Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Little Ladybug

She wasn't too sure about me, and I can't blame her.  Two days after Christmas, all dressed up in her new ladybug dress and then meeting a strange woman (that would be me) with a camera. 

But what a beautiful little girl.  What gorgeous eyes.  And what a delightful personality! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Joy and Stuff

Today was simply crazy fun. This brother and sister team are so good about being willing to try some poses that are  just a bit outside "the box". 

And for that, I credit their mom.


2005.  Hurricane Katrina was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in our nation's history.  It caused over $80 billion in property damage.

This wedding photograph was just one piece of history, severely damaged during the storm, but lovingly salvaged and now carefully restored.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tomato Cage Christmas

I've been seeing so many Christmas tomato cage ideas on Pinterest, I decided to share how we've been creating tomato cage topiaries for nearly 15 years.  

I first saw the idea of twisting a garland around tomato cages in Southern Living.  Loved the fact that it is beautiful both during the day and at night.  

To duplicate this look:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sneak Preview

OK.......I can't resist....our Christmas card is in the works and I had to give you just a little sneak preview.  Jokingly, I claim that we have a fan base for our Christmas cards. Therefore, each year I try to design a card that trumps previous years.  And an unwritten (till now) rule is that I can't repeat any card.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seek the Welfare of the City...

"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you..." 
Jeremiah 29:7

We were involved in a wonderful community service project on Saturday in which churches from all over the city joined together to clean up vacant lots, buildings, streets, and to share the love of Jesus with everyone we met.

To see photos from the day, click HERE.

Little Picture - Big Job

Some projects are easier than others.  And some that don't seem to be big are actually huge.  That's the case here.  

The original is only 2" x 1.5".  The size, along with the amount of damage, made this photograph one of my tougher restoration projects.  I'd love to actually breathe a sigh of relief, but I have another project in the works that makes this one look like child's play.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something Different

Tim and I just returned from 10 days on the coast of Oregon + Redwood National Park + Crater Lake.  For something just a little different than my regular restoration posts, here's a link to some of our pictures.  I will be writing about an experiment I'm conducting regarding vacation pictures.  First installment should be available later tomorrow.  See you then :-)

Soulful Eyes

Some stories are happy.  Some are sad.   Some are silly.  Some  are completely make-believe.  And unfortunately, sometimes, the stories are nothing short of tragic.  So it is with this young boy with the deep, soulful eyes.

As I worked to uncover and brighten his young face, I kept wanting to rescue him.  To make it better. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Home on the Range

I wanted to be a cowgirl.  You already knew that.  But my time as a cowgirl was, in reality, just dressing like a cowgirl.  It was make believe.

You see, I lived in town.  Even though Granddaddy bought a couple of old horses and a pony for the grandchildren to ride, there weren't any bandits or stagecoaches or herds of cattle to drive across the range.  We had no tumblin' tumbleweed.  We weren't cowpokes.  We were just kids.  

Not so for this young boy....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In the Meantime...

I am working.  Really I am.  It's just that the projects I'm currently working on are all to be given as surprise gifts.  So I can't post them. Yet.

One post will be entitled, "Home On the Range".  Another will be  "Just a Little Bit".  A third project remains unnamed, but the story behind the image is one of the most touching I've heard.

In the meantime.....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Taste of Chicago

Chicago.  Just got back from a wonderful week visiting what was our home for 6 years.  (Ok, technically, we lived in a suburb of Chicago, but we like to claim the City as our home).

We stayed downtown so we were able to walk to whatever we wanted to do.  It has been four years since I was there, so I wanted to revisit some of the things I love most.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Like Father, Like Son

 I love days like today.  First of all, after so many days of excessive heat, humidity, and unrelenting sunshine, it rained.  A cool, refreshing rain that was heralded by glorious thunder and lightning.

Second, this football picture project is nearing completion and has been a total delight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We're Melting!!

It was truly exciting - not the melting part, the photography part!  Recently, I had the opportunity to be a "second shooter" at a wedding at the Brooks Art Museum.  The venue was absolutely beautiful.  Or maybe breath-taking would a more accurate adjective....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Volunteer Orange

 Volunteer.  It can mean "one who enters into or offers himself for a service of his own free will".  It can also mean "growing spontaneously without direct human control or supervision".  It could also refer to the University of Tennessee sports teams. 

