Friday, December 20, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted

OK, so Monument Valley Interpreted may be done.  "May?", you ask.  Yes, it may be done.  I need to get your thoughts.  I am quite pleased actually, with the way it looks.  Of course, Susan will be able to make it look even better when she frames it.

I think the texture looks good and the depth is defined.  But what do you think? Please let me know! In the mean time, I've put it away for a few days. I'll take a look at it again when I hear from you. I've worked on this just about every day for 6 months and I need to look at something else for a while before I make up my mind.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted - stitching is done!

It's truly a great day!  After almost 6 months, the fill stitching is done.  I've started on the outlining, as you can see, on the left mountain.  OK, the tricky part starts now.  My goal is to show depth and texture without overwhelming the stitching.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Progress on Blackwork Piece and Thanksgiving

After a month of working on the sky, I am sharing my progress with you. So...what do you think? The "fading" will be a little better after the piece is washed. I used blue chalk and it is still a little visible. Of course, the outlining will define the mountains more and make them sort of "pop out".

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, whatever you did and wherever you were.  My dinner turned out excellent and everything was still hot when it got to the table.  That's always my goal although it doesn't always happen.

I did not forget, though, all the Thanksgivings I was someplace else, doing something totally different.  Like doing laundry at the Laundromat.  Those holidays were Special to me.  Celebrating Thanksgiving with other people that didn't have anywhere else to go but to do their laundry.  I have to say, spending a couple hours with complete strangers in a laundromat on Thanksgiving was a blessing. Sharing whatever it is that you have to give with others that need it.  And them, sharing with you.

My orchids are having a wonderful time and showing it with their blooms.  All except my new Blue Vanda.  I am sad to say that I don't think that wonderful flower is going to survive.  I've been working and working with it but, alas, it just continues to die.  Maybe it wasn't meant to be....maybe I was supposed to admire These beautiful flowers from afar.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted - Landscape is Finished!

It took almost 5 months but the landscape is now stitched. And, as promised, I managed to get the piece photographed from afar. Funny how Susan liked the idea of a 'natural' setting and I like the idea of a 'professional' setting. Ok, it's not all that professional but it got done what I wanted.....that you can really see that it looks 3-D!!

It was mentioned that the contrasts are so good now that perhaps I didn't need to do the sky. I thought about that alot but decided that it really does need the sky. If you look at the original photo, the sky is very much a part of the beauty. That blue. I hope to be able to capture that vast space of color and do it justice in my piece. I've started it a little in the left corner, down by the skyline. It will varegate darker as it goes up.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted and the Beauty of Fall

I am very excited about how my piece is shaping up.  I've noticed that looking at it close up and looking at it from a distance is a big difference.  At a distance, you can clearly see depth and the perception is quite good.  Of course, working on it, I only see it close up and it tends to look flat.  I will try to take a picture from afar after the foreground is done so you can see it too.  Someone asked if I was nearly done.  No, I am filling in the sky as well so there's still plenty to stitch before I do the detailing!

Yesterday was a first for me.  I rode my bicycle outside for the first time in November.  And it was only 40-45 degrees.  Although nature's colors are mostly earthy at this time of the year, when I look closely, I can find colors that seem to shout.  I am not sure what these things are but they are bright and bold  and sprinkle hope and encouragement throughout the woods.  The peak of our Indian Summer has passed but there is still so much to see.  My outdoor riding time could very well be over for this year but maybe, if I'm really lucky, there will still be a few days where I can brave the cold and explore the wonders of nature and be inspired by what I find.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted... update

It's coming along really nice I think.  The trick will be the combining of the far and near grounds.  I've been working on this for a little over 3 months now.  It's moving along much faster than I expected.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Excitement on the Construction Site

It's been quite an exciting couple of days at the construction site. And the following weeks and months look like the excitement is going to continue.
Building the crane started around 1pm
Adding the cement blocks
Cement blocks all stacked up
While the crane was being built, the backhoe was still busy loading up trucks full of dirt

Building the crane

Crane is operational by around 5pm

The hole
Looking up from the ground
Operational crane
The guy on the right is operating the crane manually

So, I've got it 'in' with the foreman (guy on the left in above picture).  He told me that there will be two houses (I think maybe that means a duplex) with a underground parking garage.  He said that it might be done by December, it depends on the weather.  That it was, technically, possible.  He also told me that the backhoe was supposed to be done with its work yesterday but it still was digging and digging today.  There will be more workers onsite over the next couple of days.  Yes, he was quite chatty and I think he likes me so I'll get all the scoop I want from him over the next few months!  So....stay tuned!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Snakes in the Park

The title might be misleading. I sure thought it was a snake. Wouldn't you think it was a snake?  It was just hanging out on the road.  Because I know that snakes like to do that, I always try to not run over anything straight and long.  This time, I didn't run over it and, when I looked back, it hadn't slithered away.  So I turned around to check it out.  I was pretty happy with my luck in getting such nice pictures and immediately looked up what kind of snake it was when I got back home because it didn't look like the kind I usually see.  And guess what.....It isn't a snake at all!!!  And this is where I give you a biology lesson.  It would be biology, wouldn't it?  You can skip the lesson if you want but you'll miss something very cool!!!!

