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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Moroccan Pattern Bookmark" - Bookmark / Tag

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This week’s Theme Thursday challenge was “Pattern.” This week’s Three Muses challenge was “Book.” I used some Moroccan vector patterns that I got awhile ago from Vector Madness to create a bookmark / tag. I'm still having problems with scans being washed out.

"Music" – Tag

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This week’s Take A Word challenge #9 was “Music.” I made a tag but the scan of it is washed out. It looks better in person. I made a new tag shape for this, with scalloped edges.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Africa" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Open Theme.”

"Africa" - ATCs

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Africa.” I love rhinoceros and always think of them when I think of Africa.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowballs / Mexican Wedding Cookies / Pecan Balls / Russian Tea Cakes / Butter Balls

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I based my recipe on the Kraft recipe.

All of these recipes are very similar:

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Pecan Balls
Snowballs
Russian Tea Cakes/Cookies
Butter Balls

Ingredients:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (Stop and Shop Sweet Cream Butter Unsalted)
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
2 cups finely chopped Pecans
4 cups flour

1 cup powdered sugar for coating


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Beat butter, 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

3) Add salt and beat on medium speed.

4) Gradually add pecans, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended.

5) Gradually add flour, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended.

6) Use cookie scooper to drop dough, 1-1/2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 15 min. or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Time may vary based on your oven. Cool 5 min. on baking sheets. Roll warm cookies in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar until evenly coated; place on wire racks. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Makes about 96 cookies. (4 x 6 on 4 cookie sheets.)

Christmas Sunrise

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None of my pictures ever do justice to the beautiful red sunrises I see here sometimes. This is from Christmas morning.

Wild Turkey Invasion


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I took this picture about two weeks ago, when I came home from work to find a gang of wild turkeys had invaded my yard.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blizzard Warning - NYC / Southwest Coastal CT

Well, we didn't have a white Christmas, but we're about to get covered in 11 to 16 inches of snow today. Check back later for snow pictures.

From NOAA:

Blizzard Warning

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1100 PM EST SAT DEC 25 2010

...A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT THE REGION FROM SUNDAY
AFTERNOON AND NIGHT...

CTZ007>012-NJZ002-004-006-103>108-NYZ071>075-078>081-176>179-
261300-
/O.CON.KOKX.BZ.W.0002.101226T1100Z-101227T2300Z/
NORTHERN MIDDLESEX-NORTHERN NEW LONDON-SOUTHERN FAIRFIELD-SOUTHERN NEW HAVEN-SOUTHERN MIDDLESEX-SOUTHERN NEW LONDON-WESTERN PASSAIC-EASTERN PASSAIC-HUDSON-WESTERN BERGEN-EASTERN BERGEN-WESTERN ESSEX-EASTERN ESSEX-WESTERN UNION-EASTERN UNION-SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)-BRONX-RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)-KINGS (BROOKLYN)-NORTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-NORTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-NORTHERN QUEENS-NORTHERN NASSAU-SOUTHERN QUEENS-SOUTHERN NASSAU-
1100 PM EST SAT DEC 25 2010

...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY INTO MONDAY...

* LOCATIONS...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...NEW YORK CITY...LONG ISLAND AND COASTAL SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT AS WELL AS ALL OF SOUTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT.

* HAZARDS...HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS...WITH CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW WITH NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY AT TIMES.

* ACCUMULATIONS...11 TO 16 INCHES...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. SNOW MAY MIX WITH OR CHANGE TO RAIN AND SLEET AT THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM LATE SUNDAY NIGHT ACROSS EASTERN LONG ISLAND...AND POSSIBLY ACROSS COASTAL SOUTHEAST CONNECTICUT...WHICH COULD HOLD DOWN AMOUNTS THERE...BUT ONLY AFTER SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS HAVE ALREADY TAKEN PLACE.

* IMPACTS...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS DEVELOPING SUNDAY AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING DUE TO SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...AND STRONG WINDS CAUSING CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW. VISIBILITIES WILL BE NEAR ZERO AT TIMES...WITH WHITEOUT CONDITIONS EXPECTED. STRONG WINDS MAY ALSO DOWN SOME POWER LINES...TREE LIMBS...AND CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS.

* TIMING...LIGHT SNOW WILL BEGIN DURING SUNDAY MORNING...THEN BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON INTO MUCH OF SUNDAY NIGHT. LIGHT SNOWS WILL LIKELY LINGER INTO EARLY MONDAY MORNING.

* WINDS....DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM SUNDAY NIGHT...NORTH WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 20 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS 40 TO 55 MPH LIKELY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Art Creations Friday - Challenge 98" - Tag

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I created a tag for the Art Creations Friday Dec 03, 2010 challenge (number 98). The challenge site provided the background image. At first I was going to use it for a bookmark, but I couldn't come up with any ideas for it. I looked at it again today and thought the reds in it would go nice as a Christmas theme tag.

"Joy to the World!" – Postcard

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This week’s Crazy Amigo challenge was “Christmas.” This week’s Take A Word challenge #8 was “Celebrate.” What greater celebration is there than the birth of The Savior? I'm not very religious, but this year I've found a deeper meaning and significance to Christianity. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (a little late), and Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Tidings of Comfort and Joy" - Postcard

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This week’s Three Muses challenge was “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse" – 4x4

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This week’s 4x4 Friday challenge was “Winter Solstice.” Although I awoke in the middle of the night, I was unable to see the rare Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse due to cloud cover here, and missed seeing the red moon.

"Gift Tags" - Tag

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This week’s Theme Thursday challenge was “Tag.” I had made some Christmas gift tags, so I figured I would use them for the challenge too. The Ex Libris tag is actually for a non-Christmas gift.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Santa" - ATC

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Santa.”

