Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Breast Pockets for Melanie

Wallowing in ones condition isn't conducive to healing, of that I am certain! When Melanie sent out a call for 1000 breast pockets I took on the challenge; a much needed one. The five pockets might have grown to a stack of at least 10, but a round of chemo a week ago had it's say and that's that. I'm learning to listen to my body.

The first person in our family to have breast cancer was my Aunt Gladys. For the last eight years she's had a clean bill of health. But even after radiation had been successful eight years ago that doesn't necessarily mean that can be counted on;  just this last year she had recurrence followed by two unsuccessful surgeries. At 89 she's made the decision to end the battle and just live day to day until it's her time. What grace! (the cancer is non-aggressive)
    My aunt's humor is so similar to that of my dad's that often when I'm talking to her it's as if I'm having a conversation with my dad who passed away 12 years ago.
   One of my aunt's favorite colors is pink and another one is golden yellow. This hand-dyed piece of fabric honors my aunt for all she's been to me and her family. A loving and caring aunt!

Nellie, of Nellie's needles, and I have been cyber friends for quite some time. We'd been out of touch for awhile until a post on FB appeared letting readers know she was doing okay after a double mastectomy. Huh? Stunned, I reread the post a number of times. I was having my own cancer event and so was someone I knew. We reconnected and now have more in common than our art. 
     I've been a huge fan of Nellie's art since I discovered her through a mutual cyber friend. Cyber friends are the best!
    The above pocket is a hand-dyed piece that shares a color combo of many of the spectacular sunsets that Nellie often shares on her blog and FB page. 

The hand-dyed fabric below also honors Nellie who is known for her use of creative embellishments in her work, thus, two copper verdigris hearts.

Mom's pocket. Last year mom had her own breast cancer event, but being that she's so deep into Alzheimer's she's never been aware of it. I continue to take care of her and am amazed at how foreign her body is to her. Where there used to be arthritis and back pain and might have been pain from a mastectomy she seems to longer  respond to pain. Alzheimer's is more than memory loss.
Mom loved denim jeans and jackets and at 87 she still looks great in them. This hand-dyed stitched piece is for mom whose strength I daily feel as I continue on my journey.
I has assumed my journey was full enough with losses and challenges but it wasn't until last April when I was faced with the largest one yet that I wondered if I had what it takes to deal with the entire package that comes with breast cancer treatment. I'm still discovering if I'm up to the challenge. But so far I've come through a mastectomy and 4 rounds of chemo better than I expected. I look forward to the day when I can say, "I'm doing great," rather than, "hanging in there."

    And so this last breast pocket is for me. A little unbalanced perhaps, but that's where
 I'm presently at.

Kudos to Melanie Testa!

Quote: what strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialized or done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life? Michel Foucault

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Breast Pockets

I never thought breast cancer would effect my family; not one member of my family had battled it, though, there were other cancers. Eight years ago my aunt had a lumpectomy and last year my mother had a mastectomy and was placed on a hormone for 5 years. And then in April with my head still buried in the sand I was told by an RN and Radiologist that I was about to take a detour. I absolutely never thought I would have cancer of any kind much less through end up with a mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and a hormone for five years. I've decided that the brutal treatments are a way of cleaning the slate, so to speak, and giving me an opportunity of building a new immune system. I'm sure that sounds hokey, but the old immune system wasn't serving me very well and chemo blasts away everything in it's path without regard to good or bad. The days are mostly gray but once in awhile the gray recedes enough that I can see down the road to a time when this will be behind me.

I joined Melanie's call for Breast Pockets. Check it out on her blog. She hopes to have 1000 pockets. I have 3 nearly done and two more planned. One for my aunt, one for my mom, one for me and two for a dear friend Nellie.
   The piece, above never went anywhere so I'm cutting some of it up for pockets.
Please join Melanie's call for 1000 breast pockets; breast cancer effects us all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thankful Tuesday

Much to be thankful for today. Three rounds of chemo behind me, one more to go. 
Six years ago we moved into our new house; the garden is now fully grown, in fact the gardeners need a machete to keep it tame. Plants tend to grow fast here in the desert.

