About Us

Marsanne Petty
I enjoy writing, reading, photography, history, investigating old structures and trying not to get arrested by entering said structures. I write for Skirt and for Ehow. I can be contacted at mapetty@gmail.com.

Melody Lee
I like to garden and wow people with my artistic interpretations of how flowers should be arranged. I also write for Ehow and Garden Guides. I can be contacted at annlees@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Picture This Contest on Gardening Gone Wild

The July Picture This Contest on Gardening Gone Wild is afoot!

After an afternoon of constant rain, the branches of this 'Near East' Crape Myrtle bowed down to the ground and rained petals.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

June Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

From my mom, Melody:

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day again - if you don't know what that it, check out May Dream's Gardens and Carol will explain it. Don't forget to check out the other bloggers who have posted their pictures too.

You would think I would have more pictures to post ... but it's too hot ... the sun is too bright ... or its raining. Here's the best I have for this month.

Bright Eyes Crocosmia

Blue Spruce Sedum

Ornamental Banana

Wild Horsement covered in pollinators - this was a busy plant!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"The Regulars"

A collection of portraits taken over a period of two years has earned Sarah Stolfa acclaim as a photographer. Rather than "chaos and smiles" in the bar, Stolfa has captured another side of bar life - those poignant, lonely moments that patrons share with their bartender. Stolfa wasn't a talkative bartender at Center City's McGlinchey's. Instead, she wanted a way out. After a stint of ten or eleven years, she McGlinchey's to pursue her MFA in Photography at Yale. Purchase "The Regulars" by Sarah Stolfa. Photographs excerpted from "The Regulars" by Sarah Stolfa.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kaleidoscope Gallery

From the brochure of "Kaleidoscope, a gallery":

Kaleidoscope, a beautiful new art gallery and studio which recently opened in Historic Downtown Valdosta, is owned and operated by Fay and Jolie Hyatt. The gallery currently represents 21 local, regional and national artists, most of whom have won many prestigious awards. Their fine art paintings include landscapes, still life, plantation hunt scenes, character studies, abstracts, and florals. Our artists work in a variety of media including oil, watercolor, pastel, and acrylic and their works range from realism to impressionism. We also have some beautiful bronze sculptures, stained glass, jewelry, pottery and wooden vessels. Most of the two dimensional works are original, but we do carry a collection of framed and unframed prints, as well as unframed originals.

Kaleidoscope has a separate folk art gallery where the fun filled works of Arthur Riggs and the primitive folk art of Floria Yancey are currently on display.

The gallery also offers fine art oil portraiture by Fay Bridges Hyatt, who has filled portrait commissions for families throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Sample portraits as well as portraits in progress can be seen at Kaleidoscope. Fay will work with you to paint the portrait you envision.

Kaleidoscope hopes to bring the enjoyment of creativity to others through artistic inspiration and instruction. Fay currently teaches a Monday morning fine art class in oils and will add classes and workshops in a variety of media.

The Kaleidoscope studio will also offer workshops with artists of national reputation. Gloria Mani from Columbus, Georgia is coming in late September to teach a plein air oil landscape workshop. Early in the same month Anne Abgott, a national award winning artist and writer of best selling book on color in watercolor will teach a three day workshop. The workshops with each of these artists will afford local and regional artists, both accomplished in fine art and those still learning, an opportunity to expand on their abilities.

If you would like more information about classes currently scheduled, upcoming artists events, shows and future workshops, please come by or call Fay or Jolie. You can also sign up with us so that we can keep you informed by email.

The goal of Kaleidoscope, a gallery is to provide beautiful, one of a kind artwork for both home and office decor. We want to provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase an original piece of art for every gift occasion including weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. So please come in at your earliest convenience and see all the gallery has to offer.


123 North Ashley Street

Historic Downtown Valdosta



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Colorblind Contest

Hello Everyone!

My mother has asked me to post for her again photos of her garden. This is for the Colorblind Contest that Garden Rant is currently holding. The deadline is 9:00 tonight, so you'd better hurry if you want to enter. If your garden doesn't clash, or you're not interested in entering, you should at least cruise on over to check out the other pictures and descriptions. Some of them are pretty wild!

So here's Mom's stuff:

Elizabeth on Garden Rant wanted to see pictures of plant combinations that clash - you asked for it. The old-fashioned orangey-yellow daylilies took over the flower beds this year producing some atrocious color combos. See for yourself.

Daylilies and Crinum - Orange and pink! How much more can it clash? Soon the dwarf crape myrtle in between the daylilies and crinum will bloom adding purple to the mix!

Daylilies and Coneflowers - In front of the daylilies are purple coneflowers and in the upper left corner you can just see the magenta coneflowers.

Daylilies and Flowering Tobacco - More orange and pink.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Absolutely Awesome Art

I have found the most absolutely awesome art ever. It's photography, but it's... so different. It's not photography - there's no camera, no lens, no computer. Just him, the items to be captured, the film and electricity.

There is no way that I could accurately describe the process as they do without butchering it, so I am going to cut and paste, and give credit where credit is due: Wired Magazine 17.07.

"Forget the notion of a reverent nature photographer tiptoeing through the woods, camera slung over one shoulder, patiently looking for perfect light. Robert Buelteman works indoors in total darkness, forsaking cameras, lenses, and computers for jumper cables, fiber optics, and 80,000 volts of electricity. This bizarre union of Dr. Frankenstein and Georgia O'Keeffe spawns photos that seem to portray the life force of his subjects as the very process destroys them.

Buelteman's technique is an elaborate extension of Kirlian photography (a high-voltage photogram process popular in the late 1930s) and is considered so dangerous and laborious that no one else will attempt it—even if they could get through all the steps.

Buelteman begins by painstakingly whittling down flowers, leaves, sprigs, and twigs with a scalpel until they're translucent. He then lays each specimen on color transparency film and, for a more detailed effect, covers it with a diffusion screen. This assemblage is placed on his "easel"—a piece of sheet metal sandwiched between Plexiglas, floating in liquid silicone. Buelteman hits everything with an electric pulse and the electrons do a dance as they leap from the sheet metal, through the silicone and the plant (and hopefully not through him), while heading back out the jumper cables. In that moment, the gas surrounding the subject is ionized, leaving behind ethereal coronas. He then hand-paints the result with white light shining through an optical fiber the width of a human hair, a process so tricky each image can take up to 150 attempts.

Because there's no lens to distort the colors, Buelteman's work replicates natural hues far better than traditional photographs. "I'm calling into question what we see every day," Buelteman says. "Is that really a flower? Have I been blind my entire life?" You can see for yourself in his recently published book, Signs of Life."

