Tea cart anew 

My latest furniture painting victim is a tea cart I got from my sister-in-law Leslie. It was in her family I think for a good while. She didn’t have room for it anymore and asked if we wanted it. I am not sure she knew we would transform this piece and maybe that is better…often we get used to seeing a piece of furniture in one way and it might seem horrifying to think of it being painted over and transformed anew. I did send her photos as the transformation was underway and she was sent back her thumbs up.

This was one of those projects that took a while. I began last fall in the garage/studio. But the weather turned cold and I didn’t want to work out there – plus paint dries slowly in cold as I learned on a couple short attempts to work on the cart on cold days. I was able to get it nearly complete out there thanks to some indian summer days.

The project got tabled (no pun intended) for a while over the holidays and early into the year. The top of the cart was ready for its last coat of paint so I got inspired and asked my husband to bring it inside so I could work in the warmth of the house. Originally, I wasn’t going to paint inside the house but one day in January I looked at an old piece of furniture and I realized I needed to paint it bc I really didn’t like looking at it anymore (see my post on that project here) and I brought paints in from the garage and painted the small chest into a new piece that I now liked again.

So the painting studio had moved inside. Chalk paint has no odor so nobody was being bothered by the smells- but the clutter – well – thats another thing entirely. I certainly am not the biggest messer-upper in this home so I will not listen to any complaints about my paints and supplies covering our dining room table!  And the TV is not blocked in any way so all is ok in Sweeneyland.

For the tea cart I had an inspiration piece that I found online.  I wanted to just have at it with no cheating(surfing the net for ideas) but I had no idea what I could do with a tea cart. I also thought there might be some way to deconstruct it and make it into something else – but as soon as I saw this picture below I decided I wanted to do something like this.


Inspiration Piece- loved the red wheels!

I used Maison Blanche Paints and for this project I used their Maison White – which is whiter than the paint in this picture – in hindsight I might have used their Vanilla color but I like my results. I also used a grey color called Hurricane as the base coat on the top. I crackled the top using their Crackle Extreme product. The top coat is the Maison White which cracked well and exposed the Hurricane color underneath.

Here is the cart as I received it- it wasn’t in bad shape at all – it was well cared for- it was just a bit boring:

The Process was as follows:

  • Took apart the piece as much as I could and  wiped it down to get all the dust off.
  • NO Sanding needed with this chalk paint and so far that has rung true.
  • I began with the bottom part and painted it with three coats of Maison White.
  • I distressed it using a medium grit sanding block. Mine dried for at least a week bc I was taking my time- but it can be distressed within a couple hours of drying  even sooner probably.


  • I added a stencil and after it dried I distressed some more.
  • I then varnished it with two coats of Maison Blanche Varnish. I didn’t feel like waxing this piece and I like the varnish finish.
  • I took the top and painted it with a couple coats of the white on the underside of the top.
  • Then when dry I painted the top with the Hurricane color and let that dry. I applied  a crackle medium (Crackle Extreme by Maison Blanche) and that sat for a month or more waiting for me to finish it with a top coat of Maison White.
  • I added the top stencil after the white paint dried and I sanded a bit as there were a couple areas that felt lumpy- probably from the crackle medium where it was put on a little to think by yours truly.
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  • I finished the top with three coats of varnish.
  • I spray painted the carts big looking wagon wheels with blue Rustoleum Paint. I had two very nice days in the last few weeks that allowed for me to spray paint in the garage.
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Wagon wheels before paint

  • The small wheels and drawer pull I painted with a hammered metal finish spray paint also by Rustoleum.
  • I put everything back together and Voila…a new trendier tea cart.
  • Here it is completed(click on the photos for a larger picture):


Every time I tackle a new painting project I learn something. This time I learned that you can take your sweet time doing something and not stress about it. I really enjoyed the process. The other thing I learned is that if you make a mistake- I make some each time I work on furniture piece – that you can undo most of them. Paint is more forgiving than I thought. AND if I end up hating the entire thing I can always start over!

I showed my sister-in-law the finished tea cart and she loved it. I asked her if she would like it back – but she didn’t have room for it. I am glad bc I sort of become attached to these pieces as I work on them. This will not bode well if I keep accumulating furniture as we have a small home and not much room! I have no idea as yet where I might put this cart.

And if I ever want to sell anything I paint I will need to release my feelings for them and let it go out into the world. I have had to do this with photography as I have sold a few of my photos lately and at first it was a little hard to see them go but now I am glad someone somewhere has an “Anne Sweeney” on their wall.

