Sharkskin and Spicy Mustard. It sounds like a menu item from a restaurant in an exotic foreign land. But it’s not. Not here anyway. Do you look forward to Pantone’s seasonal color collections? Or wait to find out what will be hailed the color of the year? For the past few years I have enjoyed watching this seasonal color forecast.
Thew newest Pantone Colors for Fall 2016 are out. And when I looked at the set of 10 colors, 2 stuck out to me right away, Sharkskin and Spicy Mustard.
Think of the colors on the Pantone strip as a starting point for inspiration. According to the Pantone site, Sharkskin or Gray gives us a feeling of stability and Spicy Mustard or Yellows, suggest a touch of the exotic.
Here are 2 collections I enjoyed putting together using Sharkskin with a side of Spice Mustard.
I have to say I am sort of in love with the sharkskin color Giorgio Armani blouse up in the corner, that with a backpack and sunglasses and I could take off in style for the weekend.
I am not much a of a trend follower when it comes to decorating my home, but I enjoy seeing what I already have that maybe has been put away or is not front and center and bringing it out in a new way. So sometimes just adding a pop of the newest trendy color can make a room feel fresh. If you want to go all out, you can get the newest hot paint color and do a piece of furniture, an accent wall or get completely into it and paint the whole room. Upholstering a piece of furniture in a new fresh color pallet is also an option.
What are you favorite color combinations from Pantone’s new Fall Collection? I would love to hear it in the comments or on my Facebook or Twitter. I love inspirational chatter;)
As I prepare for back to school shopping plans with my kids, I’ve had a few daydreams about my own back to school shopping. It would now be, “vintage back to school shopping.”
A fun guide for 80’s back to school:
When I was a small girl, I didn’t get excited about back to school clothes shopping. Instead I remember being super stoked about the school supplies. A new backpack, lunch box, crayons, a pencil case and new pencils. I still love going to the office supply store and looking at all of the cool pens, lined paper, highlighters and as a photographer, of course Sharpies.
When I started 7th grade things changed and it was all about the clothes, the shoes, the jewelry. Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were on par for what I wanted and I transformed from pullover collar shirts with pants (yuck) to skirts, nylons, heels and accessories from head to toe. Not the most practical thing in the world, but it made me feel good about myself. I try to allow my almost teen daughter to enjoy setting her own style and showing her personality as well. And luckily “pumps,” are not en vogue right now, they wouldn’t be good for the walk home from school.
This is a recap of an outfit I actually owned:
I still have the silver snake bracelet in my jewelry box.
Trends change and people either adapt to the trends, form and shape their own unique style, or just don’t care about it either way. How do you define your personal style? Or are you still finding your own style? I think finding and defining a style that makes you happy, is one of coolest things that can happen.
And now as my kids are preparing for their personal style, I think I will try to get out of my “rut” which has been jeans, jeans and more jeans! BTW I don’t own a pair of mom jeans.
Do you remember a back to school time when you showed your personal style? Was it a trend or something you came up with? I would love for you to share and a picture would be welcome too.
The book “Twist of Faith,” is the true story of Anne Beiler. A woman of faith, you may recognize her by her nickname, “Auntie Anne.” She began her business career with a very small farmer’s market stand that grew into an empire, blessing 850 franchise owners and employee’s with opportunity, not only throughout the country but eventually spreading across the world. Who would think with no more than an 8th grade education, that making a pretzels, something that is sold at every sporting event, skating rink and mall, usually bland, boring and predictable could turn into an empire.
If you are anything like Anne Beiler and trust in God to provide and make your way, then you would have believed it as well. I do my best to trust in God at every step in my life, but I have to say with all of the challenge, bumps and turns that were put in her family’s path throughout the years; I wonder if I would have had steadfast faith to bring it to God’s full plan of fruition. Perhaps that’s why many of us don’t ever experience the full harvest, because we give up before it has a time to reach the full blessing God had planned for us. How many times do we say, “Yes God.” And then the first time something uncomfortable happens, we say, “Maybe this wasn’t really God’s plan.” We are just taking the easy way out, but in the end robbing ourselves of the prize.
