July 30, 2009

we like projects

dani, beth and i decided we would like a little project to last us through the year. nothing too strenous - like a 365 project...honestly, those get too boring too fast and i've seen some people totally burn out on them. so, we decided on a weekly project. we're looking for at least nine other photographers to work with us on the project. it could expand up to 52 photographers, if we have enough interest.

our thoughts are....we would like to submit one shot each week to the project with one person picking the theme of the week. if we have 4 photographers - they would be responsible for one month a quarter, 6 photographers then, two months a year and so on. so...is anyone else in?

now...before you get your excuses in - all levels of photography would be accepted with all manners of cameras and a variety of processing styles. the only limits would be placed by the person naming the theme that week.

i'll close registration on september 1st to give everyone time to consider their participation. (i do hope you'll join us.)

July 29, 2009

throw salt over your left shoulder

this is an out take from shooting yesterday - that's the wonderful thing about photography and photoshop. you can take your mistakes and transform them into something else - something magical and etheral. would that we had a giant photoshop program to fix all of our out takes in our life, right? *smile*

nothing special to say tonight really - just a lot of whimsical thoughts. today i watched the rain fall over the overgrown chinaberry trees and thought about the book (soon to be a movie)where the wild things are. the rain created this misty effect and as the temperature changed, the windows began to steam over - creating a dreamy world. were monsters watching me watching them? i only saw the black and white stray dashing in between the bushes - no monsters today.

so, i leave you with a quote by alice hoffman: "there's a few things i've learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can."

today, the things i've learned are: always keep treats around when you have dogs - the joy you give them will be returned one hundred fold, box fans are a comforting sound, good friends are the best present to yourself and fresh flowers always make me smile. (and i always throw salt over both shoulders because i can never remember which one is the correct shoulder)

p.s. - today i read the most beautiful blog by one of my most favorite infrequent writers (wonderings and wanderings). she follows her heart wherever it leads her and i fulfill my yearnings for travel through her adventures (plus i love her photography). today's blog is about serendipity (one of my favorite subjects).

July 28, 2009


i woke up at 4:00 this morning and i finished reading 'julie and julia' - i enjoyed it and have been looking forward to the movie. i think from the previews a few hollywood embellishments will be made *wink*. so after sitting a bit - i got my lazy self in gear and went to my little secret garden.

i took the tripod and my fiddy (50mm) and wandered about. the garden was freshly watered and the water glistened on what seemed like hundreds of yellow and orange marigolds. truly - how can one frown at a marigold? it's not possible i tell you! not at all. little orbs of sunshine swirled with a spicy, earthy scent. add to that

aroma fresh rosemary, chives and thyme - heaven. salvia was in full splendor though it seemed a bit early for bees as i only spotted one brave enough to play dodge with sprinklers. without further ado (notice the shakespearian style word, no?)

July 27, 2009

bits and pieces again

it was a busy weekend. you know one of those were you have time but don't really have time? in it i had dinner with family, went to the land of oz and timetraveled back to the sixties . . . friday night i realized that young palates do not really get the subtle differences between ground beef and italian sausage - just that it tastes 'weird'. and that dark caramel is not really burned (they ate it though).

saturday i realized that love can be expressed in many, many ways - in this case my friend lisa had this beautiful, wonderful over the top birthday party for her granddaughter were we were all transported over the rainbow to munchkin land. and the children adored it. then we spent the afternoon recovering on the front porch. i love just sitting around with friends on the porch . . . i got caught up with them and found how much i missed a lot of people.

sunday my sister and friend, charolette, went to see beehive. a very fun show - i remember my mom listening to so many of these songs. though the crowd was mostly gray - it was so cute when the crowd was pulled into participating.

now for the winner of the giveaway at french cupboard! from my count, fifteen people registered for the giveaway by leaving comments for their favorite shot in my etsy shop. the winners are: Mishka (Oh, Mishka) and Susan (bear swamp reflections). i'm sending e-mails, but if you ladies happen to see this - will you confirm your choices and size of the print?

