life & loss

Lilacs for Helen, her favorite.

Hi Everyone -

I'm sorry to write this post and feel strange doing so, but Scott's Mom passed away this weekend. To say we're heartbroken is an understatement. Although Helen was elderly, she was really only having some problems walking. We never thought she would become so ill and once again are reminded how our lives can change in an instant.

Over the past few days, Charlie has been sharing stories about when he met Helen and their dating experience. At one point, he told her they shouldn't see other people. She said ok. He said if she did, it would be over and she would break his heart. Well, she never did. He's also been telling us some things that border on too much information, which is kind of funny as we squirm in our seats.

We just want to thank you for being here and for your well wishes along the way. Needless to say, we're going to be taking a break from this space. Already, the women in Charlie's building are circling their walkers to take care of him. We're going to run interference for a little while because that's our job.

We really miss you Helen, it's oh so quiet. Say hi to my Mom and don't worry about Charlie. We'll take care of him so much he'll beg us to leave him alone. Promise.

xo, Cindy

pics : roses

Day 1

Hi Everyone -

I don't know how I can be expected to be on time if Scott brings home $8.68 photogenic roses that look prettier everyday. The vase is actually a vintage pickle jar. We (I) 'borrowed' it from Helen & Charlie many years ago - they have many. That's probably why Charlie kept a 'list' of the wedding mementos I recently borrowed. For the record, they've all been returned along with a copy of the post and all of your lovely comments. He enjoyed them very much even though he's not quite sure about this thing called 'blogging'.

Charlie has been mentioning some feelings of loneliness lately and that just won't do. We hope to take him to Wave Hill on Sunday. He's celebrating his 57th wedding anniversary with Helen. After wards, we'll go see his bride. Have a happy weekend!

xo, Cindy

PS I'm really trying to keep up with all of your blogs, but I'm falling behind with my comments in light of all that is going on. I kind of feel like I'm on the edge of my seat all day long - if that makes any sense.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

The End

giveaway : tusk & coco + kelley

Hi Everyone -

I just wanted to tell you about the Tusk giveaway over on coco + kelley through Sunday, April 26th. Please visit coco + kelley to find out the details about how you can win a Cross Body Bag from the Acapulco collection in the color of your choice. Good Luck!

xo, Cindy

digital lab : exposure & iso

ISO 200 | Aperture f/5.6 | Shutter 1/80

Hi Everyone -

As previously mentioned, I'm taking a Digital Photography course at the International Center of Photography. There are about 15 people in the class representing an interesting mix of backgrounds. Some studied film photography in college, others want to take better photos of their kids, some love to travel, and we all want to take our picture-taking to the next level. Our instructor, Keisha Scarville, is a wonderful photographer and a deliberate, thoughtful teacher.

Over the coming weeks, my plan is to share some of the things I've learned, but there's no way I can replicate the course entirely. Although the focus is on dslr cameras, there are lessons to be learned regardless of camera-type. I really hope these posts will encourage you to experiment with your own camera settings. After all, you can always hit 'reset'.

ISO 200 | Aperture f/10 | Shutter 1/60

Controlling Exposure
In class we learned that a camera is basically a light tight box that allows a controlled amount of light in when you press the shutter to create a photo or exposure. A properly exposed photo is one that coordinates the proper combination of the following variables - ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Too much light leads to over-exposure (too bright) while too little leads to under-exposure (too dark). One of the biggest challenges I face with these settings is remembering what they all do individually and together. Finding the right balance makes me kind of feel like Goldilocks.

There are four elements to consider when taking a photo and I'm going to refer to them as the Power of How to help remember the differences. I thought of this concept on the subway and hope it works for all of us.

ISO 200 | Aperture f/8.0 | Shutter 1/250

Step 1 | ISO | How is your light?

How does the light look in your environment?
Are you outdoors? Is it sunny or cloudy? Is it night time? Are you indoors?

Based on the lighting, your first step will be to set your ISO, which is how the sensor in your camera responds to light. The higher the number the more receptivity - light allowed into the camera. The ISO can be adjusted on any camera from a point & shoot to a dslr. It is the one setting you should always control even if you set it at 100, which is probably the default for most cameras. Here are some guidelines -
  • 50-200 : best in bright light, outdoors, partly cloudy
  • 400-800 : low light, late afternoon, heavy overcast, indoors
  • 1600-3200 : very little light, night time, indoors
The higher speeds do let in more light, but will sacrifice image quality resulting in grain or noise in the photo. At this point, I prefer a clear image, so I'm very conservative with my choice and always use a tripod for the higher settings. ISO is used in film photography, so it's a bit familiar. In the following weeks, I'll tell you about -

Step 2 | Aperture | How is the focus?
Do you want a shallow or long depth of field?

ISO 200 | Aperture f/7.1 | Shutter 1/200

Step 3 |Shutter Speed | How long is light allowed into the camera?
Do you want to blur or freeze motion?

ISO 200 |Aperture f/5.6 |Shutter 1/200

Step 4 | Light Meter | How is the exposure to be adjusted?
Will your photo be under or over-exposed, or just right?

