Just in time for spring…

6 03 2016

RE-POST: In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn’t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her yummy recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Barbara and I published four issues of Celebrate Home Magazine as a personal project in 2012-2013.

I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 

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Celebrate Home Magazine: Spring!

6 03 2016

It’s almost spring and I thought I’d share the spring issue of Celebrate Home Magazine again. Barbara Kelley and I created this magazine in 2012-2013 as a personal project and had so much fun doing it! Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue.

This issue is jam-packed (and there’s even a jam-making feature with my friend Sophia Stadnyk!), so download today and get started reading.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

On the cover: What says “spring” more than colorful tulips? I was photographing this bed of flowers and was standing on the edge of the wall when this little girl, clad in a princess skirt with sparkly shoes, came running around the corner. I got this one shot and she was gone. Serendipity!

CHM Spring 2013 cover





Craft Studio: Flower pomander ball

2 03 2016

While I was in Wilmington, NC this past weekend, my friend Dawn and I crafted this flower pomander ball. We watched a youtube video to learn how to burn the fabric. The flowers are crafted from various size fabric circles that are layered and hot glued together with embellishments. It was a bit frustrating at first to determine just how close the fabric had to be to the tea light flame to make it curl and pucker. Dawn became the master fabric burning guru while I assembled 22 flowers and glued them to the styrofoam ball. When I started to apply the first flower, I plopped on a big blob of hot glue. The ball began to roll so I grabbed it with my right palm…palm met hot glue and turned me into a swearing machine. It was SO painful! No pain, no gain—even in the crafting world. We are pretty proud of our first attempt at making handmade fabric flowers. One thing we learned—gold lamé fabric will ignite and disappear in a flash (good thing my baby sister Kelley never stood near an open flame while wearing her twirling costume in high school!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Pomander Thingie Collage





On Assignment: Family tree mural

10 03 2015

One project I assisted on while working in Texas over the holidays was this large tree mural (you’ve seen them on Pinterest with framed photos hanging over the branches like a “family tree.”). Last fall, my friend William painted a mural for Color Clay Studio in Schertz, TX. A customer saw it and William got a gig painting this larger one in a house outside San Antonio. I played assistant artist and it was a lot of fun to create. This mural was considerably bigger than the Color Clay one (the wall was 20 ft. wide x 12 ft. high!), but since it was one solid color (and no birds on the branches, etc.), the task was a little bit easier.

When drawing out the initial sketch with conté chalk, we only had a small printout of a family tree for reference. William went left and I went right and within what seemed about 20 minutes or less, we had the tree roughly drawn in! The little leaves sketched out in the center of the trunk were practice sketches to determine shape and size of the leaves. The remainder of the day was spent going up and down the ladder to paint in branches and leaves. The homeowner was thrilled with the results and said she didn’t even want to put frames over it. Yes, he’s available for murals in the San Antonio area and I’m for hire on the east coast, too. Inquire within! 😉

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WilliamTreeMural





Re-post: Photographs? Well, not technically…

20 01 2015

Originally posted 1.28.2010

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.





Re-post: Craft project—The Monet Chair

16 01 2015

Originally posted 7.20.2009 (Hey Karen W.—this could be one of my craft projects to (finally) finalize in 2015!)

My friend Karen inherited this rocking chair from her grandmother and took it out to the lake house a few weekends ago. She has often declared, “I’ve never met a little chair I didn’t like!” Since the fabric wasn’t in great shape, she asked what I thought about painting something on the chair to make it more whimsical. And, of course, I took on the challenge with gusto!

NOTE: The chair is not finished yet—the photo on the right is a Photoshop collage utilizing the chair in its current state with an overlay of a screen grab image of one of Monet’s water lily paintings. I combined the two images to use as a painting reference. This is what it should look like when I’m done.

Over the July 4th weekend, I painted a base coat of metallic blue, green and gold paint (finally, a use for all those little bottles of fabric paint I bought when such-and-such store was going out of business!). My initial plan was to paint sketchy leaves or swirly abstract shapes on top in a lighter color. I thought that it was starting to look like the water in one of Monet’s paintings of water lilies at his garden in Giverny, France. I shot some record shots of the chair after I was done. Karen loved the idea of turning it into a “Monet chair,” and it was her idea to split up the painting with the Japanese bridge on back of the chair and the water lilies on the seat. We found one of Monet’s many water lily paintings on the web, including one with very bright blue/teal and green combination of tones in the water. I did a screen grab of the painting and superimposed it over the chair in Photoshop to see what it would look like. She loved the effect—so guess what my project at the lake house this next weekend is? I’ll shoot some during-and-after shots so you can see how it turned out. I’m estimating it will take about 3-4 hours to complete.

Monet Chair





2014: A Visual Recap

2 01 2015

I’ve picked one photo from each month of blogging in 2014 to recap the year visually (starting with December 2014 and working my way back to January 2014). Now here’s to 2015—hoping it is another year of immense creativity, staying connected to family, nurturing friendships both near and far and old and new, growing my graphic design and photography business in fresh and challenging directions, continuing to dust off my rusty sketching and painting skills, decluttering my physical space, communing with nature, photographing more flowers and bugs, updating my garden with quirky and photogenic new plants, hitting the road in search of adventure (and fresh photographs), honing my writing craft, acquiring new skills and learning something new every day.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

LovelyNicole

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 6.49.29 PM

JeffAngieWater DropletsBee on GanzaniaBlueDasherLotusBudBruarfoss iPhone lorezShutterbug Column lorezFrontDoorSunsetlorezSnow Branches lorezScreen shot 2014-01-28 at 5.58.36 PMElise Portrait





Announcing the debut of www.cindydyerphotography.com

23 09 2014

After more than two weeks of digging through my photo archives and trying not to overload my web designer, we have finally launched my photography-only website. I love, love, love it! And for those of you who know me personally, don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces in the FACES and LIFESTYLE categories. Thank you for being lovely subjects for my lens through the years.

Thanks to Ian Wright for doing such a spectacular job of organizing things and bringing this site to life with all his web magic.

Thanks to William Lee for composing a beautiful instrumental piece to complement the opening slide show.

And thanks to my blogging friend, author Barbara Sullivan, for helping me condense my “bio/novella” to something that wouldn’t put my viewers to sleep.

Be sure to click on FREEBIES at the top, hand over your name and email address (I won’t overload your in-box, I promise), sign up for my free quarterly photography newsletter, and download a free 16-page “How to photograph your garden” pdf. Enjoy!

www.cindydyerphotography.com

Screen shot 2014-09-22 at 8.00.13 PM





Interview on Our Stories and Perspectives blog

14 08 2014

I was recently interviewed for the blog, “Our Stories and Perspectives,” by Dominic Lodato, a summer intern for the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division. I was very happy with the results and wanted to share it with my readers!

http://ourstoriesandperspectives.com/2014/08/13/cindy-dyer-a-photographer-at-green-spring/#comment-3207

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 2.05.29 PM





Re-post: Concrete leaf casting

7 08 2014

Originally posted July 2008.

This is my fourth most-visited post of all time with 21,984 visits on my main blog (www.cindydyer.wordpress.com) and the second most-visited post on this gardening-only blog with 47,834 visits. That’s a total of 69,818 visits for this one craft project!

My friend Debbi and I have been making these concrete leaf castings for several years now, and my Garden Club members have also tried their hand at it. We have used Portland cement type 1 for our earlier creations, but then started making them with Quikrete instead. Several artists recommend using vinyl patch instead because it’s stronger, lighter in weight and picks up more detail from the leaf texture and veining. It’s also more resistant to flaking and cracking associated with traditional cement mixtures. The next batch I make will be with the vinyl patch product!

This site here has step-by-step instructions (plus a youtube video). The steps are the same no matter which product you’re using.

Click here for Craig Cramer’s blog posting, “The Secret to Great Leaf Casts.” He recommends using Quikrete. Click here for another site with an extensive gallery for inspiration. David, the artist, recommends waiting 30 days before painting your creations. (I’ve never waited that long—don’t know if I would have the patience!) He mixes Quikrete with his concrete mixture, but I’m not sure what the ratio is. At the very least, his photo gallery will endlessly inspire you!

Since most of the leaves we create are smaller, we don’t often do the chicken wire reinforcement. Larger elephant ears do require a bit of reinforcement, though, and we have made some of those (the larger the leaf is, the more likely you’ll need two people to move it when it’s dry!). Most of the ones we have done are made with leaves from hostas, pokeweed, grape leaves, caladium leaves, and smaller elephant ears. Leaves that have nice, deep veins work best. If you want to hang your leaf on a fence or wall, insert a curved piece of clothes hanger or thick wire (formed into a loop) into the back before the leaf is cured.

Artists Little and Lewis  suggest using powdered pigments to color your concrete before creating the leaves. Read more about their approach with hosta leaves here. They have created some really beautiful (and large!) ones using Gunnera leaves, which grow well in the Pacific Northwest.

We haven’t tried the “color-in-the-concrete” approach yet. We do ours in the natural color and then paint after curing is done. Our favorite style is to paint the front and back with black acrylic paint, then rub on powdered metallic powdered pigments (the type often used in Sculpey jewelry projects). We used the Pearl Ex powdered pigment series, and we find silver, gold, bronze, blues, greens, and purples work much better than the pastel colors. We only apply the additional coloring and metallic powder to the front. The back remains black only. Check out Pearl Ex pigments on the Jacquard Products website.

