Sunday, November 29, 2009
This layout didn't turn out at all like I envisioned it..using some of the images from my visit to the Civil War Reenactment on November 7, I just started blending them and playing with some textures & aging techniques. I know it's kind of dark, but it was fun playing with my eraser, using it to 'scratch' into a dark screen over the photos. Actually I preferred it even a little darker... those scratches were a lot more dramatic. But Bruce convinced me that it was a bit much. So here we are. I really think the seriousness of the expressions on these folks really captures something of the Faces of War- we can never know what these heroic soldiers and family members went through during that horrible time of the War Between the States, but watching the battles the reenactors re-create, and observing their camps and life activities, is like getting into a time machine, and going back nearly 150 years. I hope that I truly appreciate what these people sacrificed so that all men could be free.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 9:39 PM
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What's not to love about a couple of days off work, focusing on one's blessings, and then eating lots of yummy food? Throw in spending time with the family I love, and it's just about as perfect as it can get! And there's no need to spend weeks buying and wrapping presents, and send out dozens of cards! Perfect! So this day, I just want to publicly state the blessings that I have, and am grateful for not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. (In order that I think of them)
1. The most wonderful husband in the world. He rubs my feet, fixes me lunch and snacks every day when I go to work, and loves spending time with me. I am so blessed to have such a fun, romantic man as my eternal companion.
2. 4 great kids, 2 sweet daughters-in-law, and 2 beautiful grandsons. I love my children so much- each one is unique and I'm so proud of them all for the grown-up lives they are living. Even Annie!
3. My sweet Mom. We are so blessed to have her living nearby, and every time I talk to her, or am with her, I marvel at her bright optimism and joy of life. I want to grow up to be just like her!
4. My siblings and their spouses & kids. We have a great family, lots of love and fun, and we all enjoy being together. Not a jerk in the bunch!
5. My home. As precarious as our finances have been this past year, I'm so glad we have such a beautiful home. It's not a mansion, but it's definitely more than I deserve. I realize I don't clean it very often, and I know there are piles of 'stuff' in various places that desperately need my attention, but it's warm and cozy, and I love it just the way it is.
6. My faith. This is really the foundation of my life, and I'm grateful every day that I have a strong belief in God, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice for me. I'm grateful for my Church, and the opportunities it gives me to serve, and grow, and have friendships with like-minded people. My faith is truly my Rock.
7. My talents. I have been truly blessed with lots of creative talents, and I really try to expand my horizons as often as I can. I love learning new things, and I love sharing my talents with others. I don't have much formal music training or talent, but I'm really enjoying directing our church choir. Chalk that one up as a talent I'm trying to develop!
8. My job. It came at a perfect time, and I consider it a miracle. I work for wonderful people, a great and successful company, doing what I love to do. Who could ask for more? (Maybe a shorter commute?)
The layout above is one I completed recently, as part of an article I wrote this month for Scrapbook News & Review. As I add it to this page of thanksgiving, I realize there's lots of symbolism in this page full of cactus. Just like in life, this cactus garden was full of texture and color. Lots of dangerous thorns mixed in with some beautiful flowers. Tricky spikes that can grab the unwary traveler, and pockets of beauty that make you pause and marvel. Soaring heights, and small hazards that keep you looking up, and down. Never a dull moment in this cactus garden of life!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 8:10 AM
Saturday, November 21, 2009
One of the photos I took at the Civil War reenactment was a photo that was actually not-so-hot quality wise. Overexposed, the background blown out, I was nonetheless intrigued by the man's expression and pose. I decided to play with it a bit, and after using a couple of blending modes, and cropping it WAY down, I was really happy with it. It reminds me of some of the work of photographer Edward Steichen. Ok, I'm no Edward Steichen, but it made me feel like maybe this photography thing isn't a lost cause after all. If you don't know who Edward Steichen is, Google him. In my humble opinion, he was the finest photographer of the twentieth century. Since I'm not one to just "do photos", I had to turn it into a layout. Duh. I couldn't really think what I could possibly do with just a single photo of a scary looking man smoking a cigar, so I did what I rarely do- I made it a symbolic layout about not jumping to conclusions. Doesn't he look like a third world dictator? Or maybe an old cowboy from years past? In reality, he's most likely just a nice man who likes to dress up in funny Civil War costume and play act.
The second layout is a quick, graphic layout about our trip to Palm Springs. I've decided my last few layouts are entirely too dark & dramatic. I wanted one that was light & airy.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 11:31 AM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Today I'm posting my second annual slideshow, made from a few of the photos I took at this year's Moorpark Rotary Club Civil War Reenactment, held at the Underwood Family Farms November 7th & 8th. I wasn't as happy with my pictures this year.. I preferred last year's cloudy skies for getting the best portraits
But here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
(if you would like to see last year's slide show, click here.)
But here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
(if you would like to see last year's slide show, click here.)
