Monday, June 18, 2012

Overdoing it - Who, Me?

I'm joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Having learned  (but not permanently) my lesson about overdoing it in the garden, I had a day of overdoing it in the house. At least I am consistent!

After a full day, I decided to wash the kitchen windows, inside and out, and the woodwork plus the screens. At one point that required me to sit on the windowsill and put my feet in the kitchen sink. As I was wiping glass with my feet in the sink, my daughter-in-law called. While I was talking to her, and still wiping, I glanced behind me to the outside to see my daughter standing there looking up at me as if I were crazy! Well, I wasn't going to miss talking to my daughter-in-law just because I was sitting on the windowsill with my feet in the kitchen sink!

It was worth the effort because the kitchen seemed so much cleaner and brighter. Everyone in the family commented on it.

Thank you all for your favorable comments on my photo montages. Since I work alone at home, it is nice to get feedback. This montage features a cosmos and a butterfly photoed in my yard. Of course I changed the color from yellow to orange. You can see the flower repeated in the top left and the bottom right. In the top right you can faintly see a peony which is repeated in the bottom. The background is a single photo of a cluster of white astilbe blooms over a color layer, covered by a texture layer. This is done in Photoshop Elements 6.

Legal Seafoods in Framingham, MA was the site of our Father's Day dinner. Our son, daughter and son-in-law treated us. Mr. B had raw oysters but I was not brave enough to try one. Why are they called "naked cowboys"? Anyone know?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Overdoing in the Garden

Have you ever worked so many hours in the garden you can barely stand up the next day? It seems I never learn and I keep working as I think, "I'll quit when when I finish this, and this, and this." And then it is too late and I'm nearly crippled. At least I can still recover in a day. But I know it would be better to garden two hours at the time.

To make my Saturday gardening adventure even more severe, I had pulled weeds for two hours with other garden club members just the day before. Our Garden Club of Windham maintains many public spaces and the largest is the Garden on the Bridge where we were working. I truly believe in the mission of the club to beautify our area, so I help by weeding, trimming, planting and picking up lots of trash. Willimantic has so much going for it. Many new restaurants and other businesses have opened on Main Street in the past year. Making the area prettier and cleaner can help in this rebirth the town is experiencing.

This new work of mine is different for me in that it has a face in it. The lady in the hat was taken from a larger picture that has some of my ancestors in it. I think it was made around 1914 in Surrency, Georgia. The pansies are from my yard as are the astilbe you can see outlined in the background. 

Join other bloggers at The Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Special Flowers

This is one of three pieces I entered in the Juried Vernon Art Center Show. The others were a print/collage and a fabric/weaving piece. All the flowers except the roses were photographed in my yard last summer. It is wonderful to have so many photo ops just outside my door!

Today I take my entries to the Windham Regional Art Council Show at Art Space in Willimantic. Each artist can use four linear feet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Productive Year of Art

The Windham Regional Art Council's annual show is coming up in June. That makes me realize that it has been one year since I have been pursuing my art seriously and putting work in shows.

My first show here in Connecticut was at the Windham Art Council show in June of 2011. Since then I have had two solo shows, been in three juried shows, won a grand prize for a photograph, and shown in two additional shows. I sold a framed photo at the Digital Art Show sponsored by the Vernon Community Arts Center and also sold two matted photos from other shows. Not bad for one year!

I have learned so much, all by reading, research and experimenting. And I'm loving it! Now what I would really like is an agent so I can just create and let someone else market my work.

The deadline for the Windham Art Council Show is this Sunday, May 27. For the juried show at the Vernon Community Art Center, I have to deliver my work on Friday, May 25. Keep your fingers crossed that I get a piece accepted into that show. It is always good to be accepted  by a jury.

Here is one of my newest pieces. Should it be in the upcoming shows? The really fun part here is creating the backgrounds. I can experiment with photos, layers and textures! The tulip and the butterfly are from two different photos, both taken in my yard.

