Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All are invited to the third annual "Willow Manor Ball"

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Third Annual Willow Manor Ball! The festivities will begin at 12:00 a.m. EST, this Thursday, September 30. Everyone who leaves a comment on Thursday, will be included in the drawing for two elegant door prizes. A Mr. Linky widget will be provided if you would like others to visit your blog, to see your special date and elegant attire. I can't wait to see what you creative bloggers do with this!

The above invitation is from Willow of Willow Manor.  (click to see her blog)  Everyone is invited.  I'm looking forward to a most magnificent ball ... actually, my first EVER Ball!  I feel a bit like Cinderella.  And did I mention that ANYONE can view all the festivities that are going on by visiting Willow's site?  There is even a "Linky" available to easily see who is wearing what and WHAT is going on!

At first I didn't think I would be able to attend - very busy with kids and all. But once my girls heard of the event, they got busy and helped me with my wardrobe. Of course, once I received word that my youthful fantasy of dancing with Patrick Swazey on the dance floor was about to come true as he accepted my invitation (he has had enough of sadness and sorrow and wants to return to this realm just for The Willow Ball), how could I not join in the revelry? My husband must work, but he has informed me he will be waiting up for my return.

But what to wear?  Well, My girls found a number of worthy (and some not so worthy) works of art... Here were a few of the contenders... (oh, and all photos are from Google images)

After a lot of nail biting (no, my nails are all beautifully polished), I mean deliberating on my part, the girls defending their picks, and my husband (after drooling after the gold concoction), we "somewhat" unanimously selected this one:

I liked the soft material and the image of the folds as I am tossed and twirled by Patrick, well I just can't wait! I arranged for the designers to make my dress in a deep red - very much like dress #1 (above). 

My shoes, no problem.  If I'm going to dance, then I am going to be practical!  I was lucky to be able to get these shoes in silver... all the better to match my diamonds necklace and earrings.  These are dance shoes with a flexible sole (and my legs, of course!)

Many hairstyles were considered.  But after many oohs and aahs, my girls and I decided an up-do wouldn't be sensible - not with the way Patrick Swazey dances.  So it was a fierce battle between 3 styles...

One that is pretty close to what I have now...

Well, this one I couldn't get past the cleavage...

And this one my oldest daughter and I thought was charming and befitting of the event.  My diamond clip is  a bit smaller in order to not compete with my jewelry.  But, really, can one honestly have too many diamonds adorning their body?  I did need to go in for a few hair extensions, but the result has been well worth it...

And last, but not least, by any means... the jewelry.  I fell in love with this little number.  I also slipped the photo of it into my husbands wallet... :)

Well, there you have it.  I am giddy with anticipation and waiting for the car to pick me up... Oh, I almost forgot... my mode of transportation.  This one was quite easy.  My favorite, sexy little car is a jag, but for this evening I added a little twist...

A vintage Jaguar...

So, ladies, get ready to be dipped and whirled by Patrick, as only he knows how.  After all, I'm sure I will need a few breathers!

It's about time to leave and I am trying to finish folding the last of my laundry and I'm worrying about how will all these chores get done.. Oh, look - Patrick has arrived.  "Oh sweetie, I'm just not sure I can make it ... there is ...  so much ... to do...  What's that?"  Patrick has leaned over and his lips are an inch from my ear (that is why I am so flustered - wouldn't you be?)  He is whispering...

"And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
    And as silently steal away."

Oh my, I think that might be from "A Day is Done" by Longfellow (or edited by him, not sure which).  Either way, I was not aware that Patrick, along with his obvious talents, was a poet as well!

As I collect my wrap (and my heartbeat gets a chance to slow down a bit),  Patrick is bowing low over each of my daughters hands (insert lots of giggling) and saying goodnight.  He places my hand in the crook of his elbow (and oh, my ... these amazing arms of his), and my cares really have slipped away...

Don't forget to go to Willow's blog and check the event out for yourself.  And if you couldn't make it this year, maybe you should pencil it in for next. 

And remember, if you are able to make it - wall flowers, beware!  Nobody is safe sitting in a corner when Patrick is around...

