Inspiration Meets Concept

We made it to the next photography assignment this week. It’s an assignment that has frazzled  me for days.

Digital Montage – That’s what we’re creating with the images we take.

Montage – the technique of combining in a single composition pictorial elements from other  sources, and bringing them together to make one image.

I spent hours trying to grasp some sort of inspiration that would lead me to a concept.

I had self doubt for a good portion of the week. And wondered If I would come up with something.

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During class this week, I was so overcome with passion and emotion from all of the inspiration tossed my way, that a tear or two pooled. I’m such a sap and I’m ok with that.

Then I woke this morning with a concept! I can’t tell you how excited I was to start shooting.

Grape leaves – How would it be if I took images of the leaves and layered them? I would like to add transparency  to some of the areas layered beneath. And change the color too.

It took no time to grab the camera for a little test.

Below is one of the first images I took (without the tripod) Not quite the focus I would like.

But for fun, the color of the leaf was changed. Made me happy!

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Then I went back out with the tripod and remote. And shot ’til my heart was content.

And then went to work in photoshop for a bit to see how I felt about it. The below image is just a little test drive, nothing earth-shattering.

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To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Lately

Cardinals fans are in the house!

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I had my critique last week – One of the two images printed and matted for the assignment.

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The babies continue to change color. It truly has been a joy watching them turn from dark brown into these colorful pretty guys and girls.

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The hubs and I spent a couple of days in LA to help the daughter get her things ready for the movers. Yup, she moved to IL last night.

She is so pumped to be close to friends and to be in the place she’s wanted to live for years. We’re happy for her.

View from our room – yesterday morning.

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The power plant in LA captures my attention.

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Mainly the painting on the side of this building. Finally captured it on this visit. Images in LA were shot with the cell (didn’t want to be responsible for my camera with everything going on this weekend.)

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The last dinner (last night) with the daughter was spent here. And she was off on a midnight flight to Illinois last night.

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I feel like I’ve been thru a whirlwind the last couple of days.

And I’m thrilled the hubs brought us home sweet home, safe and sound last night. I slept pretty much all the way home.

It’s good to be home.

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It rained last night – And I took advantage of free diamonds glistening on spiderwebs this morning.

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Beauty after the rain.

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And leaves beneath the web blanket.

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And rest, much needed rest for me and the hubs today. Have I mentioned how good it is to be home?

Blessings – Debbie

Inspiration in the Backyard

Inspiration comes in many forms while visiting the garden. It was this rose-bush, in dire need of deadheading, that caught my attention.

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And this faucet, in the line of water as it gathered drops on the web. Surely I should capture this too.

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Life around the pond, is a constant inspiration. This image (below) was printed on 11 x 17 and matted for my upcoming critique this week.

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The more I learn, the more I learn that there is still so much to learn. Cheers to being stretched mentally this semester.

Blessings – Debbie

Dear September

You went way too fast! And I did not get my act together to keep up. However, I’m back to recover some of little things in life last month.

Catfish – Our latest edition in May. They (we have two) were about 2″ + when we got them, now they are approximately 9″ – Finally I got a shot this month – These guys love to hide under rocks and come out of hiding for breakfast – The perk = we don’t have “fry” this year – While the fish did spawn, the catfish took care of all the eggs. Nice edition if you were to ask me.

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September school assignment – The lesson called to shoot 6 different categories in the Urban Environment with a total of 42 images. Then select two of our favorite images to print out on 11 x 17 for critique. And hand in the other 40 images compacted on two 8.5 x 11 contact sheets.

The six different categories – 1. Bench where people come and go – 2. Absence of people 3. Twilight 4. Collection of things (anything) 5. Non sequitur, something that looks out of place 6. Nature and manmade blended together

One of my favorite images printed on 11 x 17 and mated it for critique in class. Category = Bench

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The second image I used for my final urban assignment. Category = Twilight

On a good note – the professor was so thrilled with our work that it was all hung in the school gallery.