ISO 200 | Aperture f/5.6 | Shutter 1/200

I would definitely encourage you to try the various automatic settings on your cameras for landscape, portrait, sports, etc. just to get used to different ways of controlling the light. Overall, there's a lot to learn and plenty of crummy photos to be taken ;). Although I'm hopeful, I don't expect to take any great photos during the course as it may take a while for the new knowledge to find a comfortable home in my brain.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to answer them. If I've gotten something wrong, let me know and I'll correct it.

xo, Cindy

PS Happy Birthday to my Brother and Happy Earth Day!

Source : Keisha Scarville

fun : ten honest bits

Hi Everyone -

I hope you all had a nice weekend! The weather here was really great and we visited my brother in New Jersey for his birthday (more on that later). Beautiful Jewels from Red Otter gave me the Honest Award recently, which requires sharing ten honest bits about myself. So, here goes -
  1. Seem to organize things by color, a lot.
  2. Love blouses and don't really mind ironing them, too much. I also iron Scott's shirts.
  3. Literally lost my shirt the other day. I was sure I put my bright pink t-shirt into the hamper. It's gone, gone, gone. It's normal for socks to go missing, but a t-shirt?
  4. If Scott didn't feed me I wouldn't eat healthy food. He has to make sure I have something to warm up for dinner when he works late.
  5. Love the kids pack at the movies - Skittles & popcorn. M&Ms & potato chips/pretzels are really good, too.
  6. My nose, hands and feet are often cold.
  7. Very sentimental and always look for the hidden meaning in things.
  8. Don't like talking on the telephone, especially cellphones. I would be lost without email.
  9. Arm chair traveler and blame it on living in the greatest city on earth, although I haven't been to that many other cities.
  10. Can be quite disciplined. I recently bought two sundaes at Carvels and took them both home to put into the freezer for later.
If you're reading this, consider yourself a winner of the Honest Award and feel free to share a tidbit, too. Scott is visiting his Dad today and teaching him how to make his famous roast chicken, playing cards and probably going food shopping. They love to do that. Hope you have a great week!

xo, Cindy

PS This Wednesday, I hope to share some of the things I learned in my first photography class. Shifting from automatic to manual settings is quite a challenge. But, we can do it!

life : just try

Hi Everyone -

Thank you so much for the lovely comments about Helen & Charlie's wedding mementos and your good wishes. I'm going to print the post & comments so they can read them.

I read about 47-year old, unemployed Susan Boyle today in the newspaper. She is a contestant on Britains Got Talent and sings like an angel. It just goes to show you not to judge a book by its cover and that it's never too late to live your dream, if you try.

Have a nice weekend!

xo, Cindy

life : sweet wedding memories

Helen & Charlie : April 26, 1952

Hi Everyone -

I wasn't sure when I would be posting again because I really lost my mojo. My father-in-law, Charlie, must of had a sixth sense and cheered me up in his own way. I just realized that I've known Charlie longer than my own father who passed away when I was fairly young. Needless to say, he's a pretty important person to me.

While Charlie's bride, Helen, is recovering in the hospital he's been looking through all of their papers to keep busy and uncovered some incredible treasures from their wedding day in April 1952. He said I could borrow them to photograph and seemed pretty easy going about it. Until yesterday, when he sent this message to me through Scott, 'Tell Cindy I made a list of everything she took." Took, took - there's no need to use four-letter words! I borrowed them and here's my message to him, 'That's very nice, but can you find the list? And, "One more word and those 'diamonds' are going to the pawn shop and you'll have to explain it to Helen when she gets home." Anyway, here are some special things from their wedding day, while I still have them ;) -

Helen's gorgeous engagement & wedding rings, plus the appraisal. Charlie never wears a wedding ring (wish he would find it) because he owned a furniture store and it was always getting hooked on things. I added a pocket knife because he always carries one, but the top photo doesn't have it. Lilacs are Helen's favorite flower.

I'm partial, but I think they are the cutest couple ever.

He found the receipt from their honeymoon at the Elbow Beach Surf Club in Bermuda. The room rate was $34 a night and it includes a tuxedo rental, plus some laundry. Around their 50th Wedding Anniversary the hotel contacted them and offered the room at the same rate, but they weren't up for the trip. A few other things - Helen & Charlie were set-up by Helen's friend. Her daughter set-up me & Scott. We were married in the same church. Isn't that neat?

Tomorrow is the first session of the photography class I'm taking and I do hope to share some of the things I learn with you and catch up with commenting on your blogs (I have been quietly reading them).

xo, Cindy

life : it's a good thing

Pom-Pom Bunny by Jennifer Murphy

Hi Everyone -

This has been quite a week for us and I'm not sure the roller coaster has pulled into the station just yet. But, while we're on it there are always some good things, too. Each day this week Heather has been asking 'What's one good thing about your day?' I'd love to end this week on a positive note, so here are five -
  1. It's Friday.
  2. All of our friends and family are still with us.
  3. Your kind words of support here and through email have been truly comforting. Thank you so much.
  4. Easter Sunday is supposed to be a beautiful day and we're going to appreciate the significance of the holiday even more this year.
  5. I got a lot of things done this week that I've been putting off and it's such a relief.
Happy Passover [late with this one], Happy Easter, Happy [fill in the blank]. Have a wonderful weekend!

xo, Cindy

blog : pecannoot

Hi Everyone -

Jess has created a wonderful place for inspiration and love through her Pecannoot project. I was so happy when she agreed to post a photo of Scott's collection of Corgi cars, which remind us of childhood innocence and carefree fun. In light of recent events, the timing couldn't be better.

