Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Back

White blossom 1

What a break!  Big things are going on in my world - I'm not quite ready to share here yet, but I'm ready to get back to blogging.  Taking a break was good for my soul - but I've missed my routine of writing and checking in with all of my blogging buddies.

Until I'm ready to share my news, here's a song that got a LOT of play over the weekend.  A fairly new discovery thanks to amazon - where the entire album is FREE - you heard me - free.  He's got an amazing voice and some incredibly powerful songs.

Tony Lucca - Take Me Home (Solo) from Solo [Amazon MP3 Exclusive]

"The greatest stretch of highway is the one that takes you home." Pin It

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Auction - Helping Joplin

On Monday, I posted about an auction organized by Bigger Picture Blogs to raise money for Joplin - now that the auction has started I wanted to give you the link and share the items being auctioned so you participate if you'd like to.  There were some beautiful things donated, but some very talented people.  With the storms continuing to affect large portions of the US, the Salvation Army will need all the donations it can get.

The auction is being held here, the auction guidelines can be found here.  A list of the items and when they are going up can be found here.

I love shopping so any excuse to do so while still helping out a good cause is just up my alley.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Helping Joplin

When I checked the news this morning, I was shocked by the latest weather disaster in the US.  Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a Tornado, reports say the storm split the city in two leaving thousands injured and homeless with over 100 dead.  Later in the day I learned that my talented blogging friend Sarah calls Joplin home.  Luckily she and her immediately family and home were safe, but the same can't be said for her extended family, friends and neighbors.

Proving that the internet is full of generous and amazing people, I discovered the group at Bigger Picture Blogs (of which Sarah is a member) is already putting together an auction to raise money for the Salvation Army to help the residents of Joplin.

I'm planning on donating some silk pillow covers I bought in Thailand last year and am planning to help support the auction by bidding.  If you are interested in participating, get more information here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Sarah and everyone impacted by this storm and the others that have caused havoc around the world.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Across the Bridge

Bridge Reflection

I've mentioned it a time (or ten) before, but I'm participating in Maegan's Creativity Bootcamp again this year.  I've been looking forward to it for weeks and am hoping it will kick start some great things in my creative life.  One of her suggestions in day one was to limit the time spent online during the two weeks as a way to focus internally.  I've decided it is a suggestion I'm going to follow - so for the next two weeks I'm going to limit the time I spend writing, reading and commenting on blogs.

Bridge Close up
I'm hoping you'll understand if you don't see my name pop up in your comments section for a couple of weeks as I focus on building my creative muscle.  I'm also hoping you'll understand if I don't stick to my normal posting schedule during this time. I'm sure I won't be able to give it up completely, but I'm not planning to have a post each M, W and F.

Across the Bridge
When was the last time you dedicated a period of time to your internal creative muse?  Don't you think it is about time you gave it another go?

I was in the car today when this song came on, and as creativity is forefront in my mind, I couldn't help but think how perfect it fits my creativity - it seems it is either falling or flying.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Falling or Flying
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Friday, May 13, 2011

More Favorites

Note - the great Blogger Fail of 2011 lost the original version of this post - good thing I was too lazy to write an actual post and it was mostly pictures which meant it was super easy to rebuild!

I'm so grateful it is Friday - I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend spent away from the computer.  Here are a few more of my favorite photos from my trip to Thanksgiving Point.

Orange Tulip 2

Tree at Stream

Yellow blossom 3

Columns Sunflare

Yellow tulip 2

Bench Silhouette

What are your plans for the weekend?  Something fun I hope!

Ryan Adams has been on heavy rotation at my house this week - anyone else out there love him as much as I do?  I listened to his Oh My Sweet Carolina and it had me dreaming of my trip to North Carolina last year about this time.  I fell in love with Ashville and I dream of getting back there someday.
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Sun Flares

Sunflare through Cherry Blossoms
I love sun flare photos - they probably aren't text book for good photography, but I love the life a bright flash of light brings to a photo.

Sunflare Arch
I like the way taking a photo with a sun flare forces you to move around looking for that perfect angle, where you can see some of the surrounding area and still have the sun flare flashing through.

Sunflare Arch 2
The only thing not to love is that I have a tendency to go sun blind for a bit after taking a few of these!