 Just over three years ago my guy and I were in Italy. These two images are of the Palatine adjacent to the Colosseum in Rome.

What a meal at Zi Cir La Maddalena! I can still feel the balmy air on my skin when I nearly swooned over this plate of Gnocchi; the best I've ever had.

Somewhere in Rome.

Quote: sometimes I go about with pity for myself and all the while Great
Winds are carrying me across the sky.
Ojibway saying.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dave's Recipe Book Project

I started the cactus bloom study with a Canon digital camera before moving onto the iPhone and apps. The bloom is about ready to burst ope in the above shot.

Photographed with a Canon digital camera. Manipulated in PSE; highlights and shadows.

 Photographed with iPhone  Camera+  app. > cropped > scenery filter.
 Photographed with iPhone camera+ app. > cropped > clarity filter.
Photographed with iPhone camera+ app. > clarity filter > magic hour effects.

Monday, September 17, 2012


The monitor is out of color balance so I can't seem to get this piece to look right, the colors that is. It's brighter than it looks on my monitor. I don't have the patience to fuss with anything. Anyway, it's a fabric piece that I did some time ago. The background piece is hand-dyed in purple and yellow. The next layer is splashes of black paint on fabric and the focal piece is rubber band stamped with metallic acrylic paint.

My birthday is tomorrow and I guess what I'll remember most about this birthday is that I'm half way through four rounds of chemo and my hair has started falling out. Not exactly the same kind of birthday I had three years when my guy took me to Vegas to see Cher and Cirque du Soleil.

What can I say about chemo except that it's like Chernobyl exploding in my body. I'm supposedly receiving a mild chemo combo but my immune system thinks otherwise. I am grateful though that the cancer was in the early stages so most likely I'll be okay. Who knows though what kind of damage the chemo is and will do in the long run. I'll be working on building a strong and healthy immune system as soon as the nasty chemo rounds are over which should be around Oct. 11th.

Quote: Joy is not in things; it is in us. Richard Wagner

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Thankful Thursday

 Arles, France, 1997 photographed from a moving car in Vincent van Gough country.
Arles, France, 1997 view from restaurant at sunset. 

I'm thankful for the memories!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Distractions needed

 Orvieto, Italy revisited. This photo was sent to the iPhone and edited using a lot of apps. of which I didn't take notes of. Too scattered.
 Taken with the iPhone and edited a lot! A cactus has decided that it needs to be taller than the roof top and it's nearly succeeded. I nearly missed a bloom that had grown for over a week and only opens for 24 hours. It's magnificent, but the background isn't.  Somehow I eliminated the cluttered background in PSE; I'm clueless about what I did, but it worked.
Another version of the same image.

So, why do I  need the distraction? I often think that I've aired too many personal things on this blog so when the latest challenge hit I went off of the radar. I don't even know where to begin so I'll just say that I'm dealing with breast cancer and so far I've had a mastectomy and will start chemo soon. It was discovered in mid-May. I'm still in shock.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Marilyn in Palm Springs

 The 25-foot high statue of Marilyn Monroe arrived from Chicago last month; she'll reside in Palm Springs for a year. We were driving by on the way back from the Aerial Tramway so I was able to get
2 photographs of her before the signal turned green. 
Digital Camera > iPhone > Camera+ > portrait. 2nd photo, Photo Noir. 3rd photo ?. 4th photo same as first.
 Earlier in the month, May 14th, downtown Palm Springs, Lulu's for lunch, outdoors. The misters were on, 109 temp, which makes for interesting photos.  Below, taken from same spot.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

 Memorial Day Weekend seemed the perfect time to finally take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to San Jacinto State Park; World's largest rotating tram cars. It was 85 degrees in the parking lot and when we traveled 2.5 miles in 10 minutes the temp plummeted to 35 degrees. It's been way too long since both of my daughters, son-in-law and 2 grandsons did something like this; it felt like a mini-vacation.
 We had an early dinner at the Peaks Restaurant and then ventured out onto the decks to take in the view and of course photograph.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a  very clear evening; the digital camera wasn't able to capture the images
I hoped for. I uploaded a quite a few photos to the iPhone and used Camera+ to improve the photos
with filters, mostly the clarity one.

