Friday, April 30, 2010


I am almost unsure of showing this to you guys, but you're my friends. I trust you.
My photography final was a pretty deep one. I still have to write my "artist's statement," and it remains to be seen if I will fully explain myself in public.
Suffice it to say that we were supposed to illustrate our deepest fear.
I worked really hard on this. I mean, there were days of shooting and blending and editing and in the end, after four whole days of work, I scrapped it and went this direction instead.

In the meantime...

Here's something pretty to look at.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Promise

I'm coming back, Blog. I promise.
I'm overwhelmed with my photography final.
I have spent hours and hours at this point, trying to make something I don't know how to make in an picture and it isn't going well.
You know how I am by now, don't you?
When I have it in my head to make something, I have to make it. I am almost there.
Then, you know what?
I kind of can't wait to not take some pictures - to wait until I like something enough to photograph it instead of photographing something somebody else tells me to.
I'm coming back soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Girl

Our boys were away for the weekend, so Emma and I had a grand, girls-only time.
She had a chorus concert to sing in this weekend, so Saturday, we spent extra time on her hair, and put on a little mascara and a brand new dress from Grandma.
It's important to me that, as she continues to grow, she feels beautiful. Emma is at an age where girls become so much more self-aware. Their differences, rather than being a point of pride, begin to be points of shame and I so very much want for her to continue to see herself as unique, amazing individual. So we took special time to fix up and as I was blow-drying her hair in the mirror, she stood on her tippy-toes, smiling a radiant smile in the mirror at the sight of herself. That made my heart just swell with joy.
Her satin-y dress swirled around her knees and her hair swayed when she walked. Feelings like that don't come along every day, so I took lots of pictures of my gorgeous baby.

My mom and dad took us out to lunch at a nice local spot; my grandma came along too.

It's a place where they also make lots of fancy cakes, which is kind of Emma's dream job at the moment.

We all made sure Emma felt special. She has always struggled with stage fright, but was so excited to sing in this concert. I was practically holding my breath with hope that she wouldn't cry or pass out.

I think maybe that it was all the people on stage with her. Maybe she's an ensemble girl and not a soloist. I know I am. Here she is at the pre-concert warm-up:

And here she is, singing her heart out.

We came home and made that fantastic grapefruit mint salad I posted about yesterday. We harvested the greens and mint ourselves, still in our fancy dresses. We washed all the lettuce, sectioned the grapefruit, and stirred up the dressing.
But once dinner was done, we did what girls do best. We made an ooey-gooey pan of brownies with a giant chocolate bar broken into it and we watched a girl movie.
It was the movie Emma, of course.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thought You Should Know

I just thought you should know - I just made this grapefruit mint salad and it. was. amazing.
I'll be back to regularly-scheduled posting soon...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Photography Class

I guess I am nearing the end of this semester's photography class (*sniff*), and I haven't had time to show you the last project I worked on. We made fine art posters.
The idea was to photograph a collection of things and arrange them on a poster. So. I did just that.
This first one is a collection of sand and shells. You all (mostly) know that we go to the beach on the Summer Solstice every year. That's the only day of the year that I let my kids collect shells willy-nilly and I always take a little sand. Then we fill a milk bottle with our treasure and put it on a shelf. This year, we will fill our tenth bottle! Anyway, I was in a rush during class, so I didn't have time to think of clever text, but here's the result:

This next one was really fun. Remember the sewing box of my great-grandma's that I got for my birthday a couple of years ago? Mindy helped me group and set up the items (she's such a great prop stylist!) and I really enjoyed seeing my little treasures in a different way. This one...this one made sense to me. I am a maker. I use whatever I can find to make things. So, I titled this one with a directive - Make.

I'll get around to posting the full-sized, watermarked (!) photos of all these, I hope. I am feeling very backlogged in photographs to share, not to mention knitting and the rest of life! Sigh. We'll catch up soon, won't we?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gratuitous Baby Pictures

I hung out with Mindy & Mr. Nolan today. He was happy. You will be too after you look at these pictures.

And finally,

If you are not smiling yet, you have a cold, cold heart indeed.

My Guy

Andrew played in his first All County Band concert this weekend. He was 2nd chair euphonium, which I think is pretty impressive!
This really is a pretty awful photo, but it's all I ended up taking, so, there you have it. Isn't he so grown up? Ugh.

