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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a thistle for lynn

I made this little piece for my dear sister-in-law, Lynn, as a thank you gift for hosting Kelly &Aaron's wedding. I stumbled across this wonderful quote from Jonathan Lockwood Huie when I was messing around with a thistle photo a couple months ago, hoping to combine the quote with the photo.

I immediately thought of Lynn when I read this...and laughed out loud. You see, Lynn has attempted to obliterate this particular "weed" from her garden: the stubborn Canada Thistle (yes, Canada - lol) that has invaded our state in recent years. While she admits that its magenta blossom is pretty, she cannot abide the thorny stems and leaves, and its aggressive nature makes it really difficult to control. Several months ago, when I told Lynn that Kelly had chosen the thistle - albeit the Scottish one - for her bridal bouquet, we both laughed at the irony.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

sunny aspen trail

We biked here a few weeks ago, when the aspen were just hinting at the seasonal change. So we knew where we'd be headed on my regular day off this week, hoping to catch the aspen at the peak of their brilliant fall colors. Meyer Ranch Park is just this side of Conifer and only a half hour or so from home. We had the place to ourselves, with hardly a soul there. We wouldn't even attempt it this weekend - likely the last chance to enjoy the fall colors up in the mountains.

I took along my iPod 'cause I knew it would be a spectacular ride. (I couldn't resist playing with the Instagram app - I used the X-pro II filter...it warmed up everything and heightened the already glorious yellows.)

I plan on revisiting this post in the dead of winter just so I can re-live this ride.

And remember...biking is a lot like life:

You gotta keep your eye on the trail
so you can see
where you are going
...carefully navigating the challenges on the ground,
like rocks, roots, waterbars, tight switchbacks, trees etc.

The kind of stuff that can trip you up
if you're not careful.

But every once in awhile, look around you
and notice how beautiful life is.

Especially the little things...

...and every now and then
look up and
thank God
for it all.

Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

sweet september

Lately I've been immersed in an online class to learn Photoshop Lightroom. Pretty intense, and definitely straining my little brain. An excellent class, though, this Round Trip: from Lightroom to Photoshop and Back Again, taught by the talented and generous Kim Klassen.

So while I've been waiting for my massive photo folder to copy into my Lightroom Catalogue, I decided to play around with Kim's latest challenge in her year-long Beyond Layers class entitled Sweet Adjustments. I followed her video tutorial with her sample image and then used one of my own photos, which you see here. I followed Kim's recipe pretty closely, but added a layer of texture in the end - her kk_paperandpaste, to grunge up the too-clean white border a little bit. I actually took this shot in Olde Arvada one warm spring day a few months ago, while I was out and about, playing with my new camera.

As I watched the image "develop" tonight in Photoshop, it seemed to take on a warm, late summer glow, with the tinge of early autumn colors that we are experiencing here in Colorado after a summer of relentless heat and drought.

It kinda captures how I feel this time of year. How about you?

Friday, September 14, 2012

heron song

Every quilter - every artist, in fact - has at least a few "UFO's" in a closet somewhere. UnFinished Objects. They're those projects that, for one reason or another, never quite made it to completion. There's nothing wrong with that...it's part of the creative process.

So I've had this little UFO sitting in a box of quilting "stuff" for some 12 years. It is the last quilt I designed for my pattern company, Columbine Designs. But I never could bring myself to finish it. You see, after designing, producing, and marketing quilt patterns for about five years, I was just plain burned out.

Every once in awhile I would come across this little quilt, and briefly consider finishing it. But I could never get motivated enough to even pick up a needle and thread...

...until a few months ago. A casual dinner conversation with my brother, Greg, finally produced the motivational "fuel" needed to finish it. An avid nature lover, he was relating to me his delight in the great blue heron that graces his garden in the early morning hours. Greg insisted that this far-sighted bird would spy on him as he moved about inside his house, getting dressed for work. You don't often encounter this bird, especially in the city, so it's a real treat to see one this close.

Lightbulb moment! I suddenly remembered my little heron quilt, which now held Real Meaning and Purpose for me. And Kelly's wedding was fast approaching, with me considering what small token could sufficiently convey my gratitude to Greg and his wife, Lynn, for hosting the event in their back yard at the very pond where his beloved heron likes to visit!

Greg, there's a lot of love stitched up in this little quilt, and I am so glad it now has a home with you and Lynn, because sometimes words are not enough...


Thursday, September 6, 2012

wedding bells...the slideshows

Here are the long-awaited slideshows I've been working on for the past week. I kept telling Kelly and Aaron that they'd be posted soon...but this is another new skill set for me, with assistance from Kim & Xanthe's amazing tutorials, using yet another new program: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (which I was able to corrupt and cause to crash due to my own fumbling around within it. AppleCare Tech Support to the rescue! It's all good.) I literally couldn't wait for Kim's brand-new class to begin: Round Trip: From Lightroom to Photoshop and Back Again.

Please feel free to share via Facebook, or email or whatever, so that all family and friends, near and far - those who were able to join us and those who could not - can enjoy the festivities. I tried to include everyone in the collection...and I hope I didn't miss anyone. Thank you Pat for sharing your photos; can't wait to see the video! Once things got really rolling on the Big Day I couldn't seem to get my hands on my own camera - or keep track of the cup of ice water I kept pouring, then setting down, then forgetting where I put it. Truly...too much fun!

If you would like a copy of any or all of the wedding photos, let me or Kelly know. All of the photos here have been saved for web viewing as well as for print purposes.

Pre-Wedding Dinner in Ft Collins from Cindy Swainson on Vimeo.

Didn't know just what to call this one, which encompasses the preparations and rehearsal, etc. Yes, Kelly, "organized chaos" describes it perfectly.

Organized Chaos from Cindy Swainson on Vimeo.

Note here: the audio track for this slideshow is the one Kelly and Aaron chose for the wedding ceremony.

Kelly & Aaron's Wedding from Cindy Swainson on Vimeo.http://www.kimklassencafe.com/round-trip/

Anyhow... I hope you all enjoy them as much as I enjoyed producing them. My heart is truly overflowing with love and gratitude. Especially to my dear brother, Greg and his wife, Lynn, who opened their lovely home to a cast of dozens to host Kelly and Aaron's wedding.

Aaron, although you've been a part of our family for a few years, I can tell you that now it's different. Better. For Real. And your dear family, too. Our time together was short but precious.

God Bless you all!