Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

26 01 2010

This is a Polaroid transfer I made of an image I shot in Maine back in the 90s. The Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Muscongus Bay and Johns Bay, near the town of Bristol. Read about the history of the lighthouse here. Fun facts: Congress appropriated $4,000 for building the lighthouse in 1826. The land was purchased from its owners for just $90! It was built for just $2,800, and forty-year-old Isaac Dunham of Bath, Maine, became the first keeper at $350 per year. Check out the Pemaquid Point webcam here (it appears that today the snow has melted, but what a difference a day makes—check out the view from 1/24/2009 here).

Want to learn how to make Polaroid transfers from your slides? Check out Sarah Wichlacz’s visual tutorial here or download Holly Dupré’s free online book here.

I made all of my transfers using a Daylab Slide Printer and Polaroid 669 film. I still have a boatload of 669 film in my storeroom (stored in a cool, dry place, of course). I should get printer out and make some new images soon! Check out the collage of my favorite transfers in my posting on October 21, 2007 here.

I ran a “tell me your favorite garden story” contest with a pack of my notecards as the prize—and didn’t get even one bite. Kinda surprising you can’t give away free things these days! That posting can be found here. Anyone interested in free notecards? Tell me a story!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Sponge painting should be illegal.

7 08 2009

There. I said it (okay, typed it). I know I will offend some DIY’s out there who beg to differ. With the myriad painting treatments you can do to a wall, why on earth would you ever sponge paint one again? Ugh. There’s a reason that treatment didn’t stay around long. It’s U-G-L-Y. And no, it doesn’t matter if a master painter does it, either. Karen rented her lake house out last year and the tenants got creative in two of the bedrooms—the results were rather disastrous. This Exorcist-pea-soup green sponged room was actually the more tame of the two, if you can imagine that. I’ll share the worst room in a future post! I want to reiterate—while this is Karen’s lake house, she is not responsible for the “before” room treatments. She has much better taste, trust me.

If you ever hear a friend mention the word “sponge painting” when referencing what she envisions for a room in her home—remember—friends don’t let friends sponge paint! Color wash, yes. Stucco texture, if style appropriate and well done, have at it. Glazing, sure. Anything but sponge painting. I’ve never seen it done well. Ever. No need to send me photos or links or any other proof that it can be done well. I am my father’s daughter and I am stubborn. I cannot be swayed, at least not on this subject!

Karen and I painted the walls a seafoam blue and Joe painted the ceiling a bright white. Karen and I made padded headboards with MDF board, cotton batting, and upholstery fabric—very simple: we had Home Depot cut the sheet in half so we wouldn’t have to do any cutting at the lake. We wrapped the front with batting, then used a staple gun to tack on the fabric. It doesn’t get any easier than that! I bought the funky abstract rose-patterned fabric years ago and never had an occasion to use it until now.

I whitewashed the nightstand to give it a more rustic, shabby chic look. Karen already had the curtains. We raided our respective closets for some excess linens and bought the rest to tie the whole thing together. I’m envisioning a handmade something-or-another spanning the large wall behind the beds—perhaps a school of whimsical fish cut from wood or metal (Hey—Michael has a plasma cutter somewhere!)—something light and airy and floaty, perhaps?

This is the room Karen and Joe let me sleep one night this past February. It was the first time I stayed with them at the lake. This room was still sponged painted, unfortunately. Fortunately, you don’t notice it in the dark! They wanted me experience a sunrise on the lake. It was so beautiful! I photographed  and blogged about that first sunrise in a posting titled, “Room with a view.” I’ve been down there many times since and I always lay claim to this room—sure hope they don’t mind!

The room isn’t completely done yet, but it’s on its way!

More of our lake house makeovers to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lakehouse seafoam room





Amazing tree in downtown Key West

11 06 2009

I’m fairly certain that a Ficus aurea, or strangler fig, has taken over this tree (or group of trees) in downtown Key West. I did some research online and learned that they are common throughout the Caribbean and tropical Americas. You’ll find excellent and very detailed information about strangler figs with illustrative photos on this site: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ploct99.htm

Michael serves as my scale reference in the first photo. Doesn’t the second photo look like a backdrop from a Harry Potter movie? If I have misidentified this unusual tree, enlighten me!

THIS JUST IN…Artist Val Webb posted a comment on my garden-only site, http://www.gardenmuse.wordpress.com. Here is her comment:

“It has been many years since I visited Key West, but I seem to recall that the tree in question is a banyan tree. There is a large one on the Thomas Edison property there.”

I looked up “banyan tree” and learned that a banyan is a fig tree that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree. The seeds germinate and send down roots toward the ground, and may envelope part of the host tree…giving them the name of “strangler fig.” So apparently banyan is another name for it. Thanks for the input, Val!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

StranglerFig





What 20 bucks will get ya in Key West

5 06 2009

(Delicious bruschetta not included) While eating dinner Saturday night at Caroline’s on Duval Street, we watched a cockatoo dancing in time to reggae music on a nearby bench. The bird is on exhibit at Jungle Greg’s Rescued Animals booth in downtown Key West. A sign lists prices at $10 for each animal for photographs. He also had various birds and two large snakes on display. So Jungle Greg must have been feeling pretty good that night because he attached four birds to Michael for just $20 so I could get this shot. Whatta deal! The money goes to his rescue projects (at least that’s what the sign purports; the  animals on display aren’t rescues). I did observe that the animals were far more lively and conversational than the proprietors. But $20 isn’t too bad considering he usually charges $30 (plus tax) to shoot a photo for you and that gets you one 4×6. As we were leaving, two twenty-somethings came up and said, “we’re scared to death of birds, but can we get a photo of the python wrapped around our necks?”

Coming soon: See how fast you can part with $35 in 15 minutes in the tropics!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Bruschetta & Birds





Weekend in Key West!

4 06 2009

That title should explain my brief (and abrupt) exit from my blog. Michael and I flew into Key West on Saturday afternoon. We spent that evening exploring Key West, followed by a visit to a botanical garden and a butterfly conservatory on Sunday. Late Sunday afternoon we met up with the parents of the groom, Kathy and Kevin (groom’s parents), who are my parent’s neighbors in San Antonio. They had asked us to join them at their timeshare in Key West; the trip soon morphed into the impromptu sailboat-at-sunset wedding of their son, Austin, and his lovely bride, Chantell. I was asked to photograph the event and was thrilled to do so. This is just one of the photos I’ll be posting. I shot this shortly after they said their “I do’s.” (Notice the sunset behaved well for the shot, too!) It was the most fun wedding I’ve ever photographed (and I’ve shot over 100 of them since college)! Chantell and Austin—with their unbridled energy, enthusiasm, and sparkling white smiles (not much to improve in Photoshop there!)—were such a joy to photograph. Perfect weather, perfect wedding, perfect couple with perfect smiles, perfect day!

We had to get back so I could photograph an event for the American Horticultural Society (which I’m leaving for now, in fact), so we (sadly) couldn’t stay with them the rest of the week. This was our second time in Key West, but we saw quite a bit more than we did on our first trip many years ago. I felt like we were in some exotic country—almost forgot we were still in the U.S. It’s quite a different atmosphere—lizards, iguanas, roosters and chickens running loose everywhere…very laid-back atmosphere…brightly colored cottages and exotic flowers in bloom…and bicyclists and mopeds galore. It was a short but very adventurous four days!

More photos to come of botanical garden lizards and flowers, butterflies, Key West shots, parrots, Hemingway’s house, cats, boats, interesting clouds, dolphins, snorkeling…and, of course, more wedding and sailboat shots.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Chantell Austin Wedding