Photograph – Rainy Day Trio

I ventured out with my umbrella today for City Sonnet’s Umbrella Challenge. It also was the perfect opportunity to take photos for my first time posting on Dutch Goes the Photograph’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of Trio. Here’s my trio of trios for the challenge.

Wisteria Pods

Barberry Berries

Bald Cypress Cones

If the temperatures were colder we’d be covered in a blanket of snow. Locations a bit north of us might be getting their first snowfall today. In the Mid-Atlantic state of New Jersey, my home, we’ve had more rain in 2018 than I can ever remember.

“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.
New Jerseyans have been humming that tune to no avail for what seems like all of 2018, a year that is poised to go down as one of the wettest in our state’s recorded history.”
~ Asbury Park Press

Too bad a challenge word today wasn’t ‘doozy,’ because that is exactly what the Farmer’s Almanac forecasts for New Jersey’s Winter of 2019. Oh my, considering the weather pattern of the last months I can easily believe the Almanac is right.

Photographs & Quotes – Morning Walk, November, Glen Lake

I often walk or bike to a small pond near my home to admire the way the surrounding landscape perfectly depicts the changing seasons. This week the beauty of Autumn was painted there in glorious colors by the Father of all Creation.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

                                                 ~ G.K. Chesterton

“This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable.”

                                        ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.”

                                                   ~ A.W. Tozer

This post is part of Sunday Trees.

Place – Mullica Hill in Doors

A photo of a purple door seemed a perfect starting point for  Norm’s Thursday Doors. I found this door and several other compelling additions to the post in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, a town near me known for antiques.

I loved the idea this shop used for their open and closed sign. I was disappointed they were closed and I couldn’t look inside, the porch…

…and the yard…

… were full of great ideas and interesting treasures.

Across the way I found a house with a beautifully wreathed door.

A sign named it the Ellis Shivers House established in 1771.

Displayed near one of the antique shops was this acrylic pour pumpkin. I would have never thought of creating the look over a pumpkin. Guess what I’ll be attempting next year? The uncontrolled painting style was the perfect choice for today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt/Loose.

Phlowers & Photograph – Rose of Sharon

My Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) photograph is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Today is an overcast day in southern New Jersey…again. We’ve had a very wet summer and it looks like the upcoming Autumn season might bring the same. When I take a walk a little later in the morning, I will be sure and grab my camera to take along. I have found grey days create an amazing background for skyline photographs. The moisture in the air forms a screen of sorts, and shadows magically appear within the mistiness surrounding the plant. You can see this effect in the unretouched photo above.

A few years ago a generous friend sent me seeds from her Rose of Sharon bush. This sweet little tree is the result. I grew it in the house for quite a while, and then, when I felt it was hardy enough, planted it outdoors. It has thrived this summer and grown to about three feet tall. Plants given to me by friends always bring me great joy.

The leaves of the Rose of Sharon are glossy and green and don’t appear to be tempting to many garden pests. Hooray. Thanks again to the kind lady who sent me these seeds. You can find excellent growing and pruning tips for Rose of Sharon at The Spruce.

These photographs are part of Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by today.

Photographs & Perspective – Autumn Bound

My family often gathers together for Thursday evening dinner. The conversation last night turned toward summer’s end, and the finish of fun activities, picnics, and warm weather. The swimming season at lake and pool is over, school is starting next week, and coatless weather will soon be replaced with jackets and hats. Since my sons have been working in high heat and humidity outdoors, they aren’t sorry to see temperatures in the 90’s disappear, but we all wish the freedom and fun of summer would never vanish. The calendar might proclaim summer not ending for twenty-two days, but Labor Day weekend in the U.S. always seems to announce Autumn.

Although they bloom all summer, sunflowers are commonly associated with Autumn. I recently found these beauties growing in the front of a neighbor’s home. The day was overcast, the sun still rising, and the grey of the sky created an unearthly backdrop for these beauties. I think they will be perfect to use as the September header image for the blog. Good-bye August…Hello September.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Fandango One Word Challenge (FOWC) – Bound

Photographs & Phlowers – Poppies and a Weather Vane on the 4th of July

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! 