Okay, so you can see these pics are awesome. The time and work that goes into each shot must make each one a favorite for him. Definitely check out his website and his book." There are even more awesome photos in the book, and it is published by a cool new publisher that I've been checking out, issuu.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

My mom mentioned that one of her blogs used flick to save space on her blogger account, so of course I wanted to know all about that, so they sent me that. Part of the setting up of the process included a test email - seen above, and a note that said I could delete it when I saw that it went through. But, you know what? Flickr has been an awesome site for the several years that I have used it, and I'm going to leave the sample post, so that everyone can see that I support Flickr. I have over 10,000 pictures on there and I have never had any major problems or complaints. Hiccups from time to time, but that's it, so there you go. That's why there's a post called "Flickr."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Roses in Bloom

The Gardening Gone Wild site is having a photo contest in which they wanted roses in a gardening setting. Below you will find my entries for the contest, each taken in either my mother's yard or my own (of roses given to us by my mother).

This one is called Scarlet Bicolor. It is growing in my mom's yard.

We aren't sure what these are called. Several years ago, my mom decided she didn't want them anymore and she gave them to my husband (who does all the yard work at our house, including gardening). When they first bloom, they are really pink, but the longer they are on the bush, the less color they have, although they do remain extremely fragrant.

This is the second one from our yard, but a different bush. They are the same kind, though.

I wish everyone has the best of luck in the contest, and I would like to thank Debra Lee Baldwin for taking time out of her busy schedule to judge the contest.

For more information on the contest and to view other entries, please visit Gardening Gone Wild. Be advised, though, that the deadline is tomorrow at midnight, June 22, 2009.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tea Pitcher Fountain

I've added a fine art photograph of a tea pitcher fountain to my ebay store. It's a lovely rendition of old timey art. The photograph was taken at a local tractor show. I hope you find it appealing.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Local Art Exhibits

Browsing around the web tonight, I came across this article from the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida. Although there were quite a few other exhibits mentioned, I'm only listing a few here because they pertain to art and photography.

* Brokaw-McDougall House: "I Am Much More Beautiful at Night than in the Morning." Solo art exhibit by Po-Chi Chu. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Free. 329 N. Meridian St. 891-3900.

* FSU Museum of Fine Arts: Artists' League Summer Annual. Theme, "Five Rings of Passion: Love, Anguish, Awe, Triumph, Joy." Works in all media by members of the FSU Museum of Fine Arts Artists' League. Opening reception, 7-9 p.m. today. Free. Through July 10. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 250 Fine Arts Building, 530 W. Call St. 644-1299.

* ArtPort Gallery: "The Photography of Andrew Borom." Nature photography. Through June 22. Hours: 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily. Short-term parking is free for up to 30 minutes. Tallahassee Regional Airport, 3300 Capital Circle S.W. 224-2500.

* City Hall Art Gallery: Annual show of artwork by city of Tallahassee employees and retirees. Through July 20. Hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Free. 300 S. Adams St., second floor. 224-2500.

* First Street Art Gallery: "Scenes of Early Summer." Paintings, drawings and photography by Ken Echternacht, Jean Marani and Gloria Vasquez. Through Sun. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun. 204 First St. N.W., Havana. (850) 539-5220.

* Gallery at the Historic Capitol: "Legislative Legacy." 25 photographs rich in political history hand-colored by Denise Choppin. Free. Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10-4:30 Sat., 12-4:30 Sun. 400 S. Monroe St., lower level. 487-1902.

* John G. Riley House: "Remembering Rosewood." In 1923, a black town in Florida, Rosewood, was burned to the ground and most of the residents were killed. Through Oct.r 27. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri. $5. 419 E. Jefferson St. 681-7881.

* Museum of Florida History: "Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition." The history of cattle ranching from the Spanish exploration period to the present. Artifacts, vintage and current photos and interactive components. Through Aug. 9. Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough St. 245-6400

Even if you can't make it to any of the exhibits, the links will provide a little more information about them. A couple of them are traveling exhibits, so you might be able to catch them closer to your own home. I hope to be able to make it to at least one of them - hopefully Rosewood Remembered. That whole situation has always rather fascinated me.

Hamilton County, Florida Book Available on my Ebay Store

I wanted to let everyone know that I posted my book, Hamilton County, Florida, on my ebay store. I know that many of you have seen the book or heard about it, and I wanted to extend an opportunity to you to purchase it. The copy that you receive, if bought through the link will be a personally signed copy.

While I am here, I would like to thank everyone who assissted in any capacity in the creating, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing this book. The folks at Arcadia Publishing have been incrediby helpful and accomodating.

Without the assistance of all these people, this newest book about Hamilton County would never have been possible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Browsing Etsy :)

Loving those pocketbooks tonight! Man, I sure wish I could grab me one up, but it will have to wait until another week :)So, I've been checking out etsy and seeing what they have available here lately.

I think I really need this black and white clutch with the yellow trim.

The sad thing is I know good and well that a clutch will never work for me. I carry way too much stuff. I bet that if I was stranded somewhere, I could still survive for at least a day with no assistance. :)

But at any rate, even though I routinely carry messenger bags and large pocketbooks, I still drool over the cute, adorable clutch pocketbooks instead. I guess there are some things that never change.

Here's the second one that I liked, the Leila Clutch.

The final pocketbook that I found this evening was the kind that I normally use. Maybe just a tad smaller, I'd have to measure to make sure. They always have to be large enough to hold a full size single subject notebook and whatever papers I am working on at the current moment. This one is called Green and Turquoise Leaf and Flower Bag.

How to Apply for a Passport

I posted this article How to Apply for a Passport on e-how today. The first paragraph is shown here, but I would greatly appreciate if you would go take a look at the whole article.

"Applying for a passport has become a very important task in today's society. These instructions will give you the necessary documents needed, and the appropriate fees for applying to receive a passport."

Traveling anywhere outside the United States now requires a passport, as of June 1, 2009. This article will walk you through the steps to obtain that passport in a timely manner and with minimal hassle.

Cheers, Marsanne

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ebay Main Screen!

I logged on to ebay yesterday and to my surprise, two of my photographs are featured on the front page!! Check it out when you get a chance. The second photograph on the top row, "The Great Easter Egg Flood Hunt" and the fourth photograph on the top row, "I'll Keep the Light On," are mine. Click on through and see what else I've added to the shop.

Until next time, Cheers!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ferris Wheel in Motion on Ebay

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have posted a new item to my ebay shop. It is called "Ferris Wheel in Motion" and was taken at Geren's Fair in Valdosta, Georgia. You can view the listing here: Ferris Wheel in Motion. This is what it looks like.

Art with Sharpies

I found this really interesting article about a man, Charlie Kratzer, who decorated his entire basement with $10 worth of Sharpies and Magic Markers. Although he is a lawyer by day, he spends his evenings drawing in his basement - on the walls. Please take a look at the site, since there is a video that demonstrates the breadth of talent. The original article can be found at the Kentucky Lexington Herald Leader. It is really interesting, as he includes drawings of Picasso, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Sherlock Holmes, Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. In addition, there are several scenes from books and movies that can be found adorning his walls.

Check it out soon, because I don't know how long the newspaper keeps thier articles online.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

This is from my mother, Melody

"Since I don't have a blog of my own, I asked my daughter, who is a photographer, to post these for me on her blog. This is just a few of the flowers that are blooming now in my North Florida, Zone 8, garden. Other flowers that are blooming are several types of salvias, Shasta daisies, verbascum, gaura, oakleaf hydrangeas. The regular hydrangeas and gardenias are just starting, and the roses (about 25 of them) are still going strong.

