Friday, March 6, 2015

Cabin Fever

The meteorologist predicted snow with great confidence. School and community activities were cancelled before the first flake hit the ground. And, like so many others, I headed to the store to stock up on provisions.

While most people were buying bread and milk and toilet paper, I browsed the flower shop of Wegman's grocery store, hoping they might have a few branches of pussy willow. Now, you can blame my need for pussy willows on Sylvia.  I was so inspired by her recent blog post, dark and moody, that featured pussy willow branches that I just had to try for my own version. Sylvia, thank you for the spark! And, thank you to Wegman's which did, indeed, have pussy willows.

The snow day started off with rain and more rain - and I thought perhaps the weatherman had missed the mark. I participated in a lively online chat with Kim Klassen and Xanthe and friends in The Studio. By the time our visit was over, fluffy snow flakes were coming down fast and piling up even faster.

The snow reflected the softest and most beautiful light into every window in our home.


So I went to work. Some days every picture is a struggle and no matter what it doesn't seem right. And other days, like this one, every picture came with ease and joy. Maybe because I couldn't get out of the house if I tried . . . or maybe because I stayed in my pajamas much of the day . . . or maybe because sometimes hot cocoa really is a healthy food . . . whatever the reason, the picture-taking was a pleasure.

There were pictures with the pussy willow branches and a few stacked terracotta pots.


And a few more pictures with flower frogs and a vintage postcard.


Since I had my sweet husband carry the heavy barn door into the house to use as a backdrop, I made full use, moving on to the last little Mums from a floral bouquet and other odds and ends. Scissors and vintage pie plates and old pictures, too.


And just because I wanted to use my new dark background (a great suggestion from Kim in The Studio) one more time . . . a sewing kit in an old jar. I found this jar in my favorite thrift shop just as is. I wondered about the woman who had lovingly saved these sewing notions - such an assortment of bobbins and buttons and buckles and tape measures and needle cases, and more. Surely she was a resourceful woman – one to make do and mend.


We'll likely be snowbound again today as the temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing. I'll spend the day reading my latest favorite book, Storytellers – A Photographer's Guide to Developing Themes and Creating Stories with Pictures, by Jerod Foster.  I'm only two chapters in, but so far, I'm loving this book!

And here's some good advice from Storytellers.

Curiosity is a good thing. Asking questions is a good thing. And answering your questions (or at least some of them) about your surroundings – the people, the places, and the events that unfold along the way – with your photography is a powerful way to tell a story. Not only does it help you communicate your ideas and vision to others, it's almost guaranteed to make you more thoughtful about the world around you.

It's a wonderful thing to live a creative life.


I'm linking up with Kim Klassen for Friday Finds – the glorious light of freshly fallen snow and a great book.

46 comments:

  1. Oh my, these are all gorgeous, Donna !
    So love your first picture ... the table arrangement with the wonderful props, that light ... amazing !
    The vintage postcards, ... everything ... such a wonderful post !
    Thanks for mention me ... so nice I could inspire you ... :-)
    Have a great weekend,
    Sylvia

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    1. Sylvia, Every visit to your blog gives me a wonderful sense of reassurance. You bring simplicity and originality to each photograph - and your way of seeing the world I find to be real and yet laced with hope and joy. The simple addition of your grandfather's pocket watch to your picture of the poem from Flow magazine is a perfect example of your creative perspective. When I want to immerse myself in beauty, I always head to your photo stream. Thank you!

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  2. What exquisite photos, Donna. I love every last one of them! That old barn door of yours is such a perfect backdrop, and the wonderful dark backgrounds makes your shots so much more finely accented and dramatic. I love pussy willows too. They take me back to my childhood. I found some developing buds on my magnolia tree this morning that look like great big pussy willows, but I couldn't possibly cut them and then lose the chance to enjoy their wonderful flowers outside. All the best with the snow. You make it sound magical. Bonny

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    1. Bonny, Your world sounds quiet magical as well! You are such a delightful storyteller with tales of the Wonder Dog and Slinky Paws and the goldfinch. Three cheers for Emi's performance which is sure to be stellar!

