Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Fun Photo Day

The air is drier and there was a breeze all day. Mr. B and I felt like getting out. We picked up my photographer friend and her granddaughter and went to see the Windham Regional Arts Council Show in the gallery at the hospital. The challenge for the show had been to use words in an image. Some artwork did that very well. Others looked like the words had been an afterthought, and some had no words at all.

Having a challenge pushed me to experiment and I'm glad. This is the photo I entered in the show. The background is a scan of a page from an old textbook, "Eldridge's Business Speller." The copyright is Great Britain, 1913. The book belonged to my great uncle. The photo is 8x10. Since it is a business speller it is divided by verbs, nouns, etc. and the words are not in alphabetical order so I couldn't find a page that had "bird" on it. Even so, I was pleased with the outcome of this female goldfinch perched on a sunflower seed head in front of iris leaves.

I have really been studying photography and my Photoshop Elements. Here I had to select the bird, feather the selection and decrease the opacity of the layer. The bird was one layer, the scan was the second layer and the green was the third layer. Then they all had to be merged.

After the art show Mr. B and I had errands to do. A stop at the hardware store yielded small hook eyes and picture wire to complete another project. Then we went looking for the Gurleyville Gristmill in Storrs, CT. Those pics aren't ready yet so I will share them another day.

When we arrived home I had a little time for more photos before starting supper. This is the best "yard shot" of the day. All in all, a lovely day. And still time to try printing photo cards on my new Big Boy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Is this a face you could love? The turkeys came frequently last winter. They started by eating out of the bird feeder. When we realized they were hungry we put out corn for them. I came across this picture while looking through my photo files.

Having realized I have taken over 9,000 photos in a year and a half, I decided it is time to view them all in iPhoto and make some tough decisions. Of course, I delete some when I load them into the computer, but still I have lots, and lots. I love having someone to show my photos to. Do you some time? Don't worry. There are only about 8,000!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There is a new Big Boy at my house!

An Epson Workforce 1100 that prints 13 x 19 and uses pigment inks.

Now I have no more excuses! You know how that goes. "If I had a better printer I could....... print larger photos and sell them for big money....... print my photos on fabric and make wonderful art quilts worth hundreds of dollars!"

It is "put up or shut up time" and I am terrified! What if I can't do all those things I always thought I could?

Can I possibly claim I need any more equipment or supplies?

Here is my "old" printer, my scanner, my sewing machine, and an antique treadle machine. 
Do I need more?

 Because we haven't been able to sell our lake house in Virginia (see the side bar), we are feeling the pinch and need some income. I have tried to get a job. Really, I tried. I applied for a few. But employers see me as "over the hill." And I have no one to recommend me because I was self employed for years. And I really don't want to go out and work and miss all the fun times with Mr. B. We have been giggling a lot lately. Would I want to miss that?

So, Etsy store, here I come. With fear and trepidation. Can I do all the techie things necessary? Advice anyone?

Just so you know. I didn't spend big bucks for Mr. Big Boy. He was the cheapest wide format printer I could find that uses pigment inks, the kind that last 100 years. He was on sale for $99 and free shipping from Amazon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Avery Point, CT

For my son-in-law's birthday we took him to Avery Point for a lobster. A branch of the University of Connecticut is there right on the ocean. Since it was a weekend, the huge stone mansion that houses offices was not open to the public.

This little house sparrow was on the railing next to the outdoor eating area. Don't worry. Mr. B shared his roll. Click here to learn about house sparrows and hear his chirp.

We ate at Finn's Cafe on the campus. Our group had lobster, hot lobster roll, lobster bisque and fried clam strips. The clam strips were by far the best. Don't order the lobster bisque if you like the traditional flavor. The atmosphere and view were better than the food.

As we ate we could watch the boats coming and going. It was a very gray day and the light was dull, so I transformed this picture of the view to black and white.

This Avery Point Light has undergone a half million dollar restoration. This site shows a Before picture. There are two other lighthouses at Avery Point.

There is a nice brick path along the rocky shore where you can see the "Sculpture by the Sea." I loved this pink pig.

