Monday, January 30, 2023

T Stands for Blasting Off

 Hi everyone. 

I was missing from T last week because my husband and I took a "quick" trip down to Florida for a few days. Our flights to Florida and back home were each  under 3 hours and non-stop, which makes a "quick"  trip easy to do, at least compared to traveling places where it might take more of the day, if not a whole day, when you have layovers. And a "quick" trip was all my husband's work schedule allowed at this time.

We had a fun trip even though it wasn't relax-on-the-beach weather. The hubby doesn't do very well with relaxing on the beach anyhow, so even though a little warmer weather would have been nice, we still managed to have fun.  We squeezed in some science, art, nature, history, treasure hunting and even some beach walking. That was a whole lot of fun for a "quick" trip. And it was nice to get out of the house for a few days too. 

One of the first things we did was visit the Kennedy Space Center. Hubby is an engineer and a fan of space things, and it is interesting,  so we spent the entire day visiting the Space Center.

The Kennedy Space Center has been on the hubby's bucket list for a long time, and he was like a 10 year old there. I didn't know the space center is built in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary, and on the bus trip that you can take as part of  your visit, we saw 8 alligators and a whole slew of various birds. I was as excited as the boy in the seat in front of me (on the bus) counting the sunbathing gators as we drove by them-smile.

The bus trip shows you some sights you'd probably recognize from TV if you ever watch anything about NASA or space flights. Then it takes you to the Apollo program history center.

One of the things you can see  at the Apollo Center is this actual Apollo 14 spacecraft. It is brown and scared from returning from its trip into space. Other Apollo mission spacecrafts can be seen in  museums in other places in the world, but I wanted to include this photo today because it goes along with my T day drink.

For T over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog let me show you my  new Apollo spacecraft mug.  I bought it at the end of the day after seeing it in 3 gift shops at the Space Center. (And I was thinking about it after first seeing it all day too-grin.)

The angle of this photo shows you the mug but doesn't really show the shape accurately because the mug is definitely  shaped more like the actual Apollo spacecraft than this view shows. It is  wider on the bottom than at the top. 

In these photos my new mug is filled with some hot cocoa with whipped cream that I had the first night we were home.

I also want to share Elle's Christmas card that finally arrived the week we were gone.

Thank you Elle. It is really lovely, and it was a lot of fun to come home to some happy mail.😀

Now that I'm home it is back to winter.  We have a lot of crusty snow.

I'm hoping for a bit of melt before the bitter cold we're supposed to get arrives at the end of the week. 

Wishing you a happy T day. And thank you for stopping by my blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Wrapping up January at AJJ

Hi everyone.
January is quickly wrapping up, so today I want to share my last page for Mia's Add a Photo challenge at Art Journal Journey.

Thank you Mia for hosting, and thank you everyone who joined us. I loved seeing all the creative ways people used photos in their art journaling. This was a fun way to begin 2023's art journaling journey.

My page today started with this old altered photo. Years ago there was a great arts and crafts store about an hour away from me down on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  One of the best things about this store was that they brought in  artists and designers so I was able to take occasional in person classes with some very talented people. 

I really miss taking these classes because  it was always fun to meet new people and learn new techniques. Not that you can't do that online, but I liked actually being there, especially if a technique had me stumped. Plus it was always nice to get immediate feedback.

One of the artists I took a class with was Karen Michel. She taught us how to alter photos into mini art pieces. 

You have to use an actual printed photo for this technique (not one printed on a computer), so it is a great way to use old, not so good photos. Since you are altering them, they don't have to be composed or even focused very well.

First you wet the photo, and then go at it. You can sand off partial colors, make cool "textures" and even paint on the photo. Finally we mounted the photos on some black paper which in my case, I rough cut.

I recently found a few of these altered photos from that class in a box, so I decided to use one for this challenge. I began first by making a background which included a black and white magazine paper (out of an old Somerset Studio) as well as some printed tissue. Then I added my altered photo art. I used some gold paint and freehand painted some circles and half circles. I then outlined them with a Sharpie. Finally I cut the love word out of a magazine and outlined the letters of love with a Sharpie. 

 I have no connection to the artist, but if you're interested in Karen Michel, here is her blog link: Karen Michel, and here's a cover photo of  her book about photo altering:

Have a great end of January.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Home Again

Hi everyone. Happy weekend to you.

I'm home again after a few days of reprieve from winter.  It wasn’t  really warm going away, but at least it was warmer than home and we had a few days with no snow (seeing we got close to 18 inches/46 cm while we were gone). 

