Thursday, November 19, 2015

Still life with a story

beautiful breadboards by We Are Caribou

My husband and I have been a on a 2+ year journey to weed-out, pare-down, dispose-of a good deal of our belongings. The idea that less is more truly resonates with both us. It's not easy, especially after 23 years of marriage and 5 kids. We have a lot of stuff. But, this paring down  sometimes seems at odds with my love of still life photography. One NEEDS stuff to use as props in order to create those beautiful images. So, I made up my mind that any prop I acquired HAD to be functional as well as photographic. However, this is not always the easiest thing to accomplish. Many times I've fallen in love with an item (or rediscovered an item I already possessed) that doesn't really have a function other than to look pretty on a shelf. 

All was going well until I saw a beautiful breadboard featured in one of Kim Klaassen's photos on Instagram. Oh my!  I had been wanting a breadboard with a bit of character for a long time but never found least not in my price range. So, I followed the link Kim posted to the Instagram page of Lois Jantz, proprietor of We Are Caribou breadboards. I loved her breadboards and ordered one a larger one for use as a prop and a small one to use as a prop and for use with food. 

While looking at her beautiful IG feed I noticed that there were a fair number of images of beautiful, nearly-white labrador retriever pups and each of the images was hash tagged with #whitevelvetlabs. Intrigued, I did what any modern woman does: I Googled the name! And wouldn't you know it...Lois also breeds English Labrador dogs AND she had puppies available.

My husband has wanted an English Lab puppy for himself for quite some time. He enjoys the quieter pursuits of life (think sketching, photography and fly fishing) and wanted a companion dog he could bring along on his adventures. Gus the wonder pup, being a gregarious, rather loud beagle is not quite the quiet companion dog my husband was looking for.  I showed the puppy pictures to my husband but he didn't seem terribly interested. At least that's what I thought. I realized he was interested after he started coming up with puppy names! I contacted Lois through her website a few days later and she called me back...from Manitoba, Canada! We spoke for nearly 45v minutes talking about all kinds of things, and sometimes even puppies. By the end of that call I knew I was getting one of her pups for my husband. 

"Finn" arrived exactly one week after that phone call!  What started out as my purchasing a breadboard (or two) ended with me getting the breadboards AND a puppy! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Something to say

(gratuitous pretty picture...just because)

I started blogging back in 2003. Yes, 12 years ago. Back then I was much more consistent and I actually felt I had something to say. But about 3 years into my blogging life I hit a snag. A blogging stalker type snag. It really freaked me out to put it mildly. Apparently a woman whose young daughter had gone missing over 35 years ago was searching everywhere and anywhere for any lead to her daughter's whereabouts. Somehow she stumbled across my blog that was hosted on a semi-private homeschooling blog site and felt that I might be her daughter. It absolutely broke my heart to learn of her story but it was THE WAY in which I learned of her story that left an indelible mark on my online presence. Long story short, members of an online "sleuth" forum started to "investigate" me as possibly being the missing girl. They found my address and my phone number (public records are great for that even though I never used my name or any personal details) and intended to contact me directly. Instead, after I posted a letter to the mom expressing sympathy for her loss and indicating I was not her daughter things turned very nasty. Threats were made against me on the forum and I was the focus of their not-so-kind conversation for many, many days. Finally, after many weeks of being a hot topic of conversation on the "sleuth" forum things died down. I was never contacted and interest in me faded away.  However, the damage was done; I was terribly afraid to post anything online. Since then my presence on my various blogs (I've had several since) has been very inconsistent and at times nearly nonexistent.

Here, in this space, I try to stay away from the touchy-feely, vulnerable type posts. I've made "Sweet-Life" a place for me to post my photography and show little glimpses of my life. I keep it as reasonably anonymous as I can. I don't post my children's names and I try to keep images of my family to a minimum.  I am vague about where I live and I never geo-tag my images. I play it safe. I rarely show up.

But I've been feeling a tug at my heart to change that a bit.

I'm beginning to think that I need connect more with friends and family in an avenue other than Instagram. The majority of my "online" life is spent on IG. I love IG! I've made connections with other photographers and creatives there that I NEVER would have made had I stuck with just blogging. I can't tell you how much I am encouraged by the supportive community. Some of my IG friends are friends in real life and some are online friends and some are both but that doesn't matter. I am inspired and blessed by them all.  But it is hard to get to know your friends when it's just posting a picture and a caption. It's hard to build relationships via IG comments, and depending on how many folks one follows, it can be nearly impossible. Comments get missed. Replies aren't made. Feelings might get hurt. Fortunately, the IG community is such a forgiving bunch that I've never seen or heard of anyone suffering backlash for not replying to a comment.

I am hoping you'll join me here. I can't promise to write a certain number of posts each week or even each month.  I still won't use my children's names and I still won't post many pictures of them (they do deserve their own privacy after all.)  But I can promise that when I post I will show up. I will be the real me. Because I believe I still have something to say.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

10 on 10 May

"The Earth laughs in flowers." 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

May is a beautiful month in my part of Northern California. The temperatures have not yet reached unbearable highs and the air is filled with the scent of beautiful flowers. 