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What my contact sheets for the assignment (printed on 8.5 x 11) look like…

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Next…. I still don’t have my grade, but I hope it’s a good one.

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Guess who thought it necessary to be there with me, as he did not want me alone out there on my urban assignment…Makes my heart smile…

He’s the BEST!

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Friendship – Lunch with friends at the beach, is always a good idea. It’s times like this that I kick myself for not having my camera. But ever so thankful for the trusty cell phone.

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Fresh cool air – sipping soda beachside with friends – enjoying the visit – more than a girl could ask on a summer day.

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Truly a glorious day to remember…

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Happy Fish and Cloudy Water – We’ve had the pond guy out a couple of times to try to help us figure out why we can’t seem to get the clarity back. Turns out, I’m cleaning it TOO MUCH and backwashing TOO MUCH. Jokingly he said, this is not a pool, it’s a pond. And you need to allow the algae to grow on the sides to develop a good ecosystem.  And he said “don’t touch it ’til I come back the end of the month.” On a good note, the fish are happy and the water ph is just dandy. But the clarity we are used to seeing is just not there. My bad.

The get this thing clean and backwash mentality is hard to let go, but I must.

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New Frames – The hubs is up for new frames. The supposedly really nice frames he picked up the last time continue to have a screw loose ALL. THE. TIME.

We’ve shopped a few places and took a pic the last place we visited over the weekend. Now to go back to the other place to compare notes with the other frames we liked.

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While I still love my frames, it’s a growing concern that I could use bigger frames do to wearing progressives and the need for a little more room to see. Totally not something I’m thrilled about.

But I think I found something that may fill the order next year. I think…

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October Class Assignment – I spent the last couple of weeks in september working on images that could be used for my upcoming assignment. Images were not to be taken in direct sunlight.

I was quite fond of the bubble I captured as it was moving down the waterfall over the stem of the leaf.

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But this image captured days later caused my heart to sing. Getting ready to print this guy and mat it next week.

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I must say, this semester has brought a lot of doubt. Doubt on the days we have a solid 3 hour lecture.

And I come home feeling discouraged that I’m unable to carry out the task. And when I tell the hubs all about it, a tear or two may trickle down my cheek. And he listens, while the look on his face tells me that he wished he could make it all better. And that’s what makes everything better.

And it’s weeks like this (in class) when we’ve had a solid 3 hour lab, that things begin to sink in. Somehow when we as students get to sit at the computer and begin to work on our assignments, ask questions and put to use what we’re learning, the process kicks in.  And somehow I’m able to grasp what he was saying all along during those lectures.

And now I could practically do the assignment with my eyes closed. And I smile and say, it wasn’t that bad after all.

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Cheers to learning new things!

And may I remember that it’s alright if I don’t come home from school knowing everything the professor finished lecturing about. Somethings take time to process.

On a Happy Note – Happy October! Puts me in the holiday spirit already. Yup, I’m one of the crazies that love to blend Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas all into one.

Blessings – Debbie

Mango Salsa

Vine ripe tomatoes from our garden, help to kick this recipe up a notch. I can’t get over how new tomatoes and blossoms continue on our plants. I wonder how much longer they’ll bear fruit?

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After washing our sun ripened tomatoes, I selected the larger beefsteak tomatoes for the salsa.

Then we seed the tomatoes. Totally worth this step, if you were to ask us.

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When all the components are tossed together, we celebrate another batch of salsa!

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Mango Salsa Recipe

  • 3-1/3 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2-1/2 cup diced mango
  • 3/4 cup diced onion – Give or take
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped “I just eyeball what looks like 3/4 cups then chop it up. Obviously, after it’s all chopped, it shrinks to about 1/4 cup?
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Stir and enjoy!

We like to refrigerate ours overnight for the flavors to infuse. So it’s just chillin’. Should be just right in the next day or so.

Happy September 1st!

Blessings – Debbie

August

August 2014 was filled with so much. And I could not seem to get my act together on the blog. So I didn’t. And things snowballed. So here I am, ready to post at  bit about the month of August before it’s too late.

