“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir Listen to the sound of the waves as they crash onto the beach. Listen to the sound of the… More
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” ~ John Grogan
If you follow me on Instagram you have seen many photographs or our Westie, McKenzie. McKenzie has been part of our family for twelve years now. I guess it was about one year after we had to put our Akita, Teddy, to sleep that I decided it was time to have a dog again. My husband and daughter knew they wanted another dog after we lost Teddy, but I was the hold out. I just didn’t want the responsibility of owning a pet again. My daughter was getting older and we weren’t home much anymore for a pet. Logical, right? Even though the logical part of my brain knew we really shouldn’t own another dog, the emotional part of me knew the house was lonely and we needed to get a dog. Continue reading “the inevitable . . .”
Nostalgic reminder of life’s simple, gentle pleasures, while calming one’s “inner child.”
I’ve been writing my blog for a few months now, so when I saw a post on the website of Bella Grace Magazine in their new section called Field Guide to Everyday Magic Blog Hop, I wanted to be a part of it and I am so happy to post here! As I started thinking of ideas to write about, I began coloring in an adult coloring book that I purchased over one year ago. Originally I thought, what a silly idea, a grown person coloring, but the more I began to color, the more I felt a sense of comfort, peace and calmness wash over me.
One of the simplest pleasures I can remember growing up was coloring. Each summer, my mom would buy me and my sister a set of color by numbers and a new box of Crayola crayons. I’m not really sure what it was about that brand new box of Crayola 64, was it the smell of the crayon wax when the box was first opened, the sharpener on the back of the box or the endless possibilities that box held? Whatever it was, I just remember the excitement it created. Each of us would pick out a new box of Prestige Coloring pages and that box would last almost to the end of the summer, but the crayons and pencils would be almost non-existent, we had colored so much. I don’t know what happened to all of our “artwork” but it’s really the memory of those simpler times that means so much. Sitting under that large tree next to our house, two young girls keeping cool and coloring until we couldn’t color anymore.
Today adult coloring books seem to be the big rage, I guess it’s the simplicity of actually sitting down, unplugging from our everyday lives, that is so appealing. Thinking or rather not thinking and coloring a pretty picture, brings an inner child calmness we may need to rejuvenate ourselves. No time limits, no schedule to keep, just simple strokes and the sound of the crayon or pencil as it colors across the plain white page, creating a beautiful picture.
There are many websites where you can download pages to color or if you are in the market for a particular type of page try purchasing one of the many adult coloring books available today.
If you need to simply unplug from the world for a little while, try downloading or purchasing a coloring book; buy a box of 64 crayons and most importantly, color until your heart is content.
If you would like to share one of your memories or what you do to find some calmness in your life, please drop me a comment and you will be entered to win a copy of the Everyday Field Guide to Magic.
As always, thank you for reading and following along in my life journey . . .
Until next week,
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault
As children we are free and completely confident in our thoughts of who we are, we haven’t been influenced yet by life to form opinions of ourselves. If only we could go back to that feeling in our adult lives, but we can’t. Hope, however, gives us as adults, that small inhibition that we experienced as children. This is not to say, that we can’t be free and confident in who we are, but that confidence is different somehow, the innocence of childhood is gone.
In my adult life not many things make me feel this way, but there are a few. My first cup of coffee in the morning, photographing a sunrise or sunset at the beach, listening to the hummingbirds as they chase each other, or to my wind chimes as the wind blows through them and the music of the crickets as they sing me to sleep at night. When I was younger, I don’t think I really thought about this too much, but seriously, who does when they are young? It’s as we get older we begin to reflect on things we once never noticed before.
I think in this extremely busy world we live in, there are so many distractions that weren’t even a thought when I was young. Cell phones, computers, social media, to name a few, slowing down is virtually unheard of. However, if we don’t slow down, what is the sense of it all? The simple pleasures of life will go virtually unheard, but once in a while, it’s refreshing to break away from it all. It’s a kind of resurgence of the soul, not being tied down to all the modern conveniences that make our lives the hectic mess they can be at times.
When it’s all said and done, it’s the hugs we have received, the love we have given and received in return, the simple pleasures in life will be what we remember; when we can’t remember anymore. So tonight when you turn off the TV, put down your cell phone and log out of your social media accounts, open the window and listen ~ truly listen ~ to the melody of your wind chimes or the crickets as they sing you to sleep.
Thanks as always for listening and reading my thoughts on life . . .
Until next week . . .
Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer. ~ Dorothy Rowe
The days are shorter and the darkness is creeping in sooner each day. For anyone who is affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder you certainly know what I mean. I had heard of this disease, even knew someone who experienced it, but I never experienced it myself. About two years ago, I began to feel a sadness come over me when I knew summer was coming to it’s end. Continue reading “A Bit Melancholy | Smithville Lifestyle Photographer”
Good morning yesterday, You wake up and time has slipped away …
Time is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”
This week my daughter and son-in-law will celebrate their first wedding anniversary. I cannot believe one year has gone by so quickly. Last year was so busy, so many plans and events, it’s difficult to remember all of the little details. We seemed to be living in a wedding frenzy, joyful busyness that encompassed our lives. This year has been the complete opposite, quiet with no big event to plan.
The quote above is from a song titled “The Times of Your Life” by Paul Anka, (oddly, that song was an advertisement for Eastman Kodak) my sister played that song at her wedding when she danced with my father. That too is so long ago, I was pregnant with my daughter and life just seemed to move at a steady pace back then. I’m not really sure when it seemed to move as quickly as it does now, but I know that it moves much faster the older I get. Both of my parents are gone now, just the three of us left, me, my sister and my brother, who is the youngest. I remember when my parents brought him home from the hospital, we are five years apart and, I can remember it like it was yesterday.