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 10:35 AM
Monday, November 16, 2009
I created this layout for the 2Ps weekly digital challenge- this week's challenge was to be inspired by a DVD or video cover. I've been wanting to scrap these photos Bruce and I took a few weeks ago at the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles, so this DVD seemed perfect! We took our usual 200 or so photos, and it was hard to just pick a handful for this layout. I've always loved collage, and I enjoyed having a little fun with the composition. I would loved to have put even more photos in, but it was starting to look a little crowded. I hope you like it.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 10:41 PM
Friday, November 13, 2009
Ha! You didn't think I'd spend an entire week writing a book, and not do a single layout did you??? I couldn't justify spending the time doing a layout about any of our recent trips or events, but I did think it appropriate to create something about my years at the school I'm writing about. I didn't want to lose sight of the fact that those junior high years were the hardest of my life. I went from big fish at my grade school, to a backwards little girl in 7th grade.... not ready at all for adolescence. It was a tough 3 years! I added a few photos that are going in the book. The background photo is of one of our school dances. Dances were definitely a source of great anxiety for me. I was definitely a wall-flower! I'm glad those years are behind me!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:39 PM
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Despite the fact that I lost nearly a whole day of writing to help my son with a project, I have made quite a bit of progress on The Book. Honestly, though, I don't know how anyone can complete a historical book... there is so much information, and it's so hard to narrow it down to just the pertinent details. What might be fascinating to me, may be a total bore to the reader. Here are a couple of photos of my piles of research materials, each pile categorized & labeled with a little tent card. But it's an exciting process, and if I can get this done, then I'm convinced I can do anything!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 9:30 PM
Monday, November 9, 2009
I've taken a week off work this week, not to travel to some exotic location or do something fun, but to spend five full days writing. Those of you who have known me for awhile, know I've been writing a book about the history of the junior high school I attended as a teenager. I started the project over 2 years ago, and my progress came to a grinding halt last winter when I went back to work. I just never take the time to write on weekends or evenings. Since I'm not really a writer, this definitely doesn't come naturally to me! My passion for the school and the many interesting facets of its architecture, history and personalities (and even a mass murder!) has kept me committed to the project. Since it's a history project, I have tons of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, student newspapers, yearbooks, notes, and letters. Today I decided to abandon my hit or miss approach to putting the book together, and finally organize the 3 boxes of materials into easy-to-find, well organized piles. They are even labeled! Wow, now if I can just actually WRITE the thing, I'll be so happy! It wasn't a love for junior high itself that prompted my interest in writing the book, (honestly, I think most of us hated those awkward years) but a love for the beautiful school itself. The photo above is of the patio on the north side of the school where a young, but well-known painter Millard Sheets painted three amazing frescoes. Sadly, the frescoes are long gone. I hope I can create a book that can keep alive the memories of this most beautiful school.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 6:54 PM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
More wedding photos from last weekend, I wanted to try to capture the happy faces and fun we had... definitely not a solemn or serious event, Ian and Jessica's wedding and reception was full of laughter, music, talking, fabulous food, fun treats, craziness, and joy. Definitely a memorable occasion, and completely personal- it had Jessica's creative stamp all over it! Jessica made all of the cute corsages and boutonnieres out of fabric and ribbon and she made all of the wedding bouquets. Each little detail from the Mexican cut paper banners, to the monster pinata, to the vintage trick-or-treat bags on the candy table, were part of the overall fun atmosphere Jessica (and Ian) created. Both of her Grandmas got in on the creative projects: one grandmother made her beautiful dress, the other made dozens of bird-seed swans, for the guests to throw at the happy couple instead of rice. I wish I had more room to add more photos, but this is about as many as I could fit in. You can click on the image for a larger view.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 10:57 AM
Friday, November 6, 2009
I've been noticing these horses grazing along the hillside next to the 101 freeway in northern Los Angeles County for a month or so now. Every time I see them, I either am in too big a hurry to stop and take pictures, or I have forgotten my camera. Once I drove all the way out there early on a Saturday morning, only to discover the beautiful herd wasn't anywhere to be found. Yesterday, the conditions were perfect. I had left early enough to allow some extra photography time, I had my telephoto lens with me, and the morning fog gave the scene such a soft ethereal look. I had to climb up a hillside and shoot through a chain link fence, but it was well worth it. When I first arrived, they were all grazing near the fence, but got spooked and galloped away. I wish I could have caught THAT shot! They weren't really very cooperative- I got quite a few butt shots, but when I whistled I could get a couple of them to look my way. I'm not really a horse person, but there is something so majestic and elegant about these beautiful animals. It's hard not to be humbled by God's beautiful creatures. (You can click on the image for a larger view)
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 1:10 PM
Monday, November 2, 2009
We just returned home from Texas where our son Ian was married this weekend to the beautiful Jessica. On Halloween no less! The Extremely Creative Couple combined elements from Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), with traditional wedding elements, which combined into a unique, creative, and beautiful wedding! I wanted to get a quick layout done using a few of my favorite photos of the event. They were married at the Mayfield Preserve & Cottage in Austin, which is a botanical garden and historic site. The weather was perfect! Everything was so beautiful and so THEM! I'm sure I'll be creating a number of layouts about the wedding and our wonderful four days in Texas.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:21 PM