Sunday, September 30, 2012

For A Good Cause

There are a lot of things I hate about social media, but the one thing I do love is that outlets like FB, Twitter, and blogs sometime allow us the ability to stick together, or reach out and help someone we've never even met.  We see that time and time again in the blog world, where we bolster one another in times of joy, sorrow, and especially need.  So it was no surprise when I visited Cindy at Fat Cow Studio and saw a post about one of her FB friends who is in need.

Now I don't know Cindy's friend Amy from Junk Love & Co., but I really don't need to.  The important thing is that Amy's father in law and son were in a terrible accident and her son is in a PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) in Vegas.  Scary times as you can imagine for any parent.  And as you can also imagine, the bills will be mounting.

Being the clever and industrious community that we are through our blogs and FB, another friend of Amy and her family jumped in to action and has organized an online FB auction to try and raise funds to help this family out in their time of need.

Her name is Barbara, and she is known as the Shabby Cowgirl .  Through her efforts, she has gathered a whole host of great auction items that will be up for grabs today between 12 pm PST until 7 pm PST.

I've donated a 12 x 12 wrapped canvas to the auction.  You can pick the artwork, one of the ones you see featured in this post, one from my last post, or anything from my website HERE

The choice is yours, but no matter what you pick, the money will be for a good cause and that always makes buying something even more fun.  And please spread the word, the more we can get this out there the more money we can raise for this family!

My thoughts go out to Amy and her family, and I wish both her father in law and her sweet son a very speedy recovery from their accident!

To preview the items and place your bids, click HERE.   Remember the auction is today only starting at 12:00 noon PST until 7:00 pm don't wait!   


Saturday, September 29, 2012


It was great hearing from so many of you that I'm not the only one who is tearing apart my house and going through change.  In fact painting and closet cleaning are not the only changes that have been going on around here.

When I went to purchase the domain name "Bay Studios" a few days ago, I realized it was already spoken for, so that meant that Mary Beth and I needed to come up with a new name.  After sending a few ideas her way, we both agreed on Ebb Tide Studios.

I like it, and since both she and I live on the water, it seemed fitting to have a water related name.  So from here on out we will be known as Ebb Tide Studios.  For now we won't have our own website, but we're hoping that will change sometime in the next year.  We would love to offer up different goods with our artwork on them, like guest towels, dishes, and fabric, but that's a ways down the road.

We are super excited though, and we've been plugging away on some artwork for autumn.  Both of these images will be for sale as wrapped canvases very soon so we would love to have your feedback on them.  

We wanted to capture the essence of Fall, and with this second one we were really going for a vintage feel.  I wanted to create something that had an old oilcloth feel, so I even added the golden checkerboard background reminiscent of tablecloths from the 40s and 50s.

Along with the new artwork, we've made some good progress on the house stuff.  The guest room closet is now neat as a pin...well as neat as it will every be, and the black cabinet in the living room has a brand new look that I'll share with you very soon.

We have bags of stuff to drop off at the donation shop tomorrow, and one of my dear friends is taking a black and cream toile bedding set off of my hands, so we are moving in the right direction.

And I would like to give a special shout out to my friend Papa Jim.  You may recall that he had surgery awhile ago and has had a very long road back to recovery.  Today is his birthday, and I know both he and his family are happy to have him home and to be celebrating his special day together.  

Change can be a very good thing sometimes!  I hope you are each having a lovely weekend and that whatever changes you have on the horizon are for the better!

If you would be interested in either of the images above as a wrapped 12 x 12 wrapped canvas (other sizes are also available), you can email me at for pricing and more info!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

At Loose Ends

Isn't it funny how when you look back at the same time of year last year how different things can be?  It was just over a year ago that I was wandering the flower markets of France and dreaming about where I hoped I'd be a year from then.

I was dreaming of where I wanted to take my photography, how I wanted to market and sell my artwork, ways to better myself as a person, and all the wonderful possibilities that travel opens you up to.

So why is it that when that one year mark rolls around, and we've met some some of our goals, and exceeded others, that we find ourselves unsure of which way to turn until we find the next inspirational turning point?!

The past few weeks I've been re-evaluating just about everything it seems...

