Monday, January 31, 2011

"What If"

"What If".

What a great movie I watched tonight.

I loved this line.

"It's simple. God sacrificed everything to be with you. So you sacrifice everything."

"That's not simple."

"Yeah it is. It's just hard."

Total surrender. That's what He wants. And it is hard.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mr. Golden Sun

I carry a point and shoot camera with me in my handbag. I don't want to miss anything.

It doesn't take the best pictures, or even great pictures, but it's better than no pictures.

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. – Imogen Cunningham 
I've kind of gotten in the habit of carrying my Nikon with me over the past few months. Not every day, but almost. Enough days that I haven't had to use my little point and shoot in a long time.

Then one day, I forgot my Nikon.

And of course, the perfect photograph appeared. Ack, where's my camera?

Er, let me dig up that point and shoot at the bottom of my handbag. Ack, where is it?

Ahhh, there it is. Now I can snap the photo.

Um, why isn't it turning on?

Maybe because the battery is dead.

Grrrrr. There goes the award-winning photograph I was going to take. Right before my eyes. Literally.

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.  ~Eudora Welty
I let it sit in my handbag for a while, forgetting to charge the battery.

Until yesterday. I remembered to charge the battery.

And found these beautiful late summer images.

Oh boy, do I like seeing the sun right now.
Even a setting one.

Altered Books

Altered books. That's the latest project M and I are working on. If you don't know what an altered book is, you can read about them here or here.

We spent today preparing our books and painting some of the background colors. We brainstormed themes and ideas and did some stream of consciousness writing to get them down on paper.

My opening page. And my theme - bound.

Bound together. Spellbound. Rebound. Boundary. Abounding love.

So many thoughts running through our heads.

I couldn't write fast enough.

Before I knew it, there were a half dozen page ideas on paper. I can't wait to flesh them out and bring them to life.
One of M's pages. Letting go.

We all have things we need to let go. Envy, hurt feelings, things out of our control. I love the visual behind this. The butterflies taking flight. With all of those things she's letting go. A gentle way of letting go, not a painful one.

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." ~Herman Hesse.

I just finished a powerful young adult book about letting go. "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman.

A horrendous accident.

A deep, pure love.

And a choice to make. 

Read this book. And keep a box of tissues by your side. I'm just warning you.
I'm not sure what this page will end up reflecting. But I like the start of it.

Wild thing.

Oh, yeah, I can see where this could lead.

Finally, I'll leave you tonight with some vignettes from my life this week. Peaceful, quiet winter whisperings. 

One kind word can warm three winter months. ~Japanese proverb

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So here's my valentine subway art framed and matted.


I can't stop looking at it. The red gets me every time. After black, red is my new favorite color. All shades of it. I don't discriminate. Well, except for orange-reds. I don't really like those at all. 

I have some ideas for other things to do with this piece. But I'm still working on them. Stay tuned.
I bought these pears with this photo in mind. I wanted to play with textures and actions and learn some more about Photoshop. 

{I really love Photoshop. REALLY love it.}

Actually, I bought five pears for the project. One of them got eaten. 


I walked into the kitchen one afternoon and the Man was standing over the sink eating something, juice dripping down into the sink.

"Ack! What are you eating?!!!" I asked. Er, actually, I screeched.

Sheer panic on the Man's face as he whipped his head around to look at me. "Uh pfaear," he could barely garble out, as his mouth was filled with my photo project. 

"I was going to use those pears for a photo! How could you eat them?" says I, a bit irrationally. How was he to know I was using them for a photo project?

"How was I supposed to know that?" he says, rather defensively. Of course, I'm standing next to him, hands on hip, with a slightly raised voice and a wee bit of an attitude accusing him of ruining my artistic endeavor. Geesh. You'd think he'd be used to me after all these years.

He does have a point, though. So I'm really mad at myself for not telling him about the pears. And for having an even number now. 

Oh well. It is what it is. A four pear picture.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine Subway Art

I've been seeing subway art posters all over blog world recently and thought I'd try my hand at one. 

Just click on the picture above. I've got it sized to fit inside an 8x10 in matted frame.

I've never done this before so please let me know if there's any problems with it. I tested it tonight and it works for me and my computer so I hope it works for you and yours.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Building a Roman bath, or fresh photography matter

I have guests today - K and her friends H and T. 

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work they go.....on a project for their third year Latin class.

