holiday tunes : the killers

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving with your friends and family. We did pretty well with an overabundance of food Mom-style. My brother did a great job of setting the table and making all the fixins' to go along with the food we brought. There were leftovers, but I'm already over it, and ready for some Japanese food today.

The holiday season has begun! Actually, it began yesterday as some big box stores were open all day! Michael's craft store near us was open from 4 pm to 9 pm! I don't think it's a good thing and can only imagine that the holiday-induced shopping craziness must give Santa fits. Here's some evidence in the very funny video Don't Shoot Me Santa from The Killers.

Love that Cadillac! Have a nice weekend!

xo, Cindy

life : gratitude

giving thanks : for all we have : should be done everyday

Hi Everyone!

In the US, Thanksgiving Day is quickly approaching and we will be cooking up a storm over at Cindy's brother's new house this year. It's kind of stressful and emotional as this is the first year we've tried it since Cindy's Mom passed away a couple of years ago. Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday and she always whipped up the most amazing dishes, so we'll see how it goes on our own. It's weird, but one thing that will be nice is to have leftovers.

Since this time of year is all about giving thanks, we thought it would be a good time to come up with a short list of things that make us feel grateful:
  1. Friends and family who provide a safe haven through their love and support, including you guys, of course.
  2. Good health and happiness (knock on wood), although we do feel some aches and pains from time to time.
  3. Freedom and the opportunities afforded by living in wonderful country albeit with some imperfections.
  4. A cozy home filled with treasures in a lovely little neighborhood within a great city.
  5. Living within our means, most of the time (Cindy's up to 4 calendars and still counting).
Please tell us something you're feeling grateful about these days. Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, Cindy & Scott

PS Psst, psst! I'm also thankful for this neat video from the Stereophonics for their new song 'You're My Star'. The video is inspired by the annual Hindu ‘Holi’ festival that occurs each spring in India and other countries. The weather changes are believed to cause colds, so people spend the day throwing colored powder and water at each other, which is thought to have a medicinal benefit. Okay? To me, it just looks like fun. Gobble, gobble ... C

pics : ugh!

Hi Everyone!

It's not even Thanksgiving and I'm already muttering Bah Humbug! I'm definitely having one of those days where the image in my mind is not translating through to the picture. Something's not working with the little scenario I'm trying to create for a holiday card. I guess I'm stubborn, but I've changed it a dozen times in order to try and make it work. Maybe, I'll go for a walk and come back to it later?

In your work, are there times when you realize it's time to abandon ship and move on to the next thing?

xo, Cindy

park : tree huts

the ultimate tree house : located in the city : high as a skyscraper

Hi Everyone!

We read about the Tadashi Kawamata Tree Huts in Madison Square Park a while ago, but saw them for the first time last week. These tree houses are terrific. I just wish they weren't so high up. I'd love to decorate them with some pink roses.

The song Cherry Blossom Girl by the French band Air (new to me) seems to be perfect tree climbing music, not that I'm suggesting anyone actually climb a tree. But, I will suggest that you have a great weekend!

xo, Cindy

home : sweep it!

mom had one : great for the environment : always handy & quiet

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for all the kind words yesterday about the childhood photos. My brother gave me our Mom's photo albums as a birthday gift and it's been fun looking at them. I have even more hat photos, but will spare you, for now ;).

Scott's father uncovered a 'vintage' carpet sweeper recently and I just had to get one, too. It's wonderful, especially since our carpets are either ivory or black, plus it works well on wood floors and other hard surfaces. AND, it's great for the environment as it uses renewable energy (mine), it's lightweight and silent. The candy apple red version we found at Bed, Bath & Beyond (not listed on their website) couldn't be cooler.

We also just picked up a simple Trimline phone and don't own a microwave. My, we are old-school ;).

Happy sweeping - it's almost Friday!

xo, Cindy

fun : award & tag

wore many hats as a kid : not so much now : but, i do love them

Hi Everyone!

A few weeks ago the adorable Ellia awarded us with the 'I Love Your Blog' award and last week sweet Melissa tagged me with the '7 Random Facts Meme', so here goes:

1. I wore many interesting hats as a kid. I never wear them now, but have a small collection of vintage. Actually, I'm kind of obsessed with my hair.

Mom : Me : Aunt Caroline
Where are their hats and my front teeth? Why me, why anyone?