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

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stranger and Stranger

I was drawn outside by the rays of the sun slanting across the lawn. The threatening storm had passed over us and since I was surprised to see the sun, I grabbed my camera and headed outside. After taking a few pictures, I walked around to the front of the house and looked up and saw these incredible marshmallow clouds.

As the sun colored the sky this is what I saw. Notice the two clouds in the center, just above the tree line. Look at the bottom picture and you will see those two up close. Don't they look like two faces, male and female? Strange! I have never seen anything like this!

As I was snapping shots, Mr. B drove up and asked if wanted to go where I could see more of the sky. I jumped in we were at the golf course in a few minutes where the sky was very dramatic.

All in all, a very satisfying evening! I sent my sister a picture of the strange clouds and she checked in her cloud book and told me they are Mammatus clouds. Here is the link so you can read about these fantastic clouds.

I'm linking to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House. Visit and see all the marvelous mosaics.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cirque Du Soliel - Quidam

Mr. B and I, along with other family members went to see an amazing show! Cirque Du Soliel - "Quidam" is the most unusual performance I have ever seen. If you have a chance to see Cirque Du Soliel, don't hesitate. Thanks to my eldest son and his wife for the tickets!

My middle son has seen the same show -twice! - and was very excited to hear we would be going.

This act in the wheel was one of my favorites. Truly amazing! But then I could say that about all of the show!

The performance was in downtown Providence, RI at the Dunking Donuts Center. Historic Providence is beautiful, clean and full of flowers. I hope to have another chance to visit and take in the sites.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Special Visitors

It is always busy at our bird feeder which is about twelve feet from our front door. Sometimes if I sit quietly on the front porch, the birds will keep coming and I can take pictures. The red bellied woodpecker is an exception. He keeps flying from tree to tree and complaining about me. I tried standing in the open doorway but he wouldn't accept that either.

As I was sitting in my chair on the porch, drinking coffee with my camera in my lap, this hummingbird flew in front of my face (about 3 feet from the tip of my nose), hovered there and seemed to look me in the eye. Probably thinking, "Put your coffee cup down and take my picture, you dunce!" But I blew it and didn't have the camera ready until he (she?) landed on the feeder.

A goldfinch couple has been working on the sunflower centers. Ironic that these sunflowers grew from seeds spilled from the bird feeder and now they are feeding the birds! These two pictures were taken from the living room window. They would have flown had I opened the door. She had her tail pointed at me so I focused on him. The sunflowers were bobbing in the wind and he was constantly pecking. Conditions that made it difficult to get a clear picture.

Next time I won't let that hummingbird sneak up on me!
I'm linking to Camera Critters. Check out all the other critters caught by a camera.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Buttonwood Farms - Sunflowers & Ice Cream

If you live in Connecticut and want good ice cream in a lovely setting, go to Buttonwood Farms in Griswold.  Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream, Inc - 471 Shetucket Turnpike. They make all their ice cream. Butter Brickle was my choice in a fresh made waffle cone. Mr. B enjoyed Maine Blueberry, my daughter tried Almond Coconut (I was tempted by this) and my SIL had chocolate cherry. There are many flavors, even bubble gum.

The sunflowers were not in full bloom yet but should be next weekend, July 23, when they sell bouquets for $5 and donate the money to the Make-a-Wish-Foundation.

 There were plenty of photo ops and my daughter and I took advantage of them. Mr. B commented that had he realized it was a photo trip, he would have taken a book to pass the time! You'll be seeing more photos of an old house, a barn, stone walls, and of course, more sunflowers!

Hop over to Little Red House and experience Mosaic Monday. I'm joining the party!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Munching in the Garden!

The exciting news is that the hydrangeas I planted last fall are blooming! I had a friend visit today and we did a photo shoot in the yard. She is giving me some pointers on Lightroom and here are the results. I am so used to finishing my photos in PhotoShop Elements that I'm having to push myself to use Lightroom. It requires more thinking!

Something has been eating my flowers, both the blooms and the leaves. I saw some shinny trails that I recognized as slug trails. So every evening I go out and put out my little cans of slug bait. Little swimming pools for them! Since I didn't want to sacrifice my good beer, I made a mixture of warm water, yeast and sugar. Works great. The slugs can't wait to crawl in and drown.

