"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “Christmas

Star Wars Lego® Figures Photo Found on my Phone

Either Michael or Jack, one of my grandsons, took this photo of Star Wars figures..  I found it in my December Photo Stream in Aperture tonight.

I hadn’t seen it before, didn’t notice it.  I know I didn’t take it.  The kids love to use the electronic devices.

Any it was all set up and photographed (on the piano I’m fairly certain) and here’s their shot.  Guest  blog photo by one of them.

I’d left the mini Light Sabers in a gift box with a friend’s gift but she mailed them out from Pittsburgh in a card so they got to Ohio in time for Christmas.  Need light sabers  to do battle!!  Thanks V.

Something about mini figures invites creative and imaginative play.

star wars legoEither Michael (8) or Jack(6+) took this photo with my phone.  I found it in the December photo stream tonight.

 


Henry the Airedale Watches a Movie and Thinks About What to do with his Xmas Gift

One more dog post. There’s been a lot of dogs watching TV on my blog this season. And it’s been kids and dogs while I’m on vacation which is fast coming to a close.

We’ve all missed Murphy, the gentleman Airedale, who passed last Spring.  Such a well mannered fellow, and loved dearly.

Erika keeps asking me when I am going to knit Henry a sweater.

He’s still a pup, exuberant and finding his place in the pack, making his way into our hearts with his humorous antics.  He’s trying to figure things out.

He certainly likes being with his family where the activity is happening.  And did he ever relish his new bone.  (Laura asked if it came from a Wooly Mammoth.)

The handy iPhone camera, pulled out of a pocket. catches a moment without my leaving the family room seat or putting down my knitting.

There will be tomorrow to speak of the last post of the old year, bring in the new year- making resolutions or not.

Watching PollyannaHenry and Michael on the family room floor.

taking the bone outside

Hmmmmm I wonder if I could bury this outside.

Airedale and His Bone

Please let me out with this giant bone.

henry and the doll

And Henry eyes Maura’s horse

And then eyes me!

Henry Eyes the Horse

A p.s. to today’s blog
Henry’s breakfast Time for grandma to go home

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

Joy and you pair it up with JUMP.  For joy, that is.

Joy to the World (church or another Three Dog Night version).

Joy? An old fahioned liquid dish soap- none available to photograph tonight.

Joy is the emotion I’d most like to capture in a selfie?  (Just thought I’d throw that new word in before the end of 2013  since it was deemed new word of the year.)

Last year’s Christmas card shoot of the grandchildren came to mind. Jumping for Joy.

The grandchildren certainly bring me a lot of joyful moments to capture.

Wishing everyone a new year with lots of joy in it!

foiur kids (1)

 

Photographed Thanksgiving  2012 in Hardy Virginia.

 

 

Ruthie and the kidsPhotographed by Erika’s mother, Marlene.  The grandchildren with me on Christmas Eve.  Feeling about as joyful as one can be!


Uncle Matty Sings the Christmas Blues

Everyone is happy that Matthew is visiting from Zagreb.  He’s either playing the guitar or the piano, telling big brother-little brother stories to his nephews as they fall off to sleep or trying to beat Mark’s Father-in-Law Donald at 360XBox College Football. He helps wash the dishes and keeps us laughing and entertained.

Here are some Matthew moments for the blog followers in Croatia, wondering why he isn’t on the blog!

I hope to get a photo with him before he leaves.  We’ll see.  It feels good to have everyone together, even for a short time.

singing the blues

 

Singing the Christmas Blues –  Erika’s Mom Marlene on the floor by the tree

 

matty and the watches

 

Christmas morning.  He likes his new hat, fresh off the needles.

 

 

matty 1Playing with the new Turkey and Fox Puppets with niece Anna (10)

matty 2 (1)With sister Laura and her husband James  at dinner last Saturday night- Spinach Pie on the right

matty awkward photos

When we were working on the Awkward Photos

matty and his brother and sisterMatty with Mark and Laura Christmas Night right before Laura and James went home.

