Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Got My Head in the Clouds

head in the clouds

Don't you sometimes just see a cloud formation so lovely that you just want to take a picture of it? Today's shot was caputred over year ago and the way the setting sun was shining on it made it a spectacular image straight out of the camera.

Since it's Texture Tuesday; however, I wanted to add a little sumpthin' sumpthin' to it and KK's oldie but goodie "Dream" seemed to fit perfectly. It is anything goes over at My Perspective's Quotography challenge, so I added a dash of Thoreau as well.

I also wanted to use an image of clouds today, because I need to geek out a little bit and share how much I am loving my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. And right now they are running a special for folks who already have a CSS licensed prouct where you can lock in for $29.99 a month!

This made sense for me because I was running CS4 and really wanted to upgrade to CS6 and wanted to give InDesign and Lightroom a try as well as upgrade my DreamWeaver. Let's just say I love CS6 and I'm wishing I had more time to devote to learning. Even so, it is well worth the cost especially at this price point.

I have found upgrade cost prohibitive as well as being reluctant to buy new apps when I'm not sure how often I'll use them. With the Cloud I will always have the latest and greatest versions. To be honest, my opinion is that this is the wave of the future for Adobe and I went ahead and lept into the clouds.

To help along with my learning, I also signed up for a monthly subscription to Kelby Training Kelby Training and I've enjoyed the content so far. Today I ordered on Amazon his book, The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)

I really want to kick my photography and Photoshop skills up a notch, so I'm hoping this will help. If they only made an app to give you more hours in the day...

Oh and speaking of being in the clouds, I decided to make like a birdie and tweet. Here's my twitter page if you'd like to follow. I'll be tweeting linky reminders and who knows what else.


Today's Linkups

kimklassencafeQuotography at {My}Perspective


Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

Monday, July 30, 2012

July Mosaic

July mosaic

It is time once again for Magnetised by Life's monthly mosaic challenge. This month's color is bright red and the theme is success and tenderness according to this chart.

My images for this month's mosaic are a combination of old and new, as I've not been particularly "well" this month and haven't done a lot of shooting. (This MUST be corrected soon). Each image I chose has some meaning to me personally, though.

  1. My fake red flower used for last week's Flower Art Friday composition.
  2. Red toenails fresh from a pedicure.  Unfortunately, an older shot and must note here that I'm past due for a pedi.
  3. Red strawberries sliced by my beautiful daughter in law atop a cheesecake we enjoyed on the 4th of July.
  4. My red Honda, who I named "little red."  Bless her, she's got 115,000 miles on her and carries me reliably everywhere I need to go, even though I've nearly killed her a few times (accidentally, of course).  I paid her off this year and have no intentions of parting ways with her any time soon.
  5. An old favorite shot of a lady bug sitting pretty on the monkey grass lining my front walkway.  Whenever I see ladybugs, I'm reminded of the ladybug metaphor used in one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun If you've seen the movie, you'll understand the significance.  If you haven't seen it, why not? :)
  6. My mailbox.  I just thought it was pretty with its red flag set against the white box.  However, in this heat the mailbox post (which was vinyl) melted and in spite of our efforts to prop it up so it wouldn't set that way, it looks sort of like its ashamed of something with its head hanging low.
  7. July 4th flag from our 4th of July celebration dinner.
  8. Antique scale from my favorite local antique shop.
  9. Red Lipstick - on my lips, of course.  Now that I'm really getting blonde/silver I have found I need a little extra color to brighten up my face.



The quote I chose for this month comes from one of the songs I chose for my One Little Word Project challenge yesterday:

"Cause freedom is a naked heart that always dares to give
A willingness to let the tenderness be taken as it may"
- Katie Herzig
This song, entitled Jenny Lynn, is in line with the challenges I face in this period of my life, that is, remaining open and vulnerable to the possibility of love in the wake of heartbreak. The majority of this year has been devoted to licking wounds and trying to salvage my self-esteem from reject pile where my heart was flung.

The easier way, would be to close up and keep my heart safely locked away, but that is a prison indeed and so not emotionally healthy. July just so happens to be a month where we are mindful of freedom, and perhaps it is appropriate that in this month I began to see the darkness lift and the feelings of hopefulness return. There's still a lot to process and work left to do, but I'm doing much better and I see signs of life around every corner now.

The ability to be vulnerable is a key component to success and does require great courage. Brene Brown addresses this issue head on in her upcoming book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead It is probably no coincidence that Herzig and Brown both use the word "Dare" when addressing the topic of vulnerability. I am really looking forward to this book's release in September. If you aren't familiar with Brene's work, here's her Ted Talk on the issue of vulnerability:

That's it for me today. Hope everyone is having a great week and don't forget to vote for your Flower Art Favorite before midnight tonight!!

