Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Photography 101.

Despite the rain that Hurricane "Whats-His-Name" dumped all over New England, I was out in the woods this weekend --- tripod and D300 in hand --- trying my best to capture the true brilliance of fall foliage. Though this may come easily for some, I have filled my head with so much information on the "rules" of great photography that I sometimes feel overwhelmed. (I know, I have said this before :) I find myself clumsily trying to remember all that I have recently learned about apeture, shutter speed, white balance, ISO, lighting, exposure, etc. --- because it does not come naturally to me yet. But I need to remember that it will all come naturally with time, practice, education and patience. So, I continue to learn all I can ... and to try to enjoy the ride.

There is this great web blog I found that gives me daily tips on my photography: Digital Photography School. The author is brilliant --- really knows his stuff --- knows how to explain it for everybody --- makes it fun to learn and try out new techniques --- it feels like I have my own personal photography teacher. Great stuff.

Also, I can't say enough good about the Shutter Sisters blog. The inspiration to be found there is incredible. I have learned much just by seeing what others are doing.

There is also the Me Ra Koh Photography blog --- which offers a mix of inspiration and technique. The author hosts some great photo contests too ... with prizes. I love prizes.

In digital photography, the learning never ends ... and the technology is always changing. It has been my art form for years, but only recently have I begun to take it seriously. I truly love it (my sewing machine is now dusty with neglect). My best friend and I have decided that it is time we take this whole photography thing to the next level, so we are enrolling in UMaine's ART 182: Photography and Digital Imaging for Spring 2008. Very exciting!

Well, I hope you find some inspiration in the links listed above as well. And don't forget, there is always Flickr ... one could spend an entire day just browsing through that sea of photographic bliss. Have a great day.

Love,
Jodi

Friday, September 26, 2008

Praying for a Quick Sale.

Wow! Our house has been on the market for just 4 days, and we already have 2 showings tomorrow ... and our realtor has received several calls of interest ... with possible showings later this week. Hooray! We were worried about the housing slump ... thinking that it might take weeks for anyone to show interest ... but I think it might be priced just right (even a bit low perhaps) and it is just too darling to pass up :)

Anyway, we are praying for (and manifesting) a quick sale. So are our neice and nephew ... as I promised them ice cream and a movie once our house sells. They are so looking forward to that ... and funny thing is, I'd do it for them anyway. But they don't need to know that.

Love,
Jodi

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giveaways!


The blogging world is full of free giveaways these days - in efforts to gain more readership - or to promote products. They are everywhere. Some are truly tacky, while others are lovely. I thought I would gather a few here for you all to take part in. Most of the time, all you need to do to enter is to leave a comment on their blog. You don't even need to add an address as they will simply contact you via e-mail (don't forget to leave your e-mail address) to ask for your home address once you win.

I once won a giveaway here and I absolutely loved it! She sent me a handmade teddy bear and lots of other goodies. (Thanks again Paula).

So, have at it ... here are a few ...









Good Luck All!

Love,
Jodi

P.S. Leave a comment here about which of the above giveaways you really hope to win .... and I will be offering a little giveaway of my own. Please leave your comment by October 1st. I will draw a random winner to receive one of my handmade goodies! Don't forget to leave me your e-mail address.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Begins.

So, can you guess what we did this weekend? I'll give you a hint, it has everything to do with pumpkins.

Goodness we love pumpkins. And in Maine, you generally "pick your own". We went to this big 'ole farm in Corinth, called Thomas Vegetable Farm. At 15cents a pound, I am not sure I will be going back though. It is a reasonable price to be sure, but there is another great place - Rocky Ridge Farm - also in Corinth - that only charges $1 per pumpkin no matter the size! (For you Mainers, their # is 207-285-7764 and they are really great folks).

Fall has begun. The oranges, reds and yellows of the season are showing up everywhere. And I am excited to use my new camera to capture as much of it as I can. I treated the above photos in picnik with two of my favorite filters. I am quite partial to giving everything a 60's/70's feel (one of the filters that picnik offers). There is so much to learn about photography and about post treatment of digital photos. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed ... but I do love photography enough to give it my all.

