Summer and watermelon go together like pumpkins and autumn. Watermelon is one of my favorite summer treats. The kids usually flock around me when I start to chop one up.
This year, I grew watermelon for the first time. We got a bunch of cute little watermelons that tasted amazing. There really is nothing better than food grown at home.
Watermelon is harder to photograph than I thought it would be. I’ve always struggled to photograph the color red. I’ve attempted to tackle it with roses but even then, they’re not exactly to my liking.
That’s the kind of challenge that I don’t give up on. I actually did this photoshoot 3 times. The first two were not to my liking. My last, I can finally say that I have an image I’m proud of.
It took me quite awhile to mull over what I was going to do with words. Should I photograph a few meaningful words? Should I photograph a journal page? Should I go out and find some words that appeal to me?
What words are worth capturing for this project? What words will have meaning and depth? Should I choose my own language or another? Words do always sound more romantic in another non-native tongue.
After Princess woke up and climbed into bed with us last night, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I mulled over words, saving inspiration to my Pinterest board. I put down my phone and attempted to go back to sleep when it came to me. I wrote the whole blog post in my head and it sounded great! Best blog post ever! As I drifted off to sleep, I knew I would forget every word. So I turned on the light and jotted down the most important part.
Words have power. The power to build someone up or to tear them down. Choose wisely.
When I think of all of the words that have made the sum of my life, there have been billions. I learned to speak, I learned other languages. I’ve heard others speak. I’ve written countless school papers, letters, journals, work notes, and emails. Words make up a large portion of my life.
Words create emotion that can touch deeper than any slap or caress. Words can be cruel, hate-filled, malicious, violent, slanderous and life-shattering. Words can be kind, gentle, loving, hopeful, sweet and uplifting. The bible says “Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is a healing.”
Words must be chosen carefully. I can remember vividly, words that I regret using. I can also remember words that have changed my life. I have deep sorrow for words never spoken. I have tears for the memory of words from lips that have been silenced. I have pain from words of vows that have been broken. I have joy from words of memories of my favorite things.
Words can be a gift when used wisely. In turn, those words can be a curse when used carelessly. So think carefully about your words, friends. Be careful, be patient and most importantly, be kind.
How have words changed your life? What are some of your favorite words?
When finding patterns for a photography project, it can be difficult to find a satisfactory subject. At least, it was for me! I couldn’t find anything that really spoke to me. I have already incorporated leaves into past projects and I didn’t want to be redundant, but that would have been my first choice.
Searching in the world, there are a lot of patterns, brick walls, playground equipment, windows. Honestly, they all seemed so overdone and boring to me. I really wanted to try something different.
I have seen a photograph similar to this before and I thought it would be fun to try it myself. Let me tell you, this was no easy task! It took A LOT of matches and I ended up with a few burnt fingers.
I tried so hard to get a perfect gradient. Did you know that matches bend when they are burning? Or that they shoot flames out the end of the match when you get too close to the end? Also, not much holds the head on once it’s been torched.
For the really charred ones, well, everything past the fourth match, I had to deal with warping and bending of the wood. My remedy for this was to burn a short section, cool and then burn another section.
For the last 6 matches, I had to be really careful not to burn my fingers. I decided to burn the butt end first, then burn the remaining sections. This is where the flames shooting out of the end of the match became a problem.
After numerous attempts at perfection, I said “Forget about it!” and became satisfied with imperfection. I theorized that I could fix it in photoshop in a jiffy, but I earned that imperfection with a badge of honor… or burnt fingertips anyway.
Summer is such a brief time in Minnesota. It’s a few short months of sunshine, warmth, and greenery. We can temporarily shed our many layers and don clothing that exposes our skin. We wear sandals and flip-flops or even luxuriate in wearing nothing at all and going barefoot. We can spend a considerable amount of time outside without fear of frostbite.
June, July, August, and September. These months we welcome weather anywhere from the 20’s to the 100’s. June and September are prone to the occasional frost and even a chance of snow. Yet most often, weather in the 50’s and 60’s makes these months the fairest of the year. July and August you are most likely to find the weather in the 70’s and 80’s with an occasional few days in the 90’s or higher.
