Tuesday, February 28, 2006


In all the "excitement" of SPT Tuesday, I almost forgot to post my Daily Art Thang. But here it is. This post (coincidentally an SPT post!) by Michelle at la vie en rose inspired me to make this series of fabric postcards. So I made this for Michelle as a thank-you. "Roar!"

Self-Portrait Tuesday: All of Me, Week 4

Finally, at long last we come to the final Tuesday in February - the final week of February's SPT theme of "All of Me", wherein we're supposed to "embrace our mistakes, love the ugly bits". Frankly I don't consider the mistake I'm about to embrace to be MY mistake exactly, it's more like a mistake of Mother Nature, but I still think it fits the theme, so here we go. Embracing my real hair color I'm convinced I was meant to be a redhead. There are even some natural redheads in my extended family, so it's not like it wasn't a genetic possibility. But it wasn't to be. I was a blonde child who grew into a mousy-light-brown-haired adult. These days the light brown is sprinkled with gray. I actually don't mind that so much. If I was entirely gray - especially if it was a really pretty, silvery gray - I might even stop hitting the bottle (the bottle of L'Oreal, that is) and let it all hang out. It's the gray/light brown combo that I don't love with my skin tone. It makes me look so washed out that if I don't wear make-up every single day, complete strangers ask me if I feel ok. Seriously. So for many years I went back to the blonde of my childhood and these days I'm showing my inner redhead. But here, for this challenge, I'm showing my roots. Literally. My chosen red is embracing my mousy silver-brown. You see, I find that if I embrace my real hair color and talk nicely to it, I can lull it into a false sense of security and it won't struggle when I smother it with toxic chemicals and plastic wrap!! Bwahahahahaaaaaa! Prisoner number 022806 Charge: Mousy Murder Yeah, I know. I'm losing it. Is it March yet? I like the theme for March.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Simple Still Life: Month the Sixth, Part the Second

Guess what! My February Simple Still Life entry was due this past weekend and I forgot. Oopsie. Oh well, never mind, here it is, only a couple of days late and a few dollars short. The theme for February was Red. I had, at one time, thought I might work in fabric or colored pencils or something for this month, but since I forgot about it until yesterday (!!!), I did some PhotoshopPhun instead. My goal was to take my photographs, which already featured red objects, and see if I could manipulate them to emphasize the theme even more. Here is the first photo I started with: "Red Lines" And here is how I made it Redderererer (That is TOO a word. Shut up.): "Red Lines 2" Here is the other photo I started with: "Red Shoes and Pencils": And here are some various things I did with it: "Red: Less is More" "Red Outlines" "Really Red" The March theme is to photograph three things that are alike, yet different, such as three differently shaped vases, or three different things that are all yellow. Will DebR come up with something fabulously exciting for this theme? Will she remember to post the photos by next weekend?? Will she stop the annoying affectation of speaking about herself in the third person??? Find out later this week on an all-new episode of - Red Shoe Ramblings!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Photo Fun and a Bunch of Pointless Questions

I'll post the Artwork du jour first so that those of you who don't want to read the silly meme thingy can see the photos and skip it. I TOLD you there might not be anything any better here today than yesterday. Life's just been like that lately. Heh. Tall Grass "Tall Grass 2" On to the Pointless Questions I got this list of questions from Laume although I dropped a few of them (she had 76!!!) because there's Pointless and then there's REALLY Pointless. Also, I actually answered all these questions yesterday and am just getting around to posting it this morning, so some of the answers would be different this morning (like the time thing, and the last thing I watched or ate), but screw it. I'm not wasting even MORE time on this sucker than I already have! 1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4. What does it say? They leaned forward. "Are you saying that Olivia..." That's it. Real exciting, yes? It's from "Bloodlines" by Dinah McCall and was on the top of one of my several TBR piles, although I probably won't be reading it next. 2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, What can you touch? The computer desk, mouse pad, and mouse; a glass of water and the coaster it's sitting on; scrap paper with nearly-illegible scribbled notes; movie soundtrack CD from "Rent"; my computer chair; my right shoe (I'm sitting with my leg curled under me, a habitual pose of mine) 3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? An episode of "Smallville" 4. Without looking, guess what time it is 12:45 pm 5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time? 12:47 pm I. Am. GOOD. HA! 6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? "Magic Man" by Heart, the dishwasher running, Tansy sighing in her sleep 7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? About an hour ago. I drove to the closest little mom-n-pop store. 8. What are you wearing? Why does anyone care?? Ok, jeans, striped Henley shirt, gym shoes, the usual sorts of undies, socks, etc. 9. Did you dream last night? I'm sure I did, but at the moment I couldn't tell you what it was about. 10. When did you last laugh? Ummm....probably last night, while watching a movie. 11. What is on the walls of the room you are in? I am NOT listing everything on the walls in here. It would take too long. So let's just say lots and lots of artwork of various types, both things I've done and things others have done. 12. Seen anything weird lately? Yeah, this meme. :-P 13. What is the last film you saw? "Shaun of the Dead" 14. Do you like to dance? Love to! 15. George Bush: Evil 16. Would you ever consider living abroad? Yep! 17. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates? My answer would be exactly the same as Laume's, so here is hers: I don't expect to see any pearly gates, nor do I expect to see "God" in the form of a white bearded man. Maybe Alanis Morisette.... I do expect to be met by a lot of people I love and haven't seen in a while. And I guess I'd want them to say "We missed you! Welcome back!" 18. Your name spelled backwards? Seriously?? Okaaaay. Nosdrahcir Bed 19. Last incoming call on your phone? My neighbor, checking to see if her escape-artist horse was in my yard again (he wasn't, for a change) 20. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Some photos I took while walking 21. Britney Spears is a skank. Agree or disagree? Agree 22. Type of music you dislike most? Anything really harsh and discordant, like the extremes of rap, heavy metal, jazz, country, etc. 23. What was the last thing you bought? Pizza and Coke, at the aforementioned small neighborhood store 24. Have you ever ridden on a motorbike? Only on the back, with someone else driving 25. Does someone have a crush on you? Good grief, I have no idea! Anyone want to speak up?? Heh. 26. Ever made a prank phone call? Yep (not for many, MANY years though) 27. Listening to music? Johnny is, so I'm sort of getting it second-hand from the next room - Heart's Greatest Hits, Volume 1 28. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? In certain moods, yes. In others, no. 29. What shoes are you wearing right now? boringly ordinary gym shoes 30. Do you have a garden? Yep 31. What's your favorite comic strip? Oooh, hard one. Probably either Doonesbury or Dilbert. I like several of them. 32. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Yep 33. Bath or Shower, morning or night? To get clean - shower, morning (or other times of day, as needed) To relax - bath, night (occasionally) 34. Hello or goodbye? Yes 35. Favorite pizza toppings? Pepperoni, mushrooms, green olives, banana peppers 36. Chips or Popcorn? Yes, please 37. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Bwahahahahaaaaaa! Um, no. 38. Orange Juice or apple juice? Orange 39. Who was the last person you ate dinner with? My hubby 40. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? This past summer sometime (or perhaps even early fall), but I don't remember when exactly 41. Have you ever won a trophy? Prizes (ribbons, certificates, cash, etc) yes, but a trophy? Not that I can recall. 42. Are you a good cook? When I feel like bothering to be, yes. 43. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Good grief, when were these questions written, 1966?? Yes, of course I do. 44. Sprite or 7-Up? Ginger Ale 45. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school? Nope 46. Last thing you ate? pizza 47. Ever thrown up in public? Well...yeah...but geeeeze, why in the world would anyone want to know that?? 48. Would you rather find true love or be a millionaire? Love. But since I have love, the millionaire thing could be fun. :-) 49. Do you believe in love at first sight? No. I believe in attraction at first sight, and if that attraction then grows into love I think it can feel, in retrospect, like a person found love at first sight, but...No. 50. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Johnny's Aunt Jean 51. Would you rather be famous by face or famous by name? Name. Definitely. 52. What was the name of your first pet? Gerry. (Short for Geraldine.) She was a gerbil. 53. How are you feeling right now? Fine, thanks, how are you? 54. What do you think of the person that posted this before you? I love her, but she was really evil to post this knowing I wouldn't be able to resist answering this idiotic thing!!! 55. Who do you think is MOST likely to repost this survey? Rachel, because she's as addicted to these stupid things as I am. Speaking of pointless, I'll give movie buffs a hint to the pointless-but-funny movie I watched last night by closing with a song. Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know-oooooh... Prize time!! I will send a wee gift to the first person who proves they got all the way to the end of this thing by telling me the name of the movie that song is from in comments! (If my comment thingy isn't playing nice for you, you can always email me instead!)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Prongalicious Pictures

