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Leo’s First Birthday Photos

I can hardly believe that Leo is already a year and a half old. Where has the time gone? I will so miss having a little baby to snuggle and hold, but I have to admit that having a toddler to interact with is pretty darn fun. I was looking back at some of my old photos and realized that I never posted these gorgeous images taken by my friend Greta at Olive Hill Photography last June. So bright and fun! I don’t think I’ll ever tire of looking at these images for as long as I live.


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What nifty device can you make with paper, film and a Coke can?

I found a very interesting book on the new arrival shelf at the library yesterday. A book called Build Fun Paper Cameras: Take Eye-Catching Pinhole Photos. My first thought was Hmm, those look pretty cool! My second thought was They still make 35mm film?! It is almost hard for me to believe that everyone just doesn’t use digital these days. I love the instant satisfaction of seeing an image onscreen (especially handy when I notice a detail that needs fixing). Film cameras don’t give you that amount of control, and that idea is… intriguing.

So, I’m curious. I decided to check the book out and experiment. What if I had to physically rely on myself to manage the exposure (and not just tell my digital camera how long to do it for me)? I mean literally open and close the shutter by hand, and not with the press of a button? What would it be like to manually make my own equipment? And wind the film myself? I’m guessing the worst that can happen will be that none of my photos come out, but even so I’ll have made some pretty nifty little paper cameras. So, if you’ll excuse me – I have a Coke can to cut and pierce, film to find and purchase, and 8 sheets of freshly printed card stock to cut, fold and assemble.

To be continued…


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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

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(1) Maple leaves in the forest  (2) White flowers, Smith Rock
(3) Indian Paintbrush at the grandparent’s  (4) Miniature Rose in our yard

I’m thinking about putting new photographs in the four gallery frames hanging in our living room. Over the years they’ve held illustrations, photos, artwork, magazine pages and right now they’re displaying fabric. However, you’d think with all the photos I take, I’d easily fill those four frames with new photographs. But, no. The issue? Finding four vertical shots to make a set. Since I don’t often photograph vertically, there is a limited number to choose from. Choosing a matched pair is easy. A set of three, fine. Finding four that look good together? That’s a challenge.

I briefly considered doing four shots of Chloe, but it seemed too shrine-like in our little house. Then I considered texture shots, but now I’m thinking about the four nature scenes above. I think what ties these together is the sunlight and glow of color, plus the combination of crisp foreground and softer background.  I also like that Chloe and David are represented in one of them, but not overly so.

Someday I’d like to  shoot a set of nice black & whites – maybe architectural in theme – bridges, buildings, cityscapes. I like the set of three France photographs donated to Craft Hope’s Etsy shop (they sold!), but they are all horizontal, too. Or maybe I just need to scrap the current frame layout and turn them all sideways. Hmm… there’s a thought.


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Birth to 1-year Poster

I thought I’d share this collage I made for the grandmas (framed) and great-grandmas (5×7 matted) for Christmas this year. David and I aren’t big on hanging family pictures (thus there are none around, mostly due to lack of space), but I might try and make room for this one. It is sort-of an updated version of this Mother’s Day photo card I put together when Chloe was 6-months old. It might have been easier to choose just one image per month, but I obviously got carried away.


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Mother + Daughter Photographs

As the main photographer in my family, it is rare to find both Chloe and I in the same photo. Luckily, a couple months ago my talented friend Greta took some wonderful, keepsake-quality shots of the two of us. And check out that watermark – I am proud to say that her new logo is one of my designs!

Here are just a few of my many favorite captures:


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Photographs from France

Looking back at our France photos (to find one for this post), I was reminded of how many good ones there were. Here are a few of my faves. But really, is there such thing as a bad photo of Paris?


Fountain at the Place du Concorde, Paris

Daily Menu, Au Vieux Châtelet, Paris

Château de Chenonceau

Mont Saint Michel, detail

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

From Marie Antoinette’s Hameau,Versailles

Skyline view, Paris

Eiffel Tower at night


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Pics from Colorado

I was just looking through the few pictures I took while in Colorado recently and thought I’d post a few to share. My camera has seen very little action lately and I had to really try and make myself pull it out once in a while, which is pretty unusual for me.

On the afternoon we arrived David’s brother Andrew and his fiancée Aundrea took us to a lovely little creperie for lunch, appropriately called Crepes ‘n Crepes. They make them fresh with an array of fillings for you to choose from. We started off with bowls of delicious french onion soup, and then I devoured my butter, ham and chevre crepe. For dessert the four of us shared the dreamy concoction shown above: a strawberry banana crepe with extra Nutella and cream cheese sauce on the side. OMG. So divine! I hadn’t had crepes this good since I was a college student studying french in Quebec for a summer. And of course, I washed it all down with an Orangina.

