Thursday, May 31, 2007

Day 349: MacroDay -- Body Parts

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, All That Remains

theme this week:
"Body Parts"

Granted, this isn't what I first thought of photographing when I looked at this week's theme. I thought ... beautiful lips ... an exquisite shoulder ... the hands of the elderly ... the eye of a loved one.

But most of the other photographers thought the same thing, and have executed some spectacular images. Be sure to look!

So I went looking through my family photo albums for ideas. There are images of my daughters' big days: birthdays, graduations, Miss Teen Idaho, prom, talent shows and musical performances ... and then the funerals.

That's when this idea seeped into my sleepy brain. The grave of my first husband, Albert.

I was only married to him for three years. We bore two children. But the depression, suicide attempts and alcohol got the best of him. The kids were so young when he died ... "the last day of first grade," Jeanne always remembers.

Unbelieveable. Almost 15 years now. And the body parts that remain, lie here.

I used to take Jeanne and Julie up to the grave at least once a year in June ...
the month he was born
the month of Father's Day
the month he died

Now, they go visit on their own ... and try to understand why he gave up on them when they were so little.

After Jodie was born, she'd accompany us on these annual visits, not really understanding, full of life, dancing and spinning on the graves. Albert is just a family story to her.

And the body parts that I once knew so intimately lie in the ground, buried with all the troubled memories.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bumper Sticker Wisdom


I was stopped at a red light today next to a blue jeep that was obviously owned by a feminist. There were plenty of bumper stickers on the car portraying that point of view, anyway. This quote by Maggie Kuhn was my favorite.

There are plenty of times I've kept silent, even though things were bothering me. I wanted to keep the peace. Didn't want to rock the boat. Allowed for the status quo.

I thought if I opened my mouth to share my opinion, I'd burst into tears. Ever had one of those dreams where you try to cry out, but your voice doesn't work? I hate those! I've had far too many of those nightmares.

So this bit of wisdom strikes a chord in me. I may not be certain. I may not be able to keep my composure. I may open myself up to ridicule or risk getting thrown from the group for having an alternate or opposing opinion. I may even lose a friend. But may I try to speak my truth anyway. Finally.

Even if my voice shakes.

Speak your truth ... share your feelings ... compose your ideas ... bare your thoughts ... use your critical thinking skills ... and try to do it with compassion ... not with anger or out of retaliation ... that takes courage.

That is integrity.

Day 348: Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Feature


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

Yesterday's blog entry was a bit of a departure for me.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I'm back to taking pictures on my daily walks.

The tulips are all gone now. The lilacs are fading fast. But the rhododendron are popping up in force throughout the neighborhood.

This is one of my favorite displays. Pine trees intermingled with the rhodies and surrounded by a hosta (a pretty green leaf with white tips). A beautiful setting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Day 247: Self Portrait

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey
in my Photography section,
The Other Woman


Generally speaking, I'm a fairly light-hearted optimistic woman. You rarely find me without a smile on my face. I have a quick wit. I love word play. I try to maintain a positive attitude and grow a comfortable, welcoming home.

Yet there is another side of me. A shadow side. The one chained to the dark. The unmentionable secret. The hidden memory. The Other Woman.

She's been popping in and out of my life this past week. I thought it was time to claim her.

Thus, this self portrait.


Had to be stripped naked,
No use hiding under pretenses
or clothes.

Had to be black and white, didn't it?
Good and bad,
black and white,
right and wrong.
--
Shades of gray.

Had to be softened,
like years had marred the details,
no crisp edges allowed.

Had to be semi-dark with very very little contrast,
like looking into the back of the closet
where old memories lurk under layers of dust
and lies.

Hi. I'd like to introduce myself.
My name is Margaret.
I'm an old friend from an unhappier time.

FLY me
I dare you.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Day 246: More Julie

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Julie [2]

I am giddy about today's shot!

This is another of the photos I took of Julie yesterday. She was examining the new ring Dale bought me for our anniversary.

Her eyes look so soft. Her face so lovely.

How did I manage to give birth to these beautiful young women?!

Giddy, I say. Giddy.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Day 345: Julie's Portraits

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Julie [1]

My middle daughter, Julie, really liked the photos I took of Jodie this week. Since she's home from college for the holiday weekend, I decided to play photographer and model yet again, this time with Julie as my model.

