Monday, February 26, 2007

Day 255: Curves

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Coffee Filters

The MacroDay theme this week is Curves. This is my entry.

I played with lighting again for this photo. I lit the stack from below with a blue cloth over the light for a filter. Then I lit it from the stack from the northwest corner of this photo with another light, also covered by blue cloth. The combination of lighting helped accentuate the curves of the stacked coffee filters.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Day 254: EDM Challenge # 23

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, My Poor Sore Tootsie

This photo is my take on the Everyday Matters Challenge #23: "Your Foot"

The day before yesterday I was taking a walk and rounded a corner rather quickly. Unfortunately, I was wearing my slip-on shoes instead of my athletic shoes. As I rounded the corner, the heel of my foot slipped off the heel of my shoe. I twisted and sprained my foot. Not my ankle. Not my instep. But the whole top and outside of my foot is sore and I've been limping along.

To try and help me feel better, Jodie painted my toenails and wrapped my foot in pearls. I don't think I've had my toenails painted in over 15 years -- and surely never with a smiley face and heart!

I'm not sure it was the nail polish, the gems or just the TLC, but I am walking without as much pain today. I hope to be good as new by Tuesday.

Day 253: EDM Challenge # 22

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, White on White, Lace on Satin

This photo is my take on the Everyday Matters Challenge #22: "Piece of Clothing"

What I learned from photographing this image is that photographing products is not as easy at one might think! One of the hardest parts was just trying to get the fabric inside the shoe fairly smooth so that it did not detract from the shoe itself. I also had to try several fabrics before I found one that did not create a moire when it was photographed. The one I settled on has a subtle nubby weave, which added some contrasting texture without being distracting.

The lighting was also a challenge. I knew I wanted to light the shoe from below, so I placed it on my light box which I covered with a sheer fabric. But I also need supplemental lighting to bring out the details of the lace ... yet this supplemental lighting could not overpower the light from below. I was also trying to have the supplemental lighting catch the sparkle in the sheer background fabric.

I have SO much to learn! But it sure is fun and challenging to try different techniques to see what works and what doesn't.

This post also introduces a new label for my blog: Wedding. My eldest daughter will be getting married this summer and the planning has just begun. I'll be incorporating the wedding plans into my Creative Journey, so undoubtedly there will be many, many wedding posts in the weeks to come as we pull the event together. No, this isn't her shoe ... it's one I wore at my own wedding almost 16 years ago.

Afterthought: Come to think of it, that shimmery fabric in the background is left over from my first wedding over 22 years ago! Strange.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Day 252: EDM Challenge # 21

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Treadle

This photo is my take on the Everyday Matters Challenge #21: "Something Old, Antique or Vintage."

My father's father was a tailor by trade. As a boy, my dad used to work in his shop on treadle machines much like this one. Dad always wanted a treadle of his own. I believe he found this machine at an auction. When he no longer needed it, he gave it to me. It's a beauty.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day 251: EDM Challenge # 20

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Sweet Memories of Dad

This photo is my take on the Everyday Matters Challenge #20: "Something Dad."

Dad's been gone 7 years now. I pulled down the box that holds the things that are still too hard to look through. The pain is not as sharp this year. Among the newspaper clippings, funeral book and files were these three items.

The Idaho driver's license speaks for itself, I suppose. His photo (he looks younger there than when he died). But it's the signature that is just so "Dad" ... that awful handwriting that took such a feat to decipher.

As a child, Dad was probably naturally left handed. But in elementary school, he was forced to write with his right hand. That likely accounts for his scrawl. Mom and Dad had two left-handed children. I'm one of them.

The "8 Ball" has a great story behind it ... of which I only remember part. Back in the 1970s Dad was part of a Kiwanis club made up primarily of businessmen that met for a lunch meeting. The current leadership would take over the meeting and keep things too stiff. So Dad and his cronies that sat together at the "fun table" decided that a change was needed.

They rented zoot suits and spats and fedoras and dressed up like members of the Italian Mob. The mob members were known as "The Eight-a Ball-a Gang." They came in brandishing (fake) firearms, and took over the Kiwanis meeting one week. Each member had one of these eight ball badges with their mob name. My dad was "The Grinder" because he owned an Italian pizza shop where grinder (sub) sandwiches were served.

