Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post Holiday Letdown

The Holidays...

We rush around, making all kinds of plans, shopping, gift making, baking, planning meals, sending cards and letters, decorating the house...

An early photoshop project

I got creative, made gift tags and gift certificates for some creative thingies I had planned to stitch up for everyone the week AFTER Christmas, as I had the week off. Invited them all to New Year's Eve dinner at my house (what was I thinking?)...

This year's photoshop gift tags

Then I got a nasty bug and was sick all night on Monday. Tuesday I was pretty puny. Today I had just decided to go ahead with my plans, though the sewing was lagging behind. Then my brother, who lives in the other side of my house, told me he is sick now. That means his kids will get it and nobody better come up here!  It seems like everyone I know has had this 'bug' and we don't want to pass it around any more.

Yes, I can create

Yes, I have post holiday letdown. I don't feel like sewing or doing any more cooking or much else at the moment...

Cutting & pasting

But I still have 4 days left of vacation and have hopes that I will do something creative with that time.
I might finish the e-course in Photoshop Elements by Kim Klaussen, actually do the sewing projects, start cutting and pasting again and make collages, look into that etsy store idea more closely, do some housework...

Affordable art

Okay, that's better. I have a goal or 5 or 6.  I CAN create some value in the next 4 days, and hopefully continue the momentum into the new year. Though my Buddhist practice stresses goal setting, I often forget and "just go with the flow." But I usually try to come up with clear goals for the new year. What do I want to do this year? What can I accomplish? What would I love? What do I need?

Spread your wings and fly!

It's easy to forget ourselves to the pressures of life, family, work, etc. but making some clear personal goals is a gift we can give ourselves. What gets you motivated? What do you want? What do you need? What do you dream of doing, having, seeing? 

Spread your wings and fly!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Grandmother's House ~ Revisited

I posted this last year and it is as relevant this year. I added a paragraph and some Victorian pictures. Please feel free to use them-click on them to enlarge and save to your files.

When I was growing up, we lived next door to my grandparents.  They had an old shingle house with a formal parlor in it.  It was a magical place. In the summer it was cool and private, and I was allowed to go in there and read all I wanted.  The shelves were filled with flowered poetry books, boys adventure stories and other wonderful things.

 There were two closets, one on either side of the fireplace. In one there was a Civil War uniform. I vaguely remember faded flowered wallpaper over white painted wainscotting and the fireplace wall was all white paneled. There was a tinder box and a bed warmer on the hearth. The furniture was victorian and dainty and pretty. There was a piano-out of tune, but pretty too-did it have flowers carved into it?  On one wall was a picture of a boy in a straw hat, by Thomas Sully. The floor was worn wide boards with rugs on it.

Christmas eves my grandparents had a party in the parlor, with a tree and sweets hand made by grandma. Mom played carols on the piano and we all sang. The fire crackled and we opened hand-made gifts wrapped in old ironed paper and ribbons.  That was my job, to iron the ribbons and paper. We made popcorn garlands. Grandma made potato divinity and stuffed dates.  I don't remember having a whole meal, though if we did, we ate it in the dining room. Grandpa twinkled and told stories, and the uncles teased us all. That's filed away in my memory for ever.
Grandma died on September 1st the year I was 13.  That Christmas Grandpa wanted us to have the party in the parlor like before. It was sweet and sad till Grandpa brought out the gifts. They had all been wrapped by Grandma before she died. There was a purple apron and a string of purple buttons for me-my favorite color! I still channel Grandma at Christmas. She and Grandpa, who died the next year are close to the surface of my heart.

I haven't been in the parlor since 1974, just before I moved to Colorado for 20 years. Now it is out of my realm--other family members live there--but I have my memory. They say long-term memory is the longest lasting...I have my own traditions now, and I hope that I retain the spirit of those long ago Christmases. I glean gifts from around the house or make my own. I reuse paper and gift bags. I don't iron anymore, though!

I hope you all have a lovely holiday season.  Stay warm and cozy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm A Color and Texture Freak

I looked for my camera for weeks and here it is. So now I can write, as I have pictures to show you. I love to take pictures in the evening when the sun slants over the landscape burnishing the roadside weeds and leaving long shadows in it's wake.

Cloudy days can be fun too, as the colors soften and the sky can be dramatic.

Sometimes the colors can take your breath away!


This is Stubby's barn, what's left of it. It isn't safe to be near, as boards can just pop off by the pressure of their bending.

The largest part of the barn has already fallen and been taken away. No one wants to take on the job of dismantling, as it is too dangerous. Nature will have her way. She already has, notice the texture of this wood and stone...

Stubby used to raise and train oxen. He used to drive his team by our house a couple of times a year to show or walk in parades. The country fairs around here still have ox pulls and horse and even tractor pulls. I love to watch the oxen. Their relationship to their trainers is often wonderful to see. They strain and pull and seem to revel in their strength.

Just over the hill from Stubby's is what we call the Dead Swamp. None of my local friends have ever seen anything alive here.

I want to prove them wrong. Swamps are just filled with life! Even if you don't see a moose or a great blue heron, there is life there. Look closely and you will see a beaver lodge way in the back...

