Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Buns


I made this image, of The Happy Buns Bakery, in Ottawa, Ontario, back in 2005 for an exhibit I had at Pukka Gallery. The subject was the Hintonburg area of Ottawa. I have always loved this image, not because it is a particular work of art, but because it makes me smile. My friend and fellow artist, Serena, recently asked me if I had a photograph of "those lucky Chinese cats in restaurants" to which I said, no, I should, good idea, but then I remembered this photo, which has a kitty in the window. Probably not what she is looking for but since it makes me smile, I thought I would post it today...

PS I did it! I posted everyday for the month of January for NaBloPoMo!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Family Favorite - Spicy Shrimp Curry



This recipe has become a family favorite. You know, I love the internet because while I have a hard copy, I also found it online, which makes it so much easier to share on a day like to day when I don't seem to have enough time. This recipe is from Real Simple Magazine, from October 2004. I just found out they have an excellent recipe archive ONLINE!

Spicy Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk and Apple

1 large unpeeled tart apple, such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 13 ½-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Quarter, core, and slice the apple into ¼-inch-thick pieces; set aside. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, apple, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes. Add the peas and coconut milk and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until the shrimp are cooked. Stir in the cilantro. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 474(0% from fat); FAT 24g (sat 19g); CHOLESTEROL 259mg; CALCIUM 158mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27g; SODIUM 607mg; PROTEIN 41mg; FIBER 7g; IRON 9mg



Images by Tiffany Teske

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photographer Feature - Robyn Cumming, Toronto


Many Shades of Pink by Robyn Cumming, Copyright Robyn Cumming

Tonight I was cleaning my inbox and came across an old e-newsletter from OttawaXpress, a weekly arts and entertainment newspaper that read religiously when I was living in Ottawa. I mostly read the visual arts reviews online now. This review was about Robyn Cumming, a Toronto based photographer. I won't rehash the review here, but I will recommend you check out Robyn's cool website. On it you will see five series of images. Many of them, like the image above from the series Little Legs, are humorous and disturbing at the same time. As a photographer, I tend to make images of beauty, but have always been drawn to the beauty in the disturbing. It is amazing how the lens can make a situation that is totally benign, seem almost horrific, thanks to the way it has been captured by the photographer to inspire your imagination. Many of Cumming's images looks like scenes from a play. Her work is referred to as "staged-reality". I particularly like the series Bound, which featured portraits of people and the things they are bound by, and then portraits of just the things. I also really like her bio.

Safe Cosmetics

I am not one to have really sensitive skin when it comes to make up, so it took me until now to really think about using the best products on my face. There are so many cosmetics out there that you might think are safe, but are actually pretty toxic. I have been using organic lotions, soaps, shampoos, and such for a couple of years. Now it is time to chuck the bad make up. Lipsticks, nail polish, and shampoo, are actually on the list as one of the ten toxic items you should know about in this post. So, how do you know if your current make up is actually bad for you? You can research it on Skin Deep: Cosmetics Database. There are 41,000 products in this database which are paired against 50 toxicity and regulatory databases. It is a project that is run by the people at Environmental Working Group.

Additionally, here are 5 chemicals to avoid in cosmetic products and why you should avoid them. Quickly, they are the Phthatale Family, Lauryl Sulfate, the Amine Family, Formaldehyde, and Paraben Preservatives. There are many resources online to help you clean up your make up drawer. You can also go to a local natural foods store, see what they have available, and talk with a real live person about what might be best for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You Win Some...


...you lose some. I got my rejection letter from Alberta Arts last week. I had submitted images from my Seeing Double: Reflections on Human/Nature in Banff. It is always good to submit, even though it is a bummer to be rejected. I learn something each and every time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Fellow Etsy Friend - Hilary Hitchcock

I originally posted about Hilary Hitchcock on my Polaroid blog. Since then, I have become the proud owner of two of Hilary's images...

This is my favorite Polaroid Transfer image by Hilary, titled Sunroom. I am happy to own it in an 8x10" print which is matted and framed in black metal.




Hanging underneath it is this image, "After You Were Mine". They both hang in my studio, so I can see them often.

Here is what Hilary has to say about herself:

"I’ve been taking photos for several years. I especially like documenting things that are rarely seen or disappearing. The design sensibility of days gone by tends to make me swoon, as do rural Midwestern landscapes."

