a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Sometimes less is more and other lessons learned

I’m still on my iPhone photo kick and am having a lot of fun with it…and as a bonus, maybe, learning a bit more about photography, too.

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I’ve realized that I have difficulty letting go of certain ideas when it comes to photography, though, like needing to center people in the pictures and making sure the whole thing gets in the shot. But I’m getting better…

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I think the most difficult thing I’ve had to learn was “sometimes less is more.” My initial impulse was to center that horizon smack dab in the middle of the view finder. But I fought back, raised the camera, and am glad I did. I love this shot.

Photos by LB Driver ©2015

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A Trip to the Finnriver

One of our local cideries was having their yearly holiday open house this month. I’d never been there before and had heard a lot of nice things about it and thought “why not?” Fred was working so I grabbed a girlfriend and off we went!

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They had live music – two unusually paired gentlemen. One was a tuba player and the other a guitarist. Surprisingly, they sounded very good together and I was impressed with their musical abilities.

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While we listened to the music we had fresh from the oven (yes, they even have a super-sized oven in their outdoor gazebo that, I found out, is used for “pizza Sundays” in the summer – I must come back!) pretzels with spicy mustard and cranberry cider! Delish!

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While waiting to join the next group in the tasting room we wandered around to look at the farm. In the summer they offer pick-your-own berries and various produce, meats, and eggs throughout the year.

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A few bottles of wine and some cheese later (no, no, to take home), we were on our way after a lovely afternoon!

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Christmas in New England

You would think the thing I miss most about New England would be the fabulous fall colors. They are spectacular, mind you, but it’s actually the Christmas season that holds the most wonderful memories for me. Taking a moonlit sleigh ride with the Christmas lights twinkling and snow gently falling as you’re snuggled up and holding hands under the warm blanket (I know, I know. It sounds more like a Hallmark Christmas special than reality, but it does happen!).

One of the things I loved to do over the holidays was shop. Not the big chain stores or malls but the small, hometown Mom & Pops & village stores that are strewn about the area. One of my favorites was The Christmas Dove in Barrington, NH. I would go there twice a year. Once on the hottest day of the summer – walking into the air conditioning, surrounded by rooms and rooms of Christmas always made the worst day of the summer the very best – and again just before Christmas. After hours of wandering in awe like a child, I would carefully choose my one new ornament, usually a small glass vintage-looking one by Christopher Radko, to put on the tree.

IMG_2483.PNG (Photo by Spendtheday)

Then I would head across the street to Calef’s Country Store to pick up some delicious goodies for the holidays (like their to-die-for homemade fudge and cheeses!) and poke around for any other new treasures in the adjacent stores.

IMG_2480-0.JPG (Photo by Peter Frailey)

“First Night” is a big deal there, too. More so than any other place I’ve lived in the US. It seems every little town has it’s own traditions to go along with welcoming in the New Year. Portsmouth, NH was the best, I think. Good Food, hot drinks, live music, various shows, and even warming stations were available!

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(Photo by Dan Gargano)

I still dream of the white Christmases there and hope to go back again one day. Maybe next year…

Happy holidays to you and yours no matter how you celebrate!

Here are the links if you want to take a closer look at these fabulous places!

The Christmas Dove
http://www.christmasdove.com

Calef’s
http://www.calefs.com/shop/m/viewCategories.asp

First Night :
http://www.proportsmouth.org/EntertainmentandActivities.cfm

IMG_2351-0.JPG (Photo by LB Driver)

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Repost: More Ways To Reuse Glass Bottles

I love to reuse, repurpose, and upcycle whenever I can find or come up with ways to do it and, when I came across this post today, I thought it had some rather clever ideas to try. Here are a few of my favorites!

Vacation Memory Jars

Vacation Memory Jars

Baby Food Jar Hanging Vases

Baby Food Jar Hanging Vases

Sewing Kits

Sewing Kits

Stacked Storage

Stacked Storage

Here is the link to the full post with credits and sources for making your own!

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2011/05/50-ways-to-re-purpose-and-reuse-glass-jars-saturday-inspiration-ideas.html

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Fluffy, Puffy Clouds

It’s hard to believe it’s November. Not just because the year has flown by, but also because the weather has been so lovely this fall!

The other day my photo buddy, Crystal, sent me a text message “you want to go shoot a few pictures?” I tried, very hard, to keep focused on what I was doing but she won me over (not to mention the fact that she was sitting in my driveway when she sent the message to begin with…) and off we went to shoot photos. As always, I’m so glad we went.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a cloud fanatic. I can’t get enough. Each one is so interesting (okay, okay…interesting to me) and I, especially, love the big fluffy, puffy ones with the really well-defined edges. You know the ones I mean, right?

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Of course there’s also something to be said for the little cottony clouds, too…

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And, I admit, with views like this any clouds look marvelous!

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And let’s not forget the wispy, wind-swept clouds!

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Don’t get me wrong, I like blue skies (and even the grey ones) but there’s something magical about clouds…

 

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Halloween 2013

 

Well, it’s over…but it was great fun while it lasted! Fred and I won 2nd place at a local theater that was hosting a costume contest at their late night showing of “Young Frankenstein” (great flick!) on Halloween night. We went as “Sister Mary Eyebrows” and “Brother Dementias.” We were pretty scary and, I think if I hadn’t forgotten my ruler, we could’ve won.