The rest of the year, all bets are off for how cold it can be. It could be warm in the 40’s or it could drop to -60. Usually, it is cloudy and dark. On average, we spend those 8 months indoors, hiding from below freezing temperatures, bundling up to hide skin and protect from frostbite It can be beautiful. There are a lot of fun winter sports. Overall though, most activities are inside where it is warm.
This is why summer is so often looked forward to. We try to soak up every minute of fresh air, sunlight, vitamin D and outdoor activities that we can. In that time, the world erupts in color.
The most prominent color to be found is green. Beautiful, bright, vibrant, rich green. Carpets of green grass, fields of green crops, and mountains of green trees.
Trees in the summertime are the happiest of my childhood memories. Climbing up in their strong, rough branches to heights not reached anywhere else by a small child. Hiding behind the cover of leaves from the sun and from people. Feasting on its fruits. Using imagination for endless hours of fun. Sometimes just lying below and gazing up adoringly at my friend, the tree. I can’t think of anything happier in my memories than of the time I spent in the trees.
As an adult, trees still fill me with love, admiration, and wonder. These gentle giants do so much for us. They give us oxygen, shade, protection from wind, wood for our fires and to build our homes, fruits to feast upon, and beauty to behold. They give a boring landscape character. They fill me with wonder at the majesty of our God.
When I look at trees, I can see the wonder of creation. Trees clean our air and give us oxygen. They have the ability to draw water up to heights that man has been unable to replicate and or even understand. They convert sunlight into energy! Their leaves are mathematical works of art. Each one is different and unique. The bark, leaves, pine needles and even the shape of the branches are as varied as the people on this planet. Each tree seems to have it’s own personality and temperament.
I can’t imagine living in an area void of trees, I love them so much. Trees give me joy. Trees fill me with hope for the future. Knowing that a tree I plant will likely outlive me fills me with awe. When I find a large and old tree, I wonder who has seen and loved this tree. What stories could this tree tell?
What are your favorite tree memories? What is your favorite thing about summer trees?
Check out our summer trees video!
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I love pumpkins. I love their shape, their color, their smell. I love the season in which they’re harvested, autumn. I love their twirly vines and big green leaves. I love the way they taste, and I love using them in cooking. I also love to use them for decorating. Pumpkins are awesome.
I’m sure the other squashes are a bit jealous of pumpkins. I mean, pumpkins are pretty popular. I do love acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash too, but they don’t have the visual appeal of a pumpkin, for me at least.
Maybe it’s because I was obsessed with fairy tales as a child. I used to pretend I was Lisserella while I was doing my chores. I pretended my blankets and old shirts that I used for dress up would turn into a ball gown and the squirrels in our yard would whisk me away in a pumpkin to some faraway castle where I could fall in love with a prince. I remember making my brother dance around to classical music played on my parent’s record player. I definitely had a big imagination.
Now that I’m an adult, I know that fairy tales don’t exist. Real life doesn’t have fairy Godmothers who can whip up a beautiful gown and a lovely carriage. There aren’t any beautiful balls where women in skirts and men in suits swirl around the room anymore. There is no Prince waiting to fall in love and live happily ever after. Reality can be a bit harsh.
There is something better than a fairy Godmother though. Jehovah God can and will do things more wonderful than dresses and pumpkins and coachmen. After all, he created the entire earth, all of the plants and animals. Jesus set a wonderful example of the quality of God’s love, which is better than any prince in a fairy tale.
Despite the fact that life isn’t a fairy tale, my love for pumpkins hasn’t waned. I love getting a fresh white pumpkin for my entryway table every autumn. I adore the tiny white and orange striped pumpkins for my center wall. I love baking my pumpkins and creating muffins, cheesecakes, and beverages. For me, that is so much sweeter than a carriage.
What is your favorite color of pumpkin? White, orange, blue, green or somewhere in between?
