Tagged: Bedroom Art

Tagged: Bedroom Art

imuslim tagged me:


Here are my bedroom shots, but I must confess, the photos look better than the real thing!

These peacock feathers came from a cousin who keeps peacocks and llamas on her farm. I’ve always loved these feathers, maybe because they showcase my two favorite colors, “peacock” blue and emerald green.


This plant stays in the house over winter, and I nurse it along, though it does not like staying inside. In two months I’ll be able to put it outside.


This lamp is next to my bed. What you do not see is a messy pile of books on the table. The object hanging from the lamp is a wooden shoe horn that belonged to my father. It seems to belong there; I haven’t moved it since my father died, and I actually use it to help me slip on new shoes.


This is my bedroom door. I close it at night, and I can see the clock from my bed. It makes a lot of tick-tock noise, but I don’t mind. I love the Arabic numbers. I brought this clock, and seven others (which I distributed to siblings) from Saudi Arabia.


Well, now I have the pleasure of tagging a few other people, and they are:

Hning, who might want to try picture taking as a viable alternative to writing, when she feels the need to “to say something”: http://hningswara.blogspot.com/

Susie, though she probably has better photos to take, of sculptures, sandstorms, and life on the streets of Jeddah, http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com/

Carol, though there’s a good chance she doesn’t have time for the frivolities of bedroom art, http://americanbedu.com/

and Aafke, from whom I expect the most charming, engaging photos of all!), http://clouddragon.wordpress.com/

The rules are simple:
* Post one or more photos that were taken from within your own bedroom. The more interesting and artistic, the better!
* Then tag at least three others to do the same.
* Don’t forget to link back to the person who tagged you.

Amazing Circles and Other Oddities

Amazing Circles and Other Oddities

Several of my readers, most recently ~W~ and Safiyyah, have asked me how I make my circles and other creative images.  Honestly, I do not know. I can tell you how to start, but you must allow the image to take shape of its own accord. You must lose technique in the art. When I finally post an image, I cannot remember the sequence of steps that produced it.

However, with practice, I’m getting better at controlling the technique, choosing filters, effects, and colors to produce remarkable images. Here is how anyone can start:

A good photo editing program is essential. I use Photoshop Elements 6 and Microsoft Digital Imaging Suite.

A base photo is not so important. Any photo will do. A photo with good color and  contrast will be easier to transform, but the most interesting images result from poor photos that I would otherwise delete.

The easy way to get started is by making an Amazing Circle using dumpr’s automated technique:

http://www.dumpr.net/. You don’t need any software to use this technique; just plug in your photo.

When you tire of that, use the manual technique found on Flickr’s Amazing Circles group:


The resulting circles are delightful, but you’ll soon tire of them, so then you must plug them into your photo editing software, and subject them to random filters and transformations, until you land on one you’d like to keep. The key here is to continue subjecting the resulting image to repeated filters and transformations, until you have an image that is far removed from its origin.

Then, you must adjust properties such as shadows, lighting, levels, brightness and color, on the Enhance menu of PSE. Then, think up a title and post the image to your Flickr account. That’s all there is to it!

Would you believe, that this:


became this:IMG_1221_edited-1

became this:IMG_1221_edited-6

became this:IMG_1221_edited-8 ?

Tornado– Up Close and Personal

 Tornado– Up  Close and Personal

Our neighborhood looked like a junk yard, with trees and branches strewn about, splinters poking up at odd angles. stones and leaves and underbrush underfoot and across the roads. These are just a few of the hundred photos I took, all on and around our property:

   Copy of Transfered from Compaq 079IMG_0561Copy of Transfered from Compaq 075

   Transfered from Compaq 086

Electrical power lines that had fallen still lay mangled where they fell. The ground bore tire prints of a bulldozer that had entered and retreated, entered and retreated. Huge cylinders of tree trunks that had already been cut lay next to each other, moved just off the road so that cars could pass.  The scent of raw wood hung everywhere.   Tornado and Dawn on Lake Shish 018

We did not recognize our own road, except by our mangled mailbox on the corner:   IMG_0520 Copy of Transfered from Compaq 081

Our property suffered less damage than the dozen other properties along our little penninsula. An immense oak tree had fallen on our deck, the deck my father built eighteen years ago. Another  tree dug into  the edge of the garage roof. Our pier was intact and only our boat cover was damaged. The second picture (of the house) was taken from the pier.

