Tuesday, December 2, 2014

To Craft, or Not To Craft (Quite Yet), That is the Question....

That crafts thing: So, when I retired I had this idea that I would immediately pick up a million crafty projects, things that I had been meaning to do for years but work had interfered.  :-)  And indeed I am doing more crafts with more regularity: things I already know how to do, like huichol and beaded necklaces.  Because I am making more of these things, I am experimenting more, partially because I don't like to be bored and partially because I feel like I have the time to experiment without success being a given.

But I'm noticing that I haven't actually undertaken the learning of any new skills, and I am still capable of buying more "stash" without an immediate use (ahem, recent bead order from Firemountain, yesssss).  I was going to dust off the sewing machine and start making art quilts, I was going to clean up and rethread the loom, I was going to finish some of my stitching projects, learn some Russian beading stitches that I have always admired.  And still these things lurk in my future and are not expressed in my present.

I'm finding that the garden calls whenever the weather is nice, the dishes are still there, cats and rugs and still an issue, and I don't want to find myself sitting around, hunched over craft projects when I should be moving around.  Now the rains have come and the garden needs to be largely let alone and I'm indeed sitting on my favorite side of the bed with the computer on my lap, looking at other people's art and not getting enough exercise.  I loved my digital photography class because getting out and about was a significant part of my homework, since I enjoy nature shots.  But now I'm wondering how tied I want to be to classes in the spring semester (I'm such a perennial student that my life will always be marked out in semesters!)

I've found that being home alone can be depressing, allowing me to brood on things that might be better in my life.  Still, there are a lot of good days where I garden until I am properly tired and I have something good to show for it.  If I set up the loom and the sewing machine I may become so engrossed in new projects that I welcome being alone to concentrate on them.  But I have to figure that out at the beginning of the semester, when I sign up for classes.  Maybe I should be looking for more expensive, but more on target classes, in weaving or art quilt making.  I'm thinking of taking plant propagation up at Merritt; that will be a class that doesn't require me to sit in a computer lab for hours.   And I can bring portable craft projects that I can work on out in the sunshine. And continue to bring my camera.  That covers one day a week.  Either Spanish or Digital Photography 2 can add one or two days; but then I will start to not have time to work on other projects and my life will become it's usual whirl of obligations and little free time to mix up boredom, angst and creativity in hopes that something engaging comes of it.

What to do, what to do, ahhh, these First World Problems!  Poor me!  :-)  One thing I am doing, even when I am feeling down and just want to sit on that favorite bed corner with the computer on my lap, is watching a ton of Craftsy video classes on the projects like weaving and quilt making that I don't quite feel ready to start.  This feels like a step in the right direction, as right now I am watching weaving videos and feeling much less intimidated about my future loom set up.  It's passive but useful, moving slowly in the right direction.  We shall see.......less class commitments would also mean more opportunity to travel.......again, we shall see......meanwhile, the rest of this weaving video, a sinkful of dishes and some cat-related responsibilities (catbox duty, yay!) call.....

I posted the above musing to my Facebook account, where two or three people may eventually read it (wonderful people who will leave me encouraging and insightful comments.  :-)).  And am posting it here because this is still the record of my endeavors.  I'm wayyyy behind on documenting my activities here, except for my recent flurry of class project postings.  I need to add earlier photos and Photoshop projects, add pictures of my gourd and bead projects, all the things I've been working on this fall.  Also I did a Facebook series on my favorite GIMP images that was fun; I should find those images again for here.  Once the classes are done will be a good time to document what I've learned and muse about what I want to learn next, even if it's on my own and not yet in a class.  Of course, these homegrown learning projects often run dry through lack of interaction and low expectations.  Again, we shall see.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Digital Photography final pictures

Final photoshoot  for my Digital Photography class, at Point Isabel Shoreline in El Cerrito:

I've been too busy with class work to blog my images, but this will allow me to review them all over vacation.  I seem to have entered a post-GIMP world, but I'm sure GIMP won't give up without a fight.  I just need to up my expectations for what I produce with it.  Meanwhile, these are edited in Photoshop and organized using Lightroom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Falling leaves, done I think

