Flowers for Five

Recently I read that it’s a good idea to have a theme in mind and shoot photographs that speak to that theme. There are loads of ideas out there like Shutter Sisters’ “one word project,” and “365.” I happened upon my first photo theme by accident. I spied the most glorious pink roses in a big box store. I was surprised that this particular store would have anything like these flowers. They weren’t long stemmed, stiff roses or a clutch of fading daisies. These pink floribundas were ashes of rose romantically beautiful. As soon as I got home, I grabbed the camera and started taking photos while the flowers were still in the plastic sleeve. I took photos almost every day of the roses, right up to when the lovelies began to die.

 That was three weeks ago and I’ve been buying a bunch of flowers for around $5.00 each weekend. The second week it was red tulips and this week it’s creamy mini carnations edged in red/orange. I’ve taken photos of flowers at different times of the day, as individual blooms and stems and as bouquets. The camera gets close-up and personal in macros mode. I’ve fooled around with the aperture to see what I get. Over the past three weeks I’ve taken hundreds of flower photos, but only a few are what I consider even minimally decent and editing the hardest part of the process.

I stopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics for a few things. While looking at fabrics I held up a piece of gauzy organza spangled with tiny sequins. I wondered…if I covered the lens of my point and shoot camera would I get a filmy tone and a bit of sparkle to the photo? I ended up buying tulle and two pieces of organza.

Once at home I cut a square and held it over the lens with a rubber band. I shot the mini carns and was surprised at the foggy look. The sequins didn’t sparkle like I thought they might, but the result was ok. The tulle covered lens created a patterned fog when paired with the mini carns.

I wish I’d picked up some pale pastel sheers to cast a pink, green, or blue light over the subject. Maybe next time. So far I’m learning from my flowers for five project. It’s a learning journey that will only make me a better photographer down the road.

Have a great day!


The Bead Challenge

My favorite bead store was having a Winter Bead Challenge inspired by the color blue. "An expectant, optimistic blue," they said.

Now, I'm a newbie beader. I've taken a couple of classes at the store for the fun of it and I've messed around with beads on my own. I've made myself some earrings and bracelets. Some fell apart but a few actually lived. I've had some success making my unique little beaded bookmarks that everyone seems to like. I was ready for a challenge! So (since ignorance is bliss) I decided to enter.

The process was simple: Buy your kit, recieve your entry number, design your piece and submit it to the store by the deadline date. All the kits were identical. You had to use at least half of the beads in the kit. Additional beads and findings could be used if purchased at that store. "The challenge piece must be original art designed and created by the entrant. Designs from books, magazines, etc. will be eliminated," stated the rules.

So I jumped in with both feet thinking, "This is going to be great fun!"

Here's the kit:

Hmmmm..... OK, I understand the sparkle beads and the blue beads and the ones that look like ice, but what's that round thing? And how do you attach it to beads?  What in the heck are those squiggly things? I've never even seen those in the store! Oh boy...

But it takes more than round and squiggly things to intimidate me. After all, I've raised two boys and have lived to tell about it. I can do anything! (I hear Helen Reddy singing in my head.)

I began to think. And think. The idea of a fairy theme came to mind and I decided to run with it. I had no idea about fairies, really, so I asked a gardening friend of mine (Mimi) where fairies go in the winter. She spun a whimsical tale about fairies and I was mesmerized. Since garden fairies scatter hither and yon by various means for the winter, who brings us this winter wonderland? There must be an Ice Fairy.

 I started to make her come alive:

Mostly I was making a mess. I wasn't happy with the way I had attached the silver ring:

That just wasn't going to work.  (And I had to stop spilling my can of carbonated water on my work mat!) There was only one thing to do about it. I made another trip to the bead store for more supplies...

...and got back to work.

After way...too...much...agonizing, stringing...and restringing, this is what I created:

Close-up of my lady, the Ice Fairy:

On the entry form there was a place to describe the inspiration for your piece. The following is my submission:

"I was thinking about where fairies go in the winter. I've heard that some hitch a ride on the wings of butterflies enroute to milder climates. I suppose others are snug in warm burrows with those cowardly groundhogs. So I figured there must be an Ice Fairy. I can see evidence of her handiwork everywhere. We have all certainly felt and (some) have even enjoyed her presence.
This necklace is my tribute to the Ice Fairy. There she is, in her silver circle of chill with icicles hanging down. See what she did? She threw ice all over the crystal blue sky! She's done her job and done it well, as females will do. But who's going to tell her the party's over and it's time for her to go home?"

The necklace and entry form were handed in on time.

I waited a couple of days then went back to the bead store to see the display of entries. Oh!...My!...Goodness! They were gorgeous! Some were beaded in fancy stitches, some had cleverly twisted strands of beads, all were complicated and intricate. They were stunning! Suddenly I realized I didn't stand much of a chance in this contest.

Customers of the store are allowed to vote (one time only) for their favorite entry. There were two entries that I thought were the most exquisite work I had ever seen. (No, one was not the Ice Fairy!) I just couldn't decide between those two most beautiful pieces. I himmed and hawed. Finally, to make a decision and break the tie in my head, I voted for the Ice Fairy and walked out the door.


One World One Heart Winners

What an exhilarating magic carpet ride that was and we’re delighted to let the world know that six people won the One World One Heart giveaways here on Quiet Questioning. A big thank you to all the commenters and if we didn’t get to your blog before the February 15th deadline, we’ll do our best to visit soon.  We look forward to continuing the journey and getting to know those who stopped by during One World One Heart.