I buy my Pearl Ex pigments from Michael’s or A.C. Moore. They sell them in sets of 12 different colors, or you can buy a larger bottle of one color. It doesn’t take much to cover the leaf. We use a soft cloth (and end up using our fingers) to rub in the pigments, which are very concentrated and go a long way. We find it best to paint the leaf with black acrylic craft paint in order for the metallic pigments to be intense in color when they are applied.

The metallic pigments are stunning and you can get a variegated look using various colors! If you try this style, you’ll need to seal the front of your leaf with an outdoor spray sealant to keep the pigment from rubbing off. I seal the front of the leaves with Krylon’s Make It Last!® Sealer, which has a satin finish and dries (for handling) within two hours.

Don’t expect the colors to hold up 100% in direct sunlight over a few years, though. The paint will chip a little but you can always paint over it and do it again to freshen it up. They still look good chipped and faded, though…sort of a shabby chic, relic-look! And you can try a new color scheme the next time around. Remember to seal after every repainting. Even if you hang or display yours indoors, you’ll still need to seal the pieces so they can be handled. And they certainly won’t fade as soon if they’re used as indoor art.

If you want a solid colored metallic leaf, you can use inexpensive acrylic craft paint instead of the powdered pigments. First, paint the front and back of the leaf solid black (the leaf is porous so it will soak in the black) and then paint the entire front with your colored metallic acrylic paint. After everything is thoroughly dry, seal the front of the leaf with the Krylon Sealer.

The good news: supplies for this project are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP and the results are incredibleThe downside? Those bags of Quickrete, etc. are HEAVY!

Whichever method you decide to try (Portland cement type 1, Quikrete, Quikrete + vinyl patch, vinyl patch only), I’d love to see your results and will share them on this blog!

Note to those of you who want to try it and live near me—if you buy the materials and lug them into your yard, I’m happy to come over and instruct! 

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Want a free photography lesson on photographing gardens?

15 06 2014

Read my feature, “Garden Photography,” in the summer 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, which I co-founded and published with Barbara Kelley. I share tips on shooting, what’s in my bag, notes on specific photos to teach about composition and light, and my favorite resources and websites. Download our entire summer 2013 issue on our website at www.celebratehomemagazine.com.

Click on this link to download the Garden Photography pdf: Celebrate Home Magazine Garden Photography

Photography and design by Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

CHM Garden Photo





Sole to Soul

17 10 2013

Hayleigh in pinkI met and photographed Hayleigh (left) and her lovely family in D.C. at HLAA Convention 2011. Hayleigh started her business, Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms, making hearing aid and cochlear implant ear “charms” and the whole family is involved in her venture. You can learn more about Hayleigh and her thriving business in my blog post here.

Please consider donating to their Sole to Soul fundraising campaign! Their goal is to raise $30,000 to buy 1200 pairs of shoes for children in Kenya whose school/dormitory recently burned down, forcing them to return to their homes in the slums of Kenya. They have raised $5,000 so far from babysitting, bake sales and other fundraising efforts. They plan to purchase the shoes in Kenya to support the local economy and will hand deliver them to the children in need.

And while you’re at it, send out a prayer and good thoughts of continued healing for Hayleigh, who is in the hospital in critical but stable condition.





Don’t miss Art on the Avenue, Saturday, October 5, 10-6

29 09 2013
The event is this coming Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 10-6. This festival was voted “Best Art Event in Northern Virginia” by readers of Virginia Living Magazine. More than 300 artisans will be exhibiting and selling their creations and there is music and food as well. I’ve been to two of these events and the weather was nice both years—a great time to be outdoors (and supporting the arts!). Visit www.artontheavenue.org for more information as well as a list of vendors.
You’ll find me at Booth E104, which will be located between Oxford and Uhler, down from Cheestique (love that place!) and across from Taqueria Poblano and Yoga in Daily Life. Look for a black and green banner that reads “Garden Muse.”
I will be selling gallery wrap photo canvases (variety of sizes), matted and framed photographs, matted photographs, lots of different greeting cards and colorful photo necklaces.
Directions by Metro: Your best bet to the festival—Braddock Road is the Metro stop nearest Art on the Avenue. Each half hour, starting at 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, there will be a FREE DASH bus going to and from the corner of Bellefonte/Mt. Vernon Avenue and the Braddock Road Metro Station. Look for the sign that says “Ride Me to Art on the Avenue.” Or you can walk — it is a 15 minute walk to the Festival from the Metro stop. Simply exit the station and turn right to Braddock Road. Follow Braddock Road under the underpass to the next light and turn right onto Mt. Vernon Avenue.

Driving Directions: Click on this link for a map to Mt. Vernon Avenue: http://artontheavenue.org/?page_id=39

If you’re in the area and can make it, stop by to say howdy or if we’ve never met in person, introduce yourself!

Pick up a free bookmark and register to win a FREE 20×30 gallery wrap canvas (your choice) from my existing inventory!

Below are just some of the images I have available in 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards.

Card Samples lorez





Come join me at “Art on the Avenue” on October 5!

14 09 2013

ArtontheAvenueI’m having my very first art fair show at the annual “Art on the Avenue” is a regional multicultural arts and music festival on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray (Alexandria), Virginia. (No RSVPs are needed!)

The event is Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 10-6. This festival was voted “Best Art Event in Northern Virginia” by readers of Virginia Living Magazine. More than 300 artisans will be exhibiting and selling their creations and there is music and food as well. I’ve been to two of these events and the weather was nice both years—a great time to be outdoors (and supporting the arts!). Visit www.artontheavenue.org for more information as well as a list of vendors.
You’ll find me at Booth E104, which will be located between Oxford and Uhler, down from Cheestique (love that place!) and across from Taqueria Poblano and Yoga in Daily Life. Look for a black and green banner that reads “Garden Muse.”

I will be selling both new and older botanical images in:

Gallery wrap photo canvases (variety of sizes)
Matted & framed photographs
Matted photographs
Greeting cards
Photo necklaces

Directions by Metro:
Your best bet to the festival! Braddock Road is the Metro stop nearest Art on the Avenue. Each half hour, starting at 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, there will be a FREE DASH bus going to and from the corner of Bellefonte/Mt. Vernon Avenue and the Braddock Road Metro Station. Look for the sign that says “Ride Me to Art on the Avenue.” Or you can walk — it is a 15 minute walk to the Festival from the Metro stop. Simply exit the station and turn right to Braddock Road. Follow Braddock Road under the underpass to the next light and turn right onto Mt. Vernon Avenue.

Driving Directions: Click on this link for a map to Mt. Vernon Avenue: http://artontheavenue.org/?page_id=39

If you’re in the area and can make it, stop by to say howdy or introduce yourself (and pick up a free bookmark, too)!

While you’re there, register to win a free 20×30 gallery wrap canvas (your choice) from my existing inventory!





Leaf casting workshop in the works!

21 08 2013

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE BELOW?

My friend, Rob Bergsohn, and I are planning a fee-based workshop on making these leaf castings in September.

Rob runs the Northern Virginia Portrait Photographers group on http://www.meetup.com. He hosts portrait photography workshops outdoors and in the studio as well as 2-4 hour Lightroom and Photoshop classes from his home studio in Falls Church, Virginia. Rob saw my botanical photography exhibit at Green Spring Gardens in spring 2012 and asked if I would host some workshops with him.

We’re planning the workshop for sometime in September and the dates will be slated for weekend days to allow more participants to join. There will be two dates involved—one date to make the leaves (I’m guessing that session will be about 2-3 hours long) and another date for participants to return (after their leaves have cured) to paint and finish their creations.

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area and think you might be interested in signing up, please e-mail me at dyerdesign@aol.com to get on our email list. When we finalize the dates cost and details, we’ll send out a notice to you. We’ll include a link so you can pay via PayPal on Rob’s Meetup group site.

FYI—if you’re interested in learning Lightroom, check out Rob’s workshops. I took his basic Lightroom class a few weeks ago and learned a lot—for just $25 for a couple of hours of instruction. It’s an excellent value! He offers other studio classes on lighting and composition, so check out his meetup group page here: http://www.meetup.com/NOVAPhotography/  It’s a great bunch of photography-minded people and Rob is always adding new classes on a variety of topics relating to photography. You’ll need to sign up for a FREE meetup.com account before enrolling.

___________________________________________

Updated 8.04.2011. Originally posted July 2008. This is one of my top-visited posts of all time with nearly 20,000 clicks on this blog and 41,872 clicks on my gardening-only blog!

My friend Debbi and I have been making these concrete leaf castings for several years now, and my Garden Club members have also tried their hand at it. We have used Portland cement type 1 for our earlier creations, but then started making them with Quikrete instead. Several artists recommend using vinyl patch instead because it’s stronger, lighter in weight and picks up more detail from the leaf texture and veining. It’s also more resistant to flaking and cracking associated with traditional cement mixtures. The next batch I make will be with the vinyl patch product!

This site here has step-by-step instructions (plus a youtube video). The steps are the same no matter which product you’re using.

Click here for Craig Cramer’s blog posting, “The Secret to Great Leaf Casts.” He recommends using Quikrete. Click here for another site with an extensive gallery for inspiration. David, the artist, recommends waiting 30 days before painting your creations. (I’ve never waited that long—don’t know if I would have the patience!) He mixes Quikrete with his concrete mixture, but I’m not sure what the ratio is. At the very least, his photo gallery will endlessly inspire you!

Since most of the leaves we create are smaller, we don’t often do the chicken wire reinforcement. Larger elephant ears do require a bit of reinforcement, though, and we have made some of those (the larger the leaf is, the more likely you’ll need two people to move it when it’s dry!). Most of the ones we have done are made with leaves from hostas, pokeweed, grape leaves, caladium leaves, and smaller elephant ears. Leaves that have nice, deep veins work best. If you want to hang your leaf on a fence or wall, insert a curved piece of clothes hanger or thick wire (formed into a loop) into the back before the leaf is cured.

