Friday, December 31, 2010

A New PINK-a-TTUDE for 2011!

Kayla and I went to The Glass Slipper yesterday.  She wanted to go in there to shop around.  Oh, that Kayla loves to shop.  I used to love to shop.  I used to love to prance around in high heels.  I used to think that fashion was important above all else!  I used to have a PINK-a-TTUDE! 

Then, over the years, my attention (not to mention money!) all went to raising the girls.  I put their cuteness way before mine for all these years.  So, my cuteness kinda got lost and my PINK-a-TTUDE was replaced with practical MOM-a-TTUDE.  

Guess what?  I am beginning to realize that I am not required to be completely absorbed in the MOM-a-TTUDE.  Hey, I traded in my big SUV for a smaller spunkier vehicle recently.  What else?  I have started to find a little bit more freedom because I do not have college tuition to pay anymore.  I think there is still a spark of PINK-a-TTUDE in me yet. 

p.s.  If you do not have PINK-a-TTUDE before you walk into the Glass Slipper, you must understand that the PINK-a-TTUDE will envelope you before you know it.  The Glass Slipper is so chi-chi, girly girl...for real women!   I can just imagine Lisa (Beverly Hills Housewives) & Jiggy flittering out of this
oh, so pink corner of the Antique Village of Denham Springs!

Yesterday, I did not have my camera ready.  So, I called Mama to see if she would ride with me to town.  She agreed.  This is what I requested.  I asked her if she would take my picture coming out of the boutique, THE GLASS SLIPPER so that I could use it for my final post of the year. 
Here are some cute little ballet flats that I purchased.  I think they have a bit of PINK-a-TTUDE.  What do you think?

Well, they are a departure form the utilitarian black leather Clarks or New Balance or whatever name brand that claims to be the most comfortable in the world.   Trust me, I buy anything that promises not to hurt my feet.  I even bought some Born shoes from HSN because the lady said that when you put them on your feet, they make you wanna do the "Born Boogie".  

This was taken at Mom's house.  I went back to her computer room/jewelry & craft room.  Under her work light, she was showing me some of her latest work.  Look at my new pearl necklace and bracelet set.  The neclace is a classic 18" length.  I told her that I wanted to purchase a set of her real pearl jewelry.  She was like, "Oh no.  You are not paying me.  Have them.  Take what you want!"  I absolutely refused.  I wanted to be her very first customer.  I wanted to be the first one to purchase her custom quality hand-knotted pearls on silk thread.   

Not shown are the pretty little earring that complete the ensemble.  She has already given me a long 32" strand of pearls for Christmas.  I love them.  Kelly (owner of THE GLASS SLIPPER) noticed my lustrous long strand of pearls that I was wearing against my black turtleneck yesterday.  She told me to tell Mama to contact her about the possiblility of selling them in her boutique.   She thinks that the brides who visit her store would be interested in a gorgeous classic strand of real hand-knotted pearls.  My mom is very interested in marketing her collection of hand crafted jewelry.  Her designs include a variety of gorgeous stones and beads. 

My brother was watching the slideshow that I made which showed images of the 4 grandaughters receiving their Granny made special beads for Christmas. 

He said.  "Granny Beads!"  Mama told me that she had been trying to think of a name for her custom jewelry.  When he said, "Granny Beads" it struck her as a catchy name for her jewelry. 
I love it.  I think the name GRANNY BEADS is a perfect name! 
Good job Bubba.
I think the name GRANNY BEADS is going to stick!

You may contact her at bjslaton@cox.net if you would like to have your own GRANNY BEADS!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grass is Always Greener...

Yesterday, Brandilyn and I went on a photo field trip.  When I brought her back to her home, she saw that her parents were away.  Uh, oh...she didn't have her house key.   She called her dad and he told her they would be home soon.  I offered to take her back to my house with me and have her parents pick her up there.  Or, I told her that I would prefer to hang out with her and walk around looking for something to photograph.

Recently, I downloaded an e-book (http://craftandvision.com/books/close-to-home/).  The premise of the book is to express the author's opinion that you do not have to travel to exotic places to find interesting things to photograph.  He writes that someone posed this question, “Everything seems so ‘ordinary’ where I live compared to other people and other places around the world. What can I do to create something original or different; something out of the ordinary?”

His writes his response:  "Here’s another thing to consider. Other people who live in other places struggle with exactly the same problem: how to make where they live look different or better… or just not ordinary. It’s a variation on “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  Right now, there’s an urban New York City dweller who longs to photograph the green, wide-open vistas of the Irish countryside—and an Irish villager who thinks her photography would be so much more interesting if she could only get to New York City. Both of them, however, might just need to look a little closer at the place with which they’re most familiar."

