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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day


The sentiment on my Valentine's card from Diane makes me chuckle every time I see it. Since it's on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, that's pretty often.

The yellow primrose is a Valentine gift from my Sweetheart. I do love yellow.

May you have a fun and blessed Valentine's Day!


Love Vee

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Lovely Lady


Lovely frost tracings. John thinks this looks something like a swan swimming in ferns. It certainly has been frigid in our corner. How about yours?

***

So I've been cleaning and cleaning and tossing and shredding left and right. These are my mother's and grandmother's papers. I hold onto anything that is a letter with any information that might be of interest one day. If it's all about the weather and local gossip...not so much. If there's a mention of historical events...definitely yes. If there's a mention of family history...yes. There are a lot more yays than nays.

I repacked all the family photo albums dating back to beginning of time. For the first time, I can see how such treasures wind up in flea markets. There's just so much hauling these things along. What does one do with it all? 

And in the middle of that, I brought home another instant ancestor. I brought her home because her photograph was so clearly labeled. Her name is Irene Marion Powers and her photograph was taken in 1901 in Pittsfield, Maine.

sitting on my window ledge


Imagine my surprise to look for her this morning and find her already featured at another blog right *here.* The blogger has done quite a little research and found out some interesting additional information about the lovely lady.

***

Downton Abbey...one cannot complain about that program dragging as the plot boots right along. Last night, the Spanish Flu was a part of the story line.

Back when I was teaching, I sometimes asked my adult students to write an essay on family legends and lore. If students couldn't think of anything to write, I would offer suggestions, one of which was to discuss how the flu pandemic of 1918 affected their families. I suggested it because my family is filled with stories about that time.

My great-grandmother went to bed on an autumn day and didn't get out of it again for six weeks. My grandmother, nine years old at the time, was coming down with the flu when her father fixed her a hot toddy and sent her to bed on the suggestion of the family doctor. Her father found her on the stair landing curled into a ball when he went up to bed. My grandmother recovered quickly unlike her poor mother. And the stories come from all sides of the family. Does your family have such stories?

I see that next week is the Christmas Show on DA. Does that mean that it's the final one of Season 2?

Love Vee

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hope Deferred


~moose cookie cutter~

It's not every day that I announce a winner before I even announce a giveaway! We got such a kick out of the "thought bubbles" that we threw everyone's name who participated into the cap and selected one to win a little something, precious little something, from our corner to include this moose here. Hope that you have room for him at your house. And the winner is Kim at Happy At Home!

This is the iconic boot in front of the Fr**port store of L.L. B*ean. We natives must wait our turn don'tcha know. We are usually not going to be caught dead there in tourist season, unless we are showing off our own tourists. So yesterday we thought that since it wasn't summer; since it wasn't leaf-peeping season; since there'd be no snow bunnies; we were probably safe to go. I felt that we were in need of a bit of retail therapy. John needed a new jacket and shoes; I wanted to find something for the grands, and it was certainly lovely walking about in the Home Store. 




~Lobster Handles on the Home Store~

~Beyond the Lobster Handles~

(I'm a bit hestitant about the photographs today for I had turned off my vibration setting while using the tripod and forgot to turn it back on! I guess that will be obvious.)

So what's the title of this post all about? Just last Monday, John learned that the surgery scheduled for this morning and again next week would have to be cancelled. Cataract surgery is now so commonplace that one hardly gives it a thought. We did, though. First it was a spike in blood pressure and then it was a sty. The doctor put John on antibiotics and then rescheduled the surgeries for next month. Sigh. Hence our retail therapy yesterday.

Did any of you see the report on the evening news and elsewhere that bread is the number one source of sodium? (Thanks, Leslie, for the head's up.) I checked our favorite and, sure enough, there it was.


Sodium—200 mgs a serving or 8% of the day's requirements. That adds up with the more bread one eats. I may have to go back to baking my own bread after all! Oh that would take some serious willpower on several levels.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Love Vee

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dr. Doolittle Lives at My House

video

My friend Donna has a delightful blog at Cottage Days and Journeys where she shares her travel and life adventures. The most recent adventure is of her trip to Alaska to see the Katmai Bears. *This post* tells all about the patience of one persistent bear named Otis. Check out the story because it's such a good one and complemented throughout by amazing photographs. (If you enjoy the story and the photos, please let Donna know.) 

Now Donna has a little device she uses in the telling of her stories where she stops to ask her reader to imagine the "thought bubble." This makes me laugh every single time and sometimes I can even come up with a fun one that gets both John and me laughing. 