Artists Little and Lewis  suggest using powdered pigments to color your concrete before creating the leaves. Read more about their approach with hosta leaves here. They have created some really beautiful (and large!) ones using Gunnera leaves, which grow well in the Pacific Northwest.

We haven’t tried the “color-in-the-concrete” approach yet. We do ours in the natural color and then paint after curing is done. Our favorite style is to paint the front and back with black acrylic paint, then rub on powdered metallic powdered pigments (the type often used in Sculpey jewelry projects). We used the Pearl Ex powdered pigment series, and we find silver, gold, bronze, blues, greens, and purples work much better than the pastel colors. We only apply the additional coloring and metallic powder to the front. The back remains black only. Check out Pearl Ex pigments on the Jacquard Products website.

I buy my Pearl Ex pigments from Michael’s or A.C. Moore. They sell them in sets of 12 different colors, or you can buy a larger bottle of one color. It doesn’t take much to cover the leaf. We use a soft cloth (and end up using our fingers) to rub in the pigments, which are very concentrated and go a long way. We find it best to paint the leaf with black acrylic craft paint in order for the metallic pigments to be intense in color when they are applied. Use your 40% off coupon at either store and save a bunch!

The metallic pigments are stunning and you can get a variegated look using various colors! If you try this style, you’ll need to seal the front of your leaf with an outdoor spray sealant to keep the pigment from rubbing off. I seal the front of the leaves with Krylon’s Make It Last!® Sealer, which has a satin finish and dries (for handling) within two hours.

Don’t expect the colors to hold up 100% in direct sunlight over a few years, though. The paint will chip a little but you can always paint over it and do it again to freshen it up. They still look good chipped and faded, though…sort of a shabby chic, relic-look! And you can try a new color scheme the next time around. Remember to seal after every repainting. Even if you hang or display yours indoors, you’ll still need to seal the pieces so they can be handled. And they certainly won’t fade as soon if they’re used as indoor art.

If you want a solid colored metallic leaf, you can use inexpensive acrylic craft paint instead of the powdered pigments. First, paint the front and back of the leaf solid black (the leaf is porous so it will soak in the black) and then paint the entire front with your colored metallic acrylic paint. After everything is thoroughly dry, seal the front of the leaf with the Krylon Sealer.

The good news: supplies for this project are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP and the results are incredible! The downside? Those bags of Quickrete, etc. are HEAVY!

Whichever method you decide to try (Portland cement type 1, Quikrete, Quikrete + vinyl patch, vinyl patch only), I’d love to see your results and will share them on this blog!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tree Tones

10 08 2013

Through Pinterest, I learned about Sherwin-Williams color-palette-generator at http://www.letschipit.com. Here’s my latest palette using a photo I shot at Brookside Gardens a few weeks ago. Qué fun!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Screen shot 2013-08-10 at 11.46.05 AM





From Celebration Home Magazine, Summer 2013: How to Plan a Photography Exhibit Reception

18 07 2013

In spring 2012, I had my first botanical photography exhibit, “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality (who is also the editor-in-chief and my partner with Celebrate Home Magazine), did a phenomenal job of catering the reception in mid-April. There wasn‘t a crumb left of anything when the event was over!

Barbara shares her recipes and party tips in “Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I am forever grateful to her for all her hard work and very major contributions to that very special day! Special thanks to Hollace Goodman, who served as catering assistant, for her work as well. Special thanks Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography and Margot Juliette Storch for photographing the event for us. I recapped the event on this blog in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-1/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/scenes-from-an-exhibit-reception-part-2/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/more-scenes-from-a-reception-for-garden-muse-a-botanical-portfolio/

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing out the recipes):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Garden Reception

 





Want a free photography lesson on photographing flowers and gardens?

18 07 2013

Read my feature, “Garden Photography,” in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I share tips on shooting, what’s in my bag, notes on specific photos to teach about composition and light, and my favorite resources and websites. The issue will also be available for purchase through magcloud.com (at cost + shipping; see link below) on our website, www.celebratehomemagazine.com soon.

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

Photography and design by Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

CHM Garden Photo





Celebrate Home Magazine, Summer 2013: Ready to download!

18 07 2013

The summer 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is ready for FREE download! It may be my most favorite issue yet! We’ll have it available on our website as well at http://www.celebratehomemagazine.com, or you can download it in the links below. Please feel free to pass on the link to your family and friends. The more “clicks” we get, the better!

Here’s what you’ll find in this issue:

HOME
Up a Creek with Lots of Memories—The Havermann family finds a place to play in a vacation 
home on St. Leonard’s Creek in southern Maryland.

FOOD & ENTERTAINING
Light and Lively Summer Fare—Chef Emily Doermann whips up a tasty summer meal.

Not-a-Burger—Everyone loves a burger on the grill during summer. If you’re not a meat-eater, here is an alternative that can’t be beat!

Six Summer Sips—Mixologist Karen Covey shares sizzling summer drinks to beat the heat.

Space Cake—Put down that Moon Pie and try this heirloom cake without-of-the-world taste.

Inspired by the Garden: Garden Muse Tea Reception—Barbara Kelley caters a photography exhibit reception to remember.

Summer Tablescapes—Usher in summer with cool summer-inspired tablescapes.

THE ARTIST
Shoe-la-la, Ooh-la-la!—A popular children’s book is the inspiration for a mural in 
a shoe-loving little girl’s room.

HOME
That 80s House—A bathroom gets a new lease on life.

Rest for the Weary—Create a welcoming guestroom for your visitors.

GARDENING
Ode to a Chicken—Becka Davis pays homage to a beloved feathered friend.

Suburban Agriculture: Confessions of a Brown Thumb—Maria Hufnagel shares her experience as a first-time gardener.

Fashioning a Fairy Garden—Kristin Clem connects with her inner child and creates 
a miniature fairy paradise.

HOW-TO
Photographing Your Garden Through the Seasons—Photographer Cindy Dyer shares her tips for creating captivating images in the garden.

THE COLLECTOR
Rampant Biblioholism—Marisa Sarto interviews CHM’s art director/photographer, Cindy Dyer, 
and discovers how a love of books has shaped her collection.

So Charming—Ginger Garneau shares her lifelong passion for charm bracelets.

CRAFT
Fit to Tied (and Dyed): Fun and Easy Wearables Made with T-shirts—Achieve amazing results with inexpensive t-shirts, colorful dyes, simple 
knotting and a pair of scissors!

PERSPECTIVES
Living Spontaneously, Finding Roots by Martha Bizzell
Celebrating Life at the Table by Gina Waterfield
The Home of My Dreams by Stephanie Simpson
Home is… by Bo Mackison
Saying Goodbye by William Lee
Respect for Home by Birgitte Tarding
Always Growing by Lisa Westfall

View the issue as reader spreads (my favorite!):

CHM Summer 2013 Spreads

View the issue as single pages (suitable for printing):

CHM Summer 2013 Single Pages

Splurge and purchase a beautiful print copy on magcloud.com (no markup; at cost + shipping):

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/600404

Help us spread the word! Share Celebrate Home Magazine with your family and friends.

CHM Summer 2013 Cover Blog





Re-post: Leaf casting

17 04 2013

Updated 8.04.2011. Originally posted July 2008. This is one of my top visited posts of all time with 17,948 visits on this blog and 32,476 visit on my gardening-only blog!

My friend Debbi and I have been making these concrete leaf castings for several years now, and my Garden Club members have also tried their hand at it. We have used Portland cement type 1 for our earlier creations, but then started making them with Quikrete instead. Several artists recommend using vinyl patch instead because it’s stronger, lighter in weight and picks up more detail from the leaf texture and veining. It’s also more resistant to flaking and cracking associated with traditional cement mixtures. The next batch I make will be with the vinyl patch product!

This site here has step-by-step instructions (plus a youtube video). The steps are the same no matter which product you’re using.

Click here for Craig Cramer’s blog posting, “The Secret to Great Leaf Casts.” He recommends using Quikrete. Click here for another site with an extensive gallery for inspiration. David, the artist, recommends waiting 30 days before painting your creations. (I’ve never waited that long—don’t know if I would have the patience!) He mixes Quikrete with his concrete mixture, but I’m not sure what the ratio is. At the very least, his photo gallery will endlessly inspire you!

Since most of the leaves we create are smaller, we don’t often do the chicken wire reinforcement. Larger elephant ears do require a bit of reinforcement, though, and we have made some of those (the larger the leaf is, the more likely you’ll need two people to move it when it’s dry!). Most of the ones we have done are made with leaves from hostas, pokeweed, grape leaves, caladium leaves, and smaller elephant ears. Leaves that have nice, deep veins work best. If you want to hang your leaf on a fence or wall, insert a curved piece of clothes hanger or thick wire (formed into a loop) into the back before the leaf is cured.

Artists Little and Lewis  suggest using powdered pigments to color your concrete before creating the leaves. Read more about their approach with hosta leaves here. They have created some really beautiful (and large!) ones using Gunnera leaves, which grow well in the Pacific Northwest.

We haven’t tried the “color-in-the-concrete” approach yet. We do ours in the natural color and then paint after curing is done. Our favorite style is to paint the front and back with black acrylic paint, then rub on powdered metallic powdered pigments (the type often used in Sculpey jewelry projects). We used the Pearl Ex powdered pigment series, and we find silver, gold, bronze, blues, greens, and purples work much better than the pastel colors. We only apply the additional coloring and metallic powder to the front. The back remains black only. Check out Pearl Ex pigments on the Jacquard Products website.

