Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Studio

I spent two hours puttering around in my studio yesterday, watching Globe Trekker, and tucking things away. When I got done, my studio looked in pretty good shape (for a work space), so I thought I'd snaps some pics and show you around.

First, the overview:
Click any picture to see a larger version of the image.

My studio is in the basement of our home. It started as a giant storage room, about 15 feet by 22 feet. Concrete slab floor. Just studs and very little insulation. No ceiling. But it did already have a nice bank of shelves. The entry to the room is finished. Here's my gallery of cross-stitch pieces. Most are seasonal, and I change them out to the main floor of our home during the year.

The other side of the hall has some of my giraffes. My daughters made some for me. I bought the print on the right at an art festival. The giraffe was my mom's favorite animal. I stitched my first giraffe 15 years ago after she died. To me, they are a symbol of someone willing to "stick their neck out" for others. I don't collect giraffes, exactly. But they do seem to find me.

 On the door of my studio is this photograph. Is says, "Artist of the Everyday."

We converted the storage room to a studio on the cheap. All the furniture was re-purposed from other places in our home. The walls are all pegboard painted pink, then sponged white on top. To me, it's like being in the clouds. The color helps me feel creative. I still have no proper ceiling, but I did paint the overhead space white, and added pink stripes to the bottom of the floor joists. The floor is still concrete, but I do have an area rug near the door.

Standing at the door, this is what you see. A wall of white muslin curtains covering the shelves on the left.

Straight ahead is my main work table and bookcases that hold fabric. Under the only window is a cork board with project ideas and my folding/rolling cutting table.

To the right of the cutting table is my sewing desk and tool box. The far wall has shelves filled with supplies and my gift wrap center. The last wall has file cabinets, a desk, another work table, a treadle machine and TV.

Now for a closer look:

Behind the wall of curtains are four sections of deep shelving. I've opened up the end where we store our holiday decorations. The other shelves hold yarn, projects in bags all ready to start, partially finished projects, knitting and crochet supplies, fiberfill, the iron, scrapbooks, memorabilia, etc. I have most things in labeled plastic bins or cardboard file boxes.

The cubby holds bolts of fabric, hanging fabric and a few more holiday decorations. The glass-fronted bookshelves hold folded fabrics sorted by type of fabric and color. The bins on top have fat quarters. The file boxes hold ribbon and lace. You can also see some of my embroidery hoops and Q-snaps hanging there on the left. My main work table has a magnifying light and holds my current cross-stitch project and my stitching tools.

I don't know if you can tell, but I have a few prisms hanging over the lace curtain. At the right time of day, I get rainbows on my walls (just like PollyAnna!) The cork board has notes for my upcoming projets. Currently on my cutting table is an old scrapbook/journal and the plastic tub holding supplies I use for AuralArtists projects.

The next table is my sewing center. There are my cutting rulers, mason jars full of my grandmother's buttons (my grandmother was a seamstress), my sewing machine and thread. Next to that is my serger with thread cones on the wall above it. You can see my stitching floor stand there on the floor. Next to that, my huge and lovely tool box, all nice and organized. (Yes, the tools are MINE, all mine!)

On the far wall is this series of shelves crammed full of supplies. The first holds sewing notions, patterns, books and sample fabric books from a furniture store. Next, some power tools, card-making supplies and beading supplies.

The third unit has glass etching, catalogs, artist trading cards, scissors, glue, hot glue guns, pens, pencils, markers, and other basic craft supplies along with some stencils, polymer clay and painting supplies. The final shelves have DMC, Anchor and another off-brand line of embroidery floss along with perle coton and other specialty fibers. There are also a couple bins of aida and evenweave fabrics for cross stitch and more stitching tools and accessories.

The bottom cabinet holds most of my photography supplies. On top are supplies for matting and framing my stitchery.

In the corner you'll find my gift wrapping station. Rolls of ribbon on the wall. Rolls of paper are in the bin. The bags are full of gift bags and tissue.Tucked behind the file cabinet is mat board and foam core for framing. The 4-drawer file cabinet holds cross-stitch patterns and books filed by subject.

The desk is full of desk-y things. It's nice to have a place where I can keep my paper cutter, label maker, and mini light table always at the ready. The drawers mostly hold stationery and cards.

Above my desk I display my "Ladies of the Evening." I have a soft spot for beaded evening bags. Almost all of these were picked up at thrift stores or re-sale shops. My best find cost about 68 cents! There's a mix of vintage and new bags. I like that no two are the same. Fun shapes. Interesting bead patterns. They are each little works of art.

Coming out from the wall at a right angle is my second work table. When I have people to craft with me, we use this table because we can sit on three sides. This is also where I have my portable photo studio. I have a full-spectrum light hanging from the ceiling. I have a photo cube with several colors of back drops. I can set my little studio up right there on the work table. The big curtain is something I sometimes use as a background when taking portraits.

The little 2-drawer file holds more bond paper, card stock, and colored construction paper for paper crafts.

Finally, there's my dad's treadle sewing machine. His dad was a tailor. When my dad worked in Grandpa's shop, they used treadle machines. So when Dad found this at an auction, he had to get it. It's not fully restored, but is quite pretty.

And my TV sits on an end table that holds my quilts (I've opened the doors so you can see them). Three quilts are from my grandmothers. A couple are my daughter's baby quilts.

