Friday, June 28, 2013

Garden Finds

Lately it has been all about my garden. This is the first year in a long time that I have found enjoyment in my garden.

I am joining Kim Klassen's Friday Finds to share some recent finds for my garden.

I saw this ice cream parlor stool last week when I visited our downtown Antique store. At the time I past it by because I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I went back yesterday hoping that it was still there, and it was. I am not going to set this out in my garden, but it will be handy for still life shots especially those including flowers from my garden. I liked this stool in particular because it is flat on top, many stools have a dip in the middle so things don't sit flat and level.

I have been working really hard on one particular area in my garden (separate post to follow next week) so I have been busy filling it with new floral finds from my local outdoor garden center.

These are my most recent floral finds:

Aster 'Wood's Pink'

I love poppies.

Lady's Mantle.

Coreopis 'Mercury Rising'

Crimson Scabiosa

 Physostegia "Miss Manners"

This one is for Cathy Hubmann, a fellow mushroom lover.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

There She Goes Again...

She is off on another adventure.
And with her goes a piece of my heart.

See you in four weeks in Montana my darling!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Gift of Quality Time

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman reveals how different people express love in different ways. There are five specific languages of love, they are:
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
Now granted Dr. Chapman has written this book about languages of Love between spouses or significant others, but these love languages can be applied to any relationship.

I have known for quite some time that my language for feeling loved is Quality Time. Dr. Chapman describes Quality Time as giving someone your UNDIVIDED attention. "A central aspect of Quality Time is Togetherness". Togetherness can mean doing an activity together were we are giving the other person our full attention. For me that can mean going wine tasting with my husband or being out on the golf course together (I don't golf, I just drive the cart, so no frustrations on my part). My Quality Time with Mallory can be a day of shopping, sitting at the beach, or just talking about life long after our lunch is finished.

Last week, Mallory gave me the best gift of Quality Time. A day spent together, a day we call "One More Thing" day. It got that name because that was the title of a note she gave me about "one more thing" added to my Mother's Day gifts a few years ago. It is a day she plans, pays for, and surprises me with each year.

Our day began with five numbered envelopes...

Envelope #1 revealed...

A walk along Lake Michigan. We probably walked for 45 minutes, spending time together, talking and stopping to take pictures now and then.

Envelope #2 revealed...

We didn't do this right a way. We saved it for the following night.

Envelope #3 revealed...

Lunch out. The first place I chose didn't work out since their kitchen was closed for remodeling :(
Although we found a better option in the end. We went to a restaurant called City Vu, which is exactly how it sounds. It is on the top floor of a downtown hotel, lovely views of the city and we were able to sit outside on the patio, perfect temperatures.

Envelope #4 revealed...

Something we have talked about doing for the last three years, an inside tour of the Felt Mansion. If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that I went to the Felt Mansion this Spring for a photo walk of the outside of the estate. Now I finally got to tour the inside, and yes there are pictures. I am saving those for a separate post.

#5 The final envelope...

The perfect way to end the day...

This has been my favorite "One More Thing" day yet. Since Mallory had a job this summer she had a little more cash to plan something a little more elaborate than in past years, but ultimately it isn't about the money spent it is the Quality Time spent together that makes this the best gift.

What do you think your language of Love is?

This was a BIG Photo Heart Connection for me this month. Joining Kat Sloma for June's Photo-Heart Connection link up.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Birthday in {Instragram} Pictures

I am trying to force myself to use my iPhone more for pictures. It is so convenient to use it since it is always with me, but I really like my big girl camera. I feel when I use my iPhone that I have reverted back to my little camera point and shoot days.

For my birthday this week I purposely left my DSLR home and shot only with my iPhone for the whole day. Since I wanted to capture the memories of the day I knew that I would be forced to use it.

FARMER'S MARKET - Mallory and I spent the morning at the Farmer's Market.

Yummy Fresh Strawberries

Nearing the end of the Asparagus season

LUNCH - We had a tasty lunch at home complete with cookies from the Amish girls' stand at the Farmer's Market. Chocolate Cherry. Yum!

GRAND HAVEN - We spent the afternoon in Grand Haven, shopping...

Eating Ice Cream...

And RIDING THE TROLLEY, a yearly summer tradition we have done since Mallory was 2 years old. 

Age 2

Age 19

Someday I am going to go through all our pictures and find one of Mallory each year on the trolley. That will be a fun trip down memory lane. I really need for her to stop growing up!

To end the day Glen met us in Grand Haven for supper, which I had intentions of taking pictures of, but once the food arrived I forgot all about taking pictures. Something I need to work on before the trip to Montana.

I know that there is a lot more that I can do with my phone, but for me this is a good start, and I didn't want to overwhelm myself with all the different apps, so I just kept it simple. A little Camera+, Snapseed, PicTapGo, and Instragram.

I am seriously considering taking Big Picture Classes Phone Photography Project which starts July 1 and runs the whole month of July. I love learning new things, and I know that my iPhone is going to be instrumental for posting pictures while we are on vacation. So a word of warning to my followers on Instragram you might be seeing a whole lot more of me over the next month.