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I got my witch done for the porch and our graveyard (aka “garden”) was a big hit. Everyone seemed to enjoy our hard work, with the exception of one little girl who, very loudly, refused to get out of the car to take a closer look. We even had one person knock on the door to ask for our email because he’d taken photos and wanted to send them to us.

Since it was an “old-fashioned” haunting, I thought I’d do old-fashioned photos of it. Hope you enjoy them!

vulture

grim

minion

blurry grim

cemetary

pumpkins

(Okay, so I had to add one with all of Fred’s really cool lighting!)

halloween yard

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Reflections of Wooden Boat Festival

Dozens of boats flock to our little town each year for the annual Wooden Boat Festival. It’s one of the best times of the year as the weather always seems to be good and there’s so much to look at. Of course you have to like boats in order to really enjoy it…fortunately, I do.

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Life Hacks

I always just assumed they were tips and hints of cool and inventive things to do to make your life easier. Who knew they had an actual name? According to Wikipedia “life hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method to increase productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life; in other words, anything that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way.” I like it!

Fred has just found “life hacks” on the internet. I can tell when he’s found new ones because his eyebrows raise and there’s a distinct twinkle in his eye as he hits “mail link to page.” Within seconds, I hear a “ding” on my phone alerting me there’s a new email, followed by a big smile and “didja geddit yet?” (Yes, it is mandatory to stop what I’m doing to look at his email. But I can’t really fault him for wanting to share. I’m sitting here doing a blog post about it that’s going out to the world…).

Here are a couple to get you started, in case life hacks are new to you, too. I’ve also put a couple of links, below, in case you want to take a peek at some more (sorry about any duplicate ideas in these — some things are just worth posting again and again!).

Use a sticky note to get debris out from in between the keyboard keys (a vacuum with an attachment works well, too but you don’t always have one of those in your desk drawers…).hack 1

This is a tip that I’ve been using since before Life Hacks had a name!hack egg

Use a can opener to cut through the edges of that super hard, plastic packaging.hack 2

 

This is, by far, my favorite one. It makes me want to do laudry…almost. http://www.youtube.com/watchv=0qeozw4thnM&feature=player_embedded

Website links:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/readcommentbackwards/37-essential-lifehacks-every-college-student-or-a-dmjk

http://dedalvs.tumblr.com/post/48998678919/99-life-hacks-to-make-your-life-easier

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html

http://1000lifehacks.com/

(Hey! If you’re the originator of any of these, let me know! I’m happy to give you credit and kudos!).

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Dahlias at Port Gamble

Fred and I went with out-of-town friends to Port Gamble, Washington for the day to show them around. I love it there (and not just because it was the setting for “Zombies of Mass Destruction”) — and I don’t think we could’ve picked a better day for being outside if we tried. It was beautiful.

Port Gamble is an old Victorian seaport and was the longest operating sawmill (142 years!) in the country. Here’s the Wikipedia link if you’re interested in more information on it;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Gamble,_Washington#Events

The county Dahlia club has some of their beautiful flowers growing in front of the Port Gamble Post office and I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots of them as they were stunning and perfect — and I think I need some for my own garden!

yellow dahlia sig

orange dahlia sig

purple dahlia sig

pink dahlia sig

red dahlia 1 sig

pink red dahlia sig

pink white dahlia sig

(I saved the best for last. I love this one. The crisp white and deep red against the green foliage is amazing). 

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Kale Walnut Pesto

Every year our garden “blesses” us with an abundance of something. One year it was cucumbers. We had so many we were putting boxes of them by the street with a big “free” sign. We thought it odd that they weren’t being snatched up and realized why when one of our neighbors asked about the “zucchini.” Yeah, they were that big. Once we put “cucumbers” on the boxes, they were sucked up by the vultures, I mean neighbors, in no time.

This year it appears to be Kale, which is okay with us. We love it. Grant it, I had to disguise it under a lot of Parmesan and dressing in order to get Fred to try it, at first, as he’s normally “greenphobic” when it comes to food (ie; if it’s green it can’t possibly be edible in his opinion) but he’ll eat it raw or cooked now (dandelion greens are next, but don’t tell him, it’ll ruin the surprise…).

kale pestoKale Walnut Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Kale, rough chopped
  • 1/4 c. Walnuts (I toasted them)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 c. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • Dash of Black Pepper (more to taste)
  • 1 Tbs. dried Basil (you can leave this out but I like a more Basil flavored pesto)
  • Optional: Parmesan, to taste (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, use a substitute).

Directions

  1. Blanch the Kale; drop the kale into boiling water then immediately remove to an ice water bath.
  2. Drain the Kale on towels (I prefer fabric to paper, less waste) until mostly dry.
  3. Toast the walnuts, if you choose to do that.
  4. Place all these ingredients into a food processor and blend to your desired consistency. You can add a little water or more oil if it’s too thick.

 As soon as it was done, I schmered some of this onto a homemade toasted flatbread — and was in heaven. I believe this will also freeze well but haven’t really tested it, yet. I guess I’ll have to make a bigger batch next time to see. I’ve also used it on sandwiches in place of Mayo – yum – and noticed that, when using with pasta, thin after  you toss it with the pasta as pasta has some water in it and will naturally thin it.

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