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Reclaimed Wood Christmas trees

Yeah, I know, I’m a photographer (you can see my original design photo Christmas ornaments here and photo cuff bracelets here.) But I also think of myself as someone who likes to create — and I don’t limit myself to one medium.

Since Art and I left South Florida and purchased a not-so-common house in a barn that we dubbed Swallow’s Nest, I have been on overdrive creating stuff (not to mention fixing things that we didn’t think were going to need fixing. But, that is another blog entry). I apologize for the phone photography, but I didn’t want to stop to take better images.

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Completed project. Three trees, all different sizes and shapes

Today, I completed an easy project using reclaimed wood that we found in one of the pole barns. For years, these pieces of wood languished in that pole barn after they were ripped from another home that had been built many decades earlier.

Since I’m all about low-cost or no-cost decorating, I decided to whip out my new pin nailer and build something for Christmas.

This project is as simple as it gets. I used an air-compressed brad (pin) nailer, 1 1/4-inch brad nails and a chop saw to build these trees. That’s it. Did I already reveal my love for power tools? Well, the secret is out now.

Step one: Collect wood of varying lengths from the old pole barn and haul it back to Swallow’s Nest barn.

Step two: Cut ends at 45-degree angles using the chop saw.

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Chop saw set a 45 degrees.

Step three: Position said wood in the center of a reclaimed post. I used a scrap piece of wood to act as a spacer to make all the wood slat spacing even. I used a tape measure to find the center of each slat.

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Slats positioned on post before measuring for center and using spacer.

 

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Scrap wood spacer makes quick the task of evenly spacing the slats on the post. No measuring needed.

Step four: Use brad nailer and 1 1/4-inch brad nails to attach the slats to the post.

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Brad nailer using 1 1/4-inch pin nails attaches slats to post.

That’s it. All that is left to do is plant these little guys in front of Swallow’s Nest. Now, YOU go out there an create something. Extra points if you reuse or repurpose something in the process!

 

HueDew Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Completed project. Three trees, all different sizes and shapes

 

 

 

 

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Patio Cushion Covers

Patio cushion covers made from shower curtains by HueDew.
Patio cushion covers made with shower curtains

Garden siren song

I spend a good amount of time in my garden photographing flowers, plants, butterflies, and dragonflies to use for HueDew and new photo cuff bracelet designs. Chores like weeding and pruning can often take the back burner when I spy the frangipani blooming.

Thinking outside the yard

I needed to replace the patio cushion covers that I had sewn the winter of 2013. Fabric by the yard can be expensive, so just as in 2013, I purchased shower curtains on sale for the project. What a deal. Each shower curtain measures 70×72-inches and repels water. That’s a bonus for my outside patio!

Curtains for me

I used three shower curtains from Walmart (click here for link) to cover these cushions. Fortunately for me,  I could use the covers from the last time I sewed this project to use as a pattern.

Now, after photographing the spring flowers in my garden, I can recline on the patio cushions and try to ignore the weeding job that still awaits me.

 

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Great Egrets Nesting

Photo ©2016 Taylor Jones/HueDew
Great Egrets tend nest at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, FL.

 

Spring is in the Air

Well, it is spring and a good time to grab my long lens and head outside for some nature photo fun. My number one destination in South Florida is Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. Professional photographers and amateurs flock to this park and the nearby Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands because they know the birds there won’t disappoint. Especially this time of year.

 

I don’t consider myself a great wildlife photographer, but that doesn’t stop me from adding to my stock photography library. I’m also learning a little about the birds of the wetlands in the process. I’ll never be a walking encyclopedia, but I am finally able to identify some of the birds by their beaks or feet color or even the way they fly.

 

Feather Madness

Today, a friend and I ventured out to Wako and came across a Great Egret couple tending its nest. The egrets were almost wiped out in the late 1800s because their plumage was all the rage in the fashion world. They made a come back after conservationists put a stop to all that kill the egret for fashion nonsense. Both the male and female build the nest and incubate the eggs and feed the young. How’s that for teamwork?

 

Happy Couple

I  was elated to capture a bit of the nest building and incubation action today when both parents-to-be were at the nest doing their bird thing. One had been sitting on the egg while the other brought a perfect twig to add to the nest. See the little blue egg to the left of the nest? Keep looking, I promise you it is there! I guess I’ll have to keep going back so I can document the big day (or soon there after) when the egg hatches, that’s between 23 and 26 days after she laid the egg.

