Thursday, June 30, 2011

Digital Collage - Embrace Imperfection

I found this building in Sweetwater Tennessee. A very interesting town. I used a free background from DJ Pettitt, added some other textures to it, and placed some text. Enlarged with a double click to get the full impact. Hope everyone has a great evening!

A Visit to Donna Downey's Studio

I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I saw this display in the store. I love owls and collect cameras. Aren't the little dresses cute?

Donna uses a lot of canvas in her work. She has her canvas books on display in various stages of completion. I particularly liked this apron she had made. Apparently she has a very cool apron class.

The store is stocked with all the latest goodies for creating art. It is laid out to excite your eyes. So much eye candy here.

This is one of the cabinets in the studio and classroom area.

One of the four large table areas in the classroom. These are a couple of the girls after the ATC class. Everyone was so nice.

I thought I would share some of the photographs I took with my iphone at Donna Downey's Studio. It is full of wondrous things. I was sort of sad when it was time to start the ATC class. I could of spent hours there just looking. She has several open studio nights and lots of really interesting classes. I will be timing my next visit to Charlotte North Carolina to take advantage of them.

ATC Class with Donna Downey

Last month when I was in Charlotte North Carolina visiting family I decided to take an ATC class at Donna Downey's Studio. What a great idea that was. For $10.00 we purchased this kit and all of us sat down for a relaxing evening of creating.

Donna is very sweet with lots of funny stories. I met so many talented and sharing women that evening. Most of the ladies had taken classes there before and many knew each other. Everyone was so kind and friendly.

I loved the four ATC's we made. I had enough leftovers to make some more original ones. I would love to add some stitching to these. Meanwhile, it was fun to get out and meet some new people in a creative place. If you are ever in the Charlotte North Carolina area please stop by you won't be sorry.

Journal Pages...Glue Book

I love blue and white. I bought these pots and pans when I graduated from college. They still look brand new and cook like crazy.

I collect old plates. I like to pick them up at thrift stores and flea markets for $1.00. They make great gifts when you load them up with homemade cookies or slices of homemade bread.

The house I am thinking of buying has cabinets like this and the granite is similar. My house at the beach has black granite - hard to keep clean, shows every grain of salt.

Love the lamp that looks like a dandelion. I want it! Also, the large bottle on the counter. I have a real thing for large bottles. I am wondering where that comes from. I like blue bottles, brown bottles, just as long as they are large. Is there a known name for this obsession?

I love the color of sand and blue combined. It is very peaceful and cool to me. Maybe all those years at the beach have imprinted on me. The older I get the more restful I need things to be.

There are so many things available to help you organize your life. It is almost impossible to forget or be late anymore. Alarms on cell phones, calendars of every kind and size, chalk board paint, the list goes on and on. It is sad in away. I want a life that does not have to be scheduled every moment. A moment to lay in the grass and find images in the clouds...

I am house hunting. I am ready to settle someplace and unpack after nine months of travel. I need a place to hang my hat. I have found several houses. I made a bid or two on one house [a foreclosure], but it has not worked out, yet. Till I find the house...

I have compiled a journal - glue book - of ideas and things that appeal to me. A sort of house journal. I took the larger size Moleskin Sketchbook. Tore out all the pictures in catalogs and magazines that appealed to me, and started gluing them in. I left room to write what I liked about them, what might work for me. Some of the pages had things like I own on them or like I want to display the things I own. I have several collections of "things".

When I find a home I can add paint samples, fabric samples and pictures of things I am looking for or need to the journal. This house hunting is hard. It is a start of a new journey...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Flowers - Hydrangea's


Pink and Dirty

Blue and Green

Hydrangea's are some of my favorite flowers. Everyday they are a little different. They last for weeks, always changing and evolving. I love them through every phase. Here are a few photographs I took of three different clusters of blossums from three different bushes. The last photograph - blue and green - is the one I used in the digital collage Memories of Home. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do![please make sure you enlarge them to get the full effect!]

