Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Girl and Her Bike...Freebies

This week I thought I would share these images of this little girl and her bike. I love how she takes her little companion along for the ride. So sweet. I had a conversation this week about Easter, Easter egg hunts, and Easter baskets. The best Easter I remember is when I got my "big girl bike".

This made me remember some photographs I bought from my visit to the National Archives. These were some of them. They captured that memory I had from way back when. I also thought that Miss Mischief might be almost ready for a bike... Hope you enjoy these...

Spring Rain...

A few photographs from yesterday's rain... Azaela buds soaking up the rain. They seem to be waiting for the sun to open and spread their sweet fragrance. Nantina berries turning from bright red to maroon. I love the way the droplets of rain form on them. They will drop to the ground and start new plants. Open blossoms feelining the weight of the rain. They hang their heads, waiting for the sun to dry them out and lift them up.

A weeping cherry. I love these trees. The rain sort of fullfills the promise of their name. I love the way they sway in the wind and rain - as if they are weeping for something lost.

Saturday Textures #4....Late

Gas or Oil flowing in the parking lot.

Gas or oil streaming by my car

Raindrops on my windshield

Raindrops on my sunroof

Raindrops out the window

We have had some "weather" here in the South the past couple of days. Yesterday was intense storms. I decided not to get on my computer as we had thunder and lightning most of the day and all night.

I took these photographs in the parking lot of a local grocery store. When I opened my door this rainbow of color came swirling by. Hard to believe gas and or oil can be so beautiful.

We are having on and off showers today and tomorrow so hopefully I can get out in between showers and take pictures. It is so beautiful out. Everything is bursting with color.

The Red Chair...Digital Photograph

Exploring an old deserted textile mill I ran across this chair. Just sitting by one of the mill doors on the loading dock. Waiting. I took several pictures and moved on to other parts of the mill. As the sun went down and I started back to my car I looked up and decided to take just one more photograph. I think it captured the feeling of the whole place.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Botanicals for You...

My very favorite - the Iris

These remind me of the buttercups that were all over the fields on our farm.

Living at the beach was the first time I successfully was able to grow Clematis

Isn't this just the sweetest bulb?

I love these double bloom Daffodills they are so delicate, like a lacy dresss.

Here are a few botanical prints for you. It is s beautiful every where I go. Even the most humblest of parking lot has a tree in full color. Get out and enjoy everything in bloom today. {The Dogwoods have started blooming here}

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Textures #3...

The weather is so beautiful here in the South. It has been in the 70's the past few days. Every thing is starting to explode with buds and blooms. Yesterday I stopped for a bite to eat and was bombarded by a beautiful storm of flower petals off some Bradford Pear trees. I had to laugh. It finally feels like Spring.
These textures are from a friends garage floor. I love the way the cement has crackled. I hope you can use these in your art work. I have been working on some digital flowers with these. I will post a few over the weekend. I hope everyone is out an about enjoying the day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Treasures from another Time...

Small bobbins in rainbows of colors.They are around eight inches long.

Medium size bobbins.I liked the shape with the holes in them. These are around 16 inches tall.

A mixture of large bobbins with beautiful threads in them.

Large bobbins with different threads in them, from fine to quite coarse, almost yarn like. The largest is around 16 inches.

In my travels I have to make it a point to stop every three to four hours. My poor hip gets pretty stiff if I do not get out of the car and walk around a bit. I try to spice it up with thrift stores, antique shops, southern towns, main streets, and photograph sessions. It is not the destination but the journey my body reminds me.

I have left North Carolina and ventured into South Carolina and Georgia on my way to Alabama. An hour or two into South Carolina I saw a sign for a swap meet and decided to stop. Never found the swap meet, but did find this little out of the way antique shop. I could not believe my eyes when I spotted these shelves of old bobbins from the local textile mills.

Bobbins, bobbins everywhere. I had never seen some of the large ones before, except in pictures. The small ones you see floating around the south, made into all sorts of things [candle sticks,posies]. The large ones - no, I can not recall ever seeing them. Bonus points for still having thread on them.

Of course, I had to have a few! The prices were unbelievable -so I filled up a box and added them to my collection of goodies I am carrying around with me. They make such a statement from the past, I really could not walk away. Much of the South was all about cotton and the textile mills that supported whole cities. They are a reminder of that time. The fortunes that were made from these mills. My new sewing room will have a few new additions and I will have a few more memories of the past.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to All

Irish Stew

There are so many dishes that say Irish. Corned beef and cabbage, potatoe pancakes, soda bread. Yum, I am getting hungry just thinking about it. Today I thought I would share this easy Irish Stew. You can use beef or lamb. Either way it turns out pretty lip smacking good.