 

Here are a few more Wakodahatchee images from the past week or so.

Photo ©2016 Taylor Jones/HueDew
Great Egret at sunrise at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, FL.

 

Photo ©2016 Taylor Jones/HueDew
Anhinga juveniles await breakfast

 

Photo ©2016 Taylor Jones/HueDew
Wakodahatchee Wetlands

 

 

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Worth Avenue Pet Parade

Pets on Parade

Every year, the Worth Avenue merchant association on the Island of Palm Beach hosts a pet parade and contest. I’ve shot it a handful of times as a staffer for The Palm Beach Post, but this year, I was freelancing for PBDN’s website.

My former editor knows I love dogs and would often send me out to assignments if they were dog related. I love dogs … so much that I wear them on my wrist. To see my dog photo cuff bracelets on HueDew click here.

As a full-time freelance photographer, I never know what I’ll be shooting from one day to the next … products for someone’s website e-commerce store, head and shoulder photos for someone’s LinkedIn profile, or a swim class for someone’s brochure. Variety is what keeps me happy.

Setting up the studio

I got the call to shoot these pet portraits, so the next morning I set up my grey background against a lattice gate, planted my one strobe to the left and behind the furry subjects and cut an Astro-turf-like rug to wrap around the table. I kept things simple since I was outside under the shade of a building and there was little room in that alley for reflectors or additional lights. Besides, I didn’t want a gust of wind to knock down reflectors or anything. I shot with my Canon 5d Mark III and a 70-200 lens. I used a shallow depth of field to blur out the background. It helps to have a squeak toy to get the dog’s attention and even a healthful treat if that’s what it takes t get the best and more alert shot.

Funny Faces

One by one I approached dog owners and asked them to share their pet with the web audience. Some of the dogs were dressed in fancy costumes to compete in the costume contest, but all were adorable and obviously well loved.

I share the link with you now: Click here.

 

 

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DIY Upcycled Bird Feeder

Cardinal at bird feeder by HueDew.
A cardinal visits one of my DIY bird feeders after a light rain.

Backyard photo shoot

I spend a good deal of my time out in my garden or in someone else’s garden photographing the things I love to print on photo cuff bracelets, ceramic tile and rubber coasters for my botanical lines at HueDew.

Recently, my attention moved from the flowers in the garden to the critters in the garden. Or in my case, the lack of feathered critters in my garden.

Where were all the birds? I don’t have cats anymore, so I set out to lure birds to my safe, fenced yard.

Easy construction

Step one was making these upcycled bird feeders. A couple of thrift store plates drilled with a ceramic bit to make a hole in the center, some hanging hardware and a measure of fishing line was all I needed to open my backyard diner.

Open for lunch

In a few weeks, I had some curious and hungry cardinals regularly visiting the feeder, so I made another four for the yard. I add water to a few to give the birds a nice, clean drinking hole.

I’ve decided to make more of these bird feedres and sell them at the different street shows I do around West Palm Beach.

FB Bird feeder flyer

 

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Mother’s Day Photo Cuff

Outrageously perfect!

Oh, brother, are these custom photo cuffs perfect for mother!

Send up to three photos of your adorable kids (hey, they can even have fur) to Taylor@HueDew.com and HueDew will print them on a wide or medium aluminum photo cuff.

 

Personalized Custom Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0040CPC

Personalized Custom Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0040CPC

Personalized Custom Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0040CPC

Free shipping

Act now as we’re offering free shipping through Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015! Use coupon code: Dewshipcuff at checkout.

Order here

Order here AFTER we’ve agreed on the perfect design for the best personalized gift you will find for mum. Email Taylor@HueDew with your photos or questions.

 

Wide Black Lab Beauty Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0008BLBW

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finches on Coasters

 

Shaftail Finch Coaster by HueDew. SKU: RC0082STF

I photographed some lovely feathered creatures the other day that I have printed on rubber coasters and added it to my HueDew line of photo gifts. They might end up perched on my photo cuff bracelets as well. The finches above are shaftails. But what about the ones below? I am assuming they are finches, but what species? I’ve looked online, but can’t be sure. Any experts out there who can tell me?

This one might be a sea green parrot finch.

Sea Green Parrot Finch by HueDew. SKU:RC0084SPF

 

And could this one be a blue dacnis? I think the blue is not the right shade to match the blue dacnis, however. Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

Blue Dacnis Finch by HueDew. SKU: RC0085BDF

 

Lastly, how about these red beauties?

