Monday, May 31, 2010

Vintage tabernacle, Mathews County VA

Here I sit in my living room with the curtains pulled, in front of the fan, amusing myself on a terribly hot and humid morning here in Maryland. I was thinking of grabbing a beach towel and going for a swim in the pool out back but then I remembered there was no pool out back.


Yesterday I found a texture over at Shadowhouse Creations that I wanted to put to use. And so, sitting here cooling off in front of the fan after a long hike and a cold shower, I went about turning these photos into a vintage look, complete with old water stains and the like.

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This is an old tabernacle that I visited while at a little something called Blog Fest last summer. I loved it there. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine the people of long ago, filling up the long benches on a warm Sunday morning, the women in their good summer dresses, keeping cool with their fans while the minister preached a sermon warning them of the ravages of sin and the temptations of Satan.

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Even the sign looks old, covered in lichen. Please disregard those tiny little people behind the sign. You probably didn’t even notice them until I pointed them out, didja?

For the two photographs above, I ran different variations of Totally Rad’s Old Skool actions. Then I used this texture with the layer mode set to ‘multiply’ from Shadowhouse Creations.

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Old Skool used on this photo as well, but a different texture, also from Shadowhouse. It’s called Painted Canvas, found in this set (top row far right). If you download any of his textures, please thank Jerry. He creates these for free and only wants a simple thank you.

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Inside the tabernacle was quite dark, and I remember setting the ISO to 1250 and shooting away. I ran Old Skool on this one but used a texture I found on Flickr. If you haven’t visited les brumes textures yet, I suggest you do. I wish they were a little higher rez but hey, they’re free. And they’re really cool.

And now I’m off to WalMart where I plan to buy a kiddie pool and some floats. You think I’m kidding, don’t you?

Ok. I am.

Respectfully submitted,

Your grandparents may remember Memorial Day as Decoration Day, first established after the Civil War as a day set aside to honor the dead by decorating their graves with flowers. I remember what our nation’s soldiers did for our country. And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Begonias on the porch, among other matters

I decided to set absolutely no goals today other than my daily walk and an early morning trip to the county dump. I know, it sounds like a blasty blast, doesn’t it?

The early morning errand took a lot longer than I thought it would, due to a lengthy detour made by my husband on the way home. But we stopped at a Starbucks where I bought a Caffe Americano so I was happy.

I would have been happier with a caramel macchiato, but I’m trying to watch my figure.

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After my walk, I watered the container plants and then took these photos of the little begonias on the back porch.

The pictures you see here have had very little done to them other than slight adjustments and a watermark I’m fooling around with.

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I love these little squiggles on this one. And I see a bug above them (in the V).

It’s gray skies in Maryland today but the temperature is very pleasant.

The week I’ve just had was super busy with the end-of-year activities at our school. We have two separate awards assemblies and had the first one Thursday evening. It was wicked hot, too. Graduation is next Sunday and to say that these last three weeks are busy ones for all of us at school is an understatement.

So today I will do whatever I want. And I surely don’t wanna clean.

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This week, a new pair of hiking shoes came in the mail for me and my husband also bought me my own hiking poles. Now I don’t have to borrow his anymore.

I’m getting ready for doing some walking in Maine when we go this summer.

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Today’s lunch at the manor house was tuna salad with fresh lettuce from my husband’s garden accompanied by a handful of freshly-picked snap peas.

Please disregard those potato chips you see in the background. I have no idea how they got onto the plate. (They are low-fat, though).

Loved hearing all your weekend plans in the prior post. I’ll be thinking of you.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pink statice and old lace

A storm blew through tonight, bringing blessed cooler air with it. The past several days here in Maryland have been sticky and uncomfortable but this evening feels absolutely delicious.

The skies are pink as I write this and my husband is outside with the camera. Earlier this evening I was fooling around in Aperture mode and shot this photograph inside the dining room at the back window, using a small aperture because the light was low.

It was getting dark and I didn’t have enough light to begin with, so I messed around with it in Photoshop to get it where I wanted it. Roll over with your mouse to see the original photo.

I like the end result.

Here’s the formula I used to get it, if you’re interested in that sort of thing:

Lighten Brighten from Florabella’s Vintage Set, opacity lowered.

