Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Lil Piggy

Aren't these little toes the cutest ever?? And can you imagine what they sound like when they tap and move with those little bells at their ankles?

These little ankle bells are made by Becca Lavery in Brisbane, Australia. Her shop, "This Lil Piggy Shoes" is the last but certainly not least shop during my May Etsy promotion.

Or perhaps you prefer some ROAR for your baby/toddler/grandchild - Becca has you covered! Aren't these Leaping Leopards Mary Janes absolutely adorable?

Becca makes these shoes by hand in her home in Brighton, a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland. She learned sewing from her mom, and after the birth of her son she started making baby footwear.

Becca also has a Facebook page and she blogs here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remember Me

During the twelve years we have been living in California, we never went to the Memorial Day ceremony in our Memorial Park. Every year, the Annual Avenue of Flags is displayed there - I am not quite sure how many flags you can see there, the number must be in the hundreds plus the fifty states flags. It is quite impressive.

Most of the soldiers' graves were decorated as well, with small flags and flowers.

The celebration itself was touching, and I was impressed how many people had turned up despite the lousy weather. There was also a group of men (unfortunately I couldn't find out who it was) who sang the national anthem and "America the Beautiful" in such a beautiful way! Here they are:

I had never experienced something like this in Germany. The military in my country is seen completely differently, and of course our history plays a role in that. After World War II my country has pledged that never again any aggression toward any other country would emerge from our native soil. Until July 2011 we had the draft which was not hugely popular. The Geek served in the German military. However, somehow our relationship to everything military is a bit crooked and can probably only be understood if you try to look a bit deeper into the "German soul".

Even though I grew up with an ambivalence toward the military, I found this Memorial Day ceremony deeply touching. I was lucky enough that a veteran from Connecticut asked me about my camera and thus we started talking to each other. Of course (this happens to me so often), he was proud to tell me the few words he knew in German, and we talked and talked. He could actually understand my feelings about the ceremony.

I'm ending this post with a sentiment what Memorial Day (and every other day for that matter) is about. Let us never forget the men and women anywhere in the world who serve their country.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Bees Were Crazy This Morning

When I went out to my front yard this morning to look at my flowers I saw that the bees went totally crazy about the poppies. At least one bee was sitting in each poppy, but in many there were two or more bees circling around eager to get to the nectar.

There was a steady humming in the air. One thing's for sure - there is no bee crisis in my meadow.

There are still more poppies opening, the beauty is not ending yet.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Maika Creations

This photo sets the tone - fun children's clothing that you can buy in Caroline's Etsy store "maika" that I share with you today. When I see clothes like this I wish Kaefer was a very little girl again... She would have loved this cute squirrel shirt:

Caroline is from Brisbane, Australia, and enjoys making fun children's clothing from new and recycled fabric. Her clothes are unique and all of them use an element of recycled fabric. Often she combines her second hand finds with contemporary fabrics from retail stores.

In her own words: "In my shop you will find easy wearing and carefree handmade clothes reminiscing a time when your mum made your clothes, there was no such thing as licensed merchandise or ridiculous slogans on t-shirts, you played in the backyard and rode your bike down the street to your best friend's house."

I would love that for my children.

Caroline also has a Facebook page and she blogs at maika.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Poppies - Again!

(blended with Kim Klassen's texture "Golden" in soft light at 75%)

It's poppy time here in Northern California - and by this I actually don't mean the beautiful California poppy, our state flower (although this is its season as well), but the big and stunning Papaver poppies.

When I ripped out my front lawn last summer, I knew that I cannot plant the entire area in just one year, so I simply put out seeds in one part of the former lawn, seeds of native wildflowers, California poppies - and those Papaver poppies.

Today, this has transformed in a beautiful colorful meadow with quite a lot of "bushes" of gorgeous poppies.

(blended with Kim Klassen's texture "Golden" in soft light at 75%)

Every morning when I walk along the meadow I discover new poppies. Especially in the morning, they are often not quite open yet.

Isn't that pretty?

In the morning, when the sun is still low in the sky, the poppies glow in the light - almost every day I take new photos which means I have hundreds of pictures by now. Still, I don't get tired of it.

When the sun hasn't reached the meadow yet, the colors really pop.

The bees love the poppies as well - there's a steady humming sound over the meadow. Bee crisis? Certainly not here.

Of course, between all the pink, magenta and white poppies there is also the "classic" red poppy.

But I also planted newer poppies with their mysterious and completely stunning dark colors.

