Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Real Life Still Life: Bedroom Views (Be Still 52/Photo Pairs)

 Last week's prompt in the Still Life Photography class I'm taking was to shoot a "real life" still life. Rather than posing, choreographing or creating a scene, the prompt challenged us to look around and find a still life in our real life. I found these two in my bedroom, and I'm linking them to Helena's Photography Pairs weekly meme as well. The top one is my craft desk and the bottom one is my bedside table. I like the composition and moodiness of both. The biggest problem with found still lifes is that you're also dealing with found light. But I drew on the various lighting exercises we've been doing in the class to create these two shots. And I really like both of them. What do you think?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Me on Monday: A weekend with my boy

It's Sunday night, and I'm dead tired. But it's a good tired, a happy tired. I just spent the weekend with my boy who is attending college at the University of Oregon. It was mom's weekend at his fraternity, and we had so much fun! So I thought I would wave "hi" with others over at Sian's blog and tell you about my weekend.
We started the weekend Friday night at the college baseball game. Here we are posing with Henry's college roommate/frat brother/best friend and his mom. I absolutely love spending time with her. We took a bicycle hansom cab over to the park and got kicked out  chose to leave early when some of the moms got caught sneaking in beer because they didn't want to pay the outrageous prices charged in the stadium!
On Saturday morning, a group of us gathered to go for a hike up to the top of Spencer Butte.
There were about 40 of us total who entered the beautiful forest, including me and my boy.
We climbed about .75 mile straight up and were rewarded with awesome views.
One of my favorite photos was a bit of a fail, although it was good idea:
That's supposed to be Henry holding Autzen Stadium (the football stadium) in the palm of his hand). We had a big group lunch on Saturday and then Henry and I went to spend the balance of the afternoon lounging around, watching TV together, shopping and enjoying each other's company before heading out to a frat party involving drinking games and boys dancing with their moms. A good time was had by all!
Before I knew it, it was time to come home. I boarded the plane and was stopped by security because I had a rather large metal bottle opener/cork screw in my carry on bag. I had placed it in there before heading out to the party on Saturday night and had completely forgotten about it! What can I say? It was mom's weekend.
I already miss my sweet duck! 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Photography Pairs: Mission District Murals (ZIZO)

Last week I played tour guide with my friend Jacky, and we visited the murals in the Latino Mission District of San Francisco. I took lots and lots of photos and have some thoughts about them to share, soon. But, in the mean time, I wanted to share this pair as part of Helena's weekly Photography Pairs meme.  I'm a few days late, but better late than never!
This mural is on the side of the building which houses Philz Coffee shop, one of the best brews in S.F. I really like the zoomed in version, although the zoomed out probably better captures the intent of the mural artist.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: A Peek at Two Trips

I have a goal to scrapbook at least four layouts a month and share them on Fridays on my blog. Right now I'm working my way through photographs from 2014. I have a couple layouts to share today, both featuring some of the photos from a couple trips I took that year. First up, some photographs of when Clara and I went to visit family in Southern California, and we got to meet my niece's beautiful baby Lilliana Skye. I used another premade layout, adding only the photographs, flowers and journaling. I was so pleased how well the colors matched!
Next up, photographs from the "Duck Crop." I am a member of a scrap and chat group that was originally brought together because we were all members of Club Scrap and lived in California. Over time, people have dropped out of Club Scrap and have moved out of state, but we all still like to get together. In Spring of 2014, we gathered in Eugene, Oregon (home of the University of Oregon Ducks) for a crop. I used yet another premade layout (yes, I am actually beginning to run out of them), but added the Oregon cutout and stamped the Stampotique craft girl to help support my theme. You may not be able to tell, but the background paper actually has crafty elements on it (spiral clips, scissors, brads, etc.). The butterfly is a little off-theme, but I still think it works. Don't you?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pretty Pastels (Be Still #12): Americaunus Eggs