Painting – Guest Bedroom and Hallway -

Actually, the painting project started the end of July and into early August. I was so excited to get another two rooms painted. Many thanks to the hubs for helping with the clearing and then the setting things back up in the rooms.

Paint color is BEHR – Summer Bliss – P280-1″

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Mid August, we had company!

This image has already been used on the blog. But for the sake of this post, I’m using it again.

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Another visit –

Our friend from Phoenix came to San Diego to cool off a bit. We enjoyed breakfast by the beach last weekend.

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Banana Banana Bread – 

This bread gets a slot for the month of August, because I made it three different times for family and friends.

2 1/3 cups or 5 bananas is the equivalent that went into my loaf. That’s a lot of bananas. Thus the title of the recipe – Banana Banana Bread. I love how moist and yummy it is right out of the oven. Or toasted the next morning. Either way, it holds that yummy moist soft texture, no matter how you slice it.

This loaf was made for my friend visiting from Canada. We still have another lunch get-together this week.

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Class – 

My photography class is in full swing. I’m happy to report it’s my absolute favorite class, ever.

I was a little nervous the dean would cancel our class due to a lack of students. As it turns out, we are good to go! I’m (selfishly) excited about having a small group, as we are able to get a lot more one-on-one time during the lab with the instructor.

Love the new Tervis set my bro gave us (from his company), I take this guy to class all the time.

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I got a bit overwhelmed when the instructor wanted us to get used to using the Wacom in class. I’ve heard about this cool tool, but it was my first hands on experience. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a graphics tablet you hook to the computer. You draw on the tablet and it creates the drawing in your computer program.

Basically, I had some major arguments going on with the tool. It was hard to get used to performing different functions when there seemed to be a lot to remember. So I put it right back on the shelf and went back to using my mouse in class. At least I was able to keep up in class.

When I told the hubs all about it and not being able to keep up in class, he dropped what he was doing and ordered one for me right there on the spot that evening. And I had it in my hands in less than 48 hours!

Believe me, by the time class rolls around this week, I won’t need anyone to twist my arm for a Wacom in class.

The features of my Wacom Intuos Pro Medium are mind blowing. I’ve listed some of the cool features below.

  • Quickly and professionally edit photos and create digital artwork using natural pen control
  • Wireless accessory kit included
  • 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity in both pen tip and eraser
  • 8 customizable application specific Express Keys
  • Multi-function touch ring with 4 customizable functions

And I’ve already taken some of the most amazing webinars this weekend and set up my tablet with the express key functions that gel with what I like to use the most. I’m sure in time, I’ll take the liberty to change those functions as I grow-up in Photoshop.

While I’m not a Wacom genius, I’m learning that I can take the art of photography to a level beyond my wildest dreams. I’m so pumped!

And I look forward to sharing my assignments with you this semester. Stay tuned!

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Labor Day Weekend – 

We’re taking this 4-day time off together and getting a few things accomplished around the house.

The key ingredient at the top of our list is rest. Lots of rest.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen with our dueling knives. Homemade guacamole is in the house! Served fresh daily…I don’t kid about stuff like this.

Friday evening, we checked out some old cars. I think these sort of things could be an interesting subject for an assignment due mid September. Who knows, we may go back next week for more fun and pictures.

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And for now -

  • I’m happy getting a few things from August on the blog.
  • Looking forward to un-labor-day tomorrow. Wait, I think we may spend a bit of time working. But if we’re doing what we love, it may cancel work altogether.
  • Loving on the plumeria our neighbors brought over for us today. What a special gift.
  • And I still can’t believe tomorrow is September 1st already! Somebody pinch me.

September 1st is my sign to start ringing in the season! It’s truly my favorite time of the year.

Then again, we had a glorious summer. Perhaps it’s that pumpkin spice latte time of the year that I begin to crave.

At any rate, I’m ready to embrace September, autumn and the season that I love so much. In fact, I had a little Christmas tree visit with the hubs today.

But first things first…Enjoy Autumn and that pumpkin spice latte. And the Holidays will unfold in due time.

