Lake Lavon

27 01 2012

I shot this image of a part of Lake Lavon as we were leaving my younger sister’s home in Wylie, TX on Tuesday morning, en route from San Antonio back to Virginia. Despite recent rains, the lake is still 12 feet below normal. At its deepest, the lake is only 40-45 feet deep. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) receives raw water supplies from Lavon Lake, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni, and Lake Bonham for treatment and distribution to the region served. The North Texas Municipal Water District serves hundreds of thousands of North Texans. Learn more about the effects of drought on Lake Lavon here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Craft Studio: Earrings for Debbie

23 01 2012

I made these for my sister, Debbie, a few days ago. I hold her, as well as her friend Diana (who invited us over to her home to learn how to do crochet wire and bead necklaces last March) responsible for this beading kick I’ve been off and on since then (as if I really needed another hobby?). For these pieces, the bead types include resin, lampwork, Czech glass, porcelain, pewter, glass pearls, polished stone, hematite, abalone shell and wood.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The (not so) Orphaned Images Project: Kindergarten graduation day

22 01 2012

From kindergarten through fourth grade I lived in San Antonio on 155 Farrell Drive in a little white ranch style house. My dad closed in our tiny carport to make a den (and did the same thing in the next house) so we would have more room. Our front porch was long and narrow, flanked by a low brick flower bed full of deep purple Wandering Jew plants.

Directly across the street lived “Aunt Opal.” I’m not sure why we called her “Aunt,” because she wasn’t a relative to any of us in the class or on Farrell Drive. She operated a kindergarten out of her home and had 11 kids enrolled when I attended. She, along with my father, were the first two people to encourage me to draw when they saw my creative potential. I remember one of my first drawing assignments was to draw a rose using colored pencils. Aunt Opal showed us how to draw the petals with a series of crescent moon shapes grouped together. I think I still have that drawing somewhere—temporarily misplaced in a safe place completely unknown to even me, of that I’m sure.

At left is my class graduation photo. I’m in the front row, second from the left, with my mouth hanging open. I certainly don’t look like the brightest of her students, but I’d truly like to believe I was. (Girls in front—as it should be!)

Aunt Opal wore June Cleaver-like, flowered dresses in polished cotton, accessorized with a single strand of pearls, big pearl button earrings, and dark cat-eye glasses. She had perfectly coiffed hair, sparkling blue eyes and looked a bit like the TV character Hazel. She always drank Tab after school was let out for the day. I know this because I shared one with her on more than one occasion while waiting for my mother to come home from work to walk me from school across the street to our house. Ah, my first diet cola—let’s blame Aunt Opal for our affinity for them now, shall we?

After driving by that house a few years ago, I blogged about 155 Farrell Drive in “Pressed between the pages of my mind,” here. You can read about how my younger sister and I staged pool parties in our back yard, sold lemonade to neighbor children and how I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was eight years old. That same plant-filled brick flower bed was where one Valentine’s Day, my classmate, Darren, dropped off a box of chocolate for me, rang the doorbell, then ran away. I’ve been scaring boys away ever since!

I was taken back to that time again recently when I came across the two photos below in a dresser drawer in my parent’s guest room. Now you get to see that Aunt Opal was just as I had described her—perfect coif, polished pearls, sensible pumps and all. Below that photo, I’m on our front porch in front of the flower box, proudly holding my first diploma.

Want to learn more about The Orphaned Images Project? Learn about the origin of the project here. Visit the site at  http://orphanedimages.wordpress.com/





FAVE: Literary classics poster-ized

20 01 2012

Yesterday I received a lovely comment from blogger Ben Cohen-Leadholm. Ben’s website, My Family Activities, “helps parents claim their mojo through family activities that don’t suck.” Do check out his site if you have children and have, as Ben frames it, “pretty much stopped growing as a person independent of your children.” The site showcases a plethora of interesting family activities as well as great interviews with parents who have “kept their mojo intact” despite having children.

In his comment on this blog, Ben sent me links items that he thought might be of interest to me and I really loved this one—posters with great works of literature dropped into a silhouette shape pertaining to that particular subject. I also like the clever name of the UK company that produces them—Spineless Classics. Click “browse” on their site to see the many other titles available. Below are The House of the Baskervilles and Peter Pan.

