This week, I decided to "take it easy" and use BHL's Mosaic Maker and a selection of flower pictures off my flickr stream.
And an exciting announcement - between my this blog and my photography blog, this post marks my 1000th post! What started off in late 2005 as a "fun web thing to try" has evolved into a renewed passion for photography and writing and has allowed me to connect with other bloggers who inspire me every day.
Speaking about inspiration, check out the other beautiful mosaics at Mary's Little Red House
This week, I decided to "take it easy" and use BHL's Mosaic Maker and a selection of flower pictures off my flickr stream.
We had a beautiful, sunny (a little cold, though) day here. I can tell the days are getting longer, too, with the sun setting after 5pm.
I noticed the plane trails in the sky as I ran out to the clearing where I knew I would catch the sun going down. I hope these sunny days continue!
Not sure what was going on today, but everywhere I went, the parking lots were completely full. TaeKwonDo, The Starbucks, The Sam's Club, even The Library:
While I realize it is Saturday, it seemed much busier than normal.
Other stuff from today - I ran 3+ miles in the frigid cold, with a nasty wind from the north. It was freezing. Erica went to a friend's birthday party / sleep over. [So there's been no fighting with Brian all day long]. Brian and Scott have been hanging out with the cats.
Just a nice, lazy Saturday.
I've had a hard time accepting my SOOC shots recently. Maybe I'm having fun "playing" with blending modes, textures and all that other stuff available post shot.
So I took what I got today, cropped it and just left it at that.
I was drawn to the windows and how I could see all the way through to the other side.
One Friday a month, we gather to share food and laughter, catching up with those little and big details of our lives, and discuss the month's book selection. Well, maybe our book discussions take back seat to the other discussions, but it gives us a concrete reason to get together [and I've managed to read most of the books].
This month's selection was a book I suggested - The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The book's stories remind me of my childhood, my relationship with my mother and sisters, and how we are all tied to the culture of our ancestors.
But, much like the discussions during our gatherings, the main purpose of this post isn't to discuss the book, but to focus on my lovely friends who make "Book Club Night".
Heather, here with Janice, who serves as our Leader:
Karen, tonight's gracious hostess:
Lisa and Shelly:
Heather with Jill:
I didn't get pictures of Amy or Jennifer - I'll have to get them next month (well, maybe not Jennifer - she's due to have baby number 3 in a couple weeks).
These ladies are the best and so much fun.
This week's 2Peas Photo Challenge theme is "Handmade". About once a year, we'll make Chinese dumplings by hand.
Well, these are not handmade - store bought and boiled.
Still yummy and convenient.
Oh - the sauce was handmade - minced garlic, green onion, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.
One of those rare occasions when Erica will actually let me take a picture of her, and she actually smiles. I think she was glad that I took her and her friend to the volleyball game at the last minute.
It's been a while since I took pictures of my violin, so I hung it precariously off the music stand, something I haven't done since my orchestral days.
I used two textures from Skeletal Mess' Heavenly Vintage Texture Set
I've just started working on Barber's Violin Concerto:
In December, I was given a list of potential pieces, and I went to YouTube to listen and decide. I chose the Barber Concerto based on the opening theme - very beautiful.
Here's a link to Hilary Hahn's performance on YouTube. If only I could play it so beautifully!
You know - doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. We need to make sure we "put away" our headphones at night. Because this is the 3rd pair of headphones Hannah has mangled. She seems to know to look for them on the kids' nightstands, too.
Every Tuesday, as I travel to violin lessons, I pass by this cornfield that still has standing corn in it. I think that next week, it won't be there. But here it is, the last week of January, and the corn still stands.
The sky is completely "faked" - a gradient fill layer because I blew out the sky with my ISO 800 and F2.8 aperture settings with the SUN shining through the clouds. I was so happy to see the sun that I couldn't delete the photo. Because 30 minutes later, the sun was gone again.
I took another shot of the bowl of chicken noodle soup we had for dinner, but I like this one better because of the kitty cat glass.
We bought the glass at the now-closed World Market - glasses with cats, dogs, frogs, cows, bunnies and other assorted animals imprinted on them. I know the kids will remember these glasses when they grow older [Just like I remember the daffodil plates we used when I was growing up].