2. When I was 10 years old my Grandpa was probably around 70! Whenever he would visit I would ask him to play cards with me. I 'won' a lot.

3. While riding a bicycle, I can turn the corner without holding onto the handlebars. It's a wide turn, but I haven't wiped out, yet.

Did I dress myself that day? Look at the tilt of the hat and the hands in pockets.
Wish I still had the tree, but do have the handmade humpty dumpty.

4. Scott and I met on a blind date. We went to the ICE CAPADES with two other couples and their KIDS! Isn't that a crazy? And no, we've neither been back to the Ice Capades nor expect to do so.

5. My father-in-law calls me 'Miss Accurate' because I like everything just so. Fortunately, I'm not as tyrannical about it as I used to be ;).

Hey Grandpa, wanna' play cards?
But, please don't mess up the table. It took me an hour to get it just so.

6. I don't like to read instructions and would much rather spend countless hours trying to figure things out myself. On the other hand, if I don't know something I'll spend countless hours researching it. I suppose I'm a walking contradiction.

7. I think Steve McQueen is. the. man. But, Daniel Craig has enormous potential. If he starts racing cars in real life or some other macho activity, it could be a problem.

Now, it's my turn to pass on the love to a few others if they want to play along, too -
  1. Aimee
  2. Diana
  3. Jess
  4. Julia
  5. Krissy
  6. Livy
  7. Suzanne
xo, Cindy

life : movies + home

red tulips closed & tight : bring them indoors : see their sunny centers

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a nice weekend! We saw Quantum of Solace and it was very good, although Scott still prefers Sean Connery. He thinks his James Bond movies were more intriguing, sexy and stylish. I think he's right, but got a little bit nervous when he started to go on about the clothes (scuba gear - that's not what I had originally, but Scott insisted that I change it - doh!). According to him, Thunderball is the best in that regard.

Here's a breakdown of Quantum of Solace: action sequence, some talking, action sequence, a pretty girl, action sequence, pretty girl #2, action sequence, etc. You get the picture, but the action sequences were pretty cool and Daniel Craig is mighty fine. Personally, I liked RockNRolla better and can't wait to see it, again.

Other than that we were pretty boring with some much needed housework and such. I did buy you some tulips, which opened almost completely once we brought them inside to our warm apartment.

What did you do this weekend?

xo, Cindy

tunes : kaisercartel

Hi Everyone!

First, thank you all so much for the lovely words and encouragement about my Self-Portrait these last couple of days. They really mean the world to me and I appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts. Even if you didn't leave a comment, thank you for visiting and having a look see. I'm just glad I can put these collections to good use and they're happy because they get washed and polished!

Now, on to business. It's Friday, so that means a new music choice and I'm very excited about the band today. Shortly after starting these reviews, we were contacted by a pr firm representing up and coming artists. Due to our enormous influence in the industry (kidding), they gave us special access to artist sites, full previews, pics and free downloads/cds. But, that's as far as it goes - we receive no pay for play!

After listening to quite a few, I found a Brooklyn-based duo called KaiserCartel I think you will enjoy. If you like She & Him, a gentler Rilo Kiley, or even The Carpenters, you will appreciate the earthy blend of folk and rock created by Courtney & Ben. The video for the song Okay is charming and comes from their current album March Forth.

When I looked up the band on iTunes, I saw the sweetest review from turtle9126 -

"Courtney was my music teacher last year at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School. (She listed us in the thanks section of her album booklet!) Courtney was always very nice and I think she is a great person. My personal bias aside, Courtney and her boyfriend Ben make incredibly great music together. Whether it's Courtney's amazing voice on Oh No, Ben's tenor in The Flood, or their amazing harmonies on The Same, this bank rocks!"

Don't you just love that review? Looks like turtle9126 also let the cat out of the bag in the romance department ;). Have a very nice weekend, it's okay.

xo, Cindy

PS I got my flu shot yesterday, so be sure to do the same, soon. The year I didn't get it because of a shortage, I got the flu for real.