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Friends - Old Friends

Spring is flying by and I don't have much to show for the days. I have had lots of lazy enjoyment and read a ton of books - pure escapist fare. I am still not feeling like doing much. Maybe I should stop worrying about that and roll with it. Normally I try to accomplish a few things every day that I can look back on at bedtime and feel good about. Is reading a book a day enough?

I have a new friend. We met at the Windham Garden Club meeting and she has already been here for coffee. We hit it off instantly. She has moved here from Virginia but is originally a Connecticut girl. JP is the outgoing type of person who hugs you when she meets you.

Moving here at this stage of my life - (being old) - has made it a real challenge to meet people. Normally one connects through one's children. My answer was to join clubs and get involved. JP is doing the same thing. The problem is that when you are the newcomer everyone else has their friendships formed and groups in place. There don't seem to be a lot of new people here in Windham.

An interesting thing about JP is she is a fellow blogger. Now I can say I am friends with a blogger like many of the rest of you. Check out JP's blog, JP-aquietcorner. She is referring to me as Mona but I told her it is okay to use my real name. (An artist has to spread her name around :)

The place where I had the most friends, Cooperstown, NY, had lots of new people in town because of  the Imogene Basset Hospital. A few of us started a Newcomers Club. From the original six, the Club grew to over thirty members. Never having lived near family, I learned how important it is to create a support group of friends. Maybe because I grew up in a small town, I love seeing people I know when I go to the store or the post office. My sister on the other hand didn't like people knowing her. She wanted to be anonymous.

Mr. B and I are blessed with having "old" friends still living in Massachusetts where we used to live. We have been friends with that couple for forty years. We knew each other when we were younger, slimmer and were new parents. C and I have gone up in clothes sizes together. Fortunately I have stayed a size behind her so she gives me her lovely hand-me-downs!

Speaking of Mr. B, he has found out I refer to him as "Mr. B" and is not happy about it. Too dull he says. I think he would prefer me to call him "Stud" in my blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No oomph

In my last post I explained that I have had Shingles and can't find any enthusiasm for doing anything. Happily, I can report that I am completely over the Shingles outbreak which was in my mid-section. For the first time in three weeks I can wear blue jeans instead of loose sweat pants. But I have gotten lazy. Too used to lying around and reading and being waited on.

I do keep trying to return to my art and this work is an example. This is created from photos of leaves so I named it, yep - Abstract Leaf. The effort was such that I had to retire to my bed this afternoon with a good book, a coke and a bag of Lays potato chips. Heaven on earth!

That is where the title "No oomph" comes in. I don't have any! Everything seems to be just too much work! I had better find some and quick though. In May I have a solo show at the Willimantic Food Co-op where I am a volunteer working member once a week. Also there are two opportunities to show and sell photos coming up in the next two weeks. And they don't even have to be framed, just matted.

At the moment, two of my photos are on display in a show at the University of Connecticut Library.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Work - Spring Green and Yellow

Two weeks since I was last here!  I have had several minor illnesses but the last one not so minor. I have had shingles. It seems I had a relatively mild case but it definitely involves pain. And I'm not rid of it yet.

On the bright side, after not feeling creative for so long, I am now interested in working again. Today I did this piece I call  -  Spring Green and Yellow.

Saturday was the deadline for taking entries to the Digital Art Show sponsored by the Vernon Community Art Center. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so I summoned my energy and framed three pieces. I looked at the other entries and there was some great work being brought in. Wednesday is an opening reception I plan to attend.

Hopefully I will continue to feel better every day and my enthusiasm will return. Mr. B has taken excellent care of me. I had meals in bed and snacks delivered to my recliner and a sack full of library books. All I did was sleep, eat and read! For days!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm baaaaack! That is how I feel after changing my blog to diverse views. I didn't like not seeing my header. Maybe I could have customized it some more, but the feedback was, everyone liked the old look best. I felt confident in changing because I knew I could easily switch back. Not the case! I did what the instructions said to "restore former template" and it didn't work. Thank goodness I had backed up my template. I had to call in the big guns (my son-in-law) to reload the old template. By that time I was so freaked out I was afraid to click anything! As usual, the "help" option was no help.