Check out her shop to see more of her work!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shots Submission - Water


I don't know why I do it... I guess it is like having an arch-nemisis. I have one of those, too. That person, in this case a gallery owner, who specifically represents photographers in the area where I used to live, who told me once that he "could see where you are going but your work is too beautiful". In this case, you would have to know the guy, who is gay (I only bring this up to point out that the guy is more into gritty male nudes than beautiful women), and into some pretty freaky stuff visually. Yet, I still wanted him to represent me. And I think that is good, to have someone who makes you work your ass off, to keep changing, learning, re examining and trying...


And that is what Shots is to me, in terms of a publication. I have submitted to Shots countless times, and have not been accepted. Now, there are many many amazing photographers out there, so I am not surprised, but it is a publication whose work I LOVE and it is published in Minneapolis, where I was born and raised, and where most of my family still lives. Their latest call for submission is on the theme of Water.


Right away, I knew what I would submit. I made these images in 2001, when my then boyfriend, now husband and I spent 6 weeks in Costa Rica. These images are from a series called Agua Termales, San Gerardo, Costa Rica.


Andre also photographed me, and I have a 12 of these images, about 2x3", mounted together in a large frame in our bedroom. I printed them myself, back when I had a darkroom. Oooohhhh, I do miss my darkroom... These images bring back good memories of frolicking in the bush with the man of my dreams.


Hard to believe we were not married then, but since then we have married, I immigrated to Canada, we built a house, had a baby, moved to Banff for Andre's dream job, bought a house, and are now expecting another baby... And through it all our love has grown, I have grown, and I continue to document my life with my beloved cameras. Not sure if Shots will care, but I am happy that I have them, to egg me on, to allow me to re examine my best work over the years, and to challenge me to grow and change and to be a better photographer....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hot Chocolate in Vintage Tea Cups



It just happens to have been -20 degrees all weekend. But it doesn't have to be cold outside for my daughter is ask me if I will make her homemade hot chocolate...


Images copyright Tiffany Teske

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Neat Tip and A Book Review


I have been the proud owner of The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano for about two months now. I first saw this book in Kelowna last spring, and kicked myself for not buying it. Cheryl, whom I work with for the Recycled Art Program for the After School Program, owns it, and said she loves it, so I was inspired to special order it and to pay full price from our local book store, The Banff Book and Art Den. I have not been disappointed. It has a great name, I mean come on, many people have probably wanted to title a book like this but no one accept Mark Montano had the balls. He truly is a talented crafter so I guess I can forgive him for being the host of that completely shallow show, 10 Years Younger, and just concentrate on his work on While You Were Out. This book retails for $23.50 in Canada and just $19.95 in the US. It is chock full, about the size of a small phone book, of 150 crafts for the home, gift giving, your mom, or the yard. Some of the projects include:

-Subscription Card Artwork
-Fabric Wall Panels
-Silhouettes
-Luggage Tags
And tons more DIY projects that can be made new or using recycled materials. I LOVE this book. It has practical and simple projects that I really do want to make. And the photographs by Auxy Espinoza are vivid and inspiring.

And this leads me to my tip. There is a very small section of homemade and organic personal care products. One of the recipes is for Olive Oil Body Lotion. I was really excited when I saw this. I don't have dry skin, but it is because I use lotion all over my body every time I shower or bathe, every other day or so in the winter. I buy natural products that are free from chemicals, however, once and awhile when I try a new lotion, it is not the right one for me. I know this when after about a week of using it, my skin is itching because it is too dry. This means, I have an almost new bottle of lotion that I won't be using. Frustrating. Of course, I still hold onto these bottles, because I don't want to waste them. Once and awhile I give one away to someone staying at our house, but they still collect in my bathroom cabinet. Today, I decide to take the two bottles I have now, and to fix them up to see if the addition of Olive Oil would make a difference.

Here is the recipe and the steps from the book:
Olive Oil Body Lotion
by Mark Montano
You Need:
* 1 cup of body lotion (the book says any kind will do, because the lotion is used as a base. I would still recommend using a decent brand, as the cheap brands are not natural and contain harmful chemicals.
* 1/4 cup virgin or extra virgin olive oil
* Plastic or glass container or lotion bottle
* Optional peppermint or lemon oil (I use quality essential oils, since it will be absorbed by my skin)

1) Put lotion, olive oil, and scented oil in your container and shake vigorously.
2) Use all over your body and enjoy!