And Matthew wasn’t keen on being the main feature of the blog.  So here is one more photo of the grandchildren on Christmas Eve to share the post.

GrandchildrenMaura   Anna   Jack and Michael


My Family Actually Gave Me The Awkward Family Photos® Game

Identical GAP dresses

Matching Dresses for the Sisters-In-Law Gap

I kid you not.   I think it was on the sale table somewhere.  It was funny cause Laura and the girls played it and then wanted to recreate some of the photos they’d seen on the photo cards included in the game.  There were challenges to respond to – “explain how you came to have this photo in your wallet.”  Do people have photos in wallets anymore or just in phones?  Remember when showing grandchildren pictures meant you had a vinyl accordion filled with 2×3 school size pics?

Here is attempt one, slightly desaturated to give the illusion of a time past

Inspired by Awkward Family Photos®

We all know that taking family photos can be stressful and not everyone’s idea of a good time.

And it is an interruption.

A demand.

Someone else’s idea.

Cooperation and light-heartedness are essential for success.  Trying to not feel annoyed cause no one is in the mood.

awkward family

 

awkward (1)

 

and I wanted a photo of everyone but it wasn’t working out but Matthew is in from Croatia and Zagreb is far away and the opportunity to get the three siblings plus two in-laws is rare

kids

Laura and James on the way home  with Matthew (in his new knitted hat) and Mark and Erika, the hosts on the left

Matthew’s friends in Croatia have been looking for him on the blog and here is the elusive subject!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

This post of the electric poinsettia is inspired by Leanne Cole Photography Playing With Light post. Thanks Leanne.  I had the students work with the same method and it was a lot of fun. Bringing the light to the front helped the foil reflect the penlight.

The weekly challenge: illumination by Cheri Lucas is a great one for this time of year.

ELectric Poinsetta

 

 

Waiting to get the okay

Christmas morning- Waiting for the okay to go see if Santa arrived

 

 

 

electric santa

Kennywood at night

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2008 Cathedral of Learning Festival of Lights

cathedral


Proud to be Born in Florida

(Blog follower and Floridian friend Kristin, my guest blogger the other day with with gators on Christmas, is going to enjoy this photograph)

Michael is the only grandchild born in Florida and he’s proud of it.

I was fortunate he was an August baby and I hadn’t started back to school yet so I was on the scene to take care of big sister Anna when Mom and Dad went to the hospital.

The family has a Pittsburgher, two Buckeyes and a Floridian.

This Christmas Santa helped Michael get the proper gear to represent The University Florida Gators.

No one else in Columbus Ohio is sporting these colors around town.  They’re all in scarlet and gray, right Rob?

What is your team?

Proud to be born in Florida


What the Kids Like Best on Christmas

The Famous Box

Maura finds the exterior box of the pressure cooker a great toy!


Paynes Prairie Preserve Gators on Christmas Day

Paynes Prairie Preserve in Micanopy Florida.  Photographed by my friend Kristin F.as she took a walk on Christmas Day.

(Just five feet away from these guys!  Yikes)

Such a contrast to the frozen white world of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  She says Jan 1st temp is 73 degrees!  And I am trying to not fall in my driveway as I unload the suitcase and bags from my Winter Holiday in Ohio, prepare to return to school in the early AM.   Thanks Kristin.

photo-7


Christmas Mice to Admire and Eat

Guest Blog from Euthemia where my sister is spending the Christmas holidays.

Her friend Joanne brought these to Christmas dinner . Euthemia emailed me the photo of them and then I wrote back to ask if it would be okay to post.  Directions below.  Thanks Euthemia and Joanne. photo-5

 

 

Here are the instructions for making the chocolate cherry mice from Joanne Maier of Glenmont, New York.  
They were a great hit at the holiday table.  