I buy my Pearl Ex pigments from Michael’s or A.C. Moore. They sell them in sets of 12 different colors, or you can buy a larger bottle of one color. It doesn’t take much to cover the leaf. We use a soft cloth (and end up using our fingers) to rub in the pigments, which are very concentrated and go a long way. We find it best to paint the leaf with black acrylic craft paint in order for the metallic pigments to be intense in color when they are applied.

The metallic pigments are stunning and you can get a variegated look using various colors! If you try this style, you’ll need to seal the front of your leaf with an outdoor spray sealant to keep the pigment from rubbing off. I seal the front of the leaves with Krylon’s Make It Last!® Sealer, which has a satin finish and dries (for handling) within two hours.

Don’t expect the colors to hold up 100% in direct sunlight over a few years, though. The paint will chip a little but you can always paint over it and do it again to freshen it up. They still look good chipped and faded, though…sort of a shabby chic, relic-look! And you can try a new color scheme the next time around. Remember to seal after every repainting. Even if you hang or display yours indoors, you’ll still need to seal the pieces so they can be handled. And they certainly won’t fade as soon if they’re used as indoor art.

If you want a solid colored metallic leaf, you can use inexpensive acrylic craft paint instead of the powdered pigments. First, paint the front and back of the leaf solid black (the leaf is porous so it will soak in the black) and then paint the entire front with your colored metallic acrylic paint. After everything is thoroughly dry, seal the front of the leaf with the Krylon Sealer.

The good news: supplies for this project are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP and the results are incredible! The downside? Those bags of Quickrete, etc. are HEAVY!

Whichever method you decide to try (Portland cement type 1, Quikrete, Quikrete + vinyl patch, vinyl patch only), I’d love to see your results and will share them on this blog!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Recycled Mosaics by Daniel Scott, Jr.

4 04 2013

I interviewed fellow graphic designer, Daniel Scott, Jr., for our artist feature in the spring issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. I first interviewed Daniel on my blog two years ago. You can read that post here.

Daniel’s work is simply amazing! He creates these beautiful pop-art works of art with tiny slivers of product labels. Learn more about his work beginning on page 66 of the issue, which is free to download in the links below. He has beautiful prints available for purchase; see the store link on page 80.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

DanielScottArt

 





Spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine now ready for digital download!

4 04 2013

The spring 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue.

This issue is jam-packed (and there’s even a jam-making feature!), so download today and get started reading.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support.

Single pages version: Celebrate Home Spring 2013

Reader spreads version (my favorite!): Celebrate Home Spring 2013 Spreads

Order a print copy (at cost, plus shipping): http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/540569

You can also view it on issuu.com here.

On the cover: What says “spring” more than colorful tulips? I was photographing this bed of flowers and was standing on the edge of the wall when this little girl, clad in a princess skirt with sparkly shoes, came running around the corner. I got this one shot and she was gone. Serendipity!

CHM Spring 2013 cover





Winter 2013 Celebrate Home Magazine now available for digital download!

17 02 2013

The winter 2013 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for digital download in the links below. Click on either of the links below to download your FREE pdf copy of this issue. The first links is for single-page viewing (perfect for printing off your favorite recipe!); the second link is set up for “reader spreads,” so you can see the magazine in spread format (my favorite!). Below are just some excerpts from our latest issue! Stay tuned for our spring issue, which will be CHOCK FULL of gardening-related features and crafts.

The more clicks we get, the better we do with promoting and getting advertising! We thank you for your support!

SINGLE PAGES PDF HERE: Celebrate Home Winter 2013 

READER SPREADS PDF HERE: Celebrate Home Winter 2013 Spreads

Click here to view on issuu.com.

Purchase a beautiful print copy at cost plus shipping:

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/513977

On the cover: Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, award-winning Impressionist painter from San Antonio, Texas

CHM Winter 2013 Blog

In this issue:

FEATHER YOUR NEST
Winter-inspired lovelies for you and your home.

HOME
Delicious Pops of Color
Easy on the eyes, the Hedstrom house takes advantage of light-filled views with clean lines and engaging color.

FAMILY
Living the Fairy Tale: To Quit or Not to Quit?
Mothers share their struggles with jobs and families.

FOOD & ENTERTAINING
Bowls of Comfort
Take the chill out of winter with our filling soup recipes!

A Wintertime Dessert Party
Pair wine and desserts for elegant and easy entertaining.

Green Chicken: Creating a Family Heirloom Cookbook
Create a cookbook that cherishes family recipes.

The Many Seasons of Beer
Beer aficionado Jefferson Evans explores the world of seasonal brews.

THE ARTIST
Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, Impressionist Painter
Always proud of her Colombian and Mexican roots, this artist’s passion is reflected in her colorful work.

HOW-TO
Winter Photography Indoors
Stay indoors to photograph nature this winter.

PETS
How Much is That Doggie in the Window? Choosing the Family Pup

Think you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family? Here are some things to consider.

THE CREATIVE LIFE
Every Picture Tells a Story
Discover five tips for decorating your walls with original art.

THE COLLECTOR
Bejeweled: Camilla Houghton’s Unique Ring Collection
What started as a gift exchange between two sisters expanded into a beloved collection of rings.

CRAFT
Ring Bling Box
Give your rings a new home with our easy craft project.

PERSPECTIVES
What Home Means to Me

 





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm: Part 6

21 12 2012

One of the most inviting spots in P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home was the screened sleeping porch at the back of the house. In his introduction before the tour, he mentioned one of the designers wanted to add a fourth bed to the porch, but he nixed that idea, saying, “We don’t want it to look like a tuberculosis ward!” Below is a shot of the three beds in the sleeping porch, which is the top level of the two-level porch.

SleepingPorch

Below: This room also has a gorgeous copper bathtub (not a lot of privacy, obviously!) and Sue just had to try it out (yes, she is tiny and yes, the tub is huge).

SueBathtub

Below: On the same floor in the front of the house was a guest bedroom with two beds with a crisp color palette of brown, beige and white. I think the two paintings of clouds above the beds might have been done by P. Allen Smith.

BrownBedroom1

Below: Corner desk area

BrownBedDesk





P. Allen Smith and Heidi Berry of the Berry Family of Nurseries

21 12 2012

Before we toured P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home outside of Little Rock, Arkansas on December 7, we had the pleasure of meeting Mimi San Pedro (top photo, middle), chief operating and marketing officer for Hortus, Ltd., the multimedia marketing company that oversees the P. Allen Smith brand. She introduced us to Heidi Berry, of the Berry Family of Nurseries, who has teamed up with P. Allen Smith to offer a special holiday collection of hand-harvested, hand-tied wreaths, door swags, table runners and garlands.

Heidi explained to us how she met P. Allen and invited him to visit the Berry Family of Nurseries in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. She told us that their greenery boughs are harvested by hand from the lowest tree branches, which encourages trees to grow taller and stronger. No trees are cut down in the process. The products are made from Noble Fir, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Natural elements such as juniper berries, pine cones, incense cedar, canella berries and white pine boughs adorn the designs.

I shot the image of P. Allen and Heidi in front of a candy cane decoration outside the “tractor barn” before we began the tour of the house. Below the photo is a video of Smith touring the nursery where the greenery is assembled.

Speaking of the tractor barn, click here to see a slide show of how Smith took a standard metal building and refaced it to look like an old wood barn. Very clever!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

AllenBerry





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 5

14 12 2012

One of my favorite highlights of the tour was P. Allen’s detached art studio with windows overlooking the gardens and French doors opening onto the lawn behind the screened porch. Sue dared me to paint something on the blank watercolor paper pad and I was so tempted. Now I wish I had (and signed it! Although he professes to “just dabble,” he is a talented artist (something I didn’t know about him!). The large American vegetable paintings hanging throughout the house and lining two walls in the “dinner barn” are his work (photos to come).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ArtStudiolorez





P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home at Moss Mountain Farm, Part 1

14 12 2012

Last week I flew to Huntsville, AL to visit my friend Sue and her mother, Wanda. On Thursday we hit the road headed to Little Rock, AR to visit Sue’s Aunt Gay, whose late husband was former Arkansas Governor Frank White. The occasion? We were all signed up for the open house tour and luncheon at P. Allen Smith’s Greek-Revival-inspired estate located 30 minutes outside of Little Rock. The home sits on top of a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River Valley and is spectacular.

It was love at first sight for me and I shot hundreds of photos with my Nikon SLR, a Coolpix and my trusty iPhone (believe it or not, all of the images in the collage below were shot with just the iPhone). Because there were 90+ people meandering through the house, it was much easier to shoot with my phone than to use my pro stuff. I did get some shots with the other cameras and will share those in later postings.

The collage below shows the main room in the front of the house, plus the sitting room and dining table next to the gorgeous kitchen. I shot every little vignette I could, not wanting to miss even one tiny detail. Learn more about this beautiful property on P. Allen’s website hereMany more photos to come!

PAS Collage 1 lorez





Let’s Chip It!

27 10 2012

Thanks to fellow Pinterest-user, Vanessa Lam, I learned about Sherwin-Williams new color-palette-generator at http://www.letschipit.com. I can see that this new toy is going to be a huge waste of time huge benefit to my design, craft and photography projects. I love collecting color palettes to reference on my Pinterest boards, but now I can create my very own. Here’s my very first palette using a photo I shot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Way too much fun to use!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





From now until October 31, get your printed copy of our Celebrate Home Magazine for 25% off!