Tennessee Vols Orange.  It's bright.  It makes a statement.  It's just not the best color cast for a photograph.  Especially considering that these little boys are from Kentucky!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fabulously Fun

 It's fun to pretend.  Seriously.  It's also fun to be the one behind the lens.  Truly seriously.

The best part of these shots is that I didn't stage them.  We had done some of the stand-and-look-at-the-camera-shots.  Next thing I knew, they were making a story up all by themselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome Back, Baby

It's pretty amazing how much a photograph can change over time.  It's also amazing what you can do with patience and Photoshop.  In this case, this little baby girl has practically disappeared due to yellowing and fading.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

First, it was The Home Show.  Now it's HGTV and Food Network.  It would be fair to say that I've spent more than a few hours watching TV hosts who are capable of instilling in the unsuspecting viewer an overabundance of confidence.

Confession: I am one of those unsuspecting viewers.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh, Beautiful!

We've had a wonderful week celebrating our nation's freedom.

Each year, our party begins the last Sunday in June with Starlight Spectacular.  The estimate is that  this year, 15,000 people attended and were served by 400 volunteers.

My husband, Tim, volunteers parking cars.  For 3+ hours.  On the blacktop.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let the Celebration Begin!

I absolutely love Fourth of July celebrations!

Maybe it's the parades.  (I am a fan of streamers, flags, marching bands, patriotic music).  Maybe it's the food. (Seems like Mama always made a fresh blackberry cobbler for the Fourth.  I'll be making one, too.....and homemade ice cream.) Or.....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hawaii Circa 1970

This turned out to be quite a project.  I merged three images taken in Hawaii over 30 years ago.  The color was so distorted in the originals that I had to decide on an artistic direction. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Try, Try Again

My great-grandmother always used to say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  Regarding the topic of successfully utilizing on-camera flash, I've tried and tried, but up till last just hadn't worked for me.

However, in the spirit on Maudie's advice to continue to try, I am currently on a quest to, once and for all, learn to use flash creatively. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Trash to Treasure

It was $15. The perfect size and shape.  You know you either have a great vision or that you've lost your mind when the woman at the check out counter looks at your newly found treasure, then at you, then back at the treasure.... and finally while shaking her head "no" just says, "".

I told her I had a vision.  With raised eyebrows, she replied, "That's a good thing."   I promised to bring her before and after pictures.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome Guests

Finally.  Done.  Seems that there was always something that claimed priority over this project, but finally it is complete.  We made the headboard using scrap lumber, batting and foam from Johnson's Fabrics in Bartlett, and this lovely fabric from Premier Fabrics in Germantown, TN.

The picture over the bed was the "inspiration piece" for this room.  The colors are perfect and the price even was scavenged from a pile of trash.  Yes. Seriously. From a pile of trash.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

This year there were about 3,000 children and 800 workers

Whatever happened to the lazy part of the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer? So far, this summer has plenty of hazy and crazy, but the "lazy"?  Not so much. 

Vacation Bible School: a week of high energy, fun, games, and the love of Jesus shared with children and their families.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Retirement

This is just one of the faces in town last weekend to celebrate her granddaddy's retirement.  I hadn't met the family until just a few minutes before the banquet began.  But what an incredibly sweet family they are.  The love, honor, and respect they demonstrate toward one another was inspiring. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Lots of rain then.  Lots of rain now.  Lots. 

The year was 1979. I had  purchased my first SLR (Pentax K1000) and was in a photography class at Bellarmine College in Louisville.  Eager to practice what I was learning, I headed out with friends to The Great Balloon Race which kicks off the Kentucky Derby {cue  My Old Kentucky Home}.

But morning came early, and it was cold.  And it rained.  And rained.  And rained.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When I Grow Up

Somewhere I read that when we are toddlers, we interact in our world in a more genuine manner than we do as we get older.  As a toddler, we don't hesitate to laugh, to cry, even to have a tantrum - emotions perfectly appropriate for our current situation.

I also read that at about the age of three, we begin to understand that the important people in our lives expect us to behave in a certain way. We want to please them, so we try to conduct ourselves in a manner that we believe will make them happy.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I've been painting.  First was a guest room.  Was in the mood for a blue ceiling.  So I did it.   It's a Benjamin Moore paint:  Spring Mint.  The walls are a soft yellow:  Concord Ivory.  And somehow this was the beginning of wanting everything I see daily to look fresher, cleaner, brighter. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's the Point?