It was such a great experience for him - playing with other kids who work as hard as he does to make good music. By the time we left, he'd also heard the high school bands play. They were incredible. I hope it gives him something to look forward to. In (gulp) high school.

Daily Bliss: beautiful, slow rain for two days straight
Wake-up Playlist: Muse, Unnatural Selection

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Again With The Busy

So. I'm pretty busy right now. I'm coming to the end of a two-week stretch that has tested my ability to manage all of my hats at once, but I'm not quite there yet. I've been moving between photo shoots and homework and teaching and cooking and mom-ing too. Oh - and church-ing and broken-car-ing and things like that as well.
Tonight, one of my responsibilities was taking this big kid to All-County Band rehearsal.

My brain is just refusing to focus, though. I bought a new toy today. Mindy and I went to an antique store and we both bought a vintage camera. Then we went on an adventure to find film. By the time we figured out how to re-spool the film that's currently available onto the spools in the old cameras (Google, Google, Google!), I ran out of light. Besides, I only get 12 exposures, so I don't want to waste them on just anything. Consequently, my mind is very busy thinking of what, exactly, it wants to see on prints from this camera.
I have always loved the surprises that come when you develop a roll of film and it's been such a long time since I've had the pleasure. Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. In fact, absence can fan the flames of desire, if this is any indication. I want some pictures from this camera, like, yesterday! And you guys do too, right?
Now, I need to take some and send them off and scan them. Whew.
It may be a while before you see them.
In the meantime, I will be busy trying desperately to focus on my other responsibilities.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Green

I got to tag along on a really cool photo shoot today. Unfortunately, to protect the innocent, the subjects and location must remain secret! But, I can tell you that there were enchanting, fairy-tale vignettes to be found all over the place.

I got covered in burs from the weeds and maybe some poison ivy, but so did everybody else. Also? I learned a lot. I got to watch a pro work and that experience was really invaluable. There may be another similar opportunity for me coming up shortly and as soon as I can tell you more or show you something, I will. Just for now, it's all a rather nebulous concept.
I have always liked to keep an air of mystery about me.

Monday, April 12, 2010


We are having such a green spring here in Florida! Normally, our live oak trees go from sort of brown and dark green to a little bit of bright green mixed with the dark green. But I think the freeze we had this year killed so much vegetation that we are having a real, honest-to-goodness spring as everything slowly comes back to life.

I kid you not, that is straight out of the camera, with no adjustments! There's so much bright green everywhere.
I took a walk today, hoping to feel like a photographer and be inspired - hoping to find something really striking to photograph. It didn't work out. But I did see this majestic heron at the lake. At least, he seemed to think he was majestic.

But then my brother called me and invited me to have lunch with him, so I left the heron to his lunch and I left in search of mine.

Something New

I'm adding something new here.
I have really debated (some of you have patiently listened to me) about whether to watermark some of my images here on my blog. Lots of other people do it and I think it's a good idea to protect your work at least a little bit out here on the scary internets. People swipe your pictures and don't give you credit and claim that your children are their own (honestly - I did see that happen once, but thankfully, not to me!).
But, adding a watermark also says, "I think my photos are good enough that you might steal them." And I don't want to be that person. I don't want to look like I think I'm great or something.
So, I've gone back and forth a lot over this.
Some of you download my pictures and use them as desktop backgrounds - and I'm happy you like my pictures enough to do that. In fact, it makes me blush a little bit to think that you actually have my photos somewhere in your life. I hope a watermark won't interfere with your enjoyment.
I just don't want strangers using my work without permission.
Yes - watermarks can be cropped right off - it's not fool-proof. But I'm also not going to slap a huge, diagonal watermark across the middle of my pictures. I want them to look pretty for you.
I have been considering the option to sell a few prints, though, and why on earth would you pay me for something that you could swipe from my blog for free? So...
It all comes down to this:
Some of my pictures will have a watermark on them. It won't be the family snapshots and general what-I-did-today pictures, though. I'll just put it on the ones that I consider, well, something I might want to sell. Does that work? Do you think I'm getting the Big Head? I sure hope not.
In fact, I hope so much that you will still love me that I'm going to show you one of my favorite pictures ever right now.
It's called "You Have Such a Lovely Home," because that's exactly what I said out loud to the robin I that imagined lived in it.

This is that tree I saw in New Harmony on our vacation. There are even more pictures and I might get them up around here soon, but this is, by far, my favorite. This is not at all an official logo or something like that. It's sure to change. But it'll do for now.
I hope you like it. And I hope you'll forgive me for plastering my name on it.


