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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

March 6, 2015 Edition Model Tyra Banks coined the word “smize.” According to one of her websites, the word means: a fierce, sizzling eye expression, typically with the eyes squinting with maximum focus and intensity; the art of smiling with one’s eyes. So what’s a girl to do when she has a camera-toting grandmother? Why, she poses, of course! As I propped up six-month-old Charlotte on a chair for a 30-second photo shoot, she “smized” into the camera. I told her, “Tyra Banks would be so proud of you!” Life flies by and babies grow up fast. Don’t forget to smile through your eyes and take photos of your journey!

#1 – Photographing Kids
13 Tips for Better Pictures of Babies, Toddlers and Teenagers Photographing kids takes skill and a little bit of luck. For those of you who take photos of your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews read professional photographer Brett Harkness’s 13 Tips For Better Pictures of Babies, Toddlers and Teenagers.

#2 – Easter Crafts
Upcycling Empty Egg Cartons Easter is a month away. As you think ahead to dying Easter eggs, also think ahead to what you will do with the empty egg cartons. Discard them? Never! Here are a few cute ideas for upcycling those cartons.

#3 – Those Downtime Thoughts
Bizarrely Odd Shower Thoughts Some of my best blog ideas come to me while I blow-dry my hair. It’s a mindless task, so my mind wanders freely. Bizarrely Odd Shower Thoughts is a compilation of those types of wandering thoughts. Where do you do your best and most creative thinking?

#4 – Flowers, Flowers Everywhere
Flowers Surviving Daffodils in full-bloom sprinkle the slope of my front yard with cheerful color and Daphne blossoms near my front door provide a heavenly fragrance to those who come visit. Plants bring so much joy to our world, especially those that manage to thrive in unusual conditions. Check out Life Finds A Way: 25 Plants That Just Won’t Give Up.

#5 – Smile
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

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Steller's Jay

Calls of “shaack shaack shaack!” interrupt the peace and quiet of the creek area behind my house. My eyes follow the sound and see blue-feathered birds swoop elegantly from tree branch to tree branch. Behaving as if they own the area, these noisy birds parade on my deck like beauty queens and scare off smaller birds from feeders. Teasing me with their frequent appearances, I go inside to get my camera. Ironically, the moment I step back outside, they are nowhere to be found. “Just one good photo of a Steller’s Jay, that’s all I want,” I think to myself. After waiting patiently for that one shot and then viewing the image on my computer, I know that a single photo of these striking birds will not be enough for me.

#1 – Is it Blue or Cerulean?
Color Thesaurus What color is the bird in the lead photo above? If your answer is like mine and you said blue, you may want to check out a color chart that young adult writer and illustrator Ingrid Sundberg created. Her Color Thesaurus gives specific names to shades and hues of colors. So, instead of describing the bird as just being blue, we can now say that it is a deep cerulean blue-colored bird with touches of cobalt and aegean.

#2 – Photos for Perfectionists
The Perfect Snowball Imagine a snowball that’s perfectly round. If you are a bit of a perfectionist, you will appreciate the shape of this snowball and the other 34 Photos That Will Satisfy All Perfectionists.

#3 – Growing Onions in a Plastic Bottle
Growing Onions Vertically Because I hate putting plastic products in the garbage and because I hate cleaning out my refrigerator and throwing away limp produce, the idea of growing green onions vertically in plastic bottles appeals to me. Having fresh green onions available at a moment’s notice and re-purposing a plastic bottle at the same time sounds like a win-win situation. Click here if you would like to learn more about this subject.

#4 – Mysteries of the Unseen World
In this TED Talk filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg provides us with glimpses of the incredible unseen world around us.

#5 – Do You Really See?
“The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”
Joseph B. Wirthlin

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January, 30, 2015 Edition My camera lens focuses on the distant reaches of my backyard. Trying to capture an image of a particular bird, I’ve been sitting motionless on a rock for about 10 minutes. I sense movement to my right and turn my head to see a squirrel perched on a nearby rock. The squirrel sits and stares at me as if to say, “What about me? Aren’t you going to take my picture?” I chuckle and say out loud, “Well, if you give me a smile, I’ll take your picture too.” Lo and behold, the squirrel smiles.

#1 – Connections Between Man and Nature
Artwork by Elicia Edijanto Indonesian artist Elicia Edijanto creates simple, yet emotional juxtapositions of humans and nature. More specifically, her delicate black and white watercolor paintings portray connections between children and animals. There is a certain vulnerability displayed in her work – not just that of the children, but also that of the majestic animals. Check out Striking Black-and-White Watercolors Depict Children and Wild Animals to see examples of her work.