Anne was born into a Mennonite family and her husband a traditional Amish family in Pennsylvania. They met under sweet circumstances and started a family, living near family and doing okay financially. But the tragic loss of a child brought her to a breaking point. They ended up a 1000 miles away from their faith-based community and it was there that a man told them he believed God had something in store for her that she could not even dream up. He was right.
Whoever said, “you can’t go home,” was wrong. Anne and her family did go back home and the story of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels was set into motion.
Anne is so transparent in this story of self, including some of her darkest and weakest moments. The journey to the top with “Auntie Anne’s Pretzels,” was anything but smooth. Just because success is brewing for a person of faith does not mean we can walk without stumbling. Even in the midst of a blessing we can and do make mistakes. Anne’s story shows that by continuing to turn to God, God is always faithful. He forgives, he continues to bless and follow through with his plan, even when we seem to be sabotaging it. We cannot outdo God. No matter how badly we feel about ourselves, how much we sin, how much we doubt; He is there. He is always there and will always be there, waiting for us to turn back into his arms. I remember hearing our pastor, Dave Bish, who passed away on my birthday this year, say one time, you can take a hundred steps away from the Lord, but it only takes One step back. (he said it something like that:)
Loss, depression, anger are all 3 things that can paralyze a person emotionally, spiritually and physically. With love and forgiveness, we can heal. This story is a story of love and faith and forgiveness. This book doesn’t just touch on these 3 things, it brings them into the light where they can be thought about and talked about.
This book is for any woman who has suffered any of these and for anyone who has a dream, the spirit of an entrepreneur and faith. I believe Anne would tell you, she didn’t do it alone. She was surrounded by a loving and faithful husband and family and friends from beginning to present; People that could steer her in the right direction when she needed it. To me that’s something everyone needs. We can have a 1000 friends or acquaintance that are “there for us.” But if they don’t share our values and our mission, they could steer us off our path even with good intentions.
Keep your head held high and keep moving in the direction of your dream. Anything is possible with God.
Win My Copy of the book by going over to my facebook page and following the steps. And a get a BONUS entry by commenting here on the blog.
If you don’t have an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels near you, you can try this copycat recipe. But after reading this book and ironically heading east to the King of Prussia Mall tomorrow, I will be stopping in to have a hot one served to me with sugar. I cannot wait. I love to support small business.
It has been predicted that patriotic fashion and everything red white and blue for the home and decorating will continue to be a huge trend now through the election. Normally these items are popular through summer. The 4th of July may be over, but your patriotism doesn’t have to stop with sparklers.
Would you Display your Patriotism Permanently?
3 years ago we moved from a private community, “into town.” It’s a sweet Pennsylvania neighborhood started in the 1950’s and most of the yards on our street have a flag pole. Our World War II neighbor across the street actually put 2 in his yard. And when we drive out into the country there are flags displayed permanently onto the buildings.
Flags fly, decorations abound in the summer, despite all of the negative things I hear people spew about our country online and on television, which made me think about patriotism and patriotic decor. I believe we all feel more connected a sense of pride and gratefulness during this time. How do you feel? Do you fly your flag as a holiday decoration and not think much about it other than it looks great, or does it fly in your heart. What do you feel when you see American Flag and other items associated with it?
Proper Flag Display – Do you Know the Do’s and Don’ts?
I realized last year that I didn’t know as much about displaying the flag as I thought I did. We hung a lovely large flag on the side of our garage. We hung it wrong, we had the blue with stars on the right hand side, which made sense to me because I held the flag the way it would normally fly and tilted it. The handmade ribbon flag below is hung the correct way. The union should always be first. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not know the proper way or the symbolism, I discovered this when looking for beautiful art pieces to share on here.
Patriotic Fashion – Are you In or Are you Out?
How about patriotic fashion? Is it okay to wear the flag on our bodies? The answer may be confusing to some people if they don’t look it up. It is okay to have the American Flag on a garment or on accessories, but it is not okay to drape yourself or wear an actual flag, plus it looks tacky. Taylor Swift does it right! And so do these men’s vintage cuff links.
Do you know when your flag is ready to be permanently taken down and how to properly dispose of it? I do. Only because our son is a Boy Scout. Under the “flag Code” it says
“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”
You can contact your local Boy Scout troop to find out when they are collecting flags for a burning ceremony.
