Monday, February 28, 2011


Last Friday afternoon there was a knock on my door and when I looked outside I couldn't see anyone or anything so I opened up the door and lo and behold there was a tiny gnome on my front porch.  He introduced himself as Roamy The Roaming Gnome and explained that he had traveled all the way from Di's house in Virginia to pay us a visit.  Ironic really that a gnome would show up on my doorstep when one of the top grossing movies at the box office right now is Gnomeo and Juliet.

He went on to explain that he wasn't feeling well after his long journey and asked if he could take a nap.  So I made up the bed in the guest room and he went to sleep and didn't wake up until Saturday morning!

On Saturday morning he was up bright and early, before the rest of us.  And when I came out to fix some breakfast he was busy reading the latest catalog from Pottery Barn.  We then ate toast and jam, drank some tea, and discussed the merits of fitted slipcovers verses loose fitting slipcovers.  It turns out Roamy is quite the design connoisseur!

It also turns out that he is a bit of a history buff and asked if he could visit some of the local historic sites in my area.  He said he had relatives that had sailed over from England on the Dove years ago to help establish the new colony of Maryland so I knew just where to take him...Historic St. Mary's City!

He loved seeing the old state house and touring the grounds of Historic St. Mary's City, and wanted to have his picture taken everywhere we stopped so that he could remember the trip fondly once he had headed off to roam the countryside once again.

Here he is on the old iron gates which lead to historic Trinity Episcopal Church overlooking the St. Mary's River.  And he was also very interested in seeing the rest of the area which includes St. Mary's College of Maryland, a well respected liberal arts college which is adjacent to the historic site.

Now, I had heard from both Di and Karen that Roamy has a bit of an independent and mischievous streak about him, but I really hadn't seen it...until...

As we approached this innocent looking vine covered stairway that leads to a dorm he jumped right up on the vines and announced that he had always wanted to try bungee jumping!  I was able to talk him out of that, but it wasn't long before he was hanging out with a few college students and well, let's just say, that he got a little out of control.

The group of students began egging him on and one thing led to another!  Here he is practicing his 50-50 grind down this steep staircase...without a skateboard!

Here he is trying to decide where he wants to go next...North, South, East, or the end he decided he would flip a coin.

Now, I'm not trying to say that college students are a bad influence or anything, but Roamy was invited to spend the night at the college and hang out.  He had a pretty convincing argument, he assured me that at the age of almost 200 he would be the mature one and keep things in check.

He even took me to the recently built boathouse and said things like "look, we'll just sit here on these Adirondack chairs and discuss the world's problems and watch the sun go down.  We might even read some poetry or help old people across the road."

And the students were pretty convincing too and told me how they would take him out sailing and really give him a true "southern" Maryland experience.  

That's why Roamy left home after all, to see the world and experience different things, so I grudgingly agreed and went home.

The next day when I went to pick him up I found this!  Blurry pictures posted on Facebook with wall posts that said things like "Haha Roamy that was awesome," people calling him the original hipster!  Something no parent really wants to see!  Now I know I'm not his parent, but still I was entrusted with his care and safety while he's visiting me!

Roamy and I sat down on the jetty while I espoused the virtues of education, the need to limit his alcohol intake, and how you can't give in to peer pressure.  And I really thought I was getting through to him when someone in a passing car yelled "Roamy, check out your boat dude!"

That's when I saw this!  Needless to say we headed straight home and Roamy has committed to doing a few hours of community service to make amends!  Thank goodness my own children were a bit more tame!

Of course you can't stay mad at a face like his for too long though!

If you live somewhere other than Maryland, Virginia, or Connecticut and think you have what it takes to host Roamy for a few days send me an email and I'll pick a name from a hat!  Just be aware that you might need to have the number of your local bails bondsmen handy...just sayin'!

And if you simply want to keep up with Roamy's Adventures you can follow his travels by clicking HERE!

Spread the Love...

Leaf and Ink (love your BC pics in your latest post!)

52 Flea

The Consummate Hostess

P.S. Roamy is an extra in the movie...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sanctuary

With Spring just around the corner for some of us, I think the thought of flowers is on everyone's minds.  I've visited several blogs this weekend where talk of flowers and gardens was top on their list.  Brenda from Cozy Little House posted about a beautiful bouquet of flowers she picked up to help boost her spirits while she waits for her own garden to be in bloom.

