Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

December 31, 2011

Photo Hunt Wrap Up

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I imagine this is how many of us may be feeling after this season of celebrations.  As we wind down 2011, I hope that 2012 brings you peace and joy.  2011 was not a wonderful year in many ways, but it had its great points too.  One of the great points for me on this blog, was starting the photo hunts.  I just love seeing all of your creativity.  October’s Idiomatic Photo Hunt was the most popular of the year.

Now I’ll bring you, in order of submission, the wrap of December’s holiday-themed photo hunt.  Not as many of you participated this time around, and I attribute that to how busy this month can be.  Thank you so much to those of you who did find the time to participate.

Nye was the first blogger in with her photo hunt.  I loved the holiday warmth in her photos, especially the “treat” shot with the Christmas lights in the background – all ready for Santa’s arrival!

Scott Thomas, provider of our bi-monthly photo assignments, was next.  Scott’s hunt had a strong Disney theme once again, and showed some of the millions of Christmas lights Disney World displays this time of year (I wonder what their electric bill is like for December???)  Scott also had to be creative with his shot for “frost” because strangely enough, there’s been a distinct lack of it here in the northeast this month.

My photo hunt  was third, and you can see it here if you missed it.

Continuing in order of submission gets a little confusing here.  If I go in the order of comments to my original blog post, Michaela is next, although her hunt published after the next few bloggers since she scheduled it to post on the due date.  It doesn’t really matter who was next as long as you go see them right?  Michaela’s hunt featured her beautiful creativity and gorgeous use of light.  Still marvelling at the fact that she was able to find pretty shots of frost down in Texas while I’ve barely had any here in Massachusetts!

Dawn’s hunt showed some really  cute and creative pictures.  The wooden reindeer cut-outs in the spotlight are very sweet and the firetruck decked in Christmas lights was a really neat sight to see!

Dawn then kindly pointed out to Ellen that it appeared she had taken plenty of shots for the photo hunt without even realizing it!  Ellen then quickly cobbled together a post for the hunt and I’m glad she did! Ellen is yet another southern blogger who was able to find a shot of frost and her pictures of the treats her family enjoyed are fabulous.

It appears that Deb was one of the few northeast bloggers who was able to get the elusive frost shot!  She took a gorgeous shot of exactly the type I was thinking of when I included frost as a photo hunt item.  You can feel the holiday joy in her collection.

Our last photo-hunter for this month was Carol.  Her Christmas card is one of the cutest I’ve seen and I’m going to take her word for it that there is actually frost in her frost picture!

I’d like to throw an invite out to everyone who had an issue with trying to take a frost picture for the hunt this month to keep your eyes open for pretty frost patterns this winter.  If you’d like to send me a link to your pictures, maybe I can do another frosty wrap up at some point this winter!

Thank you once again, everyone, for your participation in this month’s hunt.  I hope you’ll have a chance to visit all the hunts and leave the participants some comment love!  If you’d be so kind, please let me know in the comments of this post if you’d like to see the photo hunts continue in 2012 and  if you have any suggestions for improving the hunts.  Have a very happy new year!

December 29, 2011

Proud of my Girls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 2:34 pm
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Today was a big day in this household.  My girls each had a special event.

Meghan passed her driver’s license test.
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There she is with my keys!  Watch out world, here she comes!  She’d just returned from picking up Sarah from her big event – competing in her first track meet.  Sarah competes in long jump and sprints:

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Lining up on the track

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Runners take your mark!

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Ready to long jump

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and away she goes!

The girls team took second place at this 5-school meet, while the boys took first!

Congratulations to both of my girls!

December 27, 2011

My December Photo Hunt

Did you forget about it in the midst of all the holiday busy-ness?  I hope not!  I’m really looking forward to seeing what you all have come up with for the December photo hunt.  I have just finished up taking my photos today and decided to write up my post while they are fresh on my mind.  You still have a few days if you aren’t ready yet – and remember archived photos are okay if you need to use some to fill out your hunt.  Happy hunting, and in the meantime here are mine.

Lights:
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Always happy to have an excuse to use the “starmaking” method I discovered for myself last Christmas.

Ornament:

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This is an unusual one that I didn’t think I’d photographed before, and I liked the Christmas light bokeh too.

Card:
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A very special group of Christmas cards- I received each of these from bloggers!  From left to right: Becky – Rebecca the Housewrecka, Kathy -Lake Superior Spirit,  Scott -Views Infinitum, and Michaela- The Daily Click.  Thank you all – they were so beautiful and creative.

