Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In Photo ATC Swaps

I have not blogged much about making ATCs lately. Truth be told I’m only doing 2-4 swaps per month (and some require making only one ATC). I have been busy with parenting, homeschooling, and expending emotions on worries about sick and dying relatives.

Apologizes for still not having uploaded images of my Yu-Gi-Oh! ATCs. Someday I’ll get around to doing that.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on photo ATCs. For the swaps I chose to sign up for, I knew I had images already taken in the past. I did spend a lot of time going through all the images to select my favorites and those which conformed with the rules.

Time crept up on me and for the first one I was working against a tight deadline for getting the photos printed up at the photo shop. My husband was too busy to help me resize them (as he has done in the past) so I decided to teach myself how to do it, using my program, Photoshop Elements.

There was a problem with the way I saved the document. I now know I should have never let the system default to saving it as a Photoshop type document. I should have overridden that and saved it as a jpg. I thought I was ready to upload the photos to the photo shop via the Internet but I could not get them uploaded as the shop does not take files in a Photoshop format.

I tried teaching myself how to fix this but doing the fix did not work. I even found a Yahoo Group! for users of Photoshop Elements and got some help from a few folks but my husband and I suspect that the files were corrupted.

So in the time crunch my husband did the entire project over again in his other Microsoft program.

The first swap didn’t require putting a stronger backing on the photos so I sent them off as is.

This next swap requies gluing the photos to a cardstock for strength. I have the ATC sized photos all cut out and just need to do the adhering, then they’ll be ready to send off.

I have been sharing some of these photos on my blog here.

Another swap I did entailed taking my own photos and cropping them to 'inchies' which are one inch squares. I use a punch die-cutter for this task (simple and fun). I did that last week and they flew off through the mails last week.

My next ATC projects will be for swaps for techniques in the Bernie Berlin book about ATC techniques. We’re doing ‘phone book paper’ background and ‘stencil’ (use paint and a stencil to make a background).

The above swaps are on Swap-bot.com.

Oops and I have not yet done my October ATC exchange for the Creative Mom Podcast group, which is one ATC with a theme of ‘tell me a story’.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Bluebirds Still Here (Photo of the Day)

I saw two Eastern Bluebirds two days ago, in my yard. I was really surprised as I thought they'd migrated south already. In the 2007 season, we had two pair of Eastern Bluebirds living in a dead tree near the border where the woods meets our lawn, on our property. I was surprised all summer to see the four together. I don't know why I assumed they would just hang out in pairs. They loved to perch on the swing set and hunt from there, flying down to catch a worm, then flying back up to a higher perch to eat it. We would often watch them while we were eating a meal at the kitchen table, which gives us a great view of the swingset.

The above photo was taken at the very beginning of the season, on the first day that I spotted a bluebird in our yard. When trying to photograph birds I have often wished for a long telephoto lens.

It is hard to photograph them as at the slightest noise or movement, such as the opening of a door, they fly to higher ground. Smart birds, but not so easy to photograph!

I consider casual birdwatching a part of 'learning science' and 'nature study' as we go about our 'regular lives'.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunlight in Grass at Beach (Photo of the Day)

The setting sun's rays going through this grass was unbelievable. This grass is exposed at low tide. This is the beach which I've blogged before, in the town where I grew up.

Photo taken by ChristineMM on a beach on Long Island Sound, in a shoreline Connecticut town, New Haven County, September 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fall Foliage (Photo of the Day)

This is a "drive by photograph", taken while I was driving the car. Loved the coloration of this tree. The meteorologist classified this morning as 'dense fog'.

Photo taken in Newtown, Connecticut in mid-October 2007 by ChristineMM.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Swan on Lake (Photo of the Day)

At this resevoir lake there are sometimes swans. On a Sunday morning in October I told my kids if the swans were there I am stopping to take a quick picture.

Sure enough, as I drove by I saw a swan on the edge of the lake. I pulled over. While walking to the vantage point to take the photo, I glanced up and caught my breath. A different swan was flying straight toward me. I think the wing span was at least six feet, I am not kidding.

I didn't have the camera turned on yet so I couldn't get a photo of the swan in flight. It landed and swam. And so I do have this photo of the one swan that was flying right toward me.

It was such a lovely sight, there is no other way to describe it. I am glad I got to see it even if I didn't capture it in a photo.