#2 – Developing Gratitude
Squirrel in Tree Living a life of gratitude keeps me in the present. One of the things that I am grateful for right now is having the time and the wherewithal to pursue my hobbies – like sitting and photographing wildlife in my backyard. I appreciate that to do so is a luxury not afforded to everyone. What are you grateful for? Developing an attitude of gratitude does not come easy to everyone. If you need a little help, read 5 Ways to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude to get you thinking and start the process.

#3 – 36 Questions
36 Questions The title of an article in Psychology Today Want to Get Closer to Your Partner? Try These 36 Questions is slightly misleading. Sure, if you were to ask your partner any of the questions from the three sets of 12 questions, you would learn more about him/her and possibly become closer. But, I think the 36 questions are good thought-provoking questions that would shed light on anyone you want to know better – a friend, a co-worker, your children, etc. Try answering some of the questions yourself. Maybe in the process, you’ll learn something about yourself that you didn’t realize before. To provide you with a brief preview, here are the first questions from each set:

Set 1, Question 1: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Set 2, Question 13: If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?

Set 3, Question 25: Make 3 true “we” statements each. For instance ‘We are both in this room feeling … “

#4 – Valentine’s Day Food and Crafts
41 Heart-Shaped DIYs To Actually Get You Excited For Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day brings smiles to the faces of so many people. In a little over two weeks that special day will be here. For inspiration, take a look at these 41-Heart-Shaped DIYS to Get You Excited For Valentine’s Day and let the fun begin!

#5 – A Smile Is . . .
“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.”
Tom Wilson

“Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.”
Anthony J. D’Angelo

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
Phyllis Diller

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.”
Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Dandelion Waiting patiently in the gentle breeze, the white hair-like tufts of salsify plants sway to and fro. Suddenly, a perfect gust of wind releases them from their mother plant and they float effortlessly in the air, promising to fulfill their destinies. We are each blown to the “wind” to discover and create our own destinies.

#1 – Award-Winning Photos
Astonishing Award-Winning Photographs of 2014 To be in the right place at the right time and to be able to capture something extraordinarily special with a camera is what many photographers live for. I have an appreciation for photographers who travel, because through them the rest of us can see the world. Here are The Most Astonishing Photos That Won Awards in 2014.

#2 – One Piece of Advice
Advice That Changed Experts Lives Getting advice from fitness, nutrition, and health pros is interesting, but learning about what specific advice helped them the most is even more interesting. Check out We Asked 25 Experts for the One Piece of Advice That’s Changed Their Life the Most.

#3 – Another Tile Game
2048 Tile Game Take a break from what you are doing and play a game. Stand up, stretch, and be ready to sharpen your brain. A little while back, I linked to the K Tile Game. Now, I have discovered its numeral soul mate in the form of the 2048 Tile Game. Click on the link to play. Using the arrow keys on your keypad, manipulate the numbers in the grid so that similar numbers can touch and then merge. The goal is to get to the 2048 tile. Warning: this game is more challenging than the K Tile Game.

#4 – Mixing Reality With Fantasy
Realistic and Fantastical Art by Rob Gonsales When a realistic painting style collides with fantasy elements, you get the intriguing artwork of Rob Gonsales, a Canadian artist.

#5 – Let It Be
“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be . . . .”
John Lennon

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December 5, 2014 Edition While Charlotte sleeps peacefully in my arms, her tiny hand holds onto the drawstring of my sweatshirt. With this sweet little gesture, she might as well be holding onto my heartstrings. Heartstrings connect all of us together. Throughout the year and particularly during this holiday season, reach out to others and those less fortunate. Connecting heartstrings multiplies everyone’s joy.

#1 – Pieces of Wisdom
11 Pieces of Wisdom Certain to touch your heart are these 11 Pieces of Wisdom. With the accompanying back stories, this collection of quotes and sayings shows how people were inspired to alter their paths and change their lives.

#2 – It’s a Wrap
Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas
With 24 Cute And Incredibly Useful Gift Wrap DIYs you’re sure to find an idea that touches your creative side. Ideas range from printing your own fabric to making ribbons out of balloons.

#3 – What If The Lights Went Out?
What If the Lights Went Out? As I drove through the dark streets of my neighborhood after a sudden power failure, I wondered what major cities would look like without lights. Serendipitously, I came across this series of photographs of What Cities Would Look Like If We Turned Off The Lights. French photographer Thierry Cohen attempts to remind people “of the starry universe that surrounds them, even if they can’t always see it.” Referring to a typical city resident, he says, “To show him stars is to help him dream again.”

#4 – Tile Game
Tile Game Sometimes when I have a hard time falling asleep, I play computer games. When my eyes are tired, I become sleepy. Here’s a tile game that I just discovered. The deceptively easy goal is to move letters around in a grid until you get a letter K. Duplicate letters in proximity to each other can be combined to advance you to the next letter, but beware of the grid slowly filling up. Piece of cake? Not so. It takes a fair amount of strategy.

