Playing Mrs. Astor

Memories of going to my grandmother’s house include a special treat she reserved for my sister and me.  She called it “playing Mrs. Astor.”  Her large home in the county (at least from my perspective as a child it was big) sat nestled among numerous towering trees, blooming shrubs and annual flowers on top of a hill.  An occasional car passed by on the road below.  More often you heard the call of mocking birds and sometimes the whisper of the wind through the trees.

“Playing Mrs. Astor” meant we took out the fancy china in order to eat off pretty plates and drank out of dainty cups.  Many years later, as an adult, I learned Mrs. Astor was a wealthy woman my grandmother never met, but someone whom she would have seen in a newspaper or a magazine.

Pink-Hat

Pink Hat

Last Easter, a friend wore this delightful pink hat to church.  It was perfect for her, complimenting her blonde hair and soft complexion.  I asked if I might  photograph it.  In a way it reminded me of “playing Mrs. Astor”.  We didn’t wear fancy clothes or hats at my grandmother’s tea parties, but she made this granddaughter feel special.  I saw the way other women on Easter morning admired this pink hat.  Inside every grown up woman I still believe there is a little girl that likes to “play Mrs. Astor,” to dress up in whatever was makes her feel special.

 

Taste and See

I just returned home from the natural candy store.  Yes, I am referring to the local produce market.

Surrounded by the vast array of colors, shapes, and textures my creative spirit goes into overdrive. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, this has resulted in more fresh fruits and vegetables than we can store and eat before it spoils!   I did better this morning.  Bought just the right amount, although I confess I wanted one of everything in sight!  Some of my friends just look at me and shake their heads when I tell them how the beauty at the produce store excites me.

Taste-and-See

Taste and See

“Use glass, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces for a fun way to experiment when taking pictures.”  For day seventeen in the Photo101 course sponsored by WordPress, I chose to use a mirror underneath this pear.  This image also illustrates my love of macro photography.

The green background is a piece of burlap fabric.  A shallow depth of field directs the eye to the star of this image, a beautiful pear.  A few drops of water slowly roll down to the mirror.

Growing up there were certain foods I didn’t like, sometimes because of the look or smell.  It did not matter how often my family told me it was delicious.  Not until I actually tasted the food, was I was convinced it was good.  Psalm 34:8 reminds me that I personally can taste and see God’s goodness when I take initiative to investigate Him and open my heart to Him.

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”  Look for more images of fruits and vegetables at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Cherries, blueberries, apples, pumpkins, gourds and strawberries are on display there now.  

One My Soul Loves

"One my Soul Loves".  Silver cup with red roses.  Red roses on black background.  My husband and I are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this week.  Thirty-five years.  They have gone quickly! 

I have always enjoyed fresh cut flowers.  He gave me roses on our first date.  If I had not already been smitten with him, that would have made me take a second look!  Reality was that I was attracted to him the moment I saw him.

Many dozens of roses later, he is still the one whom my soul loves.  Tonight he gave me, yes, you guessed correctly . . . he gave me roses.

Advice from Cinderella

Ballet Shoes with FloralsThe clock struck midnight.  No more time left for Cinderella to enjoy the enchanted evening with Prince Charming at the palace ball.  As usually happens in fairy tales, the girl gets the guy and they lived happily ever after.  

What advice would Cinderella would have given if she had been interviewed later? Unfortunately, no You-Tube video of that fictional conversation exists.

Perhaps in hindsight (and we all know how easy it is to utter the right words after something happens)  Cinderella would have advised that you dance like there is no midnight.  Live intentionally and joyfully, whether it is 6:02 p.m. or 11:59 p.m.  You just never know . . . the clock might be 10 minutes fast.  Time is precious.

Recently I sent a card with one of these images on it to a friend.  She Art work with Ballet Slippers responded with the following words.

“When I was a little girl I loved taking dance and thought how wonderful it would be to be a ballerina some day.  To this day I still love the grace of a beautiful ballerina.”

We have enjoyed a deep friendship over several decades. Yet, I never knew of her childhood dream of being a ballerina.

One of the exciting joys of photography for me, is seeing  it evoke memories and emotions in others.  I am continually surprised which images speak to a person.  It is a fun way to get to know someone better.

Fresh flowers, silk flowers, and toe shoes borrowed from a friend were  my props for these images.  Two different textures were applied in post production.  See http://frenchkisstextures.com/ for some lovely Photoshop textures.  This website is a favorite of mine.

http://www.stephaniehalstead.com

I Am Feeling Rebellious

"Bountiful Blessings".  Photos of pumpkin, indian corn, gourds. Christmas decor items are already in the stores.  It happens every year, at this time.  This year, I am just not interested. I am feeling rebellious.  I love celebrating Christmas,  just not yet.

My “I Am Thankful For . . .” list is still an ongoing work in progress.

For at least a few more weeks I will continue to post Autumn images and focus on the abundant blessings God has given.

Life is to be Savored

In the past two weeks it has been  a privilege and delight for my husband and I to have visits from both of our “big” sisters. Each has played tremendously positive and significant roles in our lives.  Lydona and Cindy both enjoy “going to tea” so this blog post is dedicated to them.  Included are some some images I recently shot of teacups."Savor Life".  Photos of multiple teacups..

They have taught us to savor life."A Touch of Elegance".  Teacups on rose background.

Sometimes life can be sipped like a cup of tea.  Other times it is like the quick big gulp you take as you race from one thing to the other!

Some events this week have reminded me to savor life with those I love, whether it is in the times of delight and fun together, or in times of stress and crises.

Last weekend we visited the Titanic exhibit.  http://www.titanictheexperience.com/orlando/ Learned  a good bit that I did not know.  As I looked at the various exhibit items and photos I was reminded that this was not just a historical event that Hollywood has made into a movie more than once.  These were real people whose lives were forever changed by one event.

Life is to be savored today.