Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Cards and Other Stuff

(click to enlarge any photo)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and to those of us who stuffed ourselves silly, I hope you are now feeling a little better!

We spent the holiday with extended family, and then the past few days were occupied  with yard work and hanging Christmas lights.  We also have our daughter to blame for our new addiction to the show Glee.  I had never seen it before, so she suggested we watch it on Netflix from the very beginning.  We watched 4 episodes back to back on Saturday evening and then another 2 this morning before she headed back to DC!

I have to say that I love nothing more than to have all of my birdies in the nest, so this weekend was wonderful for me and Mr. Tide.  My Dad used to always say how nice it was to have everyone at home during the holidays, and I now understand why it meant so much to both he and my mom.  And it's funny, but my mother in law said the same thing when we left after our recent visit, that she remembered her own grandfather being teary eyed when they all left their family cabin each year.

I guess that's how life works, you rush around raising your little chicks with the intention of them flying from the nest.  But it sure is nice when they fly back home for a few days!

And speaking of birds, Mr. Tide and I have now officially declared ourselves old people.  And about a week ago we purchased a bird feeder.  The reason I say "old" is because when you are younger it seems like only old people enjoy watching or feeding birds.  Shoot, even in the movie Mary Poppins the lady that feeds the birds is older!  So we've always assumed, and maybe wrongly so, that bird watching was for old people, or maybe we ARE old now!  I would like to think that maybe we aren't old, but that we have just discovered a new found appreciation for everything ornithology! ;-)

After waiting a week for birds to grace our feeder, we were welcomed this morning by lots of little birds anxious for their own version of Thanksgiving leftovers.  I don't claim to know them all, but since I'm embracing my old person persona, I will likely have to break out the bird book soon so that I can be in the know about which ones are which!

I did however recognize a female cardinal without too much thought, and so I happily snapped away at her as she perched atop the wrought iron shepherd's hook that holds the feeder.  I was amazed at the clarity of some of the shots, so I decided to turn a few of the images into holiday cards.

I know that these would be more striking if it had been a male cardinal who had visited us today, but I still think Mrs. Cardinal deserves her due.  It's kind of like Santa and Mrs. Clause, no one lines up to see Mrs. Clause...poor dear!

I used a combination of things on these photos including the new free texture I got today from Kim Klassen, it's called Poetic, and I think that is a fitting name for this lovely new texture!  The top textured photo also has a free texture by Leslie Nicole.  I also highly recommend you purchase some textures from these lovely ladies as they have some great ones to choose from, and some are even on sale right now!

The other overlays I used (except for the one in the photo above which I can no longer find the source for!) all came from The Graphics Fairy.  I love finding beautiful license free imagery from The Graphics Fairy, it is one of my favorite places to go hunting for special clip art and backgrounds...especially for holiday projects like cards!

So there you have it, I'm slowly getting into the holiday spirit.  I was so pumped to get going on decorating this weekend, and then my dear husband lugged all of my Christmas tubs inside only to realize that my enthusiasm had waned slightly upon seeing just how much "stuff" I have!

In my head, I had visions of boxwood wreaths and all white trees, but my tubs full of holiday decor did not agree with my pared down simplistic approach this year.  And had Mr. Tide not pulled a muscle in his shoulder bringing said tubs into the house, well I probably would have sent them right back to the garage.  Instead I am letting my brain battle it out to see which will win, simplicity or surplus!  Until I do, those bins will act as wonderful ottomans for nearly every seat in the living room.  Which is perfect for watching more episodes of Glee right?!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

If you are easily offended, a pastry chef, or anyone who has a picture perfect Thanksgiving each year with people beautifully groomed sitting around the table passing non stop compliments to one another...well then you might need to turn away now!

Since my mother passed away over 7 years ago, Thanksgiving has lost a bit of its polish.  My mother, who was the consummate entertainer, pulled off spectacular holiday dinners without even batting an eye or breaking a sweat.  It was not uncommon for us to have 25+ people each Thanksgiving sitting around tables adorned with Waterford crystal, Wedgwood china, and lavish floral arrangements.