Saturday was spent working at H's house, Sunday afternoon was at our house and after school today was over at T's. They spread the wealth around. They're equal opportunity squatters.

I was happy to have them at our house on Sunday. I had new subjects to shoot.

You can tell by K's face below that she has just about had it with me and my camera. I never knew I could read minds, but I can read her's in this picture.

So when H and T showed up on Sunday, little did they know they were going to become my subject matter for the afternoon. They were really good models and loosened up after the first few minutes of shooting. Although at one point, when I was rapid firing at H, she gave me a look and said, "Okay, that was a LOT of pictures."

I settled down with my knitting for a while. And let them get back to work.
To return the favor, I offered to knit them a bath mat for their model of a Roman bath. See it in the first photo above? I think they liked it.

Thanks, H and T, for letting me fire away and not getting all "oooh, don't take my picture" on me. And I'm sure K thanks you too. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friendly thrifting

Thrifting with way to spend a Saturday. My good friend M. and I went treasure hunting yesterday. All in all, a  pretty good day. 

We meandered through a small antique shop, spending a couple hours looking at all the pretty glass in the windows and the gorgeous old furniture that the very pleasant shop owner refinishes to sell in his shop.

You can see him in the photo board above. He was talking to M about a mirror and I was looking out the window at all the snow. When I turned around, his face was beautifully lit by the light coming in the window. I asked if I could take his picture. He was a little shy but then loosened up and smiled. What a good sport, he was.

We got chilled as we walked around. There wasn't a lot of heat in this building shack. It originally started out as one room, and they kept building rooms on over the years so it's kind of all scrabbled together into a strange shaped building. There's a couple wood stoves in the place and the owner kindly led us to one of them so we could warm our hands over the hot top. 
One of the back rooms held all paper goods - books, maps, magazines, postcards, stationery, you name it and it was in there. 

I found a book of children's stories that had a little Dutch girl on the front. She had to come home with me. She asked very nicely.

And M and I had a blast sorting through the postcards, reading the backs and imagining the stories behind them. I picked up a dozen or so for my vintage calendar project.
M opened one of the map drawers in the paper room and found a plastic bag filled with Christmas and Valentine stationery. 

We are now the proud owners of vintage holiday paper goods. The sweet Valentines are perched in my china display cabinet, smiling at me every time I walk by.

They're very glad to be out in the world again, not closed up in a bag in a dank, dark drawer in a cold shack somewhere in the deep, woodsy forest.

No drama here, people. Just keeping it real.
And this is my grand finale...a vintage Brownie camera. Love. Love. Love.

Of course, I don't know how to use it. But I'll figure it out. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cheeky fellows

What a cheeky fellow. And in his long winter cap, too!

This guy usually sits in the corner of the sill, propped up against the wood casing. He's usually a very quiet fellow, sitting with his gingerbread bear, watching all the happenings in the house.

The gal in the babushka scarf perches herself in the seat of honor, right smack in the center of the window. She's got long winter cap fellow on one side of her and a much bigger fellow all decked out in fleece on the other side of her.

Choices, choices...what's a guy to do when a gal has choices?

Well, this abundance of snow we've had has forced his hand. A few drips of water from around the window brought the master and mistress of the house (that would be the Man and I) over to see what was making the usually quiet fellow all wet. 

The Man had to move him to get a good look.

And see where he ended up? Right next to sweet little babushka gal. How fortuitous for him.

I didn't notice his arm flung around her for a couple days. And when I did? He promptly got moved back to where he belongs.

I'll have none of those shenanigans in my house. 

She's a good girl.

The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated. ~ Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady
While we're on the subject of shenanigans...

I was outside, minding my own business, clicking happily away and look what I see in my viewfinder.

Why, that's the Man with a snowball in his hand aimed directly at me.

With an eek, and a jump, the snowball narrowly missed me. But I couldn't retaliate since I was holding my camera.

He got an earful, and a swat.

Cheeky fellow.
This icy wonderland is creating some awfully pretty vignettes, don't you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter storms

More snow forecasted for tomorrow. 

This is how winter looks to me right now. 




But I won't be fooled. Winter is so much more than that.
Time to snuggle in with cups of hot tea, engrossing books to read, needlework in the lap and blankets all around.

Maybe some cookies to bake. 

Comfort. That's what winter is. Full of comfort stuff. 

This is what winter feels like. Yeah, comfort.