Like what I want to create next, what color to paint our bedroom, and today I cleared out the black cabinet in our living room, and tore apart the guest room closet.  Now keep in mind that I have LOTS of other things I should be doing, like processing pictures, vacuuming up dog hair, making something for dinner besides sandwiches (which Mr. Tide has been making btw!), and putting out some of my fall decor that resides in the huge tubs taking up valuable real estate in our living room!

Mr. Tide lays low when I get into one of these phases, he's learned over the years that "this too shall pass."  He simply nods and agrees with my grandiose plans to sell everything we own and move into a teeny tiny house one minute, and then announcing that I want to replace every stick of furniture in the living room and buy a hot tub the next.

And he never even misses a beat when he comes home from work to find swatches of every grey known to man adorning our bedroom walls.  He knows that my "I think I want to paint our bedroom," has turned from a 2 year long idle notion into a quest worthy of the crusades!

The walls will be painted...color still yet to be determined, the need to purge will give way to loftier pursuits, and my desire to live the simple life in a one room shack will be replaced by a need to buy a second home in Paris...or maybe the Cotswolds.  Yup, I will find new ideas and dreams to churn around in this little head of mine.

Some of those dreams will become a reality in a year, some will be long forgotten, and my loose ends will be nicely tied up like the ribbon that holds a dozen roses bought at a french flower market!  Am I the only one who goes through this?!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fruits of Our Labors

In our hemisphere, this time of year is full of so many wonderful things...

Like apples and pears straight off the tree...

Sipping cups of tea with a spoonful of honey, while wrapped in a favorite sweater...

And color, beautiful warm, rich colors, like the setting sun, the falling leaves, and the bounty of the harvest.

It's as though the earth is reminding us to enjoy the fruits of our labors before old man winter pays us a visit.  Are you drinking in all that Autumn has to offer?!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Upon Closer Inspection

It seems as though fowl of all sorts are filling my camera lens this month, first the eagles, and then today the egrets were back.  As I've mentioned before in other posts about Great Egrets, they are skittish birds who rarely stay put if they see me coming with my scary big telephoto lens, but this one allowed me a few shots before gracefully flying off to fish in another part of the creek.

The egrets are as elusive as they are shy, so, unlike the Great Blue Herons that fill the creek year round, we are always happy to see an egret or two perched on an old dead tree that fell into the water along our property line.  Because they are so private, we can go weeks and even months without seeing one, yet every time I see one outside our window I feel like it's the first time I've borne witness to these elegant birds.

I still kick myself for not getting pictures a few months ago when we passed by a marshy area on our way up to DC.  We were rushing to get there so that I could get some photos in the city before the sun set, so we drove on by what I now assume was an incredibly unusual sight, at least in our neck of the woods.  There were dozens of egrets walking about in this mucky marsh, on their annual migration to where I don't know.  I should have known better than to let a photographic opportunity slip by, especially since I know that you rarely see that many grouped together. I hope they will be back next year so that I can make up for my lapse in wildlife photography judgement!

After snapping a few shots of this particular egret earlier today, I came inside to see if I had gotten anything worth keeping.  I didn't notice it at first, but upon closer inspection I noticed something different about his/her beak.  At first I just assumed it was part of a crab or fish I had caught him munching on, but then I realized that the beak was quite literally broken off.  Egrets, like most shore birds, have long slender and very pointy beaks to help them catch their prey.

This egret seemed none the worse for wear having lost quite a bit of his beak, but I had to wonder what sort of fight might have caused the damage in the first place?  Maybe a fight over a mate, though that would have been quite the fight.  I guess it will remain a mystery, one only the egret can share with the other egrets as they sit around cracking crabs and drinking saltwater.

Sometimes slowing down and taking a closer look has it's rewards.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Be Fearless

The osprey have mostly left our area, save a few stranglers working their way south.  Once they leave, the eagles move back along the shoreline to stake their claim to the tall pines for the best fishing perches. They are here all summer alongside the osprey, but they keep a much lower profile until their loud and sometimes obnoxious neighbors fly south, giving them free reign once again.

As the osprey give way to the eagles, you can almost feel a change in the air.  The thunderous sounds of their wings overhead seem so much stronger and more free than those of the smaller osprey that outnumber them during the summer months.  It truly is something to be sitting on the pier or on our patio and hear the sound of those big wings and the shadow they create as they fly out for the hunt each morning and back home when the sun goes down.