The leaves are gone now and color is pretty dull. But on these frosty mornings, I get excited. I love the way the frost rimes each blade of grass and weed and twig. The textures of late fall, like spiced cider,  warm the blood:

 and in winter, just when you think black and gray and white will overwhelm you,

 you have but to look around you to find color again!

Yes, I'm a color and texture freak! I've discovered that surrounding myself with color makes me so happy!  I will spend my winter photo shoots looking for that color surprise, that texture that intrigues the imagination.

The decorating magazines show all white interiors and stress shades and textures with a pop of color. Mother Nature was the original decorating doyenne--Move over Martha!

Enjoy the color surrounding you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ok, I'm Frustrated!

I've read often that many of you have problems with Blogger, and I never have till now. For some reason in the last week or so, my ability to comment to you has gone away. I keep visiting and my comments keep going away and never show up. It always asks me to register and then it deletes my comments!

Do any of you have this issue? How have you solved it? I tried Blogger Help, but can't pinpoint this problem or find any answers. I'm so *@!#%^&* frustrated! I really am looking at your lovely blogs and not getting through to you.

Please let me know if you have a solution for me, because I want to keep up with you all! Meanwhile, here's a few pictures for you...

Or a couple...Now it won't let me chose pictures from my files the way it used to, in a group. It goes to cloud picker then tells me there is an error. I should be able to go to my own files...So I changed it to the old format and I can pick one picture at a time...

I hate to think that I need to learn another program because Blogger is no longer supporting me. It's been a good year and I want to continue and become more and more active. I have a give-away plan in the works too.

I'll keep you posted and hopefully get back on track soon.

Love ya all!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Color Winding Down

Our woodpile
There's not much left to the traditional New England Fall Foliage at this time. Most of the leaves have left the trees and are carpeting the woods and vales. Ambitious souls rake and recycle their leaves, but Mother Nature has her ways. The crispy carpet slowly compacts into soggy masses of rotting leaves as snow covers them for the winter. In spring this natural mulch fertilizes and shelters the babies till they are ready to show their heads to the warming sun. Then it all comes to leaf and bloom again.

Deer's Dessert

I love the fall, but become sad when the colors go away. As an amateur photographer, though, I've begun to search for color when there is 'none', and though it is not as apparent, there it is! 


Last year on a black and white day, after the snow stopped, I went on a photo trip around the area seeking red. I came up with some spectacular photos featuring red berries covered with dripping white snow, red barns, stop signs, red doors, red lights, cardinals, etc.  I made an accordian book of the pictures and sent them to a friend.  I'll show you those pictures after the snow falls here, but meanwhile--What does New England look like in November?

Bittersweet vines have lost their leaves and the berry's husks have popped open. Bayberries and other red berries, apples, crabapples and other gorgeous seedy, viney and poddy things carpet the landscape, feeding the birds and creatures, seeding the area with next year's bounty.

Sumac Tassles

Look around! Every day you can discover something delightful if you begin to 'see' in a new way what has been right in front of you all along.

Furry roof for a rodent family
 Though I don't look forward to winter, I know I will find beauty in it's austerity. I won't just sit around depressed like I used to do, I'll seek the beauty and try to capture it for you!

Enjoy yourselves!


Friday, October 29, 2010

On Polka-dotted Horses and Speckled Trees

Every year at this time I go crazy. I can't stand to stay indoors or to stay home. I drive all over the countryside, sometimes grid-like--up and down every road in a certain area--looking for the perfect picture.

Fall is winding down, the Last Hurrah before the black and white winter sets in. I can't let all this glorious color go to waste. Then, what if I could find a bunch of mating turkeys or llamas in the fall foliage? I must make the most of every opportunity! The camera stays in the car full-time.

My friend Elaine joined me on Columbus day and we took a glorious ride. There were so may beautiful places, that certain quality of light I seek.  Elaine found the perfect pumpkin!

And a polka dotted horse.  She was so sweet, posing for me and showing us her good side!  (She must have thought so, anyway. She wouldn't turn the other way so I could take a picture of the heart on her flank.)

The next day, Tuesday, the surgeon called to see if I wanted to move my knee replacement surgery up one week, and I got busy doing all the prep work and never finished this posting.

So here it is 12 days after surgery and I'm doing well. I'm exercising with and without a physical therapist and I had my staples out today. I can already tell this knee will be a HUGE improvement over the old one!  When I can sit in this office chair for longer periods I'll get back into the swing of things!

Meanwhile, I miss you all and will visit you when I can. Get on out there and enjoy your days!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Watercolor World

A short post today...

It's one of those cloudy/sunny days and the clouds are moving so fast that I can't get outside quick enough for picture taking. The wind is gusting and Autumn is here, Right Here!

The past 3 days it rained, and the colors on the trees were pretty, though the days were dark. Looking out my office window, I saw watercolors. I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures of the crabapple tree and the woods around the building.

These crabapple trees have given me much pleasure in the few years we have been here in our new building. They were donated by a local landscaper, Jim McSweeney of  Hilltown Tree and Garden. They tickle my senses all year. In the Spring they are the fullest, pinkest trees around.

The Winter brings snow and devastating ice storms. I captured these after one of those ice storms that had power out for 4 days and trees broken all over the area.

But that is a month or two away, and I'm going to live for today...Oops, here's the sun again!
Have a Sunny Week!