#5 – Give and Receive
“What comes from the heart, touches the heart.”
Don Sibet

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Dew Drops on Autumn Leaves Scan the sky and search the ground during autumn walks. Birds flying through crisp blue skies make their way south. Golden sunlight filters through trees, highlighting the angles of thinning branches. Falling leaves create gold, orange, and crimson-colored mosaics on streets and gardens. Rain drops cling to well-positioned surfaces and fresh air flows all around. Don’t miss one bit of this season’s show.

#1 – Gathering Words

While combing through a pile of books at a used book store, I came across a copy of Frederick by Leo Lionni. I already own a copy of this book, but because it’s a favorite of mine, I purchased it. My original copy of Frederick sits on a shelf with the books I will read to my grandchildren. The recently-purchased copy sits alongside my Greek worry beads and my “If I Only Had a Brain” music box. These three items form my writer’s block trinity. If you are looking for a gift for a child or any “word-gatherer,” I highly recommend this book.

It’s the story of a little field mouse named Frederick who gathers up supplies for winter in a different manner than the other mice. Rather than physically hauling scraps of food, Frederick gathers and stores words. For when cold winter days come and food runs out, Frederick uses his words to warm the little mice and renew their spirits. Bruno Bettelheim says in a review of this book, “The fable of Frederick, who is the dreamer among the little field mice, suggests the psychological truth that when we are in dire need, it is our dreams of happier times which alone can sustain us . . . A story about the glory of the human spirit.”

#2 – Describing Feelings
When children become frustrated and act out, adults will often say to them, “Use your words.” Whether you are a parent trying to help your child work out their frustrations, a writer describing a character’s emotions, or a person just trying to articulate what he feels, finding the exact words to use can be difficult. Take a look at This Vocabulary Wheel and chart and let them help you better define your feelings.Words to Describe Your FeelingsWords That Describe Emotions

#3 – Three-Ingredient Recipes
33 Three-Ingredient Recipes If making a Creamsicle Cake that requires only three ingredients sounds like a winning recipe to you, you might want to check out the other 3-ingredient recipes from 33 Genius Three Ingredients Recipes That Will Change Your Life.

#4 – Best of October

National Geographic: Best of October Photos

Photograph by Christian Spencer

The National Geographic Photo Contest ended in October. Photographers captured and submitted stunning images from around the world. Feast your eyes on some of the best submissions in Photo of the Day: Best of October.

#5 – Autumn Persuasion
“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn—that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness—that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
Jane Austen, Persuasion

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Early Morning Calm Like angels ascending to heaven, the morning mist lifts ethereally from the lake. A lone skiff floats through the mist and breaks the stillness of the glass-like water. The world is quiet and I am lost in my reverie. Fishermen arrive and set up their gear, but they do not disturb the peace I feel. The lake soon hums with activity, but the calm I felt during those precious early morning moments still flows through my blood and into my heart, setting the cadence of my heartbeat for the rest of the day.

#1 – A Small Portrait
Miniature Paintings by Lorraine Loots It takes calm nerves and a steady hand to paint paintings that are no larger than a small coin and are painted in a photo-realistic style. For each day of the year 2013, Cape Town-based artist Lorraine Loots painted a miniature painting. The paintings were for her project 365 Paintings for Ants and she is now working on a project called 365 Postcards for Ants. Watch the video to learn more about Lorraine and her work.

#2 – Making Clouds
Decorating With Clouds The introduction for this project from Oh! Crafts states, “Let your children fly their imagination in their own room with these great clouds hanging on the ceiling.” Forget about the kids! Adults need all the help they can get to fuel their imaginations, so go ahead and put up soft, billowy clouds in your home and make no excuses for them. And remember that clouds don’t always bring rain.

#3 – Your Green House
7 Easy DIY Green Home Solutions Get your head out of the clouds and start living a greener life. Follow these 7 Ways To Make Your Home a Greener Place and live with a “clean” conscience.

#4 – Answer These Questions
25 Questions To Ask People (And Yourself) “What does a perfect day look like to you?” I could easily answer question #24 of 25 Questions to Ask People, but I would have to stop and ponder my answers to some of the other questions. Whether you ask others or yourself these questions, the important takeaway from this article is not so much about asking the questions, but it’s more about learning to be a mindful listener. Listen to yourself, too.