Fall also seems to be a time for saying "goodbye". So many loved ones in my life have passed away in this season. And this fall is no exception. Today we are saying goodbye to our dog Jenny. Likely the most loyal doggy friend that I will ever meet. Back in 1997, I purchased her from the local humane society to join us in the move to our first home. We bought a house out in the country, and I wanted a country-type dog to join us. She was perfect. She loved walking with us through the fields and the country roads. She loved chasing some critters and protecting others. She never left our sides for anything and slept in our bed at night. We loved her and she loved us. And saying goodbye really sucks. But it is time. Though she can still wag her tail and go for walks ... she is clearly in pain ... and I do not want to prolong it just so that I can have a few more weeks with her. I rather see her pass from this world still able to "smile". But I will miss her greatly. Goodbye my loyal friend. I will surely see you again. Until then ... I hope you are playing fetch in heaven with Colby, Sarah, Heidi and the rest of our beloved crew.

Love,
Jodi

Monday, September 22, 2008

Common Ground Fair 2008.

According to my photos, it seems we were most interested in the animals of the Common Ground this year. Some years it is the veggies that inspire us, some years it is the fiber arts, other times it is the Native American crafts. But I suppose that when you have a three-year old in tow, it is the farm animals that are most interesting when attending any agricultural fair. Go figure :)

Love,
Jodi

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Sleepless Night ... so far.

As I type this blog post, my son is nestled comfortably between Daddy and me in our family bed. He is comfortable, warm, content and in a deep slumber. Daddy has been leaning over to kiss him occasionally when he rolls over to face Isaac. And I watch our boy intently and lovingly as he takes in each sleeping breath. But unlike them, I cannot sleep. My heart is aching.

I received news today that Haitian Roots has been unsuccessful in reaching Isaac's bio family since the recent hurricane that has devastated Haiti. Folks from the organization were planning to meet the family in Petionville, Haiti next month in order to enroll Isaac's biological sisters into school (through our sponsorship). But access to Petionville from Petit Goave (where Isaac's bio family resides) is impassable at this time due to the severe floods washing away the bridges, etc. So, a representative from Haitian Roots has been trying to call them to let them know what the alternatives are ... and to make other arrangements. Yet, they have been unable to reach the family thus far.

Perhaps the phone lines are down --- which is an ongoing issue even in the "nicer" parts of Haiti. And perhaps the family is safe, sound and secure in knowing that we (Haitian Roots and I) will find a way to reach them eventually. But that is not what makes my heart ache. Rather, it is the alternative to that which keeps me from sleeping. Life is so fragile in Haiti. Families constantly walk a fine line between life and death. And communication across any distance is sketchy at best. So, I do not know how the family is ... and it may take a long time before I do. And I officially hate that. I mean ... really hate it. I feel angry about it. Angry because a family that I love so dearly ... a family that my son will one day embrace as a part of his own ... is so far removed from us ... living in a volatile climate (socially, politically and geographically) ... and I have no control over any means to assist them in a time of great struggle.

I don't really know where my fear, anxiety, and anger are coming from either. The feelings seem to remind me of the ones I had while waiting for Isaac to come home --- impotence, lack of control, anger at the dangers that exist in Haiti, love, love, love, and the attachments that come with love .... the longing ... the desperate want to know that all is okay ... the want to "fix" all that ails them ... the want for the power to make it better ...

And as I watch my son take in every sleeping breath ... knowing that he is safe, warm, healthy and happy ... I cry over what could have been. And I am not sure why. There was never an "alternative" life for Isaac. He was and always has been "our boy". So, I don't ever wonder about what his life might have been had he stayed in Haiti. As God knows, it was never an option. But tonight, I wonder. Tonight I cry thanks that he will never have to struggle for food, shelter, clean water, or safety from hurricanes. But then I remember that the reality for his bio family ... and the two sweet bio sisters he has in Haiti ... is vastly different. And it pains me. I pray that they are safe, warm, healthy and happy tonight too. And I pray that I hear from them soon. My heart is aching over the unknown ... just as it did when I was waiting for Isaac to come home. Perhaps that is why I am so emotionally charged over this. It brings me back to a time when my heart ached daily over not knowing how my baby was ... a time I normally try not to think about.