I've obviously dabbled in a LOT of different crafts and needle arts. I seem to go in cycles. My first love was fashion sewing. Then crochet. I've tried knitting about three seasons in my life, but still haven't gotten beyond the basics. The biggest and longest stint has been counted cross-stitch. But I'll give most any craft a try. Right now, my main focus is photography (pun intended).

It's awfully nice to have a place where I can have all the supplies I need at hand, and room to spread out to follow my crafting whims.

Of course, all of it gets better when my daughters get to craft with me!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Summer Celebration

My daughters Julie, Jodie and Jeanne
July 2012

Summer Celebration

This photo was an exercise in photo manipulation. 
I'm obviously still learning, 
but I'm pleased with the effort. 
Here's the original:

[click for larger images]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Horse

One of the special exhibits at the San Diego Natural History Museum when we visited in October was "The Horse."

My favorite piece in the collection is this full-sized horse constructed of driftwood.

Driftwood Horse

[click for larger image]

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snowy Day

It snowed last night. 
Julie and I took a walk this morning before 
she headed back home to Moscow.
Walk in the Woods

[click for larger image]

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bokeh Time

I played around with a new-to-me technique using my camera and a small cardboard cutout.

Have Yourself a Bokeh Little Christmas

Not too bad for a first try. I have much more to learn, and feel good about this little step.

You can learn a bit about this technique from my photography mentor, Nick Kelsh.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trashy Photo

Even the garbage cans in the park 
are decorated for Christmas.

Cold & Cagey

Look closer!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stumped Again!

Perhaps you recall The Giving Tree 
from a week-and-a-half ago.

Still, She Waits

[click for larger image]

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oh, the Humanity

Such a universal image. 
Watching another generation of fathers 
helping another generation of sons 
experience the ocean for the first time. 

First Steps

La Jolla, CA

[click to view larger image]

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegas Night Life

Our room at the Cosmopolitan was up high and had a balcony.

Room with a View

[click for larger image]

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snack Time

I'm hungry for these today.
Guess a trip to the grocery store
may be in order.

Wasabi Peas

[click for larger image]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Thing about Vegas

There's eye candy everywhere!
The obvious lights and glitz, sure.
But in nooks and crannies there are pieces of art.
Then there are walls with whole expanses
of form and texture.

Vegas Bumps

 Oh ... Vegas grinds, too.

[click for larger image]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the Rain

The most common things can strike my fancy.
I came upon this sign on a walk home from breakfast,
I thought it looked like a candy cane.

Looking closer, I found all these neat 
geometric shapes huddled up together.

Then the raindrops added dimension.

Railroad Xing
  I drive by every day, but only found this
on closer inspection.

[click for larger image]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stopping By Woods

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;

 He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
                                      ~  Robert Frost

[click for larger image]

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Spot o' Color

Playing with my new telephoto lens

The Berries

[click for larger image]

Friday, December 7, 2012

Paris, Las Vegas

This is what Vegas is all about, isn't it?
Color. Movement. Pizazz! 

Splash of Color, Glint of Metal

[click for larger image]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

Dale and I had breakfast at Denny's this morning. From there, he drove to work and I walked home.

Usually, I follow the sidewalks and side streets home while listening to music or podcasts or audio books. But today I did something different. I went off the beaten path with merely my own thoughts for company.

I started out crossing parking lots of restaurants. That's were I found my first treasure. A dime. From there, I crossed grass strips between the lots, a side street, and headed toward the gas station where I spotted my second treasure. A rather beat-up penny.

My walk continued along our small town's main street, of which only part has a sidewalk. That's when a snowflake fell on my shoulder. I scurried across that street, at the (very short) walk signal, then passed the car wash and laundromat to the gravel road that leads to the lumber mill. There, I had to dodge a car. The speedy driver must have been late for work.

At the edge of the forest, lying in the dirt, I found a wrench in excellent condition. Then I entered the woods. This patch is pretty junked up by the discarded vacuums, chairs, chests and netting from the neighboring trailer park. It's obvious that the teenagers like to hang out here, jumping their bikes on makeshift ramps and drinking beer and Red Bull.

Deeper into the forest are the remnants of a squatter's camp, abandoned last fall. It was getting creepy under the pines and I was glad to be out of the mud and wet needles a couple minutes later.

Up through a multi-family housing unit, I climbed. Then down the hill to the duplex part of town. At my feet I found a little something carved into the wet cement and allowed to dry. I was humming along, lost in private thoughts, and missed the turn onto my block. I figured it out when I recognized the curve in the road near Hunter's house.

Hunter was a little girl, 4 years old, who like to explore the neighborhood. She wandered three blocks away and landed at my door one day, asking for cookies. Luckily, she was able to point me back to her home where a posse of police and some very worried parents grabbed her into their arms. That memory snapshot spread a smile across my face.
Around the curve I found the home of a model train enthusiast.

Another half block away, a black cat darted across the street in front of me and flattened himself enough to slide under this garage door. I'm not concerned. This morning is giving me everything but bad luck. 

I walked the last two blocks along the Centennial Trail, then ducked onto my street. Our neighbor's Christmas lights are on, proclaiming LOVE.
You know, it's worth walking the road less traveled when it leads to home and love.