Tag Archives: autumn

Painting

Those of you who have been following this blog know I am a DIY enthusiast. My list of “can do” is long. It’s a passion, but not my fault. It’s genetic. Genes handed down from an inventor, a teacher of upholstery and cake decorating at college level, knitter, a quilter and a foundry pattern maker.

This time I am not talking about painting walls, or making wallpaper which involves paint, nor doing faux walls. I am talking about creating artwork.

Son, Paul*, is a partner in our business. His cubical at work is next to mine. He has been doing a lot of painting recently and is honing his craft. He told me he finds it very relaxing to go home and paint. He loves acrylic because it can be stopped and started at any time. He encouraged me to give it a try.

A trip to the local art store and five tubes of paint; red, blue, yellow, white and Payne’s Grey, plus the practice canvas boards Paul provided and I was set to begin. There was a scene I had passed several times at the end of summer when the fields are golden and some trees were beginning to show their soft colors before they fully color up. A dark sky with the sun peeking through added long shadows. I wanted to paint that but I did not want to get so tied down with details. It needed to be a free and relaxing creation.

Self imposed rules were to use only one 1″ brush borrowed from my watercolors. Do not wash the brush and be finished in 20 minutes. I did it in 30.

1" Brush 30 Minutes First Acrylic Painting

1″ Brush 30 Minutes
First Acrylic Painting

There are now 8 paintings in my stack. I learn something new with each one. This weekend I see the obsessive detail beginning to creep in again. Detail is not relaxing. It is not necessary. Omitting some detail leaves the viewer room to imagine. I have discovered a love  for landscape. That does seem to be when I relax and enjoy it the most.

*A word about Paul. At two years old his favorite TV show was not Sesame Street it was Bob Ross. His wife is an artist also. Paul teaches at his wife’s studio, Vine Gogh Artist Bar. You can view some of his work at the link.

Cheers to creating,

Shez

PS It is very scary to share the first painting. There are skills not yet developed. Hopefully you will see positive progress.

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Filed under Art, Crafts, Creating, Decorating, Random, The Great Outdoors

The Baker

On Wednesday my grandson wanted to come over and hang out in the evening. I told him he could, but he had to help me cook for Thanksgiving Dinner which was the following day. He thought about it and said he would help. This came as a shock to everyone, he never wants to help. But Wednesday evening when he got there, he was ready to work.

His job? Make bread sticks from scratch.

His experience? None.

So we began by a discussion of measuring, he got it. He scooped, he measure and the ingredients began to fill the mixing bowl. We heated milk and butter, he added it to the bowl. He cracked his first egg into an empty cup, we fished out some shell, he added it to the bowl. I showed him how to turn on the mixer. From there on he would stick his arms out to guard the bowl because, “I can do it.”

When it was ready to turn onto the board to knead is when I remembered to grab my camera to document this event.

Dusting the bread board.

Dusting the bread board, concentration on getting it just right is evident by his tongue.

Kneading the dough.

Kneading the dough, gently squash it down, turn and fold.

The dough was put in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel and placed in a slightly warm oven to rise. While we waited we moved on to peeling potatoes.

Peeling potatoes

A pan for scraps, a large bowl filled with ice water for the potatoes.

His enthusiasm for peeling waned fairly quickly but he hung in there working until the bread had risen to the top of the bowl and was ready for the next step.

Punching the dough down.

Turned out on the floured board, Hayden punches down the dough.

He was so surprised at how soft and tender the dough was. Again a lot of concentration as he flattened the dough.

Folding and turning the dough

Folding and turning.

Marking the sections into even amounts

Marking the sections into equal sizes for cutting and shaping.

The first half of the dough is cut, shaped and ready for the baking pan.

The first half of the dough is cut, shaped and ready for the baking pan.

A Ta Da moment for Hayden. He wanted a commemorative photo of the event.

Laying them on the pan.

Laying the bread stick dough onto the pan.

The second half of the dough has been measured, cut and shaped and is on the pan.

The second half of the dough has been measured, cut and shaped and is on the baking pan. Hayden is brushing melted butter on the top of each bread stick.

Adding a sprinkle of salt.

Adding a sprinkle of salt.

Into the oven they go.

Into the hot oven they go.

Our young baker had no confidence in pot holders keeping him safe.

Our young baker had no confidence in pot holders keeping him safe. At this point he set it on the door of the oven and told me to put them in.

Done!

Done!

Next time we will not do gluten-free. He will be experienced and not intimidated by getting them smooth. I was so proud of his enthusiasm and his “I CAN DO IT” attitude, I simply let him roll.

They are awesome!

Thanks, Hayden for your help.

