Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's in the Little Things

My.  It's been a while.  How are you, my little blog?

I had to take some down time and make a few changes in my life.  The dust seem to be settling and I've been thinking about you lately.

With said dust settling I now have time to do some reading.  And there just happens to be a library right  around the block from my new job.  So I walked into the nice air conditioned building with the beautiful surroundings and signed up for their library card.
I don't know about your area but around here we have fewer county owned libraries and more city privately owned libraries.   In a way it's a pain because I now have to carry 3 library cards in my wallet.  On the other hand the privately owned libraries seem to be much prettier

and have a much better selection and stock of books.  So I got my card and checked out my book,  and took it home to happily read.  Then a few days ago I received an email from the library reminding me that I had a book checked out and that I could either return or renew it within the next few days as my time was running out.

I've never had a library remind me that I had a book checked out and to take measures so no late feeds are accrued.  Can I just say I love this library?  Every day since the email I get all giddy inside thinking how nice that was to be reminded. Typically I forget and end up paying fines.  Who tries to cut their profit?  Who is more concerned about their patron's finances?  I like this library.

I think I"ll be visiting this library a lot more.   They just won a customer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blow It Away

Setting up vignettes is a lot harder than you'd think it would be.  This week in the Frugal Still Life class we had a guest teacher who challenged us to set up a vignette of three objects.
In the past I've sneaked peaks at the beautiful work of other class members, but this week I didn't want any subtle influences to affect my vignette.  After looking around the house I focused on a statue that has reminded me to stop worrying or trying to change things that aren't within my power.
I found this statue after I went to a seminar where Stacy Julian was speaking.  She spoke about not focusing on the things that we can't change.  Enjoy life.  Be intentional.  Whenever I see this statue it reminds me of her forming a bubble with her hands then blowing it away. 
Anyway, I decided to pull this statue in with my initial and a butterfly (which also reminds me that there are times we have to go through hard times before we reap the benefits)  Since a lot of my orchids are blooming I thought I use one of them.  

Do you have something that you see on a regular basis that reminds you to keep on going and to focus on the good?  

Ciao, Bella

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perfect Ending

What a lovely time.

The week has been full with another to follow.

Recently I've been delving into a hobby that has taken a back seat in my creative outlet but I'm hoping I'll be more active in it this year.  I'm sewing clothing again. 
Recently, well not recently because we have been having warm weather for a while now.  It's hard to believe it is January.  Saturday was such a beautiful morning I knew My Mann and I had meet the sun at the end of the day to say good-bye and thank you for such a perfect day.  So we did.  It was beautiful.  We also saw a pod of dolphins swimming back and forth close to the shore and seal while we were there.  We also met the loveliest gentleman while we were there.  We meet some of the nicest people on our little adventures.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with My Sweet Pea.  She was my co-pilot as we made our way to the flower mart and garment district in downtown L.A.  Found some treasures there. 

Wishing you a good week.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Frugal Still LIfe

Where I felt very uncomfortable and pushed into imaginary boundaries with last week's Frugal Still Life assignment I am feeling more open and relaxed about it this week.  I'm realizing that I've done a teeny tiny bit of still life photography in the past I just didn't realize it and now I have this gracious opportunity to learn.  I can surrender myself to change and growth and have joy in it.

So that is what I did this week.

I pulled out my nail polish and enjoyed seeing the bottles full  of color all clustered in one spot.
At first I used the surroundings and light I had from the large sliding door to the right of me and the nail polish.

I think I tend to gravitate to white space.  I like the calm it can give to a picture or the drama it adds to the subject being photographed.

Of these two photos I can't choose which I like best.  I enjoy looking at them both for different reasons.  The idea that there must be at least one more bottle of nail polish in the group leaves me wondering.  The way the black cap contrasts with the white cupboard in the background and the red polish color against the black counter create a natural boundary for the eye moving my gaze back and forth.  Almost like reading a book. 

Although, I really like the reflection that shows up in the group photograph.  It was hard to get the writing on the bottles to be clear with the way the light glared on them and the thickness of the glass. If I had a longer depth of field to get the writing to come out clear for all the bottles the background would not be as unobtrusive.  Any suggestions on what I might have done differently?  

I tried it again almost taking the same pictures only this time I placed a piece of white cardboard behind the bar counter in an attempt to block the refrigerator, the cupboards, and the dining room door in the background.

I think I like the second photo of the fewer bottles and white space better than the first photo.  I think it's because the angle of the bottles seems more pleasing to the eye and they fill the space a little better.

But I not quite as happy with this photo of the complete group as well as the first one that has all the background in a shallow depth of field. In the second photo of all the nail polish the white background seems so stark.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Say Cheese

I finished Week 2 for the Documented Life Project.

