Friday, January 2, 2015

My "Word of the Year" and A Manifesto

Since 2009 I have spent the better part of each December really thinking about "my" word for the coming year. A word to help keep me focused on an attitude or an idea I want to incorporate more into my life; a word to help guide my thoughts and actions. This past December was no different, I  pondered, contemplated, and generally obsessed over just the right word. And it seemed to elude me nearly to the very end. But, as I knew it would, my word did come: JOY! 

My words over the past few years have included: grace, embrace, grow, simplify and breathe. All have served me well but they seemed to turn the focus inward or on an action I needed to take. This time around I truly felt the need for a word that encapsulated an outward focus; that would encourage me to look for the positive and not necessarily DO something. I wanted a word that had more to do with my attitude than my actions.  

I believe JOY is just such a word.  My hope is that as I go about my day dealing with the mundane that I will stop and notice the JOY in my day: that first sip of my morning coffee, an unsolicited hug from one of my kids, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, no dishes in the sink! 

And as I did last year, I've made a Manifesto that I can print out and place in my home where I can see it everyday!

Friday, December 26, 2014


Linking up to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday blog post. 

For this image I used Kim's kk_litely LR action and one layer of Kim's texture kk_paperlove on soft light at 100% opacity. I brushed off a bit of the texture from the flower and the cup.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 10 on 10

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.
~Sara Coleridge (1802-1852), "The Garden Year"

December is undoubtably one of my favorite months. I love the onset of winter, my youngest children's excitement for the upcoming holiday, and I actually look forward to the ending of the year. Maybe it's the feeling I get that a new beginning in the New Year is just around the corner or maybe it's the hope I find in the reason we celebrate Christmas, but the month of December holds so much promise for me. 

This year the start of the month has found me starting a new hashtag on IG (please play along if you are so inclined!), creating still life scenes on my dining room table studio, decorating my home for Christmas, and enjoying the bokeh filled aftermath of very much needed storms (California is suffering from a tremendous drought).  I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into my December:

Cookies and tea...perfect for a stormy afternoon

My favorite still life subject: tea time

Tea time again!

Hot cocoa, peppermint sticks, and marshmallows...just because!

A few bits and baubles left over from decorating

Beautiful light for The Light

After the storm, and a bit of love.

Birch tree, I
Birch tree, II

Birch tree III

Thank you so much for joining me this month for the last of my 10 on 10 entries for 2014!  Please continue on the blog hop and visit Connie's beautiful blog and read about some of her beautiful ornaments and the stories behind them!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Teatime Tuesday and a Hashtag

Anyone who knows me I knows that I love Instagram. It is a fun way for me to connect with like-minded creatives, some of whom I know in real life and some only online.  I am inspired by those I follow and encouraged by their uplifting and oftentimes funny comments. I can share my photography and practice my creativity at the same time.

One of my favorite things to post on IG  are images of my young daughters and I enjoying our tradition of tea; we've made it part of our homeschool day for many years now.  Each Tuesday we sit down and have a proper tea complete with china tea cups, sweet treats, and poetry. It is a highlight of our week and something we look forward with much pleasure.  And it's not just on Tuesdays that we enjoy tea.  We actually have it all through the week. It is one of those things I look most forward to each day. I find comfort in a steaming cup of Earl Gray.

As we head into December and life gets busier and often more hectic I look to my cup of tea as a respite. A way to slow down, even if for just a moment and reflect on the day. It was during one of these moments of sipping tea that an idea came to me. I can't be the only one finding the holiday season a bit hectic. I can't be the only one needing even just a moment of peace and quiet.  Why don't I invite my IG friends to join me at the tea table for a spot of tea. We can sip together and perhaps find a bit of that peace that is so elusive this time of year.

After wracking my brain to think of something original or edgy (neither of which anyone would equate with me) and not coming up with anything I've decided to create the new hashtag #teatime_tuesday.

My intention (if I can figure out the technical stuff...I am an avowed Luddite) is to feature every Tuesday a favorite from the pool of images added to that hashtag here on my blog and on my IG feed. Images can be added Wednesday through Monday and are not limited to just tea (although that is preferred). Maybe your comforting cuppa is coffee or hot chocolate or some other comforting drink!

I do hope you'll join me for a cup of tea each week.  The kettle is always on.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

10 on 10 November

~Henry Rollins

I've been struggling these last few months with a lack of creative inspiration. Nothing seemed to catch my eye or spark a desire to go out and shoot. I took a hiatus from Facebook, Flickr, and my blog; I flaked out on posting my '10 on 10' compilations each month; even my IG presence was fairly low. I basically stopped showing up. I thought, erroneously I now know, that by limiting my exposure, my presence online that the pressure to 'create something new" would be lifted from my shoulders. That I would feel free to create as I pleased with no thought as to whether it would appeal or please anyone else.  After all, I reasoned,  this was my year to 'Breathe'; to 'Be Still', to focus on me.  In reality quite the opposite happened. I stopped creating all together except for the occasional IG post, and even some of those were forced.  After a few months of this I realized I was missing something: interaction with my fellow creatives, my on-line friends, my cheering section on IG and Flickr and here on this blog (oddly, said with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I still don't miss my daily FB fix.) I knew I needed a push to get back to creating but I had no idea it would come in the form of trip to Southern California to join with 10 other women at 'Gather, California', a creative retreat put together by Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley. When first told of this trip in mid-September I hesitated in even asking my husband if I could possibly attend. His business/travel commitments were reaching an all time high and with 5 kids still at home it's rarely an easy thing to coordinate all their activities even when we're both available. But, I did ask and he said, "yes!" It took a little bit of coordination with my husband and my in-laws but all my responsibilities were covered! 

