The Frugal Grandma

I have a weakness for Christmas items on clearance, so the adrenaline rush hit when I discovered a mid-January 90% price reduction sale recently.  Whoa… a gingerbread tree kit for less than $2.  This would be fun to do with my two-year old granddaughter! Oh, no…Christmas is 11 months away.
So what.  She is two and we can call it a winter tree. 

racheltreeblendbwsnow2r

Rachel2-8865plCurious fingers open the box and pull out the contents.

Rachel2-8887hfm20plHmmm…pretty, but what do I do with them?

Rachel2-8903It wasn’t too hard to stack the cookies, but the kit frosting wasn’t quite as plentiful as the box portrayed.  Cream cheese frosting would have been easier.

Rachel2-8900dmvOops!  Someone took a bite…

Rachel2-8914Add the pretty candy balls.

Rachel2-8923hfm20dmvEven winter trees need a (broken) star.

Rachel2-8925Tah-dahhhh!!
Considering that a two-year old tends to have the attention span of a gnat, I’d say lasting one full hour on a project is impressive. On top of that, it held MY full attention for an hour. I did rush the decorative frosting part and pretty much globbed it on. Martha Stewart would have rolled her eyes and tisked

Rachel2-8944Even though the results weren’t as perfect as pictured on the box, it looked just fine to me.  In this case, I declared the process  more important than the results.  I doubt that I will be asked to be a contestant on any of the cake decorating reality shows, anyway.  That’s O.K., I have enough to do already!

“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

~Criss Jami

Christmas is for children… learning the art of giving.

The pretty lights and excitement of opening brightly wrapped gifts are not the only things that provide joy and delight for children. It’s also about the giving. How many of us remember toiling over a project at school meant to be given as a Christmas gift for our parents?  The pride attached to the process, completion of the task, as well as satisfaction when the recipient expressed sincere appreciation:

Oooooh…. an angel made from the Readers’ Digest. It’s perfect and I LOVE it!      


6a00e5509b40db88340120a76e856c970b-320wiThird grade was the year of the Readers’ Digest Angel.

DSCN8340Let’s see… second grade found me tying plastic strips (school received a supply closet full of plastic products donated by 3M that year) onto a coat hangar bent into a circle shape in Mrs. Butzer’s class.  We started well before Thanksgiving since we were tying strips the day the announcement came over the loudspeaker that President Kennedy had been shot – November 22, 1963.

imagesEveryone can use a decorative pencil can. This project worked for multiple Christmas seasons.

Magnetic-Mouse-Trap-Clips
My mouse traps never looked this cute. I recall spray painting them gold, probably before they banned lead in paint. Maybe that explains a few things, huh!

65001-1001-2-3ww-l
Weaving  pot holders kept me busy and was  yet another practical item. My mom liked practical items.

bookmark1Felt, glue and hair clips were the essential materials needed to make handy bookmarks and were given to the piano and Sunday School teachers.  Those were the days we all read books that we held in our hands rather than electronic tablets, Kindles, Ipads and the like.  Again, mine weren’t this perfect but did include sequins so they sparkled.

These memories from childhood that pop into my head seem trivial, at best, but must have made an impact since they are still there. The feeling of pride from making a gift with my own hands and satisfaction with the process of giving apparently made a lasting impression on me.

Maybe it IS better to give than receive…?

Through the eyes of a child… a prairie perspective

Growing up on the prairie…

Schneck-0587ww20hpcr

Feeling the dirt below your feet
The wind as it blows through your hair
Nature and its noisy chorus at nightfall
Warmth of the sun on your face
Finding the perfect stick
Watching ants
Noisy silence

The art of being a sibling

sib·ling
[sib-ling]
noun
1. a brother or sister.
2. Anthropology . a co-member of a sib, a unilateral descent group thought to share kinship through a common ancestor.
adjective
3. of or pertaining to a brother or sister: sibling rivalry.
Origin:
before 1000; late Middle English: relative, Old English;
Verhelst-5187
Such an efficient way to learn life lessons such as give and take, tolerance, and benevolence when growing up with siblings.

A mother’s love…

God sure knew what he was doing when he designed this feature of human nature.
mother's love1
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3

Takin’ Care of Business

Segovia, Spain…a day in the life.

Spain-1040906
Spain-1040886

Spain-1050170
Spain-1050288dmvcrWash day break to catch up on the news.

Spain-1050291

Spain-1040993dmvpopLast drag on the cig before 10th grade math class…

Spain-1050079dmv

Spain-1050299dmv
Spain-1050279dmvEven this little bird has found its own little spot in this world ~ a special perch on the aqueduct.  I guess we all have a special place and purpose and that makes the world go around.

Love…in the purest form.

1550_G05_010100

A tender moment in time between a father and his newborn son.