Frost:
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As Scott mentioned a few days ago, surprisingly enough, it has been difficult to get a picture of frost here in the northeast, so I had to improvise! This is the cupcake-eye-view of being frosted ;-)

Treat:
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I found plenty of excellent treats in my stocking on Christmas morning.

Family:
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I had all sorts of intentions for capturing wonderful family shots on Christmas day, but taking pictures wasn’t foremost in my mind on that day.  Though the picture I’m showing you here is far from technically perfect, it is a pretty perfect shot of some very important members of my family.

Bonus:
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One of the few shots I actually took on Christmas day.

Don’t forget to leave me a link to post in the comments of the original post for this month’s photo hunt.  I’m hoping to bring you the recap on New Year’s Eve!

 

December 26, 2011

Après Noël

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:20 pm
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“After Christmas” sounds prettier and more exciting in French, doesn’t it?  Not that I’m having an exciting day here; I needed a day to kick back and relax after all the work and activity of the past few days.
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Daphne here gives you the idea of what I’m feeling like today.  Weeks of build up and preparation, over in a short time, leaving you feeling wiped out!  I’m very grateful for having my family around me in my home for Christmas, but as the busy hostess, I’m sad to tell you I forgot to take pictures most of the day!

I did receive some fun photography gifts from my dad:

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I’ll spend some much needed quiet time over the next few days reading through that book and on the B&H website deciding how to spend that giftcard.  I have an idea in mind, but I haven’t decided yet.  My purchase may have something to do with this:
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This is something that has been in the planning stages for a few months now.  We just made it official a few days before Christmas and booked a family cruise for the April school vacation week.  Hubby and I cruised for our honeymoon (almost 20 years ago!!!) and the girls have never been.  I’m considering using my giftcard to purchase an inexpensive, waterproof, point & shoot camera for the trip.  The girls’ “extra special” Christmas gift this year was a promise to swim with dolphins when our ship docks in Cozumel, Mexico, and you know I will need pictures of that!

I hope your Christmas brought you special joy and memories.  Remember to work on your December Photo Hunt too!

December 24, 2011

With apologies to Clement Moore

Twas the day before Christmas, and in the kitchen of the house,

This blogger was stirring,  making  mess of her blouse.

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The ingredients were flung, with not a whole lot of care,

In hopes that deliciousness would soon be there.

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The cupcakes were nestled, all snug in their cups,

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While I tried desperately with cleaning to keep ups.

And cranberries crackled with sugar in a pot,

becoming a sauce while the water was hot.

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When down on the counter, there arose such a splatter,

making red frosting  was a difficult matter.

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Away to the Kitchen-Aid, I ran like a flash,

to avoid having to clean another big splash.

The bottle of Lysol, I gave a large squirt,

so the sugar on the floor did not become dirt.

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This blogger you see, when she cooks is a slob,

I’ll be lucky to find and to clean every blob.

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My clothing is covered from my head to my foot,

with flour and sugar and butter and soot.

It would be nice if I had, a small kitchen elf,

who would nicely clean up after myself.

But with a wink of my eye and a nod of my head,

here’s hoping you all have nothing to dread.

Please hear me exclaim, with all of my might,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

December 18, 2011

Finding Warmth on a Cold Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:53 pm

Brrrrr…. I don’t think the temperatures got out of the 20’s here today.  With the exception of a few raw, cool days, the weather locally has been very moderate as we prepare to officially say goodbye to autumn.  I won’t say that I welcome winter – by I will try not to be too grumpy about its return if we can maybe strike some sort of deal with Mama Nature.  For whatever reason, my little corner of the world seems to have been on her …less favored side this year.  I’m hoping she got it out of her system and might see her way to gracing us with just a few gentle dustings of snow this time around.

Here’s someone who doesn’t see to mind the cold:
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The reason I’d actually ventured out into the cold was I noticed an interesting pattern of frost.. unusual for 4:00 in the afternoon, wouldn’t you say?  I thought it might make a nice shot for my photo hunt, but meh.. I’m not thrilled with it.  Will continue to keep my eyes open.

But then a completely different shot drew my attention away:
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My neighbor’s decorative tall grass looked warm and inviting in the setting sun – a total antithesis from the way I was feeling.  Like a cat luxuriating in the glow of a sunny window, my thoughts turned to those days that I love so much, but that feel so very far away right now.
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December 17, 2011

S.P.D. – Seasonal Photographic Disorder!

Almost a year ago, Mr. Scott Thomas challenged those of us inclined to do so, to participate in a year long photo assignment.  The challenge was to photograph the same location throughout all four seasons of the year.  I had read about something like this in a book Scott had recommended to me, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, and thought it was a great idea.  When he announced the assignment last December, I thought to myself – I already have a jump start on this from some photos I took in the fall, in an easily accessible location, that I was pretty happy with.  At the time of the announcement, I also made the decision that I’d feature two locations throughout the year by including the view from my favorite lounging spot, my oft mentioned backyard deck.

