Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Gratitude

This week has gone by in high speed! It's Sunday evening, and I'm still wondering how this could happen so fast. Time sure flies when you're having fun - and I do have fun preparing for the holiday shows. I'm really excited about it, although the nervousness is increasing as well!

It's time for some gratitude for the past week. Here's my list:

I am grateful for

- time spent with friends, good talks and shared laughter. Spending time with them is never wasted time and feeds my soul.

- my daughter's quirkiness. So often she makes me laugh. Her ideas are wonderful and I love that she always tries to see the positive side of things. I can learn a lot from her.

- fall colors. Autumn hangs around for a long time in my corner of the world. Sometimes the colorful leaves are still on the trees in December.

- morning fog. So close to the Pacific Ocean we often have coastal fog in the morning and sometimes it hasn't burnt off by noon. I love how fog makes everything soft and disappearing gently. It's one of my favorite moods in photography.

- the rain that finally arrived here this past week. We actually had three storm systems following each other within a couple days and they were dumping quite some rain here. My garden looks happy as a clam except for the parts where the raccoons were digging up the ground while searching for grubs in the soil. I try to see the positive here (see above!) in so far as they are keeping the grub population in my garden under control.

- the birds and squirrels in my garden. There are lots of them; I have bird feeders hanging in my Photinia, and they're frequented both by the birds and the squirrels. But they also love to graze on the ground. Many of the birds are sitting in the Privet tree and feeding on its berries. I love to watch them; it is calming and peaceful.

Golden crowned sparrow

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friday Finds and Paint Party Friday

It finally started to rain here - such bliss!! One storm after the other are chasing through the state and they are all dumping quite some rain on the dried out ground. It is such a relief, and I hope that over the winter months there will be more rain so our reservoirs will fill up again.

While looking out of the window, I was amazed how beautiful my small Japanese maple in the backyard looks. In this grey and wet weather - and against the dark fence - the color of the leaves really pops. A wonderful find for this week.

Apart from that the week has been busy - in less than 10 days I'll have my first holiday fair of the season and I'm still in full creative mode. There are two new paintings:

 Snowman Family on 6x6 wood panel

Mixed media on 8x8 canvas board

I've also made a few more ornaments from the leftover redwood of our picket fence.

Christmas Cat and Christmas Owl

For the holiday boutique in Ukiah we were asked to donate one item for the silent auction. This little owl mixed media painting on a 5x5 canvas is mine.

I'm linking to both Friday Finds and Paint Party Friday - perhaps you'd like to check them out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dreamy Boats

Sometime in October I had planned to post this photo for Texture Tuesday, and then I completely forgot about it. I never posted it - so it will get its turn today.

Kim's preset "hazydazy" in LR and then layered with her texture "dustyrose" in multiply at 50%

I took the picture of these boats in the summer of 1989 while vacationing in France. I can't remember which river this was - I don't have good memories of this vacation and I only remember a very few places. I've also only kept a very few slides from that trip. For some reason I've kept these boats - and I'm glad I did.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Gratitude

In all the busyness of the past few weeks my feelings and thoughts of gratitude have fallen to the wayside a bit, something I do not like at all. For me it is important to show and express gratitude for the richness of my life, for the things that we often take for granted.

This is why I am writing a post about gratitude today, on this day of rest.

I am grateful for

- my family, the Geek and Kaefer, being in my life and making it so much richer every single day. Yes, we do fight from time to time, but we also laugh a lot together and enjoy being with each other. We love each other.
- my friends without whom my life would be so much duller and less fun. There aren't many people I call friends, but these few are close, kindred souls that I don't want to miss.
- writing my thoughts on my blog and receiving responses from YOU that I often need in order to go on and follow my path.
- the colors that brighten my world and feed my soul. Imagine a world in black and white - how sad would that be.
- books that I can escape into whenever I feel the need for that. I am thankful for all the wonderful writers who "kidnap" us into their made up world and lives of characters we come to love. A beautifully written piece of words can soothe my soul.
- our beautiful home that is warm and cozy. Since spring 2012 when we bought and moved into this house we have transformed it into a home that we love and that is truly ours.
- the food that we eat every day, the abundance of deliciousness. The wonderful smells that travel through our home when I cook dinner or bake bread.
- my garden, the feeling of dirt under my fingernails and the crumbling soil in the palm of my hand. Watching flowers, shrubs and trees taking off and changing the landscape within our beautiful redwood picket fence.