While both of my parents were still living, I also hosted a few Thanksgiving and Easter dinners at my house and I adhered to the strict silver, crystal, china rules I had known growing up.  My children were beautifully attired for these events and I even managed to look pretty good myself when it was all said and done and the guests arrived.

But after my mother passed away some of the formality and Martha Stewart type attention to detail fell by the wayside.  Carefully basted turkeys gave way to deep fried, a la my brother, and green bean casserole dared to make an appearance alongside the traditional corn mother would be aghast at this!  We do still set a beautiful table, this year it will be at my sister M's house, and we do still behave with dignity (well most of the time anyway), but china and crystal have given way to fall colored pottery and lovely green glass goblets.

Thanksgiving has now become a holiday of culinary experimentation mixed among time tested family recipes, something we never would have done when my mom was alive.  No sir, Thanksgiving was a time when you could recite the menu in your sleep, when you could look forward to those tried and true recipes our ancestors had been consuming for was, for lack of a better word, a traditional feast.

And not only was it traditional, but it was also quite proper.  Emily Post would have seemed like a bit of a slouch at our house growing up.  My mother was born and bred a Virginian after all, while dear Ms. Post was from Baltimore...egads, a northerner!

This year, my mother is maybe a little miffed, but more likely smiling down on me as I decided to attempt two rather non traditional desserts for Thanksgiving...French Macarons and Pavlova.  The messy images of my kitchen (and yes that #*$% backsplash is still not finished, please Santa, all I want for Christmas is a tile setter who won't freak out when I show him/her my tiles!), are evidence of my crazed baking spree.

I broke all of the rules, making meringue on a rainy day, and making macaron on a rainy day...but hey, I never was very good at following the rules.  I figure that no self respecting French baker is waiting around for the perfect sunny day to make a macaron.  Heck, I've taken tea at Laduree in Paris on a day when it literally rained, sleeted, snowed, and the sun shone...all in a matter of about 3 hours, and they were serving fresh made macarons, so the rule must be meant to be broken right?!

I'm also not a stickler for perfection, so mine don't look perfect, but they sure do taste pretty close to perfection.  What's not to love about that crunchy yet soft cookie filled with dark chocolate ganache...yum!

I thought I would share with you a few conversations my daughter and I have had over the past few days.  I think they pretty much exemplify how far from grace, or at least the graces my mother instilled in us, we have fallen!

The first one is regarding her picking up a few things from Whole Foods for us on her way home.

HERSo, Whole Foods has effectively become a war zone. They now have three people directing traffic instead of one.

If there's something that needs to come from there that is for Thanksgiving dinner itself, I'd be happy to risk life and limb. Otherwise, all WF orders will have to be postponed for a weekend in Dec. (there will be a brief period of peace between this week and Christmas). All my shopping in the meantime will be done at the Safeway, which, honestly, isn't much better.

However, if there is something that must arrive by Thanksgiving, please send the list NLT Tuesday evening. I plan to go early morning Wednesday (my work at home day) before the unwashed (actually, let's be real - the Hyper Washed, Yuppie, Pearl Bedecked) masses arrive.

ME:   Your life is safe with us, we don't need anything!  If you need reinforcements, don't be afraid to call some in! ;-)

(moments later)  Ooh, I lied.  I need some organic fruit.  You can just get me a large, or maybe 2 large containers of mixed organic fruit already cut up.  Like one with kiwi, strawberries.  Just no melon.

I'm making pavlova so that Court *(my niece who is gluten free)* can have it too.  And I will probably make a flourless chocolate cake too.

What veggies would you like?  And I will pick up your crab cake *(for my pescatarian daughter)* on Wednesday. 

Thanks!  Love you!

Her:   Mooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Ok fine. I'll grab those. Do you want my flourless chocolate cake recipe? The only thing you'd probably need to buy is Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

I'm good with whatever on veggies. I'm not a huge fan of the corn with marshmallow (weird) but I'll eat the other corn. We made carrot fries recently which were delicious - I'll have to give you the recipe. 

Thanks for getting the crab cake! Love you, too.

I then had to explain that it is her aunt's sweet potato recipe that calls for marshmallows...not the corn pudding recipe!  So glad we paid for her to go to the "really" smart college! ;-)

But the fun didn't end there, while on gchat last night she and I were swapping dessert making war stories that went a little something like this!