We had to use a picture of ourselves and if we had chosen one word for the year we could incorporate that on the journal page as well.

This year after I had chosen my word I found a poem titled "I Surrender" in an old magazine I was going through before throwing them away.

The poem was perfect.

 I couldn't have planned it better.

One of those serendipity things.

I attached the poem this page.

The poem reads

I  Surrender by Melissa J. Coffin

He will not compel us
To be conquered, but
It is in the
Conquering of ourselves
That we win our
Battles best and
Achieve peace,
Not fighting against
The process of
Becoming, but
Burying our
Weapons of resistance
In complete surrender
And obedience.

This giving place
Within ourselves
For the only worthy
Offering that will please
Our Conquering King -
That of a broken heart
And a contrite spirit.

I am finding that these challenges are just what the doctor ordered for my creativity.  I don't feel like what I've done is great, but it has been fun.

I'm looking forward to Week 3.  What are you doing to bring "fun" into your days?

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I am signed up for the Frugal Still Life Photographer class.  It's an 8 week course on still photography. 

I thought this would be a "fun" class.  Which in my mind meant: A class that would mildly stretch your photography skills.

It has been almost 5 years since I bought my first and only DSLR after years of a point and shoot using it's programmed settings of macro, speed, portrait, museum, etc.  At the time I purchased my DSLR I promised myself that since I was spending so much money for a nice Canon EOS 40D and lens (18mm-200mm telephoto) I would not revert to the programmed settings.  Instead I would learn and work in manual only.

I have kept that promise with just a limited amount of time using the aperture or shutter modes. I am for the most part pleased with my efforts.  They aren't always great, but more times than not they are fairly good. 

Hence my feelings that this class would be "fun" and I might learn a few things.

What I didn't realize is that it would be hugely uncomfortable and hard.  It would mean I had to put the thought into what I wanted my photograph to say instead of seeing something as it was, left as someone or God Himself placed it, and capturing the image as is to speak for itself.

For some reason that put a huge amount of pressure on me and I felt limited with the few "props" and lighting opportunities I had available.

This is what I ended up with for the first week.  I can't say that I like it, but I can say I completed the assignment and I learned from it.
38mm, f/7.1, 1/30, ISO-500

I Learned:
1.  That I don't like being pushed (not really a new thing, but it's been a bit since I've felt pushed)
2.  Although we have lots of nice light from the windows all the little panes get in the way for photographing and the winter months mean less time to capture that lighting  after work.
3.  Shoot using multiple depths of field.  I wish I had lengthened my depth of field for this once I looked at it on my computer's screen.

Have you tried something new that surprised you in ways you didn't imagine?


Friday, January 10, 2014

4 Simple Goals

When we were at the beach last month a flock of pelicans flew overhead.

All in beautiful formation.

Except for one.

That's me.

At least I want that to be me.

Part of the flock, but still my own person.

In order to be outstanding I am choosing to do 4 simple things this month.

1. Sew a garment

2. Implement S.H.E (Side-tracked Home Executive homemakers plan)

3. Read The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

4. Bake something

How about you?  Have any plans for January?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Front Door

This year I decided to participate in the Document Life Project that I read about on Robin-Marie Smith's blog.  They give a new prompt each week for you to interpret in your journal any way you chose.  

The prompt for week one was Front Door.  

One of the instructions was that a picture of our front door needed to be included on the journal page.  I couldn't decide which side of the door to include in the picture.  The inside looking out or the outside looking in or the outdoor part of the door or the inside part of the door.  So many decisions can be overwhelming. 

The front door could be depicted as a sketch, drawing, painting, or photograph.  Easier decision.   I used a photograph since I knew it would be recognizable that way.  If I tried any other way I might be able to get my sketch to look like a rectangle, but it would be a stretch for it to look like a front door.  

I wanted my interpretation to show the love and peace that I hope people feel when they come inside as well the beautiful world that God has created all around us outside.

Don't know if that is what comes across but I'm please with the way it turned out.

If you thought about your front door what would you want to say about it or it to say about those that live behind it?

Have a great day.


Monday, January 6, 2014

My Word

I have participated in Ali Edward's tradition of choosing one little word each January to focus on, mediate about, and reflect on as I went about my daily life during that year.  I love how focusing on one word takes away the guilt of making numerous resolutions that are usually forgotten by summer. 

 My first word was Trust.  This was a particularly hard word as I had to learn to Trust in the Lord.  That was in 2011.

After focusing on trusting in God and learning to relinquish control of those things that are simply out of my power I felt some stirrings and sprouting of something new.  That is when I selected Grow as my word for 2012.  Grow in self confidence, grow my relationships, and grow my creative skills.  This was the first year that I created a calendar which focused on an aspect of my word with pictures and a quote or scripture.  I also placed the calendar on the wall next to my bathroom mirror so I saw it several times a day.