Photo taken by ChristineMM in Connecticut, October 7, 2007.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Older Son's Robot (Photo of the Day)

Here is the original creation robot made by my older son (age 10) with his LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit. After he made it he taught himself to use the software and began programming it.

Note the other stuff seen in the photo. A twisting toy that you find words by moving the letters. The portable CD player currently playing a Harry Potter CD (on track 13), the case holding the audio book (which is getting cut off by Blogger for some reason), and his binder holding his Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. What an insight into my older son's life this photo is!

Photo taken by ChristineMM's older son in October 2007.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Three Wild Turkeys (Photos of the Day)

This was a chance siting of three wild turkeys in my neighborhood. I stopped the car, whipped the camera out and snapped these photos. Right after I took the photo of the single turkey (below), a car whizzed from behind me, to pass me, completely oblivious to the turkey, or not caring at all about pausing to look at the turkey.

Last year my husband was driving the car and I was a passenger (as were our children). We were driving past a field of wildflowers. My eye is used to seeing only green tall grass there or wildflowers. I spotted a dark brown patch, but we were whizzing by. I asked my husband to turn around for a minute as something odd was there. We had the time so we did it. It was a Tom Turkey with his feathers all out. He was huge! I had never seen that 'in real life' (such as at a turkey farm or a petting zoo) let alone in the wild. We sat for about three minutes pulled off to the side of the road with our blinker on to watch it. We were not blocking the road in any way. A car flew past us (speeding over the 25 mph speed limit) blasting the horn in a long note of anger. I was glad my husband noted that by his speeding and annoyance of us (being off the road even) he missed out on seeing the Tom Turkey strutting his stuff. It was a cool sight and I'm glad we took a few minutes of our lives to see it.

Regarding nature study, I feel we need to have our eyes peeled while doing our regular routines in life and we will then see all kinds of great things happening around us. Nature study and learning 'science topics' are not always intentional lessons planned ahead of time and manufactured by the 'homeschool teacher'. Having our eyes open and observant while going about our daily lives is important.

Some say that an artist has the power to see things in a different way, or to be aware of things or beauty when others seem to not notice. Those who see in this way will often say that 'art is everywhere'. I agree with that. There is beauty in a tree, the design or the action movement of a creature is often amazing and interesting. We just need to take the time to notice these things.

Anyway, about the three wild turkeys I saw last week, me stopping the car to take these photos took less than one minute yet it was fun to watch them and to snap the photos as well. It was a minute well spent. And by the way the car that then was in front of me got nowhere faster as we were both stuck at that stop sign for a bit then we were on the road together for a number of miles. I lost no time or efficiency in my life from stopping to watch the wild turkeys.

Photos taken by ChristineMM on October 7, 2007 in my neighborhood in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Father's 4th Birthday (Photo of the Day)

Here is my father in 1948 on his 4th birthday with my grandfather.

My paternal grandmother has turned over all her photographs to me. They are not organized. Not a single one is in a photo album or labeled. Almost all are in the original film developing envelopes with the negatives (paper with acid I am sure). Others are loose. None have notes on them. The film developing places also didn't date the photos themselves on the back nor did anyone note it on the envelopes.

As you can see this photo is off-color. My grandmother thinks this is due to waiting too long before she got it developed. There is a yellow cast to some of these.

Others have a purple cast, those as well were not developed 'on time'.

Additionally I have exposed film going back to the 1950s which was never developed.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed here. I wish I could have all the photos developed and viewable in good, normal color condition.

I don't know whether I should try to scan all of these and try to digitally alter them to the right color. I could also use the negatives to create new images.

I have no clue what to do about exposed old film, who would even develop these now antiquated types of film and the odd sizes?

Then there is the idea of storing them in some type of album that is acid-free. Then there is how to label and store the negatives.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed.

Packratting and Disorganization
I'd also like to take this opportunity to share that being a packrat and disorganized does no one any good. I am seeing these photos for the first time in my life as is my father. Yes, my father is in his 60s and has NEVER seen childhood or baby photos of himself. I find that sad.

