Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Remember when pumpkins were orange and basically the same shape, just varying in size?  Now they come in a variety of colors and patterns and types and some even have bumps.  When we visited the East Coast many years ago we discovered that there's a particular type of pumpkin that they prefer for pie.  Who knew?!  I'm not big on cooking pumpkin so I can't attest to the flavors of the various types so someone else will have to report on that.  Now where's that bag of candy for the trick or treaters?  I really should sample it to be sure it's okay to hand out.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mums The Word

The mums about town are in so many colors and look beautiful this time of year.  I have them in at least five different colors in my garden and in spite of me they have thrived for 15 years, dependable and unpretentious.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plenty of Pumpkins

I can't imagine fall without pumpkins.  They are bright spots in the pumpkin patche and make a colorful display at the grocery stores.  My husband carves a pumpkin for Halloween almost every year but he favors the white ones just because they are different.  Pumpkins are carved in a variety of ways, cooked and turned into all sorts of edible treats.  Even the seeds can be roasted for a nutritional munchie.  I blended this photo with a brick texture that had lettering on it--something I hadn't tried in the past.  I thought it made for a rather interesting effect.  Now where's that pumpkin pie?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall Color

I always look forward to the wood vine changing color in the fall and it's something I will miss after we move.  It varies from yellow to orange to red and the little purple berries add a dark contrast.  Of course most places it covers the fence quite extensively but I liked how this single string of leaves was growing next to the white fence.  And while the color looks pretty good, it's not as vibrant as it usually is.  The wood vine is following the example of the trees and not putting on a great show of color this year.  Later the starlings will come by the dozens and pick off all of the berries.  I don't know how they survive in such numbers when there seems to be less food available but they seem to be thriving.  But I regress.  Happy Fall, y'all.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Those Were The Days

Who remembers poodle skirts?!  This is just a small part of vintage things displayed on the walls of the Main Street Cafe in Grand Junction.  It's definitely a step back in time as soon as you first walk in the door and I found that memories came flooding back.  The food is good, too.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lovely LIly

This is another project I will teach to the camera club.  I think this one has three textures, one of which has the rectangles.  I added the yellow frame and a couple of graphic designs that are built into Photoshop Elements.  Looks and sounds a little complicated but it's actually pretty easy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pretty Pale Rose

 In a moment of weakness I said I would teach some blending to the camera club and this is one of the projects we will do.  I tried to keep the process simple since they will follow along on their computers.  I blended two textures and added a green stamped image, a simple line frame, grunge corners and text.  But they don't have to do the embellishment as part of the lesson.  Here's hoping it goes well.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Floating Bridge

This is a page I'm including in My Story.  The photo dates back to about 1995 when my husband and I made a trip around the perimeter of the US.  In case you can't read the small print on the page, the story is this:  my husband refused to cross this bridge in our car even though a car came the opposite direction without any problem.  It didn't really matter since we didn't have to get to the other side but I still give him a hard time about it.  I've since learned it's not floating so much as simply submerged, though why someone chose to do that I have no idea.  Quirky, huh?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Autumn Display

I don't often go to Starbucks so when I do it's a treat.  The autumn display I found at our local Starbucks made it an even better treat--so much color, texture and variety in the selected items.  I just had to take a photo and play with it. As for my beverage, I tried something new and determined that I'll stick with my favorite chai tea latte for the cool months and icy cold, creamy sweet frappe in the warm months.  But it's good to step out of our box and sometimes try something new.  After all, that's how I discovered chai tea and frappe.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Old Truck

While going through some old photos for My Story, I came across a photo of an old truck that was somewhere in the area around Gakona AK.  I decided it was a good subject for some blending, leaving just the center of the photo in focus.  In addition to texture I added a few subtle brush marks.  Now I'm wondering if the truck is still there and how much more it has deteriorated.  I don't expect to find out.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'll Miss . . .