This month I have been surrounded by gorgeous blooms. I have only 3 rose bushes but they bloomed prolifically in my favorite colors: a honey gold and a perfect pink. Then, on a mid-week excursion to my local Trader Joe's I was pleasantly surprised to find peonies! I've never had peonies before so I jumped at the chance to bring some home. They did not disappoint and I am very motivated to try growing some. Lastly, my dear in-laws surprised me with a Mother's Day bouquet of blossoms in the most gorgeous purples, oranges and yellows. Sigh...I do so love flowers!  

And I know they are not flowers but I just couldn't resist including these two images of succulents that arrived in the mail as a surprise. A dear friend of mine sent me all these starts after I told her Gus the Wonderbeagle had taken to eating the few I had planted (one of which she had previously sent me).  Seriously...I'm in succulent heaven! 

Thanks you for humoring me while I showcase some of my favorite flower images this month.  I just couldn't help myself. Please continue on to Trine's gorgeous blog...and don't forget to leave some comment love! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

10 on 10 April

 "A gush of bird-song, a patter of dew, 
A cloud, and a rainbow's warning, 
Suddenly sunshine and perfect blue-- An April day in the morning."
- Harriet Prescott Spofford, "April"

April is perhaps my favorite month. I love that here in Northern California, the trees and flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing, and the birds are singing. But most importantly, my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in April!  This year marks 23 years! The best decision I ever made was marrying the Love of My Life. I met him just a three weeks shy of my 18th birthday and start dating two weeks later. We've been together ever since (30 years in September.)  

We didn't do much this year to celebrate as our anniversary fell the day before Easter, we had one child returning that day from building houses in Mexico over spring break, and there were eggs to dye, baskets to fill, and a big Easter dinner to prep.  

But no matter, I love him, he loves me...that's all that counts! 

So, for this month's 10 on 10 post I've included images of beautiful flowers, 
morning light at my dining room table, a bit of watercolor faffing ( a delightful term indicating time wasted), still life images from Kim Klassen's "The Studio Online" (see sidebar for a link), my youngest's table decorating handiwork, and a fun little stop motion movie inspired by Xanthe Berkeley  

I hope these images find you well and bring a bit of springtime to your screen. 

One can never go wrong with ranunculus!
We had to remove our apple tree. These are a few branches and blooms we snipped before the removers came. 
Another view of the apple blossoms.
The morning light was gorgeous!
My great grand-father's egg cup. He was blind, so the shape and texture helped him find and eat his morning egg!
Having fun with watercolors and and egg (since the watercolors are not food safe, I tossed the egg after painting it.)

A behind the scenes of my dining room table...just trying to keep it real.
Watercolor faffing inspired by this post by Lindsey of The Postman's Knock

She made sure we knew where to sit!
Top down view of our table...the table runner is vintage. 

A bit of fun with Easter Eggs!

Please continue on to Kathleen Ries's beautiful blog to see her wonderful contribution to this month's 10 on 10 blog hop! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

10 on 10 March

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. 
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Unbelievably, spring has begun with gusto! A couple of weeks ago my youngest two daughters and I took our annual trek to a beautiful working ranch in the Sierra foothills that   the beautiful acres and acres of daffodils planted there. This year because of our mild winter and low rain fall, Daffodil Hill opened up nearly a month earlier than usual and as it only stays open for a few short weeks we needed to act fast.  So a spur of the moment field trip was in order!  

I also had fun taking some top down images of a few flowering plum branches. And I couldn't forget the planter of oh-so-popular succulents sitting in my windowsill! 

And lastly, while looking through the images I had just imported into Light Room I came across several (as in a couple dozen!) images all taken by my 9 year old.  Nearly all were out of focus (she's too impatient to actually wait for the lens to focus before taking her shot) but I could tell she was having fun. She snapped this of me while I opened up a package containing my new calligraphy supplies. This is one image that she really loved so I included it. 

Thank you for joining me for this month's 10 on 10!  I hope you enjoyed seeing what spring looks like in my part of the world.  Please continue on your 10 on 10 tour and visit Micah Hewett's absolutely beautiful blog! And don't forget to leave a little bloggy comment love while you are there!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 10 on 10

"February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer." 

-  Shirley Jackson, Raising Demons

This month has found me in a bit of a creative muddle. Do I spend time indulging in my first passion: photography? Or do I spend my limited free time developing a new/old love: calligraphy? the month progresses we'll see which wins. 

While looking for images to show here I realized I had seldom used my DSLR since Christmas and my iPhone only slightly more. So while the idea behind "10 on 10" is to showcase the 10th day of each month, this month's edition highlights 10 images from the last 2 or 3 weeks. And as it's February our theme for the month is LOVE. It's a rather hodge-podge but I hope it will give you a glimpse into what makes my heart go all aflutter. 

Teatime Tuesday (join me on IG and hashtag your tea/coffee/hot cocoa images with #teatime_tuesday)
Trying out a new dip pen nib. 
Making Valentine's for the family...a tradition  
Coffee with my sweet husband at SightGlass Coffee in San good!
A morning routine...solitary breakfast in the morning light.
A very old leather, hand painted handkerchief box. It reminds me of my dear Grandma very time I see it.
 I've rediscovered a love from my youth: Calligraphy 
Practice makes perfect. And what's not to love about a PINK pen holder? 
A good idea while sipping tea. 
Handmade Valentine's for my children. A tradition I started 20+ years ago.

Thank you for joining me this month. I hope you continue along the circle and visit Luciane Steiner to see her wonderful entry in this month's 10 on 10 Collaborative.