Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Seeds of Poetry

I know I have already posted one today, but...but....but I am leaving tomorrow for a week in Phoenix, AZ and I am not sure how much access to the internet I will have or if I will even have time to post.  I am visiting friends that are doers and goers, all kinds of plans are in the works, and I am meeting up with 2 ladies I have met thru this great world of photography on-line.  One lives in Phoenix and one lives in Tucson so on Thursday we are meeting and spending the day doing what all 3 of us  My eyes are going to be on over-load with all the beauty coming my thus the two posts today. But you betcha I will post all new pics as soon as I can upload and post.  Heaven...I'm in Heaven, can ya hear me singin'?    

As I was hustling around doing last minute chores  I was ready to throw out the tulips....they are definitely on the "can't hold their little heads up" any longer stage when I noticed the little black seeds that had gathered in the folds of the petals.  If I was a poet I would have sat right down and written a poem, they look like poetry.  Instead I took it's picture and am sharing with Lisa over at The Creative Exchange.

Hope your eyes find poetry in an image today!!

"Passion is not necessarily something we have, it's something we choose."  ~  Susan Scott

Until next time....

Me and Mac

As part of Kim Klassen's class "Beyond Layers" each week she presents us with a new challenge.  Today's challenge is to reveal 10 things about ourselves and share them with our fellow classmates.  I am not sure I can come up with 10 things that I want to totally reveal to everyone (there are just some things that a girl likes to keep secret) but I will give it a go.  These are NOT in any kind of order, so don't think one takes precedence over the other....
  1. I love animals...if I had my life to live over again I may have become a nature/wild-life photographer.  Maybe I could be like Shirley MaClaine and live multiple lives. That way I could try out different life paths.  How fun would that be....!!
  2. I am living alone for the first time in my entire life, and I must admit there are certain benefits to living alone....(altho I would rather have my husband (whole) and by my side)
  3. I am somewhat of a hoarder, I have way too many books, stacks of scrapbook supplies, enough rubber stamps that I will never be able to use in a million years, my closets are overflowing, and you should see my basement.....never mind, you should NOT see my basement.  
  4. I have discovered rather late in my life that I am really a homebody....I enjoy going out, being with friends and family, but sometimes home is the only place I want to be.  
  5. Photography is definitely a passion, I do not go a single day without taking a picture of something or someone.  I would rather go on a photo trip than on a shopping trip.  I thought I would never say that.  Photography brings me so much more pleasure than a new pair of shoes (altho a new pair of shoes is good too)
  6. For as long as I can remember I have loved the movies...when I was a child (like 6 and 7 years old) my Mother would help me cross a busy street, I would then walk the 3 blocks to the movie theater, pay 10 cents for a ticket, and watch whatever was playing over and over until my Dad would pick me up on his way home from work.  Wow, when I stop and think about this, how times have changed.  
  7. I have discovered that I enjoy writing.  Expressing my thoughts, thru my blog has been a wonderful creative release for me.  It has made me appreciate the written word even more. 
  8. I still care about what people think....I still want approval.  I thought as I grew older that part of me would diminish and I would develop the "anything goes" attitude, but not so far.  
  9. I have always been a strong-willed person, sometimes too much, but it has served me well in many of my life experiences.
  10. I love power tools, things like drills, snow blowers, leaf blowers, power washers....I don't know why...but blowing leaves in the fall, power washing the siding on the house, drilling the screws to fix the fencing all are pleasurable to me.  Why??  Maybe it is that instant gratification I get when I see the driveway clear, the fence repaired or the siding clean rather quickly.  Yes, I admit I have fallen into that instant gratification syndrome...not an easy thing to admit.  That is probably why I don't knit or needle-point, but take photos....see a pattern here??  
So that's it for me...probably information that you could live without.  But I have to show you one more thing...yesterday I went to my daughter's for a day filled with fun, gymnastic meet and an Oscar party...and was greeted by this new addition to the family.

His name is Mac and he is a Siberian Husky, the mascot for Northern Illinois University where my daughter is the Pom Coach and my son-in-law is the Gymnastic's Coach.  How appropriate is that??  Not only does my daughter have 4 cats, she now has a dog.  Crazy!!


"We turn not older with years, but newer every day."  ~  Emily Dickinson

Until next time.....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Week That Was - Feb 19-25, 2012

A good week, especially with the snow!!!

"Whatever you are, be a good one."  ~  Abraham Lincoln

Until next time.....

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - The Snow Edition

It's Sunday again, wow do these weeks come faster and faster.  The 2nd month in the year is almost over, altho saying goodbye to the month of February doesn't make me a bit sad.  For being so short, it sometimes seems it is the longest month due to the gray skies and cold temps.  But one thing that always brightens my week is Ashley and her Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  This weeks challenges are:
  • Crossed
  • A Glimpse
  • Handwritten
  • Bliss
  • Gray
How do you "cross" the river when the bridge is gone??  Came across this site on Friday...a river, pilings for a bridge, but no bridge.

What do you think we would see if we could get a "glimpse" into this old shed?  Maybe things we might not want to see....

