Monday, June 29, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Success at last!

My faithful Google has done it again. After several false starts, missteps, and the complete loss of all my gadgets, I finally found the customizable 3-column template of my dreams to play with! I case anybody else wants to play, there are an assortment of Blogger-Beta-compatible templates here. Mine is the "minima white".

As you can see I still have some tweaking to do, but from now on it will be fun rather than frustrating. Thanks for all the good luck wishes - you have no idea how much I appreciate your company here online.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I hope you will excuse the random changes in the appearance of my blog. I am attempting to coach myself through some HTML exercises and make this blog a little more personalized. It isn't hard, but the learning is taking place in the midst of other "real life" tasks, and it may be a while before I am satisfied with what I am able to accomplish.

My main goal at the moment is to change this "Minima Stretch" template into a 3-column layout. I *thought* I had found the solution, but I haven't been able to make it work yet. ...grumblegrumble...

Anybody care to wish me luck, LOL?!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photo of the Week: TWINS!

While twin calves are not common, they are not particularly rare either. However, twin heifers only come along once in a blue moon. These two little darlings were born early early Sunday morning, and Jake is accepting them as a Father's Day gift from the universe, LOL.

As you can see, getting born and having your first meal is exhausting, so they were not in the mood for a portrait shoot.

On the way back to the house, I stopped to pull a weed from my tomato beds and lo! and behold, we have tiny green tomatoes on the vines already. I always plant too many tomatoes, but I can't seem to help myself. They are SO good!

And oh, the promise of good things to come!

Sunday was also Alice's 18th birthday, and she requested a cheesecake for dessert. I tried out a new recipe for a Raspberry White Chocolate Truffle version, which turned out very well, but it is very rich. Trust me, a little goes a very long way!

The photo didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, so I guess food photography has its tricks like any other subject. Time to do some googling.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Dairy Tale

I am busy gardening this week. My art time has been taken up with finishing projects and beginning work on a challenge piece that I can't share until it's over, so let me tell you a little story instead. It's a sad story, a true tale of woe.

I took my camera out one lovely evening to snap some photos of my roses. (I found this blackberry vine growing up through the canes of my old rambler rose. It has to go, but in the meantime, don't the 2 look pretty blooming together?)

As I wandered around the yard, I gradually came to notice a calf in the weaned field making an awful lot of noise. She was actually following me up and down the fenceline, mooing her little head off. This little calf has just been moved out of the calf barn and taken off milk, and she is NOT happy about it. Not happy at all. She wants some milk, and she wants it NOW darn it!

I wasn't paying much attention to her, but she continued to moo. I think a flock of birds caught her attention here...

Please believe me, she is not starving! There is plenty of food available in her new part of the barn, and she has free access to pasture. And yet she is suffering badly. Just ask her, LOL.

She has been mooing nonstop now for 4 days, and as of this morning, though she has lost her voice. she keeps trying to convince somebody to bring her some milk. It is the tiniest bit pitiful to hear them try to moo when they have no voice left, and yet I can't help but laugh and be grateful that the racket has finally quieted down.

Don't you feel sorry for her?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Photo of the Week - Payback Time

I take a lot of teasing from my family for living in a place where it rains so much and so often, and yes, I have done my share of complaining about the rain too, BUT... this is the time of year when we are reminded why we love it here so much. Trust me, Oregon in June is about as beautiful as it gets. Everywhere I look, something is blooming, or ripening, or being harvested in abundance.

These Royal Anne cherries are about as colorful as they are going to get, but they are a little firm yet. By next week I will be hustling to pick as many as I can before the birds get them all.

If you have ever had a real Oregon strawberry, you would turn up your nose at the giant rocks disguised as berries being sold in the supermarket. These beauties will soon become berries worth holding out for! They only last for a few weeks, so we indulge while they are here. Yumm!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hatchling, Ready for Make-Up

I have been on such a roll with this little guy - here he is with the rest of his muscles and skin applied, and his wings assembled and attached. I tried to take a good sample of photographic views of him, as he is different depending on how you look at him.

His pose turned out exactly the way I envisioned him in my mind, which is a rare achievement for me. My intent was to capture a fire lizard at the moment of his hatching, ready for Impression. (I am a huge fan of The Dragon Riders of Pern series of books by Anne McCaffrey - I have always wished for a fire lizard for my very own, LOL.)

I am also pretty happy with the way his wings turned out, though they ended up getting a little thicker than I wanted. If I try this technique again I will do it just a little different. Even so, they are wonderfully translucent -- see the backlight shining through?

Here is one last view of the detail of the texture of his egg. This was made using techniques and instructions developed and written by the wonderful Julianne Sizemore.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baby Dragon next steps

Just a quick update for those who like "in progress" photos. My baby dragon has his pose on with completed feet and his egg. I need to make a base for that egg yet so that it sits still, add a tail and wings to the new hatchling and finish texturing his skin. I'm getting to the part now where I'm afraid to work on him for fear of messing him up. I WILL keep going!

Really, LOL.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Photo of the Week - Works in Progress

I meant to upload these last week, but due to multiple family events and activities I literally did not have a minute to set up a photo shoot. Fortunately today has been much more laid back and I was able to get out my camera again.

As promised, I bring you my second Breyer repaint for my daughter. I was going for a "Goth" sort of feel on this piece, and I am satisfied with the way it turned out. So is Lydia, LOL. Unfortunately, the subtlties of the colors in the finished piece don't show to advantage in this photo - I have no idea why the red around the eyes is so pronounced, and the shades of green that are dappled through the coat are all but invisible. I guess you're just going to have to trust me on this one - it turned out pretty cool.

I still need to embellish and insert the wings, but although I like this pair I'm not certain now that I want to use them. I think I want something a little more dragon-like.

And finally, here is my little baby dragon as is he so far. He's come a ways from that ball of tinfoil, hasn't he?

His little face turned out exactly the way I wanted it, so I went ahead and baked that part already. I have been doing some reading and experimenting with sculpting then baking in stages, and I think this might just be the technique I need to protect my works from inadvertant squishes and fingernail marks.

Next up will be to give him real hands and feet instead of the mittens that show here. I am really anxious to finish him, but one step at a time is better than never finishing him because I don't have time to settle down and concentrate on the whole thing in one sitting.