Friday, August 29, 2008

A Beautiful Slip of the Camera.

Sometimes I work so hard to take the "best possible" photos ... that I neglect to see the beauty in my photographic "mistakes". This became clear to me when I was searching out a photo for today's blog post. I simply wanted to announce the winner of the "Name This Photo Giveaway" ... and to find a photo that would somehow connect to the giveaway photo:

I must have deleted a hundred "ho-hum" photos from my hard drive in the process of searching out a photo that would fit today's intended agenda. Then I saw this one:

And it spoke to me in a new way. I was just about to delete it when I noticed that it held some unexpected and unintended beauty. This photo was a total accident ... it was a slip of the camera ... and with a few Photoshop fixes ... I have come to love it. So, I will try to remember that beautiful, captivating images cannot always be captured by strict adherence to method and process ... sometimes they just happen ... and they are all the more beautiful because of it. (That goes for SO much else in our lives, doesn't it?).

Anyhow, I am not certain how that thought ties into the announcement of the winning title for the giveaway contest ... but without further ado ... here is the moment that some of you have been waiting for ... the winning title of the toy boat photo is ... "Ti Bato Yo" submitted by Chapter Two Manmi . The title is in Creole and translates to "Little Boats" (it is pronounced "Tsee BAH-toe Yoh."). I just love it.

So, Thank You K! And I look forward to sending you a reward for your submission.

All the title offerings were great ... and I hope to do this again. You guys are so much fun :) Thank you for participating.

Enjoy your weekend ... with all its beautiful "mistakes" ... Talk to ya on Monday.

Love,
Jodi

P.S. My husband just told me that he finds the bubble photo "creepy" and "a little spooky". Hmm. Everyone's a critic!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Indoor Pond.

When I began this "unschooling" adventure with my son ... which essentially began the moment he came home to me ... (see You Are Your Child's First Teacher) ... I thought of all sorts of ways that we could keep wonder, creativity and opportunities for self-learning within our home. We keep lots of musical instruments, books, blocks, puzzles, rocks, seashells, crayons, and oh so much more ... scattered in baskets throughout our home. But something was missing ... we needed a habitat ... something where we could house living things ... and watch them for a little while before setting them free and replacing them with another local pond find. So, we searched yard sales and found this $1 aquarium. Auntie found some aquarium goodies at another yard sale for $1. Voila! ... throw in some pond water and plants, a few pond snails and we created an instant indoor pond for viewing the occassional frog, turtle, or fish that we capture from our "outdoor" pond.

You might wonder how my three-year-old is able to part with these creatures after we watch them for a while ... Well, at this age it is fairly simple ... you just tell them that the frog/fish/mermaid really misses their Mommy and Daddy and so we have to put them back where their parents can find them. Isaac totally gets that, and would never want to keep a creature from its Mommy.

Anyway, friends of ours have started their own "unschooling observatory river tanks" as well. Their tanks were also yard sale finds ... and are currently housing several river fish.

This is such an inexpensive and fun learning experience. No filters or other tank gadgets. Just a tank, some river/pond water and fauna & a bubbling do-dad thingy (for circulating the water). You can feed your fish with commercial fish flakes (as my friends do) or you can just keep replenishing the water and animals so that feeding isn't necessary (what we do).

Let us know if you give this a try.

Enjoy your day.

Love,

Jodi

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Halloween? Already?

Well, sort of. I am trying to stay ahead of the holidays a bit regarding my offerings on Etsy. I have sewn up some Halloween garlands ... looking forward to our favorite holiday ... and have already posted them in my shop.

Here are a few - with more to come:


Oh yes, and I couldn't resist another Pirate banner:

I have some upcoming Thanksgiving, Space Shuttle, and Alien themed banners, too. And if you'd like something made especially for you, please let me know :)

Love,

Jodi

Monday, August 25, 2008

American Folk Festival.


The three of us attended the American Folk Festival this Sunday, despite the fact that both Daddy and Isaac were very grumpy (thus making Momma equally grumpy by end of day). We did manage to squeeze in some fun in between though ... and even enjoyed some unexpected Haitian music.

Grumpiness aside ... we are ever so thankful that these sorts of events take place here in Bangor. To see some of my photos from the day, please click here.
Love,
Jodi

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Exploring Maine : Day 5 : Corinna Squirrel

This post is such a cheat! And a couple days late to boot. We spent the last day of our vacation cleaning out the old homestead. Nothing very exciting about that. But I do have a story to tell. See this sweet little squirrel ...