Hugs,

Grams (Shez to the rest of you)

PS When he arrived the next day the first thing he wanted to know was had I posted the photoz to prove to everyone he had actually “made the bread sticks all by myself.” So here you go Hayden, proof you actually made them all by himself. You Rock, Buddy.

(No I do not call him Buddy, I call him Sweetheart, but at 12 and in middle school, it’s not cool to call him that in public.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Do It Yourself, Family, Food, Holiday, Random

Where’s Waldo?

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Okay I apologize, but I had to post this photo of my daughter-in-law the mama fox and my granddaughter the fox kit. They look so cute in their little costumes and the great face paint. But the big question here is this: Were you able to find Waldo?

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

I thought perhaps a close up would help you find my grandson aka Waldo.

We turned the page on the calendar and that means Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we blink. What is it with time rushing by so fast?

We have much to be thankful for simply because of where we live. I do worry about everyone one on the east coast that was affected by Hurricane Sandy. Such devastation, where are the people whose homes and everything they own are gone, going to spend the night? Will they be warm? Will they be fed? Who is there to help them tonight? How can I help them?

Until we meet again, be thankful,

Shez

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Filed under Children, Decorating, Family, Holiday, Random

What A Difference A Day Makes

After such a long and beautiful fall, with weeks of glorious colors, nature decided enough is enough. How will all these people be ready to appreciate the glories of spring if they do not have a break in all the colors.

In blew the wind and a deluge of torrential rains. In a short three or four days I recorded the following photos. These again are un-altered not even cropping since I have no photo editing here at work. Yes, I am at work  “Shame, shame on me,”  and am feeling very guilty, but not guilty enough to find something important to do. Besides that I am justifying it because the day before a holiday is often a very quiet day.  Besides that it is hard to concentrate when I should be home baking. We are having 17 people for dinner at our house tomorrow and I am too excited about that to concentrate.

Here are some of three photos from the 17th through the 22nd of November 2011. The first three are of the park bench by the pond. Wish I had thought to take them all from the exact same location, but you will recognize the scene.

The Golden Leaves Carpet the lawn and surround the bench by the pond.

The yellow Japanese Maple sits on the right side of the walk. In this photo you also catch a glimpse of the pastel leaves from the left hand Japanese Maple. Both trees are still covered in leaves although enough have fallen from the yellow tree to carpet the ground.

The leaves have dropped from the heavy wind and rain. The tree is barren, the bench is laden.

Thousands and thousands of yellow leaves now surround the bench. The heavy wind and rain have literally whipped and blown them from the branches.

All is wet, the pond grows bigger.

As the heavy rain continued the water rose and surrounded the bench. Many roads have been flooded by the torrential rains. The weight of the rains coupled with the wind has blown over trees and and broken off heavy branches, which have landed on power lines breaking them. We were lucky that we only had some higher water and no  damages.

Next up are some photos of a hummingbird house. It is adorable, is facing east as directed, and after two years is still unused.

The Japanese Maple leaves nearly hide the hummingbird house.

If you look very closely at the top of the blue and white cord that secures the house to the tree, you will see an out of focus dark and light blob. It is the hummingbird. Honest, it’s him. From this perch he can watch the feeders and in territorial fashion can go after any other hummingbirds that dare approach his domain. It became impossible for me to actually get a clear photo of him. There are three reasons; one the hummer blends so well with the tree bark my point and shoot could not focus clearly on him; two he twitches and moves quite often, especially at the tones the camera makes; and three I could not “time my jiggle” and did not have time to go get my tripod.

So you will have to trust me, the hummer is actually the dark and light splotch you can see in the photo above.

Clearly no bird is perched near the hummingbird house.

Two days later, the lighting is better and I finally a clear photo, but nary a hummingbird in sight.

Two more days and the leaves are all but gone.

 

An amazing transformation in a very short time. Still no hummingbird to capture with my camera. It does not mean it was not there, it just was buzzing in and out quickly and the wind kept blowing him from any perch. I was surprised to see him out and about in the very wind and rain.

Next up are photos of the Japanese Maple that shades the left side of the walk.

The Japanese maple on the left of the walk displays beautiful soft reds, oranges and yellows.

My husband brought home two matching saplings. There were bought at the same place at the same time. Each was about 30″ high and each was growing in 5 gallon containers and had the same tags on them. But every year, this one leafs out first, has slightly darker foliage and when Autumn arrives it becomes very colorful. This year it was more pastel than most years, but its companion always were only a coat of yellow, no different than the first six photos in this post. We do have dozens of varieties of maples that grow beautifully in Oregon. I have never met a maple tree I did not love.

The left Maple Up-Close

The day began with a bit of overcast which is usually my favorite light for photography. I turn my flash off and love the true colors an overcast sky reveals. I also am partial to the lack of shadows and the clarity of detail that results.