 
24 Maraschino cherries with stems
Waxed paper
1/2 cup chocolate chips
24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
48 almond slices (match pairs by size)
Icing – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of water
Black food coloring
Red food coloring
Drain cherries, pat dry. Cherries, unwrapped kisses and paired ears need to be lined up ahead of time on a cookie sheet covered in waxed paper.  Microwave chocolate chips 15 seconds at a time until melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.    Hold the cherry by stem, dip and swirl til covered in chocolate, put on the side so tail sticks out and on the front, push on a Kiss to make the head.  Where the Kiss meets the cherry, put in the two ears, and keep doing it until you finish.  Make icing, take a small amount and add black food coloring, another small amount for red food coloring, and the rest will stay white.  Put icing into 3 different baggies and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag.  Make the eyes white with a black dot in the middle, and use the pink for a nose.

Lala Loved the Ukelele!

Laura really, really wanted a ukelele.  She thought her husband was getting one for her.   He gave her birthstone earrings instead!

She and James came to Mark and Erika’s today  after having been at James’ family Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We had a festive time opening presents and watching the kids play with their new toys.  Preparing a nice dinner, too.

So this was one of the fun moments of Christmas for me.  She wasn’t expecting her mom to get her a ukelele.  But I did!

Thanks Pittsburgh Guitars on Carson Street, SouthSide!

The man who sold it to me suggested I put her face on the box on top of the model’s and I added James’ face from a photo I cut up of the two of them.

He told me he was selling at least a ukelele or two every day.  This one came with a gig bag and a tuner.

It was just a good time as I sat on the floor, grabbed the camera and caught her excitement.  Laura learned a couple of chords and Matthew accompanied her on the guitar.  Seeing her so excited felt wonderful.

(and yes that is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, born in Pittsburgh,  in the right hand corner of the television and the photograph)

Laura got her Ukelele


Murphy Waits for Santa

Kids asleep. Presents wrapped. The adults listening to Vince Guaraldi. The homemade cookies left for Santa on a special plate but I have to tell you this is the first I’ve seen a bowl of raw cauliflower and another of water for the reindeer. We always did carrots.
I was looking for a paper clip to try to weave in a loose end of yarn on a knitting project/gift and Marlene produced a package with two yarn needles! Talk about timing. We went to the four o’clock and then Mark and Matthew picked up Persian takeout- another first for Christmas Eve.
Definitely a foggy Christmas Eve. Laura and James coming in the morning. All is quiet, all is calm. Wishing all blog readers a peaceful day, whatever you’re doing on the 25th.

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Front Porch Ambient Light Portrait- Godmother/Goddaughter

Taking photos of people on the front porch is the nicest light.  Not too much, not too little. Like Baby Bear- it’s just right!

No squinting from the midday sun either (but there really wasn’t any full sun this weekend, due to some thick cloud cover and rain, rain, rain)

Was out visiting in Columbus and getting ready to go home.  Matty and Maura and I were in a separate car from the rest of the family due to schedules and timing.  We swung by Laura and James’ house to see their freshly decorated tree that a few hours earlier had been tied on the roof of their car.  I took a Christmas photo of them in their living room so had the camera out as we headed back to the car.  “Quick” Laura said. “Godmother, goddaughter shot!” Pressed once and it shot two in quick succession.

And that is how the Front Porch Ambient Light Portrait got taken on Sunday afternoon before I headed back to Pittsburgh to start a new school week.

Godmother and Goddaughter Front Porch Potrait


Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

Christmas 2009
Jack and Woody or rather Woody and Jack

You can check out fellow bloggers responses to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

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Three Magi

From the archives. Three Magi. Apple boxes. Found the apple packing and storing company listing.

Was reading about the dismantling of the Christmas stuff at my son’s in Ohio and knew it was Twelfth Night and the end of Christmas. This photo came to mind. The three kings, Epiphany. Bearing gifts. Traveling so far.

