Archive for July, 2010

When life gives you beadboard

So, I am a little bit embarrassed to admit it, but for the last several months this random piece of beadboard has become a permanent fixture in our bedroom. Let me explain…

Back in January (yes, I just said January) Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder and I decided to give our master bath a  little refresher: new paint, new sink, new light fixture, new faucet, and yes, beadboard. We are happy to say that we are finally done with that project (minus a few decorative touches here and there). It’s not that it was that difficult of a project and I have to say it is not *all* Mr. BEY’s fault that it took almost six months to complete. Cut him a little slack, he married the “Queen of Projects” and she has filled the last six months of his life with about a trillion mini-projects like here, here and here.
But I digress…the beadboard. 
So, this piece of beadboard was left over from out bathroom renovation. Living in a townhome, we lack everyday luxuries like a garage, tool shed, workshop and storage. This piece was too big to fit in any closet or through the attic door and too big to just throw away (I inherited my Mema’s just-can’t-part-with-it gene). So here she stands.
Now don’t get me wrong, she has been a good roommate. She’s very quiet and neat and loves listening to me ramble on…but it’s time for her to move on to bigger and better things. This weekend she will become a part of an adorable surprise project and will make one little girl squeal with delight.
Any guesses as what she might become? Aww, c’mon now, dream big for her. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think she might become or share with us any long, drawn out home projects that you have been a part of and you just might win this:
$10 gift card to Home Depot
(Just my little way of helping you tie up the loose ends on your projects.)

Posted 7/30/10, Topic: Blog

Painting with Light

Last Saturday night, Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder tried his hand at something new…painting with light. With gear in hand, he headed down to historic Oakland Cemetery for a photography workshop. 
I had no idea what kind of photos he might come home with, I just hoped I wouldn’t see any eerie faces peering back at me.  As soon as he came home (around midnight) I made him download his pictures for a little sneak peek.
There were tons of really neat photos, but as you can imagine, a workshop is for learning…so not so many masterpieces. (That comes later.) These photos should give you a good idea of some of the things he learned and a little peek into Oakland if you have never visited before.
Note: Anyone that knows me, knows I am not the dark, creepy, dance-around-in-the-graveyard type. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween, but it’s kind of weird to see Blue Eyed Yonder plastered with pictures of tombstones and mausoleums in the dead of summer. I try to focus on the history and photography aspect of the night and forget the whole people-are-actually-buried-here part!
Mr. BEY arrived in the cemetery around 6:00pm. For the first hour, students roamed the cemetery to select the spot they would like to focus on during the workshop.
Oakland Cemetery is really quite beautiful. During the day people jog, walk their dog or enjoy their afternoon under a shady tree. The cemetery is almost park-like; such a quiet place within a bustling city.
As the sun set, the instructor gave a demonstration on “painting with light”. Then she asked the students to begin taking their places for the workshop.
Mr. BEY chose one of the medium-sized mausoleums, he didn’t want to compete for space at some of the larger ones. In the beginning, it’s kind of like a waiting game. He kept taking shots and adjusting the camera settings. You’re basically waiting for the sun to down enough to where you get deep, rich colors in the sky, yet still have enough light for the photo. That window of the perfect balance of light is very small, so if you goof around…you just might miss it.
In this first photo, the sun has set and the sky is starting to get a little dark. Notice how dark the mausoleum looks.
This is the first picture where the subject is “painted” with light. The sun needs to sink just a little more, the sky is not quite dark enough.
In just a matter of seconds, the sky’s light can change dramatically. In this photo, the deep, rich blues are starting to make their appearance. There is just a slight bit of light “painted” on the subject.
This photo was taken just seconds after the previous one with no use of outside lighting. The sky is a deeper blue and you can get a sense of just how dark it was. The mausoleum is a mere silhouette.
Now that the sky is in perfect condition, Mr. BEY started to play around with the uplighting on the subject. In this photo you can see the majority of the light is “painted” on the marble stairs and surround walls. I keep calling this one the “headlight” shot. It looks like someone is pulling up in a car to pay a late night visit.
Remember, Mr. BEY is not standing behind the camera at this point, he is walking around in front of the camera with a large flashlight. You don’t see him because the camera’s shutter is set on about 30 seconds and he keeps moving to keep from being detected. With a shutter that slow, the camera will only pick up objects that are stationary.
Very similar settings were used in this shot, however instead of painting the stairs and walls, Mr. BEY focuses his light on the mausoleum itself. I am not sure of the right word to describe this: pretty or ominous?
At this point, almost all of the ambient light was gone from the sky and many of the students began heading out. Wanting to make the very most of his night in the cemetery, Mr. BEY hung out a little longer and got some really dark, kind of creepy shots.
Photos by: CMJ
Ok, this picture totally gives me the heebie jeebies. Notice anything funny about this one?  Mr. BEY’s large flashlight died and he had to switch to the LED maglight. Thank goodness he had a back up!
He had lots of the eerie blue photos and frankly, they darn right scare me. Mr. BEY kept calling them Smurf houses, and when you put it that way…they’re kind of funny.

Posted 7/30/10, Topic: Blog

Out and About: Marietta Square Farmers Market

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people. – Elizabeth Berry
Saturday, we ventured out to the Marietta Square Farmers Market. It was a true feast for the senses. We had the best time strolling past the various tents bursting with fresh produce, yummy samples and smiling vendors. Despite the 90-degree temperature, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Passerbys chatted about their shopping lists for that evening’s dinner, touched and smelled the beautiful produce and even sipped on Callan’s fresh squeezed lemonade.
Just walking through the market gave us a great sense of pride, a sense of belonging. It was so nice to actually shake the hand of the farmer that grew your food. The local market gives you something a big box grocer never will, the human connection.
Where else can you listen to a young lady hammer away on a fiddle while you shop? You are not only getting a higher quality, more personal product, you are getting the experience. And that my friends, comes free of charge.
This whole experience got me thinking…why should we buy local? I happened upon a great site that had lots of answers.