It’s Photo Friday ~ Seniors…the art and the card

Anderson_Devin_blog
Lately it seems like most of the hours of my days have been spent designing high school graduation announcements/cards for my class of 2013. I know they aren’t my kids but I have spent some quality time getting to know them through their sessions and I try to follow their sports and academic accomplishments. The graduation card is the grand finale of this process. I don’t know if I just get the best seniors around or if this class of 2013 is one to be proud of. I’d like to think it’s both.

I confess to be somewhat attention deficit in how I conduct my life ( I blame it on my years teaching kindergarten ~ if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em!) but this does not seem to be a detriment during the card design process. Or, is it? I try to make each card unique and approach it as though it is a work of art. I know this is not a good business practice as far as making the most money. I should offer a handful of designs and take it or leave it, or else charge five times more than I do. I’ve been a parent with bills and now I’m on the other side trying to make a living with this photography gig. I struggle with this balance and hopefully will find a happy medium at some point. I have a feeling that I’m not the only photographer struggling with this balance of making a living versus creating art.

Employment Opportunities in Montego Bay

Jamaica2012-0857

Scene: My sister and I walking in Montego Bay toward downtown debating whether to explore the “sketchy” part of town.

(Enter Steve): “I recognize you. I work at El Greco. My name is Steve. What are your names? It is market day so come with me and I’ll show you! No one will bother you when you are with me.  You can take all the photographs you want!” He then proceeds to give a a tour of old downtown, Montego Bay.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI knew this ploy from a previous visit since they see the bright yellow wristband we need to get our complimentary breakfast and know where we are staying. (We figured out later to have it put on loosely so that we can slip it on and off.) I was O.K. with this situation since I REALLY wanted to take pictures downtown but was hesitant to attempt it with just the two of us.  Maybe not wise to trust a complete stranger but we were sucked in….
S-o-o-o-o here we go!SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Sam Sharpe Square in the heart of Montego Bay makes a good place to start a walking tour of the town. Sam Sharpe is a national hero of Jamaica (1801, Jamaica – 23 May 1832, Jamaica) and was the slave leader behind the Jamaican Baptist War slave rebellion. Sam Sharpe was later captured and held at the jail cell in the square now known as the cage; He was tried at the court house now known as the civic center and hanged in the square along with other participants.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Today five main monuments are a testament to that faithful day. These include the fountain (not running that day), the court house where he was tried, his statue placed at the spot where he was hanged and two holding areas known as the cage. The square, formerly called Charles Square, contains a collection of bronze statues sculpted by island born Kay Sullivan that show the Bible-thumping Sam Sharpe talking to four of his followers.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe stone Cage is the other main feature of the square. The Cage was built in 1806 and originally used to hold captured runaway slaves and sailors, and those out after curfew. Since then it has been a town lock-up, latrine, a clinic and a tourist office. It now houses a small museum. ~ Don Philpott

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe St. James Parish Church was built between 1775 and 1782. It underwent substantial repair work in 1957 following damage from an earthquake.There are many points of interest in the church, including two monuments by noted 18th century sculptor, John Bacon. One of these is a monument to Rosa Palmer, the former owner of Rose Hall Great House. Was she the “White Witch?”

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe welcome wagon was ready to sell us string bracelets.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, we made a deal so he was a happy camper.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAAn elaborate stained glass window was installed in 1911. Adorning the walls are plaques and memorials to important figures in the history of Montego Bay. ~ Jamaica Travel and Culture.com

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Cemetery near the main square where 21 Jamaican soldiers from WW II are buried.

Tour continues to two elementary schools; an infant school for very young students and an upper elementary school. It was fun to see kids just being kids.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday is Market Day so we found the street busy with vendorsSAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Along the way we picked up a wing man, Dave, who claimed he “had our backs” and tagged along behind us. He also would pipe in with the history, information and would answer any questions. Oh, well, another one on the payroll.SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Time to wind down our 1 1/2 hour tour of downtown Montego Bay and get a photo of our guides/bodyguards. Our attempts at fist bumping.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

We pay our guides and part ways assuring them that we could walk back to the hotel unescorted. We had other offers for tours and taxi rides along the way with the opening line “I recogize you. I work at El Greco.” Been there, done that… The REAL test was continuing to wear the RIU Resort red wristband from Negril after returning to Montego Bay. All of a sudden we had so called “employees” of RIU offering tours and taxi rides. Hmmm… Do we have gullible written all over us? Don’t answer that!!!

It’s Photo Friday ~ A girl remembers Grandma’s place.

Photography is more than just documenting a time in one’s life.  It also captures the emotion of the subject and its background.

This young lady is a senior in high school and chose her grandmother’s childhood home as a location for some of her senior portraits.  The old farmyard is now beyond repair but still holds memories.  I’m sure we can all think of a time and place in our lives that we would like to go back and revisit.

Grandma's Place8x10

Grandma’s Place

Two images blended together. All available light

Background ~ 2.8 aperture ~  1/200 shutter  ~ ISO 400

Girl blended ~ 2.8 aperture ~ 1/1000 shutter ~ ISO 100