As shot, SOOC (straight out of camera)
The above (sooc) image of a power line is very familiar and seemingly very ordinary.  Yet, when I think about how our culture and personal livelihood is connected to the power lines, it could be mind boggling.   From a photographic standpoint, the running lines and repetition to infinity combine to make a strong composition.   The exact same picture below was jazzed up a bit in lightroom.  I threw a dash of this and a dash of that preset in and came up with something that I think is a bit more compelling.  Actually, the presets that I used came from Matt Koslowki's blog http://lightroomkillertips.com/.   He offers some of his free preset plug-ins for lightroom on his blog.  He is a great teacher.  I have much to learn about photo editing.   

Continuing to look around, I noticed that Brandilyn was zooming in on leaves that were floating on the surface of her pool.  I am a copy cat so I went over there to do that too!  Then, I noticed  the tree on the other side of the pool was being reflected in the water ripples.  So, then I got kinda excited.  I thought maybe I caught something extraordinary from the ordinary. 


Lastly, I noticed my brother's work boots next to a bag of grass seed.  For some reason, I thought there was some kind of demonstration in this image.  What compelled me to take this photo?  I could not put my finger on it at the time of the capture.  But, I knew there was something that made me stop and take time to take 3 different shots.  What peaked my interest in my brother's work boots set against a backdrop of stark white, plainly marked Bermuda Grass Seed? ? ?  
It had something to tell me. 

I realized what it had to say as I was writing this post. 
Considering the adage that "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence",  it looks like my brother plans to grow green grass within his own backyard.  I think this could very well be a powerful metaphor if you allow.  To make the decision to actively create your own greener pasture could be the paradigm shift that changes your outlook in a positive way. 

Do you remember the good old hymn, "Count Your Many Blessings"?
Let the chorus roll around in your head until it sinks down into your heart.
Then, you will appreciate the 'Green, Green Grass of Home'.
Count your many blessings,  
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, 
See what God has done. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Me & Brandilyn on a Photo Field Trip




When I saw this Episcopalian Church, I had to stop to appreciate it's charm.  The signage in the front garden said that the first service was held in March, 1876.  It is immaculately pristine.  This beauty has, no doubt, stood through many trials and tribulations, changes of seasons, and changes of time/times.  I can say one thing for sure, it has certainly aged gracefully.    
I told Brandilyn to grab her camera and put it in Landscape mode for a gorgeous shot of this church.  Her parents gave her a Nikon point and shoot for Christmas so we were in search of great photo opps on this day.  I am anxious to see what she captured.  While we were in the front lawn of the church, two ladies stepped out of the church office to say their good-byes.  One of the ladies went along on her way and the other asked us if we would like to come in for a quick tour of the sanctuary.  I was utterly astounded by the beauty of the stained glass on all four sides.  The church is small but excellent.  I appreciate the nice lady who graciously extended her welcome for us to admire her church. 






After we left the church, we found another location that we wanted to explore.  I told Brandilyn that our assignment was to try to imagine the view point of a worm. This was a tip that Bryan Peterson teaches alot.  I had just read that tip in fact in his book about Seeing Creatively.  I snapped the two pictures above.  I'm pretty sure they are from a worm's vantage point. Obviously, the tiny yellow flowers are low to the earth, just as this little rusty bolt that was on a utility pole next to the curb. 

Brandilyn is pictured with her camera as low to the ground as possible.  Or, I should say, as low to the stump root as possible.  She is trying to capture the image shooting up on the little oak sprout.  I saw it in her view finder and it looked amazing.  The little sprout looked like a gigantor sprout.  It appeared singularly tall and imposing set against a blue, blue sky.  Great idea B-Ran!  Hey, keep your camera battery good and charged up.  Keep experimenting and looking for ways to See Creatively.  Thanks for wanting to hop along on my photo field trips.

Excuse me Brandilyn, you look so OC!!! 
And, this is me.  :)
When I brought Brandilyn home, her little dog named Maggie was in her kennel waiting for someone to come home and set her free.  When she was let out, she came running in a flying, feathery fur bundle of  fluffy friendliness!  Maggie is a beauty and sweet, sweet, sweet. 
Oh, yeah, check out my new wheels.  We traded in my big 13mpg Lincoln Navigator for a Kia Sportage.  It makes me feel young and spunky!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fireworks for New Years Eve

I am purchasing Black Cat Fireworks for our New Year's Eve get together at Barbara & Billy's house.  Terry and I are looking forward to rocking in the New Year 2011 at their home.  I think Barbara said that Billy is making a Jambalaya.  Yummm, his jambalaya will "make ya slap ya mama!"  :)    Knowing Barbara,  she will probably come up with her own special goodies to share.  I must admit, I do not really have a specialty.  Me?  I'll probably just bring something that comes in a bag or a jar.  I know, I know, not much to get excited about, right?   I must admit, I have never gotten real excited about cooking and cleaning.  Poor Terry!  Why the heck am I talking about cooking/cleaning?!...yucky, who cares?...not me!  So, back to the party ideas...Yeah! 

