A little bit of salty Cape Cod air for your week.

At the bend in the "elbow" of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Chatham is one of my favorite places. I'm posting some photos from earlier this Spring as I have somehow misplaced my Nikon battery charger and have been lost without my camera....wish me luck finding it..:) Enjoy the view!

Above and below: some of the sand bars and the little inlets the tide creates...lots of kids always playing in these in the summer.

Above, the Chatham lighthouse.

Starlings on telephone wires. I don't know why, I just like them.

The fish pier is a lively place where the lobster fishermen and women come back from work in the afternoons, causing a ruckus among the locals...the seals and the seagulls, of course! Below are some more beautiful photos from some talented Flickrers...credits below.

1. Chatham Harbor Aerial (w/ fish pier), 2. Seal Feeding, 3. View From the Chatham Pier

Summer + Flowers + Vintage Camera = Bliss :)

Someday, I will live in a place that is sunny and warm all year...until then I must squeeze in little joys into every one of the 60-something days of New England summer. Like running around barefoot.

 My awesome little Argoflex.

Where the dandelions meet the sea..

What is this flower (Above)? I like the fuzzies.




I hope to get into my Aunt's garden soon and share some pics of her beautiful allium and dahlias. This week is supposed to be looovely here in Rhode Island...
Have a great Monday!

Create your own Favicon in Blogger

This is a cute way to individualize your blog. If you look at your internet browser while browsing my blog, you should see a heart shaped rock against a turquoise background. Ta-da! That's my new favicon.

Installing a favicon has always mystified me but Blogger makes it easy. If you have a blogspot account, here's how to get one.

  1. First, decide on an image that will work. You want something that will identify your blog to others in their bookmarks or favorites. It has to be something that will look good tiny. Something without too much detail and one main subject should work.
  2. Next resize the image to 20 px square. You can use Photoshop or Picnik, which is free and easy to use. Save the image to your hard drive.
  3. Instead of logging into Blogger like you normally do, go to the beta link for Blogger- Blogger in Draft. This is the new site for blogger where they test all the new, cool functions. You can use it as your regular login page from now on, too, if you like.
  4. Go to your blog's design section where the Layout is. On the top of the layout on the left side, click on "edit" next to the word Favicon. Now upload your 20 px file from step 2.
  5. Hit save. Ta-Da! Admire your awesome new favicon.

A Celebration of my Computer Crash....Rhode Island style

Yes, that's right. My beloved laptop crashed last week, due to repercussions from a particularly horrifying virus that tricked me into believing Windows was telling me to do things to fix some sort of "critical error" on my hard drive. A family member thinks they might be able to salvage some of the files on it, but alas, there were more files than I wanted there to be as I had not been up to date in backing them up...yikes.
This setback, however, lent me the excuse I needed to buy another laptop, which is when I decided my beloved was not so beloved afterall. My new laptop is sleeker, lighter, prettier and does not leave first degree burns on my leg. So, in celebration of the crash of '11, here are some crashing wave photos I took a few weeks ago...that I had on my memory card (one of the few saving graces for me is that I am terrified of cleaning off my memory cards!)

Above, the beautiful waters off coastal Route 1, southern Rhode Island, near Black Point, Narragansett. Below: this awesome heart-shaped rock was buried beneath waves and I waited for them to subside to capture the full shape. So cool!

Below is the heart-shaped rock again. I could have stood here all day, listening to the crashing waves and just watching the patterns of the water and foam in between the rocks. Total nature immersion.

Sparkly foam in the sun looks like little diamonds in the water.

So, I will try to look on the bright side of this computer crash..but I do want to pass this on...I put off backing up my pictures and music for ages because I thought I had plenty of time....not really! I am very careful about my computer and keep my anti-virus software up to date and everything, but this virus just came out of nowhere..so save yourself time and money, go backup your files right now! ;))
P.S. I am now using Avast anti-virus software. It has a wonderful free option that has been working great so far.
P.P.S. I also learned that your Ipod doesn't quite function as a hard drive when it comes to all those music CD's you've loaded onto it. Itunes keeps the music you've purchased through its service, but you will lose all the other music uploaded onto your 'pod unless you back it up beforehand...with blank CD's.  You then have to reload them all into your new computer.

I looove Digital Textures! (examples + resources)

I've posted before about how much I really love using these digital textures in my photos. There are so many options you can use in Photoshop (or any editing program that allows the blending of multiple layers of work). I find a lot of my free resources on Flickr. If you're familiar with how Flickr works, you can search its Groups for "textures" and find some examples. Just make sure they are marked as free to use in your work. All of the examples here were made using those free texture resources except where noted. (you will need to have some knowledge of Photoshop layers to use the textures, but the links I provided below do give tips on this.)