But to believe and to have faith that all is "well" ... is a powerful thing. I think I should exert my emotional energy into positive thinking, rather than in to despair.

And I ask my readers to please send some love, karma, and prayers to all those families who struggle in Haiti ... and throughout the world ... with a special prayer that we hear some good news soon.

Thank you,
Love,
Jodi

P.S. I chose to post the above picture of Isaac within this post because it serves as a reminder to me of the amazing little boy who has bound together the lives of two seperate familes, in 2 different countries. He is a gift to so many ... and to the world.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Goodies!

RETRO MAGNETS!
So much fun to make. And now available in my shop.
Thanks for looking.
Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Articulation and the Art of the Well Written Blog Post.


I read this Shutter Sister blog post yesterday and was both highly impressed and mildly intimidated. Her writing flowed so eloquently. In very few words, she poetically and effectively articulated the delicate and complex world of a young boy --- fresh out of his toddler years --- but not quite pre-pubescent. At the same time she also richly expressed a common struggle to photographers --- how to photograph with patience and understanding of your subject. Her post not only conveyed so much in so few words, but the accompanying photo was pure magic.

I admit, I was envious. In fact, I took the day off of blogging (seriously). I felt so inarticulate, ineffective and lacking in my photography as well. It was a "woe's me" day. But then I realized ... the author (Kate) is such a gift. Her talent serves to inspire ... not to outshine. I am always growing and learning ... and talents like Kate keep me motivated to press on. Hooray!

So, I broke out the camera in Shutter Sister solidarity ... and did my best to take some shots that pleased me ... and that reminded me of the unique, beautiful and worthy contributions that we all make to our world. Then I wrote this simple (but hopefully effective) blog post.

Thanks Kate.
Love,
Jodi

P.S. I will continue to post some of my recent photographic "contributions" to my Flickr account as I am able.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chase.

Have you ever shared your life with a dog that you both loved and loathed at the same time? It can be a dilemma.

We love our Chase. We do. We keep reminding ourselves that we do. But every morning, we are faced with a new disaster that he has created in the house. Every day someones clothes are torn from his enthusiastic greetings. And not a day goes by without a dog fight that he has initiated (we have 3 other dogs). No one can visit the house without our having to lock him up in a kennel. And he is far too excitable to sleep in our bed.

But we love him. We really do. He is an exuberant spirit. He wants to please. He is so darn cuddly. And he and Isaac are the best of buds. So, what do you do? Well, we just keep trying to train him ... and keep telling ourselves that he really is a good boy after all. AND we are taking him to the vet this week to be "clipped" ... because a little less testosterone is always a good idea :)

Love,
Jodi

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Big List of Sewing Blogs.

The Big List of Sewing Blogs

I just got word that this blog has been included in the "Big List of Sewing Blogs" created by Suzical. My blog ranked #284 out of 483. Not bad. I've always been a C average kind of girl who tries desperately to get the A. So, you know I will be checking the list often to see if I have improved my rank at all :) That's how I roll.

Anyway, check the list out. There is some GREAT stuff there. Enjoy.

Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bog Walk Revisited ... with a friend.

Less than a mile from our home ... and such a great place to spend some time outdoors. I look forward to gorgeous fall foliage walks in just a few weeks. Hopefully by then I will know my new camera even better :)

Love,

Jodi

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gocco --- finally!

I received a Gocco PG-Arts screenprinting machine from my Mommy for Christmas last year ... and never used it. I was too scared. I've been reading Gocco tutorials for months and months but the whole thing seemed so overwhelming to me that I just couldn't bring myself to take the plunge --- even though I had pined for a Gocco long before I ever received one.

But finally, I was inspired to give it a go when Lisa from The Bunny Log spread the word about her Autumn Postcard Gocco Swap. Thanks Lisa.