A "handwritten" sign in front of an Antique Farm that is so fun to browse thru....the first time I found this place I purchased that very old chair with the peeling paint, Friday I bought an old fashioned scale.  Treasures, treasures!!

Finding some bright red berries against the starkness of winter is " bliss" for me.....

 Gray skies, gray water, grey goose.....gray gray gray

So that's it for another week...had fun with these.  My two outings in the snow filled the bill.  Hop on over and see all the other fun interpretations.....

Until next time.....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Snow Was Still With Us.....

The snow was still with us this AM, but unfortunately not near as magical as yesterday, however still camera worthy.  Once again Catherine and I took off, this time to the Arboretum knowing that we would certainly find beauty there as well.  We were not disappointed but I sure was later....!!  I checked my battery level prior to leaving home and even tho it was getting lower I felt it would last thru the visit to the Arboretum. guessed it, it died and ofcourse this was the one time I didn't have a spare with me.  I sulked in the car while Catherine jumped out for a shot here and a shot there.  But my unhappiness soon left when Catherine suggested Mexican food for lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  The food is good, but the margaritas are even better.  I wasn't driving so I indulged myself with a frozen strawberry margarita, I quickly forgot how disappointed I was with the dead battery.

The skies were incredibly blue....

I always love the rose hips in the winter-time....

Oh that Witch Hazel just delivers such a wonderful pop of color...

And that deep red berries of the sumacs is such a delight against the blue skies...

I think this is some kind of a little sparrow....I was sitting in the car, waiting for Catherine, she was still taking pics of the sumac, when this little one perched himself on the rose bushes right in front of me....I took this thru the car window so it is not as clear as I would like it to be...but he was just too cute.

A little boy and his Mom were out playing in the snow...I just had to take his pic with that bright red coat and blue snow pants against the white of the snow....

The sun was so bright that my eyes were tearing up...but I'll take this brightness over the gray skies we have had lately any day.

Hope your day was as bright and shiny and as delicious as mine was.....

'If you always do what interests you, then at least one person is pleased."

Until next time.....

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Kindness Is Like Snow...."

Catherine called yesterday to say that we had 100% chance of snow with up to a possibility of 7 inches starting around midnight.  We were both so excited, the thought of a good snowfall is a photographer's dream, especially when there has been so little this winter.  Plans were made, fingers were crossed, and the excitement of the possibilities ahead kept me from even sleeping well.  I kept getting up to look outside waiting, waiting for the snow to begin falling.  I finally began to see the white stuff about 12:30 AM.  I wasn't satisfied with knowing that it had started, I wanted it to continue til morning, like I had any control over it HA!!  After a restless night, I got up before 7:00 AM, looked out the window and was blown over by the absolute beauty.  Not only had it snowed about 4 inches, but it was that heavy wet snow that clings to everything turning the world into a winter-wonderland.  We call that "heart attack" snow because it is sooo heavy, but it shor do make things look mighty purty!!  Up, shower, dress & pick up Catherine and away we go, heading to the country to find us some red barns to photograph in the snow.  We were not disappointed, we found red barns, grey barns, wagons, horses, & enough snow to make our hearts go pitter patter.

Today is usually my Five Senses Friday post....but today all of my senses were filled with the sheer wonder of our snowfall.  To see it, to touch it, to hear the sounds of snow shovels scrapping, remembering the taste of it as a child when my Mom made us snow ice-cream, and smelling the freshness of the air after the snow has cleansed it.  My senses were completely  filled with the magic of snow.   With it's touch it makes the old barns beautiful, the unplanted fields covered in a white blanket of wonder, and the dead branches on the trees glisten like they are draped in diamonds.  Totally, beautifully magical.

We came across this dog trying unsuccessfully to catch the squirrel in the tree above....he would go from tree to tree looking for that darn squirrel.

We came upon a dairy farm in our wanderings but what attracted us was not the cows, they were actually fairly difficult to see because they were clumped close together and they were either black or dark brown.  What attracted us was the vast amount of birds that were flying on the roofs, the road, and the fences.  Everywhere you looked there were birds, mostly starlings with a few pigeons mixed in.  They must have been attracted to the feed....

Almost reminds me of that Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds" which I just happened to watch last weekend.

That was just a few of the 300 + shots I took today.  I said we were excited.....

"Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers" ~ Anonymous

Until next time.....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

An Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Tutorial

I love the look of textures on photographs.  The first time I saw an image texturized with Kim Klassen's textures I literally gasped with pleasure at the sight.  I began collecting textures from Kim (she is one generous lady) and across Flickr land using them in many of my images.  Last week over at Ashley Sisk's Tutorial Tuesday she shared with us how to change the background in an image.  Great information.  So today I decided I would give the tutorial a go.....this is where the teeny weeny tutorial comes in.

I began digital scrapbooking a couple of years ago....went head-over-heels in love with it in fact.  Started collecting papers, elements, kits etc etc.  So needless to say I have a stash of the digital papers just like I have downstairs in my piles and piles of the real stuff.  After taking pictures of my latest red tulip purchase I decided to try the new back-drop idea.

