Friday, July 3, 2015

Red - Photo Challenge


Most people love red, red cherries.  I love yellow, Ranier cherries with a tinge of red and I found some today at Costco.  They are more expensive than the Bing cherries and they definitely have a shorter season of availability.  But I love them and always treat myself.

Growing up there was a cherry tree in our backyard with these delicious yellow cherries.  And there was nothing like putting a warm, juicy, ripe cherry in your mouth.  Or cold, halved cherries in a bowl sprinkled with sugar as my grandfather liked them.  

We lived above my grandparents.  There was an addition to their part of the house downstairs for their kitchen and bedroom and we (my sisters and brothers) used to sneak out our bedroom window onto the hot shingled roof and scooch right to the edge to grab the branches with the biggest, fattest, juiciest cherries that came close enough to the house.  Inevitably, we would be heard by someone downstairs and were scolded back into the house. How none of us ever fell off the roof reaching was a miracle!  

As I picked up the carton of cherries today I could hear my grandmother in my head exclaiming at the price of the cherries I was buying.  "They're so dear." she would say of anything that was expensive. And to them, my grandparents, it would be a hard decision whether to spend that extra money for something dear.  

I wondered if it will come to that as we get older.  Will we have to choose not to treat ourselves to something we love because it is too dear?  I hope not.  What would life be without red-tinged, yellow cherries in July?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On My Street - July Photo Challenge


This is actually right across the street from our condo.  As you can see it rained today before I got here.  I was hoping for a nice sundown picture looking up the street but the clouds hung around way too long.  So the right angles of this sign alongside the vertical telephone pole seemed to coexist nicely enough for a picture tonight.

Then again, there is the sign in front of our units - well, at least the swan portion (and a little fuzzy I think, or was it the mist in the air?).  Actually, minus that pole in the background I think I have a little inspiration for a card in the near future.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ICAD 2015 - Week 4

Sheesh, how did I get so far behind on posting these?  It must have been me trying to get so much done during my week "staycation"...... and I did get to tackle a few things that have been needing my attention.  But on to the ICAD's with the theme of using ink or markers.

Day 22 - Psychedelic
Periodically I get visual migraines and this is what I see - or similar to what I see and don't see.  It starts out as a little wavy line and grows and pulsates in somewhat psychedelic fashion and in the center where I've colored it black is where I lose my vision as the line expands.  When it fully expands I get my full vision back, but as it's happening it's a little disconcerting to, let's say, look directly at someone who is talking and not be able to see their face.  Or to try to read something and not be able to see any words where you're looking but only those all around.  Done in highlighters and watercolor markers.


Day 23 - Romantic
Using a new gel pen, I did a tangle with a heart theme.  


Day 24 - Geometric
Another gel pen tangle.


Day 25 - Botanic or Organic
Another gel pen tangle and I'm not liking this at all.


Day 26 - Exotic
Micron pen palm leaves (yes, that's what they were intended to be, not feathers) and watercolor marker pixilation.


Day 27 - Academic
This is supposed to be the brain inside the skull thinking and sending out impulses.  


Day 28 - Dramatic
Highlighters and watercolor markers.  The rainbow colors against the black background are meant to be dramatic, however, given the latest Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Rights, there's another little bit of drama included in there.


Sometimes these prompts are easy and sometimes I really have to give it a lot of thought (as I'm currently finding out this week).  But I keep reminding myself that this is an art exercise meant to stretch my creativity and though it may appear kind of elementary at times, it's a fun learning experience ...... even if I don't like the outcome.  

Sparkle - July Photo Challenge


I wish I had been home a little earlier so you could actually see the sparkle this makes in my kitchen when the sun shines on it.  This is a crystal ball suspended in that curved glass but when you make it spin, it appears as though the ball goes up and down even though it can't.

I've decided to do a photo-a-day challenge for the month of July and this is the prompt for July 1st.  Here's the rest of the list for the month from the Idea Room.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's a Marriage - Jingle Belles and Summer of Color Collide



I think I totally forgot to do my Jingle Belles card for the last challenge two weeks ago.  And something luckily stirred me to get this done last night - the Summer of Color Challenge colors for this week actually.  I think I managed to marry the two challenges together but let's just check and see.  

