Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pixlr photos: the original and 6 variations on a theme by Prata

I love Pixlr, the free photo editing application available either online, on your phone, or to download. It's versatile.

Yesterday morning I was out and about on a fine, crisp dawn. The moon was bright in the sky against a vivid blue. I took a photo of it, naturally. Here it is:

I'm always looking for pictures that have a lot of blank space and sky photos are good for that, when you want to add a caption or an overlay.

I used Pixlr with several other overlays of this same photo, so you can see how different they can all come out.

Neat effects, eh?

Here is an original photo of a cemetery followed by a Pixlrize:

Here is a photo of Portland followed by a pixlrize

Fun, isn't it! And I'm not even that skilled. You should see the Pixlr Twitter stream of the photos they highlight. Very artistic.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


We received our Bountiful Basket today. I made granola/cereal, pineapple cake, roasted cauliflower, roasted peppers, baked a spaghetti squash, made pita crackers, and chopped three large mangoes (for smoothies). I also washed and prepared radishes, apples, oranges, orange peppers, and more. We had a good Bountiful Basket this time.

This week we received:

3 lb bag potatoes, Lg head cauliflower, Romaine lettuce, Broccoli, Asparagus, Bunch radishes, Orange peppers.

6 apples, 6 Roma tomatoes, 5 oranges, 4 lemons, A Pineapple.

The produce is fresh-looking and luscious. It not only tastes better, it looks better. So of course I took photos, lol. The colors, shapes, and design of these pieces of produce are exquisite.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tea time- Dobin style

I love tea. I always have. Even  in High School when the game would go to the creamery after the Big Game and get ice cream sundaes and Coke, I'd order an English muffin an tea. Yes. I was that person. Anyway! I love tea!

Look at what my wonderful friends have given me over time. I've received an annual subscription to Tea Time Magazine, a set of handmade coasters, tea galore, and a Dobin Japanese tea pot with four cups.

Just as with anything, there is a lot to learning the intricacies of tea. No, making a pot of tea isn't as simple as boiling water, splashing it over a run of the mill teabag and steeping. England, China, Japan, India, and other countries all have rituals, ceremonies, implements, and a history with tea.

The basic teacup is called a yunomi. They are usually of cylindrical shape, (tsutsugata), and small, as seen in my photo. Though for especially fine teas or for certain special occasions, there is a smaller version of the teacup, a doll-size, but it's used by people. Teapots are called dobin. They usually have a twisted vine handle, globular body and a disc-like, finial-topped lid, according to this website. The vine or bamboo handle doesn't become hot so it allows for pouring without a potholder.

A Dobin teapot contains a filter-basket either in the spout or hanging down into the belly of the pot. Ceramic is used frequently for the filter, but a fine mesh stainless steel is also used, which is what mine has. As the tea connoisseur grows in experience and knowledge, he or she often turns to loose tea which allows for a better opening of the leaves as the heat and water permeates them. Thus, a filter becomes necessary.

The Tea Time Magazine is charming. Its photographs of tea settings, tea cups filled with steaming, aromatic and colorful teas, and the pages of anecdotes regarding tea history are always interesting. So are the recipes for canapes and sandwiches! I look forward to its arrival in my mailbox each time. The first thing I do when I get home from school each day is put the kettle on and look forward to relaxing with a cup of tea.

My coasters were made by a dear reader and I love them. They are sooo cute! So now I have a tea pot and up set, a tea bar with various teas from which to choose, and coasters to set my cup and a magazine through which to browse. My morning coffee is necessary and utilitarian. My teas, those are for enjoyment, relaxation, and ritual.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bountiful Baskets in the dawn morning

This week the Bountiful Baskets resumed after a long break for the holiday. The Baskets for our area had stopped even prior to the holiday because the numbers for the state of Georgia had been consistently low, and they stopped delivering so as to re-asses whether or not to drop the whole state. We were all holding our breath after the holiday to see of Georgia would be on the list again. I don't know how long it will stay, but I'm grateful that it came back, even for one time. Look at all that we got!

We received tomatoes, avocado, onions, cauliflower, spaghetti squash, grapefruit, apples, poblano chili peppers, navel oranges, mango, kiwi, and cucumbers.