20/365 "The Mask"

"The Mask"
I purchased a few masks from a local consignment store.  These are perfect as I am going to hang them next to my photos of the kids in all their plays and musicals.  ...just hope the little ones don't get creeped-out when they walk down the hallway at night! 

Also, if you are interested in a photography challenge, I have started one.  
Please check it out:  "In The Moment Photography"

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Art Challenge!

"Charleston Laborer"

This is my entry for the "In The Moment Photography" Challenge.  The Challenge word is "Labor".  In entering this challenge, I am giving permission for this photo to be downloaded by artists who in turn, if they choose this photo, will post the result on the "In The Moment Art" Challenge.   So, please, feel free to get this challenge out there!

This grand fellow was resting his hind leg in the heat of the day - he was getting ready to tour the historic town of Charleston, SC.  He received quite a few pats from my daughters and me and we wished he had been able to be our escort about town.  This photo was taken from my archives from the summer of 2009.

19/365 "Cat Nap"

"Cat Nap"

This is my daily photo and my entry for Macro Monday.  My beautiful kitty loves her short cat naps - she follows me around the house and watches me make the beds, clean the kitchen and do the laundry.  I guess all that work tires her out...

Sunday Creative Challenge "Just Because"

"Just Because"
This is my entry for the "Sunday Creative Challenge".  The word was a hard one - "Nothing". 

My husband did not work this weekend and it is nice to have a weekend for the family.  Sunday we took our family to visit their brother at college.  Upon returning Sunday evening, the kids all went to bed early and I turned a movie on (Age of Innocence) and before John conveniently fell asleep (not his kind of movie, I guess) we shared a glass of wine.  Upon seeing the "fancy glasses" my husband said "And the special occasion is?" and I said "Nothing, just because".  


18/365 "Colorful Transportation"

"Colorful Transportation"
Sunday we visited the college campus where my son is fortunate to be finishing his senior year of high school with a small, select group.  It was raining and I like to imagine that everyone was studying inside.  I just loved all the color and the arrangement -   I snapped just two photos and that is all I took of the entire day.  I was too busy doing laundry the rest of the day...

You see, I walked into my son's dorm and gasped.  Laundry all over...  His father and I took pity (this once) and took off for a nearby laundromat and did 11 loads.  Our son visited with his 5 siblings and it did our hearts good to see them all laughing and enjoying one another.  While at the laundromat standing side by side and complaining about what a slob our son is, I made it clear that this "cozy" togetherness was in NO WAY to be classified as a date!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Dr. DoLittle" Alphapet Challenge

"Dr. DoLittle"
This is my submission for the Alphabet Challenge - Letter D.  My son was Dr. DoLittle and I love getting action shots when any of my children are on stage. The photo below shows two more of my children who  were in this musical (Spring of 2010).  

"Dr. DoLittle, The Monkey & The Pig"

Weekend Reflections Challenge - "The Canadian"

"The Canadian"
This fellow is one of many beautiful geese enjoying the numerous ponds and lakes here in North Carolina.   Please see other submissions for this week's "Weekend Reflections Challenge".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

17/365 "The Creepy House"

"The Creepy House"
As a young girl, there was a white house that scared the daylights out of me.  It wasn't dissimilar to this one - but not as decrepit.  My friends and I made up all sorts of stories about it and dared each other to run up and touch the house (sounds a bit like "To Kill a Mockingbird" - but I didn't read that wonderful book until last year)  There were times we swore the white curtains moved... and they probably did.  My mom eventually told us an elderly lady lived in the house.  With this photo I played with a number of angles to try and figure out what would make it look a bit more eerie.  I think this slanted view (almost a child's perspective) works.  It was also just before sunset and I used no flash.  There are a few other run down homes and barns I want to photograph.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo Shop Friday "The Wonder Pets"

"The Wonder Pets"
I actually found stuffed toys from the "Douglas" line that resembled the characters from Wonder Pets.  Ming Ming the duck, Linny the hamster, and Tuck the turtle.  (Initially, they were to be Christmas presents - but I couldn't wait.)  He enjoys running around the house pulling these guys behind him - they don't always survive the hair-pin turns,  but they seem none the worse for wear.  Photo Shop helped me lighten & brighten this photo. 