Ok, several people have said that they wanted to hear more about "Rent", so I'm going to indulge myself in a nice long BLATHER about it in a bit later today, but I'll do it in a separate post, so those who don't want to read it can look at the pretty pictures and then slip out the back and hope for more interesting things tomorrow. Please note that I don't PROMISE more interesting things tomorrow, but I encourage the hope. Hope is a Good Thing. I find it somehow ironic that in yesterday's post I mentioned turning people into virtual zombies. I watched "Shaun of the Dead" last night. And I liked it. HA! Anyway, on to the pretty pictures. Here is yet one more photo of the rusty prong thingy. It was taken the same day as the one I showed yesterday, but at a different angle. I don't find it as interesting (which means I probably should have showed it first!), but had some fun playing with it in Photoshop. Here it is "naked": "Rusty Prongs Yet Again" And here it is with some stuff done to it to make it a bit more abstract and to emphasize the texture of the rust: And here is one final version where I went with a Psychotic Break with Reality theme: And that's about it for the artistic efforts this Saturday morning! I did little fabricy something yesterday, but it isn't ready to share yet. Hopefully it will be soon. Now Terry, Dara, Deborah, and I are going to go off to that cozy corner over there, the one with the overstuffed couch and chairs and the roaring fire and the big pot of coffee, and we're going to talk movies. Any of the rest of you are more than welcome to join us! Or you can quietly slip out the back and I'll see you tomorrow.

