I've been having a little fun with photo manipulation in photoshop using filters, actions, etc- like these digital images attempting to imitate the look of old Holga photos. I'm not 100% comfortable with this, since it is controlled, sacrificing the spontaneity and happy accidents of using film and a plastic toy camera, but I do like control too. Part of me feels like this is a bad idea, gimmicky, false. I cringe at the thought - manipulation. But isn't every photo a manipulatio of some kind? Even straight from the camera- a photo only shows you what it's photographer wants you to see, or not see- a small piece of something, buildings cropped off the right side, or faces falling out the left side of the frame. The sky is never the same blue, no, not exactly. We make choices in every photograph, even if we are attempting to "document" what actually was. We choose color controls, cropping, perspective to retell what seems most true, accurate, right, expressive. We don't see the world in black and white, and even color photography fought for seriousness. Why  am I still a hold out on certain post processing controls, just more tools right? And why to we imitate the sentiment, feel, flaws of the past? And why does this sometimes feel more appropriate? Okay, shouldn't get started on too many big topics. Anyway these are for fun, like making poladroids with their retro sound effects.

Here goes loosening some academic/stickler/critical hold-ups for imitation, imagination, play...why not? Anything goes. Thoughts?

Tulip picking.

Some Provence vacay shots.


we all scream

Here's a sweet treat on a summery day: coconut ice cream topped with melted chocolate and almonds. (And, yes, it's vegan). I mixed some coconut milk - left from last night's curry- with a little sugar, grated vanilla bean, and a pinch of salt. Let it freeze- drizzle with a vegan chocolate sauce and toss on some almonds. Try some and have yummy day.


return of happiness

I was delighted to find a forest floor covered in my favorite flowers. They are so small with such a strong sweet fragrance. Inhale...swoon. I brought back one stem of the little bells, but went back for a few more.

Posters are hanging in the boulangerie for bal de muguet a few towns over on the last day of April, and I've found out that it is French tradition, also celebrating Labor Day, to pick lily of the valley and give the sweet little bouquet to someone you love: a sign of the beginning of spring and the return of happiness. What a beautiful thought.


home tour: la cuisine

I'm enjoying time in the bright kitchen- have a thing for white right now, and the kitchen is very white.

It's nice to have some pantry space. We picked up this high table for about $10 and I painted the base- more white.

Sunlight :)


home tour: la chambre

Let's start the home tour in the bedroom. As you can see, we're keeping things simple: bed dresser, chair. And yes, this is the infamous bed. After we brought it safely home from it's previous room in Geneva, hanging out the back end of a vehicle, up the hilly roads, and finally up our entry stairs and into the living room, we discovered that we couldn't get it up the stairs to our bedroom. The ceiling beams were too low, the landing too narrow, the banister immovable- or the single piece, inflexible, wood bed was just too big for our little French house (and it's only a full size). We even brought in some of the best minds in physics and art to help us out. Couldn't go out and up through a window, couldn't remove the stairs, a hole in the ceiling/floor wouldn't seem to solve the problem. Finally we conceded to cut the bed in half. Et voila! bed bracketed back together, in the bedroom.

My favorite part of the room (besides the antique crocheted French blanket): windows, lots of light, and a view over the valley. Join me tomorrow in the kitchen...I love to be in the kitchen.


bienvenue à challex

Here's a little tour around our town. While we've been in our new place for over a month, I think we are just starting to get settled in. So this is Challex, the little hillside town between the Saleve and Jura mountains and above the Rhone. It sits beside the Swiss vineyards and French farm fields and forests. So far it's been sunny and we're basking in the early spring, inhaling all the lilac and magnolia.

Our 300 year old (this year) village house is in the oldest part of town, between the church and the boulangerie. Photos to come as soon as the wisteria blooms and I get things a little more organized.

Rural charm.

 Around town.

A little more.

Plenty of cats nearby until I get one of my own...maybe in the fall.

Toward the river.

 Headed out of town.

Overlooking neighboring Dardagny from the vineyards.

I suppose that's a start. It is an exciting time, everything greening rapidly, fields filling with colors, trees heavy with new life, and the constant thrill of birdsong. Bienvenue à Challex and to the exuberance of spring!


make lemonade

We are having beautiful spring weather and cold homemade lemonade is super refreshing on these warm afternoons. 

-  1 cup lemon juice -takes about 6 small lemons
-  1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
-  4 - 6 cups water

1. Dissolve sugar in 1 cup water on low heat on the stove top. (Making a syrup helps evenly distribute the sugar so that it doesn't sit in the bottom of your pitcher).
2. Squeeze the juice from your lemons.
3. Stir in lemon juice and 4-5 cups of cold water to the syrup mixture you made.
4. Refrigerate or add ice cubes to cool.
5. Toss in some lemon slices and enjoy your lemonade outside.

Vary the amounts of sugar and water for your desired sweetness and strength. I like it tart so tend to less sugar.

You can make your lemonade sparkling by adding Perrier or San Pellegrino at about 1:1 with your finished mixture. (Old jam jars make great portable picnic glasses)

Enjoy the sunshine!