To see more great flower pictures from my gardens and other peoples gardens, visit her flickr page.

Thanks, Carol, for allowing me to join in the fun:) "

As always, please visit the May Dreams site to view other gardener's photographs and comment on thier luck with flowers.

For other photos that are for sale, please visit my my ebay shop. Please remember that any photo that you see on my flickr page can be purchased as well. Simply email me (mapetty@gmail.com) and I will get with you on the size and which photograph you would like.

For those of you in the North Florida and South Georgia area who would like photographs of your own garden, flowers, or family, I do natural light, on location shooting for a small fee. If interested, again, please email me and we can work out the details.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Long Time!

Wow, I got on to check my statistics today for my different websites and realized that it had been almost two weeks. That meant it had been the same for here! Not what I had in mind when I started this blog :( It was supposed to be a few times each week, not a couple of times a month!

Anyway, yesterday was the big day. My book, Hamilton County, Florida hit the shelves. The guy from the publisher, Arcadia Publishing is coming to town later this week to distribute books and set up sales areas around the county. I will let everyone know where the books will be locally, just as soon as I know. It can currently be ordered online at Books a Million, Amazon, and Arcadia Publishing. Everyone should at least take a look at it.

I have been doing some research for the Turn of the Century book. It will include Becky's house, along with several others. I am thinking that I might go ahead and self publish her section, because I know she is ready to see it all put together, and so am I. When I signed the contract with Arcadia, I kind of put Becky's stuff on hold, and she said she was ok with that because she wasn't paying for. But I'm ready to see that particular project to bed; I don't think I'm going to find the answers to some of the mysteries I have been trying to solve.

I have been doing some writing for another site lately. It is going pretty well. I turn in a batch of articles about once a week.

I am working on a photo project for blurb. They have the photography book now contest going on. One of my projects is Small Town Rodeo. I have a couple of others in my mind, but the rodeo one is what I'm working on now. I need to get my butt in gear, though, because the deadline is looming!

So let me know how things are going out there in blogland! Any ideas on future projects that I should work on? There are always plenty in my head, but you never know - I might decide I like yours better :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Photochallenge.org - Paper, Day 117

Of course, everyone here knows that I haven't been posting a pic every day for the past 117 days. But yesterday at Photochallenge.org, the topic was paper, and I decided to give it a shot.

These are the promotional postcards that Arcadia Publishing sent me to help promote my book, which comes out on May 11 and can be ordered through the Arcadia website on my author page. You can't preorder it, but keep it in mind if your enjoy pictoral history books, or are interested in the Hamilton County, Florida area.

Anyway, these are my two submissions for the paper challenge.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Opening an Ebay Shop for my Photography

I have had several complaints about my shop on Etsy, mainly that it is not well enough known. Apparently, people are more comfortable sending their money to a company such as Ebay. And that's quite alright. I can understand that - there is a big difference between ebay and etsy, although I shop on both on a fairly regular basis. As many people are not as familiar with Etsy, I have decided to transfer my storefront over to ebay. When shopping for my photographs, which can be seen at Creating Character Photography, please use the ebay storefront. As I gain inventory for the ebay storefront, I will be deleting items from my etsy storefront, and in a few weeks, it will no longer be in existence. Please remember that all of my pictures that are shown on Flickr are for sale. So if you don't see what you are looking for right away in my shop, check out flickr or contact me and I can tell you if I have it. In some cases, I can even make special photos for those that are looking for an exact item or area.

Most of my photos can be bought in sizes 4x6, 8x10, 11x14, 24x30, 8x8, 10x10, or 12x12. Mats and frames are available for all of these sizes as well, for an additional fee. Please also remember that if you are in the North Florida or South Georgia region, I am available for natural light, on location photo shoots for you and your family in areas that mean something to you.

Looking forward to hearing from you all....

Interesting Site for Those That Use Digital Scrapbooking

I get a great number of emails from here and there, many of them listing opportunities to submit art or writing to various places. For those, I have my Google alerts set up to catch certain phrases while the Google spiders are crawling the web. As they come across those phrases, they send me an email with the link in it, so that I can check it out at my convenience. If you want more information on how to do that, let me know and I will help you out. This particular link came from my sister, who thought I might be interested in some free business cards. If you enter the contest, you can be one of three people who win a 1000 business cards of your choice. So I entered. But that's not what I'm really blogging about. :)

I don't know a whole lot about digital scrapbooking, because I tend to prefer the old fashioned way, but it seems as though this site has some pretty interesting interfaces and elements that you can use with a digital scrapbook site. One of the ones that I really liked was the fabrics. My family always makes fun of me because I take photographs of fabrics, for no apparent reason, but lookie here! This person has made a whole ton of them into backgrounds. Who would have thought? By all means, check out the whole site, called Think Design for some interesting ideas. I certainly found me a few. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Alapaha River in Jennings, Florida

I don't know how many of you are from far off and how many of you are familiar with the area around where I live. It's about 30 miles south of Valdosta, Ga. Down the road from my house, there is the Alapaha River - which is currently in the midst of a record breaking flood. Officials have said that it is worse than the flood of 1948 (which of course I don't remember).

At any rate, I have been trying to document it the best that I can. Most of my pictures are from the area on County Road 150, because that is the road that I live on. Also, a lot of the pictures are of my mom's yard (yes, the same yard so many flower photos come from!). Currently, she has river water running beneath her house and into her front yard. The flower supply might be a little slim this year :(

There are a few photos from Highway 41, but they have since closed the road and I am unable to get any more pictures from there.

To view the pictures of the river and the flooded area surrounding it, please visit my flickr page: Alapaha River, Jennings, Florida. I will be posting more photos as they become available.

Breakfast at Tiffany's Fashion Show Update

I have completed all of the pictures that I took at the fashion show. I have had a few questions about this or that, but no purchases :( You can view the full set on my flickr page: Breakfast at Tiffany's Fashion Show.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you might have. My email is mapetty@gmail.com. If we need to communicate further than that, I will then give you my phone number if you don't have a business card.

Also, please remember that I am available to do on location, natural light photographs with you and your family in places that are special to you. It could be a nearby park, your mother's garden, or anywhere else that you and your family feel comfortable and have pleasant memories. Contact me to set up a photo shoot today.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's Fashion Show Pictures

Well, I have completely missed my goal of having the pictures posted by Friday. My husband came into town for the weekend and I ended up spending more time with him than editing photos!

I have decided that I am going to go ahead and post the pictures that I have completed, and I will be adding more within the coming days, so please continue to check back if you do not see yours. Clicking on the link below will take you to the pictures. If you wish to order any, please make note of the image number, as that is unique to each picture.

Breakfast at Tiffany's Fashion Show

Prices are as follows, should you choose to puchase any prints.
4x6 = $6.00
5x7 = $12.00
8x10 = $22.00
11x17 = $32.00

These prices do not include a mat or frame. If you wish to purchase either of those, I can help you with that also.

