Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September in a nutshell . . .

SEPTEMBER ~ Back to WORK, Back to SCHOOL, Back to BOOKS!
This historic reading poster says it all, doesn't it?

I always loved the first day of school with everything new. New clothes head to toe, new bookbag, new 3-ring binders covered in blue canvas, new pencils (always painted yellow), new black and white speckled composition books, new lunchbox, new teachers, and new butterflies in my stomach.

Did I forget anything?



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Monday, September 1, 2008

DETOUR! Giant Dragonfly ahead . . .

This is one of my favorite photos of my mother taken some years ago. I added the dragon fly. Doesn't it look real?!!! The insect is a scan from an early 19th century entomology engraving. I deleted the background and moved it to the tree. Then I added a drop shadow.

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 as my editing software. I might have been using either 4.0 or 5.0 when I did this exercise. I call it Photoshop Fun!

If you like this photo manipulation, please look at one of my very first posts using the same photo and a GIANT MOTH.

I am sad to report that the magnificent tree has been cut down by the town of Mendham, NJ. The roots were lifting the sidewalk; such a shame. Only part of the centuries-old trunk appears in this snapshot.



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Labor Day is way too early this year . . .

Am I the only one who feels cheated when Labor Day falls on the first day of September? The thermometer shows that summer is NOT over yet!

Have a safe holiday.



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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Greenie Queenie ~ Queen Elizabeth goes green . . .

Is that an oil spot I see on the ground beside Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral? Be gone! She has instructed her police bodyguards to trade their gas-guzzling Range Rovers for black mountain bikes whenever possible.

The switch to bicycles is designed to reduce fuel consumption and establish a greener way of guarding the Royal Family during their summer break. The officers are pleased to be getting good workouts and saving fuel at the same time.

This is nothing new for Queen Elizabeth; she started going green more than two decades ago. The main castle's boilers have been converted to burn wood chips instead of oil and she is said to go around Buckingham Palace switching off the lights. Good for her!

The Queens company, The Crown Estate, has purchased the world's largest offshore wind turbine known as the Britannia project.

The company is also involved in the development of offshore windfarms in Scottish waters.

I think it is wonderful that she is so proactive instead of just sitting back and leaving it for Charles to do on his watch.

I hope she discovers the wonderful photos taken from a helicopter of "London from Above, At Night" on The Big Picture. When she sees how many lights are turned on she will probably go out and buy one or two more windfarms!



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Pansy faces . . .

I am still going through my old photos to see if there are any worthy of publishing on my blog. The single rain drop on the purple flower commemorates the nice gentle rain we had last night; the scorched grass is getting greener already.

Pansy faces are always appreciated and they send their best wishes for a safe Labor Day weekend. Enjoy!

The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning "thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Pssst! Long Weekend Ahead ~ Pass It On . . .

The long Labor Day weekend is getting off to a damp start here in New Jersey. We need the rain so I am not complaining. The wet grass will keep me from 'laboring' outside and I am very thankful. I love a rainy day; it gives me permission to play inside without guilt! I am not off the hook entirely as it might clear up later.

I grew up with Norman Rockwell covers on the Saturday Evening Post and 'The Gossip' is one of my favorites.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John Derian items at Target on Sept. 7th . . .

Fans of John Derian will be sleeping in the parking lots of Target stores on Sunday, September 7th to snap up choice pieces in his lower-price line.

See The New York Times article dated August 20th: "John Derian’s decoupage paperweights, vases and serving dishes — one-of-a-kind pieces covered with layered images of flowers, animals and antique script sealed under handblown glass — may be coveted both uptown and downtown, but they come at a price: the paperweights start at $30 and larger items can cost several thousand dollars.

Starting Sept. 7 Mr. Derian’s Old World aesthetic will be available to a much wider audience, when Target introduces a lower-price line of John Derian stationery and home décor. The coasters, photo albums, plates and wrapping paper, which are digitally printed to resemble decoupage, lack the visual depth and delicacy of Mr. Derian’s studio work; then again, the most expensive item in the collection is about the same price as a small paperweight in his original line."

The photo above is a page I have been saving in my clippings drawer from a very old Town and Country magazine. Since I collect and sell antique prints, his creations have always appealed to me. My friend Jill used to borrow authentic 18th century hand-colored engravings from my flat file to scan for decoupage lamps. She gave me two for a house-warming gift. One day I will show them to you; they are really spectacular.



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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The butterfly, the thistle, and the weeds . . .

This is probably my last butterfly and thistle photo for 2008. I have to get ready for the leaf season and the big thistle has to go.

