Archive for January, 2010
A few weeks ago I pitched a rough story idea to my local newspaper, and lo and behold they picked it up! With Valentine’s Day around the corner I wanted to encourage area residents to buy local, and have some fun with what many view as a “dreaded Hallmark holiday”. I scheduled an appointment with the reporter to come with a photographer on a Friday and I looked forward to it all week. When I had dinner with a friend the Wednesday before she said “Good luck with your interview tomorrow” and I reminded her that it was Friday, not Thursday.
Um, wrong. Thursday was supposed to be my day to get the studio all cleaned up and picture-ready. And then the doorbell rang. There stood the reporter and photographer right on time–I had totally mixed up my dates! The studio was a disaster, I was a disaster and I feared that the whole press opp would end in disaster! Thank goodness that they had a sense of humor, and spared me five minutes to put on a better shirt and a bit of lipstick! With a little quick photo styling (which really just means that I shoved all the piles of crap off of my desk onto the floor) you’d never know.
So, if you’re local to the Danbury/Bethel area, pick up a copy of today’s paper. Or, just check out the link on the News Times website.
A year ago at this time, my dad went into the hospital. What started as persistent chest pain turned into a heart attack that resulted in the implementation of three medically coated stents to help keep Dad healthy for a long time to come. I am grateful, every day, that there was a second chance for my dad, and my family. It’s not a cliché that life is short–it is a fact. Awareness of this fact makes the ride a lot more enjoyable–your eyes may be open just a little wider and you’ll see so much more.
Are you paying attention to your life? I mean, really paying attention? Or are you just running the race to get to the finish line? Are you taking care of your health, or just cruising through lazily, blindly believing that “it won’t happen to me” or “I’ll start tomorrow”? Are you calling your grandma once in a while to let her know that you love her and admire her, or just putting it off til you have more time? Are you smiling at passersby (it’s so easy to do!) or making the effort to avert your eyes and purse your lips and pretend you’re the only one for miles?
Often we tend to think we are much more important than we really are, or that we have more control than we really do. Everyday tasks tend to overshadow the beauty and blessing of everyday tasks.
When our hearts are open, there is so much to be grateful for. And so many simple yet unforgettable ways of expressing gratitude. Try a little more each day and see what impact it has on your mood.
I definitely have enough on this subject to make it a somewhat regular post series on this blog.
In fairness, I’ve not really given myself a fair shake with the camera–I’ve hardly used it and have yet to take it out of the home at all to shoot anything of interest. So, at this point, the only experiments I’ve done are on things that exist somewhere in the house. For example, a cracked egg shell, an assortment of Japanese tea caddies and the corner of my dining room that I’ve pictured here. I haven’t even had the energy or drive to do another product photo session.
Why am I so unenamored (did I make that word up?) with this thing? I feel like I need to capture one awesome photo in order to feel it grab me. But it’s evident that I don’t have the knack for turning every day objects into art, as I’ve seen so many other hobbyist photographers do.
At this point, I’m starting to grasp the concept of the way the camera works–exposure, aperture, etc. So there’s a start, I suppose. Here I’ve posted a couple of shots of a cabinet in my dining room. I guess I’ve demonstrated depth of field here. Did I even get it right? There are many other shots from this grouping that I didn’t post–some going towards the light, some going away, some from above and some from below. I’m feeling hung up on the technical aspects of photography–in other words, I feel that because there is so much technique required in capturing a good photo that there is less room for interpretation as in some other art forms. Does that make sense? And currently, I’m just focusing on technique, before I even delve into subject matter.
Perhaps today is the day that I take the darn thing out of the house and play some more.
I wasn’t even going to tell this story out loud on my blog, because it’s so ridiculous and kind of gross. But I find it, also, sort of hilarious, and you know how I like to get a laugh. And since this blog is a look inside my life, I thought it might be worth telling. This just happened the other night. For real.
It’s 2 am, and I’m woken out of my sleep because I’m roasting hot. Blankets flung off me-half my pajamas off-sweaty neck-hot. I get out of bed to go downstairs and lower the thermostat, but right by nightstand I notice a foul smell. It’s faint, but evident none the less. I sniff around thinking maybe I left a teacup out by mistake. No, not that. I sniff more and start to wonder, maybe it’s just Dino sound asleep–you know how men can sometimes get smelly at night. Not that either.
As I get closer to the staircase and start to head down the smell gets stronger. It’s a bit like sour milk, or more specifically, rotting corpse. I half expected to see a pile of biologicals from the cat on the living room floor. But no. And now the smell is so powerful and so heinous that I call up to Dino, wake him up and make him come down and help me investigate. Maybe it’s something in the recycle bin? No. And not the garbage either. Maybe there’s a rotting onion in the pantry that I didn’t see? No.
And then Dino, on his hands and knees by the fridge, sporting a sickly green pallor, say s “I think I found it”. Do you know what it wassssss? So gross. The night before we had made stir fry for dinner and used, as I always do, just a drop of fish sauce. Apparently, the lid wasn’t on all the way and the contents of the bottle had dribbled out onto the first shelf of the fridge door, down to the second, and out the door onto the floor. Fish sauce doesn’t smell like fish–it’s so much worse than fish. To my dismay, I learned that when an entire bottle is emptied into the fridge with no cover on it, it has the potential to stink up an entire house–all three floors.
In the middle of the night, the two of us groggy from sleep and me without my glasses on, have to completely disassemble the entire refrigerator door to clean it, as well as thoroughly wash and wipe every single bottle in the door as well. It reminded me a bit of what it must be like to have a toddler wake you up in the middle of the night because he barfed in his sheets. It was on that same level of unpleasantness. Just what I want to be doing in my sleep, let me tell you!
Fortunately, once the discovery was made, we were able to resolve the problem quickly. But needless to say, I’m never using fish sauce in my stir fry again.
My belief in manifesting your own destiny, or however you want to refer to it, is a primary focus for me in 2010. I have a certain list of goals that I want to accomplish, and I just keep telling myself that I will successfully meet all of them. It’s kind of amazing to me how powerful self-belief can be. 2010 is starting off great!
One of my goals for Mew Paper Arts this year is to expand my product line and get more exposure, potentially through licensing. One day right after Christmas I was approached by Alma of The Cat’s Pajamas to license my illustrations for use in rubber stamps. Alma, like me, is a small, self-powered operation with her cat as her business partner. It seemed to be a great collaboration from the start! Alma’s rubber stamps are especially loved by crafters in the scrapbooking community.
Until she unveils her new products to her customer base and distributors, I’ll keep the designs under wraps. But in the meantime, just wanted to share the good news. And to remind you to stay focused on your goals–every new opportunity is a step in the right direction!
Sorry, I’m a delayed in announcing the winner for last week’s Scavenger Hunt. That was fun! Rather than use the random number generator that seems to be popular for these sorts of things I called up a friend and asked her to say a number between 1-33 (the number of entries there were–sorry Mom, yours didn’t count). Without even asking for an explanation why I needed this number, she promptly declared 16!
Lucky number 16 is Monica from Our Designed Life. Monica answered all three questions right–we went to Turks and Caicos on our honeymoon, I had a tea party for my birthday last year, and my super-fantastically-rad scooter is bright blue! Keep an eye on your postbox Monica!
Thanks to everyone who entered–we’ll do another one of these soon!
A while back I read about My Kate Parker Wedding on the Think Splendid blog, and though it was still sort of under wraps and not out to the public yet I thought it was such a new, fresh take on wedding planning websites! I am so excited to be getting on board at the ground level just as they launch the fabulousness out to the world of brides and grooms!
If you are knee-deep in the business of planning your wedding, you’ll definitely want to take a peek, and sign up. It’s free to join. You can completely customize your preferences from your location, your budget, even your color palette! You know those inspiration boards you love to look at? There are tons of those! And when you’re looking for an inside tip on trends or etiquette you can read expert advice straight from the vendors who see this stuff every day.
You can see the Mew Paper Arts profile page in the Westchester County, New York section, under the $25K-$50k budget. (That’s the wedding budget, by the way, not the stationery alone!) But as always, don’t forget that Mew provides service to people all over the country and the world–not just New York.
Our Christmas wish list had only one thing on it–a new digital camera. We did a ton of research and decided on the Pentax. It came super fast from B & H and we’ve had it just under a week now. We purchased a book with some helpful tips on general photography and I’m still waiting for one specifically on product photography to arrive from Barnes and Noble online.
It’s important to note that I have the patience level of a flea. So the fact that I’m not instantly picking up the knack of digital photography is frustrating me beyond my level of tolerance. I think I might have been expecting to pick up the camera and not only be a talented photographer with years of experience and high-level training, but also a savvy photo-stylist with a keen eye for detail and a garage full of props for use at my disposal. Truth is, I’m at pre-beginner level and there is just so much to learn and master.
For example, it took me a half hour just to get the room set up for a makeshift photo-shoot–first I had to clear the kitchen island of 37 mismatched teacups, salt and pepper shakers, clean dishes that weren’t put away and mail from three days ago. Then get the lights and a stand for the lights. Then get the products and some interesting props to shoot the products against. Oh the camera, I need the camera. Sh*t, no batteries. By now, the light is completely changed and the scene I just set needs realigning for optimal lighting conditions. Grrrrrrr. And after all that, I’m not even convinced that there’s enough of an improvement on the photos, $900 later.
For all you people out there who love photography and are so talented, what’s your secret?! Ha–fat chance you’re giving that up, right? Lucky me, my great friend Deb has been giving me some useful tips. And I know that the only way I’ll get better is time spent. I just feel so frustrated with the learning curve. It doesn’t help that we’ve been seeing temps in the teens here in CT the past week or so, which limits my opportunities to get outdoors and shoot some interesting subject matter.
Perhaps taking up hobby-level photography will be an exercise in patience for me. I like to imagine the day that I start looking to my camera as an outlet for relaxation! At the moment, it seems impossible, but I’m going to keep at it.
Happy New Year! Happy, Happy New Year! Nothing like a clean slate to get things started off on the right foot. Here at Mew, I’m making room for some new illustrations and designs in the collection. So, I thought it’d be a good time to host a giveaway featuring some of my tried and true favorites and best sellers. (These stand-bys aren’t going anywhere–they’ll be available in the Mew shop for good!)
Let’s have some fun. In order to be eligible to win the stationery sets shown above, you have to go on a blog scavenger hunt! Use the search toolbar in the upper right to find the answers to three simple questions. Answer all three questions correctly to have your name entered in the pot. If you’re the lucky winner, it’s all yours–handmade stationery worth over $40. You must leave your answer in the comments below, and you need to include a valid e-mail address. (I need to be able to contact you if you are the winner.) I’ll keep the comments hidden until the end of the giveaway so there can be no sneaky cheats! You’ll have between now and January 8th to enter the giveaway. And yes, it’s even open to you lovely peeps across the pond! Anyone can play. Here are the questions:
1.) My April 2008 honeymoon was the best week of my life. (I still look at the pictures once a week or so). Where did Dino and I spend that amazingly, blissful week?
2.) If you’ve been reading, you know that I made quite a fuss about turning 30 in October this year. What was the theme of the party I threw to celebrate?
3.) Back in May, Dino and I took the ferry over to Block Island with my beloved scooter for an early summer getaway. What color is the scooter?
OK–get to it! Happy hunting!