Monday, July 30, 2012

Email issues

The above is just to decorate this post and show you a cheeseburger I made the other day. I was craving a good burger but didn't want to go pay a restaurant for one, so I bought some groceries and made that bit of deliciousness! I want another one now.

But here's the real reason I'm posting: I don't know if any of you (besides Deborah) have tried replying to my blog post emails recently, but apparently there was a problem and responses were being rejected. Which means I may have not received recent replies if any of you sent one. I went and checked and somehow my "reply to" email address got changed back to the default (a no-reply email) instead of my actual address. I don't know how this happened! But I switched it back, so it will hopefully work now. Sorry about that! I do try to respond to most of my emailed responses, so if you didn't get a response, that's probably why.

One more order of business, while I'm here: earlier this year I sold a few of my nature pictures which prompted me to finally put up some info about purchasing my fine art photos. My dad said I should mention that here. :) It's nothing fancy.

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Art journal

I just finished cleaning up my place after procrastinating about it pretty much all weekend. It's not fit for a visit from the queen or anything, but I'm good with it for now. I hate cleaning, but I loooove a clean place.

How the heck are you? As always, I'm just getting into the groove of my weekend and wishing I had another couple of days off. But I suppose if I have to start back to work, I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Here are my final art journal pages:


I'm too lazy to figure out prompt numbers, so I'll just explain what I remember.

My Day: Here we were supposed to make sort of a comic/graphic depiction of our day. I did it for this past Friday the 13th of July. I think it's mostly self-explanatory. Average day.

Favorite Flower Scent: This was based on a prompt my sister gave where she asked us to talk about flowers we like or hate for the scent. My favorite flower happens to be my favorite because of it's scent, not necessarily because of how it looks (although gardenias can look pretty at times--they just aren't quite as flashy as some other flowers). Fun fact: I never used to think gardenias could be delivered from a flower shop, but I was proven wrong when I was sent a beautiful bowl of floating gardenias one year for my birthday. This was pre-digital so I don't have a photo, and now I really wish I did. It was awesome!

My City: In this prompt I was supposed to talk about the city where I live, things to do, etc. I included some activities that aren't in Salem, but close enough to visit on a day trip, at least.

And here are some current events de Jessica.

Current weather: 77° F -- perfect and welcome after feeling kind of cold this morning. I'm also kind of tired of the cloudy "mornings" (the clouds stay until afternoon, really), but let's just forget about it for now.

Currently watching: I'm making my way through Veronica Mars again. It's been a couple of years and I wanted something to turn on during meals and such. (Yes, I watch DVDs during meals--that's what you get to do when you live alone!) Who here likes that show?

Currently not watching: The Olympics. Sorry!! I feel weirdly guilty, but I just haven't thought to turn them on. I've never been big on them, though I don't mind watching if someone else is. I do love watching uneven bars in gymnastics, though, so I should probably find out when they'll be on.

Currently glad about: My computer had been acting up for the past week or so, and after many different sorts of scans, nothing was improving. But then I turned to Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and managed to find and remove a Trojan virus of some sort, and my computer's been working soooo much better ever since! (This sounded like a commercial.)

Currently reading: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. So far, so good!

Okay, I think this is long enough. Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Flowers (Deepwood Estate)

Okay, here are these.

(I've noticed more and more that in customer service situations, when the employee hands something to the customer, they say, "Here's this," instead of naming the item or even just saying, "Here you go." It's weird and, frankly, a little lazy. Have any of you experienced this?)

These are flowers I saw at Deepwood Estate the other day, many of them unfamiliar to me.  Feel free to speak up if you know the names of some of these. I will put a number that you can reference. I will also put a caption on every photo today! That's my promise to you, blog readers. All 10-36 of you.

1. Let's start off with these chile pepper-like flowers. That's what they reminded me of, anyway.

1b. Here's another view.

2. Maybe this is called a Shower Head flower.

3. The Tongue-Sticking-Out flower.

4. Duckhead flowers! 

5. Don't these look like a small flock of quiet ducks that don't enjoy bread crumbs?

6. Gosh, what could this one be? It's so different than anything I've ever seen.

7. Don't worry, I know they're roses.

8. Forgive my lazy composition on most of these pictures. I just liked this rose but didn't really care enough to photograph it well. Only the best for my blog.

9. I'm not sure if this is a kind of lavender or something else.

10.  Can these still be called fuchsias when they aren't fuchsia? Mayhaps they should just be called pinks, or light reds, if you will. (And trust me, YOU WILL.)