But it is on days like today that I think I admire those hulking birds of prey the most.  Rainy, windy days when the river is angry and the white caps make it look like a churning caldron.  The eagles seem to thrive on this sort of weather, almost daring the wind and the waves to ruin their day or keep them from their next meal.

Instead of hunkering down and letting the weather calm down, they choose to soar and ride the air currents like daredevils.  They screech to one another with the enthusiasm of young children chasing each other on a playground.  And they dive and dance, sometimes with a purpose and sometimes it seems as though they do it just for the shear enjoyment...without fear, without hesitation, without concern for who might be watching.

I think we can learn a lot from the eagles, about living each day and facing adversity with a strength and joy that makes us resilient.  Today, dare to spread your wings and fly as if no one was watching, without fear of failure, and with all the happiness you can muster...Be Fearless!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling Leaves and Dimming Days

This old house is falling down around my ears 
I'm drowning in a river of my tears  
When all my will is gone you hold me sway  
I need you at the dimming of the day

You pulled me like the moon pulls on the tide  
You know just where I keep my better side

Thank you everyone for your wonderful thoughts, emails, and comments about my new venture...I will post more very soon and I apologize that I haven't responded to each and every one of you! 

P.S.  Don't forget to vote for Rough Linen once a day, every day!  Click HERE

The lyrics above are from this beautiful song

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Remember

For those who lost their lives that day, and for those who have suffered that loss each day since...we will never forget!!!  They may have broken our hearts 11 years ago, but never our spirit!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Dream You Never Knew You Had

Last June I wrote a post about how I would soon be selling my artwork online.  I thought by the end of June that would be a reality, but the reality is that these things take time.

The truth is that what I've been doing since over a year ago has finally brought me to the place where I'm supposed to be.  The road I've traveled has been bumpy, winding, and sometimes downright depressing, but in the end I have learned something at each turn.  I won't bore you with the long winded version, but what I thought would be a dream come true back in January turned out not to be.  And although I was horribly disappointed at the time, it turns out that everything really does happen for a reason.

Back then I was flying solo, talking to big name stores, and within a hair's width of selling in some of them.  After a deal with Home Goods fell apart due to the fact that I couldn't compete with the low cost of imported merchandise and I couldn't find a good framer here in the US that wanted me to also make some money on the deal, I was completely bummed!  But thanks to one amazing Home Goods buyer, the one who believed in my stuff from the very get go, I was motivated to keep going.  She and I even agreed when the deal fell through that we were sure that our paths would one day cross again, and I truly hope they do.  She had a dream to design jewelry, and I hope that she is doing just that....following her dream the same way I am!

All the while, my good friend Mary Beth was also on a path of her own...and often feeling the same sense of frustration I was.  We both knew we had good saleable artwork...or at least we hoped like heck we did, but how could we get it out there, find a way to sell it?!

After traveling parallel paths for over a year, it finally dawned on us that what we both needed was each other.  She felt like some of her artwork, created using traditional painting methods, was lacking something, and I felt like my images and graphics needed something to make them more well rounded too.  So on a lark we decided to see what we could create together.  She would paint certain elements, and I would add my touches to create artwork we felt was lacking in the marketplace.

So far we've come up with some wonderful collections...several of which may be licensed by companies for things like wall decor, dishware, and who knows what else.  That's all in the very beginning stages though, so we are taking it day by day and learning to not sweat the small stuff.

Did I mention how stinking talented Mary Beth is!!!  I swear, all I have to do is ask her to paint something, like the butterflies above, and poof, she creates something beyond my expectations!

So once we had decided to start working together, we needed to settle on a name...and Bay Studios was born.  Add to the mix an amazing online art company I had found while searching around, and we were off and to speak!  Well if running at a snail's pace can be considered running.

The company we have teamed up with has been in business for years, so their guidance has proved invaluable in so many ways!  It's because of them that we've been taking our time, making sure we get this right and that we are offering customers artwork they can't get any place else, and hopefully filling a niche that hasn't been filled before.