Jodie and Julie played "Beauty Shop" first (a little game we used to play together as the girls were growing up). Jodie applied Julie's make-up. Then Julie and I spent about an hour outside, trying to take advantage of the sun between cloud cover.

My two best shots will be posted on my website. Here's the first.

Johari Window: The Results

A couple days ago, I asked my readers, family and friends to rate me. With seven people responding, here are the results so far:


Arena

(known to self and others)

caring, intelligent, searching, trustworthy, warm

Blind Spot

(known only to others)

able, cheerful, clever, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, independent, loving, modest, observant, organised, reflective, religious, self-conscious, silly, witty

Fa├žade

(known only to self)

dependable

Unknown

(known to nobody)

accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, calm, complex, confident, dignified, happy, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, introverted, kind, knowledgeable, logical, mature, nervous, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, relaxed, responsive, self-assertive, sensible, sentimental, shy, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, wise

Dominant Traits

57% of people agree that CameoRoze is caring
57% of people agree that CameoRoze is intelligent

All Percentages

able (28%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (0%) brave (0%) calm (0%) caring (57%) cheerful (14%) clever (28%) complex (0%) confident (0%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (14%) extroverted (28%) friendly (28%) giving (28%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (14%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (57%) introverted (0%) kind (0%) knowledgeable (0%) logical (0%) loving (42%) mature (0%) modest (14%) nervous (0%) observant (14%) organised (42%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (28%) relaxed (0%) religious (28%) responsive (0%) searching (28%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (14%) sensible (0%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (14%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (14%) warm (14%) wise (0%) witty (42%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 27.5.2007, using data from 7 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view CameoRoze's full data.

The traits I hope to grow which are currently "unknown" are:
bold, brave, confident, ingenious, kind, knowledgeable, logical, powerful, responsive, self-assertive, and wise.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Day 344: Sticky Geranium

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

My daughter Julie is home from college for the weekend. She joined me on my walk today.

As we went through the park, she pointed out all kinds of wildflowers -- and knew their names!

What a nice way to spend some one-on-one time with my middle child ... walking amongst the birds and the bees, the flower and the trees.

WIP: Little Jack [7]

Little Jack Horner is coming right along. Now, most of his dog is sitting behind the chair.
I kind of like those ghostly eye sockets, don't you?
:)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tell Me About Me ...

How 'bout it?Will you take this quiz and let me know how you see me?

The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

Day 343: Eden

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

Here's another great shot of Jodie that I captured in our photo shoot yesterday. Look at those eyes!

Mmmmwhah! What a scrumptious girl!

I call this photo Eden because Jodie looks like she could have just stepped into the Garden. Pure. Innocent. Lovely.


This tree and Jodie have been good together for a long time. When Jo was just a toddler, her sister Jeanne took branches from this tree and fashioned a wreath for Jodie's hair.

I took several snapshots of that, too. She looks like a little flower fairy. These are some of my favorite photos of little Jodie.





Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day 342: My Beautiful Jodie

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

My daughter, Jodie, was in a talent show last month. In the audience was a talent scout from Spokane. She was so impressed with all the kids, that she gave the participants a free make-up, hair and photo session.

That photo session happened today at school. I stopped by to watch the photographer work. I think she got some really nice shots, but won't know for a while.

When we got home, Jodie was having so much fun with the makeover that she asked me to take some photos of her, too. This is one of the shots I caught on our front porch.

Isn't she a beauty!?! I just love the way her hair is all wild and poofy, the expression in her eyes, and that gorgeous mouth full of braces.

I'll tell ya, I'm one proud mama!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Day 341: Ground Cover

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

These little purple beauties cover the ground underneath the lupines in the side yard. Unlike the lupines, though, they were planted on purpose.

WIP: Little Jack [6]

Jack got a head!

Jack's face and hair are in place. A bit of backstitching and it will be well defined.

I may go back down to the floor next, and stitch in the puppy. This is a really enjoyable piece to stitch. There is a counting error in his hair, but I'll just work around that since it doesn't make much difference there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day 340: Sunset Over Post Falls

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Sunset Over Post Falls, ID

A storm blew through this afternoon. Pouring rain and hail. Jodie was caught in it, out riding her bike.