Rent-y Ramblings

All righty, is everyone all comfy-cozy and armed with their beverage of choice and ready to talk "Rent"? Good! First of all, I've only seen the play once, but have seen the movie twice now, once in the theater and once at home on DVD. I love the stage version and was a bit apprehensive that they would mess it up in the movie, but it turned out I really love the film version too, differences and all. There's only one real difference I have a quarrel with. But that's getting ahead of myself. We'll get back to that in a few minutes. At first I wasn't sure what I thought of turning the story from something that's told almost entirely in song, with only a few scattered lines of spoken dialogue, to more of a "typical" musical where there's a mix of speaking and song. I sort of missed some of the Voice Mail and Tune Up segments. But I found that as I slipped into the story unfolding on screen that I forgot to miss them. And a few days ago, when I saw the film for the second time I really didn't miss them at all. I had thought maybe changing so many of the songs to spoken dialogue had to do with conforming to a more standard movie musical format, but according to the DVD interviews with the filmmakers it was more of an artistic decision, which I found interesting. They said they were going with the idea that less is more and that by having a lot of the dialogue spoken normally they hoped that when the characters DID sing it would be clear to the audience that they were dealing with a major plot point. It would be like a sign saying "Hey! Listen up because this is important!". For Rentheads I feel sure that isn't necessary, but if the movie is trying to capture a whole new generation of fans, I suspect that may have been a good decision. As I mentioned back when I first saw the movie (and I'm too lazy to go back and link to that post right now), I thought there were a couple of sequences that were noticeably improved in the film version, compared to the stage version. The "Tango: Maureen" (which I've always loved!) starts out the same way in both, but then in the movie it segues into a lush fantasy/dream sequence which I thought was fabulous. That dream sequence is the first place we set eyes on Maureen in the movie and we see her as Mark and Joanne see her - dark, sexy, and carelessly irresistible...larger than life! I think it's a perfect introduction to the Maureen we get to know later in the story. The other sequence I think was improved in the film version was Roger's solo of "One Song Glory". On stage it stands alone and, while I like the song, I felt like it slowed things down a bit - didn't really advance the plot that much. Instead we found out a lot of Roger's background through what I'd call "exposition songs" by Mark. In the movie version, while Roger is singing about feeling like he's wasted his life and how he wants to do just one important thing before he dies, we see the reasons for those feelings unfolding on screen. We see his glory days as a rock musician, we see him meeting April, falling in love with her, shooting up with her, getting the news with her that they've both contracted HIV. It really SHOWS why he feels isolated and depressed, instead of just talking about it. The biggest thing I missed the first time I saw the movie was the "Halloween/Goodbye, Love" song sequence. That's the place in the play where, after Angel's funeral, the various friends and estranged lovers are singing about the changes that have happened over the past months and what they've lost, and it's where Mimi confronts Roger about his plans to leave town, which he then does, as she watches him drive away and sings "Goodbye, Love". In the movie version a small (VERY small) portion of that song sequence is turned into a spoken argument in the cemetery but the rest of it is just gone - cut from the story. Now we come to the thing about the movie that I still have a problem with even after hearing the explanation on the DVD interviews. Chris Columbus DID film that whole sequence, partly as spoken dialogue and partly in song. In the deleted scenes feature you can see hear Mark sing "Halloween" and Mark, Roger, and Mimi sing "Goodbye, Love". Columbus says that they tried doing those scenes with mostly dialogue, but didn't feel it played well that way. So they tried it again with mostly song and they all really liked the sequence that way, but ultimately decided to cut it because they felt like it sent the audience into emotional overload and burnt them out before the finale. First of all, having seen the stage performance, I'm not sure I buy that. I'm not sure they're giving movie audiences enough credit. But even if they're right, I wish they'd found some way to tone down the emotional impact and include some portion of the sequence, even if it was the dialogue version, because that's the one place in the movie where I think what they changed truly changed the feel of the original story. By leaving out that whole sequence, I think it makes both Benny and Roger look much more shallow in the movie than in the play. They're both flawed (aren't we all!), but that's the sequence where, in the play, we see Benny pay for Angel's funeral and offer to pay for Mimi to go to rehab. We see that he still cares about his friends in his own way, even if he has chosen a completely different life now. In the movie, he just comes across as a money-grubber who is paying way more attention to a 19-year old exotic dancer than a married man should. He becomes quite unlikeable instead of merely flawed and human. What bothered me even more though was what leaving out the sequence does to the viewer's perception of Roger's character. If someone was exposed to the story for the first time only through the movie, it makes it look like Roger's reason for leaving town is almost entirely sexual jealousy over the relationship between Mimi and Benny. But if you watch the deleted scenes, then the Roger of the stage snaps back into focus and we see that, yes, he's jealous, but that's only the smallest part of his problem. His real problem is that he has come to care for Mimi, despite trying hard to push her away...despite his fear of being close to anyone at all; and now he's seeing her waste away before his eyes from disease and addiction. He comes to realize that he simply can't stand the thought of watching her die, so he chooses to leave town. It may not be the bravest thing in the world, but it's understandable, even to Mimi. In the deleted sequence she sings to him "you don't want baggage without a lifetime guarantee; you don't want to watch me die". By deleting that sequence, I feel like Columbus makes Roger come across as a shallow jerk and makes Mimi look bewildered and helpless, when it SHOULD come across more as two people who love each other and know it - even admit it - but can't find a way to live with each other's problems. I'd hoped the explanation for not including the scene would help me make peace with it, but um...not so much. I still love the movie, I really do. I'm glad I bought the DVD and I have no doubt I'll watch it many times in the coming years. But I'm also going to watch the deleted "Goodbye, Love" sequence when I do because I'm afraid I still feel like they left out something important.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Not-So-Random Thoughts

(I'm pretty sure I have some sort of theme going here if I wanted to take the time to figure out what it is.) You know I find myself this morning still sort of wanting to talk about "Rent" and to delve into some of the artistic and creative decisions made by the director and why I do or don't agree with them. But I seem to recall that the last time I did that (about "Pride and Prejudice") I turned hoards of readers (well, ok, SEVERAL readers....sheesh) into virtual zombies as their eyes glazed over and they scurried away and, well...it just wasn't pretty. So maybe if the urge doesn't pass and I just totally can NOT control myself, I'll post something later in a whole separate entry so that only the hard-core masochi..um..I mean FANS...yeah, that's it...FANS...so that only the hard-core fans can read it and everyone else can scroll quickly past and pretend they didn't see. In other news, who else out there has been watching this season's version of "Dancing with the Stars"? I haven't talked about it much (ok, I haven't talked about it at ALL...y'all are tough this morning!) because I've been so caught up in the Project Runway craze, but I've been taping it every week (while watching Survivor; see, I'm confessing all sorts of things this morning!) and then watching it later so I can fast-forward through the interminable commercials. Last night was the next-to-last show and it was the first time I regretted not watching it live so I could call in a vote because Oh. My. GAWD. Drew and Cheryl's free-style routine was freakin' AWESOME. I rewound and watched it three times! Until last night I was torn over whether I wanted Drew or Stacy to win, as I felt they both had distinct strengths, but last night nailed it for me. I'm rooting for Drew! I took Yet ANOTHER quiz the other day. (I know...I KNOW! It's a sickness.) This one was really interesting to me though, in that instead of having little multiple choice boxes to tick, where quite often there is no right answer, this test let you use sliders and graphs and things to choose where you wanted to place your answer to the nth degree. It even had some questions where you could choose more than one answer, like agreeing somewhat with This, but even moreso with THAT. Very different. I liked it. And I thought my results were pretty durn accurate, except for where they compared their results to Meyers-Brigg's and equated me with ESFP and every time I ever take any version of Meyers-Brigg's I ALWAYS test as an INFP. Another thing I thought was interesting is that they generate what they call a "DNA badge", which is a sort of color, graphic representation of your test results. I think that's a stupid name for it, but still, visual person that I am, I found it intriguing. They don't have a way (at least not that I found) to post results directly to the blog, but if anyone is interested enough to bother, you can see my results here. It seems I am an "Encouraging Creator". If you take the test, I'd love to see your results too! If you want, you can post the link in comments or you can email it to me. Finally, for the Daily Art Thang, I'm going back to the same Rusty Thing as I showed yesterday, but this photo was taken on a different day and from a different angle. I love how abstract it turned out - almost architectural. I like that if you didn't know what it was, you, well...wouldn't know what it was! (Does that make sense? Don't answer that. Heh.) "Rusty Prongs Revisited" Oh yeah, and I just have to say this and get it out of my system: Blogger's Spell Check function sucks rocks. Big ones.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #7

