Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

December 31, 2014

My Favorite Things

I remember watching the Sound of Music during the holidays when I was a child. I'm not sure how I keep missing it as an adult, but it's been years since I last saw it. The song, 'My Favorite Things' still rings in my ears though, especially this time of year. 

Some of my favorite things: knitting needles and photography

It's been a wild, crazy and amazing year. Here are a few of my favorite posts from this blog: 

Favorite Fingerless Gloves
These things will keep your hands toasty in cold weather while you knit even more fun things.

Favorite Recipe Organizer
In a cooking rut? Try sorting out your recipes.

Favorite Vintage Dinner Party
Clearly, I love Pyrex. 

Favorite Pregnancy Announcement
I was never much of a baby person, but then the Peanut came along. 

Favorite Crochet Jungle
I seriously can't wait until the Peanut is big enough to play with this thing. It's currently sitting in our living room as part of the decor, near the plants. 

Favorite Mother's Day Post
I may be biased, but my mama is pretty awesome. 

Favorite Baby Showers Part I
I have lost count of the number of places I've lived over the years, so it's super special that my friends from childhood got together on my behalf to throw me a Skype shower. 

Favorite Baby Showers Part II 
The Peanut is so excited when I read to him these days — thanks to this baby shower, we've got plenty of books to keep us busy! 

Favorite Birth Announcement

Favorite Mini Cardigan
The Peanut is growing fast, so I suspect he'll fit into this in no time. I still want to make an adult-sized version. 

Favorite Reminder to Finish a Journal
I'm happy to report that I finally finished the small blue journal and I'm eagerly awaiting the start of a fresh new blank book for 2015. 

Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

December 17, 2013

Buttons and Baubles

I confess to having a slight addiction to buttons. But really, who doesn't... especially those of us who make stuff? 

I have quite a stash of old buttons that my mom passed along to me -- I'm pretty sure some of them were my Grandma's, and over the years I've accumulated even more. Lately, I've been gravitating towards the buttons still on their cards. It's fun to see what the price used to be on them -- and if I'm out at a thrift store or antique store, even a small purchase of a few buttons on a card is somewhat of a thrill. 

Buttons can make or break a handcrafted project -- pick the right ones and your whole garment, bag, or hat looks amazing. Pick the wrong ones... well... just take them off and look through your stash to find an even better button! 

I have been known to buy a whole bag of buttons at a craft store for just one color.

I have been known to swoon at entire walls filled with buttons. 

I have photographed buttons for photo shows. (You can also do this... just get one of those clear baubles from a craft store with a removable lid. Insert buttons. Take photos!)

 But really, my weakness is those vintage buttons still on their cards.

Some of the latest acquisitions... stored in vintage Pyrex, of course.

I can't wait to use these buttons in something. How about you? Button collector or not?

November 10, 2013

Live. Laugh. Love.

I have never been one to collect knick-knacks of any sort (Pyrex does NOT count as a knick-knack)... I'm talking about little figurines that don't have much use except to sit around and collect dust on shelves. 

During the years onboard the Love Boat, I had to secure the shelf above my bed (I don't ever remember having more than one) whenever we sailed in case of rough seas. I would keep a book or journal there in port, but nothing that could shatter if it hit the floor while we sailed. 

And as a professional nomad, I usually didn't have a lot of patience for packing knick-knacks and carting them around the world -- particularly breakable ones. 

I've made an exception though -- my wedding cake-topper.

The Sailor and I have never really had a 'traditional' marriage -- with him being gone so often. We certainly didn't have the most traditional wedding (check out our handmade invitations here). We got married in South Africa on a farm with only a small number of people present. I was already living there and had yet to find a suitable cake topper, so I enlisted my mother's help from the other side of the world several months before. Our wedding may have been small, but we would certainly be sticking to the cake tradition -- even if it was Black Forrest.

My mom managed to procure a cake topper for us -- as close as she could get to something sailor-like. She put it in the mail a good two months before the wedding.

The cake topper, however, never made it to the ceremony. United States to South African post can be sketchy on the best of days, so we figured it had just been stuck in the mail and would arrive eventually. 

Several months later, the cake topper was still missing. I'm still not sure what the happy couple was doing in the meantime... but they eventually turned back up, in America. If they were ever in South Africa, they never told us.

