Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Winter in Maine

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

So as the frenetic 2017 winds down to a close, I thought I’d share some photographic inspiration from a recent dog walkies.  I’ve been largely absent from my blog, mostly because I’ve (a) been too busy and (b) been posting on Facebook, which is faster and easier than the blog.   But I figured I need to do at least a little bit of blogging.  Maybe I’ll ease in with a post a month, and see if I can get it up to two a month by spring?   Anyway, please enjoy the beauty of my world!

Let’s start with one of the most seasonal images. I love the shallow depth of focus. For non-photographers, that means adjusting the aperture, how far the lens opens, so that the berries are sharp and the woods are not.

A fence near the pond where I take sunset pictures during warmer times of the year. Sunset is now about 4 pm, so I don’t get over there at that time of day.

Selected for my photo challenge–this week’s theme was round. Mother Nature’s ornaments! Round is more than a circle or a ball. The apples, the tree trunk, the seasons going ‘round…. not to mention my obsession with lichen spreading out. Minor adjustments to clarity, shadows and red hue saturation to get it to look like the eye sees it.

My obsession with lichens continues… look at these subtle colors and textures and intricate shapes!

Another view of the berries. This run-off creek(shrouded in snow, trust me, there’s a creek under there) is at the back of our property if you were to walk up it a quarter mile or so into the woods. There it is flat and almost not there, but it picks up water from the two folds of the hill that border it on the way down to the road.

My friend Jenny Lyon loves grasses and has made some stunning art quilts of them. I think I’ve been channeling Jenny a bit, especially with the next photo. My friend Jacquie has teased me that I am doing a series of art quilts on weeds. She’s right–I love the wild bits of nature that creep into my world.

This photo is the one that most makes me think of Jenny’s work and her beautiful California garden (seen only in photos as we live about 2800 miles apart). This clump was transplanted when we built the garage because it was where they needed to trench for electricity. It has limped along since 2012, but finally this year is showing signs of perking up. Plus, just this year I finally learned what it is called (and it is written SOMEwhere…hope I can find it), so I plant to put in more. The fluffy tops cast the most glorious shadows on the snow when it is next to the porch and lit up at night.

Not the most riveting shot, but it is the beauty of my world as I see it from the house–at this angle I’d be in the kitchen at the sink though this was taken outside as immense snowflakes began to drift down.

And another scenic shot of a barn down on the street, about a half mile walking, perhaps 2/10 as the crow flies over the woods and neighbor’s lots. Appleton Ridge is in the distance, barely visible as the snow moves in.

Enjoy the season. Tomorrow is Solstice, when the sun begins to return and the days lengthen.  We will light candles to celebrate the return and look forward to a family weekend together!

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Eleven Years of blogging and some letters….

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

According to my calendar, today is my 11th Blogoversary.  Yes, I have more or, most recently, less been blogging for eleven years!   To mark the occasion, I’m sharing a photo from this week’s Photo Challenge (a follow on to the class I did with Ricky Tims last year).  Instead of doing my initials, I chose to do Eli’s since he will be leaving for college (SOB) shortly.  I’ll thrill you all I’m sure with dorm move-in pics, and will do my darnedest not to start crying until after we leave campus.  The photo challenge theme for this week is Found Alphabet.  I actually teach a Quilting Design class which uses this “learning to see” exercise (Info is here, scroll down to Quilting Design).

Since I teach a class where found alphabet is a major component I almost skipped this week; our son heads to college in a couple days.   But I decided to give it a quick go using only the grout lines from our stone fireplace; I also opted to do Eli’s initials:  WEKS.   The W is a mirror image of the center stone (I’ll post the full fireplace in my Flickr album), cropped, and squeezed in from the sides.  The E is flipped horizontally, the S flipped vertically, and the K is a shot taken on the diagonal.   It’s gonna be hard being an empty nester.  Our lives have revolved around Eli’s sports for so long, every week a meet.  This year, none.  I know I will have more than enough to fill the hole, but still.   Spent the morning copying his iPod playlists so I can play them when I am feeling homesick for him.

Since  our son leaves for college soon and I’m busy, I almost skipped this week; . But I decided to give it a quick go using only the grout lines from our stone fireplace; I also opted to do Eli’s initials: WEKS.  The W is a mirror image of the center stone (I’ll post the full fireplace in my Flickr album), cropped, and squeezed in from the sides. The E is flipped horizontally, the S flipped vertically, and the K is a shot taken on the diagonal.

Here is a photo of the fireplace, source of the letters.

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All the letters were “found” in our fireplace. 

It’s gonna be hard being an empty nester. Our lives have revolved around Eli’s sports for so long, every week a meet. This year, none. I know I will have more than enough to fill the hole, but still. Spent the morning copying his iPod playlists so I can play them when I am feeling homesick for him.  Maybe I’ll even spend some of that time blogging…what a concept!