Mr. B and I went to dinner at the house of new friends. The connection we made when we met was discussing chickens. They have chickens in the backyard; I grew up on a chicken farm; Mr. B worked with poultry for a large part of his career. So you can imagine much of the conversation was .... Chickens. We veered off into compost, and one guest told us about her red wiggler worms. They make great fertilizer, she says, for a small amount of kitchen scraps. They have to be kept between 60 and 70 degrees so that means in the laundry room, an extra bathroom or a warm basement. But don't worry, she assured us they don't smell!

Here are pictures of the backyard flock. We all went out and visited them before dinner. And we left that night with a dozen eggs!

I'm linking to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out the website for other lovely mosaics.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Take Time Out for Life

Isn't it amazing how ideas come? I was looking at online tutorials about digital art. This is the result. There are tutorial online that teach everything! I can sit in my recliner and learn! Here I made the background and imported the clock after I cut it out of another picture. There is also a texture layer here. I learned how to put the texture on without affecting the color of my picture. The quote is my own - a variation on time to smell the roses.

What do you all think about my new format? Is it just too weird? I can restore to my old format. Just to be certain, I backed up my template before I made the change. The comment window is still here but you have to scroll down after you click on comment. Please leave feedback so I know if anyone likes this. I can't decide!

Blue Hydrangea Montage

I'm enjoying making these montages with flowers. Hurry up spring. I want to see real flowers again. 

It is amazingly warm for March in Connecticut. The forsythia I brought into the house is in full bloom. Both my rose bushes survived the winter and have small leaves. 

This blue hydrangea is in my front yard. I hope it has even more blooms this summer.

This is the background I created to put the hydrangea on. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

All Alone in the Night

This is a beautiful view of the earth at night from the International Space Station. This was posted March 5, 2012 on NASA's website. Check for the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Was anyone else amazed at how much electricity is used to light up the night?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunflower & Goldfinch

This is created in Photoshop Elements using a background I created and two of my photos- the sunflower and the bird. To finish it, I used a Dry Brush filter. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Digital Art

Sometimes in an art show I see amazing things created on the computer. So I went searching for digital art and found many online sites that will let you create and then save to your computer.

After making the basic design I layered part of a photo over the colorful design. You can just barely see tree limbs. Over that I put a texture layer then erased some of it. The eyedropper tool in Elements let me choose a color from the design for the border.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Further Experiments with Montage

You may have seem my other posts as I started to experiment with Photo Montages. Inspiration from Jo was my first effort. Then I tried a dark sunflower with Learning from the InternetPurple Hydrangea Montage was much more elaborate. 

Golden Montage was my last effort. 

This one, my Woods and Stream Montage is the result of my pushing myself to try something very different. After it was done, I realized the woods with the stream below look like all one photo when they are actually two photos taken at different times and places. I'm not certain how much I like this one. It may grow on me. But I'm glad I tried something out of my comfort zone. In order to learn, I have to keep trying new things. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rosamunde Pilcher - Favorite Author

First let me explain that I am an "Associate" of Amazon. That means if you click on one of my links that leads you to Amazon and you purchase anything through my link, I get a small (read teeny-tiny) commission.  I shop on Amazon a lot. My children give me very generous Amazon gift cards.  So when I am posting about something that is sold on Amazon, why not provide a link for you to use and perhaps purchase?

Finding a part time job has just not happened in this area of CT which has high unemployment. Selling my photos has not provided an income yet. I keep trying different things. So now I am trying being an Associate of Amazon. If I can figure out how, I will put a link on my sidebar that will lead to Amazon. My son-in-law is a big help with the technical things. Again, if you buy anything through any of my Amazon links, I get a tiny commission. You can tell the photos of the books were borrowed from Amazon.