Blessings – Debbie

When Company Comes

My baby brother and sis-in-law arrived at noon (in San Diego) from the east coast, one week ago today. What a treat!

An outdoor lunch (by the beach) at the Hotel Del was in order.

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Day 2 – We gave them the scenic tour of our surrounding areas. My sis-in-law shot this stunning image from Point Loma.

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Brother and sis enjoy Point Loma.

There are days I wish I had taken more images, but the memories we made are priceless.

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On over to Balboa Park – image of the Japanese Gardens. The only image I took in the beautiful park.

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Day 3 – The couple took off for a day-trip in San Diego. They enjoyed breakfast on the harbor, strolled thru Seaport Village, took a 2 hour boat cruise, had lunch on the water and enjoyed their day.

Day 4 – We all took a little drive up into the mountains to visit the town of Julian.

The lama on the street corner was pretty cool.

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And hot fresh apple pie, it’s what we came for.

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Served up with cinnamon ice-cream. Good eating under a nice shade tree.

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We all got a little chuckle over the signs out front of one of the shops.

True story – The gal running the place asked us (after we took our shots) to refrain from taking pictures. We may or may not have wanted to meet her family – read signs below. All in good humor, of course.

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Sis with a bear cap…Truly a fun family day of shopping.

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Day 5 – Enjoyed spending a bit of time in La Jolla – What a beautiful hilly seaside community. Cute couple too!

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And then we went to our favorite spot (Jake’s restaurant in Del Mar) on the ocean for dinner. My salmon dish was so good. And everyone’s plate was equally as good. And we declare they serve the best calamari on the face of the earth. Amen.

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After dinner picture at the homestead.

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Day 6 – The day we said goodbye. But the memories will stay with us forever.

Day 7 & 8 – I’m still trying to find myself. On day 7, I had two naps. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. And we were in bed by 9:30PM. A sign we had a lot of fun this week.

On a good note – I’m caught up on the laundry, the garden was given much TLC this morning and the weekend will be here soon.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy 15th Anniversary to Us

The hubs and I celebrated our 15th Happy Anniversary a week ago today.

It was a special day. And the hubs came home really early that afternoon from work. + it was his Friday off work week so we celebrated and toasted all weekend long.

This year on the blog, I would like to share some images of us thru the years.

This first image of us is taken at the hubs company picnic in the fall of 1997. It’s one of our early dates and perhaps the very first image we have taken of us together. I still remember a song that played while in his car on our way. The song = I just wanna fly…put your arms around me baby, put your arms around me baby…

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Christmas party 1997 = Our first Christmas together.

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Spring of 1998 – Our first baseball game together.

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July 31, 1999 – The day that changed our lives forever. I truly believe in soul mates and happily ever after…

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We went dancing to remember the good ole days.

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2006 – Anniversary in Florida.

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2007 – Happy 8th year anniversary.

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2011 – After our wonderful anniversary dinner at the beach

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Anniversary 2012

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2013 – anniversary image after dinner

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2014 – After our yummy anniversary dinner

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This year, we had a hankering for Mexican food. Bring on the chips, salsa and plenty of limes please!

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The hubs started my beautiful collection when we started dating. And he’s continued to add special pieces thru the years. This year, he added the “my collection” piece in the center of the pic below. and it reads on the bottom “A perfect display of 15 years.” How perfect, I love it!

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I feel blessed and overjoyed that I get to grow old with my one true love.

Blessings – Debbie

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Yesterday was my last day to attend the book club this year. *tear* As most of you know, I’m signed up for a fall photography class that just so happens to interfere with book club. While I’m so excited about my class, I’m really going to miss this amazing group of gals. But January will be here and in no-time and I’ll be back to join the group.

The Storyteller, it’s the book that brought us together for discussion yesterday. Note: I did not have time to read the book this month but it didn’t stop me from seeing my friends.

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I can’t begin to tell you what a cool group we have (there were 14 of us yesterday). We take turns sharing our homes and have a different moderator each month.