I have always longed to be creative because it was what my heart told me to do. I fell in love with photography early in my 20’s. After I got that bug I never looked at the world the same. Every field became a scene for a photo- I looked at the light in a new way.  I began was writing as a kid and I journaled my way through high school. My favorite part of my job way back when I was a programmer/software engineer was creating the processes which drove the program.

For me art is a form of therapy – its a way to pour my feelings into something- I get something back from it as well. And I when I share my creativity it may inspire or effect another person.  I have been wondering why I have such a hold on some of my art.  I write (and that is a form of art) and I send that out into the world freely and I share my photos all over the internet where anyone could claim them I suppose. So why did I feel such a hold when it came to selling them in a frame- the original is not really anywhere except as bits and bytes on a computer why was it so hard to put them in a frame with a price tag? And now furniture? Why I am feeling so attached?

I need to ponder on this a bit more because I think the answer is important for me to know.

In the meantime I will keep doing what I do bc it brings me joy.

…… ‎”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~Steven Pressfield



A place of my own. And painting Nana’s hutch

I can’t wait to write these words. I’ve been hoping to announce this well before now but I had to wait for it to happen but now I can tell you- I Have my own studio!! Ok it’s only my garage but it’s a place for me to do my thing -whatever it may be. It’s my creative place.

It took a very long time to get a studio. Partly because I never considered using the garage for my creative space until I began to paint furniture. Also the garage was a sty. There is no nice way to put it. It was a huge mess. I couldn’t walk across the length of it to get to the extra refrigerator so I would send a teen in for me hoping they came back in one piece.  We had made many attempts in the past to move crap around and to reorganize it but it would end up collecting more and more stuff.

But last week after I had mentioned twice that I might like that space to house my newest creative endeavor of painting furniture the ball got rolling. I heard the garage open. The teens were summoned to commence removal of crap. There were two trips to the dump with our trailer filled with stuff. Kevin only asked me once or twice what id like to keep -there wasn’t much I really wanted and I’m sure he thought I might slow down the process with my considering what to keep and what to toss if he kept asking. Some things went to the dump , some to the shed in our paddock, and some down to the basement storage -another scary black hole that we need to sort through this winter. I bit my tongue when I realized some items made there way back indoors – I didn’t even ask what they were. I realized I best shut my mouth because what was happening in the garage was a miracle in the making  I know when to just let things go-sometimes!

After two days (yes two) the garage was empty. Then I heard hammering and sawing. I peaked in and legs were being made  for my salvaged countertop so I would have a work area. Yay! I thought to myself as I went down to feed the chickens and horses. Yay!

When I came back up from the barn my space was ready. My project that I was already working on was moved in. The space was mine. I have two work tables and storage shelves. I have a fan for the hot days and am planning on some type of heater for the cold weather. I figure there will be some indoor work still in the deep of winter as paint might not dry well in the cold. But I plan on spending some time out there.

Painting isn’t the only thing I hope to be doing in the studio.  I am still hoping to do some glass fusing as soon as I can buy a kiln. I may use the space to matte my photos. Who knows what else might inspire me. I probably won’t write in there but if I can figure out a way to set up a decent writing space I just might. It’s peaceful out there. Nobody (except Rudy who will have a dog bed in a primo spot) really wants to hang and bug me in the garage. It’s the only space that’s truly mine in the entire house. So I’m going to claim it. Maybe Rudy will pee on it and mark our territory- ok we won’t go that far but personal space is hard to find in my home. It’s that cherished.

I already have a plan to put my photos up on the walls. I gave it a shot the other day but an hour after I got all the pictures up on the wall they all fell down -I used painters tape to put them up. Not too bright. Good idea bad execution. So I’ll start again and either use my giant push pin and string idea that I used in my husbands office or I’ll think up something else. But I’ll put my stamp on it no doubt.

It didn’t take me long to get working in my new workspace. I had decided to take my Nana’s hutch (I guess it’s a small sideboard but we’ve always called it a hutch)- that was ever so old and ever so beat up- and paint it. I’ve been trying to get things brightened up in my house. The hutch sits against the wall under a window and is partially blocked by our pub height dining table. It was looking ragged and I had considered getting rid of it. There isn’t much of a market for antiques like this and frankly I’m attached to the thing. It’s one of a few pieces I got from my dad when he moved 20 years ago to Florida. The hutch was in my Nana’s dining area in her walk up apartment for as long as I could remember. I took China out of it for her to set her table. I put the clean dishes back in. I just can’t part with it. I could have had it refinished but I felt like it was calling out for paint. So I had my sander -Ozzy -give it a once over to get it ready. I wanted to leave the character (dents and scratches ) in it      I like patina.

