Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Heart Faces Week 33 - Nostalgia

August 24th & 25th Photo Challenge - “Nostalgia”

This theme is going to be a fun one because it is going to be completely unique for each participant! What we are looking for here, is a photo that you have taken that brings back a nostalgic feeling for you (and you can explain why in your post.)Some ideas are photos that include a face (of course!) and a nostalgic item like....

*A rubik cube

*Red Flyer wagon

*Oldtime candy

*Converse sneakers


Or a photo that has a face in it and was taken at a place that makes you feel nostalgic (ie. your grandma's old farm, grandpa's old tractor, your mom's flower garden, sitting at your uncle's old desk, etc.)Just please explain how your photo fits the “Nostalgia” theme when you are writing your post.

Whew, another tough week for I ♥ Faces!!! Oh, the pictures I could use for this challenge. I was torn between millions (OK, dozens, maybe) of photos of Lil' J playing Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, and Memory, riding her bike, hurling herself down a schoolbus-yellow Slip -n- Slide, swinging at the playground...all things I loved as a child. Ultimately I chose this one, because of the hopscotch board drawn on the pavement in the background. Remember how much fun you could have with a few pieces of chalk and a pebble? (Or pinecone, or whatever you could find to toss!!!) Hours of entertainment and fun for all!!! Of course there was that one time my sister and I couldn't find any chalk and drew our hopscotch board in I need to explain just how not happy mama and daddy Quail were when they discovered that, and how not fun it was sitting in the corner after? (FYI...crayon does not wash off the sidewalk in the rain. Just so ya know.) But I point is, hopscotch was fun back in the 80's (though I'm pretty sure actual sidewalk chalk had not been invented yet, and even if it had it was not 3D and did not come complete with acid-green 3D glasses!), and it's still fun in 2009! And just for some added nostalgia...who doesn't remember having those missing front teeth?!?! Heh...I was one of those poor kids that had the misfortune of losing mine right before Christmas. Naturally, everyone felt compelled to sing that obnoxious song to me..."All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!" Good times, indeed. Why was I just mourning the passing of my childhood?

If you're longing for the days of your youth after that, click on the link here or on the button at the top of the post to check out the I ♥ Faces blog to take a few more strolls down memory lane.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman...

...are two of the most awesome people in the world. Seriously.

lovely Cara

You may recall me mentioning Cara a few times before. If not, here's a little recap. Cara is one of my favorite musicians. She's an amazing singer from Northern Ireland who does a nice mix of traditional Irish songs and contemporary pieces, some of which she writes with her husband, musician Sam Lakeman. (He plays piano and guitar.) I've been listening to Cara for about a year, after discovering her on an Irish radio station on iTunes. (Any of you listen to the radio stations on iTunes? Seriously, they're awesome. Pretty much any genre you can think of!)

Well, back in the spring a great friend of mine from England, Malcolm, was going to see Cara. He said he wanted to give her one of the bracelets that I made, one which was inspired by the colors on the cover of her latest album The Hill of Thieves. He inquired about purchasing it, but I told him that having one of my pieces go to someone like Cara would be payment Malcolm has been very helpful in acquiring some CDs for me that I couldn't get here in the states (or would have had to pay very high import prices for) so I kind of owed him one anyways. Aaaaaaaaanyways, I sent him the bracelet, which he put in a lovely blue gift box, and, according to him, Cara was quite pleased with it. Awesome.

Hill of Thieves

the bracelet (and Malcolm's lovely gift box)
a very pleased Cara
Even more awesome? A few weeks ago I stopped by Cara's fan forum and found this sweet message waiting for me:

Hi Kristin,
I've been meaning to thank you for absolutely ages for the gorgeous bracelet yo made for me. The colours are stunning and I am very touched at the time and effort you put into making this, I will always treasure it.I've been wearing it at some of our concerts and out and about and it's always admired.Again, thank you for your kindness and keep up the fantastic work.

your fan

Cara x

Is that not just the sweetest thing ever? A frickin' celebrity (OK, she's not too well known here, but according to a friend of mine in Germany, Cara's a "big deal" in Europe.) taking the time to thank me, and calling herself MY fan. Insane!

Could it get any better than that? Nope. At least that's what I thought. Then I read that Cara and Sam would be doing some shows in the states to promote the US release of HoT. One of the shows is in NYC. I've never been to NYC. Quite frankly, the idea of going freaks me out. I'm a strict suburbanite. I like living in a town with 2,500 residents, 2 gas stations, 3 pizzarias, and 3 stoplights, where everyone knows me, where I can drive 10 minutes (or less) in any direction and find corn fields and dairy cows, where I can walk anywhere I need to go in under 15 minutes. Big cities scare the crap out of me. Or at least I think they do. My only real exposure to big cities is going to Albany or Syracuse, and that's only for shopping or to go to concerts. I do what I need to do and get the heck out of there. But I digress. I hemmed and hawed about going, snarked about the price of a bus ticket, cab fare, and hotel room (if necessary), moaned about having to take a day (maybe two) off from work, but ultimately I decided that braving the city would be worth it, to see Cara and Sam live for the first time ever...even if the bus ticket there and back is gonna cost me $120.