While I was lamenting the fact that I had to make a redneck pastry bag from a freezer bag with a hole cut in one corner to pipe my macarons, she sent me a photo of her flourless chocolate cake which had apparently stuck to the pan.  She described it as looking a lot like tectonic plates.  After receiving the cell phone image, and knowing how brutal my family can be...we are talking memories like elephants and decades long ribbing, I replied with the following!
Me:   Umm, that would be a 8.0 on the richter scale!  Are you sure you want to endure the years long grief you will get lol?!

Her:  Ugh! I don't have time/resources to make another! What if I just bring it home and Court can eat some at our house? Squishy *(my kids call Mr. Tide Squishy...long story)* and the rest of us can eat the rest.

 Me:  LOL, no worries!  You could always turn it into a gluten free trifle!  Aunt Shelley was going to make one, but she may not have already made it, or you can just say the *&(( with it and bring it as is.  Tell everyone you were attacked by "occupy" Whole Foods and they messed up your cake!

Her:   They're *(meaning my family)* going to give me supreme *%@#. whatever, I'll figure it out. Maybe I can pretend it turned over in the car?

Me:   Yes, and then the ninjas came!  Just go arm wrestle someone in Whole Foods for the last gluten free dessert that is still standing! ;-)

Her:   Bloody hell, I'll just go get more ingredients and make another.

And there you have it, the perfect Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving experience!  At least my macarons and pavlova turned out fine...way better than the year I forgot and left the marshmallow topped sweet potatoes under the broiler too long and they caught on fire!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time Flies

It seems like just yesterday I was standing overlooking a small French village from this hilltop vineyard!

But that's how time works as you get older, it seems to just fly by without much warning.  You turn around and poof, another week, month, year has drifted by and you wonder where in the heck it went, and how it slipped by without you being able to slow it down a little.

To those of you who have so patiently waited to get your photos from my last giveaway that was AGES ago, I apologize!  Time has eluded me lately, and I don't even know how, but days have turned to weeks and I just finally ordered the prints tonight!  So you will be getting your photos, just not in a timely fashion that I had intended.

Things like a broken leg (not mine but dear Ms. M), work stuff, family stuff, house stuff, have all gotten in the way of my good intentions lately.  And now the holidays are upon us...sheesh, can someone stop this crazy ride so that I can get off?   Or can you at least teleport me back to the tiny village in France where time seems to have stood still for a few centuries?!  Maybe that is the secret, going on permanent vacation where time seems to slow down just a little.  I'm all for testing out this theory, anyone want to join me?!

Apparently the universe is telling me to slow down a bit, or at least to not read or send emails anyway.  The past few months my emails have been disappearing into never, never land.  Or maybe they have just slowed down and slipped into another dimension.

So if you haven't heard from me, or if I haven't heard from you...well we are apparently communicating in my fantasy land where time slows down to a snail's pace.  At first I thought it was just my gmail, which has always given me a little bit of a fit, but my brother and our realtor have also not been receiving my emails, and those are on my regular ISP account...sigh!

So let's just all move to the tiny village in Northern France and walk to each other's houses instead of emailing, spend hours eating a meal, enjoy long walks, and I can hand out my giveaway items instead of having to order and mail them.  Sound like a plan?!

If you don't hear from me before Thanksgiving, just assume that I'm some place wonderful, and not banging my head against my keyboard which is far more likely!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Through Rose Colored Glasses

These are the last of the roses for this year.  They put on quite a show, and I enjoyed every last blossom, but now it's time for them to take a little rest until the springtime. 

Sometimes it is just better to view life through rose colored glasses, or at least with a few rose blossoms by your side.  I hope that things in your world are rosy right now!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And Then There Was One

My dad had a whole slew of sayings he used to describe certain situations.  Some were more tasteful than others, like when he would come in on a very cold evening he would say that it was colder than a well diggers ___...I'll let you fill in the blank.

On days when he had lots to do but felt as though he was spinning his wheels a little, he would say he'd been fiddle farting around.  See what I mean about his "colorful" way with words?!  No wonder I became a writer with those genes! ;-)

Today, I did a bit of fiddle farting around myself.  I left home at 12:30 pm and didn't get home until almost 9 pm.  And although I did get some things accomplished, like having a great lunch with a friend, visiting another friend in the hospital, and getting all of my hair chopped off, some of that time was spent getting nothing done.  Or at least not everything I wanted to get done.

