Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas memories

circa 1969
Check out the style here - saddle shoes, walabees, crochet poncho, and wow that's some big collar on my shirt. pretty funny stuff. That's the blacksmith shop in the background where my dad made all sorts of iron tools and latches and hooks, etc.

We had many wonderful memories/ traditions at Christmas time when I was growing up. My dad likes to do every thing the colonial way. One of the things I especially enjoyed was making our own candles. He would build a fire outdoors and hang a big iron kettle over it filled with wax and we would dip our string in the wax, walk around the fire pit and then dip again, going round and round until we had a sizable candles. And sometimes to warm our hands we would stick our hands in the wax and then let it cool and see who could create the best finger mold. We burned a lot of candles in the house at Christmas time so we made quite a production of this. One year we were even featured in the paper because of all the traditional activities we did at Christmas time - baking gingerbread men in hand carved molds, even roasted a pig one year (that's quite a story - raising a pig in the middle of a prominent sub division). We lit candle bags made from brown paper sacks filled with sand and placed them all the way up the driveway lighting the way for our guests each year - we had a long driveway so it was very pretty; we used all fresh greenery up the banister and mantel - went out and shot mistletoe out of trees for decoration - to hang in the doorway. Back then my brothers would shoot it out of the trees with a BB gun and I would tie bows on bunches and we would sell it in the neighborhood
. Every Christmas Eve we would eat clam chowder that dad had cooked over the fire place along with Smithfield ham and biscuits when we got back from church. And THEN after dinner we would open gifts from each other before going off to bed. So many nice memories. We do things much simpler now but I'm glad Dad, and Mom, taught us some of the traditional ways of the colonial days.

I love going home at Christmas. My parents home radiates with warmth and love. There are so many wonderful decorations - German Nutcrackers, and German Smokers; hand crocheted snowflakes in the windows, handmade dolls, and Santa dummy boards all made by Mom - every where you look - something interesting.

They don't make the candles anymore or put the candles bags up the driveway but we still have clam chowder and Smithfield ham and biscuits on Christmas Eve and they still hang my first stocking. When I was born (in Nov) they placed me inside the stocking and my brother, who was 3 at the time, was dressed as Santa Claus posed for a Christmas photo . I peepeed in the stocking and the stain still remains (luckily it was on the back, but it was a felt stocking that couldn't be washed). The story has been told to every boy friend I ever had.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa over the years

1962 - me and my brothers with Santa

1992 - my daughter with Santa

2008 - my niece and nephew with Santa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The tree is complete

oh so pretty. good kodi, just look and admire, don't touch.

no, no! I said NO touching.

This is just what I thought might happen, so the few fragile ones we hung went at the top

and the non-breakable ornaments went down low - like these paper ball ornaments we made together several years ago (made out of old Christmas cards)...

...and a lot of these croqueted snowflakes my mom made for each of us one year. I put these on last and to me it completes the tree.

Well next the last.

My forest angel goes on last. Taylor had to put her on for me - she's much taller than I am.
And now we have completed the decorating of our tree and can sit back and enjoy : )

Monday, December 15, 2008

special surprise

I was one of the lucky recipients of Vanessa Ann's giveaway. I love getting mail and especially nice packages. Vanessa Ann made these cute little votive candle holders and it just so happens that the fabrics she chose to put on them goes in my bedroom. I wanted to show you how cute they are (i need white candles to put in them, but i only had green). You should check out the other clever items she has on her etsy site. Thank you Vanessa Ann!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Transforming the home

I think I got a pretty good tree this year - still bare - waiting on Taylor to get home for the decorating.
I love this season - the decorating, the music, the Christmas cookies and hot wassail, the warmth of the fire and the glow of Christmas lights, the laughter and closeness of family gathered together.
This is very special piece my mom gave me when T was just a baby - it looked just like T with her curly red hair. And a family portrait that I have always loved - the capture before my younger brother got in the frame. If you look at it you will see every one is looking in a different direction - I love it.
A few corners of home have been transformed into their Christmas glory. The house seems warmer with all the red and "green"ery placed about. There is nothing I like better than to have the Christmas lights glowing and a fire burning and to just lie by the warmth of the fire and escape - just slow down - for a few minutes - reminiscence... reflect on all that is good.
Here stands a Santa that my mom carved and painted for me and a little clay dog I made when I was young, along with my collection of little Christmas books and a german snowman piece.