... well he has full reign over the old chicken coop now that it is uninhabited. He has even taken over the birdhouses. Seriously. Isaac and I watched as he exited the chicken coop, climbed onto the roof of the garage and performed Spiderman-like acrobatics in order to climb up into this old abandoned birdhouse without touching the ground or falling. I then had the pleasure of taking several photos of him as he just sunbathed from the birdhouse entryway.


But then, I got this bright idea to get closer to him and offer him some food from my hands. He sniffed it a bit ... and within seconds bounded out of the birdhouse and lept straight at me ... a brief attack ... then he ran off into the bushes. I screamed so loud that Halis came running from within the house. Isaac was standing there as it happened ... and after my initial shock, he and I got a big laugh out of it. Silly squirrel thinks he owns the place now.

No harm done. No tetanus shots needed. Just some surface scratches and a funny tale to tell.

Love,
Jodi

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Exploring Maine : Day 4 : Home

Is it cheating if I say that we stayed home for today's vacation day so that we could "explore" our yard? Well, to clarify, we didn't actually "explore" ... rather, we "rearranged". More to the point ... Halis rearranged by using my Dad's new toy to move some earth and trees in our backyard.

We now have fewer trees in an area that we are planning to use for either gardening or goat keeping. We are unsure which yet. All we know is that we had to down some trees either way as there were some critters who liked to hide in that little grove of trees --- and my Mom was too afraid that the bears and coyotes might hide in there while Isaac was playing nearby. I think she was being a tad paranoid ... but she is the Queen around here, and I am merely the Princess.

But being a Princess has its privileges, and I was able to talk her into letting me keep a few tall birch trees for shade ... ya know, to put a bench or something underneath. Or to shade the possible spring goats. She agreed.


So, basically, we explored the possibilities of our yard today. I took a few photographs of wildflowers while Isaac chased the chickens around. The weather was great. And sometimes home is the best vacation destination.

Enjoy your day...
Love,
Jodi

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exploring Maine : Day 3 : Bog Walk and City Forest

Perhaps I should have called this series "Exploring the Bangor Area", because it seems that we have no intention of going anywhere else this vacation week. When I chose to move to Maine, I did specifically want to move to Bangor. It's just taken me 11 years to do so ( I have lived about an hour outside of Bangor for the past 11 years). Now that we are finally here for good - we have whole new eyes for the place. I think because it took us so long to get here, we are just now able to fully appreciate all the area has to offer.
Daddy suggested a walk through the City Forest as well as a trip around the Bog Boardwalk. Our new house actually sits on some of the acreage that is attached to the bog, so essentially, Daddy suggested that we check out our own backyard - literally. I had other ideas in mind, but Halis is very into the "exploring" thing lately ... I am very into my new camera ... and Isaac is very into looking for trolls and fairies ... so its all good.
I had no idea what a "bog walk" was ... but apparently it is a wooden boardwalk that takes you through (above really) a lush, thriving, bog-ish body of water ... full of incredible foliage, berries, and wildlife. I really need to learn more about this natural habitat so that I can adequately explain the wonder of it to my unschooled son ... and not call it a "bog-ish body of water"... especially since we live directly in front of it. That will come later ...

Anyway, during this walk, I couldn't help but to think of a local television news piece regarding the recent increased sightings of black bears in the City Forest/Bog. The news anchor expressed concern about the increased sightings, stating that several patrons of the park were frightened by the animals. This tickles me greatly ... first because black bears are relatively harmless and second because the reason those bears are making appearances in the area is because my parents feed them (remember that I live on my parents land). My parents are very much against bear baiting (when hunters feed bears in the same area for long enough to make the bears comfortable and then shoot them when bear season opens) ... so they do a little "bear baiting" of their own ... and bait them into a safe zone. I love it.

We didn't see any bears though. But we did find some very cool streams for throwing rocks into. And several benches for resting a while to tell some tall tales about the fairies, trolls and other magical creatures that dwell in our city forest.

Another great day in our favorite little city... the home of The Senior League World Series ... the American Folk Festival ... Stephen King ... and the best sub shop in the United States ... among many other things.

Are you enjoying the wonders of your little space in the universe? We hope so ... and we'd like to here about it.