So, that said, let me tell you about my favorite author. Have you read any books by Rosamunde Pilcher? If not, you are in for a treat. Her books are the kind worth owning because you can read them over and over. She was born in 1924 and sold her first short story when she was eighteen. Mrs. Pilcher grew up in Cornwall, England but reared her four  children in Dundee, Scotland where her husband, Graham worked in the family jute business. She first wrote under the name Jane Fraser and published ten books. At the same time she was writing as Rosamund Pilcher.

Her breakthrough book was The Shell Seekers, a novel in which an elderly British woman relives her life in flashbacks. It deals with the woman’s relationship with her adult children and describes life in Britain during World War ll. It sold five million copies and was adapted for the stage.

Often when I read, I skim through descriptions just to get to the information about the story. Not so with Mrs. Pilcher’s books. Her descriptions are a joy to read and I savor every word. They set the mood and atmosphere. You can almost taste the tea, smell the clean air, and feel the warmth of the fire. And they make me want to eat "sausages."

I just finished September Winter Solstice is one of my favorites. Mrs. Pilcher is described as “Queen of the Heartwarming Bestseller.”

If you would like to read more about her, Wickipedia has a good site, or her official web site.

Click here to go to her Amazon page where you can order her books - Rosamunde Pilcher.

Her son, Robin Pilcher, is a writer and I enjoy his writing as well. His books start with several unrelated stories, then he weaves the people’s lives together.

Below are excerpts from September which takes place in Scotland. These passages are examples of the lovely descriptions.

“It had rained during the night, leaving puddles by the roadside and gardens dripping with moisture. In Strathcroy, cottages slumbered, curtains stayed drawn. Slowly the occupants stirred, rose, opened doors, lit fires, made cups of tea. Plumes of peat-smoke rose, straight, from chimney -pots. Dogs were walked, hedges clipped, cars washed. Mr. Ishak opened up his shop for the sale of morning rolls, milk, cigarettes, Sunday newspapers, and any other commodity that a family might need to get through the empty day. From the tower of the Presbyterian church, the bell tolled.”

“Out of doors, the day, like a fickle woman, had ceased to sulk and decided, for no obvious reason, to brighten up. A wind had risen, freshening the air. From time to time, lozenges of sunlight fell upon the polished table, sparking from silver and cut glass tumblers.”

“I know, Edie. What can’t be cured must be endured.”
“That’s true enough,” said Edie placidly, and went to get the kettle and fill it with water. A cup of tea seemed to be in order. There was nothing, in times of stress, like a good hot cup of tea."

"As soon as she had arrived, she had set up the ironing board, and ironed the morning’s load of washing, fresh from the line. This was now stacked, crisp and folded, on the other end of the table, and emanated a pleasant smell."

"The stone wall felt warm in the sunshine, and she leaned her arms on this and gazed downwards at the flowing peat-brown water. Sometimes she and Henry played Pooh-sticks from this bridge, flinging sticks up-stream and then racing back to watch for the first, the winning stick, to appear."

"In the golden evening, Henry walked home. There were few people about because it was nearly six o’clock and they were all indoors eating their tea. He imagined this comforting meal. Soup perhaps, and then haddock or chops and then cakes and biscuits, all washed down with strong and scalding tea. He himself felt pleasantly full of sausages. But perhaps before he went to bed there would be space for a mug of cocoa. "

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning Through Sheer Determination

Mary, who I will be joining for Mosaic Monday, has been using Web Boards from the CoffeeShop Blog. That presented a challenge I couldn't resist, except I couldn't make it work. Several times I tried and gave up. Tonight I was determined. I read all the tips on the CoffeeShop Blog. I installed the "Actions," a real leap of faith when you have to add things deep into your system and then throw away something that is already there.