Under the Gun
I feel pressure to get at this project while my paternal grandmother is still alive. I have already spent a number of hours with her having her describe what the photo is of. She is blind in one eye now and has a bad cataract in the other (surgery to be done in the spring of 2008). So she can barely see now. Plus the other day she was told she has a life threatening condition that needs urgent surgery, the surgeon consult is tomorrow. She was told in the past she could die 'while under the knife' due to her heart condition and being 89 and not a great candidate for elective surgery on this condition which has now morphed into being urgent and life-threatening. Of course I feel worried about her condition but I'd also like to preserve some more family history before she passes away.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Provincetown Skyline (Photo of the Day)

A blend of old and new...

While walking down Commercial Street in Provincetown I looked up and was struck by the view of several rooftops lined up. It is a mix of old and new. While many buildings in P-town are old you cannot pretend that modernization is not present, so the town is really a blend of yesterday and today.

Not the oldest structure, but the reference to the oldest thing is the Pilgrim Monument built in 1892 (the stone structure). I love the details in the wooden buildings, and wanted to capture those. I also thought immediately that this view is good mix of building types, the monument, a former private residence (now a store with maybe an apartment upstairs, I'm not sure), and a church (Center Methodist Church built in 1860 which is actually now being used as the Provincetown Public Library).

The way the buildings lined up caught my eye, but also the other line of the banner of flags was an important visual element. The rainbow flag banners which were all over the place when I was there made a strong statement. Taking a photo of a street scene without at least one flag visible was impossible which to me made a clear statement of the strong community proclamation of gay pride. (Actually while reading the Wikipedia entry I realized my definition of this as a gay pride flag is already outdated, now it is referred to as a LBTG flag = lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride flag.) We tourist visitors saw the flags with our eyes and those of us taking photos most likely captured at least one if not many with our lenses, preserving forever the symbolic imagery if only in our photo albums or in Cyberspace. (I do not know if these flags were there for the whole summer season or if they were temporary for a special community event.)

Photo taken by ChristineMM, on Commercial Street, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts in August 2007.

Other Links

History of the Center Methodist Church

Provincetown Public Library

Commercial Street live webcam

Static webcam images of Commercial Street

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Buoys on the Wall (Photo of the Day)

I loved this wall of buoys on the outside of a fish market right on a pier in Provincetown, Cape Cod.

Photos taken by ChristineMM, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, August 2007.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rowboat and Old Pier (Photo of the Day)

I loved the rowboat on the beach with the rotting pier in the background.

This beach is right next to the pier in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Photo taken in August 2007 by ChristineMM.

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Noticing Beauty in Our Typical Lives

How many of us take lots of photos when we are on vacation?

Most 'regular people' will take photos of major holidays, very special events and while on vacations. Some of those people rarely take photos of their normal days at home or right around the area they live in.

I don't recall when it was that I first realized that people actually take trips to visit this place I live in. I always thought that the people here were trying to leave here to go on a vacation and I never thought that anyone would come HERE. I think it was about the beauty of fall foliage, something I took for granted and used to only associate with the hassle of hand-raking dead leaves off the lawn (as demanded by my father) which made me realize that indeed tourists do come here for vacations.

Yes, people come to my area on vacations for which they pay money to just come and drive around, to view this foliage, here in New England.

Then I began noticing some changes in development of some towns and with my hometown. I don't always like the changes and wax nostalgic for 'the way it used to be'. I then realize, I have no photo of that former building or old business that I used to frequent. When I was a teen I spent a lot of time and money at an arcade. I have no photo of that place. When it turned into a Saturn car dealership, well, there was no point in taking the photo to document that!

I have been taking more and more photos of things all around me in this area and in my hometown, when I go there to visit my relatives. I am starting to see all kinds of things that are photo-worthy.

Additionally I felt a bit sad and angry at a change on Cape Cod when we took our first visit there this last summer. The first thing we used to see after we crossed the bridge over the Cape Cod Canal was a business which was a family owned restaurant and pie shop. In the parking lot right next to the road that we all had to drive by was a tugboat, which loomed large over us (who knew they were that big?). The tugboat had lots of buoys on it and I believe it said something like "Welcome to Cape Cod" on it, but I can't be sure. I took that for granted, that sight. It was something that was always there.

Yet this year when we rounded the corner there was a


brand new, just like all the others, CVS drugstore with a newly paved parking lot and it was lit up with brand new orange lights from the tall parking lot lights.