Vintage Haze from the same set, opacity around 80%

Les brumes texture, soft light around 80%

Shadowhouse Creations Grunge border brushes, different opacities

And here’s how to do the mouseover trick.

Just a simple question for Friday and because inquiring minds want to know . . .

What are your plans for the Memorial Day weekend?

Until tomorrow, then . . .

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What not to wear (when you’re a dog)

The photos below may surprise you, but in the interest of authenticity over here at the Casa de George, I’m posting what happens when something stinky this way comes. (And they’re really not THAT bad).

While I’m thinking about it, here’s another Casa de George you may find interesting.

When I came home yesterday, I immediately noticed a slightly odd odor. And it was emanating from the black & white. (The link is for Rich).

My husband had hosed him off just before I’d come home, but there was still a lingering scent. And then today . . .

. . . somebody rolled in the same foulness.

And somebody got a bath. This is what somebody looks like when he’s been freshly bathed.

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Scary, isn’t it? Before applying the shampoo, my husband took this photo.

Like a movie star caught on camera at their very worst, George is wearing the wet look and not looking very happy about it.

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“I am very sorry for rolling in the monkey turds. Please forgive me.”

“And please don’t get soap in my eyes.”

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After he runs around the yard for a bit, he begins to dry off.

Heya there, pup. That’s much better. You can come out now.

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Ah. A return to handsomeness.


Speaking of handsome, I came across this beautiful border collie today. And he has his own blog. I am not planning on George having his own blog, so don’t get any ideas! Although it’s sort of fun to consider, it would be a lot of work and I have more than enough to do as it is. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maine on my mind

I’ve got the coast of Maine on my mind lately and have recently booked another vacation cottage for a week this summer. It used to be the North Carolina beaches for us, but the heat and the sun bother my husband very much, so in 2007 we booked a trip to Maine to see if that would help.

And we fell in love with it.

We especially love Acadia National Park, which is on Mount Desert Island. We go early in the morning, packing lunch and drinks, and we hit the trails.

Three years ago, we were much more adventurous. I’m hoping that my husband doesn’t expect me to do any killer trails this year. In the photo above, that’s him standing in the middle of a ‘trail’ which is actually a series of rock and boulders that tumble down the mountain. You can tell where to go by following the blue markers.

This step trail is easy, and can be found at Sandy Beach.

This one, on the other hand, is not.

I don’t remember where this spot was, but I had a bad feeling about it as soon as I saw it. It seemed as though we had come to a blockage on the trail; it was nothing but boulders. But the arrows and circles show blue markers and we had to climb up the rock to stay on the trail.

Sometimes there are handy iron bars that enable you to pull yourself up.


But it’s all worth it when you get to the top and experience a euphoric satisfaction of having done something this worthwhile. And look at the incredible view!

These photos were taken with the little Sony Cybershot I used to have. It was my first digital camera.

Along the top, you follow the cairns, which mark the trail. I’ve circled them here to show you.

I just hope I can do it this time. I’ve been trying to build up my daily walking and am now up to twice what I was doing just a month ago.

Hiking like this is one thing that my husband and I enjoy doing together.

And I hope to be doing it with him for years to come.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Photoshop tutorial link

Tonight I’ve been editing some photos that I took at yesterday’s BBQ which was held at my friends Margie & Charles’ house. Margie is the lead art teacher at our school and I’ve known her since I began working there in 1999.

I found a great tutorial over at one of my favorite new blogs, My Two Red Shoes, and it incorporates these cool grunge border brushes found on Shadowhouse Creations.

Although I don’t quite have it yet, I’m posting a couple of the photos I worked on tonight.

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My friend Mary of the dimples with her youngest, Caroline. Mother and daughter were subjects of a post two years ago and I can’t believe how much Caroline has grown up since her 2008 graduation from our school.

I apologize for embarrassing you, Caroline.

Oh, and happy birthday again.

(And I love your boyfriend’s tattoos.)

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Mary Ellen is one of my favorite subjects to photograph and I like this one of her, too.

I apologize for embarrassing you, Mary Ellen. But only a little.

