Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman

OK, I have returned and (mostly) recovered from my whirlwind tour of NYC and 43 hours without sleep!
For those of you that missed it, I went to NYC on Monday to see the lovely and talented Cara Dillon and her equally handsome and talented husband Sam Lakeman in concert. I was up at 5:30 AM to catch a 7:15 bus to the city, and arrived there at 12:15. More details on my city adventures later.

The concert was more incredible than I ever could have imagined. Sam was true to his word and put me on the guestlist, and my friend and I scored some great seats on a big, comfy velvet couch about 10 feet from the stage. We got there early and were first in line when they let us in at 9:00. Cara and Sam took the stage at 9:30. Usually they play with several other musicians, but this evening it was just the two of them. They played almost every song from the new album, Hill of Thieves - it's just been released in the US, go get a copy NOW! - except a few that they really needed a full band to play, and also a few of her older ones including a favorite of mine, Garden Valley. And, much to my surprise, Cara did an amazing cover of the well-known song "Crazy Love" and dedicated it to me! After the show, which lasted between 75 and 90 minutes, a gentleman approached me and asked if I was Kristin. I informed me that indeed I was, and he handed me a paper and said "Cara wants you to have this." It was her handwritten set list for the show! SO COOL! Then my friend went to use the ladies room and came back to tell me that Cara and Sam were hanging out backstage. Needless to say we headed back there! They were talking to some other people so we hung back for a bit, and when Cara was done talking she approached us. I thanked her for the song dedication and she said "Oh, you're Kristin! Thanks for coming!" She also thanked me for the bracelet my friend Malcolm had given her earlier this year. (I posted about it a while back, it's in the archives somewhere if you're interested about that.) At this point I handed her a box containing a new bracelet...she was very surprised and said I shouldn't have done that, but I said that since I had replied to her lovely thank you note with a message of my own promising to make her another if she ever came to NY, I couldn't very well go back on my word! She absolutely loved it (or at least is a very convincing actress!) and when I said I didn't see any CDs and asked if she had any for sale she sent someone to go grab a few copies for me and signed them. "You're not paying for them, I'm giving them to you!" she said, and also added that she would make sure I got an advance copy of her new live DVD, which is scheduled for release in the spring, " don't order it!". How cool is that? We chatted for quite a while - especially once I let it slip that I'm a twin and she started telling me about her 2 year old twin boys - and then she called Sam over to talk with us as well. I got a picture with each of them. After that I had to dash off to catch the 12:45 AM bus home...more on that disaster later, I'd hate to ruin such a happy post with that story!

As you can probably tell, it was a night that I will never forget. In addition to seeing an amazing concert by two of the most talented musicians I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, I was pleased to find out that in addition to being great musicians, they are also great people. There are not words enough to express how grateful I am to Cara and Sam for the kindness and generosity they have bestowed on me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Heart Faces Fix It Friday

OK, this is my first Fix It Friday in quite a while! I hope you like my fixes!
Here is the original photo.

It's very underexposed, but I found that once I increased the brightness, it was a great photo to work with! (And how couldn't it be, with such a cute little subject?)

Fix #1

I started by cropping the photo, then used Smart Photo Fix to increase the overall brightness and color saturation. Then I went to adjust and further increased the color saturation of the blues and reds. After that I went to Films and Filters under Effects and applied the Glamour film look. Finally I went to Time Machine, also under Effects and applied the Early Color effect with a 25% intensity.

Fix #2

Again, I started by cropping the photo and using the smart photo fix. This time I increased the overall brightess a little more, knocked the shadows back to -75, and increased color saturation to 25. Then I applied the Vivid film look under Film and Filters and the Cross Process look under Time Machine at 25%.

Fix #3

Again, I started by cropping and used the smart photo fix, this time increasing overall brightness and dropping the shadows back to -100. Under Film and Filters I applied the enhanced reds setting several times, then added texture.

Fix #4

Once more, I started by cropping and used Smart photo fix to increase overall brightness and set shadows at -100. Then I used Convert to black and white film with color filter red. Last I added Platinum look under Time Machine at 25%.

For more fabulous fixes, go to the I ♥ Faces blog!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Heart Faces Completely Candid

Week 37: “Completely Candid” Photo Challenge!