Patriotic Decor – What Do you think of?
I love patriotic decor. I think it’s fun when people are all decked out in their stars and striped and blinking headbands. My kids enjoy it too. I just hope that in the midst of all of the consumerism of mass produced items, we can remember what the flag represents. Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices by the men and women who have come before us.
In an election year where everyone feels in limbo, it’s more important than ever to remember that we are all American’s first. We are still at war. We still have men and women living away from their families for many months at a time. And we STILL have our constitutional rights. We can say how we feel, we have the right to bear arms and the right to worship freely.
When I see the flag flying I am always reminded of all of the men in my family that have served their country. I think about the young men and women that continue to sign up to devote themselves to serving us in such a selfless way. Remember to show your patriotism all year long. It’s not just one day, it’s not just one season. And if you see a veteran, shake their hand and thank them for their service. Please share your favorite way to show your patriotism or decorate with all things America.
Is a Merry Go Round or a Carousel? When I was little I always wanted to “ride” the merry-go-round. Now that I am older, I still want to ride but it’s because I enjoy looking at the “carousel” animals. There is something magical no matter your age about the lights above your head, the mirrors and of course picking your animal. Most carousels I have seen also have the bench, but I admit I have never sat in one. Even when our kids were babies, we were always excited to hold them on a magical horse and take pictures of them riding.
And then the music starts and you hear the tiny whoosh before it starts to spin. Our kids are old enough now that they can ride themselves so YES, we all get our own horse. I love it and in fact I have pictures of my husband and I on a carousel ride together, before we had kids.
Where did these fantastical treasures come from?
It is said they were originally designed for a combat practice in Arabia, where they used swords and practiced stabbing at balls, later a smaller model, made from wood was created for children. These carousels which then were found in Italy became “crusader” type games for the kids that were interactive while they spun.
But the carousel that we know today really evolved in the 1700’s. They were man or horse powered and found at fairs. Luckily, the men and horses were given break in 1861 when an Englishman, Thomas Bradshaw developed a way to use steam power. He did a great job, but America took the lead in developing the larger and more complex carousel’s that we still use today.
It didn’t take long for the artists and creators to begin adding zoo animals and other magical creatures to ride along with the horses.
The merry go rounds did lose their place as the centerpiece of an amusement park when roller coasters were invented and became rides mostly for little kids. But the talent of restoration and new beautiful restoration of these interactive works of art they are making a comeback. I personally think they have made a comeback like so many other things because grandparent and parents today want to relive the experience and share it with the small children in their lives.
I remember a person in our neighborhood that loved to paint ceramics and I was fascinated with a large life-size merry-go-round horse that they were painting. These enchanting animals are still loved by many as party themes, collectible items and conversations pieces in home and restaurant decor. I think if I had to pick to words that immediately come to mind when thinking of them they would be – Nostalgic Magical.
I would love to hear about your favorite carousel memory.
We recently visited a town called, Centralia. On the surface the town probably doesn’t sound like something you have heard of before, but think again. If you have heard of the video game or movie, Silent Hill, you have in a round-about way heard of Centralia.
It was through our love of adventure and exploring through geocaching that we found out about this infamous “ghost town” of sorts. So we packed up and headed out to do a 50 cache trail.
What we knew about Centralia before we went….
We knew it was mining town, mostly deserted because of a fire burning beneath the ground that will most likely continue to burn for the next 250 years
We knew the Federal Government took all of the properties that weren’t left by choice through eminent domain.
We also heard we could find “smoke”
We are total LOST and X-Files junkies, so this seemed like a must do.
When we got to Centralia with three teens / tweens in tow, I parked at the opposite side of the trail that my husband had planned. I saw people and spray painted trees and stopped to see.
We were going to do a Geo Art Trail in the shape of a flame. On these types of trails, you solve questions for “mystery” caches and when you log them they will make a design, in this case a flame. If you become a geeky cacher like us, you will enjoy seeing the smileys form the art design on your map, like the pig on the Hatfield -Mccoy trail shown below, from a trip a couple of years ago.
