"out with the cold, in with the woo"…

~E. Marshall, "Spring Thought" …a popular quote, these days. I always felt that spring is the earth beginning a very long and much needed exhale. And, that is why it feels so exhilarating. Who can not be inspired by all of the freshness in color ---bright and soft, all at the same time! I could not. I’ve been clicking away for several weeks now, bringing my phone or camera with me every time I step outside. All of the soft vibrant colors have motivated me to try out a new collection.

These photos are what initiated my enthusiasm. While I had them open in my photo editing software, (I use several, but this time I was using Gimp---a free open-source editing program you can download) I used the color-picker dropper to pick out colors, one by one, from within the picture and used the spray paint tool to create color swatches. While working in our studio, I kept these photos and color swatches close by and created our spring collection.

"Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain." ~unknown

The shadowbox is a new project we’ve been playing with. Jeff made the box from scrap pieces of plywood, and in place of the top he attached an old wood picture frame. Then, he did his magic, by applying paper tape over the frame and sides of the box. From there, I took over and gave it a white-wash with wood glue and craft paint. (It’s not quite finished yet, and still needs some layers of clear coat, but you get the idea…) I chose what photos I wanted, printed them up in different sizes and glued them to pieces of cardboard. Before gluing these to the inside of the shadowbox, I cut smaller pieces of cardboard and stacked them underneath the photos to raise them at varying heights.

If you would like to create a color palette from an inspiring photo of your own, an easy way to do it is online at the Big Huge Labs website. They have a color palette generator that will create a color palette from any photo. Here is a screen shot of a photo I uploaded to the webpage. It’s one I took of our white rabbit sign we have hanging on our fence. I love our white rabbit; it won’t be long before he is hidden behind all of the philodendron. But, every winter it dies back just enough for him to appear by Easter.  

My favorite springtime quote is from Margaret Atwood ---
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
I love the sound of that and only wish I had the time to smell like dirt everyday.


bambusa series…number dos

To continue our series of ways Jeff and I have put bamboo to good use, I wanted to show our bamboo stand in its entirety. My best angle was indoors through our window. As I was taking the picture, a grasshopper landed on the window. So… that is what the underbelly of a grasshopper looks like, incase you were wondering.

I posted this photo on my Facebook and my daughter-in-law commented, “Oh my, he looks gigantic.” This made me laugh, because I hadn’t even looked at it in that light. I suppose it does kind of look like a poster for a Japanese giant monster movie. He’s almost as tall as our bamboo!

Last week I showed some examples of what we have used bamboo for when we have split the bamboo poles in quarters. You can see that post here.
These next photos show a few things we do with bamboo left in it’s perfectly, cylindrical form.

A trellis Jeff made at my request---I imagine that this summer it will be heavily covered in bleeding heart vines.

A much simpler trellis for our passion flower vine

Indoors is one of our curtain rods---probably one of the easiest things to do with bamboo.

Jeff encased a magnifying glass into a cut piece. A branch that sticks out of the bamboo node makes a very handy handle.

A flower vase made from joining three pieces of bamboo---the bottoms are closed solid by the bamboo’s node.

This is one of several bamboo poles posted into the ground along a boarded walkway in our yard. They help keep the garden hose off of the plants.

This last one was a favorite at the renaissance festivals we used to sell bamboo walking staffs at. It is an 11 foot rainstick and sounds amazing when you turn it. We have to keep it in our stairwell.

Next week I’d like to show a few things we made out of bamboo during our ‘renn fest’ ventures.

These photos were all taken with my iphone’s hipstmatic app, but when the grasshopper landed on our window, I had to grab my Fugi Finepix camera. He’s such a pretty green; in fact, I love the whole color palette of these photos.

Until we meet again,
mr. grasshopper and I would like to bid you farewell.

forever exploring perfect picture making…

I am, endlessly, trying to find just the right lighting, the perfect background, superior focus, eye catching design…all with our camera. These are my latest attempts.
The backdrop is actually an antique free standing screen. I took the pictures outside, an hour or so before sunset.
celtic bogg
A problem I was having before was twofold. I’ve come to realize that our best lighting is outside, in the shade. However, I feel that our art bottles should be presented indoors since they fall into the home d├ęcor category. Also, while I like the lighting better, outside, our bottles have to compete with a very bold and busy background of our green overgrowth of plants. Extremely colorful, and pretty photos, but our bottles are swallowed. There is the option of taking pictures by a window. In our home, though, there just doesn’t seem to be enough space for that. I find that I get a much better photo when I can back away, a good distance, and zoom in.
So, finally the idea of bringing a bit of the indoors to the outdoors was planted firmly in my head. I’ll probably take a series of photos like this, until I come up with an even better solution.

Wishing you a happy St Patrick’s day,

May the blessing of light be on you--
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.
 ---an old celtic blessing


bambusa…part uno of a series

Bambusa: tropical, giant, clumping, branchy, rapidly growing, beautiful and glorious
I’d love for you to meet a member of our family and beloved bamboo stand --- a tightly clumping (yet to be identified) species of the genus Bambusa. It occupies, roughly, a 12’ by 12’ space on our property, rests on the bank of a creek, and reaches over 40’ towards the sky.
The many species of Bambusa primarily grow in areas of Asia, particularly in the wet tropics which makes perfect sense that it thrives in its home here in SW Florida.
While we are happy to simply coexist with our large, overreaching, green friend, and greet it every morning as we open the front door, from time to time, there is a need to harvest it. Bringing down the tightly entwined culms is quite a workout for us and usually involves Jeff climbing up the bamboo to release the tops from one another. (I believe a video of this is in order; next time I’ll have the camcorder in hand.)

As the first installment of a series of postings chronicling Jeff’s handiwork of turning some home-grown giant grass into useful household objects, I gathered some photos to share:

Hanging off of the back of our house are wall masks, carved by Jeff, and are one of many things that can be created when you split the bamboo culms into quarters…
…as well as wall siding,
…covering the sides of kitchen cabinets,
 …and shelving for a vinyl record collection.
Of course, then you need frames to display a bit of your collection. These are actually one of my personal favorite uses. I have a great time rummaging through our albums looking for new covers to hang on the wall.

More of our photos and examples of uses of bamboo will follow in the very near future.
I’d like to leave you with one more photo…
a shiny new leaf to welcome in a bright new season rushing up to your door steps as I write this. (it’s coming…believe me:))