I loved how easy and fast last week's mosaic was, so I created another one for Week 3:
1. 10.01.17 - Pretty in Pink, 2. 10.01.18 - Necessary Condiment, 3. 10.01.19 - Last Minute Project Work, 4. 10.01.20 - No Outside Recess Today, 5. 10.01.21 - Rainy Night at TKD, 6. 10.01.22 - At the Dance, 7. 10.01.23 - Chocolate Goodness
Check out the other P365's at Jessica Turners' Project Life Tuesday's blog entry.
With the gray, foggy days, I decided to take pictures at night instead. I love how the mysterious aura the fog creates, especially at night.
For more mosaics, head over to Mary's at Little Red House.
Say what you want about football, but a game that brings people together is OK in my book. This afternoon, a group of us gathered at the local pizza / sports bar establishment to watch the Colts play the Jets.
Scott, our big Colts fan, was nervous for the Colts, especially late in the 2nd quarter. But the Colts prevailed and are poised for the Superbowl in two weeks. That means our annual Superbowl party will have extra excitement this year.
While on our cruise, the kids came to LOVE this decadent dessert called "Chocolate Melting Cake". It was offered every night and every night the kids chose it, along with hot chocolate. Conversations with other families who had cruised on Carnival revealed a common theme - the great love of the Chocolate Melting Cake.
So I searched for a recipe on the internet and found it - the "official" Carnival Cruise Line's Chocolate Melting Cake recipe:
•8 ounces of semisweet chocolate
•1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
•7 eggs, divided use
•6 tablespoons of sugar
•1/2 cup of flour
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter and cool for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix four eggs with sugar. Whisk. Then add flour and whisk. Add the remaining three eggs and add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour this entire mixture into individual ramekins. Bake until just done, about 15-20 minutes (interior will be melting). Serve with vanilla ice cream.
And of course, I made it tonight. I even bought custard cups at the store for the occasion.
The verdict? Well, I cooked them a *little* too long, so the cakes were set all the way through, vs having a melted center. They were still REALLY good, but next time, I'll either bake them at a lower temperature and certainly for less time.
Finally, I took pictures that fit into this week's 2Peas photography theme of "sweet".
Blueberries that we picked last July, frozen, but still a sweet treat, especially in winter:
Now thawed and combined with vanilla yogurt - so yummy!
Hope your day is filled with sweetness!
Erica attended her first middle school dance tonight - I think several of her friends decided to attend, because it was very "last minute" or "spontaneous". After I dropped her off, I watched other parents drop off their kids.
I'm hoping this picture will help her recall the details of her first dance in the future, because I know she won't divulge any details other than "yeah, we had fun".
The flowers I bought a week ago are quickly fading. But I still enjoy them, even in this droopy state.
I used a texture from Skeletal Mess, from his new Scratch the Surface texture set.
Coming home tonight, I liked how my neighbor's clump river birch was illuminated by his fancy landscaping lights.
Funny how we don't have any of those fancy lights at our house, or maybe I'd be taking pictures of our landscaping at night. Oh well, the grass is always greener on the other side [of the street].
Brian and his school mates certainly didn't have Outdoor Recess today:
As a result of the freezing rain, all evening activities were canceled. So we're watching "Monster Quest" on TV right now. I don't have a say in tonight's programming, as I would have picked "American Idol". Oh well, I've been working on the computer anyways.
One of my favorite two things to enjoy on a cold winter morning - hot tea and cold granola. Oh, and the newspaper.
We've traded the fog and mist for freezing rain. Still wondering when the sun will shine again, but for now, we'll just drive slowly down the road.
Here is the announcement Brian made around dinnertime -
"Hey, Mom.... you know that folder with the mountain lion pictures in it that you asked about last weekend? Well, I need to write up a report on mountain lions and pass it in tomorrow or I will receive an 'F'......."
Ok, that got my attention.
So, after some quick research on the internet, Brian started writing up his little report on mountain lions and how they've become endangered in the US. Fortunately, we're not talking about a huge thesis-level report - just the basic facts.
Normally, Brian stays on top of his homework and long term assignments. His teacher knows this too, and that's why he was given until tomorrow to pass it in, because the original due date was today! Apparently, Brian convinced her to grant him a small extension. He's a lucky boy, don't you think?
