Saturday, August 13

fair winds~

this was one beautiful evening on the bay. as we looked up from our hammering and painting, we were gifted with this stunning sight. i like to think it was our much loved and very missed friend erling smiling down on us.

this will be my last post until i return in late october. i'm headed out to alpenview to cook for the visiting fishermen & ladies. in mid-september i'll be relocating to the outcamp on the ayakulik river, to get reaquainted with my friends the bears, the cook tent, and the outhouse. alpenview has a great website here, go take a look at all the beauty!

while many folks will be enjoying the warm harvest days of october, i will be here

chipping the ice out of my contact lens case and watching my pal sweetpea fish in the home pool:

i really wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

i hope you all have a wonderful late summer, and i look forward to catching up in october.

Monday, August 8

texture tuesday~ it's the little things

kim klassen gave us the theme "the little things" for this week's texture tuesday. i love the little things. the stuff inside the xmas stockings...the prize in the cereal box...the tattoo in the cracker jacks. life's little diamonds.

i think this photo i took a couple weeks ago while cutting wood for the woodpile fits the bill just perfect.

keeping the woodpile full is one of those jobs that just has to happen. no matter what. we all try to be really busy all the time, because the person who isn't...gets woodpile duty. i lost. i took a minute to pull up my socks, and was accused of loitering.

but look at the gift i got! i didn't even notice until i was carrying the wood into the cabin! then i had to go through it all to pull out all the pieces that looked like this. because, how could we ever burn them?

i shot the photo using the color accent feature, keeping only the dark greens. i adjusted the contrast a bit and added a layer of kim's luminous texture set on multiply blend at 54% opacity. that's it.

here's the before:

take a moment to go visit all the other folks taking part in texture tuesday by clicking here!

Wednesday, August 3

stitching on the dock of the bay

well, our weekend at the cabin turned into two weeks at the cabin. there was a lot to be done.
i managed to sneak a few sunny moments on my dear dock with my new obsession, embroidery.
i brought a leftover piece of my favorite avocado-dyed cotton, and went to work with my new book "doodle stitching" by aimee ray. what a great book, full of fun inspiring things to stitch.
 i think with time i may get it. i will need more time than i got from my husband.
you know the saying - it takes a lot of work to live on a farm.
we don't live on a farm, and i'm glad for it.

after i snapped these photos i heard the whip crack,
that was the end of the fun for me.

some of us got to ride cute orange tractors and dig in the dirt.
some of us got to lay in the sun and watch...

or take a little dip in the bay...

 i got a paintbrush and a ladder,
and got to practice my multimedia art techniques.

we didn't do too bad for two old people by ourselves.
i even figured out how to use the timer thing on my camera.
this shot was taken right before gerry told me my next job was
climbing under the cabin to dig out all  the nasty land otter nests and stuff.
you can tell he was thinking about how he was going to tell me
by the look on his face - just look at him up there, mr. i ride the tractor.

we had the most glorious weather, and when it got warm enough the no-see-ums went away and we could take off the bug nets and put on shorts. shorts! amazing. i have a tan line!
every once in a while the clouds would roll over the mountains...
that really helped keep us motivated.
before we knew it, we had replaced the foundation,
put up new skirting,
and for a moment, i had my white seaside cottage~

well, a gal can dream, right?

i had my 50th birthday during this work week,
and i am here to tell you
my husband put me on a pedestal for the entire day:

not a happy warm fuzzy feeling for me.
at least i talked him into giving me a 2x6
instead of the 2x4 he originally had up there for me.

but, we finished! next trip we paint the trim and start building the new deck.

(see the blurs in the photo? no-see-ums. they'll bite anything)

in the end, the two of us loaded over 6,000 lbs. of lumber plus the compressor and all the tools & paint in and out of the boat twice, onto the 4 wheeler trailer and up to the cabin from the beach.

my pal duffy did a lot of this:

we should have got a st. bernard.