The moderator shares a bit of history about the author and book and passes the questions out to the group. Then we go around the room reading our question and sharing our thoughts. It adds great dimension to the book.

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But before we get started in on our book, we always have to start with a little something on our plates with a nice beverage of sorts. Are these not the prettiest and colorful summer plates ever?

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And then we talk about any agenda that needs addressed. Like our end of the summer pot-luck. Yum!

Finally gathered…

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and getting into the heart of the questions.

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Man I’m going to miss you girls. But look forward to seeing all of you at the pot-luck next month!

Blessings – Debbie

Our Productive Weekend

It’s Monday! And as I reflect over the weekend, I gotta tell ya, it was a good one.

Some may question what two people do with over 20 tomato plants. Well, the short answer is this. It keeps us busy in the kitchen, side by side with our cutting boards and dueling knives.

So over the weekend, we made two different salsa recipes. The dutch oven below is getting piled high with a batch we were preparing to cook for 3.5 hours. It turned out really good!

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And we made tomato bisque + grilled cheese sandwiches.

I’ve despised tomato soup since childhood, but I could eat the entire batch of tomato bisque.

We’re certainly getting our fair share of vitamin C.

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Our drainage, pavers and retaining wall project is complete, all the way around to the front of the house. Happy JOY! It’s done folks, DONE! Truly hard for us to believe as we’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time.

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The clean-up crew has a few more things to tidy and there is some happy gardening and furnishings on the way…In time…

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We’re thrilled with the productive weekend and looking forward to this new week.

Blessings – Debbie

My To Do List is Shrinking – Or Is It

Happy Friday! I hope you’re having a delightful day.

News Flash – IT RAINED TODAY! That’s big news out here in Southern California.

So this week is flying at record speeds for me. And I’m thankful my to do list is shrinking.

  • Finished editing (our nephews) Sr Pictures – will have CD in the mail tomorrow
  • Harvest tomatoes – I had a count of 78 ripe tomatoes (in the kitchen) yesterday. Big things are happening with our bumper crop!
  • The hubs ordered a food mill last weekend = we’re making a large batch of tomato bisque this weekend.
  • Spent 2 + hours each morning in the garden, it’s what I love.

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One of the things crossed off the list, is a “hair-cut” appointment (yes, I’m cutting it off) scheduled for next week. Truth be told, I’m having second thoughts. That means I have plenty of time to change my mind another 10 – 20 times between now and then, right?

The little breakfast nook is coming right along. From the succulent pots in the window, the painted fork and spoon and the hubs hung the valances for me last weekend.

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Afternoon Labor of Love – So we made salsa last Sunday afternoon. It’s something we could not wait to make with our fresh tomatoes, bell and jalapeño peppers from the garden. Good stuff right there…In fact, another batch is in the works.

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Since this is not the hubs Friday off weekend, it’s my day to play catch-up in the house before the weekend.

Cheers to crossing a bunch of chores off the list such that I can have a nice weekend of rest with the hubs.

I suppose that means it’s time to add more things to the list of thing to do. Isn’t that the way it goes?

Blessings – Debbie

Back to School and Dropping Book Club

There is no easy way to say this as my heart tugs in both directions. And I’m bummed that I can’t have my cake and eat it too. But that’s the way things work and it’s all good.

So I received the fall college class schedule and the photography class I’ve been waiting to take, just so happens to conflict with the club day and time. And I was sad I couldn’t do both. But I also realize they only offer this class in the fall/once a year. So I did the only thing I knew to do. Drop the club and enroll for the class. I did ask our group leader if I could come back after my class this fall and she said “YES”! Makes me happy.

I’m really excited about my class though. I’ve already had the teacher and he’s Good with a capital G. So I already know it’s going to be packed with a lot of knowledge. I’m so excited and thrilled he didn’t retire as he mentioned he may be doing that soon. So it’s off to school I go, next month!