 

Hullooo Out There

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

No, I have not dropped off the face of the Earth.  My rather abrupt departure from regular blogging was due to a crashing and dying laptop.  I am happy to say that Apple tech support went so far above and beyond the call of duty it is amazing!  I did have to buy a new (kaCHING) laptop, but it is up and running.  So as soon as I get caught up on everything, I’ll make up with a multi-week Foto Friday and some other regular blogging, too!

And just because blogposts need pictures,

Minor adjustments in LR.  Cropped in PS, contrast increased, then a major tweak (100 percent) to highlights.  Love the surreal effect.

Here’s a fun photo I took this past week that I didn’t submit as my class photo, but I liked anyway.  Thanks to the DH (Hubby) for driving me around for half an hour so I could take “drive panning shots.”  Minor adjustments in LR. Cropped in PS, contrast increased, then a major tweak (100 percent) to highlights. Love the surreal effect.

Foto Friday: Old Paint and a Tenth Blog-o-versary

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  It is, according to my calendar, my TENTH anniversary of blogging?  How the heck did that happen, ten YEARS?   So I’m celebrating with TWO posts today.  The first is my Foto Friday from my 52-Week Photography Challenge class with Ricky Tims, and later today I’ll post about my Dinner@8 interview.

So this week’s challenge was Old Paint.  Here are my top three choices:

This is the photo I submitted as my class assignment. A picturesque (means falling apart) buidling on our property. LOVED this shot but it needed some work. Deepend the leaf shadows, then dodged the shadows on the left part of the hinge so it was more visible. Reduced highlights a tiny bit. Selected the cracked windowpane and lightened as it was too dark—overpowered the rest of the door. Summer in Maine!

This is the photo I submitted as my class assignment. A picturesque (means falling apart) buidling on our property. LOVED this shot but it needed some work. Deepend the leaf shadows, then dodged the shadows on the left part of the hinge so it was more visible. Reduced highlights a tiny bit. Selected the cracked windowpane and lightened as it was too dark—overpowered the rest of the door. Summer in Maine!

Here are a couple more:

This might have been my choice but once I was home (and didn't want to drive 22 miles back into town round trip). Had high hopes for this one, but disappointed in the depth of field…f/13 not enough. Would have been better with flowers and siding crisp. May try to head into town and try again.

This might have been my choice but once I was home (and didn’t want to drive 22 miles back into town round trip) I saw on my laptop that it wasn’t crisp. Had high hopes for this one, but disappointed in the depth of field…f/13 not enough. Would have been better with flowers and siding crisp. May try again the next time I’m in town with my camera.

Another shot of the picturesque (aka decrepit) building on our property. Why no door on the right? Because it LITERALLY came apart into a crumpled heap. And the plywood that has covered up the opening blew down late last winter. Need to fix. Soon. Autumn is trying really hard to begin! Decreased shadows a tiny bit, knocked back highlights a bit more. Punched up contrast.

Another shot of the picturesque (aka decrepit) building on our property. Why no door on the right? Because it LITERALLY came apart into a crumpled heap. And the plywood that has covered up the opening blew down late last winter. Need to fix. Soon. Autumn is trying really hard to begin!
Decreased shadows a tiny bit, knocked back highlights a bit more. Punched up contrast.

Other photos from this week are on my Flickr site, here. Happy Blogoversary everyone!

 

Looking back, looking forward

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

What a year it has been and what an end of a year–have come down with a sinus infection after Christmas.   But while I was putting things together for the family Christmas newsletter, I decided to browse my blog to remember what had happened.  Of course I remembered Eli going to wrestling camp and our big trip to England, but it felt like I really hadn’t accomplished much art-quilt-wise.  It appears my memory was faulty–what a year!

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  First major presentation in public at lecture, Tuesday, How Did She Do That?

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  In the Studio Art Quilt Associates exhibit Food for Thought.

  1. My line of Thermofax screens came out with Fiber on a Whim!  Blogged about them here and here, and you can buy them here.

  2. Two of Us–I was in the Beatles exhibit quilt and in the book! Blogged here, find the book here.

  3. Amaryllis quilt made and touring Australia and New Zealand in the Living Colour Textiles exhibit.  Blogged here; website for the exhibit here.

  4. Eli, Cross-Country 2013 quilt made for the Dinner@8 Reflections exhibit with the IQA shows.  Blogpost here; website for the exhibit here.

  5. Mr. Wiggles does the Circle Dance made and included in the traveling portion of Dare to Dance exhibit and book.  Blogpost here and here, and book here.

  6. Many articles for MQU / Machine Quilting Unlimited on various aspects of machine quilting.  I have to say I subscribe to this magazine and it is one that I read cover to cover each and every issue! There were lots of posts over the past two years, so I won’t put them all here, but here’s one about maintaining your machine.  Here’s the MQUmag.com website.  If I had to cut my magazine subscriptions down to 3, this would be one that I’d keep.