My in-laws told me that Grandma's Pies sold the land to CVS and they moved somewhere else in town.

Well I'm sorry but it is just not the same.

Franchises and national chains are creeping in all over the Cape. Small family-owned businesses are disappearing while the franchises take over. Some towns fight chains such as trying to prevent a Dunkin' Donuts from coming in to one town who had two yummy family owned doughnut shops already. There are numerous individual businesses who sell homemade ice cream yet one town now has a Ben and Jerry's. I'm sorry but it is not the same.

So when I'm at the Cape I have been trying to document the little businesses with their imperfect, fading signs and while at home I'm photographing the little things that I see which catch my eye. For I never know when the things which I appreciate but usually take for granted will disappear.

I do take more photos here at home, but it is true I take a lot while away. Why? The reason is that when I am away I have extra time on my hands and it is very easy to just take the time to go out and take photographs. I also have a bit of pressure, thinking, "I'll only get to this beach once this year, so I'd better go take some photos today". When I'm at home and busy with 'real life' I don't always take the time to go out and take photos. And then sometimes it is too late.

For example it rained for over 24 hours here yesterday. We awoke to sunny skies. As I drove down the road in the early morning, I noticed the fall foliage looked different, better somehow. I realized that all the bark on the trees was very dark brown, almost black, as it was so soaked with rain. The hard frost we had killed off a lot of the lush green plants on the forest floor. So what I saw was bright leaves covering a forest floor with black tree trunks with bright leaves on the trees with sunlight filtering through. It was breathtaking actually. But I was driving to meet my brother and I was under a deadline so I kept driving and didn't snap a photo. On the way home the sun had already dried the bark and the sun was high in the sky and the light was just different. It was not the same thing anymore, it was different. I now wish I'd taken 30 seconds to stop the car and snap a few quick photos. Sigh.

Although I am only 40 years old I am already feeling like an 'old geezer' in some respects as I've started to say, "I remember when that place was a..." and "Things are changing around here and it is just getting so overcrowded" and other stuff like that.

I should mention and make clear though that although negative feelings was the impetus to help me open my eyes, what is happening now is I am seeing more and more beauty in everyday things all around me. Noticing things and finding joy in just seeing something lovely actually lifts my spirits throughout the day. And that is 'a good thing' as Martha Stewart says.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So That Explains the Blogger Problems This Week

For about four days there have been glitches with Blogger with publishing images. Whenever these problems happen there is usually no communication from Blogger staff to us Blogger customers.

Well today I see a new button on my toolbar, a formatting eraser tool. Well that explains it!

I have noticed a pattern in the past when I've had problems publishing or viewing my blog, a few days to a couple of weeks later suddenly there is a new function unveiled. There is still no communication about 'the old problem' as well as no apologies. But the 'old problem' ususally disappears at that point.

Yesterday I could not view all the previously uploaded photos on my blog unless I double clicked on them and then I'd see the very large image (so I knew the image was really there).

Today I am unable to publish photos. Sigh.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunset Over Cape Cod Beach (Photo of the Day)

Sunset, bay-side beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Funny that I took only one photo of this glorious sunset. Maybe my battery died or something, because usually I'd take a bunch of photos of something as glorious as this.

Photo taken by ChristineMM, July 2004. (No camera lens filters used.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Younger Son Running on the Beach (Photo of the Day)

My younger son, aged four, running at a bay-side beach, on an overcast, chilly day, Mid-Cape, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

What I like about this photo is that it captures the true freedom which I give my children to enjoy their childhood. I am glad the camera captured this scene accurately. This was 'nothing special', it was just a typical day for us, which included running and playing. However, I always try to capture in photographs, our real lives, so that I can remember these simple times, and what my kids were like when they were children, as it is true, that they seem to grow up and get big so quickly.

We usually go to Cape Cod two or three times a year and stay at my in-laws place which is a Mid-Cape town.

Photo taken by ChristineMM in July 2004.

(I'm going through old photos from 2004, can't you tell?)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Enjoying the View (Photo of the Day)

This is my older son sitting on a bench enjoying the view at the Burgess Museum in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Thornton Burgess Museum official website

Thornton Burgess Wikipedia entry (pretty skimpy)

A better article

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Altered Dominoes Made With My Younger Son

My muse was with me and so after dinner the night before last, I sat down to alter some dominoes the other night. My younger son approached me and asked what I was doing. I explained how I was using alcohol inks to put color onto the back and sides of the dominoes. I told him how I liked that the colors are not completely predictable.