BTW - If you want to follow me on Instragram and watch my (hopeful) progress, I am at (what else but) paisleyrainboots. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Searching for the Perfect Cookie

I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the Summer of Color prompts for this week. The color combination this week was Hot Pink and Orange.

The orange was going to be a bottle of my favorite childhood orange soda. The hot pink was going to be a icing topped, buttery, melt in your mouth sugar cookie from my favorite local bakery.

The soda was easy enough. I picked that up when I got groceries earlier in the week. The cookie, in my true procrastinating style, I put off getting until today, Friday. Well guess what my favorite local bakery didn't have this morning when I walked through the door? Yep, my hot pink iced, melt in your mouth cookie.

Crap! So what was I suppose to do now? I was not going to let go of my vision for this color combination. So I tried one other local bakery, no hot pink cookies. At this point I was getting desperate, so I even tried the grocery store bakery.

As I was staring at the only hot pink thing in the grocery store bakery case, some mini cupcakes with hot pink frosting and sprinkles, I had a brilliant idea. I would make my own hot pink frosted sugar cookies. 

So I bought some ready for the oven sugar cookies, white frosting and neon pink food coloring.

And I made my own hot pink frosting...

Maybe I didn't find the "perfect" cookie for this color combination, but thanks to photography which forces me to be creative and blogging that allows me to tell the story, I may have come up with something even better than I had originally planned. 

Joining up with Kristin at Twinkle, Twinkle for the Summer of Color 2013 and
Kim Klassen for Friday Finds

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Life Half Lived...

Today is my birthday. I am now 45 years old.

With the life expectancy getting closer and closer to 90 these days, I have only lived half my life so far. I can choose to look at that as half my life is past or that I have half to live yet. Since I am more of a glass half full girl, instead of a glass half empty, I am going to look at all the exciting possibilities ahead.

Last year I made a list of 44 Things that I wanted to accomplish while I was 44 years old. I came up a bit short, but I found some of them weren't that important as the year went along. Some of them the circumstances just didn't work out right. I got 26 out of the 44 Things crossed off my list.

This year I making a smaller but broader range list, some are left over from last year's list and some are new. A Bucket List for the second half of my exciting life.

  • Watch a Sunrise
  • Continue to improve my photography and writing skills through the platform of my blog(s).
  • Visit more National Parks (I have been to nine so far, I will be adding 2 more this summer)
  • Finish visiting the other 14 Ottawa County Parks that I haven't been to yet.
  • Spend a whole summer on the Leelanau Peninsula
  • More wine tasting adventures with Glen, this is one of my favorite things to do together
  • Europe - Scotland and Ireland, revisit England and France's Normandy region
  • Facetime or Skype or visit in person with more of my blogging friends
  • Go away by myself for a couple of days to take pictures and write. This could be a yearly adventure
  • Tenting - if this year's trip goes well, I would love for Glen and I to do more of this kind of traveling, with some hotels thrown in for a good sleep and clean up
  • Be the Grandma to my future grandchildren that I wished I had been able to have
  • Visit Disney World many more times
  • Continue working out and keeping my body healthy and strong
  • Maybe...learn to play golf
  • Dabble more in mixed media art

If I thought about it long enough I am sure that could up with a ton more things.
It is very interesting looking at this list, I see myself becoming exactly who I want to be. This might be the clearest definition of myself that I have ever had: someone who loves to travel, photograph, write, be active and healthy, spend time with her family, learn new things and continue to build wonderful, new friendships. I might finally be able to write that "About Me" page for my blog.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Girl with the Paisley Rain Boots

I didn't conscientiously set out to become the girl with the Paisley Rain Boots. Yet somehow, thanks to a self-portait class where in the beginning I only had enough confidence to take pictures of my feet, a rainy Spring and colorful rain boots, that is what I have become. I got so many compliments of those boots that I decided to use them as a springboard for a blog. A blog that could be as diverse as I am, where I could photograph and write about anything and everything.

This past week in the blogging class that I am taking, Susannah Conway's Blogging from the Heart, we talked about branding and how it related to us and our blogs. I have to be honest, I have never given  branding and how it related to me a single thought, but as we delved in the topic, what she had to say made a lot of sense.

I guess I have not thought about branding because I am not selling anything and don't have any current plans to sell anything, but who's to say that might not change in the future. 

The definition of brand:  Brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those of other sellers"[1] Initially, Branding was adopted to differentiate one person's cattle from another's by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal's skin with a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in businessmarketing and advertising. A modern example of a brand is Coca Cola which belongs to the Coca-Cola Company.

Susannah made some very good points about branding your blog and your on-line presence as a whole:

  • If there is something that recognizable about you, use it across all your social media platforms.
  • Use the same photo of yourself across all your social media platforms. I know that there was at  least three or four different profile pictures of me out there, and only my Facebook one was current. I fixed that this week.
  • Think about your color scheme, if you have one that distinguishes you, use it in all social media. For me it would be blues and greens. 
  • Be consistent with your bio that you write on your blog and share shorter versions of that in the rest of your social media. 