Red Finch Coaster by HueDew. SKU: RC0086RFC

Copyright ©TaylorJones/HueDew. All rights reserved. You may not use these images for any purpose without written consent by me, the photographer.

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Garden Gate Door

I’ve been photographing cottages in Lake Worth, Florida for an upcoming coffee table book and was inspired by one cottage owner who used a door as an entrance way into the garden. It was time to upgrade our clunky garden gate when it became impossible to open easily, so, we grabbed a door that we found discarded, added paint that we had left over from another project and used hardware we already had. Then, I added one of my signature fern photos (click here for more of my botanicals)  to the bottom panels to give it a one-of-a-kind look. We are happy with the results and happy that we did not have to buy anything to do this project!

We might add a window as a transom if we can find one for free. Otherwise, we have some old copper pipes that would make a cool wind chime dangling from the top beams.

 

Door transforms into garden gate with photo panels for special touch.
Door transforms into garden gate with photo panels for special touch.
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New Dog designs

There is something about the cooler temperatures in the fall (even here in South Florida) that help generate the creative juices. That and customers who want what they want!

So, here of late, HueDew has added numerous cuff bracelets, coasters and the like, photographed, designed and printed by me! Check out this Black Lab Beauty on a wide cuff bracelet. Click here for details.

Wide Black Lab Beauty Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0008BLBBYou can get it with the white background, too.

Wide Black Lab Beauty Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: WC0008BLBWBut, wait, there is more to see. Dachshund lovers might get a kick out of this Love Long Dog cuff bracelet. Click here to see other views of the medium cuff bracelet.Medium Love Long Dog Cuff Bracelet by HueDew. SKU: MC0004LLD

And for a little artistic twist, check out the Perfect Pooch cuff bracelet. Click here.

Wide Perfect Pooch Pal Cuff Bracelet by HueDew: WC0003PPPOf course, you can send your own photo of your very own pet for me to custom design your very own cuff bracelet. The link to custom cuffs is here.

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HueDew is Going to the Dogs

I Double Doxie Dare You Cozy by HueDew. SKU: CC00001DDD

Dachstoberfest  is Sunday, Oct. 19, in West Palm Beach, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Waterfront Park on Flagler.

Come see the long dogs racing in the Doxie Dash with all the gusto these little dogs can muster. And they can muster a lot! It’s a fierce competition between long dogs and bound to make you laugh.

Longhaired Mini Dachshund by HueDew. SKU: RC0004LMDProceeds benefit Dachshund Rescue South Florida, an amazing foster-based rescue group that has saved more doxies this year than ever before. DRSF doesn’t shy away from doxies who need medical attention. They manage to fund medical care AND find these dachshunds homes. This event helps keep the volunteer organization going. Come on out and support DRSF.Wide Groovy Dachshund Cuff Bracelet by HueDew SKU WC0001GDC

HueDew will be set up in a booth offering new designs for cuff bracelets, coasters and now beverage insulators — many with original, dachshund motifs like the ones pictured here. The dogs on the  cuff bracelets, coasters and huggies are all rescue dogs and many are DRSF alumnae whom I  have photographed for DRSF over the years.

Dashing Doxie coaster by HueDew. SKU: RC0021DDC

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Dachstoberfest Preparation

HueDew will have a booth at Dachstoberfest in West Palm Beach on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds benefits Dachshund Rescue South Florida, a foster-based rescue out of South Florida. It is a rescue that is dear to my heart as I have been a volunteer for them for years and have photographed many a dog in need of a home. I’m planning on using those photos of the rescued dogs in my designs.

The rescue dogs are ready for their closeup!

The big draw for Dachstoberfest are the doxie races. It is a hoot to watch these little long dogs race to the finish.

In the meantime, I’m racing to the finish to come up with some cool designs to print on HueDew’s aluminun cuff bracelets and rubber coasters to sell at the event. Booth fee goes directly to DRSF!

More completed designs to come.

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Battle of the Caterpillars

Late instar monarch butterfly caterpillar

 

A powerful scene unfolded before me yesterday morning while I was photographing late instar monarch butterfly caterpillars devouring a host milkweed plant.

Feasting

They and about another six of their brethren had feasted on the plant until there were no flowers or leaves remaining. They transformed the luscious plant to a stick sculpture. It took only a few days to get to this point and I watched their bodies bloat from all the good eats.