Focusing on growth for a year was bringing joy into my life.  Something I hadn't had much of for several years.   So Joy became my word for 2013.

This year my word came as a surprise.  In one of my morning readings in the scriptures the thought Surrender jumped into my mind and heart; to surrender what I want to do to instead, be and do more of what God wants me to do and be.

Are you participating in One Little Word?  What 's your word for this year.  

Friday, January 3, 2014


RECENTLY.  We enjoyed a simple, quiet Christmas.  You would have thought My Boy won a million bucks when he opened his gift of homemade granola.

RECENTLY.  Christmas was put away.  Except my snowpeople.  This year I lined them up the stairs. I enjoyed seeing them so much as I went up and down that we decided to leave them there for the winter season.  To remind us that it is winter and maybe we should feel guilty enjoying 78 - 80 degree weather.
RECENTLY.  I noticed my azaleas were blooming.

RECENTLY.  We had an after Christmas turkey dinner with my sister and her husband who had come into town.  My kidlets were all there to share in the company, laughs, and fun.

RECENTLY.  We celebrated my sweet new daughter's birthday.
RECENTLY.  We took my sister and her husband to the beach to enjoy the weather and the beauty.
 While there we saw an egret standing off shore on top of a kelp bed.
What is recent with you?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014

Photo from my sister.
Hello My Darlings, I hope you have all had wonderful holiday memories.

I've had a good rest after a month unplugged from my after work hours computer.  I am feeling refreshed and ready to take on the New Year. 

With the beginning of a new year, a new month, new hopes, how about some hellos?

Hello 2014.  I am excited to see what you have in store.  I wonder what you will teach me.

Hello to a new beautifully clear, warm day.  I can't believe how pleasant the weather has been.  December, in the northern hemisphere, usually associated with cold has been so unbelievably beautiful. 

Hello new One Little Word.  SURRENDER. I can't believe how strongly you have attached yourself to me.  I know I didn't willingly seek you out.  You found and latched on to me.  This year will be about surrendering my will to God's will and more committed to walking with the King.

Hello new calendar.  I have a new calendar with a monthly picture, thought or message to remind me of my one little word for the year. 

Hello new smash journal.  I love new notebooks and pens.

Hello to a little hummingbird.  You are very curious.  Why are you hanging around our window? I enjoy watching you.  Thank you for sharing your wonder with me. 
Hello new daily patterns.  I have a plan of action for 2014 for some small, daily changes that hopefully will evolve into patterns making daily life less stressful.

Hello to my nephew's brand new baby.  A baby born on the cusp of the new year, or anytime for that matter, is such a blessing.

Hello shadows.  I love the way the sun shines through the windows.

Hello My Mann.  And to you're kisses whenever you pass by.

What are you saying hello to this year?  Leave some hellos in the comments or link up to your hello post.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


There have been several warm,
beautiful days.
With so much beautiful, natural,
light, I enjoyed it.
Light displays so much beauty
all around us.
Beauty in tree bark,
Clouds above us, and
the colors around us.

Morning light, I heard,
is different from afternoon light.
I hadn't really noticed before
All I know is that I love
How it looks in the morning.

Natural light gives me joy
as I see it play in the sky or
joy as it enhances so many
intricacies that are around us
if only we stop to notice.

So grateful for light.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mail Art

I have been writing letters to my nephew who is serving a mission and I've also taken to doodling or stamping some art onto the envelopes that hold his letters. 

 It's been fun figuring out what or how to jazz up his envelopes.
Occasionally I dabble on the envelope backs.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Glacial Blue

During our visit to Alaska we had the amazing opportunity to visit Tracey Arm Fjord.  
What is so amazing to me is that this fjord was carved so wide and so deep by a glacier that there is room and to spare for a huge ocean liner to travel into it.
The surrounding mountains were majestic
The vistas as we  traveled were spectacular.
It was so quiet as we traveled into the fjord protected from the wind and the waves by the mountains on either side.

I couldn't get over how blue, how high, and how massive the glacier is at the end of the fjord. Everything was so still and silent.  The only thing we heard were the soft hushed conversations from the passengers.
We must have been there for 20-30 minutes taking it all in when all of a sudden there was a huge, sharp, cracking sound. 

A couple seconds a thunderous clap followed reverberating against the mountains.
Which was finally followed by a huge splash.  Parts of the glacier were breaking off and falling into the water.  After the first chunk fell into the water there were a few more that followed

I can't tell you how much that experience affected me.  I felt so small in this grand and amazing world.