Still it would not work. The instructions didn't make any sense. I wasn't seeing what the directions said I was. Finally I opened my Effects palette in PSE6 and there was a new little thumbnail. It still took some experimenting and I just stumbled upon the answer. But here is my Web Board.

These are photos of one of my recent pieces. This is proof that I haven't only been creating montages on my computer. The background is a small piece I wove and the top is a fabric. The bird nest is a basket I made from iris and daylily leaves. I put it all inside a wide wooden frame. The bottom photo is the creation in progress.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Golden Montage

This Montage uses all the things I have learned lately. Making the background is challenging and a real pleasure. Finding the right pictures and especially pictures that go together I find to be the difficult part.

Thank you all for your comments on my other montages. My Purple Hydrangea Montage, my Follow the Sun, and my Birds and Dots. They say practice makes perfect so I will keep practicing. Please keep commenting and let me know if you think changes would make it better.

I keep collecting bits of paper and things to print with. Lots of ideas floating around in my head. But when I have a little time, I find myself looking forward to creating on the computer.

I love the way I have complete control to delete layers, change colors of anything, erase edges, blur colors or change opacity. By using the eyedropper tool I can match any color in my picture. The possibilities are endless.

We had an impromptu dinner party tonight. Last week I had cooked so much the refrigerator was full of goodies - (some people call them leftovers). Our son called to say he was dropping in for a visit and would stay for dinner. Friends were going to stop by later so we asked them to come earlier and have dinner. Out came the roast turkey leftovers and the gravy. We mixed up a batch of dressing using Pepperidge Farm sage flavored bread crumbs and put it in the oven while the potatoes boiled and my son-in-law tossed a green salad. I set the table for seven and we sat down to turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and more. There was even dessert on hand. All eaten at the dining table in the living room near the fire. It was a lovely evening. Here is our table on another evening set for dinner.

Thanks to Melody of Fibermania for her recipe of Lime Cheesecake Bars.  I used a lemon and pecans instead of walnuts. It was my turn to provide refreshments at the Garden Club meeting this week and I was brave, or foolish, and tried this recipe for the first time. All turned out well. These are delicious. Two people asked for the  recipe and I shared, giving Melody full credit. And there were some left over for tonight's dessert along with a coffee cake and coffee of course.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Learning to Knit

Probably everyone who is reading this can knit. I can crochet, weave and sew, but knitting looked impossible. After one lesson I can do the impossible!

It is only a small piece but there are no mistakes and it is fairly even. Thank you to a very good teacher who was patient with me. We sat on the sofa and put our feet up on the coffee table. She turned on the gas fire and served me a cup of tea. And we shared some laughs. I can't wait for my next lesson.

I'm linking to Little Red House Mosaic Monday. Hop on over and see all the other mosaics and take a look at Mary's wonderful photography.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Purple Hydrangea Montage

I'm exercising two things these days, my brain and my fingers. By experimenting I am learning so much! Here is the latest photo montage. My background here is one I created in Elements using brushes and some text then layering several downloaded textures over it. Then I changed the hue, saturation and lightness until it was the right background for this purple hydrangea.

I added two of the pictures and lowered the opacity level enough to see through them. Next I created a colored rectangle for the hydrangeas and put it in the center.  Using the same color I created a border. I have learned how to use the eyedropper tool so I could choose the purple from the flower and use it for the borders.

Thank you all for your comments on yesterdays dark sunflower in my Learning on the Internet post. If you think these pictures can be improved, please tell me. Since I am self taught, I appreciate the input. It is all part of the learning experience!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Learning on the Internet

I have been learning about using layer masks in Photoshop Elements 6. There isn't anything you can't find on the internet - with tutorials too! I found an application to download a different mask (Free) than the one already in Elements that lets me adjust it more. 

Also I found a great blog where there are wonderful textures by Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations to download free of charge.

There are two of Jerry's textures in this picture. The words you see on the green strip are a scan from a one hundred year old textbook. This altered photo was fun to do. The color scheme was taken from the flower.