Sharing grows tiresome

As the morning progressed, these two started to duke it out over the last nibble left on the stake. The top caterpillar was having none of his former buddy’s intrusion. He kept smacking the lower caterpillar with the top of his body.

With each blow, the top caterpillar became more determined to roust the other from its perch so it could finish breakfast without being rushed, I suppose. Each savage blow landed on the top of the other caterpillar’s upper region. He gave the poor guy a pretty good pummeling. But, the lower caterpillar persevered.

Enough is Enough

Eventually, the lower caterpillar made its way to the top and the two of them ate  the last bit together, seemingly getting over their rift.

Late instar monarch butterfly caterpillar

 

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Easy photo cuff bracelet organizer

Easy wine cork and wire display for HueDew cuff bracelets

New photo cuff bracelet designs are bursting out all over the place this spring at HueDew studio, so I decided I needed to organize the formed cuffs.

Easy wine cork and wire display for HueDew cuff bracelets

I put screws through plastic  corks and then  into the wood door. Next I strung wire across and looped it around the corks. Now, HueDew’s photographic cuff bracelets are displayed for all to see rather than being stuffed in a box. The cork/wire method is a great  way to organize any light-weight inventory. I bet you could use this idea to help de-clutter your space, too.

Easy wine cork and wire display for HueDew cuff bracelets

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DIY Solar Chandelier

Chandelier made into solar light.

I saw the idea for a solar chandelier on Pinterest some time ago, but I never could find the do-it-yourself instructions. Here are my instructions and photos from my own DIY solar chandelier project. My twist is that I added my original photos to the aluminum band of the solar light to give it some color. I call the photograph Lava Light.

Start with a discarded chandelier or thrift-shop find. A friend gave me her mother’s gold chandelier that was destined for the landfill. Thanks Meghan! I didn’t think to photograph the old gold chandelier before painting it as I was too impatient to start the project.

I used a gloss white spray paint for metal to give the fixture a new look.  The tricky part was making the fixture ready for the tops of the small solar light bases.

You need to remove the wires and the metal electrical support to make room for solar light base. HueDew

Make sure your fixture is NOT plugged into an electrical outlet before continuing the project. Strip the electrical lines out of it. Here my husband is demonstrating snipping the wires. Hey, I can’t shoot this tutorial AND show you my hands at the same time! Do I need to tell you that you must NOT have the light fixture plugged into an outlet at any time during this project?

 

Cut electrical wires out of painted chandelier. Do I need to tell you that it should NOT be plugged into an outlet before you starting cutting? Really?

Next, the sockets needs to be reconfigured to hold the solar light bases. The white shaft where the original bulb was extended was made out of cardboard and came out easily. My husband then cut the internal electrical support with snippers, making room for the solar light base.

 

Cut the metal (if your chandelier has one) on the base to make room for solar light.

The lights were $2 each from Target.

The solar path light as purchased (with stake for ground).HueDewTop of solar light after removing it from its stake. HueDew

Once removed from the stake, a little hot glue set the bases firmly into the sockets. Keep the stakes for other projects.

Chandelier with silver solar light before adding photographic twist. HueDew

Because I’m a photographer, I couldn’t just leave the silver rings around the top of the solar lights unadorned. So, I printed out my original abstract photograph I created using gelatin and food coloring. I printed on Lazertran Inkjet Waterslide Decal Paper for Inkjet Printers on my Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printer .

Print photo on special decal paper. HueDew

To release the decal from the paper backing, I simply put the photo into hot water for about 20 seconds using an old cookie sheet to hold the water. Then, I carefully wrapped the printed-to-size photo around the top of the solar light.

Put decal paper in hot water to release it from its backing. HueDew

I allowed the piece to dry and then added three coats of Modge Podge to protect it from the rain. It has been out in the rain several times and seems to be able to handle the moisture.

photograph around the metal decorative ring of the solar lights. HueDew

I want to give the refurbished solar chandelier a new home in our patio screened area. The patio has screen as a roof so the lights will get direct sun. I have to figure out how to hang it dead center. As an alternative, I could hang it under a tree, provided it gets enough direct sunlight, near an old white Adirondack chair in the garden.

The project cost me $12 since the chandelier itself was a gift and I already had the paint from another project. Try your hand converting your chandelier into a solar light centerpiece. It really is easy and fun.

