Thursday, February 25, 2010

stitching little touches

stitching little touches, originally uploaded by poketypatch.
"Sometimes I imagined stitching all of our little touches together. How many hundreds of thousands of fingers brushing against each other does it take to make love?"
— Jonathan Safran Foer

With all the snow keeping us indoors this winter, I have started to sew again.

Last year, I treated myself to a new Brother SE350 Computerized Embroidery-and-Sewing Machine
but have just not had the time to play around with it until now.

Starting with easy, little projects is the best way to get your feet wet with a new hobby!  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

These woods are lovely, dark and deep...

"These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

~Robert Frost

Last summer, I started visiting Turner's Creek Park, a county park near my home, and began a series of photographs.  The property is surrounded by Turner's Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, and there are trails through the forest where most of my photos have been captured. On Flickr, I have a set of photos - Into the Woods - consisting of some of the images I have taken on my hikes in the woods.  The photos in the two previous posts are from my most recent visit to the park.  This one, was from a visit in November. My plan is to try and get photos from all the seasons, and then put together a little exhibit.  Also, a former Congressional Representative from my county is trying to lobby for funding to establish the park as an educational site for local school children.  I would like to offer these images as proof of what a magical place Turner's Creek Park is!  Here are a sampling of some of my photos from the park:

turtle for tuesday

tree with heart

lightnesses and contradictions

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


"A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows "

— St Francis of Assisi

One of my favorite things to photograph is white tulips. The simple beauty that they exude is a dream for me. I bought a bunch at Trader Joes last week for the bargain price of $4.99. By placing them on the dining room table, they caught the light from our windows perfectly. One of the tulips lost a petal, which gave an interesting view to the inside of the flower. The subtle flare of the sunlight (late day) coming in and hitting the tulips was too good to pass up.

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I used my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens because it works so well in low light. It was definitely the right choice for this group of shots.

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I really love to use monochrome with white tulips and tend to process them in sepia or black and white. I actually thought about throwing on a texture in Photoshop Elements (and tried it on the top version), but felt that this was one of those situations where "less is more". Sometimes subtle restraint takes a photo to the next level....

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

w e e p i n g w i l l o w

w e e p i n g w i l l o w, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

"But what Tyler longed for was to have The Feeling arrive; when every flicker of light that touched the dipping branches of a weeping willow, every breath of breeze that bent the grass towards the row of apple trees, every shower of yellow ginko leaves dropping to the ground with such direct and tender sweetness, would fill the minister with profound and irreducible knowledge that God was right there."
— Elizabeth Strout, Abide with Me

I braved the inches of snow to take a walk in Turner's Creek Park yesterday. I have been trying to photograph this little forest in all the seasons, and I had yet to get any winter, snowy shots. It is amazing how barren the forest is in winter. The views that you have are so different than during the lusher seasons when trees are full of leaves and the brush makes you feel like you are hidden away!

The photo above is of a willow tree that stands on the outskirts of the forest. It is a massive tree, and I have often thought it would make a great spot for photographing someone's portrait. Yesterday, the draping, naked branches were stunning - even in the mid-day light. I combined some of the shots into a tryptich - a set of three photos shown together. Unfortunately, it looks like a diptych here, but if you click on the photo and go to my flickr you will see the true triptych! Here are the originals before processing...




What about the quote? I am currently reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. This quote, from another of her works, just seemed to epitomize the essence of how it is to look at the weeping willow with it's grace and with the light shining through its branches. I love finding quotes to go with my photography. Writing has always been very difficult for me, so I seem to gravitate to letting the "experts" do it for me. The trick is finding just the right meaning. The way I usually go about it is to look at the photo and think of one word that describes how it makes me feel. I then go to (this is my secret source!) GoodReads and search that one word in the quote section. Usually, something will come up by a favorite author of mine - many times I will have read the book! It makes it more meaningful to me if it is a quote of someone I respect or from a book that I feel is a classic or was just a great read!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Secret Gate

secret gate, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

"Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."
— J.R.R. Tolkien

I had a few extra minutes to kill today, so I decided to drive around looking for something interesting to photograph. I passed a country church with old iron fencing that was buried in the snow. The photo above was taken from inside the car, through the front window glass. I took a couple of shots with the window rolled down, but thought that the glass added a dreamlike quality to the image.

Taking photos from behind glass, give a photograph a new feel. Some people use windows that are wet with rain, or are dirty, to add such texture to their photography. Another way to get this result is to use photoshop processing and add a new textural layer on top of the original image.

In contrast, here is an image that I took outside, focusing on the gate. It is SOOC (straight out of the camera - which means no post-processing.) Even though it is a photograph of the same gate, taken at the same time of day, it has a completely different look to it. My focus is set on the gate and in turn gives a nice blurred background of trees and sky.


In the next shot, I moved around a bit and used the red church door as my background. The red contrasts nicely with the green vine growing on the gate. I like this angle zooming in on the gate. You really get a feel for the curves of the fence.

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These shots (and some others of the actual fence) were taken in about 5 minutes. They illustrate how just moving around, changing your angle, or adding unexpected elements (like shooting through glass) can make an ordinary object come to life in many different ways!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow, originally uploaded by poketypatch.

Birds provide so much inspiration for craft. I especially love the plump, little ones that live in the bushes beside our home.

Good photographs can help you get an idea of how these little birds look in nature. With just a little creativity, sketches, collage and other mixed media projects can be adorned with these sweet creatures.

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Here are some of my easy little projects.

An ATC I made using fabric, paper and paint.
Bird Atc - #4 in series of 4

A simple sketch with colored pencils.

My first attempt at watercolor.
Sunflower ATC

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shamrock pattern

Little Quilting Projects - Easy Coasters

I have been wanting to work on my machine quilting skills. However, since I don't have large blocks of time to work on big projects, I have been looking for simpler, smaller projects that can be completed in an afternoon. This tutorial for Reverse Applique Coasters proved to be just the easy pattern I was looking for in order to try out some basic techniques.

The tutorial pattern is one for heart coasters for Valentines day. I decided to take it a step further and get ready for the next holiday, St. Patrick's Day!. I found a shamrock graphic online. I worked on it in photoshop so that it would fit a 4 inch coaster.