1. In re-reading the PR entry I posted last night, I realize that Joanne is right - it sounds like I didn't like the episode and that isn't quite true. It had some good moments (for instance, I loved the cast members singing their various made-up songs about each other!), but I was disappointed that they showed so many clips of things we'd already seen. I'd hoped to see more unaired, previously-edited-out stuff and to hear a little bit more dishing about what went on behind the scenes. So I didn't DISlike it, but it just wasn't quite what I'd hoped. 2. I totally forgot to watch Project Jay. Oops. Oh well. If Bravo follows their usual pattern they will no doubt air it approximately 57 more times before the end of the month, so I can probably still see it at some point if I want to. 3. The reason I forgot to watch Project Jay is because when PR was over I immediately returned to something I'd been watching on DVD and that I'd paused for an hour to see the reunion show. I got the 2-disc DVD set of "Rent" the other day and Tuesday night I watched the movie (which I'd seen on the big screen a few months ago) and I cried. I thought I'd save the special features for another time and watch something funny last night instead, but then I wasn't sure I'd have time for a feature-length film between supper and PR, so I went ahead and started the special features anyway. Here's a hint for those of you who buy this DVD: when they call one of the extras a "feature length documentary", they aren't just whistlin' "Dixie". That sucker is longer than the freakin' movie! AND it made me cry more than the movie did! Sheeeeesh. Thus the pause partway through to watch Runway. Nothing better make me cry today, dammit. 4. I had some more stuff to say about that movie, AND about DVDs in general, AND about books but if I say it all then this entry will pretty much turn into a book, so never mind. Maybe I'll talk about what's on my mind another day. Or maybe not. Heh. 5. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who is paranoid about how weird this winter has been! Kathy, I'm not sure how you settled on March 4 (care to share your thoughts?) as The Day, but that would work out just fine for me as a "get it out of its system" snowstorm date. My "Wicked" ticket is for March 16. 6. I ran a bunch of errands yesterday and got no studio time at all. I didn't sew. I didn't draw. So today's Daily Art Thang is a photo I took a couple of months ago. It is yet another installment in Deb's Fascination with Rusty Things: "Rusty Prongs"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Project Runway: Reunion Episode

Ok, I know it's become traditional for me to post a little "here's what I thought" entry after watching PR each week, but this week I find I don't have much to say except: 1. Did Guadalupe indulge in some exciting recreational substances before appearing at the reunion? Seriously. 2. Heidi's "going like bagels" comment was hilarious. Unintentionally hilarious, sure, but still. I want to remember that. Things will never again be "going like hotcakes" for me. They will be going like bagels! Toasted cinnamon raisin ones, with Philly cream cheese. 3. Was Guadalupe on drugs? Was she?? 4. I can really think of nothing else that captured my attention much about this episode, except... 5. Guadalupe. Crazed or buzzin'? Discuss it among yourselves and get back to me. 5b. Suddenly certain things about the Social Scene dress that got G aufed begin to make a weird sort of sense. G'night y'all!

Is Winter Waiting to Kick My Ass?

I don't want to say this too loud and cause anyone to faint in shock or anything, but there is Quilt Content Ahead, y'all, albeit MINOR quilt content. But still. For February it's an accomplishment. I've mentioned before that I usually really dislike February, which tends to be my least-favorite month of my least-favorite season in this part of the U.S. But this February - hell, this whole winter! - has been odd. It's been weirdly warm and the little bit of snow we've had has all fallen on days when the temperatures were so borderline that it only sticks around for a few hours before it all melts away again. On the one hand, I don't want to bitch about that because that means I haven't been trapped on my hillside for days at a time, which sometimes happens to me in the winter. And THAT means that I've been less cabin-fevery this winter than in many, MANY winters past. My moods have been almost mellow....really quite sane and normal. I've even done a few minor creative things rather than totally hibernating. "SO...what's the problem?", you may be asking. (In my head I am hearing that as said by Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny", BTW.) The problem is that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep thinking that surely it can't be this easy. We can't expect to slide into spring in a few weeks with so little wintery angst and trauma, can we? So what are the weather gods waiting for? Could they, by any chance, be waiting for next month when I have purchased a pricy splurge of a ticket to see "Wicked" in Cincinnati on the day after my birthday to hit us with Real Winter? Could they be planning to trap me like a rat here on the hill, with two feet of snow and/or six inches of ice while the show goes on without me and my seat in the theater is empty and I sob and yell Very Bad Words at the sky? I hope not. I really, REALLY hope not. I admit I'm kind of hoping for a big honkin' snow storm in the next couple of weeks just so I'll feel like it's gotten it out of its system. The other shoe, y'know? Anyway, on to quilt content. Yesterday I finished some postcards that I'm donating to Virginia Spiegel's fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. They aren't super-exciting, but they're done and they're on their way to her door as of later today. (clickable if you want to see them larger in a new window) I also started another quilty thing a few days ago. It's smallish too, but larger than a postcard. So far I'm not happy with it though. I still like the IDEA, but my execution of the idea to this point looks too tight, too structured for what I have in mind. I think I'm going to chuck it and start over and see if I can loosen up a little. I'm basing this small quilt on a sketch - a doodle really! - and I want it to look sketchy and loose, not all perfect lines and finished edges, which is what it looks like I'm trying for in the first version. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Q & A about Photo Manipulation

