Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, Squirrelly Photos and an Announcement

Happy Halloween from our entire household! Including our wild squirrels. I took some liberties with paint on this photo but the rest are untouched. This squirrel was just begging to be photographed so of course I had to break out my camera. Hope you get a laugh and have a happy and safe Halloween!

 It's almost like the squirrel is trick or treating, isn't it? If you use your imagination?

 Or maybe he's really an evil genius rubbing his claws together and developing his next plot.

But probably he's just hungry, because he suddenly ran to the other side of the yard and turned his back to the camera and ate his treat (hey, it is Halloween).

Ah, the announcement. I figure if you read this far then you absolutely are a dedicated reader (and I thank you!). At least for a while, I'm doing away with Wild Wednesday & Floral Friday and going back to posting whatever strikes my fancy as it does. I'll still aim to post no more than once a day (observing the golden rule and all). There will still likely be plenty of animal, flower and other nature photo posts, just not so scheduled.

Hope your day is filled with treats and pleasant surprises. May God bless you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween Funny Cat Photos

I'd hoped to have time to do another shoot before Halloween but with hurricane Sandy beating at my house and the county predicting widespread and longstanding power outages, I figure I should write and set this to post while I still have power. My cats have learned that after crazy costumes and photographs they usually get treats so they didn't seem to mind their Halloween costumes and photo shoot this year (although they certainly liked the treats more!). Hope you enjoy the photos and get a nice smile out of it. If you're in the storm's path, I pray that you will remain safe and grow closer to the Lord in this trial. With or without power, I'll be praying for all in the path of the storm and for the emergency and essential personnel who are out in the midst of it for public safety. May God bless them and may He bless you too!

 The first photo features Moose, our elderly cat, and the second, Baby, our "young" cat. They're 16 and 12 years old (I think). There used to be a huge weight difference between them but Moose lost some and Baby gained some so now they're 11 and 8 pounds and more reasonably matched in that department (they don't like each other but they don't hate each other and have these rather lame cat squabbles).

Even though Baby is the prettier cat in person, Moose is the more photogenic (and hilarious) cat. She always looks mad, even when she's so happy she's purring and drooling.

Here you can see Moose with some of our Halloween decorations. She doesn't care for the flash but is a good sport about photos. So, that's probably more than you want to know about our cats but we love them. Do you have a pet you absolutely love? I'd love to hear about him or her! May God bless you and your beloved pets!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Butterfly Art By Denise Arvaneh

Butterfly art and photo by Denise Arvaneh
Happy wild Wednesday everyone! At Bible study today (which was wonderful!), my friend Denise Arvaneh kindly granted me permission to share some of her beautiful butterfly art photos. I hope you are blessed by them! If they bring you a smile please leave a comment of encouragement for Denise.

Butterfly art and photo by Denise Arvaneh
Butterfly art and photo by Denise Arvaneh
Butterfly art and photo by Denise Arvaneh
As you can see in the photo above Denise creates beautiful floral art too! I love the collage (above) combining her drawings of butterflies and flowers.

Butterfly art and photo by Denise Arvaneh
On Facebook, Denise shares some of her favorite quotes and I liked them so I'm sharing them with you too.

"May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him." Romans 15:13

"The Lord your God is with you and He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

"A man's (woman's) journey, through the detours of art, was simply to uncover the first two or three images that entered his/her heart." (Henry David Thoreau)

"Life is too important to be taken seriously." Oscar Wilde

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life, and in elevating them by art." William Morris

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
—Maya Angelou

Hope you enjoyed today's wild Wednesday post. Hearty thanks to Denise for sharing her art and photos. May God bless Denise and may He bless you too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chrysanthemum, Rose and Butterfly Plant Photos from Missy's Garden for Floral Friday

This week I had the pleasure of a visit with my friend Missy and she kindly gave me a tour of her yard and let me take some photos of her lovely flowers. She had a wonderful assortment of chrysanthemums. Not on ly the bicolor yellow/rust ones pictured above and the red ones pictured below but also pink, maroon, yellow, orange and more different colors of chrysanthemums spread throughout her gardens.

 Here is one of Missy's large pink roses. She has a another bush with flowers almost twice as big too.

Missy described this as a butterfly plant and this moth hopped right onto the flower right afterward. I liked the contrast of the white moth and purple flowers.

I liked the yellow eye of this red chrysanthemum. Hope you enjoyed this floral Friday photo slideshow. Thank you to Missy for opening her yard to me and my camera! May God bless Missy and may He bless you too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wildlife in Aruba: Photos By Guest Photographer Brian Dering

Copyright Dering Photography 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Canon 5D MKII, 1/250 Sec., f/5.6, ISO-100, Natural Light
I've long been an admirer of Brian Dering's photography (you can see his work at Dering Photography) and I'm thrilled to be able to share some of his brilliant wildlife photos from his recent trip to Aruba for today's wild Wednesday post. Thank you, Brian, for sharing your work with us!