Very soon, we will be offering some of our artwork for sale, and I have my fingers crossed that you all will love it as much as we have loved creating it for you!  It truly has been a labor of love for the two of us!

In addition to the Bay Studios pieces, I will also have some of my own images for sale on the site, like the floral above.  Because the paint is not dry on the walls so to speak, I won't put a link to the website quite yet.

But I did want to share with you why it's taken so long to get from point A to point B...or maybe point Z in this case!  And in the not too distant future I will be letting you know about some artwork you can pre-order and I will give you a coupon code as well.  It's a gift from Mary Beth, the gallery, and me, to say thank you for your patience and for your support, even when it seemed like the dream might never become a reality!

I think the biggest lesson I've learned is that even when you think you are following your dream, sometimes it is the dream that has to find you.  And when that happens, it's bigger than any dream you could have ever imagined!  Now get going and start your dream so that it can find you too!

I would like to give a special shout out to Kim, Kate, Michelle, Connie, and Linda for keeping me going when I was ready to throw in the towel.  Your friendship, support, and great taste has all been invaluable...thank you!!!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Drops of Jupiter

I know some of you were thinking you'd click on here and find a link to that song...sorry if I tricked you!

After the rain finally stopped, I decided to pick up my camera and venture out to take some pictures of the raindrop covered flowers in the yard.  As I was processing them I couldn't help but think that if there truly are drops on Jupiter, well then they must look like this.

Glistening orbs that reflect the light and look like liquid silver, even when there is no sunlight.

I think I have maxed all of you out on flower pics lately, but it's about as exciting as it gets around here these days...well that and the rain.  So I think I will take a little time to see what else requires my attention, like painting porch posts and pulling weeds.

I hope you each have a wonderful weekend, and that you find your own drops of Jupiter in the process!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And Just Like That

It was just a few days ago that I was wandering my yard and admiring some of the flowers, including the Morning Glories which have taken over the fence line on one side of the backyard.  Their colors are so vibrant and if you squint just right you can almost ignore the other changes going on around you that tell you their time is nearing an end.

Muggy weather and warmer temps may still linger but you know that change is coming, and I think with age you can almost sense the changing of the seasons in a way you aren't able to when you are twenty something.

I think that is why I wander my surroundings more often than I used to, and I sometimes feel as though I'm now privy to a little secret that mother nature only imparts on people over 35.  A sense of time passing, of seasons changing, and a need to soak it all in a bit more than we once did.

Try as I might to hang on to Summer, even the nasty hot, drought ridden one we've had, there are some things you just can't ignore.  Today, after months of very little rain in our area...particularly in our section of the county we live in, the skies opened up and let go.

It was like watching someone who had held it in for far too long finally having a good cry, the kind that makes you feel better afterwards.  I had to wonder if even mother nature has those days, when she just has to let her guard down and let the tears flow as raindrops.  If so, then this was surely one of those days for her.

And just the mere image of rain drops pouring down my windowpanes, made me want to bake comfort food, unpack sweaters that haven't seen the light of day for months, and snuggle up beside a fire.

I guess we aren't unlike the tiny hummingbirds that are so frantically gathering at our feeders, fortifying themselves with much needed strength for their long journey southward in a few weeks.  I suppose that we too have our own internal clocks that tell us that when the tomato vines start to bend and brown, and the fruits start to mimic the colors of fall that we have work we need to do to get ready for the changing season.

I know that come this afternoon it will be hot and humid once again and the sun will shine brightly, but I also know that those endless stretches of sunny days and asphalt too hot to tread on will slowly give way to falling leaves and cooler temps.

But today, amidst all of the evidence to the contrary, I will pretend that summer is never-ending...because a little denial never hurt anyone right?!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Taking a Second Look

Thanks everyone for your support about my Etsy situation from my previous post.  I'll keep you posted as to how it all turns out, but for now I'm just waiting in the wings to see what happens.

Instead of dwelling on not so nice people, I thought I would reminisce a little.  It was this time last year that we were preparing for our trip to Germany and France.  Oh how I wish we were in the midst of making preparations to go to Europe right now, but we bought a new mattress instead!  Who knew that a good night's sleep could cost as much as flying 2 people to Europe?!!  I better sleep like a baby when it is delivered in a little over a week, otherwise it's going back to the store from whence it came, and I'm booking 2 tickets to Paris!!!

