Friday, April 14, 2017

Liberate Your Art 2017

This past few weeks there has been a large group of artists anxiously watching for the mail carrier. Why? Because it’s Liberate Your Art time! What is that, you ask? It's a postcard swap that Kat Sloma hosts to "foster connections between artists in different places and mediums." Those who participate create a work of art. The art might be painting, sculpturing, needlework, pen and ink, or photography. Then a picture is taken of the art or in my many cases photography is the art. Next the photo is made into a postcard. All your postcards can be the same or you can create five different ones. Lastly the postcards are sent to Kat, who swaps them all and with a few wonderful volunteers prepare them to be mailed around the world. When we receive the postcards we're encouraged to take of picture of them in or around their new home.

This year there were:
146 participants
876 pieces of art liberated
12 countries
30 US states and territories

Let me tell you about the postcards that I received.

The first postcard that arrived was from Val van der Poel of Wynndel BC, Canada. It’s a beautiful painting of a valley entitled “#762 Birds Over Erickson." I would love to live in such a beautiful, peaceful place. If you’d like to see more of her word drop by her website.

The second postcard was from Carol Collier of Washington State. It’s a unique view of farm equipment. The light on the equipment is beautiful as well as the fascinating sky and trees behind it. The quote on the back reads, “Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

The third postcard was from Christine Barker in Calgary, Alberta Canada. It’s a beautiful piece of digital art. The colors and lines fascinate me. It’s almost like I can reach out and feel the textures. The quote on her postcard, “What we play is life.” Louis Armstrong. You can see more of Christine’s work on her website.

The fourth postcard was from Marcia Hill in Worcester, VT. A pastel painting of Worcester Village. Another beautiful, peaceful place to live. I especially love the white church with tall steeple. On the back, it says “Art is the voice of the Soul. Speak Up!" You can visit Marcia at her website.

The 5th postcard was from Jane Martin in Roanoke, Virginia. A delightful painting of a potting bench and flowers for spring. The quote on the back is “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso. Visit Jane at  her website to see more of her art.

As a special treat we all receive a postcard from Kat. This year she sent a digital painting of colorful leaves. It was a treat for the eyes after such a dreary winter! The back of her card reads "Experiment, Play, Create, and Liberate!"

I almost forgot to include the postcard I sent. I have this fascination for flowers and vines that are tenacious; that have the strength to overcome poor conditions and grow. They encourage me to keep on when times get a little tough. I also love old buildings, so when I saw this vine on the side of a rock building I had to take a picture. I added a quote on the back, but I failed to write it down and I simply can’t remember which one I used. Oh well, I’ll do better next year.

Each year Kat puts together a video of those who wish to include their art. I would like to encourage you to hop over to her blog and watch it. It's an incredible display of many different works of art. Just click right here.

This has been a fun postcard swap and I’m delighted with every card I received. I’ve done this swap since Kat began seven years ago. Each year I am truly amazed at the incredible art that is shared.  If you’re interested in participating next year It’s simple to do. Just go to Kat’s website, sign up for her newsletter, and she’ll let you know when it’s time next year for another swap. I encourage you to try this. You have a whole year to think about it, create art, and have the postcards made. Kat even gives help with making postcards or suggestions for having them printed. It’s fun and you will love getting mail! I promise! 

Liberate Your Art 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Some Days - Scene & Story March 2017

Some days aren't easy.
Some days are filled with chores and appointments.
Some days hold too many responsibilities.
Some days bring hurt and sorrow.
Some days anxiety can't be controlled.
Some days I need to hide and rest.
After a while, I'll be refreshed and smiling again.

"thank you nothingness
thank you clarity
thank you, thank you silence"
~ Alanis Morissette

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I'm linking today with Scene & Story hosted
by Lee and Sarah.
You can see all those who link up on Sarah's blog.
Join us each month as we choose a photo and tell a story.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Our spring seemed to come early this year. Maybe because we didn't really have a winter. So, I wasn't even thinking about a trip to Garvan Woodland Gardens to see the tulips until it was almost too late. My sister, sister-in-law, and I made the trip to see if any tulips were left. Some of them were already gone, but they plant so many, I'm talking thousands, that there was still plenty to see. It wasn't the best of times for photography. The wind was blowing, the sun was too high creating dark shadows, and pollen covered everything including my camera lens! I included the photo below just to show you how everything was covered in pollen. 