i spent a lot of the weekend thinking of a lot of things - things that haven't quite jelled yet, things that have solitified when i haven't wanted that and well, lots and lots of things. have you ever just held stuff close to your heart? it is not that i don't want to share them, i just can't find words to express them. some times the things are just so small and trivial, i think to myself, who gives a rat's behind about it all . . . and things some times so big and scary that i can't breathe. that i wake up in the small wee hours and i can't breathe. the overshare.

everything lately feels forced and difficult - as if i'm walking through three foot pools of jello. disconnected and just weird . . . so weird. i know the cure but then i have panic attacks about that too - will i remember how to work when i get work again? just silly, i know it's silly. my rational, logical, analytical side knows how very silly i am. as we say in my family, coo-coo-cacao puffs. i am sick of thinking about it but i can't stop thinking about it. and yes, i give myself breaks, i think positive...ack. stop. stop. stop.

July 24, 2009

do i have to give titles?

when i was little my mom had this old black cast iron skillet that she used for absolutely everything - frying chicken, making gravy and even making cakes. in particular, one of my most favorite cakes - pineapple upside down cake. she would make sure that each pineapple ring had a bright red cherry in the middle and because we all loved cherries so much, she would place cherries inbetween the rings too. for the longest time, i thought pineapples always tasted vaguely of aluminum. imagine my surprise years later when i tasted fresh pineapple - the difference is just night and day.

which brings me to this recipe i got from smitten kitchen. if you decide to make it - go through the extra bit of expense and buy fresh pineapple. it's heaven when caramelized.

pineapple upside down cake

1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (i used dark brown since that was on-hand - that's why my caramel is so dark)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum (i omitted the rum as i didn't have any on hand)
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use a cake pan.

make topping: cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. remove from heat. arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture.

make batter: sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in vanilla and rum. add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (batter may appear slightly curdled.)

quickie short-cut tip: you can use a butter cake box mix, just substitute pineapple juice for the water in the recipe. duncan hines moist butter cake is a good one.

spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. let cake stand in skillet five minutes. invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

in other news....i received the cutest handmade birthday card from elk today and it just brightened my day tremendously. thank you my friend - that was the sweetest thing. they say that friends are the family we pick instead of the family we're born with....i'm so proud she picked me.

and yes...the first bite of the cake took me back to summery days of cake, hopscotch, and running through the sprinklers.

ps - i'm guesthosting at laura's today if you want to take a peek.

real simple

shhhh, don't tell anyone but i have the biggest crush on the stylists that work with real simple magazine. the photography in this magazine is clean and beautiful and often makes me squeal with envy over the gorgeous lighting (of course they have gorgeous lighting in studios, right?) as i pondered over the new copy today, i've noticed they have started giving the names of the stylist for each article - hurrah! finally this job is being recognized in addition to the editors. even last week, the food network had a challenge for food stylist. this is an up and coming position - a dream position really. *le sigh*

also, the magazine had an article entitled "home pages" with four or five pages jam-packed with website addresses for places to decorate your home, including etsy. what i didn't know is there is another site, similar to etsy, that is a cache of vintage items - rubylane.com. it's packed with treasures - however, be prepared in some cases to spend some cash - these dealers know what they have and are demanding high market prices. (for example, when i searched for homer laughlin bowls - i drooled over a set of three for $120)

for the more budget minded shopper (*ahem* me) there is shopgoodwill.com. *gasp* i KNOW. it appears to operate much like ebay where you register to bid on certin items. a quick search for vintage cameras revealed seven pages of a variety of cameras, including polaroid, argo, and kodak duaflex. the downside of course is like ebay, you can't hold them in your hands before buying. but with bidding starting at $5 and few bidders - it seems you could find some good deals if you searched around.

i guess in the meantime, i will continue to play with my food (photograph it) and then eat it.

July 23, 2009



trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, we fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness. - kahlil gibran

July 22, 2009




it's been one of those weeks where i've been having weird dreams. scattered bits and pieces. some pieces i want to capture in a box and hold on to them - so lovely, so fleeting. like a child, i want to pull them out of the box and let them sparkle in the light. but they dissolve when i hold on too tightly so i'm going to let them float out into the ether and pray they come back to me in reality. other pieces i'm happen to let go and never think of again.


outside my window a white moth flutters and struggles to reach the light within. the glass separates us - so close and yet so very far far away. a picture of my life - when something seems within reach - hopefully the window will open soon.

