Sunday, July 30, 2006

HDR, RAW, NEF... Hu, say what?

Oh! I discovered something amazing - it's called HDR Photography. LOVE IT! Wonderful effects in skies and landscapes, and more, much more, but the skies are what I'm drawn to at the moment. The photos are almost surreal. Not real. But more real that some photos turn out. Check out the HDR Flickr pool for some great examples.

So I went and downloaded the trial version of Photomatrix. And I needed some RAW file images. So I figured out how to do that with my camera, except since it's a Nikon, it's called NEF (RAW) Format, but the extension is .nef. So, ok. I have my new RAW photos, but I can't get it to work because obviously I don't know what I'm doing.

So now what? I guess more research... BOO.

Here's a jpeg from a raw/nef file. Kinda nice eye candy.

Friday, July 28, 2006


The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. A really great book, though it was confusing at times... but it all works itself out in the end and then you understand why it is so confusing. About love, and love lost, existence and survival, some Jewish history, immigration, secrets...discovery. Even the strange brother comes about in the end and fits in to the story.


It was a tough week in the water for Luke - at first it was just really challenging being in the deep end of the pool for his new swim lessons - he really wasn't ready. Then the "ASSistant" swim instructor almost let him drown on Wednesday. I was just about to jump in and grab him when he finally was able to reach out and grab the side of the pool. It was scary for him and after that he didn't want to take his turns. When it was over I asked him if he wanted to go back to the first class in the shallow end and get some more practice in there for awhile and he said YES. So the next day we went back to the steps, but he was still nervous... and tired, he'd been up twice in the night with nightmares of deep water and sharks... but he got lucky and neither of the other kids showed up and he got the new instructor all to himself. They really worked on getting his confidence back and it was the best thing. He even jumped off the diving board into the deep end (with a life jacket on). Then today we had a birthday party to go to at a lake beach. With a shallow pool, a dock and then a floating dock with diving boards and water slides. I had thought he'd be sticking in the shallow end, but the other kids all had on their life jackets and could dog-paddle to the floating dock and were having a blast on the slides and jumping off... and so Luke decided he was going too - all his friends were out there. And he did it. He dog-paddled, and tried some of the swim class moves, and dog-paddled and floated on his back... and he eventually got out there and climbed up the ladder all by himself... and before long he was jumping off the diving board, sliding down with whoops and hollers... and running and jumping off the end of the dock. I WISH I had brought my camera. Priceless, the bravery he showed today compared to two days ago - like the water-boy I know he is... a fish, really. He didn't come out until he was blue and his lips wouldn't stop shivering. He told me afterward he felt safe because he was with his friends. Good kid.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Happy Flower Photos

Happy because I just have not been thrilled with the way my new camera takes flower photos - I think it's the lenses and today I decided to use the big one for these and they came out much better than usual. So, I'm happy.


We spent the hottest day of the year in the best place possible - on the water, in the wind... sailing. I just love the San Juan Islands - they lift my spirit every time I go, and I always wonder, why does it take me so long to go back again? Too long. Will make a point of getting up there again soon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Jewelry

The first pair of earrings have gone to a great home, but the other ones and the necklace are up for sale today! Thanks for looking!


Hi, my name is Kesia, and I have a serious problem. Yes, I'm on a diet. No, I'm not happy about it. My people say I'm not even close to starving, but I beg to differ. In fact, I just beg for food. All the time. I also watch for every opportunity for dropped food or a chance to move in on Zoe's bowl if she's eating too slow. If this isn't starving, I don't want to know what is. Today I finished off half a loaf of bread Mom left out by mistake. The other day I snatched a bag of lemon cookies off the counter - mmmmnnn, now they were GOOD! Way better than the dry egg noodles I once managed to eat a bag of all by myself... it took awhile, but they finally filled me up. Much better tasting than that dry starfish I found the other day - I didn't realize it was a 'decoration' and not a snack, really, I didn't! Anyway, to go with today's bread, I found an almost empty tuna fish can on the counter and snagged that before the cat could get to it - there wasn't much left in it, but I got every last drop of that deliciousness out of it. See - not a drop left!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Meet Mustang