I remember my dad coming back to the pizza shop laughing heartily and recalling all the details of the spoof to whomever would listen. He and his friends had a blast that day, and the story was told and re-told over the years. (Another member of the Gang was Carl Karcher, founder of the Carl's Jr fast food chain). Obviously it was an important event to Dad. I found the badge in the keepsake box in his dresser after he died ... right next to Mom's wedding band.

Finally is the card that was presented to him when he was discharged from the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II. The card entitled dad to return to any US air base. He carried it in his wallet always.

As I recall the story, one year (I believe in the 1980s) when he and Mom were on a trip, they returned to the air field where Dad was trained -- and where he and Mom met. Dad presented this card at the air force base gate. The airman there had never seen one before, so had to call in a superior officer to see how to handle the request. I believe Mom and Dad did get to have a short tour of the base after Dad did some fancy talking. Dad would call that using moxie.

He was proud to have served in WWII. His uniform hung in the front closet for years. But as I was growing up, he never talked about the war. When the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb came around, Dad returned to Tinian, the island in the south Pacific where he was stationed. That opened a floodgate of memories and he often talked of the war years as he neared the end of his life.

My dad was tough. Hard to know. It took me a long time to get to the point where I enjoyed his company and learned to love him. So glad I made the effort. It was a worthy journey.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Day 250: Tool of Winter

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Studded Snow Tire

This week's challenge for MacroDay is "Winter." Most of the photographers have some variation of ice or snow. (Some are stunning!)

I took a little different tack on the theme.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Day 249: Hail Storm

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Winter Hail

The clouds cracked open and the hail flew sideways in the wind this afternoon.

In a matter of minutes, the lawn and deck were carpeted with with icy pellets.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Day 248: Method Behind the Magic

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Water Burst

Here's the third in my series of water art. I think this image makes it easier to guess how the images are created. But I'll explain it anyway.

I used clear and colored water droplets of various sizes and placed them in formation on a CD. I then used my full-spectrum (daylight) light to shine over the design. The CD acts like a prism and breaks the light into a spectrum. The water droplets reflect the light as well, putting rainbows on rainbows. Then I took the photos using the macro setting on my camera to get nice clear close-up shots.

Once the images were uploaded onto my computer, I played in my photo and paint programs to intensify the colors and darken the images. Voila!

I found that the CDs were a fairly small canvas, so the curved edges and centers usually end up in the photo. Yesterday I bought a laser disc on eBay hoping it will reflect like a CD, but give me a larger canvas on which to paint with water droplets. When my disc arrives, I'll do some experimenting. You just might see more examples of this technique.

I got the idea to take these photos from a photographer I saw online who does spectacular water art. For really wonderful images, go take a look at Martin Waugh's Liquid Sculpture. And for information on how he created the images, read the photography entries on his blog.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Day 247: More Water Art

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Water Flower

I've had some good guesses on how these shots were created, but no one hit the mark just yet.

One more of these photos will be posted tomorrow, and I'll reveal my secret -- and the website that inspired me.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Day 246: A Rainbow of My Own

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Droplets

Like this?

Can you figure out what it is?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Days 244 - 245: Strange Beasts

I added two new photographs to Creative Journey in my Photography section.

I call the first one Yakity-yak.

No, these aren't really yaks, but the first time I saw them, a couple weeks ago, there was plenty of snow and ice on the ground and these beasts of burden were sporting very long and curly coats. I couldn't believe my eyes! These woolly fellows, standing in their pasture across the road, sure looked like the yaks I've seen in books.

By the time I got close enough to take their picture, they'd had a hair cut. Turns out they are a special breed of cattle and get shown off quite a bit locally. There are five that live in the pasture, each a slightly different color. They're wonderful animals and very impressive both from a distance and up close.

The second photo is of my daughter and her friend on Spirit Day.

There's nothing quite like dressing in your school colors for a day ... especially when our middle school (and high school!) use the Halloween colors of orange and black.

There were lots of crazy-legged kids running around campus today ... a whole other kind of strange beast.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

These are two little Easter ornaments I stitched for the kids who will be stuck in a hospital at Easter. You can read more about the patterns on my website:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Day 243: Be My Valentine

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, My Valentine

A little somethin' for my sweet daughter.