I thought I might have some fun by re-working a few of the images I took in Germany and France last fall, and I have to say that I much prefer the way they look the second time around.  I know so much more about photo editing than I did back then, and I'm truly finding post processing to be like a little form of meditation for me.  I think it's the creative part that gives me such joy and relaxes me somehow.

I also love that you can do the same thing over and over again, or you can switch it up, and because I'm easily bored, this is a godsend for me!

Sorry for the obnoxious watermark in most of these pics, but it's there because some of these images will be for sale on an online gallery in the very near future...woohoo!  I will have ready to hang high quality wrapped canvases for sale and I can't wait to spill the beans on the whole deal but for now it's still hush hush.  It's been in the works for a LONG time, but it's moving forward a little more slowly than anticipated and I'm chomping at the bit to get it going.  I'll be sure to let you know just as soon as it's up and running.  There will also be a few giveaways, so stay tuned!

The image above is a great example as to why you never throw out those pics that might have the slightest amount of potential.  It's an HDR image of a cafe in Strasbourg, France taken late one night as we wandered home from a lovely meal.  I had never combined the images to create the HDR because it just never appealed to me, but after trying out some of the new software I've been testing, I decided to give it a go figuring I had nothing to lose.

I was not wowed by the original HDR after combining the individual images to create it, but as I began trying different things and playing with the shadows and light I fell in love with it.  I don't love it because it's the best image in the world, but I do love that it transports me right back to that evening and makes me long to stroll those streets and visit those cafes makes me long for Europe.  To me, that is the magic of photography, it gives you the chance to take a second look at someplace you consider to be special!!! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Winners and Etsy Losers

Recently I've been demoing some photo editing software, and I thought I would share some of the black and white images I processed using it.  When you process images using all of the wonderful digital tools at our disposal these days, it can be easy to go overboard and fall off the cliff into processing oblivion, something I'm not a big fan of for my own pics.  But I do love a good post processed image for a little extra drama.

Adding things like tonal contrast, sharpening things a bit, and using layer masks on various images can be pretty cool.  I've been having fun with this, and once I settle on a particular program or bundle, I will report back as to which software I love the most.   I can tell you right now that I'm leaning towards OnOne Software , which I used on all of the images in this post.  But with college tuition to pay, my wallet won't allow me to pull the trigger yet.  And because I'm still trying out some other companies...including Nik Software, I will reserve my opinions until a little later.  In the end, my guess is that I will end up with a combination of several different companies because they all bring something different to the table, and because I'm easily bored, variety is good for me! :-)

Speaking of winners and losers, I got an interesting email this past weekend telling me that someone is using my images to sell their wares on Etsy.  The offender, which I won't mention unless she doesn't remove my pictures from her shop, is apparently threatening other sellers not to sell items similar to some lights she has...which she claims to hold a copyright/patent to.  

The irony of the whole thing is that she is using my copyrighted materials (the pic even has my watermark on it) without my permission to depict Ball Mason Jars and glass insulators she's selling.  And come to find out, many of the photos she uses on her page which appear to be representing what she is selling, are not her own.  One is even from an internet company who sells lighting made from glass insulators, and she's using their image of pendant lights to represent her light fixtures!

I've had images misused before, I think all photographers run into that problem.  As a matter of fact, a hotel in Greece has a pic of my pink bicycle in Germany (go figure) on their website.  I've contacted both the hotel, and the above mentioned Etsy owner, but I've heard nothing from either party.  Not surprising really since if you steal stuff to misrepresent what you are selling, be it a lifestyle in Greece, or glass insulator lights on Etsy...well you probably aren't a winner in my book...just sayin!

I'm a pretty laid back person, really I am, but I have contacted Etsy since the owner of the shop ignored my request to remove my picture.  Of course Etsy wants me to jump through "6" hoops of proof that I own the image.  Thanks's about you have the shop owner "prove" that all of the unauthorized pics she's using are her own, and tell her to stop threatening your other legit shop owners about copyright infringement?!

Ok, enough about this's time to announce the winner of my latest Giveaway.

And the winner is Chania!  Congrats Chania...a gift card to Amazon to help you buy some new books will be on it's way shortly!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win!