These are the big wooden boxes used when the apples are picked in the orchard. You can see them stacked up in tall piles as you drive around this part of the country. You get a new appreciation for the effort it takes to grow fruit. These three apple boxes were just placed like this along the path where we’d walk the dogs.


Living proof about the box it came in….

It wasn't that he didn't like the Lincoln Logs but needed someone to help build with him and we were setting the table and making breakfast.

 

This looks set up but it is as it happened.  The first shot a blur with his brother and this one the clearer image but Michael caught me with the camera catching him playing in the box the Lincoln Logs came in-

classic, cliche, you’ve heard it a hundred times but his mom alerted me to witness the occurrence. Loving playing in the BOX!

Later he and his dad built a log cabin and fence but it’s going to take quiet concentration and a day with less activity to master Lincoln Log building skills.

 


Milk and Cookies Placement and Polish Christmas Eve

Acrobatics on the ottoman make the magical setting real.

Probably the last year for second grader Anna to believe that Santa will come and eat that plate of cookies and the carrots will be eaten by the reindeer.  We had a Polish Christmas eve honoring Erika’s father’s heritage


Inspired by Smile,Kiddo

People tell me they see things they didn’t see before looking at my photos on the blog-

And now that happened to me!
Sitting on the floor, wrapping presents,  I saw a smiley in the floor- where the French doors go.

Almost a wink at me!
Thanks Stef for training my brain to find smiles everywhere. check out smile kiddo

It was an iPhone post today.  Fat fingers and tiny letters. YIKEs. Forgive the typo, Stef. I edited but know the subscribers will see your title spelled incorrectly. I am reposting it new so it is correct.  So much for trying to post from the phone.


First Day of Winter Still Life in My Kitchen

Friends joined me for tea, even though they weren’t in Pittsburgh.

You can see out the kitchen back door window to the back porch and garage, the bare trees.  The shortest day of light.  Winter officially here.

Two dear friends in KY sent a shipment of fancy English muffins and the Fed Ex man delivered them Wednesday afternoon.  It seemed a good time to split one, toast it and spread some butter (with my Grandmother’s silver butter knife) and spoon some apricot preserves.

Went to fire up the kettle to brew tea but I’d burned the kettle dry on Monday so boiled a pot of water to make the tea. Pulled out the camera on the phone to capture the scene

Oranges were on sale 10 for $2 today and lately they were almost a dollar apiece.

A faithful  blog reader in Virgina, C, (and  best friend of a my good friend J in Omaha) made me the little quilted mug mat last year and it was  J who gave me the lidded butter dish another year.  The Botanic Garden mug matches my mother’s cereal bowls.

I was home alone but in the presence of friends and family remembered.  Finding the joy of winter.  My neighbor called to report a vibrant rainbow spotting and perhaps I could photograph it.  i went outside and it was still raining and saw the colored arch across the street.  I photographed it but it didn’t make the cut for posting but i appreciate when people see something and I come to mind. There was thunder and lightning, too.

Yes, that is a stack of woven potholders on the left counter top.

"...and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China......"


Vanessa’s Party Shoe Presses the Piano Pedal Plus Nina’s High Heel, Too

Young and trendy.  Stylish and chic.  These fancy shoes separate the youthful fashionable and the older woman’s footwear.   I wore brown clogs. Quite a different look!

It was a good party. The live music made it great. The singing, the piano playing. The friends. The snow was falling as the night wore on.  We’d seen a bad pileup on Bigelow Boulevard and the exit ramp due to black ice on our way to the party. Wondered if we should turn around and go home and avoid the first treacherous driving of the season.

But we were almost there so went forward with the evening’s plans-

the weather discussion goes on forever around these parts and it is usually not good

……Vanessa said she is 5’1″ and that these shoes are really comfortable.  I had to ask.  I was fascinated with the glamorous high heel.