And now without further delay the winners are:
RR at Ravenous Reader won the popular crocheted dishrags.

Yasmin Sabur at yasmintoo is the second winner of a beaded bookmark.

Wilma over at Empress Wu Designs will receive one of the beaded bookmarks.

TOTEally Posh also won a beaded bookmark.

Flor at Flor Larios Art won the EBB and Roses print.

Betty Boogie from Betty Boogie’s Odd Adventure won the Art and Roses print.

Congratulations to these six winners and to everyone who participated in One World One Heart 2010.  We wish to thank Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian for hosting creating and hosting this wonderful blogger event. 
Mimi & Nana


Happy Valentine's Day!

Nana & Mimi have been busy making valentines!

Nana made these for her sisters:

Mimi and her grandson made these valentines:

This one is for Nana's mother-in-law:

For Nana's nephew G:

Nana's Nephew M:

And for Nana's precious granddaughter:

What's Valentines Day without candy and flowers?

We hope all you bloggers have a pleasant day.  Please take to heart (pun intended) what the airlines say,
"Put the oxygen mask on yourself first." 

Mimi & Nana


Looking for our One World One Heart post?
Just scroll down a bit!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We got more snow! Oh my goodness!! Snow never ceases to amaze me. Yes, it's beautiful. And yes I'm tired of it already, just like everyone else around here. But hey...let's give it one last (hopefully) shot...

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning when the snow was coming fast and furiously, I happened to look outside as I was turning out the lights on my way to bed. It was 2:00 AM (hello fellow night-owls!) and this is what I saw:

I took this picture without a flash. It was that bright outside. I'm sure the weather geeks can explain it. All that light bouncing around. It filled me with a sense of wonder.

Here is the snow coming down (taken with the flash):

The next morning I took a look around the yard, first at the birdfeeder:

...the deck railing:

...the old backyard fence:

...a pine laden with, yes, snow:

Oh, it was lovely!
But wait...
What's that I hear? Might it be the sound of five and six year old boys in boots?
The nephews are coming!! The nephews are coming!!
Snow day...no school! Oh, the fun we had!

This is M:
Don't you think he should be a model for snowsuits?

This is G:

He 's busy being a dog, crawling and barking all over the yard.

When it was time to come in we took off the cold wet stuff...

and moved on to the warm chocolate stuff:

G is lapping up his hot chocolate, still in dog mode.

That's what snow is all about.


One World One Heart

From Nana...
I am so excited to be participating in One World One Heart! I am Nana and I'm new to blogging. My dear friend, Mimi, who is much more familiar with the blogosphere, is our tech support here for this project. Thank you, thank you, Mimi! I am having the most wonderful time.

My first give away is a set of four hand crocheted dishrags:

I make these dishrags all winter long. I call them my "crazy rags" because they are my therapy. When Christmas rolls around, I give them to all the women in the family. Everybody loves them. (Yes, I give them to the men too...if they promise to use them!) They really are the best dishrags in the world. Everybody needs to wash dishes and wipe down the counter tops, right?

I'd also like to share something else I make that are very useful. Beaded bookmarks:

I call these my "Page and Line Bookmarks." This unique little bookmark will not only mark your page, but also the exact line where you stopped reading! Just slide the clip onto the side of the page right on the line of text when you are done. There...your place is marked in style! I suggest using the short end of the clip for marking your place. That makes it easy to remember. I have three of these to give away to three lucky winners. Each bookmark is different.

I am looking forward to visiting your blogs in the days ahead. Will I get to all thousand plus? I hope so!

From Mimi...
I’m delighted to be participating with Nana in the One World One Heart project. Our little blog is brand spanking new…just a week old, but we’re ready to say, “Hello world,” and open our doors to all.

Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian is the creator and host of One World One Heart. She started this blogosphere event in 2007 as a way for creative bloggers around the world to meet and share their passions and artistic endeavors. Over a thousand bloggers from all avenues of the artistic realm have signed up to take the Magic Carpet excursion from one blog to another.  You can find the list of participants on her blog.

If you want to hop on the Magic carpet, just leave a comment, but you must be an active blogger to win. If you’re a winner, one of us, Nana or I, will leave a comment on your blog giving you the good news. We’ll be drawing numbers for winners after 5pm on February 15th and then scurry to the winners’ blogs to leave a message, so you can get back with us with your information.

I love pink roses…I mean I REALLY LOVE pink roses. I bought a fresh bouquet of charming polyantha roses in the sweetest pink color and I just had to photograph them. I’m sharing my love of photography and roses with the world…one winner will receive an 8x10 print of Roses for Elizabeth Barrett Browning and another, Art & Roses.

I’m looking forward to a whirlwind week of reading new blogs, meeting new friends, and exploring the blogosphere through One World One Heart.


Saturday, February 6, 2010.....Nana says...

                                              It's Still Winter Here

   I'm so glad January is over and done with. Now February. We have just celebrated Ground Hog Day and Imbolc. What ever channel we tune in to, we all recognize the returning of the light and the quickening within the earth.

   Clearly there is beauty in winter. Am I glad I live in an area on this planet where I get to experience the seasons? Usually, yes.

"The snow doesn't give a soft white damn who it touches."
e.e. cummings

I have no profound point to make. I'm just sayin'... It's still winter here.