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Thursday, May 29, 2008

UPCOMING FUN

Coming soon to a Hippie Chick's blog near you, news about a new blog and contest to which you will all be invited to vote!


Film at 11. Er.... I mean, I'll be posting about it after the upcoming weekend. So stay tuned! :-)


In the meantime, not much for news here and I'm just enjoying a day off today. Have a good week and weekend folks, and take good care of each other!

PEACE!
Love Jude

Friday, May 23, 2008

RAINY DAYS

Oh how I LOVE the cooler, rainy days! We needed the moisture here so badly too, just lawnmowing kicked up tons of dust.

After that hot and dry weekend we had last week, it was heaven on earth to see the continuous rain that we've had for the last couple of days. If there hadn't been a break in the rain for a couple of hours I wouldn't have gotten these shots, so I'm glad I got out there when I did.

Otherwise, when I meandered out to the back alley this particular shot would have shown you hundreds of raindrops splashing in the puddle. Pretty yes, but waaaay bad for the camera!













And because of that late winter storm we had this year, our spring "budding" is far behind the norm. But NOW our flowering trees our in full bloom!


The front yard is looking greener now thanks to the moisture, and it's also looking mighty spiffy since hubby finished all the flowerbed weeding and fertilizing. Here you can see our 3 flowering trees (all white, I MUST get something with more colour one day too); a cherry on the left, another variety of cherry in the middle/right, and the pear tree on the far right foreground.







This is the Schubert Cherry up by the house whose leaves turn a deep burgundy in early summer. For now, they are green and sport some wonderful smelling lacy flowers.

The funny thing is, they look almost identical to the MayDay tree flowers out back AND they smell exactly the same! The MayDay tree is a relative of the chokecherry, so I guess it and this Schubert are cousins too, both being cherry of some sort.











And this is the other Cherry tree further down the lawn, whose flowers are full and plump and also smell divine. After the rains, you can see near the bottom of the shot some raindrops hanging on for dear life.

This tree and the Russian Olive are both 6 years old now and doing very well. The others (Schubert cherry and Pear tree) are only enjoying their second year on our lawn so they are smaller. The Russian Olive fills the view of our living room window and is the last of our trees to get it's spring leaves. Even just after one day there are a lot more leaves on it than when I took these pictures.







Our Pear tree is still small but even so, it's very first summer last year sported a single beautiful pear on it! It's pretty scrawny right now but the branches have a perfect shaping to them. Once this starts to grow and fill out a bit it's going to be a beauty.

You can see the leaves cupping a lot of rainwater, and a pretty raindrop hanging off one of them. Other than the dim light due to cloudy skies, this was the perfect time to capture pictures of these.









Out in the back yard, the MayDay tree is huge and in full flower. Boy does it smell GOOD out there!

You can see the similarity between these cone shaped lacy white flowers and the ones on the Schubert cherry out front. This tree was just a few bushy stems and twigs when we moved in here just over 15 years ago. Now it's always in need of pruning back so we can walk on the sidewalk under it; and it also provides some shade from the hot mid-day sun for hubby when he's working in the garage.











And in the very back of the lawn is our very big flowering plum. However, hubby STILL has a ton of wood and other paraphenalia piled up back there, right in front of this beautiful shrub. So we never really get to see it. *sigh* I can't wait for him to finish up back there one of these years.














This morning, the sun is shining and the temperatures are climbing just a bit. The sunshine now will make everything pop even more after all that rain. The nice thing is, we're due for even more rain in the next few days.





I hope wherever you are that the weather is exactly what you enjoy. Have a great weekend everyone, and take good care of each other.

PEACE!
Love Jude

Monday, May 19, 2008

COUNTRY ROADS ~ A ROADTRIP WITH PAMMIE

Here in Canada it is a long weekend, the Victoria Day long weekend to be exact. And being the first outing for Pammie and I of the year (mostly being cooped up through the winter) AND having a nice sunny day, we headed out on a roadtrip with our cameras to see what we could see.

One thing we knew we wanted to do was get to one of the lakes around here, which we did. We hit up a little village on a lake only to discover that this particular weekend is the BUSIEST of the year and was packed with people. The weather being waaaay too hot, we opted to stop at the little ice cream stand and enjoy something icy cold to cool off with and then head out to another water spot that would be less crowded.


We did find a spot, and it appeared to be a smallish lake meant for boating and perhaps fishing.

Still, it was very peaceful there and really pretty with spring's light green leafage popping out in the trees. This shot is of the boat landing spot and you can barely see a family out there in a rubber raft having some fun.