What could be simpler? I would not suggest using this on your face, especially if you add peppermint oil, but it should be fine on the rest of your body. I LOVE peppermint soap, so I did add peppermint oil to the bottle of unscented lotion I had. The other bottle already smells like grapefruit verbena, so I only added olive oil to it. I will keep you posted on how well this works, although I trust it will, as the people who have really dry skin usually turn to oil to soothe it.

The other body product recipes in this book are:
- Vitamin E Face Scrub
- Lemon Lip Shine
- Lemon Tea Sugar Scrub
- Relaxing Bath Crystals Body Scrub
- Crusty-Foot Balm
- Mark's Special Toothpaste

If you have never made natural body products, nothing could be simpler or more cost effective. I plan to add all of these to my repertoire as I run out of what I am using now. These items all make great gifts that you can dress up in beautiful packaging. How fun!

A Neat Tip and A Book Review


I have been the proud owner of The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano for about two months now. I first saw this book in Kelowna last spring, and kicked myself for not buying it. Cheryl, whom I work with for the Recycled Art Program for the After School Program, owns it, and said she loves it, so I was inspired to special order it and to pay full price from our local book store, The Banff Book and Art Den. I have not been disappointed. It has a great name, I mean come on, many people have probably wanted to title a book like this but no one accept Mark Montano had the balls. He truly is a talented crafter so I guess I can forgive him for being the host of that completely shallow show, 10 Years Younger, and just concentrate on his work on While You Were Out. This book retails for $23.50 in Canada and just $19.95 in the US. It is chock full, about the size of a small phone book, of 150 crafts for the home, gift giving, your mom, or the yard. Some of the projects include:

-Subscription Card Artwork
-Fabric Wall Panels
-Silhouettes
-Luggage Tags
And tons more DIY projects that can be made new or using recycled materials. I LOVE this book. It has practical and simple projects that I really do want to make. And the photographs by Auxy Espinoza are vivid and inspiring.

And this leads me to my tip. There is a very small section of homemade and organic personal care products. One of the recipes is for Olive Oil Body Lotion. I was really excited when I saw this. I don't have dry skin, but it is because I use lotion all over my body every time I shower or bathe, every other day or so in the winter. I buy natural products that are free from chemicals, however, once and awhile when I try a new lotion, it is not the right one for me. I know this when after about a week of using it, my skin is itching because it is too dry. This means, I have an almost new bottle of lotion that I won't be using. Frustrating. Of course, I still hold onto these bottles, because I don't want to waste them. Once and awhile I give one away to someone staying at our house, but they still collect in my bathroom cabinet. Today, I decide to take the two bottles I have now, and to fix them up to see if the addition of Olive Oil would make a difference.

Here is the recipe and the steps from the book:
Olive Oil Body Lotion
by Mark Montano
You Need:
* 1 cup of body lotion (the book says any kind will do, because the lotion is used as a base. I would still recommend using a decent brand, as the cheap brands are not natural and contain harmful chemicals.
* 1/4 cup virgin or extra virgin olive oil
* Plastic or glass container or lotion bottle
* Optional peppermint or lemon oil (I use quality essential oils, since it will be absorbed by my skin)

1) Put lotion, olive oil, and scented oil in your container and shake vigorously.
2) Use all over your body and enjoy!

What could be simpler? I would not suggest using this on your face, especially if you add peppermint oil, but it should be fine on the rest of your body. I LOVE peppermint soap, so I did add peppermint oil to the bottle of unscented lotion I had. The other bottle already smells like grapefruit verbena, so I only added olive oil to it. I will keep you posted on how well this works, although I trust it will, as the people who have really dry skin usually turn to oil to soothe it.