Like getting all of the photos for the winners of my last giveaway sent out...I'm working on that so please bear with me.

I also spent a little time this morning playing around with some new textures from French Kiss Textures.  I love when I find pretty new textures to play with, it makes my day.  Both of the photos above have only French Kiss textures applied to them, and I'm really happy with how they turned out.

When I went outside this morning I realized that almost overnight our trees have shed their colorful coats and are now naked in preparation for the winter.  All of our trees save one, the one pictured above.  A rebel of a maple tree that is still awash in shades of gold tinged with orange.

I will be interested to see how long it can hang onto its showy foliage.  And then there was one!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Call Me Crazy

Oh go ahead, I will accept the title of crazy, for any number of reasons.

I'm crazy  behind schedule on returning emails (those that even make it through, either coming or going *ugh*!), reading comments, and finishing up work.

I'm crazy ready to get that #*%$ oriental rug out of my living room that matches nothing anymore! 

But I'm crazy because I can't decide what the heck I want to replace it with...hemp? grass? kilim? sheepskin?...*sigh*!

I'm crazy for hanging some of my own artwork in my house.  It seems kind of weird to me to showcase your own artwork, but hey I'm loving it anyway!

I'm crazy for wanting to get rid of my big green sofa that is in perfect condition to replace it with something...anything...linen!

I'm crazy for wanting to blow out that wall where the chest is and put in a fireplace, for nights like tonight when you just want to sit in front of a fireplace and do nothing but watch the flames dance.

I'm crazy for wandering around the house looking for a place to stick some stalks of wheat.

I'm crazy for wanting to add on to my house so that my garage door doesn't enter into my formal living room!  Ok, that one really isn't so crazy!!

After driving 2 1/2 hours home last night and seeing houses all lit up for Christmas, apparently I am really crazy for having these all over my house.

Yes, I am one of those bah humbug people who refuses to decorate before Thanksgiving.  I've tried it once or twice...throwing out a few Christmas'y items before the last gobble is over, but it's just not me.

I don't mind it if others do it, but its just not my thing.  You see, I have lots of beautiful Thanksgiving decor, from turkeys to acorns to pumpkins.  So I embrace everything that is November, and I reserve Christmas for December, and when I'm lazy a bit of January too!

I have this feeling that if I overlooked my turkeys, never letting them see the light of day each November, they might come alive and kill me in my me crazy! :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Sorry about my wonky watermark, and apparently Photoshop wasn't interested in watermarking the other two images...maybe it's smarter than I am and realized that I hadn't downsized it properly! ;-)

Today, as I snapped these pictures of the bluebirds in my backyard who were busy trying to make a place to call home for the winter in our bluebird box, I couldn't help but think of what this day really means to me.

I've mentioned before that politics are not something I very often discuss, because I feel we all have biases, personal reasons, and ideology that shapes what we think about various things from religion to politics.  So like the old saying goes, I think it's best to steer clear of those discussions unless you are with close and very open minded friends, but certainly not in a public forum, unless you don't mind the mud slinging that ensues.

But as I watched these sweet creatures making their nest, I couldn't help but think that no matter where you live, who you vote for, or what you believe, we all want a place that we can call home.  And as I thought that, my mind wandered and began to think about all of the men and women who throughout history have sacrificed, some during wartime, others not, for something they believed in.  Something that often took them, or continues to take them so far from the places they call home.

Today I will honor those people by wearing a red poppy and hoping that for those who lost their lives so far from home, or for those who are now so far from home, that they will take some comfort in knowing that at least for today, they will be remembered.  Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Too Much Fun

What is it about going away for a weekend or a week...or more, that makes everything seem more fun, no matter where you are?!  Coming back home is always nice, but after spending almost 5 hours on the phone yesterday trying to get the financing on my parent's house straightened out so that the contract doesn't run out yet again, well, it just isn't fun!

My recommendation to anyone out there who is listening...NEVER, sell your house to purchasers who will be using state financing, at least not in the state of Maryland!  For 5 1/2 months, we have waited to go to settlement, and in another few days our contract will once again expire, and frankly we are done!  The worst part of it all is that now 4 wheelchair bound women will be without a permanent place to live, thanks to our ever so efficient state employees.  But with broken promise after broken promise from the state, we as a family can't afford to keep waiting and not have our house on the market!

Phew, I'm glad I got that off my chest!  Now on to the fun stuff, our recent trip to Indiana.  Mr. Tide spent most of his formative years growing up in a suburb of Indianapolis, so it's the place he calls home.  His brother and his family, along with his parents still live there, as well as his closest friends.

It had been awhile since we had been out that way, so we decided to head out for a whirlwind trip to see family and to help celebrate the 50th birthday of one of his dearest friends.  We landed late in the  afternoon on Saturday, made a quick stop at his folk's house in Zionsville, and then headed out to the party, which was just a small gathering of the birthday boy's family and another friend from high school, and his wife and son.

When you marry, you gain a whole new set of friends through your spouse, and luckily for me, Mr. Tide has very good taste in friends!  And those friends in turn have had very good taste in wives, so I never turn down an opportunity to visit with any of them.  Each time we visit we normally get to see a few of his friends, but we never seem to be able to see everyone, which is always a little sad.  But hey, that just means we need to go out there more often, right?!

On Sunday, my brother and sister in law, along with one of our nieces joined us for brunch at his parent's house, which was great.  We don't see them nearly enough, and it is always fun catching up on how their lives are going.  Then on Sunday, we treated my in laws to dinner at a local restaurant not far from where they live called The Loft.

Before we headed out to Indy, I had gone online to check to see if there were any organic restaurants, and low and behold The Loft came up right near where we would be staying, so I booked a dinner reservation right then and there.  The restaurant is part of an organic dairy called Traders Point Creamery, and it is housed in the upper level of a cool barn...hence the name "the loft."  To say our food was yummy would not do it justice...not even close!  We started the meal with a cheese plate, and I have to say that both the various cheeses and the chicken casserole I had for my entree turned out to be some of the best food I've eaten outside of France!  Next time we'll be sure to save room for some of their organic ice cream!  So if you live near The Loft, I highly recommend it!  Yes, it's a little pricey, but for me, it was worth every penny! 

On Monday, I took my poor in laws on a bit of a wild goose chase looking for a good pair of walking shoes.  I had done some reading online and had found some recommendations for shoes that seemed to suit my needs, and since we live in the boondocks, being near a major city meant I could visit a few shoe stores to find what I was looking for.

After a few misses, one store was closed the day before, and when we did get there it was not what we were expecting and only sold inserts, we decided to just browse around the area and pop into a few little shops...always my favorite thing to do!

I don't know if it's because I grew up in a rural area, so no malls...even now our closest decent mall is almost 2 hours away...but I just love small privately owned stores!  Oliver's Twist is one of those cute little shops that I would frequent if I lived closer.  Just look at their window with all of the vintage typewriters!  As a writer and now a photographer, I am instantly drawn to vintage cameras and typewriters, so I knew that I had to pop in for a closer look.

I was a bad blogger and didn't bring my camera when we went shopping, thank goodness for cell phones!

The shop is located in Carmel, Indiana...which my daughter and I jokingly refer to as Caramel, don't ask me why!  And it is run by a mother daughter duo who just happened to both be working the day I stopped by.

The shop is mostly stationary, and boy oh boy did they have some beautiful stationary, cards, and invitations, there are even some letterpress items made by the owner in her basement!  She makes letterpress cards in her basement, runs a shop, and has a tiny do these young women do it all?!  Oh yeah, her mom helps her...yay mom! :-)

They also carry a few gift items like candles, baby clothing, partyware, and even books.  I snagged the Lollia bath salts on sale, and I can't wait to take a nice long soak.  I deserve one really after my day yesterday!

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I am a bit of a stationary hound.  I just love a beautiful card with a handwritten note in it, there is something so basic yet so personal about them.  So of course I picked up a pack of assorted cards while I was there.  There were so many to choose from it was hard picking one!  I'm telling you, Mr. Tide, and our bank account, are both really happy we don't live any closer than we do, because I can see my stationary addiction becoming a problem if we did live nearby!