The Jingle Belles said NO DESIGNER PAPER. (That's not hard for me, it's usually the opposite that hangs me up.)  And the SOC colors for this week are Red, Red, and Metallic.  My first reaction to those colors of course was holiday.  Though I've been adding to my little color journal for this SOC challenge (and I still might do something else) I really felt compelled to do a Christmas card and to apply it to my lovely Jingle Belles.

You see no designer paper involved (even the die-cut joy was from a recycled gift card holder envelope which I hope doesn't count as such), and the design was embossed in gold EP.  I've had that background stamp for a while now and I don't think I ever used it before so I was equally glad to have made good use of it.

The shades of red are Cherry Cobbler and Riding Hood Red and please believe me when I tell you that this is really much better looking IRL!

Do you think I could get away with doing this same card but on let's say - two shades of blue and gold (or silver), or two shades of purple and metallic?  Or are blue and purple poinsettias out of the realm of possiblity?  

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... let me think on that a little.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer of Color - SOC 2015 - Week 3


As you can tell from my worksheet the colors this week are two shades of purple and one shade of yellow.  Once again I turned to nature for my inspiration.

A Bearded Iris - done in Prismacolor pencils.  I think though that this is too squished, especially the top petals.  


The next try came from a thoughtful gaze out the kitchen window earlier this week.  I have been enjoying a little "staycation" and have marveled at how different this time at home has been compared to my time at home last summer pre- and post-surgery.  I remember looking out the same window many times and I know that my thoughts were not as free and flowing as they are now. Back then there was too much "me" on my mind and though that's not a bad thing, especially if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it is good to find time to reflect on other things.  And also to appreciate them.  How those cabbage moths just dance around all the plants, lightly setting down to grab a sip of nectar.  Is it the color that attracts them?  The fragrance?  How much distance must they cover each day to sustain themselves?  Funny where your mind wanders when you don't have to run out the door to get somewhere.  


I forgot to include the link last week to the SOC challenge, so don't let me forget again - click here. Please do drop in and see the wonderful creations that have been posted for this challenge.  And should you have a little "staycation" time, maybe you can check out the past posts too! You won't be sorry.  

Candy Cakes, Honeysuckle, and Last Days of School


One of my former co-workers celebrated her birthday this month and as it happens, she is also retiring the end of this month.  I made her a candy cake with a birthday message inside with the promise of a tea-date to celebrate.  I sent the cake over to her in the interoffice mail and her boss saw it and in the course of a phone call for another reason, happened to mention that her birthday was also this month.  Not wanting to disappoint her, I put another one together.  I'm beginning to realize that maybe I should prepare some of the paper cuts in advance to have on hand as these seem to be a hit.


Yes, this is a bit of a mish-mosh post as I was going through the pictures on my camera and remembering that I had not yet posted some of them.  Which brings me to a recent bike ride that HWNSNBP and I took down in Barnegat one morning.  This time of year you can see, and smell the honeysuckle blooming.  I asked HWNSNBP if he had ever tried honeysuckle and his answer was no, as was his answer when I picked a couple of blossoms to show him how to get the honeydew out of them.  Such a brief, sweet taste.  And fun to get to it.  I remembered that it was an elementary school friend that had first shown me how to do this many moons ago.  And I think, at least I hope, that I shared this with my kids when they were younger and we had some honeysuckle vines (since removed) on our property.


Using your fingernails, gently crease the blossom at the bottom but not completely through and pull the style down.  This will capture the honeydew/nectar in the neck of the blossom so coveted by hummingbirds.  And then just touch it to your tongue to enjoy.


The school I work in is in a residential neighborhood and there is one house that sits on the corner that is surrounded by our playground and parking lot.  The family that lives in that house has a child that attends our school and needless to say, he is a walker of course.  However, the last week of school he chose to ride his scooter to school.  Twice he rode it right past the bicycle rack, past the front door and deposited it on the grass out front.  We thought it was a riot.  The distance from his house to the bike rack was about the same distance as the bike rack to the front door, so really, what would be the point of riding the scooter if you could only go half-way?  That's what I'm thinking.  We did have to have him move it the second time he did it however after a visitor commented on it being there.  We told him that they were going to cut the grass. (His teacher told me that earlier in the year he walked to school with cross-country ski poles and did park those in the bike rack!)