The other body product recipes in this book are:
- Vitamin E Face Scrub
- Lemon Lip Shine
- Lemon Tea Sugar Scrub
- Relaxing Bath Crystals Body Scrub
- Crusty-Foot Balm
- Mark's Special Toothpaste

If you have never made natural body products, nothing could be simpler or more cost effective. I plan to add all of these to my repertoire as I run out of what I am using now. These items all make great gifts that you can dress up in beautiful packaging. How fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

PhotoEd Magazine Gallery Feature


I have been wanting to blog about this for quite sometime... One day, I opened my mailbox and found two complimentary copies of PhotoEd Magazine inside. I had been previously contacted by Felix Russo, the magazine's publisher, with the good news that one of my Polaroid transfer images had been chosen for publication in their Gallery section.


You can see the image, entitled "Tracks" above. I took this image of the Ottawa O Train Tracks in 2005. I shot it on color slide film, so I could make a transfer, and I also shot it on true black and white film, so I could make a large print. The black and white print hangs in my close friend, artist Karina Bergman's home in Ottawa, and I have made several one of a kind transfers of the color slide, one of which hangs in another artist friend, Selena Wilson Stubson's home in Winnepeg. Both the black and white and color versions are dear to me, and remind me of my father's father, who I never met, since he died when my father was 13. He was a railroad engineer, whose handsome portrait hangs in my home, and whose spirit lives on thanks to the stories my dad tells of him. I can't quite explain the feeling I get when I view this image, but it is similar to the feeling I get when I view his image. I think I romanticize them both. Plus, I have always been strongly drawn to things that are becoming extinct, or antiquated. I have a love for these old things. I was proud to have this image published, especially in a Canadian magazine.

I first found out about PhotoEd in the winter of 2005, when my friend, and fellow Canadian photographer, Angela Marklew, had a photography book she made featured in their "Art of Presentation" issue.


Here is what the PhotoEd website has to say about PhotoEd:
"PhotoEd is about Photography Education; both traditional and New Media. It is a useful resource for students, teachers and anyone desiring an education in photography. It is about motivation, inspiration and passion in photography. The magazine will showcase the work of emerging and established Canadian artists and be a vehicle for showing and sharing the great talent in Canada." Wow, I truly do feel honored...

PhotoEd is published 3 times a year in Toronto. They are currently seeking portfolio submissions from Canadian photographers working in historic processes.

A one of a kind transfer of "Tracks" is available for purchase in my Etsy shop

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's a....


GIRL!! Yippee :) Another girl for our growing family! Today we had our 20 week ultrasound, which went very well. The minute that we were told we were having a girl, both Andre and I were excited at the prospect of having a third child. We went three anyway, but he may have been swayed to stop at two if we had a boy and a girl. I have always wanted four, so stopping at two would have been a bummer, but I can compromise at three. Anyway, back to the little darling at hand... we are thrilled that Quinlyn will have a sister, since neither one of us do. She isn't quite grasping that the baby is a girl, to her it is just a baby. I have been beaming all day. A healthy baby girl! We are blessed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies with Ginger


UPDATE: I HAVE INCLUDED HOW TO MAKE THESE COOKIES VEGAN, THANKS TO MY FRIEND, ANGELA...
Every once and awhile I get a wicked craving for these cookies. This has become a trusty recipe because everyone who eats them, loves them, even people who don't generally go for oatmeal cookies. The ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon provide a delicious spice combo and the raisins and nuts add some substance. I have given the recipe away countless times. I cut it out of a magazine and don't remember which one, but it does say "adapted from Recipes for Success for Leading Women and Premiere Chefs. Copyright 1996 by the Patriots' Trail Girl Scout Council, Inc." I have made some adaptations myself which are indicated by an asterix and what I use is in parenthesis. I use organic ingredients wherever possible.



Classic Oatmeal Cookies with Ginger
3/4 cup all-purpose flour *(I use whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon grated fresh or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon EACH salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter or margarine, softened *(I ALWAYS use butter for cookies)
1/2 cup granulated sugar *(I use organic raw)
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup EACH golden raisins and pecans, chopped *(I have also used regular raisins and walnuts)
Topping: 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until blended.
3) Beat butter and both sugars in a large (mixer) bowl on high speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until blended. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended. Fold (gently stir) in oats, raisins, and pecans.
4) Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in topping mixture.
5) Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until medium brown. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack 1 minute before removing rack to cool completely.
Make 24 cookies *(I always seem to get 36).