Though I have to admit that I'm not the best person for sending out Christmas cards, I might just have to find a reason to add some people to my list this year since I picked up these beauties!  

Maybe all of the chaos in my life this past year (not all bad but still chaotic), has brought me to a place where I crave simplicity, and these cards had me at hello.  But once again, I truly had a tough time deciding.  There was one set of cards with the most beautiful drawing of a sleigh on it, and they had trimmed out the sleigh with something that looked like shimmering snow...but it wasn't glitter, those were gorgeous!  But I was a good girl and only bought enough to send to a few family and friends.

If you live in the Indy metro area and you need some gorgeous stationary, invitations, or more...stop by Oliver's Twist and tell them Kat from Low Tide High Style said hi!  Or you can always visit them online to purchase something by clicking HERE!  And no, I'm not a paid spokes"model" for them...though they did beg me to be one...I jest, I jest!  They were super sweet though and I hope they continue to do well, because I love these little stores and support them whenever I can!

So that was our trip in a nutshell, it was too short, we flew home early on Tuesday morning but it was wonderful none the less.  I have to give a warm thank you to my in laws, pictured above with Mr. Tide and his brother, for going WAY out of their way to buy me everything organic to help with my adrenal issues, to my brother in law and his family for spending time with us, and to our dear friends G & C for hosting such a great dinner, and to M & B for staying up until 2:30 am with me yacking their ears was too much fun!

And to Jen of The Cottage Nest, another Indy girl and blogger crafty girl extraordinaire, I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet while I was in your "hood," but next time, I promise!  So get that house all spruced up and ready, I'll be there with my camera in hand when we next head off to Indiana!

P.S.  For those of you with Whole Foods in your neck of the woods, you can purchase your own Traders Point Creamery's yummy and that glass bottle is too cool!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome Home

 (Kim Klassen free Phoebe texture was used on both photos)

After a wonderful few days spent with Mr. Tide's family and some old friends (more on that later), we were greeted at home by our son Bugs, and two very happy furry friends.

Mr. Quinn and Misty Belle followed us everywhere we went in the house as if to say, "Welcome Home Mom and Dad, we missed you!"

Although we know that our son Bugs takes VERY good care of these two while we are away, he also tends to bend the rules a doggies sleeping in bed!  When asked about it, Misty rolled over, looked the other way, and pleaded the 5th! ;-)
I will be spending the week getting caught up on work stuff, and I will be ordering prints to send to the winners of my giveaway, plus getting laundry and house work back on track.  Going away for a few days is always a lot of work, but seeing those you love on both ends, makes it all worth while!  Thanks Mom and Dad Tide for all you did to meet my wacky organic eating needs, and thank you to our dear friends for a truly wonderful get together...even if we did stay out until 2:30 in the morning!  Thank goodness for daylight savings time!

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Feeling Lucky?

So we are zooming around the house trying to tie up loose ends before leaving tomorrow.  My email has been acting up...again!  And I finished up my last story just in time to hit the friendly skies, so I think we are on track, well as much as we ever are before a trip.  I would like to think that every nook and cranny of my house is sparkling clean and that the dogs won't shed while I'm gone...*cue dream sequence music*, but I'm way too realistic for that, so it is what it is.

But before I left, I promised that I would announce the winners of my latest here goes.  Now, because I'm stressed, behind, etc. etc. ...I just had Mr. Tide rattle off 2 numbers between 0 and 28 instead of doing the whole thing.  Don't worry, I didn't let him look at the comments so there's no bias, and he is one of the most honest people I know, plus he picked #4 to begin with...which was my comment, so you see what I mean?!

So here are his picks (be sure to read to the end of the post though)


I'm thrilled that both of these ladies won, they are both longtime readers and wonderful cheerleaders of my photography!  Congrats Kim and Kate, please send me your addresses, and which photo you would prefer and if you want an 8 x 12 or something smaller. 