And a there is a special spot in the corner cabinet for the snowbabies that T gave me every year for my birthday until I had to tell her to stop because there was no more room on their playground.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Creative portrait

If you've read my blog in the past you've probably seen some of Taylor's "Alice in Wonderland" series she did her senior year for her photo final. This was one of the photos I took of her in our backyard as she was trying out the positioning and props for her final photos - she later used a tripod in a wildflower field we found down by the river. At the last minute she rigged the flamingo to look as if he was pulling her sash which I think adds a lot of character to the photo. I love the movement and emotion in this photo as "Alice" gets frustrated with the flamingos during the croquet game.
I show it to you because I am very impressed with what she is doing with it now. She was given the assignment to do a "creative" self portrait in her drawing class and she chose this photo to work from. I'm impressed with her interpretation of it and her great sense of design and addition of bold flowers. It's clear she didn't just copy the photo. I love the way she treated her eyes, making them larger than life, exaggerating the expression of annoyance. Even the flamingo pulling her sash has a look of mischief in his eyes, and to me the other one has a look of arrogance. I think, all together, this piece is brilliant - vibrant colors and strong composition and design - but that's just a proud mom talking. I can't wait to see it in person.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And the winner is...

Actually there are 3 winners. I decided to choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.

1st place winner is : Bermudabluez She will receive the set of cards, a set of bookmarks and a Christmas notebook (which by the way I never posted a photo of - so sorry)

2nd place goes to Sew Fab Martha She will receive a set of bookmarks and a notebook

3rd place goes to Betsy and she will receive a Christmas notebook

I want to thank all of you for playing along for the little giveaway. I had many new visitors. For me it's hard to choose just one gift that means the most to me, but you all seemed to have no problem. I really enjoyed reading about all of the special gifts - so many thoughtful gifts given and received. And after I posted this last week I realized I never did tell you about one of my favorite gifts.

Initially I was going to tell you about this special wooden Elephant from Germany.
My older brother lived in Berlin for several years and one summer my mom and I went to visit him. While there we did some shopping, of course, and I fell in love with this rather large children's pull toy. But I didn't even have a child and it was much too expensive for me to buy, plus it was way too heavy to be carrying back on a plane. A couple of years later my brother came home and by this time I had a little baby girl. He had bought the elephant toy for her (well, me really) and hand carried it on the plane with him back home. As Taylor got older she named the elephant Eleance. (don't ask me why). I still treasure it to this day. I think it's a beautiful crafted toy to be handed down from generation to generation.

But I also have to tell you about my most recent (and wonderful) gift received. I received for my birthday this year, from my whole family, money to attend a week long art camp at the John Campbell Folk School. I have been wanting to do this for so long and now I can. The school has been around since 1925 and they offer everything from Basketry to Woodturning and so many in between. The hard part will be deciding what to take. I think I would like to try something I have never tried a hand at. One man wrote, " The week I spent there is about as close as it gets to my idea of paradise." I can't wait to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

another self portrait challenge

Shutter Sisters - self-portrait photo challenge - go outside, hold your camera down a bit and capture a shot of yourself with the sky as your backdrop. Then point your camera down and capture your feet on the ground. Put the images together to create a lovely diptych that reveals a small, telling moment in your day.
I'm a day late on this challenge but fortunately I had a vacation day to day and could use the daylight hours to participate in the challenge. And let me tell you - it WAS a challenge. I must have taken over 20 shots. Pointing down for the feet was easy but the pointing the camera upward at the face - not a flattering angle - was not so easy. For one thing you can't look through the viewfinder to see what you're getting but the main thing was that angle. I'm glad I'm short so no one has to look at me from that angle. However, trees are beautiful from that viewpoint and I finally got something acceptable.
I stood in the exact spot to look down and to look up. I knew when I read about that challenge of just where I wanted to try it. I love this beech tree in my backyard. It tends to hold on the the leaves longer than any other and turn a beautiful golden yellow. But in this photo you can only see the green leaves that remain on the lower half of the tree - the top leaves have turned a golden color.

I also took one later in today and here is how it turned out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Giveaway

I'm going to be doing a giveaway. It's my birthday and I want to be the one giving the present. It's the first time I've done this so forgive me if I mess up in posting of the procedures.
It should be simple.
Just post a comment here and tell us "what was your favorite gift given or received?"
To earn an extra 5 entries, take a photo from here and post it on your blog with a link and let me know you have posted it.
The cut off is Nov.23th and I will announce the winner on Nov. 26th so that I can mail out the gift as soon as possible.

Oh, the gift... You will receive a set of 6 Christmas Cards (6 different designs), one Christmas notebook for keeping track of cards sent, gifts given or gifts received (whatever you want to do with it) and a set of bookmarks (4 bookmarks - each including the 3 months of a season (winter, spring, summer and fall) on one side and a seasonal collage on the other)

The card set has 6 different designs tied together with matching envelopes with a little twine and 2 tiny pine cones

The bookmarks are 2 x 6 and come in a set of 4 - each representing the season with the corresponding months on the back. Use one for 3 months, throw it away and begin using a new one when the season changes - bookmarks for a year of reading.