Photo Credit :

collect : self-portrait

dear pink roses : in any shape or form : i love

Hi Everyone -

The lovely Julia has a really neat Self-Portrait project on her gorgeous Red Otter blog. Basically, you photograph objects that reveal something about yourself - interests, hobbies, etc. I really enjoyed this project as it gave me a reason to include more than a mere teacup in a photo and to try my hand at photostyling, which is really hard. It must have taken almost two hours to just set up the shot. I know I will look back on it as a cornerstone in my photography hobby though and that's pretty big. I'm glad it was for the nicest person.

Please visit Julia to learn more about the project (try it yourself) and take a look at my photo (it's not this one), which is all about pink roses. Thank you Jewels!

xo, Cindy

life : veterans day

Hi Everyone -

Our Fathers were drafted into the Army when they were young men and we would like to remember everyone who has served, or is serving, in our military on this Veterans Day. Thank you for all of the sacrifices you made in order to defend our country.

xo, Cindy & Scott

craft : 2009 calendar

Hi Everyone -

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I was busy finishing up my first calendar. For 2008 we purchased 5 calendars: 2 letterpress, 1 wall, 1 small, and 1 for my agenda. I realize now that it was quite costly, so for 2009 I wanted to reduce our purchases by at least 1 and decided to make a small calendar myself. I've wanted to do so for a while, but didn't have any art I could imagine looking at all year long. But, the photos of some of our collections seemed good enough for a first go round.

The Adobe programs we have are out of date for our new computer, so I created the calendar in Word from scatch. I tried to find a template online, but they were too large. In school, I created a website informational architecture with complicated schematics in Word (crazy!), so a calendar shouldn't be too hard.

I used 8.5" x 11" photo paper for the calendar and linen for the cover. Ultimately, each month will be cut into a 4" x 5" rectangle. I started with a 2-column/2-row table on each page for a total of 3 pages. Then, I created a template using a smaller table for each month and automatic numbering in each cell containing a date. Special holidays are in red. Finally, I copied and pasted that table into each cell of the 2-column/2-row table, changed the image for each month, and adjusted the dates, as necessary. (Does this make any sense?)

Once printed, cutting the calendar is the hardest thing for me to do - ugh! I use a rotary cutter and a ruler in order to get straight, flat edges instead of a paper cutter. The little paper button was made using the Martha Stewart Crafts paper punch purchased at Michael's (don't see it listed on either site) and is tied with waxed twine. I'd like to give a couple of these as gifts and included an envelope with an image printed on the back. The thing I like most about this calendar is that it can be changed whenever I want to, which could be pretty soon. I've already purchased Natasha's sweet calendar, so that's 2, so far.

xo, Cindy

fun : one word meme

Basset Hound Puppy from SharonMontrose via Red Otter

Hi Everyone -

answers on her blog to the One-Word-Answer meme going around were great! She encouraged us to play along, so I did and you should, too!
Where is your mobile phone? Here
Where is your significant other? Grocery Shopping*
Your hair color? Chestnut
Your mother? Multi-talented
Your father? Suave
Your favorite thing? Wedding ring
Your dream last night? Stressful
Your dream goal? Puppy
The room you're in? Cozy
Your hobby? Photography
Your fear? Death
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
Where were you last night? Home
What you're not? Phone-person
One of your wish-list items? Puppy
Where you grew up? Suburbs
The last thing you did? Made bed
What are you wearing? Glasses
Your TV? Treasured
Your pets? Imaginary
Your computer? Glorious
Your mood? Sleepy
Missing someone? Yes
Your car? Reliable
Something you're not wearing? Tiara
Favorite shop? Purl Patchwork
Your summer? Fun
Love someone? Always
Your favourite color? Pink
When is the last time you laughed? Now
When is the last time you cried? Wednesday
*It's 7:30 am on a Saturday and he really is & so happy

Don't you think
someone needs to get me that puppy already? Did you hear Obama refer to the dog they wanted to get for their girls at his first press conference yesterday? He said they wanted to get a mutt, just like he was, but Malia is allergic and needs a hypoallergenic dog. I'm a mutt, too. Half German, quarter Italian, and a quarter Czech = All-American. I feel so much better about all of that, now ;).

Happy Weekend!

xo, Cindy

tunes : sia

clean sheet of paper : fresh box of crayons : endless possibilities

Hi Everyone -

It's Friday - hurray! Such an incredible week with so much excitement and goodwill about the election and our democratic process. Today's musical choice comes from the eccentric Australian singer/songwriter, Sia. I was looking at iTunes and saw a free video for her new song Soon We'll Be Found. I took a look and it was incredibly creative just like her. It's full of sign language, hand shadows and glow in the dark neon color. I was also happy to find it on vimeo, which is my first choice for embedded videos as they look good even when not playing.