My husband always says we never take vacations to warm places in the winter (which isn't actually a true statement, just saying). To humor him, this year he took a winter vacation, and we headed down to Florida for a few days. I had suggested other places we could go, but my husband  wanted a short and easy flight, so we booked non-stop tickets from Manchester (NH) and off to Florida we went. And I guess he could say we didn’t go anyplace warm because it wasn’t shorts weather most of the week. Although warmer than home, it was still chilly. Let’s see if next fall he says we need we take a warm weather vacation. 

Originally we were going to just hang out over on Florida's west coast, as neither of us had ever visited that side of the state, but then  Hurricane Ian  blew through the last fall.  We decided instead of spending all our time  in the Fort Meyers and Naples area we'd do some driving around. We spent a couple of days on the east coast so the hubby could visit the Space Center which has been very high on his bucket list for a long time. Later in the week we drove over and spent a couple of days on the west coast so I was able to visit the Salvador Dali Museum which was very high on my Florida bucket list.

Anyhow, more about this trip at another time. By then I'll have unloaded photos to share. And also by then we might be shoveled out from all the snow we had last week when we were away. My poor daughter was house and dog sitting. She kept sending us photos. We certainly came home to winter!

Today I want to share another entry to Mia's Add A Photo challenge at Art Journal Journey because January is starting to wind down and will be over before we know it.

Since the last 2 posts I shared were about my recent snowy owl hunts, for today's journal page I used 2 photos I took last winter when I went to the same beach reservation and actually saw a snowy owl.  

The owl on the fence is one of the photos I took that day. 
I cut the owl and the fence out of that photo and then added it to a photo of the sky that I took that same day.

My background started with watercolor paper and a piece of background paper that was a page I pulled out of an old magazine. I also added some printed tissue paper as well as some deli paper that had some dried white paint on it.I liked the texture that scrap deli paper gave my page. I then added the new photo I created from my  2 old photos.

Although I've been out looking for  snowy owls twice so far this winter, and I haven't come across one. Yet.

Mia's challenge runs through the end of the month, so you still have a few days to join in. 
Enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, January 26, 2023

On the Snowy Owl Hunt-Part 2

 Hi everyone. Happy Thursday to you.

Last week I went to Salisbury State Beach Reservation in northeast Massachusetts twice. Both times I went looking for snowy owls, which I never saw. On my second trip I went with 2 girlfriends, and even though the lack of snowy owls was disappointing (but is hit or miss because they are wild owls), we had a nice walk and saw some other interesting wildlife.

I'm back today with the rest of my photos. (I'll warn you this is another photo heavy post.) Today I have a bit of scenery and some wildlife too. I only wish I had my big lens on my camera. (frown)

We saw lots of seals. (For some reason google is not letting me add my cropped photo of these Pinnipeds, so you'll probably have to enlarge this one to see better.)

Some were resting on these rocks that were sticking up as the tide went out, and some were busy frolicking in the water.

 These seals were putting on a show for us. They were definitely enjoying themselves. I never managed a photo of some of their most spectacular frolicking, but many times they were leaping right out of the water. This is what I mean, although I didn't take this next photo.

This photo is from iStock and is free to use.

If it wasn't so cold, we could have sat and watched them even longer than we did.

This worn away spot where a branch was ripped off this tree almost looks like the sucker on some other ocean creature.

And we did see lots of ducks.

I'm not exactly sure what type of duck it was in these next 2 photos. Maybe a red breasted merganser.
(David if you happen to stop by, could you leave your expert answer in a comment please.) Or if anyone else knows, I'd be glad for an answer.

Now I can't remember if the duck in this next photo was the same duck, but this one is definitely some type of merganser. I can tell by the head and bill shapes. I think this is a cool photo with the rippled reflections.

Here are some more waterfowl photos. Can anyone help me ID them? (I don't believe these are mergansers, which means they probably are-smile.)

After we left the ducks we then walked around a bend on the shoreline, and we found this raptor having some lunch.
Now I was really wishing I had my bigger lens on my camera.

This I believe is a Northern Harrier.

That was also very cool!

Looking back out of the channel towards the open ocean on this chilly and grey day. 

The pre-storm sky was still interesting.

Time to head over the dunes and back towards the car. We need our own lunch at this point.

Have a great rest of your week. I'll be home soon, and next week I'll be back to my usual challenge postings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Another Snowy Owl Hunt-part 1

 Hi everyone. I hope your week is going well. 

This is a scheduled post as my husband and I are away trying our best to escape winter for a few days. Thank goodness.   According to my daughter who is dog sitting we are getting dumped on.  It might be hard to come home in a couple of days😜

Last week I went to Salisbury State Beach Reservation in northeast Massachusetts twice. Both times I went looking for snowy owls, but I never saw one. On my second trip I went with 2 girlfriends, and even though the lack of snowy owls was disappointing (but is hit or miss because they are wild owls), we had a nice walk and saw some other interesting wildlife.