Plus, please remember that I am available to do on location shoots for you and your family in places that have meaning for you. I am generally available on the weekends and evenings, but I can make arrangements for shoots during the week as well.

I hope you enjoy viewing the photographs and I look forward to hearing from each of you soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jack Magazine

Several months ago, I submitted a piece to Jack Magazine, an online magazine published twice a year. The piece was about a trip that my children and I took to the Okefenokee Swamp, near Fargo, Georgia. We had a great time and I took some amazing photographs.

It is my pleasure to let my readers know that the piece has been published with some of my photographs in the current issue of Jack Magazine, and can be found here: Seeing the Swamp.

Just a brief note: If you wish to purchase one of the photos, please contact me and we can make arrangements. All of the photographs that I take are available for puchase.

I hope you enjoy the article!

Breakfast at Tiffany's Fashion Show

Just a note to let everyone know that I am still processing the photos that I took on Saturday. I think there was a great turnout, and I got many fantastic photographs of the models and the guests.

My goal is to have the photos completed by Friday afternoon, and I will then post a link here where they can be purchased.

I hope everyone had fun, and that the Partnership for Health met thier fundraising goal.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Forgotten Bookmarks - Footprints

I have been keeping an eye on the Forgotten Bookmarks site for a while, since it was recommended to me on twitter. This entry, called Footprints is particularly touching. A picture of a baby and his footprints, with this text (quoted from original site)

"Certificate from Chenango Memorial Hospital with photo and baby footprints.

This is to certify that
David Leslie Grant
has been elected to membership in the
Babies' Alumni of Chenango Memorial Hospital
in recognition of generosity and good will to others

Date June 23 1949 ____ A.S. Wilson, Chairman

Found in "Sewing for the Home" by Mary Brooks Picken, published by Harper & Bros., 1946."

The editor of the site has begun making efforts to find the owner of this card. Hopefully with it being posted in more than one place, the owner will stumble across it. If you have any information about the owner of this card, or possibly a relative, please contact the editor of Forgotten Bookmarks, via the comments section on Footprints. I am sure that the owner would appreciate being reunited with a treasure such as this.

Garden Rant Short Fiction Contest

My mom and I both entered this contest, hosted by Garden Rant. The rules stated that one simply had to write a 99 word or less short story and post it to the comments of the blog posting. We each had a couple and entered them, hoping for the books about roses, but to no avail. The winners of the contest can be found here.

Since neither of us won the contest, I will post our entries here for everyone to read. They kind of get lost in the large number of comments on the contest blog - not to mention the comments about the stories that were submitted.

The Recipe (my own entry, found on page three of the comments)
With excitement he viewed the recipe that called for Rose Sugar and Rose Petals - it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. He shook his rose petal sugar jar every other day and dried rose petals. On Valentine’s Day, he cooked all day, preparing a lovely feast for his beautiful wife. A rack of fresh lamb with rose syrup, salad garnished with sugared rose petals, and his “piece de resistance” – the rose tart, made with rose sugar and dried, chopped rose petals. It’s too bad he didn’t know the florist treated the roses with chemicals to guarantee blemish-free flowers.

Obsession (my own entry, found on page three of the comments)
The obsession was two fold. The mother gardened, constantly tended a dazzling bed of roses. They flourished and bloomed. The daughter stood there for hours; a rare bird, they called her. She would study the roses, each bloom frozen in growth and time, held captive by a Canon 75-300mm. Petals were caught just so, dewdrops were examined, buds were investigated and watched by both of them. Obsession or not, people wondered at their talent, for the mother won coveted awards for her roses, while the daughter won prestigious awards for her portrayal of her mother’s pride and joy.

Confusion (my own entry, found on page three of the comments)
Her garden was the pettiest around. What was her secret – how did she grow such lush roses? She had lost three husbands and two stepchildren – you’d think she couldn’t dwell on roses with so much death in her life.

Dang!!! I really like where this is going. Five dead people under a gorgeous bed of roses. See, that’s the problem with seeing other people’s entries in a contest you plan to participate in. They addle your brain and you can’t remember if the idea was yours or someone else’s. Unfortunately, dead bodies beneath roses belonged to someone else.

The Dog (my mom's entry, found on page three of the comments)
Thank goodness for the dog – she should have gotten one a long time ago. The neighbors used to think she was strange – wandering around the rose garden at all hours of the day – and even night – muttering to herself: need to move this, that needs trimming, ought to get more of those. But now she had a dog – now she wasn’t crazy – she was a pet owner. The neighbors didn’t realize that while she “walked the dog” and “talked to the dog” she was really saying: need to fertilize, there’s a patch of aphids, time to weed.

Halloween (my mom's entry, found on page three of the comments)
She doesn’t “do” Halloween but the grandkids want her to decorate. Won’t scarecrows and pumpkins work? No, the boys insist there must be witches and ghosts and bats. “I’ll think about it,” she promises. The next day she waits in anticipation for them to get home from school. She has decorated the porch for Halloween – pots of Ghost Fern and ‘Goblin’ Gaillardia set next to a Witch Hazel bush. Other pots hold Devil’s Backbone, Skullcap and Deadnettle. A Devil’s Trumpet and a Voodoo Lily tower over the other plants. And the final touch – a completely black kitten named Midnight.

Checking the Mail (my mom's entry, found on page three of the comments)
“I’m going to check the mail,” I told my husband. I started towards the mailbox. The roses needed pruning; I got the pruners and trimmed them. As I took the pruners back, I spotted weeds in the perennials; I stopped to pull them. After I put up the pruners, I saw some annuals I needed to pot. I found some planters and took them to the patio. The furniture was dirty; I got a rag and cleaned it. All that work made me thirsty; I went in the house for a drink. “Where’s the mail,” my husband asked.

And that's it. You would think out of six entries, we would have managed to win something, but it just wasn't meant to be. Maybe next time. :)

Recent Photography Contests

I've entered several photography contests recently and have gotten the results back for one of them. Over at Go Snap, the competition for February was for candid moments. I entered a picture of my son, taken one evening while we were having dinner at Sonic. The photograph moved through several phases of the competition, but did not win. The winning photograph, a very moving shot of a mother and daughter holding on to one another, can be seen here. I encourage everyone to view the photo, as it clearly reminds of us of what we have in our lives.

Although I could not previously post the photograph that I entered, because the contest was to be anonymous, I can post it here for you to see now that the contest has ended.

The current competition at Go Snap, is for March, and is titled "Reflections," and can be entered here. Although I haven't decided on my entry for this month, I encourage everyone else to visit the site and enter the contest if they choose.

Paws for Charity Book Project Update

Several weeks ago, I blogged about the Paws For Charity Project. The original post can be found here, although upon re-reading the post, I realized that I did not post the photograph that I entered. Therefore, I will post it on this entry. Sara Harley sent me an email on the 6th (she actually stuck to her decision date, something I've learned a lot of contests don't do) and let me know that I was on the short list, which I was glad to hear, but that I did not make the final cut. Of course, that made me unhappy, but it was okay, because at least I was in the running. You can read more about the Paws For Charity Project in this update that she posted here.