Regarding yesterday's post, Amy asked: "O.k. - how do you do all of those photo tortures? (Do you have special software?) I love todays & am so seeing it (or a different photo similarly transformed) as a quilt.... Print it, copy the shapes onto fusible, attach top fabric, reassemble...... Or would that be too simple?" I do all my photo editing, from simple cropping and resizing, to color or light correction, to weird off-the-wall manipulation, with Photoshop Elements 3.0. I'm self-taught in it, so I mostly just play around and see what I can come up with. The photo yesterday was a pretty simple manipulation. I went to the filter menu and from the "Artistic" submenu I chose "Cutout" and applied it to the snow photo. Then I boosted the contrast a bit and TaDaaa! That's pretty much all there is to it. And yes, you could totally use something like that as the basis for a quilt design. There are sliding controls that let you choose how drastically you want to alter the photo with any given filter. For instance, here's another photo I took in the snow the other day (although our snow has mostly melted now): "Snowy Viburnum" Here it is with that same sequence applied, but applied rather conservatively so that everything is still fairly recognizable despite being simplified: "Snow Shapes 2" And here it is with it made several degrees more abstract: "Snow Shapes 3" I'm sure other photo editing software would allow you to do similar things, but I really love PE3! (I'm sure RSR regulars have figured out that this is my Daily Art Thang.)

Self-Portrait Tuesday: All of Me, Week 3

Time for the third installment of the February SPT theme of "loving the ugly bits". Is it just me or does anyone else think we really need a fun SPT theme for March?? Anyway, onward with February. Loving My Freaky Fingers Well. That sounds vaguely improper, doesn't it? And it looks worse. See for yourself: That isn't a photo editing trick. That's actually something I can do with my thumb so that I sort of slide it out of place, and then wrap my fingers around it to make a fist, and it looks like I'm holding a dismembered digit. Charming, eh? Well what can I say. We all have our talents. Ahem. And for what it's worth, little kids usually think it's way cool. Hhhmmm...You know what? I knew it was weird-looking when I did that, but I never realized quite how truly bizarre it looked until I was foolish enough to take a photo of it for this challenge. Dayum!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday Mutterings

'ello! While I had a wonderful time with my visitors yesterday (hi guys!) and hope to do it again soon, I find myself feeling a bit wiped out today. I forgot to take any pics while they were here, so nothing to share on that front. Ooops. So despite the fact that I'm posting this later than usual and should, in theory, be all wordy and full of stories, um...no. Not so much. Instead I feel like my brain is working at about half-speed and would wonder if I'm coming down with something except for the fact that I REFUSE to get sick, so that can't be it. So today, as your reward for stopping by RSR, you get a brief daily art thing and a lame-O quiz. Yeah, baby! I know exactly how exciting THAT must be. Heh. We will all hope for better things tomorrow. Yet another snow pic: "Snowy Pond" And the messed-with version, where I was trying to reduce it to simple shapes and basic values: "Snowy Pond Simplified" And now for the quiz, and this one really IS a LAME-O quiz, y'all, so be warned if you decide to take it. Some of the questions were so truly bizarre that there was no way I could give a true answer, so I just had fun with it. So why is it that in the end that my results were eerily familiar? It is, perhaps, something I don't want to think about too closely. Ahem. How Normal Are You?
The Tree Kisser 78 Anti-Normal Points
You are very insane and not at all normal. You most likely want to own a monkey. Blue socks sound like a good breakfast. You are highly creative, spiritual, very intelligent, and scarily original. I would love to talk to you. Your weirdness is very attractive and you will most likely end up a writer, artist, or a mad scientist. Send me an email if you get this catagory, I just want to know if it's possible.
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on variable 1
Link: The How Normal Are You Test written by Piscessnake on Ok Cupid

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #6

I'm expecting a houseful of visitors in a few hours, so this will be brief, but I have to say: 1. Thank You to everyone for the well-wishes about our anniversary yesterday! You're all pretty. :::beam::: 2. My blog entry about the Blonde Tanya Club is a finalist in the February Blogging 4 Books contest! Yay!! My friend Laume is a finalist too. Yay Laume! Kudos not only to those who made the list of five finalists, but to everyone who put themselves out there by entering. 3. Colin Firth and Dale Midkiff - some sort of cosmic twins? I'm just sayin'.... 3b. I wonder the same thing about Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett. 4. Gauchos. Why? The culotte thingies, I mean. Not the South American cowboys. There are a lot of cattle ranches in South America, so I understand the need for the cowboys. I do not understand the need for the return to fashion of culotte thingies that are extremely unflattering to 90% of the people who wear them. 5. We had snow yesterday. It's already started to melt, but here's a couple of photos in honor of the occasion - one straightforward view from my back deck and one "let's zero in on something with interesting lines and play with Photoshop" dealie. "Snowy Post" "Black and White" Off to do hostess-y-type things now. Later, y'all!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary to J and me!

Today J and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. He's working out of town this weekend, so we don't happen to be celebrating together, but I know he's thinking of me, as I'm thinking of him and we'll do something fun when he gets home. "Seventeen Years" If you want to celebrate with me, here's a glimpse into our wedding photo album: My 6'4" husband of a few minutes hugging my 4'10" Aunt Helen. Our friends' daughter, Danielle, and my youngest cousin, Stephanie, giggling over the gift table. Both those "little girls" are now in their 20's. Ack. Proof that we had fun, although after all these years I have no idea whatsoever what we were laughing about. I usually hate photos of myself where I'm laughing and have the whole squinty eyes and big mouth thing going, but this is one of my favorite snaps from that day. "Seventeen Minutes" (give-or-take a few)