Above is a simple photo I took last week of a dandelion weed. Although I really liked the negative space I thought this would be a great one to work with and texture. I added two textures- both on Darken blending mode at an opacity of between 40-50%. Then I went back and used the background eraser tool to lightly erase some of the texture over the detail of the floral so it would show through. Finally, I added the text, lowered the opacity so it blended better with the background, and moved it until I liked the composition.

This scene of a red-winged blackbird was kind of plain straight out of the camera. The sky was bright, but not especially interesting, and I thought the bare branches could handle some texture. I chose a light gray texture with long whitish streaks that looked like rain, erased away some of the texture around the center, and then added a slight vignetting around the edges. I also lightened the branches using the selective color tool so they would "pop" a little more.

Above, an ordinary photo of a flowering tree suddenly looks like a page from a vintage botanical book after adding a subtle texture. I lightened the leaves and flowers to the point where they had the same intensity as the background and didn't look too harsh.

Textures can also disguise parts of a photo that are otherwise distracting. This sign outside of a herb garden shop had a lot of charm but parts of it were discolored and rusty. I blended a simple, green canvas texture (purchased from Joy St. Claire, an extremely talented photographer from Ohio and great lady! you can see the textures she offers on her blog sidebar.)  I like the way it came out!

Ok, I have used this photo above before ( and it's in my current banner), but I find it magical. This was the night of the Supermoon, set against some beachy reeds and a lightened dusk sky. I added a subtle grungy texture for interest, blended it on low opacity, and then added randomly scattered text from a phrase I made up to go along with the image.

This is just a simple, kitschy sign atop a restaurant I noticed while shopping this winter. I used the selective color tool to brighten the red and white, then overlayed a misty, grungy blue texture with a soft vignette effect around the edges. It looks very sci-fi...doesn't it? I can't imagine this one without the texture now.

This macro photo of a simple acorn had a lot of pattern and interest, but I added this light brown "rough canvas" looking texture to give it even more. I played around with the blend modes until the acorn and texture just meshed together like one piece of art...now it almost looks like a different form of media.

I'm really still learning all of this, so I appreciate any feedback or tips anyone reading may have to share, too. I'll try to include them in a future post because I plan on playing around more with textures. I also have my own textures to offer you, which are free, mostly bokeh textures with circles of blur and light that add a magical, dreamy touch to photos. You can find them at the top of my blog, underneath the header on the Textures link.

Joy St. Claire textures, Moderne, Maggie texture sets
Grunge textures gallery
Textures for Layers - group in Flickr
Florabella's fine art textures set 

Coming back to Etsy soon...

I've been so busy this spring that I closed my Etsy shops temporarily so I could get organized. Doing my taxes made me realize just how much I need a real desk/ office, receipt location, folders and a calendar. I've been donating and selling about seventeen pounds of clothing over the last few months. My friend Joe and I are planning our massive annual yard sale, which is insane because every year it is bigger than the year before, and yet the whole point is that we are getting rid of items....so, guiltily, I guess during the rest of the year we're making up for it.

My sister has moved home for the summer before she moves away again - sniffle- to the west coast. We traveled to New York to help her move out last month and then attended her graduation from college...and then little by little everyone I know comes out of hiding this season, having parties, barbecuing in the backyard, trying to figure out inexpensive day trips with the kids...I attempt to cram in as many social events and get-togethers as I can stand before the weather changes yet again. Summers in New England are so sadly fleeting.
So, if anyone is out there in blog world, or maybe you've been just as busy or more so than me...just wanted to say my shops will probably re-open by the end of the month. I have to go back and do a little house-cleaning but I have so many prints to add from the last few months, and I'm super excited about that.
In addition to fixing my own office and supplies before reopening, I plan to:

  •   analyze my print listings that have expired and either renew them or delete them
  •   add my new prints to my shop
  •   take photos of all the jewelry I have ready to sell (3-4 boxes worth)
  •   redo my print shop banner
  •   add links back to my shop in each individual listing, making it easier for people to find other sizes and  similar pieces, etc
  •   reply to a few requests from very patient people for prints in custom sizes
  •   design a quick email response that I can send out to customers immediately after their purchase, identifying my email, when to expect their item(s), and offering any assistance with their order
  • order more business cards from Moo with updated artwork

Taking a break from online selling has been a good decision for the last few months, at least for me, so I can spend the time I need doing the above and also just enjoying life. Anyone who tells you that opening an Etsy or Ebay account is easy is lying. But I really do enjoy interacting with people and I've made some great connections through my shops, especially with the other artists and sellers. I can't wait to get back into the swing of things....;)
Happy Summer! xo