Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A sunset

Right now I'm uploading photos and listening to my Challenge of Music music. I have taken over 350 photos, of those approximately 200 are of a frozen brook (and some of a big windthrow). They need to be culled. Culling is more or less boring (depending on the number of photos, how many photos you want to keep and how tired you are), but I learnt not to just upload batch after batch of photos without doing at least a first culling once I had something like 1000-2000 images to go through in order to A) find the good ones and B) had to make room on the hard drive.

You won't be seeing any windthrows or frozen brooks this evening as I must get a few other things done for tomorrow. So as always I'm going to leave you with a promise of showing more later.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photo of the week

Oh, the cats are hating me for writing this post as I've already kept them waiting for their wet food (constant access to dry foods doesn't keep them from accusing me of starving them). So it's just one quick post today. With photos of Uggi in the snow (like so many weeks before).

Sunday, 24 February 2013

What Noemi got

Do you remember the BSBP sneekpeak? Well, Noemi have got her soup so now I can show it to you too.

First of all there's the mandatory focal and clasp, as you can see above. The focal is a labradorite pendant and the clasp is a plated fancy toggle clasp that I though matched the style of the pendant. I felt very brace sending this as it's something I've hold onto for some years now, but in the end it might be better to give it to someone else who'll actually make something with it.

And then there's the rest of the "pick & mix" bead soup. I call it that for two reasons: 1. I picked out the soup ingredients from my stash rather than bought anything specifically for the swap, and 2. It isn't a very cohesive. It's a really random mix of beads and materials -- and I just hope Noemi finds something in there that's inspirational and fun to use. As I mentioned in the sneek peak, I was a bit worried that there wasn't enough colour, but that it might be useful too as Noemi can add other colours she likes (or likes better) to the earthtones.

To sum it up, there is -- apart from the aforementioned focal and clasp, crackled glass beads, Miyuki rococo, aquamarine chip beads, keshi pearls, moro-moro beads (scented nigerian beads made from seeds), glass pearls, ceramic rings, two large flower sequins, leather cord, tea-dyed (by me) silk cord and a piece of sea glass I picked up at the beach nearby.

Oh, and then there's a brad I just put in there. Partially because it felt more vernal than the rest of the soup, which seems to partially already long for autumn. There are many ways you can use them in jewellery -- or just use it to decorate something.

I'll show the soup from Noemi once I get it -- and get around to take a photo of it. At the moment I'm still working on my piece for Erin's Challenge of Music, which will be revealed on Friday (Don't miss it -- you'll get both eye candy and ear candy during the blog hop!), so the BSBP is on hold for a few days more while I'm focusing on that challenge first.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Februari bead soup palette

The month is soon over, but it wasn't until now I could post the february palette. It was due to a couple of things, one of them being my reluctance to pour out two colours of seeds in one heap as I would have to sort them after the photo shoot...

This time I went with muted wintry colours -- a brumal palette in cold hues for everyone who likes earthtones or muted colour schemes -- and don't mind working with cold colours in the cold february weather (here it's nothing but snow and ice outside the window).

In this palette size really do matter: both frosted opal apollo gold (a Toho hybrid) and luster stone grey vary in hue depending on the size of the beads. Here, they have a darker and has an almost violet-blue tint as the beads are smaller (sizes 11/0 and 4 mm respectively), something you don't get (as much of) in the larger beads. Below you can see this as 6 mm luster stone grey fp beads are added to the blend next to the 4 mm fp in the same hue at the bottom right corner.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Photos for texts and textures -- or Why I save crummy photos and takes pics of boring things

If you've read some of my older posts, especially reading my named tag digital art, you might know that I enjoy to take photos to use as backgrounds or textures. Like the ones in the collage above.

I love old -- and broken -- greenhouse glass as it's perfect for creating moody photos (as is fog and water). Sure, sometimes they're dirty and if the focus has accidentally been on the grit on the glass rather than the glass or a object in front of or behind the glass (as in the post Caught behind glass), it can result in ugly pics. But most of the time you get fun pics ready to be used in what ever creative way you can think of.

I actually started writing a text about this back in september, but never finished it. The post was to be called Why I save crummy photos -- and take pics of boring things. This is what I was going to say about it back then:
I think at least some of you know the answer to why I do those things: textures. Previously on this blog, I've shown some pics made using both textures made by others and textures made by me. So far I've rarely made any fancy textures, but rather used special photos as textures. And it's turned out to be both fun and creative to find photos to use and think about what to photograph for new textures.

Here's one example of that. I'm going to show you the result, the original photo and the texture photo just to show what the two components look like and how easy it is to make textures of your own. [yeah, I'm not going to do that today. If you want I can show you an example some other time. Just let me know.]

