October Words

Like the savory aroma of homemade soup on the stove, certain words make me hungry for the fall season.  I call them my October words.  Here are a few of them:  colored leaves, apple cider, sweaters, plaid, pumpkins, fall festivals, blessings, juicy apples, acorns, pine cones, hay bales, crisp weather, pumpkin pie with whip cream, fuzzy slippers, freshly baked cookies, and flickering candles.


” Crisp Fall”

Recently, I saw this quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald,  “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

“Autumn, the year’s last lovliest smile.”  Unsure who penned those words, but I like them.

“Autumn Smile”

Warm colors of red, orange, and gold seem cozy now that summer’s heat is a memory.  Anne, the main character in Lucy Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables, said of October, ” I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  I agree with Anne.  October is a wonderful month.

“Basket of Apples”

What are your “October words?”  If you would like to see more seasonal images, check out my website at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Thank you for taking “A Second Look”.

North Carolina Treasures

Brilliant red.  Vibrant yellow.  Warm orange.  Occasional purple or magenta.  Having seen the beautiful colors of North Carolina leaves in person, the photos I view online only make me hungry to repeat the experience.  No trip to North Carolina this autumn is on the calendar and that makes me sad.

Last November, I tried a trick I learned as a child to preserve colored leaves.  After sandwiching the leaves between two pieces of wax paper, the edges of the wax paper were then sealed with a warm iron.  Recently, I released some of the North Carolina treasures from their protective pouch to photograph them in my home studio.  Most of the colors of autumn had been preserved.  A few had faded.

North-Carolina, Autumn Leaves, Colorful Leaves, North Carolina Stone

North Carolina Treasures

One of the advantages of using a macro lens is the ability to focus on textures.  I am enjoying the results.

North Carolina, Autumn Leaves, North Carolina Stone, Colorful Fall Leaves

Leaf Stone

I photograph many things, but my favorite subject is beauty in nature with no man-made props evident. However one tries to mimic God’s creation, He remains the master artist.  His images of color, texture and shape are unsurpassed! The more I see His work, the more I am in awe of Him.

Hope you enjoy these homegrown North Carolina treasures. Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”  More autumn images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Watch the Leaves Turn

It’s that time of year in my part of the world.  Summer vacations are finished except for the good memories that linger and maybe a bit of sunburned skin.   Big yellow school buses are on the roads again.  School has started.

Leaves Turn

Growing up, I looked forward to the beginning of a another school year.  Never used pencils.  Pristine, unmarked notebooks . . . I really enjoyed getting new school supplies!
It was a time for embarking on an adventure, a bit nervous and excited all at the same time.  The months ahead promised new experiences and new things to learn.

The world now is much busier than the one I grew up in as a child.  So many more options, so many more distractions.  Although I no longer have homework assignments, my “to do” list keeps me busy.  That is okay to a certain point.  As a busy adult, I miss the wonder of running through colored leaves as a child.  At this stage of life, I need to remember that even if everything doesn’t get done . . . I still need to take TIME to be STILL and watch the leaves TURN.

How busy are you?

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  More autumn images are available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt

No, my grandmother’s quilts did not look like these!  A friend and I saw creativity, beauty and humor expressed in delightful ways by very talented women this past weekend at the Quilt Fever 2015.  This event was presented by the Florida Cabin Fever Quilters Guild, Inc.

Fabric, buttons, and thread brought together, and sewn into amazing, yes, breathtaking art.  No two were alike.  There was something for everyone’s taste.  My favorites did not run toward the traditional (there certainly were some beautiful ones), but to ones with vibrant, jewel tone colors.  What an extravagant feast for the eyes and for the soul!


 Embellished with buttons.


Can you count the endless circles?  Do not know the name of the quilting artist of this beautiful, fun one.


 This one was displayed by a vendor.

My young grandsons would love this one above or the one below.

Dogs I Have Known

“Dogs I Have Known” by Marilyn Clayton, Belle Isle, FL


This exotic one was a small quilted wall hanging.  What colors!  Such detail!  Talented woman!


You could purchase and make this kit with a butterfly theme.  No, I am not a quilter, just an admirer.

Autumn Memories

“Autumn Memories” by Ellyn Intemann, Orlando, FL

This was just a portion of a larger quilt.  As a cat lover, this one appealed to me.

Buttoned Down Stars

“Buttoned Down Stars” by Kate Elliot, Casselberry, FL

This was one of my two favorites.  I returned to it several times.  The photo does not do it justice.  The colors were brilliant.  Each time I looked at it I saw something new.  Really good art beckons you to look and look and look again.

Ray Steve and Josie

“Ray, Steve and Josie” by Ann Turley, Fallbrook, CA

I rounded the corner and came upon these three giraffes.  I laughed out loud immediately and then laughed some more.  I have beautiful things in my home, but not anything that makes me laugh every time I see it.  Do you have things that cause laughter to just bubble up in your soul?   A few minutes later, another woman came around the corner and saw this quilt.  Her reaction?   Spontaneous, out loud laughter!  This was my second favorite.

My grandmother’s quilts were made by hand, not machine like most of these.  Times were hard.  Fabric choices were limited. Quilts were made to be pretty, but more than anything they meant the difference in getting some sleep on a very, very cold winter night. They were their own special form of art.

Thanks for taking a second look.  http://www.stephaniehalstead.com

Artistry in the Forest

Autumn-RoadIt was early morning when the artist invited me into his studio.  He had combined reds, corals, yellows, oranges, greens, blacks and browns in his work.  His art took my breath away!  God is the master artist.

As mentioned in my previous post, it has been a dream of mine to go somewhere in the Fall, so I can see multiple trees with colored leaves.

Well, God granted me my heart’s desire in early November.

Sharing this adventure with my husband, my sister and brother and their spouses made it a very special time.

Hope you enjoy these images from North Carolina.

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.



It’s Time to Try Something New

On my “bucket list” (things to do at least once in my life) is to go somewhere where I have more than one tree to depend on for colored leaves!

Ok, so I have to be creative to find colored leaves in the subtropics, especially in Autumn.   Our leaves change color in January or February.  Very confusing to celebrate Christmas and then have autumn leaves!  A girl has to work with what she has!

Autumn-TexturesThis  October, I found one tree on my morning neighborhood walks whose leaves actually change color.  Half way on my circular route, it is my reward.  It gets me out of the house onto the pavement those mornings I don’t initially feel like walking, but know I will be glad I did afterwards.

This is one of the best ones I discovered last week.  Not too exciting just by itself, but put on a piece of old wood and zoom in with a macro lens.  Textures!  Textures!  Love it!  Not my usual subject matter to photograph and now you know why.

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  http://www.stephaniehalstead.com