This is one of my favorite photos of Lil' J. She loves to draw and color and she was just so serious and focused on the task at hand this day that when I took the picture, she didn't even notice the flash go off! This is her favorite place to sit and play, color, read, and watch TV, especially in late afternoon when the sun is starting to go down. I loved the way to rays were hitting her and couldn't resist taking a few shots.

For more completely candid photos click on the link here or on the I ♥ Faces button.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yet ANOTHER giveaway

Julie over at Foursons is having another fabulous giveaway!!! Now, y'all have been awfully quiet lately so I don't know if any of you joined in on the fun last week but you really shouldn't miss out on this one! You might even win - I did last week! This week one lucky person is going to win a 18x24” rolled poster print from and Uprinting.

Digital printing-

I should probably sit this one out since I won last week, but it's a super prize so I'm gonna be selfish and have at it again! I'm not totally sure what I'd do if I won, but I'm thinking a poster of this photo would be pretty damn cool.

Readers, what would you do if you won this awesome contest? And speaking of contests...who thinks its time for another Win It Wednesday? Better make some noise because if I don't see some interest I'm not gonna do it!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cookie Monster would make a decent roommate on Sesame St.

my new roomie

Cookie Monster

OK, if I lived on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster and I would definitely be roomies. Admit it - the guy's awesome. I think we'd get along pretty good. He's funny, I'm funny, he's a slob, I'm a slob...two peas in a pod, I think. We might get in a bit of a tussle over the last cookie, but that's it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Heart Faces week 36

WEEK 36 - September 14th - "Contemplative"

Our Definition: thoughtful observation; full or deep consideration; dreamily or wistfully thoughtful: a pensive mood; expressing or revealing thoughtfulness; quiet modes of apparent or real thought; can be marked by some sadness, but doesn't have to be.

All photos entered this week should have a face in them that has a an expression that you consider to be "contemplative" (please keep our above definition in mind when you are looking for your entry photo.) There will be just one category (you can enter either a Kids photo or an Adults or a mixture of Kids and Adults.) Face(s) must be clearly visible!

When I first read that this week's theme was "contemplative" I knew right away which photo I would use. This is yet another photo that I took at the Great American Irish Festival, taken this past July. It is one of my favorites from this year's GAIF. That handsome fella is Norm Dahlor, from (you regular visitors to my blog probably guessed it!) The Elders. Normally, Norm has this funny little half smile/half smirk thing going on when he's on stage, but I caught him looking quite serious during their stirring a capella performance of "Men of Erin," a touching song that lead singer Ian Byrne says his father "gave" him after he passed away. With lyrics like these, how could one not be contemplative about one's own mortality, and that of their loved ones, while singing it?

Men of Erin

Lyrics by Ian Byrne

Fare thee well me boy as you wonder this night

Be not feared in the darkness my heart is your light

As you go brave Men of Erin

Faith and love by your side

I will dream of your peace in the night

Please don’t cry my Mother as you sit by the hearth

I will dance your memories with joy in my heart

I will go now and pray as I travel this land

And live by the lessons you gave

Fair thee well me boy as you wonder this night

Be not feared in the darkness my heart is your light

As you go brave Men of Erin

Faith and love by your side

I will dream of your peace in the night

Please don’t cry my Father as you sit by the hearth

I will dance your memories with joy in my heart

I will go now and pray as I travel this land

And live by the lessons you gave

Fair thee well me boy as you wonder this night

Be not feared in the darkness my heart is your light

As you go brave Men of Erin

Faith and love by your side

I will dream of your peace in the night

Please don’t cry my Children

As you stand by my Grave

I have danced your memories all of my days

I will go now and pray as I travel this land

And live be the lessons you gave

© 2004 - The Elders


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.)

This is my entry for the "pets" category. I know, I know, a spider is't really a pet, but loosely applying the definition above, it fits. Kind of. Basically it's just a really awesome photo that I've been dying to share.

Like what you see? Click on the link here or the button above to visit the I ♥ Faces blog for more contemplative photos.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

update on me...