"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."  ~Ruth Stout

"Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight:
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast our bright eyes, my sweetheart fair."
~Minna Thomas Antrim

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Over the river and through the woods...

Over the river and through the woods.....that's what I think of when I look out my back window. Can you see the brook, or creek if you live in a place that says creek, in the top right corner of the photo? It's just a little brook, kind of winding its way through the woods. It sparkles brightly when the sun hits it just so.

But not today.

Today was supposed to be sunny and in the 40s.

Ha. Those pesky weather men have egg on their face. It was not in the 40s and it was not sunny. It was foggy. It even rained all day. I should get a job as a weather girl. I think I could do a good job. For starters, I'd open the door every morning, look out, see what it's doing and tell everyone.

"It's raining, today. And it looks like it's going to rain all day. Check back in a couple hours and I'll tell you."

That's what I would say. I bet I would be more accurate than they are. 
I took the Christmas ornaments out of the window frame and put some snowflakes in.

I. love. it.

Simple, simple, simple and it didn't cost me anything. I already had the snowflakes from years past. Good thing I'm a saver. Good thing I knew where those snowflakes were stored. 
I've been trying to get J and K outside for some photos the last few days. But they're so busy. And it was raining and messy.

I wanted some practice. Practice shooting in white snow. Practice with white balance. Practice with metering. Practice with staging models. Practice with getting models to relax. Practice with post-editing.

I think I really just wanted to shoot some photos outside. I'm tired of walking around my house, looking for things to shoot. 

It's hard to be a photographer in the winter, I think. I'm feeling empty - empty of ideas, of backdrops, of props, of color. White snow is not much fun to shoot. How do other photographers get through winter? Please leave me a comment if you have any good ideas. 
It was okay. But I need more practice. And I need more models. These two have had enough of modeling for me, I think.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A wee bit of snow, part deux

We haven't put all the trees away and this one was sitting very prettily against that gorgeous blue sky this morning. And since I'm currently knitting Christmas stockings, you can see I'm not in a hurry to bid farewell to the season, either. 

A friend of mine has been posting about the Christmas holiday period. You can read her thoughts here. She has a very sweet blog and I love reading her insightful commentary on life around her. I hope you enjoy her writings too. 
There is SO. MUCH. SNOW. 

Driving is treacherous since you can't see around the mounds and mounds of snow at the corner of every single intersection you come to.

And I'm pretty sure people shouldn't be driving the speed limit when there's thick slush on the roads.

And eighteen wheelers should NOT pull out in front of you when there's not a single person behind you. Especially when you're entering a patch of thick, slippery, slushy slop.

And I'm quite certain people should leave more than a skateboard's distance between them and you while following you. You may have to brake for eighteen wheelers that pull out in front of you. Oh wait, they only do that when there's no one behind you.

We need lessons in winter driving manners, please. 
Pulling out of the bank's drive in window this morning.

Breathtakingly beautiful.
I had this wreath on the front door during the Christmas holiday. Now it's sitting on the barn, pretty as can be. She's too simple and lovely to throw away so I'm letting her stay through the winter.

I love winter guests.

A wee bit of snow

Got a wee bit of snow between last night and tonight. Um, over two feet of snow. 

This is the kind of snow I remember having when I was a kid. Dad and I were talking about this while he was visiting for Christmas.

He hightailed it out of here just in the nick of time. 
It took all four of us, and grandma, to move the snow. Although we only let grandma sweep the porch, where a couple inches had blown in. We were fussing at her and didn't want her to come out and do any hard work. She agreed to only sweeping the porches, telling us she needed to get some exercise. I think she just wanted an excuse to wear her spiffy new hat. 
J had to take a break after whittling down a large, huge, unbelievably ginormous pile of snow that had built up at the end of the driveway.
K and I were taking a break on the back porch. I ran in and grabbed my camera before the boys discovered that we were playing hooky from shoveling.

I got a bit obsessed with this red scarf. Something about all that white was screaming out for red. All I could think about was a copy of "Little Red Riding Hood" that we have at the library. 

I've also been working on an idea for a pillow with that theme. Hmmm, maybe I'll use her red cloak  hanging on a laundry line against a white, snowy background. And the wolf could be watching from the edge of the woods. 

I like that.
Black and white. Another thing I like about snowfalls.
Our reward for all the shoveling we did? German apple cake with Go Over.

Find it here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page because it's the last recipe.