Another of the things I'll miss after we move is the landscape of the Grand Valley.  This is a view of the Bookcliffs with Mt. Garfield at the left.  It's what you see as you travel into the valley from the east but it's not the most photographed view.  I wanted to remember it's perspective in realtion to the surroundings.  It's a local landmark and quite prominent.  I like it best when it is either shrouded by interesting clouds or partially covered with snow which brings out the ridges. We are quite fortunate to have interesting geological features all around us.  Yes, that I will miss.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fresh Herbs

Last summer our son visited and as he was searching for seasonings to make a marinade, he exclaimed that I had every possible spice and seasoning.  I could truthfully report that I didn't because there was no saffron in my larder.  With its price tag and my having no recipe that depends on the flavor of saffron, it's not likely I'll ever have saffron in my cupboard.
But since we packed most of our belongings, my cupboard is very bare.  I have salt and pepper, some bouillion and honey.  I know, strange combination.  But I'm working on adding to the possibilities by visiting my herb garden yesterday.  Pictured above is what I cut and left to right is oregano, tarragon, thyme and two types of parsley.  In the foreground is chives.  I missed cutting some sage so will do that soon.

The photo to the right shows the herbs after they were washed and stripped from their stems.  I didn't show the chives and one of the parsleys which are in a different pan, but you get the idea.  After they are completely dry I will store them in small plastic bags and seasoning choices will be much greater and our food will be much tastier.  Nice to enjoy the "fruits" of our garden.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

This is some of the brightest color we saw on our "fall foliage" trip.  It was just before the Last Dollar Road rejoined the main highway.  But, like other areas, there's still lots of green in the trees in the background.  Guess we can't expect it to be totally awesome every year.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lots of Oak

This is a view of the mountain range as you come back down the pass toward Ridgway (or, if you prefer, going up the pass the opposite direction).  On a "normal" year the green trees in the center part of the photo would be a bright yellow but as I've mentioned, the trees aren't doing their usual thing this year.  And the oaks aren't behaving well either, though those shown in the foreground have some nice muted colors.  At least we had the addition of the snow-covered peaks to add some interest and that's a nice "not-so-normal" addition.  We take what we get and enjoy it all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rusty Barn Returns

This is the same photo I showed yesterday but this one has an additional layer of blending in the "hue" mode.  As you can easily see, it greatly affected the color.  To me this looks more vintage and adds an entirely different feel to the photo.  One of the messages here is don't stop when you get something you like, but keep trying other things.  You might find more good surprises.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rusty Barn

I took this photo of an aged barn and shed that was along the Last Dollar Road.  I thought it had a story to tell and was rustic and interesting.  But I cropped it and did some blending as shown in the second photo.  That not only added texture but also brought out some of the detail and added some color.  While I liked this effect, I tried another blend on top of this one and I'll show you the result of that tomorrow.  Yes, I'm a tease.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This spot had some nice color and the trees framed the snowy peak quite nicely.  I'm not fond of the bare aspen trunk on the right and yet it's part of the scene and I decided to leave it.  I didn't find that dark branch on the left to be a distraction until I posted it here.  I don't think it adds to the photo and I may Photoshop it out.  Yes, it's cheating a little but the important thing is the end result and I've never claimed to not enhance or alter my photos.  Sometimes I think that's the primary reason I take photos.  And I don't use a lot of fancy settings even though I can.  I'd rather play with the photo in Photoshop Elements.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Typical Scene

This scene is fairly typical of what we saw along our fall drive.  This is actually on the main highway between Ridgway and Placerville rather than on the Last Dollar Road.  But cattle were plentiful everywhere as they haven't yet been moved to lower elevations.  There was a bit of snow here and there and some foliage color mixed with the green.  Kinda makes me want to spend some time in that little cabin--but only in the summer months.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


This isn't too shabby as a backdrop for a ranch--in this case the Last Dollar Ranch.  It clearly shows the lack of color in the aspens although some yellow and red are present in here and there.  We don't often get the color with the snow-covered peaks so that was a nice change this year.  Nice of the ranch to build that fence which leads the eye right into the photo.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn Art

We took a little drive over The Last Dollar Road so check out the fall colors.  It was a little disappointing in that many of the trees hasn't changed color and it seemed that many leaves were drying up and falling without significant color change.  I suppose someone seeing it for the first time would still find it pretty but it lacked it's usual outstanding brilliance.  Still we made many stops and took a lot of photos.  This piece started with a closeup of some leaves that actually had some color.  I went for a painted look which I blended into a patterns background.  Finished it off with some shading on the edges, color on one side, a simple frame and a bit of text.  It could be a greeting card.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another Word Art Photo

