Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

Opposites Attract
Wow. What was I thinking? 
I was thinking this challenge would be fun and easy, 
that's what I was thinking.

Since it was my brilliant idea, I must apologize to everyone 
who had as much trouble with it as I did!

Every time I thought of opposites,
my mind drew a great big blank. A

  big black blank  

that went with the 

big white blank

which was the only thing I could think of for "opposites".

So I decided to reach back to my graphic design days
and do a sort of layout I might do for a magazine article
using some stock photos I had around.

The guy has rejected the perfectly acceptable,  perfectly beautiful girls
in favor of the one who is most opposite.

You know what they say.
Opposites attract and then they drive each other crazy!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Digital Downloads

Yellow Primrose
I just realized it's been a while since I posted some free images.

Primroses are as "spring-y" as daffodils and crocuses, 
but I don't see them nearly as often. Pretty and delicate,
they come in many colors. I came across this vintage image 
of some yellow ones, and added a grungy background
and some text and voila! a 2.5 x 3.5 ACEO-size image.

Click on the picture above to go to the high-resolution image,
then right-click and save to your computer.
Use however you would like!

Another Free Download
This one is part of a new collage sheet that
is available now in my Etsy shop
I'm posting the single image above as a free download. 

Here is what the full sheet looks like. 
Visit my shop to see the other eight,
all ACEO/ATC size!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

My Town
Greensburg is not my home town.  But after 15 years it qualifies as "my town".  I consider it my son's "home town" since he has lived here since the age of 5. The little girls from the 20s? 30s? look quite at home on the page. In other words, these buildings haven't changed in 80-100 years! In the case of the courthouse, maybe closer to 150 years. And of course nowadays, everyone is busily trying to preserve, renovate, and restore to make sure nothing changes in the future either! Our house is in a "historic district" and although there are some fine old homes located here and there, some of it is just plain shabby. But, oh well, we all like shabby chic, right?

This piece shows a rather "fantasy" view of Greensburg, founded in 1799, named after the Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene. While researching, I found that there are towns in several states (Greensboro, NC, Greenville, SC to name a few) that were also named after the General. He really got around! He was either much loved or else people found his name quite impossible to resist when naming towns. And now we are back in fashion again, since "green" is the new buzzword!  

This is a mixed media piece consisting of photos of some buildings in town, acrylic paint, and decorative papers collaged on stretched canvas.

Visit Inspiration Avenue on Sunday afternoon to see all of the entries in this week's challenge. There are sure to be some fun and interesting ones! And tune in Monday to find out the challenge for the coming week. I would give you a hint, but I am the challenge host next week and I have no ideas yet!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Chores

Tuesday was an absolutely magnificent day, and today promises to be even more beautiful. I wandered out into my winter-weary yard yesterday and tried to think what to work on first ... I have to admit I got sidetracked for a bit just soaking up the sunshine and daydreaming.

I started to cut back the zebra grass, but gave up on that pretty quickly. The grass is over 7 feet tall and usually stands up all winter long, but was smashed all over the patio by the snow we had last month.  All I had were my little pruners and I soon got tired of nipping each individual grass stalk.  It seems like you need a special new garden tool no matter what job you are doing! I'll have to make a trip to Lowes and get something that will slice right through the whole mess. I've seen the landscapers hack through them with a chain saw, but I'm not planning to get that radical.

The picture at the right is the zebra grass in early summer. It's still growing.

 So near the grass (everything's near everything else in our little yard!) the grapevine was looking like it needed more attention than anything else in the yard. I've read that grapevines should be pruned in late winter, and we're just squeaking out of winter so now is the time, right? I hope I didn't wait too long and I hope I didn't kill the darn thing because once I got started I was like a woman possessed! I couldn't stop!

Here is the grapevine about 3/4 finished. Yikes.
Here is the grapevine last summer.
Here is the pile of viney stuff that I hacked off.
So now you have the pictures that will save me writing 1,000 words!

I have never, not once, cut back the grapevine this drastically. I even woke up in the middle of the night worrying about it! I hope I didn't harm it irreparably.  Because I   need this grapevine to spring back to its former self. As you can see, the support system is not attractive, no no no. The birds love the concord grapes that we have in abundance in August and September. As well, I usually make some jam or something and one of my neighbors made some delicious wine one year, so we need these grapes! It makes an excellent dense hedge for privacy. Although I enjoy talking to my neighbor, Barb, and we have to peek through the thin parts to talk, but all in all, it's worth it. When you stand near it in September, it smells like someone just opened a jar of Welch's grape juice! lol. Reminds me of being a kid!

On another note, I am finally admitting that I am a hopeless fan of American Idol! Hubby and son are not fans. Jesse will watch it for a few minutes if he is passing through, but soon moves on to something or somewhere else. It's now at the point where it begins to get entertaining ~ once all the strange auditions are over and you see how talented the remaining 12 people are.  It's just amazing to me how much talent each of these kids have! I'm not a fan of Simon, but I find I agree with him most of the time. I never vote (really!) but it's interesting to see how the voting goes. I'll be tuning in tonight!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Time Begins

Altogether Not a Bad Day... lose an hour.

We've been spoiled by the warm sunny days of the past week
and tricked into thinking winter is over.
I usually moan about the hour that disappears 
when we turn the clocks ahead, because I like to have 
more hours in the day, not less.