I was going to use chalk paint for the first time. I was going into this process rather blindly but I had some quick instructions from my friends who owns a local consignment and new furniture/home decor store in my town. I also had the Internet. I used Maison Blanche chalk paint and their clear wax. The understanding of how wax on chalk paint works became clearer as I worked on the piece. I really enjoyed the process. The end result isn’t perfect but I love the aged look it still has. The paint did some crackling naturally and I distressed the piece some as well. I think I would have distressed it more had I understood the whole process ahead of time but it’s fine like it is and I’m told that I can go back and distress it again and add some wax to it and buff it out again. The beauty with wax is in the buffing I discovered. I used steel wool to buff (#0000). I wiped it also with a cloth. For me the wool brought up the shine faster and was easier on my bad shoulder than just using a rag. Once buffed the piece has a shine and smoothness that I couldn’t imagine before I began buffing. I wasn’t a fan of chalk paint until I finished the buffing – then the aha moment happened and a fan was born.

I didn’t paint the inside except for the inside of the doors which are I’ve 1.5 inches thick. Who makes stuff like that anymore? I painted the inside door white and stenciled 2015 on them and signed my name. The year of the rebirth of the piece. I had had visions of painting the inside entirely. I thought some fun color and then some pretty contact paper for the shelves would really be awesome But I bailed on the idea when I realized that the smell that reminds me of my nana when I open those doors might be gone if i changed the inside too much.   I swear it still smells of her apartment from 1987. It just takes me back. It’s a comfort.  Even at 51 I miss her.

The hutch now sits back inside my dining area -it looks so great. Like new but with the history that I know.

I’ve become so into reusing, updating and repurposing things. I already have two old pieces of furniture from our house in my workspace that hope to paint and maybe sell. But up next is my dining room table top and the wall cabinet and shelves (probably a real hutch ). I’m on a quest to bring in more light.

The wheels are turning in my brain at the prospect of all that I can create In my studio. It’s just a space in the garage and I’m told I may have to share it with a car if we are to get a large snow storm (we’ll see about that) but it’s so much more to me. It’s solace, it’s inspiring and it’s mine.

Thanks for reading.

These photos all fell down! I used blue paint tape. I will put up again with a better execution.

My studio! Some new projects waiting fpr rebirth. Last week you could not see into the garage!

My next project. Dining table top.

Hutch before. The detail was not easy to paint- great for the first time using chalk paint! – Not

My sander – Ozzy

In progress inside the house (my studio wasn’t complete yet)

Crackle just happened- I like it.

I painted the inner doors white.

All finished in the studio…the hutch looks greener here than it is.   


 Inside the house

Ends and Beginnings…

On Sunday as I walked down the drive way of Bedlam Farm to my car I began to cry…

But that was the last day of the Bedlam Farm Open House in Upstate new York hosted by Author Jon Katz – that was the end. So much happened in between – and to think up until the minute I left home on my trek I thought I might not go. I do that. Its my opt out mechanism. The opt out comes from a long dance with an anxiety disorder. As an event approaches – an event like the Open House that I was looking so forward to  going to – I will become increasingly anxious and I will think of reasons not to go…or I will feel so bad physically I will cancel. But as much as those thoughts came into my head the more I willed myself to push them out. I was going to Bedlam.

I have had enough of my dance with anxiety and the fact that it has limited me. It still wins sometimes. There is still part of me trained by the beast but I am getting better at ignoring it. After I had cancer last year I realized that life is now. None of us have the promise of tomorrow and decided that I better get living. For me that sometimes comes harder than it needs to be – but it is my reality. Over the years I have learned a a lot about dealing with anxiety and much was from the man I hoped to meet on my journey to Bedlam Farm – Author Jon Katz.  Jon has dealt with his own fears and I learned from Jon that fear is a space to cross – a chasm to jump over. Get through it and there is love and accomplishment on the other side. I had to jump that chasm to get to meet the person who has inspired me so much over the last few years. I wanted to meet the people in the Facebook group he created (The Creative Group At Bedlam Farm)and I joined a few years ago. A group of incredible creative people that i am lucky to have come to know online- I wanted to meet them in person. (read the bloggers posts here).