Today's Linkups

http://www.flickr.com/groups/themondaymosaic/
Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Soundtrack of My Life





If it has not become apparent by now, let me state clearly that I love music. Last week, one of my table companions at the Shawn Mullins concert asked me if I was one of those "music snobs."

I answered that I was not, but I knew what he meant. While I like all kinds of music, I am drawn to singer/songwriters and the genre that is often described as Americana. The places I like to see this music performed are where these so-called music snobs tend to hang out.

While I may know the names and songs of many talented folks who don't get much standard radio play, my knowledge pales in comparison to some of my music loving friends.

Who are these music loving friends of mine? You may be asking yourself that question since it is clear from my recent postings that I nearly always go to shows by myself.

In spite of the fact that I live in what is known as Music City, USA, and there's no shortage of places to go see great live music, most people I encounter in my day-to-day life have never heard of or only vaguely recall a single radio hit by the artists that I enjoy the most. So, I go alone.

However, back in 2008, I had a wonderful opportunity to get on a giant cruise ship full of people who not only knew the names of the songs I loved, but were just as enthusiasic about seeing these artists as a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Ok, maybe they were a little more refined in their behavior, but the passion was there.

Cayamo is an annual cruise for people like me, who like music that I like with an extensive line up my favorite performers jamming day and night in every available nook and cranny. Can you say heaven on earth? I went on the inaugural journey and keep friendships that I made there to this day even though I never managed to get myself back on the boat for subsequent voyages.

Until this year.

Yep...I got myself booked on Cayamo 2013, and I couldn't be more thrilled! The cruise ahs become so popular that it now sells out quite fast and I had to put myself on a waiting list and leave it up to the music gods. Apparently, it was meant to be as I received an email from the organizers this week that a cabin had become available.

Much has changed since that first cruise. Back then, we had a message board where we got to know eachother prior to setting sail. Now, its all about facebook and I put out a call for local people who might be interested in seeing some shows with me. Some plans are in the works now... Yea!

Can you just imagine what sort of photo opportunities await me in the various ports of call - Antiqua, San Juan and Tortola. It's almost too good to be true. We set sail in January, so those Mayans better be wrong about the world ending in December, or I'm going to be extremely pissed.

This month's One Little Word project challenge aligns nicely with this musical theme. We were to create a song list of 9 songs that either capture the essence of our word (mine is "calling) or relates to the place we currently are in life.

My list is a combination of both, and since I've been seeing more concerts lately, I've included many by artists that I've seen.

Second to artists I've actually seen lately, I included songs that were new to me this year and have resonated with me in some way.

  • Steer by Missy Higgins.
    But the search ends here
    Where the night is totally clear
    And your heart is fierce
    So now you finally know that you control where you go
    You can steer

  • Shimmer by Shawn Mullins.
    you know I drink a whole bottle of my pride
    and I toast to change
    to keep these demons off my back
    just get these demons off my back
    cause I want to shimmer, I want to shine
    I want to radiate
    I want to live, I want to love
    I want to try to learn not to hate

  • Couldn't Stand the Rain by Missy Higgins.
    The skys turning brighter
    so I stepped outta my shelter
    My hearts gettin lighter and I'll live in the here and now
    I couldn't stand the rain
    I couldn't take the pain
    I never be the same
    No one here to blame


  • Beautiful Dawn by The Wailin' Jennys.
    Take me to the place where I feel no shame
    Take me where the courage doesn't need a name
    Learning how to cry is the hardest part
    There's only one way to mend a broken heart


  • To Feel Love by Butterfly Boucher
    Don't try to shatter all my hopes of true love
    Don't try to tell me there's no such thing as "the one"
    I understand
    I understand clearly
    It doesn't happen like it happens in the movies
    I'm aware
    I don't care
    I'm a dreamer


  • Jenny Lynn by Katie Herzig
    Cause freedom is a naked heart that always dares to give
    A willingness to let the tenderness be taken as it may


  • Heaven When We're Home by the Wailin' Jennys
    Yes, they appear twice but their music has literally been the soundtrack to my life in recent months.
    It's a long and rugged road
    and we don't now where it's headed
    But we know it's going to get us where we're going
    And when we find what we're looking for
    we'll drop these bags and search no more
    'Cuz it's going to feel like heaven when we're home
    It's going to feel like heaven when we're home