TO MAKE THIS RECIPE VEGAN:
- Use margarine instead of butter
- Use egg replacer instead of egg. Just check out the one you use and make enough to replace one egg.
- Angela doesn't like raisins so she used vegan chocolate chips... MMMMM!



If you would like some cookie baking tips, you can see this post. Enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ultra Cuteness! Handmade...


Well, actually hand embellished would be more accurate. Quin's aunt, my little sister, Tillie, sent this adorable mitten, hat, and glove set early in the new year. They have fast become Q's favorites. She is able to get all of it on all by herself. My dad said they found the set at a craft fair. I have to say, I was proud he took my sis shopping at a craft fair, since every crafter and artisan I know says they had horrible sales over the holidays. From what I can see, this person bought the and with embroidery floss, added translucent tri beads all the way around each of the edges. The colors are really lovely, and they wash up like a charm. They sent Quin a pair of socks that are embellished the same way, and I had my doubts, but they washed up well and I hang them to dry. This would be a good craft for even an older child to try. They could use a blanket stitch through the beads. I found a site that sells 2,200 beads for $5.99!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My New Cutting Board and a Kid's Craft Project


I was looking online for a green cutting board when I found Epicurean. I blogged about them here. I wanted to give them a try and my 8x6" Recycled Series board arrived a couple of days ago. In the meantime, I found a local shop, The Colorful Cook in Canmore, Alberta, that carries this line of cutting boards, so I can go buy more if I like them... and boy, I do likey!


They are made in Duluth, Minnesota, from recycled cardboard. They are resistant to heat and stains, are dishwasher safe, and kind to knives. I have used my board several times already. After an initial wash with soap and water, my daughter and I made a small fruit salad. The board did resist staining, and was super easy to clean up again with soap, water, and an air dry. I have already brought my old plastic board of the same size to the thrift store. And next week, I plan to go to The Colorful Cook to buy a 14x11" board. If you are looking for a green, healthy board, please check out Epicurean.


On a side note, there was a long piece of packing paper protecting our new cutting board. It was about the same length as my daughter, so instead of throwing it into the recycler, we got to work tracing each other, then we used markers to dress up Quin's new buddy. Thanks to Epicurean for an environmentally responsible cutting board and for providing us with a morning of inventive fun!


My New Cutting Board and a Kid's Craft Project


I was looking online for a green cutting board when I found Epicurean. I blogged about them here. I wanted to give them a try and my 8x6" Recycled Series board arrived a couple of days ago. In the meantime, I found a local shop, The Colorful Cook in Canmore, Alberta, that carries this line of cutting boards, so I can go buy more if I like them... and boy, I do likey!


They are made in Duluth, Minnesota, from recycled cardboard. They are resistant to heat and stains, are dishwasher safe, and kind to knives. I have used my board several times already. After an initial wash with soap and water, my daughter and I made a small fruit salad. The board did resist staining, and was super easy to clean up again with soap, water, and an air dry. I have already brought my old plastic board of the same size to the thrift store. And next week, I plan to go to The Colorful Cook to buy a 14x11" board. If you are looking for a green, healthy board, please check out Epicurean.


On a side note, there was a long piece of packing paper protecting our new cutting board. It was about the same length as my daughter, so instead of throwing it into the recycler, we got to work tracing each other, then we used markers to dress up Quin's new buddy. Thanks to Epicurean for an environmentally responsible cutting board and for providing us with a morning of inventive fun!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Christmas Keeps On Coming...


On Tuesday, I had a package slip in my PO Box (every single resident who receives mail in Banff has a PO Box) but didn't have time to stand in line to collect the package. On Thursday, I picked up the package, a beautifully stamped envelope from Honolulu, Hawaii! The package came from Stacy, one of my crafting buddies, from the former blog Create A Day (which was somehow deleted from blogspot), which is now EveryDayCreate. As a TOTAL surprise, I would even call it a random act of kindness (ok, not a random act...), Stacy sent me a package of Hawaiian holiday treats :) Quin and had a ball checking out all the goodies...