#5 – Morning Thoughts
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

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Friday's Fresh Five! (10/17/14) “I know I can do this,” I say to myself as I try to swaddle my newborn granddaughter. Remembering what my son told me, I carefully lift one corner of the swaddling cloth and bring it over Charlotte and tuck it under her body. Then I secure her other arm by bringing the other corner up and wrapping it around her like I am making a burrito. While doing this, I think to myself, “Seriously, it’s not like I didn’t swaddle my own three children!” I finish tying up the loose ends and shout “Success!” Then, while watching Charlotte sleep, I see a slight movement under the cloth. Slowly, one tiny arm creeps up and before I know it my little Houdini-like granddaughter has escaped her swaddling confines. I’m afraid this grandmother’s swaddling skills are a little rusty!

#1 – Halloween Party Ideas
31 Halloween Party Ideas From Tip Junkie comes this frightfully fun collection of 31 Boo-worth Halloween Party Ideas and it’s just in time to help you plan a “spook-tacular” school party or a “spirited” evening with your favorite ghosts.

#2 – Interesting Person, Boring Life
Interesting Person, Boring Life Does fear control the choices you make in life? If you feel you are being held back from being the person you want to be or living the life you want to live, you might want to read Dr. Linda Sapadin’s article Interesting Person, Boring Life. Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

#3 – Playing With Clouds
Fun Cloud Photography Be what you want to be; see what you want to see. Have you ever looked at cloud formations and seen familiar shapes? In 18 Superbly Playful Photos of Clouds, imaginative photographers captured images of clouds in the most unique compositions.

#4 – Mariam Paré, Mouth-Painter
Mariam Pare, Mouth-Painter Fear turned to gratitude and joy, when artist Mariam Paré relearned how to paint. A victim of a random shooting, Ms. Paré became a quadriplegic at the age of twenty. Read her inspirational story of how she learned to paint with her mouth and see some of her works of art on her website.

#5 – A Chink In Your Armour, A Crack In Your Soul?
“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen

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Clouds and Wires What foolery is this? Wires strung above clouds? Reality? Trickery? Did I lay on my back while taking this photo or did I rotate the photo on my computer? Just a point in case on how perspective can slant your outlook on life. What is your perspective on life and do you ever question your viewpoint?

#1 – Five Questions
When my children were growing up, I insisted that we eat dinner together as a family, no matter the hour or the activities missed. It was the one time of the day we could all be together. These 5 questions from Anil Gupta of Mind Valley Academy would have provided food for thought for my kids. But, it is not too late. Regularly answering these types of questions can alter one’s perspective on life no matter your age. 5 questions to ask at the dinner table

#2 – Pumpkin Fun
Cute Pumpkin Decorating Ideas When does a pumpkin look like a caterpillar or Harry Potter? When you get your creative juices going and think outside the box! Here are some Unique Halloween Pumpkin Ideas to jump start your creativity.

#3 – Popular Countries
Take a guess as to which countries travelers frequent the most and then check out the chart below to see if you guessed correctly. You can see the top 50 on Movehub’s  Map of The Most Popular Countries In The World.

Map of Most Popular Countries

#4 – Body Art
Incredible Examples of Body Painting Art Artists sometimes play tricks with our minds. Not everything we see can be believed. These 30 Incredible Examples of Body Painting Art prove that point.

#5 – Perspective
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius

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October 3, 2014 Edition Drunk on milk, Charlotte sleeps contentedly in my mother’s arms. My dad looks on and says to me, “Right now, under this roof, there are four generations.” Remarkable indeed. Charlotte is blessed with four great-grandparents who love her and who will share their infinite wisdom with her. And because life is a two-way street, these great-grandparents receive blessings in return. A new baby in the family invigorates spirits, brings new meaning to life, and expands the capacity to love.

#1 – For Children’s Sake
16 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste A recurring discussion in my household pops up every time my husband tosses out something that can be recycled, upcycled, re-purposed, or re-used. I used to say to him, “Imagine what the world is going to be like for your grandchildren, if the majority of the people in this world are not more conscientious.” Now that we have a granddaughter, I say to him, “Think about the world you want Charlotte to live in.” Start today. Do your share. The children are counting on us. To that point, here are 16 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste.

#2 – Iris’s World
Iris Grace: 5 Year-Old Autistic Girl With a Gift Iris Grace is not your average 5-year-old. With an eye for color and movement, Iris paints “masterpieces” that are sold around the world. She is also autistic. Despite the fact that she barely speaks, she expresses herself beautifully through her artwork.

#3 – It’s Autumn
12 Before-And-After Photos of Autumn's Beautiful Transformations In the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox or the first day of autumn occurred last week. With 90-degree temperatures predicted for this weekend, it’s hard to make the transition from summer to autumn here. To help ease the transition, here are 12 Before-And-After Photos of Autumn’s Beautiful Transformations.

#4 – Best Friends
With the help of his cat-friend Pudditat, an old, blind and partially deaf dog named Tervel, can get around and enjoy the rest of his life.

#5 – Your World
“Children reinvent your world for you.”
Susan Sarandon

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