24 10 2012

Magcloud.com is having a 25% off sale from now until October 31! Get the printed copy of the fall 2012 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine for $17.55 (reg. $23.40), plus shipping. The print copy is gorgeous, but you can also view it online free by signing up for a free magcloud.com account. Click on the link below to enjoy 25% off the print version!

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/447668





Celebrate Home Magazine now available on www.issuu.com!

10 10 2012

Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for viewing on http://www.issuu.com! You’ll love the page-turnable interface and downloads are FREE. You can even control the zoom in and out features! Check it out here:

http://issuu.com/celebratehomemag/docs/celebratehomemagfall2012

Help us get those numbers up by downloading your free copy now! Every click helps us grow the magazine, ensuring more issues for you to read in the future. Help us spread the word!





A labor of love: Celebrate Home Magazine is born!

2 10 2012

The Fall 2012 Celebrate Home Magazine debuts today on the first day of October with the mantra of “making the ordinary extraordinary.”

Published quarterly, Celebrate Home Magazine focuses on family, food, entertaining, gardening, art, crafts, hobbies, personal expression, hospitality, pets, decorating, communities and neighborhoods.

The time has come for a magazine like this—highlighting ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No matter your budget, your skills or the size of your space, we’ll enthusiastically share experiences of those who nurture the space they call home. Let us inspire you!

I’ve teamed up with the talented and renowned Barbara Kelley, whose editorial expertise has graced Hearing Loss Magazine for more than 20 years. She brings her passion for hospitality and her publishing experience to this brand new publication! We are both passionate about all things home and welcome you to open the door and come on in. We also welcome you to be contributors. This magazine is for you and about you.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free magcloud.com account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

 

Would you like to be a contributing author or photographer? Please e-mail writing and/or photography samples and links to websites with your work tobkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

Do you have an original recipe you’d like to share? Please e-mail your recipes tobkelley@celebratehomemag.com.

We can come to you! Are you having a party or special event at your home or an activity that relates to the subject of home? Contact us to discuss your idea. If it fits the editorial scope of Celebrate Home Magazine, we may photograph your event and write the story.

Do you have a product or service? If you would like to advertise your product, service, or your city/town/region, contact advertising@celebratehomemag.com.

Check it out and celebrate home with us!





Three photo amigos

22 09 2012

Three photo amigos (notice Michael Powell’s strategically placed leaf?—not planned, but funny anyway!); on the trail at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA; Michael Schwehr on the left and me on the far right

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Announcing Art, Photography and Cooking Workshops in Tuscany in April and May, 2013

16 09 2012

Earlier this year, my friend and fellow artist, Suzy Olsen, invited me to teach photography workshops at her villa in Tuscany. We had originally planned for workshops to happen later this month but the timing was too short for planning, so we moved the date to spring 2013.

Join us in Italy for a feast for the senses!

Spend seven days/eight nights in Tuscany for workshops in watercolor painting and photography, topped off with authentic Italian cooking lessons! Accommodations are in a lovely artist community at the top of a hill overlooking the Poppi. The little town of Poppi is located in the beautiful Ortignano Raggiolo region at the center of the Casentino Valley, not far from Florence.

Two dates to choose from: April 19–27 or May 2–10, 2013

Trip includes accommodations, all meals, and daily workshops—watercolor and pen and ink classes with Suzy Olsen each morning; a travel, nature and portrait photography class with me each afternoon, and three authentic Italian cooking classes in the evening with Chef Daniela Cursi.

WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS

Artist Suzy Olsen will teach you a great way to use watercolor with pen and ink for travel sketches using just the supplies in your backpack. You will learn how to access views and single out what works best—sketching and using your pen, then you can later fill in with watercolor back at the studio where you will utilize photos for reference. Her demos will be done every day to assist you with how to use pen, papers, and watercolor to your best advantage. You can paint with both a notebook and a watercolor paper pad, and are encouraged to further your creativity in the studio at the villa. She will share her paintings and demonstrate watercolor and sketching techniques during the morning hours.

Graphic designer, avid blogger and award-winning photographer Cindy Dyer will show you how to capture the beauty of the Tuscan countryside with your camera including landscapes, nature, still life and portraits. You’ll learn about composition, depth of field and lighting and receive hands-on, personalized instruction in every session. Cindy will review your digital images throughout the week so you can improve your skills with each session. She will show you how to combine your watercolor paintings, sketches and photographs with narrative and captions to create an online blog or publish a travel journal with magcloud.com.

Chef Daniela Cursi has spent more than 20 years mastering traditional Tuscan cuisine and has worked as a chef since 1998. She will prepare our food and teach us how to make our favorite Tuscan meals such as homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza. She has mastered the local cuisine of the Casentino Valley near Poppi and Arezzo, which is famous for lasagna and ravioli. During late afternoons, Chef Daniela will host three cooking classes in which she will focus on these areas:

Homemade Pastas—You’ll learn how to roll it out using fresh country eggs to make the classic noodles: raviolis and lasagnas. Chef Daniela will also teach you how to create pestos and vegetable- and meat-based sauces.

Vegetables and Roasting Meat—You’ll learn to use fresh vegetables in side dishes and salads and how to grill meat over an open fire. Chef Daniela will share how the locals prepare wonderful appetizers—the traditional way to start a great meal!

Pizzas—You’ll learn how to make homemade pizzas using wood fire and desserts using pastries. You’ll see firsthand how beautiful simple food can be. We embellish with good wines from the area, and we’ll sample cheeses, local delicacies, sweets and more.

QUESTIONS? E-mail Cindy at dyerdesign@aol.com or call 703.971.9038. Contact Suzy directly via e-mail at suzy2art@gmail.com or text her cell phone at 210.556.8909 for more information.

For more details, download the preliminary brochure by clicking this link here: Tuscany Workshops





Daniel Scott’s Recycled Mosaics—prints now available!

5 08 2012

I met graphic designer and artist Daniel Scott, Jr. through my blog last spring. He asked permission to use a photo I had shot of a cluster of purple Spiderwort flowers as inspiration for one of his recycled mosaic illustrations, which he has been creating since 1995. My photo, shot at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, inspired him to create “A Vibrant Morning Wake,” which is seen here in a posting I did in July 2011, and in the collage below (upper left).

Each beautiful mosaic is made from thousands of tiny bits of recycled candy wrappers, drink labels, gum wrappers, and sugar and tea packets. He now has limited edition prints available for purchase in the store on his website here. His work is spectacular—check it out!





Announcing nature and outdoor photography workshops with Brian Loflin in Washington, D.C. and Virginia

13 07 2012

I’m partnering with my friend Rob Bergsohn, founder of the Northern Virginia Outdoor Portrait Photographers meetup.com group, and professional photographer Brian Loflin, to offer a series of great photography workshops in the Washington, D.C./Virginia area in August. Learn more by visiting my main blog here.





Announcing Art, Photography and Cooking Workshops in Tuscany this September

6 07 2012

My friend and fellow artist, Suzy Olsen, has asked me to teach a photography workshop at her villa in Tuscany this September! The 10-day trip includes accommodations, all meals, and three daily workshops: watercolor and pen and ink classes with Suzy each morning, a travel, nature and portrait photography class with me each afternoon, and authentic Italian cooking classes each evening with Nadége Bernardi. Accommodations are in a lovely artist community at the top of a hill overlooking the town of Poppi.

Questions? Contact Suzy directly via e-mail at mandalas2art@yahoo.com or text her at suzy2art@gmail.com.

To learn more, download the preliminary brochure by clicking this link here: Tuscany Workshops





Tiny bling

16 06 2012

These are some of the images I’ve chosen to create pendant necklaces (1″ silverplated, copper or brass bezels with acrylic or glass domes and dogtag, silver snake chains or cotton and satin cords). I’ve launched a shop on etsy (Garden Muse Studio) to sell prints (loose, matted, framed), photo notecards (regular botanical photos and my older line of Polaroid transfer reproductions) and crafts such as jewelry, linoleum cut prints (my next endeavor) and small acrylic paintings (landscapes, botanicals and mixed media). There’s nothing in the store yet, but I’m working on it! The two kitten faces are for my friend Karen and her daughters, FYI.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





More scenes from the reception of Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio

7 05 2012

These lovely photos were shot at my April 15 photography reception at Green Spring Gardens by my friend Karen B.’s eldest daughter, Margot. For the record, Margot and her sister, Hannah, are two of the sweetest, smartest and prettiest young ladies I’ve had the good fortune to watch grow from birth to 20 and 18 years old, respectively. Catering by the Sneeze Guard Heiress, Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality; tablescaping by Karen B. and yours truly. Thanks for the shots, Margot!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pressed plants as art

24 04 2012

These individual one-of-a-kind pieces of art are actual Texas wildflowers collected from the wild and pressed, dried and preserved as two-dimensional ecological décor. My friend, Shirley Loflin, is the collector and artist responsible for preparation of these most interesting botanical specimens. She is a naturalist and author who, along with husband Brian (who just happens to be a former employer of mine as well as my photography mentor), have written several articles and books on the natural science of Texas.

The concept of this art series grew out of the requirement to preserve “voucher specimens” for the herbaria at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas. A voucher is a botanical specimen carefully mounted on archival materials of high quality, and completely identified with both common and scientific names. These vouchers are documentation of plants photographed in the wild for their books: Grasses of the Texas Hill Country, Texas Cacti and their latest, Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures.

Shirley and Brian have been writing about and photographing Texas as a team for more than 20 years. In addition, they lead natural science photography tours and workshops in a wide variety of locations in the Americas.

Their work may be found at www.loflin-images.com, www.thenatureconnection.com and www.bkloflin.wordpress.com. Their books are published by Texas A&M University Press and may be found at most major booksellers.