17/365 "Fine Details"

"Fine Details"

"Fine Details 2"

Really struggled with the 365 challenge today!  Laundry, dirty dishes and cluttered refrigerator sparked no creative juices today.  Clearing the dinner dishes from the table, my eyes admired my second-hand store "treasure".  This ornate lamp in the corner of my wine-colored dining room has such a warm glow.  And isn't that what this exercise is about - capturing the details of life around us?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

16/365 "Childhood Friends"

"Childhood Friends"
These are his buddies, especially the elephant!  He loves building with blocks - and knocking everything down, of course.  His friends hang in for all the fun and adventure.  Did anyone see Toy Story 3?  I saw it with my 17 year old son and we both cried.  Woody, Buzz and Rex have been around for a long time.  


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black & White Wednesday "The Six Pounder"

"The Six Pounder"
This is for Black & White Wednesday.  This is just down the road from our house - miles of trails and various monuments dedicated to the Revolutionary War.  This "six pounder" is date stamped 1755.  The real thing.

15/365 "Taco Tuesday"

Does this make anyone hungry?  Our family always seems to be on the go, but Tuesdays are exceptionally busy so they have become "Taco Night".  I was stumped as to what to do for my daily photo when I realized how pretty I always think the tacos look with all their festive colors.  Mine usually is the MOST festive as I like all sorts of things the rest of the family won't touch.  (Getting the lighting right at home is quite tricky - I used no flash and that helped a bit)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

14/365 "My Tuxedo Kitty"

"My Tuxedo Kitty"
My vet called her that - and she is rather a "fancy" cat.  She likes her soft armchair, hates a messy kitty litter, and eats her food very daintily.  Grooming takes up a decent amount of her time and she loves to sit prettily and blink her eyes at her family.  She even has a princess-like name, "Gabriella" - (which is MUCH better than the name my "not-in-love-with-cats" husband picked out for her!)  This photo is part of my "365 Challenge"

"Graceful Geese"

"Graceful Geese"
This is my entry for "Inspiration All Around Us".  This is my first photo entry as I have always submitted my fledgling watercolors.  Dana Marie hosts the blog and she has expressed interest for ALL forms of artwork to be showcased that represent her bi-weekly "photo inspiration".  Come join the fun - click on the blog title and check it out.  Theme for this photo was "silhouette".

Monday, September 20, 2010

13/365 "The Soldier"

"The Soldier"
His eyes lit up when he saw these "Six Pounders" from the Revolutionary War (the barrels were date stamped 1755).  Yesterday his little hands held toy cannons and I got to thinking how "playing war" seems to come so naturally to little boys.  They love to pick up sticks and run around with them, stomp around and roar, and knock things over with little toy cannons.  And they break a mother's heart when the head off to war... Well, heroic acts weren't for this little "soldier" today - he ran into Daddy's arms when he spied a spider upon the cannon!  

"Revolutionary War Six Pounders"

"Magnolia Seeds"

Magnolia Seeds
Walked today on an old road that was once the site of a Revolutionary War Battle.  In a few weeks it is going to be amazingly lovely with the leaves all changing color.  The smell in the air was delicious and the dogs certainly stopped many times to sniff.  I love the magnolia trees when they are in full bloom, but this is the first I have ever seen the red seeds!  This one was way up in the tree and I had no tripod and zoomed in quite tightly and HELD my breath.  Got this one on the third try - not bad for mid day and bright sun.  I cropped it just ever so slightly on the left side. Check out the other awesome closeups at Macro Monday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"A Couple of Cows"

A Couple of Cows
This is for the Alphabet Challenge - the letter C.  I played around with the light right before dusk and I put my camera on the night time setting - and I had to rest my camera on the fence in order to get a clear enough photo.  This is a little blurry, but I love the grass hanging from their mouths.  I moved to get a better shot but they all ran away scared ! ... except one.  And I'm saving that photo for the next "Reflection Challenge" as there was a pond in the background ... 