July 21, 2009


i've planned parts of this shot for some months now - i found a wonderful little re-sale shop where i happened upon previously loved prom dresses for $12 and wanted to stretch my comfort zone a bit. when the models fell through in atlanta i put feelers out for girls willing to be a bit silly. one of my friend's daughters was happy to take a chance and brought along her friend.

the girls and i had a great time today - i gave them some general instructions and told them to roll with it. they knew better than me what angles worked for their body and had some great ideas with poses. they were so naturally sunny and happy that i had to remind them sometimes not to smile. we played with luggage, balloons, cut up prom dresses - all while a parade of cars rolled pass (of course i would pick the one day that traffic was being routed through the park due to an accident).

and after we were through, what better treat than ice cream, right? gotta love models that will work for ice cream. i've wanted to work more with people and have searched for models to expand my portfolio. i think now i have enough to start working on senior portraits and casual family sessions. i learn something different to do each time i do a session. i need to continue to work on directing the poses and lighting issues that i seem to continue to have. we put the reflector to use today but often i forget in the excitement moving props and locations.

there are some more of the shots without editorial comment really. i tried a variety of processing as i have been waivering between styles again. lately when i've been applying textures i haven't feel as comfortable as i once was - i'm not sure if that means i'm moving away from them or the photography is just not melding with my choices. *shrugs* funny how i can move through cycles - color, no color, soft color....textures, no textures....soft then crisp. anyway.

questions and answers with Fifi

i got interviewed by fifi over at the french cupboard and had a lot of fun. plus, i am giving away a photograph. visit there for the frivalous goings on.

plus - what are the politics of setting up? do you do it? were you fixed up? did it work out (i married a blind date and it lasted a while so i like the fixing up thing). and "guy cute" and "girl cute" is there really a difference?

July 20, 2009

cute boys, the perfect temperature and baseball

the perfect end to a perfect weekend. cute boys, a perfect temperature and an evening at the baseball park. even though our team lost, we had a great time. the whole family went to the baseball game together - part of the birthday weekend celebration.

we had seats right by the bullpen (could the pitchers be any cuter? i don't think so) too bad they were much to young for my more advanced age - unless i was into playing mrs. robinson. i could not have picked a more perfect temperature and the colors were almost surreal in their crispness. i'll have better shots than these as i process them, but i wanted to join in the mosaic party that is monday.

July 18, 2009

another year older....

thank you for the birthday wishes yesterday - they were much appreciated and warmed me up. i read so many people with the ambitions for the year and i suppose i should make such a list (since i'm a listmaker) but realize my entire energy lately has been focused on finding employment and keeping myself occupied so i stop the slow slide into complete and utter boredom with my life.

so, these are my lessons from the past year leading into the birthday:

be grateful and cherish what you have because you never know when it all could be snatched from underneath you. i don't know if anyone really realized how dark the employment horizon was. i know that i thought i would be re-employed fairly quickly.

explore the simple. in the downsizing and streamlining of my life, i've found how much i enjoy just the simple things in life. cooking, sewing (new), photography, reading, thrifting... not that i was really fancy before - but i wasted more money than was rational.

love your family and your friends. they will be the support and strength in the tough times. they say things happen for a reason - part of what i've found is how much my family and my friends love me. being on my own in another city, it was easy to feel independent but isolated. what i found is that love knows no distance but going home to love is the most wonderful feeling and was exactly the balm i needed.

rediscover things about yourself. once upon a time i loved to cook for family but i let fall by the wayside when it was not fun to just cook for myself. time now gives me time to challenge myself to cut portions and preparations to enough for two or make enough for family. i have started sewing. i challenged myself to shoot everyday and i think my photography improved as i read and tried new styles. i found that i really love to watch the squirrels scamper and enjoy the comfort of a pretty yard. so my first garden attempts drowned in the rains, there is time to try again.

go out on a limb. i opened an etsy shop and have made respectable sales so far. rome was not built in a day and neither was a business. if not given these months off, i would have never had time for this. i would still be dreaming.

so...those are good starters. now - for this little recipe (super simple).

rose cottage blueberry muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking power
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. in a separate bowl, mix egg, milk and butter. add in dry ingredients, stirring until just blended (batter will be lumpy). add in blueberries (i used blueberries and raspberries). bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

enjoy with your favorite morning beverage - the muffins are not too sweet and the amount of fruit make them burst with moisture and happiness.