Shirley’s botanical art is available for purchase in her etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/thenatureconnection.





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 2

18 04 2012

A reception wouldn’t be complete without food, and with Kelley Hospitality in charge, mine was p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Visit Barbara’s hospitality blog here. Thanks to Ed Fagan of Columbia Photography for all the great photos!





Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 1

18 04 2012

WOW. That’s how I can sum up my photography exhibit reception on Sunday at Green Spring Gardens. My friend Martha says her favorite moment was when I came by her and simply said, “I am just soooooooooo happy.” I kept repeating it like a Stepford character. I’m just soooooooooo happy. Really, I am just soooooooooo deliriously happy! Sales and attendance were way beyond what I expected (or dared to hope for).

Remember, the show is up for two more weeks—you have until April 29 to see it if you haven’t already done so. For more details and directions, visit my show site: www.gardenmuseshow.com! FYI—I will have an etsy.com store up and running soon. I’ll be selling matted and framed images, greeting cards and jewelry (and any other crafty endeavor that strikes my fancy!). Stay tuned for more info on that venture. More photos to come from the reception…

Reception photos © Ed Fagan, Columbia Photography

Martha, my friend who came up for the weekend from San Antonio, Texas, confidently pitches the “buy all eight greeting cards for $20 and get a nifty floral gift bag” deal to a potential customer.

Above, from left: dear friends Holly and Tom, yours truly (with my trusty Coolpix) and lovely Sue-in-blue, who flew up from Huntsville, Alabama

With a lot of help from family and friends (Karen B., her daughter Margot, my sister Debbie, sister-in-law Nancy, Karen W. and Martha), the table decor—inspired by spring and all things gardening—became the perfect backdrop to showcase Barbara‘s wonderful sweet and savory appetizers! The only downside—putting all those decorations back in their place in our townhouse.

Above, left: The view of the banquet tables from the “savory” side. Right: Barbara Kelley, caterer extraordinaire, displays her Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes, topped off with homemade fondant butterflies made by Karen B., daughter Hannah and me.

Above: The photo pendants were a hit, much to our delight! My friend Paula and I made about 30 of them and we sold more than half of them. I’ll be preparing more to sell in my etsy.com store, which I’ll be working on next month. We hung them on satin cords (longer length), vinyl cording and silver-plated chains and sold them sans chains as well.

Barbara and Hollace made open-faced tea sandwiches and adorned them with edible flowers—which required some cajoling to get attendees to eat. I heard several times, “are you sure we can eat these?” Michael proved they were edible by devouring a complete pink rose (photo to come). Another guest poked at the mozzarella balls (!) and asked if they were real (!) Thank you to Sue for helping me festoon the cupcake stand with garden-inspired fabric and ribbon. We went through a lot of hot glue on that project!

Above: getting the store set up before the crowd comes through the doors. Thanks to everyone who set up the shop—Michael, Karen B., Karen and Joe W., Pete and Nancy, Martha and Debbie. We filled up 3.5 cars with matted/framed prints, greeting cards and buffet decor elements. From left: Holly and her friend Helen examine the necklaces on display; center: Michael explains how to use his credit card machine to Karen B. and her daughter Margot; far right: me explaining something (?) to my friend Leda

Above: seven of the eight 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards available for sale. Not shown, my “Unfurled” image with a ‘Negrita’ Tulip

Above: another shot of the buffet—tea sandwiches, fruit skewers and pesto pinwheels

Above, left: the jewelry display with my brother-in-law Pete in the background. Peter and his wife Nancy (Michael’s sister) drove up from the Columbus, Ohio area. Right: one of my favorite people—friend and neighbor Michael P. —deciding with “hairy legged” insect photo to purchase (thanks for giving Vault and Whirly Girl a good home, Michael!) Below: lines began to form—how cool is that?

Above: It was so great to see my former roommate (from way back circa 1998 or so) Wendy and her husband Mark—I last saw Wendy at Potomac Mills mall when her son Eli (now 17) was still in a stroller! We reunited on Facebook (but of course) and they truly surprised me by driving down from West Virginia just for the reception! She has asked me to do a presentation to her second grade class on “how to learn how to see” things in nature. Now that I can do!

During this entire process, I have had such a tremendous show of support from family and friends. Since the show went up, I have had guests coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland. I am so blessed to have these people in my circle!

In preparation for the show and reception, I’d like to thank a slew of great people:

A very special thanks to Jeff E.—thank you for the kick in the pants to get “exposure for my exposures!”
Dorothy Norpel
, F.R.O.G.S. (Friends of Green Spring Gardens) show coordinator, for giving me the opportunity to exhibit
• Mary Olien and Janet Hammes of Green Spring Gardens for their support of my work and Janet in particular for letting us in early on Sunday so we would have ample time to prepare for the reception (and also for purchasing several images!)
• All the employees and volunteers of Green Spring Gardens who answered questions, fetched a ladder, made a sale, answered my myriad questions and honored my requests
The Green Spring Gardens horticulture staff who are masters (and artists) at what they do—for always having something new and beautiful for me to photograph (not many people know that more than 75% of the images in the show were shot at Green Spring Gardens)
Dad
for his financial input, patient framing guidance and being the best cheerleader/dad/patron of the arts a girl could have
My sister Kelley for helping me select all the images for the show and being the genius behind the idea to name the images
Tom and Holly for loading up 98% of the framed images in their van and transporting and unloading it all—you just don’t know how much I appreciated that!
Dear Camilla for flying up to help me hang up the show and her invaluable creative direction (not to mention her long-time friendship)
• Karen W.
and Michael for helping hang the show from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (thanks also to Karen for constantly promoting my work, whether it’s jewelry making or the exhibit—there’s a reason you’re a key component of the K.I.T.A. club, ya know!)
Carmen and her sister-in-law Ester for driving eight hours from Greer, South Carolina just to attend the exhibit
Mary Ellen
for flying from Wisconsin
My sister-in-law Ronnie and her husband Ed for coming to see us and the exhibit en route from Florida back to their home in Cleveland
My sister Debbie and our friend Martha for hopping planes from San Antonio to share in the big weekend
Karen B.
for helping design the buffet tables, create the table covers and decorations, making fondant butterflies for the cupcakes, sleeving greeting cards and for every single creative project she is willing to tackle alongside me (I enjoy all our creative time together, KareBear) and for her patience in heading up the store
Mo Sherman
for spreading the word to his Virginia and Maryland friends and for being so supportive of my work
Sue
for flying here from Huntsville, AL, helping me make the three-tiered tea sandwich stand and putting matted prints in sleeves (and for her never-ending cheerleading!)
Hannah
for help with creating the butterflies and manning the store with her mom
Margot
for her flower arranging skills, buffet decorating and helping in the store
Paula
for helping me make those pretty photo pendants that were such a hit (and for her and Ken spreading the word of the exhibit to their friends and colleagues)
Nancy
, Pete and Martha for helping frame (assembly-line style) some last-minute pieces
Karen W.
and Joe for preparing and bringing a great breakfast spread to the house Sunday morning so we wouldn’t pass out during the day
All the help transporting to and fro in four separate cars from Michael, Pete, Joe, Nancy, Karen W., Martha and Debbie
Barbara
and Hollace for the amazing reception food—it was colorful, tasty, imaginative, filled with love, and I couldn’t imagine a catered event going more smoothly than this one did—you are a pro, Barbara!
Karen B.
, Margot, Hannah and Martha for minding the store and taking care of sales, wrapping, etc. (I know it was a crazy, unexpected time and I thank them profusely for all their efforts; nothing I can do can repay their generosity of time!);
Michael for running errands to get more change, to the house for more supplies and bringing fans to cool off the place (we learned that they turn off the air at the Horticulture Center on weekends!)
Karen W.
, Debbie, Martha, Karen B., Margot and Nancy for all their help decorating the buffet tables and setting up the store
Jeff S.D. for his constant support and helping me determine pricing (why is this always so hard for an artist?)
Brian for his mentoring and valuable input, always
Kudos and thanks to my hard-working friend Ed for so thoroughly and beautifully documenting that wonderful day with nearly 700 images (shot from above, below, from the side, on a ladder, on the floor and from the ceiling)!

If I have left out anyone in the never-ending gratitude list above, it is not intentional. Finally, thank you to all my local friends, faraway friends, Facebook friends, WordPress fellow bloggers and design clients for being a constant source of support and enthusiasm for this pet project of mine. Thank you to all my local friends who were able to make the reception and for your purchases as well. I thank you profusely and Green Spring Gardens thanks you, too!





The Garden Muse Portfolio goes to print!

17 03 2012

Dear MagCloud, I take back every awful thing I thought about you last night (including the sailor-worthy words I uttered under my breath). I still think you should have official tech support (phone support, perhaps, and I’d gladly pay by the minute for it), but in the end, my case worker, Adriana, was a big help via e-mail (even if it appeared I was hell bent on proving her wrong). In one e-mail, Adriana wrote: “Also, the images on that file are stunningly beautiful. I’m sure when you are done, this will be a stellar piece. Hang in there.” (Thanks for that, Adriana—your comment cheered me up until I got frustrated again.)

I wrote about MagCloud on this blog here in 2009 and here in 2010. This is the first time I’ve taken the time to work on a project to try out the service.

