Photographs or Virtual Photography

photography, photography tips, Uncategorized

Did you know May is National Photo Month? I didn’t know until this week. How did I find out? QVC was using the opportunity to sell more cameras. It makes sense, photography has been the #1 hobby in our country since the 90’s. In the 90’s and prior to that, anyone with a SLR camera, had a bit of a mystique to them.  For the most part, people with nice cameras knew how make photographs with their cameras and had an understanding of what photography was and how it worked.

Black and White Vintage Photograph with Large format camera
Professional Portrait Photographer

Are you making photographs or just experiencing virtual photography? Unless you are a photographer by trade or an artist, I am betting you are what I call a virtual photographer.

The definition of photography that I  like best, “is creating an image with light.”  Millions of people take pictures and don’t even know that. The light doesn’t matter. “Virtual Photographer’s, ” as I call and define them seem to think photography is “the act of pushing a button to make and record what they see.”  Nothing tangible, just a snap, possibly a share and then forgotten.

Prior to the new millennium, the average person didn’t even try to take a photo. And it wasn’t really their fault, there was no instant gratification. They were snapping a photo with a hope and prayer that it would look good; that they didn’t cut someone’s head off and hopefully not discover their thumb in front of the lens. Now those same people can take photo snaps the same way they did before and know immediately that they cut a head off and quickly re-snap. 

 

I know YOU virtual photographer’s can do better.

In the past,  photos were sent off (when I was a wedding photographer I literally had to wait 2 weeks to see how my film photos came out…. Stressful) Some people couldn’t stand to wait and would go to a “photo matt” or a one hour photo lab. But even then, the moment’s they were trying to capture had passed by and there was no way for a do over if the pictures, “didn’t turn out,” as they used to say.

Things have changed, we have 2 different groups of people. The people with the fancy cameras and the cell phone snapper. There is also some overlap, some people have a nice camera but choose to only snap photos on their phone.  

While we are going to get into more specialized photography in the rest of May with guest photographers, today is all about the basics…. I want you to think about what a photo means to you?  And are the pictures you capture important? And if so, how many did you actually print in the last year.

In 2015 nearly a trillion photographs were taken with nearly 80% captured on a cell phone. WOW! And the majority were not printed.  It is predicted nearly 5 Trillion photos will be stored somewhere by 2017. Cool graph info here. And the majority haven’t and never will be printed.

Photography used to be a physical  thing. Even for the person who only got the camera out at Christmas, the roll of film was touched between the fingers, loaded in the camera and then taken out. The majority of people would take their film out to be “developed or processed.” Sounds so fancy now. And then they made prints, many times, “doubles.” One for you and one for me.

We had a physical piece of the moment to hopefully put in an album, or in a frame. And baby boomers that have a drawer full of photographs in a lab envelope that were never looked at again, don’t feel bad, you are doing better than this generation and BONUS, you most likely have the negatives with them. Where are your photos? What are you doing with them? Do you have a back up copy?  If you are not printing your photographs, I say, you don’t really have ANY photos!

Your CHALLENGE, go to your big box store and spend 20 minutes plugging your phone into the mini lab. Pick the images you want and print them. This Weekend!  Delete the ones you didn’t print and back up the ones you did when you get home. And please go over and like Facebook Page where all of the interaction will be this month, including “call outs,” where you can share a photo with everyone. To not miss anything on facebook, you will want to do 3 steps, LIKE, Hover over the arrow and click SEE FIRST and then Notifications ON. I don’t want you to miss out.

I can help you take less shots in the future, not have less moments, but take less shots down the road with some tips. But for NOW, we will deal with what we have. And if you don’t want to miss a blog post, subscribe by email in the upper right hand corner of this page.

 

The Little Paris Bookshop – My Thoughts on the Book

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Paris Photograph
Paris Book Shop Photography by Melanie Alexandra

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

These were the words spoken by Jean Purdu in Nina George’s, “The Little Paris Bookshop.”  Monsieur Purdu could “prescribe” someone the perfect book for how they were feeling or for what was lacking in their lives. But his own life was empty and had been stuck in a bad place for 20 years.

