Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Secret Life of Bees ~ The Movie ~ Can't Wait . . .

One of my favorite books is now a movie! The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd premiers October 17th. I watched the trailer and it looks good. I think it is perfectly cast. I listened to the audio book and anxiously await the film.

Go to Kidd's website to watch the mover trailer and a video of the her first visit to the set.


Sunflower hearts . . .

I posted about this phenomenon in July and it still amazes me! This wildflower was a volunteer ~ probably planted by a bird. When I processed the picture I was very surprised to see that the dark center is completely comprised of small hearts. The second photo is cropped to show them up close. No Photoshop tricks were applied; this is Mother Nature at her finest.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Great desk for Bloggers . . .

Somebody should make this.
Seems like an idea whose time has come! Love the bed drawer!

You can click to enlarge this hilarious NewYorker cartoon.

Slug Portraits ~ Not for the Squeemish . . .

I seem to be having great luck lately having invertebrates pose for their portraits! This guy was washed out by Hanna's big rain and landed on an extremely prickly object. I always wear leather gloves when I rake up these American chestnut pods. They really hurt!

I guess slugs feel no pain because the thorns did not seem to hinder him. Mr. Slug moved right along and found safety rather quickly.

For anyone wanting more 'up close and personal' slug photos, I uploaded the whole photo shoot to a Picasa Web Album. All shots are right out of the camera and some are fuzzy. I won't leave them up forever, so look if you dare. Choose slideshow for the best viewing experience. Enjoy.

I think this slug looks related to the couple in yesterday's cartoon, don't you?

You might also be interested in my Snail Portraits.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

D-Day at Target Sunday, Sept. 7th . . .

Just a reminder! The John Derian items will be offered for a limited time beginning Sunday, September 7th. The weather here in New Jersey should be fine tomorrow after the Hanna aftermath blows over.

For a while today, it was raining sideways! All of my inside window sills were soaked and as I was wiping them off and closing the windows a light bulb went off in my head. Since everything was already presoaked, it would be a good time to wash the part of the sill that touches the screens. I had done them earlier in the year but they needed it again.

I got a stainless steel bowl, squirted in a little Dawn dish soap, added some really hot water, grabbed my favorite round fat paint brush and a cloth, and off I went. I did 19 windows in no time at all. I was really racing to get finished before dark. No need to worry about the soapy liquid running down the outside of the house either. The rain washed that off too. I am thrilled that I tackled that chore.

Late on a Saturday too ~ how pathetic is that?! Made me happy though...that's all that counts.

Content in a Cottage

Begging dog balances duck on head . . .

Webster has absolutely no trouble begging. I taught him this trick very easily when he was just a young puppy by putting a Cheeze It cracker in my mouth and holding him up manually. He quickly learned that when he begged by himself he could get a free treat. He was pretty wobbly at first but now he can hold the pose for as long as it takes to get what he is after.

This head balancing thing is going to be a little more difficult. It is hard for me to grab the camera after the object is in place on top of his head. I am not going to cheat with double sticky tape or anything like that. He wasn't any good at all with my cup full of sharpened pencils. The rubber ducky was better.

He is pretty humiliated right now so I'd better stop.

Content in a Cottage

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dog balances coffee on his head . . .

The first photo is one of my very favorite things. It is a life-size begging dog stand. It was probably originally used as a smoking stand because there are burn marks on one edge. He even has an old brass dog license hanging from his collar. It is stamped with the number 41.

I like to think that it was made in woodshop by a boy or girl. I took woodshop in 4th grade, so it could be a girl! It is the perfect height for holding my mug of morning coffee; it sits next to my computer chair.

The second picture is the real-life version found on flickr. Dogs are so smart and so wonderful!

Content in a Cottage

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pitbull with Lipstick . . .

I could not resist posting these timely images.
Sarah Palin photo courtesy of Getty Images; dog from flickr.

Fabulous Fotos Follow Fall Foliage . . .

Images captured on my morning walk; coffee cup in one hand, a camera on my shoulder, and a dog at my side.

What could be better?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peter the Bulldog with his owner circa 1925 . . .

