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Friday, July 27, 2012

good morning henry

Meet Henry, my sweet little teddy bear hamster. He greets me bright and early every morning when I go downstairs for some creative time before work. I open his cage and let him crawl out onto the "drawbridge" while I hide treats in his big playground box. I play with him for a little while, then let him loose to explore and climb in his box. He's sure a low-maintenance little dude: clean, gentle, quiet...and fine company while I work away at the computer or in my studio. This furry little creature is good for my soul.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

lillian (princess meez)

mouse over to see the original

For my little Enna, who has wanted a kitty of her very own for longer than I can recall. It warms my heart to think of how lucky this little Siamese beauty is, now that she has "found" you and Haakon.

This shot of Lillian sitting on the windowsill is one of the photos I took Sunday night, hoping that Erin's shy new cat would allow me to photograph her. I followed Erin's lead, simultaneously approaching and ignoring Lillian, to gain her trust.  She did eventually lick my hand as I lay on the floor next to the dresser she was hiding under. You can't rush these things, and heaven knows you can't make a cat do anything.

I couldn't wait to apply some photo editing and glam it up a bit. I tried a couple of Kim's recipes, but the vivid blue sky was overpowering. So I turned to my trusty RadLab filters (Grandma's Tap Shoes + Pool Party) and then returned to Kim's Tree Love recipe, from her wonderful Recipe Book, with her Lightpaper and Magicscratch textures. Somewhere in the material for Behind the Scenes is her text treatment, which I had to try as well.

I think I worked harder at getting the mouseover effect to work in my blog...but it's all good fun.

Friday, July 20, 2012

mountain bike love

Our favorite place to ride (well, one of our favorites) is Evergreen Mountain, right near Three Sisters Open Space. We rode here last week and I took along my iPod camera. I experimented with Instagram - editing in-camera and then saving to Instagrid. Thanks Xanthe and Kim for the excellent tutorials on creating a template and the possibilities with Instagram. Once again you light a fire and give me the courage to try new things...and to share them!

Notes to self:
  1. Always stop and unclip both pedals before snapping the picture. (Don't worry, Mom...I already knew this)
  2. Let Bob know you will be stopping to shoot so he doesn't worry when it takes even longer for you to catch up to him. (I thought I was clear on this point...sorry!)
  3. When you get off your bike to shoot, try not to look like you've fallen and need help. Bikers are such helpful folks, though. Kinda warms your heart.
  4. Instagram implies "instant" something. As in get these pictures up and going in a timely fashion.

Monday, July 16, 2012

red rocks

Not ten minutes from home, and a perennial favorite hike/bike destination. Yesterday I put my camera in my Camelback, laced up my hiking shoes and headed for the foothills west of Denver.

I love living here.

Friday, July 13, 2012



I discovered this picture amongst the vast collection of slides Dad took over the years when we were growing up. This photo is from our trip to California in 1965. I remember this day clearly because I had lost my balance while we were wading on the beach near San Clemente. Thoroughly soaked, I had to spend the rest of the day drying off while we toured the area.
I've been playing with this image on and off for a couple years now, haunted by the juxtaposition of the two figures: my big sister, Lissa, and me. You see, there's a connection we were to share much later in life...
Lissa was treated for breast cancer in 1995, at age 40. She survived, but two years later died from leukemia - a rare result of one of the chemotherapy drugs.
In 2006 I was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer, after a routine mammogram. Having a sister with breast cancer put a red flag on my chart. But I was lucky. My course of treatment was simply lots of tests, biopsy/removal and 5 years of tamoxifen. I don't even really count myself among the brave ranks of "breast cancer survivors" even though I continue to see my oncologist (who was, not coincidentally, Lissa's as well) for a yearly follow-up.
The other day I hauled this image out again, inspired by Kim's tutorial in this week's Beyond Layers post: "Dream-Like." In the end I didn't follow Kim's recipe exactly, but made my own recipe in Rad Lab and set it into an old-school snapshot frame from a site Kim shared with us last week.
This is why I do what I do with photos and Photoshop. It just might end up as a page in my scrapbook...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

i will lift up mine eyes unto the hills...