Luke has a new pet fish. He's been asking for one for a month now and we finally decided he'd earned it with all the pestering he's been doing. Plus, he enjoys helping Frank clean out Rock's tank, and has shown enough sense and responsibility that we think he can handle one of his own. (Rock, short for UdaBuddahRock, a creation of Luke's, lives at Frank's office, and Luke considers him to be one of his brothers.) The new fish is named after Luke's recent obsession with the new Mustang cars... meet Mustang, our new Crowntail Beta:

Tyger loves the new addition, has even been seen poking his paw and nose into the water to get a closer look. I had to add a screen on the top of the fish bowl before any tragedy occurred. Mustang seems to be just as interested in Tyger as Tyger is in him... if he had a paw, I'm sure he'd be reaching out to give the cat a whack too. I'll try to get a photo of this, it's pretty cute. Also cute, is the Harry Potter-looking castle Luke picked out for Mustang's fish bowl. Mustang is one smart fishy as he figured out all the in's and out's of the castle and likes to sleep in the castle doorway at night. King of his mansion. A royal fish indeed.

In other news, my garden is coming along. More weeds pulled, more weeds growing in, more bark mulch down, not much more planting, though I did plant a strawberry patch which should be producing fruit next year.

I also read another book already, a quick read, fun and interesting, called "Riding with the Queen". A story about a woman musician who goes home to her family after 17 years on the road... interesting musician characters, artist characters, house-wife characters (well, she wasn't that interesting really) and a lot about mental disease/bipolar. Book 12, down.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fresh New Necklaces!

Hot off the torch! Yes, I am up and running melting glass again! These five necklaces are a little on the wonky, obviously-handmade side, but too pretty to just toss in the wonky bin, so here they are anyway. Flowers and Sea Stars: $26 each.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

10 Things

1. Am feeling very quiet.

2. Am feeling very grounded. (Must be all the gardening.)

3. Am reading a good book. Shadow of the Wind.

4. Luke is all smiling and happy. Must finally be over his sugar/vacation high.

5. My new house finally feels like home.

6. Am painting a mermaid. She's almost ready to show.

7. My outdoor studio is almost done. Just need to find my kiln, which is hidden away in a box somewhere. Melted glass coming soon.

8. Luke is taking swimming lessons and he's NOT one of the boys who keeps jumping off the steps and driving his instructor mad.

9. Am going to Costco today to buy two leather loveseats.

10. Life is good.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Catching Up

So much has happened in the past month and I'm way behind the times here. I'll try to catch up.

Let's see... some interesting mail came just before I left for NH, and some came while I was gone. First was that 20 Things project. Some very interesting art there, I need to go back and revisit it all now that I'm not in a rush. All in all, a very cool project. I also got a new painting from Jacqueline Myers-Cho and she sent some amazing little goodies that included some items from some of my LJ friends (a beautiful bird nest bookmark by Seattle artist, Bridgette Guerzon Mills at Amano Books and a fun mini painting by Seattle artist Tara Ross) and also a way-cool "monsta apron" for Luke. Then I made a trade for some beads for these colorful note cards by Artist Sheri Burhoe - very nice, and I don't think I'll want to send them out to anyone! While I was gone, the very cool copper toggles made by my Wet Canvas friend Hollie came - check them out and stay tuned for some jewelry made with them! Oh, speaking of Wet Canvas friends, I also got a fabulous pair of earrings from Tam - they are my new summer favs. Check out the rest of her shop, she's making some really nice summer jewelry right now. Oh, and we got two paintings from Frank's sister, Michelle, one is of our old Tree House View, and another is a tie-dye peace symbol for Luke - I still need to photograph those for her site.