 Tornado and Dawn on Lake Shish 003 Transfered from Compaq 098

Most of our neighbors had trees through roofs, boats overturned or missing, and/or piers ripped out of the shore. 

Some people had been sleeping when the trees fell on their houses, and they slept through it! Some people had awakened, terrified, and  listened to trees falling around them. The sound was like “a barrage of gunshots.”

The wind seemed to haved dug into the ground and ripped the trees out from below their roots:

After we got over the shock, Mom and I worked like donkeys, raking and gathering debris and scattering it deep into the woods. Then, we ran around the city getting estimates for tree removal, deck reconstruction, and boat cover replacement.

The work took three full days. Between teardrops and sore muscles, we gave thanks to Allah for the blessings He’d given us all these years– the lovely summer days, the family gatherings, the friends and relatives who’d shared it all with us, and the hope of more such blessings.

The landscape has been profoundly altered, and cannot be restored except by time and nature. Still, much beauty remains:



Creative Photography


Creative Photography

Recently I bought a new camera.  While learning how to use it I took dozens of photos that were out of focus, badly composed, underexposed, and not worthy of holding  space on my hard drive. I deleted a dozen of them before I realized I could edit them, play with them, apply filters and distortions, change color saturation, lighting, etc., and end up with something totally different from the original, and much nicer to view! Here is one of my creations:

Gardens, Greens, and Yasmeen, July 2008 003  This started out as a green vine against a tree stump. 







Here’s another:

This one started out as a tree trunk with some plants growing around it.


I’ve got lots of photos of my grandkids. They are very hard to photograph because they move around constantly, and when they see the camera, they close their eyes because they know a flash is coming! 

The kid photos make for interesting creative effects. Here’s one that started out too ordinary to keep:

My daughter is sitting with her daughter on a swing. My daughter refused to smile. She she made an ugly face and thought she ruined the photograph, but she didn’t!

Gardens, Greens, and Yasmeen, July 2008 042

 I’ve done some realistic ones, too. This is one of my favorite flowers, the fuchsia:

Gardens, Greens, and Yasmeen, July 2008 001 

Last week, a thunderstorm approached mid-morning. The sky became dark as night, yet the sunlight still shone in the distance. I went outside and took a few photos to capture the effect. Here is my favorite:

Gardens, Greens, and Yasmeen, July 2008 011

I suppose I’ll have to start a Flickr account now, like those of you who have inspired me to try creative photography.  You know who you are:  ~W~, Unique, Aafke, Shahrzad, Susie! I’ve already got nearly one hundred photos, and they’re all different, some of them not even in purple or green!

Definition of a Photograph

Transfered from Compaq 020 A photograph is like a particle of time. It is an instant within an existence, a stolen second along a continuum that was never meant to be disrupted. It is silence within sound, equilibrium within vertigo. form without function. It is ultimately a fossil, because it no longer exists. If you ever look at me face to face,  there is a good possibility that I will appear entirely differently.

Spring Cleaning

Spring, and inspiration from www.uniquemuslimah.wordpress.com  has encouraged me to continue the project I started recently, the project of removing clutter from my bedroom, in order to create a serene space.  This morning I tackled the three boxes of photographs that have been occupying space at the back of my closet for the past twenty years.

Family photos were easy to sort and keep. Under and overexposures were easy to throw out, but the others…well, those are the ones I was afaid of.

To my surprise, they drew smiles rather than tears. I found photos from trips I’d forgotten I’d taken, friends whose lives made intersections with mine, and places that nurtured me. I found photos of my apartments in Saudi Arabia, photos taken at weddings I attended, photos of me with a former fiance. I was smiling in all those photos, smiling with youth and the happiness of expectation, delight in the present, and discovery of a world I’d always known existed. Those photos I kept.

Interspersed amongst them I found old boarding passes, itineraries, receipts, travel brochures, medical records, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, unsent letters, recipes, and magazines. I threw these items out.

I also found unflattering photos of me during a fat phase, a fatter phase, and a pre-Saudi Arabia phase. Those photos are on hold. I’ll probably throw them out. They do not testify to the person I became, the person I aim to maintain, the person Allah blessed so richly, the person who needs to remember where she came from and where she is going.

Do not imagine, though, that I am so confident. Slippage is a fact of life, and so is imperfection. Self-flogging is easier than doing what needs to be done, and keeping old photos is easier than taking new ones.

However, in the effort to keep creating that serene place, in my bedroom and in my life, I shall be guided by Walt Whitman, who says:

“Discard everything that is an insult to your soul.”