There was a slight breeze to enjoy but not enough to keep the bugs down, which meant we were dodging my worst enemy, the wasp. And thankfully we'd thought to bring water and kept it on ice, the heat made us thirsty. Pammie's car doesn't have AC so it was pretty hot in there, but once we'd get going at higher speeds down the secondary highways and back roads with the windows down it cooled off considerably.









It wasn't a big place, but there were several nice looking picnic spots, each with a rusty cookspot and a picnic bench.






Being so hot when we arrived here, the very first thing (other than running away from wasps) that was on my mind was sticking my feet in the water to cool them off. However, once we got to the water's edge, we discovered that it was too murky and oily from the boats to warrant putting any body parts in at all.

Still, it was a lovely view and worthy of photographing!









On the way out here we'd noticed a nice old church on the secondary highway, and we wanted to stop there on the way back home, which we did.

This was out in the middle of farming country, with vistas all around us. I'll bet in summer or autumn it's even more colourful and lovelier. It's a shot taken off center with Pammie on the right. It was taken on the gravel road beside the church.








And here is the church up above that road, sitting prettily atop a hill overlooking the area. As you can see it's almost completely surrounded by evergreen trees.

It's actually facing the secondary higway that we were travelling on and because of all the trees around the front and left sides I was uncertain that we'd spot it very easily coming back, but we did!





This is a view of the back of the church, where there was a very small cemetery. The entire church was surrounded by an old fashioned wire fence with a quaint little iron gate painted white. So country, I loved it!




And the front of the church, although with all those trees right up against it, it was rather difficult to get the shot I wanted. Still, I like the way it peeks at us through the trees.





The church was built in 1926. The first thing I thought of was that was the year our parents were born. It's very obvious that it's been very well maintained, a nice new paint job and kept very clean.

You will perhaps notice that some of these shots have been edited with some pretty little photo editing enhancements. I had lots of fun with that!




















Looking up from the front steps.







Around the side and back of the church sits a quaint outhouse that looks like a recent rebuild and obviously in use.

I guess the congregation takes great care of the place but hasn't raised enough funding for indoor plumbing.




















Along a side fence was a cute little bird house. It has the nesting materials sitting inside of it so it's home to somebody with feathers! I've backed off most of the colour in this shot for effect. Pammie spotted another one out front built just like a church. Sweet!





Here's that quaint little iron gate on the other side of the church, our "getaway" car was parked just out of view here.

By the time we got here the heat was pretty much doing what it does to me best, and I didn't take many more photographs after this point. I was feeling weak, dizzy and nauseous but managed to hang in there and not toss any cookies (or water in this case) on the grounds!



















Once we hit the highway again the car cooled off and so did I. It was a lovely trip and a nice day! It's always fun heading out with cameras in hand with Pammie but this being something different was quite special for us.

I hope you all had a good weekend too, until next time take good care of each other.

PEACE!
Love Jude

Thursday, May 15, 2008

PREZZIES OF A BELATED VARIETY

It has turned freaking HOT here. Today's high is about 82F which is waaaay too sickeningly hot for this chick, and I'm already feeling the physical effects. The saving grace is that it's extremely windy so there's at least some air coming in the windows. It's gusting to 40 mph!


It is windows open time of year again, that's for sure. And you can see that it's finally getting green here. Our spring is weeks behind the norm because of the very late winter storm we had last month.





Today is laundry day at my house and not only did I do the usual weekly loads, I also washed all the winter bedding and have them stored away. I'm now using my brand new deep chocolate brown lightweight bedspreads.

One of these days I'll have saved enough to finish my bedroom. I still need new curtains and blinds (black panels, and brown wicker blinds); a new area rug; new paint job for the walls (taupe, with a deep blood red feature wall at the head of the bed) and a new headboard.



Last night after work, my best friend and another close friend took me out for dinner as a belated birthday get together. The best gifts in my life are most definitely my loved ones, but I can also say that those same people bless me with the nicest of gifts too.


My best friend Michele knows that I read tea leaves and went with a "tea" theme for me this year. As I was setting up these shots this morning I enjoyed a cup of tea. And this is how my cup turned out.

Can anyone else see the angel happily playing a violin, and whales playing in the water?

Hmmm, someone I know is about to have a heavenly time on a sunny beach vacation!









**EDIT** For those of you who can't see it and might be curious...






Here is the wonderful gift from Michele. It's not anything I've ever owned before and I can't wait to try it out. This pot came with teas and flowers inside.























Inside the pot were packages with different teas (black, green and white teas) and she also included a tea leaf infuser with a tiny little tea cup on the end of it. I'm looking forward to trying out the different tastes!