Now, you're probably wondering where things start getting better. I'm getting to that. So, a few days ago I checked Cara's fan forum again and found another message, this time from Sam.

Hi Kristin,
I was just checking some of the messages on here and noticed you're planning to come down to the NY show. It sounds like it might take a bite out of your wallet. Cara and I would love to put you on the guestlist if you were to make the effort. It might make for a more enjoyable experience. The whole reason for the trip is promotion anyway so what's the point if we can't make sure our real fans get to come along and enjoy us live.

Sam x
On the guestlist? Me? OK! If I wasn't going to the show before that, I was now!!! As I understand it, being "on the guestlist" basically just gets you into the show for free...and tickets are only $12, so I'm not saving much. But the gesture means so much more than that. I love finding out that my favorite musicians are not only good musicians, but good people in generally. Makes me truly happy to support them, glad to shell out for concert tickets, CDs and DVDs. Now I like very, very many musicians, and so few of them seem to be such genuinely good people. (Pat Green is one exception...I have a few good stories I could tell about him.)

So needless to say, I am very excited right now. To top it all off, a childhood friend of mine, who lives in the city, wants to go to the show with me. I haven't seen her in a few years, so getting to hang out with her for the day will be great. It's the icing on the cake. A very big, chocolately, sugary sweet, ooey gooey cake, at that. September 28th can NOT come quick enough!
After all this, I'm positive you're all dying to hear Cara. I know it. And one of you probably will be lucky enough to hear her. No, I'm not going to stuff you in my handbag and smuggle you onto the bus and into Joe's Pub for the concert. But, knowing me, I probably will snag an extra copy of Hill of Thieves to give away in an upcoming Win-It Wednesday. Try not to die of anticipation before then, OK?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week 32 - “Bubbles” Photo Challenge!

Week 32 - “Bubbles” Photo Challenge!

It's I ♥ Faces time again! This week's challenge is bubbles...I haven't had the chance to take many pictures lately, but luckily I have this one from when Lil' J and I went on a picnic earlier this summer. It was a fun afternoon with yummy picnic food, frisbee, and blowing bubbles down on the dock. She thought she was just too cool catching all those bubbles on the end of her wand!

For more sudsy, bubbly, squeaky clean fun, drift on over to the I ♥ Faces blog to check out everyone else's awesome entries!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Heart Faces - “Funny, Silly Faces” and “Pets” Photo Challenge Fun!

August 10th - "Crazy, Silly, Funny Face!"

All photos entered this week should have a face in them that has a crazy, silly expression on it. There will be just one category (you can enter either a Kids photo or an Adults or a mixture of Kids and Adults.) Faces must be clearly visible!

Wow. I had my work cut out for me, choosing just ONE photo for this category! (What happened to the child and adult categories? Why'd we go from two categories to one?) I have a bunch of cute, crazy, silly, funny little kid faces that I could enter (and let's face it, we ALL know cute kids get you brownie points!) but I ultimately decided to go with this one, from last year's Great American Irish Festival. (I know, I have a habit of entering pics from GAIF!) I love the looks on both faces in this photo. Brent (fiddler) is a very laid back guy on stage and is a very kind, sweet person...but here, with that little smirk and that glint in his eyes, you can almost see a bit of a "Bad Little Irish Boy" (to quote one of their songs) in there! And Ian in the background...that guy is the KING if crazy, silly, funny faces! He's one of the most animated performers I've ever seen! Here you can see just how much he gets into the music, contorting his face AND his body as he gets his groove on.

We will be having a second, non-judged category this week of "Pets." This category will be just for fun and you can enter a photo of any animal (it doesn't need to be just an animal that is considered to be a pet.)

Now, it's no secret that I have hundreds (thousands?) of pictures of my pets, most of them better than this one, but ultimately this photo was chosen just because it fits in with the crazy, silly, funny face theme. (I know the pet ones don't have to, but it works so well that I just went with it!) Some people will tell you that dogs can not smile...well, I beg to differ with them! Just look at that face! Don't you just want to kiss her? (Oh, wait, maybe that's just me...)