Your comments would be a big help to me. I'm still learning and need your opinions. After I spend a long time creating a piece, I find it hard to be objective.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Save your favorite jeans!

Don't you just hate it when your favorite jeans start fraying at the seams and the hem? Who wants to go shopping and have to view yourself in the dressing room mirror? Then you have to break in the new pair to make them as soft and comfortable as the old ones.

I decided to repair my fraying jeans and hopefully get two more years wear. Maybe by then I will have lost another ten pounds and I won't have to avert my eyes from the dressing room mirror.

The first picture is the inner thigh seam. I zig-zagged over the frayed area. The second picture is turned sideways. Sorry!

The bottom left picture is the hem after I took out the stitching to let the hem down. My pants always seem to shrink in length. I pushed the two frayed sides together and held them as they went through the machine with a wide and close together zig-zag.  This also lined up with the raw edge that had been inside the hem. So I gained an inch and stitched the raw edge to make a hem while covering the frayed area.  The picture on the bottom right shows both pant legs.

I'm wearing the repaired jeans as I type this. I hope this helps save your favorite pair!

I'm linking my mosaic to Little Red House Mosaic Monday.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspiration from Jo

One of the blogs I follow is One a Day by Jo Reimer. My inspiration for this mosaic came from her post, Piecings, continued. While Jo created her collage with papers, I started from a print I made on fabric. With acrylic paint, I painted the inside of a mailing envelope lined with bubble wrap. Placing the painted bubble wrap on my fabric, I rolled over it with a brayer. This provided the circles for the background. After the fabric was dry I scanned it into Photoshop Elements.

This is composed of several layers over the background. To make the large line in the middle and the rectangles I used brushes and adjusted the opacity. The bird is cut from a photo of mine using the magic extractor of Elements.

I also made some prints on paper. As I was cooking the ground beef for spaghetti sauce, my eye fell on  the styrofoam meat tray. I cut it into shapes and used it like a stamp. My material was a paper grocery bag that I crumpled several times then smoothed out. I will scan those pieces to show another day.

Be sure to check out Jo's blog for a dose of inspiration! Thanks, Jo!  I'm joining Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

After a critique from Jo, I altered my collage and this is the result. What do you think?

Here you can see the two side by side. Jo suggested the picture would be better with fewer of the circles so they could be an accent. I agreed so I moved up the opacity of the layer with the color blocks to make them solid. I don't like the resulting intensity of color. This could have been done a different way to keep the original color. Jo also suggested moving up the two birds in the lower right.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hearts Project

This is my new mystery project. All I'm saying is that it also involves an empty container of Hershey's Baking Chocolate. I created these hearts on the computer. It was fun making the plaids and other bases then cutting them out with the cookie cutter brush.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun with Altering

Yes, it is fun to play around with photos. This is shot of the trees in my yard in Virginia. I love the photo but I thought maybe I could do more with it. So I inverted it and then played with the colors. When the vote was taken at my house no one liked it. "Ghostly," was the comment. But I like it - love the lacy look of it. When seen without the original, it becomes almost an abstract.

So what it your vote? Do you like the altered photo? 

Head over to Little Red House and see her new design for this weeks' mosaic at  Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New Look

This is another crop from the Cookie Cutter Tool in Photoshop Elements. I love to play around and experiment like this. You may recognize this photo from my collage for Mosaic Monday. Here is a new and closer look for you. This stream is just off route 6 in Andover, CT. There is an old stone dam and the stream has detoured around the side of the dam.  Don't you love the lichen and colors on this large rock? I was very satisfied with the look of the water in the photo. My goal was to learn how to get that smoothly flowing look to the water.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tiny Mushroom

Isn't this an adorable tiny mushroom? The unusual crop shape is the result of my experimenting with Photoshop Elements. This is created by using the cookie cutter tool. After I cut it out in this unusual shape I put it on a solid colored background. I like it. What do you think?

