Monday, April 27, 2009

Photo of the Week - April 27

After a few delicious days of sunshine and balmy breezes to tease us, the weather in the Pacific Northwest has returned to dark, cold, and dreary. I took my camera out this afternoon in a rather grim frame of mind, and the best my imagination could conjure is a few flower photos. Geez, I am getting into a rut, but at least the plants know that spring really is coming, even if the sky won't cooperate!

I grew up in Southern Wisconsin where Forget-Me-Nots are a common wildflower. When a small patch volunteered to grow in my herb garden a few years ago, I couldn't bear to weed them up. Aren't they the prettiest things?

My Mother-In-Law planted these Royal Anne cherry trees years ago - looks like we are going to have a bumper crop the year.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pretty Little Thing

Even though the weather has finally turned spring-like and I have been very busy getting my garden cleaned up, I still had enough time this week to make and *finish* (woo hoo!) this little embellished stone donut. I had to rearrange the charms several times to get them to my liking but I am glad I put in the extra work -- it was worth it to get it just right.

I LOVE that little fairy charm. I think I want to do a pair of earrings with that charm as well...

If you are interested in learning wire wrapping, the tutorial for this and many others can be found at Eni Oken's site. This one has a small fee, but there are lots of free lessons there as well. AND some amazing eye candy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Photo of the Week - a Labor of Love

The Church of the Pater Noster is built on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem on the site where tradition says that Jesus taught his disciples The Lord's Prayer. Set into the walls inside the building are tiled plaques with the prayer written out in 62 languages. This snapshot is of the plaque with the prayer in Friesian, my husband's parents' native language.

My husband's youngest sister (easily one of the coolest people I know) recently traveled to Israel where she took this photo. I volunteered to clean it up a little so she could have it printed and framed for her mother as a Mother's Day gift. This memento of the Holy Land will be very meaningful to Mom, as members of both her family and that of her husband were active in the resistance against the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War II.

It took me a little while (OK, a long while, LOL!) to figure out the proper order in which to make the corrections, but both of us are pretty pleased with the results. The more I learn how to play in Photoshop, the more addictive it becomes!

I never was able to totally square up the tiles. I suspect that the tiles themselves aren't level or square on the wall.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Marilyn Monroe Can Keep Her Diamonds

I much prefer earthier and more colorful stones. I was tempted to use these photos as my photo of the week because they were such a challenge to set up, but I wanted to be able to talk about a Finished Object for a change instead. I wish now I had used a higher f/stop for better focus throughout the photo, but even in natural light they got too dark without a flash.

No, what I *should* have done is get my tripod, but I was too lazy. Sigh...

These are free-form wire wrapped pendants -- I have so much fun wearing them! The one on the left is an older piece, an amethyst crystal point caught in a cage of 14 gauge silver wire embellished with beads. The dangle is two more amethysts and a silver spacer.

The pendant on the right is a fluroite wand. I dropped it on the floor and broke it about half-way through wrapping it, but I couldn't bear to throw it away and waste all that silver, so it just sat there on my beading desk. I finally decided it was pointless to just let it sit there getting in the way, so I glued the stone back together and finished wrapping it as my UFO challenge for this month. I can't even see the fault in the stone any more, and it turned out so pretty. I just need to get a chain for it yet.

I purchased this piece from the artist who taught me all I know about wire. Her name is Emily, and unfortunately she doesn't have a website, so this is the only example I have of her work that I can share. Her style is very free form, but still manages to have a rhythm and flow that reminds me of Art Nouveau detailing.

Here is a detail view of the Kyanite and Aqua Aura pendant. If I could afford it, I would own much more of her work, but I am satisfied to make my own pieces.

Because I am a collector by nature, I have quite a few stones waiting in the wings to be wrapped in their turn. I've been saving the partially faceted and polished piece of citrine in the upper left -- I think I hear it calling "Me next please!"

I should probably be ashamed to have so many raw materials just lying around waiting to be used, but I just like HAVING them, so I'm not. :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Princess in the Family

Please forgive a proud Mom for just a moment for using her art space to show off her daughters. Last night, Lydia's year as the Marion County Dairy Princess-Ambassador came to an end, just in time for her to hand off the tiara to her sister Alice.

That makes the fourth young lady brought up on this farm to be our county's Princess-Ambassador. It's a lot to live up to, but Alice is well capable of handling the responsibilities. Have a great year Alice!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photo of the Week -- Easter Blessings

I hope that all who celebrate Easter had as wonderful a day as I did. Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays.

It was my project for the week (alas for my UFO!) to cook a dinner for my family worthy of the day. Our menu included Roast Leg of Lamb, Roasted Potatoes, Haricots Verts, and an enormous English Trifle.

Oh, how I love raspberries, and not just because they are so pretty!

I know I promised photos of finished objects last week, but my attention was caught by a book I just couldn't put down. It was wonderful to disappear into a fantasy world... for just a little while.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Photo of the Week - April 6

I was delighted to see this little guy visiting the blooms of my rosemary shrubs - aren't they the most amazing little beings?? I was also delighted to get a photograph of him as they move SO fast it is tricky to catch them in the viewfinder, much less sit still long enough to focus. This one *would* have been clearer if he hadn't been scooting around so much!

I increased my shutter speed to 1/300 to finally get a shot with respectable focus. Unfortunately that made for an unpleasantly dark photo. Thank goodness for Photoshop!

Oh my, he's pretty.

This guy is my next quest. I hear him often but see him rarely, so you can just bet that I will be paying more attention to the treetops at dusk in the future! I didn't see him last night until it was nearly completely dark, so this is the best I could do, even WITH photoshop. sigh...

I do have some finished works to share, as well as this month's UFO challenge project, but I haven't photographed them yet. Spring is finally here and I haven't been motivated to come back inside and set up my light box yet. Tomorrow maybe, LOL!