Now you might be wondering why I’ve titled this post the way that I did.  One reason was that the assignment reminded me how unorganized I am about my photo archives.  I use Photoshop Elements to load my photos on to the computer which organizes them by date.  That’s the only organization I have – no tags.  So, just like for Scott’s favorite photos of the year assignment, I had to scroll through a year of photos to try to find the shots I took for this assignment.  Another reason you shall discover closer to the end of this post.

I’d like to begin with my winter photos.  Locals might recognize my first location as humble little Spec Pond:
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Winter took us by surprise this year and piled on more snow than we’ve seen in these parts for many years.  Teddy enjoyed it at least:
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Spring came around and thawed us out:

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The deck furniture was unwrapped, but only my Mother’s Day hanging plant was in bloom and the pool was still closed:
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Ah, summer!  My favorite season.  At the pond, extra life guard stands appear and the diving floats are in the water:
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Back at home, everything is lush and green, flowers adorn the deck and the pool is open:
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This is one of the photos I jump-started Scott’s assignment with, fall at Spec Pond:
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This is also where you’ll find out the other reason for the title of my post!  I never took a fall photo from my deck specifically for this assignment!  Yep, I’m admitting it, I messed up a bit.  In my head, fall was taken care of; however, at the time I decided to add the deck to my year of photos, it was already winter.  This past fall came along and I never took a deck photo thinking it was already done.  Scrolling through my archives, I chose two alternative almost-fall-from-my-deck photos.  There was this one that I did for my Picture Fall class last October:
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Not really the view I’ve given you the rest of the year. OR we have this monstrosity:
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The view from my deck on October 30, 2011 after the Freaky Freakin’ Snowstorm – technically this is a fall photo of the view from my deck!

What a year it has been.  I think I will be ready to bid 2011 adieu!

December 16, 2011

Peeking in

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:03 pm
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Having a peek – that’s what I’ve been doing this week.  As we approach the holidays, my days seem to get busier, but I’ve still been trying to peek in on all of you.  And here we are at the weekend before Christmas already!  We have a Christmas party to go to tomorrow, and I am at the point where I really need to take inventory of what I have purchased so far and what I still need to get.  Anyone else ever do that?  Forget exactly what you’ve bought so you have to refresh your memory to make sure you didn’t forget anyone?  I suspect I will be full of “to-do” and “to-buy” lists over the coming week.

Continuing with peeking in, here’s a little peek at some of those details that I love so much about my Christmas village.  As I explained in my previous post, I try to change up the look of my village each year by displaying a few different pieces and arranging them differently.  Different this year is my dining room picture-window display, which I imagine as a quiet seaside town in Maine.  I showed you this picture in the last post, but here it is again in case you don’t want to scroll back to have a look:
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Here’s a piece I haven’t always displayed because it doesn’t always have a place to fit in:
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This ice fisherman didn’t come with the frozen lake, but I thought they worked well together.  Can you see there are actually fish there under the “water”?  If you look back up to the first picture, there’s an ice fishing shack in the background too.

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This skating pond has been a favorite of the cats in my life for many years.  When clicked into the “on” position, motorized magnets make the skaters swirl about their frozen pond, much to the delight of mischievious kitties who enjoy swatting the tantalizing figures.  Cedric has already been “cow tipping” by the dairy barn this year, by the way!

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Here’s a piece I don’t think I displayed at all last year – “Vineland Estates Winery.”  Here you will find details you might not expect in the typical lit village houses, such as:
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wine bottles and glasses

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and grapevines

I meant to show you this picture in my last post, but somehow it got away from me.  You don’t mind if I add it now, even if it has nothing to do with what I’ve been talking about right?
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This is what happens when you accidentally leave the shutter open for 8 seconds while pointing the camera at your silly dog dressed up in Christmas lights.  It’s kind of cool, though, isn’t it?

Then that picture made me think of this one:
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I had seen both Robin and Holly trying out this form of abstract art done with Photoshop, so I decided to play too.  I started with a picture of my glowing snowman and followed directions given in a tutorial.  If you’d like to try too, Holly has a link to that tutorial in her post to which I linked.

My whole family is actually home tonight – hubby and both daughters- so I’ll be stepping away from the computer and chores and shopping tonight for a rare family movie night.  Hubby seems quite excited about it and has gone out and bought us boxes of movie candy to enjoy, despite the fact that he’s making us spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight.  I guess I’ll just have to find some room to fit it all in!