  • New Day by Corey Smith (could not find a link to the lyrics)
    Oooh child don't hang your head
    Child don't hang your head
    Wipe away your sleepy eyes
    Wipe away your eyes
    Our story's not been written yet
    Though shadows fall, there's hope every sunrise


  • On My Way Home by Rumer
    When I wake up, I see a fire red sky
    And I get my down on my knees and praise in disbelief
    As this beauty lay before my eyes
    And it feels so strong
    And it feels so warm

    Oh, my God; oh, my God
    I am yours
    Oh, my God; oh, my God
    I am yours




Given that I'm gearing up for cruise time and I do love song lyrics so much, I decided to start a weekly linkup entitled "Snapshot & a Song" where we can share our favorite song lyrics along with a photo that captures the essence of the song. You can include your lyric on the image or as a part of your post, but please do provide credit to the artist and a link to their website if possible.

We'll start next Sunday, August 5th. As far as other rules, standard linky etiquette applies. Link to your blog post (not just your blog) and provide a link back to my blog somewhere in your content. I'm providing a badge for you if you would like to use that (I sure would like it if you would). There will be no voting on this challenge.

I don't expect this will be as large an event as Flower Art Friday, but I'm hoping that there are some folks out there who enjoy music as much as I do and will have fun with this challenge. As with Flower Art Friday, we will have occasional challenges, but you are free to share what you like. Here is a badge for you if you are interested in participating.

  


snapshot and a song



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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flower Art Friday #14 - July 27, 2012

love flower

Welcome to Flower Art Friday #14! The gallery opens early Thursday morning and entries are accepted until midnight each Saturday.

This week, we have a theme and that is the color RED. As always, themes are optionals, but I hope we'll have some beautiful red images sprinkled liberally through our gallery.

I chose red because Ruby is the July birthstone and I also need some red images for July Monthly Mosaic linkup sponsored by Magnetised by Life. That will come later in the month.

Today's flower is actually an artificial one I picked up at Hobby Lobby on my Saturday excursion. I used Ruth's cafe script texture and Topaz Labs Simplify/Wood carving effect to create the floral echos (blended with soft light mode) and also the texture of the flower.

I'm still a bit under the weather this week, so this was a last minute jobby.

Before we get to the winners and the linky, there are a couple of changes I'd like to note about our weekly challenge.

First, I changed the number of allowable votes to the maximum allowed by the InLinkz service, which is 10. So, each week when you vote you will be allowed to affirm your love for multiple images. :)

Second, once the voting closes, the number of votes will only show for the top three images. Some of you noticed this change and thought your votes disappeared. Rest assured, your votes were counted.

With that said, here's this week's Reader's Picks!

Birgitta's magnificent tulip image floated to the top of the voting pool (puns totally intended)



Henrietta warmed our hearts with this lovely textured still life



And finally Jeanne takes the cake (cake is what comes to mind when I see this image) with this exquisite and unique beauty.



Congratulations winners! Grab your badge!

flowerartfriday

Before we get this party started, here's just a quick reminder of the rules before we begin.


Flower Art Friday is a weekly gallery featuring your floral themed creations. We will have themes from time to time, but these will only be suggestions and you may feel free to deviate if you like. Obviously the theme revolves around flowers,and works submitted can be photos, digitally manipulated photos, textured photos, or mixed media collages.

Check out my resources page for information on some great sites that provide free textures, clip art, and tutorials.

The rules are pretty simple. Your link should go directly to your blog post or flickr post, and I ask that you post a link back to my blog in return. Post only your original work, and give credit appropriately to the source of images, clip art, or textures you may use in your piece. It would be awesome if you would grab my badge and include it in your post.

flowerartfriday


You also get to vote for your favorites. I will feature the top three picks on my blog next week, so if you participate please note that you are also giving me permission to repost your photo here. I will also be sending you a little email reminder to come back and vote and when the winners are posted.

Ok, let's link up!








Today's Linkups

kimklassencafePhoto Art Friday





Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Reflections

weekend


In the introduction of her book, 168 Hours Laura Vanderkam tells the story of an "good day" in her life. While there was nothing spectacular that occurred during the course of her day (no milestone reached, or gigantic victories to report) she defined it as a good day because the time spent was devoted to those activities that epitomized the sort of life she envisioned for herself.

By that definition, I had a pretty good weekend. As someone who has perpetually struggled with a perceived deficit of time relative to what I felt I wanted or needed to accomplish, overwhelm has been a state with which I'm quite familiar.