Sorry the color is a little off in these bookmarks. It's late and I don't want to redo it right now. I also forgot to post the little notebook. I'll do that tomorrow.

hope this will be fun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

fun with Evee

want to play?




good dogs

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

food in photos

Shutter Sisters has a post today about food photography. Well, I am certainly not a food photographer but I do have a tendency to take photos of my Saturday morning breakfast. I think it's because I like my bowls - it's not so much about the food.
Anyway here are a few.


Kashi with blueberries before the soy milk

and a boiled egg - i love the color in this one

You'd think I had a real healthful diet but I don't. I eat things like this.

and this

in fact I would prefer to skip right to the dessert many times.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

happy love thursday

The heart shaped redbud leaves and blue juniper berries inspired this card. In the language of trees, the juniper means "perfect loveliness"

Seems way too early to think about Valentines Day, but with a winter festival I think it's something I need to offer. Plus, you can say "I love you" any time right? These definitely aren't your typical Valentine cards anyway (this set include 5 different designs).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photography creates a bond

At 16, when my daughter wanted to try selling her work in festivals we worked together to make it happen. She went on to do 5 festivals and has had a solo show at a local Starbucks. Working together to make these happen as been a real bonding experience.  As she began doing more conceptual photography there was no limit to her imagination and making it all happen became an exciting challenge - one we put our creative minds together on. Her ideas would spur an idea in my mind and back and forth working together we would make it fantastic - searching out props and locations to create what she had in her mind. These projects have created a unique bond (we work so well as a team) and brought us so close together - the adventures we have together while doing it are memories that will last a life time. Typically I am just the "camera boy" holding all of her equipment, handing her a lens to change, lugging the tripod and bags around.  But that's fine with me it gives me great pleasure to be a part of this "photography" world of hers.

The above photoshoot was done at Hilton Head Island on her spring break. A dreary, gray day turned in to one of the most exciting adventures. We went to a local Salvation Army and she bought this wedding dress for $20 , went down to the beach, changed in to the dress (not caring about the onlookers), set up her tripod and starting shooting away. She took a ton of photos and got several very usual images for what she was invisioning based on the poem "Annabelle Lee"

Monday, November 3, 2008

here's mine

Self-portrait that is . Not a well-executed one - more impulsive (in response to Kate at Shutter Sisters). This is the reflection in the gazing ball in my backyard. I sort of like it, plus it hides the facial wrinkles that I am becoming very aware of lately. I have been trying to get a self-portrait that I'm happy with but I just haven't gotten it yet.

I guess this one is acceptable enough to post. I really, really do not like photos of myself - I have a hard time acting completely natural. I tend to have a wide-eyed look and I'm stiff or something. Anyway, I'll keep working on it.
My daughter, on the other-hand, is a natural at taking self-portraits. She knows how to look into the camera and be expressive. She plays around with self-portraits all the time and gets some very good ones. Maybe it has something to do with age I don't know.

"Beauty......should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." ~1 Peter 3:3-5
thank you

Sunday, November 2, 2008

warmth of home

ShutterSisters asked us to share photos of home in order to be entered in a drawing. I love photos of home interiors. I enjoy seeing other blogger's living space - so many live in seemingly idyllic homes - all clean and neatly decorated. It's just so interesting - it's like you're invited in over the internet. I tend to pull out the camera when I see a beautiful pattern of sunlight coming across the room. These are just a few of them.

Friday, October 31, 2008

making headway

This is just one of many scannography images I put together today for the festival. I started thinking Christmas - I can't believe I had left that out of the mix of images to offer - especially for cards. I got inspired when I found my box of stamps I had been collecting for years and years. I had a real collection of stamps when I was a child - you know the kind you send for from all over the world and put in a book? I don't know where that collection is now, but the ones I do have are the ones I've actually received on letters, some from other countries like Germany, France and England, and of course many Christmas stamps.

You can't imagine how excited I was to find these. You should see all the different "love" design stamps I have. Letters in the mail are rare these days much less with decorative stamps on them. Does anyone else save the stamps off of their letters?

Halloween's past

Please sir posted about memorable Halloween costumes and also has some photos of some fastastical costumes you should check out. She told about her favorite when she was Pippi Longstockings. I always loved reading about Pippi's adventures when I was growing up so with a red head daughter how could I not dress her up as Pippi for Halloween. These are poor photos but they still hold the memories.

So I made her this costume when she was 8. I thought she was the perfect Pippi. (sorry Taylor, you're going to be pretty embarrassed about this post - because I found some great stuff hunting for this photo -haha)

She always loved playing the classic cat,

and as she got older, the classic witch.

Taylor loved to dress up, as every child does. You're lucky I don't have time - I'd find more. I think she still likes dressing up. In fact, I believe she's going to be Little Red Riding Hood this year (with a twist of course - wearing a red hoodie)