The cost is $15 for the basket which is equally divided with fruit and vegetables, and there is a $6.50 handling and truck fuel fee, but if you go in on one order with someone you can split that fee up to three ways. All this produce cost me $17.50 all-in.

I also bought a flat of Kent mangoes and will cube half of them and freeze them. I am down to my last half-ziploc of frozen mangoes since I bought the mango add-on last year. I like putting frozen, cubed mango chunks in yogurt and blending it in the blender. It makes a sort of mango gelato, cold and refreshing.

The chilis will be roasted on Monday, the oranges will be made into sugared slices with the rind on. The bag of apples will be given away, and the grapefruits, kiwis, and the loose apples will be eaten regular, as snacks or desserts for my lunch at school. The onions and cauliflower will be both roasted and go into a veggie soup on Monday.

Our time to pick up the Baskets is 7:30am, which is tough on a Saturday (tougher is the volunteer time to show up- 6:30) but the up side to that it forces me to get out of bed and dressed early. Another bonus is that I get to see the town in the dawn. Where I pick it up there are cows and farms and pastures, and the sun coming up is very pretty. The day today is warm to start, predicted to get warmer (into the 60s) so the warm ground produced a lot of ground fog and mist, too. That is always pretty with the rising sun's rays coming through the wet air. It turns it pink, did you ever notice? A soft, flower dew laced pink. But don't take my word for it. Here are shots out the window as I was driving.

I'm grateful for every Bountiful Basket I receive, and for friends who order it and who go pick it up in Athens. It is a terrific way to obtain quality, fresh produce at an extremely affordable price. If you haven't looked into it, I encourage you. The website is here. You can click on "Locations" to see if there is a BB delivery site near you, and if there is not, it is easy to start one. Really. Read this.

It's a long weekend so I hope everyone has an opportunity to rest and relax. If not, then thank you for your labors and I hope you get to relax sometime soon. Don't put off relaxing and having fun with the family/dog/cat/spouse/friend. Enjoy the day, because as as Augustine of Hippo said,
Procrastination: God has promised forgiveness to your repentance; but he has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The Fickle Muse

I really am a terrible collage maker. This is because I have nothing to say on paper anymore.

I used to have a lot to say, Even though my collages were not great, I liked them because I know what they were saying. There was an underlying theme, concept, or idea that promoted the visual representation of it. Now I look helplessly at the blank paper and have nothing to say. But I add "stuff" to it anyway and that is why there is no soul to it. I am still going gangbusters with writing. Over the last 15 days I've written 32 essays for The End Time and 6 for The Quiet Life. I made 7 photo-verse artistic pictures ahead for my morning posting on The End Time Facebook page. I've gone gangbusters on personal photos as well. But visual art for art's sake...I'm drawing a blank.

These are some of my favorite past collages before the muse had left me:


Revelation 20:2-3 sealing satan in the pit

"Navigating Spiritual Waters"

Bad Moon Rising

And some paintings:

Van Gogh Meets Marsden Hartley




As art brut as my visual creative work is I believe one can see a theme to them, a unity, if not expert execution. But for some reason even that speck of a vestige of a crumb is gone. This is the kind of stuff I do now:

This one below was a workbook practice lesson, to collage quickly using only white. The quick part is to deny the analytical side of our brain, or the no-confidence, editing side of the heart, no room, and just see what moving hands can come up with. I could not resist using some black, not just some hues of white because I liked the gritty quality of the 70's photo book I ripped the boy from. Normally I like monochromatic, so looking for pieces that were only shades of white didn't bother me, but I just didn't have a lot of white on hand. Maybe I'll try with a different color tomorrow.

My paintings just aren't good. I'd titled the top one "Bird of Prey" but it just looks more like a chicken. The bottom one are Four Puppies Watching the Sunset (Ode to Poky Little Puppies) but there is just no color depth to the thing as at least with the index cards above I had that going for me.

I decided to go back to functional art: making books and journals, and bookmarks and tracts. Maybe that will release me for a while. It's what I know.

"The loveliest Muse in the world does not feed her owner; these girls make fine mistresses but terrible wives" ― Alfred de Vigny, Stello