My son asked if he could make some. So with my supervision he began making these dominoes. The coolest thing he did was when I was washing my hands he took it upon himself to start a new set. He combined a blue with a red color and gold and those dominoes came out with a jewel-tone purple with gold. They are beautiful! (Those are the ones in the top row of the first scan on this blog entry.)

We ended up spending two hours on this project and did this instead of me surfing the Internet and watching television. Then the next morning my younger son woke up asking to make more. I let him make some more with my supervision, with him totally in control, until he wanted to stop.

I plan to further embellish these dominoes.

So far I did try to rubber stamp with black Staz On ink on top of these, but the two I made did not come out well. The black is not very dark, not dark enough. I wonder if the issue is that my ink pad is not as 'juicy' as it needs to be? I need to figure this out.

I could also collage some bits on top of these colored backgrounds.

I colored the sides so that I would not have to have Krylon gold leafing pen be the color for the sides. I was not sure that I wanted so much gold on the edges.

I also used silver in some of these. I probably should buy a silver leafing pen by Krylon, if they make one, so that I could put silver on the edges if I wanted.

The trickiest part of doing this was to color the sides and not have my fingers lift off too much of the ink. What I did was do the top surfaces, let it dry a bit, then hold the un-inked sides and color two edge sides. Then I let that dry a bit then hold the inked edges and color the last two uncolored edges. It was tricky and I did end up with ink on my fingers in the end.

If I make these into charms for necklaces I plan to drill holes into them after the rest is completed. I only did it that way as I had not coordinated with my husband ahead of time to have him drill everything ahead of time.

I could also use a bead on the top to act as the thing to put the string through.

The impetus for doing these right now is that I signed up for an altered domino swap on Swap-bot last week. I also see there is an upcoming swap for an altered domino charm which I may or may not choose to participate in.

Products used:
The earth toned color alcohol inks are by Ranger in the Tim Holtz line. I own only three of those inks, my set calls the colors eggplant (purple), lettuce (green), and cranberry (a burgundy red color). I find these at A.C. Moore and Michael's Craft store and buy them with the weekly discount coupon that is published in the newspaper sales flyer and/or online. They are also sold at my local rubber stamp store for full price.

The silver and gold 'alcohol ink mixatives' colors are by Ranger, sold in a set togeher. I find these at A.C. Moore and Michael's Craft store and buy them with the weekly discount coupon that is published in the newspaper sales flyer and/or online. They are also sold at my local rubber stamp store for full price.

I also used bright red (Santa Fe red), bright orange (Calabaza Orange), a yellow (Tangerine), baja blue and sapphire blue alcohol inks by Jacquard. The label also identifies these products as "Susan Pickering Rothamel signature line Pinata Color". I find the Jacquard alcohol inks only at a local rubber stamp store, they are sold individually for $3.50 each, so you can pick and choose how many colors you want, or if you want just a couple of colors that are very different than the inks that you already own. They also sell sets of Pinata alcohol inks but the price was pretty much the same as buying them individually.

I found the Jacquard colors went on thicker and took longer to dry. The Ranger inks seemed to go on thinner and were not as tacky when wet, and dried very quickly.

I did not use blending solution in this project.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Exploring Tidal Pools (Photo of the Day)

Here are my two boys, they were aged 4 and 6.5 back then, exploring a tidal pool. We had read "Pagoo" by Holling Clancy Holling that prior school year. This was a cold-ish, gray day at a bay-side beach on Cape Cod.

Photo taken by ChristineMM, July 2004.

Collaged Journal Page I Made Last Week

I made this collaged journal page last week.

My original intention was to make a large collage (7x10.5 inches) which would later be cut into artist trading cards. I was open minded at the time to also using paint, ink and rubber stamped images combined with this ephemera.

To begin I opened a box of ephemera which I had been saving. I like to reuse junk mail and random ephemera used in my daily life to make artwork and artist trading cards, when possible.
The stuff at the top of the box had a bunch of papers which I instantly recognized as being from the first two weeks of June. There were papers from a conference I attended, a hotel key folder from that excursion and a parking receipt for an amusement park I went to with my kids and a bunch of friends, for example.