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Children's Book Meme

Can't believe I'm doing two memes in one week, but I really liked them both! I got this one from Jen. I will mention that, while this is called the "children's book" meme, several of my choices probably veer somewhat into the young adult category. But whatever - here we go. Both Jen and the person she got this from opened with one of their favorite literary quotes. Here's one of my favorites:
"Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book." ~Christopher Morley
Name your 3 favorite children's series. 1. the Trixie Belden books; I still have my battered, well-loved old copies. 2. Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" and the sequels. I've probably read "A Wrinkle in Time" more times than I've read any other book. 3. the "Princess" books by George MacDonald ("The Princess and the Goblin", "The Princess and Curdie"). I haven't read those stories in years. I wonder if I'd still like them. Name your 3 favorite non-series children's books. 1. the Companion Library book of fairy tales, which has a collection of Andersen's fairy tales on one side, then halfway through you flip it over and it has Grimm's fairy tales on the other side. My brother's kids got our childhood copy so I was THRILLED to find a used copy of the exact same edition in an antique shop a few years ago and bought it for myself. 2. "Freaky Friday" by Mary Rodgers; TooTOO funny. Way funnier than either movie version has managed to be. (Actually this has a sequel, but I choose to pretend the sequel doesn't exist.) 3. "A Walk Out of the World" by Ruth Nichols. I still remember the sense of yearning I felt when I read this: "A rustle passed over the stars, and they twinkled like the fragile ornaments on a Christmas tree or like poplar leaves in a sudden gust of wind. But not the way our stars twinkle, with cold light: they shimmered with blue and violet, gold and green." Name your 3 favorite children's book illustrations. (I added this category because there are some books I love as much for the illustrations as for the stories.) 1. "Bright April", written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli; This is an old book - copyright 1946. I have no idea where it first came from; whether it belonged to one of my parents or maybe it was something they picked up used for us somewhere. But I always liked the story and loved the beautiful illustrations, some of which were black/white drawings and some were paintings like this: 2. "Andrew Henry's Meadow", written and illustrated by Doris Burn. I LOVE the drawings in all Burn's books, but that one is my favorite. Andrew Henry and his friends all felt unappreciated at home so they ran away to a nearby meadow and Andrew Henry built little kid-versions of dream houses for them all. I passionately wanted to live in Alice's treehouse: 3. "Alexander and the Magic Mouse", written by Martha Sanders, illustrated by Philippe Fix. This was a charming story, but mostly I just want to live in this house: Name 3 favorite children's books characters. 1.Trixie Belden!!! Omigawd, I wanted to BE Trixie. I wanted to be a BobWhite of the Glen, and be best friends with Honey, and go steady with Jim, and solve mysteries. Nancy Drew never did much for me. It was Trixie all the way. I spun hours and hours worth of fantasies about the life of Trixie Belden. 2. Meg, in the L'Engle books. Yes, she was awkward and having problems in the first couple, but she was smart and resourceful, stubborn and loyal, loving and fierce, and you just knew she was going to turn out great as an adult. (And she did!) 3. This one's a tie: Jo and Amy from "Little Women". Who didn't want to be Jo?? Smart, funny, fearless Jo - she's the star, and I was certainly no exception to the "I want to be Jo" craze. But once we get past the first half of the book where Amy is nothing but an annoying brat, I had some AmyEnvy happening too. She was pretty, she was an artist, she got chosen by Aunt March to go on the grand tour of Europe, and...hello!...she married Laurie! She got to be pampered and adored for the rest of her life by the smart, sweet, handsome, rich boy next door. Not too shabby! And now to leave you with one final favorite quote about books:
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." ~Groucho Marx
If anyone wants to do this one, feel free to steal it, or let me know and I can tag you "officially". I'd love to read your answers! Oh yeah, and for the daily art thing, I decided to make my rambling Victorian childhood dream house my own through the magic of Photoshop: "A Childhood Dream"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Call for Entries

"Wish You Were Here: Fiber Art Postcards" I got this note the other day from Peggy Hazard who is curating the above-named exhibit. Here's what she had to say:
I thought your readers might like to know about an opportunity to make and mail a postcard quilt for an exhibit in Arizona that I am organizing. You may share this with anyone who might be interested. CALL FOR ENTRIES: Tohono Chul Park seeks submissions for Wish You Were Here: Fiber Art Postcards, a non-juried exhibit open to artists working with fiber-based media living anywhere. In a similar manner as a real postcard, fiber art postcards should document a real or imagined place, trip or event in the state of Arizona. Participant may submit one postcard mailed without an envelope. No entry fee. Postcard submissions should be postmarked between March 1, 2006 and April 1, 2006. Exhibit Dates: May 4-June 13, 2006 Entry form in pdf format available on website: Tohono Chul Park
If anyone has any trouble downloading the entry form, let me know and I can give you some further contact information for Ms. Hazard. It sounds like it could be a good exhibit. Wish I could see it! Speaking of Shows This has nothing whatsoever to do with quilt exhibits, but did y'all watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show earlier this week? I love to watch that competition! When it came down to the final seven, I was rooting for Andy, the Golden Retriever, just because I have a soft spot for Goldens. But I really kind of thought the Dalmatian would get it. He looked great! I was a little surprised when Rufus won, but not terribly disappointed. They all looked like winners to me! Gratuitous cute dog shot of my fat, aging, totally loveable Golden-mix, Tansy, practicing her camouflage techniques

Photo Friday: Blur

This week's Photo Friday topic: Blur "Blurred Weed" I like the insubstantial look of the weed blowing in the wind against the unmoving bulk of the piece of farm machinery.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Project Runway: The Final Four becomes the Final Three

Well, let's see. Chloe - boring Kara - boring and poorly constructed Santino - ridiculous Daniel - boring That's it. That's pretty much my entire take on what should have been a fierce competition. I think Andrae's "dirty gutter water" evening dress from a few weeks ago was a hundred times better than any of the dresses shown tonight. For a change I agreed with the judges' final decision. I think they made the best choices based on what they had to work with. But.....yaaaawn....oh, excuse me. Something made me sleepy. Hmph. I wonder if that chef show that starts next month will be any good...