...which included coconut coffee, chocolate covered macadamian nuts, chocolate macadamian nut cups, a 2009 Hawaii calendar, a fun silver tag that says "believe", and a lovely pair of earrings (Stacy makes jewelry, check out her lovelies here). It was so generous and so fun!! Thank you so much, Stacy! And Quin, my chocoholic daughter thanks you, too :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Session & Lining Up Some Exhibitions


Yesterday, I had a mini photo shoot with my friend, Kim, and her husband, Kevin. They are expecting their first child in March. One of my best friends, Jeanne, who lives in Maine, is a marketing consultant for a hospital birthing centre, and every couple years she asks me for some maternity and baby photographs for their brochure. Most of my maternity images are black and white, and generally bare bellied, but this year they specifically asked for color and no skin. That was easy for the baby photos but I needed to shoot a couple images of a headless couple with all their clothes on, with the man behind the woman, both holding the belly, for the pregnancy shot. No problem. Kim and Kevin were happy to oblige and while I offered them a complete photo session as a gift for being willing to be models, they are such kind people they would not accept it. I must admit it did bum me out a bit, because I like them so much, and I love to make photographs. Above is one of the photos I was able to sneak that includes their heads, so I can make them some copies...

I got to see Kim again later in the day when I went to the library to return some books and to talk with her about openings for exhibits at the library in 2009. She takes care of arranging for the artists and having an opening for them, but she will be leaving in late February for mat leave, so I wanted to get in now. In 2008, I had an exhibit in October. This time I chose November. With my own babe on the way, this gives me extra time. I LOVE to have exhibit opportunities lined up, because when life is busy, some times art making is the first thing to go. When I have some pressure, a deadline, an opportunity, I continue to work at making art. I will probably keep the schedule light this year, although I hope to submit to some publications. I am excited for this exhibit. I have something up my sleeve that I hoped to do last year, but then ended up doing the double exposure Polaroid show instead. Stay tuned...

Additionally, I have been asked, for the second year, to take part in the Women's Art Show, at the Banff Library. It takes place in March, because of International Women's Day. This exhibit showcases the work of local women artists. Once piece per artist. It was a great success last year and I hope to talk with more of the local women this year. I am not sure what I will exhibit yet, but will probably make a new piece for it.

Daily Quote - Plato

This is exactly how I heard this quote the first time...
"Be compassionate because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle!"
It was on a CBC Radio program and the speaker credited it to a rabbi. When I searched it online what I found was this...
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
which is attributed to Plato...
I think this is an important quote to keep in mind everyday...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bloom


Today, I sold this in my Etsy shop. It has always been a very special image to me, since I took it of one of my very good friends, during her first pregnancy. She now lives in Spain, where she is from, so this image reminds me of her and makes me smile when I am missing her....

The woman who bought it lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where my husband is from, and near where we were living, in Wakefield, Quebec. It is so cool how small the world is, and how it takes the internet for this person to find me, even though I used to exhibit my work all over Ottawa! This very image has hung in public in Ottawa. She wrote me a sweet little note that says, "I love your work. I live in Ottawa Ontario and am feeling the pregnancy blues and this made me feel spring and beauty in the midst of winter! Thank you!" Isn't that lovely? It really made my day! From what I can tell from feedback ratings, this is only her third purchase on Etsy, and it is really cool that she chose my work. And that is spoke to her. That is what an artist needs to hear. And I think it is nice that I am pregnant, too. I am going to send her a little note back...

This image has really received a lot of good feedback. I had a student doula contact me, to ask if she could use it on her business card. While I would normally charge a fee for this, a small one for business card use, I believe so much in the importance of doulas for pregnant women, and I have been a student, that I said yes, please use the image!

I love being pregnant, and I love to capture this fleeting time in a woman's life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Book Recommendation - A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel



I love to read. I read mostly non fiction because I also love to learn. And since I am a photographer, images appeal to me. I was recently in our local library when I noticed the shelves where the librarians showcase their recommendations. My friend, Kim, is a librarian there, and her shelf caught my eye. A beautiful image in glowing orange (my current favorite color) and piercing eyes stopped me in my tracks. Then, the title of this book, "A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel: My Journey in Photographs by Annie Griffiths Belt" sold me completely. I snapped it up, brought it home, and have been reading and pouring over the images ever since.



I was reading it in bed one morning and my 2 1/2 year old was dozing next to me. When she rolled over and woke up, I was looking at the above image, and she started laughing and talking about the silly kids.