As I began to make the collage I realized I was not using the pieces in creative ways but was just making a collage of the items. When it came time to layer over some of the pieces I didn’t always want to do it as I felt I was covering up things that documented our family life in those two weeks. I then decided to have this collage be a journal page of those first two weeks of June.

If you look over the page you will see places I went and things we did, things we ate and even some of what was on my mind that week. There are pieces of letters I received with mail art, postage from books I received that week from PaperBackSwap book swaps that came in the mail in that time, and even two pieces of the diet food wrappers of a diet that I was on for a total of three weeks in June.

This was fun to create and took just over an hour. I also sorted through the papers I’d saved and threw away those which were not worth keeping for future art projects. So this was a little decluttering and little art making.

I plan to make more pages like this and to bind them into a journal when finished. For now this is being stored in a plastic sheet protector inside of a three ring binder.

Unresolved issue: I need to figure out what product makes a good sealer as parts of this have Golden Acrylic Gel Medium on the exposed surfaces which, depending on the weather/humidity in the air, can be very tacky and stick to other surfaces.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One of My Children's Classrooms (Photo of the Day)

One day a week my children are at this location. They are outside in nature, literally in the places which are seen in these photos. This nature preserve is the location where a class for homeschooled children is run.

How great is it that on a weekday a bunch of homeschooled children have THIS PLACE as their classroom?

I think it is just FANTASTIC! I think that all of the children enrolled in these programs are very lucky indeed!

Photos taken by ChristineMM, late September, 2007, in Connecticut.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Road in My Town(Photo of the Day)

This is a typical road in my town. This is usually what I see when I am driving around in this town because there is so much protected watershed land here. While that is one thing that made me move here, I realized that after some time, I was taking these views for granted. After a while it just seems like woods, woods, and more woods. However I snapped out of that mindset, because I realized that compared to many different, other views that could exist, this is wonderful.

Photo taken 10/07/07 in my town, Fairfield County, Connecticut by ChristineMM.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dominoes for Altering, Cheap at KB Toys

I used to sometimes stumble upon small sets of Dominoes at various dollar stores. I have not found any at dollar stores in quite some time now.

I was at KB Toys last week to buy a birthday gift for a child. I saw in the board game section that they had large sets of white resin dominoes which are perfect for altering. Some were about 100 dominoes for $10. Others were 140 for about $13. That comes to about 9 or 10 cents per domino. Suddenly looking for a dozen dominoes in a dollar store (for $1) is not so important.

KB Toys also had jumbo sized dominoes so they had two different sizes to choose from. Note that 6:6 dominoes are sometimes smaller than the 9:9 and the 12:12.

I noticed that the price tags indicated these were placed on the shelves 15 and 16 months ago so these are not moving quickly at all.

Sometimes KB Toys has a sale on ‘all games’ a certain percent off, so if you find this you will save even more money. (Check on their website to view the current weeks' sales flyer.)

So those of you who like to alter dominoes should check out not only your local dollar stores but also KB Toys.

Here is a former blog post I wrote about my first attempt at altering dominoes.

These are the dominoes which I altered back in June 2006 which I discussed in the above post. All the rubber stamps used to make the below altered dominoes are from Zettiology.

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Favorite Beach of My Teenage Years (Photo of the Day)

This is what locals call "The Little Beach" which was my favorite place to swim, when I was a child growing up in my hometown. This is Long Island Sound. You can't see it in this photo but there is a granite boulder which we used to jump off of, as teenagers, when we'd go to the beach sans parents.

On the evening that I visited the beach last week a father and son were clamming there. The sun was setting.

I always said I could never live inland, that I needed to live on the edge of the land. Well I'm inland now, in the woods, actually, which I like better than living in a crowded suburb even if it gives access to public beaches.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Boats in Harbor (Photo of the Day)

Boats in Harbor, Long Island Sound, My Hometown, Connecticut, late September 2007.

I shot this quickly out of the rolled-down passenger side window, while I stopped for a few seconds, just long enough to take this shot (I was the driver).

I used to live near this area of town. I used to walk there, or ride my bike there, or would take a quick detour down there while driving to take in the nice view. Part of me wishes I still lived in my hometown, as I'm nostalgic about it and also because my relatives still live there.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fallen Leaf (Photo of the Day)

As I was walking at the beach, I saw that this leaf had fallen onto this old telephone pole which served as a barrier in the parking lot. I noticed it immediately, for both its beautiful color as well as the lovely shadow. I took the photo just as I found it laying there.