And hey, thanks for that CD you made for us. I love it and have been playing this one song over and over. I first heard it on a Superbowl commercial. You’ve seen it, folks, it’s the one with the sock money and his friends who take a Kia Sorrento on a joyride to Vegas.

Here’s The Heavy, minus the commercial.

You may want to turn down your speakers . . .

Until tomorrow, my friends.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Optical illusion

It’s a rainy Sunday morning as I write this and I have just finished reading all of your wonderful answers from my Friday Q&A. I respond to all of these, you know (if you have your e-mail address attached). If you don’t, here’s how to do it.

A co-worker came to my desk on Friday and showed me this cool lens he’d bought. Actually, he’s bought a lot of cool things ever since he saw the school bulletin board one day and asked who took the photos. Then he asked me what kind of camera I had. Well that was a couple years ago and now he’s got a Nikon D90 and is always buying something fun for it.

He practically forced me to take his newest acquisition home this weekend to play with. It’s this cool Fisheye lens converter from Opteka.

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It’s a super wide angle fisheye and I think it’s kinda fun. I screwed it over my 18-55 lens and took this photo of the beginning of the trail at our place. You can hardly see it, but that’s the barn behind the second tree on the left.

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My husband’s garden is looking really groovy.

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I’m having fun, can you tell?

And guess what? The snap peas are coming in.

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On the outer loop trail (my husband named the trail he made) looking toward the house. The outer loop trail hangs a left there at the garden gate.

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Oh, here comes George to greet me.

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“I shall pose for you, mother. Is there anything else I can do for you? Perhaps rid the yard of some pesky squirrels?”

“This is my best side, by the way.”

This dog is so polite.

Today I’m making a broccoli salad to take on a birthday BBQ I’ve been invited to this afternoon. And tonight at 7 PM, I will be glued to my television for several hours.

I can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss this show.

Please pass the tissues . . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun and it’s Friday and I’m glad of that, aren’t you? It’s supposed to be another beautiful weekend here in Maryland, albeit much warmer than last.

I guess whatever it was with Blogger last night has resolved itself. It was crazy in the comment section and everything kept disappearing and then reappearing. You know, I’ve been thinking for awhile on leaving Blogger and going over to the dark side, you know the Word Press side.

So today I bought a domain name at I have some plans but I’m going to take it slow. Real slow. Like this blog. At least I finally bought a domain name, though.

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Speaking of purchases, last weekend I bought a new shade of summer nail polish at the Sephora store and came home and gave myself a pedicure. I’m sure you’re excited, especially if you’re a guy and reading this.

I love the names of OPI’s nail colors ~ ‘Iris I was Thinner’, ‘Lost without my GPS’, ‘Leaf him at the Altar’. I just find them amusing, although that last one isn’t very nice.

I sat outside and read for awhile last Sunday, looking at my toes and thinking this color is so not me. And I marveled at the fact that the only thing I was worried about that day was the color of my nail polish. Two weeks ago I was worried about my brother, so this is much preferred.

Well, I’m still not used to it (the color). And it finally dawned on me what it reminded me of.

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It’s almost exactly the color of the geraniums on the back porch. I guess that’s why the name of it is ‘Go with the Flow-er’. I think it’s hilarious.


And now, because it’s Friday and because inquiring minds want to know, please feel free to answer the following simple little questions.

1. Do you like spending time in the sun?

2. Do you burn or tan?

3. Are you a people watcher?

4. Who do you hang out with?

5. Who is the craziest person you know?

See you in the comments, my friends . . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I want a perfect soul

I come up the driveway after a long day at work, stopping once to remove a tree limb that had come down. When I get to the top of the drive, I see George coming from round back, to take his place as greeter when I open the car door.

In my youth, I would never have thought I would actually be comforted by the simple daily rituals of arriving home, making a fuss over a beloved pet, putting away all of my things and hugging my husband. At hearing me say ‘time to get changed’, George heads up the staircase to wait for me at the top.

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If you’re looking for excitement, you’ve come to the wrong blog. It’s quiet here at the manor house where we live as caretakers.

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He knows what comes next when it’s time for me get changed out of my work clothes and into my walking clothes.

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I think rituals like this calm him, too.