Woot! This is fun!  There is something that happens with the text; wait for it.  One thing I will need to adjust is the amount of wait time; it looked fine on Photoshop but seems to linger too long on blogger.  This time there are only two repeats.

new improved version:

final final version, with the text showing much earlier because my instructor said that people need to see text for at least 10 seconds.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

falling leaves, test one

ohhh, I think I'm getting it!  The leaves get blurrier as they sink down because every time I twist and turn the leaf I degrade the quality of that part of the image.  The only cure for that would be to import a fresh version of the leaf on each layer, and then shrink and manipulate that.  For this mock-up, I don't really care; I'm just trying to get the rhythm of the process.  Most cool, again, open the image in a new window and hit the refresh button to see it more than once.....More leaves to come, then some sort of statement at the end....maybe I'll have the type gradually go from one color to another and semi-transparent to opaque.  Yesss, this is fun!  Hmmm, this one is repeating 3 times as desired without the reset button, at least while editing.....

testing animated GIF image

not that this is at all the best thing I've been working on, but since animated GIFs don't seem to be working on Facebook, thought I would try it here.....hmmm, seems to work only once when I set it for indefinite replay.....refresh the page, I guess, should you feel the need to see this blockbuster animation a second, third, etc time.  :-)  Or maybe it will work once I post.  Nope.  You need to click on the image below so that it becomes the main thing viewed in the blog, then hit refresh and you can see it again.  It does no good to hit refresh while the blog text is showing.  But animation is fascinating.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ahh, poor neglected blog

Yet again a hiatus, though not necessarily for a bad reason.  I've been busy with Photoshop and Digital Arts classes, taking a lot of photos, working on some bead projects, dealing with a PC instead of a Mac, etc. etc. and it's just going to take some time to adjust.

I stopped using GIMP much because of needing to do things in Photoshop, and after Digital Arts and Photoshop a lot of my GIMP efforts looked crude, but now I find myself edging back into GIMP to get some things done that I haven't figured out how to do in Photoshop.  I feel like I'm teetering on the abyss of a huge amount of new knowledge, not quite ready to plunge in and thoroughly learn it.

One project I have to start on is organizing my images.  They are posted on 5 or 6 hosting websites, pulled off of the Mac and put onto the PC, maybe 13,000 of them or more, stored in a lot of random places and there are things I don't understand about how the PC saves things and where it stores them.  Things seem to vanish and reappear; I create documents that take a long time to show up, or maybe I'm just not searching for them in the right way.  Argh!  I think maybe this blog will be a good place from which to marshal my reorganization attempts.

Also I have done a ton of photoshoots, from our spring vacation in Europe to Monterey Bay Aquarium, to local beaches and parks, etc.  I've posted on Facebook, but often I'm not sure if anyone even sees them.  Well, HERE nobody will see them either, but it makes a much better location for a summary of activities.

And also, also I have my crafts webpage to work on.  I created a lot of new categories, but now need to find a million links.  And I will probably go back to work a couple days of week for a month or more to help convert people to the database and the webpages.  Amazingly, I don't HAVE to, financially, but I'm now ready to, as it will earn me extra spending money for our January Hawaii vacation (yay, coral reefs, volcanos!)

all, very much "first world problems", eh?  Poor poor me, too many interests, too little time.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving on to the Next Era

This moribund little blog will hopefully pick up steam, as I have signed up for a Digital Arts class and a Photoshop class at Berkeley City College.  First class is today, though it's a lab session rather than the regular class, so there may not be much to do.....  I'm also taking a MOOC, UC Berkeley's Greater Good Center's Science of Happiness (free and open to everyone in the world; let's see how many of us stick it through to the end!).  Since I am a great skeptic when it comes to "positive psychology",  I'll be the one in the back of the virtual class, mumbling sarcastic comments about why they might want to make us all happy little clones willing to do their bidding without objection, whoever "they" are.  It should therefore be a lot of fun.  :-)