When I read Brenda's post, I could relate.  After having been sick with the flu this past week, which was the weirdest flu virus I've ever had by the way, I ventured out yesterday and ran errands.  The usual suspects...the grocery store, the post office, the pet store, etc., and while I was at the grocery store I picked up some flowers.  I was going to be a good girl and walk right past the flowers to help save money, but Mr. Tide was with me and he insisted...who was I to argue?!

They actually had a lovely assortment to choose from, and I was really torn between buying an orchid, which I knew would last a while, or picking up some cut flowers that I knew would only be around for a week or so.  In the end price won out, and I grabbed a small bunch of Dutch Iris.  I love iris, they are so delicate and have an Asian feel to them, and at only $4.50 I thought they were very reasonable.  They are also a nice departure from the tulips and roses I have purchased recently.

When I purchased them, they were all furled up and barely showing much color.  I cut the stems and arranged them in a cream colored vase and set them on my bucket bench where I can enjoy them while I'm working or surfing the net.  This morning when I woke up bright and early, the iris had also begun to open and come out of a deep sleep.

I grabbed my camera and began snapping away.  I think it's my way of preserving them well beyond their life span.  Then I played around with actions and textures, and I was so busy that I don't even remember what I used on these.  I know I used a few Flora Bella actions and textures plus a few Kim Klassen Textures, but I honestly was so in to what I was doing that I forgot to write them down.  I love how these turned out, they are all the same flowers, but by playing around in PS Elements you can completely change the look from photo to photo, my favorites are the 2nd picture from the top and then the one above.

I hope each of you had a good weekend and that you are enjoying a bit of rest and personal sanctuary if it's still Sunday where you live.  I also had a visitor show up on my doorstep on Friday...a roaming Gnome who has been quite the house guest.  I'll be posting about his adventures in the near future so stay tuned!

Spread the Love... (oops sorry I forgot to add this before)

Isabella and Max Rooms

Relatively Unique

In The Country

Friday, February 25, 2011

Like My Dog

It's been a crazy weather day today here in Maryland. High winds, thunderstorms, and heavy rain one minute then blue clear sky the next!  The view above was looking west from my back patio...

While this was the view east at the same time.  The wind has been howling all day with gusts of up to 60 mph, and what you can't see in this picture is how it was pouring down rain with the sun shining at the same time.  My grandmother used to always say that the devil was beating his wife when it was raining while the sun was shining.  

If you look really, really hard at the photo above you can see a very faint rainbow that runs along the tree branch tips on the closest far left tree.  It's so faint you probably can't even see it, but it's there I promise.

I was supposed to meet my dear friend Connie from Hartwood Roses today at the Ekster Barn Sale outside of Leesburg, Virginia, but my flu bug put the brakes on that pretty quick.  So instead I stayed inside out of the weather and played around with pictures.  I had taken some photos of Misty Belle the other day when the sun was shining brightly and decided I would try some of Kim Klassen's wonderful textures on my latest puppy pictures.  If you visit Kim's website and register, from time to time you'll receive wonderful free textures like the ones I've used here.


I also finished up 2 stories this morning and then decided to take some pictures of a box full of dog collars that I had volunteered to photograph for Connie and a charity she works with called  Greyhounds Rock.  Connie actually sews these beautiful collars to sell and the proceeds go to help support cancer research in not just Greyhounds but all dogs...and I think that rocks!

Misty Belle agrees that anything that can help eradicate cancer in humans or animals is a very worthy cause!

I had so much fun shooting these beautiful and very well made collars, there was one in almost every color of the rainbow, and something to suit every dog or owner's personality.

Misty Belle, being a preppy girlie girl said she liked the brightly colored ones the best.

I caught her eyeing the two pretty ones above several times, and I think I heard her say that a girl really needs to look her best when she goes out to meet people, but I'm not sure if I heard her correctly!  Whatever she said, Miss Kylee nodded and wagged her tail in complete agreement.

Mr. Quinn also put his two cents in and said that he thought he would look dapper in this lovely houndstooth number, and he was quick to remind me that his current collar still has a bit of a skunk smell to it!  

