Monday, May 15, 2017

TINY TRIP, TINY HOUSE, TINY BIT TIRED...

I took a tiny trip to Tennessee...
I took a tiny hike upon a tiny trail...



 I saw a waterfall flowing wild and free...

I spent the night in a tiny house nestled in a tiny dale...












 I wandered through a tiny forest of karst limestone topography... 







I let out a tiny sigh, my how the time did fly...
I was so content, standing sheltered under the aged trees...


I turned and bid Tennessee goodbye...

We were so limited on time that we were not able to hike down to the bottom of Cummins Falls in Cookeville, TN but we did take the tiny hike to the overlook.  If you look closely at the photo you can see people at the base of the falls swimming.

The tiny house we stayed in overnight was built by an Amish Woodworker and the workmanship was amazing.  It was so comfortable, clean, and well appointed.  There is another pink tiny house on the grounds as well as a cabin style tiny house being built. Hammocks hang from trees for guests to relax in and stone fire pits stand at the ready for marshmallow roasting. The rental price for these little hidden gems is beyond reasonable ( tiny house for rent ) 

The 10 acre property is privately owned with gorgeous woodland trails with limestone karst topography. Karst topography is a landscape that is formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.   The owner of the property thinks there is an underground cave system that may have been created over time by the ebb and flow of the large lake that skirts the property.

If you are ever in the area of Galatin, TN you MUST eat at Mabel's Dining Room!  Best melt in your mouth non greasy catfish dinner you will ever dine on, truly a taste of heaven on a plate!

This was literally a whirlwind trip, 48 hours to be exact, but we managed to squeeze a little fun in between business.  I am off to plan my next adventure!

Blessings,
Sandy 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

ARTIST FIELD KIT CLASS KITS LISTED IN THE SHOPPE...

This is it!  Registration has officially begun at Artful Gathering 2017 Online Art Retreat!  Class Kits have been listed in my Etsy Shoppe for those students who wish to purchase them.  Kits are $25.00 + shipping.  Kit contents are listed in the Shoppe listing.  Please note that you must use the Student Code in the comments section to order a kit. 
 

Please note the a kits is not necessary to take the class.  I have lovingly prepared and packaged a limited number of kits (25 while supplies last) and made them available to those who might wish to save on some of the prep work of the project process.  If you have any questions leave me a comment or contact me via email at srpbabb@mail.com

I am excited and I hope you are too!

Blessings,
Sandy

Thursday, April 6, 2017

DRINKING IN THE BEAUTY...

"There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations."
~Washington Irving~
My every morning delight is to traverse from room to room in my home unveiling the living picture scenes that are views from my windows, letting in the sunbeams and washes of light.  I take the time to pause and gaze through each framed view anticipating what I might see.  On this particular spring morning it was a scene from a woodland fairy tale filled with birds, squirrels and butterflies.  New leaves in all shades of greens had burst forth from the nights cool rain and the warmth of the morning sun.  Tiny wildflowers and blooming weeds dotted the lawn.  I wanted to be a part of that world, so I set off on a walk on the new trail we are forging on the back side of our property...come walk with me and drink in the beauty...

At the trail head velvety new oak leaves are unfurling in the forest of oaks...
Twisting bramble vines will soon be a profusion of wild honey suckle and wild grapevine...
The air is filled with birdsong.  I hear a slight rustling off to my left and spy this little winged beauty in the bramble...
Just above him is this blooming beauty...
I discover a whole colony of these little oddities.  At first I thought they were acorns but they are soft and spongy more like a fungi.  I am not sure what they are but they made quite a scene like little nature aliens poised on pointy tiptoes peering one eyed at the stones...
Our woodlands are filled with several varieties of oak trees, I especially like the color and texture of the soft baby leaf blooms, I take just a few to press...
I am not the only one using this trail this morning, my deer friends have left their tracks in the soft earthen floor near the bramble where they usually bed down for the night...
I find the trunk of this twisted tree quite interesting and wonder how it came to be...

Over mossy stones...
Skirting the test dig for we hope will become a small wildlife pond...
Past the blooming wild blackberry vines...
Under the cleft in the rock face, where a little red fox used to live...
Sheltered by the boulders...
I stop and sit, taking in a view of the spring time sky...
Here is where I stake out my woodland hammock hanging trees, between two sturdy oaks next to this little hickory down below the boulder shelter near the old rock ringed campfire...
A hidden spot to be sure, a place to watch spring and dreams unfold...
A place to shed the layers of worry and life...
Where the framework of new dreams can form, like this natural structure becoming a wee child size tepee for the grands...
A sweet spot to hide away in...
Where thoughts can untangle...
I linger listening to the wind whisper through the pines nearby.  I let the sun warm the chill of my skin.  I listen, eyes closed, to the bird voices trying to identifying the owners.  I collect a few leaves and add them to my press.  I feel the pull of work calling, refreshed I slowly amble back to where I started.

The last step emerging from the woodland to the lawn... 
The poignancy of this image is not lost on me,   To me its an image of seasons past and present and future.  The old lying fallow, the new springing forth with life, and the future stretched out like a shadow of things to come.  I like where I am in this moment in time, right in the middle, blooming where I am planted, growing, learning, being, doing... spring really does give a sense of hope and renewal.  