Annie Griffins Belt, is a National Geographic Photographer. In addition to some of her best images, this book showcases her excellent prose. It is a memoir. Her start in photography began at the age of 21, during a University photography classes (it was the University of Minnesota, in my hometown of Minneapolis). From there, she worked her way to National Geographic, a dream job for any photographer. But, what makes Griffins Belt different is that once she became a mother, she continued to work for National Geographic, all over the world, for months at a time, with her two kids in tow! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have this kind of opportunity, but since I wasn't already working for one of the most well respected documentary magazines in the world before having my first child... oh well, I can dream. And I can say, Right ON, Annie!" to this amazing woman who brought her kids with her for 5 years before even saying anything to anyone! Determined not to be an absentee mother, she just made it work. She paid all their expenses, and brought nannies, when her husband could not come with. These kids have seen the world, and they are now something like 16 and 19... what a gift!



Griffins Belt mentions returning to Africa, herself, for the 14 and 15th times, so you can only imagine how many countries she has been to around the world. Mexico, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Jordan, the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Dominican Republic, Kenya, Thailand, Haiti, Cambodia, Burma, Bosnia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bolivia, Bermuda, Australia, Israel, Syria, Brazil, China, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, England, Zambia, Italy...

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Above is one of my favorite images in the book. It is of a Somalian mother and her child awaiting evacuation from Kenya. Although I cannot imagine what this mother is going through, I look at this image and I feel that I can understand how much she loves her child. We are both mothers. It makes me feel for her, and her child. It makes me weep.

My favorite paragraph written by Griffins Belt, who tries whenever possible to work without an interpreter, is:
"And I have learned that even without a shared language, it's easy to let people know that their children are beautiful, their homes are lovely, their tea is delicious, and their stories are worth sharing with the world."

I admire this kind, sensitive, and brave woman, this mother, and I think this book is excellent! Thanks, Kim :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MMMMMMM, Chili!


Chili is a cold weather favorite. A hearty meal that warms and fills, I crave chili this time of year. Being a vegetarian, it is always veggie chili. I don't shy away from recipes that take awhile to make but I found this one online ages ago and love how fast and simple it is. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, partially owing to the fact that it uses vegetable juice as the base. I don't usually like recipes on brand name food packages, since they often want you to cook by opening even more packages, but this recipe came from the vegetarian resource center in Boston and uses healthy ingredients. It says it serves 4, but it is more like 4 small bowl or 3 regular sized, so I often double the recipe. I also put shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top.



V8 Vegetarian Chili

* 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
* 1 lg onion, chopped
* 1 small green pepper, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbsp chili powder
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 2-1/2 cups V8 (I actually use R.W. Knudsen's Very Veggie)
* 1 can (16 oz.) black or kidney beans
* 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans

In saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, green pepper, garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook until onion is tender. Add vegetable juice. Heat to boiling. Cook over low heat 5 minutes. Add beans. Heat through.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Update on JPG Magazine

Quick update on the status of JPG Magazine...

Thanks to the power and speed of the internet, JPG fans have been able to use Twitter, Flickr, their personal blogs, and the website savejpg.com, to get the word out about the possible demise of this wonderfully democratic photography magazine. Because of this, JPG had received many credible offers of purchase, which would keep the magazine going. For now, they have decided not to delete the website. They are hoping to have a final update within a week. Wow! Yippee!!

Daily Quote - Cesare Pavese

"We do not remember days, we remember moments." Cesare Pavese

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Daily Quote - Lillian Smith

..."when we stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die." Lillian Smith

A Perfect Day for Skiing



Today, Quin & Daddy, went skiing at Norquay, for the first time this year. She is 2 1/2, and she did go one other time, on the last day of the season last year, when she was about 22 months. We know it is young, but she is just such a darn cute ski bunny!



And when you dad is the general manager of a ski area, and is in love with skiing, well, you have to give it a try. For the most part, Q enjoys skiing with daddy, but she is not ready to try even a small slant on her own. Which is fine with mommy, and daddy, too, wants to make sure she had fun and is not stressed. And since daddy learned to ski before he can even remember and he loves it, and mommy learned as a teen and is generally more scared than thrilled, I think is awesome she is starting young!