I can’t even imagine.  She seemed to maneuver perfectly. Vanessa and Nina sang and Luke played the piano and sang, too.  He can transpose into any key.  Incredibly talented young man looking at colleges now.

I had asked to blog the women and they agreed but didn’t get permission to show Luke on the blog.   Nina has a website here.   I’ll email and ask so it may be up with the three of them.

Vanessa sitting down and Nina standing


Holiday Spirit on Not My House

Not a sprig of evergreen or a single bulb at my house. Not an angel or a garland or candy cane.

And then I drive by this place!  WHOA.

Serious decorations.  I wonder where they store them the other eleven months.  The traffic must stop as gawkers drive by.  Like me.

By a friend’s special request, the first holiday house spotted and captured at night. Last year, or maybe it was the year before,  I used to drive around and shoot inflatable turkeys and then Santas on rooftops and even an inflatable nativity scene and when I got out of the car I could hear the air blowing.   Somehow I lost interest in this subject matter.  On the way to Virginia, one lawn had 37 inflatables the inhabitants told me.  After that spotting, I just didn’t feel moved to try and capture the blowing hot air filling the bright, colored cloth. Everyone had them on their lawn or so it seemed. I stopped saying, “Holy Cow, I can’t believe that display!” and raise my camera to shoot.

It’s not that I am Scroogella or anything. I enjoy other people’s efforts to brighten the darkness (and sunset comes before 5PM these days), I just got out of the “seeing” the decorations and photographing them. .

But I’m back- what else could I do?  This scene could not be ignored.

These  lights demanded my attention and capture.

Discovered because I went to a CD release party in Regent Square. Who knew it was waiting around the corner?

But then


Unexpected Mail

Home after being away for ten days. Steve bought a pizza for us. Found a pile of mail in the front hall; catalogs, bulk mail, a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, a notice of a tangelos and grapefruit delivery, a bank statement and the water bill. A few Christmas cards and the Barbie scrubs I ordered  for Christmas from Etsy. A nice card with a Starbucks giftcard from Cj. AND a “Mug Rug” with a Norfolk VA postmark from Colleen, a long time friend of Joanne in Omaha.  Joanne insists that Colleen and I have met but we haven’t– yet! Colleen stitched a quilted “mug rug” and sent it to me with a lovely card. (Depending on when you are reading this, I am writing on the 9th Day of Christmas so it is 9 Ladies Dancing, 10 Lords-a-Leaping, Mary.) I love the numbers on the fabric.  There were instructions for a cup of tea and room for two cookies on the side but I didn’t want to cover up the fabric for the photo. What a happy surprise to find a handmade gift in the sea of fliers and junkmail! And how fortunate Steve had some cookies to supply for the shot.  What a great way to end the vacation. And Deb B I like the quote on your handmade card.

“How we choose to think,

Determines what we will see,

And so it is that we,

Create our reality.”

(a quote but no attribution, maybe someone will help find the source)

 

It is a happy 2011 already. Thanks friends.

*If you want to see the Blog Year in Review 2010  and the Top Posts- click here for late post 1/2/2011

 

Thank goodness Steve had some cookies a patient brought him. Delicious with Good Earth tea. (after the photo)


A Different Light of Christmas

The introduction of the portable electronic world to the children. Matthew came to tell me to get the camera. They never noticed I was there., YIKES. Mesmerized is the word.

A new DS for Christmas captures everyone's attention.


Electric Nativity with Santa and Carolers Combo

Thanks for all the condolences and comments on the passing of Fred (yesterday’s post).  Must have been a bit distracted because there were 2 errors in two sentences and of course the date isn’t 2011 yet.  I am going to have to hire a proofreader for when I am tired.   Thanks to V and Keith.    So is the preference white lights or colored lights?

Christmas Decorations at Night

I am still thinking of the around-the-year storage for these items.

Here is one of the final Christmas lights at night series for Christmas Eve.  It can’t be as much fun to dismantle as it is to decorate!


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