The detail of the delicate leaves, their red veins, the tiny scalloped edges and the exquisite shading of colors.

Two perfect leaves and two tiny seed pods. I had just put my camera away when then the sun emerged. With it came the shadows that provide depth and interest and the leaves take on a special glow that cannot be duplicated.

Nature creates such beauty for us.

In this case, the shadows add to the story and make for wonderful imagery.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

Shez

 

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Filed under Nature, Photography, The Great Outdoors

Seen in the Backyard

On Thursday morning  Nov 17, 2011, I awoke to a beautiful day. I showered and dressed and dashed into the backyard my pocket Nikon in hand. Thursday the yard crew comes for their weekly maintenance and I knew this lovely sight would be gone forever if I dallied even a minute. So snap happy I ran through the lovely yellow carpet on the lawn. A new portfolio emerged. These are a half dozen of my favorites.

The green of the lawn is carpeted in yellow, orange, and gold.

I forgot it was cold and I hadn’t bothered to bundle up. But every way I turned the yard beckoned me to come closer. Down to the lower level I went and saw this interesting arrangement.

The Sedge Gallantly Holds the Beauty of Fall Foliage Against the Wind

 

From a distance it reminded me of a porcupine. But up close it became an interesting sculpture of sedge and leaves. Hidden or protected in it’s heart are yellow birch, red and orange Japanese maple, yellow of another variety of Japanese maple, light green leaves fallen from the absinthe (sp?).

As I passed by, the path ahead beckoned me on past the birch and to the park bench. This is the bench we sit on to watch the gold fish and to toss bread crumbs to the little ducklings in the spring.

Even the park bench sports a colorful patchwork of leaves, a cozy place to watch the water denizens.

 

Does this look like an inviting spot to sit and read, and watch several types of ducks, geese, the fish, butterflies, dragonflies, and numerous bird varieties? We see many varieties from the tiniest of hummingbird the Anna’s Hummer topping out at less than three inches to the Great Blue Heron with it’s six foot wing span. It is just a place to relax and enjoy a day. It never fails to amaze me with the tranquility and sense of peace it gives me.

The leaves appear to want a day in the sun, they float on the water lilly pads.

I want to stay and watch the changing light, the reflections in the water and on this day, the colorful leaves lazing around on the water lilly pads. But I was expected at work and  the leaf blowers would be here any minute to invade the peace. As I headed back along the path, I got my first look at the stairs from down below. They posed a fascinating  picture. This was the sight that lead me back indoors for a bite of breakfast. But I couldn’t go in just yet , first I had to record this particular scene.

A Lovely Showcase for the new Carpet.

 

To me this is just perfect. Before noon today it will all be gone, the yard crew will have cleaned all this “mess” up. Me? I love the look of the leaves covering the ground, until they become soggy with rain and a slippery hazard. I just want to remember them exactly like this. What better way than to capture it not just in my heart, but with my camera to share with everyone.

Please let me know what you think? We are quickly transitioning into winter. A whole new wonderland to photo. What fun.

G’ Nite

Shez

 

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Filed under Nature, Photography, Random, The Great Outdoors

From Morning ’til Mid Day

It was a day of contrasts, thanks to our weather. It began with thick fog creating a softness and lack of color. Slowly the fog lifted and by mid afternoon the sky and the colors were glorious. Here are the sights in my little world, November 15, 2011.

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Thanks for hanging with me. Tomorrow is supposed to be heavy rains and heavier yet the next day. For the next few days, I will not have many new photo opportunities, but trust me I have been shooting pictures since I was six. I have a huge collection. So I am not sure what I will share tomorrow.

Time has been short, we (as in Hubs and I, we are humble but capable DIY) have a bathroom remodel that got stalled as soon as everything got removed and we were down to bare walls and floors. We have pushed hard the past week to pull it and several other projects together. Makes for long days, first our real jobs, then our projects and we still have to have everything spiffed up for our big family gathering next week.

So with that, I bid you …

G’ Nite

Shez

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Filed under Nature, Photography, The Great Outdoors

The Longest Fall

For reasons that have us all very curious, this Autumn the leaves have been in high color and on the trees for weeks. Our normal color of fall lasts about 4 weeks with everything except the yellow alders already naked and into hibernation. This year we are mid November and the colors of the trees have been beyond beautiful and today were still showing off.

I present some photos I took in my yard this morning featuring Reflections. I am mesmerized by reflections and I hope you do enjoy these views also. Again, no photoshop ™ magic or retouching at all, just beautiful they way they were today.

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G’ Nite

Shez

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Filed under Nature, Photography, The Great Outdoors