I'm linking to Outdoor Wednesday. Visit A Southern Daydreamer and see the other outdoor photos. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rushing water and mossy rocks.....

This collage is pictures I took in November and early December of streams near home. I love streams tumbling over rocks - the sounds of the water, the mossy rocks. All my life I have wanted to live on the bank of a stream like these. It hasn't happened yet.

I have been focusing on learning how to get that look of silky flowing water. It required a Natural Density filter and knowing how to set the aperture, shutter speed, exposure and type of light. I sat on the bank of one stream for an hour and a half and took numerous pictures. For the photo on the top left I was standing in the stream wearing my gardening shoes when I stepped in a hole and the water poured into my shoe. It was worth it for this shot.

Go over to Little Red House and see the other photo mosaics. Try one yourself!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cozy and Inviting

Doesn't this look inviting? I suppose no one was home as there is no smoke rising from the chimney. Maybe I could add some! This picture is the result of time spent playing with filters in Elements (cutout, twice) and a texture on top. Then I searched for a quote.

Picture yourself in a rocking chair pulled up close to a woodstove with the doors open. The logs are snapping and crackling. A book is in your lap and you have kicked off your shoes. Do I smell hot chocolate?

What next?

I have really been wanting to work with my fabric now that the monkey (my photo exhibit) is off my back. So am I working with fabric? No! I did a macro photo shoot of a stack of old books and a pair of antique eyeglasses on my coffee table. Those are not finished yet but I did get a few good shots. Then I went into the woods and took pictures of tree stumps. Yes, tree stumps. The grain of the wood is so interesting.

Tonight I have been playing around making wild abstract art on Photoshop Elements. What fun. I'm thinking these can be printed on fabric and they can be stamped, stitched and embellished.

This first one is a collage of two pictures. I'm linking to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Join the party!

Take my Heart!

Don't you think the next two should be called Lollipop Trees?

So many possibilities -  I don't know where to start!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photography Show Opening

It was a successful opening. The food was good and everyone was very complimentary about my work.

I was determined to wear my new red shoes (love them!) even if my feet became numb! I managed just fine. My daughter and son-in-law took family and friends out to dinner afterwards. They toasted me and I thanked them all for their support. And I thanked the family for putting up with the mess in the house as I framed 34 pictures. The son-in-law is cooking dinners for a week to give me a break after all the Christmas cooking I did. My next projects will be fabric and I'm planning to submit works to all the juried shows I can.

Today I will watch football with Mr. B while I try to organize things on my computer. My new book is calling me. Thanks family for the Amazon gift cards!   The Best of Quilting Arts: Your Ultimate Resource for Art Quilt Techniques and Inspiration.  Notice in the sidebar that I follow Melody Johnson's Blog Fibermania. Melody has a section in this book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Nature Unscripted" - Solo Exhibit

"Nature Unscripted"
by Nancy Hoffmann
Windham Hospital Gallery
Willimantic, CT
January 7-29, 2012
Opening Reception  Saturday, January 7, 4 pm

An eclectic mix of photographs highlighting the beauty of nature
we sometimes fail to take time to notice. Also included will be fabric sculptures.

Since I agreed to have a solo photography exhibit I have thought of little else. Had I realized how much work was required I would have said no. But all along I knew I would be glad I had done it. January is not the best time of year for such an undertaking unless you are an incredibly organized person.

To make matters more complicated, my son-in-law and I painted some of the kitchen cabinets the first part of December. That involved stripping and sanding and three coats of paint. The kitchen was a mess for a week. Utensils were in boxes in the dining room/studio next to my boxes of framed photos.

I did get all 33 photos framed before I devoted a few days to cleaning the house before the Camera Club Christmas Party was held here on December 13.

Then the family started to arrive and there were numerous trips to Providence and Hartford airports, both a little over an hour away. There was no time to even think about the show until the last guest went home on New Years day.

