October 28, 2011

La Mia Casa Romantic Country...and Me!

Hello everyone.  I have a little secret that I'm so excited to share with you today.  This past summer, which already seems like many months ago, I received the most wonderful email from the Italian publishing group, Tatillo Editrice, asking to feature my blog and photos in one of their magazines.

My article was just published in the November issue of La Mia Casa Romantic Country and I received a copy of the magazine last week.  Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how happy I was to get that package in the mail and see my photographs in print.  Since most of us aren't lucky enough to live in the gorgeous country of Italy and would never see the magazine in person, I thought I'd give you a peek at how the whole thing came together.

I'm so excited and honored to have been included in such a pretty publication and I want to say a big thank you to everyone at the magazine...especially Cinzia.

I have another little bit of news to share with you, but I think I'll save that for next week.  Hope you have a great weekend!

xo Tricia

October 25, 2011

Chinese Lanterns and Tomatillos

Hello.  Happy Tuesday to you!  Yesterday while I was out and about, I made a quick stop at a my favorite gardening shop to see if they had anything new and exciting going on.  Well, they did.  They were getting all their Christmas stuff out.  I love Christmas and everything about it, so of course, I had to take a look around.  Hum dee dum, I leisurely strolled along, making mental notes about what I should get, then I thought, "Hello? It's still October, there's time for you to come back and look at this another day."

So I moved on and made my way over to the cut flower section and what did I finally see?  Chinese lanterns!  Ohhh happy day, I've been waiting for these beauties.  To me, they just seem like Fall in a cute little package.  Wanting to photograph their pretty papery selves, I got a few...along with a caramel.  Ugghh.  I always have to get a caramel and eat it the minute I get in the car.  Never mind that I ate almost a whole bagful the day before...ones that were supposed to be for caramel apples.

Happily driving home, I stop at the grocery store to get, among other things, more caramels and what do I spy?!  These cute little tomatillos!  I've never seen those there before.  Don't they look just like the Chinese lanterns, except that they are green?  I think so too.  Of course, I had to Google that and see what it was all about.  Apparently they're from the same group of plants...the nightshade family.  Hmmm...how interesting.

I had high hopes of taking a bunch of photos yesterday, but it seems like the minute I got my camera out it got all cloudy.  I don't know what I'm going to do this winter when it's all gray and dreary.

I thought I'd join up with Texture Tuesday again this week.  We were instructed to use two of Kim's textures on our photos.  I actually used four: crackerjack, just cause, serendipity and aurora.  Not all together, but in varying combinations.

Well, lovely people that's that!  By the way, I'm very behind in my visiting, but I'll be around soon.

xo Tricia

October 20, 2011

Pumpkins, Bittersweet and Light

Hello...here I am.  I can't believe it's been over a week since I've posted!  Time sure flies when your not having fun...lol.  I've been busy, but have also felt a little uninspired lately.  I did manage to do a little Autumn decorating around the house this week....mostly I just scattered a few pumpkins here and there and then added some bittersweet to the mix for a little Fall flair.

Just as an aside...see those cute napkins up there?  I got those at Pottery Barn the other day on clearance.  Doesn't the color of the stripe match that pumpkin perfectly?  I love it when things like that happen.

Anyway, I took my new napkins, a pumpkin, and some bittersweet and gourds and put together a little vignette in the only room it seems like I ever show you...the dining room.  Then I took a few shots in the evening and a few shots the next afternoon for a little unscientific lighting experiment, just to get a better feel for how light affects the mood and look of a photo.  

I generally try to take my photos in the morning or towards evening since the light is softer, giving a nice glow to the pictures and the least amount of shadows.  These first three photos were taken later in the day than I would normally choose.  This room is on the West side of my house and towards the end of the day it will get strong bands of light, which I find to be too distracting and harsh, making some areas of a photo look too bright and others too dark.

Of the three, I prefer the first photo...even though it is a little dark.  It has more of a cozy, warm feel and sun is acting kind of like a spotlight on the items I want you to notice the most, the bittersweet and the pumpkin.  The second photo has too many shadows around the base of the pumpkin for my liking and third photo feels fine, although I don't really care for the light that is falling across the top of the sideboard.

These last two photos were taken in the afternoon when it was rather cloudy, which is something I pretty much avoid at all costs, since I have a hard time getting pictures to turn out to my liking in that type of weather.  For example, in the photo below, while I like the composition, the lighting feels too cold to me, especially in the area near the top of the photo.  I can hardly stand to look at that part.

Now, this next photo, I really, really like...even though it was taken at the same time of day.  What?!  Hmmm.  Why I wondered?  What's different?  I had to really look at them both to figure out the answer.

See in the shot below how the top and bottom parts of the photo are more out of focus in comparison to the photo above, softening the edges?  It seems to diminish the harsh, cool look of the light.  Also, because it contains fewer items, just the pumpkin, bowl and bittersweet, it has more of a minimalist look which seems to work well with this type of light and your eye more easily gravitates toward the center of the photograph, don't you think?