11. I like the middles of these hydrangeas.

12. Here's a caption.

13. These are really cute. I wish you could've seen them in real life.

14. L and R - more cute, more hydrangeas and their middles.

15. Okay, Jessica, time to move on to another flower.

16.  L: Okay these are fuchsias for real. That word "fuchsia" always makes me think of an episode of 90210 (the original) where Kelly (Jenny Garth) said her favorite color was fuchsia. Maybe just because I could tell they chose that color for her character. Oh Kelly! R: I don't know what these are.

17. I wanted to show you the size of these. It doesn't look all that impressive in this photo but these were pretty large compared to the ones I usually see.

18. White Firework.

19. L: I don't know. R: More hydrangeas.. sorry, guys! What was I thinking?

20. Okay, here's a better look at these. Flower Muffins, we'll call them.

Whoa, how abrupt was that ending? To me it was--I didn't think the Flower Muffins would be the grand finale.

I have a couple more art journal pages to show you, but then I think I'm done. The topics stopped inspiring me and I never said I was committed to doing all 30. (Apparently I feel I need to defend myself.)

It's Tuesday! It's summer. It's time for me to end this post. Goodbye.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photo Contest Update

I wanted to let you know which photos I decided to print up for the state fair photo contest. If you don't like them, don't tell me! It's too late now.


I was planning to do the one of Hollie where she's lying in the grass in her white dress, but I couldn't find the high-res edited version. (I think I might've accidentally saved over it with the backup original.) It had a lot of editing due to the plastic mat she was lying on sticking out around the edges, and I just didn't have the energy to redo all of that, so I chose a different one. It's funny that all three of these are verticals when I tend to take more horizontal photos. I also wasn't necessarily planning to stick with ones from the samples I showed you, but the idea of going through my photos seemed tiring. This is just supposed to be for fun, not a huge chore. So these three it is! We'll see if any get chosen for display.

Thanks again for all of your input! I really appreciated the different recommendations, and your participation in general. I had to narrow it down somehow, so I ended up going with a few that I felt were pleasing to the eye, somewhat creative/unique, and that took some thought and effort for [hopefully] successful composition and lighting.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm feeling behind on all things blog, but I know that bothers me way more than any of you. I'm behind on my art journal pages, on responding to comments, and posting in general. It feels better to acknowledge that here, for whatever reason. Meanwhile, here are some good things:

1. I bought my plane ticket for Albuquerque in October. I'm going to the hot air balloon fiesta again! Best of all, I get so see my adorable nephieces and the rest of my family. Even my parents will be there for a portion of my visit!

2. I had a good dentist appointment today. I don't generally dread the dentist like some people, so it wasn't a big deal, but it seemed to go even more smoothly than usual. I didn't have sore gums afterwards and everything looks good with my teeth. The hygenist is really nice, too (and so is my dentist, though I generally only see him for about 30 seconds per visit).

3. I feel pretty good. I've felt like that several times over the past months. I have less anxiety than I once had, and it seems like God has given me a little break, and many areas of life are just mellow and uneventful, which is a very good thing.

4. My friends are having a garage sale. This is good for me because I was able to contribute some stuff to hopefully be sold! I'm a little nervous about craiglisting things when I'm living alone, so this was a good opportunity to try selling my office chair, for instance, and a few other things that have been taking up space. Fingers crossed my stuff sells!

(Avocado stuffed with chicken salad.)

5. Avocados are better this year. Last year they were really disappointing, and I hadn't really eaten any for several months. I've recently been able to enjoy them again!

6. Deepwood Estate. The other day I wasn't feeling well and thought an evening walk in some gardens might help. I just love having local, pretty, free places to visit.

7. Flowers. Man, there are SO MANY kinds of flowers. I was reminded of this at Deepwood because many of them I had never seen before. I'll post more photos later on.

8. Caller ID. (I'm writing this just after receiving/ignoring a phone call from an unknown number--probably a sales call.)

9. It's still mid-July. Even though the year is going by quickly (as always), and sometimes I can't believe Independence Day (or even Easter :P) has already passed, it's nice to know we still have a couple months of good weather left.

10. Other day-to-day nice things. Like walking out into warm air after freezing in an air-conditioned room. Pretty dresses. Inspiration. Trying new recipes. Having freedom, as a single person, to make my own plans and have a quiet home. Ceiling fans. Photographing a butterfly or bird that's hard to capture. Seeing deer on my way to work. Having a reliable car. A pitcher of cold water in the fridge. A good song coming on the radio. Wii frisbee golf. Being able to blog and connect with friends and family in a little way like this.

