Changes to Come: Day 7 of Photo Challenge




It’s been fun doing this photo challenge, I have enjoyed mulling over each day’s assignment before choosing a photo to present to you.

Today it’s “Changes to Come”, and it’s a loaded assignment.

There are definately big changes to come around here.  Moving is practically a full time job. It’s not just the prep work that’s time consuming, it’s the paperwork, inspections and so forth.

I am in the midst of chaos. Complete chaos. 

I am dreaming of the day when we can throw our boxes away for good. It’s coming soon, just not soon enough to suit me.

I want to have it all over with before summer.

I would rather spend my summer days digging in the garden.

Or basking on a beach.

Or sipping ice tea on the terrace over looking the lake.

But not moving.

I will share more about our big move just as soon as I can. You can be re-assured I will have lots of projects to work on and share with you in the future.

Actually, it will probably take us about 20 years to finish them all. That’s okay with me. I am not in a hurry.

One project though, is already complete. The kitchen in our future home is nearly perfect in my opinion. Much more to come on that too.

Enjoy the chaos.

Jung’s Garden Seed Giveaway #2


Have you ever had days when you have such a long to do list, you blank out? When you have a million things pulling you different directions, and you forget the one that’s really important?

Like hosting a Giveaway?????

Yesterday was my day to start the second Jung’s Garden Seed Giveaway, and I totally spaced it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You won’t want to miss this Giveaway! Jung’s is providing 11 packets of seeds, including 3 types of flowers and vegetable seeds. This Giveaway is valued at $30.00!  We have specifically chosen heat loving varieties that are easy to grow, so if you are a novice gardener you won’t be disappointed! I have been a long time customer of Jung’s, they have great quality seeds you can count on! Check out there website here for more information.

Leave a comment on the blog, or twitter/re-tweet the Giveaway for more chances to win!

On another note, this is holy week. Today is day #3 of my Photography Challenge. Today’s focus is “clouds”. This is a tough subject in Wisconsin. We have two types of clouds here: snow and rain. This amounts to “grey and even grayer” clouds.

That pretty much sums it up.

Wisconsin clouds are not all that interesting. We don’t get many of the the big white puffy clouds you see in other regions.  My son did a science experiment tracking clouds recently. They were the same grey clouds for days on end.

So, today I decided to use our church steeple in my cloud shots, a point of reference can make things more interesting and detract from the grey storm clouds that are on the horizon.

Did I mention it snowed this morning?

One of the things I love about our church, besides the beautiful building, is that we have a variety of local ministries. My favorite ministry, is the Food Pantry Garden. Each year our church members volunteer to plant and maintain the farm land surrounding the church. At the end of the garden season, all the food that is harvested gets donated to local food pantries.

Last year, they raised 4000 lbs. of food!

Wow! We are a truly blessed body of believers.

I tell you this because, even if you don’t grow a garden for yourself, there are others who can benefit from your gardening.

All the more reason to enter the Giveaway. You can donate your surplus if you choose!

Tune in tomorrow for another special announcement!

What I Wore to the Midwestern Blogger Meet-up



I had so much fun today at the Midwestern Blogger Meet-up! The big event took place in Lisle, Illinois and was put together by Jennifer Rizzo.  If you haven’t read Jennifer’s blog, you should hop on over and check it out. She’s very talented and as sweet as sunshine.

  I was equally charmed by her selection of location for the event: inside an old train depot at a local historical museum.

I was able to have some time to explore this quaint museum before the festivities began, I love old buildings.

The train depot was amazing, it was built in 1881. I am into train depots lately. And trains.

The depot had beautiful architectural features.

The inside of the depot was every bit as charming as the outside. Did you know they used to have separate waiting rooms for the men and women? Neither did I.

I love the big graphic on the wall. I wanted to take it home with me.

My great grandfather had a brass hanging lamp just like this one. So charming.

Great grandpa also had a clock just like this.  I loved the train bulletin chalkboard on the wall.

The corners of the depot were full of other old treasures like wooden barrels and these lovely trunks and boxes.  The walls in this room were beautiful unfinished wide boards.

I loved how rustic they look.

It was the perfect place for a bunch of bloggers to meet up.

We all took tons of pictures. You can see why.

Jennifer put together this lovely table of refreshments for us all. In between chatting about blogging, social media, SEO’s, websites and taking pictures, we sipped coffee, chewed on brownies and complete strangers became friends.

It is amazing what food can do.

Everyone was so sweet and friendly, and it was so nice to put faces with blog names. I can’t wait to go back again next year.

It was a great day!

By the way, this is day #2 of my Photography Challenge (see yesterday’s post for more details here). 

