Sunday Morning Coffee #17

I Did It . . .

This photo of my cat, Bunnie, was taken with the iPad 3 (the new iPad)

Last Wednesday, after attending a trade show in Albuquerque, Mark and I screamed into the Apple store and were out again 8 minutes later with my new iPad.

At first, I had a bit of buyer’s remorse. After viewing the new retina display, my socks are still on. OK, I don’t wear socks, but you know what I mean. The colors are more brilliant, but the difference did not overwhelm me.

My old iPad (purchased by a dear friend, thanks for asking), did not have a camera, so that is the biggest change for me. I take cameras pretty seriously, so a 5 megapixel camera is not such an exciting idea.

But I am excited. For such a bulky thing that is hard to hold still, the results are pretty sharp – given also  that this shot was taken in light so low, my DSLR left the building.

And here is my dog, Sky, helping me with this blog post (she has not had any Sunday morning coffee) . . .

There is a good deal of digital noise and a bit of soft focus, but given how hard it is to hold this iPad still, and how little light there is in here, this is not bad for journalistic photography.

My buyer’s remorse has left the building.

Spring has Sprung . . .

Here is how it will be (this was the 2009 Garden) . . .

And here is how it is right now . . .

This past week, we officially entered Spring, we sprang ahead an hour to Daylight Savings (I love it), and Spring Cleaning is upon us (I don’t love it).

Many folks do their yard clean-up in the Fall, but I find that the wild birds hang out here all year long eating seeds and playing on the branches. The Autumn Joy Sedum you see here is even beautiful now. So Spring Cleaning it is.

An entire day of hard labor produced this much . . . one bed and one border.

I clear all the debris, spread time release food, and top dress with compost. I love this look – black dirt full of promise – and devoid of weeds.

Next week, I will have a great seed starting tip for you.

Spring Cleaning is going on inside as well. We have SO MUCH stuff. Half of it has got to go – really.

Sometimes, I come up with stuff I didn’t know I had, and worse than that, don’t know what it, is or where it came from . . .

What the heck is this?

And its package didn’t give many clues either – it said “Get a Grip”. I often feel that I should get a grip, but could not figure out how this could help.

After some research online, I discovered that this is a clamp to hold a smart phone upright.

This is a great little tripod for my iPhone.

The iPhone camera is wonderful – 8 megapixels and lots of good features. Annie Leibovitz recommended it and she knows a bit about photography.

But I rarely use my iPhone camera because, again, it is difficult to hold steady. I have tried a couple of tripods but the connecting apparatus is complicated.

This little gadget works perfectly and is easy to stick in your purse or pocket. It holds the phone in portrait mode also, and you can adjust the angle by sliding the clip up or down . . .

This clip works with most smart phones, but an added benefit with the iPhone is that you have a remote shutter release. Your iPhone earbuds have a volume control on the cord. The UP volume acts as a shutter. The UP volume on the phone body also acts as a shutter – which is so much easier than using the little icon onscreen.

I still don’t know where/when/how I got this. Maybe it came in an Amazon box as a promo or something? I am so glad I figured it out instead of throwing it out.

All three photos of this iCarpus were taken with the new iPad, btw – in a little better light.

Anyway, here’s where you can get one for $12.99

iCarpus at Amazon

Artist of the Week . . .

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how traveling around the web is a treasure hunt.

I don’t even know how I got there – I think it was a Pinterest link to another product – but on a recent hunt, I landed at

I saw that they had a “Paper and Books” category, and there I found treasure in the form of beautiful handmade books by Andrea Zimmerman-Rogers and her Blue Highways Shop.

The covers are fabric wrapped, the stitching exquisite.

This one is filled with 140lb watercolor paper, has a leather closure tie with beads, and is about 7.5″ x 11″.

A gorgeous handmade book like this would be way too expensive, right?

It was $35!

Obviously a labor of love!

I bought it immediately – to see if it would be as cool as it looked.

Remember my butterfly friend from last week? Well, she died the next day and I was sad. But, I talked to my friend Vesta about it and as it happened, she had just been to one of those butterfly exhibits (where you walk around and they sit on your head, etc.).

She learned such an interesting thing. The butterfly is the last stage of life for the caterpiller. After mating, the butterfly starts to age – sort of disintegrate. Colors fade and the wings break down. All that was going on with my butterfly, and then she passed. So really, I have to look at it as a good thing. She found a beautiful place for her final hours, and I got the chance to immortalize her beauty – and share it with you. I saved her and will bury her in a pot with some amazing plant this year.

But I was still sad.

And then a package showed up – and it was my book.

The presentation was great. it was wrapped in vintage newspaper and tied with rustic string. A string style bookmark was attached – with beads that matched the ones on the closure tie. When an artist goes the whole nine yards like this, I go nuts with appreciation.

And then I saw the book itself – which was just about glowing in my hands. “This looks just like the American Lady,” I thought.

And then, I opened the book . . .

There were the butterflies. I was not sad anymore – I was thrilled. This will be my watercolor sketchbook for the garden this year. And the first page will feature her photograph.

I was so impressed that I did two things – emailed Andrea about how much I loved the book – and bought another one . . .

This one is journal sized – 5.5″ x8.5″, and is filled with both lined and drawing pages. This one is for my notes, photos and transfers for this year’s garden. And it was just $28! I really can’t believe it.

What fabulous gifts these make for anyone (and especially for you). I am conversing with Andrea about creating the perfect art journal – what fabulosity that would be – for $10 more than a Moleskine Sketchbook!!!!

Please visit Andrea’s shop and give her your support. All these books are one-of-a-kind, so if you love it, grab it.

I will keep you advised on the perfect art journal idea.

Miles to go before I sleep . . .

I would so love to keep chatting, but remember how my garden looks. Something must be done about that – right now!

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