We started to walk up a hill. At this point I had not spoken to my husband about the trail and I honestly (since I picked the place) thought it would be various points throughout town and so on this hot day, I thought we would, “snag a few caches,” get back in the car and go for more. We got the first cache and then he told me how many miles it would be as a loop. I realized with the hot weather, the clothing the boys were wearing and the kids without water, it was not happening this time, even if we might see Smoke. This was a bummer because this trip was 2 ½ hours away from home. But I could see the writing on the wall. It could go bad, very, very bad in this, “Silent Hill,” town if we attempted it this day with these kids. All jokes aside, I am serious.
We walked back down near the tree’s and someone said, “did you see the highway down there?”
We headed that direction and were in for a big surprise, that even our teen son would love. An urban artscape if you will. An entire stretch of highway filled with nothing but graffiti. Not the fancy graffiti you see on big city wall, no Banksy’s here. Just ordinary people making their mark with words or silly simple shapes. Some rude, some graphic, some sweet. As a whole however, that was the art. If it would have only been a couple of people that painted something, it would have had that dirty negative connotation. “graffiti,” “vandalism” but for us, this bright colored path with hardly a bare piece of pavement in sight was wonderful.
I had the kids pose on the hot pavement (the trade-off for not hiking the long trail) And to their surprise after cooperation, Karma stopped by with 2 full cans of spray paint to offer them. We each took a turn, even though my contribution was barely an infinity sign with two straight lines.
Our son is an artist is his blood and heart, of course did something cool.
And when we were finished we passed the paint on to the next group that looked like they found this place my mistake. They were probably here for the smoke, which apparently cannot be seen during the day anyway.
However, we will be returning to Centralia soon to hike the whole trail with another couple. And I am sure we will explore more of the once was town.
For now: a SNEAK PEEK photo of what will be to come in Centralia Part 2. Don’t let the photo fool you, it might not be as colorful. And it won’t be about the spray paint.
A little P.S. One of the best documentary movies we have ever watched is called , “Exit through the Gift Shop.” It’s all about Banksy street art.
The forest is always calling in Pennsylvania. It is beautiful here. But winter can be long and continuing to feel inspired can sometimes be hard. We still partake in the snow and go out in the gray but when spring comes, it’s exciting to get the camera out and capture all of the new life, bold color and light that’s directed from God.
On the way home from a very recent geocaching and camping trip we stopped for a hike at a new place, I felt so connected to the moment. I was hoping to shoot GREEN THINGS, for a monthly color challenge. Yes, there was green, lots and lots of green. But I was able to capture so much more. Not just in my camera, but also deep inside myself.
I was really awe-struck by how authentically present I was for that walk and inspired. Nothing outside of the moment on my mind, truly connected to my spirit. It was an AWESOME feeling.
I ended up with a series of green images from the trail. And I felt compelled to create my first topography print. I didn’t want to jump on the band wagon last year with it and even when I heard my inner voice saying, “The Forest is Calling,” I resisted for 10 days. But I couldn’t help it. And I really like it. Perhaps a new series will begin from it, a series of prints of when I remember my spirit.
How do you connect to your spirit? Maybe it’s the ocean, maybe it’s riding a motorcycle or painting a picture. Maybe you connect while being in prayer. If you haven’t felt that connection in a long time, maybe so long you have forgotten what it felt like (as I had), I encourage you to try some new things and feel it. We were created to feel it.
I’m happy to introduce our guest photographer today, Laurel Correll, with Forever Frames Photography. She has been inspired by the famous, Annie Leibovitz, portrait photographer to the star’s and Jessica Drossin, creative art photographer; both very accomplished and creative female photographer’s. Laurel herself is a talented photographer, as well as a mother, a new volunteer to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and the name I like to write the most today, my friend. She started her portrait and wedding business 8 years ago and in the past 2 years started a new creative body of private work that really intrigued me. Today, she is going to share some of her process on creative photography with us. And of course she will share some TIPS at the end and there will be a mini challenge for you on my FB page.
“My personal Photography Journey,” Laurel’s creative body of work:
Why are these shoots your favorite? “I love taking pictures of all types but these creative sessions are my all time favorites. I control the whole thing from start to finish. That includes props, clothing, hair, makeup, lighting, and editing.”
