Thursday, April 17, 2014

And the winner is ...


Percy is just busting at the seams. He wants to reveal the name of the winner of the Susan Branch autographed book.

So, without further ado...




Laura Jenkins! You are the winner of the Susan Branch autographed book. I used the trusty random number generator to pick a winner.

Congratulations Laura, please email me your address. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Susan Branch's birthday and a blog giveaway


Today is Susan Branch's birthday. If you read my blog often you will know I am a big fan of Susan's. Susan and I have much in common. We both love animals and we have lookalike cats. Her Jack really looks like my Oscar. We are both foodies, love England and tea, and then of course there's Martha's Vineyard. She lives there and I would love to have even a Summer home there.

 
I met Susan twice at two book signings. Last Summer, I met her in Sandwich, Massachusetts for the signing of her book, "A Fine Romance".  Here's the original book with Susan's handwriting. Susan's husband let me get a peek at it.


So since it's Susan's birthday, I thought I would celebrate by giving away a copy of this book. I bought an extra copy at the book signing and I told her I was going to give it away on my blog.

So, here's what you need to do. Leave a comment on this post. I am not going to make you follow my blog but I do hope you will come back. I'll draw the winner on April 15th and I may even throw in a few extra goodies!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The subject is Selfies



Percy fancies himself a model. So when I caught him with my phone in his paw I knew I needed to teach him proper selfie technique.



First, I told him to find your light. Your face always looks better in the light.


We decided to go with a soft filter on Instagram to soften our wrinkles.

 
I think he's got it! Just a little more to the left.
 




Oops, I think we moved. Practice will make perfect and I am sure he will get his whole face in the shot very soon.

 
I decided selfies are fun. When I met a friend for coffee, we took a selfie.
 
 
And tonight at my sister's art reception, we went all out and did our best imitation of the famous Ellen selfie. Ellen I hope you are reading this.
 
So how about you? Do you selfie?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I can be a little showy


It's hard for me to define my decorating style . I guess maybe it's Estate Sale Chic. I do know I am a bit showy.

This crystally lamp on the dining room mantel has a lot of bling to it. The lamp is small so the bling is tolerable.


The base of the blingy lamp is very decorative. I like the base as much as the crystal tendrils.


Here's the entire lamp. I bought it from an antique store and I thought it just needed a new bulb. It actually needed work on the plug. My Dad was able to fix it so it wasn't a major problem.


Here's a close-up of the front of the mantel. I've mentioned before that it needs a paint job.  Looks like someone had tried to distress it and they did a poor job.


The vintage frame is also ornate and a little shabby. Just how I like it.


On my nightstand, there is a lamp with a marble base. It's topped by a fraying lampshade that has beading on it, I believe it is from the 1940's. The little telephone table turned nightstand was a $10 yard sale find. it is chippy chic. Someday I might make it a little less shabby/chippy.


And let's not forget the little nightlight with the feather trim that stands proud above my caffeination station. Many nights it is the only illumination in my kitchen.

Hope you enjoyed the mini house tour. I'm happy to say not a single cat photobombed any of my photos. That has to be a first!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Bucket List


This photo was taken in 2010. It reminds me of England but I actually took this shot next door to my favorite breakfast spot, Aroma Café in Reading, Massachusetts.  Anyway I think it is perfect for a post about Spring.

Each season I put pen to paper and make a list of things I want to do that season. I never complete everything on the list but it's fun to dream. If I don't complete my list I don't beat myself up. I just keep it in mind for the future.

So here it is, in no particular order, my 2014 Spring Bucket List:

1. Visit the new Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. With more than 30 food trucks and a fantastically artistic new carousel I need to check it out!

2.  Daytrip to Exeter, New Hampshire. The always fabulous Art n Tiques shop and a german iced coffee are calling to me.

3. An afternoon in Nantasket. I want to photograph the carousel at Paragon Park, play skeeball in the arcade, and eat lunch at Strawberry Fair in Norwell. Have you ever had strawberry butter? One word, Divine.

4.  Attend and photograph the Bedford Polecapping Ceremony in April. I previously blogged about this event here. It is really something to see historical reenactments. I am so lucky to live in an area where so much of our country's history took place.

5.  Attend a camera show and an antiques show in Wakefield. It's great when towns so close to my hometown have cool events.

6. Investigate antique stores in Cambridge, specifically European Country Antiques . Oh yeah, they had me at "Browse our collection of English, French and Irish Antique Country Furnishings."

7. Daytrip to Providence and a visit to The Duck and Bunny A Snuggery.

Hmm, looks like a lot of eating in my future and I am planning on dieting this Spring. Oh well, everything in moderation, right?





Monday, March 17, 2014

Memories of Ireland


In 1996 my Dad and I took a trip to Ireland. My Dad had turned 70 that year. He said, "I want to see Ireland before I croak". 

My Mom and sister stayed home. Dad and I took the grand tour. Galway, Dublin, Ring of Kerry, Belfast.  We stayed in a wonderful B&B and made friends with our tour group. Dad was excited to golf in Ireland and I met a longtime Irish pen pal.

Dad has travelled back to Ireland since that trip. Maybe I will go back sometime too. I have fond memories of the Emerald Isle.

Wishing everyone a Happy St Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My take on photography


As a Board Member of the local Chamber of Commerce, I am supposed to volunteer my time.  Some of our Board Members work on the finance committee or conduct membership drives. I photograph events for the Chamber.

Yesterday, there was a ribbon cutting, ho hum! Not the most exciting thing to photograph. Usually a handful of people show up, all related to the new business owner. I am sure it is momentous for them and of course I am happy they are starting a new venture but, for me, it's basically photographing a lineup.

I got everyone assembled on the front steps. This is a yoga studio and inside was not really an option once I saw the number of people to be in the photo. I took the traditional photo. I always take several shots at pretty much the same angle. People blink, move, talk and everyone needs to look good in a photo for the newspaper. For example, someone has her eyes closed in the first row in the photo above.


Next, the woman has opened her eyes, I can see the new business owner looks good, the Mayor is in the shot, oops the little girl in purple looks angry.


I notice I can't see everyone. I ask people to move. Some do, some don't. It's Friday afternoon, I want to go home and they want to party I'm sure.


Yay, the little girl has moved. Now the scissors are closed. We probably want them to be open.


Oh great, now I notice the woman in the back has sun rays coming out of her head.


Oh, I decide to back onto the street so I  can use my zoom. I close in but not enough and the bush to the right is bothering me. Well, that can be cropped.


The Mayor decided to speak. I love to hear the Mayor speak. He has a way with words and he is inspiring. He is down to earth and genuine and completely supportive of his City's businesses and of the Chamber.


I decided to keep snapping as he was speaking. I was watching everyone listen to his speech about Joy, the business owner. It was really inspiring. Joy has built quite the business in Melrose. She runs a boot camp in Melrose and now a yoga and wellness studio. She is a true entrepreneur.


Some people are still aware of the camera and others are not. Interesting. Maybe I will get the shot I really want.


Joy, the blonde wearing gray, is surrounded by the people who care about her most and they are here to support her in her new business. She was beaming. She photographed well in every shot. Her happiness was shining through.


I zoom in closer, hoping to get a few nice candids. People are not focused on the camera, this is good


And there it is. The happy business owner, the applause by the crowd, the movement of the hands. Proud mama in the blue on the left, lady in the back with a fantastic expression of happiness on her face and the sweet smile of the woman in black holding the ribbon.  Yes, some people are not totally visible but this shot is the money shot. This is the shot that captures the joy of a business opening. This is the shot I envisioned. Snap, I got it!


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