Tuesday, August 2

texture tuesday ~ dreaming

a foggy 7 a.m. cup of coffee out on the front yard at the bay.
complete with bug net and small white dog.
every day should start like this, i think.
surrounded by silence:
just the high tide water rippling on the beach
the muffled gulls drifting by.
was gerry dreaming? 
nope. just waiting for a SAT phone signal...
so much for my henry d. thoreau moment.

i used kim klassen's "dream" texture on this photo taken a few days ago at ugak bay.
click here to visit all the other texture tuesday folks!

Friday, July 15

a new point of interest~

if you create, craft, make jewelry, take pictures, draw, work with paper, paint, sew, or any combination of these things, i encourage you to join up with a wonderful new community of like-minded folk at artsee bloggers.

artsee bloggers is, in creator geri centonze's words, "a place of inspiration for the creatively inclined"
and she invites everyone to link up. she has built a spot where we can meet fellow artists, in an environment much more friendly than a techno-google search. i'm excited at having so many resources at my fingertips, and at the chance to meet other fabric-dyers or rusty junk lovers that i may never have met otherwise.

you can choose to be listed in up to three different categories, with thumbnails of your work and a link to your website. it's super easy, geri walks you through it step by step.  she has a lot of great ideas for the future of this site, i can't wait to watch it grow. go check it out!

on another note, we are packing up ready to head out to the bay for a few days. it's just gerry and myself for the first time in many many years as cullan has headed out to bristol bay to commercial fish with a family friend for a couple of weeks. sure hope we can remember how to talk just one-on-one...

and i have a confession to make. after all my praise for our beloved xtratuff's a few posts back...i have become a ship-jumper. a traitor. a turn-coat. or turn-boot. i couldn't help it. take a look at these and you'll see why:

can you stand it?? i couldn't. they feel sooo good. they are rated to 40 below, and have soft neoprene uppers with handles to pull them on!! yes! that was the clincher. i can have my new boots on quicker than you can say bob's yer uncle, and i can put them on standing up. need i point out how lovely they compliment my rain gear? this will definitely make the slop bucket duty a little more bearable.

have a wonderful weekend, where ever you are and whatever is on your feet!

Monday, July 11

texture tuesday ~ in the pink

this week's texture tuesday challenge from kim klassen was: pink. she told us to think outside the box. which i had to do, as there is not a whole lot of pink floating around in my life here. i thought about bagging on texture tuesday. then i remembered the two rubbermaid totes full of thea's old ballet slippers and pointe shoes. years and years worth. taking the lid off that tote was sure a treat...phew.
from the audience a ballerina's feet may appear to be made of spun sugar, but i am here to tell you this is not the case. in real life those satin shoes are beat to a pulp, along with the feet that go in them. nothing pretty up close. serious work horses. but they were the only pink i had to work with~

first i used the watercolour filter on the background image, which gave it a subtle painterly look. i adjusted the brightness & contrast a bit, then added a pink warming filter at 59%. i placed a layer of kim's dusty rose texture on normal blend at 45% opacity. set a mask so i could erase some of the texture off the shoes. then placed a layer of kim's love in layers texture on soft light blend at 85%.

when i printed it out, i was surprised at how artsy it looked.
i liked it.

most of the folks who participate in kim's texture tuesday are pretty serious photographers. their work is stunning, and very inspiring. i am not a photographer, and many times after viewing all that beauty i wonder what in the world i am doing plugging my thumbnails in there with them. but, what the heck. it's making me use my new camera every week. i'm okay with not being ansel adams.
that said, please go view all the textural masterpieces of the week at kim klassen's texture tuesday!