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But he’s getting just a little bit impatient with the photo session (I can tell).

I wasn’t happy with the photos at the top of the stairs. The light was much better at the bottom, where the first and last photos were taken. I think it’s important to know where the good light is in your house.

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I made these mini ice-cream sandwiches for dessert tonight, getting the idea here. I found them on Dessert Stalking, although mine are low-fat. I took two of my husband’s ‘healthy cookies’ (his words), and 2-3 Tbsp. of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Fro-Yo.

I don’t believe my husband’s claims about the cookies being healthy. But the frozen yogurt is low-fat, so that should count for something.

I hope your day is a sweet one. Until tomorrow, then . . .

This song came on the radio today and I was immediately taken back to the first time I ever heard it, back in 2000 while driving to school (work) with my sons who were in middle and high school at the time. When we got to school, it was still playing so we sat in the parking lot to finish listening to the whole thing, turning it up loud. (And you know how I like to rock out in the school parking lot). When we got home that day, Shaun looked it up on the internet for me using some of the lyrics. I can’t help myself. I just like it is all.

UPDATE: Something is up with the comment section on this post. Maybe it will all work itself out but what’s going on is it’s saying there are a certain amount of comments but when you click on the comment button, it says there are two and that’s all that’s showing up. Anyone else ever have this problem? I tried posting again and it seems to be fine. But this one is messed up. Why is Blogger such a devil?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unbridled joy

For anyone interested, Pioneer Woman is holding another photo assignment at her group Flickr pool. The theme this time is “Happiness” and even though there are probably a bajillion and one entries, this is mine for today.

It says happy to me.

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You can submit any photo you choose that signifies happiness. It’s very subjective, and the photos that people are submitting are such fun to peruse.

I took this photo on an early spring day in 2008 when George was just 7 months old, and running across the lawn to see me with this expression of unbridled joy.

If you’re interested in submitting, visit Pioneer Woman’s Photography site. And please check out her Group 1 choices here. They’ll will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Speaking of photography, you simply must visit this site: My Two Red Shoes. I came across this blog just this afternoon, finding it under the BlogHer ad on the right of my page. If you look under the ad that’s currently running on my page, you’ll see a small listing of blog posts that have been highlighted for the day and hers was one of them on Monday.

I need another blog to read as much as I need a hole in the head, but I found myself adding My Two Red Shoes to my blogroll within a short amount of time. Her voice just makes me smile.

Once I got there, I couldn’t stop reading her site and ogling her fantastic photography. Her pictures are simple and beautiful, and her posts are short and funny. She also has excellent Photoshop tutorials, which I’m going to put to use. (And I noticed that she had a photo chosen for the Group 1 submissions tonight on PW).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lee needs to win the Singing Survivor Show. I love you Crystal, but Lee hit it hard tonight and my heart belongs to him. Hallelujah.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A beautiful weekend

Thanks for your comments from the post below. I never knew a butter dish could move all of us like that. I even had two men respond, both of whom probably think I’m crazy.

Over the weekend, I got a lot of Springtime sprucing up done around the yard. It was the perfect weekend to work outside with the pleasant temps and mostly sunny skies. First thing was to finish up the potting and transplanting a few indoor plants into bigger containers.

I found this little mushroom growing outside in one of the old pots. Perhaps you remember my penchant for fungi.

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I used this free texture {Royal Grunge} from Shadowhouse Creations to edge the photo. Have you been to Jerry Jones’ site yet? It’s a wonderful resource for creativity for photography and Photoshop. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

I’m also fooling around with a new watermark. I’m tired of the old one.

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I bought a new pot this weekend. It’s quite shy so I’m only showing you part of it.

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This is a little cement tile that I bought in Ocracoke, NC years ago. I created a little spot for it, planting moss around it to make it look like it’s been there for awhile.

It’s fun transplanting moss.

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A few hanging baskets just before the sun hits them on the back patio.

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A different perspective for my three-tiered planter. I’m way into the shallow DOF lately. (DOF = Depth Of Field).

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And I guess that concludes my photo journey for today. Stay tuned tomorrow when I may bring you even more exciting photos.

If I can find any.

Until later, my friends . . .