So, as I was packing up my camera gear I had a moment of clarity, I thought...why not thank everyone who commented by sending them a photo?! those of you who weren't picked randomly by Mr. Tide, you are all still winners.  That means you too Marcia...even though you said you wouldn't enter since you won a picture awhile back.  I will be sending each of you a 5 x 7 of your choice.  All I need from each of you is:

1.  Which photo you would like, if you already left it in the comments section, that's fine.

2.  A mailing address for me to ship it to.

Thank you all for your continued support of my blog, my photography, and my crazy life!  Even when I don't reply back, please know that I do appreciate each and every one of you, and this is my little way of saying Thank You!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Golden Hour

A few days ago my neighbor called me to say that it really wasn't fair to the other trees in the neighborhood the way my maple was showing off this year.

I hadn't given it much thought, but she is right, it is a bit of a show off, and one both she and I greatly appreciate for being so boastful.

The leaves have not been as colorful or vibrant as they have in years past, but that's ok, everyone needs a little break every now and then, right?

Photographers often refer to the hour just after sunrise or just before sunset as the "golden" hour, but this time of year that golden glow seems to extend just a bit longer and I find it to be one of the prettiest times of year in terms of light.

It's been a crazy week, filled with ups and downs, frustration and jubilation, and a little bit of feeling yucky just for good measure.  But tonight, after having to cancel a lunch date with a friend who I've tried to hook up with since summer, and not making dinner for my friend "J" who is undergoing chemo (for fear I might give her something), I decided to just go outside with the dogs and enjoy that beautiful golden glow.

This time of year there really isn't a need for Photoshop or increased saturation, Mother Nature has taken care of all that for us.  So you can just point and shoot, knowing that whatever you capture will make you feel warm inside when you look at it later...though adding a cup of tea to the mix while you are resizing pictures never hurts either.


Even the inside of my house was aglow this evening, and you have to love it when your crystal decanters, some of which are antiques, and your mercury glass leaf ornaments look like works of art.

I will be gone for a few days, the Midwest has requested I make a visit.  Ok, that's not really true, parts of the country can't actually request your presence, but if they could then I would have been sent a pretty embossed invitation asking me to come for the next few days, so off I'll go.

I hope each of you has a wonderful weekend, and that you find a way to bask in your own special glow.  Oh, and I will be back tomorrow to announce the winners of my latest giveaway, I wouldn't leave you hanging, even if the Midwest does request the pleasure of my company!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple of My Eye

I love objects that are both utilitarian and beautiful, like the stoneware jug pictured above.  I think what draws me to these items for use as design elements in my home is the fact that although we use them decoratively today, their intended use was something far different.

The original owners of objects such as old crocks, jugs, baskets, etc. used them to store things, they were a convenience that they likely paid little attention to from day to day.

Yet on some level they must have thought about their form as well as their function, because they are often just as pretty as they are useful.

I have wanted a wire basket for ages, and silly me, I was so busy snapping pictures while I was in Europe that I didn't bring home a single thing for myself...not even a lovely wire basket!  I hate the practical side of myself sometimes, the one who thinks, "oh that will be hard to get home, or do you really need that?!"  I sometimes kick myself when I return from someplace special for not picking up things that can only be found in those specific places.

Lucky for me the world is now a global marketplace, and reproductions are everywhere.  I'm not a big fan of reproductions, and whenever possible I will always go for the real thing, but this time I made an exception.

A few weekends ago when we went to stay with our daughter, I ventured in to a shop on the way home that I've always wanted to pop into.  I had tried several times, but I was traveling through at odd hours and was never able to catch them when they were open.  

The shop is called Coco Blanca, and as the name implies, it is filled with wonderful tone on tone items in shades of cream and white that make you want to sell everything you have and start over.  They were unloading new merchandise the afternoon Mr. Tide and I stopped in, and I could have picked up a few pieces of furniture, glassware, and even jewelry, had I not been in a hurry to get home to dogs.  I did however, pick up the wire basket you see in the photos above.  I knew it would be a great prop for photo shoots, and when not in front of my camera, I knew it would serve a useful purpose by holding my veggies and fruits.  You have to love something that is both beautiful and serves a purpose in your life!

I will definitely be back to Coco Blanca.  I have my eye on a piece that might just work for my dining room makeover...yes I'm busy changing things up in that room...stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for my latest Giveaway.  If you haven't HERE to get all of the details!