This week, I started thinking about time, with Cristine’s first wedding anniversary approaching, I thought, how did it all go by so fast? She was just a newborn last time I looked, 26 years could not have gone by that quickly, could they? I can still see my mom bouncing (yes bouncing) down the hallway of the hospital, on her way to meet her first grandchild. Presents and pink balloons in hand, she was so excited to be a Grandma.
Maybe being nostalgic is part of getting older, you see things differently as you get older and become more sentimental about so many things, at least I seem to be. That being said, life is a gift and it should be lived to the fullest. Sadly, when you’re young, you don’t think this way, but as you get older, you realize how precious every moment is and how it should be cherished. Looking at photographs is one way I enjoy remembering all of those special moments, now just memories and such good memories they are! I sometimes find myself laughing when I look at how silly my daughter was when she was young and her smile, how it brings me such complete joy. I’m sure you have similar photographs which bring utter joy as well.
As always, thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing some of your memories. Until next week . . .
“Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.”
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.
I have always envied those who are able to grow plants, flowers or maybe an herb garden. Unfortunately, I was not given that gift, not that I wouldn’t love to be that “gardener” person. I don’t think I received the gardener gene though. Continue reading “A Dahlia Story | Smithville Lifestyle Photographer”
Forward & Backward …
This past week I began cleaning out some old art portfolio cases I had from college. I hardly remember those days, some 30 plus years ago now. When I was young and had dreams, that never became a reality. Sometimes I wonder what my life would had been like if I had gone to art school instead of college? or if I hadn’t worked in New York City; or if I moved to California when I had the opportunity. Continue reading “Where from here?”
every summer has a story …
Hands down summer is my favorite time of year. I find the older I get the less I like the cold weather, not to mention the darkness which creeps in very early during non-summer months. Living very close to the beach, you are able to visit often, which I do! Even during the cold months, my husband and I still visit the beach. Continue reading “Summertime”
Back in the Studio . . .
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
I believe I’m a creative person, who makes mistakes along the way, but I always seem to find my way. As I set out to write (and photograph) this weeks blog, I was a bit uncertain, how many ways can I talk about photographing a teapot or a flower? I’m sure it must be a bit mundane for someone reading my story each week.
I thought, maybe I could share with you my process for arriving at my final image. I took a few photos of what I purchased before it was propped and primped and made to look how I envision it in my mind.
The props used this week were:
- pink roses (Lilies Florist)
- soft cloths (mainly baby wraps)
- a white cake plate
- a cupcake (The Bake Works)
- green macaroons
In many of my images I like to give them a vintage feel, in order to do that I incorporate textures, overlays and sometimes presets or actions. Each step brings me closer to the final image. Many of the textures I use are either from Kim Klassen or Leslie Nicole of French Kiss Textures .
First, I place the texture over the image, then by using a layer mask in Photoshop, I begin to erase or remove, with a brush, the parts I do not want to see. When I first began using Photoshop I was so intimidated to use a layer mask, it seemed so foreign but it’s really quite simple. Basically what you are doing is placing the texture OVER the actual photograph like so:
Once I’ve placed the texture over the photograph, I then adjust the blend mode and opacity of the texture to achieve the feeling I desire. The final step will be to “brush” or “erase” off the portions I do not want visible, allowing the photograph to show through.
Two textures were used for this final image, some of the texture was “brushed” off of the photograph, but I did leave most of the texture on the plate, but brushed most off of the flowers and cupcake to make them pop and become more prominent in the overall final image.
For this next image, I did not use any textures or overlays, just simple white and pops of color gave me the feel I wanted for this flower teapot. At first I wasn’t sure of the fabric color but it seemed to match the flowers in the teapot, so I decided to keep it.
In this image, I used two textures, one which had more of a watercolor brush stroke and the other had a golden brown tone, with a nice border around it.
So, that’s most of my workflow for creating the images today. I was a bit more chatty this week, but I hope you enjoyed my process and also enjoy my images.
If you would like to see what I’m up to during the week, please follow me on Instragram. All of my images are for sale as birthday, greeting cards or customized invitations. If you are interested, please contact me.
Have a fabulous Fourth of July … Until next week . . .
It’s Summertime in NJ
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck
So much truth to that quote! This past week we welcomed the Summer Solstice and who wouldn’t want to welcome that in with huge smile?!
Since summer has arrived, I felt that I needed to get out and take some summer themed photographs. This time of year, no matter where I go, there is color everywhere! Abundant color. For me and my family, this year we are taking it slow, last year we planned a wedding and that didn’t leave much time for relaxation. This summer since things are a bit quieter, I wanted to share what summer in South Jersey looks like from my perspective. I am always thinking of ideas or a layout for story, and this week was no different. I knew I wanted to share photographs of where I live with all of you.
Shore towns in NJ are very similar no matter which town you are visiting. The photos I’m sharing today were taken in Brigantine, NJ. The Jersey Shore comes alive in the summer, there is an energy you can feel everywhere you go. As I took these photographs, the sky was a bright blue and the clouds were just perfect.
My husband and I also celebrated 15 years in our home. We moved into our current house on June 24, 2002. We were newly married (just a little over a month), we both were beginning new jobs and my daughter was attending a new camp. I’m not exactly sure how we survived that first summer in South Jersey, but now it seems like a lifetime ago.
In our neighborhood the houses are beautifully landscaped, I walked around looking for beautiful summer flowers. The orange tiger lilies grow wild on some of the roads near my home. One of my neighbors has absolutely beautiful flowers in her front yard that I could not resist photographing.
I hope you have enjoyed a little piece of where I live. If you have a favorite memory or an event that means “summer” to you, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by today . . . until next week