High Five Meme

Laume tagged me for this meme a few days ago. I did something similar a few months ago (I should probably find that post and link to it, but I'm feeling lazy, so ppfffttt) but some of the questions were different, so I decided to take Laume up on her tag and do her version too. What Were You Doing Ten Years Ago? I was married, living in Somerset, KY, working at a veterinarian's office. And apparently, according to my photo albums, I was trying (with some success!) to get an amaryllis bulb to bloom. What were you doing five years ago? Living here, doing pretty much what I do now. I couldn't find a photo from February of 2001, but in January of that year my friend Morven and I went to a quilt retreat together. What Were You Doing One Year Ago? Writing this post and preparing to go on a Caribbean cruise. (Wistful sigh.) What were you doing five hours ago? Sleeping! Five Snacks You Enjoy 1. Frappuccino (especially caramel) 2. Popcorn 3. Cookies (homemade, or good bakery cookies, not factory-made stuff) 4. Tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole, or both 5. Fruit (most kinds) Five Songs To Which You Know The Lyrics At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, I know the lyrics to dozens of songs. Maybe hundreds. I don't try to learn them - they just stick. It's one of my many weird quirks. Laume mentioned a couple of my favorites and so did Mad Organica who did this meme before her, so rather than repeat any of those I'll list some of my other favorites. Oh! Here's an idea! I'll do a theme list of five. One of my favorite car games on long trips is to think of a musical and see how many of the songs I can sing from it. So all of these are from Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella": 1. "Impossible! It's Possible!" 2. "Ten Minutes Ago" (fits the MemeTheme, yes?) 3. "Stepsisters' Lament" 4. "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" 5. "A Lovely Night" (If my BIL is reading this right now I bet he's saying I'm a freak. Hi Andy!) Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire (that you can't do now) 1. I'm taking this one straight from Laume's list - hire a staff! Specifically I'd want a personal assistant, a cook/housekeeper, and a groundskeeper/handyman. 2. Travel more extensively than I've been able to so far. 3. Give more help to some of my favorite causes - social, political, and personal (which would include some gifts or help to friends and family). 4. Buy J some of the pricy " man toys" he moons over - like a bulldozer, some special woodworking power tools, a 4WD dump-bed ATV, stuff like that. 5. Buy myself absolutely any books, movies, artwork, or shoes that take my fancy without the slightest thought to whether I actually need them or where I'll put them. (In this fantasy I can build extra rooms onto the house if I need to. Also, in this fantasy a million dollars is evidently going to go a long, LONG way!) Five Bad Habits Only five? (sigh) 1. Wasting time 2. Biting and picking at my cuticles and finger tips until they bleed 3. Reading the last page of a book first if I'm not sure I'll like it 4. Holding pins in my mouth when I sew 5. Too often choosing taste over nutrition when it comes to food Five Favorite Things in My Home (things - not people or pets) Rather than listing whole categories of stuff (like books), I looked around and chose to feature certain specific things that I have in my house that make me happy when I see them or use them. Oh, and I chose six because I wanted my photo-collage to be symmetrical. (Freak, remember?) 1. The little oak desk where I do paperwork. After years of searching for the Right desk - right size, right shape, right amount of drawers and cubbies - in every antique shop, flea market, and yard sale I went to, I finally got The Desk as a gift from my grandfather when he was downsizing his houseful of Stuff. (The packrat thing is genetic.) 2. My favorite of the blue vases in my rather extensive collection of colored glass. This one was a gift from J and again it's just Right - not too big, not too small, great shape, and I love the clear glass detailing. I probably use it more than any other vase in my collection. 3. My fire-engine RED KitchenAid mixer. I wanted one for years and always thought it was too expensive and would take up too much counter space. Finally, a year or two ago, I decided I was worth it and asked J to get me one for Christmas, and omigawd...I HEART this mixer, and I don't care if that's entirely too 1950's-housewife of me! I should have gotten one YEARS before I did. It works perfectly and the color makes me smile. 4. The worn, faded, completely hand-stitched Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt that my great-grandma McNeil made for my mother when Mom was just a little girl. 5. My favorite Kentucky-crafted hand-made Bybee Pottery coffee mug. I say favorite because I have more than one, but being hand-crafted, each is a little different and this is the one that fits my hand like it was made for it. I'll be so sorry when this mug inevitably breaks someday. 6. The big honkin' oak fireplace mantle that I salvaged from a house J and I remodeled. I refinished it myself, and it was the first time I'd ever refinished furniture. Nothing like jumping in the deep end! I'm still really proud of the work I did on it. Five People I'll Tag Long-time readers know my philosophy about tagging for memes. I only do it if someone wants it done! So if you want to play, leave a comment saying "tag me!" Or email me if my comments thingy isn't playing nice...contact info is in my sidebar. I'll then add your name and a link to your blog below this paragraph so everyone can go see what you have to say. Tagged: 1. Rachel

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday: All of Me, Week 2

It's that time again. Time to revisit February's horrid SPT theme of "love the ugly bits". Bleah. I'm still all about Denial, y'all. In my opinion, Denial is severely underrated as a coping tool. But since I said I'd do this, here goes another one. Loving My Not-So-Inner Slob Point A - I hate housework. I love the look of a clean house, but hate what it takes to get it that way. It always feels like a big fat waste of time to me because it won't Stay DONE, dammit! And God forbid I should ever waste time. [SNORT!] If I suddenly had more money than I knew what to do with, I'd hire a housekeeper in a heartbeat. Point B - I tend to be a packrat. I admire those who can pare the Stuff in their lives down to the bare essentials. I do. I think that's probably very healthy. But I LIKE my Stuff. I like my books. I like my movies. I like my fabric and thread and beads. I like my shoes. I like my colored glass and the artwork on the walls. I know none of that stuff is all that important in the grand scheme of things. If I lost it all tomorrow, I'd get over it eventually. But I'd miss it. (Especially the books. Oh my. The BOOKS.) If you combine Point A with Point B, what do you get? Well, let's take a look, shall we: Point A + Point B = C(rappy looking house) That photo was taken in the sewing room/computer room/library, with no clean-up of either the room or me. The Piles O' Stuff everywhere are because the Stuff in that room (the place where I spend more time than any other place in the house) has totally outgrown the ability of the room to hold it. But does that stop me from bringing more Stuff in there? Please. Get real. Note the dog beside me. That's Tansy. She looks bored with this topic. Smart dog.