Saturday, July 9

happy birthday buggy!

today my little girl turned 23.
how in the heck can time go by so fast?

i'm sad that she's too far away for me to wake up with my awful singing.
or give a birthday hug.

so i'll just post a little birthday tribute for her here. i bet it gets me a phone call...

she's always tended to be a little crabby on her birthday.

too much emotional turmoil i think.
thea has always liked everything orderly and executed according to a plan
that no one ever knew about except thea...

and okay, yes, i admit she gets that from me.

in her defense, she has many other qualities that far surpass the moody birthday blues...

she has her future on a great track.
yup, she's right on the ball you might say

(she really is)

she's quite stylish when the situation calls for style

(no xtratuf's on that girl)

and she is fabulously talented

(i know! so awesome! all that and a college degree to boot!)
in all seriousness, her best qualities are that she knows who she is, and what her roots are.
she understands how important those roots can be in the big picture of what she will become.
i couldn't ask for anything more in my little girl.
she's not perfect, but she's good enough for me.

i just wish she wouldn't have so many birthdays so close together.

happy birthday thea rose!

Monday, July 4

texture tuesday~ three (3) trois

after the rocket's red glare there is...texture tuesday! our challenge from kim klassen this week was to incorporate the number three into our image in some way. and she gifted us with two new beautiful canvas-y textures to work with as well...she is such a generous soul, such a gifted artist. visit her inspiring'll see what i mean.
what a great challenge! so many ideas came to mind, but one couldn't be ignored. i see it every time i pass through our front door:

here's the skinny: i set the background image at multiply blend on 49% opacity. adjusted levels & contrast. added a layer of kim's canvasback texture at multiply on 100%, a layer of luminous at vividlight blend on 25%, and a final layer of paperstained light on multiply at 100%.

here is the before:

mine are the clean ones in the middle. which isn't to say i don't work as hard in mine as my husband & son. i just hose my down before i come into the entryway. like they are supposed to.

xtratuf's are the epitome of haute couture in the vast kodiak fashion world. i prefer insulated, as my feet tend to get cold, (and i like the little bit of height boost from the extra padding...) but you see both types walking the streets. some fellows like to cut the tops off and treat them like sneakers.
how many types of footwear can cross the wide gap of gender and age the way a pair of xtratuf's can? you can find feet in xtratuf's pacing in the local hospital's maternity ward...sitting quietly in church pews...pondering produce in the grocery store, picking berries, on the monkey bars at recess, on the feet of lawyers running late, driving school buses, flagging traffic, waiting in line for a latte, riding horses, hiking, riding bikes and delivering papers.
i have a tiny pair of size one xtratuf's that my daughter wore as soon as she learned to walk. then both my sons wore them. now they guard our front steps. i'm a little sad looking at this photo, as just a few years ago there used to be five pairs crammed on our blue bench...and in a couple more years there will only be two pair...(i think.)
folks use their worn out xtratuf's to plant herbs in and hold doors open. they are part of our island heritage. we will probably never see a pair of xtratuf's walking the red carpet at any grande celebrity function, they may never walk on a distant planet, but they do bring our dinner home every night!

Wednesday, June 29

liberate your art~ and a tiny giveaway

i'm participating in kat sloma's "liberate your art" postcard swap next month, along with 254 other artists from all over the globe! click the link to read all about it and see a list of all the participants. i'm really excited at the idea of all those little bits of art getting mailed all over the world. i can't wait to see what comes to me. i can't wait to see where my cards end up going!
i love creating small. i had things spread out all over my workroom for days, and finally narrowed it down to this one:

we couldn't send the original artwork, it needed to be in actual postcard form, so i sent my image off to the amazing folks at MOO to be printed. wow. i just got them back. how fun to open a package and see your artwork as a postcard. so sleek, so sophisticated. i'm feeling mighty...printed on glossy card stock right now. like i want to sit at the bottom of my driveway and sell them for a penny.
my son is so impressed. i think he thinks someone in new york city called me wanting to turn my art into a postcard. i'm gonna let him think that for a little while.
at any rate they are on their way to kat. can you imagine the fun she will be having. we are each (254 of us) sending her 5 postcards, which she will have to sort and mail out. what a grand undertaking. wish i could go help, just to be able to see it all.
i realized that i had reached my 100th post when i told you the tale of duffy & my shine bag. i also note in blogland that folks often love to celebrate these milestones with a gifty giveaway. i love to win things, but actually doing a giveaway is a little scary to me. what do i give? what if no one wants it? a couple weeks ago i would have gladly given duffy...but he has redeemed himself for now.
so how about this~ leave a comment on this post. on july 4th i'll put everyone in a hat and let duff pick 3 names. each winner will get one of my ultra-sophisticated postcards, signed by duffy.
happy 4th of july!!