This photo of potted plants was taken in Lake Oswego OR
in early June.  I placed a color blend over it which muted the colors and highlighted the center.  It created a sort of retro look that I thought was unique.  Then I added the word art which I thought was a needed element to fill that bit of space with a little interest.  It's so much fun to play with photos.  Much more so than packing and cleaning.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Word Art and Blending

Using word art with some blending techniques was new in this class.  I started with a photo taken outside the grocery store to which I blended some color.  I erased the blended color from the pumpkinds so they became the focal point.  Then I added the little line border and text.  I thought it was an improvement on the original photo even though I liked the photo as it was shot.  The pumpkins in the field have already been "frosted."  Winter seems to be coming early this year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blending With Texture

This photo was taken in a grocery store.  Tt was blended with a colored texture.  It's near the end of my second blending course and this was the first technique that was similar to my first course.  However, I didn't remove all of the texture from the flowers like I did before.  The change in color and muted look is rather nice I think.  Pretty yellow flowers can take a lot of abuse.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Vintage

Here's another return to the vintage photo look.  It's a matter of changing the sharpness and toning down the color.  In this case I think I actually prefer the vintage look with its more concentrated focal point and muted color.  But I only want it for special occasions. In general I'm not willing to give up my modern technology.

Monday, October 7, 2013


For the third exercise we played with changing the basic colors of the photo--red, green and blue.  And then we added a solid color over the top and blended that in.  These birds are probably wondering what happened to them.  Again, it was a photo of a downtown sculpture.  I've included the original photo so you can see the difference.  Hmmmm; maybe an emphasis of blue would have been a cool effect.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Return to Vintage

We are an interesting species.  We welcomed technology to improve photos and we are pleased as punch with wonderful quality, great sharpness and vivid color.  And then the trend is a return to the vintage look.  My second photo blending lesson was just that.  I think I would like a bit more sepia color in my final photo but it's a learning process and I'll try the process again using a different photo.  The photo was a downtown sculpture.  I don't know if she liked returning to the 40's but it was an interesting experiment.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I'm taking another online class for photo blending.  This class is different from the first one in that it seems to be more in the line of creating mood and adding/changing color.  This was from the first lesson and I thought the end result was different that what I would normally do.  I'll also post the original photo so you can see the difference.  It was a gray sort of a day and that's the type of photo the instructor suggested works best with her techniques.  I've several more lessons to work through.  Stay tuned.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Favorite

I tried another photo-sketch-painting and think this is my favorite so far.  Maybe the subject matter is better or maybe I have the hang of it.  May use this one on a scrapbook page.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Photo to Painting - Second Attempt

I again tried the technique for turning a photo into a sketch and then a painting.  I thought it was more successful than the attempt I posted before but think it would look better with the addition of blue sky.  I could have put some in the original photo but it was a gray day and I decided to keep it that way.  Maybe a different image would have worked better--one with fewer drawing lines.  Stay tuned for (hopefully) more progress.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Art Everywhere

Not all of the art on Main Street is on the corners or even on the street.  This clever and attractive piece is on display at La Rouge, a French restaurant.  You have to look high to see it as it is sits above the doorway and above the name of the restaurant.  I can't say that I will miss La Rouge because I've never eaten there.  Nor do I have any other experience with the restaurant except that I've heard the food is good.  It just hasn't drawn me in as did the now closed Dolce Vita and still open Bistro Italiano.  Guess I'm an Italian at heart.  It's in my blood, after all.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bistro Italiano

Here's another item from my list of things I will miss after we move.  It's the Bistro Italiano on Main Street in Grand Junction and the food is among the best I've eaten.  It doesn't hurt that the recipes go back to Valle de Aosta in Northern Italy where my paternal grandparents were raised.  And the fact that we've celebrated there with local cousins has created fond memories, too.  I can see that I'll need to come back if only to visit my favorites.