Friday, September 30, 2011

found in a field

I drive past this area every day. It's the unused strip of land between the outer edge of the mall and the fenced properties beyond. Every now and then it gets mowed, and they till it up a couple times a year. Various things sprout there, depending on what the wind blew in. A few weeks ago, I spotted these gorgeous sunflowers and stopped to snap a few shots. Once I got out into the field, I saw the small brilliantly white ones and the dried weeds. My mom loved dried weeds and had them stuck here and there all over her house. I've inherited the same fondness for them, I guess.
These things were sooo blindingly white. I played with this in Photoshop for a while, trying to get more detail in the flower itself but this is the best my mad PS skilz could do.
I love this shot. The industrial power lines and tower in back with the wild and crazy flowers growing like they were in the best garden in the world. A good reminder to grow where you're planted...

I enhanced this quite a bit in PS and love how they look sort of menacing with all their spikes and pointy parts.

around town

Just some misc shots from around my little town. Sometimes I forget how pretty parts of it are.
The hand painted sign on the original newspaper building. I remember years ago when my mom moved to a very small town in Ohio, I thought it was hysterical that the paper only came out once a week. Well, our poor little paper is down to once a week now too. Damn economy.
This is a big fancy house on the outskirts of town. It's lavishly landscaped and I bet it was impressive when it was new. The large grounds are all fenced in like a Mafia compound and it's just going to wrack and ruin. Damn economy. Sorry, did I say that already?
There's a little winery tasting room on the south side of town, on one of the roads that goes off into the boonies. We were coming back from breakfast and I spotted the light coming thru the vines and made a quick U-ie so I could snap a couple pics. I love the way grapevines look and intend to put some of them in the backyard as soon as I figure out when they should be planted and where I want them.

The same vines shot in portrait. I may need to put that one on the wall. Love it.

A shabby little house north of town. It's a wreck but look at all those windows and that wonderfully aged fence. I want it in my backyard, next to the grapevines, with sweet peas climbing all over it. I always fantasize about these places, about what the floor plan must be like and how I'd fix it up, what its history might be. Sometimes I create whole stories for them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


For some unknown reason, I got a serious hankering for a scone at 7:30 this evening.

Scones are an iffy thing for me - sometimes light and yummy, other times flat and dense, a better door stop than anything else. But this recipe has been the most consistently successful for me, so I went to work and by 8:15, I had this:
O-mazing, right? And they tasted every bit as good as they look. I held myself to only one (the biggest one
on the cookie sheet) with a glass of cold milk. Mm-mmm-mm.

I like my scones sweet, so I add at least an additional T of sugar to the dough, plus I brush them with milk and sprinkle more sugar on top before baking. I also give me craisins a rough chop so that they're more spread thru out the scone. Sometimes I add chopped dark chocolate, but I was lazy tonite and didn't bother.

If you love scones, give the recipe a try. I find I do best when I don't over-think it. Just throw every thing together, don't stir too much, and you might end up with an equally gorgeous bunch of scones.

free images - vintage friendship album

Here are the cover, the title page, and a few autographed pages from the lovely friendship album I bought recently at a local antique mall. Some of you may cringe, but I've begun to take it apart and will scan and share the pages along the way. I'd love to see how you use these.


Monday, September 26, 2011

serious retail therapy

A couple days ago my husband left on fishing trip. A week long fishing trip. On a large boat. Those aren't especially cheap. Now I'm not one of those women who feels that just because their husband spent $79.95 on a brand new whiz-bang whatever, that they get to run out and spend an equivalent $79.95 just to keep things 'even.' No.

But I DO feel that when said husband is off enjoying himself immensely while I'm home taking care of the animals, the business, the everything, that I should get to go have at least a little fun.

So I went shopping! First stop was the thrift store where I scored a black skirt as part of my Goth Halloween costume for $1.99. Also bought a funky little vase cause I'm determined to keep more flowers around the house and all I had was a couple great big ones.