When I think of the word “simplicity” I think of nature. Nature is an incredibly complex system, but being outside, in the woods, is where I feel peace and quiet. When I am outside, surrounded by God’s creation, life seems simple, and less stressful.
I marvel at the diversity and beauty of all of the things growing and living in the woods. I like to stop and capture some of my favorite finds. Mostly, I photograph flowers. I also really love finding mushrooms and different types of moss.
Trees have always held a special place in my heart. There’s so much to love about them. They are the lungs of the Earth, cleaning our air. Some even look like lungs! They give shade on a hot summer day. Their leaves are beautiful and ever-changing. Watching them grow from buds in the spring, to big leaves in the summer and seeing the brilliance when they lose their green in autumn is a marvel to behold. Pine needles create a soft carpet underfoot when they shed or give a bit of color to a landscape in the winter. Even the bark of trees is a unique style for each tree.
When I came across this leaf in the woods, I was instantly stopped by its brilliance. The green popped out on the dark path. It was decorated with either drops of rain from the recent storm or morning dew.
Editing the image, I could imagine it as a large print on my wall. The image itself didn’t need editing as it was already beautiful, just as it was. However, I do take all of my images RAW, so I had to make a few adjustments before converting it to JPEG, as I do all of my images.
I hope you enjoy my leaf in its simple splendor! If you were to capture something simple this week, what would you choose?
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My favorite color is purple. It has been for as long as I can remember. I’ve had rotating secondary favorite colors as well. Pink, black, blue, green, deep turquoise blue, aqua blue. I love jewel-toned colors, bright colors, earthy colors. I love cream and brown in combination with any of my favorite colors.
Funnily enough, I also have a color that I extremely dislike, yellow. I’m not a fan. Yellow is one of those colors that make me grimace. Strange right? You’d think a color that seems sunshiney would be likable.
Now, I’m not going to go crazy and banish all yellow from my life. I just won’t go out of my way to purchase or create something yellow. Plus, yellow isn’t always awful, some flowers look lovely with a touch of yellow in their centers. Sunflowers are incredibly beautiful and they are very yellow. Yellow leaves in combination with reds, greens, and oranges in the fall are also pleasing to the eye.
When I was very young, I loved rainbows. My whole room was done in the Rainbow Bright theme. Color, and lots of it, was wonderful. So although I love purple as my favorite color, truly, I love a wide range of the whole rainbow. My house is filled with color. My wardrobe is organized by rainbow in my closet. Yes, I wear almost every color, except yellow!
Despite my love of a variety of colors, I always seem to pick purple flowers for my garden. When the garden center is having a sale, I can’t be as picky with what I end up with. By the time the sales roll around, most of the flowers have fallen off. This ends up being exciting for me, seeing what colors will bloom when my plants are nursed back to health.
This year I got a fantastic find with a lovely purple datura. I managed to get a large amount of purple alyssum, some more pastel, some a rich, darker purple. I also got pinkish purple petunias and dark purple salvia. Everything else was a surprise color.
It always amazes me how many different shades there are of one color. I love seeing all of the beautiful variations in flowers. I have only seen a small fraction of the flowers in the entire world! I would love to see them all! I can only imagine the joy that God had in making them. I feel so thankful that he created this beauty for us to enjoy.
I had an image in my head for the jewelry photography project. It was one of those projects where you need two people. I knew that a tripod would be difficult to get the angle I wanted and also to get myself into place if I were to do a self-portrait with a remote. Cat was sweet enough to help me.
My children don’t really wear jewelry, so it seemed practical that I use myself, since I enjoy wearing it on a regular basis. I’m not as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it, but I’m really pleased with the way the images turned out. My daughter is really becoming a great photographer.
I love wearing jewelry, I always have. I remember wearing beaded bracelets as a little girl, I even still have my favorite rainbow star beaded bracelet.
When I was about 4, I begged my Mom to get my ears pierced. She and my Grandmother brought me to a mall jewelry store in Minneapolis. They messed up my left ear and had to re-pierce it twice. Because of that, I will only bring my children to a professional piercer at a tattoo shop.