Ever since then, I haven't let them out of my sight. 

They show up at photo shoots. 

 They like the outdoors, too. 

Sometimes they hang around next to a wedding photo in the living room -- most recently they've been leading the procession near a photo on my nightstand of the Sailor and me that says 'live, laugh, love'.

This week, I looked at the ceramic couple (I tried to ignore the dust on them -- I implore you to do the same) and the words on that photo frame, and I realized how much more I laugh when the Sailor is around. I'm not talking about a chuckle every now and again... I'm talking about the kind of laughter that makes your stomach ache and mascara run down your face. This week, I pointed out to the Sailor that I seem to have more wrinkles all of a sudden around my mascara-smeared eyes. 

He simply shrugged and said it was from too much laughing. Then his own eyes squinted and he burst out laughing.

So much has happened this year that has made us cry... but I am grateful for the fact that we are still living, loving and most of all, laughing. I'm grateful for the Sailor, who like the happy ceramic couple, goes away for months at a time, but always find his way home again.

October 10, 2013

I Love Yarn Day and #7vignettes Part II

It's no secret on this blog that I love to knit and crochet. (Don't ask me which one I prefer -- they both have their place...) 
I also love yarn.

Yarn is so tactile... so versatile.

It also seems to multiply completely on its own.

I knew the lure of yarn could easily become an obsession. It's one of the main reasons I resisted crocheting and knitting for years whenever I wandered past the skeins in a store.

My hunch was correct. The stash took over within months of picking up my hooks and needles. In 2012, I made a pact that I would use up a sizable quantity of my yarn before I purchased anything new. It worked pretty well, until that trip to Idaho after Thanksgiving (Read all about it in this post). 

This year, I created some new yarn rules. I allowed myself several purchases, but I couldn't buy yarn to simply stash it -- I needed to have an actual pattern and purpose for the yarn.

No matter what 'rules' I make for myself though, I still love yarn whether it's new or in the stash. Apparently there's a whole day to celebrate that love. I Love Yarn Day kicks off tomorrow! If you're a fiber freak, then there's plenty of ways you can celebrate and share your love.

Not having my iPhone for a week meant that I couldn't actually post any photos to Instagram, so I missed out on October's #7vignettes. There's always next month. Besides, September's #7vignettes fit in perfectly for tomorrow's special day. It just goes to show you that I really do love yarn. Even photographing it can be fun. 

Here are the 'stories' behind #7vignettes from September. 

GREEN: yarn salad topped off with a sprinkling of buttons.

FOLDED: Folded hands.

ALCOHOL: Don't string me along... What are you having? Red, white or whiskey?

PILE: one pile simply leads to another pile. 

BORROWED: my mother-in-law's needles, the scratchiest yarn ever, and her steely resolve as I learned to knit without surrendering.   

ROUND: What's round? A yarn hat cake, of course, complete with optional (and detachable) pompom decoration.  

FRAMED: it's time to take the kid gloves off. I'm not just spinning a yarn -you've been framed. 

If you missed Part I of the #7vignettes, you can view that post here.  

Happy I Love Yarn Day to my fellow fiber fanatics! 

September 21, 2013

#7vignettes Part I

I've mentioned before how much fun I have on Instagram. Ever since I joined the online photo community, it's challenged me to take creative pictures using only my phone. I love seeing what other people around the world creatively post! 

I don't really participate in a ton of hashtag projects (yet!) but I do love playing along with #7vignettes. There are some amazing interior designers taking part mainly in Australia, but people submit their photos from around the world. 

I'm not an interior designer, nor do I live in Australia, but I truly enjoying seeing how other people interpret a one word theme in photos. I tried to not only create and take photos that matched the words, but I also created my own 'travel' theme throughout each of the photos in the seven day series.

I'm a little late in showing you all my first round of pics from August, but here they are:

Of course every photo has a story that's also part of the vignette. You can read Day 1's tea/coffee one here, if you missed it. 

The rest of the vignettes are as follows: 

BEDSIDE:  Bride's-eye-view from the cake topper that never made it to my wedding in South Africa, but arrived months later in the post in America. (The bride and groom still haven't clued me in on where they were all that time...) Also at my bedside: a frame holding an anniversary photo of the Sailor and me, at least one book, and always, without a fail, a glass of water at bedtime. 