So these Paisley Rain Boots have become my recognizable identity. I know this is true because of a comment I got on my blog recently from the teacher of one of the classes I was taking, she is not a close and personal on-line friend. She said "And those rain boots are so YOU! I would recognized them anywhere as yours. I hope I don't ever meet someone else with them, or I will have to tell them to return your boots to you".

What people have come to expect when they see those rain boots are some decent photos and a story written from the heart.

Now if only I could get Bogs, the makers of my boots, to recognize me :) I would love to be a rain boot tester for them.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Finding - Citron Green and Turquoise

This summer I have fallen in love with color thanks to Maggie Holmes and the Big Picture Class - Finding Your Photo Style. It is funny when I first looked at the styles of the six photographers teaching this class, Maggie's was the style that I identified with the least. It is a good thing I have an open mind :)

Recently I came across a Summer of Color Blog Party at Twinkle, Twinkle. I knew then that this was meant to be my summer of color and possibly my new photo style.

I had some fun this afternoon playing with Citron Green and Turquoise which was the color pairing for the first week of Summer of Color. I have been on the look out for things with these colors all week.

I am also joining Kim Klassen for Friday Finds. I found the perfect Citron Green pear at the grocery store on Monday. I have been keeping it nice and cold in the refrigerator to help it retain it's color.

The turquoise heart I found in a cute little gift shop this spring. The burlap is actually a bag that use to hold coffee beans. The wooden box in the background is a fruit box that I found at my favorite antique store.

I also had some fun playing with Kim's textures. This one has Sybil and Portrait. I tend to like a heavier texture look, the only thing I masked off is the pear.

**Note to self - next time remember to switch your camera back to RAW mode instead of medium format jpeg.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Adventure Dogs

Yesterday - Mallory, the dogs and I set out for an Adventure Day

We were going to my little slice of Heaven here on earth, the Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Lower Michigan. More specifically we were on a M-22 adventure. M-22 is quite a famous scenic route running through the Leelanau Peninsula and the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted Good Morning America's "Most Beautiful Place in America" in 2011.

I had plans to take oodles of photos to document our adventure, but I knew that could prove to be a challenge with the dogs along. We don't usually take them on these kind of outings, where there will be quaint little towns and shopping involved. They go when we have a day of State Parks and hiking planned.

You see, they are Golden Retrievers and they get VERY excited when they go new places and see lots of people. They think that everyone wants to pet them and they want to be everyone's new best friend.

So I conscientiously put my camera away for the day (I did get a few shots here and there) and made the day as calming and enjoyable as possible for them. You see, Riley will be 11 at the end of month and Scout is 10, so just never know how many summers they have left to enjoy a day like yesterday.

After arriving in Leland, my favorite quaint touristy town, we got their initial excitement worked out of them in a cute little park. After that we were able to browse fairly easily. One of us would stay outside with them while the other went in and looked around. Scout was quite content to sit ON the bench with me, while Riley was a bit more antsy always looking for someone to pet him, but in general he sat or laid down.

We ordered bag lunches from The Village Cheese Shanty and took them to a nearby beach to have a picnic. That went extremely well. I had packed their food and water, and by the time they were done eating they were tired and content to lie under the picnic table while we ate our sandwiches.

After lunch we turned them loose on the beach. This is one of those tucked out of the way beaches that only the locals know about. Great expanses of sand and water, and very few other people around. They ran with the wind lifting their floppy ears, they chased after sticks thrown into the water, and rolled in the sand with great abandon. They lived their lives to the fullest yesterday.

We took two tired, wet and sand saturated Golden Retrievers home last night.

My kitchen floor has a fine coating of sand on it this morning, but that's okay. I have always wanted to have a beach cottage, where two happy Golden Retrievers are always tracking in beach sand after a perfect day of frolicking on the shore. Today I am pretending that I have that beach cottage.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Summer List

Every summer we make a Summer Bucket List of all the things we want to do during this much too short of a season. Sometimes it is just a mental list we make in our heads, and then sometimes it is an actual written list.

This year it is a physical list.

The list always includes yearly favorites that have become a tradition like a KFC picnic lunch at the beach. Mallory and I use to always do this the last day of school. We can't do this on the last day of school anymore since the last day is in the beginning of May and it is in Upper Peninsula. Generally it is a little chilly for a picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Superior in the beginning of May.

A new favorite of mine that developed a couple of years ago is my mother's day present called the "One More Thing Day". It got that name because it was an additional note added to my presents one year with a description of a whole day planned out and paid for by Mallory.

We have added a few new adventures this year, like a baking afternoon, and a visit to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

I know that not all of these things will get crossed off of our list. Summer is too short, and she will be leaving for Montana at the end of this month.

I also know that this will probably be the last summer of these adventures. Next year as she nears the end of her college life, she will need to focus on getting an internship somewhere and I know that won't be near to home. My heart breaks...yet it is filled with joy. She has a very bright future ahead of her.

So for now I am doing to treasure every one of these adventures with my girl, and take an outrageous number of photographs to document these wonderful moments in time.