The Week 12 assignment in the Be Still 52 class was to photograph something pastel for Easter. Yes, Easter. I'm catching up a bit. But that's okay. So, I decided to gather some pastel eggs from our Americaunus hens and pose them on a lace jacket.
Played with some backlighting and also pulled out that spoon from an earlier lesson that I feel like I never quite mastered. This spoon is from a silver set I inherited from my paternal Grandmother. I have always loved the floral detail.
Played around with another accent spoon - one that had a nice tarnish on it. More backlighting. I like how these turned out. 
And now it's time to make an omelette!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Continuing Thoughts on Card Making

Three-quarters of the way through April, I am nearing the finish of my month-long focus on card making. And I regret to say that so far my card-making flame has not been rekindled to the same extent as my passions for scrapbooking and art journaling. So far, I enjoy making cards, but I find it a bit of a chore. It doesn't bring the same happiness to my creative heart as making scrapbook layouts or working in my art journals. And that's okay. I know that I will always dabble in card making now and again, but I'm beginning to think that it is not something I will try to integrate into my regular creative time. 
Before the month ends, I do want to try to make some stamped cards for Christmas, Halloween, birthdays and get-well because most of the cards I have made this month, the cards that have fallen together easily and have given me a sense of accomplishment, have tended to be those based on photography and ephemera, rather than stamped images. And the ephemera cards don't seem to be occasion or holiday related.  
I'm hoping this month long exploration will help me determine if I should STOP buying more card-making related stamps and PURGE more of my existing stamp collection. 
I'm also thinking that maybe I just need to get better at sending out cards. Because I think some of my disaffection for card making is tied to the fact that they tend to stack up in my studio, rather than making their way into the post.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and input on my musings.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Art Cards from ATC's (Monday Give-Away)

Here's one more pair of cards, these ones themed around "Art", made with some ATC's in my stash. I thought I'd start the week with a little give-away. If you'd like one of these cards sent to you, simply tell me which one. At the end of the week, I'll choose winners at random and pop them in the mail to you! Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Be Still 52 #13: Baby Things

Week #13 in the Be Still 52 Still Life Photography class was about going back to basics. For me, I decided to use this prompt to try to create some still lifes with my son's baby rattle that I found a few weeks ago when looking for a spoon. I added a few other baby things, including a plaster mold we made when Henry was four months old.
Experimented with different lighting and depths of field
I don't think I can choose a favorite.
Can you?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ephemera Cards from ATC's

I had a little creative time the other day and decided to continue with my month-long exploration/return to card making. I dug around in my supplies and found a whole bunch of Artist Trading Cards (or ATC's). For an explanation of what an ATC is, check out this post. I decided to use these as the focal point for some cards. For these first two, it was simply a matter of putting them on a matted card front and stamping a message.
I did a bit more to create the background for these two cards. Washi tape, greeting and card stock squares for the one on the left; just a little washi tape for the one on the right.
They were fun to make and very easy. I hope you like them because I've got a few more ATC-based cards to share next week. In fact, I'll be doing a little give-away on Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: Some Members of the Menagerie

I have a goal to scrapbook at least four layouts a month and share them on Fridays on my blog. Right now I'm working my way through photographs from 2014. I have a couple layouts to share today, both featuring some members of our menagerie. First up is Frida, the kitten who we adopted from the kitten nursery at the Humane Society, where Clara and I volunteered during that summer. The pictures include snaps from inside the nursery, the first day we brought her home and from when she had grown into a nice young cat who believes herself to be the Queen of the Printer!
Next up, the chickens! Well, the focus of this layout is actually their eggs. I have a different layout planned about building the coop and getting the chickens. This one focuses on them starting to lay and Clara starting "Clara's Farm Fresh Eggs," her egg business. For those of you who commented before about the colors of our eggs - our white hen, Laverne, lays white eggs. Our brown hens, known collectively as "the Buffys" because they are Buff Orpingtons and we can't tell them apart, lay brown eggs. And our two americaunus hens lay blue/green eggs.Clara's customers love the variety.
Both of these layouts came together really quickly because the Frida layout used a premade blank layout and the egg layout was actually a sample layout I made for a class I taught a many, many years ago when we used to have a local scrapbook store. I actually pulled off the photos from the sample layout and added these ones instead! I was really pleased with how well the egg layout matched the class sample. I had figured I was use the top blank layout for zoo pictures, but we rarely go anymore now that the children are grown. And I think it works reasonably well for the Frida pictures.
Don't you?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Good Times with a Blog Friend