Beautiful fringed poppies are growing in my garden. I don’t know what’s prettier, the flower or the pods they develop after blooming.

Today’s 4th of July Weather Vane Wednesday.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Photographs – Summer Creativity


A seashore or bay town is usually a boon to the creative spirit of its inhabitants. This horizontal line-up of birdhouses on the porch of a trailer in Fortescue, New Jersey, is a testament to creativity, and also a good photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Horizontal Lines.

I was surprised to find CREATIVITY listed as a virtue by Virtues for Life. This virtue, for me personally, is a lot easier to achieve than some of the stickier virtues…such as ‘Flexibility or Detachment,’ two virtues I have trouble following at times.

Another good example of horizontal lines is this flat-bottomed boat appropriately named, ‘The Greenhead Hotel.’ If you’ve ever been to the Delaware Bay or another New Jersey salt marsh in summer you won’t need to be told what greenhead implies. Once bitten by a greenhead fly you will never forget the name or the big pinch of the bite.

I’ll close this post with one of my favorite quotes on creativity.

Background – Elephant Ear leaf.

Photographs – Swampy Security

We took a bike ride this morning on the local trail. The ride takes us past a swampy area. Today we noticed a pair of ducks in the water. They are probably a nesting pair. What a perfectly secure spot to raise a family of ducklings. The soft ground keeps large predators away, making it easier for the ducks to raise their family to adulthood.

Photographs & Pheathers – After the Storm/Skywatch Friday

It’s rainy and overcast again. In our area ‘April Showers’ are usually a reality and not just a cliché. I took a few photographs of the sky as the sun came out and broke through the storm clouds. I enjoyed the way the light illuminated one side of the trees with the backdrop of grey sky still behind them. The birds looked a little rain-weary, not really moving around too much, giving me a chance to zoom in and get a few interesting photos as they dried off.

If you have a chance take a peek at the Skywatch Friday BlogSpot for some stunning sky photographs. My photographs were taken within a half hour’s time, the storm cleared out quickly, the sun and wind are miraculous at breaking the clouds up and blowing them away.

Photographs & Postcards – Throwback Thursday/Teaberry Gum & Photo Tweaking

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Does anyone remember the flavor of Teaberry Gum?

“Clark’s Teaberry is a brand of chewing gum which the D. L. Clark Company of Pittsburgh’s north side purchased the patent from Charles Burke, who experimented with various flavors of chewing gum in the basement of 533 McClintock Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Teaberry is currently marketed by Clark Gum Company in Buffalo, New York, and made in Mexico. The gum dates to 1900” ~ Wikipedia

I haven’t seen Teaberry Gum in any large grocers or box stores for many years, but it is still sold in my local Amish Market dry goods store. The flavor is distinctive and so is the aroma.

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I searched in vain for a copyright free photograph of someone blowing a bubble. I finally resorted to two favorite sites I use for photo tweaking: Adobe Photoshop (Paint, a free computer application also works well for cutting away backgrounds) and the free photo editing site PicMonkey. Most of the applications on PicMonkey are free. The image I used was a postcard stamped with a 1920 postmark.

I cut away the background in Adobe, and used PicMonkey to add the transparent pink bubble.

For those of you who are not sure about images you can use for your blog, look up public domain image laws. I can rest assured that I can use this postcard because it was created and sent before 1920, and the copy I use for my art is owned by me.

“A great source of true public domain images that are available to you are old books and postcards. Look inside the book at the publishing details, if the date of publishing is before 1923, you can legally scan or photograph these images and use at your leisure. The same applies to old photographs and postcards, if the original pre-dates 1923, you can use the image for your purposes without permission or payment.” ~Ebay

Phun & Photographs – Color Your World – 120 of Crayola

Today I discovered that Jennifer Nichole Wells is running her Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola challenge again. I enjoyed taking part in this last year, and hope to create several posts that fit in with many of the Crayola color themes.

