Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

There is a photo competition at a new blog that I've found,  It's been very inspirational and encouraging - full of good advice!!

I took this photo a year ago (when we had something, actually, growing outside =P) but I've only just brought some artistic vision to it this monh. It is a blossom from my weeping cherry tree and was a complete joy to create because I felt like the style and feeling that I wanted to communicate was clear to me and my skills in Lightroom could just flow right out of that. It really, actually, felt like I was painting with watercolor! It was a complete joy to be in that creative zone!
'Joy' and 'flow' - that's the word for it and, Ladies, wouldn't you just love to have a chiffon dress like this?!?! =)

And, we shall see what we shall see and, in the meantime, I hope that this image brings a moment of refreshment and peace to you!

Happy Easter!!!


Saturday, March 23, 2013


I know, dear friends, that you would be incapable of laughing at me if I told you that, after my last cheery post about 'surviving winter' (which I wrote, last Monday, when much of our snow was gone - during which, as I wrote my last flourish, I saw my first robin -  during which I had the knowledge that we were expecting a little bit of spring snow the next day... you know... to help green up the grass....)

...I just know that you would never laugh at me if I told you that, the very next morning, we woke up to eight inches of snow and still heavily precipitating till there was a full foot of the white stuff.

Happily, I've been practicing what I preach and had already applied several of the antidotes to the winter blues that I had listed.

For example, retail therapy.... craving the ability to back up from my subjects to get a wee bit more negative space and still retain a low dof, I purchased the nifty fifty f1.8 which has been a serious relief from my dilemma! I could never have taken these images (without hovering, that is) with the nifty sixty. So, here we are! Very happy!

Also, after a tentative start of finding my way around Photoshop, Sarah Gardener's book has pried open the world of creativity in that medium for me. 'I feel like the old time, maritime Captain who, when asked where he was going, replied, "Sir, I am restricted to the ocean!"' (~ Sidlow Baxter - Scottish preacher - friend of Eric Liddel of Chariots of Fire fame - you know, from that gang - preaching on the Holy Spirit.)


Beyond that, I am in love with her style, feel and COLORS. Her images are an infusion of spring in my eyes and heart!

In the meantime, this is the first image that I've attempted for the word prompt 'green' for the year long challenge that I've taken on with Eva Ricci. It's not VERY green, is it? but, to me, it embodies the spirit of the word...

~ Natural, spring, alive and growing, hopeful, refreshing. ~

I am, also, participating in Mary's 'Inspiration Thursday', this week (and a little late), and the word prompt is 'round'. Alas, next week's prompt is 'fence' and all of the fences that I know of around here are buried in grungy piles from the snow plow. But, I just know you wouldn't laugh at me saying that after my last post.... ;-)

nest 'au natural'

delicate f1.8 - just because I CAN! ;-) =)

Would you please help me, though. Which one do you like best? I'm leaning towards the first one because I'm a creative chicken!

and I hope you have a wonderful spring weekend!!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Singin' the winter blues?

 A few weeks back, when I thought that I just couldn't take another minute of winter, I asked my dearly beloved Facebook friends what they do when they've got the winter blues.

This is what they said...

~ Find a hot tub. It makes me feel better to actually feel overheated again.

~ I moved back to the South. That may be a bit too extreme for some though.

~ eat ice cream and watch a movie.
~ Bake and sing!

~ Spring flowers all around and lots of warm cups of herb tea, wearing cozy and soft clothes xx

~ Although it's not winter, I've taken to painting my nails for my blues.

~ get some exercise.

~ Vitamin D, Exercise, Natural Light Bulbs.

~ Attend a flower show with a friend. Go to the pool. Get out of the house and go window shopping at a distinct mall, like the Powerhouse Mall in W. Lebanon, or the Colony Mill in Keene (where everything costs too much but is pretty to look at!) Visit with a dear friend you haven't seen in ages. Build a snowman and go sliding. What ever you do, do not do it alone--have someone go with you!

~ sunlight. which often means exercise outdoors. that's for the part of me that deals with SAD. making things, having a project to plan for the part of me that will respond to something positive to focus on.

~ And visit friends in California. 74 today..and 82 on Friday!  [I think that was a hint!]     

 ~ Eat chocolate, drink wine, buy flowers.

~ Ron Kenoly - High Places 

That's what they said and it's really just a beginning of ideas, eh? 

Since then, I've come up with... lots of food photography (the cloudy skies are brilliant - diffused and it stays light later!) Make a terrarium, do that spring cleaning around the house that we won't want to do when the weather is nice - paint something - move the furniture around - make a display! I'm currently reading five books at the moment! (Alright, that's a bit extreme...) MUSIC!!! Buy some new music! Take a photographic challenge - Eva Ricci has me thinking about green and all of it's associations so much! It's better than hypnotism! ;-) Have girlfriends over for lunch. Start stretching, now, so that I'm ready for gardening when it comes. Blog about my garden and make summer plans! Encourage someone else and be forbearing with the people who are grumpy spring bears!!! etc.

 and, here, I've always just closed my eyes, twiddled my thumbs and hoped it would go away! ;-)

What I've mostly discovered, though, is that the knowledge that I have compassionate friends who can totally relate and that I'm not alone at all (whether people are still in hibernation or not) can completely turn the winter blues upside down! and I'm not just being sweet - I'm serious!

and one other little silly thing might help....