Yesterday I had the great good fortune to get together with Jacky (of the Scrappy Jacky blog) and her family. We had met once before in London. This time, we met in San Francisco and did a terrific tour of the murals in the Mexican Mission District. We stopped in a playground for a photo opportunity. We posed on a feathered serpent named Quetzal Coatl.

Among the beautiful details of the mosaic sculpture included a dedication.

It reads "The Gifts of Quetzal Coatl." It seemed appropriate because the whole day truly felt like a gift! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Photo Pairs: Frida (ZIZO)

I had my camera out, photographing some of my cards and catching up on my still life photography class. And Frida would not leave me alone. So, I trained the lens on her and captured a perfect set for Helena's Photography Pairs meme. I went with the classic "zoom in, zoom out" concept. Shot with my 50 mm lens, I love her eyes, especially with the windows reflected in them. Puts me in mind of that quote about the eyes being the windows to the soul. For more photo pairs, check out Helena's blog here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Me on Monday

Waving Hi on Monday, along with others over at Sian's blog.
Usually when following along with this meme, I list the kind of weekend I had. But, today, I'm going to talk about my last week because it's been a very busy week. Why?
Well, it was a jump on the airplane and fly to Eastern Kentucky University with Clara kind of week because she's thinking of attending college there.
It's a beautiful campus, and we explored their farm (where we found a one hour old lamb).
It was a place where we ate grits and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
I was home for day, where poor Aria dog is still recovering from ACL surgery. Her little friend Luna would really like her to come out to play:
Then it was time to jump back on a plane and fly to Michigan State University in East Lansing for a conference (but not before exchanging emails to plan a meet-up with a special visitor from England who is flying out to the West Coast this week).
It was an interesting conference, but the highlight for me was spending time with one of my oldest and dearest Professor friends (the photograph at the top was for the concluding dinner of the conference).  We met when I started my program to become a law professor; I interviewed at his law school when I was ready to begin teaching (though I went elsewhere); and our paths have crossed at conferences ever since.
I returned late Saturday night, and Sunday was a doing laundry, watching baseball on TV, going to the gym and getting ready for another busy week kind of day. But, Paul, Clara and I did turn it into a going out for a lovely sushi dinner kind of evening.
So, how was your week? Or weekend?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Scrapbook Friday: A Sister Visits

I'm enjoying continuing to scrapbook this year. My goal is a modest four layouts a month. I know if I do that, I will do more because I will binge at least once in while along the way. This week's page is inspired by Amanda's April Challenge. If you're a scrapbooker and haven't checked out her blog, you really should! She has lots of great layouts, and I think I'm going to be her guest artist for her May challenge.
For this layout, you essentially make eight little square layouts (I made mine 5.5x5.5, rounded the edges, used a sheet of Oregon cutouts I bought at a scrapbook store there and some Tim Holtz tissue tape). It was a great way to capture the train trip Clara and I took last spring to visit Henry at college (there's actually 12 photos on the layout, but it doesn't seem like that many). In looking at this, it reminds me a little bit of some of your project life pages (just in a larger format). If you're scrapping this month and like the looks of this layout, you can join Amanda's challenge at the link above.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Photo Pairs: Mixed Media Ephemera Card "Color Study"

I made a few cards over the weekend, including this pair of mixed media cards. The first one used ephemera and the second one used stamps, water color paint, ink and flowers. I'm linking this pair as my photo pair for this week and calling it "color study" because I've got a nice monochrome story and a complimentary color story. You can find more photo pairs at Helena's blog.