58/365 - Closing Ceremonies

10.02.28 - Closing Ceremonies

Today wraps up the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver. Over the past two weeks, we have watched great races, games and performances. Today's US vs Canada Hockey game was the culmination of the Games, a last minute goal to send it to OT and the Canadian team victorious in the end. Yes, I wish the US would have won, but what a great effort overall.


Winding Canes

I bet these roses are beautiful in the summer - several are trained along the fence at the horse stable. And since I'm here at least twice I week, I'll find out come June.

Winding Canes


57/365 - Daily Chore

One of my goals of P365 is to capture the Daily Aspects of My Everyday Life. Images that will illicit some sort of response when viewed years from now. The response could be a memory, a story, a feeling, and hopefully a smile.

A sub goal of P365 is to improve my photography - I actually take multiple pictures daily - one for P365 and the other for my photography blog. Another exercise to grow my skills is looking at other images, from photo blogs, magazines and books. While I peruse many photo blogs each day, I decided to check out some "coffee table" books this week, to get a different perspective. There's something about the physicality of a large book that slows you down, makes you thing about the image.

One of the books I checked out from the library is a beautiful homage to the diversity of Americans and their homes. I thought this would provide some inspiration for P365. The book, America at Home did just that.

For today, I decided to capture something I do almost every day at home - washing the dishes. This isn't a normal view, but one from the window looking in. I even managed to get Brian in one of the pictures, in his usual lazy Saturday afternoon get up of no shirt and shorts. Yes, even in the middle of winter.

10.02.27 - Wash Break

Daily Chore

What daily chore do you want to capture? Try to capture it with you in the action.


SOOC Saturday - Afternoon Sun

Yesterday's ample sunshine and blue skies lit up the prairie in the late afternoon. I was at the horse stable, where I saw the moon above the tree.

Afternoon Sun, Rising Moon

Hope your Saturday afternoon is sunny and serene!


56/365 and Weekly Gratitude - a Capella CDs

I loaned these CDs to a friend about a year ago and this week she returned them to me. Even though I had ripped and put all the songs on my iPod, the physical CDs reminded me of all the time, work, hours and dedication it took to create these recordings.

Voices Only

Even though I own all the studio recordings by The Chorallaries of MIT, the first two albums were just that - vinyl albums. Just two weeks ago, I received the digital versions of these two albums. I hadn't heard some of these songs in twenty years, yet, I could still sing my part to most of the songs from the first album:
Making It In Massachusetts - Chorallaries of MIT

So this little stack makes my Weekly Gratitude Entry:
Weekly Gratitude - a Capella


The Back Street View

I've taken plenty of night pictures of our lovely library. But not from the back.

Night Street View

I love the big expanse of windows on the second floor. We are very lucky to have such a nice facility.


Old and Aged

I had some fun playing with some Orchid pictures I took recently, aging them.

Aged Orchid

Aged through the power of software. If only real life were as easy as a couple clicks of the mouse.


55/365 - Winter Coaster Collection

Pretty self explanatory - we own a set of coasters for each season. This set started it all last year. I received these cute snowmen coasters during our Book Club's White Elephant Gift exchange. The kids love them.

10.02.25 - Winter Coaster Collection

We each have our assigned coaster - mine is the front right (holding the heart), Scott's is the front left, Erica's is the back at the top and Brian's is the back right (green scarf).

I think it is important to capture some of these little "details" - because I know the kids will remember these coasters when they get older (just like I still remember the plates we ate on growing up).


Tips for Project 365

Pool of Ice
A photo I took on Feb 10 - because I'm a firm believer that all blog posts need a photo!

Jessica Turner's blog post on this prompted me to share some tips for Project 365, or any similar type of project.

  • First off - Don't sweat it if you miss a day or two, or even a week - It's OK to have a gap. Just start again. But don't give up! It's OK to re-evaluate your project and tweak it so that it works for you.
  • Don't sweat it if the picture isn't perfect. Some of my most loved pictures certainly won't win any awards, but they are precious to me and represent a piece of my day. Because that's what I want to achieve with my P365 - a capture of my life.
  • Yes, carry that camera around EVERYWHERE. I take my DSLR practically everywhere! People around me don't even notice. I once pulled out my camera during a Book Club Meeting (we were at a restaurant) and my friend said "Where did that camera come from? Did you carry that thing in here?". Invariably, if I don't have my big camera, I will spot something that I want to take a picture of.
  • And when that happens, I use my iPhone's camera. Again, my goals for this project is to capture a bit of my every day life. Some of my iPhone pictures are pretty darn good!
  • Keep up with the downloading / editing. If you get behind, then don't edit - just use them SOOC. Try to print out the photos on a regular basis (this is something I am way behind on).
Hopefully, you can use these tips and keep trucking on those pictures! I'd love to hear additional tips in the comments section.