Here is a picture of Luke being a monster in his new apron:

In other news, I finished a book - book 10 it seems, can that be? The year is half over and I'm only up to book 10. Well, it was a good one. Anansi Boys - by Neil Gaiman. It was REALLY good.

I think that's about it really... can that be? Just garden, Luke's last days of school, and our trip east. I already wrote about all the home improvments. Oh! The Edmonds Art Festival! Here are some artists that caught my eye: Judy Wise, Jennifer Bowman, Noelle Dass, Diane Culhane, Sacred Stone, and Vivid Arts.

And then the 4th, how could I forget? We had a 3rd and a 4th this year, my grandfather was able to make it to our party on the 3rd, he had a great time and I think really enjoyed getting out of his house for the first time in a month. And the 4th, though spent mostly flying from one side of the country to the other, was also good, fireworks in Edmonds exceeded expectations and though it meant Luke and I were up for 22 hours straight in order to see them, were well worth the effort. Here's a shot of Luke drawing in the night sky with a sparkler:

And here is a flower blooming by my back door, a Passionflower I think? It looks like fireworks too, or something that might bite you and poison you to death. Pretty fun, so many happy surprises in this new garden of mine.

Ok, I'm caught up now.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Eye Candy

I'm Home

And so happy to be here. Not that we didn't have fun and have a nice visit with family after we were done being sick from our flight out... but oh it's just great to be back where we belong. A starbucks on every corner, cool nights, no bugs, love-sick husband, love-sick Tyger, love-sick Zoe and Kesia, new flowers blooming, paper toilet seat covers in the public restrooms (ha!), and a starbucks on every corner (oh, I said that already).

The house has made much progress while we were gone - it has a great new energy-efficient furnace and super-duper air filtration system installed with all new ducts. It has two new gas fireplace inserts so now my bedroom and studio are both warm and welcoming. There is an almost-finished wood wall separating my bedroom from the rest of the house again, and many of the small items on my honey-do list have been checked off. Outside we have a new humongous play structure with swings and a slide all for Luke - it will get some monkey bars added this weekend. And almost all of my flowers survived this trip, I'm happy to say. Frank did a good job watering through the 100 degree weather.

Progress. So wonderful to see. And now I look around and have a renewed sense of hope and excitement about what we are doing with this house that we got off to such a bad start with. I have paint colors to pick out and ideas for new furniture, gardening plans to draw up and so much to do... lots of money to spend too, sorry, Frank.

And my studio is calling me, my art supplies and art books, and especially my glass. A patio needs to be built and then maybe I can figure out a way to torch outside when it's nice. Soon, very soon.

And then there is the beach, and swimming lessons for Luke and the zoo and playing with friends - it's all waiting for us and we are coming. Let Summer Begin!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:
My grandfather, Luke's great-grandfather, thinks he feels well enough to come over to my mother's house for a pre-4th-of-july celebration before Luke and I go back home. It's amazing and exciting because both my mother and grandmother just two weeks ago were telling me I couldn't get here soon enough, that things were really bad. And they were when we got here, no doubt about it. Seems the best medicine is a dose of his grand-daughter and great-grandson. Good Stuff.

The Bad:
How much sugar and soda my kid has had these two weeks. Every time I turn around someone is offering something that wires him up and makes him act all crazy and wild. Then I think they can't wait till we leave. Yikes. I am so sick of telling him to 'knock it off', and 'don't make me tell you again', and "no, I said no, and I'm not saying it again. No!" Bad, very bad stuff.

The Ugly:
I've lost my R's. I sound like I've lived here in New Hampsha all my life or something. Every time a word comes out of my mouth that should have an R in it, but doesn't, I cringe and stumble over the next word. It's not pretty at all. I wonder how long it will take to get them back. Even Luke is doing it, but I think he's just copying me - he gets a kick out of leaving the r's off and repeats after me. Sista, wata, ca, weatha, thunda showa. Ugly, so very, very ugly.