Webster is looking out at the newly mown grass and what looks to be a hedgerow on the left. It is really a weed patch that gets chopped down every fall so the leaves can blow away. There is a steep bank on the left that has been overtaken by an insidious plant known as Giant Ragweed. It is really woody and takes a metal blade to cut it back. Some of the stems are almost one inch in diameter and the height exceeds 5 feet. I don't mind them in the summer since they look like a living fence. By the end of August they start to droop and hopefully by this evening they will be gone along with the thistles. It is really dry here as you can see by the brown grass. The area on the right was allowed to grow wild all summer and it too has been cut down for leaf control. A homeowner always has to stay one step ahead of the upcoming season!



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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vine Study and Red Honeysuckle . . .

I thought at the time I was photographing these vine curlycues they looked very much like the pictograms from the 2008 Olympics...so I named the photo OlympicVine. How do those tendrils know where to go? Do they have sensors at the end? Nature never ceases to amaze me!

Red Honeysuckle flower from my previous home. I had forgotten how much I love this climbing shrub. I hope I can find one or two to plant here now that all the perennials are on sale at such low prices. They are very hardy and so very beautiful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Snail portraits . . .



I was photographing some wild grape vines yesterday on my early morning walk and almost overlooked this tiny snail crawling around on one of the leaves. He was most cooperative throughout his first photo session. How nice it must be to be able to wear your beautiful home on your back and retreat whenever you feel the need. I was amazed that he stayed outside for me prior to his internet debut.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perfect day for . . .

This is how I will be spending a lazy Sunday morning. The photo is from my magazine clippings pile...saved because I like this Henredon sofa. Hope your early morning endeavors are equally enjoyable.



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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Night is Bath Night . . .

This is a really old photo of mine that is probably around 6 or 7 years old. It still makes me smile. That bird was splashing up a storm. It's Saturday night...enjoy your evening and your bath!

Fresh Orange Juice for Breakfast . . .

I feel energized for the day since drinking a big glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to accompany my steel cut oats. Needless to say, I had already consumed my two large cups of coffee. Now I must organize my recycling and take it to the center in Chatham. I never use the curbside service because the raccoons rummage through it. The truck arrives very early and you have to put your containers out the night before. I don't like the way it looks and the drivers just throw the empty bins helter skelter in the yard.

Enjoy your Saturday. I will probably post something else later in the day so check back.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bluebird of Happiness . . .

Here's hoping we all get a visit from this beautiful bird over the weekend. Have a great one!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grouping of framed bird prints . . .

I like everything about this page I ripped from an old magazine. It's been sitting in my desk drawer for ages. I have no idea of the source because there is nothing on either side of the page. I will take the dog on the right with the shorter hair. I just know there is going to be a dachshund in my life at some point. I'll take the chair too! I love the nailheads and fringe. As I have mentioned before, you can click on almost all of the photos I publish on my blog to enlarge.

The real point of this post is the ornithological prints on the wall. Aren't they stunning? I have all of these for sale in my eBay store. They are original 1878 Studer/Jasper lithographs in a nice large size. I made a Picasa Web Album for your viewing pleasure.



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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea Purpulea) . . .

I took this photo about 15 minutes ago in early morning light with no flash. The purple cone flower is such an exciting plant to behold from the bud form to the fully opened flower. It has herbal medicinal qualities too. I always take Echinacea if I think I am getting a cold. The botanical name is Echinacea Purpulea but some of the garden catalogs call it Rudbeckia Purpulea.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wall of framed marine life prints . . .

I love this wall of framed prints with shells, starfish, and crustaceans. There is no hand coloring on the engravings and I like that look in this neutral setting. I used to do custom framing as a sideline to accompany my antique print business. Now I just sell them unframed as they are easier to mail that way. A large grouping of a single category is always stunning.



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Monday, August 18, 2008

Wonderful Documentary Tonight on PBS . . .

Florence Thompson and Children
"Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange

"Fleeing a Dust Storm" by Arthur Rothstein

“Migrant Mother,” Dorothea Lange’s image of a weathered, grimy Depression-era woman in California surrounded by her children, is one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century, as is “Fleeing a Dust Storm,” Arthur Rothstein’s shot of a farmer and his two young sons in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl whipped by the wind, a shack in the background.

The PBS film “Documenting the Face of America: Roy Stryker and the F.S.A./O.W.I. Photographers” shows how the small Farm Security Administration’s New Deal project to document poverty turned into a visual anthology of thousands of images of American life in the 1930s and early ’40s.

There is a great article in today's New York Times about this program which will air on PBS tonight (Monday, 08/18/08) in most areas. In the NY/NJ area it is on at 10PM. Check your local listings and set your DVRs. This looks like "must-see tv" to me!



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