Wednesday, August 31, 2011

July 2011 Intentions Journal Entry

This year, I am keeping three journals to track my 2011 intention, resolutions and one little word. Tonight I had a chance to update my intentions journal for July and August. My intention is to be "Fabulous at 50," and my journaling for July reads "In July, I was fabulous because I let my family fly off in all different directions, to all parts of the world and knew we would all come back together again, to the same place. Home."
Paul and I went to England; Clara went to Southern California; and Henry stayed here in Half Moon Bay. We all grew during our time apart but we did not grow  apart. And that's kindof fabulous, don't you think?
I'll feature my August page this weekend, with a story for Sian's Storytelling Sunday. Will you be joining in that party?
If you want to see some of my other journal entries, click on the "2011 intentions" label below.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Catching My Breath

Sorry to have been a bit absent from blog land recently. It's just that I've been overwhelmed by the start of the semester, both in getting the kids ready but mostly in trying to get my professional life in order. I'm behind in several deadlines, but I've made progress this last week, which my boss and my students both appreciate!
In the meantime, here's a few random thoughts I've had:
*It is much easier and faster to create in the area of photography than mixed media, scrapbooking or card making. I have so many wonderful projects waiting for me on my art desk, but I just haven't been able to find the time to get to them.
*Arty things I definitely plan to do in the near future: my August 2011 Intentions, Resolutions and One Little World journals; Storytelling Sunday with Sian in a few days; Scrapbooking and Element ATC's at an upcoming weekend crop; continue with the Painting with Light photography class. Our first assignment was to do a silhouette. I captured the grape leaves up top when I was outside trying to figure out what to do for that one - it's not a silhouette, but I really like the airy feel of it.
*Arty things I'm Realizing Won't Get Done: There's really no way I will be able to keep up with Shimelle's Learn Something New Everyday, so I'm not even going to try to do anything official. I will read the prompts, though, and maybe they'll help me with my photography class and other projects.  I won't get any more canvases done for Dina's Out of the Journal Challenge before the end of the month, but I do have a few in progress, and I do want to finish  up what I started. 
*After six months of tracking my food, I have definitely changed my eating habits but I have lost motivation to write down what I eat. I've lost over 30 pounds this year and work out 4-5 times a week. I fit into all my work clothes and feel great. I can run a mile in about 8 minutes. I haven't tracked my food in about a month, and I haven't gained any weight. So, now I need to figure out what I am going to do. I'd kindof like to lose five more pounds, but I'm not sure I have the motivation to do it. And, truly, I feel like I've accomplished what I wanted to - to get back to the level of fitness at which I feel like myself again.
*I am over the moon excited about how well the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt has been going! It makes me so happy when I see posts with your entries. There's still a couple weeks left to complete it. The only one I'm missing is a beehive! As we near the end, you can begin to think about the easiest way to show me how you have completed the project.   Some people are doing photo collages; some people are putting together a snapfish or picassa album that they can refer me to; some people are planning to tag each of their blog entries which include scavenger hunt photos, so that I can simply page through them; some people are sending me emails with their photos attached. Think about what will work for you. I know  I originally said people should send me emails with photos, but I'm thinking that these other methods work just as well. I haven't heard of anyone who is completely done, but I know there are a lot of people who are close. Also, I definitely plan to do another one next summer and am considering a shorter (one month version with 8-10 items) to celebrate the new year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap Blog Hop

I was lucky enough to participate in a wonderful postcard swap organized by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio. The theme was "liberate your art," and each participant sent in five postcards featuring their original art and received five postcards in return.  I previously posted about the first two post cards I received (click on this link). Today, I'm featuring the rest of my wonderful returns. The lovely digital creation in the upper left, titled "Window of my Soul" is from Carolyn in Idaho (hi Carolyn!), and the thought provoking photograph on the right is from Ashley Sisk from North Carolina.  Her postcard included this quote from Tom Ang:  "One of the joys of photography is that you never know what will come at you from around the next corner."
Wendy sent the postcard with the gorgeous gate and perfect depth of field.  Finally, Kat was nice enough to send all the participants a postcard as well - I received the beautiful blue door. Want to see more amazing "liberated art"? Go to this link and check out the entries from other blog participants. I sent out a postcard with my mixed media collage "Wings," which is featured on the left column of my blog. I'm off to see if I can find where my postcard landed!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Self-Portrait, Classes and Eagle Lens

I signed up for Cheryl Johnson's current photography class, Painting with Light, which starts tomorrow. CJ always starts her classes by asking students to take a self-portrait.  This round, she asked students to take a portrait which features their favorite color.  Although red has been my favorite color for a long time, recently I've found myself drawn to orange.  This morning, getting ready to go to my workout, I decided to take a self-portrait in my orange running shirt.  No make-up, hair not brushed, feeling pretty natural. Then, I decided to stretch myself and take a portrait that really focused on my athletic self.
While I like the shape of my arms and the way my shoes are hanging, I wish the focus was crisper and my expression a bit more relaxed.  I turned it to black and white because the colors in the bathroom clashed with everything else. The first self portrait is very safe; the second one is a bit of a risk. Not sure if I'm feeling that brave. 
In other news, THANKS for the wonderful feedback on my eagle photographs.  For those of you who asked about the lens, I used my Nikon 70-300 mm lens, and it was fully extended.  
The technical specs are: speed 1/400, f5.6, ISO 800.  I took it in "sports" or "running man" mode. We were kayaking when I took it, and we were fairly close to the eagle.  I kept waiting for him to fly away, but he was so interested in eating that he was going nowhere.
Also, I'm curious s to who is planning to do Shimelle's class, Learn Something New Everyday.  I've done it the last two years (once in ATC's and last year with stamping). I'd like to do it this year, but will do it with something simple - either photography or art journaling. If you're dong it, what's your plan? What have you done before? Links welcome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where did the kids go?