You might remember there was still snow in the dunes in last Saturday's post, but by the time we took this trip (just 2 days after my first trip), the snow had disappeared.

There were still clam and mussel shells scattered all over the beach. 

The holes you see in some of the shells are made by predatory snails (often moon snails) that want to eat the animal inside the bivalve shells.

And I love this purple sand.

Isn’t  this purple colored sand beautiful?  Here's what I think causes it: Colored Beach Sand.

But we also find purple beaches in other areas, where the color purple comes from mixing a variety of sand grains with different colors. These include grains of pink almandine-pyrope garnet, white quartz, a mix of black minerals, including augite, ilmenite and hematite, and green epidote. All these particles together create the purple sand at the Plum Island Beach in the state of Massachusetts in the US.

Plum Island, Massachusetts (that is mentioned in this explanation I found) is quite near to Salisbury State Reservation where all these photos were taken.

And for those of you who love some rust, here's a couple of close ups of those metal pilings.

I love close ups of the  trees that have washed up onto the beach. The wood has such a cool texture.

And it wasn't a beautiful sunny day when we went. These clouds were the outer band of some that brought us about 6 inches of snow that night and into the next day.

But the grey skies certainly make the color of the orange triangular sign pop.

That's all for me today, but I do have some more photos from our beach walk that I'll share tomorrow in another scheduled post. 

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Our New Challenge at Try It on Tuesday

 Hi everyone. 

It's been 2 weeks since our last challenge began Try It on Tuesday. and that means it's time to end that challenge and start a new one.

For our new challenge we're thinking either of a season or of a color as our theme is

Winter Blues.

I have a journal page to share that is both an ode to winter and to blue.

I started my page by using matte medium and some scraps of some snowflake tissue paper that came in a Christmas gift I received. I then sprayed my page with some blue ink, and before it totally dried I rubbed it with a wet baby wipe. 

I then layered a piece of printed paper that was blue and very wintery looking with the gold metallic wrapping from a hot chocolate bomb. I liked the shiny gold and the crinkly look of the wrapper. I stitched both of those down on my page.

I had some chipboard pieces that I painted gold (but  sadly you can't tell in these photos) and then aged with some brown ink.  I added the gear corner as well as the moon over the large buckstag that was printed on the paper. Lastly I stamped the quote and added it to my page.

You have 2 weeks to join our new challenge, and we accept any type of art. Just make it wintery or blue. And please be sure to check out the other design team members art for some inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog. It is always much appreciated. And as always, I'm looking forward to seeing how you interpret this challenge.

And just an FYI, I'm out of town for a few days so depending on what we're up to,  I might be late stopping by to comment.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

A Page for AJJ

 Happy Saturday everyone. I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend.

I wanted to share another page for Mia's Add a Photo challenge over at Art Journal Journey. This is a small page that is in the holiday daily journal that I made between Thanksgiving and New Years. You can see the 9 on it because this was my page for December 9th.

I liked this vintage photo that was then digitally enhanced. This little girl is such a cutie. Since the photo has a lot going on and  was also going to be the centerpiece of my page, I decided to make my background pretty basic. I stamped a small tree branch image  several times over the background. Then I added the photo, a bit of  metallic paper trim as well as the silver paper die cut stars.

Not the most complex page I've ever made, but I like it. 

And on the one bright sunny day we had this week, I put Pete in the car (Maddie was at doggy daycare), and we went down to Salisbury State Reservation in northeast Massachusetts to look for snowy owls. We didn't see any owls, nor any other birds, except for lots of seagulls. Yet we did have a nice beach walk and had some wonderful sun time in the car.

I should have stood away from the corner of the fence when I snapped this photo, but I  love this shadow photo of Pete and me. We were standing on one of the boardwalks that goes up over the sand dunes, and with the sun to our back, it left a great shadow on the snow.

You can tell the storm a few days earlier was a coastal one between the snow on the dunes and also all the items that washed up on the shore. 

I'm sad to see there had to be one piece of plastic in the mix, but I was also happy there wasn't more of it.

The seagulls were having a feeding frenzy. 

It was also a beautiful winter day temperature wise. It was 41 degrees F (5 degrees C) so Pete and I had a great walk too.

 Have a good rest of your weekend and week ahead. Other than the new challenge at Try It on Tuesday and 2 other photo posts that I've scheduled, you might not  hear much from me on the blogosphere until the end of next week. My husband is taking the next week off from work, and we are heading out of town for a few days.

Thanks for visiting.