OK, I know I've been really, really crappy at blogging lately. I have a few reasons. For one thing, we FINALLY got some real summer weather (not that I mind temps in the 60's and low 70's...I'd be cool with that year-round!) so I've been outdoors more than usual, which means less computer time. For another thing, there just hasn't been much going on that is truly blog-worthy. Sorry. And last of all, I ran out of a lot of my jewelry-making supplies so I haven't had any new stuff to show you. Fear not, dear readers, I have finally ordered new supplies, and now that I'm not babysitting Lil' J anymore (*sniff, sniff* I KNOW y'all miss the almost-daily pics of her!) I actually have some free time on my hands so I should have some new pieces done over the next few weeks. With the holidays fast approaching (I know, I know, it's ONLY September, but pretty soon we'll all be saying "Where has the past year gone?!?!) I'm hoping to get my Etsy store well stocked..fingers crossed that I move some merch!!!

So, what has been going on in my life lately? Like I said, not a hell of a lot, but I did go to the NY State Fair with Lil' J and her mama. The day consisted mainly of eating (butterfly fries, roasted corn on the cob, Dippin' Dots, caramel apples, strawberry shortcake and kettle corn) and watching Lil' J go on the rides, but it was fun. Of course we HAD to check out the butter sculpture, and also made a stop in the dairy building to see the cows. And I won Lil' J a great big stuffed penguin at the water squirt game, whatever it's called.

Well, that's it for me. Anyone else been to any fairs this summer? I want to know...what are your favorite things about fairs? Favorite ride? Favorite game? Favorite fair food? And what's the best fair you've ever been to?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Giveaway...

...and no, it's not mine.

Like free stuff? (Admit it, you do. Who doesn't?!?!) Then head on over to Foursons (click on the link here or on the button in my sidebar) because Julie is giving away a Wall Graphic from What is a Wall Graphic? Well, according to Julie's blog,

"A new product is being rolled out on The new product is an innovative adhesive fabric that is called a Wall Graphic. Just imagine a huge sticker that you can peel and stick on any flat surface! (Similar to the Fat Heads stickers you’ve seen on TV) In addition, they use the same high-quality printing we use for our poster prints, so you can print photos, artworks or patterns in great detail."

Cool, huh? I know I'd like one! I'd probably get one of my pics from the Irish festival. Or maybe a nice pic from my mom's garden, that I could give her for her birthday. Or maybe a pic of Lil' J, to give her parents for Christmas. Oh, the possibilities!

So, dear readers, what would you do with a Wall Graphic?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Vintage Pearl giveaway

The Vintage Pearl

OK, everyone, drop what you're doing and run over to the I ♥Faces blog. This week they're giving away a necklace from The Vintage Pearl. All you have to do is check out The Vintage Pearl's website and leave a comment on the I ♥ Faces blog saying which necklace from the Simple line you'd choose. Easy, huh? And their stuff is absolutely gorgeous and unique so do yourself a favor and just check it out already!

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Heart Faces “Back To School” Photo Challenge

Week 35 - “Back To School” Photo Challenge!

OK, this is not exactly a "back to school" photo, but after missing out on last week's challenge I really want to enter this week and this is the best I can do. See, school here doesn't actually start until tomorrow and while I'd hoped to go take some "first day of school" pics of Lil' J, I can't. My great aunt died late Thursday night and the funeral is tomorrow morning.

While this isn't a first day of school photo, it is still somewhat school-related. See, I've been watching Lil' J since she was 6 months old...that's 5 years! Last Thursday was very bittersweet, as it was my last day watching her since she'll now be going to kindergarten. (Sadly, I had to leave early to be at the hospital with my aunt, but that's another post.) Even though I know I'll still see her (I only live 2 blocks away from her, and she comes in the store where I work often with her mother) I wanted to take some pics to remember the day. In this one, you can see the lovely bouquet and card she gave me in the background...the card says "K- I'll miss you when I go to my new school. Love, J-" After I opened the card she explained the significance of the pictures she drew in it..."See, that's me, and that's you, and that's my heart, and that's your heart...right next to each other!" And the locket she's clutching? Minutes after I took the picture she told me "I want to put a picture of me and a picture of you in my locket so I'll never forget you!" Awwwwww. And the day before, we were visiting my father and she said to him, Mister Quail? What if Kristin was my kindergarten teacher? Wouldn't that be cool?" Clearly she's having some separation issues, but she'll be OK. She's very excited about riding the bus and meeting lots of new friends. She's also going to be starting piano lessons, so she has lots of stuf to look forward to this fall!

To see more back-to-school pics, check out the I ♥ Faces blog!