July 17, 2009

just a few shots

hope you have a fabulous weekend...i plan on doing a bit of celebrating.

July 16, 2009

snail mail

i've kept myself busy this week - cooking, cleaning (a bit) and then out to see mr. potter for lunch yesterday. a lot of people have complained about this harry as it leaves out some points and alters a few others but, have you seen the book? who could put it all in one tiny 2.5 hour movie? anyway - it seems that is always the complaint of people (like me) that read the book and then see the movie. i sometimes consider it should be the other way around so i can easily imagine what the people look like as i read the story.

i broke one of my key rules this week - i deliberately read a book that i knew would probably make me cry. and i think knowing that - i didn't really cry. weird. some of my friends are doing the 30 secret in 30 day things and i thought about it. but then i thought i don't really have that many secrets. not really. so i won't bore you with that.

i must go - i must sit down and write letters - real ones. you know with an ink pen and everything. do you know how hard it is to find cute stationery anymore? it seems so many people are using electronics that you can't find cute paper either. so write someone people - use some paper, bring back jobs!

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

July 14, 2009

christmas in july

there is something i love about driving - in the dark - with the radio low and just talking to whoever is sitting there. sunday night after a good day at the lake, my brother and i were reminiscing (as usual) about cooking and that always leads to talking about my mom. i know that people say that their mom makes the best dressing in the world....but i swear, my mother did. she did. ask anyone. i watched and helped for many years. so when my brother said, "it's been almost two years and it's hard to believe i'll never have her dressing again."

i took that as a challenge. now it may not match mother's...but i watched enough that i thought i could come pretty close. if you tackle this dish - please put aside three to four hours - it's just that labor intensive. and another thing - i rarely measure so a lot of this is to taste.

it starts by doing three things almost simultaneously. put your chicken on to boil with water and a palmful of salt and black pepper to taste. i highly recommend a whole bird (instant sandra lee tip: you can use a rotiserre chicken from the deli if you're in a hurry) but all i had on had on hand was breasts so i supplemented with boneless, skinless thighs. then put on two to three eggs to boil (while you're boiling, you might as well boil some extra for some egg salad - always a yummy lunch treat). and then, yes, the holy trinity of southern cooking - bell pepper, celery and onion. chop each of the following to a fine chop: a bell pepper, onion (medium-sih) and three stalks celery.

after chopping - add 1/4 cup oil to an oven proof pan (if you have cast iron - fantastic!) saute the pepper, onion and celery until the veggies are soft. check your eggs (my trick to perfect eggs - place eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and boil for five minutes and then turn the heat off and let them sit another five to ten minutes. perfect every time.)

in a separate bowl - prepare cornbread according to package directions (sans oil) - i love while lily cornbread mix but i'm not sure if that's a regional brand or not. stir in the cooked veggies (with the oil) and a good palmful of poultry seasoning. now, if you have a herb garden you can use fresh sage, thyme and rosemary (half the seasoning because fresh has more flavor than dried). make sure the herbs are finely minced.

while cornbread is cooking, shred cooked chicken and set aside. peel boiled eggs and set aside. after cornbread is done, turn into a large bowl - and i do mean large as you will need room to mix. now, comes my mother's secret ingredients - cream of chicken soup and a raw egg. crumble the cornbread and stir together with the chicken. mix in the soup (i was out of chicken so cream of mushroom works well too) and then add chicken broth until mixture is fairly soupy. dice the boiled eggs and stir in. turn the entire mixture into a large roasting pan. bake at 350 for about an hour - check frequently to make sure it doesn't dry out - you can add extra chicken broth throughout the baking to ensure the dressing is moist.

my brother said it was pretty darn close. yay! i needed a bit more seasoning i think and maybe i should have used some sage in addition to just the poultry seasoning mix (which is sage, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and maybe one other herb.)