Then off to the little antique mall in the next town over. It isn't huge, as those things go, about 50 vendors, but I never fail to find good stuff. This time I hit the jackpot.

(since I can never get @&#% Blogger to put my text where I want it in relation to the photos, I'm going to use the caption feature)    All these images are at my camera setting of 180 dpi, so you might want to wait until I get them scanned at 300 dpi before saving them to use, altho if 180 works for you, go for it.
An old ledger from a gas station that also sold a few groceries, kinda the forerunner of 7-11s,
I guess. It has months and days but no year...

Every single thing they sold each and every day was written into this ledger in pencil.
If you double click on the pic, you can see that some of the gas sales were noted
as 'ethel,' the good stuff.

'Pop' and candy were each a nickel. Gas was 16 cents a gallon. Can you imagine? 
I picked out a bunch of cabinet cards and old pictures from an unmarked basket and when she started
adding them up at 3 for $5, I tried to stop her cause I said I couldn't afford them all. She just wrote
down $15 and went onto the next item. So I got 19 of them for $15. Score!!!  I'll be giving away that
duplicate of the lady with the white bow, so stay tuned and let your friends know.

Isn't she lovely? Look how smooth her skin is.
She oughta look ridiculous with that tulle pom-pom on top of her head,
but instead she looks almost regal, like an early Russian princess.

And this one... no jewelry, no hat, no frilly collar. Just that lovely up swept hair and
those haunting eyes. I would love to know her story.

The gents and couples, including the sisters grim in the back.

I love this guy. I'd've gone after him in a New York minute if he'd been around when I was single.

This friendship album was in a locked case so I figured it cost a bundle. I asked her to get it out anyway
so I could look at it. Imagine my surprise when I found I could afford it.
It was marked $15 and she was having a 30% off sale. I couldn't believe my luck.

This is the oldest inscription in the album. 1883. Almost 130 years old and it's still in very good shape.
I'll share all the pages as I get them scanned. I may even give one away.

Last but not least, three old doilies and a crocheted pillowcase edging. All four for $5.
I had a really good day...

free images - vintage Halloween postcards

These were sent to my maternal grandmother from 1908-1910, back when it cost a penny to mail a postcard. Love how it was spelled Hallowe'en.   Please let me know if you make anything cool with them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

freebie images - 2 cute little girls

 Here are 2 free images for your personal use.

These are from my collection of cabinet cards and old photos. I'll have more to share as I get them scanned.

 Scanned at 300 dpi and tinkered with a bit in Photoshop for better contrast.

painted face, attempt #1

I love Lynne Hoppe's painted faces. Pretty much everything about them grabs me - the grave expressions, the pale complexions, the spare details. I've never tried to paint any because A) my painting skills are questionable, and B) I didn't have the first idea how she went about creating them.

Well, be careful what you wish for because she went and posted a 'how-to,' bless her little heart.

Sort of an artistic gauntlet thrown in the sand, at least for me. I couldn't let those instructions just sit there, so I printed them out and got to work. I don't own all the various things she used, so I dug out what I supposed were reasonable substitutes, but some of this was total guesswork, since I really had no idea what 'yarka golden deep, titian's and claret' even is, for example. Is it paint? Some sort of cool crayon I never heard of? God knows and I didn't bother to google them, I just dove in. What a surprise, huh, for those of you who know me. 

Just to give myself the largest possible chance of even the smallest success, I tried to duplicate the same face as in the tutorial. No going off the reservation on this trial run. I'd been tearing pages from a gardening book and just started working on the page it was open to. I followed along step by step, trying to achieve the proper effects with the incorrect tools, and finally ended up with the face you see here. <sigh> Pretty grim. But it's just my first one. I plan to simply turn the page and try again. After while I'll have a whole book of sorry faces LOL.  

But even as funky as she is, she has enough of the general look of Lynne's faces to give me hope. And that's all I need to keep me at it - just a little hope.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

paper cranes

I've always admired those folded paper cranes but never had the patience for origami. I get to about step 5 and by then my paper has so damn many folds in it that I can't tell what the hell I'm supposed to do next, so I wad it up and try again. By the third one, I'm done. Got better things to do with my time, thank you very much whoever thought up this maddening pastime.