Mmmmmm ... Decadent!

I used this photo as my submission for MacroDay this week.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Day 242: Sweet Lips

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Kisses

Speaks for itself, yes?

And to think, I taught those sweet lips how to kiss.

And now for some bragging rights ...

Jodie (of the sweet lips above) took part in a regional math competition today, competing with other middle school math students from all around north Idaho. She placed 9th in the competition! This means she qualifies to compete at the state level!

I'm wearing my proud mommy look today!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Day 241: A Week of Sweets

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Diabetic Delights

It's Valentine's week, a week for sweets: sweet candy, sweet intentions, sweethearts. So I've begun some sweet photos. One will make it to MacroDay where the theme for the week is Sweets.

Gifts in the Mail

I received this great gift from Carole in Braintree, UK. This is the second wonderful gift she's given me. The first was an adorable reindeer on ice skates kit that came from a British cross-stitch magazine.

When she found another skating reindeer, she sent that to me as well ... along with all these other goodies. Some beautiful hand-dyed fabrics, some linen banding and all these luscious fibers in yummy colors. We're in the same charity stitching group. I'll be able to use these materials for bookmarks and ornaments that will go to children with long-term illnesses or elderly shut-ins.

I am so blessed!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Day 240: If It Were Only So Easy

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Mr. Snowman Goes On A Diet

Here's a sign of spring. Mr. Snowman, who you first met a few weeks ago, has been withstanding warmer days and quite a lot of rain.

And how's that for a nose job? His nose now lies on his chest!

Two hours after this photo, he literally lost his head!

Take a Stitch Tuesday: Buttonhole, Chain, Cretan

This bookmark is my version of a sampler for Sharon B's Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. It incorporates the stitches for Weeks two, three and four: buttonhole, detached chain, and Cretan.

It took me quite a while to come up with my plan for this bookmark. And it took me longer to execute it than I imagined!

I started by looking through the blogs of other stitchers and noting which versions of the stitches really caught my attention. Then I started this sketch. As you see, I noted on the sketch which stitch to use and the blogs that relate to the stitch I wanted to try and recreate.

Next, I took my design idea to some gridded paper and marked in the stitches. As you'll note, the design of the train engine changed quite a bit at this point.

I wasn't sure I liked my version of the Cretan stitch that I wanted to use as a filling stitch, so I drew the engine again, and tried it a new way.

After looking over the two, I decided to use the first version.

Then the stitching began:
  1. I outlined the engine in backstitch using 1 strand of DMC 310
  2. I filled in the engine with Cretan stitch using 2 strands of DMC 317 and 318
  3. I made the smoke stack in stacked buttonhole with 2 strands of DMC 317
  4. The cow catcher on the front of the train is a wrapped buttonhole stitch made with 2 strands of DMC310
  5. I stitched the smoke in a chain stitch with 2 strand of Wisper, a fuzzy thread
  6. The front window was filled with satin stitch using 2 strand of Neon Rays
  7. The rail on the back of the engine is a long buttonhole stitch (bottom is double running stitch) with 1 strand of DMC 310
  8. The tracks are a slanted Cretan stitch, stacked, stitched with DMC stranded metallic 5287. I had some trouble with this stitch on the left side of the train
  9. The wheels are padded detached chain in three shades of floss, 2 strands of DMC 930, 932 and 3750
  10. The wheel hubs are a yellow seed bead
  11. The engineer's shirt is cross-stitch using 2 strands of DMC 221
  12. His face is backstitched and a French knot eye with one strand of DMC 3371
  13. For his hat (ok, so it's a bit out of proportion), I took the smallest sequins I could find, and cut it down to a hexagon shape by cutting off the rounded parts of the sequins and using just the middle. It's held in place with 3 detached chain, and the brim is a single chain using 2 strands of DMC 318
  14. The wheat at the side of the tracks is backstitch and detached chain using 2 strands of DMC 676.
It was quite a challenge to use so many stitches in this small space. My favorite parts are the 3-toned wheels and the fuzzy smoke. When I started this bookmark, I intended to give it to a charity. I may yet, but I'll have to think on that for a few days. This little bookmark took a lot of time and energy!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Day 239: Thawed for a Walk

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, The Road Less Traveled

The temperature has risen enough that most of the snow on the sidewalks and streets has melted. It's safe to go out for a walk in the neighborhood again. I was out at dusk, which made some of the icy patches just a little bit tricky to navigate.