Todays’ assignment,  photograph “what you wore”.  I interpreted this to mean “what I wore to the blogger meet-up”. 

I wore my favorite butterfly necklace.

See you tomorrow!

30 Day Photography Challenge



I came across this 30 Day Photo Challenge that one of our friends recently posted on the internet. One of my goals for this year, is to become a better photographer. The more you practice, the easier things become. I have improved quite a bit since I started taking pictures for this blog, but I thought it would be fun to work on photography specifically, and take a break from my usual projects.

There is no time like the present.

Day#1 Self Portrait

Darn it, I wish the first day would have been something else! I hate having my picture taken! But, the bonus is that if I do it myself I don’t have to use anything that I don’t like.

That being said I had to Google some tips on taking a decent self portrait.  A tripod and a self timer are recommended. I don’t own a tripod, and I am still learning how to use the self timer on my camera, so I opted to start with the iPhone.

There were some great tips on taking good photos with your iPhone here. One of the best tips on this site, is that it’s better to take pictures with the back facing camera on your iPhone, instead of the front. Who knew?

The author also says not to take pictures in the photo apps, but just with the camera, then edit as you see fit later. Hummm, mistake number one for me. I love apps! There is even an app for a self timer, Gorillacam. Awesome!

So, there is a little story behind this post. This is me driving incognito to drop off my son at his symphony rehearsal. It was very early, rainy and cold. I don’t do well with early morning anything. So I donned my rain coat and snow leopard scarf (it covers up the bed head), swooshed on some lipstick (distracts from the coffee stained teeth) and we were off. The shades were necessary since I was with out make up.

Shocking I know.

Yup, this is me being incognito.

I never said I was good at it.

On the way home, I decided to stop by this old train car and take a few pictures. No one was around, and I thought it would make for an interesting setting.

I love how colorful it is.

This abandoned train appears to be only used for storage. Such a shame, it is so beautiful! Can’t you just see Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart boarding this train? It’s like something out of an old movie. I love North by Northwest.

Such a classic!

There are business offices located nearby in the former depot, I prayed there was no one working on a Saturday morning.

Last thing I need is to get arrested for trespassing. This could be very hard to explain…..

The train has the Camp Randall logo on the side of it.  How cool is this graphic? Camp Randall was originally a Union Army training camp during the civil war. This train has been here for as long as I can remember.

At one time our city had many trains and tracks, this is one of the few that remains. The others have been removed or are now bike paths. As much as I love biking, I think we have lost something of the past.

Photography tip: Practice focusing on an object in the position that you plan to stand before you take your shot. This makes sense right? I tried out several different camera settings before choosing the one I liked.

I decided to focus on the graphic for my photo shoot. This may or may not have been a good idea.

Capture the real you: There is lots of room for interpretation here. Like me being incognito.  Not sure if I should have the P and A in this shot, but I like their colors, so they are staying. At least for now.

Experiment with different points of view: Try holding the camera at different angles, or even putting the camera on the ground and getting a shot of you in the distance.

 Grace Kelly, eat your heart out!

My son says this photo makes me look really old.

Sigh. What does he know? Bet he doesn’t even know who Grace Kelly was.

Try a black and white setting: Maybe you will look younger in black and white than in color. There is always hope.

Try interesting action shots. Hang dangerously off the side of a train: Pray you won’t drop your iPhone into a puddle.  Try not to giggle at the thought of some unsuspecting guy working in his office who may be laughing historically at this oddly dressed woman taking pictures of her self on an abandoned train early in the morning.

One of the issues with taking pictures with your iPhone is that it may ring. Ignore a ringing iPhone when photographing.

“Mom, where are you?” Ummmm, I am at the mall, dear. Lie. Big lie.

“Did you forget to pick me up?” Maybe. Sort of. Okay, I forgot. I was busy.

“Busy doing what?”  I don’t think I can really explain that right now, maybe later. I will be there soon.

I am not done being Grace Kelly yet. Darn it, I forgot my stilettos.

Try different cameras, if you own more than one. These photos I took with the aid of my Nikon Cool Pix and a self timer.  It’s more fun to be further away from the lens. At least it is for me. I like the back lighting in this shot. I also like that you can’t see my face. It’s probably my favorite self portrait so far. 

Need more inspiration? I loved this article with 100 Seriously Cool Self Portraits. There are so many talented photographers out there!

I am still working on mastering the art of the self portrait. I read somewhere that if you take 100 pictures of the same thing, you will get at least one shot that you like.

I don’t think I could take 100 pictures of myself. I would be bored to death with my subject matter.

But, maybe by the time I get to Day 30, I will have it figured out how to take at least one picture that I can use as a profile pic and not embarrass my children.

Wave goodbye to Jimmy Stewart. All aboard!