I am so bookmarking this site! (I can order every one of them when I win a lottery and build a house where the library takes up half of the square footage. I’m off to buy a ticket because, in the words of Ed McMahon, “remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter!”)

Check out Ben’s review of this wonderful product on his website here. I wish I had the space to include several in my library—but that would entail getting rid of bookcases and books in order to make room for them!

Below is Ben’s comment, along with other links he suggested. Thanks for the comment and the links, Ben. I’m adding your site to my blogroll.

What a terrific site, Cindy! So glad to have found it. You have wonderful taste and a great diversity of interests. My main focus is fun, unique family activities, but I also keep an eye out for compelling design that’s relevant to parents. Here are some things I thought might interest you: great works of literature on single poster sheet, beautiful and crafty wall murals for kids’ rooms, impressive pirate ship kids’ room. Thanks again for sharing your own content! Love it! Cheers, Ben





Autumn Johnson’s debut in Hearing Loss Magazine

19 01 2012

I photographed Autumn Johnson this past fall to build up my hearing-related stock photo file. Leslie Lesner, an audiologist and owner of Lesner Hearing Center in Alexandria, graciously help us set up the shots in her office and she also modeled for me. I also got shots of several of my favorite subjects (Hannah, Margot and Karen) getting their hearing tested, being shown various models of hearing aids and getting fitted for hearing aids. The images will be used in the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine and other materials for the Hearing Loss Association of America.

In this shot below, Autumn is getting her hearing tested by Leslie. The shot was used to illustrate the feature article, Getting it Right the First Time: Best Hearing Aid Practices by author Brad Ingrao, AuD.

From the small world department: When Autumn and her mother, Virginia, arrived at Leslie’s office, they realized that Leslie had actually been one of Autumn’s audiologists during her hearing loss diagnosis many years ago!

A literary nod: Autumn’s mother, Virginia Johnson, is a librarian at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. She and co-author Barbara Crookshanks wrote Virginia Horse Racing: Triumphs of the Turf, published by The History Press in 2008 and reprinted in 2011. Read more about their book here and order it on Amazon here.





Re-post: Rhymes with orange

19 01 2012

Originally posted January 30, 2009

For several months now I’ve been trying to catalog my images better, bit by bit (there are thousands and thousands of photos). While organizing my garden photos folder I noticed that I have a plethora of orange-hued flowers so I put together this collage of all things orange-ish to brighten your winter day.

Tangerine. Coral. Day-glow orange. Push-up popsicle orange. Sunset. Pumpkin. 70s shag carpet orange (I did window display at a department store while in college and there was multi-shaded orange shag carpet in each window. Do you know how hard it is to design around that color scheme? I covered it up every chance I got—with a decorating budget of zilch, unfortunately. I asked for $5 once for a huge set of markers and my boss freaked out).

Orange peel. Safety orange. Salmon (did you know that the “l” in salmon is silent? The correct pronunciation is “sam-uhn.” Don’t believe me? Click here).

Frou-frou-big-bowed-bridesmaid-dress-apricot (yes, I had to wear one once upon a time).

Carrot. Persimmon. Vermilion. Orange-red. Rusty can orange. Burnt orange. Tomato. Panama Brown orange (the color Dad insists his old diesel VW Rabbit was—sorry, Dad, it was orange).

After a week of designing at the computer in a cold basement, pausing only to look out at winter gray skies (save for that remarkable sunset on Wednesday), I needed a jolt of color to inspire me. What better color than orange?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

rhymeswithorange





Re-post: Photographs? Well, not technically.

18 01 2012

Originally posted 1.28.2010 and 1.28.2011

A few years ago I dabbled in scanning flowers on my Epson flatbed scanner and got some pretty good results. The technique works best if you can cover the flower arrangement with a dark piece of fabric or black cardboard. While the original images were nice “record” shots of my flowers, I wanted to do something more with them. I ran the scanned images through some artsy Photoshop filters to give them a romantic, soft-focus glowy look. So there you have it…photographs without a camera!

Not long after I toyed with the process, I saw an exhibit of photographer Robert Creamer’s images at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. These large-scale works were amazing! He scanned all sorts of things—dead birds, flowers, fruit, bones, and more. You can read more about his Smithsonian exhibit here and see more of his work on his website here. Watch the video here for a demonstration of his setup.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.