So, if everything looks blurry give credit to the wind, if the colors looked washed out give credit to the sun, and if they look a little cloudy give credit to the pollen. In other words, these are not the best of pictures, but it was the best of days and that's what's important to me!

As many of you know, I love hearts found in nature. My sweet sister-in-law knows this and has a great eye for finding them. She pointed this small one out to me. It's a broken pine needle caught in a cedar tree. She saw this right as we began walking the trails. This was a great way to start my day.

Like I said there were plenty of tulips to see. I love the beauty and lines of tulips. In fact, I thought I liked them more when the petals were upright and closed together, but I think I've changed my mind. Their petals gracefully open and their beautiful centers stole my heart. 

I was standing looking at the tulips when I witnessed one of those wonder moments of nature. In the picture below notice the yellow tulip and the light that seems to come from within. As I mentioned earlier the wind was blowing. As it blew the tree branches above, the flower would be in the shadow, then the branch would move just enough for the flower to be in the light. It was as if this lovely tulip had a lantern inside that was going on an off. It was amazing to see. Now I wish I'd gotten a video of it!

The 210 acres of Garvan Gardens are on a long peninsula. The winding trails lead to the tip of the peninsula where there's a beautiful overlook landscaped with flowers, rocks, and waterfalls. We took a little break, ate a snack, listened to the water, and enjoyed the beauty of Lake Hamilton and Mount Renati in the distance.

Although I went to see the tulips and they were incredibly beautiful, it was the cherry blossom that took my breath away. I've never been at the gardens when they were blooming. I don't know a way to describe them, simply breathtaking!

We had a great day together. We saw incredible beauty, we walked, we talked, we laughed, and had a wonderful lunch at the park. The only thing that might have made it better was less wind, less sun, and definitely less pollen!   Achew!! 

Friday, March 17, 2017


There's a celebration going on here at
Gramma's Little Corner!
Today I'm celebrating my 1,000th post!

It's hard for me to believe I've written 1,000 posts! I have never considered myself as a writer, but I think 1,000 posts might just qualify me as a blogger! I knew this post was coming up, so I've been thinking about what would be worthy of a 1,000th post. I though surely I could come with something monumental, but nothing ever came to mind. So, I'll just share a little of how this blog came to be.

In July of 2009 I was taking a scrapbook journaling class. Our instructor suggested we start a blog to practice our writing skills. So, like the obedient person I am, I began. My first posts were about sewing projects, scrapbooking, grandchildren, and what was happening in my life.

As I followed other bloggers in the scrapbook group, I noticed how beautiful their photography was. I wanted to learn to take pictures like that and began searching for help. I discovered a Linky Party called Snapshots Of Life. Every week we were given a certain day and time to take a picture of what we were doing and link it to the host's website. That was the first time I was exposed to taking what I thought were insignificant daily photos. It didn't take me long to realize every moment of the day is special.

My blog and photography really changed when I found Big Picture Classes. In January 2011, they were offering a daily prompt photography class called Picture Winter. Joining the class was very hard for me. I was afraid I would be embarrassed by my pictures. When I look back, some of them are embarrassing, but those in the class were always supportive and the inspiration was amazing!

Here's an excerpt from my first post about Picture Winter. "I've always loved to take pictures. I have thousands of family, friends, vacation, and scenery pictures, but since I've been visiting blogs, I have been just amazed at some of the photos I've seen. I've been so inspired by these photos that I decided to take a class . . . this class has helped me stop and enjoy moments of life!"

This class and this group of photographers made a huge impact on my life and my blog. I'm still enjoying the moments of my life and I'm still benefiting from those connections. In that class I met a very special group of friends. I'm still in touch with many of them. In fact, that class is where I met several of the girls I blog with over at Focusing On Life. Our friendship has spanned over six years. I've never met any of them in person, but I feel close to them. I probably know more about them and their lives than I do about some of my own kin! 