And when the flowers are gone, the beauty remains - aren't these seed pods extraordinarily beautiful?

(Photo of the week)

I'm linking up to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday for the free and easy edition.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lost in Dreams

Today I want to share Annabelle's Etsy shop CassienadognamedBoo with you. As you can easily see from the picture on top, she is a wonderful talented artist. Let's hear her very own words:

"With a little help from Charlotte the Whimsical Spider, the Ingenuous Charlotte the spider character from the famous book "Charlotte's Web" ( my favourite story) and Cassie the Little Witch and her ghost dog named Boo, I create whimsical dark and light fairytale worlds."

Annabelle is from Ontario, Canada, where she lives in Ottawa. She adores art and enjoys delving into different mediums and styles.

She calls her art whimsical fairytale art, and I think that is a perfect expression. Please visit her shop here and look for yourself.

This is my favorite of her paintings - can you see why?

Isn't that little cat super adorable??

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Bit of Color in Black & White

How long has it been since I last participated in Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday? I can't even remember...

This week's theme is black and white with perhaps a tiny bit of color. I opted for this rose that was peeking through a weathered fence in Mendocino. The photo in color is pretty "normal" on the border to boring. However, converting it to black & white and just keeping the pink/red of the rose gave it some interest. Okay, so my "tiny bit" or "hint" of color turned  out a little bit more than that.

This is what I did:
- Converted the original photo to black & white
- brought back the color of the rose by using a layer mask
- hue/saturation adjustment
- added Kim's texture "februarymagicedges" in blending mode Lighter Color at 75%
- added Kim's texture "kk_scriptedges" in blending mode Lighten at 100%

I haven't worked with textures for such a long time - or with some major changing in PSE in general - that I had to turn to my notes that I jotted down during the various classes I took with Kim. I certainly miss the practice!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Liberate Your Art

This year I participated in Kat Sloma's Liberate your art postcard swap again. I had done so the first year, but missed it last year due to the move.

I received six beautiful cards, and it was quite exciting to get all of them. They came form the US and the UK, and most of them had some kind or other of blue in them. It's something I realized the more cards I received.

This funny moose came from William with the message "Aim for the concept, not the reality". Bill blogs at WJCS Digital World and as you can imagine, he loves digital art.

Alison Bent wrote on the back of this cute card these words by Aldo Leopold: "Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to valves as yet uncaptured by language".

This beautiful scene was sent to me from Kat in the Appalachian Mountains. You can find more of her beautiful photos on Instagram.

Natasha sent this beautiful work of art with an inspiring quote by Scott Adams, "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." I quite like that!

The fifth card came from Mel in the UK - her message was wonderful: "Put your he{ART} into all you do!" She blogs at I Speak Melsh - why don't you look for yourself what she means by that?

Last but not least - and this card didn't even arrive as the last one - the card from Kat herself in beautiful shades of blue.

If you want to see the cards I sent out - I'm sorry that I have to disappoint you. I was so excited about the swap that I totally forgot to take pictures of my cards! I sent five different cards of my artwork - unfortunately, that is all I can tell you.

If Kat is doing a Liberate your art postcard swap again next year, I'm pretty sure I will participate again. It really is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Beautiful Walk in the Morning

A couple weeks ago Kaefer had an early Saturday morning singing during a choral festival at the local university. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was just starting to rise, and I decided to take a walk in the nearby regional park.

This little bird greeted me when I arrived. The sun had just crept over the hills, the light was golden and warm. The park is nestled in a hilly area among several vineyards.

There is an abundance of trails in the park, each of them offering gorgeous views over wine country. I opted for the Poppy Trail into the park and then the Fiddleneck Trail for my way back to the parking lot.

Since it was that early I had the place almost entirely to myself. I met only one or two other people while I was walking here. The park is full of beautifully shaped trees.

There were many wildflowers as well. This is one of my most beloved ones - when it is done blooming it gets a beautiful puffy seed head and looks like it belongs to some kind of fairy land. Unfortunately I don't know the name of it, but if you do, please let me know.

The air was filled with bird song, it was lovely. The most dominant was the very distinguished call of the red-winged blackbird. It's such a beautiful bird.

The Canada geese decided to hang out in the old trees.

And of course there were fences - and you know who likes fences, right?

Many of the fence posts had big holes in them which made for some lovely shots.

When I was ready to leave the park and pick up Kaefer again, the dog walkers had arrived.

This early morning walk in nature - just me, the birds, the flowers and the trees - was just the right thing to do. It was relaxing and gave me energy for the rest of the day.