Suddenly I had to print business cards, name each photo and prepare a list with prices and print info cards for the photos. A Bio had to be printed and mounted on foamcore board as well as a title of show piece. And the bio had to be written! I asked my daughter to do that as I was stumped as to what to write about myself. Boy, did she do a great job. When I read about myself I thought, "Wow, I would love to meet this talented woman." She made me sound wonderful!

 Framing in Progress

Framed photos ready to go

Use what you have, even a laundry basket

Partial view of the Gallery. I have to thank Mr. B for naming most of the photos. 
He has a real knack for it. And he named the show -- "Nature Unscripted."

My Bio mounted. The basket holds business cards. This is first time I ever cut foam
core board. It was not as difficult as I had feared. The secret is a very sharp blade to
get clean cuts. Spray adhesive ( great stuff) was used for mounting. I taped wire
on the back for hanging.


Tomorrow I go and hang my fabric art. I have sent emails through all the organization
I belong to and there are newspaper notices as well. The hospital is providing refreshments
for the opening on Saturday, January 7 at 4 pm. I think I should do some baking to supplement.

Can I call myself an artist now?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Frosty Leaves

Frosty Leaves

Since our disastrous October snowstorm, we have had no snow. Yes, no white Christmas in Connecticut! But we have had some lovely frosts. This photo was made the day after Thanksgiving when everything was white with frost. Every leaf on the ground was lined with white. There is beauty in the most ordinary things.

I'm joining Dear Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Click on the link and see the other mosaics.

Quick and Easy

This is an ornament I made for my tree a few years ago. For people who love snow, it could hang on the wall year round.

The backing wood is a rough piece of lath. Mr. B and I were completely remodeling a log cabin and exposing the logs inside, so there was plenty of lath as I tore off the old plaster.

The "Let it Snow" was cut from a piece of fabric and fused to another piece of fabric, in this instance a green check. The fused fabric was glued to the lath and two buttons were glued to the corners. Two short pins were driven into the top and a ribbon was tied around the pins as a hanger.

Simple to make! This is a "Nancy Original." Dimensions are 4 1/2  inches W x 1 1/2 H.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here it is!

I'm certain you have all been waiting to see a picture of MY FAMILY'S TREE.  : )

It is ten feet tall and gorgeous!

My friend in England told me it looked sophisticated. I really appreciate that comment, but if he could see it in person he would see the milk caps with glitter and a five-year-old's picture in the middle. That five year old is now thirty-one and you can see his photo in the side bar. His two brother's pictures are also on the tree.

Somehow their sister does not have her picture there but her handiwork as a child is well represented. She drew angels on pellon, colored them and cut them out. And someone cut a bell out of a styrofoam meat tray and glued fabric squares on it. Maybe I should look for initials on that one. Every year we all come to attention as we hang the two miniature cans of spinach on the tree. My children were Popeye fans and those little cans are a must!

Each ornament is a memory. My Aunt Lucy's knitted bells are there and my mother's crocheted Santa face and little wreaths. And there are so many ornaments I have made. (And keep making!)

Our young friends (our daughter's co-workers) went with us to choose and cut the tree. Three of them had never had a live tree in their house so they were eager to set it up and help decorate. It was a cold windy day, but after a lunch of chili everyone was ready to get to work. The ladder was barely tall enough. The angel on top had to be tossed up and stayed a little crooked. We thought it looked like she was flying. We listened to Christmas music and sang along. And everyone chose to have marshmallows in their hot chocolate.

We go to Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, CT to cut our tree. Last year we bought their special tree stand that has a 5 inch peg in the middle. They bore a hole in the tree trunk, then the tree balances on that peg. And it is perfectly straight and secure! It is a miracle! Of course we went there again this year and topped last year's nine foot tree by a foot. Next year I take a tape measure with me - or buy a taller ladder. Really, I think nine feet was tall enough.

The nest is empty again and I miss them all terribly! How nice for Mr. B and me to be sharing a house with our daughter and her husband! We will have a few quiet days before I launch into overdrive to hang my solo photography show.