This is the picture that I entered in the contest: My dog Summerlin at Hilton Head Island Beach last year. Just as a note - she never touched the water; she wanted no part of that.

Sorry for the Delay in Posting

I am sorry that I haven't posted in over a week. A lot of things have happened since the 7th, and the lack of posting ultimately results from a dog bite that I received on that afternoon. I spent several days in severe pain even though I was taking pain medication and antibiotics, and I ended up going to the doctor again. He told me to take a few days off from work and gave me a stronger pain medicine and added another antibiotic to my list.

Another thing that has put a damper on my posting is the fact that our internet is not acting properly, so I have had to share my computer with my children. Three people and one computer do not a good mix make. :) Hopefully that won't be happening much longer and I will have more time on the computer.

I wanted this post to be about the lack of previous posts. In the next few hours, I will be posting about various things that have happened and that I have been informed of with regards to my writing and photography.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Six Sentences

I have made it my goal to write a six sentence story each day. This was because there were times that I felt I needed to get something out, but it just wouldn't come, and the Six Sentences website seemed like an ideal place to post those. However, even though I added a button on the side so that my readers could check out my six sentence masterpieces, the button doesn't seem to go straight to my writing. In that case, I will post them here as well, so that my faithful readers can find them without digging through all of the comments on the Six Sentences page. But please feel free to comment - I love to hear good (and bad) things about my work, whether it is my writing or photography. In this post, I will link to the works that I have already posted at Six Sentences, and will further update as needed.

A Life in Six Sentences


Her Eyes

The Note

I want this to be an exercise in creative writing - something to get the creative juices flowing. We'll see how it goes; so far I have had no problems thinking of things to write. :)

As an aside, you can now follow me on twitter as well, by clicking here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Radio Interview on 105.9

So this morning I had a radio interview on 105.9, out of Valdosta. It's owned by Black Crow Media a group of very friendly folks. I have to say that I was kind of nervous, but the interviewer, Frank, kept asking me questions and it went pretty good. Unfortunately, because I was literally frozen to my chair, I can't really remember what all he asked. I remember he asked if I was one of those people who stopped on the side of the road to take pictures and I said yes, I was one of those. Because I am. If I see something I want a shot of, I just stop and shoot away until I'm done. I've gotten plenty of excellent shots that way. I told him a lot of the pictures from the art show at Smith at Northview Hospital were from my mom's garden, so he asked me could I identify them, and I said no. Because I can't. There are a few flowers I can name, but not very many.

Then it was the other girl's turn, and she was talking about a fashion show that will be held in Valdosta. It's called Breakfast at Tiffany's and will be held at Bas Bleu in downtown Valdosta on March 21st, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Prizes will be given out and a silent auction will be held. The fashion show will be the debut of the spring lines from high end shops such as 10 Central, Ally B's Boutique, Ellis' Boutique, ENVY, Fads and Fashions, Mom's to Bee, Renee's Fashions, and Serendipity Boutique. All proceeds from the fashion show and silent auction will benefit the Partnership Health Center, a free primary care clinic for the working, uninsured citizens of Lowndes County. For more information, call 229-245-0020, extension 3, or visit the Partnership Health Center.

Another great thing about the fashion show is that I will be the photographer. This will serve two purposes: it will provide the benefit with free photography, and it will enhance my portfolio, hopefully giving me more access to clients. I am very excited about the whole thing and look forward to attending the event.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Published on Now Public.com

A couple of my pics were used today on Now Public. Several months ago, my mom and I took a trip down to Palatka, Florida, because it boasts quite a few murals througout the town. I took pictures of all them (I think I missed one), and a fellow emailed me asking me if he could use a couple of them that depicted Billy Graham. They can be seen here if you click on the view all footage link.

Several months ago, a local gas station closed down, assumably to the rising fuel costs. I happened to take a picture of the sign - mainly because I had never gas prices so close to $4.00 a gallon - and a different fellow emailed me asking if he could use my picture in conjunction with his article. I agreed, and it can be found here. Again, click on the link for see all footage to view my photo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Paws for Charity Book Project

Sara Harley, a fellow Etsy photographer and founding member of Paws For Charity, is inviting POE Members who photograph dogs and cats to participate in a new Paws for Charity Book project. Proceeds from the Blurb style book will go directly to a breast cancer charity. They are seeking 40 artists to contribute a piece of artwork to be featured in the book. I have submitted the photo below as my contribution, and I encourage others to submit their photographs or artwork as well.

Breast cancer is a prevalent disease in the United States today, accounting for more than 1 in 4 diagnoses, and is preceded as cause of death only by lung cancer. There are currently more than 2.4 million women in the United States that have been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Contributing to this cause will be worthy for everyone, as there are few people who can say that their lives have not been touched in some way by breast cancer.

Won't you please join in the fight against breast cancer with your contribution today? The deadline for photographs and artwork submissions is February 28, 2009.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reception for Art Exhibit Tonight!

I've mentioned a few times about my art show at Smith at Northview Hospital in Valdosta, Georgia, which started on February 9 and ends on March 24. Tonight is the reception for the show, from 5 to 7 p.m., for any of those that are interested. Today I have been featured in the Valdosta Daily Times as the local artist on display. Please take a look at the article and I hope to see everyone at the reception.

For those of you that would like a copy of the article, it is also in today's paper on page 3A. (Next to the obits, so my son says no one will read it - let's prove him wrong!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Prompts for Creativity

I found these questions on Something she Wrote, a blogger that I follow, who actually carried them over from over from one of the blogs she follows: The Serenity Gate. Anyway, I thought they were interesting and thought provoking, so here they are with my answers….

Outside my window: It is dark because we have just gotten home from celebrating my husband’s birthday. We usually leave the porch light on, so my sister can see to come inside when she gets off work.

I am thinking: About all of the things that I have to do. I have many projects on my plate and need to clear out some time here soon to organize.

I am thankful for: My family, the fact that I have the ability to work, and the freedom to do the things that I want to do. There are tons of other things but there simply isn’t enough space to list them all here.

From the kitchen: Came a lovely yellow cake with chocolate icing that my youngest son made for my husband’s birthday. There was a secret though – he accidentally made a hole in the cake, so to fix it, he filled it with icing!

I am wearing: A blue shirt, grey pants, black and silver striped socks, flowered shoes and self confidence.

I am creating: Various items. Some jewelry featuring my photography, some other novelty items, more photographs, and working on a book of the history of ten houses in Jasper.

I am going: To try to get some laundry done tonight.

I am hoping: That my husband’s new job will work out because I am tired of being stressed out by money (or lack thereof, I should say.)

I am hearing: A Nasa kid’s show on tv, my Yorkie/Chihuahua mix, Summerlin, barking at the big dogs outside, and my youngest son biting his toenails (no lie).