I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll through my world where I center myself in solitude, find inspiration, and give thanks.  May your day be filled with the overflowing joy!

Blessings,
Sandy

Monday, March 20, 2017

BREAKING THE SILENCE...

So much has transpired over the last year that I don't even know how to begin to explain my absence from this blog.  Losses to mourn, changes to adapt to, new opportunities to explore, challenges to overcome, care giving to be done, a much needed respite to be taken, it feels as if I lived the entire third chapter of Ecclesiastes within the span of a year and its brought me to the here and now and the final verse of that chapter (v. 22 NIV)..."So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot.  For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?"  And that is exactly what I have been doing over the last several months, enjoying my work. This past year has been my time to be silent and now is my time to speak, putting the past behind and pushing forward. 

I started a new adventure into the world of online teaching.  It seemed easy enough, create a tutorial, step it out, then film it (which I delusion-ally thought had to be way easier than still shot tutorials), upload it, and a class was born...not so much.  Soooo, I have spent countless hours learning the real ins and outs of creating an online class.  First I had to learn to use a digital video camera, learn about lighting and angles, smooth transitions for close ups as well as how to use an SD Card and remember to actually put it in the camera when filming.  (look at me go using real live computer jargon!)
(An Artist Field Kit)
After learning to be a camera operator I discovered I needed to be a set designer too and stage all the supplies and step outs for each film segment which kind of called for me to have a script of some sort to keep all the segments in order.   Soooo, I not only became a camera operator but a set designer and a script writer.  Surely there was not much more I needed to know right?  Wrong!

Filming was a bit of a challenge for me.  I had to try to keep focused on what I was doing while checking the monitor to make sure I was still in frame and give verbal directions at the same time.  Sheesh!  Now I was blocking scenes, directing, filming, and a narrator all at the same time.  Are you kidding I can't chew bubble gum and walk at the same time!
(Handmade Art Journal)
Big huge sigh of relief when most of that part was all done but then I had all these little SD Cards that contained the video and somehow it had to get from there to the computer so I became a member of the not-so-geek squad downloading the videos and spending a frustratingly long amount of time trying to figure out where exactly they downloaded to.  Then the panic really hit when I figured out I had to actually edit all those segments.  I added technical engineer and editor to my job description list.  Now some of you are shaking your heads wondering what is the big deal, well, I am not a tech type person, I do not embrace technology easily, and it makes my brain hurt to learn all that stuff that until this point I did not really feel like I needed to know.

I first tried to figure out an editing software that was just too difficult for a novice so I had to start all over again learning a new program that was much more suited to newbie.  Let's just say that dummy.com, the Google, and YouTube became very close friends of mine as they walked me though endless hours, days, and weeks of frustration.  I learned how to trim video, to make smooth transitions between clips, add captions, animations, title pages, credits, music, take stills of video clips, add photographs to the video, as well as technical stuff like the difference between a wlmp (which I still don't know what that means) and a wmv file and a MP4 and something about pixel size or some such nonsense.  My son came to my rescue on more than one occasion during this process.
(Plant Press)
And all was going along swimmingly until...my editing software crashed, died, kaput!  I tried to reload it via the web but it was nowhere to be found.  I was frantic.  My son called me with the bad news, Microsoft had pulled to package that this program was a part of back in January and I could not get another copy.  To say I had a melt down would be putting it mildly, it was more like a hissy fit on steroids.  I decided to quit.  This was just not worth all the hassle.  Once again my son to the rescue, somewhere on the deep dark web where all things hide he found an archive of the software.  He walked me though giving him remote access to my computer and he installed the program and I was good to go again.  Did I say I was enjoying my work?  Not so much at this point!

I left out the parts where I had to create lists of materials, resource lists with links, an intro and a promo video, chapter settings, still shots of completed projects, written class description, create an artist cover package, create class kits and give away items, submit test videos, etc.  Fast forward a few more weeks and I did it!  With the exception of learning the trim tool and save settings (which my son taught me) I leaned to do this on my own, with a little help from my new best friends, dummy.com, the Goggle, and YouTube...we make such a great team!
(An Artist Field Kit plus 3 Bonus Projects)
This might not seem like a huge accomplishment in this tech savvy day and age but I am not of this current era. I did not grow up with a computer, cell phone, internet, etc. integrated into my everyday life.  I still like pencil and paper, landlines and tangled curly phone cords, snail mail, actual books with pages to turn, dialing in a static channel to find music or playing actual vinyl records on a stereo record player.  This was a major feat for me!

Thank you to my son who never got frustrated and might have snickered a time or two over my less that smart tech questions and issues.  Thank you to my husband who never complained about the lack of cooking going on and the laundry being damp because I forgot to turn on the dryer (more than once) and for his support in cheering me on that I could do this and meet the assigned deadline.  Thank you to Zinnia, who kept cheering me on, holding my hand, and talking me down when my frustration was running high.  Her best piece of advice, "You only have to learn this once."  and at the end of the project, "You got this, you did it."
I am ready to emerge from my sheltering cocoon (which is scary) and embrace this time of enjoying my work.  I am breaking my silence and keeping my eyes on this new path to see where it leads.  Wish me luck!

Blessings,
Sandy
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