I think it's so great that Connie, with her busy schedule, does so much for dog rescue and Greyhounds Rock of Fredericksburg.  And if you are in need of a collar and want to support a great cause at the same time you can contact Connie through her blog by clicking HERE.

And although we weren't basking in the sun today like Misty was in the photo above, it was still a pretty good day aside from missing the barn sale.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and if you do have a dog or cat, what sort of collar do they usually wear?...something with spikes, or something frilly and feminine...I'd love to hear all about it!

I recently heard this song and thought it was pretty cute...

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Whisk Kid

(All photos courtesy of Whisk Kid)

Hi everyone, thanks for your sweet comments about my article coming out in Country Sampler.  Although I've been freelance writing about homes and photographing for regional magazines for the past 12 years, it's still thrilling to me to see my name in print for my writing or photos in the national mags!   So thanks for letting me be all about "me" for a post or two!

Today I'm not really thinking about food, I have a flu bug that my dear husband decided to share with me, but I have been wanting to share something myself for awhile about someone who is a master of food.

Do you remember being 19 or even 20 and what you were doing?  I was spending my days playing tennis at college and wishing I could skip the whole class part and simply hit the courts 24/7.  I lived in an apartment that had a microwave, 2 tiny burners, and no oven.  I considered it a gourmet meal if I slapped some store bought roast beef between two slices of bread and cut up a piece of fruit to go along with it.  And as I recall, Domino's Pizza lost a lot of money on us with that "delivery in 30 minutes or it's free" rule.

At 19 or 20 most of us are in college or starting our first big job, busy just making ends meet and not really thinking about a whole lot more than what needs to be done that least that's how it was for me.  But for one Michigan university student, she has her eye on the prize!

While I was busy worrying about what to wear for a weekend date at her age, she's busy creating this!!!  You see, Kaitlin, also known as the Whisk Kid, has a dream, and one I fully expect her to attain.  She hopes to one day own her own bakery.  

"I'm a marketing major, and I'm hoping to open a bakery after I graduate," says Kaitlin when I emailed her to ask why she wasn't styling food for the likes of Martha Stewart or any other national magazine who wants to feature yummy as well as gorgeously presented food!

One of the things I love most about blogging is the spiderweb effect it has and how you can start one place and end up finding the most wonderful things as you wind your way along the spiderweb.  That's how I found Kaitlin.  

I had read on Kate's blog about a food photography challenge over at Pioneer Woman's site and so off I went to visit the photostream on Flickr to enter a picture and look at all of the other wonderful entries.  It's quite addicting really, flipping through pages of beautiful food shots and I was instantly struck by the photo above of homemade ice cream.  It was one of Kaitlin's are ALL of the photos in this post.  You see it wasn't just a picture of homemade ice cream in a bowl, it was a picture that said it's summertime y'all and the heat wave is upon us so come onto the big back porch, grab yourself a big 'ole glass of lemonade and enjoy this cold refreshing bowl of ice cream!  Yup, it really said all of that to me with just this one photo.

I was intrigued, so I went to Kaitlin's profile page expecting to find a link to a professional photographer's website, but instead it took me to her great blog Whisk Kid.  When I read the "about the kid" section in her profile I was floored.  She was a college student, cooking in a tiny and very dated apartment kitchen...the one you see above actually!  And she shoots with the same Canon Rebel XTi that I use, but I've never taken a food photo that looked like hers!  

So I emailed her and asked how on earth she does it, baking in a tiny apartment kitchen with only the counter space you see in the picture above?!  She was so sweet and replied by telling me that she was a college student studying marketing and about her dream of one day owning her own bakery.  "I do bake in my apartment, but it's ill-equipped (I have approximately 1 1/2 square feet of counter space) so I often bake at my boyfriend's apartment, which has a larger kitchen."  But we all know that most college town apartments are not equipped with a gourmet cook's kitchen so I'm still over the top impressed!  And can we say lucky boyfriend?!

Kaitlin clearly has a talent for baking, just look at these vegan cupcakes she made in the photo above, but what strikes me as really amazing is her ability to stage and photograph food.  Take a look at a few of her wonderful and oh so mouthwatering photos...

She even makes Pop Tarts look inviting!

And she's no one trick pony, she also makes wonderful main dishes, but her real love can be found in her baking.