WINDOW: Travel offers a window of opportunity to experience other cultures. I often feel as though I'm reflecting on past trips abroad at the same time that I'm planning new adventures. 

ELEGANT: For me, elegance is found somewhere between a train trip on the Orient Express from Budapest, coffee in the dining car, watching the snowfall while writing in my journal, and an African safari, sipping sundowners with the zebras. It's hard to choose... 

MONOCHROME: Vintage lovelies that have both traveled through and stood the test of time. Green is glorious. 

EMOTIONAL: The gamut of emotions I've experienced since the age of 10 have all been recorded in my journals... When words fail sometimes the emotions are simply a tear stain, a ticket stub, a sketch or a photo -- even the crumbling petals of a rose. Even in this age of mobile gadgetry, I still travel with my journal -- 61 journals now line my bookshelf. I'm working my way through number 62. 

HANDMADE: I have my mother to thank for instilling in me a sense of creativity and wonder in everyday objects. She taught me to sew and crochet and she showed me the amazing things you can do with paper and scissors (her pinking shears made the photo cut). Years later, my mother-in-law taught me to knit. She told me to keep the practice square as a memento of that first lesson. (It's in the upper right corner.) I knit the blue sweater soon after. The color reminded me of the Sailor's and my handmade wedding invitations and the oceans that separate two of the most amazing women I know. Handmade with love. 

August 25, 2013

Tea Time

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been playing along with #7vignettes on Instagram and I promised to show you the photos. I had so much fun styling photos for the online 'event'. The theme for the first day: coffee/tea. 

Having caffeine running through my veins daily, of course I went with the coffee theme. 

Here's what I posted:

 And here's the story behind it: 

Coffee symbolizes some of my favorite things -- not only the drink itself! My thrifted vintge whole bean grinder, my Italian stovetop espresso pot (wedding present from a dear friend) and gifted Transcarpathian cups and saucers to remind to return to Ukraine someday. (All but one has survived several Transatlantic moves.)

Soon after I posted the photo, I started to realize how much tea I'd been drinking as well. 

Maybe I've been missing the British Isles lately, or maybe it's because I sipped so much tea while I was under the weather a while back. 

Or perhaps it's simply that I have so many cute tea cups and despite having a larger kitchen now, I'm still sticking to my small kitchen rules: everything must be fully functional.

Or maybe it's because I promised myself over New Year's, that I was going to have a Chilled-Out 2013, and this has turned into one of the craziest years of my life. Tea seems to have a calming effect on me when I need to chill out. 

Whatever the reason, I'm definitely having more tea these days. 

I still drink coffee like it's going out of style -- we'll always be friends. We were together long before tea introduced itself to me and if you told me I could only have one or the other for the rest of my life, coffee would win hands down.

But since I don't have to choose, there's room for both in my life (although the mug cabinet is definitely getting crowded.) Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go and boil the kettle.

Which would you choose? 

April 22, 2013

Yellow Yellow

Last week, the camera club held its final competition of the year. I've enjoyed the competitions, because rather than going through my stash of fairly recent photos to see which ones I can enter, I try to take new ones specifically for the competition. 

This latest competition had a theme of 'Mostly Yellow'. I first thought about using my yellow Pyrex.

Then I thought about using sunflowers and of course a typewriter.

However, for the past few competitions, I've tried to do something unusual and creative with crafty objects. (Either that, or I take photos of thrifted shoes, which is equally fun.) I wanted to end the camera club season with a nod to my signature style.

Having no yellow shoes on hand this time, 
I decided to use the sewing supplies. 

I had an idea in my head of how to arrange the objects, but instead I started out just photographing the stuff haphazardly:

(It clearly wasn't working. Even if I had turned the measuring tap the other way, something wasn't right here.)

Once I straightened out the tape measure, I thought things improved slightly. 
But the photos still weren't there yet.

In the end, I remembered my original idea and decided to spell out 'yellow':

And I loved it! 

Apparently the judges did too. It scored very well and I walked away with first place in the 'Mostly Yellow' category. In fact, I got three first place ribbons that night -- I tied for first with a black and white print, and I also tied for first with my color print. 