Gypsy was busy looking for the kids today because it was their first day back at school. Henry's a Junior in High School and a recently licensed driver, so he drove himself to school:
Clara's starting 8th grade and spent almost two hours straightening her hair, trying on outfits and getting ready. . . but she sure is a beauty.  And she let me drive her to school.
Gypsy stayed home and waited for them to return:
By the way, our prayers seem to have been answered.  The vet said today that our little girl is on the road to recovery! We'll be weaning her off medication for the next few months and monitoring her red blood cell count, but for now she appears to be a bit of a medical miracle. And we couldn't be happier.  Thanks so much for all your support.
Anyone else sending kids off to school this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finding Beauty in the Starkness of Nature

On my recent kayak trip to the San Juan Islands, the tour company owner offered me a discount if I would take some photographs for his website, and I happily agreed. While I came up with many lovely shots, I also came up with this series which somehow focus on the starkness of nature.  Here's an osprey nest against a cloudy sky:
Barnacles clinging to a rock:
And a bald eagle, with a blood-tipped beak:
While not your conventional shots of nature's beauty, I still find these compelling. What do you think of them? And for those of you who aren't squeamish, you can click on the jump link and see one more eagle picture (where the eagle is actually eating its prey). I didn't want to post it with the jump because some might find it disturbing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Deb & Carrie Visit plus Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt

Today I had the great good fortune to spend the day with Deb of the Paper Turtle blog and her daughter Carrie from Rosalind Revival.  
We started the day with a stop by a decorated mailbox, featuring turtles of course!  
We visited my studio and a very fun shop called "Half to Have It," which has all manners of fun and funky stuff.
After a yummy lunch, we strolled around on Main Street and visited a nursery. Carrie wanted to see the ocean, and Deb wanted to take a picture of a forest, so we headed over to the "Enchanted Forest" above the Fitzegerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, Ca.
Deb and Carrie are a very special mother-daughter pair, and I loved spending the day with them! They have such a strong, loving and easy bond between them:
And, believe it or not, as we were stepping out of the car at the parking lot for the Marine Reserve, Deb turned to me and said "Oh my gosh, Rinda, look!  It's a unicycle!"
We about fell over each other grabbing our cameras and going to ask this nice gentlemen from Cambridge, England if we could take his picture.  How's that for an unbelievable ending to a truly fantastic day?!?

Things are Looking Up Here

I've been really busy with my real job (teaching in orientation and getting ready for classes starting next week), recovering from vacations, and getting the kids ready for start of their school year. In the midst of all this, I have a few reasons to lift my head up and smile:
*I'm looking forward to a special visit today with a beautiful pair of bloggy friends.
*Henry was asked to play with the upper-division team of the soccer club her rejoined last month. When he ran onto the field for a tournament this weekend, he was filled with such joy.
*We finally got some good news from the vet. Gypsy's not completely out of the woods yet, but he thinks she may have turned the corner and begun to regenerate the red blood cells she so desperately needs. Keep those prayers and good vibes coming. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From Me to You: Ten on Tenth Winner

Like my latest self-portrait? I took it at the Seattle Art Museum.
I've been so busy recovering from the trip and teaching in Orientation week at my real work that I forgot all about choosing a winner for my Ten on the Tenth give-away. Tonight I asked DD Clara to choose a number between 1 and 23, and she chose #17, which is Debs from England! So, Deb, send me an email and rinda1961 at yahoo dot com, and I'll get a nice bag of scrappy goodness and ephemera in the mail to you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Six Quick Scrapbook Pages

Tonight, I made six quick scrapbook pages.  The one above features photographs from Sudeley Gardens. Sorry about the quality of the picture, but it's dark here.  The next pages are from Cambridge:
The last one still needs journaling, but I'm going to wait until I do the rest of my Cambridge pictures, so I know what still needs to be included.  I did all these pages in less than an hour. How did I do it?  Well, remember these? If you click on this link, you will see three blank layouts I made with my June counterfeit kit. I know many people find it hard to believe that blank layouts will work for them, but for me, they're great. You can click on any of them to see them in more detail.  What do you think?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Out of the Journal Canvas Challenge: Week #2

