Friday, August 31, 2012

ITP: My Life Right Now

When you are the photographer of the group or if you travel alone at time, there often aren’t many pictures OF you.  And I’ve always felt weird about asking a stranger to take my photo when I travel, even tho I’ve taken hundreds of pictures for other people.  Go figure…
So when I heard about a photo challenge at Urban Muser where each month you make self portraits following a certain theme, I was intrigued.  “In The Picture” challenge was just what I need to push me to putting myself in front of the camera lens. 
Even tho I’m very late starting up (they started the challenge in January!) I’ll keep working on it.  If the challenge doesn’t carry into 2013, I will just start with the ones I missed.  Another thing I like about it is that the self portrait doesn’t always mean of your face.  That adds yet another level to what I can do with this.
The August challenge was “My Life Right Now”.   Perfect for my Fabulous 50th Year!
We are renewing our commitment to each other.
(This one was easy as all I had to do was look and snap.) 
My wee joys… Little Bird… 
(A little more difficult.  I had to take several to get us both in and looking decent!)
…And Little Hoss.
(I noticed my reflection is Sis’ fireplace and got this one of the two of us.  This is getting harder!  Good shot of me… posing a wiggling toddler… watching for reflections…) 
Me at my new crafting work bench.
(UGH!  I’m going to have to play with my camera’s timer mode a lot!  For some reason, it didn’t focus.  This one was the best of the bunch.)
So… it wasn’t as hard as I thought to take a self portrait.  I think I’ll enjoy this personal challenge!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Bird Turns THREE!

My August trip to Missouri was to celebrate Little Bird’s third birthday!  She is growing up so fast; it’s hard to believe it has been 3 years since I first held her.
She is now old enough to start giving her own input to the party planning and she wanted a cupcake party.  Sis picked the Boho style decorations and we all took part in setting it up.  I made the tissue paper pompom flowers, which Little Bird loved.  A friend of Sis made the cute outfit she’s wearing. 
Bird got her first “American Girl” dolls from her Mom and Dad.  After the party she put the little boy doll in a bag and put all the tissue paper from her gift bags in it.  Then she took it to Little Hoss and told him it was “…a present for you!” 
Little Bird’s paternal great grandma enjoyed watching her open her presents.
She loves to clean.  We all hope she won’t grow out of this any time soon!!  ;-D
Both of the babies love books.  Himself and I gave her a bag full for her gift. 
Then came cupcake time!  They were ‘made from scratch’ by her Daddy and were SO good.  I informed Big J that he could make cupcakes for MY birthday, and that I also celebrated half birthdays… so I would be looking forward to a batch in January! 
Blowing out three candles! 
Little Bird, Sis, Big J, and Little Hoss.
My parents with Little Bird.  She adores her “Mamo” and “Papo”. 
And with me.  When Sis snapped that picture, Little Bird was saying “I love you Aunt Teri”. 
Ahhhh… it was her birthday but I got the best present of all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A World of Coffee

Himself loves coffee and we have collected several coffee related items in our travels.  We always try to buy locally produced coffee and I have a future project lined up for the beautiful bags they came in. 
This satchel was made with a repurposed coffee bag in Guatemala. 
We have a little corner where it is displayed.  That shelf is an Arts and Crafts piece we inherited from Himself’s uncle. 
This set of photos are from a shot I took in Ethiopia as our friend honored us with a traditional coffee ceremony.  I used different Photo Shop give it the various looks.  The top center photo is the closest to what it really looks like.
And here are coffee sets from Ethiopia.  The dark one is the one Belaynish used when she did the coffee ceremony.
Himself brought this set back from Germany early in our marriage.
This coffee set is from Bosnia. 
When we went on a Panama Canal cruise, we visited quite a few coffee producing countries.  And brought home a LOT of local coffee!  However, I didn’t find very coffee related products.  The little figurine is “Juan Valdez” and his ever patient burro.  We picked it up in Columbia.  The mug set up is from Costa Rica and is a way of brewing a single cup of coffee. 
I'm looking forward to adding other coffee sets to our collection over the years. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Me and My Shadow

“Shadow” (shad·ow ) n.
1.  An area that is not or is only partially irradiated or illuminated because of the interception of radiation by an opaque object between the area and the source of radiation.

2.  The rough image cast by an object blocking rays of illumination.

It can also be “a. One, such as a detective or spy, that follows or trails another. b. A constant companion.”