As I was putting out the slug pools tonight, in the dark, with my flashlight, I discovered what else is MUNCHING my plants. There were earwigs and beetles on the daisy blooms and the zinnias. So I picked them all off and crushed them. In the morning I will empty the slug pools and squish any slugs still alive. I sound blood thirsty, don't I? But I don't like seeing holes in the plants leaves and half eaten flowers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I think I'm in love!

My first ever rose bush has its first bloom! I've been like a new mother, checking it every day for aphids and spraying it if I see even one. As you can see, it is gorgeous! Here it is from a bud to a full blown flower. And as a bonus - it smells good. I take full credit!

Don't you love the color?

It was raining today as I took these photos. I always knew I could grow roses! I am just sooooooo proud!

My rose is "Tropicana." The label says "Very fragrant, coral-orange, flowers bloom above glossy, dark green foliage. Hybrid Tea Rose." I planted it this spring (early May) as a bare root plant.

Join Mary at Little Red house for Mosaic Monday and see what everyone is up to.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fall into Color

Doesn't this picture make you want to jump right into the center of this lily? Imagine being the size of Thumbelina and sitting on a petal and drinking from a raindrop. Oh the pure color of it!

Join Little Red House for Mosaic Monday and see the wonderful mosaics everyone has made.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still Raining!

My neighbors keep saying this weather is "unusual for Connecticut." They said the same thing about the snowy winter.  I suppose Autumn will be "unusual" too. I would love to see some sunshine! But the flowers are thriving in the rain - except for the pansies which look drowned. Here are pictures of wet flowers in my garden. I am so pleased to have some blooms to show you.

Mr. B surprised me. He was waiting in the car while I did an errand in Home Depot. When I returned to the car, the back was full of flowers. He had bought two large pots of yellow yarrow, one of my favorite flowers! So today when we went to Hockanums Greenhouse  near Storrs, to give them flower pots to reuse, I bought him a butterfly weed plant, his favorite. For Father's Day I gave him a yellow begonia.

This is a gerba daisy that Mr. B bought for me at the grocery store in February. It graced our dining room table until the blooms were gone then moved to a table in the living room in front of the large windows. This spring I planted it outdoors. It rewarded me with three blooms and two more coming. Do you suppose I can pot it this fall and winter it indoors? Don't you just love the color?

Given the choice, I would rather spend money on buying a plant than eating out. But today I was lucky and got both - lunch out and a pot of "snow in summer"! I can't go to a place that sells plants and not buy something! I just can't!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day Outing

We enjoyed a Father's Day outing to Captain Scott's Lobster Dock in New London. The weather was perfect - not too hot - and a few hundred other people had the same idea. But with Mr. B wanting lobster, we stood in line. An hour later we had our food. The children were treating us. After whole belly fried clams for me and a hot lobster roll for Mr. B (both delicious) we finished with an ice cream cone. Blueberry for Mr. B and toasted coconut for me. I loved the coconut!

It was outdoor seating and there was a pavillion where you could get out of the sun. We enjoyed watching the gull on the piling (no, he wasn't giant sized), and looking at the boats. It was a perfect afternoon. Since there were six of us and our cars only carry five, we took two cars. The children drove and all we had to do was enjoy the scenery while they followed the Google Map directions I had printed. It was a perfect day! I hope your Father's Day was just as nice.

Join me with a visit to Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raindrops on Flowers

After a sunny and hot spell, we have gone into a period of rain. The transition was marked by severe thunderstorms and devastating tornadoes an hour north of us. I find it difficult to garden in the hot, humid weather - one of the reasons we left Virginia. The rain has been good for all my fresh plantings. On the downside, the mosquitoes are thriving. It is cooler now and good gardening weather, but still rainy.

This lily is one of a group I started indoors in February. When it warmed up, I took the lilies outdoors everyday for a little sunshine. See my post "Sun Bath for Plants." It is nice to be rewarded for all that work with these lovely blooms.

Join Mary at Little Red House for more photo collages on Mosaic Monday.