Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Blooming Picasso

Parker painted his first oil painting today. It was a collaborated effort between to two of us....but I'm just tickled with the end results. I gave him three colors and told him to fill in all the white area....and he did just that!! He swooshed and whooshed and made all kinds of artist noises. It was wonderful. I finished it with the heart. Very little work on my part. Valentines day is my least favorite holiday, but it doesn't stop me from decorating for it!

Monday, January 28, 2008

And Baby Makes Three

She was my first.....my first maternity shoot. Poor thing I think I wore her completely out...stand here, stand there, sit here, sit there, climb these stairs...oh and help me move this trunk because I think it would look perfect.....I hope she took good long nap after I left. She was a beautiful mother-to-be. First time mother to be. Oh the excitement in that! The joys of the unexpected and the unknown. Look how peaceful and serene she looks...... I am so thankful I got to capture this for her, because in 6 short weeks her life will be completely different.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shawna's Zucchinni Bread

I got this recipe from a friend of mine....and little did she know how much I love zucchini bread. These two loaves were gone at mine house in less than a day. I know, I know, we were hungry sugar monsters this past weekend. I want you to admire the beautiful chocolate chips in the moist beautiful bread. It's making your mouth water isn't it? After she sent me this recipe she asked....is "Pay it Forward" from the movie?....my response "Yes...have you seen it?" It the occurred to me that not everyone would know what "Pay It Forward" was.

"Pay It Forward" was a movie from about 8 years ago that little Haley Joel Osmont played in. About the same time he was seeing dead people. I'm one of those people that cry uncontrollably at movies. I used to try to hold it it as to not be embarrassed or to embarrass the poor soul sitting next to me...but I just can't do it anymore. I cry. I cry rivers at sad movies. Anyhoo...the movie is about a little boy who starts a movement to help other people. He helps three people do something big and those three people help three other people and so on and so on. Here is the full synopsis: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/

Anyway..enough about sappy movies. On to the good stuff. Thank you so much Shawna for the Zucchini Bread recipe!!! I don't normally put chocolate chips in with bread, so thanks for making me see the light....it makes it FANTASTIC!!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes 2 loaves
3 Eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 package (6 ounces) miniature chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Beat together eggs, sugar and oil
3. Add zucchini and remaining ingredients, mixing well
4. Bake in well greased loaf pans for 1 hour

Week 4: Words

I fudged a little this week and changed it to "letters", but at the end of my project I will be able to spell any word I want. I have decided to help Parker with learning letters by trying to find every letter of the alphabet made out of things that aren't really letters. I'm sure you've seen this many times by several photographers, (you can find the one endorsed my Oprah and Martha Stewart here http://www.createsticksandstones.com/ ) so...... I had to try my hand at it as well.

I decided this week I needed Parker's initials. The "P" and the "J" were a piece of cake. The "K" was another story. I found it at the Eagles Nest, and if any of you have been to Cheyenne, the Eagles Nest is a grungy, dirty bikers bar. All I could think of when I was standing outside was that some HUGE biker man would come outside and ask me what in the world I was doing. I would have to explain that the nasty, rusty scaffolding I was admiring made the perfect letter "K" and I had to have a photo. And then I would have been thrown with one hand into oncoming traffic for seeming so ridiculous. So...I waited until bright and early Sunday morning when I knew that the biker men wouldn't be there and got the perfect letter "K".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mother and Child Reunion

All I really wanted was a little shot with my son today. Nothing much. We had cute t-shirts on and were spending the whole day together, just the two of us, so I thought to myself "it would be so great to have a picture together." (I have exactly three pictures of us together...pretty sad). So I got everything ready. Even tried a backdrop (which is a HUGE pain sometimes), got the tripod up...set him where he was suppose to stand and all I got was a MASSIVE crying fit. He DID NOT want to hold my hand. He DID NOT want to stand next to me and show off our cute t-shirts. About 6,585,258 "no no no's" later I did get this. Not the greatest by any means, but it's us together.
I actually really liked the following picture. It's a good portrayal of what it's like to have a two year old....at least at my house...and it's a good portrayal of what I look like most of the time...

Well....since Park wasn't cooperating...someone else was. My little butterbean. Look how lovely he looks. Just lovely.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

He looks seemingly like a normal two year old here. Ornery....like he's up to something, but for the most part...normal.And then he looks like this...so..... I don't know......HILARIOUS!!

and again.....only with a little more neck stretch. Poor kid, his mom not only has to embarrass him on the world wide web, but will probably have 16x20 prints of these made and leave them hanging in the house until he's 30. Poor thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

White Narcissus

White Narcissus. They are such a joy to grow in the winter. I've been growing them just in rocks and water for the past couple of years. It gives me just a little taste of spring that I yearn for so much this time of year. These flowers are very potent though, and I imagine anyone with allergies might have problems with them. They are little and delicate and peaceful.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Year

I've had the pleasure to photograph this little one from when she was 8 weeks old, every month.......