Although we didn’t do too much sight seeing this trip, the day before we left David’s “Uncle David” came into town. We enjoyed a nice dinner that night and the next day we took a little drive to see the Garden of the Gods and had lunch in the small, picturesque town of Manitou Springs. It was warm and sunny, so after lunch Sandy and I stopped into a Pikes Peak Chocolate for my first taste of Josh & John’s super yummy ice cream. I couldn’t decide so I went ahead with a scoop each of mint chocolate chip and double chocolate Oreo. I wish I had gotten a picture of that!

On the way back we stopped for a tour of the Van Briggle Pottery Studio in Colorado Springs. I had been here before, but I gathered that Uncle David is quite an antique collector. I can’t say I’m wowed by the pottery, but I certainly respect its history and its surprisingly high prices. I was actually amused to see a sign that said something like “Please handle the pieces, we will be responsible for any breakage.” Since I get tired easily these days, Sandy and David joined me on these cool vintage chairs near the door. I just like this picture of the two of them.


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Flickr Collage Meme


(1) Emily (2) Comfort Food (3) JEB Stuart (4) Blue
(5) Angelina Jolie (6) Chocolate Malts (7) Anywhere Relaxing with Warm Clear Water (8 ) Creme Brulee
(9) Content (10) Happiness (11) Introspective (12) Paperseed

I was reading this post on Pina’s blog about making a collage of Flickr photos that correspond to the answers below. Seeing as I’ve never made a collage before (that I can recall) I thought I’d give it a try.

The Questions
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

The Concept
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

Photo credits can be found here.


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Harbingers Of Spring

The weather has reverted to its normal cloudy grey self today. Right now all their little heads are tightly closed against the cold, but this weekend several little blooms peeked out to say hello. David and I both snapped several pictures, hoping to preserve the feeling of joy at these first little signs of spring. Neither the snowdrop or the yellow crocus shown above are ones that we’d planted, so their arrival is that much more pleasantly unexpected.


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Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster, Colorado

A few days before we left Colorado, Aundrea and Andrew suggested that we all stop into the Butterfly Pavilion. It’s a neat place, great for kids, where you can see all kinds of insects up close, hold a tarantula in your very own hands, gently pet a few objects of sea life like starfish and horseshoe crabs and see all kinds of butterflies. We were lucky to be on time to watch one of the two daily butterfly releases. A speaker comes out with a small cage of butterflies, picks them out individually (by their wings, which surprised me because I thought you were never to touch a butterfly’s wings), gives a short educational lecture and releases them to fly away freely in the tropical conservatory, which is like a plant-filled rainforest-like room.

It was neat to walk around slowly looking for butterflies hidden amid the foliage, or see them flutter by high above. Sadly, I saw several butterflies with torn wings, due careless children, despite the warnings of the speaker. David’s dad mentioned that the place was showing its age, which is true, but I still found it to be a worthwhile and unique experience.


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A Day in Death Valley

This past Sunday was David’s birthday. We spent the weekend in Las Vegas and on Sunday we rented a car and drove to Death Valley National Park, a little over 2 hours away. Unfortunately we had a bit of a late start, and didn’t cover as much ground as I had hoped. We’ll have to come back because I was a little bummed to miss Scotty’s Castle and other sections of the park. We did however stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center and proceed to the areas nearby – Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Drive, Golden Canyon, Zabriskie Point and a final drive through the Twenty Mule Team Canyon.

It was so nice to get out of the city and enjoy a day away. Our rental was a Jeep Liberty and although it was loud and somewhat of a gas guzzler, it was a nice ride. We had planned to do some of the off road 4×4 trails, but it was getting too dark by the time we were finished with the main attractions. Here are some more pics of the park…

More Death Valley pics can be found here on Flickr.


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Dreaming in Color

My mother-in-law sent me a link this weekend to a site called Elemental PhotoArt, which I thought I’d share. It’s a little slow getting around (I tend to be impatient with sites like these), but there were some pieces that I thought were really nice. These caught my eye in particular, with their dreamy quality and rich colors:

Sand Stars, Tia Magallon

Golden Puzzle, Tia Magallon

Nevada Monocot #48, Todd France

California Monocot #43, Todd France


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Easy Felt Photo Album – Tutorial

felt album cover

Yay! My first real sewing craft project (okay, not including pant hems or that dog pillow I did in 7th grade)! Anyway, this was so easy. As I wrote previously, sewing just doesn’t come naturally to me. I wanted to start small to ensure at least moderate success on my first foray back. My mom sewed a lot when we were kids, to the point where all three of us had sunday outfits of matching fabric and I wasn’t even embarrassed (hey, I was young!). I wish I had paid attention back then.