Monday, June 27

texture tuesday~ old faithful

this week our texture tuesday challenge from kim was to use her beautiful texture "golden" on any image we wanted. golden is one of my fave textures she has shared with us, soft and mottled.
i thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you all to my favorite thing at our cabin ~ joe woodstove. the propane fridge is great, running water is awesome, hot running water, well that just goes without saying. but none of them would mean a thing without old joe warming up the place. he does a fine job of chasing off the damp and cold. just walking in and seeing him sitting there waiting for us in the spring makes my heart swell. (i'm old, it doesn't take much these days)
so here's joe in all his glory, with some lovely golden layers on top:

i took the photo on black & white setting on my camera. i set it on overlay blend at 32%, then used a gradient map levels adjustment on solid with the smoothness set at 73%. then i added a bit of dust and scratches from the "noise" filter menu. on top of that one layer of golden at 24% multiply and one layer of golden at 35% pinlight.

it's not the greatest photo ever, but i like that it ended up looking like an old water stained photo that's been laying under the woodbox in a corner for a few years. if you want to see some real inspiring, top notch beautiful photography, go see all the other texture tuesday participants here!

Sunday, June 26

the shine~ing

i promised the story of why my pal duffy has been living in shame the past few is his sad tale...with a bit of background to create the proper level of drama.
when i finally finished with the last diaper bag, i swore i would never carry another purse or tote again. just give me a wallet and call it good. this worked fine for quite a while, but then i started back to work and carried a lunch. then i started knitting. then i got a bigger camera. these things need to be carried somehow.
a couple of xmas times ago i spotted a fantastic tote in my friend liz's shop. it was a lovely oilcloth bag covered with a beautiful paisley design, sturdy, big enough for everything, with little pockets inside for "stuff." waterproof. it was a luxe tote made by papaya! - those of you familiar with this company and their fabulous soul-touching artwork know how wonderful their products are. if not, click here and you will see what i mean. i splurged. it went home with me. it was everything i wanted in a bag. then my daughter came home from college for xmas break, and her college-girl eyes spotted my tote. in the natural course of things she asked to borrow it for an overnight visit to a friends. i let her. a week later as she's packing to head back to school, we both eye my luxe tote on the floor by her suitcase with her laptop in it...i sighed and said fine you can take it. as the plane took off the next morning i was seized with regret. not for having to say goodbye to my girl again, but because i wanted my tote bag back.
months passed and i learned to live without my tote. until liz got a new shipment of papaya! items in...including the new styles of luxe totes. oh boy. one in particular:

look how it glows!!

perfection. loved everything about it. we all need to remember to let ourselves shine once in a while, right? i obsessed over this bag until i finally caved, and brought the shine bag home with me. when i wasn't actively using it, i kept the bag in my bedroom, on a little table, where i could see it when i woke up in the morning. i'm not a morning person. i need all the reminders i can get to wake up on the right side of the bed so to speak. my shine bag did this for me in such a beautiful way. papaya! art has that kind of zen to it. their cards, bags, prints, even their keychains just seem to carry an aura of happy calm prettiness. in a house of welder's coveralls, fishy boots, muddy small dog paw prints and spare 4 wheeler parts, i'll take pretty where i can get it, even if it's just a magnet on my fridge. (yep, they have those too, go look)
this is starting to be a really long story, and i apologize. it will all come together...
my pal duffy has become my close friend since i retired from full time work and my two oldest kids  moved on. i've always been quick to defend him as not your average jack russell terrier. he's really not a barker or yipper, unless someone is at the door - and that is a helpful thing to me as i don't always hear people drive up. he listens to us really well, unless there is a fox to chase - then forget it, the world we are in ceases to exist. the only time he eats something he's not supposed to is if someone leaves the butter dish on the table. or the birthday cake. not duff's fault, who can resist those things. he loves to walk the beaches with me. loves to swim. loves tennis balls. he's my pal.