Copyright Dering Photography 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Canon 5D MKII, 1/500 Sec., f/7.1, ISO-100, Natural Light
I love both of Brian's iguana photos (above). The first one grabs you with the amazing color and great eye detail and the second one's combination of stone, water and iguana are captivating.

Copyright Dering Photography 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Canon 5D MKII, 1/8000 Sec., f/4, ISO-200, Natural Light
The sunset colors are amazing and there is a bird on the pier post so technically I can still call this a wildlife photo. Brian had some wildlife free but truly spectacular sunrise and sunset photos in his Aruba trip photo album so if you'd like to see more of his Aruba photos please let us know by commenting below and I'll ask his permission for another post in the future. I changed the settings so you should be able to comment anonymously if you want to.

Copyright Dering Photography 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Canon 5D MKII, 1/125 Sec., f/5.6, ISO-100, Natural Light
Brian said, "These little birds are all over in the morning. A few of them seem to be looking for crumbs left over from the day before near the pool and the rooms."

Copyright Dering Photography 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Canon 5D MKII, 1/125 Sec., f/4, ISO-100, crl pol, Natural Light
I liked the combination of scenery and pelican in this photo. Brian shared that "This must be the restaurant pelican. He wandered around the outside and gave us quite a show... This was outside one of our favorite restaurants called Pinchos Grill & Bar. It is out on a dock just above the water."

I've yet to make it to Aruba but it was fun seeing it through Brian's eyes. Hope you enjoyed today's wild Wednesday post. May God bless the Dering family and may He bless you too! 

Note/Disclaimer: This was an unsolicited and unpaid post. I loved Brian's photos and asked his permission to post them so you could enjoy them too. I have no financial relationship with Dering Photography or Brian Dering. Brian Dering and I are friends.

Full link for those readers who cannot use embedded links:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Foliage In My Suburban Maryland Neighborhood

Photo by Phyllis Wheeler; Photo enhancement by Brian Dering
It's a beautiful, blue sky day here in Maryland today. Our fall foliage is presenting some nice color and it's a treat for the eyes. My photos don't do it justice but the sunlight is hitting the leaves just right and they appear to glow in some places (if you have tips on how to capture this better I'd love to hear them!). A friend asked for some photos so I thought I'd make an autumn color blog post out of it. Hope you enjoy it!

 The yellow leaves stand out nicely in my neighbor's yard.

Another neighbor's hydrangea bush has some beautiful dried flower heads. It's not really fall foliage but the red flowers fit with the autumn color theme.

This is our own tree. The fall foliage isn't as striking as my neighbors' but I like the contrast with the blue sky. My husband has already removed most of our annual flowers but he left the marigolds and you can just barely see the rose bushes (towards the bottom right). Usually if you click on a photo in these posts it either enlarges the photo or brings you to a larger slideshow version if you want to see more detail.

May God bless you this autumn and always!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Meko the Beautiful and Friendly Maine Coon Cat

Meet Meko, my friend Janet's lovely Maine Coon cat companion. Meko is incredibly soft and friendly. She likes to be picked up a certain way and will cuddle until something exciting (like a bird at the window) catches her eye. She purred the very first time I pet her (in my mind, purring is the official cat stamp of approval and always warms my heart).

Meko was more interested in checking out the camera than in getting her photo taken but I hope you enjoy these photos and can see what a beautiful kitty she is. Of course, I love the look of every Maine Coon cat I've ever seen but I thought Meko was especially pretty.

This is camera-flash-avoiding Meko. I don't blame her. Even though I had turned the flash off by this point she had learned to look away. This isn't technically a good shot but I thought I'd include it anyway because it's kind of arty with the shadows. Meko might be the softest cat I ever pet so it was certainly a pleasure to meet her. Janet takes fantastic care of Meko, who is clearly healthy and happy in their home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Raindrops on Roses, Azalea, Camellia, Butterfly Bush and a mystery flower

Raindrops on a wild rose: Photo by Phyllis Wheeler
Happy floral Friday, dear reader! Earlier this week my husband and I enjoyed a rainy walk in the U.S. National Arboretum's Asian Garden. There's something especially beautiful about flowers with raindrops on them. 
Raindrops on red azalea blooms: Photo by Phyllis Wheeler
It's always a pleasant surprise to see azaleas blooming in the fall. On a break between rainshowers there were even some bees enjoying the flowers.
Mystery plant with spiky flower: Photo by Phyllis Wheeler
I have no idea what kind of plant/flower is pictured above (if you do, please share!) but it was neat looking.
Raindrops on a white camellia bloom: Photo by Phyllis Wheeler
This camellia almost looks like a peony so it brings thoughts of spring to mind, even on a chilly autumn day.
Vibrant butterfly bush bloom: Photo by Ben Wheeler
My husband took this beautiful and unusually colored butterfly bush flower cluster photo. We didn't see any butterflies but usually these bushes attract plenty of them.