What inspired you to start shooting this work? ” I wanted to push myself further in the creative process. I think it’s important to constantly try to do new things or go out of the box, otherwise your work begins to look exactly the same and become boring.”
What is your process for doing a shoot? “The very first thing I do when I schedule a session is I pray. I, on my own cannot come up with an inspiring image. So I pray. I have an inspiration notebook. I take lots of notes and sketches while praying. ”
What about models and hair and makeup? “A lot of the time the models come to me. At first I was asking close friends to let me dress them up. Now I am thankful for the little
following I have and people tend to come to me. I do have a lot of repeat models which I love. I mostly do everything from hair and makeup to wardrobe. There have been a few times I have enlisted the help of others who know more about costume makeup.”
What about the shooting process, do you go in with the end in mind or have something you know you want as the finished image? “I always have a certain shot in mind that I want to get, but I allow room for the spur of the moment shots. Generally with each session I have an “Aha” moment and decide that one will be it. But I always continue shooting just in case.”
How much of a part is the editing in your process? ” I generally have an overall “feel” I am aiming at with each session. The editing is HUGE for these types of sessions. One image can
take up to 6 plus hours. ”
How has this work spread into your work for clients? This has made me realize how important it is to style all of my sessions. Before when I made appointments with clients I would just do whatever they liked. Now I give suggestions before hand even with wardrobe.
What’s your biggest tip for one of these shoots? “The biggest thing when it comes to these pictures is what type of emotion are you trying to achieve? If its a happy slumber party use lots of
natural lighting. If you are trying to get the emotion of peaceful slumber, then use indoor lighting with a more intimate feel.”
LENS: I love my 18-75mm tamron lens
LIGHTING: I always prefer natural lighting, but my sessions end up about 50/50 with both natural and manipulated.
MINI Photo CHALLENGE for YOU: Find a photograph you have taken where you achieved the emotion you wanted to see and share it on our FB page, OR EVEN BETTER, get your think of a photo you would like to create and do it, share it on the thread. If you want critiques or tips, just ask, otherwise just get in on the fun and share.
If you love nature, landscape and/or wildlife photography, then this guest photographer feature will catch your eye.
I met Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown, this past December when we were participating in The Crary Art Gallery’s, first PA Wilds Invitational Show. I was amazed by the rich textures and colors in her photography and started to follow her on her Facebook page, Edge of The Woods Photography, where almost daily she has something new and beautiful to share. I am in awe of her wildlife photography, I would love to watch her shoot some day. But for now, she will share some tips at the end.
And YOUR challenge for National Photography Month will also be at the end.
Bernadette’s photography life in her own words:
“Waking up in the morning with excitement for the day….how many can relate?
That sun that has been hiding all night is now just calling my name! All of life seems to feel the same way at sunrise! Birds, flowers, insects, bees, frogs, dragonflies….are all waking up also!
As I jump into my car all equipped with my camera gear, I proceed to take on the early morning world!
Quietly and slowly I start hiking through the woods, towards the streams, search the trees…the skies….all in search of the best surprises of the day!
Being retired I am so excited to share the beauty and excitement around us. I know people are usually so busy and just making a life!
Working as a Critical Care Nurse on the night shift for many years has given me an appreciation for doing what you love, NOW, before a life changing event turns your world upside down!
Anyway, I have a tendency to perhaps see beauty that others overlook! I see every photo as a blank canvas. Composure is the most important component for me personally. Every photo must tell a complete story in a very short glimpse! With the digital age, everyone has the opportunity to document what they feel is important without worrying about the cost!
I personally have a tendency to shoot many photos at different exposures not only to get it right but a good scene is like a great dessert! You just don’t want to stop enjoying it! When I finally return to my art studio, I delete, delete, delete…only leaving the best!
The ability to lift someone’s spirit or evoke a favorable emotion from my photos is my goal and the reason I use photography as my medium! It is an immediate gratification! I also oil paint but find it difficult to sit for hours/days to complete my canvas. Being a self-taught photographer has afforded me a blank slate to experiment, break the rules and learn in the field.
I also would like you to see the photo that “started it all”! People told me they loved this photo and the rest is history as they say!”