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121


For this week's assignment in Beyond Layers, Kim Klassen asked us to share a photo of our surroundings, our part of the world, to "...breathe in the beauty around us." Since I do most of my art - and now blogging - in the early morning hours before work, I often draw upon my own archives. These photos are from July 2008.

This time of year, these few weeks especially, my heart is in this place: Herman Gulch. About an hour's drive due west of Denver, this is by far my favorite hike. It is a strenuous hike, to be sure, with a trailhead elevation of over 9,000 ft, climbing to well above timberline at over 12,000 ft. This is peak wildflower season at this elevation, and here you will find the most amazing display: hillsides and meadows simply overflowing with a variety of wildflowers, including my favorite - and Colorado's state flower - the blue columbine. I'll never forget years ago, on a hike with our little girls, Kelly exclaiming, "Mommy, who planted all these flowers?!"


How truly blessed I am to call this place home!

Friday, July 6, 2012

making art: sharing my gift with the world


I've been mulling over this week's assignment for Beyond Layers...

Seeing Your Gifts: "...really explore the idea that whatever you touch and create is of value and is important as you share your gifts with the world."

You see, this is the crux of the issue for me -  the make-or-break issue of why I bother to make art at all. It is the fuel that drives the engine of my creativity.

So...at o'dark-thirty this morning (my optimal creative time of day) I set up the tripod and hauled out the 28-135mm sort-of zoom lens, which I haven't used in a few years, just to see what I could do with this prompt. I sensed it just wouldn't leave me alone until I did. Just a few shots was all it took til I found what I was looking for. Then it was off to my computer for some photo editing fun. I don't know exactly which of Kim Klassen's recipes I started with, but I ended up with this kinda shabby old look, which suits me just fine.

BTW this is how I cook, which might explain why people usually don't come to my house to eat. But they do seem to enjoy the art I make.

And I'm totally OK with that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

a timeline

I have always wanted to be an artist. Since I was a little girl, making art has been vital to my existence.

It’s who I am. Who I’ve always been. I could always draw just about anything. Anything I could actually see in front of me, that is, as long as it didn’t move. I learned to draw by copying pictures...not coincidentally the way my father learned to draw as a child. By the 5th grade I was into oil painting, in addition to sewing and embroidery.

My parents strongly encouraged us kids to get a college degree, and so I got my BFA in painting at the University of Denver. It was at DU that I learned to combine my love of drawing and painting with my love of fabric.

I’ve explored many different media over the years; quilting and embroidery held my interest for over twenty years, and as I acquired skills I shared them, teaching classes and designing my own line of quilt patterns - Columbine Designs. As you can see, the patterns are still selling, even though I haven't added any new designs in over 10 years.

Then, about 12 years ago, I started to burn out. My avocation had become my vocation, and I no longer stitched or designed for the joy of it. It had become Work. I was truly in despair. I floundered for a few years, trying desperately to get my “mojo” back. In the mean time I was looking for something different to do, and somehow discovered rubber stamping and then scrapbooking.

The “paper arts” industry gradually morphed into mixed media - which, for me, is just a fancy way of saying I love to play with all sorts of materials and methods - and I followed the trend. More and more, technology opened new doors for me: with the computer came the internet, digital photography and photo editing...and now blogging.

A turning point came in 2006 when I read Ali Edwards’ groundbreaking book, Life Artist. I came to the realization that my favorite theme is, and always has been, quite simply, Everyday Life. I have always been interested in family history; my parents each worked on their own genealogy, and I have access to a treasure trove of family photos spanning over 100 years. I continue to document our lives and our family history with scrapbook pages and various mixed media projects. I still love to play with everything artsy, from fabric and paper to paint and plaster to beads and metalwork, and now photography and photo editing...and blogging.

The adventure continues...