31 March 2011

Spring snow

Dear Mother Nature,

Giiiirrrrrllllll, we need to talk!

We would very much like to return to warm temps and sunny days, if you could work on that soon.

Thanks very much.


29 March 2011

Paying It Forward

sent me this fun little gift - a hand made magnet with bling!

She and her mom made them together for Paying it Forward.  What a fun project.

So, to keep this great idea of using what you have, allowing yourself to be creative, and sharing with people around the globe, I too will be paying it forward. 

I will send 3 people hand made greeting cards sometime in the next couple months.  All they need to do is promise to do something hand made for a few other folks sometime this year.  Nothing elaborate, just something to share.

(Samples, yours will be made especially for you).

If you are interested in participating in this fun event, leave me a comment telling me and an email address.  If you prefer not to leave an email where it is public, you can just leave me a comment indicating your interest and send your e-mail to mine: rmekop@gmail.com.

I will go with the first 3 lovely people who are interested.  I do encourage anyone else to leave regular comments or maybe do something similar in your part of our fun blog world.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

-St. Francis of Assisi


28 March 2011

Playing with my food

While cutting celery the other day for dinner (and leftovers for my lunch the next day), I noticed the cross section of the celery bunch was quite pretty.  So first a took a few regular focus shots, then additional ones that were progressively more out of focus.  What I created were some really neat textures to use in the future.  
Huh, who knew you could make art by playing with your food?!

F 5.6  1/30   ISO:200 
I used the macro shot SOOC, then duplicated the layer a couple times, added the "bokeh" version of the same celery over top, then brushed away the center to see the details again.  

I will definitely be using the blurred version for future texture use.  Love the soft colors.


More Macro fun here:

27 March 2011

Be exalted, O Lord, in your own strength: we will sing and praise your power.

Psalm 21:14

Psalm Challenge #13 at Daily Athens here.

(Update:  I misunderstood and used the wrong psalm for today, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.  I will try and get 'on board' correctly for the next one!)

24 March 2011

What I know

Guest Heart Thursday

I know no one gets the life they planned
for so many reasons, some out of my control
some choices I've made along the way
but I can embrace the one I have
and move forward from there

I know my day can be improved
with a call from a friend, just because
a baby's laugh
finding the chocolate bar I forgot was in my work bag
more hours of sun than gray skies
a college football game

I know life is too short
for bad tea
to not take the time to read for fun
to wait to do what I've always wanted
to not tell someone they do great work
to not ask for help or not offer help

I know I love
to travel
meet new people and learn cultures
drive fun cars - fast when possible
a bunch of flowers
a good Broadway type show
family and friends - near and far

I know it's important
to have something welcoming on the front door
even when everyone enters the home through the back door.


22 March 2011

Black and White Wednesday

The weather outside is still between seasons.  The occasional pop of color from daffodils and crocuses give hope over the brown grass and gray sky.  The rain (and dare I say it, occasional snowflake) have kept folks inside.  Although, the trees truly have sprouted itty biity leaves in just the last few days.

I am waiting patiently for a lovely day to take some more little person photos.  My friend Amy and Baby A are up for more portrait fun, as soon as Mother Nature gets the parks back in shape for us!  This time I have some idea what my camera can do, which it a huge step forward from the first time around.  Luckily, with a kid this cute, she does all the work.

In the meantime, I've gotten the spring cleaning bug, which means there are boxes, piles, and bags strewn about the place.  No artistic pictures to be had inside right now either.  It's a bit of a holding pattern. 


However, one bonus to not-so-colorful skies, is natural black and white.  I took this in later afternoon light.  I would say sun, but you can see that would be a stretch.  I ended up liking it very much after some cropping for effect.  
For more Black and White Wednesday photos, visit The Long Road to China.


21 March 2011

Welcome Spring!

Hallelujah - It's finally spring!

(Did anyone else wonder if winter was going to take over this season too?)

Let the sunshine commence!

More Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos.