Irish Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 pounds beef chuck or shoulder cut lamb - cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pound carrots - peel and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
6 large potatoes - peel and cut into 2 to 3 inch chunks
2 medium onions - cut into pieces - optional
2 cloves of garlic - minced
2 cups of beef broth
1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 12 ounce bottle of stout beer [like Guiness]
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
a few sprigs of fresh parsley or chives

Dredge the meat in the flour till coated.
Heat the oil in pan. When hot brown the meat in the oil.
Place the vegetables in layers in a large slow cooker.
Place the browned meat on top.
Mix the tomato paste, beef broth, and beer together.
Pour over vegetable and meat mixture.
Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours till meat is tender.
Cook on low 6 to 8 hours till meat is tender.
During the last hour mix the water and cornstarch, add to stew. This will thicken it a bit.
Serve with chopped parsley or chives on top.
Soda bread is a wonderful served with this, enjoy!

Backyard Shamrocks...Digital Photograph

A little photograph of some shamrocks out in the yard. It took about three days, and a little rain for them to poke out of the ground and look like this. I am awaiting their lovely pink blooms. Hope you enjoy these...

Playing with Photoshop...

My original photograph.
I used the sketch filter and hit stamp.

Here I changed the colors on the stamp filter.

Here I sharpened the stamp and then posterized a bit.

On this one I hit saturation and hue. On hue I went a bit bluer, then hit saturation till I liked it.

This last one I hit threshold. I always like to see what a photograph looks like in black and white. Sometimes you see things you might not have noticed. It always helps to define things.

Thought I would share some Photoshop playtime with you. I am always amazed at the different effects you can get. Playing with the different filters, effects, etc. on photoshop are a great way for me to relax. I find in no time I am absorbed and off to discovering something new. I think these would make great background papers. I hope you will be inspired to set aside some playtime!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Planter's Bank ...Digital Photograph

In the South where Tobacco and Cotton were the big cash crops, many farmers lived harvest to harvest. Every town had a bank that would lend them money on what they thought they might get on there harvest. These banks were usually owned by the biggest landowners in the area. Every one kept their fingers crossed and hoped that the rain would come, the sun would shine, the planets were aligned, a big crop would be had. You were only allowed a few bad years. Then you would either payoff your loans or lose your land. Here is one of those banks. I loved this one with the sign built right into the building. Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend...

Saturday Textures #2

Courthouse door molding

Peeling window

Window trim

Back door


This week I am giving you some textures from a little town in Southern Virginia called Dinwiddie. I stopped there for gas and spent a pleasant few hours visiting a Civil War battlefield and taking photographs of some of their historic buildings. A nice place to stop and stretch your legs...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quote...A Good Traveler...

The Tobacco Warehouse...Digital Photographs

I found this old warehouse in a small mill town along the Virginia-North Carolina border. I had gone there to look at some historical homes that were for sale. Instead, I fell in love with some of the old warehouses and a mill that were there.

This is a huge tobacco warehouse. The large windows were to let the sunshine in and when opened allowed air flow. This way the tobacco continued to dry and did not get moldy. I particularly like the way they used the dyed black bricks to write Tobacco along the street side wall of the building. Above, must have been the company name. This place is huge.

Here is a close up of one of the windows. They are almost as large as a door. I love the thick, rusted mesh screens they have on them. It is like another layer of skin.

Along the back of the warehouse you can get a feel for the real size of the place. The train would pull right up and the tabacco would be loaded on the cars. Most of the tobacco would go to Richmond where it would be processed, packaged, shipped, and sold. Once upon a time this place was so busy it looked like an ant hill. Now it is all memories...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Kids...Freebies

Aren't these just the cutest little things? All spiffed up in their finest. I find them adorable.

These young ones look sort of put out, as kids are when you want to take their picture. Still you can tell they came from an affluent family. Their shoes and their clothes look brand new.

These look like two sisters sharing a family portrait. I like how all the kids have white on. Pulls the whole picture together.

I wonder if these two were sisters, mother and daughter, or an early marriage producing one child, then another marriage producing the other children. Or.. maybe just a sister sitting in because she is family. I so wish I could find out more about these lovely photographs. Instead, I make up stories in my head about them.

Another elegant an affluent family. I love the boy on the right holding a book. Intelligent also!

I had a little time tonight while watching Polar Bear- Spy in the Cold with the boys to upload some photographs for you. Sometimes it is nice to just hangout with the kids. They inspired this weeks freebies - Mothers and their kids. Hope you take a moment to just enjoy your family. Simple moments are the ones you remember the most...