I like the way the path curved here, before heading back into the woods. It reminded me of my favorite poem by Robert Frost.

Which reminds me, have you seen this version of another of his poems, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, made into a children's picture book?

It's lovely and haunting. Another favorite of mine.

Day 238: MacroDay - Engraved

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Engraved on my Heart

This week's challenge for MacroDay is to photograph an engraved item. I chose this locket which my girls gave me for Mother's Day.

Lighting a metallic object is tricky! I needed enough lighting to show off the engraving, but not so much that I got a glare from the curve of the metal.

My solution? Lots of cropping!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Day 237: Show Your Colors

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Jodie's Scarf

This is Everyday Matters Challenge #19, Something You Made. I finished crocheting this scarf last night and Jodie wore it to school for the first time today. We hope to sell some of these scarves made in the school colors for $15 each. The profits will help Jodie take the 8th grade trip to Washington, DC at the end of the school year.

When I asked Jodie if I could photograph her scarf today, I told it that it's for the challenge "something you made." I asked if she wanted to model the scarf or if I should just shoot the scarf itself. Her reply?

"I'll model it. You made me too!"

Smart kid!

If any of you are interested in having us crochet a scarf like this in your school colors, send me an e-mail. We'll be happy to make one for you for $15 plus postage.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Day 236: Looking Back At You!

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Studio Window

Every day I let you peek through my Studio window and invite you to see what creative somethin' somethin' I have going on in here. Today, I'm looking back out that same window!

Actually, this is Everyday Matters Challenge #18, View From A Window. See? I really do live in a forest!

Actually, my home is in a suburb that was planted at the bottom of a hill in the middle of a forest. The trees s-t-r-e-t-c-h for the limited sunlight. My studio is in the basement of our home. So if I climb on a chair and aim my camera just right, I get to see all these trees in my front yard.

But the afternoon sun was shining in from the west, the window was dirty with snow drippings, and I had to shoot the photo through the window screen, so the original photo was not very clear. I took it into Paint Shop Pro and played with the colors and filters and experimented with all sorts of fun photo enhancements until this altered image appeared on my screen.

Ooooo. Pretty!

Don't you wish you had a blue forest in your front yard?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Day 235: The Math Assignment

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Inequalities

I think I took this picture just because I liked the title of my daughter's chapter in her Algebra book. You'd think it would be about racial minorities or something, but no. Inequalities are just when one side of an algebraic equation is greater than or less than the other side of the equation.

I was not much help with the homework. It's been toooooooooo long since math class for me. But I did have a calculator handy. :)

This is what Jodie thinks of inequalities:

Monday, February 5, 2007

Day 234: Fresh Brew

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Iced Tea

I brewed some tea today using a mixture of raspberry tea and black tea. As the tea brewed, it formed these layers of red to brown. I caught this image right before the ice "schlumped" and all the tea mixed into a single hue. I love the gradient colors in this shot!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Day 233: Crowning Achievement

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Tiara

Today I was trying to capture highlights in the stones. I like this shot. I like the way the back side of the tiara is fuzzy while retaining its sparkle.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Day 232: The Art of Imitation

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Peppercorn

I found a great image online this week, and wanted to see if I could come close to duplicating it. You know the original photographer is phenomenal when you work for a half hour to get an image that might come close to the original, but falls so far short.

His lighting, the way he tilted the peppercorn, the shadow ... all wonderful! I like my own image, but it is definitely a knock-off. I have so much to learn! Attempting to recreate an experienced photographer's work is an excellent exercise that I'm sure to repeat.

Day 231: By the Light of the Moon

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section,
Full Exposure

The full moon was bright and low on the horizon, hovering over the industrial lights as we headed into the countryside to drop Jodie off at a leadership camp for the weekend. The dark sky, the clouds, the glow from below ... and a lot of post-capture manipulation produced this odd effect.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Day 230: Jingle All the Way

I've added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Jingle Bell

Every now and then, I just like to make a little noise.

I like the texture on the bell, but not so much the reflection. :: shrug ::