Some of you have asked for an update about the homemade laundry soap. I am happy to report that it has worked out very nicely! We have washed our way through the first batch at this point and our clothes are clean. Nobody has even said that we are stinky. So, I'd say that means it's a success.
This is one money-saving household product that I will continue to make and use! When I mix up the next batch this week, as I said before, I plan to use Lux soap flakes instead of grated laundry soap because I think it will make a more consistent mixture.
I have heard that you can make your own dryer sheets too (some examples here and here)...maybe I'll try that next! I don't usually use dryer sheets or fabric softener because Emma and I both have very sensitive skin, so maybe one of those vinegar/essential oils ones will be my first try. We'll see...
The up side of all of this frugal making is that it is also all a bit "greener." I am, by no means, an environmental activist, but it's nice to know that something I enjoy doing anyway reduces chemicals and waste in my own home.

Also on the "making" front, I have a batch of granola in the oven right now. It smells really yummy. I have only hesitated to make my own in the past because the cost of honey can be pretty prohibitive, but my neighbor keeps bees and I get raw honey for super-cheap now. Hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I took the kids today and met up with some friends at Parkesdale Farms in Plant City. If you live anywhere around here, you know why we went there.

Strawberry shortcake!

It's a little cheesy, but in a perfectly old-fashioned way. There's even a strawberry throne to pose on for pictures. What princess could resist?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Ah, Monday. It was a good day, but I was so busy telling you about the previous week that I didn't get to tell you about this event.
I met a little man named Caleb. He's my bestie's new baby boy, and he's a special one.

He is just about the size of a hefty loaf of bread and still so fresh that he stays all curled up, knees tucked and arms tight, no matter how you hold him.
Becky has been to hell and back in her life over the last couple of years, but she is reveling in the kind of love and life that she deserves. And little Caleb is so special because he's The Evidence.
Physical evidence that restoration is possible.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Road Trip: Part 6 (The End)

On our way back home from our visit with Chris' family, we stopped in lovely Franklin, Tennessee to have lunch and hang out with some old friends - boys I have known for-stinking-ever and their wives and kiddos. The wives they found are so cool. So very cool, in fact, that they are now my best blog friends - Mary and Amy.

We met at a park and strolled down the streets toward lunch at their favorite pizza spot (where their daughter Amanda happened to be our fabulous server). The kids behaved so well - by now, there are lots of kids when we get together. Emma and Amy's daughter, Chloe, are kindreds in such an amazing way. They immediately click with each other and both of them chattered the whole day away.

I managed to get a picture of Travis and Amy,

but not one of Kris and Mary. I don't know how that happened, since Kris wanted to play with my camera for a minute (and burn with jealousy) and managed to snap the only picture of me on vacation that seems to exist.

Amy knew that I would fall in love with her hometown. She could not have been more right. There were blossoming trees lining every historic street and peeling-paint details that distracted me at every turn.

We stopped at a sweet little cupcake shop, which was perfect since Chloe and Emma want to open a bakery together one day.

I'm not sure if that was decided on a previous visit or this one, but the plans are magnificent if the level of excitement in their voices can be considered any indication.

Mary and Kris have three boys - no girls. I would like to state for the record that they were so well-behaved during this entire, decidedly-girly adventure. Such boys deserve to be rewarded and I must say it took little convincing to get the dads and boys headed back to the park. Fortunately, that sounded good to all the small girls too, so we three mamas had a little bit of grown-up time to enjoy. We wandered and shopped and talked and had an all-around good time. This little shop ended up being my absolute favorite.

It was just brimming with white paint and rough edges.

But there were so many shops with so many gorgeous displays. It was hard for me to focus.

As I sifted through my pictures, though, I found a trend. Apparently, there were chandeliers everywhere in Franklin and apparently, that is mostly what I decided to photograph. So, I present to you My Favorite Chandeliers in Franklin.

Mary scored a pretty blue glass treasure and we all went back to the park with smiles on our faces. But the smiles didn't last long for some of us. The goodbye hugs were so incredibly sad and the pictures so incredibly hilarious and heart-wrenching that I'm afraid I must subject you to all of them.

With that, I take leave of this silly road trip story. There will be more pictures, here and there (when I get to it), but there are other things to attend to and other stories to tell.