That's all for today's floral photo tour. Hope you enjoyed it. Which was your favorite photo? I wish you a happy weekend and pray that God will bless you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Janet's Super Organized Craft & Hobby Room

Overview of Janet's super organized craft room
My friend Janet has the most organized craft room I've ever seen. Not only is it super organized but it's a lovely place to hang out too. She was kind enough to let me crash it with my camera today and I hope you'll enjoy the tour. Above is an overview shot of the room with Janet the good sport, bead genius and organizing guru. She literally has a place for everything and she does six different kinds of crafts and her husband also does some of his hobby activities in her room too. Janet's crafting interests include beading, scrap booking, card making, sewing, crocheting and floral arrangement. She packs everything needed for all six craft categories into her lovely craft room (can you tell that I was impressed?).

This pretty shelf of large beads in glass jars looked even nicer in person. You can't see it in the overview photo (above) but it's on your left when you walk into her craft room.

These bookcases store some of her amazing finished beaded projects, her craft books and decorations. You can see the edge of her sewing table on the lower left hand side of the photo above. It's a handy table that has leaves that fold up from both sides of the center (and you can fold up one side, both, or neither, as Janet has it now so it takes up less space when she's not using it).

The white cabinet stores Janet's sewing supplies (material, patterns, thread etc.) and she keeps her sewing machine tucked away in the room's closet between uses).

This amazing piece of furniture is an "original scrap box" that Janet got a fantastic deal on (if I could find one at that price I'd love to have one myself). It's open in the photo but if she's having guests over it closes up to look like a regular armoire, freeing up enough space for a guest bed. Janet has her beading supplies on the right side as well as on both of the outer door edges. Yes, those are all beads! She wrote more about it here. In the main left compartments she has her floral arrangement, scrap booking, card making, felting and paint supplies. In the skinny left compartments she has a host of tools (glue gun, heat gun, rhinestone setter etc.). On the fold out table she has her current project (a beaded necklace), light and notebook and further back behind the table is a lazy susan with her pliers, pens and other small tools she likes to keep handy. Below the table is a handy compartment where she keeps over sized things like her portable craft bag (she teaches beading classes at Bead Soup). Above the fold out table she has her crafting magazines, more beading material and tools and her "bling" (pretty crystals and super shiny beading materials).

Janet keeps her finished beaded ornaments in this handily divided ornament box and the box is nestled near her sewing machine in the closet. That finishes our tour of Janet's super organized craft room! I took some close up pictures of her lovely bead work so look for another post featuring her finished crafts in the near future. If you'd like to learn more about Janet here are some handy resources for you:
Hearty thanks to Janet for opening her home to me and sharing her fabulous organization skills with us all. May God bless Janet and may He bless you too, dear reader!

Note/Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this post, and I received no incentive or reward for writing this post, all the opinions are mine and Janet and I are friends and fellow military spouses. I just wanted to share her craft room organization because I thought it was fantastic.

PS Here are the whole links for my email folks (who have mentioned that the emails don't always include embedded links):

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Orchid Jubilee at the U.S. National Arboretum

Ben (my beloved husband) and I attended the National Arboretum's 65th annual Orchid Jubilee today. The orchid display building smelled amazingly wonderful with the scent of so many orchids. If you live near Washington DC the event runs through Monday, October 8, 2012.

 Some exhibitors really got into the 65th anniversary theme.

All of the flowers were beautiful in their own way. The judges certainly had a difficult task. Here are some of the blue ribbon winning orchids.

 These boldly colored orchid blooms had photographers clamoring to get photos.

 But I thought these delicately colored orchid blooms were just as lovely, in their own way.

And some of the orchid displays seemed like they came right out of a fairy tale. This was certainly a treat for the senses.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! May the God of all creation bless you today and always!

PS: If you enjoyed this post you'll likely enjoy the following posts too:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flowers From Our Garden: Floral Friday Photos

Our surviving yellow chrysanthemums are at peak bloom in our mid Atlantic/Maryland garden this week. I love their happy yellow flower faces. Their peak bloom also signals the end of my deadheading activities for the year. Now I'll let our flowers set seed so we can harvest them for next year and the birds can enjoy them this fall and winter.

The marigolds have gone wild and taken over the front part of our front yard flower bed but the moths seem happy about it. I think next year we'll put in half as many marigolds... or maybe even half of that so we can add a bit more variety but they were a quick and inexpensive solution to our back hoed yard emergency situation earlier this year.

 We still have yellow, pink and red roses blooming.

This cute rabbit and I surprised each other. I felt honored when it decided to sit and watch me instead of hopping away.

I thought this dahlia bud was striking. I'm glad to see that we should get another nice flower out of the plant before it's time to dig it up and store it for winter (we're on the cusp of zones 6 and 7).

This was one of my resurrection plant projects. It looked near death when I bought it for a dollar but it's doing fine now. God sure did make some hardy plants.

That's all for this week's floral Friday photos. I hope you enjoyed them and wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend. May God bless you!