me to buy a fancy camera, set it to 'auto' and then moan about why my photos don't look like the ones on the blogs.

So I got out my point-n-shoot, an Olympus SD1400, and actually read the manual. Turns out it does all sorts of things I had no idea about, so for now I'm going to play with it and keep hoping I win a DSLR from Pioneer Woman. I also downloaded PhotoScape, free image editing software that has a lot of cool features.

This is the photo SOOC (straight out of camera). Kinda interesting but nothing special.

And just in case you're wondering, the shadow of the chain is what's in focus, not the chain itself.

This is the photo after I cropped it and did some tinkering in PhotoScape. I quite like it in an urban grunge sort of way. And despite looking like it's from the inner city, it's just around the block from my house in upper middle class suburbia. 

So I guess I'm back on a photography kick.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I love these things...

Photo caption contests are one of my favorite things. They involve a bit of imagination, a dash of mad writing skilz, and a cool picture. What more could you ask for?

Gale over at She Shoots Sheep Shots is having a photo caption contest for a sheep in a hand knit hat. The photo was taken during one of Gale's photo workshops at Juniper Moon Farm and it's adorable.

The two prizes are a copy of Gale's book Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns and Miles of Yarn and 3 skeins of Lamb's Pride.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

book review: As Sure As The Sun

As Sure As the SunAs Sure As the Sun by Anna McPartlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this. Picked it up on a whim but I'll look for more by her after reading this one.

A story of a woman who has a twin brother, and parents who have quite the secret they've been keeping for 30 years. Two of the woman's friends and their families also fit into the story. Alongside the current narrative are the diary entries of a 17 year old girl, written about 30 years ago.

It's very well done. Suspenseful and satisfying. She writes well, her dialog rings true, the plot was original. I totally recommend it as an enjoyable read.

View all my reviews