  7. QA TV–on PBS in three segments of Quilting Arts TV talking about needle and thread, quilting, and my easy-peasy inside-out bag!  Me?  On TV?   Here are a few blogposts here and here and here and a link to Series 1400 at the Interweave Store. If you want to shop at Interweave, use the link at the left of my blog for a discount on some items.  Thanks so much to my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp who was tapped to be the new host (and wonderful she is!) and Vivika Hansen DeNegre, editor of Quilting Arts magazine.

  8. Three works in the  Quilt Essentials book, a new book that covers the full range of quilting, geared at newcomers to the art and craft of quilting, published out of England.  Blogpost here and for sale here.

  9. Insalata, my latest piece, has been juried into on of SAQA – Studio Art Quilt Associates — exhibits, Food for Thought.  Apparently, I’ve been SO busy I forgot to blog about finishing the quilt and getting it submitted!   I’ve tried many times, but this is the first time I’ve made it into a SAQA exhibit. My blogpost about the quilt in progress here.   The quilt is at the top of this post! I’ll add Insalata to my list of “Things I need to blog about!”

  10. I was lucky to attend, teach and lecture at International Quilt Festival, Houston, again this year.  For me, this show is the biggest and best show in the US, and I am  privileged to be able to teach there.  It is so much fun to have returning students in my classes!

  11. Our oldest son graduated and I actually made and gave him his graduation quilt within a few months of the event!   He and his girlfriend looked SO CUTE when they wrapped up in it in our living room.  Blogpost here.  It’s a whopper:  87 x 97 inches of riotous color!

  12. New workshops in development–I’ve got two new workshops/classes well under way.  The first is an a la carte series of classes called Quilting the Good Life, where guilds can pick from one to five days of classes that begin with a fused, collaged flower (Quilting the Garden), a second day to develop one’s own photo into an art quilt, a one or two-day quilting class for thread-coloring / quilting the piece, or turn it into a five day workshop including all of the above with extra time to work on the piece with my help.  The second workshop is using thermofax screens and other surface design techniques inspired by the mini-workshop I did in the Fiber on a Whim booth in Houston this fall, blogpost here.  I’ll blog more about these when they debut. 

  13. QA Holidays issue:  the easy peasy inside out bag and card holders I demonstrated on Quilting Arts TV were included as patterns in the annual Holiday issue!

  14. England trip–there are many blogposts and more still to come for this once in a lifetime trip.  How wondrous is it that a 16 year old teenager wanted to go with his Mom to England? 

  15. 500 traditional quilts book—I’m known as an art quilter, but I love traditional quilts.  I was thrilled to have 3 quilts included in this book juried by Karey Patterson Bresenhan and have 2 on display at the 2014 International Quilt festival in Houston in the exhibit of selected quilts from the book.   Blogpost here.

  16. Planting 300+ daffodil and tulip bulbs with my family!  Nearly 30 years ago we lived in DC on Capitol Hill.  One row house had a small front garden that was wall-to-wall tulips in spring.  I’ve always wanted to do something similar with daffodils….. have those joyous blooms spilling down a hillside.  Well, we have the hill, and in spring we should have the flowers.  I ordered about 100 tulips and 250 daffodils.   I have a feeling I will want to add a hundred more bulbs every autumn until I have my cascade of daffodils!  Blogpost here.

  17. Dog walkies—inspired by Susan Brubaker Knapp’s daily beauty photos, I have been documenting my little world on dog walkies with our beloved pug.  I post the pictures on Facebook, though get them shared here sometimes, too.   If you aren’t already a friend on FB, please do visit me here and send a request!

  18. Not enough exercise–well, something had to go, and clearly I should re-prioritize and get myself back in some sort of shape.  Hope springs eternal?

  19. Janome 15000, in Janome ads w/banner:  to my utter astonishment and delight, Janome America has sponsored me with a machine for nearly a decade now.   In exchange, I do projects for them and try to repay their kindness and generosity by talking about the features of the machine (which are fabulous and I would say that even if I DIDN’T get to use one for free).  This year they –GASP, and yes I seriously upgraded my business insurance to cover the cost of this machine– lent me a top of the line Janome 15000.  And they used a banner I made for them in their national ads, blogpost here.  Thank you Janome America!

  20. And last but not least by any  means, I am now published with a NON textile artwork in Lesley Riley’s Inspirational Quotes Illustrated.    And in another how-did-I-not-Blog-about-that-yet moment, I will prepare a blogpost to publish tomorrow with pictures of the book and my piece in it!  You can buy the book here.  And I will say, I almost never have TWO of a book, but this one is so cool because you can remove pages to go on the wall, so I am keeping my autographed-by-Lesley copy intact and bought another to take out pages for posting on my design wall as inspiration.

So that was one heck of year–and here I thought I hadn’t done much.  What a wonder!