But my friend Julie has a string of 100 of these, made for her by a friend when she was ill. I keep seeing it in pictures that I took of her house while I was visiting last January. I'd really like to make one of those, I thought.

One crane, I mean - not one string of 100 cranes. I'm not that nuts.

Then the other day in the mail, I get an envelope addressed to me in my own writing. Huh? When I opened it, there was a paper crane, quickly made from an old square of notebook paper. His edges weren't real crisp and he listed to one side, but he was very cool, mostly because of those things, and that renewed my desire to make a paper crane myself.

So I googled 'origami crane,' printed out the first set of instructions I came to and sat down on the couch with a package of wrapping paper in various quilt patterns. Back when I bought it, I could hardly stand to wrap packages in it cause I didn't want to use it up (I'm so over that now), and here I was about to probably wad several sheets of it into trash can filler while trying to make a crane.

However, things went swimmingly well and I had a crane in under 5 minutes. Yay! Then I made another just in case the first one was a fluke, and it came out fine. Tonite when I came home from work, I was paging thru a magazine and a couple pages caught my eye, so I whacked out 6 inch squares and made two more cranes from memory. I now have a flock seige of cranes on my kitchen counter. I may get to a hundred yet. (the 5th one was bright yellow, don't know why I didn't take its picture except in the line-up photo)

The background in the individual shots is two painted canvasses I did a few weeks ago. I plan to collage on them eventually, but was hot to make layers one day and they were the result. Beth in my mail art group does great collages on canvas backgrounds and seeing her work gave me the itch to try it. I'm pleased with them, so thanks, Beth! The smaller one had a print of a red coffee mug on it and was in the Michaels closeout bin for quarter. I just painted over it.

this is the one that came in the mail... rustic and charming
The envelope that came in the mail was one I'd sent off to a woman who had a note on her blog. Something like 'send me a SASE and I'll send you some cool stuff from my studio. no telling what it might be and it may take a while.'

Well, that sounded like fun and I'd only be out $0.44 if I never got anything back. It took a few months, so it was a fun surprise to open the envelope and find the little crane, a glassine envelope with 22 old foreign postage stamps in it, and a little print of a kid flying a kite. Just random stuff that totally made me smile. I explained it to my husband and he just shook his head in wonder at the (odd) things I find to do.

I just love the internets!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the odd couple

One day while walking the dog, we met a cat. A friendly cat
who didn't run away or swat Maggie on the nose like most
of the cats we meet. (Maggie stuck her face in a bush one day,
and after a few seconds, the bush came alive with hissing
and spitting, and Maggie leaped backwards with a scratch
on her nose and an astonished look on her face.
She now skirts those bushes with a wary glance.)
See the short brick pillar on the left of the sidewalk, back a ways?
That's what the cat was sitting on in the first pic.
The kitty followed us down the sidewalk and stopped to
stretch when he saw us waiting for him.

Maggie was enchanted with him. She obviously had been around cats before
she ended up with us because she's quite curious but not at all aggressive.


Every time we see this kitty, he gives Mags a friendly head butt by way of greeting,
then wanders along with us for a few houses.
See his tail? When he walks, his extra-long tail curves
all the way over his back and just about taps him on the head. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

pink flowers are... of my most favorite things. They make me smile. So when I saw these at the store, slightly past their prime, but only $4, I thought about it for only a few seconds, then stuck them in my cart.

Once home, I pulled off the dead flowers and stuck them in an old canning jar on my kitchen table. I don't even know what they are. Snapdragons, maybe? They remind me of sweet peas.

The colors in them are so soft, fading from a true pink to the palest shade of blush, and the green stems are the perfect shade of green. I'd have this color scheme in every room of my house if it was up to me.

They'll be gone in a few days, their beauty dropped bloom by bloom into the trash, but for now, they live on my table and bring a smile to my face every time I catch sight of them.