Lately, though I've been feeling less and less overwhelmed as I am settling into a rhythm that is propelling me along at a comfortable pace.

third


Some of this newfound comfortable pace has to do with the dust starting to settle as I readjust to a new lifestyle brought by the end of my four year relationship that had occupied so much of my time and informed so much of my routine. It was time I wanted to spend because I valued the relationship and was willing to invest in it.

Nevertheless, when it was over there was a pretty large time void to fill.

At first, I filled it with lots of activities that related to my interests but soon realized that I needed to pace myself or at least organize my time a bit better.

Even before I started "reading" 168 hours (I'm actually listening to it on audio) I'd started the process of bringing my lifestyle in alignment with my energy levels, values, objectives and goals - more realistically evaluating how much I could take on before overwhelm started to descend on me and my self care (getting enough sleep, taking time to eat well, excercise, etc...) started to suffer.

Self care - that's the first thing that suffers with me. Another book, entitled The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson helped me sort out my self care issues. In truth, I think there is nothing "extreme" about her recommendations. It just seems extreme because some of us are so BAD at it and feel so guilty for caring for ourselves when we are used to putting the needs of others first, all the time.

And, yes, I actually do read this embarrassingly large number of self-help books.


The premise of 168 hours is that we have more time than we think. Rather than thinking of our time in 24 hour increments, if we consider a week (168 hours) as the unit we have to work with, we will see that we are not as time starved as we think we are. Even without keeping the suggested time log, I can attest that she is right and the more time I've devoted to self care and recharge time, the more productive I've been with time for fun as well.

So, what was my "good day" (Saturday) like?

It started with morning pages and coffee, followed by a 40 minute walk.

Once home, I prepared a healthy breakfast and put a low carb zucchini loaf into the oven for a special weekend treat.

Then I put on some music, (Katie Herzig suited my mood on this day) and commenced to doing my weekly Fly Lady routine. If you don't know who Fly Lady is by the way, you should check her out. She literally changed my life when I first discovered her in 2003. I had a classic case of "CHAOS," which stands for "Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome." Seriously, check her out especially if you are very busy and have a hard time keeping things up at home.

After that was done, I took a break and sat down to enjoy my fresh baked zucchini bread with a cup of coffee. Just as I sat down, my youngest son called to chat with some very very good news that he was going to be able to finish up his contract with the Marines nine months earlier than expected. More on this later.

After we finished chatting, I spent some computer time with my blog, commenting, and emails related to it. In addition, I took care of a few important tasks on the new web project I'm doing on the side.

That took me to about lunch time and while a luscious pre-made asparagus and cheese stuffed bacon wrapped chicken breast (OMG Kroger just started carrying these and they are awesome) baked, I took a nice hot bath.

Are you bored yet? Well, hold on this is about to get exciting.

Did my hair and makeup (Katie Herzig still seranading), dressed and headed out to shop at HOBBY LOBBY! Woooo! What, you don't find this exciting? Well, I do. I really, really do - probably abnormally so. Got some great deals on feathers for my nest, and I'm really into feathering my nest these days.

Hobby Lobby was just a stop on the way as I had tickets to see Shawn Mullins at 3rd & Lindsley. Today's images are were from my evening. I must say of all the shows I've seen recently this has been THE best. He really rocked it. If you only know Shawn by his radio hit "Lullaby" then you've missed a lot. In my opinion; however, his recordings pale in comparison to his live performances. I could barely stay in my seat.

Again, I went alone but ended up sharing a table with a delightful couple from Murfreesboro, who provided good company and conversation prior to the show and in the breaks. Live music is so much more fun when you can share it with people who appreciate it - even if they are complete strangers. Still it would be nice to meet someone who would enjoy it as much as I do.

It was a late night, and I realized by Sunday morning that my ambitions for what I wanted to accomplish for Sunday were a bit too high and I needed recovery. So I did take an extra long Sunday afternoon nap.

As with Vanderkam's day, my weekend wasn't particularly special - except that it was pretty perfect. This is what my new life looks like. And, it's looking pretty good.


Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flower Art Friday #13 - July 20, 2012

mail art

Welcome to Flower Art Friday #13! The gallery opens early Thursday morning and entries are accepted until midnight each Saturday.


Today's image was inspired by a new Flickr Group I've joined that goes by the name of "Digitalmania"

From their group desgription...

Digitalmania is a challenge group the members of which participate and learn from challenges. These involve taking inspiration and learning from the work of artists in many styles and, from time to time, creating collages and art journal pages.


I joined the group because I've long been interested in interpreting photographically the works of great painters and other artists and this group does lots of that. I stumbled upon it while searching for photographs based on the work of John Waterhouse who is one that I've wanted to emulate with photos and digitial enhancements.