now...just so i could work harder? i decided to try a cream cheese poundcake that i got during the recipe exchange. i tweaked it a tad, blending it together with another basic poundcake recipe i had - the main difference is that i added more flavoring (hers called for vanilla only and i added some lemon extra. i used all butter - susan used one-half cup butter and one cup margarine.) at the last minute, i decided to go with the cake flour instead of the all purpose/baking power combo as shown in the photograph of ingredients.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake by Susan Jones
1 ½ cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Combine first 3 ingredients, creaming well: gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour to creamed mixture stirring until combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Pour batter into a well greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 1 hour 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely. Yield: one 10-inch cake.

excuse the slice....you know I had to do quality control!! it's light, yummy and the perfect foundation for fresh sliced fruit and a dallop of whipped cream.

happy 100th

to my friend sandy k here are 100 m&m's to celebrate with.

July 13, 2009

. * .

i've been a hopeless miss-mash of feelings the last few days. a lot of wheels turning and thinking coupled with abandoned non-thinking and sheer enjoyment. yesterday i visited (with the rest of the family) my brother's lake condo. it has a gorgeous view (this was taken from the balcony). we rode around the lake in the power boat and i'm ever amazed how quickly the girls adapted to their sea legs. there is nothing in the world that makes you feel better than just spending time with people that accept you just as you are - no matter the quirks, and squeezes from your loved ones.

today i went crazy at the grocery - like a sudden nesting urge of an unpregnant woman. i had wild thoughts of making cakes, casseroles and my mother's chicken and dressing. after i put away the groceries - collapsing in a pool of sweat and fatigue, i settled instead for a quick pot of santa fe soup - a good thing because there was an emergency babysitting of the girls. we laughed at the antics of the baby licking peanut butter from crackers and feeding the pugs, the older nieces silly giggles over the joy of one-half a chocolate bar, and the good times of family conversation over soup and impromptu visits.

i'm taking the advice of good friends and i'm giving myself a break over the lack of inspiration with photography. if i pick up the camera great but i'm not going to pressure myself right now to 'shoot every day' as most experts tell us to do. i think that leads to some uninspirational photography for me as i find myself just clicking instead of really trying to 'see'. i have my notes from 'the art of seeing' and maybe this is a good time to revisit some lessons. in the meantime, i have a quilt to finish, a letter that needs a reply, a tea towel to finish and more job applications to make.

July 11, 2009

hello, it's me

down by the riverside

i'm completely flustered by a lack of inspiration lately. i've worn fruit to my last nerve and driven randomly looking for new subjects. is it summer? is is boredom? yes, i guess i'm whining.

in other news, i saw transformers part deux last night and didn't hate it. (which i thoroughly expected) it had laugh out loud parts and i'm happy to report to mel that it didn't make me cry. nice job shia...and megan fox - hats off honey, you have to have the pretty eyes in show business right now. i think you give the ex mrs. billy bob (i refuse to mention her in any blog) a run for her money. plus, you have youth on your side.

this morning i had breakfast with a friend that has been my friend since we were 13 - i adore her and it's always so comfortable how with friends like that you slip right back in with no seams. what is it about a cracker barrel breakfast that is so yummy? and then a bit of shopping - perfect. and hopefully some models to come out of it with her daughter. now, dinner at something called a bass pro shop...this should be interesting.

July 10, 2009

here and there

i have a few appearances slated on other blogs: melissa loves, under the sheets and french cupboard.

the first one is today, i'm the bag lady of the day at melissa loves. you know i've played that game before with my old bag...now i'm splashing around my pretty summery yellow bag there.

as it stands right now, i'm going to be on under the sheets next weekend and the guest appearance at french cupboard is tba. (it will include a giveaway!)

also, I should have mentioned already - i participated in dani's the power of two project recently. it was a great honor to be chosen to participate and i gave my two dollars (and wrote about it here) to tangobaby's project to find shelter for a mother and her children. if you have some spare change, consider that project or any of the others written about in this blog. we always think, i have nothing to give (believe me, being unemployed i'm watching every dollar) but, you will have an incrediable feeling giving to a truly wonderful cause. just think, two dollars can buy a homeless person lunch, it could contribute to a teacher's classroom, you could help save a tiger...the possibilities are endless. it's not about doing it all yourself - it's about participating in the world around us.

July 9, 2009

i had plans

i was going to tell you about my day yesterday, but why when pictures say so much more. and then i bought cupcakes.