and he has never, ever, in all his 7 years, chewed on anything except his toys. not a single slipper, pillow, or piece of furniture. the dog is not a saint, don't get me wrong. he sheds little white hairs like no body's business. and he LOVES rolling in bear poop. i'm here to tell you, there is nothing worse than a small white dog who has rolled in bear poop. other than one who rolls in bear poop and then jumps in bed with you.
bottom line, duffy never chews on things.
so imagine my surprise when i came home one afternoon to find him in his bed sound asleep...with my shine tote under him...with the handles chewed in half. both of the handles. in half.

he doesn't look very remorseful here, but trust me, he is.

at first i was speechless. then i kindof transformed into that famous image of jack nicholson after he axed his way through the door in "The Shining" know~

duffy ran out the doggy door. smart move. i was just sick. i picked up the parts and brought it all into my sewing room. left it there for a long while. called the vet to inquire about the cost of those plastic cones for dogs. i thought i could just sew some new handles...i have fabric, i know how to sew. but it wouldn't be the same. i wanted my bag!! with the handles.
so i emailed papaya!, at an address on their site. i thought if someone read it, maybe i could buy some replacement handles. or pay to have it repaired. i figured i had nothing to lose by asking, and if i got no reply, at least i tried.
well, boy howdy, the next day (!) i did get a response! from a very nice gal named mindy, not a computer, who offered to replace my bag. wow. another speechless moment. i was so excited i called my husband, who was working on a boat and had no idea what i was talking about. i didn't care, i was so excited. three days later, my new shine bag arrived, with a sweet note from mindy, and some shine cards as well! i have never had anything like this happen, i was taken aback that a company would care enough to replace a product that was not defective or ruined through any fault of their own. this was 100% duffy, and yet they still replaced my bag!
so, i'm not sure if this post is about my very bad small white dog, or about how wonderful it is, in this day and age, to find a business that still has heart.
the artists who create all the beautiful artwork for the products, and the folks who run the daily business stuff of papaya! are real people, who i guess can see the humor in the misdeeds of small white alaskan dogs even when their owners can't. i invite you to take a peek at their blog here, and meet them for yourselves. isn't it great to know that a company who creates awesome inspiring artworks has a real honest-to-goodness heartbeat?? i believe it is!

he even knows how to apologize...

Monday, June 20

texture tuesday~ peeps

phew~ fresh back in town from a week on the bay and it's texture tuesday time! this week kim's challenge was to use an image with a person or people in it.
yikes, i have deer, fox, fog, mossy trees, boats...and one of my youngest son cullan. bingo.
cullan has always been able to brighten my day. he has the wonderful ability to let things that bug him just roll off his back like the proverbial duck. the past year he has really grown into a great person and a hard worker, and it showed this week at the cabin. he knows how to second guess his dad on the boat. he zigs when he needs to and zags if he has to. hauls firewood without being asked. mowed the lawn without being asked. didn't even argue about slop bucket duty. tolerated going slow on the four wheeler for me. things like that just make a mom proud. sadly, he still won't eat crab or broccoli. i guess there's still time for that.

our new texture "grannys cupboard" from kim added the perfect amount of "grunge" to this photo. there wasn't a lot of contrast in the sky behind the mountains, but after playing with the levels & contrast i got the clouds pulled out a bit. i placed the background layer on softlight blend, then posterized it at 40. i added a yellow warming filter for a little depth, then placed a layer of kim's lifesgood texture on softlight at 100% followed by granny's cupboard on multiply at 86%. sorry, couldn't resist the title.