19 March 2011

Hydrangea SOOC

I am looking forward to spring for so many reasons, but one is certainly flowers.
I was able to kick start my flower photos at the home and garden show.  
Here is a straight out of the camera shot of Hydrangea flowers.

I have not been overly successful in trying to grow these bushes.  
I never seem to get the acidity balance or pruning correct to keep them flowering so beautifully. 
I do appreciate anyone who can!  
When I was at Lancaster University (northwest England), I came across this huge hydrangea:

I actually walked by it a couple days before I realized what it was, and then I was stunned by it's size.  The continuous rain and more moderate temperatures that summer might have been worth it for this beauty alone.  I also really liked that they hadn't over landscaped anything, but just let the area grow.  It was nice to have a snack outside here on occasion.

More fun SOOC photos visit Murrietta 365.

I hope you're having a good weekend.


17 March 2011

Skywatch from above

When I fly I usually prefer an aisle seat. My short attention span (and economy seat) means I pop up and down occasionally in longer flights.  This one however, was a short flight into Philly, so I sat by the window.  This perfectly clear view was somewhere over Pennsylvania. 

I once read a book where the main character was from Montana and wanted to know what Pennsylvania looked like.  The other character described it in one word, green.  I thought that was a really good description.  

Beautiful works too.

More great skies:

Happy Friday!


16 March 2011

Love of the Irish

Glendalough, Ireland 



Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more
And nothing but happiness
Come though your door.

May you always have these blessings
A soft breeze when summer comes
A warm fireside in winter
And always the warm, soft smile of a friend.

And may you find some fun where ever you land!


14 March 2011

Thanks and...Thanks!

A few weeks ago, Cat over at The Whimsical Gardner in Austin, sent me this lovely award. Thank you so much!  
If you would like to see stunning floral, gardens, and critters, you absolutely want to add Cat's blog to your list of daily visits.  The color, light, and variety always make me happy.

With this award I am suppose to share 7 random things about myself and share some new blogs I've come across.
(I realize a lot of my followers read many of the same blogs I do, so I will attempt to list some new ones.) 

7 Random Things about me:

*I am a night person, even after years of working day hours.
*As a child soccer was the first sport I stopped playing because it involved too much running.
*As an adult I ended up getting a job that required running!
*I can sit and eat an entire container of strawberries or blueberries without regret.
*I find myself watching TMZ, even though I know it's a train wreck.
*One thing on my Bucket List is the Boston Pops at Christmas.
*I would like my next house to be a small cottage, and if it were in England or Ireland, that would work too.
(Ok, that is a really far off dream).

Some more fun blogs to check out:

Tea with Lemon Photography
Window on the Prairie
The Mother Huddle
A Matter of How you see it-nature photography
Stretching a Buck
The Bargain Buggy
Sugar and Spice by Celeste
Seven Sisters
Slightly Organised Chaos

Another Big Thanks goes out to all of my followers!  I have 50 lovely people who continuously inspire me to keep writing and to keep seeking out more photos to share where ever I go.
  Thank you sooo much for the blog love!

12 March 2011

Scripture and Snapshot Sunday

This verse is usually associated with weddings and anniversaries, but I think is should be broader than that.  I think we show acts of love and kindness everyday to our family, friends, co-workers, and sometimes even strangers.  My friend Amy made these and brought them in to work one afternoon, just because she felt like sharing. 

I thought the lines of them, all perfect with their little frosting hats was too good to pass up photographing
(in fact, I told the people they had to wait until I got in a few shots).

I don't think God meant love to become this big grand gesture that marketing and jewelry and candy companies want to define.  I think he meant that even on regular days or bad days, patience is love.  Sometimes just a kind call or text, maybe helping an older person tie their shoe, or listening to a child tell you a story, ordinary kindness is love.  

So as we head into spring and new growth and new beginnings, maybe we add on a little more love in simple ways.


11 March 2011

lunch time

We drove by these little guys having lunch one afternoon.  A few of them stopped to say hello...or something!