This evening we attended Jodie's school band concert. The sun was setting as the concert ended. That's when I caught this image.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Day 339: Cascade

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

This flower curls and flows in a way that reminds me of a waterfall.

I captured this image on my daily walk. I'm delighted by the beautiful plants my neighbors grow!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

WIP: Little Jack [5]

I was feeling sick yesterday, slightly feverish and no energy. It was a perfect day to sit and stitch on something not too complicated. I tried starting Jack's face, but it took too much concentration, so I ripped that out. Then I did some wall, floor, the teddy bear. I also did some more of the backstitching which is bringing out some very nice definition.

Day 338: Lupine

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

These lupine grow like weeds in our side yard. The hill is just about covered with the blooms at the moment.

If you have to have a weed in your yard, nice that it's as pretty as this, don't you think?

Day 337: Lilac Time

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, My Nose in a Lilac

Spring in north Idaho always means lilacs. And this is my favorite place to be — with my nose stuck right in the center of a cluster!

There are tons of white and pink and light purple and dark purple lilac bushes in my town. They line the streets, form living fences between neighbor's yards.

Spokane even has a whole festival named for the flower.

Their scent is enchanting ... though too much of a good thing can give a person a headache!

Still, I can't resist sticking my nose in the center of a cluster any time I'm around the lilacs. Just watch out for the bees!

Friday, May 18, 2007

WIP: Little Jack [4]

I had some time to work on Jack again while waiting for Dale to get home from his business trip and watching Gone With The Wind. My daughter is studying the Civil War in school and asked me to watch the movie with her. It's been quite I while since I viewed it last.

What sweet memories it brought back! The first time I saw Gone With The Wind, I was about the age my daughter is now ... and I saw it with my mom. What a difference a few years makes!

As for the stitching, I did some of the outlining on the chair and Jack's pants. Now he's got part of the floor to sit on and his huge Christmas pie sitting in his lap.

One of these days he'll even get a head!

Day 336: Summer Flowers

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

The last of the spring bulbs are blooming in the neighborhood. I cut my deadheads back this morning.

Now the summer flowers are beginning to bloom. I was surprised to find this rose in full bloom, growing next to the sidewalk. It's pretty early for roses around here. But this plant gets a lot of southern sun exposure, so I suppose that helped it bloom sooner than most.

Our home is in a gully of sorts, with lots of shadows from all the trees and mostly filtered sunlight. So the flowers in my own yard tend to bloom late. The phlox is finally out now in the back yard, while it showed up elsewhere in the neighborhood two weeks ago.

The lilacs are in full bloom now, too, so I'll have to try and photograph their beauty. Too bad I can't capture their fragrance. I fell in love with lilacs the spring after I moved to Idaho ... and I'm not out of love with them yet. They were always one of my mom's favorite flowers, too.

The Wisdom of Harry Potter

I've always loved it when someone reads to me, especially at bedtime. My family tires of the ritual, so I've got the next best thing, audio books. My favorite by far is the Harry Potter series. Jim Dale is a marvelous reader. Completely engaging. So I tend to listen to the Harry Potter series over and over and over.

I know there are parents that do not allow their children to read these books because of the witchcraft. I'm not one of them. The books are extremely well crafted. The characters are distinct and memorable. And the battle between right and wrong is clear.

Plus, the wisdom.

This morning I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the umpteenth time. I love this line:


It is our choices, Harry,
that show what we truly are
far more than our abilities.
~
Albus Dumbledore

Thursday, May 17, 2007

WIP: Little Jack [3]


I had a chance to work on Jack a little more. The chair is done (except for the backstitching). Now I'm working on Jack's legs, hands and head ... and the pie is next.

This is a fun piece to stitch due to the lovely shading.

Book Reviews: The Reptile Room and The Wide Window


I had the distinct pleasure of listening to the second and third volumes in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events:

and


This is an incredibly fun series!

I've written reviews of both books in the Bookshelf section of my website.

Day 335: Waiting for Jodie

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, School Bus Stop

I decided to meet Jodie at the school bus stop instead of having her walk home alone.