There are some really fab textures available online. Many are free, other can be bought. I love them. But sometimes it feels more rewarding to use your own. It's your picture from start to finish, your creation -- from scratch -- to take credit for. And using your own textures, there's no copyright issues either to worry about.

Anyway, I wasn't going to write about it at all today. I just wanted some way of introducing two of my latest results of my "digital doodling". Two different approaches to the same photo that I intend to use as a background for text. Here, I just pulled out two quotes I found on my Words and quotes Pinterest board.

First a version with a black edges. As I like dark edges, makes it more moody and old-looking. There's also a slight texture (from a photo of the same greenhouse glass) layered on top of it.

Then I thought, "why not try something new and add a white mist to the edges instead of the usual black?" A bit washed out. If nothing else, why not do it to match the snow on the leaves? And that's how I ended up with this. Also with the same texture as above.

Wonder what the original photo looked like? I inserted it below. It's just resized, not edited in any other way.

It's a lot of fun taking these photos. Not sure how much longer I will have this great place to go for moody textures and backgrounds: dad has said he wants to tear down the old greenhouse as there's almost not one whole window pane left and the door rotted last summer. The smaller greenhouse isn't as good as this one, especially since the glass doesn't go as far down as it does in this one and there's less room to take photos. Well, it's not coming down anyway soon, I think, so there's still some time to take photos.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photo of the week

Today it's all about Julle. Again. The reason Julls tends to get caught on camera more often than some of our other cats is partially that he more than the other adults likes to tag along when me or my sis take a walk with the camera. The blurred photo above is a good example of it. My sis and I were outdoors, photographing the white trees and blue skies, when Julle suddenly appeared out of nowhere and wanted some attention. Being a cat, he never learns to stop and pose when turning towards him with a camera, but continues to run towards the camera faster than it can focus. We know they never stop, but still we keep going "look this way. No, stand still. Don't get closer. No. No, stop there. It's perfect there. Just for a sec so I can get a photo of you." And then you add up with either a photo of blurred fur running towards the camera or a close-up like this one.

But when he finally lies down, Julle is usually a very cooperative photo model.

And here he's found the old (well, old-ish at least) fence post across the road that the cats love to use as a scratch post and jump up on.

Cute, huh? But not when you consider where he is. See those tyre marks?

Yes, he's on the middle of the road and couldn't care less! Not for the first time.

(If you wonder why I took a photo instead of shooing him away or picking him up it's because A: my sis is on her way to do just that, you just can't see here in the photo, and B: it's a small and not very busy countryside road and I can hear vehicles approaching so there was no immediate danger. I was telling him a few well-worded things while taking the photos. Randa has been hit by a car -- further down the road -- and Vitis was killed in a hit-and-run so we don't take this behaviour as lightly as the pictures might suggest.)

Friday, 15 February 2013

BSBP sneak peek

It's been a while, but this year I signed up for the Bead Soup Blog Party. It's the seventh BSBP and my fourth time participating. As I love both swaps (especially international swaps -- I want to do more of those) and challenges, the BSBP is right up my alley, but recently the size of the blog hop has felt overwhelming so I opted not to participate for a while. Until now. 

Earlier this week I sent off a bead soup to my partner, Noemi Baena in Spain. Can't show you what I sent as it's a secret until I know she has received and opened the package, but I can give you -- and Noemi -- a sneak peek.

After sending the bead soup, I started thinking that maybe the colours were a tad boring, eventhough some beads were more colourful than others. But then I thought they could also be seen as a good base to which Noemi can add the accent colours she likes best.

The part of the soup that I'm mostly looking forward to see being used is the focal and clasp: I've had them for years and do think they're very pretty -- very fairytale-esque so to speak -- but I just haven't made anything with it so in the end I thought maybe someone else will be able to make something with those components. Worried about regretting the decision as I can't undo it (that's why it's so important to really make sure if you want to get rid of something or just keep stashing it when destashing!), but while I might regret not having it one day, I don't regret giving it to Noemi. If that makes sense.

Anyway, if you want to see what Noemi has done with my bead soup and what I have done with hers, be sure to stop by here on April 13 (3rd reveal).

Monday, 11 February 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photo of the week

I never posted any pics of our new snow cat during the weekend so instead it's become the theme for this week's Meowy Monday post.

My sis and I made a snow cat back in 2009 -- which you can see here -- and ever since we've talked about making another one every winter. And others have asked if we haven't made more snow cats too. But it's been all about finding a winter day with the right weather (snow and subzero temperatures are not always the case this far south) and for us both to find the time on such a day. We needed the right kind of snow, time and weather than wouldn't change the next day as it wouldn't be fun to make a snow cat just to see it melt away the next morning. But then, last Friday we had the snow and time to make a new cat.