Despite my repeated attempts to upload what I thought was a properly-prepared file, I was met with the same *&#)*!@&#)!# error message every time. I was using their template that I had downloaded for this size and was told later by Adriana that they discontinued the template so I shouldn’t use it (did I miss that meeting?). I read the pdf preparation file that Adriana e-mailed me so I could amend my template to their exact specs. I created seven different files, all with the same end result. Eventually I resorted to exporting four page simple test pages just to prove my theory that it couldn’t possibly be me causing these latest problems. After a while, I started naming things like: magtestone.pdf, magtesttwo.pdf, final.pdf, finalfinal.pdf, reallyfinalfinal.pdf, thisisthelastoneIswear.pdf, Igiveupmylifeisover.pdf, magcloudyouareonmylastnerve.pdf, Illneverbeaselfpublisher.pdf and magcloudpleaseletmeinorIwillunpostallthoseglowingreviewsaboutyou.pdf. I briefly contemplated assigning a file name that would make even my toes curl, but I figured the system would spit it back at me for being so unladylike.

After a day to reflect, run errands and come back with fresh eyes, I figured out what I was doing wrong. It was a very simple little step that I had overlooked—do not click on “spreads” when you’re outputting the pdf for MagCloud. If you do, you will be informed (repeatedly) that page 1 is okay but the other pages aren’t the same size (which sounds completely insane because it is the same file). You will also be told that your bleeds are not correct. That one stupid mistake kept me up until 2:00 a.m., then I finally waved the white flag.

The file is now uploaded and I’ll receive my sample copy sometime next week. I’m crossing my fingers that it looks as good in print as it looks in the file! I already know the quality of their paper and printing is great—I’ve bought sample magazines in the past. It’s a great way to publish a magazine with very little investment (more time than money, actually)—no need to go to a traditional printer to get a decent-looking publication with this print-on-demand option. I paid an extra buck for it to be perfect bound rather than saddle-stitched (due to the number of pages). I may even open the publication up for purchase if it meets my quality control standards.

I’ve scattered some of my favorite gardening quotes through the 88-page document and have identified all the images by their print name, common flower/plant name and the Latin name. All of these images are either in the current exhibit or will be for sale at the reception on April 15. I may expand the publication (as if it isn’t long enough) and include garden photography tips as well before I offer it for sale in the MagCloud store.

If you’re in the D.C./Northern Virginia area, just skip, sashay, slink, saunter or skidaddle on over to the Horticulture Center at Green Spring Gardens from now until April 29. If you’re in the mood for great appetizers (courtesy of Kelley Hospitality), good company and photographic eye candy (who doesn’t love flowers and bugs?), join me at the reception on April 15 from 1-3 p.m. Since the show runs until April 29, you’ll have plenty of time to see it! For more details, visit my show website here.

For now, I hope you enjoy the cover and the first 16 pages (I’ll just be over here in the corner…wearing my dunce cap).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Garden Muse Show: Random Dozen

5 03 2012

My photography exhibit, titled “Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio,” is up and ready for viewing at the Horticulture Center at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia. Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, VA. All images are for sale and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Green Spring Gardens’ FROGS program (Friends of Green Spring Gardens).

The exhibit runs February 28-April 29, 2012, so there’s plenty of time to come see it if you’re in the Virginia/D.C. area or are planning to visit this spring. The reception is Sunday, April 15 from 1-3 p.m. So set aside your taxes (if you’re not already done with them at that point!) and come join me at the reception for some mingling, delicious appetizers (catering by Barbara Kelley of Kelley Hospitality) and refreshments. There will be additional framed images, matted-only images and greeting cards for sale during the reception. And please don’t forget to sign my guest book!

Show website: http://www.gardenmuseshow.com/

Directions: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/directions.htm

Below is collage of just a dozen of the images (out of a whopping total of 74!) featured in the show. All images are matted and framed and eight images are gallery wrapped canvases that range from 18″x24″ up to 20″x30″ in size. If you’ve never had your best photos transferred to canvas, don’t get started on it. It is highly addictive and quite pricey, but the results are so spectacular that you’ll have a hard time resisting the pull. And the larger you go, the higher the price (and the bigger the smile, too). Intervention, anyone?

____________________________________________________________________________________

I just found out that the Washington Post listed the exhibit in their online “Going Out Guide,” and I have five reviews online so far!

Impressive—This is by far the best exhibit I have seen at Green Spring Gardens. This is a coup for them. Of course, Fairfax County Parks are the best. But this show tops everything. Nature captured!”

This Will Make You Smile—This is macro photography at its best. Ms. Dyer manages to inspire smiles from her deeply colorful and sometimes playful images of nature. A burst of color fills the room. Green Spring Gardens must be very pleased to have this exhibit.”

Incredible Color—This exhibit grabs you as you walk in the building. Don’t miss the images on canvas! Absolutely beautiful. I have so many favorites! The detail, color, composition of every one of these images is fantastic. This show is not to be missed!”

Wow…I mean…wow.—I’m a photographer who had a show in the same space a couple of years back and seeing what Ms. Dyer did with her show blew my mind. It is a gorgeous display of nature photography. Just a joy to see.”

A Feast for the Eyes and a Lift for the Soul—This photographic show is an exhibit of beautifully-composed macro-photography of plants and insects. The flowers are lovely and a riot of color and composition. Many of the photographs were taken in Green Spring Garden Park. I loved it and I am recommending it to my friends!”

Excellent Photographer—I have been waiting to see this exhibit for weeks! Lovers of nature, botany and excellent photography will not be disappointed.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Desktop poetry: Unfurled

22 02 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






22 things I have learned while preparing for my photography exhibit

21 02 2012

Someone once said, “it takes a village to produce a photography exhibit,” (or something to that effect). It’s true, and I will thank as many people possible in this posting. I know there will be more thank you’s to come in future postings, so if I’ve missed naming you, please forgive me.

1) Be careful what you wish for. Oh, and thanks (both heartfelt and sarcastically) to dear friend, Jeff Evans, for suggesting I hop on the photo exhibit bandwagon with him.

2) Every image that ultimately gets vetoed, even after trying to assess it with a critical eye 87 times, feels like I’m abandoning a child (that I don’t have). I’m down to this: does this image make me immediately say, “ohhhhh, yes. You are good.” Or does it elicit a “meh” or “Really? A point and shooter coulda shot that” at first glance?

3) Acid-free framing tape makes an excellent bandage around a wedge of Bounty paper towel when you stub your big toe on that piece of unusable glass you forgot was there.

4) Don’t try to continue framing when you get a paper cut. It’s not pretty. And no, an eraser won’t help.

5) Even the nicest frames can come with crappy glass. If there’s a scratch on my brand new glass, can I assume someone took a diamond ring and ran it across the surface? I thought the only thing that could scratch glass was a diamond.

6) And while we’re on the subject of frames…when you need 20 larger frames and the best price online for a particular frame is one that has acrylic/Plexiglas instead of actual glass (cheaper and safer to ship, I’ve learned), this is still not the way to go—no matter what you read on the forums by all those exhibit know-it-alls when you Google, “glass vs. Plexiglas for a photography exhibit.” When you get the frame in, you will peel off the protective cover on both sides of the flimsy sheet and every speck of dust in Bexar County, Texas will find its way to you. No amount of compressed air will alleviate the problem. When you use that baby soft dust brush to lightly remove the dust, it will make permanent scratches on the surface. You will then spend an hour on the phone researching the cheapest place in San Antonio to have glass cut in 18×24 sheets. Sigh, another purchase? (See #12)

7) Converting one’s craft room to a frame shop makes it irresistible to a cat. ZenaB, our tuxedo cat, has this thing for licking plastic (bags and the like). Every frame I unwrap is covered in acres of shrink wrap or a plastic envelope. Seriously, she needs an intervention.

8) Speaking of cats, did you know that the sound of compressed air will send a cat back upstairs in two seconds flat?

9) When one is so pinned in by empty frames, backer boards, acid-free foam core, prints of various sizes, mats, good glass and diamond-scratched glass, glazier gun and points, tape, scissors, xacto knives, rulers and framing wire that one can’t get up to change the radio station when a song one really hates comes on or one debates whether one should go pee or just hold it in a little longer, one should question one’s sanity. All that is missing is that adorable and extremely patient Matt Paxton, extreme cleaning expert from Hoarders, coming around the corner and chuckling nervously as he assesses the mission and asks “can this woman/house be saved?” Excuse me while I diverge…a few months ago I saw a magazine cover (some pricey creative/artsy/craftsy publication whose name escapes me) and the main headline read, “Are you a horder?” Who is proofreading this thing?

10) And speaking of purchases…buy everything you need online, from coated framing wire to hooks to mats and foam core boards (even cut to exact specs!). It will be considerably cheaper, even after you add shipping costs, than getting it locally at a craft store or frame shop. This was a valuable lesson at the outset.

11) Every time I enter my temporary “frame shop,” I hear that “thrinkkkkkk” sound from Hoarders—the one that sounds right before they type something like “Cindy, Alexandria, Virginia” on the screen. Ditto when I step into the living room, where all the finished frames are awaiting transport to the venue next Monday. Will my house ever be back to normal?

12) My bank account may never truly recover. Ever. So if you do come to the show, have pity—buy something. Or two somethings. And really, an odd number is better for a whole host of reasons, so make it three somethings. I promise to apply a quantity discount.

13) You would be surprised at how guerilla-marketing-ish you’ll get when you’re parting with this much time and money in preparation for an exhibit (not to mention you haven’t had an exhibition of your work since the covered wagon days). I have e-mailed people that I haven’t talked to in years in an effort to promote the show. If I could find my kindergarten teacher, I would mail her a postcard, too. To what end, I have no idea. It is something I feel compelled to do. What if I leave her out? She might know someone who knows someone who knows someone who publishes a magazine about flowers and they are in dyer dire need of fresh images.