Her bus stops in front of Polite's Park. It was most pleasant to lie in the shade of this tree in full bloom on a carpet of young blades of grass on a warm spring day.

A perfect respite.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day 334: Anthers In Action

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

This is the last of the tulip close-up shots from the flowers in my back yard ... for now, anyway.

Know what an anther is? It's the part of the stamen that produces the pollen. A little factoid for you today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Day 333: Luminous

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

I love the light coming through the cup of this tulip. All the colors just light up! Such a neat star burst effect, too.

Monday, May 14, 2007

WIP: Little Jack [2]


After blessing my home this morning, taking a 2 mile walk (lots of wildflower shots today), fixing the bathtub drain (I am a goddess!), sealing the bath tiles, running errands and taking my daughter to orchestra practice today, I got the chance to stitch for a little while. Jack's shorts are now done and I've begun to stitch his chair.

I'm enjoying this piece quite a bit. The shading is really nice, and there's not a lot of confetti stitches going on, so it's flowing well off the needle.

He does look a little funny as a headless lad, though. Perhaps I'll give him a face next.

Day 332: Bottom's Up!

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

Here's another of my backyard tulip shots. Once again, I got down on my belly, then shot up to capture the underbelly of this yellow and red flower.

I took the photo in fairly bright daylight, so the color was somewhat washed out. In processing the photo, I intensified the color saturation of the flower. That caused the background to wash out. So then I had a new problem.

In my paint program, I lassoed the tulip, and took it out of the shot. Then I created a new background using a couple shades of green in a radial gradient. I chose green for the background because it is opposite red on the color wheel and the predominant color of the tulip is red. The green helps the red flower to "pop"off the background.

I made the green a bit hotter in the center and darker and duller at the edges. Then I pasted the tulip back on top of the new background. I'm quite pleased with the effect.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Day 331: Happy Mother's Day


I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Mother's Day Bouquet

My sweet daughter Jodie gave me this bouquet of flowers as a Mother's Day gift.

Now I'm giving her sewing lessons as we spend a Mommy-Jodie afternoon together. Jodie is sewing a dress for the very first time. It's Simplicity 4577, view B, short version (bottom left).

We're making it in cotton with a yellow bodice and a watercolor bottom in yellow, orange, pink and green, then embroidered with a variegated chain swirl.

Earlier today, Jodie started up her own blog, A Lotta Waffle. Check it out! Such a talented girl!


So time to get off the blog and give her more attention!

WIP: Little Jack


The next charity quilt I'm contributing to has a Nursery Rhyme theme. I've chosen the "Little Jack Horner" chart (above) from Tedd Arnold's Cross-Stitch Patterns for Mother Goose's Words of Wit and Wisdom.

I'm glad I finally have an excuse to stitch something from this book. I've had it in my stash for years and really love the designs. Now I have a reason to stitch one of them.



Here's two stitching sessions worth of work.

I started this chart in the middle, and plan to stitch Jack, the pie and the chair first.

Then I'll see if I have time to stitch in more of the details. The square is due on June first, so how much of the extras get stitched will depend on how much stitching time I get in the next couple weeks.

I'd like to do the floor, the dog, the teddy. But if there is not time to stitch the wreath and stockings, I think the quilt block will still look complete without those elements.

UFO: Pray for Peace

I've completed a UFO that had been started in 2004. This is Pray for Peace by Birds of a Feather. You can read the story of why this became a UFO on my website ... and how I made some substitutions that allowed it to come to life.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Day 330: Pretend to be a Bug

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Cresting the Rim

I wanted to pretend to be a bug, crawling up the side of the tulip cup. This is what I'd see as I got to the rim of the flower and looked in.

I made this image really soft so that it would almost be like a watercolor.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Finishing Technique: Pocket Tote Bag


Though I stitched this sweet piece last year, I didn't get around to adding it to my gallery until today. That's because I finally got around to doing the finishing work on it. I made it into a the pocket on a tote bag!


Not only that!

I documented the process I used to make this tote, and added step-by-step instructions to Cameo's Completions as a slide show. I hope you'll stop by and take a look ... then use these instructions to may your own tote. If you do, be sure to let me know. I'd love to see your completed bag!