This is an organic dairy, and let me tell you, these folks love their animals!

More fun critters:

Happy Weekend - so glad to see it!

09 March 2011

Pause for intermission...

Well, I finally lost the battle against the headcold.  The good part is, I very rarely get sick, so hopefully this is just a pause in the daily action and I'll be back up to snuff soon.

Thanks to everyone's thoughts and prayers for my friend the Dean. Her surgery went well and she is headed back home to Virginia.  I'm hoping to get down there in a while to catch up in person.  I'll be sure to take my camera, the blooms should be wonderful very soon!

In the meantime, here is a photo of a paver patio design from the home and garden show (oh yes, I have many more to come).  This part is the guitar head and neck, which made the walkway to the patio.  

The patio itself was shaped like the body of the guitar, with the cooking equipment around the edge.  And I would show you a photo of that too, but there was a group of people walking all over it.  So, just imagine with me.  I don't know what this cost, but I'm willing to find out for my next house!


08 March 2011

Rough season for the Red Barn

I pass this barn everyday.  It is quite an attractive little building in person and quite well maintained.  
You can see, however, that one of the storms a couple months back yanked off a portion of the roof.  
The owners - who are a little of a mystery, because there is no house nearby, just fields and a road - tried to put in a temporary patch/fix.  But, that too was crumbled by the high winds and rain of the last 2 weeks.  
I hope in a few weeks, the owners will have a chance to really get in there and hammer on a new roof.  
I'm pretty fond of this little barn.

For more fun barns:


06 March 2011

Magnolia Macro Monday

We are still gray and brown here, so I had to seek out some flowers and loveliness for this Macro Monday.  I went with a friend to the home and garden show and just seeing all those flowers and bushes made my week.  The low and filtered lighting inside the huge building, however I did not love so much. 

These are straight out of the camera.  The nice lady siting nearby and hand painting flowers on  greeting cards told us it was a form of Magnolia. I liked the delicate flowers on the bush.


04 March 2011

Irish skies are smiling

The Cliffs of Moher
County Clare, Ireland

We were blessed the day we made it to this popular site.  
Although a bit foggy, still a perfect sky and view. 
(Some are not so lucky and after the long incline to the top, they see nothing but fog.)

Happy Friday!

I am off to the home and garden show, but in the meantime 
be sure to check out more stunning skies from around the world.


02 March 2011

heart on my sleeve

she's a force to be reckoned with, in such a good way
she's been a strong woman since before it was acceptable
she lights up a room by walking in and makes your day when you hear her voice
her family and friends are her life
but her work is a darn close second
she is a leader by example, even when she messes up
she will own her choice, correct the mistake and share with anyone who can benefit
she fought a modern political Goliath and won
even though it broke her heart a little
you see, she loves working with students and puts them first
sometimes administrators and bean counters and lawyers don't get it
but she doesn't give up, she pushes through
your kids would love to have her as Dean
a title few realize is all about the time, commitment, work, and faith
and not at all about the title
I have known her almost half of my life
and I want her to continue to show us all what really living is all about
so as she has brain surgery, for the second time
could you send some positive vibes towards Pittsburgh Medical Center
'cuz we really need to get her back in the game!

01 March 2011

And then it rained

First is snowed, and snowed, and snowed for months.
It warmed a bit and all that snow started to melt and run off to the rivers.

And then it rained...

We had a horrendous storm come through and the rivers flooded the banks and into the streets.

The brown of the water and trees is just how it looked that morning.  It was also really windy as the cold weather started working its way back in.  You can see the ripples in the river/street.

This is a little more difficult to see the water in the grassy area.  There is usually a large area between the river and road.  Not so much here!  We're expecting more rain in a couple days.  

My thoughts are with those folks north of here who are still underwater, as the dam in that area could not hold.  
We're cautiously optimistic that things down here will hold, but if you're sending a prayer up anyway, please keep these folks in mind!