Sunflare behind bridge
This week I've focussed on using just Adobe Camera Raw to process my photos.  The only thing I used Photoshop for was adding the watermark and resizing.  I loved that it saved me a bit of time and still gave me tons of control.  It was a fun experiment and one I'll probably use again.  Do you edit in Adobe Camera Raw?  Any tips for someone who is fairly new to it?

I've fallen a bit in love with a Utah band, Fictionist.  Seems Rolling Stone likes them too - they are one of the finalists in a contest to get a RS cover.

If you love them too - take a minute and give them 5 stars - help them win the cover
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Point

T Looks at Flowers
I mentioned Friday that we hit a local garden, Thanksgiving Point, last week.  It's very close to my house, so I have no idea why I've never visited before.  But this won't be the last visit, in fact I'm thinking a season pass is in my future.  It was beautiful - and from a photography standpoint it was a great place to experiment.

Tree by Stream
We were there about an hour before sunset so the light was all golden and amazing.

Stream with Sun
Isn't it amazing the way a change of scenery can suddenly make your creative spark shine so much brighter?

I love the way blogging connects us with talented people - they inspire me and push me to keep going.  Usually this inspiration keeps me exploring with a camera, but a while back I discovered a very talented lady, Tina Jo, who is an artist, photographer, and songwriter, whose song "Gingerbread Man" has been released as a single - how cool is that!
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Kat Sloma has a great series of lessons and challenges called Exploring with a Camera, I always learn something interesting and I like the way they are paced, with a bit more time to work on the challenge.  I was convinced her Rimmed with Light challenge was beyond my skills - I just couldn't get the technique to make sense in my head - until I visited a local garden one evening.  Quite by accident I started to notice how the setting sun was affecting some of my photos and things clicked.  I got a couple of shots I loved - and even though she's moved on to the next challenge, I was so excited to finally "get it" I just had to share.

Am I the only one who learns this way - you read something over and over and it just doesn't seem to make sense, you walk away from it for a while and then, suddenly it is staring you in the face?

I can't seem to get enough of Peter Bradley Adams - his music is so amazing.  As I drove home from the garden, this song came on and it had me dreaming of a love just like the one described in the lyrics.

Peter Bradley Adams - For You

Then his I Cannot Settle Down came on and I remembered that my restless need to travel and explore doesn't make that dream of finding very easy.  I love it when listening to a couple of good songs results in hours of reflection.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Royal Wedding Party

Party Decorations
Shorty after we heard there was a royal wedding in the works, my sister and I started talking about our memories of Charles and Diana's wedding.  We were staying at our Aunt's house and she got us up early so we could share the experience.  Since we are living together again we decided we wanted to make this wedding memorable for my niece who is the same age as her  mom was when Charles and Diana were married.

Party Spread 1
We started planning and talking it up so Miss M would be excited.  The lovely Joanna got us started right, when she sent a beautiful tea cup with happy couple on the front.  I tracked down some beautiful templates designers had posted that we used for decorations (here and here) and we started planning the menu.

Maggie at Party
Thanks to modern technology, we didn't get my niece up early to watch (although we did the 3:45 AM thing.)  That afternoon we had english scones with cream and jam, shortbread cookies and just for fun, cupcakes.  We put on our fanciest jewelry (wished we thought to buy/find/make hats) and put Miss M in the princess dress grandma sent for the occasion and settled in to watch the festivities again.

N & Kids
Tiny T had no interest in the wedding, but he thought the food was delish, even if he had no clue what we were up to.

Did you watch the wedding?  Did anyone else throw or attend a party or are we the only (slightly) nutty ones?

I can't get enough of the new Adele album - her cover of Lovesong is classical beautiful just like the wedding.
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Monday, May 2, 2011


As I was playing with my nephew last night I noticed something unexpected happening on TV - I grabbed the remote and turned it off mute.  As they announced the death of bin Laden, I felt a great sense of relief that he could no longer spread his message of hatred.

Later as I listened to the President speak, I started crying as I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for all those in the armed forces who serve and have served.   I'm overwhelmed by the sacrifice of the men and women of the armed forces and the families who have carried on during their long absences.  I'm incredibly grateful to them and so very proud of what they do every day.

I echo the President's hope that we can again become united as a country (and a world) - and I hope we can move forward together to a peaceful future.

U2 - Peace On Earth
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