Thanks for all of your well wishes, especially for Scott's Mom. She's doing better each day and wants to go home. Sounds good to us. There's no place like it.

Have a wonderful day!

xo, Cindy

life : it's a roller coaster

Hi Everyone -

Well, our birthday celebration was definitely a highlight this past week. Other than that, we've been on a bit of a roller coaster. I knew change was in the air, but I didn't think it was going to be this intense. Here's a few things that have happened -

Wednesday : Good News
I registered for a ten-week Digital Photography course at the International Center of Photography with a very talented teacher - Keisha Scarville. I'm looking forward to it with nervous anticipation. The course is kind of expensive, so I hope I do well.

Saturday : Bad News
Scott's Mom had emergency surgery to repair a hole she developed in her intestine. She's doing well, but it's going to be an uphill battle for her. Scott's Dad is functioning ok, but he cries a lot and that is heart breaking. They'll be married 56 years this month, happily.

Monday : News
Like everyone else, business is down at Tusk and I found out I'm supposed to cut the time I spend working on marketing from 15 to 8 hours a week and come up with a plan. I'm really busy as it is and just hope they don't stop marketing entirely for their sake. The thing is marketing takes a lot of creative heart & soul and it always extends beyond the allotted time. At least, that's how it is for me.

We also just realized Easter is this weekend. I love Easter. Even though we've had a lot of heartbreak during the springtime, it's still my favorite season. It's no surprise - I love flowers. So, posting will be light this week, but I'll still be visiting your blogs.

xo, Cindy

blog : the winner is!

These photos gave me fits because I just learned how to adjust the depth of field, but I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing.

Hi Everyone -

Thanks so very much for visiting us and your lovely comments relating to Quaint's birthday. We said there would be one winner in the giveaway, but we lied. There will actually be three. A spin using trusty says that the winner of the $25+ wish is -

The other winners are two lovely ladies who said they would contribute their winnings to charity -

We can't let those sentiments go unrecognized, so we will make $25 donations to each charity in their names. Congratulations! Thanks again, everyone! Here's to year no. two!

xo, Cindy

fun : paper favorite

Guyzer + Bean (a Rock Star and his Apprentice)

Hi Everyone -

Thanks so much for the blog birthday wishes and sharing some things that make you happy, even if it's us - aw shucks. I have just one favorite today from the Japanese company, Piperoid. Last weekend, I innocently dragged Scott into Kinokuniya certain there would be nothing new because I had just been there. WRONG! I saw these cool paper figures and had to have my own.

I think it would be great to send a set to a winner in our giveaway ($17), or even these two already made. Scott would rather I stay out of the store, but it's not our decision ;). They were supposed to be really easy to put together and take only 30 minutes. Maybe for the 10 year-old for whom they were intended, but not for me. I really need to get a life and stop procrastinating on things like updating my marketing materials, scheduling doctor's appointments, laundry, etc. Ok, I will, but not until after I jam with cute little Guyzer + Bean.

Have a great weekend. Channel your inner Rock Star! You have until April 5th to enter our giveaway and the winner will be announced on Monday, drum roll included.

xo, Cindy

What the heck are these?

Straws with holes? Drumsticks? Paper chopsticks? No way.

Cut the strips into segments as instructed.

Put them together. No glue needed. Don't worry about the extra pieces ;).

Now, rock it out to some songs from Anberlin - Good Feel Drag is fierce while Unwinding Cable Car is inspiring (love the messages in the video) and the string arrangements in Inevitable are beautiful. Don't forget, you already have one groupie ;).

blog : happy birthday!

Magnolia Cupcakes : Pretty Little Things Card

Hi Everyone -

Well, this is no April Fools' Day joke, Quaint is celebrating its first birthday! Wow, that went fast and we honestly can't believe we're 12 months old. Since you all make it a lot of fun and give us so much, we're going to grant one lucky winner a wish - $25 US + $5 for shipping to spend as s/he wishes. Aren't the best presents those you actually want to receive? Here are some ideas for things we can get for you -
  1. One of your favorites on Etsy.
  2. Souvenirs NYC-style.
  3. Music or book from Amazon.
  4. Japanese craft book from Kinokuniya in NYC.
  5. Donation in your name to your favorite charity.
Simply leave a comment mentioning something making you happy before April 5th and we'll pick a winner and announce it on April 6th. Really! We do reserve the right to decline any crazy wishes like things that are illegal, perishable, alive, heavy, large or if we just can't get it for you. Good luck!

xo, Cindy & Scott

PS Please join Cindy over on Poetic Home for some of her favorite vintage things. The group she selected is particularly special because they were all her Mom's.