One of the judges asked how long it took me to gather the yellow items. I somewhat sheepishly admitted that everything was already in my stash of supplies -- I needed to only root through a container. Then she wanted to know how long it took me to arrange it. Honestly, not long. Even though I played around with the orientation of the supplies for a while before I actually spelled the word, I knew from the start what I wanted to do. 

It's not always like that though. Usually my original thoughts are only a seed for what the photo or craft becomes. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to arrange stuff and figure out where I want things to go. Other times though, the first ideas are the real deal, or at least fairly close. If I had actually scribbled down my idea, my first sketch would have looked similar to the photo above -- only I would have drawn a yellow zipper for the Y. (I was too cheap to buy a yellow zipper, so I used what I already had.)

The black background made the whole thing stand out. Plus, as one judge said, 'Everything looks great on black velvet!' In my case, I used a black scarf. I laid it on the floor, arranged the items and aimed the camera straight down.  

I liked this idea so much that I may have to spell out the rest of the rainbow. I'm sure I already have the craft supplies for the job. 

April 4, 2013


Today was a perfect laundry day. Cold, but perfectly windy for drying clothing outdoors. 

Clothespins are of course essential when hanging the washing outside. They also make for a fun photo experiment. I love taking simple everyday things and making them into art.

Today was also my local camera club meeting. You may remember from this post that I used to be a little skeptical of my camera club. Now that I'm in my third season with the club, I've grown to appreciate it, and I've definitely learned a lot.  

Plus I'm a little competitive. I did well the first year in Category B, and earned enough points to work my way up to Category A. Last year I also did well (although some of the best photographers were nowhere to be found that year!) So far this year, I scored highly in the first competition of the season with several photos -- Knit Lit is still one of my favorites. 

I didn't want to miss out on entering the competition while we were in South Africa, so I left my photos with another member to enter for me. 

I kind of forgot about the whole thing until tonight, when I got my photos back. I've already shown you this one that tied for second place in the color category. 

Tonight I discovered that the black and white one above, 'Pinned' tied for second place in the black and white category. 

Our next competition is looming -- I can enter one color, one black and white, and one with the theme of 'mostly yellow'. I have some ideas brewing in my mind... sunflowers may be involved. Regardless of whether I win, I'll be sure to share the results with you. 

March 13, 2013

Cruising to Calm

My motto for 2013 is supposed to be to chill out -- no matter what happens. 

Well, if you've been following this blog, you know that 2013 has thrown a few curve balls my way. I'm still trying to stay pretty chilled out, because really, what good is it stressing about stuff that is beyond my control? 

This past week, the Sailor took me on a cruise. It was in the works for some time, and happened to still fit right into our schedule, despite the timing of my brother's death a few weeks ago. 

I sent the Sailor this card years ago...
It made me smile when I found it in the closet back in South Africa.

A fellow former shipmate and friend of mine sent me a message right before I boarded: 'Hope the cruise is good for your soul...

The cruise was indeed good for my soul. There is something calming about being on the water. Warm weather and fabulous food never hurt either. 

While on board, I also celebrated my birthday... 

I took in a few sights of the sea... 

And of course the palm trees and sunsets on land...

The last day of the cruise, the Sailor and I went to a butterfly conservatory -- quite possibly my favorite excursion of the sail.

Was the cruise good for my soul? Absolutely. Am I going to still aim to be chilled out this year? Most definitely. 

PS: In case you haven't noticed... most of these are Instagram pics. I've only recently discovered how addictive the app is. Follow me there: typingsunflowers.

February 23, 2013

Drink Up

Last year, to celebrate the Sailor's success at passing a HUGE navigation exam, we went to Abu Dhabi. We met with friends, laid around the beach and the pool, and I drank far too many of the green slushy type beverage pictured below -- frozen mint lemonade. 


I haven't quite figured out how to make it yet, although I do know that fresh mint and lemonade (clearly) are involved.
This week, the Sailor ordered a frozen ginger lemonade at a coffee shop... and somehow he ended up with a frozen mint lemonade. I'm still not sure how that happened, since I didn't see that combo anywhere on the menu. The Sailor didn't share my passion for the drink, so needless to say, I enjoyed the rest of it.

I was definitely back in Abu Dhabi, if only for the few minutes it took me to slurp the drink. 