Okay then, let me see, are there any big, overall conclusions that I can glean from my experiment?  No, not really, except for maybe I need to learn how to use my camera settings better :)  I do, perhaps, have some general thoughts.  It appears that a band of light could be a spotlight or create a more intimate mood, as long as it's not too harsh and too bright.  And if should I run into a situation where I have cool, yet bright, light, it might be nice to have the edges out of focus to soften the look of the light.

My camera is also set to auto white balance and I haven't really tried to make adjustments to that setting too much.  There have been occasions where I've changed it to allow for overcast skies, but then I felt like my photos had a bit too much of a yellow tone.  I'm thinking I need to play around with that setting some more and figure things out better.

Well, lovely people that's that.  Do you have any thoughts, ideas or helpful hints about photography and lighting you're dying to talk about?  I'd love for you to share :)

xo Tricia

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October 11, 2011

A Photo Prop and Some Flowers

A few weeks ago, just before the weather started to turn towards Fall, I decided to drag one of my favorite photo props, my wicker and bamboo bike, out to the backyard for a handful of photos while enjoying the last few days of warm weather.  To brighten things up amidst all the green, I added a few flowers with an Autumnish feel...pink, orange and red zinnias and some big ole sunflowers.

As much as I love the change of seasons, I sure am going to miss all the beautiful folliage and flowers.  They're so perfect for photographs.  Starting with this bunch of flowers, I'm once again making visits to the florist to buy flowers, rather than photographing the nature found in my own yard.

I'm joining up with Texture Tuesday again this week, so I've added Kim's warm sun texture to all of my photos...mostly just to soften and change the color tone of my shots.

Hope you're all having a good week so far!

Chat later ♥ Tricia

October 10, 2011

Baked Apples and Granola

Hello, hello!  Happy Monday to you.  I hope you had a good weekend.  It was nice and warm and wonderful here, a string of perfect days.  One of the things I love about this time of year, in addition to the gorgeous weather we've been having, is that my favorite apples come into season...Honeycrisp and Sweet Tango.  Both are soooo delicious...tart, crisp and sweet.  The perfect trio.

The other day when I was at the grocery store, I found a new little apple to try, Chestnut Crabapples.  I bought a bunch and thought I'd combined them with my favorites for a tasty treat...Baked Apples with Granola.

This recipe was born, a few years ago, out of necessity, thanks to a craving.  I'm sure you've been there, in desperate need of something sweet.  I didn't want to go through cookbooks, searching for something to make...I probably wouldn't have all the ingredients anyway.  I also didn't want go to the store to get something...that would take too long.  So, like any good woman in a crisis, I dug around to see what I could concoct out of the items I already had and came up with this...something yummy and quick to put together with minimal ingredients.

I always bake this dessert in little ramekins for individual servings.  This works out best for me, since if there was a big pan of it I would just keeping eating and eating...sad, but true.  The recipe is a little inexact, but here's what I do:

Baked Apples and Granola

  • tart, crisp apples
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • butter
  • prepared package of granola - I used a vanilla almond flavor

Peel, core and slice the apples.  Arrange a few layers of apple in the ramekin and then sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and granola.  Add a few more layers of apple.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and add a generous amount of granola. 

Put a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar in a container and melt it in the microwave until bubbling.  Pour the mixture over the granola.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and then mix the topping around a little bit with a fork. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for approximately 10 more minutes.  After removing from the oven, allow to cool for a bit and then enjoy while it's nice and warm and delicious...if you can wait that long :)

Well, there ya go...my contribution to those of you who may be having a craving crisis :)   

Happy thoughts from me to you. 

xo Tricia

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Wow Us Wednesdays

October 06, 2011

An Outdoor Autumn Table

Hello sweet people.  How has your week been?  We've been experiencing the most beautiful, sunshiny weather around here.  A glorious Indian Summer.  I've been taking every possible chance to enjoy it while it lasts.  Today, for instance, I gathered up a few little tidbits with some autumnish flavor and set about creating an outdoor table setting.

At the center of it all was an old grain sack and this plump grey-green pumpkin.  I love it's shape.  Does anyone know what variety it is?  I wish I knew.  Anyway, I just combined it with some red pears, hydrangeas and a few little berries from my crabapple tree.

I got a little help from Mother Nature.  It was nice and breezy while I was doing all my arranging.  Leaves were blowing every which way, floating down to my table...giving it a nice natural look.

I still need to do some indoor decorating, maybe I'll focus on that next week...when it's supposed to be raining.  Enjoy your weekend!

October 03, 2011

Somerset Life

Hi everyone!  Oh, what a happy day it was when I opened the mailbox and found this...the newest issue of Somerset Life.  They contacted me awhile ago asking to print two of my photographs, to which I quickly said, "YES!"  I'm just thrilled to see my pictures in a magazine.  Me.  I can't believe it.

I just wanted to share my happy news with someone and I picked you.  Hope you're having a good week so far!

xo Tricia