And my other good friend Leona gave me a most beautiful tea light holder. She knows how many candles I burn, LOL This baby is more than a foot tall!

Where the light hits it you can see all the different coloured pieces of glass tiles. Otherwise you can see right through when the light is behind it, and I am really looking forward to lighting a candle in this at night.

It was a most delightful evening out with the girls, we had a scrumptious dinner and some wine, and of course a lot of interesting and funny conversation.


















Now on another note, an online friend of mine has a special day of her own tomorrow (Friday) so please go on over to MELLY'S BLOG and wish her a very Happy Birthday. I hope it's a good one sweetie!


Here in Canada this is a long weekend for us, Monday being Victoria Day. The long weekend couldn't have come at a better time either, it's been stressful at work and I'm exhausted because of it. I hope you all have a great weekend, please take good care of each other and until next time,

PEACE!
Love Jude

Sunday, May 11, 2008

ANOTHER ADDICTION

Thanks once again to Bobbie, I've been having some more online fun with "scrapblogging". Just like scrapbooking but done on a computer. It's really quite addicting! Which is precisely why I don't dare start into scrap booking, the expense I can't do ~ so this is a very nice alternative.

I've only done a couple of really personal things for some people but I'm working on a 16 page scrapblog for myself. I will share it with you here once it's finished though. *wink* I am in dire need of a few family photographs that one of my sisters has in her possession, and until I get them the project is blank on one page, you see.


Another addiction I have is my camera. I can be minding my own business, spot something and think "oh I need to grab my camera"; this happens to me a lot.

Yesterday evening I got an idea.


"Light Painting" is a form of photography where you use a small source of light (small meaning not the sun or an overhead light) to "paint" a subject with for shooting purposes. And the area surrounding the object should be in mostly darkness; that's the whole idea.

Not long ago I took this shot of my diamond ring using a small LED light to light paint it with and email to a friend who was looking to photograph jewellry. She was doing so in order to be able to post pics of them.

I was impressed with how clearly I could see "into" the diamond itself, even being able to see the rather large inclusion. (the whiteish mark on the left) And being well worn, of course you can see all the scratches and marks in the gold, although that wouldn't be the case with new jewellry, of course.


So last evening I grabbed a few more things and my little LED light and went to town.


These next 2 shots are taken of some of the flowers I got from my niece and nephews last weekend for my birthday. There were reds, pinks and whites; but I mostly enjoyed concentrating on the whites as they came out so much "softer" in the lighting. In the larger (un-resized) versions, you can actually see "sparkles" in the white flower petals.




I did a few shots lighting them from underneath the petals too and they turned out okay, but the overhead ones were better I think.



The next items I DID light paint from behind or beside, not just overhead.



Here is an interesting one. This is just some Lavender bath salts, part of an order I just made for someone. But the interesting part was lighting through glass. AND shooting through glass that has many distortions in it! This one is lit from the side so that the light hits the crystals and not just the glass at the front of the shot. As looking through glass can distort (not unlike water) it made it a fun subject to play with.















Here's an example of 2 different ways of lighting a subject. This is my amethyst, again obviously well worn! In the first shot it is lit from the side and a little to the front. It's okay.




But in the second shot I lit it from behind, and now you can see through the amethyst which makes it interesting.








Here is Mom's family ring, and once again I chose to light it a little from behind, liking the way the light shines through some of the stones.

There is a shot lit from the side, and it looks "just like a ring" if you know what I mean. I guess I'm perpetually looking for the "different" shot.











Mom's wedding rings, not enough exposed jewels to "see through", so I lit this from the side and slightly overhead.

Mom had lost the center diamond quite some time ago, and she replaced it with her birthstone, peridot. This one and her family ring are in my safe keeping until my 11 yr. old niece is old enough (in her 20's?) to take good care of them. I do wear them now and then but only for special occasions. Especially her wedding set, as the bands are quite thin from years of being worn.





I loved how this turned out. These are just a few of my many crystals and light painting with these I thought would be fun. This is a rose quartz, a clear quartz and a flourite.

I like the way you can see right through the clear quartz including all of it's little inner imperfections; and I also like the reflection of it against the front end of the flourite. Coolness!










Lastly, here is a sea shell that I lit from behind. Quite startling to see the clarity of the ridges and colours of the lines in it. It's SO much plainer when lit from the front!




Sometimes I wish I could just retire from work yet still have the funds to travel world wide, getting all manner of photography in. What fun!

A special Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, may she rest in peace. And for all you Mom's out there, hope you have a great day today! I hope you all have a good week, and don't forget to take good care of each other.

PEACE!
Love Jude