please take a minute to go visit all the other texture tuesday artists at kim klassen's cafe

Monday, June 13

texture tuesday~ my beloved dock

i didn't really do much to this photo, slight adjustments to levels and contrast, set the background to
lighten blend at 100% and added a layer of kim's new texture "mayzee" on multiply at 44%.
the texture was perfect to add depth to the solid wall of fog that was right at the tide line.

if you've been following me for a bit you've probably heard me mention my dock out at the cabin. the poor old thing is really past it's prime. it's tilted, soggy, wobbly. it no longer serves any working purpose. it's not sturdy enough to tie anything on to, almost scary to walk on. one side has a beautiful covering of neon green algae, the other a fantastic crop of barnacles.
my husband loathes the dock, probably because it no longer serves any working purpose. he refers to the poor thing as "the wood pile." every winter i shamelessly beg him to let my dock stand for another year. every spring i hold my breath as we round the corner of the spit - is it there? cullan tells me if it's okay to look or not.
the dock is my happy place. when the sun shines and there's no work to do, there is no better place in the world than the dock. with a book, a cup of coffee, some knitting. or nothing at all. the dock makes everything just a bit more perfect. heck i wish i had a dock at my town home...
gerry tells me he doesn't get my obsession with the dock. i just point to his barc-o-lounger.
please, give yourself a mini-vacation and go see all the other beautiful work at texture tuesday!

Sunday, June 12

every day's a good day on the bay

that's what our dear friend and ugak bay neighbor erling kwaznikof would tell us all every morning. rain or shine or snow or ice, out of fuel or wood for the stove or milk for his coffee - nothing could ruin that man's day. he was an old time alaskan, and had stories that could fill a hundred books or more. he was steadfast, loyal, and happy as a clam all the time. he was like all of our favorite uncles rolled in one, and was happy to be an adopted grandad to all of our kids. our kids grew up spending summers on the porch of erling's cabin with him, singing made up songs as he played his guitar. and learning how to salt fish and crack crab. erling passed away last year. it was hard to remember not to run over with a plate of warm bread in the morning for him last summer. his passing left us all with an empty spot, but he is remembered everyday, because one of us always finds a reason to remind us all that every day is a good day on the bay.
we made a quick run down this weekend to open up our cabin and see what the winter did. and de-spider. it was foggy and rainy the whole time, but it didn't bother duffy (still living in shame and i will get to that story next week) who dearly loves the cabin. and swimming:

i wasn't kidding about the fog!

the spider population has now decreased by about 762....the cabin is aired out and ready for another great summer. i'm happy to report my beloved dock has survived yet another winter and my husband's threats to burn it. i took photos but am saving them for texture tuesday.... we will be heading back down on tuesday for a week with visiting friends. hopefully the weather will give us a break. if not, we know what erling would say~
the ride home got pretty rough, which was a pity as we had a whale following along, spouting away. i tried my best to get some photos, but sadly, this is what i have to offer for being brave enough to let go of the railing to snap them:

no whale here...



but it was a good day anyhow.

Friday, June 10


i'm starting to gear up for my summer life as a cook at AlpenView, the remote sport fishing lodge i work at. i can't wait to get out of dodge, so to speak. i love the long days, the hard work, the great company from around the world, and the peace & quiet. i love cooking for folks who really appreciate it (hear that family?)
most of the time the poor fellows and gals are so tired from a day of catching "the big ones" i think i could put peanut butter and jelly in front of them and they would be happy. but that makes it even more fun to do nice things for them. like, i'm thinking, whoopie pies.
who can think about whoopie pies and not smile? not to mention saying it - yep, there's a smile. so i made a batch today. i needed to see how many i could get out of a recipe. and i needed a smile. it worked.

are you smiling?

i'm thinking i will need to triple the recipe. and i'm wondering about a peanut butter filling.... can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.