      I know what you mean about cutting the buds. I have an incredibly difficult time cutting the peonies and lilacs that bloom in my yard. As much as I love fresh cut flowers, I hate to cut short their beauty in my garden. I'm breathing in the beginnings of spring - and like you - I wish to spend my days out-of-doors.

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  3. Beautiful images. And you certainly made the most of the snow bound day. I would get so much more done if I stayed home and had snowbound days. Although this next week we are suppose to have a warm up finally. So forget the housework and other misc. things calling my name. I will be out exploring amongst the melting snow and mud, with a big smile on my face the whole time.

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    1. I'm with you Sarah - forget the housework and go exploring! Being out-of-doors really makes me happy and exploring or wandering gives me a feeling of peacefulness and excitement at the same time. Loved your post on renewing your journey with photography - so thoughtful and full of promise. Thank your for visiting here and always encouraging me.

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  4. oh my goodness... you had an amazing day..... i don't think I can pick a fav.... but I do have to say that top busy table pic really pulls me in...it's almost like i can feel the creativity you had buzzing... amazing.....

    the rest..... just so artful... always inspired....
    i too loved Sylvia's dark and moody shots....
    beautiful sweet friend..... happy weekend... xo

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    1. Kim, It's always a treat to see a message from you. I am certain that your world must be very full these days - with a virtual studio and a real studio, too. But, still you make time to connect with me - and so many other friends - and always encourage and lift up. I hope another chance for Gather will come my way - and we will work around a busy table together!

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  5. It sounds like the perfect way to spend the day and the result are perfect,too!

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  6. your stitching things make me think of all my grandmother's old sewing supplies - which I could tinker away with those again

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    1. So glad my picture brought a sweet memory for you. Your Disney fireworks photo did the same for me - remembering one of our last family vacations - all together.

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  7. One of my favorite things about snow is the light it brings into the house. Beautiful images and wonderful props. Your barn door makes a great background. The jar with the sewing notions is my favorite, you just have to stop and wonder who owned it before. It is crazy how some days 'every picture is a struggle' and other days things just click. You definitely had a day where everything clicked. :)

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    1. It's always a challenge for me to use props in such a way that they help me to tell the story rather than just looking like a picture of something. The jar full of sewing notions was the easiest of the pictures to take - no arranging needed - just a genuine appreciation for the beauty of little things.

      Thanks Michelle for your post today - so encouraging.

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  8. My breath is gone...these are all over-the-top stunning! Yes! The work table is just completely awesome. Now I want to find pussy willows...my mind is in high gear after seeing all of these!

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    1. Beverly, See what Sylvia started! Yes, pussy willow branches - can't wait to see how you bring them into your photographs! I can picture them in the vintage glass jars from your picture today . . .

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  9. So striking Donna, the effect that a dark background gives is wonderful. The storyteller idea really resounds with me. The book has gone on my wishlist. Here's hoping you get some milder weather soon.

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    1. Viv, Your post today - a photo essay - is just one of the topics discussed in the book. Since you like to walk and wander and take pictures, I suspect you will have many more visual stories to share with us. And I'm looking forward to the tales.

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  10. Wow, fantastic captures for FF. And I like your advices for storytellers.
    Cheers, Heidrun

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Erica. I visited your Google + page. Love the cool cup of coffee with the words in a swirl of smoke! I tried to comment - but had technical difficulties. So, I'll say it here - always a joy to meet a new friend!

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  11. So true! Sometimes it all comes together so easily and it shows in your photos. No matter what the background or the props, they are all lovely to look at and card worthy too! Have a good weekend. We are snuggled in the snow.