- teaching a mixed media class which once again showed me how much I love teaching - and I wonder why I don't do it more often.
- my workout classes that help me to stay in shape (though still not in the way I would want to) and give me the chance to literally dance off my anger and frustration.
- music. All kinds of music - classical music, meditation sounds, Native American inspired music, piano, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings. The list is endless.
- hot chocolate. Now that the cooler season has definitely arrived, all of us enjoy a mug of hot chocolate in the late afternoon. It makes the dark and chilly time of the year warm and delightful.

This is just a glimpse of what I am grateful for. There is so much more. But this might just be the start to more grateful Sundays.

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Put a Bird on it!

This week has been another creative one - it feels so good to create again. In two weeks I'll sell at my first holiday fair of the season, and I'm working like a crazy woman for that - painting wooden ornaments, knitting hats and scarves for wood snowmen, making journals, knitting small winter outfits for dolls, adhering photos to cards. There are thousands of things that still need to be done, and my list seems to get longer and longer.

Last Saturday I was supposed to teach a mixed media class, but it was cancelled due to low enrollment. However, one of the ladies who wanted to take the class called me and asked whether I would do a one-on-one class with her. I agreed and we met last Monday morning. It was such a wonderful class - more like a get together with a friend. She was a lovely lady, and we spent a few hours creating a bird canvas. A canvas board, actually.

I usually have a sample in class, but my students can create whatever they like, the sample is just a very loose guideline. I create along with them, because that is the best way to show some techniques. My bird turned out completely different from my sample (I'm still working on my sample, so I am not showing it here).

It's a happy bird - I felt happy that Monday morning, teaching my class. I only added a few things after the class, like the little rhinestones at the banner, and the bird's feet.

I'm joining Paint Party Friday, one of the most wonderful painting parties in blogland!

A Very Different Kind of Fence

You probably wonder what snowmen with hats and scarves are doing in a post about - good - fences?

Well - look closer.

Can you guess? This is leftover wood from the fence the Geek and I built in the spring. Beautiful, untreated redwood. It was sitting in our garden shed in all kinds of different sizes because I couldn't bring myself to throw it away. Some of the really small parts we threw in our fire pit on warm summer evenings. But the others are still holding out in the shed.

So I grabbed some of the smaller parts and made ornaments from them - as I showed you here. But what to do with the bigger parts?

It was so obvious - snowmen, of course. With hand knitted hats and scarves.

A few years ago Kaefer had asked me to knit a hat, scarf and leg warmers for her American Girl doll. Lucky for me I still had the pattern and found that the AG hats fit perfectly on my wooden snowmen. I got some skeins of colorful yarn and happily knitted along. The great thing about knitting these is that I can watch a movie while creating the hats and scarves.

The wood is untreated and I left the imperfections of the wood - I only primed it and then painted over it. The "personality" of the wood is still there.

Painting on the faces was fun, and I also added a few buttons. Good thing I have quite a lot of buttons! The snowmen are available in my Etsy shop.

But of course I will show you a "real" fence photo - an image of the fence where my snowmen come from, the "mother fence" if you will.... taken in the spring when I had all the wonderful poppies in my front garden (of course they are all gone, but I can already see some new seedlings!).

So - do my snowmen count as a good fence? I admit it's a bit unusual... still, I'm linking to Theresa's "Good Fences" where you can find a lot of real, honest fences!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Glory of Chinese Pistache

Last week we planted a Chinese Pistache in our front garden. I wanted to have a tree there that has some spectacular fall color. At our old house I had planted a Chinese Pistache that unfortunately only stated to change color the year before we moved away. All the autumns before that it stayed green and just lost its leaves. What a disappointment.

When I decided to try a Chinese Pistache again I avoided one of the mistakes I made with the first tree - I didn't buy and plant it in spring. Instead I waited until November when the color is the best here in my corner of the world. A friend of mine came over with her truck and we went to the tree farm where I found this pretty tree that was already on fire - hopefully a good sign for future falls. The farm had quite some Chinese Pistache that were still green and I made sure to stay away from them.

A couple days later the Geek and I planted the tree and it now adds some wonderful color to the front garden (yes, I still had my ghost pumpkin outside...).

Layered with "kk-appreciate" in soft light at 100%; texture removed from tree; copied and blended in multiply at 100%; layer adjustment on texture only

Further down the street stands a huge Chinese Pistache which is absolutely gorgeous at the moment. Compared to that, mine is a tiny baby.

I'm linking up to Kim's Texture Tuesday again.