Around the house: It should be bedtime but everyone seems to be ignoring me :)

One of my favorite things: This thing is one that I don’t physically have anymore but it was mine for years and if it were still around today, it would still be mine. My Old Granny made a blanket. I don’t recall exactly if she made each of us kids one or if they were just made and over time we each ended up with one. Anyway, mine had a different design on each side, because my Granny worked at the sewing factory and would bring home scraps of fabric for Old Granny to use. On the “warm” side, there was a border of about six inches in width around the whole blanket. In the middle of that border, there was a myriad of patches – all different kinds of material (from the sewing factory). On cold nights, the “warm” side was placed downward next to our bodies, to help keep us warm. The other side was covered in pink – yes, pink – fabric that was silky, smooth, and cool feeling. The material had a bunch of little animals on it, but I can’t remember what kinds of animals. That was the “cool” side. On warm or hot nights, we put the cool side of the blanket down towards us. The material held the coolness of the air and kept us cool at night. When the house burned, the blanket was in there. My uncle promised me another blanket, since he got all of them when Old Granny died, but I never got it. Whenever I asked for it, he always had some excuse. Anyway, that was my favorite thing.

Plans for the weekend: See husband off to his new job on Saturday. Hang out with Mom and my sister. We’re supposed to go to the car show in Valdosta. Work really hard on my proposal for “Turn of the Century.” Complete some more art projects. Take plenty of photographs!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Creations

As I mentioned a few days ago, over at Creative Construction they are hosting a February finish a thon, and I joined up. One of my goals was to expand my line of items utilizing my photography. As a result, I have made a clipboard and a paperweight, each exhibiting one of my photographs. I have them posted on my Esty shop if you'd like to purchase one. Let me know what you think about them. Any questions, comments?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February Challenge

Over at Creative Construction they are issuing a challenge to finish a project during the month of February. I think it's a pretty good idea - I have trouble keeping focused sometimes, and a deadline would certainly help me out at times - that's where my mom still comes in :)

My goals for the month are to finish up my proposal for Turn of the Century: Houses of Hamilton County and submit it to at least two agents. Since it is a nonfiction work, I can submit it without it being completed. I only lack about 10 pages or so, if I am guessing correctly.

My second goal is to make some new items for my etsy shop. I have a clipboard and a paperweight completed and I took some pics of them tonight. I will try to upload them tomorrow. I have some jewelry ideas in the works, but little problems with the pieces keep coming up and I haven't gotten the kinks ironed out yet.

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creative Construction Contest - Hope

We go to Savannah, Georgia, every year for vacation. We've been to the Pirate's House Restaurant a couple of times. It's a pretty good restaurant. Anyway, this lantern hangs by the front door, and according to each of the pirates that have taken us on various tours, it was there as a beacon of hope to those on the Savannah River. It may have worked; it may not have. Regardless of the truth of the story or the usefulness of the lantern, it makes for a nice photo.

Creative Construction Contest - Hope

Each week over at Creative Construction they have a contest. The prompt this week was "hope." To tell the truth, I kind of got tied up in some other things and didn't remember it until she posted the reminder today. So I submitted this little story that I wrote - quickly, mind you, but nevertheless, a submission.


Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a happy ending. She had heard it her whole life, especially from her mother. After three failed marriages and one husband who died, she could agree with her mother that there wasn’t much hope. But that didn’t stop her from trying to believe.

Her first hope was that she would get out of this town. That hadn’t happened, what with the abusive boyfriend and lack of schooling. She supposed, really, that her first hope had been to finish high school and go to college in another town. There. That was a much better clarification of her hope. The school thing hadn’t worked out too well – she ended up spending all of her time with the boyfriend, which in turn, led to a failed relationship and failing out of school. And yet she was still in the same small town, alone.

Her second hope was to give her mother a sense of happiness. The poor woman had been through so much, the husbands, the divorces, the death…. What’s a girl to do to help her mother cope with something like that? That had failed too. Her mother had fallen into a deep depression and was reduced to taking medication to get through the day.

Her third hope was to be an artist. She tried, really, she did. She attempted lovely landscapes on napkins, spare newspapers, bits of paper she could find anywhere. A severe lack of money didn’t exactly lend itself to art. When the landscapes didn’t work, she tried people, buildings, individual flowers. All failures.

So she moved on. Her fourth hope was to learn the history of her family. Where did they come from? What did their odd sounding names mean? Could she find more ancestors of her own – other family members, other than her battered, depressed mother? She questioned her mother, who knew nothing. Her own mother had abandoned her to a nearby family when she was four. She could no longer even recall her own mother’s name. The name of the family? Her mother didn’t remember them either, she was gone from their home by the age of twelve, on the street to fend for herself. Any other relatives, then? No, none that she knew of. What of her father? A vicious snort from her mother. Look at your birth certificate, child. I have no idea who he was. No maternal relatives, no paternal name to trace. Hope number four was dashed.

She hoped to take the money her mother had given her and make it stretch far enough to buy food for the two of them. Enough to last the week, at least. So she took the money and walked to the grocery store, closely tallying what she added to her basket. Like every other week, she came up short, even purchasing the cheapest brands of foods, the most cost efficient packages. She went to the register to pay for her meager collection, another hope ruined. They would be hungry at the end of the week.

Walking back home, it began to sprinkle and she thought of her mother’s words – no happy ending. Hope after hope…. all failed. She looked up at the sky to see if the rain was going to get harder before she made it home. A rainbow gleamed down at her, reminding her that there was always hope, and it never hurt to stop hoping for something better.

I Heart Faces - Adult's Faces Week 3 - Joy

My husband again for the I Heart Faces contest. He had just gotten out of the shower and didn't believe that I would actually take the picture. Hey, I have to get them when I can! They are so rare! You can tell he has a big ole belly laugh going on.....

I Heart Faces - Children's Faces Week 3 - Joy

This is the third week for the I Heart Faces contest. I chose a picture of my oldest son, jumping on the trampoline. He certainly seems to be joyful about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Photography Creations

Hello, all! I've been working on some new creations using my photographs. I have come up with several ideas and will be posting them shortly, I think. So far, I have a pendant, a small sized clipboard, and a paperweight. They are still in the testing stages, so I don't want to post them just yet, but you could always feel free to visit my Etsy page to see the photos that I have up right now. I will be adding more to the shop later today. Meanwhile, wish me luck with my new endeavors!

Also, I want to mention again that if you are the local area, to please come view my floral exhibitiion at the Smith at Northview Hospital in Valdosta, Georgia. The exhibition will be on display from February 9th to March 24th, and the reception will be held on February 17th, from 5-7 p.m.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Etsy Shop Update & Upcoming Exhibit

I have to say that I was rather disappointed in my ad for the Artwork for Every Room Showcase on Etsy. I had a ton of hits - plenty of people looked at my artwork, but not one single sale. I've been posting actively on Etsy since about September and I've only made one sale.