One of the best purchases I have made for less than $10 is some white foam core in various sizes purchased from Michaels & Hobby Lobby.  I have set up a mini studio on the dining room table with my foam core, one piece to put the object on and the 2nd one as a backdrop.  There have been various tutorials lately about making your own light-box and one day I will give it a try, but this works for me right now, even at night.  Since I use Elements 9 obviously these instructions are for users of Photoshop or  Photoshop Elements.   After choosing the image you want, crop it, lighten it more light than dark, tweek it the way you like and lastly flatten the image, and now comes the magic.  I chose a light colored digital paper from my stash that I thought would enhance the image, dragging it into elements and placing it on top of my original image, sizing it appropriately. (If you want more detailed instructions on applying layers please be sure and visit Kim Klassen's web site)  In the layers tab with your digital paper highlighted, chose "darker color" at 100%.  And voila....your image is still nice and clear and your digital paper is now your background.  I tried several different papers and the more neutral and light the better.  The third image with the red & blue stripes had stripes that showed on top of the tulips, so I just used the erase tool and erased those.  But the other 2 images had no signs of the papers on the image.  Magic??!!  I think so. I am sure that the neutral backdrop was definitely part of the magic, don't think this would work if you had a lot of things going on in the background.  You need to stick to the original tutorial for that magic.  I think these would make great greeting cards or prints...what do you think?  Give it a try.  And PS after all was complete I used my favorite action from the Coffee Shop blog, Velvet Truffle.


After adding digital paper at "darker color" 100%

Joining Deb at This or That Thursday

"The trouble with life is, you're halfway through it before you realize it's a "do it yourself" thing."  ~  Annie Zadra

Until next time......

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Six Syllables and Seven Vowels

Reconciliation, a rather long word with 6 syllables and 7 vowels with a rather simple make oneself no longer opposed.  Synonyms of harmony and agreement, good vibes and okay are all positive words associated with reconciliation.  Antagonism, denial, refusal and opposition are antonyms (a word opposite in meaning) for this same word.  I pause to ask myself on this Ash Wednesday, would I rather be in harmony, have good vibes or be in a state of denial and opposition?

Ever since my husband began to obviously decline as Alzheimer's took over his life he had to step away from the activities he loved.  Working and studying for over 4 years to become ordained as a Deacon in the Catholic church and to begin his life as a Deacon, assisting at Masses, leading Communion Services, performing baptisms, visiting the ill, all to come to a way too early halt due to the disease.  I was angry, angry at God, angry at the Church, angry at some people from the Church.  I told God I was angry with Him (more than once I might add), He understood and He waited for me.

I have decided that I would rather live with good vibes, harmony & agreement rather than denial and opposition.  It may take me longer than the 40 days of Lent to come to this reconciliation, but I am resolved to try.  There are people I need to forgive which is difficult because when we needed them the most they were not there, but with the strength that God continues to give me I will.

Like the petals on the daffodils opening gradually, I too will open myself to reconciliation, have good vibes and be okay during these 40 days of Lent.

Please visit me today as I am musing on our senses at our collaborative blog Focusing on Life.

"God loves you whether you like it or not."  ~  A bumper sticker

Until next time......

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries......

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of our greatest American humorist's, Erma Louise Bombeck, born in 1927.  Erma was best known for her newspaper column, "At Wits End" that was syndicated across America and Canada in 900 newspapers, delivering laughter to the breakfast table three times a week .  Erma had a means of describing everyday life, children, housework, and husbands with an amazing sense of humor.  She spread her wit to television, appearing weekly on Good Morning America as her popularity continued to rise.   Erma found there was lots of money to be made making people laugh, she began her weekly columns at the Dayton Herald for $50 a week and at her peak was laughing her way to the bank making over a million a year.  Unfortunately Erma died after receiving a kidney transplant due to polycystic kidney disease, a congenital defect on April 22, 1996 at the age of 69.  Too young, and too many more columns to write.  If she were alive today I am sure we would be reading her hilarious comments about cell phones, texting and the latest fashion craze, skinny jeans.   Here are just a few of my favorite's from Erma:
  • Ironed sheets are a health hazard.
  • Seize the moment, think of all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
  • When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I do not have one single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me."
  • How come anything you buy goes on sale next week?
  • No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.  I have known Mother's who remake the bed because there is a wrinkle in the spread, or the blanket is on crooked.  This is sick.
  • Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms should be white?  Certainly not a Mother. 
  • There is something wrong with a Mother who washes a measuring cup with soap and water after she's only measured water in it.
  • A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.
  • Someone once threw me a small, brown, hairy kiwi fruit, I threw a wastebasket over it until it was dead.
  • The odds of going to the grocery store for only a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one. 
  • If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?
In honor of Erma, here is a small bowl of cherries, not full, ripe, juicy cherries (not in season yet) but a bowl of cherry jam with whole cherries....Happy Birthday, Erma!!

Please visit me tomorrow, Wednesday, at our collaborative blog, Focusing on Life where I will be musing on ??

Until next time.....