It's another foggy, gray day here in central Illinois, and I'm tired of the gray snow, brown fields and gray skies.
Fortunately, pretty pink flowers chase the gray skies away.
Flowers in the dead of winter - always appreciated in our house.
I found a great Project 365 resource to keep folks motivated with their daily picture taking. Even though this is my 2nd year of Project 365, I can always use a little inspiration and help to keep me going.
Case in point, yesterday afternoon, I wasn't so keen on taking my daily picture. Truthfully, I was in a grumpy moody, faced with the task of cooking dinner, coercing my kids to pick up their rooms, to finish their homework and whatever they had managed to put off all day [THEY had the day off to laze around - I did not!]. I really didn't want to take my picture.
But I forced myself to take another picture of the pretty gerbera daisies on the kitchen table. And guess what? That simply task of taking a picture of a beautiful flower perked me up. And I took a couple more pictures [because I needed another picture for my photography blog]. It felt good!
So, that Project 365 Resource - it's Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative, and every Tuesday she holds Project Life Tuesdays. Go check it out by clicking on the badge below:
So I'm supposed to showcase my week two photos here. Here's where I had some fun with a Mosaic Maker at Bug Huge Labs, which links up to my flickr account. It was really easy to create this mosaic of my Week 2 pictures:
1. Balanced, 2. 10.01.11 - The Big Thaw, 3. 10.01.12 Mac-n-Cheese in Style, 4. After Chess Club, 5. 10.01.14 - Snow Fort, 6. 10.01.15 - Green Nails, 7. 10.01.16 - Path to Nowhere
Have a great Tuesday - I'll be back later with today's Project 365 picture!
Tonight's dinner called for one of my favorite condiments - Hoisin Sauce. It is a barbecue-like sauce containing fermented soy, sugar, vinegar, garlic and chili. And this brand - Koon Chun - is the only one I will use. I remember my mother using this brand when I was growing up. I have to go to the Asian market to find it, but it's so worth it.
Tonight's recipe -
Cut up 1lb chicken breast into thin strips. Marinate in 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar.
Cut up red pepper into strips, 1 carrot into thin julienne strips, chop up 2 green onions, chop 2-3 cloves of garlic. Slice 4-6oz mushrooms.
Heat wok, add 2 Tbsp oil. Stir fry chicken in wok. Remove cooked chicken from wok. Add red pepper, carrot, mushrooms and stir fry for a couple minutes until softened, add green onions and garlic, cook another minute. Add cooked chicken, 2Tbsp hoisin sauce and 2Tbsp orange juice and cook for a couple more minutes.
Serve with rice or in lettuce wraps.
I shot this Saturday morning and by chance, a flock of geese flew overhead while I was trying to compose the stream disappearing into the fog. So lucky me, I caught the geese flying into the Fog.
Today was another foggy day. Hoping for more sunshine soon. Hope your Monday was great and take some time to check out the other Best Shot Monday entries with Tracey.
A compilation of the foggy shots taken this weekend.
Whew, this was my 2nd week in a row completing a mosaic. I created the 5x7 template from scratch, but really, it was quite easy.
For more mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House.
After years of not buying cut flowers "because they will only die in a week", I find myself nowadays considering their beauty a gift to be enjoyed.
And who can resist sunny gerbera daisies during the gloom of winter?
I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
- Emma Goldman
Where flowers bloom so does hope.
- Lady Bird Johnson
I took the time this afternoon to visit a local park which features a garden of large sculpture nestled in the prairie field. I had expected another foggy day, but was greeted instead with abundant sunshine.
Here and There, by Michele Goldstrum
This bronze piece depicts elements of a barn and includes a platform for viewing. I took pictures looking out onto the prairie from the structure's window.
Not sculpture, but a nice view of the prairie from the walking path.
I must come back to this peaceful place when I have more time.
Not much going on here today - Scott worked out, the kids slept in and I "ran" 3 miles in the freezing fog this morning before deciding the street were just too slippery. I was literally "running on ice" (like the Billy Joel song goes) and not able to run very fast.
I extended my run by getting my camera to take some foggy pictures in the neighborhood.
This afternoon - pizza, basketball, more basketball, and football. More football tonight, as Scott's team, the Colts play. It could be a tense evening, but hopefully not.