Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Design This – Fanciful Wedding Card

Last year a couple of friends, that were responsible for getting together a large group of friends to vacation together in the Galapagos Islands, were to get married shortly after the trip. Unfortunately we would not be able to attend their wedding but wanted to come up with something memorable for them. My husband and I decided that a fanciful custom wedding card to hold a gift card would be fun. I looked forward to putting my photographic art skills to the test.

Luckily while we were on our trip, I asked each of the soon to be marrieds what their favorite critter was on the islands. She answered, “sea lion” and he answered, “Sally Lightfoot crab”. I poured over my 1K plus photos from the trip to find the right ones to put together. I decided a beach wedding, with our friend’s animal favorites as stand-ins, was what I wanted to do. I started with one of my sea lion on a beach photos. The Sally Lightfoot crab that I liked best was looking the wrong way but luckily that is not a big thing to overcome using the digital manipulation I use to create my photographic art. I cut out the crab and added it to my base image. (As with all of the separate components of the image, I altered each one to give them the same look before bringing them together, in order to achieve cohesiveness within the final image.)

Now, what to add in the way of attire that would say “wedding”? I decided a garland of flowers for the bride would be lovely. I cropped two different blossoms out of a picture of one of the native plants that was flowering and created the sea lion’s garland. I was stumped for something to use for the groom from our trip. I finally decided that I needed a top hat, so off to a party store I went. I found a great hat that I photographed at what looked like the proper perspective for the orientation of the crab in the image I was building. Once the pieces were in place in the image it was time to pen and print the sentiment for inside the card and print the beach wedding scene on the front.

If you are a fan of a critter from the Galapagos Islands and if I have a photo of it, I’d be happy to create a piece of photographic art for you. So far, other than the beach wedding scene the only image I have worked up to add to my photographic art offerings is the image that I used for the profile picture for the facebook page I created for our trip. That one sold as a matted 8x10 during the Happy Holidays Gift Store last year. I hope to have more created in time for this year's store.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Learn to Identify Invasive Plants

So many of the plants I grew up around or even some relatively newly introduced adapted species in the nursery trade that have characteristics that I like have unfortunately become troublesome invasive species. These include trees, shrubs and even grasses that have been introduced to the landscape trade or for livestock forage because they appeared to solve a problem, thrive across a variety of gardening zones or just looked pretty. Unfortunately many are now displacing not only native plants but endangering native fauna as well. I have previously written about some of these. Search this blog in the sidebar for “invasive” to find previous posts.

There are a lot of great online resources such as this list of central Texas invasives that will help you identify non-native invasives that may be in your area too. If you are in Texas, the Invaders of Texas program has on-demand online training and has a couple of in person workshops scheduled for later this year that should help you learn to identify invasives as well. For those of you in the DFW area, mark your calendars for a workshop in Arlington on September 27, 2014.

In addition to learning to recognize, avoid and help eliminate invasive species you can help stop the spread of invasives by using caution when adding new plants to your landscape or learning to manage some that you may have so they don’t leave your garden. There are many non-native hybrids available for purchase that have been developed that do not set seed and therefore can’t be distributed to other areas by the wildlife that visit your garden. I have a tree form wisteria that I maintain. I grew up around these lovely plants and am very fond of their spring blooms so I take the time needed to keep it pruned to tree form in a size that allows me to clip off all developing seed pods so it can’t spread.

Many invasive species identification resources such as the one above give alternative, similar native plant suggestions for you to plant if you are unable to find a sterile hybrid or won’t be able to otherwise keep a plant from potentially escaping your gardens. The local flora and fauna will appreciate your efforts to become informed gardeners.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bald Mountain – “Rock Ridge” at Brick & Mortar Locations

Black and white or color, which do you like better? Ansel Adams preferred black and white. For me it depends on the image. I have a Jacobean lily image that I like much better in the high contrast black and white version than the original color one. The judges picking the finalists for the photo contest sponsored by the Arlington Museum of Art earlier this year preferred my black and white version over the color submission of my “Rock Ridge” image. Cynthia, the owner of Potager’s Other Stuff, favored the color version (so do I) and added it to my ready to hang photographic art images that I have on consignment at her establishment.

You can probably pick a favorite from the images in this blog, however if you want to see them in person to

get a better feel for my framed photos than you can from photos of photos, you can see them in downtown Arlington. My black and white “Rock Ridge” image that was a finalist in the aforementioned photo contest will hang in the rooftop gallery at the Arlington Museum of Art for the duration of the Ansel Adams exhibit (through August 3, 2014). My color photo can be found at Potager’s Other Stuff until it finds a home (no end date currently scheduled). While you are there you may also find my “Dressed for Drinks”, “Keys Close-Up” and “Center Stage” framed and gallery wrapped canvas photographic art prints.

Stay tuned to this blog or like my Eclectic Design Choices facebook page to keep up with other places you can see my work in person.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thanks for the Treasuries - May 2014

One Etsian and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured some of my items in treasuries during May. Four May Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective that were featured during May. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below a link to the Etsy seller that let me know they had featured some of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. You will also see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured items of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links of anything that catches your eye.

Fun graphics and quotes earrings, necklaces and more.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.