My shadow has a name and it is ‘Little Bird’.
While I was in Missouri visiting, I stepped out onto Sis’ deck to shoot some close-up photos of her container garden. Little Bird followed me to the door and asked what I was doing. As soon as I answered, she said “I get my camera too!” and dashed off to her room. (She had been given a Fisher Price digital camera for her 3rd birthday a few days earlier – the thing really does work!)


I went on out and started shooting the garden.


Pretty soon there is someone else snapping away at my side…


For fun, I moved over to where some of the babies’ pool toys were sitting and took a few shots…


…and was shadowed by my shadow!


Hmmm… the geranium was looking pretty…


She was concentrating SO hard!


When I moved over for a photo of the playhouse,


she didn’t even realize I had stepped away from her as she worked on HER playhouse photo!


This cicada was sluggish in the chilly morning and several pictures were taken of him.


Little Bird even copied the angles I shot at. Isn’t that little hand sweet?


One time as I took some shots of her, she spun around and giggled “I take picture of YOU!”
We had a grand time on the deck in our creative play. As I reviewed the pictures on her camera I was surprised to see she had actually done a pretty good job. There were several that impressed me as I could see she had actually put some effort into “making” a photograph!
I can see Little Bird and I are going to spend a lot of time together with our cameras!


Kitchen Staple Recipe: Frank (or Ham) & Potato Bake

Frank/Ham & Potato Bake
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional – I find the Velveeta adds plenty of salt!)
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup Velveeta – cubed
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
4 – 5 hot dogs (OR 1 cup cubed ham)
4 medium potatoes, cooked and thick sliced
Black pepper and paprika for garnish – to taste
 In small saucepan cook onion in butter until tender but not brown.  Blend in flour and salt (if used).  Add milk all at once and cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly until thickened and bubbly.  Add cheese, stirring to melt.  Stir in mustard.
Fold in meat and potatoes.  Turn into a casserole dish.  Cover and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes or until heated thru.  You can remove the cover in the last 5 minutes to brown the top.
Garnish with black pepper and paprika.  

Notes:  When I first started making this recipe it called for hot dogs.  But I really like it better with the ham.  Himself likes the hot dogs.  You can play with the amount of mustard to give it whatever ‘zing’ you’d like. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Day Trip for Shopping in Leiper's Fork, TN

Last month Best Friend and I declared a “Chick Day” was needed.  Looking for somewhere new to explore, we decided to try out the village of Leiper’s Fork.  It’s just south of Nashville right off the Natchez Trace. 

Perfect!  Because right at the beginning of the Natchez Trace is The Loveless Café!  And there’s no better breakfast than at The Loveless!

After our filling breakfast we headed on down for some shopping.  Leiper’s Fork is a cute town, stretched along a section of the old state highway.  You park, and walk.  And of course we picked a day just before the cool break in July.  Uff-da!  It was HOT!

But there are a lot of nice places to sit and rest… tho some are better suited to an autumn day.

The homes and shops in the town are just CUTE!  I could have spent all day shooting pictures… had the day been a wee bit cooler. 

Being the home to art and county humor, there were several ‘celebrity look-alikes’ parked around town.  This is the Beverly Hillbillies truck.  On down the road was Andy Griffith’s patrol car and close by was the General Lee. 

Now here’s a sight you’ll see in just about any small Southern town… men leaning over their grills fixing up some delicious BBQ.  That smoke will make your mouth water even if you’re still filled up from breakfast!

We stopped in Puckett’s Grocery to check it out.  The store goes back to ’53 and serves up good country cooking.

I fell in love with this chipping old kitchen table! 
There were several cute shops, although not as many as I expected.  Several were closed and some had even gone out of business.  So it didn’t take as long to shop as we’d expected. 
There were 2 shops I absolutely loved.

First was the gallery of David Arms.  He paints collage-looking paintings that are outstanding.  The gallery has originals, prints, and a few card sets for sale. 

My favorite shop hands-down was Serenite Maison.  Interesting pieces arranged in beautiful vignettes.  Well worth stopping by!

We had planned to lunch at Joe’s Natural Farm Store and Café but our shopping didn’t take long enough to cross over to lunch for us.  So I’ll save that for another day.

I look forward to taking Himself down for the day… in the autumn!