This summer is filled with fun little projects. Most of all, I’m having fun playing in the dirt, painting projects, photo shoots, eating tomatoes as fast as I pick them, creating little succulent gardens and weekend projects with the hubs…

This was my photo shoot yesterday…

The Tarantula Hawk Wasp – this is the specimen I found (on the ground) while gardening. I thought it was interesting enough to do a photo shoot. And then I had to google it to find out what it was. I mean really, he’s freaking 2″ long! And the first I’ve ever seen anything like it. I also learned it’s the state insect of New Mexico. I learn something new every day…

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Remember the wood fork and spoon (painting project) from last week? Well, I got around to hanging the set in the breakfast nook.

And this morning I put together 3 more miniature succulent gardens for the window. I’m smitten with all the free pickings in our backyard.

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A closer look.

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And this afternoon, I have household plans…Plans that don’t look so pretty in pictures. But I’m going to feel great having these things accomplished.

Happy Wednesday, Peeps!

Blessings – Debbie

Monday Morning Succulent Creations

Little succulent gardens – One of the many things on my heart since the day we moved into our new home. And I finally got around to getting my hands in the dirt to create a couple of miniature gardens this morning.

I dug out this old rusted plant stand that came with the property and created a little succulent garden with baby succulents found in the backyard.

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Turns out, I had so much fun creating this garden, that I made another as well. The best part, everything was free!

This is a shot of the above garden from the top.

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The next succulent garden found a new home on the upper terrace.

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A close-up of my little hanging garden.

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I’m certain there will be more little gardens to create in the future.

Until next time…

Blessings – Debbie

Another Week

Hey you guys! Guess what? The weekend is moving along way too fast. And we’re taking each minute to enjoy, relax, garden, grill and rest.

So, another week has passed. A time to focus on the images (there’s a lot) I took of our nephew back when he was visiting in May.

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And to slow myself at feeding time around the lilies. Love our yellow and white goldfish.

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And to slow down even further to enjoy the little things. The heart of the daylily thru my eyes.

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On a serious note…Or not…

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Duck Lips – Since it’s been the “in thing” (for some), I thought I should at least have a go at the ever so popular (or not) expression. + I think it’s great to have on the blog (when I’m 90 looking back over life) as evidence that I got involved. I heard (what do I know?) the best duck lips are formed when you say the word prune.

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And now, I think I’ll get back to gardening and focus on the cool things I want to add to the to do list this week. I believe there is more painting involved. Should be fun!

Blessings – Debbie

Wet Paint

I know, I haven’t been around for a while. But it doesn’t mean I’m not here. I am.

After our fun-filled weekend in LA, I decided to take a break.

I needed a little time away from my camera too. Time to unwind and get back into the swing of things.

Time for rest and gardening and figuring out when to tackle a couple of painting projects I want to accomplish this month.

Time to enjoy the 3-Day Holiday weekend (Independence Day) with the hubs.

Friday night (Independence Day) we decided to watch a movie – The Piano. And sometime during our show I began to hear noises. And I asked the hubs if he would pause our show. I said “I hear something, do you?” The hubs responded “oh, that’s the fireworks.” Duh! :) Then we had a look-see outside, but we were not able to see anything from our yard.

And then we decided to make the rest of our weekend as uneventful as possible. In fact, the cars remained in the garage all weekend. Just what we needed.

Although, we had the little work crew working on (what seems) our never-ending backyard project. We hope to have it finished in the next week, two at the most.

Oh, another thing. We never jumped on the Glee bandwagon. That is, until this weekend. We started watching season 1 from the very beginning and we were smitten from the start! So much so, that the next few days turned into a Glee marathon topped with popcorn and other goodies.

Monday was all about catching up on the weekend laundry, gardening, cleaning and food shopping.

Wet Paint

Today I’m working on one of my projects involving paint.

I picked up this wooden set at an estate sale a month or so ago. And the idea is to paint them white for the kitchen.

As of this afternoon, they have 3 coats on the upper side.

I hope to have them finished and hanging in the kitchen tomorrow.

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While I’m in the middle of a “do not touch – wet paint” sort of day – It’s a great day to be outdoors painting.

Blessings – Debbie