 Lovely alpine mountains at the summit.
 The photo below: PhotoArtista > Impressionism.
It's Still Life begins June 3rd on The Pulse . I believe the Still Life I created will be posted 6/3. Thanks Seth!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

May moon

 Usually the moon is either too high or low in the sky. And to think that I nearly missed getting some images with palm fronds in the foreground.

All hand-dyed, painted and stamped fabrics cut into strips and stitched together; it's a beginning.

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.  ~Voltaire

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Full Moon

 Nope, not taken with the iPhone. Full Moon, nearly.
Self-portrait. iPhone > Photoforge > grungestastic > image blender > camera+ filter, clarity.
Medium format camera, 1980's, black and white film, Shell Gas Station. Canon SX10IS, 2009, Italy. Fountain in Tarquinia. > iPhone > Image blender.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Garden Study

 As usual when the cacti are in bloom there is a race to take photos when the blooms are in shade and before they close up shop. This one nearly didn't happen. I was finished photographing so I barely aimed the iPhone and was blown away hours later when I discovered that the flower was perfectly positioned against a stone. Hipstamatic > Pic Grunger.
Photographed against the Agave is about all I know about this image.
Grapes on the vine growing up the post of the Pergola. Again, I don't know how many apps I used. Sometimes it's more fun to just try a lot of things rather than keep notes. (more photos over on my other blog. )

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apps. Recipe Book

A thirty minute study of the park next to the Library, La Quinta. Within a few yards I was able to capture numerous photos, all done blind due to the sun obscuring the iPhone screen. I was blown away by this one as I was only hoping for a decent image of the palm tree. Love the texture! The background was a plus. Apps: Camera+ image. and? I'm clueless as to what I did next.

 The goal for this one was to frame the Gazebo with the palm trees and hope that the fountain in the pond was in the image. Apps: Camera+ image cropped with clarity scene > ArtistaOil >; Oil portrait #4.
 Sculpture against mountains. Apps: Camera+ image > portrait scene.> and then?
Apps: Camera+ image > cropped > clarity scene.

More Apps recipes are posted below, on this blog, and on my other blog.
For this month's Apps Recipe Book be sure to check out the links on Dave's blog

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wing of an Angel

Sometimes it's good to sit at the computer and create with PSE. I'm enamored with the iPhone, so much so that I wonder if I'll remember how to take a photo with a digital camera; the brain cells aren't what they used to be.

Dave's April Recipe Apps Book

 April's Recipe App. Book will be posted on Dave's blog on April 25. I thought I'd get a jump-start.
Photo of twigs taken with Camera+ on the iPhone. Opened in Photoforge2 > pop! cam > color max cool > texture > paper 10 > frame.
 Every year when this cactus blooms I grab the camera and and try to outdo the images of the year before. I didn't have the iPhone last year; the blooms only last from sunrise to sunset. The photo was taken with Camera+ and cropped before saving it and opening it in Photoforge2. I chose Photoforge2 as the go-to app for April. White balance > Clarify > Fx > Gothic > pop! Cam > color max warm.
 Agave shot with Camera+, cropped, saved > Photoforge2 > shadows highlights adjusted > white balance > Gothic > texture, Paper 9 > frame, white.

I used this Pompeii image last month for the App Recipe Book and after using Photo Noir a few times I thought this image might be a good choice for Noir.

There are a few more photos on my other blog.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Apps

 The bougainvillea blossoms are white, of course. The image was taken with Camera+ on the iPhone and then Gungetastic manipulated using various textures.
The top of a 27 year old Saguaro Cactus that was only one foot tall when I moved here; it obviously didn't like living along the foggy  Monterey Coast. The Saguaro proudly stands at 3 feet tall now. I have no idea how many apps this went through until I ended up with this. It's time to start thinking about removing the Cactus from the pot and putting it into the ground where it will live indefinitely.