see that face on the left? just ignore him. he is in blistering trouble right now.don't let that look fool you. he's just a small white dog living in shame. but that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, June 8


finally, i got to watch gnomeo & juliet. one of the problems with losing one's only daughter to college, and then life, is one is left home alone with a husband and 16-year-old son. and a movie venue of titles like "transformers 27" or "too fast for brains."
normally i don't care, i go into my studio & plug in my ipod to drown out the squealing tires and the "yo, man, whasssup's?" and i get a lot done.
but i really wanted to see this movie. come on, yard gnomes AND elton john??? it's already won all my awards. so i snuck. i figured out how to turn on the son's playstation, navigated my way to the netflix thing, and requested gnomeo. when it got here, i snuck it into the dvd player before the boys got home from work. they never saw it coming.
best of all, when they realized what was coming, gerry fell asleep and cullan went to shoot zombies, so i got the comfy recliner chair all to myself. oh yeah.
if you've seen the movie you know about the toilet planter with the wisteria bush. i was enthralled because i have this:

i know, it isn't wisteria, but we've already talked about my gardening skills. at one point it was full of johnny jump-ups (i loved the pun) but the slugs won that battle as well.
so i loved the movie. had a wonderful evening watching it. when it was over i was consumed with guilt at having separated my two pink plastic flamingos a couple years ago. i trudged outside in the rain in my jammies and gerry's work boots, retrieved them both and reunited them in a romantic little hideaway.

Monday, June 6

texture tuesday~ words

i know, i skipped last week.
last week the theme was gardens, or gardening.
in my yard you don't garden so much as you battle with the environment.
it's wet. it's in perpetual shade. it's home to 87% of the earth's slug population.
i've given up the battle and embraced the moss.
so i skipped last week.
this week kim suggested we add words to any image we like.
that's more like it.
the image i chose is one of my favorites, of our home
and our neighbor's on ugak bay. i took it last fall as we were headed back to town.
the fog fell and completely shrouded us in.
i didn't want to come back to town. i love when it's like this outside.

i made some adjustments to the levels, hue/saturation and contrast. added a bit of gaussian blur. i used three different textures by kim: lifesgood on softlight blend at 44%, justcause on softlight at 69% and lightpaper on multiply at 66%.

i added one of my favorite quotes by proust.
i love this quote because, as a person who doesn't get to do a lot of traveling off-island,
i've learned to try to find new or different things in the surroundings i see every day.
it's not hard to do. what's hard is remembering to do it.
it's a bit easier to feel sorry for myself when it seems like
everyone in the universe except me is traveling to
cancun, or costa rica, or st. croix.
there are probably slugs in those places anyhow.
now, i invite you to travel over to kim klaussen's cafe and visit all the other incredible texture tuesday artists!

Tuesday, May 24

texture tuesday~ alpenglow

i set the background image to soft light blend. made small adjustments to levels and contrast. added a layer of kim's pumpkin grundge on screen blend at 53%, a layer of kim's warmsun on soft light at 60%, and finished with a layer of kim's yesteryear on multiply at 72%.

this photo was taken late last september at our home on ugak bay. it was 7:30 am, a rare day with not a cloud in the sky. it was so silent, there wasn't even a breeze, the bay was like a mirror. mist was rolling out from the falls, and when the sun popped up, the mountains were bathed in alpenglow. it was breathtaking. just as quickly it was gone and i continued with the breadmaking... here's the before: 

take some time to visit all the other beautiful work here!

Wednesday, May 18

here's the tail~

this is the third year i've participated in KICVB's Halibut Tail Art Auction. the visitor's bureau provides local artists (this year i think there are 14 participating) with blank fiberglass taxidermy halibut tail forms, which can be created on in any media we choose. kind of like the chicago cows. the finished tails are auctioned off at the KICVB's Chocolate Lover's Fling, which is being held this saturday. art & chocolate, what a deal.
this year two of the tails are being offered for public online bidding on ebay. this is happening now, check out item #180666099917 and #180666107692.
the past two years i've hand dyed fabrics and pieced, appliqued and beaded quilted "tail covers." 