Today it's dreary, spitting rain, dark and damp. 
Who would even notice if the light lasted an hour longer this evening?
Goodbye, extra hour, and good riddance!
Tomorrow's bound to be brighter! 


"Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through 
a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; 
Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, 
and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity."
Joseph Addison 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Don't Forget!
The Art Auction at 
Inspiration Avenue 
Ends Today 
at Noon!

If there is one of these fetching items 
you've cast your eye upon,
pop back over to  
before it's too late 
and make your bid! 

Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow
so don't forget we will have our clock 
set one hour ahead to EDT. 

We hope to see you there!

Remember, the girls at Angel Faces  will be the recipients of   
of the auction money!
We're really excited to give them as 
large a check as we can,
and thanks to each and every one of you 
who have placed bids so far!! 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From the Magpie's Nest

Welcome Spring!
                                 photo courtesy of wikipedia

Okay I know it's not March 21 yet, but for me spring has officially begun. I saw my first robin this morning! I have been hearing them for a few days, but hard as I tried, I couldn't see one. This morning I saw one hopping in the backyard. I don't think a robin ever flies if he can hop!

There is something about a robin that is so businesslike yet carefree, if that is possible. I know it's contradictory. Maybe they are just very clever at looking like they are conducting business, poking at the ground, hopping here and there, but really just enjoying life!

Anyway, welcome back, guys! You can't imagine how especially thrilled we are to see you this year. Maybe the brutal winter is really behind us!


Well I have been corrected. It seems the first day of spring is March 20!
Yay, a day early! Is it sometimes the 21st, or have I been celebrating
on the wrong day all these years?? 
(Happy birthday, kimbuktu) 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Would You Like to Lend a Hand 
in Support of a Wonderful Charity?
Don't miss Inspiration Avenue's Art Auction to benefit Angel Faces!
Extra bonus: Place a bid on my item and 
receive a FREE collage sheet from my Etsy shop! 
Here's a quick look at the items up for auction.
These are fantastic items with low low starting bids! 
Put in your bids and lend a hand to the wonderful charity, Angel Faces

DoN't MisS the FuN!

As an added incentive:
Anyone who places a bid on my item 
(a set of 2 original paintings, numbers 11 and 12)
will receive a  FREE COLLAGE SHEET of your choice 
from my Etsy shop Magpie Mine.
You don't have to win the paintings, just bid! 
Be sure to leave an email address with your bid.

Head over to Inspiration Avenue to join in! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Art Auction 
for Angel Faces
It's time for Inspiration Avenue's Art Auction!
My contribution is 2 pieces of original artwork ~ mixed media fairies, done with acrylic paint, colored pencil, and a bit of collage. Each fairy is resting on a tree branch with her robin friend. The pieces are approximately 4.5" x 6.5" each and are done on 100 lb. bristol board.

They will come matted in  8" x 10" acid-free white mats
and backed with acid-free foam-core board.
The starting bid is $12 USD for the pair. Shipping is FREE!

Now for the fine print stuff: 
Bidding will start on March 7, 2010 and will go until 12 noon (est) on March 14. Bids must be increased by $1 USD increments or more. No "cents" please! When you bid, you must leave your email address so we can contact you if you win!  If you win, you will have 72 hours to make payment or the items will go to the next highest bidder. Bidding will take place on Inspiration Avenue's blog. There are many wonderful art pieces up for auction, so be sure to peruse all of them!
There, I think that's all the rules lol.

All proceeds go to Angel Faces, 
a wonderful charity that benefits teen girls. Please read all about Angel Faces here, and you will be inspired and uplifted by their story, as we were.

Hope to see you at the auction!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Charity Art Auction
at Inspiration Avenue for
Angel Faces 
Won't you help the Inspiration Avenue Etsy Team 
contribute to this very special charity that 
helps teen girls with self esteem and life skills? 

Inspiration Avenue is having an 
Art Auction  
starting March 7 to benefit Angel Faces!

The adolescent girls that Angel Faces helps have facial disfigurements due to traumatic injury or birth anomalies, and I'm sure it's hard imagine how daunting are the challenges they must face every day. Especially as they maneuver through their teenage years. Things like teasing, staring, thoughtless or cruel questions, and even bullying. Angel Faces, during a week-long retreat, helps these girls acquire the life skills and self confidence they need to be able to reach their greatest potential. The week includes counseling, art therapy, role playing, help applying cosmetics, and much more all in a caring environment where they don't feel they are "different". The girls come from across the U.S. and around the world.

This is just a small part of the Angel Faces story. I hope you will visit their website to read about this wonderful program!

Visit Inspiration Avenue starting March 7 to view all of the available art pieces. The mediums and subject matter will be as varied as the personalities of our members (who are all incredibly talented, by the way)! The auction will run until noon on March 14. I hope you will visit and be generous for this worthwhile cause!

Please help us spread the word by grabbing the auction badge posted on the Inspiration Avenue blog, and posting it on your own blog or website!  This link will take you to the post with the html code for the badge, and also give you more info on the auction and charity. Please spread the word!! We'd be ever so grateful and excited about all the good karma coming your way!!

Don't forget to join us on March 7, 2010 to browse through all the offerings! Hint: you may be able to get a sneak peek on the individual members blogs as they post their art pieces throughout this week!  

Thank you in advance for the 
help you can give to this truly worthy charity!