12/365 "The Little Princess"

"The Little Princess"
My daughter is currently Sarah in "The Little Princess".  A few promotional photos were taken for the newspaper the other day and during a break, I got a few in myself.  I used Photoshop to age it and it is a bit blurry - but I love MY composition - I told her to pose by holding Emily, the doll her beloved father gave her before going off to the war.  It is a sweet, poignant story and I can't wait for the musical in a few weeks.  Upon the final bow, I plan on giving her a quality copy of the book with this photo on the inside with all of the cast & crews signatures.  This is part of the "365 Challenge".  Click & see a list of other participants 


The Farmer's Market is ALWAYS inspires my artistic side.  Wish it would have an equal impact on my desire to cook creative and amazing food everyday!  This is my entry for the "Sunday Creative" challenge (click on it & check it out).  The word of the week is "Abundance" 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

11/365 "Splash of Gold"

Check 1, camera in my purse.  Check 2, SD chip in the camera.  Check 3, destination in mind.

We've all done it.  Left home without a plan, forgot the camera, no SD chip.  I arrived at my destination, walked up to the old abandoned house - selected my angle ... and my batteries were dead.  Thank goodness I didn't delete the wildflowers I had taken moments before because they are all I had to work with today. A originally used Photoshop to do a funky blue thing with the above photo... but decided I really need to learn more about manipulating photo's - so I deleted my original entry and went with a bit of cropping and a mild touch up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Nature's Double Mint"

"Nature's Double Mint"
This was taken just last week and today the leaves are showing some color.  But this day the smell of fall was in the air and the greens so vivid due to a bit of rain.  This was for the "Weekend Reflections" challenge.   

10/365 "Means of Transportation"

"Means of Transportation"
Not only have our means of transportation changed but our expectations.  Soft leather seats, Bose sound system, climate controlled interior, GPS, and if one is REAL "lucky", a DVD player.  What would those who truly depended upon these wooden wheels think?

Boy - Alphabet Challenge

"All BOY!"
This is for the Alphabet Challenge.  I almost got in on the ground floor with the the letter B.  It isn't supposed to be from my photo archive - but I am giving myself a week's grace period surrounding this challenge.  My girls posed quite prettily upon the straw bale.  He was "All Boy" and bent upon destruction!

Photo Shop Friday "Blue Duck"

"Blue Duck"
I am reserving Fridays for playing around with (because who reads "how to" books) Adobe Photo Shop.  I am excited to play around with ideas that I can translate into my painting.  I intensified the blues on the duck and think it will be fun to paint this with watercolor - leave the white paper untouched in areas (which I always struggle with) and just play around with the blues and greens... (check out the result in my blog Art Happens in a few days).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

9/365 "Tuckered Out"

"Tuckered Out"
Glad I have a walking partner that is willing to go the distance with me ... I actually have three dogs to walk and they are all equally as eager to explore the neighborhood.  I played a bit with the lighting on this photo as it was taken mid-day.  I think this would be a fun one to paint and put in a few "pink" highlights in her fur to match her tongue.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"The Welcoming Gate"

This is for Black & White Wednesday Challenge.  Colored photos of this scene are in the post below.  But this really grabs my heart ... What is it about b&w photos that is so much more intimate and nostalgic?

8/365 "The Fence"

"The Fence 1"
"The Fence 2"
The Fence 3
I drive by this fence every day and today I finally stopped in an attempt to capture the shadows the fence and tree make over the pasture and road. The top image is unaltered other than a bit of cropping.  For the 2nd and 3rd photo I adjusted the color and lighting just a tad - and you can see the annoying brown branches of the foreground tree on the right -  I am going to watercolor this scene and I will use artistic license to crop it out.  I thought that for a photo, the top photo was better as I was trying to give center stage to the shadows, but for a painting, I was thinking the third one works best.  (my sketching and painting blog is Art Happens)  Or maybe the top doesn't work - maybe I cropped it too much.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

7/365 "Color Me Beautiful"

"Color Me Beautiful"
I am attracted to these colors - my wardrobe, home, and even purchased a tube of lipstick (not a wise choice).  I find them very warm and inviting.    


This is my submission for "Black & White Wednesdays" for last week (9-8-2010)