Unfortunately, I’m allergic to nickel. This means that I can only wear high-quality jewelry. I enjoy high-quality jewelry over cheap jewelry, so I’m not complaining about the upgrades. The downside is that chains and earrings are a bit more expensive to replace. I also can’t get jewelry on a whim if I find something cute at a craft show or on vacation.
I don’t own a lot of jewelry. I love necklaces for their convenience. Simple, elegant pieces make me happy. My Mom buys me a beautiful new necklace from Kay jewelry every year. I wear one almost every day.
I have a few bracelets. Funnily enough, I never grew out of my love for beaded bracelets. The bracelets I wear most often are plastic children’s bracelets. I have a favorite fluorite bracelet I got while on vacation on the north shore last year. I also couldn’t resist the bracelet I’m wearing in the images below. It is silver with stars. I got one for my daughter Cat and myself.
It was a beautiful day, so Cat and I decided to walk down to the river for our project. I love to spend alone time with each of my children. I try to give them each a little bit of alone time once a month. This breaks down to a once a week Mother/Child date with one of my children.
Looking for a location, I didn’t really see any place that jumped out at me as THE spot. As we started walking home, I thought we might take a different route and keep looking for a good location. In one spot, we found a cute painted rock that someone had left.
The spot I found was actually a place that might not appear to the naked eye as a great location. To me, it was perfect. If you look at the image below, you might see why some might rule it out. It’s in a parking lot without a lot of great visual appeal in the background. However, I loved the tall grasses bordering the parking lot. I knew that with the right angle, it would be exactly what I was looking for, and it was.
The spring trees challenge was a lot of fun to photograph. After choosing to photograph the same spot of trees for the winter, spring, summer and autumn challenge, I already knew where one of my locations was. As my main image for the challenge, I’m choosing some beautiful crab apple blossoms.
I’m always amazed at how fast the trees turn green. In what feels like a few days, the trees go from bare branches to tops full of leaves. Catching that moment when the trees are softly budding with baby leaves is a race against time. As soon as the surrounding hills took on a soft subtle green, I knew it was time to head out and start shooting.
All of the kids came with for this challenge. It was a lovely, warm Sunday, with a scattered sprinkling of rain showers throughout the day. After our meeting at the Kingdom Hall, we stopped by home to pick up our cameras. We took the scenic route to the park and enjoyed the lovely views of our changing world.
Mr. Awesome and Cupcake chose to wait in the car, but Princess hopped out with Cat and me. Princess is my little shadow, she follows me everywhere.
Cat’s Spring Trees
The following Sunday was a clear, warm, sunny day. We met some friends at the park for a walk. In just one week you could really see the difference in the trees. In the picture of the children below, the kids are walking toward the back of the trees from the previous week.
On our walk, we saw a kayaker in the river. We went down to our favorite spot where the children were able to wade and splash in the water. It was a beautiful, spring day.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the light photography project. I have seen beautiful images that others have taken of sparklers and I wanted to create an image of my own.
Ever since I was a little child, I have loved the glittery glow that sparklers give off. I can remember my parents giving me sparklers and the joy I had running around, waving them in trailing arcs, trying to make an M for Melissa or making stars or circles. I can remember being burned by the hot end and learning quickly to be careful, even after the light had gone out.
Cupcake, Mr. Awesome, and Princess joined me outside for this project. I lit sparklers for them as I snapped away at my own. After I was satisfied with my work, I continued to light them for the children and enjoyed watching them run happily around the yard. Even after being warned, poor Princess learned the hard way, just as I had, to be careful of the hot end after the light went out.
After all of the sparklers had been spent, we gathered up our mess and went in for bedtime. Hopefully, the children had smiles on their faces as they drifted off to sleep, imagining glowing sparkles and running through the warm summer air. I sat happily at my computer, editing my images and feeling content. I love that two dollars can easily buy a night of joy for our family.