Each week the Digitalmania hosts a themed challenge and the one for this week is to create a piece of mail art. If you don't know what mail art is (and I didn't either), you can check google images for examples and/or go here where you'll find this basic definition and more:

Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry, etc.) through the international postal system. Mail Art is also known as Postal Art or Correspondence Art. The term networking is often used to describe Mail Art activities, based on the principles of barter and equal one-to-one collaboration.


It is not unlike the Kat's Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap, in which I am also participating. Maybe some version of this will be my contribution. The deadline is looming so I better decide on something soon. :)


I'm not even sure I can remember what all went into this piece, but here goes:

French Kiss Textures: Rosy French Script, Bohemian, and part of CP_rueVictorHugo.

Kim Klassen: Elevate and Peony

The angel came was one of the weekly Dover Publication freebies, and the Rose of Sharon is a photograph that I captured on my morning walk in mid-June.

I pulled in a little stripe pattern and used Topaz Labs on the flower to create a painterly effect and also create sketches of the Rose of Sharon to sprinkle behind to add some interest. These little echos were barely perceptible once I finished, but they are there if you look close enough.

The light rectangle may look a bit out of place, but keep in mind that mail art is actually composed on an envelope so there needed to be a place to write the addresss. I think if I use this image for my post card swap, I'll stick a little hand written quote in there or something.

The hearts along the bottom were just basic photoshop shapes, duplicated and aligned - a little trick I learned over at Beyond Layers. I will admit; however, that I struggled lining them all up for a good while before I remembered Kim's tutorial. :)

Ok, now for the winners from last week's challenge:

Hans is back with this colorful macro:



Don't you totally "heart" Gunilla's bleeding hearts? I do!



Last but not least, Mona was shared with us her "reflective" side with this beautiful piece.



Congratulations winners! Grab your badge!

flowerartfriday

Before we get this party started, here's just a quick reminder of the rules before we begin.


Flower Art Friday is a weekly gallery featuring your floral themed creations. We will have themes from time to time, but these will only be suggestions and you may feel free to deviate if you like. Obviously the theme revolves around flowers,and works submitted can be photos, digitally manipulated photos, textured photos, or mixed media collages.

Check out my resources page for information on some great sites that provide free textures, clip art, and tutorials.

The rules are pretty simple. Your link should go directly to your blog post or flickr post, and I ask that you post a link back to my blog in return. Post only your original work, and give credit appropriately to the source of images, clip art, or textures you may use in your piece. It would be awesome if you would grab my badge and include it in your post.

flowerartfriday


You also get to vote for your favorites. I will feature the top three picks on my blog next week, so if you participate please note that you are also giving me permission to repost your photo here. I will also be sending you a little email reminder to come back and vote and when the winners are posted.

Ok, let's link up!








Today's Linkups

kimklassencafePhoto Art Friday





Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Well It Finally Happened

#66 The use of an alternative energy source


I sold one of my digital photo art pieces on Fine Art America! Today's image is the one that sold, and it was actually something I captured as a part of the flickr Scavenger Hunt 101 project so its been seen here before. In this case, I don't mind repeating myself. :)

Here is the announcement page from FAA, which they produce every time one of their artists makes a sale.

It was last September when I first started uploading images to FAA for possible sale and I blogged about it here. So, it took me a nearly a year to get my first sale.

Many of you have asked me how it was working out, and clearly there wasn't much to tell until now. To be honest, I wasn't really trying though. I uploaded some images, but I have not done anything to become a part of the community there, or take advantage of their advertising, etc...

I will say the announcement has garnered some attention and I'm getting more comments on the images I have uploaded previously. Getting this sale has certainly started me thinking about what I might actually be able to do if I put some real effort into it.

Websites for PhotographersIf you are interested in getting started with them click on the image at right for a free trial.

As I learn more about the potential of their services and how to optimize my site, I'll be sure to share that information here. I did get an email today from them with an article about POD (Print on demand) services. You have to "like" their facebook page to see it, but it is informative. I'd been considering branching out to other services, but I've been hesitating since I'd not done more with my FAA site either. Why take on anything new when I wasn't working at what I had started?

Anyway, I just wanted to share my good news. I have nothing to offer for my usual Monday Mosaic because I have been quite ill with some intestinal yuck for almost a week and haven't felt much like sitting at a computer or getting out and taking photographs.

My spirit is definitely itching to get busy, but the alas the flesh is still weak.

Hopefully, I'm turning the corner now. Hopefully.

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start.




Join by August 31 and get your first year of Creative Cloud membership for only $29.99/month. Valid for existing CS product owners.

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