Until now, when she is nearly one year old. I almost didn't recognize her when I walked in the door as she was bald the last time I saw her. This is why I love doing what I do....because I get to see this.... growth and pure cuteness oozing out of every inch of her body. I've never, ever been able to get this one to smile, someday though, I know I will. But until then, these kind of expressions will have to do!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stephanie's Hawaiian Chicken

I have received the most awesome response with recipes and today I'm sharing one from someone I've never had any correspondence with whats-so-ever and from the bottom of her heart she decided
to give this recipe to a complete stranger. How awesome is that!!!! (I over use the word "awesome" sometimes, so you will have to just bear with me), but seriously...that's just AWESOME!!

This one was soooo good and so very easy. It does take a little bit of time, but what are Sunday's for? It's suppose to be served over rice, but my polish brain left the rice back at the grocery store. Honestly, I didn't think it needed rice, it was fantastic without it.

So Stephanie from MD, you're awesome and thank you for sharing this with me!!

Hawaiian Chicken

4 chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
1 bottle of Russian dressing
1 jar of apricot preserves
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1/4 cup water
1 can of pineapple slices
1 bell pepper (I used red)
Mix the dressing, preserves, soup mix and water. Add chicken and marinate for at least an hour. (I let mine set a little longer because I had people to see and things to do......)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is heated, cover the chicken in a caserole dish and bake for 1 hour. After one hour, remove the cover and add the pineapple slices and the bell pepper. Return to the oven and cook for 30 more minutes (uncovered)
Serve over rice.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Week 3: Photoshop Before and After

Driving home to my parents house I always go by this little red barn. So I decided one day that I needed to stop and take its portrait. When I got home and uploaded the images I hated them. There were sooooo many things wrong with them. Phone lines, shadows in the corners, ugly snow....... basically everything. I discarded and decided they weren't worth my time, however today they were perfect for the project.The below is a photo straight out of the camera. Boring and ugly.

So for the sake of showing you what photoshop can do, I cropped, tooked out the phone lines, converted to black and white (using a gradient map), adjusted the tones and added a vingette to the border of this photo. Ordinarily I don't take this much time or do that much to a photo. I'm a firm believer in getting it right in the camera, or only doing things that can be done in an actual dark room (don't get me wrong though, with the right photo, hours can be wasted just trying to make it what you want) ......but isn't amazing what is available, and what you can do? I love how rustic this came out.

Or if you wanted to be a real fancy pants and make it really rustic change the tones completely.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Worth It

The hard work, the obstacles, the accidents, the time-outs, the "no mommy's", the food throwing are all worth it when you get be a part of this kind of peace.......

The Bathroom Debacle

First of all, I'd like to say, that I love home improvement. I think it's so gratifying when everything is done and you can say that you did this with your own hands and sweat. Home improvement with couples working together often times doesn't work out to well, so here at my house we normally have separate tasks. Tiling the bathroom floor is not one of my tasks (though I would gladly do it). 2 hours into the project, after the toilet and the washer and dryer had been moved out I checked into to see how the floor was coming up. There was exactly 1 square inch done and my husband was already flushed in the face from the hard work. The linoleum had been glued in every square inch and had to be pried off by every tiny square inch. So.....I lent a hand and 6 hours later the linoleum was up (after using a galloon of paint remover to loosen the glue and loosing A LOT of brain cells in the process).

The tiling itself went pretty quickly (I didn't do the actual tiling, it's not one of my tasks), but it was done early the next day. Later that night the toilet needed to be put back into place. However the bolts that hold it there were not long enough anymore...quite a dilema. Bolt extensions were bought but the holes in the toilet were not big enough anymore. So while I was relaxing around bedtime my husband came and laid by me....looking sheepish....here's the conversation that followed:

"what did you break"
"what did you break"
"the holes weren't big enough"
"what did you break"
"so I tried to chip them away and make them bigger"
"how broken is it"
"the holes are definately bigger"
"how broken is it"
"it's in a few pieces"
"how many pieces"
"about a thousand"

so the next day we became proud owners of a new engery saving toilet. We've gone green...so that's good in the long run. The toilet is in with some help from our wonderful friend John (who has been a savior to us), and our bathroom is done.

This is my husband's bathroom by the way...if it were mine, it would be a little more foo fooey. Men don't really like foo foo, but at least there's fancy towels in there right?