I remember seeing these covers somewhere before. The construction seemed fairly straightforward, with only three pieces stitched together. Another bonus is that felt doesn’t unravel, and is forgiving to work with. If I can make this then I know that everyone else can, too! Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, felt is the oldest form of fabric known to humankind and predates weaving and knitting.

Items Needed
2 sheets of felt
photo album insert
thread
embellishment (optional)

Instructions
For the album above, I chose a red embossed sheet for the outside, a smooth dark brown for the inside, and red thread. I’m not sure of their types, but the red sheet was softer and floppy, like typical craft felt, and the brown one was stiffer. The album insert came from Target.

1. Begin by measuring the album opened flat on a table, and add .25″ to the top and bottom and .5″ to the sides for seam allowance. For example, if the opened album measured 10″wide x 6.5″tall then the end measurement would be 11″wide x 7″tall. Cut this rectangle out of the outside felt cover sheet.

2. Measure the front cover. Add .25″ to the top and bottom only. For example, if the front cover measures 4.75″wide x 6.5″ tall, the end measurement would be 4.75″wide x 7″tall. Cut out two of these shapes – one for the inside front cover and one for the inside back cover.

3. Lay the pieces together as shown below (large red outside piece face down, with two brown pieces facing up, matching outside edges). Stitch around the whole perimeter, keeping about .1875″ from the edge and backstitching at the end. I used a sewing machine, but this could be done by hand, too, and might look neat using a blanket stitch. Trim the thread ends.

felt photo album diagram

4. Now tuck the front and back covers of the album into the side pockets. That’s it!

Adding An Embellishment
I happened to have a set of EK Success “Inspirables” metal charms that I bought for our wedding and never used. For this project I chose the “Love” charm. Using the same red thread I stitched it onto the lower right of the front cover for a simple finishing touch. Craft stores are filled with neat ad-ons that could be glued or stitched on. Or simply cut some fun shapes out of the remaining felt scraps and stitch them onto the cover before completion.

The inside. This will be a gift to Marcy so I’ve included one of her wedding photos.

The red thread makes a nice contrast on the brown

Detail of the spine and discreet backstitching to keep the thread from unraveling

Detail of the “Love” embellishment, hand-stitched with red thread


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A Beach House Weekend

View from the deck of Eagle’s Nest

Another great weekend at the beach. It just never gets old. Pretty much every trip is an adventure and this one was certainly no different. This weekend was Marcy’s birthday weekend and we spent it at a gorgeous house called Eagle’s Nest (the pictures here do not do it justice, much more Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous at least to me!) that had an incredible view of the Pacific City coastline and miles of ocean. The first night we let the dogs run on the sand and frolic in the water while we simply admired the crashing waves from the stormy weather. Then we went back to for dinner and birthday cake.

On Saturday we rented crab rings and bought crabbing licenses and bait in a town called Garibaldi. Let me just say that crab bait does not smell or look pretty – basically large fish heads frozen with string, so they can be attached to the rings. The traps are thrown off the pier and checked every 10 minutes or so. Although many found their way into our nets, none were large enough to keep, so we ended up buying live crab nearby. Meanwhile, David had struck up a conversation with another couple on the pier while the rest of us went to find lunch. I’m not sure how, but eventually it came out that they live in our neighborhood, which is pretty weird considering how far we all were from home. One thing led to another and they joined us for some late afternoon mushroom hunting and also for dinner back at the rental house of crab and freshly picked wild chanterelles. Yum!

Late afternoon on the beach, hardly a soul in sight.

Beach houses aglow from the late afternoon sun

The marina in Garabaldi, where we rented our crab rings

A desirable male, but too small to keep

Barkley on the train tracks with the pier behind him

University Falls, on the drive home from Tillamook

A little caterpillar resting near the falls

More photos of our weekend can be found here.


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The Unique Beauty of Passion Flowers

passion flowers

Our friends Marcy and Alex have the most amazing passion flower vine growing on a beautiful handmade trellis off their deck. I’ve taken multiple photos, particularly this summer, and just recently thought to look up a little about them.

I remember the first time I ever saw one of these blooms in person was at a visit to the Oregon Garden (a worthy trip, especially to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House). I was stunned at this flower’s unusual structure and unique striped color combination. Pretty unforgettable.

passion flower

Turns out the word “passion” doesn’t refer to the romantic kind at all like I’d thought. Instead, according to wikipedia:

“Passion” does not refer to love, but to the Passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. For example: the 72 radial filaments (or corona) represent the Crown of Thorns. The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds. The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time.

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