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    1. Hi Sarah, Hoping you are enjoying these snow day with your daughter. I remember the years when I worked full-time and snow days were so stressful as I had to be at work and we needed to rally the grandparents to care for our children. Now that I am retired, a snow day is a chance to spend a little more time with my son - and my nest will soon be empty - so I'm especially grateful.

      Thanks for your post today with the font recommendations!

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  12. Oh what a glorious collection of images, Donna ... I thought at first you had a wooden table (and I guess you do even tho it's a door :)) like Kim, that first image tells the story of what fun you were having and I love that. I love the stacked terra cotta pots, plants, scissors, light, every.single.thing. in your post today is breathtaking. And as always I appreciate the tips and links to resources. Thank you so much.

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    1. Barb, When I get to the computer, I can hardly wait to pop around to visit friends like you. I learn so much from you! Love your minimalist photo for today . . . From you, I've learned the beauty of photographing elements from the garden - succulent plants, gardening tools, flower pots and seeds. So my work is influenced by you - and hopefully, yours by me. We learn together and collaboration makes us both better!

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  13. Oh wow.... these are absolutely fabulous photos! Your story, props, lighting, backgrounds.... everything is so perfect. So glad you had such a wonderful "snow day" to capture these great shots and share them with all of us.

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    1. Donna, Thanks for visiting! I made a good attempt in my detective work to find your blog or photo stream so I could return the visit - but no luck. I'd love to see you photos, too!

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  14. What a wonderfully creative and productive day you had! You are not the only one who visited the florist section of the grocery store before our snow storm arrived. I did the same thing to stock up on tulips! I knew I'd need something to faf with. I do hope your temps rise and the snow melts more quickly. We got 12" but with sun and temps in the 40's tomorrow, I'm looking forward to serious melting. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Laughing at the notion of both of us rushing out to pick up flowers ahead of the snow! Your photos from your snow day are all simply beautiful . . . . love your take on the prompt for "stacked" from Kim.

      We've shoveled out and I'm looking forward to the near 60's predicted for next week!

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  15. Absolutely stunning! We've been living in an RV for a year, and all my "pretties" are packed away in storage - I love being able to see everyone else's photos! I can totally understand needing flowers before a snow storm - makes perfect sense to me!

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    1. As much as I loved making these still life scenes, I'd trade them all for a walk along the railroad track where you found the old train car - old, rusty and totally wabi-sabi.

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  16. Oh My ! I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful your photos are Donna ! Scrolling down and seeing each new image was a visual treat ! I love them all :))

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    1. Caz, Always a pleasure to hear from you. Please send more breakfast photos! Seriously, since your post with those beautiful raspberries . . . they are my new favorite breakfast addition. Have a lovely weekend!

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  17. such simple but beautiful images...you have the capability to take the simplest of items and imbue them with your photographic magic. that barn door is great! and that shot with the sewing notions in the jar - my favorite!

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    1. Amy, I'm learning about the beauty of those simplest of items from you!

      I think we both love the sewing notions because they represent a greater value we have in treasuring those tools and the people who use them.

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  18. I was wondering how your photos could get any more beautiful and they did! MORE SNOW DAYS for you!!! The vignettes you create, the back drops, the feeling that comes form each and everyone. Your photos are truly amazing Donna! and of course I love the pussy willows. Maybe when I can part with my CNY tree - I will create a still life using them.

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    1. Cathy, I love the pussy willow branches - and it was fun to create still life scenes with them. But you are living a life of great adventure and your Chinese New Year pussy willow tree is a visual representation of this adventure. An artful still can bring many memories, but your tree is NOW. Enjoy!

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  19. Donna your post is absolutely lovely today...I must say I love the pussywillows...they really tug at my heart strings...they were my Mom's favorite spring bloom along with the forsythia...your day sounds just perfect from the hot chocolate to staying in your pajamas...oh my. The book is now in my Amazon basket so that I can check it out as soon as I get under the electric blanket...like where you are, it is also very cold here...enjoy your weekend and give your creative mind a rest...unless of course, you can't...