Do it now. It's that good.

For all my friends on fb, sorry you have to see these photos twice. I just love them so.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Weekend at Auntie's and Fenn Uusto

Scenes from last weekend's visit to Auntie and Uncle's house.

We made Nan's fritters. Which I thought came out fine but evidently didn't meet up with D's standard - my uncle.

"Aren't these fritters delicious?" says Auntie.

"Mmmmm, hmmmm, mmm," says E between bites.

"Well, they're pretty good, Auntie, but not as good as Uncle T's," says D. 

What???? I may have screeched. I worked hard on these fritters. They take time and a little patience when you have two seven year old helpers, and I use that term loosely. 

"Well, Uncle T doesn't have two seven year olds 'helping' him," says Auntie with a bit of a harrumph.

"Oh, Auntie, you're just kidding!" says D.

Ha. That's what she thinks.
E's my sewing pal. She is loving her new sewing machine. 

Friday night she melted onto my shoulder and looked at me, saying, "Auntieeee, I want to do something with youuuuu."

"Well, E, it's kind of late. We really don't have time to do much of anything," says Auntie, looking up from her laptop.

"Pleaaaaaaasse, Auntie, can't we do something?" E softly asks.  How can an Auntie resist that plea?

"I know what we can do. Let's just take a LOOK at your sewing machine, okay?" Gotcha. E wins again.

An hour and a half later, we've produced two small pillows and the girls are ready for bed.
This is my new favorite food in the whole world. At least right now it is. That's always a revolving list.

Found this lovely, lovely cheese at a small grocery store tonight. The Man and I went out to gather snacks before tomorrow's impending snow disaster hits us. While he was getting cold cuts, I was wandering around the cheese bar.

A dangerous place to wander.

I couldn't resist trying oven baked cheese that told me to dip it in my morning coffee.

This is the BEST. CHEESE. EVER.

I heart this cheese. I heart Wisconsin for making this cheese. I may have to move.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

High Tech Thoughts

Too much clutter. Electronic clutter.

We communicate via facebook, twitter, email, text messaging, instant messaging, and Skype. Bills get paid online, or via cell phone, or credit card swipe attachments for our cell phones. We shop online, we buy groceries through PeaPod, and we confirm appointments and get monthly statements and do our banking and manage our lives all electronically.

I can't stand it. I get a wee bit distressed when I start thinking about all the electronic clutter in my life. Of course, I'm typing this on my laptop, which isn't any form of electronic clutter at all. Ha.

But I can't imagine life without it - bill paying is easy online, texting is the fastest way to communicate with kids, keeping in touch with friends is a cinch on facebook. My life seems so much easier in many ways. But is it better?

I still feel like something's missing.

And I don't know what it is. 

Do you?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow Day

Snow day.

Flakes were piling up on the laundry line and it was a winter wonderland out there. 

Everyone was gone - the Man, J, and K. It's a good thing my nieces spent the weekend with us. Or I would have been by myself today.

And that's no fun.

I'm looking through some photos from the weekend, stifling yawns every few moments or so. 



Friday, January 7, 2011

Winter Warmth

Snippets from my new knitting project. I'm making knitted Christmas stockings for the Man, J. and K., and myself. 

Well, you probably can't tell they're stockings. Actually, you probably can't tell much about them at all. Except the colors. I hope you can see those nice and clear. K. picked blues, and some greens, for her stocking. Only she didn't know she picked those colors until I told her she did. Ha.

I know my daughter.

She walked by, saw me knitting, felt the lighter blue and green stripes and said, "Wow, that's pretty. I like that." 

I knew it. 

I started it last night at knitting class and I'm almost done with the leg part. Soon I get to the heel. Ooh, fun. No, really. I like the heel part. That makes it look like a stocking.

On a totally random note, the photo in the bottom right is chicken saltimbocca. The Man has been wanting to try this recipe from Giada for a while and decided today was the day. Yay for me! It was lemony, salty, tasty, and lip-smackin' good.

I wanted to lick my plate.

If you want an excellent Italian cookbook, try this one. When work slows down in the winter months for the Man, he takes to the kitchen and grabs this cookbook. Giada's the pasta boss.
"Forgotten English" word for today : married all o'er

"Said of women who after their marriage...become...miserable-looking."

Nope, doesn't apply to me.

P.S. Ugh. Used the wrong size  note cards for my vintage calendar. So it's still not done yet.