Keep clicking away!


Old and New - Vintage Texture

An example of how a texture can change the overall feel of a picture.

The before picture:
Old and New

With a Golden Hued texture added, Multiply Blending Mode at 70%:
Old and New - Vintage
Texture from ShadowHouse Creation's Heavenly Vintage Set

I love Vintage look of the 2nd picture - I think it fits the old look of the barn on the prairie.


54/365 - Complete Opposites

The kids decided to channel the gymnasts on Make It or Break It and turned the family room into a tumbling mat. They ran from foyer into the family room, vaulted off the couch and flipped in the air.

But all this activity resulted in some tired kids. Giving me an opportunity to capture both ends of the spectrum.

10.02.24 - Opposites


In Season

I spotted some red berries on a bush outside my violin teacher's house today.

In Season

Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 56 mm
ISO Speed: 200

I added two textures, both from Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations.
Old Brown Paper and Trashed Viewfinder

I need to start writing down the blending mode and opacity, but generally I use the Overlay and Soft light blending modes at 70-100%.


53/365 - Looking Outside

I wonder what she's looking at. Oh, probably Rascal, our other cat and Hannah's "nemesis".

10.02.23 - Who's Looking Outside?

You see, Rascal will actually venture outside during the winter months. Hannah's a little more, how shall we say, refined to subject her tender paws to the cold and snow. But I think she longs for the outdoors.

Soon, Hannah, soon.

Since my friends, Lindsay and Nadya, love to see pictures of Hannah, this one's for them!


Project 365 2010 - Week 7

Wow, how fast is the year zooming by - week 7 already! We are almost to the end of February, and I want to see some nicer weather.

And here's Week 7's summary of pictures:
P365 2010 - Week 7

Again, I created the mosaic of pictures using my flickr stream and the mosaic maker at Big Huge Labs. Then I added the date captions and text using the picnik editor that flickr links to. Super easy!

I hope your P365 is coming along well, and for other P365 Inspiration, head over to Jessica Turner's Blog and Project Life Tuesday.


52/365 - Monday Evening

Our routine Monday evening entertainment - a show about a group of gymnasts training for the Olympics and the drama associated with teenage athletes and their families.

10.02.22 - Monday Evening Entertainment

Tonight's drama - the group goes against the Established US National Gymnastics association by inviting the Chinese National Team to Colorado. Of course, there's subplots of entangled relationships and friendships. Typical soapy stuff. Erica's favorite show.


Sunshine Blog Award

My sweet friend, and super talented scrapper, Nadya, presented me with the Sunshine Blog Award.

What a great award that brightens up my day.

I get to pass the award on to 6 of my followers or friends.
I'm passing it onto:

Terri G

Thanks again, Nadya! You're the best!


I ♥ Faces - Hands-On-Fun

This week's challenge theme is "hands-on-fun" and no faces are required.

I took several music themed pictures over the weekend, so staying in that theme, I am submitting a picture of my hands (or fingers) playing violin:


There are so many fabulous entries at I ♥ Faces - go check them out and enter one of your pictures!


POTD - Out for Dinner

Confession - we rarely go out to eat as a family anymore, as just picking a place that the four of us agree upon requires a mediator these days.

But when I suggested one of the new restaurants in town, one that we hadn't tried yet, I obtained consensus from all family members. I guess the unknown is more palatable than the tried and true. Or maybe we all wanted to try something new.

For a "family style" restaurant that serves "breakfast all day long" and home-style meals like meatloaf, pot roast, and open face turkey sandwiches, the decor wasn't too homey or diner-like. In fact it was quite relaxing and elegant.

Out for Dinner
The lights above our table

And the food - yummy and down home, as prescribed. I think we may have agreement for future dinner outings.


Mosaic Monday - Music

For those who know me or have been around my blog know that I love music. I gathered up several pictures of music, my violin and piano for this week's mosaic.

Mosiac Monday - Music

Mary at This Little Red House hosts Mosaic Monday. Go and check out her beautiful mosaic of vintage greens, along with the other participants of Mosaic Monday.

Hope you have a day filled with beautiful music.


51/365 - 47 Baptisms

Wow, what an incredible sight. Two baptism troughs at the front of the worship hall, a 25 minute sermon and an impromptu call for baptisms. Over two services, 47 people came forward. As a frame of reference, the church baptized a little over 80 people in 2009.