Nina George
The Little Paris Bookshop

This book took me on an unexpected journey. Enticed by the idea of a little bookshop on a barge in the water, “The Literary Apothecary,” I expected romance and details surrounding the possibilities of the stories and magic they would bring to people when read. Instead, I found myself reading about romance AND also friendship. An unexpected  friendship between men, from different places in life. Hearts had been broken, hearts were still searching and all perhaps hoping for their soul mate.  The beautiful, very touching friendship between the group of traveling companions unfolded within the pages brilliantly.

1950s Classic Books
Vintage Children’s Book
Vintage Glass Medicine Bottles
Antique Apothecary Bottles

I really enjoyed the vision of the bookshop, the resident cats, the ethnic cooking on board when they gained a chef, the travel along the water and the events that transpired when the Literary Apothecary literally turned into an escape vehicle. An escape from pain, fear and confusion as it steered them toward clarity, healing and peace. But what spoke to me the most was just the vision of the men allowing themselves to be vulnerable with one another in a loving friendship.

I liked this story a lot and would recommend it to a friend. In addition to it being a great story, there are beautiful quotes from Purdu, thoughts and reflections that I found myself pausing to take in and reflect on for a while before moving on.

 

Girly Pink Spring Blossoms

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It’s that time of year when pink spring blossoms are peaking and the flowers are capturing my eye and creating a desire within me to be outdoors more.

I look forward to the smell of the pink hyacinth that we planted in our yard, it’s so dainty and it’s also bold because it pokes through the ground  even when the ground still has snow. It’s also a reminder someone loves me (I got it from my husband as an Easter present one year.)

Next the tulips are vaulting straight up to life. They try their best to stand tall even when the winds can be fierce and blow them inside out. I don’t have any tulips in my yard but I enjoy seeing everyone else’s and even though they grow here, I still think of Holland, Dutch People, Windmills and Wooden Shoes every time I see a group of them.

Tulip Flower Photo
Hot Pink Tulips by OverTheRainbowPrints                    Pink Tulip Flower by eireaneilis

Then the dance of the pink cherry blossoms begin. These famous flowers blew my mind when we went to see them during the festival in D.C. If you get there during the peak it is a virtual fairy land with petals raining down on you. I can’t think of a better way to feel like the little girl deep inside who once felt like a princess; than to put your arms out and feel them touching your skin. It’s like magic.

The crab apple tree blooms next in our area. With vibrant colors and textured shapes against the sky, they  always give me an energized feeling. It’s like nature is telling me to wake up, stop hibernating, Get back to life.

Flowering Tree Photo
Pink Flower Photography by MollysMuses                    Pink Tree Fine Art  by MollysMuses

And finally the largest blossom- so soft and sensual and creamy-  the pink magnolia tree opens up and signals that spring will prevail and winter will not return again.

springblossoms2PicMonkey Collage
Pink Magnolia Photograph by MollysMuses                 Pink Crab Apple by MollysMuses

I can’t leave out the pink bleeding heart, sprouting up among all of these but these flowers. It waits just a little longer to share the love of its blossoms.

Pink Bleeding Heart Photo
Pink Crab Apple Tree by MollysMuses                             Pink Bleeding Hearts  by MollysMuses

I love all of the pink spring blossoms that the season brings. I also love all the rainbow of colors in our yard with flowers across the color spectrum, But the pinks in spring represent life in different stages to me and like Peggy Lee sang,

I Enjoy being a Girl.”

Spring flowers aren’t only pink and for girls, there is a list of blue spring blossoms here.

 

A Visit to The Eternal Flame

families, Uncategorized

Last summer we took a visit to The Eternal Flame. Our family is big into geocaching and the adventure it provides and I enjoy the opportunity to discover places I have never seen before with my camera.  There was lots of talk amongst the local geocacher’s that The Eternal Flame was a must see destination, so we added it to our bucket list and waited until the right time. We were going to use it has our 3000th find.  Located in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York, there is a beautiful hike through trees where we saw runners and sheriff deputies on horseback. This is not an easy hike, so you should make sure to bring everything you need and use caution.