What does all of this have to do with my little video? Let me explain. At one point in the absurdity, Molly the Poodle turns to me with such an expression on her little face that you can easily fill in the thought bubble. If you know what it is, let me hear it. (Please pardon the White Balance set to the "warm" setting...the cozy factor is off the wall...and the tv on. I'm learning all the time.)

***

This clock has nothing whatsoever to do with anything other than that I was practicing again and time's a' wasting. One thing about this clock...it's always 3:30 pm on a sunny day. ☺ Oh that sometimes time would stand still such as when I'm supposed to be getting ready to leave. (John's eager to be on the move.)

~my personal favorite~

Oh I'll toss in one more thing I learned. I set up the tripod and camera taking three pictures of the same subject—the clock. I set the automatic timer, used different settings for each photo, and then used photomerge in my photo editing program to create one final photo. It's an interesting experiment.

  
The first three (l to r) are of the individual photos. The final picture in the lower right corner is the compilation. I'm sure that the real photographers out there can explain the reason for ever doing this; although, even I can figure out that it adds a depth of layering and more facets to the photo.

Someday, I'll get back to baking or crafting or something more interesting for more folks. Sure! Have a great day...

Love Vee

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Experiments

~willing subject 2~

Bored with me yet? No! Don't answer that. ☺

Bored with my photography experiments yet? Okay. You can answer that one. I'll try to be brief. The sunlight was shining directly on kitty's forehead. I took that photo...


and nearly left it at that. Not as interesting a shot as the first. Yes, there I am tucked under my blankie reading my book. The first is a zoomed shot not a cropped shot.

The days are so much longer now and the light is changing fast. This morning I looked around and knew that I was saying goodbye to most things Christmas. The lights, the mercury glass tree, the cranberry wreath...all gone. This is what I have instead.


A much simpler look with touches of red for Valentine's Day.


Perhaps the more interesting shot... My Valentine from a dear blogging friend still holds up after three years. I adore it! Laura, those apples? As fake as fake can be.

Thanks for looking! Feel free to speak your mind.

Love Vee

Monday, February 6, 2012

Studying


It was an odd weekend. The photography book that Catherine suggested in comments last week arrived. I sat directly down to it with my camera in hand and a willing subject.

~willing subject~


Later in the day, my niece brought over bacon whoopie pies. Bacon? Yup, you heard correctly. They were pretty good. I ate it, but I don't know what's wrong with the good old-fashioned chocolate ones or even *pumpkin.* John really liked them and ate the rest of my share.


So you're probably wondering about the photography. So am I. I have the settings so snarled that I have to return to the default settings and start over. Lots to learn; lots to confuse.

***

Congrats to the Giants fans. That was a rough game for the Pats fans to watch, which was why I bailed at 9 for Downton Abbey. Oh poor Mary! She certainly has got herself in a world of trouble. If I start praying for her, would you please remind me that she's just a character in a story? =) And that little snake in the grass Patrick. That was unsettling. And poor Mr. Bates! 

So did you watch the game or Downton Abbey or both or nothing or something else entirely?

Love Vee

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Problem of Pain

This week, and for several weeks prior, my thoughts have been about pain. Not my own physical nor spiritual pain, but real pain that was endured by a family member until she passed last week and the emotional pain of her family who stood watching. She lived with scleroderma for much of her adult life. Her extended family, myself and others, knowing that suffering was ongoing, were driven to prayer and in our ignorance found ourselves questioning why. Why does God allow pain? Because my mind has been compromised...see the following quote...I recognize that I don't think clearly or see enough to come to grips with such things. I fall on my faith; I fall hard on my faith.







Love Vee

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet Brown Bread Recipe

Oh there were some sweet photography suggestions in comments on yesterday's post. Read them and learn... Thank you so much to everyone who offered valuable advice. I now have a book on the way and perhaps photography will pick up around here. Perhaps. Probably not. I'm no photographer. Like everything else, I pretend.

And I'm no bread baker either. Pretending again.  Does that not inspire confidence?








This recipe is as close as I've been able to arrive to the sweet brown bread served at King's Landing in New Brunswick, Canada. Since the flavors and textures have lived in memory alone, this is not quite there, yet it is close. Does anything ever live up to the memory? We'll ponder that another day. And, who knows, maybe I'll work on it again when I weigh under a hundred pounds and need to gain weight in a hurry.

One more point: though I'm sure that this would be delicious with New England baked beans, it is not the dark sweet bread that comes in a can expressly for that purpose. (I like that stuff, too, but why reinvent the wheel!)

Vee's Sweet Brown Bread *printable recipe* (to make and bake in a Bread Machine)

If you try this, please let me know? I'd love to know what you think of it.