I truly can not put into words what those three days have meant to me. Even more than the inspiration I've received it's the friendships that have begun that are the real blessing. I hope to post more about Gather and what it meant to me at a later time, but for now here is a glimpse into the beauty, acceptance, joy, and love that defined my time at "Gather, California"

Golden light.  
The lovely and completely fab Xanthe Berkeley!

Gifts from the sea.

The beginnings of a beautiful mandala.

No trip to the beach is complete with out a sand-pail full treasure.

A little bit of biota still life play!

The theme for the retreat (at least for me)!

In the LAUNDRY ROOM! What I wouldn't give for that laundry room!

Another theme...perfectly fulfilled with love!

Attention to detail.

Mindfulness put in practice.

Messages in vintage bottles.

I do hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into my time at 'Gather' this past week.  I am so thrilled to be back here, in this space, sharing with all of you! 

Please continue on the "10 on 10" blog loop and visit the lovely Connie. And don't forget to leave her some comment love while you are there!

Friday, August 15, 2014

10 on 10 August

This summer has gone by far too quickly for my liking. I can't believe that it's almost time for us to start back up with our homeschooling and for my TWO oldest children to head off to COLLEGE! Yikes! How did that happen.  I don't feel as if we've actually hit our summer stride yet, but the calendar doesn't lie.  We had a fairly quiet summer around here with mostly local adventures for the family. However, my oldest daughter and I spread our wings a bit embarked on a short weekend trip to Seattle.  We went as a way to elaborate her graduating high school and for both of us to visit a dear friend whom we hadn't seen in over 4 years.  It was a fabulous weekend weather-wise. The temperatures were in the mid 80's; quite the heat wave for Seattle but such a relief for us as the temp's back home were hovering around 106' all weekend! We walked everywhere and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Here are a few highlights of our Seattle visit all taken on my DSLR.  I have quite a few more on my iPhone and some of those are actually my favorites but those will have to wait for another post.

The famed "Gum Wall" . We could actually smell it before we saw it. Yes, it really grossed me out!

Seattle's Great Wheel. 

A lovely ivy covered building downtown. 

Clear skies and an iconic sign. 

The berries looked delicious!

There were flowers everywhere!


The flowers were extraordinary!

Mt. Ranier, as seen from the top of the Space Needle. It was such a clear, gorgeous day

The hardest working man in Seattle. In front of the Seattle Art Museum. 

Thank you for following this month's 10 on 10 blog hop.  Be sure to check out Kathleen Ries's beautiful post and  be sure to leave some comment love!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

10 on 10 June

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.
~James Russell Lowell

June. The beginning of summer. Holder of so much promise and expectation. The start of slow days and and root beer floats; staying up late and sleeping in.  No other month reminds me of childhood as much as June.  I can still recall the expectation and thrill of the last day of school and the beginning of summer vacation: 12 weeks of unstructured, unbridled fun. No worries more bothersome than how to get to the community pool and how many blue 'Otter Pops' were in the package.  Oh, that life was so simple still how much more we'd truly live.  
Last month I missed the 10 on 10 Blog Hop. Life took over. Just a little bit of illness, a little bit of stress, but enough to keep me away from my camera and this blog.  Now that our homeschool has put aside the books for summer, I'm hoping that I'll get some 'me' time to pursue those things that I enjoy; those things that help me stay grounded and sane, namely reading and puttering in the garden and creating, either with my camera or with paper.  
This month we celebrated a milestone in our family: we graduated our oldest daughter from high school!  Her actual graduation was May 23rd, but her party was this past weekend. We were celebrating more than her completion of high school. We were celebrating a 13 year journey that she and I have been on together and I wanted to make it special. However, my daughter really didn't want much fuss made over her.  A simple open house with simple decorations was all she wanted. So with that in mind,  I used what I had: a vintage 1950's era globe as a centerpiece on the table and a map from a collection of old Nat'l Geo maps to make a pennant banner.  The day was so busy I only managed to take a couple of photos of everything, and half of those were on my phone. 
This month's images a a hodge-podge. A little from the party and a few from the days that followed. I hope you enjoy them.

The theme of our daughter's grad party (iPhone)

My husband's handiwork on our pantry door. (iPhone)

My 1950's era globe.
Fun little bubble bottles in honor of the Graduate!

At the Sketchbook Project's Mobile Library in San Francisco.
My oldest daughter's sketchbook was part of the library.

She was completely taken with all the sketchbooks. 

As was her sister!

One of my favorite drawings!

Another of my favorite drawings!
The window of the San Francisco Center for the Book: the host of the mobile library.

Thank you for visiting. Please click on through to see Kim's lovely submission for this month's 10 on 10! And don't forget to leave a little comment blog while you are there!