That's basically how it all began. My blog has evolved over time. I now post more about photography and my adventures, than family and hobbies. You see, when I discovered nature photography my life changed. My heart was filled with gratitude for this beautiful world God has given us to enjoy. I have a deep need to share this with you. Sharing the gifts of nature is the main focus of my blog. Other things come up now and then, but for the most part my blog is about God's world.

While I'm celebrating I want to thank each of you for your comments and your kindness. You mean so very much to me. I'm not sure there'll be another 1,000 posts, but hey, it's something to shoot for!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bookshops, Vintage and Wacky

 The Bazaar Bookshop

In the mood for a good book? I know just the place to go, The Bazaar Bookshop which is a treasure trove of wacky books. As many of you know, I love to work jigsaw puzzles. This is my second puzzle of a bookshop. The first one was a vintage shop in an old Victorian home. As I worked it I thought about browsing through the packed shelves and smelling the old books, leather, and dust. I wondered what was in the other rooms and if that beautiful old staircase creaked.

Readers Paradise

Now, The Bazaar Bookshop it is another story! It's unusual to say the least! I'm sure you could find the perfect book here. Let's say you're looking for a book about the outdoors, gardening, or nature. You might check out Julius Freesia,  The Taming Of The Yew, or Peonies From Heaven.

Would you like a book about raising babies? Try A Pram For All Seasons, Three Men In a Cot, or The Valley Of The Bottles.

You might enjoy wandering through the ladies section; Withering Tights looks good or Much Ado About Knitting. There's cookbooks if you like to cook: War and Peas or Red Kales In The Sunset.

Let's move on to the section where we can find the classics: One Flew Over the Snooker Rest or Pot Black Beauty.

Section #27 might even interest Jerry who is not a reader! Who wouldn't want to read 20,000 Jeeps Under The Sea, A Room With a VW, Volvo In Paris, or Anthony and Carburetor? There's also a business section where you can find a copy of Lord Of The Files, Of Mice And Pen, and Seven Bribes For Seven Brothers.

If you're like Jerry and don't read much, you might like to spend time looking in between the books. There are new worlds hidden on the crowded shelves. 

There are more than a dozen trees, several people, various animals, at least three restaurants, an airplane, stairways, and a variety of other artifacts.

Did you enjoy spending a little time in the wacky bookstore with me? This was such a fun puzzle to work. It kept me smiling! I hope it made you smile, too!

Credits for this delightful puzzle go to:
The Bizarre Bookshop
Artwork by Colin Thompson
Ravensburger Puzzle

Monday, March 6, 2017

Don't Judge - Scene & Story February

"You can't judge an apple by looking at the tree.
You can't judge honey by looking at the bee.
You can't judge a daughter by looking at the mother.
You can't judge a book by looking at the cover."
You can't Judge A Book By The Cover
lyrics written by Willie Dixon in 1962
sung by Bo Diddley

You also can't judge a business by it's building. On the way to my daughter's house there is a not-so-impressive, dingy white brick building with a bright blue tin roof. All around the building is pottery and a menagerie of bright painted animals made out of metal. You can find roosters, giraffes, cows, pigs, or just about anything you can image. Although I've driven by many times, I've never stopped. The metal art, although it makes me smile, wasn't something I was interested in. But, when I was driving by recently I noticed the parking lot was full of cars. There were very few people wandering among the pottery and animals, so I knew there had to be something interesting inside the building. Curiosity had me turning around to investigate. I was certainly surprised as I opened the door and entered a fascinating gift shop. The building had been divided into small rooms filled with antiques, trendy clothing, jewelry, baby items, pottery, and home decor. Many of the items were beautifully arranged on antique furniture. It didn't take me long to realize why this little shop was so busy. The next time I need to take a break while traveling, I'll be stopping in to see what's new! As I drove away I wondered why I judge things without taking a deeper look. Getting past the outward appearance just might bring a pleasant surprise!

* * * * *

I'm linking today with Scene & Story hosted by Lee and Sarah.
You can see all those who link up on Sarah's blog.
Join us each month as we choose a photo and tell a story.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Quiet Place

As I've mentioned before, I'm working through Kim Manely Ort's book Adventures In Seeing with a group of online photographers. The adventure this week had us looking for and capturing the essence of a place. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around that until I read this definition of essence. Essence is the "attribute or set of attributes that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity." The last phrase stuck with me. I began looking at places with the question "if this or that were taken away, would it change what this place is?"