We tried to use Jinja as a model, but she wouldn't sit still -- in fact, she was rather annoyed that we focuse all our attention towards the snow cat instead of her we she was in her best cuddling mood. Not that I think using a real life model would've helped us. The shape of the body and the pose are a bit awkward, especially since we built the snow cat against a stone to keep it stabilized and protected from some of the weather and wind. In the end I gave up on trying to improve on the shape when my sis worried I'd carve too much away.

Actually, we had an odd way of working on the body: I carved one side (the left) and she carved the other. We even made one ear each. So every now and then I had to look at her side to kind of get the both sides symmetrical as we worked at the same time, without any kind of sketch or template to draw from. Probably not the best way to collaborate on a project like this.

This time we didn't have any blue marbles for the eyes so instead my sis wanted to paint them using food colouring. The colour bled into the snow and spead across it on the first try so instead we coloured some snow and then applied it to the eyes. She also painted the inside of the ears and the nose with red food colouring and I diluted the colour by rubbing some snow over it to get a more subtle pink tone.

(My sis added some whiskers out of straw, but I didn't like it so I'm not putting a pic of that here. Working together is a good thing most of the time as you work faster and can focus on different details, but it also means having to compromise -- or fight -- when you have different ideas.)

So there you have it, the snow cat everybody's been asking about. It's far from perfect and from some angles you can't tell it's made by adults, not little kids, but it's our snow cat and we like it despite its flaws.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Let's play "Guess what's hidden under the snow"

It's been a good, snowy and sunny day today so I managed to both get more photos and, together with my sis, make a snow cat (and a glass shard lantern, which is the lazy way of making an ice/snow lantern). No pics of any sort of cats today though.  Instead I'm showing this odd thing. Can you guess what is?

How about if I give you another view of it?

Did that make it too easy? I've got a second pic of the same view if you need a few more seconds to think about it.

I'm going to assume you spotted what it is now.

Yes, it's a...

...rusty old bike.

It's been out there for ages (and just to make it clear, by "out there" I mean on the old scrap heap we have on our farm, just like all farmers used to have and where they'd just chuck old farming machines, milk cans, bricks, broken china or whatever else lost its value). Today I walked around the old hen house and found it like this. I really liked how the snow had gathered on the spokes, no in a straight line, but in waves. The snow most likely began to thraw and starting to slide of the spokes. Then it got colder and the snow stuck in "mid-slide" so to speak.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Random snow pics

It's been snowing again today. Lately, the temperatures have been going up and down, both sinking below and soaring about that magic line that's zero degrees. That's meant days with snow followed by days with rain followed by days with sleet followed by days with a tad more snow. Well, you get it. And today was one of the colder days when it's been more white than wet -- meaning I got the camera out. Haven't uploaded or edited all the pics yet so I just picked a couple of random photos for this impromptu post.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Meowy Monday

No new cat photos today. But a couple of old ones.

Today's first random cat photo is one I downloaded from my old Flickr account, Katten & Draken, before deleting it. It's several years old by now and depicts Isse (on the mill stone), Mini (below) and Mimi playing in the snow. Really hard to tell from this small pic -- there is a larger version on my laptop that doesn't work -- but I managed to snap a pic just as Isse "threw" snow in Mini's face.

But maybe you're tired of snow and cold now and want to dream about warmer days?

I love the look on Randa's face in this one. Isn't she cute? And so tiny! It feels like a lifetime ago. Must've been in 2005 I think, because the next summer this happened. Svisston's face of pure terror is also incredible. Vitis is a bit more hesitant, waiting in the back -- while his brother and sister are on the lookout.

This was their first day outdoors and the world was so big, so unknown and so scary -- drawing from lessons learnt from earlier litters, we carried them out in a "safehouse" that they could hide in and from which they could explore the world in the own pace. The grass was especially scary and so very unlike any surface they'd ever walked on indoors. The first day was scary, they preferred the safety indoors and when we took them back inside they were trembling, but soon curiosity won over fear and they found that the big unknown was fun, not fearful. They began to explore and before we knew it they were old enough to follow us around the gardens and forests.


I'm trying not to put too many sad memories into these photos. I want to show the joy in them, the joy I felt went when taking them and the joy in those cats' lives. If you've followed my blogs or known me for some years now, you know there's a sad story I can tell about both these photos. Before writing this post, I was on my blog reader reading about a jewellery maker who just lost her beloved cat, which made a lot of sad and bad memories of last year surface. I had a cry, both about her cat and ours that we lost. And it was a bit sad to look at these old photos again, but most of all the photos made me smile. Not a melancholic smile, but a smile of happiness when I think of the joy in these young cats. It's all about letting the sorrow and grief go from focusing on the deaths (and the ugly feeling of guilt) to being about memories of their lives and their beautiful personalities.
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