Love,

Jodi

Enjoying Maine : Day 2 : Cascade Park Trails

I thought I knew Bangor well enough. I was wrong. There are so many spaces here that I have not yet explored. Isaac and I have been to Cascade Park before, but we never knew that there were walking/running/biking trails that surround the park. We thought the waterfalls were the main attraction. It turns out there is so much more to the park then we first noticed.

See, when we bring Daddy with us - to the places that we have previously enjoyed - he will find new and exciting ways to better enjoy the place because Daddy is an explorer. I think it comes with his testosterone.

My favorite part of the trails were the spaces that felt very remote ... the wooded spaces ...

the spaces were one might imagine fairies resting under mushrooms come nightfall.

But mostly I love enjoying the three of us together - exploring new territory - right in our own "backyard". Vacations don't necessarily require plane flights or camping gear. Sometimes they can be thoroughly enjoyed right from home.

Hoping you enjoy your home ...

Love,

Jodi

Monday, August 18, 2008

Enjoying Maine : Day 1 : Fishing

I chose Maine ... and Halis followed ... then my parents. I just love it here. Sometimes I think I might prefer the Northwest ... but New England seems to have a permanent grip on me. And I never tire of exploring it. There is just so much to see, do and enjoy here ... most of which involves nature and simplicity (my faves).

Halis took vacation this week, so we fully intend to do some more exploring ... and Day 1 started with fishing in Pushaw Lake. No fish were caught, but we enjoyed the sweet summer breezes, the boating and the company.

And Daddy even performed some "popcorn-in-the-mouth" tricks for us ...

... sometimes with mixed results :)
Good times.
Love,
Jodi

Friday, August 15, 2008

Young Photographers.

When "Jodi Day Camp" began, I had an idea for the kids to host their own art show to showcase the artistic creations they had worked on throughout the summer. However, everyday that their parents would pick them up from camp, the kids would ultimately show them their work and then take it home. Of course this was fine with me, but I wondered what we could do to still host some sort of end-of-the-summer showcase of their talents. And then ... bam ... it hit me ... photography!

So, the kids and I began our photography journey together right here in my backyard. I gave them a few ideas on how they might want to approach their subjects ... talked to them a bit about lighting ... and then told them to photograph whatever strikes them as interesting. Each child had their own camera ... and even took turns trying out different cameras as well.

Sometimes they all focused on the same subject ... and other times they ventured out on their own ...
And sometimes they turned the camera onto themselves ...

After our trip around the yard, we came in to upload the photos to my computer. I was so delighted at the kids work! Very cool stuff. Some photos we left just as they were, while others we had fun manipulating through Photoshop & Picnik.

Each child is so different in how they approach their subjects, what they choose to photograph, and how they treat the image afterward. Their creativity helps to fuel my own.

If you ever want to see the world through a child's eye ... just give them a camera.

So, we still have more to photograph before our upcoming "Art Show" ... and there is matting and framing ... and announcements, etc. I will post here as we go along. And as soon as they reveal their work to their parents, I will post some of it here as well. I have a feeling you will all be tickled and inspired by their work.

Love, Jodi

P.S. To see how photography can change lives -- check out the movie "Born Into Brothels".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Shout Out to My Man.

Hi all. I don't have alot to say tonight ... perhaps because I was so long winded last night :)

But I did want to give a shout out to my husband ... the best fisherman in all the whole wide world ;)
... and to let him know that I am proud of him ... as a husband, as a Daddy, and as a human being.

I am thankful that we are both able to pursue some of our life goals now that we are living in the city ... and that we are one another's greatest "cheerleaders".

You Rock Halis. I am so glad that you asked your best friend Matt to ask me out for you in the 10th grade. And even though I had been wanting to date Matt since the 7th grade, and my diary was full of longing for him ... I am glad that I thought to take a chance on you anyway. It paid off :)


Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Supporting my Family.



In my constant pursuit of a more "Handmade Life" ... one in which I have the freedom to homeschool my child, to pursue my artistic goals, and to live as simply as possible ... I am always searching out ways in which to financially support my family in a way that feels good and meaningful to me ... and that sustains our pursuits. Throughout the years, I have tried many different ventures ... most of which I liked and many that I didn't. But lately I am feeling excited and somewhat satisfied with the direction I am taking. And I'd like to tell you about it ...