14) Note to self: A Flower fly does not a Honey bee make. Surely you knew that when you signed that print, matted it, framed it, sealed the back and added the framing wire and hooks. Your heart really wasn’t in it when you came up with that lame title, “Busy Bee,” anyway. Maybe it’s because it’s not a bee in the first place. You know the difference. Were you inhaling compressed air? There’s one do-over to add to the queue. Muchas gracias to my younger sister, Kelley, for her very keen eye in helping me cull the first round of images and for suggesting (and assisting in) naming the images. You really have do an eye for this, Wap-Wap! Wanna represent me? Thanks to my high school buddy James Williams and his wife Irma and daughter Elise for being the first to preview the show (or what I had finished preparing at that point), spread out all over the King’s living room (the prints, not the Williams family).

15) When you get notice that the XYZ Chrysanthemum Society is taking orders for mum plants via e-mail (and you joined the group who knows why at that plant sale years ago), don’t e-mail the entire list back to (very politely) ask if anyone knows what hybrid a particular mum is in the attached photo. More than two dozen people received my question and not one responded. I thought gardeners were more open than that. Seriously, not one. The lesson in this sad tale is to never assume just because you’re excited about your show that total strangers want to make sure you get your IDs correct. They’re too busy growing mums to bother with your little project.

16) But on the identification flip-side, your fellow bloggers and rabid gardeners will respond within minutes on your Facebook wall when you attach a photo and beg for help labeling the flower. Thanks in particular to fellow blogger and garden designer Pam Pennick and Bobbie Hill Evans for identifying my Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), but also to Mahvelous Mahvin, Jimmie, Patricia, Sean and Anna, for chiming in on the “pretty flower.”

17) Ditto on the spider identification, too. Bug people are busy people, apparently. Why don’t you look it up in one of your umpteen spider books, Cindy? What are ya—lazy? Deep in my heart, I knew it was a sort of crab spider, but I wanted absolute confirmation of which crab spider it was. Didn’t get it. My mind flashed to this very possible scenario: A local entomologist is on his lunch break one balmy April day at Green Spring Gardens. After finishing lunch, he wanders into the Horticulture Center. “Oh, look, a new exhibit,” he thinks to himself. He wanders down the ramp, admiring each image (drawn in particular to the ones with insects, of course), until he comes to the image titled Bird’s Eye View. “Hmmm…let’s see…what an interesting perspective.” He leans forward to read the accompanying sign. “Crab spider on Chrysanthemum. Hmmm…girl should really have consulted a bug expert. That is most certainly not a Crab spider. Sheesh.” (Oh, and a note to that hypothetical entomologist—if you’re reading this, take this into consideration. I really did try to get my ID correct. Don’t you judge me.)

18) Despite the long (but happy) hours I’ve spent preparing for this exhibit, I’ve discovered that framing my images—with all the little details that go into it from start to finish—is very zen for me. Extreme thanks to my father, aka The King of Texas, for showing me how to do all of this by my lonesome self—and for letting me thoroughly deplete his ample (and expensive) supply of acid-free foam core board. (His framing shed, er, castle, is like being in a craft shop. The supplies never ran out!) The King (shown at left) is a major sponsor of this exhibit—so a grateful tip of this peasant’s bedraggled hat to his Royal Highness. When I’m framing, every image conjures up when, where and how I created it and that feeling I had knowing I got the best shot possible. However, I’m well aware that meditation is a far cheaper endeavor. Of course, I needed another hobby. 🙂

19) Friends, family and complete strangers who learn of the show will become your ultimate cheerleaders. You were already excited about the venue, the opportunity to do the show, seeing your work actually printed and framed (and not just contained within the boundaries of a computer screen on a blog) and the myriad possibilities that might accompany such an event—but your fans and supporters will only bolster that feeling with their feedback. They will spread the word, pass along your invite, and suggest other advertising outlets. Friends from far away will start making flight reservations just to come to see your little show.

20) The show will consume your life at every turn. When you are not designing something to make money to actually pay for the show, you will be matting, framing, taping, typing, primping, scheming, researching, identifying, begging for identification, labeling and stamping postcards and opening box after box after box of supplies delivered to you via FedEx, UPS and the postman. Your multiple purchases will bolster the faltering economy and provide an endless stream of oversized boxes that will amuse and delight your cats (except for that one time when you tossed the two kittens into the box filled with water-soluble-eco-friendly packing peanuts and completely freaked them out). You will skip dinner because you lose track of time. Your cats will (almost) skip dinner because you lose track of time. You will actually go through the motions of framing in your sleep and be a tad disappointed when you realize that those weren’t really done when you awaken the next day. Your husband will help you haul 600 pounds of frames to and from the car and try not to fall asleep when you recite your plans out loud. He will also feed you when you’re too preoccupied to do it yourself (thank you, sweetie). Your lovely long-time friend, Cam, will offer to fly up from Florida to help you hang the show and you will be floored by her generosity and sentiment and will anxiously await her arrival, input, feedback, honesty and company. Your redheaded friend Karen will not sigh or roll her eyes when you prattle incessantly about your show preparations over IHOP breakfast-for-dinner on girl’s night out. Your other friend Karen (she of the not-red-head) will help you with pricing your offerings and tablescaping the reception. Special thanks to one cheerleader in particular, Barbara Kelley (shown above). The Sneeze Guard Heiress will be catering my reception on April 15. Check out her latest culinary creation on her hospitality blog here.

21) It really does help to have a strong graphic design background when you prepare for something like this. All of your marketing materials will look polished and you won’t have to pay someone else to design them. This will be the only place where you and your money will not be parted.

When you log online just to order the postcards to promote your exhibit, you will begin to imagine your photos on mousepads, key chains, hoodies, lawn signs, bumper stickers, tote bags, greeting cards, magnetic car signs, luggage tags, banners and posters. The online company will even suggest every single one of these items all the way up to checking out. You will be tempted. Step away from vistaprint.com, sistah. Thank you to my college roommate and fellow graphic designer (shown at left), Sonya Mendeke, for designing my beautiful Garden Muse website dedicated solely to this show.

22) Remind me again why I’m doing this?

Ah, yes, to free these images from the confines of my blog and my external hard drives:





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





Repost: 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.





The Painting Years: A little paint, a little paneling

31 12 2011

This family quote, “a little paint, a little paneling,” originated with my dad. He probably learned it from his mother, perhaps. I just did a Google search on that quote and believe it or not, the only two entries that reference it are on this blog!

On family vacations, when we would invariably pass by a dilapidated house or barn, held up with just a few boards and rusty nails, and showing sky through the roof, my dad would point at the structure and quip, “a little paint, a little paneling,” as if that was all it would take to make the hovel presentable. I still use that quote today and since we can safely assume my dad invented the phrase, I will give you permission to use it as needed. Just remember who invented it and give credit where credit is due. Or, you could make a donation through PayPal to the King of Texas each time you use it. The King says a quarter per use (he acknowledges it is a tough economy for his subjects) would be greatly appreciated. Donations would help with the upkeep of the castle (he is retired and on a fixed income, you know).

It would certainly be appropriate with this sketchy painting done in thinned-out oil paints on an 11×16 canvas. I’m not sure what I was referencing when I painted it—it could have been an exact copy of a painting or even sketched from a photograph in a magazine. I’ve always liked loosely painted subjects and that’s the style I tend to lean toward now when I do paint.





The Painting Years: Texas Bluebonnets

31 12 2011

This tiny painting measures just 4×6″ and is an original oil painting that I did when I was about 17 years old.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A brief lesson in composition by Brian Loflin

30 12 2011

Brian Loflin, a professional photographer living in Austin, Texas, was my boss umpteen years ago (I shant say how many lest I reveal my agedness) and is my photography mentor and lifelong friend. I met him when he was doing a fashion photo shoot for Jones & Jones, an upscale department store at La Plaza Mall in McAllen, Texas. This was one of my first jobs out of college and I was hired to do fashion illustration and write newspaper and ad copy. I was asked to assist Brian and since I had a yen for photography, I relished the chance to do so. Not long after, he offered me a full-time position, and despite the long commute, I accepted without hesitation.

I worked with Brian on myriad advertising and marketing projects and acquired so many skills in the year I was employed as both a graphic designer and photography assistant at his studio, Loflin & Associates, in Brownsville, Texas. I drove from my tiny hometown of Donna, Texas five days a week to Brownsville to work. It was approximately 60 miles each way, so that was a roughly two-hour commute, as traffic wasn’t heavy in that area. If I had to commute 60 miles in the D.C. area, it would take me well over two hours each way, I’m certain. I didn’t mind the commute (especially after my dad offered me his bright orange diesel VW Rabbit to lessen the cost).

Under Brian’s watchful eyes, I became very proficient at b&w film developing and printing, learned a lot about studio lighting for both products and people, went stark crazy learning how to spec type for brochures (this was covered wagon days, well before Jobs and Wozniak offered us Apple and desktop publishing), and accompanied him on unusual photography excursions such as the workings of an aloe vera plant from the field to the final product (fascinating!) and the christening and photo inventory of the world’s largest offshore drilling rig (exhilarating!).

In this recent posting on his natural science photography blog, he offers a brief lesson in composition. Enjoy!

http://bkloflin.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/its-snowing-somewhere/

Brian and his wife, Shirley, have published three books: Texas Cacti: A Field Guide and Grasses of the Texas Hill Country: A Field Guide, both published by Texas A&M University Press. Their latest book, Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures, will be hot off the press shortly. Their Grasses book recently received the Carroll Abbott Award from the Native Plant Society of Texas.