clarice was first. i loved clarice.

last year was moira's turn. i loved moira. i am so so happy that a very dear friend now owns her. moira is very happy that she is moving to sunny florida, where the waters are much warmer than here...

this year i wanted to try something different. thinking a mixed media piece would be fun, enable me to indulge in my love of rusty stuff, and go together much quicker than a hand dyed quilted piece, i chose that route. it was a lot of fun. created a lot of interesting technical problems i got to work out. it got me to part with many of my beloved beach treasures i've been hoarding. as far as taking less time, well, not so much. but it's done now so i can love it at last.

this is the front.

here's the back.

with no real picture in my head of the finished project, i started by tearing up old tide tables, fishing regulation books and our navigation charts (so if we run aground, hit a rock or get lost at sea this summer, it's all my fault.) aged them with coffee & vanilla then applied them to the fin on both sides with gel medium. this was the only time i used a glue product on this project, i'm kinda happy about that.  then i punched out circles from more charts in 3 different sizes, distressing the edges. i layered them down the base of the tail to create a fish scale look. this took longer than i thought, mainly because i started obsessing over getting the correct halibut fishing areas to show on the little bits of map on the scales & fin...hind site has me wondering if anyone else will even notice that...

once i got the base done i realized this would be the perfect piece to highlight things i've found on the various beaches on the island. i used my trusty dremel tool to cut windows through the fin, where i could attach things like these gems:

it's hard to see, but the item on the left is an old brass navy button. the currant coast guard base on kodiak began as a naval base during WWII, and i often find wonderful rusty navy-type things on a couple different beaches. the tiny sand dollar was a score from a beach on nearby long island last father's day. i soldered around it so i had something to hang it by. in the rest of the windows i put a really awesome ice blue piece of beach glass, hardly ever find that colour, a nice chunk of pottery, and a soldered microscope slide with a mermaid on one side and a collage of old fishing boats i put together on the other.

while working on filling the windows i came across a quote that pulled the whole tail together for me, so to speak. it gave me just what i needed for the focal point to work, the focal point being my take on the sacred heart symbol:

the base is a rusted heart-shaped tin duffy & i found on our morning beach stroll. it was pretty nearly a zen moment for me. the rusty forks were another beach find, and those i wired and soldered on to the back of the tin, hoping to emulate the sacred heart's flames. along the inside of the tin i drilled holes, and wired freshwater pearls down. i brushed some beeswax over the pearls to ensure they stay put, i think it added a nice aged look.

i drilled a couple more holes on the top and wired in an arch some sea glass from another beach. on the bottom i dangled a bit of what looks like a piece of jadeite glass, a vial of white sand from a favorite beach we've all let our kids run around naked on when they were babies, and an awesome old key, nicely patina'd, with russian writing on it. it was hard to part with that one. also sewed on a mother of pearl button to the bottom of the middle fork that my daughter found on the beach a while back. i had to pay her a dollar for it.
i printed the quote out on a paper bag, and applied it to an awesome flat bit of copper (that already had the center hole in it!) with melted beeswax. it buffed out nice and shiny, love beeswax. i hung it from the top of the tin with some rusted & waxed twine.

i mounted the heart onto the tail by screwing it down with some old worn copper screws from my father-in-law's old screw bin. they look great peeking out. who knows how old they are.
i used an old salmon roe packing box (canneries have switched to plastic boxes now, such a pity) for the base. i covered the lid with another chart, aging it with more coffee. i screwed the tail on good and sturdy, then screwed the lid onto the box with more old brass screws. the final bit of glory for this piece came to me a week before the tail was due, when we rode out to fossil beach for an afternoon, and while walking through the seaweed i found an old halibut gagnion, all chewed & rusty (yay) with the most beautiful rusted circle hook ever still attached. i wrapped it around the base of the tail and wired it down. i included a tag so the owner would know where everything came from, and called it done.

i named this year's tail "Enduring Beauty"
and i sure hope someone bids on it saturday night.....