Wandered through an old cemetery, I began to think about it's essence. What makes it what it is? Of course, the obvious is that a cemetery is a place of burial, but the not so obvious is what keeps me interested in early cemeteries. They have characteristics that are not found in modern ones.

As I entered the gates of the cemetery and gazed around, my eyes first noticed the shapes and sizes of the markers. The size usually depends on the wealth and status of the deceased in their community.

I was intrigued by the symbols that had been chosen to be engraved on the markers. Symbols can tell about the person who is buried there. It can tell of their marital status, religious beliefs, whether they are a mother, father or child, and sometimes even their occupation. Clasped hands are very common which can stand for a man holding a woman's hand, indicate marriage, or a symbol of farewell. The mansions in heaven are often depicted showing eternal life. Wreaths speak of victory in death. Three chain links that stand for friendship, love, and truth can be found on markers provided by the Grand United Order of Oddfellows. They provided burial plots and markers for those who could not afford their own. Four-petaled flowers represent the dogwood blooms which means resurrection, sacrifice, and eternal life.

I found grave markers trimmed with simple things such as marbles, rocks, or shells. Other markers were so weathered or covered with lichen that they were impossible to read.

Many graves were outlined with concrete. Sometimes items such as rocks were placed in the concrete or the concrete was carved with names. Some plots, mostly family plots, were enclosed in ornate fences.

There were markers to honor veterans from the War of 1812, the Civil War, and both World Wars.

Wandering through old cemeteries leaves me with a sense of peace. It's quiet. Usually the only sounds I hear are the birds and the rustle of leaves beneath my feet. I can reflect on those who are buried here, the lives they may have lived, the sorrows they endured, and I can whisper a prayer of gratitude for those who served our country.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beauty In The Small Things

The ordinary . . . the small . . . the insignificant  . . . they are important, too! Every day we see and touch things that we don't even give a second glance. Yet, when given attention, these small things are as important and beautiful as the large things that do catch our eyes. I spent some time this week seeing the ordinary and small in a new way.

Plain brown twine and a cute little pair of scissors please my eye.

I didn't know I had so many colors of straight pins.

My heart swoons when I find a vintage button.

Dinner's on. I see a few carrots in there.

An ordinary spoon on a piece of fabric make a pretty reflection.

Take a moment.
Pick up something ordinary.
Look at it closely.
See the beauty in the small things.

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I'm enjoying following the adventures in Kim Manley Ort's book Adventures In Seeing. This week we looked at small things and celebrated their beauty.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Something New

I can take picture of nature over and over again. I delight in spending time outside discovering the beauties of things like mushrooms, rocks, water, trees, and such. There's always something new each day to discover. But, taking pictures of nature limits my experiences, so I tried something different. Something I have never done. I took my camera to the grocery store and enjoyed the beauty and smells of fruits and veggies.

If you know me very well, you know this is totally NOT ME! I am one of those people that never wants to call attention to myself. I definitely don't want to stand out. Just let me be a wallflower and I will be happy. Taking my camera out in a grocery store and taking pictures was very hard for me to do. I was uncomfortable and slightly nervous. The thought that circled round and round in my head was "what will people think?" There was one lady that looked at me very strange several times, but I just smiled, ducked my head, and kept taking pictures. I honestly expected a call over the store's speaker any moment "security to the produce department!"

After a few pictures I did become more relaxed strolling down the aisle looking for color, shapes, and textures.

I survived the experience. No one confiscated my camera or sent me running for the door. As I walked outside to my car, there was a smile on my face. I'd done it! I'd been brave and I had pictures to prove it! 

Changing up what we normally do, might be scary, (this certainly was for me!) but new experiences can refresh and inspire. That's not only true in photography, but in everyday life. We need to get away from our ordinary and try new experiences. It could be as simple as driving a different way to work or reading a book in a genre that we normally don't read. 

I not only came home with a better attitude about myself and a few pictures, I came home with some delicious looking fruit!  

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I'm working through Kim Manley Ort's book Adventures In Seeing. This week's assignment was opening ourselves up to a different type of photography and experience.