Day 329: Holly

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

Not a lot to say about this photo. This holly grows in my back yard, too.

I decided to make the image really soft and added the smudged oval border.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Day 328: I'm Reaching

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Reach For The Sky

Here's the second of the tulip photos I took this week. The rich violet of these petals mixes with white on the tips.

This bud was at mid-opening, stretching out of the shadows of the hill and into the sunlight. Look at the way the dappled sun peeks through the greenery in the background.

A gorgeous spring day in north Idaho!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Day 327: ShutterDay -- Ground Score

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

theme this week:
"Ground Score"

The idea is to photograph found objects that are spotted on the ground when you are minding your own business doing something else. Things you saw while walking, head down, deep in thought only to notice something and say 'Oh, cool!.'

I tend to see stuff like this all the time when I'm out on my daily walks. I pick them up and stick them in my pocket. When I get home, my treasures go in a fish bowl on a shelf in my bedroom.

This photo shows the treasures I've found over the last three years or so. Stickers, washers, beads, rings, medals, golf tees, a key ring, dice, and lots and lots of coins.

Over at ShutterDay, there are photos of a number of mushrooms and quite a few dead animals. The frog with the squished head is particularly disturbing. The fish at the side of the Salton Sea is a wonderful shot. There's one of a happy face antenna ball lying in Fall leaves. But I think my favorite is one of a graveyard. Instead of flowers, someone left a pumpkin at the graveside with a message written on its side. Poignant.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Day 326: MacroDay -- Refresh

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

theme this week:
"Five"

Lots of folks have posted images of flowers with five leaves. I was thinking about doing something with the Roman numeral five [ V ], but someone used that idea before I got to it.

Then I thought it would be fun to take a photo of a five-year-old child doing something typical. But I don't have a five-year-old in my everyday life right now ... and I'm pretty cautious about posting photos of other people's kids on the Internet without their parent's permission.

As I was contemplating other ideas, I refreshed my monitor's image. And I saw it. F5 — the "Refresh" button!

I grabbed my camera at that moment and started snapping shots. It was about midnight, and the lighting in my studio is not great at that time of night. So I played with the placement of my portable full spectrum light, and caught this shot.

What I adore about the photo is all the flotsam and jetsam on the keyboard. Lots of lint and dust and, likely, dead skin. But the F5 key is relatively clean. I use that key quite a lot!

To make the gunk stand out even better, I changed the photo from full color to sepia tones, and upped the sharpness and contrast. I also played with enhancing the edges of the keys.

I don't know that I'll come out as a top photo in the MacroDay voting, but I know this photo is a winner in my book! If you like what you see, please do consider voting for my photo next week.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Day 325: Deep in the Heart of a Tulip

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

The tulip bulbs I planted last fall have grown and bloomed. Today I took several stunning shots looking close-up into the depths of the tulip cups.

This first vibrant photo reminds me of a kaleidoscope — each petal a mirrored reflection.

The colors of the tulips are quite varied. I look forward to sharing them this week.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Day 324: Jeweled Buttons


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

Here's another of the early morning dew shots.

I'd love to design a broach based on this flower. So pure and symmetrical. Wouldn't it be lovely in beads?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Day 323: Trumpeteers

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

I am not very good at identifying flowers. I found these growing in a neighbor's yard, right along the street's curb. They are so unique in the purple and pink coloring and veining. And the leaves are broad, mid-green, with light green spots.

I spent over an hour searching through my flower and garden books and scanning the web. I love Google, but it just didn't help me today. I found some good guides for wildflowers, but not for bedding plants.

These flowers have the shape of a petunia ... or a phlox ... but it's lots bigger than the phlox in my yard. Then again, it seems like it's a bit early for the petunias to be blooming around here.

So I have a new plan. I'm not going to give up completely on trying to find the names other people have given to plants. If I can find it easily, I will. But if I can't, I'm just going to make up a name -- as if I was Eve and had the chance to name the plants and flowers myself.

Actually, I'll give Dale credit for this one. He named it "Trumpeteers."

If any of you readers know this lovely flowers "other" name, do let me know. I do enjoy creativity, but there's really no need to reinvent the wheel. :)