Barbara asked me to bring fireworks, chairs, and change for Card Games.   
I am pretty sure we will be playing Bourre'.  Bourre'?  Yeah, I looked up the spelling.  I have always spelled it Booray because that is how it sounds.  Before posting, I decided to google Booray card game.  Here is the Wikipedia definition. 
Wikipedia:  "BourrĂ© (also commonly known as BourĂ© and Boo-Ray) is a trick-taking gambling card game primarily played in the Acadiana region of Louisiana in the United States of America. The game's closest relatives are probably Spades and Euchre; like many regional games, BourrĂ© sports a large number of variant rules for both gameplay and betting considerations."

"...large number of variant rules?"  umm, Ya think?  I imagine that the cajuns probably made up the 'large number of variant rules' as the game went along with their hand of cards.  I imagine whoever was most persuasive made up the rules.  It is a fun, easy game that a whole table of people can play.  The more the merrier.  I will make sure to bring a pot of change.  Terry said we are gonna lose because we are not brushed up on our ...(ahem)...BOURRE'!  

ROCKET WORKS... actually, the rest of the sign reads...RED ROCKET FIREWORKS.   This is the fireworks stand I chose to stop at.  Every year, I assume that the church gets profits from the sale of the fireworks.  I asked the lady clerk and she said they were independent.    Shucks.  I was hoping to benefit the church. 

They had a good selection of big exploding rockets that make huge midnight display.  I could not decide which one to choose so I went cheap and bought 3 boxes of BLACK CAT that had just been reduced.  I will probably send Terry to pick out something that he would like.  He is all about fireworks.  Usually, I tell him it is a waste of money and discourage him from shelling out for something so temporary.   Although, my recollection takes me back to one year specifically.   I have to smile to myself when I think how Terry, my daddy and brother purchased some fireworks.  Like proud little boys, they called for  me, Mama and Tracy to come out to see their light show.  We, three made exagerated 'oooooohs' & 'ahhhhhhhhs'  in time to the exploding fireworks!   When the last one went up, we heard the boom then saw the huge sparkly trails sprinkle down and fizzle into the black midnight sky.  All went quiet.   It was over...wa, wa, wah...  In unison, the guys looked at each other as if to say, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"  Like bandits, they jumped back into the truck & stomped on the gas.  Us girls were left to watch the glowing streak of tailights as they sped out of the driveway & down the road.  We knew exactly what they were up to.  They were going to get more fireworks.  When they came back, they promised an even bigger boom this time!  hah...men are funny! 

Knowing that he has my blessing, I am sure Papa T. will gladly trot right up there and throw down some of his hard earned cash on something loud and explosive to contribute to the finale light show.  
So, Cheers Everybody!  Let's Ring in 2011 with
"oooooooohs & ahhhhhhhhhhs" ! ! ! 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010 & Sibley Family Dinner slideshows


We had a very nice Christmas Eve at my brother and sister-in-law's home. She cooked a delicious gumbo. We enjoy very casual family get togethers. No fancy formal dining experiences for us. We live close together and are blessed to visit with each other often. Our type of down home country Christmas Eve means eating good food, laughing & relaxing in a comfortable atmosphere without pretense. Nope, fancy and formal is not in our repertoire. "Repertoire?" You might ask, "Repertoire? ... Really? ... Is that what you really meant to say?"

(sigh). Yes, I know repertoire means a collection of theatrical performances. Our family does not PRETEND to be anything other than who we really are. So, I thought repertoire in this context was the word to use. We do not have to ACT like we like each other. We ACTually LOVE each other.

After explaining about our lack of acting skills, I think the slideshow will represent what I'm talking about. We do join hands in a family circle to say grace. On this night, after the prayer, Mama grabbed her camera and got in the middle of the circle so that she could get the reinactment. A bit of cheezy acting is what she captured. Those pics made the slideshow, cheese and all.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
The following slideshow is of Terry's family side.  We did something a bit different this year.  Our Sherrie & Caleb arrived from out of town a week prior to Christmas Eve.  PawPaw invited the entire family to a very nice dinner at Lagniappe Restaurant.  He and MawMaw were very gracious to extend the invitation to include the boyfriends/girlfriends of their grandchildren.  The food was excellent.  Everyone enjoyed each other's company and dining experience.  Afterward, no one had to do dishes.  How fantastic is that?! 
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Monday, December 20, 2010

Setting the stage for the Annual Christmas Dance Party 2010

Sounds for Celebrations

Nelson & Julie talking about something with Curtis and Todd in the background.