The bonus of this infamous flame is that it sits inside of a waterfall.

Geocache The Eternal Flame
Eternal Flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It was a challenging but very fun day. If you have never geocached before, I hope you will consider checking it out. It’s free to play this global game. YES global, there was a geocache placed on the Space Station.  Our “caching handle,” is fishingalong.  Caching is a great time, we’ve met many unique people and made some wonderful friendships.

 

Geocaching Playing Cards
GO Cache Card Game

What is the eternal flame and how does it stay lit? The flame is actually fueled by natural gas, ethane and propane and is inside of a grotto made of shale. In cases where the flame did go out, a hiker was able to use a long lighter and reignite it.  Science in nature is really cool. But fire behind a waterfall? Even cooler.

Divining Women a Book Review

Uncategorized, vintage

Divining Women, written by Kate Gibbons is a novel set in the early 1900’s during the Influenza outbreak.

Spanish Flu Pandemic 1918
Antique 1910s Influenza Photograph

A strong woman leading a woman who has been made weak through an emotionally abusive relationship should be an empowering and inspirational read. Mary, the young single and strong niece through marriage and Maureen, the pregnant Aunt, who is emotionally sick and worn down from a horrible husband should be just the characters. However, I closed the book feeling like I didn’t really know either one of them.

Friends Sepia Tone Photograph 1900s
Antique Photo of Women

I however, was more interested in the Grandpa, who is mentioned occasionally through the book as a free-spirited nudist with ghosts in his home. And I  wanted to know more behind the scenes into the lives of the help that took care of the home Maureen lived in.

Black and White Vintage Photo
Antique 1900’s Ghost Photograph

Poor Maureen suffered greatly at the hands of her husband, even succumbing to cruel mental health procedures, which really were more torture than healthful in my opinion and still I felt like, “Poor Maureen,” I didn’t really care all that much about her. Not because of her sadness or emotional illness, but more because her character just felt flat to me.

The Pathway To Mental and Physical Perfection 1904 Health Book
VIVILORE Antique Book

Mary, on the other had tried hard to be spirited and fought to be a person alive in the pages, but like any actress, playing against someone who is lifeless is not a win, even if you are having your best performance.

I did like the way Gibbon’s painted a picture of the surroundings for me and since the character’s left behind in the beginning pages interested me so much, I would try another of her books. I think Gibbon’s and I just had a differing opinion on which of her characters should be in the spotlight.

Kaye Gibbons Divining WOmen
Divining Women Book

Although Divining Women, was not a favorite for me, two of Gibbon’s books were part of Oprah’s Book Club. A Virtuous Woman and Ellen Foster, which are the books I think I will pick up this summer and give it a go. Have you read this book or any other’s by Kaye Gibbons? I would love to hear what you thought.

More Book Reviews are here.

Loving and Trading Art at Shows

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Do you fall in love and end up trading art at crafts shows? If you are anything like me, as the show is getting put together, with my coffee cup in hand,  the drooling begins as the work starts popping up all around me. And as I get to know the people and connect with them; I usually want to bring a piece of their work home.

Recently I participated in my first Pop Up Shop, through the PA Wilds, of which I am a juried member. I met a mother and daughter who set up together but they create very different work. I purchased a mini matchbook set from Mulchkin, the daughter to put in Easter Baskets.

 

Miniature “Matchbook Notebooks”

I fell in love with her mini assemblage pieces and her collage prints and we made a trade.

Usually at shows when people make trades it would be for an equal-fair value item, so we traded prints for prints.

Digital Art Collage
A Tight Fit Art Print

 

 

Ladies Room Wall Art Print
Black and White Outhouse Photo

 

One of the people I adore at shows is Stephanie Distler. She is a jewelry artist. I would have loved some photography with her for a statement ring she had, but they sold out. I do own one of her copper pendants. I have mine on a leather choker necklace. Its adorable and extra special because it was made with the hands of someone I admire.