  (It just came in the mail a moment ago - oh, boy!!!)

Every day is such a gift, remember?!

So... even though it seems so gray and muddy, now, (and up to a foot of snow is predicted for tomorrow =O) it will only be a blink and winter will pass like a strange dream (really!) and spring will be here!

(and, please, don't incinerate me for being such a Pollyanna! =P)



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Soft Green Flood

I have grown tired of sorrow and human tears;
Life is a dream in the night a fear among fears,
A naked runner lost in a storm of spears

I have grown tired of rapture and love's desire;
Love is a flaming heart, and its flames aspire
Till they cloud the soul in the smoke of a windy fire.

I would wash the dust of the world in a soft green flood;
Here between sea and sea in this fairy wood,
I have found a delicate wave-green solitude.

Here, in the fairy wood, between sea and sea,
I have heard the song of a fairy bird in a tree
And the peace that is not in the world has flown to me.

~Arthur Symons

Something I've noticed about poetry is that, it takes time to get to know a poem - like a great piece of classical music - like an exciting new acquaintance.

A year or so ago, I started memorizing poetry on my nightly, hour long walk. I had originally chosen the poem up above because I could relate to some degree with what I perceived the poet saying. I was weary and feeling very rumpled, indeed - coated from the dustiness of traveling in this world. But I must confess, I was a bit confounded at what seemed like the very earthy and genuine beginning of the poem and what seemed like the 'puff of fluff' ending. It took a couple of days of tromping around the loop to start to really gain some insight.

You see, life had contained several unpleasantly painful and unfair moments and I felt very outside of my comfort zone - out of the mundane - changing - not who I was before and not where I was going to be - really, 'between sea and sea'. The normal heart-comforts of this world didn't seem to reach me there and I felt, in fact, like I'd suddenly found myself very removed in a strange and earthy, unearthly.... 'fairy wood' with a 'delicate wave-green solitude' wrapping around my heart.

And, as I considered the last two stanzas and journeyed down this gravel-edged early spring road, where the dirt and mould and decaying parts of winter were still so evident, I saw the fragile, tentative green pushing up and through the mess and I considered....

I considered that in a month's time, the detritus from all the storms of winter would turn into a humusy soil and it would be overwhelmed by a soft wave-green flood - the lush green of new growth and summer and everything alive!

and that is where I find myself today.

(In my life, I mean. Outside, it's only just squishy, messy mud season all over again! =P)

And, because great minds, apparently, think alike.... or it's spring.... ooor, because it's Saint Patrick's Day on Sunday ;-), Mary's word prompt at the dear Little Red House is 'green'. =)


Friday, March 08, 2013

Inner Warmth

Did I not promise something cheery and warming, this next post - I mean, after all those snowy images, last time?

Very early spring is just arriving but, even so, it's still quite breezy, damp and slushy and that is why a warming teatime with spicy pear and brown butter muffins 'fresh from the oven' (we burn our mouths on them) are so appreciated. ;-)

One of my favorite food photographers is Aran Goyoaga of the blog Cannelle et Vanille, who half of you probably know already. I bought her new cookbook in the late autumn and have been delighted to discover that her recipes are just as edifying and taste ten times even more mouth-wateringly delicious than her photos of it look - honest truth! - and that's really, quite seriously saying something!!! I've tried quite a few different recipes which have now slipped into legend in my household but I, still, have so many recipes from her book that I want to explore. The trouble is, I can't seem to get past these muffins!

These muffins are unbelievably moist and light and, yet, warming and heartening, especially with the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom - they hit just the right spot. I must have baked ten batches of these, now. You see, part of the deal is that I really want a chance to photograph them but, I hardly get started, turn around and they're gone - devoured! (and, yes! I've been doubling the recipe!) (and, yes! I, too, have been contributing to the problem! =/)

So, needless to say, at this point, I want to move on to a new muffin.... a savory one, this time - butternut squash, apple and blue cheese (think cheese biscuit).... they just look so.... soo..... desperately... phew! They just look so good! =P

Speaking of favorite photographers.... I'm sharing this in Mary Carroll's 'inspiration Thursday' at the dear Little Red House. She has irresistibly fun word prompts. Yesterday's was 'books'. =]

and, you're in luck! Here's the recipe for spicy pear and brown butter muffins! ;-)
and here is review of them that, if you don't believe me, says JUST what I was sayin'! Told you so!!!
And here is a recipe that isn't gluten free.

I'm done now!



Saturday, March 02, 2013

Snowy Woods

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

 ~ Robert Frost

going to check the mailbox...

Ah, my dear blog friends, I think that you are going to have to forgive me for this one. I think that there is an unwritten blog rule that says, "in March, one must post about crocus and daffodils and take many pictures of snowdrops to keep morale up!"

But, alas....

this was our world a week ago, and, even though it's, now, sugaring season (below freezing at night and mild thaw during the day which makes the sap run in the trees) and we have a few bare patches without snow on the ground, the only thing we can see that has survived the winter is the mud!

Yes, this is a beautiful Vermont March and I will celebrate it (for as long as I can without going insane for spring! ;-) )

Can you handle it for a moment more? (Wintry images, I mean - yet, surely, this is an early spring snow?!)

I promise to post something warm and cheery, next time! =]