Kathlyn Newby and Peter the bulldog
ENGLISH, c1925

This is a scan of a postcard my friend Jill brought me years ago from Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in London. I had an English Bulldog at the time and I know just how this little girl felt about her pet.

The dogs in my life thus far have been muts, Scottish Terriers, English Bulldogs, and my current and all-time favorite is Webster. He is mostly chocolate lab with a little pitbull thrown in for good measure.

Pets add such dimension to your home and your life.

Content in a Cottage

An organized craft cupboard . . .

Another page from my magazine clippings drawer. Once again, there is no information on either side but we all know where this came from, don't we? Martha Stewart Living, year unknown.

It would be nice to have a free-standing antique cupboard to use for this purpose but you could probably do the same thing with something new from Ikea. It is not too early to be thinking about gift wrapping either. The season will be here in a flash. I always marvel that June and July sort of drag by, and then somehow August evaporates. After Labor Day the days just whiz by and then all of a sudden the holidays are here. The more organized you are, the more you can enjoy them!

I am posting this as inspiration for myself. I am going to tackle my studio today. It is a real mess; mostly just paper and "blog clutter" if you know what I mean. I will be able to work more efficiently when all of my horizontal surfaces are free again. I have to wrap and mail a big package today and it is virtually impossible right now.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go. Maybe I will even Whistle While I Work! I think I am going to enjoy today's project.

Content in a Cottage
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September in a nutshell . . .

SEPTEMBER ~ Back to WORK, Back to SCHOOL, Back to BOOKS!
This historic reading poster says it all, doesn't it?

I always loved the first day of school with everything new. New clothes head to toe, new bookbag, new 3-ring binders covered in blue canvas, new pencils (always painted yellow), new black and white speckled composition books, new lunchbox, new teachers, and new butterflies in my stomach.

Did I forget anything?

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Monday, September 1, 2008

DETOUR! Giant Dragonfly ahead . . .

This is one of my favorite photos of my mother taken some years ago. I added the dragon fly. Doesn't it look real?!!! The insect is a scan from an early 19th century entomology engraving. I deleted the background and moved it to the tree. Then I added a drop shadow.

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 as my editing software. I might have been using either 4.0 or 5.0 when I did this exercise. I call it Photoshop Fun!

If you like this photo manipulation, please look at one of my very first posts using the same photo and a GIANT MOTH.

I am sad to report that the magnificent tree has been cut down by the town of Mendham, NJ. The roots were lifting the sidewalk; such a shame. Only part of the centuries-old trunk appears in this snapshot.

Content in a Cottage

Labor Day is way too early this year . . .

Am I the only one who feels cheated when Labor Day falls on the first day of September? The thermometer shows that summer is NOT over yet!

Have a safe holiday.

Content in a Cottage

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Greenie Queenie ~ Queen Elizabeth goes green . . .

Is that an oil spot I see on the ground beside Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral? Be gone! She has instructed her police bodyguards to trade their gas-guzzling Range Rovers for black mountain bikes whenever possible.

The switch to bicycles is designed to reduce fuel consumption and establish a greener way of guarding the Royal Family during their summer break. The officers are pleased to be getting good workouts and saving fuel at the same time.

This is nothing new for Queen Elizabeth; she started going green more than two decades ago. The main castle's boilers have been converted to burn wood chips instead of oil and she is said to go around Buckingham Palace switching off the lights. Good for her!

The Queens company, The Crown Estate, has purchased the world's largest offshore wind turbine known as the Britannia project.

The company is also involved in the development of offshore windfarms in Scottish waters.

I think it is wonderful that she is so proactive instead of just sitting back and leaving it for Charles to do on his watch.

I hope she discovers the wonderful photos taken from a helicopter of "London from Above, At Night" on The Big Picture. When she sees how many lights are turned on she will probably go out and buy one or two more windfarms!

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Pansy faces . . .

I am still going through my old photos to see if there are any worthy of publishing on my blog. The single rain drop on the purple flower commemorates the nice gentle rain we had last night; the scorched grass is getting greener already.

Pansy faces are always appreciated and they send their best wishes for a safe Labor Day weekend. Enjoy!

The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning "thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought.