Stacked Up

While in La Jolla, we stayed at a tiny little rental cottage with cute things all around. I was inspired by all the great props to create a still life one morning; I hoped to get a few more done as well, but the beach was calling.

stacked-EditThis diptych was created in response to the “Stacked Up” prompt for The Studio Online.

Butter and Eggs

After doing mostly abstracts for the last couple weeks, it’s time to catch up on BeStill52. The assignment from a couple weeks ago was butter and eggs. I decided to make Egg-in-a-Hole for breakfast (something my daughter does for her kids), which fit the bill!


An apple, a sunflower, a cup- and more!

I finally got back to some still life last week, inspired by my new mug that I picked up at the grocery store.

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A week or so ago, I entered 6 photos in the county fair.  I haven’t done anything like this since high school, when I entered my crocheting.  And the big news is that I earned 4 first place ribbons and one second place! Here is one of the winners, Sunflower Mystery (you might recognize it):

Photo Sep 27- 2 19 48 PMThe other 3 first place winners were Feathered Gold (the owl feather), Point Arena Lighthouse (from a couple years ago), and Rodeo Dreams (a photo of Henry standing on the fence watching a rodeo). Dusty Jeans got a second place.  A photo I took of prairie sunflowers did not place.  And. . . I came home with 14 bucks for my efforts! We won’t mention that the printing and matting cost more than that.  But I will re-use the mats.

It was raining cats and dogs- and, evidently, hawks while we were out at the fair on Saturday.  We drove back through flooded streets while thunder crashed around us- and found this guy in the backyard.

20140927-DSC_4321_melinda_anderson-2I took this shot through the sliding glass door (which was covered with raindrops)- when I opened the door, he flew up the hill and disappeared.

Milk and Cookies

milk_and_cookiesThis week’s BeStill 52 assignment was to to create a milk and cookies still life.  Having been blessed (cursed?) with a sweet tooth, I was delighted to take on the challenge!  We were also encouraged, following Kim’s example,  to critique our own images- and this simple photo was the one that seemed to work out best.  There were various other incarnations that had additional elements, including lavender in a Mason jar, a napkin, and a two tiered Blue Ridge serving plate.  As usual in my world, simple turned out best.  I kept subtracting elements until I ended up with the composition above. I edited with One Willow presets from the Palette collection (my Friday Find for this week- they are fabulous!).  The first version has the Divine preset applied and then two layers of Kim’s sybil texture in Photoshop.  The second version was created by starting with the finished first version (complete with texture)and adding a black and white preset from One Willow (I think it was Story). And now I’m off to finish eating that cookie!

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today we had our first look at the house that would become our Arizona home!


July 3, 2013 found us looking for a house to buy in Arizona after having bravely sold our California home without knowing for sure where we were going.  We were pretty sure Prescott was the place- we had good friends here, we were were looking for a small town and a simpler lifestyle- but we needed to find the right house! Our realtor wasn’t much help, but our friend Debbie found a house just listed online that seemed to fulfill our requirements (one story, 4 bedrooms, open floor plan, easy maintenance). We got the realtor to get us in- and the rest is history! I knew it was the place when we walked in the door- it just felt like home. We ended up making an offer, but lost out to another buyer. Dejected, we drove back to California without having bought a house and talked about renting until we found the right one.  A few weeks later, the other buyer’s deal fell through, and we got in the car to drive back to Arizona to visit the house again and make an offer. On August 24, we moved in!

Back in California, I spotted this table runner at Pier 1 and bought it for our Arizona home.  I love the Southwest colors and how it looks it with my Trader Joe’s sunflower bouquet.


I took these shots for Be Still 52, Week 7, a lesson on depth of field and a softly focused background.





Jar, flowers, chair, and books

For Be Still 52- side lighting practice:


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Thank, you, Debbie for the new jar!

Milk Bottles

When I was very young, we didn’t go to the store to buy milk; it was delivered to our house.  On my trip to Chico a couple months ago, we walked through the antique mall, and I spotted an old milk bottle from Quality Dairy just like the ones that appeared on our doorstep in the 1950’s! Of course, I bought it, and I am using it to hold some of the Russian sage which is in bloom now. 16June2014-0166-Edit 16June2014-0142-Edit

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I added Kim Klassen’s waterfront 1 texture to each photo (usually 2 layers at varying opacity) and am linking up with Texture Tuesday today.

App Happy and Catching Up

It’s App Happy Wednesday over at Keeping With the Times, so I’m posting a couple road trip/through the window shots today.  I’m also catching up with my Start to Finish 2 Lessons, so my still life images are on here today as well.

First the iPhone photos! After a day and a half of driving (actually riding, as my husband- who has been suffering from allergies and asthma- was doing ALL the driving. . .), I was happy to see red rock as we got to southern Utah, a sign that we were close to Arizona. I think the first shot was edited in Snapseed, and then I added the text/graphic with Rhonna.  The second photo was edited in PS Touch, because I needed to do some cloning- and then I added texture with Photo Wizard.

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Now for the Start to Finish lesson! The assignment was to create a still life that included eggs.  Hurray- something I actually have! No browsing in antique stores for me today! I realized straightaway that still life photography is still challenging for me. I feel confident in the photography and the processing- but not with the styling. I am so in awe of my classmates and their styling ability! I found that what works for me is keeping it simple; when I add too many elements, it all falls apart.


This above image was one of my last shots. Filling the frame and using a shallow depth of field- definitely my comfort zone!



The above macro shot may not technically be a still life- you barely notice the other eggs!

And here is a from above shot, which I do love doing.



I found myself opting for a darker, more matte processing style today. The blue and brown tones seemed washed out with my usual editing, and I found reducing exposure and using a matte curve gave me the look I was going for.  In Photoshop I added Kim Klassen’s simple texture- and called it done!

I also played catch up with some Flickr challenges- and discovered that one of them, fast food, worked with my egg theme!


No special processing here- just a quick Lightroom edit.  This might be my favorite of the day!


This and That

My camera has been out a lot the last week; here are a few photos that didn’t make the blog.

A couple Blue Ridge cups




A macro of a leaf, snapped while watering



And from Chalk It, Prescott’s chalk art festival last weekend



Have a Happy Thursday!

Perfectly Imperfect

A few years ago I attended a knitting workshop. I was knitting along and noticed I had made a tiny mistake quite a way back in my project.  Upon noticing my dismay, the instructor launched into a speech saying that it is the tiny imperfections that show the difference between handmade and machine-made. Handmade is made by a real person with skill and care; machine-made means, well, made by a machine! I’ve always thought of that when I look at the hand-painted designs on the pieces in my Blue Ridge pottery collection.  Each plate, cup, saucer, bowl etc. was painted by hand, making no two pieces alike, even those with the same pattern.  Perfectly imperfect (which just happens to be the theme for this week’s Texture Tuesday) !


Although I have almost an 8 piece set of one pattern, Sun Bouquet, I usually mix up my table settings and include pieces from several patterns.  Most of the patterns I look for are in primary colors, so they blend well together.  And there’s my newest Mason jar (yes, I now have two) in the middle- it’s perfectly imperfect as well!

Edited with two of Kim’s textures, 1301 and sybil.  Linking up with Texture Tuesday today.