Along with providing wonderful recipes on her blog, she also gives her readers helpful hints on how to create these delectable desserts in their own homes, including step by step instructions on things like how to frost the perfect cake! 

But even with Kaitlin's wonderful instructions, I'm betting I couldn't recreate many of her beautiful desserts. 

And it's not just her recipes and instructions that are so wonderful, her writing is great too!  I'm just so glad I found her beautiful and inspiring blog, and I wish Kaitlin all the success in the world with her college career as well as her dream to become a bakery owner once she graduates.  I think we'll all be seeing more of Kaitlin in the future.  I think any magazine that would give her a chance on doing food styling would not regret it for a minute!

Thanks Kaitlin for letting me use your wonderful photos and for allowing me to share your story with my readers!  Best of luck in everything you do!  And to see more of Kaitlin's great food, click HERE to visit her blog!

Spread the Love...

Mom's Good Recipes  (so funny this was picked at random and it's a food blog!)

Molly Glover

33 Shades of Green  (ok, this is freaking me out a little, this one has a post up right now with a link party about food!  Apparently the universe is guiding me to food blogs for my random shout outs today!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Magazine Mania

Thank you everyone for your wonderful and amazing comments on my post from yesterday.  There are so many amazing women in this world and it warms my heart to know that many of you visit and comment on my blog, so thank you for that!

Do you remember the picture above, many of you probably don't.  It was part of a blog post (Here) I did almost exactly a year ago.  In that post, I introduced you to my friend Susan and her beautiful home which is filled with one of a kind folk art and antiques.  I could only show you snippets though because Susan's home was going to be featured in a magazine, so I couldn't reveal too much.

The magazine world is a funny place, it's very similar to retail in some ways, where you do something and then don't get to see it for months afterward.  I used to be a clothing rep for children's clothing, and the store owners would come to the shows at least 6 months out to purchase clothing for the next season.  So 6 months later it was almost like Christmas when their items would finally arrive.  I'm sure many shop owners feel like this, since the buying season is always done well in advance.

The same is true for magazines.  Many times homes are styled and shot, stories are submitted, and we don't get to see the finished product until we get our contributor copy in the mail, which is always a welcome surprise!

So after getting home at almost 8 pm last night after conducting an interview with homeowners at another beautiful waterfront home for a regional magazine, I opened the mailbox to find an big manila envelope with my contributor copy of the latest issue of Country Sampler.

It's their special "home tour" edition, and I couldn't wait to get inside where I had some light so that I could flip through it to find Susan's house article which I wrote. 

The layout looks fabulous thanks to the styling of my talented friend Phoebe Parker and the amazing photos taken by Mark Lohman.  The picture above is of Susan's living room which overlooks the water and has windows on every side!

I had to smile when I saw the picture of the kitchen, if you have a copy of this issue you'll have to pay special attention to the small lamp sitting on top of the crate in the top right of the picture on page 54.  See how the light is on?  Well that was my big job of the day.  When I arrived at the shoot, they were getting ready to photograph the kitchen, but they needed a touch more light for the shot, but not too much.  So what you can't see from that gorgeous picture is how I was around the corner, tucked inside a small bathroom with a giant orange extension cord waiting for Mark to say "Kat are you ready...unplug on 3...ok 1...2...3!"  He needed the light to be fading to get just the right shot, because that's how precise he is as a photographer, and it shows in his wonderful pictures!  Now Mark is also a bit of a jokester so for the rest of the shoot he kept saying things like, "Kat if you would behave we could let you out of the bathroom," or, "Kat don't make us put you back in the bathroom."  See the things I go through so that you all can have beautiful photos to look at in magazines?! hehe

Well I'm just thrilled that my dear friend Susan's home is so beautifully displayed in this issue.  She has paid her dues by working hard and helping others to create their own beautiful homes through the antique stores she has owned and worked at over the years.  We all knew her home was magazine worthy, and now everyone else will know it too!

I also wanted to give a little shout out to a few friends whose blogs got mentioned in the latest issue of Flea Market Style...

Congrats each deserve this wonderful accolade!

I have some more great homes coming out in upcoming issues of various magazines, and I'll keep you posted if something else shows up in my mailbox anytime soon!

Until then...I'll keep spreading the love...