Digital Collage - Memories of Home

Summer always reminds me of lazy days. My parents use to drop my brother and I off at my grandmother's so they could have a little break. I remember getting up early before the heat to work in the garden. Fishing on the lake in a little row boat. Trips to the library followed by reading on the porch. Afternoon visits with family and friends. Vases of flowers scattered around the house. What kind of summer memories do you have?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Digital Photograph...The Yellow Lily

Just one of the beautiful Lilies summer has graced us with...

My Grandmother's Potato Salad

Here is the Potato Salad recipe as promised last week. Summer has invaded my life. I am enjoying the hot, sultry days, and the long nights filled with all those night sounds. It is as if the darkness has come alive. The peepers and lightning bugs are fantastic. It reminds me of staying up late, playing in the yard while the adults talked on the porch, cool baths that washed away the heat of the day, and food. Food made early in the morning and set out in the evening, fried chicken, potato salad and fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden. Now I am hungry...

My Grandmother's Potato Salad

2 pounds of Idaho potates, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces.

1 cup mayonaise

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 cup celery

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled, and chopped

Place potatoes in a 4 quart stockpot, cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes till potatoes are tender and easy to pierce with a fork. Drain and cool slightly. [I stick mine in a bowl in the refrigerator while I do the next couple of steps.]

Whisk the mayonaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Add the celery and onions. Toss gently. Add the potatoes and eggs. Gently mix and toss the ingredients. Place mixture in serving dish. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

hint - eggs are peeled easily by cooling them down completely in ice water. Crack shells all over then peel in a bowl of cold water.

French Postcard Freebies...

Gypsy Girl

Girl in Pink

Girl in Blue

Girl in Green

Girl in Yellow

Thought I would share some French Postcards with you this week. I love postcards. They are so much fun to receive and just as much fun to collect. Such small easy things to instantly remind you of your travels. This summer I am collecting postcards from all my travels. I am sure they will bring back fond memories during the cold winter. I hope you will join me.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Sweet Home Alabama - Alabama the Beautiful. I see these slogans written all over the license plates of the cars and trucks in Alabama. Yes I am back in Alabama. My good friend has had her surgery and feeling much better.

The people who were devastated by the 60 something tornadoes that blew through the state are recovering. Not quite two months out, the trees that were damaged have turned brown and are piled in fields, along the roads, in parking lots, etc. Many stand torn and stripped.

Homes and businesses are cleaning up and starting to mend and rebuild. It is still a shock to turn a corner and see unbelievable damage on one side of a street, or through a neighborhood and normalcy on another. In many places you can see just wide swaths where homes and businesses use to be. It is chilling, heart stopping. Recovery here will take a long time. Not just the physical recovery of rebuilding, but the psychological recovery.

Saturday, I was in a small town on Main Street taking pictures, antiquing, and thrift store shopping. The skies turned dark and the wind began to kick up. Within two or three minutes shop owners were out watching the skies. I heard one man calling home asking someone to check the weather station. You could feel the fear. I had to stop and say a little prayer for all of those so scarred from the tornadoes.

So, today, this week, I am grateful that my family is safe, with a roof/roofs over their heads. How lucky am I! [please double click on the photographs to see the extent of the damage]

Barbecued Brisket

This Father's Day I have been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have the father I have. One of my earliest memories of him is standing over the grill cooking something scrumptious for us. If I was really lucky I could pull my special chair up and watch. After awhile I got to hand him the sauce or some other tool he might need. He explained the science behind what he was doing. How important it was to have the right temperature, not to press the meat or it would dry out, little life lessons were given. This was "man territory" and I had been invited in. I can hardly smell a grill and not remember some of our talks.
This recipe has been modified so that you can cook it in an oven. I know...but when you pull it out of the oven you will have that lovely smell of barbecue.