Dina Wakley is running a challenge this month to get art journalers to work on canvas or other surfaces (anything outside your art journal). The goal is to workon two canvases each week.  I started two canvases last week and thought I had left an autopost with them, but it didn't work out. So, a little late, here are my two canvases. The one up top is actually two canvases - a 12x12 painted black, with red and yellow circles (plus drips), and a small yellow canvas that I will attach to the front. I definitely got that idea after taking Tim Holtz' Creative Block class. I plan to add a few more yellow splatters and some teal stars to the background.
And this is my second "canvas." It's actually plaster. I added lots of texture and acrylic paint, plus some grunge board and a photograph I took of a butterfly. I was going to call it done, but then I saw this fabulous creation at the Altered Bits blog, and have now decided I want to add A LOT more stuff.
So, sorry these are late. Hopefully they'll still go into the challenge drawing. I've got my next canvas started and an idea for another this week.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yo Ho Ho! My Vacation in Scavenger Hunt Photographs

I just returned from a week's vacation in the Pacific Northwest, and I found lots of items for the Summer Photograph Scavenger Hunt. We started in Seattle, Washington. We stayed downtown across the street from the library (a building made of glass):
We also visited the famous Pike Place Market, where I found a sketch artist at work (drawing outside):
After a few days, we boarded a ferry to go to the San Juan Islands where we camped. We saw lots of forests:
We had a campfire every night, which was very nice after hiking and kayaking:
Of course, my best capture was a real pirate! I spied the buccaneer at the top of today's post while waiting for the ferry to take us back to the mainland.  He walked off the ferry, and I asked him if I could take his picture.  I'll post a few more pictures of our adventure later this week, but I wanted to get these scavenger hunt finds up. It makes me so happy to see so many scavenger hunt posts in blogland! Remember, there's still a month left. I only have three items left to find - the unicycle and bee hive will be the hard ones. Luckily, I know where lots of decorated mailboxes are located. How many items do you have left to find?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Revisiting the Topic: Appropriate Subjects to Photograph

A little while ago, I wrote this post about what subjects were appropriate to photograph and whether there were subjects that should be off-limits. I really appreciated everyone's comments because they captured so much of what I was thinking. One thing I had not focused on (although it seems obvious) is the difference between what I photograph to put in my scrapbook and what I post or publish on my blog.  Shortly after I wrote that post, I came across this terrific post at Mari's blog. She does a great job describing the differences between candid street photography and street portraits. I love this one quote in particular she has about street photography: "If your intent is to document people, candid street photography isn't exploitive. Take tastefully every photo is unique, it captures a moment in time. If taken right, you can see the emotions and mystery of the moment. She also has some great suggestions for how to deal with photographs you want to post on your blog. It's well worth checking out, as is her blog in general.
Thanks again for all the terrific comments. I trust no one would object to my photograph for today, which I think captures a moment in Chipping Campden!
p.s. I took the photograph of the school children in England from the footpath on which we were hiking and which runs right by the parish school. We were pretty far away and it was over in a moment, so that would explain why no one saw me or objected.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mail Art: Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap

I'm participating in the "Liberate Your Art" postcard swap sponsored by Kat Sloma. We sent here five postcards featuring our original art, and we receive five back from artists all over the world! It's very cool. These are the first two postcards I received. The one of the left is from Petra Kern.  She lives on the other side of the world (Ljubjlena, Slovenia) and makes beautiful art in a style totally different from my own. The excellent zentangle on the right is from Karen in Idaho. She quilts, zentangles and art journals. So much fun to discover new artists and bloggers. Have you received anything fun in the mail lately?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

10 Cotswold Cottages (10 on the 10th blog giveaway)

I admit to being totally smitten by all the wonderful thatched-roof country cottages and beautiful country manors throughout the Cotswold region. As a result, I took a few lots of pictures. So, to play along with Shimelle's Ten on the Tenth this month, I'm featuring ten Cotswold country cottages. As you enjoy them, think about which one you would want to live in (#1-10).
Did you chose a favorite?  If so, leave a comment letting me know which cottage you would like to live in, and I'll enter you into a random drawing for a little package of scrappy ephemera goodness. I'll pick a winner on Sunday, August 7th.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cotswolds Vacation Highlights

Although we spent the least amount of time in the Cotswolds during our recent vacation, I took three times as many pictures there as any place else!  In an attempt not to bore you too much, I've tried to be selective. If you want more, come back tomorrow when my "Ten on the  Tenth" post will feature more Cotswold beauty AND a blog give-away.
In the Cotswolds, we stayed in Chipping Campden, a beautiful little town with quaint scenery, wonderful pubs and some decent restaurants.
The highlight of the Cotswolds was hiking about along the various trails.  Some were well marked thoroughfares; others required us to follow cryptic signs and climb over fences:
Along the way, we found sheep and flowers and wheat:
Our five mile hike (roundtrip) to Hidcote Gardens ended up being over seven miles because we got lost, but we did find some beautiful sites there
The next day we took a car ride over to Sudley Castle, where we found beautiful gardens and grounds and even a wooden bridge (for the scavenger hunt):
I could go on forever with pictures like these (but I won't - LOL!). Suffice it to say, we enjoyed our time wandering around the Cotswolds - a place so quaint and beautiful that Paul said "You expect to see Miss Marple walking out of a house at any minute."
Got any favorites in today's post?