Have a great weekend! Do you have special plans?

Monday, July 16, 2012


Look what I got in the mail todya! :) Isn't my mom cute? It's in reference to my Collections journal page.

Thanks, Mom!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Questions and answers

(I like every post to have a photo, so here's one from Yachats when I was there last month.)

Two of my nieces sent me this questionnaire, so I'll answer it here. My sister answered it in her blog, too. It calls itself a "new edition" but I know I've answered these questions before. It's pretty silly, but oh well.. I'm having kind of a blah day and I could use some light-hearted question answering.

1. What color are your socks right now? Well, I have several pair in a variety of colors. They don't tend to change colors, except maybe from a bit of fading, so right now they are about the same color as when I purchased them.

2. What are you listening to right now?  The fan.

3. What was the last thing you ate?  A homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cup.

4. Can you drive a stick shift?  Yeah--my first (and second) car was manual.

5. Last person you spoke to on the phone?  My friend Michael.

6. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Of course! I love both of them.

7. How old are you today? Almost 35.75.

8. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Probably basketball. I don't really watch sports on TV voluntarily. (R, I think some people would argue with your definition of a sport. ;))

9. What is your favorite drink?  Iced tea, no lemon. Although I tend to drink more soda than iced tea lately, so that looks like a lie. I do love iced tea, though, but I also love being lazy and not making it.

10. Have you ever dyed your hair? Oh heck yeah.

11. Favorite food? I just journaled about that.

12. What is the last movie you watched?  I guess it was 13 Going on 30 the other day (for the jillionth time).

13. Birthday: October 18

14. How do you vent? I get really sarcastic and go off about something. It's very godly.

15. What was your favorite toy as a child? I'm not sure (Mom, do you know?), but I always enjoyed art supplies.

16. What is your favorite season? Summer.

17. Cherries or Blueberries? Eh.. neither are really my favorite.

18. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Sure, I'd like anyone who wants to take this to do so! They can email me their answers. :) I'd love to hear my readers' answers.

19. Who is the most likely to respond?  I'm not sure.

20. Who is least likely to respond? Tom Hanks.

21. Living situation?  I live alone.

22. When was the last time you cried?  I can't remember, but probably pretty recently (past week or so?) if just a few tears counts.

23. What is on the floor of your closet right now? Which closet? I have three. There's a laundry basket, a cradle my dad built for me, suitcases, a vacuum, wrapping paper.. lots of things.

24. Who is the person you have known the longest that you are sending to? My mom is the blog reader who I've known the longest (since I was a zygote).

25. What did you do last night? Watched lots of episodes of The Office, played Kingdom Rush, lazed like the laziest laze you've ever lazed eyes on.

26. What are you most afraid of? Something terrible happening to my nieces and nephews.

27. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? I love hamburgers of many sorts!

28. Favorite dog breed? Oh I don't know. Pomeranians are the cutest puppies, but not necessarily the best dogs (no offense, Rocky and Sheridan!). I don't have a lot of experience with many breeds.

30. How many states have you lived in? 4 or 5, depending on how you define "lived in."

31. Diamonds or pearls? Why this question? I don't understand how it stays on this list. I'm not big into gems, but emeralds are lovely and opals are my birthstone. I guess diamonds, though, out of those two choices.

32. What is your favorite flower?  Gardenias

33. What book are you reading?  The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King.

34. What is your favorite song?   I don't have a favorite.

35. Hobby?  Photography, computers, design, travel, laying around.

Okay, your turn!

Project 52 (52)

Here we are at the final photo! I can't believe it's been over a year since I first decided to do this. I am pretty sure I have another beaver or two featured in my weekly photos, but after getting some closer shots the other day, I felt like they represent a happy part of everyday life for me, particularly in the summer. I see them most evenings and some mornings. This guy was right near my side of the lake and I could hear him chewing away at these leaves. Look at his adorable paws!

BONUS: Similar photo but a different color scheme, and I liked it.

This project didn't really go as I had planned, but at least I finished it (even if a little late). I had a particular thought in mind, and only some of the photos ended up matching that idea. But all of them represent a simple and often pleasant part of everyday life. Life at my home, in nature, with my friends, and in my family.

I was going to make a little slideshow of all the photos, but apparently it's  impossible. Windows MovieMaker updated itself into an unusable program, and the other ones I've tried are not working.  Oh well. :) You may of course click on the project 52 tag (or that link I just provided you) to see the previous ones. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Art Journal - Prompts 10-16

I know you've been so [un]eager to see more journal pages! I've not been very good about posting these, so then you're bombarded with a bunch at once. Sorry! Heeeere we go.

