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!