December 11, 2011

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:46 pm
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Can you believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away?  The past few days have been a flurry of activity in preparation for the upcoming holiday.  Many miles have been logged by hubby and me as we’ve gift shopped, Christmas tree hunted and made multiple trips to get  what we needed for decorating.  Had there been snow on the ground, a sleigh ride probably would’ve been more efficient!  As we got busy putting up the tree, I put my iPod on Pandora and chose Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” as my “station”. That’s one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Want to see a clip of one of the cutest dances ever to that song? Okay:

Yes, that’s my Meghan, about 5 years ago.  I wish I had video available to post of the whole dance – it was adorable.

Okay, ahem, sorry about that little diversion. I still have “Sleigh Ride” stuck in my as I heard it in many variations throughout the weekend, hence the title of my post tonight.

In the process of putting up the tree, we discovered that my favorite strings of red, white and green lights – alternating on single strings- were burning out and we wouldn’t be able to use them.  This saddened me a bit because I have never been able to find exact  replacements for them.  We bought individual strands of red, white and green to help fill  in a few years ago, but those weren’t working this year.  I don’t know if it was the tree or us, but nothing we tried seemed to make it look right.  Then Meghan offered to pop out  lights from the 3 different colored strands and pop them back together to make 3 new strands of the type that I like.  I sat down to help and got a lot popped out pretty quickly.  Upon attempting put the lights back in, we discovered the different bulbs would not go on the other strings of lights!  ARGH.  We gave up and went and bought different lights.  But not before Teddy had a chance to try out the decorations:
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After much more work than it should have been – there were issues with the stand too **SIGH** – the tree was finally done:
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That was yesterday.  Decorating continued today with putting up my Christmas village.  I told you about my village last year in this post.  The village changes a bit each year in the pieces I choose display and how I choose to display them.  I have two sections of village this year.  The first section is my downtown/suburbs area:
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This year I added a quiet “countryside” area:

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When I get around to pulling out the tri-pod, I’ll show you some of the neat close-up details on some of these pieces.

My back is aching, and Christmas tunes are still playing in my head, but I feel very accomplished at the close of this weekend.  My Christmas shopping is not done, but a large chunk has been taken care of, and the decorating is done.  Unless I decide it’s not.  I have another idea in my head, but time will tell whether I actually do it. We have a party to go to next weekend, and sometime in the next two weeks, this house needs some serious cleaning since we are the hosts of Christmas dinner.  OH, and I still need to get my 4 seasons assignment for Scott posted!

I was going to write several posts tonight and schedule them for later in the week, but I don’t think the back is going to allow.  Hopefully, I’ll get a couple more posts in than I did last week.  I hope your holiday preparations are coming along nicely for you!

December 10, 2011

Rock for my Ages!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 7:11 pm
Tags: , , ,

This past Thursday night, I was lucky enough to get to see an awesome show:
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My sister and I had actually seen this show on Broadway in New York City a couple of years ago and loved it.  When I heard the show was travelling, I knew I wanted to see it again.  The show was coming to this area, however, in December, in the middle of the week and I just didn’t think I’d be able to plan to go for various reasons.  Shockingly enough, I got a text message from my sister this past Monday. I’m paraphrasing, but this is about how it went: “DUDE!  You won’t believe it!  I just won the grand prize from Rock 102’s Rock of Ages giveaway!  Front row seats for Thursday night! Wanna go?”  I believe my reply was something like:”Holy c#%p, man!  Ya, I wanna go!”  We made our way to Symphony Hall in downtown Springfield.  Springfield is not known for its great architecture, but the inside of Symphony Hall is really quite beautiful.  I was taking pictures with my phone and my iPod, so forgive the quality here:
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I was trying to show the pretty balcony and ceilings and chandelier here; hopefully you can get the idea.

Now beggars can’t be choosers of course, and since we didn’t pay for the tickets we certainly can’t complain, but our front row tickets were right in front of these:
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We had to look to our left to see the show, but you can’t say we couldn’t hear well!  I tried to get some shots of the set.  The show takes place on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in the 1980’s.
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The set is a bar called “The Bourbon Room” where hard rock bands play and scantily clad waitresses work.  The show was bawdy at times, and did use some foul language, but it was all in good fun.  Definitely not a show for fuddy-duddies.   Here’s a clip that gives you a good idea of what the show is like:

The performers in this show were funny and fabulous and full of energy.  When my phone died, I tried to get a shot of the cast during the finale with my iPod, but it didn’t come out all that great.  Here it is anyway:
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So, if you are of “a certain age” that would love a hard-rocking, 1980’s-style good time, be sure to catch this show when it comes to your area!

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