And lastly, my office cohorts and I had what we call Fat Friday the last week of school, only we did it on Thursday because the last day is kind of crazy.  I made a variation of Rice Krispie treats using Trix cereal instead.  Aren't they pretty?  Personally, they tasted great but I was having a problem with their sweet fruity smell.  I also made my Sausage Stars, Pink Fluff, and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake bars.  All the recipes were and can be found on Pinterest.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cloud Show




The passing of the storm before dusk yesterday gave way to a spectacular cloud show. From inside the house surrounded by trees there was an eerie greenish-gold glow. "You have to come outside and see the sky" he said luring me with the promise of something awesome. And awesome it was. Mammatus clouds in shades of blue and pink with tinges of yellow from the sunset. My picture doesn't do them justice.

Mammatus clouds are formed by sinking air which gives them their lobe-like appearance.  They are usually seen after a storm.  I don't recall ever seeing this type of cloud in person before.  Over the last several years, with the advent of the internet, I had seen pictures of them, but they were never from our area.  You might say that seeing them in person was a kind of bucket-list event for me.  

ICAD 2015 - Week 3

The theme, or choice of media/creation for week 3 was collage.  I fell behind on this week it being the last week of school and all the extra activities I had piled into it. But, thinking ahead, as I was trading out the notes from this month last year to be shredded and replacing them with the notes from this month this year in the filing cabinet I decided to go through those piles of notes and salvage the artwork from the notepads the notes were sent in on.  And, since the box of shredding in the closet had not yet been removed, I took a few extra......some time to go through a couple previous month's and do the same thing.  This left me with a nice little stack of printed artwork that I thought I might be able to use for the prompts this week.  Let's see how I did.

Day 15 - Route 66
Never been on it, but I imagine that since it spans several states that there must be a picket fence and a sunflower field in one of them.  Background don in Prismacolor pencils.


Day 16 - Greeting Card
These are all salvaged graphics with the exception of the little bit of yellow tissue paper.  And a handwritten sentiment. 


Day 17 - Wabi-Sabi
Do I know what that is?  Didn't then, do now.  Something that embodies asymmetry and rustic simplicity.  There is no symmetry here in shape or form or layout.  Nor in the similiarity of soft nature (butterflies) and hard nature (metal key).  There are two pieces of two different kinds of cardboard drink sleeves also adding texture.  On the one I swiped a metallic Prismacolor pencil over it to define the raised areas more.


Day 18 - Tree House
Washed a watercolor sky across the card for a background using my Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils then added the collaging bits for a very literal "Tree House" with a floral roof, of course!


Day 19 - Snowglobe
Let's think outside the, er, snowglobe..... where all the shaking is going on.  


Day 20 - Color Wheel
Did not those owl eyes provide the best area for my color wheels! Done in Stabilo markers.


Day 21 - 1970
The 70's were all about those vibrant colors and patterns.  I used the clipped corners from the notes and in-between added some more flowers and leaves again with the Stabilo markers.


Okay, so I'm all "catched-up".  

I've been enjoying a little "staycation" this week.  And I do mean enjoying.  I have managed to clear some clutter, finish some projects, and reconnect with some friends.  And there's more on the agenda for the rest of the week, so let me get to it. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer of Color - SOC 2015 - Week 2

Did I mention it was a busy week?  Sorry, I don't mean to whine about it.  I choose to add to my own chaos quite frequently it seems.  But I've learned that it is important to do the things you need to do, but not to eliminate the things that you want to do because that only makes you grumpy.  You may get tired and grumpy from trying to fill your days with too much, but that grumpy is more doable that the grumpy you get from not doing the things you like.  Of course, sometimes the results are not quite what you have planned, but that's okay too.

So without further whining, er, ado here are my, wait for it...............two creations for this week's SOC challenge - Pink, Pink, Orange.


A little out of order again, I did the one below first but I chose not to enter that one because I used a google search for poppies for my inspiration and my flower turned out much too closely related to the picture I found (and I didn't like that the center flower was so high on the paper).  Therefore, the coneflowers above were more my original creation.  


Love these colors this week too!


I think if I hadn't had so much going on I could have found more "media" in my stash that would have matched these colors to add to my pages.  Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to test more of my creativity and use more of my stash!