“I spotted the Amish Loggers working and drove by about 3 times before I got the courage to ask to take this photo. They were very accommodating as long as I didn’t get them in the photo! It has won many contests and has even been made into a puzzle. Right place…right time!!! ”
What is on your photography bucket list? “My bucket list includes Alaska, Yosemite Park and Glacier Park. I would love to visit and photograph all the National Parks because of their extensive history and the wildlife they have.”
BEST TIP: “start early out in the morning. Be quiet and patient. Carry the least amount of equipment….”
NOW YOUR CHALLENGE: Find your favorite nature or wildlife photography piece that YOU have taken OR a nature or wildlife photograph that you would like some pointers on and share it on the facebook thread
Today please welcome our first guest photographer, Jeane Pifer. Jeane is a personal friend, she is gentle and sweet but a bit of a rebel because where you will find her most comfortable with her camera is up close to live bands shooting concert photography or at the track getting up close and personal creating racing photographs. As I write this, I realize I forgot to ask if she carries ear plugs in her gear bag. Today, she shares some of her work and tips at the end for shooting any type of stage situations.
Why Concert Photography and why is it appealing to you? I chose to pursue concert photography because of the excitement and the feeling you get when you nail an amazing shot. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had as a photographer. Everything is constantly moving. It’s a challenge compared to portrait shoots where you have more time to pose your subjects. It’s great to look back on my first shows compared to where I am now.
How have you grown as a concert photographer? When I started I was only using the action setting on my simple DSLR. Now, I feel confident in being able to successfully set up my camera to manual settings to handle any lighting situation.
What are the biggest challenges in shooting concert photography? Arriving at any show, you never know the lighting situation. Luckily, I have found with post editing I can make the best out of every image.
What type of venues do you enjoy shooting in the most? In the sense of lighting, I always prefer the large concerts. However, smaller shows are much better for getting up close and personal with the bands which can also result in better shots. Shooting outdoor festivals during the day is my absolute favorite. There’s something about being able to capture the emotions of the crowd better with the blue sky in the background.
Do you go into a concert with a clear mind about what you are going to shoot or do you have some dream ideas you are wanting to create? Normally I go into a show with the mindset of just shooting. If I’m seeing the same show- band more than once and I know what moves they will make on stage, I will then be able to picture the images I want to take.
I know bands have used your photographs, how did that come about? Most of the bands that have used my images were from festivals. At the festivals, they normally have a meet and greets with the bands and I take the opportunity to hand out my business card. You never know what opportunities will come from marketing yourself. Other bands that have used my images have been from just finding me on social media.
And now for some tips from Jeane, that don’t only apply to concerts. You can use these tips and tweak them for upcoming dance recitals, children’s plays, parades, festivals and much more.
And after reading the tips, come join the conversation and share your photoshere.
LENS: I use 15-85mm f/3.5. Although the zoom quality of the lens is amazing, the aperture is something that I’m constantly fixing. A low aperture lens is definitely something you need.
FLASH: Most places don’t allow flash photography so I normally don’t. Depending on the show size and the amount of lighting, a flash is not normally needed. Molly: I would add this is where Jeane’s suggestion of the low aperture lens is important and a tripod or monopod when you are able is great if you will be standing in one place.
SETTINGS: Experiment with different settings on your camera. Every show will be different, you never know what lighting situation you’ll be in so you can always learn from them. I would definitely recommend a simple setting that you’re comfortable with. I started off with the action setting, but I also know of people who have used creative auto, auto, and aperture priority. I think starting out on one of the simpler settings gives you practice of how to focus on whats going on on the stage instead of stressing about your setup right off the bat.
ISO: I usually keep my ISO high and my Shutter low. Although that does occasionally leave the grainy look, I find in post editing it’s easy to cover up and really bring out the colors of the lights.
Concert etiquette: Although a lot of famous concert photographers have lists of etiquette, I have had to worry about other photographers around me. But always be cautious of who’s around you. So many people just want to camp out in the same spot the whole night which is not only rude to the other photographers, but you also won’t get the best images if they are all from the same angle.
BIGGEST TIP: Just keep shooting. You never know what surprise shots you’ll get.