10.02.21 - 47 Baptisms

I didn't have my camera at church, so no pictures except for this one I snapped later on in the day. But a tremendous day.


50/365 - Lego Building

We entered this weekend with a high possibility of snow, and sure enough, a fresh layer dusted the outside grounds (truthfully, I walked home through the falling snow at midnight, so I knew it would be there in the morning).

Fortunately, the "big storm" forecast for tonight didn't materialize and we should only receive rain.

So, another lazy Saturday afternoon, with Brian putting together some new Bionicles he purchased.

10.02.20 - More Bionicles

Yes, I know the picture is pretty crappy, but one of the things I've learned about Project 365 - the pictures don't have to be perfect - they just need to represent a bit of your day.


SOOC Saturday - Mosaic Tiles

I love the colors, shapes and pattern of our mosaic tiled table.

SOOC Saturday - Mosaic Tiles

I'm joining Melody at Slurping Life today for SOOC Saturday. Of course, today's picture is SOOC. Perhaps you will join in, too.


49/365 - Lively Book Club Discussions

Kellie hosted our monthly book club meeting tonight and she ordered a red velvet cake, custom decorated in the image of the book's cover:

10.02.19 - Book Club Discussions

My Little Red Book, edited by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, is a collection of short stories, revolving around the first periods from women around the world, of current and past generations. Many funny, some sad, some happy, stories all women can relate to, especially those with daughters.

And contrary to popular belief, we DO discuss the books during our meetings, and tonight's discussion proved to be most interesting, educational at times and quite "colorful". With the lively discussions, the time passed so quickly - we didn't leave until after midnight.

If you have a young daughter, the book is a must read and a great conversation prompt when your daughter starts to grow up.


Weekly Gratitude - Lavender

A favorite scent - so relaxing and soothing.
Weekly Gratitude - Lavender

I even planted several Lavender plants in front of the house. In the summer, I can reach for a flower or even a stem, crush it lightly and enjoy the fragrance.


POTD - Inside the Piano

I opened up the piano this afternoon.

Looking Inside

The view from the top:
Top Curves

But sometimes the view from underneath is just as interesting
Bottom Curves

My sisters and I learned to play on this piano - I had it shipped out from Massachusetts several years ago when my parents moved and no longer had room for it. I love having it around, even though my children show no interest in learning how to play.


POTD - Corn, Exposed

The local grain elevator has removed the plastic covering off the big pile of corn and has started transporting it away.

Corn, Exposed

To boost the color / contrast, I created a duplicate layer in PSE and applied the Multiply blending mode at 50% opacity to that duplicate layer. The SOOC version looked a little washed out. On another duplicate layer, I added a vignette.


48/365 - Too Many Geese

Alternate Title: Why I Don't Live Along the Water in Our Subdivision

As I drove into the subdivision this afternoon, sun shining, the air feeling almost spring-like*, I caught this sight out of the corner of my eye while crossing the bridge over the slough.

10.02.18 - Lots of Geese

Hundreds of geese, waddling about, eating, squawking, and yes, pooping. They stretched along the slough banks to the retention ponds.

Hence, the reason why we don't live along the water's edge (even though the realtors will extol the benefits of "waterfront" properties).

*it's sad when 32degF feels "spring-like"


47/365 - Erica's Aeropostale Bag

We bought this bag a couple weeks ago, and it has replaced the standard back pack for school [probably because it is WAY more stylish]. I like the color, too. A nice turquoise blue to remind me that Spring / Summer comes closer every day.

10.02.17 - Erica's Blue Bag


POTD - Blue Fish

Time for a punch of color to chase away the gloom, gray and white of winter.

Blue Fish

It's one of five colorful fish-oriented condiment dishes I purchased years ago from the Asian market. The dishes hold dipping sauces for your dumplings or sushi or whatever you want to dip (hubby uses one to hold blue cheese dressing, and dips in his buffalo wing). I think this one is a Grouper [but not 100% certain]. We think they are versatile and cute.


POTD - Icicles

For whatever reason, icicles aren't very prevalent in our area. We probably don't get enough snow. Or maybe I've not sought them out.

I remember, growing up in Massachusetts, the abundance of those sparkly, pointy ice formations, growing from the eaves of the house. I remember opening up my bedroom window and breaking off the biggest, fattest icicle I could reach and then storing it in the freezer, until a bigger one came along.

I've never seen an icicle on our current house.

And these icicles are not from our house - they are from my violin teacher's house and the first thing I noticed today when I pulled into her driveway.
Ice Formations

Icicles forming in several areas around her house.
Melting and Forming

I wonder if we'll ever get them at our house.