Well, whether you want to kiss my dog or not, hop on over to the I ♥ Faces blog (click the link here or on the button at the top of the post) for more funny faces and furry, feathered and finned friends!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I love Etsy

As I've mentioned before, Lil' J will be starting kindergarten this fall. I bought her some cute new back-to-school clothes from Land's End (they had a GREAT sale on their kids' knit separates...I ended up ordering 8 coordinating items...pants, shirts, skirt, etc...all in turquoise and brown) and then went in search of the perfect hair accessory for the little diva. I came up with this fabulous korker bow from rainbowtique on Etsy. She could not wait to put in in her hair and kept admiring it in the mirror all day long...clearly, though, she was less than thrilled with my attempt at a photo shoot today. If you have a special little girl in your life, I highly recommend rainbowtique's products! The bow is very well made, super full and springy, and just fantastic! She has hair accessories in several styles and many color combinations and will also do custom great would this look in your little girl's school colors?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Heart Faces week 30 - My Story in Photos

Week 30 - My Story In Photos: "The Summer Edition"

Ahhhh, it feels so good to be preparing an I ♥ Faces post once more! I skipped out last week because I was busy getting my Irish on at the Great American Irish Festival. And because the theme was "beach" and I can't even remember the last time I went to the beach. It was long before I had a digital camera, I know that much, so I don't have any good beach pics.

So, here's my story. I'm not much of a summer person (which explains my lack of beach time!). I'm a pasty white girl and it takes approximately 15 minutes of sun exposure to turn me into a crispy critter (no joke, I went to Florida a few years ago and was burnt from head to toe after spending 2 hours in the pool despite applying 50 SPF waterproof sunblock before heading outside AND reapplying every half hour), thus leading me to avoid most activities requiring prolonged outdoor time. (Until late last summer, anyways, when I found 70+ SPF sunblock for the first time! It's a miracle!) The one event I really look forward to is the Great American Irish Festival, which is held the last full weekend of July. $20 for a 3-day $20 you can spend! Each day I get there as soon as it opens, and I leave when they kick us out for the night.

Why do I love GAIF so much? (Aside from the fact that it's a good excuse to strap on my kilt, tie green ribbons in my hair and paint Irish flags on my fingernails, that is?) Oh, where to start? For one thing, I love the music. All kinds of Irish and Scottish music. Traditional bands. Contemporary bands. Bagpipes. Lots and lots of bagpipes. OK, I'm not the biggest bagpipe fan out there, but it's fun to watch a bit of the pipe band competition, which culminates in a massed bagpipe march.

My favorite band, THE ELDERS

I also like to see Barleyjuice at least once during the weekend. Six guys, all wearing kilts! What's not to love?

New to this year's festival...Pogey and Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian's Wall was good but Pogey? Amazing! I think they're my new favorite band...after The Elders, of course! Super talented group of guys, very sweet and totally adorable too!



Had enough music? Go watch the dancers!

Dance isn't your thing? How about some rugby and Gaelic football?

As if that isn't enough, there are plenty of demos, displays and workshops in the cultural building...this year I attended a tin whistle workshop and planned on going to an Irish language workshop but ended up seeing one of the bands and forgot about it. Oops. Maybe next year.

And, like any good festival/fair, there was no shortage of food! The British Isles were well represented this year with shepherd's pie (I *may* have gone back for seconds), bangers and mash, and corned beef sandwiches (OK, corned beef is acually an Irish-AMERICAN food, but that's nit picking), but there is plenty of standard fair fare available as, fried dough, ribbon fries, blooming onions, Italian sausages, Greek gyros, etc, etc, etc! And don't forget the beer! Lots and lots of beer.

Last but not least, I love the comraderie. Always a pleasure reuniting with old friends and making new ones! I got to talk with my friend Cindy (sadly, she was running around like crazy all weekend so we never got a picture together), who I met on the Elders' message board a couple years ago and haven't seen since January, and finally met Caitlin, who I've been talking to on Facebook for a while now (she's a big Elders fan too!). And much to my pleasure, Cindy, who volunteers at GAIF, snuck me behind the barricades to get a pic with the Pogey boys (again, are they not too cute? I could just eat them up!) and chat with them a bit. Oh, and just before I left I ran into Joe Miquelon, of the Elders, and he was all too happy to take a moment for a photo op...nice guy, that Joe is, and one hell of a keyboard player! And then there was Beadman...sorry dude, if you're reading this (and I doubt he is, because really, no one reads my blog), I forgot your name. Anyways, all weekend he went around giving people beads and taking pics of them. I didn't have anything to give him in return but took his picture anyways. We chatted for a while...he said he's a freelance photographer.

And that, in a nutshell, is the highlight of my summers! For more great stories and photos, click on the link here or the button at the top of this post to head on over to the I ♥ Faces blog!