Chandelier made into solar light.

 

 

 

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Nature’s Valentine

A photo of flapjack succulent leaves from subtle hearts in time for Valentine's Day
Flapjack succulent leaves form subtle hearts in time for Valentine’s Day

 

Nature’s Valentine

I was walking through the garden with camera in hand, ignoring the weeds that were clambering up unattended pots, when I spotted it.

Nature sent me a valentine! The backside view of this flapjack succulent has the subtle form of Cupid’s target. What timing with Valentine’s Day only days away! I will now go out in the garden and look for more plants and leaves and flowers that reflect the holiday’s theme.

Since I’m already in love with nature, Cupid may fly off to find someone else who needs his magical love spell! It is a love we can all share!

HueDew

Etsy

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Silver Torch Cactus

Photo of cactus
Cactus

Mystery Cactus

I spent some time at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach the other week and photographed this cactus.

Many of their plants have markers, but this one didn’t. This particular cactus was growing next to a prickly pear cactus. Color me perplexed.

What is the name of this cactus? I really want to know.

Of course, as a photographer, I’m more interested in the play of light on the cactus more than the botanical name, so I’ll add this one to my botanical photography collection.

But aren’t cacti intriguing? Look at all that is going on with this later-to-be-named cactus. You’ve got a succulent stem that stores water and modified leaves called spines that keep hungry predators away. What animal looking for a snack wants to munch on a plant that will leave it pricked and bloody?

Cacti have adapted to live in very dry areas of the country so they make great additions to xeriscape landscaping. Something to consider here in Florida with our lengthy dry season and numerous droughts.

UPDATE: I went back to Mounts today and with a little help from a book in its gift shop, we all decided this is a Silver Torch cactus. Mystery solved.

HueDew

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Powderpuff Pink Tassel-Flower

Pink Tassel-Flower (Calliandra surinamensis)
Pink Tassel-Flower (Calliandra surinamensis)

Pink Tassel-Flower (Calliandra surinamensis)

kal-ee-AN-druh ser-ih-nuh-MEN-sis

The pink tassel-flower can look super charged with the right back light. It takes on an electrical aura thanks to its pollen-laden stamens that look more like fiber-optic cables in the right light.

I used a LensBaby to focus on only a few of the electric pink stamens to make a less traditional image of this hot-pink flowering shrub. As the light changed, I also photographed a more traditional image using the LensBaby.

This evergreen powderpuff shrub attracts butterflies like Giant Swallowtails, Zebras, and Peacocks. Even though it can grow to be 12 to 15 feet high with a 10 to 15-foot spread, it can also be used in bonsai.

Pink Tassel Flower at  Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach.
Pink Tassel Flower at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach.
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Red Caladium

Red caladium

Caladium Kaleidoscope

This red caladium is the closest thing in my South Florida yard that conjures the holiday season. While poinsettias are used as landscape plants down here, I’ve never had any luck growing the woody perennials.

But the caladium is a hardy grower down here, happily providing color nine months or more a year in a happy, shady spot.

This caladium came straight from a bulb I purchased several years ago at the annual summer-time Lake Placid Caladium Festival. Fifteen hundred acres of caladiums blanket the area. The 40 varieties of red, white, and pink form a patchwork of color that are worth the drive.

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Instar larva caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed plant.
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed plant.

 

Munch’O Brunch

This little fellow spent its Sunday morning munching on a milkweed plant in my backyard – devouring it to the stem with the help of its famished brethren.

That’s O.K. That’s why I have milkweed in my South Florida yard … to feed the larvae so they can grow into Monarch butterflies.

These clever little creatures have a great chance of survival since they are poisonous or at least distasteful to birds and animals because of the cardiac glycosides inside milkweed eaten by the larvae.

I might be out of a plant at the end of the day, but by the end of January, I’ll have monarch butterflies dancing around with me in the garden.

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Crazy light

Fern
Fern

 

Light

The play of sunlight tickling the leaves of this fern beckons me away from the computer and out into the garden with my camera. Photography is light. I walk toward the light in a focused trance.

Ferns are happy ground covers in South Florida. Mine have come up from nowhere it seems; and they have congregated clique-like in various shady areas of the yard.

Legend has it that you can actually eat tender new fiddleheads of the Leather fern. Adding a balsamic vinaigrette is just the right touch, they say. I’ll leave the urban foraging to you.

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