The lyrics in the song reference being free so I needed a photo to represent the concept metaphorically. I thought a clean sheet of paper and a fresh box of crayons were one form of creative freedom, which was the inspiration behind the photo. Then, I heard that the theme for President-Elect Obama's inauguration is going to be 'A New Birth of Freedom' and bingo! It's a trifecta!

What comes to your mind when you think of creative freedom?

xo, Cindy

pics : then & now

Hi Everyone -

First, I was listening to NPR just about all day yesterday, including the BBC broadcast, and it was terrific to hear the positivity from around the world about President-Elect Obama and our democratic-process! People were inspired by his election and felt they could achieve anything even in their own countries. In addition to all of the goodwill and the potential for positive change, I'm looking forward to seeing his adorable children in the White House with their new puppy in tow ;). We have to be careful not to expect Obama to walk on water, though. He has an enormous task at hand and continued patience and support will be essential from everyone.

Now, on to business ;). After a few years of using my trusty Canon PowerShot S400 (4 megapixel point & shoot), I purchased a Nikon D60 about a month ago. It's pretty neat, but I haven't gone beyond using the automatic settings, yet. One of my projects is to photograph our collections. I wanted to do some of them over again with the new camera and was amazed at the difference. Now, I'm not saying I won't be calling 'do over' again, but these photos were taken in the same location at the same time of day. The top shot is with the DSLR and the second one with the point & shoot.

I'm working on something else with these photos and will have more details next week.

xo, Cindy

life : it's a BLUEtiful day

yes we can : yes we did : yes we will*

Hi Everyone -

After the election yesterday, isn't it a beautiful day? And, didn't it feel like New Year's Eve last night with all of the celebrations? I was trying to find a fitting song and think this one is just perfect. Happy Day!

xo, Cindy
* Thanks to Kelly for the last one!

life : voting is fun!

Hi Everyone!

We've never felt so excited about voting! Happily, it seems we're not alone. Scott took a walk this morning to scout out the situation while I was getting ready and finding no line he was no. 86. A bit later, he went back with me and I was no. 110. Although we do have a preference, we're just happy for our country to move forward on a new path. It won't be easy as their will be hard choices to be made, but we have hope. Now, back to watching the tv coverage along with everyone else!

xo, Cindy

garden : bonsai confessional

small stature : magnificent impact : years of patience & skill

Ohayo : Good Morning -

I have a confession to make today, but first a statement. It's not in my nature to post anything here that I don't feel is worthy of your attention. I value the time you all spend visiting us and don't take it for granted. However, when I came home from kiku with over 130 photos I was so disheartened by them. I thought gee wiz I am the world's most boring photographer. Although the exhibit is compelling and unique, I thought my photos were ordinary.

A few things made me feel better after thinking about it. Most importantly, your lovely comments and support since we've entered the blogosphere. We are very lucky to have the most talented readers and I'm always inspired by each and every one of you. Your words of encouragement are always given a lot of weight and importance.

I also have a handy reference book called the 'Photo Idea Index' by Jim Krause. It's a great book as it succinctly offers practical tips about cameras, composition, lighting, etc. There are many exercises to help
jump start your creativity, which is often the intent behind Jim's books. There is a section that discusses the associated 'status-quo' shots with certain landscapes - mountains for example. Sometimes, you really need to take that shot. Maybe you'll find a new perspective and maybe not. That advice helped a wee bit, but I know there are terrific photographers who will capture terrific shots of the same exhibit.

The other thing that was encouraging and helped me understand what I'm trying to capture in a photo was the bonsai exhibit. When I separated those images, I saw what was missing from kiku - intimacy. I'm curious by nature and really like to learn about the nitty-gritty. So, in photography, an interesting macro shot is often my favorite. Through the bonsai photos, I did a better job of capturing the subject up close and personal
. I think that little haiku under the top image applies to photography, too!

Some of these trees are over a hundred years old, which I find to be incredible. I think the small arrangements are absolutely charming. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Matane : See you, Cindy

PS If you can, don't forget to VOTE tomorrow!