I find it hard to believe that it is because that my artwork is not worthy, because I have a show coming up at Smith at Northview Hospital in Valdosta next month. The exhibit will be up beginning February 9th through March 24th. There will be a reception on February 17th, from 5-7 p.m. I invite all of my followers to come out and see what I have to offer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Heart Faces - Adult's Faces

Like I said, I Heart Faces has the contest for children's and adult's faces, but they have to be submitted separately. This is my entry for the adult faces. This is my husband at Christmas. He rarely smiles like this, so it is definitely a good shot in my mind.

I Heart Faces - Children's Faces

The I Heart Faces site is hosting a photography contest for the next several weeks. I missed the first week, but I am going to give it a shot for the coming weeks. This week will be a picture of my youngest son sleeping. If he knew that I was submitting it, he probably wouldn't be very happy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Emily Setzer - Photographer & Writer

As usual, I've been browsing around the net today, thinking that today would be the day that I would get tons of hits, but still to no avail. My etsy shop is getting plenty of hits, but no sales, but my blog still isn't getting hardly any hits. I just don't understand it - I've done everything they've (being the world wide web) have suggested, but... nothing.

So, today, I found Emily Setzer's blog, and I just wanted to let you know that it is absolutely fantastic! She has some stunning photographs with bits of writing that are humorous and tie in to the pictures. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is an absolutly georgeous photograph of some dogs napping, complete with a blurb about sock shopping. You just can't get any cuter than that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Art of Happiness

I found the most lovely site today while I was browsing around. I had mentioned that I wanted to try to make some of the cards found in the Somerset Memories magazine, so I was trying to figure out how they make thier layers transparent, where you can see the whole card, with the background behind the people and all that. Anyway, I came across this site, which I think you should definitely have a look at. It's about altered books, and this woman, Karen Hatzigeorgiou, has created fantastic pages to go with poetry written by John Cowper Powys, written in 1935. So this is the site for The Art of Happiness. Check it out; it's really lovely.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shameless Plug for my Etsy Shop

I wanted everyone to know that I will be having an ad on the Artwork for Every Room showcase on January 20. That is your opportunity to get one of a kind photographs for a very reasonable price. Of course, when you click on my picture, it will take you to my Esty shop, and there will be many more photographs to choose from. So don't be ashamed, come on over and let your faces be seen!

Somerset Memories

I bought a Somerset Memories magazine the other day from Books A Million. It has some pretty cool ideas in it. One thing I like about that particular magazine is that it covers a variety of topics - not just scrapbooking. Naturally, scrapbooking is the centerpiece of the magazine, but there are other ideas in there ripe for the using. On page 36 they have some really cool cards that I would like to try my hand at. I thought about using those oversized paint samples from Lowe's but I forgot I had a book of 4x6 sized cardstock in different patterns and colors, so I think I'm going to experiment on that. I'll post whatever I come up with, although it may be a few days. Some of thier cards are shown on the cover - I have no illusions of mine being that artistic, but one never knows.

I also bought the Artful Blogging magazine put out by the same company. I always find several blogs in there that I want to follow and keep an eye on, and this one was no different. Shades of Inspiration was one of them. I actually submitted some photos to the New Year's Challenge, but then the subject was kitties, and I don't do cats, so I didn't submit. This week the challenge is doggies, so I will probably send some in. Beauty in the Cracks was another that I really enjoyed.

My mom thinks I am absolutely nuts for spending 15 bucks on a magazine, but I don't think that she understands that they are really sources of inspiration for me. I simply don't have enough time to make all of my ideas come into reality. Hopefully that will happen one day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Submissions for Snow Theme Contest

I mentioned before that Creative Construction had a weekly contest. This week the theme was "Snow." This was my submission for this week as far as prose goes.

When It Snowed In Florida

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life – all thirty years. We’ve visited other states from time to time, and found ourselves with near misses of views of snow. It melted the day before we arrived, or fell the day after we left. But never any exciting views of snowdrifts as high as our heads, or windows being blocked by snow piled high in front of them. No shoveling sidewalks or watching the machines ice the roads so traffic could proceed. Nope, none of that in Florida.

Instead, we have rain. When it’s cold and it rains, we have sleet. When it’s freezing (it really does) and it rains, we have hail. Except one year….

It started on a winter night in 1989, while we were in Valdosta, Georgia, a mere thirty minutes from our house in Jennings, Florida. We often shopped in Valdosta, and this was one of those evenings. My dad, my sister, and I were sitting in the car, waiting on my mother to come out of the store. As we waited, it began to rain. Gradually it turned to sleet. Restless as children are often prone to be, my sister and I begged our father to let us out of the car. After a while, I suppose he got tired of hearing us whine, and relented. We played in the parking lot for a while, and dad sat in the car. Suddenly, he rolled the window down and started pointing. Without us even realizing it, the bits of sleet had turned into tiny, icy snowflakes. Certainly not the fat, fluffy ones like you see in the movies, but snowflakes, none the less. We tried to catch them and they melted the moment we touched them, so great was the difference between our body temperature and the iciness of the snowflakes.

Finally, mom came out of the store. We all piled back into the car and, on the trip home, watched with growing excitement as the snowflakes continued to fall. Weather reports predicted the snow would fall intermittently throughout the night, and temperatures would remain below freezing throughout the next day. When we got home, there was a slight dusting of snow on the ground. Dad went and turned the sprinkler on and set it to run over the swing set, so we would have our own personal winter wonderland. We were rushed into the house by Mom, who watched us gaze in wonder as each of our footsteps dissolved the snow beneath our feet.

The next morning was lovely. A mere four inches of snow might not seem like much in most places, but in Florida, it is enough to constitute a thing of beauty. We awoke to a literal snowfall. Of course, everyone was excited. We decided to make an adventure of what could possibly be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

My dad had a huge four wheel drive truck – a 1986 Dodge Ram. The most fabulous blue color one had ever seen. He bought it brand new at the Dodge dealership in Valdosta, and was always happy to display the prowess of his truck. We often took it mud bogging in the nearby swampy areas year round, and in the summer, when the Alapaha River went dry, we took it riding in the slippery river sand.

As we drove from our house to my grandmother’s house, there were cars stuck on the roads and in the ditches. The ice on the roads was simply too much for them – it was too slick, and the Florida drivers had no idea how to handle it. Dad pulled them out, using his four wheel drive.

My uncle had the great idea that we could ski on the roads, since they were covered in ice. Of course, no one had any skis, but with warm water practically year round, we had plenty of equipment for water sports. The two items chosen were a large yellow inner tube and a hydro-slide – a board similar to a surfboard, but instead of depending on the waves to move you, the rider sits on the board and holds a handle attached to a rope, and is pulled by a boat in the water. My father pulled each of us down the highway on the inner tube and the hydro-slide, treating the icy roads much like the warm rivers we were used to.

My aunt, shown here, was a major sun worshipper back then. She loved the beach, craved any amount of time she could spend at the beach, the river, a lake, any piece of sun that she could subject her body to. Her desperation was evident in the playful way she posed that beautiful white day. She wore a tank top and a towel, lying on the hood of her snow covered Camaro, with the words “Beach or Bust” written on the windshield.