Barbecue Brisket

1/2 cup ketsup

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 minced garlic

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 3-pound brisket

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon oil [I use olive oil]

1 large yellow onion - chopped

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk the ketsup, apple cider, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce,garlic, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until smooth.Season the meat with the salt and pepper.Heat oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven.Add the brisket and brown both sides - about 4 minutes on each side. Add the onions and ketsup mixture and stir to combine. Cover, transfer to oven, and braise until the meat is very tender and pulls apart easily with a fork - about 2 1/2 hours.

Serve as is or on soft rolls. Makes 6 servings.
[later this week I will have the potato salad recipe to serve with this!]

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Few Things I Saw This Week...

A Mountain Farm

Mountain Lakes

Mountain Pastures

Here are a few of the beautiful scenes I have feasted on the past week. The farm was found in the mountains of Tennessee. I love the little creek meandering through the pasture. The mountain lakes border Tennessee and North Carolina. It is cool and quiet. Generations of families have vacationed there through the years. The mountain pasture is off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The two trees are a favorite of my older son and I. I love how they merge into one. Hope you had a good week and a better weekend!

A Few Extra Textures for You...

Thought I would share a photograph I took in a small town in North Carolina. I combined these three textures below for the background. Sometimes it is nice to see what you can do with some of these textures.

Digital Photograph...The Mill...Edited with iphone

This is a photograph I took of a closed down Textile Mill in North Carolina. I recently purchased a new iphone app - Iris - that is for editing your iphone pictures. It is a lot like Photo Shop with a few different bells and whistles.
This app woud be really good for all of you who post photographs from your iphone to Facebook and/or Twitter. Iris gives you the ability to crop, sharpen, cleanup your photographs much like photoshop but right on your iphone. It is so much fun!

Saturday Textures #15...from my iphone

Here are this weeks textures. I have been traveling, visiting, friends, and generally enjoying summer. My access to the Internet has been limited. They still have not figured out how to have continual Internet in the mountains. In my spare time I have been making lots of textures and taking a lot of pictures. My iphone still continues to surprise me with all the interesting things you can do with it. These textures were made with my iphone. Hope you enjoy these!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Digital Photograph ... Meadow Tree

Thought I would share another tree with you. This time I used one of Saturday's textures with it. I think it gives it a little grunge.

Renourishing in the Mountains...

A winding mountain road

A very pregnant deer

A mountain stream

Mountain Rhododendron's

Mountain stream on the way to swimming hole

Coming down the mountain into a valley

I am in North Carolina taking care of business, mail, car inspected, plates, house, etc...This past weekend I spent in the mountains with no phone, no email, just a couple of my boys. Talk about peaceful.

The drive through Tennessee was beautiful. However, crossing that state line felt nice. The temperatures in the mountains was so much cooler. I think the forests and all of the streams cool everything down. It was so refreshing.

I thought I would share part of my drive and a few things the boys and I shared. The mountain road is part of the road into my son's mountain community. I love how it runs along this large mountain stream. The sound of the water and birds is so relaxing.

Shortly after I turned into my son's community, I ran into this large pregnant doe and last year's baby. We sort of eyed each other before she sauntered across the road and up into the woods. I have seen as many as five does at that particular turn through the years.

The streams are so much fun to walk in. We take my son's dogs and walk up to the swimming hole. They love to swim and jump off the rocks like kids in the hot of the summer.

The mountain flowers always stick out amongst the various shades of green. This variety of Rhododendron is almost finished blooming for the summer. They grow all along the stream banks. The seeds drop down into the water, when the snow melts they are carried down stream where they find themselves on the rich moist stream banks. There the take root and start the renewal process all over again. Never burn Rhododendron. Their smoke is toxic.

After a few days up in the mountains I always feel like a new woman. When you come down the mountains you find these beautiful meadows and fields of wheat, hay, alfalfa, and corn. The contrast is like a painting.....