Barn board wall

  

  

There is a local eatery (they actually have a sign that says “eatery”) near my house called Fig & Honey (inspired name; their web site is http://www.figandhoneync.com). It’s owned and run by a couple of majorly creative types who live down the street from me. The interior is not what you’d expect from an “eatery”, but it is what I expect from people who are talented and really care about getting the details right.

One wall is paneled with old barn boards, laid out horizontally, not the typical vertical layout. The result is eye-catching and arresting.

A few of my favorite things

    

I like notebooks. I like to draw and scribble and just write things down. Every morning, before I do anything else, I write (longhand, paper) for 20 minutes or so. I find that it accomplishes a few things: first, it forces me to wake up. Second, it gives me a chance to think about what I want my day to be like. Third, most important, it’s a chance to explore and work through whatever creative ideas are on my mind. If you know me at all, you know I’m not one of those irritating morning people who wake up all bright-eyed and wanting to talk to you and be all friendly. But surprisingly, once I actually get my eyes all the way open, I find that the writing exercise serves to wake up and focus my mind in a non-irritating way. There is something about actually having to form the letters with a pen that sharpens my concentration. I’ve tried writing on my laptop, but the act of typing induces a sleep-walking approach — I hear the keys clicking and go on autopilot. So using a notebook is essential.

I have recently discovered the Baron Fig line. They are created by and for creative people. Their web site is a treat, check it out here (http://www.baronfig.com). The paper quality is excellent, even better than the Rhodia web notebook, and eons beyond anything from Moleskine. It’s a classy enough piece of work that I am motivated to rouse my senses and write something that MATTERS to me.

Great Blue

  

I think this is the first Photo Toaster edit I ever did. I have this little pond across the street from me, and even though it’s just for drainage, the many bird and animal species that visit don’t know that. One permanent resident is a great blue heron. I look out my window every morning and watch him get breakfast (it’s probably a frog or some other slimey tidbit – mmmm). For this edit, I tried to enhance the industrial-waste appearance that mud lends to a scene; in reality it’s not toxic. Although it would be cool if the heron mutated into a pterodactyl after getting bitten by a radioactive snail.

Mudra 

  

Backyard Buddha. I hate it when people use the word “Zen” as an adjective. (This is a minor rant I’m doing here.) Zen is a school of Buddhist practice that involves specific types of meditation techniques, and certain teachings by masters in the Zen lineage. However, in recent years it has become a synonym for “calm” or even “minimalist”. There is such thing as a “Zen garden”, which implies certain mindful design and maintenance. That’s not the kind of garden I have, but I do have a Buddha statue. The historic Lord Buddha sat beneath a bodhi tree and obtained enlightenment; my Buddha sits beneath a crepe myrtle and just serves as a gentle reminder to contemplate more and run my mouth less.

One ring to bind it all

  
Let’s face it, ring binders are outmoded, clunky things that take up too much space and jam your finger, forcing you to use certain words inappropriate at work. And you have to punch holes in your paper, and the little dots go all over the floor. However, I do like the ring binder for the Franklin Planner. I don’t use a paper planner any more, but their great paper and cool binders kept me using the product for a few years longer than I really wanted to. I’m done with all that now. Rest in peace, little binder, we had a good run.

Clouds

While standing around waiting for my husband, I decided to kill a little time by taking pictures. Surprise, surprise. Clouds are always good subjects, although we have plenty of days down here where there aren’t any, which is nice too, but these were there, and I liked them.

iPhone 6 with effects by PaintFX.

    

Eye candy

  
I’ve recently become a Mac convert. It took me a while to get there, but the first time I held a MacBook Air in my arms, I fell for it, hard. I was out shlepping through Best Buy, in desperate need of a new laptop for non-work work, such as photo editing, writing projects, email and browsing, etc. I poked at almost every PC laptop and hated every single one of them in a different way. To be fair, they were all running Windows 8, which is a misbegotten abomination. I threw up my hands in despair, but as a last resort went to the nearby Apple store. Walked in, saw a MacBook Air, put my hands on it, and swooned. A nearby Apple Genius came over and said “May I help you?” and I said, “I’ll take one of these.”

A few months after that, a colleague revealed shyly that he had switched to a MacBook Pro Retina 13 for all his work (software development, same as me). My jaw hit the floor – were we allowed to DO that? I cancelled my afternoon meetings, rushed to the Apple store again, and emerged a half hour later with the Retina 13 under my arm. The rest is history my friends. I always dress up my laptops, so that nobody at a coffee shop or airport can say, “oh, I thought it was mine”. As with everything Mac, you can get awesomely fun stickers. Since I’ve always been a huge Banksy fan, that was for the Pro, and a camera for my Air, which is where I do photo work. Et voila..

Continents from mud and ice

nbsp;   
In North Carolina we don’t get a proper winter (which is why I moved here). But now and then it freezes, and this year it froze more than once. I walked through the woods one day and in the shadows, at dawn, there was ice in the frozen mud trenches left by a tractor. As the morning light hit the ice, it revealed some beautiful patterns.

iPhone 6 camera, with effects and editing with PhotoToaster.

Pyramid Power

    
At the North Carolina Museum of Art. There is an amazing green glass sculpture, which looks flat up close, and rather featureless. If you stand back from it, there appears to be an eye floating at the top, and it look pyramidal. There is a window right behind it which makes it luminous.

Usually when I go to the museum I take a picture of the sculpture from a corridor of lockers opposite it, which gives it a wonderful perspective. This time, there was a docent standing behind the pyramid, gazing off into space. I got a few shots off, and the my husband walked around the corner, not knowing I was shooting. It was too perfect, getting the shots of both men.

I’ve tried a couple of different treatments here.