Several of us kids walked down the dirt road to a nearby creek. It was iced over, but still flowing beneath the thin layer of ice. Being a rural area of the state, the creek ran under a wooden bridge with a small guard rail which consisted of a 1x6 board placed on blocks. We built our first snowman with snow gathered from the bridge and the guardrail. He ended up being about six inches high and rather sloppily made, because there wasn’t much snow and it didn’t want to stick together very well. Unfortunately, that was also the last snowman that I’ve ever built up to this point.

Although on occasion, there have been reports of snow flurries throughout the years, none of them have touched our area the way the snow did in 1989. None have transformed the sunshine state into an honest to goodness winter wonderland. Living in Florida certainly has its benefits – large amounts of warmth being one of them – but it also has its moments of magic, of memories that can never be recreated, simply because of the location. It’s doubtful that I will ever have another delightful winter day like that one, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t wish for it now and again.

My second submission was actually a photograph taken by my husband when he was out in New Mexico. He used his camera phone to show me what a real snowman looked like.

You can see my entries as well as many other fantastic entries over here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

M.I.L.K. Contest

I did enter my photos for the M.I.L.K. Contest today. Each participant is allowed five photos per entry, up to five photos per person, so technically you could enter twenty five. I only entered twenty two. According to the site the photos should exhibit Moments of Intimacy, Laughter, and Kinship. I went through the photos of the year and chose some that I thought were the best. The ones that I entered can be found here. Many of them are my family but a few of them are other people that I know. In my opinion, each one of them shows one of the qualifications of the contest. Since the deadline was extended to February 28, 2009, there is still plenty of time to enter yours. I would certainly like to see what you come up with!

I have to say that I think this particular one is my favorite of all - my son and I were playing around and he practically made me disappear out of the frame!

This was taken one day while we were eating lunch at sonic - he loves thier corndogs, as do I. Anyway, I thought it turned out to be a pretty nice shot, even though it was supposed to be of the two of our faces together.

Very, very sick :(

I have been very, very sick this week. I have a few things I want to get posted; I hope to get that all done tomorrow. I have to upload some pics first, though, or it would be kind of wasted :) Just wanted to let everyone know that I am on my way to getting better - at least I hope I am - and will be back soon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Submission for Stars Theme at Creative Construction

I showed a few days ago a star that I entered in the weekly contest at Creative Construction. I mentioned then that I was going to try to write a short piece for the theme as well. I have managed to do that, and I thought I would post it here as well. Please offer comments and suggestions as you like.

The Stars

“The stars,” she thought. “If only I could reach the stars.” Her heart pounded as she lay in the bed near the window, the curtain blowing in the warm summer breeze.

Her head hurt and she only wanted to escape the pain. Throughout the years, she had made every effort she could, she had tried to make him happy, tried to make sure that anything she said wouldn’t set him off again. Of course, it never worked.

Neither did the halfhearted disguises she tried to implement to hide his hatefulness, his disdain for her. The long dark hair that she let drape casually over the sides of her face, covering her cheeks and the inevitable bruises left by his individual fingers. The long sleeved shirts every day of the year, to cover the marks on her upper arms where he grabbed her to slam her against the wall. The jeans to cover her legs where he kicked her when she was down. Everyone knew it was a futile attempt to hide insanity – his for treating her the way he did; hers for taking it for so long.

She no longer knew what to do, only knew that it had to come to an end. The catalyst had come – a trip to the emergency room that couldn’t be avoided – a shattered wrist. Of course, they all had questions and she answered them the best she could, all the while protecting him. Three days they kept her – two surgeries on her wrist. A hope that she would one day regain full usage of it, but no promises from the doctors. No one could promise her anything.

They sent her home with a prescription for painkillers and something to help her sleep. Her wrist would be in the cast for four months. He was scared to come visit her, scared to come pick her up; afraid that the police would be waiting for him. Her friend that lived in the apartment above her drove her to the pharmacy and then to the apartment building. Her friend helped her up the stairs and left her, telling her if she needed anything, to please call.

A sixty-day supply of Oxycontin and Ambien. She looked them up online before he came home. Both addictive, both potentially toxic. A story about a two-year-old girl who accidentally took one of her grandfather’s Oxycontin pills. Luckily, her mother found her before she slipped into a coma and never woke up.

He didn’t believe that she had protected him; didn’t believe that no one would come looking for him. He took his anger and disbelief out on her. After seemingly endless hours, he finished his rage and left to go drinking. She crawled to the bed with her medicines and a bottle of water.

“The stars,” she thought over and over. “Safety in the stars. A savior in the stars.” The warm summer breeze bathed her body in comfort. “If only I could reach the stars, there would be no more pain.” Her thoughts fell further and further apart, her breathing shallower. Her last thought was of the stars and the safety they could provide from the evil that her life had become.

When he opened the door, the curtains fluttered in the breeze, the wind blowing her dark hair across her face: an angel bathed in sunlight.

I've submitted it over there, so we'll see how it does. By the way, she had a very interesting post today about rejection. It was very insightful and had the most touching letter that she received as a child. You should certainly check it out.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Update on Etsy

I have been sporadically adding photographs to my storefront on Etsy and I wanted my friends and followers to see the new, updated storefront: http://www.creatingcharacter.etsy.com/. I have added a number of new photos on there and they can all be had for a very reasonable price. Take a look when you get a chance and let me know what you think!

While browsing around over there, I found a couple of other storefronts that I think are pretty awesome. Of course, both of them sell jewelry, but I definitely think that they are worth a look: neawear and LegionCreative. Those necklaces are pretty nifty!

This is the Simpla Necklace 15 by neawear - absolutely lovely!

And the Black and Red Tiki Daisies Pendant by LegionCreative. I might have to go shopping before too long!

As always, there are tons of lovely and interesting things to look at over on the Etsy site. It's always worth a minute to browse around if you're looking for a one of a kind gift for that special someone.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shades of Inspiration Group at Flickr

I set up a bunch of google alerts that will let me know when there are various contests coming up. Some of the alerts I set up were: writing contest, fiction contest, non fiction contest, photography contest, and story contest. I have come up with a good bit of leads, although a lot of them cost money to enter. I understand that sometimes you have to pay, but right now it's just not possible. Maybe after the beginning of the year when things pick up.

One of those alerts is how I found the Shades of Inspiration. You're allowed to post up to five things to the pool each day, provided you are a member of the group, so I signed up, so that I could seek out new things to photograph. (Like I needed an excuse.) :) The idea is to find things that fit the theme of the week.

The "owner" of the group is Sadie Olive - le journal Very nice blog. Evidently, the whole thing started with a contest of "I Saw Red" in which participants were to show thier photography skills using red. I wish I had been in on that one - I like photographing red.

I entered these three photographs for today. I took them when me, mom, Lys, and the passel of kids went to Taco Bell for lunch.

Keep an eye out for any other photos that I might gather up for this week. I know the week is almost up - it ends on the fourth, but I might get lucky. :)