The color of the day is Burnt Sienna. This is one of my favorite colors to use when painting in watercolor. Burnt Sienna brings an earthiness to any color it is mixed into.

A good example of burnt sienna in nature is fallen leaves, much like these my backyard squirrels have woven into their winter nest.

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Seen from a distance, this nest appears precarious. Perched on the end of a trimmed branch it seems likely to fall.

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When I zoom in with my camera though, I see it is a masterful design, the leaves held in place by dozens of small twigs that have sprouted from the cut end. What a great squirrel condo, and also a good example of the many tones of burnt sienna. I would love to take a peek inside at the interior of the nest.

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I’m also adding another photo of our friendly neighborhood biscuit-loving dog. He is definitely blessed with a heavy coat of burnt sienna…many tones of brown and orange make up his fur. My blogging friend SusieShy asked me if he was a stray. I was able to say no, with surety, since he is wearing a Christmas kerchief around his neck.

Photographs – Dark and Light

A few examples of winter sunshine.

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“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8:12

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The late-day sunshine of December set these trees ablaze outside my windows. When I lowered the top pane to take a photograph unobstructed by the glass, birdsong filled the air. A group of grackles, on barren limbs, were singing an evening-song to put the day to rest.

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These photos are a part of Dark to Light – Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Photographs & Postcards – Try Tweaking!

angel-baby

I’ve shared my love of vintage postcards in past posts…today I want to share a bit of photograph-tweaking using an old postcard. This beautiful postcard features a Victorian angel in feathers on the front. The postmark of 1911 is still visible on the back of the card. Postcards of this age are copyright free and available to use in artwork and designs.

I usually don’t use an image in a stand alone fashion when I use copyright free art. So, I tweaked the original through Adobe Photoshop and one of my very favorite sites, PicMonkey.

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I treasure my little cherub, and even better, printing her/him out does not take a lot of printer ink. I am going to use this image for some gift tags and possibly in the future for baby shower gift cards. I enjoy the thought that this artist’s work lives long past the 100+ years ago it was created. Maybe our combined efforts in this altered version will live for 100 more. Thanks for looking!

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Photographs – Cee’s Challenge/Light Green

coleus

I enjoy taking part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges now and then. Since I have quite a few good examples of light greens in my garden today…the challenge was perfect. Here are a few examples of my Light Greens

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Many of my coleus are blooming, hopefully producing seeds for next year’s garden. I love the light green color on many of the leaves.

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Hydrangeas are another good example of a plant with a beautiful array of green, the deep green of the leaves is the perfect backdrop for the flowers, aging from pink to light green before they fall.

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I’m not sure what type of mint this plant is, but the bees don’t care about the name, they love the nectar and pollen they find in its tiny white flowers. When the bloom is finished the plant forms interesting, light green pods.

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These gigantic Nicotiana plants are volunteers. Where they came from is a mystery, but I’m glad they decided to grow in the cracks of my sidewalk and along the edge of my garden. I love the brilliant light green of the leaves. They might not have time to blossom before first frost, but I have my fingers crossed.

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Photographs – Take a Walk/February

Seasons-“Share an image evocative of the weather or represent the current “season of your life” in metaphor.

– WordPress Photo Challenge

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In February, my area of the world becomes a landscape of grey and brown. The absence of foliage creates in me  a renewed appreciation for the form of tree limbs against the winter sky.

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Vines, hidden by leaves in warmer months, fascinate me as they twist and turn around the tree branches that support their winding attempt to reach the sun.

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The sweet-smelling blossoms of the Autumn Clematis, growing along the banks of the creek, have disappeared, leaving behind mahogany (Color Your World – 120 Days of Crayola) seeds in a cloud of snowy fluff.

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Shallow puddles and ponds form an ephemeral mosaic.

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Daylight is once again lengthening, bringing the slumbering wildlife out of their burrows for water and food.

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The emerging leaves of celandine is a sure sign that Spring is on the way.