 When you look at this image, it's hard to imagine it began as....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Before and After: The New 'Do

The big reveal for the haircut was Sunday afternoon.  She was at our house for her brother's birthday dinner and after cake, I snapped these pictures of her new hairdo.  As soon as I uploaded them, I was reminded of a toddler version of my daughter with bangs and a bob haircut and a perky headband.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Grandpa's Cream Route

The original picture is from the late 1800's and was printed on a postcard.  It has been stored in one of those "magnetic" albums, but fortunately, there was no adhesive on the face of the image.

Sweet Smiles

I've had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people through my business of restoring vintage photographs.  This little baby with such a sweet smile is now a mom whose son who has a personality and imagination that reminds me of my son.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Color Adjustment (2)

Like my last post, the greatest challenge in this restoration was the color.

Moderately simple changes in tone and contrast began to reveal details lost in the original. The best surprise in these details was her eyes.  They are spectacular!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Color Adjustment

Honestly, I find color to be the single most difficult element to restore.  I've tried one technique after another, but recently developed a combination that works for me.

So here's a tip: try using a series of masked color adjustment layers, varying the opacity of each layer and "painting" the image where you want specific color to appear.  I'm liking the result.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Horses, Carriages, and the Derby

I have a special affinity for horses and carriages.  Maybe it comes from my little girl dreams, fueled by Saturday morning westerns, of becoming a cowgirl.  Or maybe it comes from growing up in Kentucky where once a year, the stage is set to watch magnificent thoroughbred horses compete in the Kentucky Derby

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Recently Learned

Lessons learned in making an oversized birthday card:

1.  Think about how you will ship it.  Not only think about it, but check to see what size boxes and/or shipping envelopes are actually available in your area.

2.  Keep the dimensions "standard".  (see number 1).

3.  Don't procrastinate (nor keep adding on to the project so that it doesn't get completed in time to mail)

4.  Bite the bullet and ship it anyway.  (see number 1, 2, and 3)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something Creative

If ever there was a phrase that reminds me of my mother, this is it.  To say she was creative is a bit of an understatement.  She was a talented musician, a gifted artist, and I like to think that I inherited some of her creative way of looking at the world and at life.

These wonderful stamps are from The Paper Source.  This is actually part of their trademark and what a delightful trademark it is.  So while The Paper Source owns the rights to the saying, my heart is completely on board with the idea of doing "something creative every day". 

The day is's not too late to do something creative today!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Thanks to Jessica for a great Valentine's photo and to Florabella for the Valentine's Card download.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I've spent most of the day today, revising my personal blog.  While I am liking the changes, I do wish my mother could see it.....well.....maybe she can....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gone Fishin'

One of the best parts of today's technology is that it allows me to enhance an original photograph, bringing out details and features so that the story is more clearly told.

In the original 2 x 3" snapshot from about 1945, the young woman displays a remarkable grace even while hauling in her catch of the day.  From what I understand, this was likely the one and only time she ever went fishing.  Her passion, then as well as throughout her life, was art - certainly not fishing.

Using a variety of digital tools, I was able to bounce digital "light" back onto her face, illuminating her features while preserving contrast in the remainder of the scene.  The finished print is 8 x 12, and in it, you can clearly see the little fish, the stripes in her dress, as well as her wonderfully fashionable shoes.

This photograph makes me long for warmer weather.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Florabella Valentine

 She's done it again - and offering such beautiful card templates for FREE!  Florabella:  check it out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Takin' It To The Streets

It's a cold Sunday. Snow in the forecast.  A few flakes have begun to fall.  Have Cincinnati-style chili simmering.  Decided to convert some of my old vinyl albums to put on my EVO so I would have some fun "walking music".

This particular album is such a wonderful color and with my monitor in the background.....couldn't resist a shot or two.

I used a digital filter to add a bit of simulated Kodak Ektachrome 400 color and grain.  Seemed appropriate considering the era from whence this album originated - 1977.

It is a remake of big band music with (dare I say it) a disco beat.  Should be a good for walking, don't you think?  That is, if I can just resist the urge and avoid "Dancing' In the Streets"  (wonder if we have THAT album in our stash, too....)

All we need is music, sweet music 
There'll be music everywhere
They'll be laughing, singing, music swinging and dancing in the street.