Copper Jewelry
Vintage Camper Trailer Pendant

And Stephanie was nice enough to share some trade’s she did with me here. At the most recent Pop Up Show I talked about, Lois from Little Bear Creek Alpaca’s was set up. She raises alpaca’s and turns the fiber into the material that she sells as well as weaves and creates with. She was making a gorgeous shawl wrap while we were set up. She made a trade with Stephanie for one of  her hammered safety pins to use on a shawl made with some of this homespun fiber.

Alpaca and Wool 2 Blend Fiber
Large Hammered Copper Safety Pins
Copper Fibula Pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally my neighbor at the show all day was Deborah from The Muddy Moose. I have been to her open houses at Christmas time in the past and her stuff goes fast. She shared with me this most adorable pottery pig that she traded for some of her Goat’s Milk Soap. She and the potter have traded every year for the past 3 years at a show where they are always next to each other.

2016-03-21_22.28.31
Handmade Pottery Pig

 

 

Handmade Lotion
Goat Milk Lotion

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom line, we are makers and we appreciate and are inspired by things that other people make. Sometimes as maker’s our heads can start to spin, thinking “I want to try to do that or make that.” For me, that usually means I don’t ever end up with what I saw.  While it’s fun to daydream about, I am better off to refine and work on what I am good at and to collect other beautiful things from artist’s that specialize in those arts.

If you get the opportunity to do a Trade at a show, Go For It. I would love for you to share your favorite trade or trade experience in the comments below.

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

home decor

Seashells, there is something inspiring and meditative about collecting them at the beach. Whether you are a natural collector of objects or not, maybe its the texture, the color, the shine or the feeling under your feet when you spot it along the ocean’s edge, there is an impulsive need to pick it up. Millions of shells, scattered and you suddenly feel the need to pick up… That One! When I was a little girl we put them in our beach buckets. I remember making art with them. One time I made an owl, glued together from several shells to make a paper weight and I gave it to my Uncle for a birthday present.  Maybe the attraction to this beautiful, surreal part of nature is that most of the time we never see what they looked like when they were alive. They are mysterious, living on the ocean floor, where most of us never go.

Low Tide Treasure who created the owl below has a great post on how to clean shells after you collect them.

Seashell Art
Wide Owl from SeasellsWe love seashells.

 

When my grandma who loved the beach could no longer live alone moved up north to be with family, I bought her a bag of shells. She loved touching them and moving them around. Her eyesight was poor but she could feel the edges and inside and outside of the shell and was inspired to move them around. The still life photographs I made are from those shells.

Seashell Art
Fine Art Seashell Photography

I went shopping with my daughter yesterday and beach life and mermaid living are all the trend. There are bathing suits that are long mermaid tails, shirts that say, “Mermaid Hair, Don’t Care.” These fun trends are not just for little girls. A way to bring the mermaid life into your own home is with shell decor: art prints, mirrors and even chimes.

Beach House Decor
Vintage Seashell Mirror
Ocean Cottage Decor
Vintage Seashell Chimes

And for the girl who wants to take her shells with her

Shell Choker Necklace
Vintage Seashell Necklace

If you enjoyed this post, I would love to hear from you in the comments. A subscribe button is at the top and feel free to “pin” items from here. If you let me know, I will follow you back.

Easter Basket… What’s in Yours?

Easter, families, Uncategorized, vintage

Easter Baskets… what are you filling yours with?

When you think of your childhood Easter Basket, do you remember dying eggs, egg hunts or a visit to the bunny?

This past Sunday in church they showed a little montage of small children with the Easter Bunny posing for photos. They were all extremely weird, creepy and some down right scary. The kids were crying, the rabbits had huge teeth and crazy eyes. Those rabbits no doubt filled helped fill the schedule’s of some counselor’s later in life.

easter73-1

This is my husband in 1973 – 9 months before I was born;)

What I remember, being small in the 70s, was a giant pink styrofoam easter basket that had sort of large green pipe cleaner handle.  So I asked my mom for my Easter picture and this is what my basket actually looked like. Maybe the pink one with pipe cleaners was in my dreams or maybe it was later in life.

easter74-2

This is me and my beautiful mom in 1973

 

easter74-3

Our kitchen in the 1970s – look at that retro wall paper (I still own that bunny bank)

I also remember a year where my basket was actually a tiny child’s wheel barrow full of Easter grass and candy. We later replicated this for our kids with a red wagon.