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    1. Hi Cheryl, I on a forced rest for creative work today - as I really need to do the laundry, grocery shopping and more. But, sometimes my best ideas come when I'm not trying to be or think creatively. The temps are due to warm up here and spring is really almost here - new photo opportunities!

      Loved your images with your new Fuji camera. I love my Canon, but it's nice to have a light and easy camera, too!

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  20. Greetings! Oh how lovely to review my first email and find all of this amazing art! I can't even begin to add any more than what has already been said by so many...but I must say that pussy willows have a special place in my heart. When I moved to Arizona my father would mail long stems to me...knowing how much I loved them. To this day I have a huge bouquet on my fireplace mantle to view and think of him.

    Always looking for interesting reads so I took a look at the book you mentioned...are you finding the "lack of organization making it a difficult read" to be true as one reviewer mentioned?

    Beautiful, just beautiful! Thanks for making my morning!

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    1. Robin, The story of your father sending you pussy willow branches in the mail is the sweetest and most tender tale I've heard in a long time. I miss my own father so much . . . and it is the little gestures, just like this one, that break and rebuild my heart over and over again.

      As for the book, I've been reading it in little snippets of time (between errands or while waiting for my Mom at the doctor's office), and so I'm likely not well-organized myself . . . but so far, I'm gathering a wider perspective on story telling and coming to understand that this may well be my true calling.

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  21. Such a gorgeous selection of still lifes, and oh that table you are blessed with a treasure and I am sure you know it. I have to say I have envy with that table. Each of your different images have so much expression of you truly wonderful. I also found Pussy Willow and still have it in a vase, sadly only a few buds opened but one of the branches is sprouting green leaves, :) Have a wonderful weekend my friend and thank you always for your inspiration. I need to watch The Studio video as I was being beaten up by my trainer at the time of the connect.

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    1. Barbara, We missed you for The Studio Connect, but you much be so proud for taking such positive steps toward a fit and healthy life. I'm sure you are the trainer's favorite client!

      And, wow, what a fantastic group of pictures you've taken lately! Your talent just keeps growing and growing!

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  22. You have a knack for choosing just the right elements for your images! I love the pussy willows in the terra cotta pots (and isn't Wegman's wonderful?l!!!) And that jar filled with sewing treasures is wonderful!!
    I watched the Studio video later and was encouraged to find that I'm not the only one who struggles with getting just the right shot and that even photographers I am in awe of don't take great shots every time.

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    1. Roxanne, The only problem with Wegman's is that I get so distracted and tempted and end up with more in my cart than I planned on! Today, they had the most delicious Irish Soda Bread, with free samples . . . and I'm trying to cut back on refined sugar and flour!

      So glad you were reassured by The Studio chat. I love how Kim always promotes celebration and collaboration and supports each of us in our own journey!

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  23. Hi Donna! What a wonderful gift from you today! So many beauties you're sharing with us... This snowy day seemed to galvanize your inspiration and your creativity... for our pleasure... such a flood of inspired and inspiring pictures that you offer us today...I love all your fabulous pictures, there a lot to look at and to say about each one, but our friends made this better than me in their comments... but I love still more the first of the series, your rustic barn door that you use as a table top... and on that table are already all the props you'll use for your shooting session, it's like the summary of what will follow... I love the beautiful light which floods inside your room and softens every detail... Your pictures Donna tell us a lot about you... it's a little part of yourself that you share so spontaneously and so warmfully with us through your pictures... I'm sure I'll come back to this rich and diverse post when I'll be in need of inspiration... thank you for sharing Donna!

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  24. I love it when things just work. I believe it helps when we have no time constraints. I think I'll check out that book.

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  25. 'I love it when a plan comes together' certainly describes your snow day. Your photographs are beautiful, peaceful, gentle and so artistic. I love that door as it's just the perfect backdrop for your work...I am always inspired when I visit you....

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