Photo taken by ChristineMM on September, 25 2007, at a Connecticut shoreline town.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chicory by the Roadside (Photo of the Day)

While stopped on the side of the road to take a photo of a tree with lovely fall foliage, I saw this late Chicory blossom. Late September, New Fairfield, Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My ATCs: 9 Emboss Resist Method ATCs

I made these 9 ATCs with the "emboss resist" method as taught in the book "Artist Trading Card Workshop" by Bernie Berlin.

This is the book which tells the emboss-resist technique, Bernie Berlin's "Artist Trading Card Workshop".

Flowers in My Garden (Photo of the Day)

Flowers in my garden, September 27, 2007. The roses are Fairy Roses. Technically, the white flowers that look like tiny daisies are weeds (wildflowers), but I thought they were lovely.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My ATC: Signs

An ATC created for the CMP monthly ATC exchange.

Theme was: Signs.

I decided a sign of me being too busy is I stack up the full tote bags, from outings, and leave them there.

In the CMP Circle we've been challenged to write haiku every Monday. I thought I should write a haiku to explain the image on my ATC.

ATC was hand drawn with Micron pen on Bristol paper. Colored with Berol Prismacolor pencil.

Bird Mixed Media Collage

Written on 5/30/07 but not published, was having uploading photo challenges back then...

I wanted to make a 5x7 inch collage that I’d then cut into four artist trading cards. This is what I made last night. For some “me time” I declared the after dinner time as art making time. While this went on my husband ran an errand with my sons and then the children played a game with each other while I cleaned up. It was then bedtime and after a few minutes of reading aloud the kids went to bed. Normally we watch one TV show together as a family but the kids had a punishment yesterday of no television that day.

I began with a recycled cereal box for a sturdy base.

I covered the brown cardboard side with a piece of white paper with a yellow floral pattern on it.

I then used a technique that someone shared on a chat list over a year ago. It started with first using waxed paper (the kind you wrap food in, or that people used to use to do so), as a surface covering while working on other art projects. In the past I had painted a bunch of backgrounds for ATCs with acrylic paints and with homemade acrylic glazes. I also had used some rubber stamps with acrylic paint and acrylic glazes and to clean them off I stamped them onto this waxed paper. One of these stamps says “believe”, you can see that clearly in the collage. When the project was done I then let the waxed paper dry and saved it for use in a later collage.

I took the waxed paper with random paint and glaze on them and tore them to shreds. Using Golden Acrylic Gel Medium Soft Gel Matte, I adhered them to the background. They looked translucent and interesting and covered up most of the floral paper in the background.

I adhered a piece of fiber that another mail artist sent me to the collage.

I added an image of a flower that someone sent me; it is a computer printout of a flower printed onto a transparent plastic sheet (why does the right name for that product escape me now?).

Using sequin waste again sent to me by a mail artist, I added blue and white chalk rubber stamp ink.

Before I set it with a heat gun I added a bird rubber stamp (stamp credit Martha Stewart crafts at Michael's Craft Shop) and used blue embossing powder for the bird. I accidentally let the powder go onto the not-yet set white chalk ink so that was a mistake. I then melted the embossing powder of the blue colored bird. I then added two more bird images using white embossing powder.

Lastly there was an empty area that needed something. Using a garden seed catalog image of purple flowers, I made a packing tape transfer and adhered it to the collage. I chose to do a packing tape transfer as the rest of the collage was absent of typical collage of the image on white or other colored paper. I felt the image was too detailed to cut it out around the edges of the flowers and leaves. I felt the colored background was so pretty that to have this be a packing tape transfer that would let the background show around the edges of the flowers would be perfect.

After scanning this collage I cut it into four ATCs.

I used these ATCs for an “Anything Goes” swap on Swap-bot.

I really loved the look of the collaged waxed paper with the paint and glaze on it. I should change from using old newspapers as my standard table surface protector to using the waxed paper as I would love to have more of it to use in future collages.

Since the collage used waxed paper, paper, fiber, images on plastic, paint, glaze and ink this is technically a mixed-media collage.

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