And here is the new throne. Beautiful, isn't it? (Pay no attention to the overwelming amount of air freshener pictured)

Monday, January 14, 2008


This little man was the most awesome baby on the planet. I've never seen a baby be so freely open to smiles and happy as a lark with this complete stranger in his face. (Hopefully I will be able to do this more for him) He was cuddly. He was happy. He was entertaining. He was blissfully wonderful to shoot and he really did make my day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Week 2: Focus into 2008

How's this for stepping out the box? I have a small soft spot for Ford Focus's. I got to spend a week in one while traveling in Ireland on crazy, winding, narrow roads once. Heck some of the time was spent driving on the sidewalks.We managed to stuff 20 bags of luggage, all of our puchases and ourselves into this tiny little car. (those who know me know that I don't travel all that lightly, though I've gotten a little better over the years) Since then I have always thought fondly of them.

This shows exactly how aperture works. See how the "F" and the "O" are the only thing in focus, I was using a very small aperture (2.8) thus that only leaves a very small amount of the picture that actually is in focus.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peanut Butter Balls

Pay it forward with food is working!!!! This is a recipe from a fellow photographer from Florida. We call her Luny, but her real name is Amy. She runs Sun and Sand photography in Florida (there's a link to her blog and webpage at the bottom of this entry) and is completely awesome as a photographer and a person, and I would like to say to Amy...thank you so much for this recipe!!! It's so wonderfully peanutbuttery good! I can't believe I've never had them. Mixing them was quite a task, but if you've made popcorn balls, then you'll have no problem at all.

So without further hesitation....

Peanut Butter Balls

Mix 1 bottle of karo syrup and 1 cup of sugar in a pot on the stove (add the sugar when the karo starts to get tiny bubbles... then stir until almost clear....)
Turn off heat when clear.
Add jar of peanut butter (medium size) and mix thouroughly.
Add 1 medium size box of Corn Flakes. (Generic just won't do)
Mix with your hands - I have broken wooden spoons and cheap plastic ones!!!
Make into what ever size balls you like.
Let cool.Enjoy.
Try to eat only one!

She's right....you can't just eat one...I've already had three today. Guess I'll be at the gym a little longer tomorrow....oh well, it's totally worth it Amy!!!



Friday, January 11, 2008

Back lighting

I've been working on trying new things this year and will continue to do so throughout the year. Today it was backlighting. It's kinda tricky that's for sure, but I've found a few tricks to help me out. This is my second try at backlighting. The first was the little picture of me in the corner. Technically these aren't the most fantastic, there's hot spots everywhere, but practice makes perfect I guess. I thought these would make an especially cheery shot...which they did.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I just couldn't stand it anymore...I needed a model before I went crazy. So, this morning I drug one of my beautiful co-workers (who I've been threatening with my camera for months now) outside in below zero weather and made her stand there for me without a coat on. I'm so mean......but it was sooo worth it. She has one of the greatest personalities that I've ever seen. She's funky and cool. She uses words like "shazam" ....and you can't help but say "shazam" the whole day because it's such a fun word to use, only you have forgotten that it's so fun. And look at her smile...it's fabulous!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Now I know that this looks like just another Parker post...which it is, in a way. Except they are taken with my new 40D and the ISO on them is 640 (which is pretty amazing considering there is hardly any grain at all.) AMAZING. Oh and the only way I could get him to cooperate at all was to bribe him with a huge cup of hot chocolate.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Creative Wrapping

Well I've seen things wrapped in a brown paper bag before. I've seen things wrapped in old newspaper comics. I've been given gifts wrapped in Christmas paper from 1979 and in the same shoe box that had been circulating for 10 years in a row, but I have never been given a gift wrapped in a street map. Nor have I ever seen a bow made of a street map as well....thank you Marcie for being so unbelievably clever to do this for me. I was almost more excited about the wrapping than I was about the gift inside....okay not really....but almost!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Loving a Grain of Rice

The first time I saw my son he was the size of a grain of rice.....a grain of rice with a heartbeat. I had been having complications early on in my pregnancy and was in the hospital ER in a dark cold room with my husband looking at our son for the first time. I was told later on that night that he had a 50/50 chance of making it and the only thing I could do was wait. That was the night I knew I was really going to be a mom and maybe an OK one at that, because it was then that I would have done anything humanly possible to make sure my grain of rice was safe......something only a mom would do. I had been hooked up to IV's for severe dehydration (I hadn't been able to keep even a glass of water down for more than a week) and then sent home early in the morning for bed rest for a few days. I called my parents the next day telling them I had been in the hospital . That was also the way I had to tell them I was having a baby. Not the exactly the way I had envisioned telling grandparents to be that they were going to be just that. I took a phenegran to stop the sickness and woke up 14 hours later to the sound of my mother cleaning something, a lamp shade or something, in my room. I never took another phenegran after that.....but was so happy my mom was there. She laid in bed with me for a while, asking me over and over if I was SURE if I thought I could keep this or that down. I now understood why she worried so much...it's hard not to. I was just glad she was there.

Well..... this is my grain of rice. He's two years old today.