Monday, January 10, 2011

Rose Print and Cut

I have a Cricut Expression Die Cut Machine. It was originally purchased for my daughter. She said "we" really needed it. The machine is designed to be used with other's pre-designed cartridge elements. This works great for my daughter. However, I found it limiting for my use. But, with software...Make-the-Cut... I am able to create my own designs. With the release of the latest version of the software, I am also able to add textures and pictures to shapes. So, I guess "we" really did need it.

I resently joined the forum for Make-the-Cut. In addition to being extremely friendly and helpful, they have challenges in which members can participate in order to become familiar with the many aspects of the software.

One of the challenges was to get inspired by an outfit and create a card or scrapbook layout. I don't scrapbook, but am very interested in homemade cards.

I found a piece of batik fabric that hasn't yet been made into a garment to use as my inspiration.

This is the card that I made. The snippet in the corner is the batik fabric I used for my color palette.

With the exception of the base card, I used the basic shapes that are integrated into Make-the-Cut to size all the paper layers to my dimensions to create the rest of the card. I designed the textured heart layer in Photoshop and used Make-the-Cut's new print and cut feature, which is fabulous, to cut it out with the cutter.

I painted this rose on a porcelain vase using a photograph that I had taken of a friend's rose as inspiration. I used Photoshop to extract it from a photo of the vase to use it as an element in my print and cut design.

Here's a 300DPI version for those that might like to use it in their print and cut design.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Say Ahhh...

For some reason...

I thought most birds only had their babies in the spring. I have seen barn swallows have a nest of babies in the spring and again in late summer. But, this year, I have seen fledging Mockingbirds and, now, this nest of young Sparrows. Just goes to show you how much I know about birds.

She's back

This is exactly why we planted these flowers. The male honored us with his presence earlier, but he did not stay around long enough to get a photograph.

In the Nick of Time

It has been so hot this summer I have had no desire what-so-ever to get out and find something to photograph. I have been taking pictures of my dog, Allie, and was going to post one of those. But, as luck would have it, I was sitting outside with my camera while watching my granddaughters swim and along came this hummingbird.

Jumping Jacks

I like to go out in the morning to watch the mockingbirds. For some reason they like to jump up off their perch, spread their wings and land back on the perch in almost the same spot. They all do it. This is not unique behavior for just this bird but, on this jump, it went a little higher than it had been. I wonder if they are catching bugs or just doing their morning calisthenics?

Remember the Alamo!

I took this photo of the Alamo on a trip to San Antonio last December. The wind was blowing briskly and it was getting dark. That made for fairly long shutter speeds. I was able to get this one shot with the Texas flag extended with minimal motion in the upper corner of the flag.


Another sign of spring.


A sucker for Daisies!


We planted these in a bed at the corner of the shop deck. I love daisies. I was lucky. It had rained the night before so I was able to photograph the flower with some drops still clinging to the petals.

Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower

I find it amazing that something so prickly can have such dainty looking flowers. The inside of this one reminds me of a strawberry icee. All you need is a straw....or a spoon.

A New Variety

Powder Puff

A Powder Puff. This is the first time this particular flower has bloomed in our wildflower/wildlife garden. We did not plant it. The birds or the wind must have. Its leaves remind me of some type of fern. There is another plant that looks similar to this one. It is called a Sensitive Briar. Both flower's leaves are "sensitive" and will curl shut when touched.

Spring is here...summer is coming soon

Indian Blanket

Indian Blanket

The spring flowers are starting to fade. The summer flowers are taking their place.

Butterflies in the Garden

The Fort Worth Garden Club, Fort Worth Botanical Society and the Botanical Reasearch Institute of Texas presented Butterflies in the Garden this past month. They let approximately 12,000 live butterflies from Asia, Africa, Central, South and North America loose into the conservatory. It is a very popular exhibit and the lines are long.

Lippizaner Stallion


In February, The Lippizaner Stallions brought their show to the American Airline Center in Dallas. They are truly magnificent animals.

Around the House

I went out the other morning to transplant my sage bushes. They are taking over my herb garden. I had no idea that they would get as large as they have. When I got there, the bushes were covered with bees. We have not seen a lot of bees around lately so I did not want to do anything to disturb them. Instead, I went back inside and grabbed my camera and had an enjoyable morning taking their pictures.

A Different Viewpoint

The bee in the other shot was deep inside the sage plant. The sun just happened to be penetrating the foliage where the bee landed giving it almost a spotlight effect. This one was in the open light.

Doin' Texas

The good ole US of A is beautiful. I have been to all of the states except Alaska and Hawaii. I would love, love, love to go to Alaska. Just not by cruise ship. Hawaii.....not so much. Don't get me wrong, from every picture and movie I have seen, it is lushly beautiful with magnificant sunsets. I guess I just haven't heard the siren call.

Some states I have been to more than once and would return many more times if given the chance. For others, once is enough.

This year we decided to stay in Texas for our vacations. The spring and fall are the very best times of the year to travel locally. We have a pop-up tent trailer and like to camp out while enjoying the weather and scenery as well as visiting any near-by attractions. The summer is way too hot for me and the winters are kinda bland; no snow in most places for winter aesthetics and too much in others for safe travel. Of course, there are exceptions, but mid to late summer and winter destinations usually have a sole purpose and come complete with a motel room.

Texas is a geographically diverse state with several completely different regions. Some are magnificent and others are just some place to get through in a hurry so that you can get to the good stuff.

We took our spring trip in April. The first region we went to was the Texas Hill Country. It is located in Central Texas. The land is rolling to hilly grassland. It sits on the Edwards Plateau. Alot of people think of Texas as being flat as a pancake with roads as straight as a string going on as far as the eye can see. And, a good part of it is. But not all of it. This photo was not taken on this trip. It was taken in the Hill Country on an early fall morning.

This year, however, we went for the spring flowers. Specifically the Texas Bluebonnet that grows prolifically along the roadsides and in the fields. They grow all across Texas, but they do love the Hill Country. When seen from a distance, massive fields can often be mistaken for bodies of water. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't entirely cooperative, and I was unable to take many landscape pictures to fully show off this phenomenon without getting gray skies.

Ignoring the Rules

"They" say you should not paint or photograph a gate that is closed. "They" say it sends a message...stay out!...and effectively blocks your eye from travelling through the space.

I am quite certain that is the message the owner of this property was sending.

While I did ignore the artistic rule, I had no problem complying with the owners implied wishes. I thought the scene on my side of the gate was very pretty, indeed.

Childhood Memories

When I was a small child, we lived in a neighborhood with rather small houses and yards. We could walk through it fairly quickly and safely, which we did quite often. One of our neighbors a few streets over lived on a corner lot and planted their front and side yard solid with these beautiful Red Corn Poppy flowers. I still remember them today.

The Red Corn Poppy has escaped cultivation in Texas. When seen along roadsides and highways as well as in fields, it displays a profusion of brilliant red. I bought some seeds at the Wildseed Farm near Fredericsburg, Texas and plan to plant them this fall in my backyard.

This photo was taken on our excursion through the Hill Country in search of wild flowers.