As always, click images for a larger version. 

Prompt 9 - This was the 4th of July, which I decided to make a free day--no goals to accomplish. It worked out because the prompt was almost the same as the one I traded early on, and I didn't want to do it.

Prompt 10: Talk about stuff you collect, used to collect, etc. My heart wasn't really in this one. It's just not a topic of interest for me.

Prompt 11: Here we were supposed to talk about our favorites in each of these four categories.
Prompt 12: Talk about trends you like. I kind of explained my feelings about trends mostly.

Prompt 13: This topic was actually called "Silly Insecurities" but I don't find most of mine all that silly. :P 
I mean, in the grand scheme they are, but I don't think I'm silly for being aware of how others 
look at/judge people.
Prompt 14: Now we're supposed to talk about the good things about ourselves. I'm really not comfortable pointing things out because I fear people disagreeing
Prompt 15: Pretty self-explanatory. This was timely because I had been feeling very unmotivated and discouraged this day. It was helpful to rethink my goals to help me get back on track. I actually have a specific chart of goals for the next several weeks, but not everything was shared here (it's personal!).
Prompt 16: I'm not really putting in my best effort on these. Lame! Prompt 17 should be slightly more interesting. Stay tuned.

I wanted to let you know that my sister is going to try and post weekend journal prompts for those of you interested in doing this occasionally. You can jump in (or out) anytime. Head over to her journal and see the latest prompt. It's a fun activity and break from routine--I recommend it. It's given me some stuff to think about and I reflect on my tendencies when I'm working on it. Make sure to let us know if you do it--I'd love to see your pages! I really enjoyed following R's month of journal pages.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

State Fair Photo Contest

I have less than a month to submit photos for the Oregon State Fair photography contest. You may remember that I first submitted a photo a few years ago, and scored high enough to exhibit (but only barely), which was exciting for me, especially on my first try.

The following year I submitted two photos, and neither of them scored high enough to exhibit. That was disappointing, though I don't take it too personally since the judges make strange decisions at times. (Not that it's strange for me not to get chosen, just that I don't really understand what they are looking for, and some of their award decisions baffle me.)

The third year (last year), I completely forgot to get any photos in before the deadline. That almost happened again, but something reminded me yesterday and I found the deadline isn't until August 7th.

The problem is, I have no idea what photo(s) to submit. It's hard to think of a photo that is strong enough on its own (as opposed to being mixed in with 20 other photos in a blog post about a particular event). I can't just submit some regular naturey photo. Even if the exposure and focus is right, it needs to have some sort of unique/artsy factor. That's something I feel so many of my photos lack.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts, please say so. I was perusing my blog gallery and got a few ideas...

Like maybe something with snow (like the one on the right?).

Maybe a detail shot of some sort.

 Maybe a portrait that's not too portraity.

Part nature, part portrait?

I can submit more than one, but of course each one comes with expenses. The entry fee is small, but printing and mounting adds up, so I probably won't do more than two.

Anyway, just thinking out loud here. I guess I need some advice. The above photos aren't finalists in any way, they're just brainstorming material.

I'll probably post some journal pages for you later.

PS Kind of unrelated: if you're ever searching for an old post of mine, I do have a search bar at the bottom of the blog. Scroll down and you'll see it. You can plug in words you remember to find something. This came up because my sister was looking for my old butterfly posts, so I thought I'd pass that along to you guys, too. And of course there are tags over on the right, if you want to see several of one type of post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Portraits - L

Here are a few of the portraits I took of my niece L during her visit. Some of these are from the video, but most haven't been shown yet.

A better look at her hair. It took a long time to fix since she has so much, and I did kind of the cheater-hurried version! We watched Legally Blond while I fixed it, though, so it was fine.
Outfit and hair change!
(Poorly-composed outtake.)

L: (above smile)
ME: Okay now can you smile for real?
L: This is a real smile... for a squirrel.

A shot to show her hair again. I added a couple more little braids and put it all up in a bun, pulling out several pieces to curl over it. 

Quick flashback: here's another time when I fixed her hair. Look at how little she is! Little K is off to the right.
More silliness. L was a little burnt out from doing portraits, so I didn't make her do a lot of tedious posing at this point. :)
Beautiful! L, you're so grown up. You're a TEENAGER. How did that happen?
But I still sneak photos of you while you're sleeping. :)


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