Anguis fragilis, or slow worm, slow-worm or slowworm, is a limbless reptile native to Eurasia.  It is also sometimes referred to as the blindworm or blind worm.
Slow worms are semifossorial (burrowing) lizards, spending much of the time hiding underneath objects. The skin of the varieties of slow worms is smooth with scales that do not overlap one another. Like many other lizards, slow worms autotomize, meaning they have the ability to shed their tails to escape predators. The tail regrows, but remains smaller.
These reptiles are mostly active during the twilight and occasionally bask in the sun, but are more often found hiding beneath rocks and logs. They are carnivorous  and, because they feed on slugs and worms.
Although these lizards are often mistaken for snakes, they aren't. The most important difference is that they have small eyes with eyelids that blink like lizards'; this feature is not found in snakes. They may also have visible ears as do lizards, which snakes do not have. They shed their skin in patches like other lizards, rather than the whole skin as most snakes do. Slow worms also shed tails by breaking one of their tail vertebra in half, as lizards do.

Adult slow worms grow to be about 50 cm long, and are known for their exceptionally long lives; the slow worm may be the longest-living lizard, living about 30 years in the wild and up to 54 years in captivity.

So..... just to refresh your memories, here are a couple pictures of the other kind of snake I see.  After completing my research (yes, I do research for things like this) I came to the conclusion that the 'big' snake I had the chance to observe a couple years ago, was actually the same kind as the little snakes.

Little Ringelnatter, in English - green grass snake

I guess they are curious
This is the 'big' snake but it's probably just an older version of the little one in the water.

So, there you have it....a snake lesson from Germany.  Don't expect a spider lesson any time soon though!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Monument Valley Interpreted Update

It's been almost three weeks since my last posting on my current project.  I thought it was time to show it again. taught me better but I have to admit, I didn't leave much border.  Well, you can deal with that some other day.  Don't put this on your calendar for framing yet.  I still have a ways to go!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Late Summer Riding

There's those who are already saying that fall is here.  True, the mornings are cool and the fog is starting to linger in the sunrise.  But today, well, today was a beautiful summer day.  Riding in the fall means trying to find that perfect clothing combination where you aren't too hot but not too cold.  Today, I didn't have to worry about any of that.  My jacket stayed folded on the back carrier and the sun kept me warm even though my clothing was wet with sweat.  Late summer may not be as colorful as other times of the year but there is still beauty all around.  Here's a few photos of what I saw today.

Yes, the dog days of summer are over.  But fall still doesn't have every day in its grasp.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blackwork - Monument Valley Interpreted

Monument Valley Interpreted is shaping up pretty good.  Here is my progress.  Just in case you forgot, it was started on June 21, 2013.  It's still got a long way to go but at least it actually looks like something now.  I think the mountains do show depth, something I was sort of wondering.  Of course, the back stitching/outlining will add the final touch.  Thanks, Dad, for opening my eyes!  Why use my glasses, a coffee cup or a coin when I can use a ruler to show you the size!!! ha ha  

Sometimes a question.....stitch or watch the sunset!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Great Bike Day

Today was a 'landmark' I rode more kilometers outdoors than any other month since I've been riding.  Also, I rode more kilometers than any month ever...indoor and outdoor kilometers combined.  And I went over 9000 kilometers (about 5,600 miles) total since I've been riding.  Wow...pretty cool day.  But that wasn't wasn't a pretty day really.  It smelled like rain and it was a lot cooler than it has been.  Maybe that's a good thing because I saw lots of deer today!  There are three different kinds in the park...the wee little ones , the fallow deer and the red deer.  Up until this year, I've only seen the wee little ones.  Well, today, I saw fallow AND red deer.  The fallow deer are medium sized deer with white spots and and parts of their antlers can be 'solid'.  The red deer are one of the largest deer species.  Below are pictures of a few fallow bucks....only the males have antlers (that's true for both fallow and red).

What I could not capture on film was a herd of fallow deer crossing the path right in front of me!  There were at least 5 or 6 adults and two fawns.  One fawn was very dark but, after researching, found that fallow deer have a wide variety of coloring.  Although I did photograph the red doe and fawn, the pictures are not good.  But I did see them and it was totally awesome! Wow....what a fantastic experience! Funny boar were to be seen anywhere and I actually went 'hunting' for them.