It has been about 22 years, I think. I know it has been over 20 years and still going. My brother-in-law has always had a love for music. He also loves to entertain because he truly enjoys seeing people having a good time. Nelson began collecting  music and dj equipment over the years as a hobbiest.  Eventually, he began a very in demand dj business for years called Sounds for Celebrations.  He has chosen to rest his dj busisness for a while.  At this time, Nelson is no longer operating as a commissioned dj.  Although, every December, he sets up all of his equipment and together ,with a few other guys, rent a hall for the big shindig of the year!  There is an open invitation to friends and family to come to this standing room only hoppin' dance party. It is known as the 'Christmas Party'. Actually, it is THE Christmas Party of our town. We can bump into someone in July, and the first thing they ask is, "Will we see you at the Christmas Party this year?" That's the truth y'all.

A Few of the Faithful Original Gang! 
Toni said that she and Todd will be talking about the 2011 Christmas Party beginning the following Monday. :)

For the first time ever, I decided that I wanted to try to capture a few scenes from the 2010 party.  Terry and I arrived extra early to secure a table.  I had my camera around my neck and began snapping off a few shots of the party hall before the people began to arrive. Then, my camera konked out on me. Man, I was frustrated.  I was only able to get a few shots of the dj stand and trusty ole buddies Todd, Randy, Toni, Curtis, Terry and of course Nelson & Julie. Another annual tradition is for our friend Don to cook up his big pot of gumbo. We missed Don this year because he was working out of town. So, Sadie (Christmas party regular) came through for us and asked her friend to cook a very delicious big pot of gumbo to share. Thanks to everyone who made this party so much fun and free for so many people to enjoy. You are all good hearted, generous friends and we love you dearly.   Merry Christmas to you all and have a very Blessed New Year in 2011.

Oh, and for the first time in a long time, my cousin Barbara, Billy, Bailey and her date came out to party with us.  Barbara, we are are so happy that you all came this year!    We had a blast with y'all. 


I wonder what Terry is whispering in Santa's ear?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Slaton Christmas Get Together 2010

I created a YouTube slideshow of our family Christmas Get Together. Chris and Aunt Marguerite hosted the party. Thank you both for opening your home for us. Everyone had such a great time. We had plenty of food and ate till we popped. That's the tradition. Another tradition for our family is to circle around, hand in hand to express our prayerful thanks to One who made us & acknowledge the Reason for the Season. This is a moment to treasure.

There is so much love shared in the bond of the family circle. It is a beautiful thing. I enjoyed looking around face to face. As I do, I remember snapshots in my mind's eye of my childhood. I remember that once upon a time, we would gather at our MawMaw Lena's tiny little home. We were elbow to elbow or shoulder to shoulder. But, with our most gracious, loving and gentle MawMaw Lena, there was always room at the Inn. She loved for us to gather at her house. Back in those precious days gone by, her little house rocked with love and laughter. As it did last night. Over the years, our families have not continued to visit regularly like we used to. Yet, we know that there is unconditional, undeniable and unbreakable unity when we show love for one another. Family, a wonderful place to be.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

to Ponchatoula and back

Mama has learned to string pearls!  She made some beautiful pearl necklaces.  Then, she strung every bead she could find and was chompin' at the bit for more.  Aunt Clara Faye turned her on to a place in Ponchatoula called the Turquoise Coyote.  This is a bead store.  I'm talkin' wall to wall beads of every size and variety can be found there.  So, Mama needed to go buy some pearls today.  She picked me up then picked up Aunt Clara Faye and off we go...to Ponchatoula. 

On our way, Mama is driving with one hand and talking with the other.  Her little drop pearl earring (which she handcrafted) is swinging in time with her talking.  The little red heart that hangs from the rear view mirror is swinging in time with her driving.  I am so observant.  heehee.  I sit in the back seat and listen and practice my manual camera exposures.   They can hear me clicking away but ignore me because they are used to me and the ever lovin' camera stuck to my face.