Non-Self-Portrait Artsy-Fartsy Tuesday Blatherings

How's THAT for a subject line? HA! Thanks for all the blogiversary wishes yesterday! I'm glad you're all stopping by and I especially enjoy it when you take a minute to say "hey". Deb asked, "where is that beautiful photo from. is that natural or have you fiddled with it." The photo is of a stream on our property, but yes, it's "fiddled". I wanted it to have a dreamlike, almost surreal quality, so I used a soft-focus filter, and I messed with both the contrast and the color saturation to make it just a bit over-saturated and then a bit over-exposed. The original photo (which is actually a bit under-exposed in the foreground because of the backlighting you can see in the treeline) without any changes other than resizing it for the web looks like this: Unaltered stream photo I would mess with the light and color a little if I were going to print it with a "real" look, but not much - not nearly as much I did for yesterday's post. And for today's Daily Art Thingy I did some sketching. I'm not quite sure where I was going with this sketch except that I couldn't really think what to draw, so I held the sketchpad in my left hand and used my right hand to draw my left hand holding the sketchpad. With me so far? Then on the sketchpad I drew onto the real sketchpad, I drew a contour drawing of my left hand. Then on the far right you can just barely see a drawing of the tip of my pen and right hand drawing the contour drawing on the...uh...wait a minute. I've totally lost my train of thought. Screw it. Here's the sketch: "Hands"

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Yep, it's been one year today since I succumbed to the wiles of Dara and Julie and allowed myself to be sucked into the world of blogging. Dara: "Come on, girlfriend, try it. You'll LIKE it. The first post is free." Julie: "Come on, do it. Do it!! It's soooooo fun." What can I say? I'm weak and easily led astray. It would be traditional at this time to post a link to my very first blog entry, but that's the one and only entry I can't seem to pull up individually. I must not have figured out which little box to check to archive posts individually until Day 2. Still, if you're just fainting away from the curiosity of it all, you can always pull up the February 2005 archives and scroll to the bottom to find that first post. It was about shoes. What a shock. Heh. "Journey"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

B4B: The Blonde Tanya Club

Here's my Blogging 4 Books entry. The B4B topic for February is "clubs". The Blonde Tanya Club Would it surprise you to discover that I was once a part of something called the Blonde Tanya Club, considering that I'm neither blonde, nor named Tanya? Well, I was. It was the mid 1980's, a time of big shoulder pads and bigger hair. Prince wanted us to Party Like it was 1999, Madonna urged us to Get Into the Groove, and Billy Idol had everyone bouncing around the dance floor and shouting out loud to "Mony, Mony". I was in my 20's, and I was single. I was also blonde at the time, thanks to a little help from L'Oreal, although even then I wasn't named Tanya. I was working a couple of different part-time jobs because I hadn't been able to find anything full-time immediately after college. At one of these jobs I got to know several other single young women and we started going out to dance clubs together on the weekends - sometimes just a couple of us, sometimes several of us piled into a couple of different cars. By a small coincidence, almost all these women were blonde, either by the grace of God, or through the untiring efforts of the hair care industry. By another small coincidence, two of these regular partying buddies were named Tanya. One winter night, when a half-dozen of us - all blondes - had made the trip to one of the most popular clubs in the University district, a couple of young men came over and introduced themselves. By yet one more small coincidence (and you know they say three is a charmed number!), these two just happened to focus on our group's two Tanyas. The first young man introduced himself to Tanya #1 who, being a nice Southern belle, smiled sweetly and told him her name was Tanya. The second young man introduced himself to Tanya #2, who was less sweet but more funny than Tanya #1, and she smiled too, guessing the reaction she was about to get, and told him her name was Tanya too. Sure enough, at that point the guys exchanged a skeptical look with each other, and then looked at all of us, and you could almost hear them thinking "oh great, these girls are a bunch of bitches who want to play mind games". It was at that point that my admittedly warped sense of humor kicked in and I figured if we were going to get the name (pun intended!), we might as well play the game. So I piped up and said, "My name is Tanya too. We're ALL named Tanya. That's how we met. We're members of the local chapter of the Blonde Tanya Club." Luckily my girlfriends caught onto the idea immediately and played along, and after a while I think the young men might even have believed us. Before the night was over, we had spun tales of Blonde Tanya Regional Chapters, Blonde Tanya Retreats, and a Blonde Tanya Secret Oath, which we refused to tell of course, since a) it was secret (!!!), and b) we made up the idea on the spot and none of actually knew what the Secret Oath might be. Heh. We had a sort of minor celebrity status that night as word spread throughout the dance club of the Blond Tanyas, and the reaction of people we met ranged from "bullsh*t" (smart reaction!) to "oh yeah, I think a friend of mine met some Blonde Tanyas down in Texas". (No matter where you go, there always has to be someone who knows something about everything.) Back at work the next week, we confused more than a few people by referring to each other as Tanya and giggling maniacally. I've since lost touch with all those girls, both the real Tanyas and the other pretenders. Girls grow into women, and women move, change jobs, become wives or mothers or both. We had the sort of bond born of shared circumstances rather than deep attachment, and we all gradually drifted apart without much regret, although there are a couple of the Tanyas - one of the real Tanyas and one of the pretenders - who I'd love to run into again someday. Who knows. Maybe they'll see this and recognize me, or recognize themselves in this story and get in touch. Stranger things have happened! It's hard to believe all that happened nearly 20 years ago. It doesn't seem like it's been so long! I'm a different person now in many ways, but I still have a warped sense of humor, and I still like to shout out loud when I hear "Mony, Mony", and somewhere deep inside my red-haired, middle-aged self, there's still some small part of me that will always be a Blonde Tanya.

Snowy Branches

Yesterday morning when I woke up there was 2 - 3 inches of wet snow clinging to every surface. I took a few photos from the porch (which wraps around three sides of the house) before I even got dressed, which turned out to be a good thing since the day warmed up rapidly and most of the snow was gone by late afternoon. From the point of view of me being able to get out and around and do things, that was great, but from a photo op point of view it was a little disappointing as I'd hoped to get some good shots a little later in the day. Never mind. I would be willing to bet that's not our last snow of the winter and someday soon I'll probably be sorry that I ever wished for snow to stick around for even a little while! Anyway...I'll share a few more photos as the week goes on, but for now here is a little series as my Daily Art effort. The first photo is a natural shot of the branches of a tree that stands just off a corner of the back porch. I like the graphic quality of it - the way it almost looks like a black and white photo, although it's technically color. "Snowy Branches 1" I decided to play around a little in Photoshop and see what other looks I could come up with and the next two photos were two of my favorites from that experiment. "Snowy Branches 2: Moonlight" "Snowy Branches 3: Storm Clouds"