Love Vee
Edited to Add:

HappyOne gave this a try. Check it out @ Life is Good-Smile.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Questions

Alicia, your photography is incredible. I have yet to figure out how you do it and I have tried. Specifically, I can not understand how the room and the view beyond the room are equally crisp and beautiful. It's as if they are both one amazing space.


Do you think I've provided enough adjectives there? Anyway, that's what I'd say if I were brave enough to comment at Alicia's.

Recently, Alicia provided a link to a house tour of her home on Houzz. It's a fun way to spend a little time, if you have a few minutes today or over the weekend. Always those crisp, delightful photos. (You'll have to visit Posie Gets Cozy to find the link as I just sent you to the main page.)

Usually when I am trying to photograph a room, I get blur. I really get blur when the view beyond the windows is captured. Either the blur is outdoors or indoors, either way...blur...blur and mud.

Case in point...


I was trying to capture the great graphics on the Hans Brinker book as well as the barn star on the fence outside. The barn star is out of focus and a bit blurry, though it shows up better than the book. I think that the camera really focused on the throw because that seems to have been picked up well.

Since I didn't achieve what I wanted with the camera alone, I went to Photoscape.


Once there, I added backlighting and bloom. At least I can see Hans now. ☺

So this is a question for my friends who take photographs all the time...you know who you are...everybody? Give me your hints and tips. I'll be forever grateful.

Edited to Add: Karen is entering a new venture that completely intrigues me. You can find out more on her post today titled The Accidental Photographer.

***

Yesterday, my hubby made a comment about February's picture on one of my new calendars. You may recognize it. Apparently, neither of us is too fond of the picture of snake lovers. 





So I "fixed" it. 


It is a wonderful thing when the calendar presents just one clinker. I've had others where every other month was a nightmare. 

So that's all the Valentine's decorating I've done. I must find a few more and get going. Time's already flying.

***

Guess what?! I believe that I have discovered the recipe for sweet brown bread. I'm sharing tomorrow. Bring your own plate and coffee...

***

Oh, and Happy Ground Hog's Day, too!

Love Vee

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snowflakes




Snowflakes...lovely things...do you believe that no two are alike? I do, though I now know that they can be very similar.

Jill sparked my curiosity a few weeks ago with her discussion of snowflake photography. I had to wait for days to have daytime snow; at first, I used a velveteen pillow to capture snowflakes. I soon learned that the nap of the fabric was very unattractive when enlarging snowflakes. It looked like this.


The snowflakes were intriguing enough that I wanted to try again, which I did. More waiting for daytime snow and then snow came yesterday (today, too, for that matter). I was out on the deck in my pajamas capturing snowflakes using first green paper then red paper.














I was appalled to realize that a snowstorm is like a battlefield. All those flakes hit the ground and most blow up on impact. Terribly sad.




Every now and then one would land intact...


Sometimes, various objects landed.

I even saw a skier...















and a skater!

You know what? I'm beginning to think that I don't have enough to do. =)

Have you been wasting time on anything lately?

Happy February!

Love Vee

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sally Lunn Bread

Before I forget, I want to give credit to Kim (Kim Klassen) for the If Only background and Karen (The Graphics Fairy) for the beautiful swans. We have such amazing resources in Blogdom! If you haven't signed up for Kim's weekly download, try it and you'll be playing in no time.


This is the last of the Memory Bouquet using the same If Only background. It makes for a soft, romantic look. I used the photomerge function on Photoshop.

***

As you may know, I am on the search for a particular bread recipe. I've now made bread three times in the effort and each time brings me closer to that elusive recipe. I have learned some things. One is that to have sweetness one must have more than a titch of sugar. The other is that eggs do add that extra body to bread dough that I am looking for. The last is that this can not go on. I like fresh bread way too much.

Cheryl @ Thinking About Home suggested that Sally Lunn bread might be close. It is certainly a delicious bread and so easy to make. No kneading!


Notice the bread handle? Why I stuck that extra bit of dough on there, I have no idea. It certainly wasn't to make it attractive. =)


Can you see the texture? That is definitely what I am looking for. See that butter? Cabot, thank.you.very.much. The best ever! (No, Cabot is not paying me to say this.) Do you have a favorite butter?

If you'd like to try Cheryl's recipe, you'll find it right *here.*  She's titled the post "Snowly and Sally Lunn." Perfect for a snowy day as we're enjoying today.

I also wanted to thank you for the encouraging things you said about my tag project yesterday. You are the best!

A wonderful Tuesday to you...

Love Vee