As an adult, what do you like in your Easter basket? My must have, Reese Peanut Butter Eggs. That’s my breakfast with milk and sometimes a yellow hardboiled egg yoke with salt and pepper. It may sound odd or even yucky but it’s my tradition and I have done that every year since I was little.

I came up with some fun vintage Easter items that were around in our Easter’s past.

Easter Basket Goodies

A link to the items above: Easter Dress, Easter Egg Decoration, Basket, Easter Rabbits, Vintage Basket, 3d Paper Bunny, Berry Baskets, Little Chick, Popcorn Rabbit, Easter Tins, Vintage Basket, Bunny Cookie Jar Check these out, they are some of my favorite vintage sellers.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and if you like this post or want to share an Easter memory, I would love to hear it in the comments below.

Spring Pantone Colors – Rose Quartz and Splash Green

Spring Pantone Colors – Rose Quartz and Splash Green

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Pantone’s color of 2016 is Rose Quartz with Serenity. Its lovely, but for spring I am seeing Rose Quartz with Splash Green as an incredible pairing that we find in nature. Fore example this tiny seedling of a pepper plant is naturally splash green and has a lovely rose quartz background.

Rose Quartz with Splash Green
Tiny Pepper Plant Seedling Photograph

And when we combine nature and a found object like this rose quartz – pink vintage trailer in the wood and the rambling neon or splash green trees and leaves we get something rustic and lovely.

vintage spooky trailer in rose quartz and splash green
Rustic Pink Trailer in the Woods Photograph

And because I love vintage, I wanted to show that people have been using this color pallet for a very long time. And no coincidence it has a touch of nature to it.

Rose Quartz and Splash Green Vintage
Country Gingham Vintage Mikasa Plate

I find the most beautiful colors to not be manmade but already created in nature and then expanded on by artists and designers. In fact my son has this bold green choice on his bedroom walls and it was called, “grass,” when he chose it. Do you have a favorite Pantone color for spring? Or have you found a favorite pairing of the spring Pantone colors? Please share your favorites in the comments below.

Vintage Style Men – Their Love of the Classic Cigar

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Why did so many of the most classic vintage style men love their cigars? Smoking is hazardous to your health, it’s expensive and it smells bad. So why do some of the classiest men consider smoking the largest, most expensive and down right smelliest tobacco products to be a luxury on the most special of occasions?  Does it blow an heir of wealth, success or confidence?  Or celebration? A brand new baby? Light it up!  The odor aside, I don’t know why, but cigar smoking men do exude a look of confidence that has been seen in the movies. And then there is that famous quote from Freud (pictured first in the collage) “Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.”

This is a little round-up of some famous and some not so famous, handsome, vintage cigar smoking men and the classic cigar accessories they may have enjoyed as a gift.

 

 

 

cigar smoking men

Vintage Lighter with pipe for men
Vintage Cigar or Pipe Lighter for Men
Vintage Glass humidor with leather strap
Vintage Glass Romeo Y Julieta Cigar Humidor

 

kitsch vintage collectible chalkware with cigar
Vintage Chalkware – Cigar Smoking Clown

The first time I ever encountered a humidor, it was a large walk in style one for a new cigar store in town. It was a crisp, clean smell and really big. The business didn’t last. But what has lasted and I have come across more than once are antique wood tables with built-in humidor, box style vintage humidor and most recently the glass humidor with strap for easy travel.

Lighters are part of the experience of smoking a cigar and buying your man a cool one for a conversation starter at a party is a great gift ideas.

And lastly, chalkware is always such a cool thing to come across, especially when they are in nice shape, but a cigar smoking clown, is something you do not find everyday.

And lastly if you read this post, I will share, YES I tried to smoke a cigar once.  When we had just finished photographing our first wedding, my husband and I lit one up. I did not look like the men I shared above and so I never tried it again. If you don’t smoke, I am not suggesting you start.