Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Camping - City of Rocks State Park

Our first camping weekend of the season! We visited City of Rocks State Park, where the campsites are nestled in among the huge monoliths that just sort of sprung up out of the earth centuries ago. These rocks are at least 25-30 feet high, and many much higher. If you look closely at the above image, the path leads right to our campsite, and you can see the top of our RV in between the 2 rocks that have the blue sky between them. Our RV is almost 11 feet tall, and these rocks are easily at least twice that tall.
We would take morning walks when we were there, and I couldn't resist taking an image of the field of yucca plants with their empty seed pods reaching high to the sky.

And, this is a close up view of the leaves of the yucca. They are actually quite pretty and so perfectly formed, but don't touch! The edges of the leaves are actually rather sharp, and altho I've never cut myself on them, I don't really make a practice of touching them!


Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

On Friday, we spent the day exploring and checking out the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The loop trail to the ruins was only about a mile, but with all of the steep inclines to get to the dwellings, it took us a couple of hours to completely walk the trail. The above photo was taken as we were approaching the dwellings. These are called cliff dwellings because the ancient people (the Mogollan people) built this community into the side of a cliff.
Here's a closer view as we approach the dwellings. There are actually 6 caves, altho we could only actually enter one of them. These dwellings were occupied by the Mogollan people from about the 1270s to the early 1300s. No one knows why they left this community, but after they left, the dwellings were occupied for a time by (I think) a Navajo tribe and some Spanish explorers.
This was a fairly up-close view of one of the caves and the buildings within it. It's really amazing to see how well they built these and how advanced their techniques were.

The above image is of the inside of one of the rooms in the cave we could enter. The rooms were quite small by our standards, but the average height of the Mogollan were 5'1" for women and about 5'5" for men. The larger hole in the image above is of what appears to be a doorway and the smaller hole above it was either a window or hole to let smoke escape from the fires they built to cook and stay warm during the winter. The elevation of these caves is about 6000 feet above sea level, so they did experience colder weather during the winter months.

I couldn't resist including this image. Yes, it's actually a 2-story building structure! The railing on the top "floor" was put in by the government to keep the tourists from falling off the 2nd floor. The ancient people used ladders and at times, foot holes in the stone to get from one floor to the other. Truly amazing considering these structures were built about 800 years ago!


Old Adobe Building

On the way back to camp, just on the outskirts of a town called Mimbres, we saw this old abandoned adobe building. I couldn't resist stopping to take a few photos. From what I could see of the inside, it didn't look like it was a house. Jeff saw a mailbox on the outside that made him think it used to be the post office many years ago.
Here's a close up of the adobe wall. The white looking flecks are really bits and pieces of straw that were mixed in with the mud-like clay that made up the bricks that made up the wall. Very cool.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supermoon Rising

Tonight is the night of the supermoon rising! I'm not an astrologist or astronomer, but as I understand it, the moon looks very, very large during the moon rise because this is the night when the moon and the earth are as close to each other as they get. Jeff & I went outside with my camera and tripod and captured these shots. Isn't it beautiful?
Many folks believe that a supermoon is an indicator of bad things to come, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. I don't believe that. It's just too beautiful for that to occur. This second shot is a bit darker, but shows off the moon pretty well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Abstract Torn Paper ATCs

This was an interesting swap to participate in. The theme was to create abstract ATCs using only torn paper - no cut edges, no pens, inks, images not included on the torn paper, etc. Sounds easy, and it is.......
....except that old habits die hard!! I kept wanting to add something not "allowed" to these! But, what fun I had creating them. I decided that since it was to be abstract, I'd really "go" with that idea and took a large sheet of watercolor paper. I then made what I call serendipity paper. Serendipity paper is when you just put items (paint, stamps, images, paper, etc.) on a large sheet of paper in a quick fashion, no thinking allowed! In this case, the serendipity paper was made only using paper that had all edges torn. I used whatever papers were in my "stash" of leftover papers from previous projects. There were handmade papers, Jeff's old aviation maps, regular maps, book pages, music pages, napkins (one of my favorite things!), tissue, old dress pattern paper, etc! After I filled the watercolor paper.....
.....I let it dry. I then turned the watercolor paper upside down, and cut out ATCs in the appropriate size (2 1/2" x 3 1/2") - I just cut as many as the watercolor paper sheet allowed. I then turned each over to see what the "abstract" turned out to be. I found I was very pleasantly surprised by the results. I then looked thru my old book pages and tore out words or phrases that appealed to me and added them to the ATCs for the finishing touch! What fun!!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Altered Playing Cards

Here are some ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) that I made for a swap with the online group I belong to - The theme for this swap was to alter the face of a playing card. The rule was that at least one corner of the playing card had to remain visible. For each card, I first sort of painted over the playing card with a brown/copper color. I didn't try to cover the complete card, just sort of tone down the white of the cards. For the above card, I then applied some cool napkins that had ferns or palms on them, making sure to leave that corner visible. I then paged thru some National Geographic magazines I've inherited from Jeff and found this great shot of a tiger's eyes, just the right size for this ATC. Just fyi - ATCs are only 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" (which just happens to be the size of a typical playing card!). I call this one "Jungle Kitty".

For the above ATC, I printed this photo of mine. It's actually a photo of some trees in winter reflected in a pond at The Morton Arboretum, when we lived in IL. I printed the photo on some dress pattern paper, which is what caused the dotted line on the ATC. I took advantage of that to put the verbiage on the ATC. There's something about this ATC that strikes a cord with me. I think the trees look kind of ghostly.

This ATC is just such a fun one. I took a napkin that I had that had the words "Coffee Bar" on it, along with a fancy coffee machine. You can't really see the coffee machine, but it's there in the middle of the ATC. There was an empty space just crying out for something to be there, and as I paged thru an old magazine of mine, looking for (I thought) a cup or cup and saucer, I saw this woman in an ad for, I think, carpeting or something. Anyway, she just sort of reminded me of how coffee drinkers seem to love that brew! I'm not a coffee drinker myself, so if I got this wrong, sorry, coffee drinkers!! It just shows you that I don't know "Jack" about coffee (sorry, couldn't resist!).


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The "Kids" Next Door!

While I was wandering around taking sunset photos, I also visited with the "kids" next door, Patches and Jazz. The first photo (above) is of Patches as we played peek-a-boo between the bars of the corral. He loves the attention!
This shy little beauty is Jazz. She's been here for several months now, and this is the closest that she's allowed me to get to her in all that time. She is just such a little treasure !

And, finally, here's Patches again - what a character he is!! Just had to play the big brother, protecting little sister, Jazz. From what? My camera lens, I guess!! By the way, that's our house shown behind Jazz.


Tonight's Sunset

Here are a couple of sunset photos from tonight. The above shot was early on in the process, and the one below was taken just a minute or two before the gloriousness (is that a word?) was over. I took the above one from our front courtyard, and then wandered around out back of our house & our next door neighbor's.
What a beautiful area we live in! Enjoy!!