I have many different interests ... most of which center around "craft", "art", "books" and of course ... my son. I love photography, painting, sewing, collecting vintage goodies, collaging, etc. I love to make and collect things for my family, but I also love to sell them. It feels so darn good when someone wants to buy something that I took the time to create. So, Etsy has been a great fit for me ... and so far I have enjoyed some success with it. I have sold several upcycled journals on the site ... as well as handmade bags, note card sets, holiday banners, etc. (thank you for your patronage). But lately, I am feeling the drive to expand my offerings on the site by selling limited edition prints of my photography as well as high quality fabrics (a true love of mine). I am especially excited about offering some of my best photography ... and I hope it inspires me to capture and create even better images (I am definitely an amateur).


So far, I am using one store to offer it all - but that may change as sales grow. And I must say, that I am always thinking about new items that I would love to create for sale (screen printed tees, fabric buttons, gocco prints, wearable art ... and the list goes on and on). Anyway, Etsy feels like a great fit for me, as it is a company that I can believe in ... and I am selling products that make people feel good :) Also - from now until further notice, I have been donating 25% of all Etsy sales to Haitian Roots ... and that feels REALLY good for all of us.


As I continue to grow my Etsy Shop ... I have still needed to generate income elsewhere. One way in which I have done this is to create a link from this blog to Amazon.com (my favorite shop for books). See that little box to the upper right of this blog? The one that allows you to search on Amazon? Well, if YOU use that link whenever you purchase an item from Amazon.com, my family will earn between 4-6% of your total purchase. Isn't that great? So, if you are going to make a purchase anyway, we would be so appreciative of your making it through our link. They pay us with gift certificates, thereby allowing us to purchase some great books for Isaac's homeschooled life. Thank you :)

I have much to learn about marketing my photography, hand-sewn crafts, and fabrics ... but I enjoy the learning curves. Slowly, but surely, I hope to be able to financially support our household in a significant way ... through art and craft ... in a way that is good for all of us. And because I realize how important it is for SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms) to generate incomes to maintain their ability to raise their children ... I also support other Etsy crafters as well. Just about any gift you could ever need for anybody in your life can be found there ... so I urge you to support creative economies by searching Etsy for all your gift needs as well. Your family and friends will thank you :)

So, there it is ... some of my life goals in writing. Thank you for all your support thus far. And for those who are also looking to support their families in a less than traditional way ... I'd love to exchange ideas with you.

Love,
Jodi

P.S. I just re-priced some etsy goodies at SALE prices. Please see if there is anything you can use. Thanks!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Farmers Markets Are Yummy.

Oh the joys of our local Farmers Market. It is just 5 min. down the road ... and hosts some of the yummiest, freshest, and most beautiful veggies from around the state. It is a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

I love that Isaac and I get to meet the people who lovingly and painstakingly create our food. These people are passionate about their work. And I am happy to support them -- as I know that it is good for our bodies, our state, our country, our planet ... and especially our children. If they don't create an alternative to mass market, pesticide rich, second rate veggies and meats ... then we will all be the worse for it.

Have you ever tasted a carrot that was pulled fresh from the ground that very morning? Have you ever eaten beef that was completely grass fed? Or tasted goats milk that has not been pasteurized? How about a juicy cherry tomato that came from an heirloom variety seed?

Well, all I can say is YUM, YUM, YUM! Oh, and another thing I can say is ... run, don't walk, to your nearest farmers market. And here is how: click on this link to learn more about these markets ... and then click here to find your own local farmers markets (within the US). They are everywhere. You likely won't believe how many there are around you.

I promise that you won't be disappointed. In fact, make it a weekly outing for your family. Ours is like a weekly community event ... lots of chatting and exchanging knowledge ... seeing friends, etc. And what a great learning experience for the kids. Farmers always seem so willing to take the time to share their knowledge with the next generation. Some even have our friend Meaghan do a little money math in order to receive her change.

I'd love to hear about your own local markets. Especially readers outside of the US. And if this post has inspired you to search out your own local market ... please let me know about your experience.

Here's hoping that you are enjoying some crunchy fresh veggies and some free-range organic meats ...

Love,
Jodi

P.S. And while you are at it, pick up some fresh basil to make some delicious PESTO. I made the dreamiest pesto last night ... and it is as simple as this recipe.