So, this is the 'on the way back' picture.  Aunt Clara Faye wears out her little paper sack that holds her new beads.  She can't help but pull out her new lapis beads to admire them.  Then, she puts them back in the paper sack and rolls the top back over.  ooops....here comes the unroll..out with the beads again.  I am sure she is imagining the beautiful strand these will make.   Personally, I love the idea of crafting more than the crafting.  The potential, the potential...

Look -a- there.  She loves those new beads. 

She even admires the new style of clasps that she purchased today also. 



For some reason, I am captivated by that little red heart.  It's still  justa swingin'.   Trust me, the conversation is still going on in the front seat, all the way there and all the way back.  I am reminded of when I was a little kid riding in the backseat of Mama's car.  I guess I will always be my Mama's little kid at heart.  ...watchin' and listenin'...and swingin'...
 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I started a new blog...



I began this blog as a way to document my daily thoughts, inspirations and photography field days and challenges.  From the original beginning of the blog, my photography has progressed for me in unexpected ways.  Nowadays, I have been posting more photo sessions than ever. So, I decided that I needed a home specifically for my portrait and wedding images.  I will continue to use this as my personal blog journal. 

I am still learning how to use WordPress so I will continue to post as I learn HTML. The link to my new site is http://michellesibley.com/blog/.  Check it out but remember to come back often because it is a work in progress.  I am still trying to get it all snazzy, jazzy and presentable, just the way I like it.  Oh, and if you see any misspelled words or anything that looks off to you, please drop me a comment.  I would appeciate the tips.  It is hard to proof your own stuff, ya know. 
For today, I will share a few doozies that I took of myself using the camera's self timer on a tripod.  My motivation for the self portraits was the need for a bio pic in my new blog.  Here you go.  Don't laugh too hard.

Ok, a bit off...went back to pick the tripod up a bit...
 

getting closer  but...I Scalped my forehead...
 

Hellow, out of focus...went back and set the focus point...
 

Watch yaself... 
Show me whatcha workin' with!  :)


After a bit of retouch, this one made the cut for my bio pic. 
 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Felicia & Austin - Engagement Session

Felicia and Austin's wedding is in only 2 weeks! I am super excited and honored to have the opportunity to photograph their upcoming wedding. Today, we went downtown and I followed them around and captured all their gorgousness! I absolutely think they are so charming. Felicia is a spunky, funky modern chick. I knew Austin when he was in high school.  I always thought he was such a good lookin' guy.  Well, he is still a good lookin' guy.  And, oh my gosh, Austin cracks me up.  He really, really did not feel like doing a photo shoot.  Skipping around and having his picture taken is not his cup of tea.  When I called Felicia to set the date and time, I am sure that Austin would have put it off if at all possible.  But, luckily my timing was good and I called during the football game.  I suggested a time and I heard Felicia ask Austin if it was ok for him.  He said, 'yeah, whatever Felicia'..while glued to the game....So, there!  He agreed.  Book'em Dano! 

I did Felicia's bridal shoot a few weeks ago which turned out so beautifully.  I will be sure to post those after the wedding.  For today, I picked up the couple from their wonderful new home and we headed to BR.  I told Austin it was his day.  It was all about Austin.  wink.wink...  He was probably grumbling inside and thinking, 'yeah, if it was Austin day, he would be doing something funNER'.  He cracks me up.  He picks on Felicia and mimics the way she laughs which only makes her laugh some more. Those two keep a constant banter going. They remind me of Edith and Archie Bunker.  But neither Archie nor Austin can fool me... I know both guys are true softies on the inside.  Archie loves Edith and Austin loves Felicia.  I wanted to end that sentence with a tiny little heart instead of a period.  :)  They are an adorable couple. I am going to enjoy capturing their wedding day. Yay!!!

p.s.  Felicia said that Austin loves his PawPaw recliner and PawPaw slippers.  True Archie style!

Check out their slideshow. It turned out way cool!  By the way, Austin had fun in the end.   I just know it.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
We went to the lookout Tower of the State Capital Building overlooking Baton Rouge and the Mississippie River.


Felicia and Austin are going to a resort in Breckenridge for their Honeymoon!  When we walked down the steps of our State Capital Building, Felicia was noticing how all the state names are engraved on them.  I had noticed Colorado earlier and knew that I wanted to capture something like this.  I love it.

Ok, everybody say it with me...Rarrrr!!!  Gorgeous! 
Look how that sunlight outlines her hair and body.  Amazing!!!

Austin, you got it man...  IN SPADES!


What can I say?  When I saw this huge pillar under the porch, I knew I had my black and white.  I asked Austin to take a seat and lean against the post.  Then, I showed Felicia what I wanted her to do.  She fell into it perfectly.  Perfection.  That 's the word.  I thinik this is quiet Perfection.