"Christmas Magic" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Santa.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Strawberry Crate Label" - ATC

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Signs and Labels.” I made a Strawberry Crate Label. Florida had a hard freeze this week, and the first crop that will indicate whether or not there will be major fruit crop losses is the strawberries.

P.S. I forgot to mention the flowers are from a Digital Whisper challenge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Robin Season's Greetings" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Robin.” I ended up creating a "less is more" design for this.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Glitter Embossing" - Postcard

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This week’s Three Muses challenge was “flowers.” This ended up turning into an experiment on how to create digital glitter embossing. I created the flowers using a GIMP script I wrote, then bump mapped them. I used a holly stamp for the background, and embossed it with glitter. I also did that to the cardinal.

"Angel" – Postcard

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This week’s Soartful challenge was “Angels.” The angel image was from the challenge site, and originally came from Vintage Catnip.

"Round" - ATC

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Round.” I took this picture of a candle wall sconce that I got at Pier1. I like the light and shadow effects it created, and there are multiple round objects within this.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Snowflakes"– Gothic Arch

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This week’s Gothic Arches challenge was “Snowflakes.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Wish List" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Wish List.” This is an All Soul's Day wish list for the soul of a departed loved one.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

250 Dollar Cookie Recipe


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I took today off from work and made these cookies this afternoon, after making my Great Grand Mother's Thanksgiving stuffing this morning. Someone forwarded me this cookie recipe in an email (I think back then it was originally the "$200 recipe"). The story was something about the person eating these delicious cookies in a restaurant, asking for the recipe, and getting charged $250 for it, so they were sharing it with everyone. The story is probably an urban legend, but the cookies are delicious. The recipe is below and free for anyone to copy. I made the recipe cut in half, which is shown below the original one.

$250.00 cookie recipe:

2 cups of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla
4 cups of flour
5 cups of blended oatmeal **
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp of baking soda
24 oz of chocolate chips
1 8oz Hershey bar (grated)
3 cups of chopped nuts (your choice)

** measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder

Cream butter and both sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

Recipe halved:

1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 1/2 cups of blended oatmeal **
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
12 oz of chocolate chips
4oz Hershey bar (grated)
1 1/2 cups of chopped nuts (your choice)

Makes 56 cookies

Clouds and Moon

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I took this picture of the moon this morning, as wispy clouds passed in front of it. The moon never ceases to fascinate me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Harvest" – Gothic Arch

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This week’s Gothic Arches challenge was “Harvest.” I continue to struggle with artist's block. I've been spending a lot of time working lately, which seems to make it hard for my creative side to work also.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Thanksgiving Greetings" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Thanksgiving.”

Full Moon through the trees

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I took these pictures of the full moon through the trees last night.

5 month old tiger

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He's about 5 months old now. He likes stretching out on the radiator now that it's cold here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Autumn" - ATC

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Spotted.” I went with an Autumn theme.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Artistic Journey" – 4x4

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This week’s 4x4 Friday challenge was “Artistic Journey.” This week’s Take A Word challenge #3 was “Moon.” I'm still trying to stretch my artistic boundaries. I feel like my work is always confined and the same. I used to spend some of my time writing fiction. A writer critiqued my short stories and said my work was always like a pointillist painting, instead of being broad brush strokes. I continued writing, but still struggled with that problem. I think the same problem invades my artwork.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

White Squirrel

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I've seen this white squirrel in the trees on my property a few times now, but this time, he was in the front yard. He'll be invisible once the ground is snow covered.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Hats and Crowns/Blackbird" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was “Hats and Crowns.” This week’s Three Muses challenge was "Blackbird."

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Angel" – Postcard

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This week’s Take A Word challenge #2 was “Angel.” All of these images are from Liam's Pictures from Old Books.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"When Time Runs Out"– Postcard


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I found a new challenge on Mondays that is open to all forms of art, and uses a word as its theme. This week’s Take A Word challenge #1 was “Time.” I'm still into dark themes due to Halloween and All Soul's Day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"True Blue Valentine" - Postcard

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This week’s Theme Thursday challenge was “Blue.”

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Day of the Dead Collage" – 4x4 diamond

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This week’s 4x4 Friday challenge was “Collage." I had been working on the previous week's challenge "Day of the Dead" but didn't finish it, so I made it into a collage. I used a 4x4 diamond shape, instead of a square this time. I made several modifications to the Gimp Fx-Foundry Alpha To Logo Dracula script, including adding the choice to create dripping blood from the alpha to selection of the chosen layer. I bump mapped the result.

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Gate Keeper" - ATC

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This is my second entry for this week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge “Spooky.”

"Spooky" - ATC

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This week’s Think Monday – Think ATC challenge was “Spooky.”

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Scary Fairie" - Postcard

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This week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge was "Scary Fairie." This Fairie captivates unsuspecting men, then kills them with her dagger. I was too late and missed the challenge deadline.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Ex Libris Jester" – Postcard

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I created this postcard first, before creating my jester Gothic Arch.

"Ex Libris Jester" – Gothic Arch

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This week’s Gothic Arches challenge was “Jester.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Moon Goddess" - Tag

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This week’s Tag Tuesday challenge was “Moon.” I ended up making a Moon Goddess, instead of a harvest theme. I modified the GIMP Line Nova script so it would allow an offset center, then used it to create Mucha inspired moon beams radiating outward. I also changed my tag size to be 6 1/4 x 3 1/8 inches in size. This looks better in person. The scans continue to be washed out, even with "enhanced color" selected.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"I'll Be Looking Out" – 4x4

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This week’s Three Muses challenge was “Vintage.” I made a collage inspired by the words to the song Meet Me Half Way by the Black Eyed Peas.