So. last night I made over 50 of these sweet little bubble-baby-fairy postcards. And I am so happy with them. Certainly there are some things I now know that I could have done differently ... but these are sweet just as they are ... and I will get the hang of this in time. In truth, it was SO much easier to use my Gocco then I ever could have imagined. There was no reason to be so afraid of it. Lesson learned: "Just Do It"... nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I made some extras for Etsy and will post them soon for those who find these as sweet as I do. I also made some extras for me, of course ;)

Have you tried something new this week?

Love,
Jodi

Friday, September 5, 2008

Exciting New Goodies for The Shop.

I am addicted to making these sweet pinback button sets! I cut up vintage childrens books (that are way beyond repair) and I use the gorgeous illustrations to make these 1.25" pins/buttons. They are so darn cute ... and I think I could make them all day long ... because I just love the artwork in vintage books ... and can't wait to see how each button turns out.

Isaac and I already have our own little collection of favorites stashed away ;) I can see that this could get very out-of-hand if I let it. But they are just perfect for sporting on all of the tote bags that I make and use.

Anyway, I have them for sale in my Etsy shop right now. Just $6 for each set, plus shipping. They are perfect for school bags, totes, purses, jackets, etc. And especially for gift giving! I hope you enjoy them.

Love,

Jodi

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some Book "Referrals"...


Books I am loving right now:

Print Liberation: The Screen Printing Primer by Nick Paparone. Perfect for beginner level screen printers. Comes with some ready to use art. So well written and engaging --- with lots of photo inspirations.

Mother Teresa by Mary Cobb. Yes, this book was written for younger people ... but I just love this DK Biography series. Each book gives me such intriquing insight into their subjects without putting me to sleep. There is plenty of wonderful info (and pictures)contained without overdoing it. For $4.99 each - I recommend everyone treat themselves to one. I have enjoyed Harry Houdini, Ben Franklin, Annie Oakley, Marie Curie, and Joan of Arc. All well done.

The Digital Photography Book. by Scott Kelby. A must for anyone interested in improving their digital photography. I carry it around in my camera bag so that I can refer to it. Surely, I will eventually outgrow it, but for now it is like carrying around my own personal professional photographer coach in my backpack.

Books I am looking forward to loving (on Pre-order):

Screen Your Stuff: A Fun, Funky Introduction to Silk-Screening Your Tees, Totes, Towels & More by Levy and Georgelin.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. I am certain that if this woman wrote a book on the art of paper towel designs ... I would read it.

SO... what are you reading???

Love,

Jodi

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Savoring the Last Moments of Summer.


Isaac and I ... laying on our lastest thrift store quilt (just $5!) ... in the backyard ... reading our books ... enjoying the gentle breezes ... listening to the birds ... watching the planes fly overhead ... receiving the occasional whoopie pie from our neighbor (Grandma) ... talking about the people, places and things we love ... savoring the last moments of summer.
We hope you are too.
Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Young Photographers' Photo Exhibit.

No more "Jodi Day Camp" now that my little friends are back to school. (Thanks guys for a fun time!)

My favorite part of our "camp" adventures was the brief intro-to-digital photography class that I gave. Partly because I love photography, and partly because I love seeing the world through the eyes of children. As you may recall, we planned on hosting a photographic art exhibit at my home for the kids to show off their work to friends and family. Sadly, that didn't happen, as summer came to a close far too quickly. But I promised the kids that I would post their favorite shots here as another way of exhibiting their work (so please be generous in your commenting :)

I will be displaying the work of two camp participants: Meaghan (11) and Sydney (6). Their works were photographed by them and then digitally enhanced by them on Picnik.com.

And now for our show. Enjoy ...

Fast Forward by Meaghan.

Meaghan's ATV by Sydney.


Little Blossoms by Meaghan.

Duck by Sydney.

Misty Morning Fog by Meaghan.

Princess Sydney by Sydney.

Bravo ladies! Well done.

These young ladies took many shots ... but chose these as their favorites. I think their personalities certainly shine through in their choices. Again, great work girls. Keep photographing!

And for the audience, I hope you enjoyed their work and will leave comments on your faves. Thanks so much :)

Love,

Jodi

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wordyness by Wordle.

This collage of words and themes from my blog was created here. It's fun to make & see ... Try it :)

If you'd like to see by word collage in a bigger format ... click here.

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend!

Love,
Jodi