47/365 - Today's Gas Price and Kickball

I have two pictures today - one that's not very "personal" and one that is "personal". Both are relevant (well, all pictures are relevant in some context or other, so that goes without saying).

First, the non-personal picture - our current gas prices:
Today's Gas Price
$2.379 per gallon is pretty low for around here. I don't recall it being this low in a least several months.

Now, the picture of Brian playing kickball with his 4th grade classmates:
Addressing the Ball
Brian's teacher coordinated a classroom pizza potluck tonight. We got to meet parents of the other students and then we watched the kickball game. Quite entertaining and fun.

Some "technical photography stuff" around the kickball picture:
ISO: 1250
Aperture: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/160s
The shutter speed is still a little on the slow side (for sports, 1/500sec or faster is desired), but Brian wasn't really running very fast (he never runs very fast), so it was OK.
The noise in the original image was pretty noticeable, so I ran the image through a noise reduction program - a freeware program called Noiseware Community Edition from Imagenomic. They also offer a full licensed edition with more features.

So, how are the gas prices in your neck of the woods?


Project 365 - 2010 Week 6

I realized I started last week's summary with Monday's picture instead of Sunday, so this week, there is a repeat of last Sunday's photo, but it's Scott, so I think that's OK.

P365 2010 - Week 6

For other P365 Inspiration, head over to Jessica Turner's Blog and Project Life Tuesday.


46/365 - Stay Away Cold!

I've had a sore throat, and been stuffed up, sneezing and coughing for the past 4 days. With 3 fresh inches of snow on the ground, it was time to enjoy some Hot and Sour Soup for lunch.

10.02.15 - Hot and Sour Soup
The basic recipe -
2 C chicken broth
1 C water
Shitake and oyster mushrooms (I used dried ones)
Tofu cubes
1/4 lb of Pork, cut into strips
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1" ginger, grated
2 green onions, chopped
2-3 T soy sauce
2-3 T Rice vinegar
1 T Tabasco sauce

Stir fry pork, garlic, ginger and green onions in a medium sauce pan until the pork is cooked. Add liquids and mushrooms, simmer for 15 minutes (or longer). Add tofu last. Adjust seasonings as needed. You could add some wontons or a little noodle if you like. Traditional Hot and Sour soup uses cornstarch and egg, but I didn't want either, so I omitted them.

We're all at home today, with the President's Day Holiday. Pretty low key. Thinking about Spring as the snow continues to fall outside my window.


POTD - Snow Dunes

I'm trying to think "warm" and the patterns on the snow remind me of sand dunes.

Snow Dunes


Mosaic Monday - Hoar Frost

As much as I would like to "think Spring", the brilliance of Winter made me appreciate the cold yesterday, with thick hoar frost coating every surface outside.

Hoar Frost Mosaic

Mary at Little Red House hosts Mosaic Monday - be sure to visit her and the other Mosaic contributors there.

Meanwhile, I have another 35 hoar frost pictures to sort through! Thank goodness we have President's Day off.


45/365 - Afternoon at the Movies

And today's movie choice - Percy Jackson and the Olympians - The Lightning Thief.

10.02.14 - Movie Day
picture taken outside the movie theatre

The verdict - enjoyable, but different from (what I remember of) the book. Maybe I should re-read it now.

We met up with two other families. I sat with Jill and Kim while Brian and his friends sat all the way up front in the first row.


44/365 - Sleep It Off

Brian claimed he got "3-4 hours" of sleep last night at the church Lock In. And he was up as a pup when he got home this morning at 7:00. That didn't last long - I found him fast asleep at 8:00.

10.02.13 - After the Lock-In

I'm glad he's getting some sleep now - he won't be as grumpy later on.


SOOC Saturday - Hoar Frost Wonderland

We awoke this morning to a Hoar Frost Wonderland. The thickest hoar frost I have witnessed in person transformed the landscape into a surreal white world. At 7:15, I was outside taking pictures in the foggy air, starting within the confines of our property, but quickly moving to my neighbors' yards. [I think by now, they all know me to be the crazy neighbor with the camera]


Who knew weeping willow branches could look so ethereal?
Coated Tendrils Float in the Air

And once the sun came out, I was outside again for round two:
Covered Leaves

Prairie Grasses

Now that it is almost 2pm, the icy glitter is gone, burned off by the sun. But it was beautiful while it lasted.

All today's pictures are straight out of the camera, as I am joining Melody at Slurping Life this SOOC Saturday.



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