Eating local means more for the local economy.  According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.  When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
Locally grown produce is fresher.  While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.  This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

Supporting local providers supports responsible land development.  When you buy local, you give those with local open space – farms and pastures – an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
Local food just plain tastes better.  Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours?  ‘Nuff said.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen.  Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be “rugged” or to stand up to the rigors of shipping.  This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons.  By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story.  Whether it’s the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.
Local food translates to more variety.  When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket.  Supermarkets are interested in selling “Name brand” fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes.  Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.
Photos by: KHJ & CMJ
We managed to leave the Farmers Market with a few goodies of our own: yellow crooked neck squash, a white bush scallop squash, a bag of the most delicious Georgia peaches, Emily G’s Jalapeno Raspberry Jam and great big bouquet of bright zinnias and sunflowers. 
I smile each time I walk into the kitchen and see the beautiful flowers and smell the sweet, tenderness of the peaches ripening on the counter. I am already counting down the days until our next market visit.

Posted 7/27/10, Topic: Blog

And he’s off…

Memory Cards…check
Cable Release…check
Nervous excited feeling in your tummy…check…double check!
Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder is off to do a little late night exploring in historic Oakland Cemetery. He is joining a group of other photographers in a workshop on “painting with light”. (Probably one of his favorite birthday presents ever, unless you count the time I flew 620 miles to surprise him during his summer up north when we were dating…hard to beat that one.)  
I am pretty new to the concept of painting with light, but it sounds absolutely fascinating. 
Basically, all of the photos will be taken with the use of a tripod (to keep the camera very still) and a very slow shutter speed, sometimes several minutes long. For these types of photos it is helpful to use a cable release, which basically lets you take the picture remotely. If you press the button with your finger, you risk moving the camera and losing the stillness that is needed to capture night shots. So, after you pull the trigger you run around in the dark ‘painting’ the subject with swaths of light. (You have to keep moving so the camera doesn’t pick you up in the photo.) 
Oakland Cemetery, Pisconeri Photography
You can choose where to ‘paint’, how long to ‘paint’, and even implement colored gel lenses over your light source for endless results. 
So, loaded down with several flashlights and all the necessary equipment, my mister hit the road for a night with the dead. Hmph, that sounds kind of creepy…for a night in a cemetery…not any better is it? A night full of history and his love of photography…ahh, that sounds better.
Just so you get a real feel for the experience, it is pretty steamy in Atlanta right now. This is the view from inside our front door as he was pulling out of the driveway…
How’s that for steamy? That’s what happens when a pop-up thunderstorm rains down on a 100 degree afternoon. Yuck. But that didn’t dampen his spirits…
Photos by: KHJ

he’s as happy as can be. I only wish I were going with him. Hmm…maybe this means we need two cameras. Muhahaha!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that a big gust of wind comes through and cools things off while he’s trampling through the cemetery. I am so happy that he gets to experience something so unique. I know he’ll have lots of good tips, photos and perhaps a creepy story or two. Stay tuned.

Posted 7/24/10, Topic: Blog

BLAT’s what it’s all about

“Waffle patterns on your butt from lawn chairs fade. Friendships last forever.”
A little while back I made the trip to the sweet, little town of Bethlehem (Bethlehem, Georgia that is) to visit my dear friend Shea and her little munchkin. We had a full day planned: laughing and catching up, taking a sneak peak of the new baby’s room, more laughing and catching up, planning new craft adventures, hitting up some local antique stores and leaving with a lighter wallet. Now that’s my kind of day!
I got to her house around lunchtime and she whipped up one of the best BLT’s I think I’ve ever had. Ever. (Actually, you might call this one a BLAT. There’s delicious avocado hidden in there.) She simply layered sliced avocado, crisp green lettuce, thick cut bacon and beautifully bright red tomatoes atop toasted challah bread. But I have to tell you, there’s one sneaky little ingredient that made all the difference…Shea’s Super Secret Scrumptious Sauce! 
Now, she’ll say, “It’s no secret,” and being her sweet humble self, she might add, “anyone can do it.” But hey, I’ve been making BLT’s for years and never thought to fool with the mayo. You guys are lucky she’s so nice, she’s decided to share the ‘secret’ with you. (Told you she was a sweetie!)
Shea’s Super Secret Scrumptious Sauce
(Ok, so I realize it is not a ‘secret’ anymore, but the name just sounds so darn cute!)
1 cup Duke’s Mayo
1 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1/2 tbsp Asian chili sauce
salt & pepper (to taste)
In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients. Stir. Now, don’t just stand there looking silly. Eat it. You’re done!
Mmm, see that delicious little dollop peeking out? That’s the secret, plain and simple.
Delicious BLAT’s paired with crunchy black bean salad and a glass of ice cold sweet tea. It doesn’t get much better than that. Unless of course you get to share your lunch with one of your best pals in the whole wide world!
Photos by: KHJ
As if lunch with Shea wasn’t present enough, check out the adorable vintage buttons she gave me. I have a thing for buttons, especially old ones. She found these buttons at Cottontail Cottage, one of her all time favorite places to browse (more on that later). They were in the most adorable vintage glass jar with a beautiful basket of flowers printed on the lid. Just her little way of wishing me luck on this new Blue Eyed adventure. 
Happy heart.

Posted 7/20/10, Topic: Blog

oncewed-sq-badge-featured-vendor-20162nd Annual Pick With A Pro Retreat, www.campworkshops.com

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