This photo was taken right before the Sailor arrived -- on a day out with two of my dearest friends (yes, I am blessed. A trip to Abu Dhabi AND my friends are there?!) I entered the photo in the most recent camera club competition -- it tied for second in the color category.

I only wish a frozen mint lemonade was the prize, rather than a red ribbon.  

January 20, 2013

Table Mountain: Framed

I sold a photography print this week. It's been a few months since I've done any photo shows, so it was a nice change of pace from what I have been working on. I love what digital photography has done for our world -- no more film rolls! However, after looking at photos on the screen for so long, it is a wonderful treat to see one actually printed out and framed. 
The lady who ordered the print had previously purchased a smaller photo of one of my shots of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. The last time we were there, the Sailor and I went for a late afternoon stroll, and I took my small Sony point and shoot camera with me.  The light was amazing and I took several shots of the mountain and the sea. 
This one was one of my favorites.

Further down the beach on that same walk, I took this shot of a lonely boy fishing. 

Some of my all time favorite photos have been with small cameras. I love my Nikon d80, but sometimes less is more. It's unlikely I would have carried that big camera on our walk. The Sony, on the other hand, fit right in my pocket. The result? Table Mountain, framed and ready to hang on the wall.

November 30, 2012

Knit Lit

Along with vintage Pyrex, I enjoy hunting for old sewing and handiwork stuff. Although I haven't been able to pinpoint the exact reason why I'm drawn to vintage sewing and needlework tools and pattern books, I like to think that it helps me feel connected to the grandmothers and great-grandmothers of yesteryear who also pursued creativity in their daily life.  Their creativity may have been born more out of necessity than enjoyment, but I like to think that many of them still got pleasure out of creating something with their hands.

One thing that put me off knitting initially was simply the price of new needles. When I started looking into knitting more seriously, I realized that a person needed quite a LOT of needles in order to create all manner of garments with various types of yarn. Of course you can knit with one set of needles, but it seemed like every new pattern I wanted to make called for different sized needles and different thicknesses of yarn, but my budget instead erred on the thin size.

I knew I could save a small fortune by collecting used needles at thrift stores. Every time I saw a pair that weren't bent or that didn't have gunk stuck to them (it's true... sometimes you really have to pick through stuff -- and then really wash your hands afterwards), I would snatch them up for 50 cents or even as much as a dollar. 

Soon, I had quite a few needles in all sizes and colors. I thought they would make a fun photo project, especially when I realized I had all of the colors of the rainbow

These three were the best of the bunch: 

I submitted the far right photo into my camera club for a competition, and titled the entry 'Rainbow Bright'. The judges weren't impressed. They gave me low scores because the title had nothing to do with knitting. (I wanted people to guess what the photo was... I didn't want to give it away, but there you go.) 

So, when the camera club held the next competition, I took some new photos and submitted this one for the abstract theme:

I titled it 'Knit Lit' and it tied for second place. I guess this time my choice of title caught the judges attention quicker than my previous shot.

These photos were also some of my favorites of that shoot:

I still search for knitting needles at thrift stores, but these days I'm a little more picky. I have nearly every size I could possibly ever use, so unless they are a really unique set, I'm leaving them for the next knitter-on-a-budget.

November 20, 2012

Sew Neat

Even though I am what some would consider a professional nomad, I realized a few years ago when I returned to America's shores, that I needed to plant a few roots somewhere. Anywhere. 

So, I joined a local camera club. The first meeting I thought I was in the wrong room. I literally thought the presenter was speaking Greek. He talked about the latest software patch for some photo program I had never even heard of. The camera club's website hailed people of all skill levels, but despite my own experience taking photos for years, I didn't feel skilled at all.

It took a while to figure out the workings of the club. I eventually realized that I joined it to learn more about photography and to meet new people. I also joined to challenge myself to take new and different photos -- even if it meant I didn't always understand the technical stuff. I still loved to take photos -- I wasn't about to let someone with more expensive equipment or a better knowledge of software I'd never heard of tell me that I couldn't compose a picture. I simply decided to learn what I could, filter out the rest, and take some photos. Occasionally, I still hear Greek, but gradually I'm becoming a little more fluent.

This week, we had our first competition of this season. I tied for second in the color category with 'Sew Neat': 

I thought the title was appropriate, a symbolic celebration of my sewing machine getting fixed and finally being able to seam a straight line.