I had cancelled the trip to the other Open Houses two times prior.  I was pretty tired for a while after radiation and I had nerve damage and then I got frozen shoulder and traveling in the car was a bear. It seemed like I might never feel good enough to trek to upstate New York to attend and Open House. Of course anxiety played a roll in canceling the trips and finally I realized maybe I wont ever feel 100%.  I realized that though my mindset was to get busy living i was still limiting myself waiting to feel a certain way.  I might be waiting for a long time and i might be missing out on a lot of life. So this past winter I decided to get on with it. I began doing more things and I realized the more I got out the better I felt. So I booked a Yurt at Grist Mill Campground and decided to head to Bedlam in June. And even know that demon anxiety tried to thwart my trip – I faced it -and off we went – my entire family on my journey to my Mecca.

The car trip on Friday was a little rough but entering Upstate New York and its beauty made it so worth it. We checked into our Yurt -which I will write more about later- and headed out for a bite to eat. I hardly slept that night and was thankful for the sounds of the stream that ran just behind the yurt.

I am not going to lie–heading down south from our campground to Bedlam Farm I felt the anxiety build as the GPS counted down the miles to our destination. Kevin pulled into a restaurant just up the road from the farm to get some bottled water. I sat in the car praying that the Holy Spirit would calm me down..and I alternated between the prayer and  rationalization that we could drive right on by. There was no pressure…I did not have to go. Kevin came out and joked that he tried to score me a little wine but they didn’t sell it to go. Actually I think he really wasn’t kidding. But I told him that I was going into this head on and I was going to enjoy myself. I knew that the big fear cloud in front of me was thin and I could just step right through it. And I did.

When I saw the farm for the first time it was like a dream but also there was so much comfort in it. I barely recall walking up the driveway to the house (except I told Kevin I knew the boy in the ATV was Tyler- a young man who has been a huge help to Jon and Maria- he has become quite the celebrity). I looked up the driveway hoping to recognize someone. I laughed to myself bc I had never met anyone (except Janell Tomas that morning at our campground- and I thought they hadn’t arrived yet)- so who was I really looking for? I know anyone from the Creative Group reading this will know who I might have been looking for- a beacon in the forest – a light that always shines…Lisa Dingle. (No it wasn’t Jon Katz bc I would be too nervous to just run up to him and hug him- which I wanted to do!) Lisa is an Admin for the creative groups Facebook world but she is also everyones friend.  She is an incredible writer and a warm person..How did I know this having never met her? Her writing exudes it..her encouragement to others in our group shines of caring and love. And lo and behold there she was there to greet me! A big hug and introductions the first 30 minutes are a blur. I got that hug with Jon and was touched by his attention on a busy day with many people coming and going. Ok I was a little starstruck– it might be Brad Pitt for you but for me it was Jon Katz.

I was engulfed in love from all the farmies (members of the Creative Group)that were there. So many hugs and smiles. I knew right away that I was meant to come – it was something that had been waiting for me – this visit. The first 30 minutes were surreal- I was in a dream bc I was on Bedlam Farm- the farm I had seen in pictures thousands of times. I am not sure why – maybe it was the fact I had seen the photos of the farm so often- but I felt so at home in the space. But more oddly I felt like I had known many of these people already -and perhaps I did- you can create connections online.

I listened to poetry, visited with the animals, watched herding – all incredible. But I wanted to meet the matriarch (I had to use that word lol) of Bedlam..Maria Wulf , Jon’s wife. Maria has been an inspiration to me. I have seen her grow creatively over the years and I have always admired her quiet strength.  Kevin didn’t get to chat with Maria as I did and wondered if she was shy. I told him I didn’t find her shy at all…she was easy to talk with. She may not have realized that I was a bit starstruck with her too – and when I get nervous I talk a lot (sorry Maria if I blabbed). Most people don’t realize I have anxiety bc I compensate by talking! Meeting Maria was sure a highlight for me.

I wanted to take in the weekend and I really tried to focus on absorbing it all. I tried to talk less-hard for me- and listen and observe more. I didn’t take a ton of pictures the first day. I left that up to my daughter Kamilla. I just tried to soak it all in. It was overwhelming for the first hour – meeting so many new people. I wanted to embed their faces and names in my brain – but don’t test me.

I was enamored with the animals and Red is amazing! I can see that Fate is going to be some dog- I look forward to watching her grow. The great things about the end of Saturdays Open House is that there is another one on Sunday. So it really isn’t over.  On Saturday we decided to follow others to the Bog (nickname for Foggy Notions Restaurant in Cambridge Mass.). How unlike me to just meet strangers out for a bite…but not strange bc these people weren’t strangers. I had met them all before just not in the flesh. It was familiar and comfortable and good. I sat near the Deborah’s (Glessner and Rahalski) I chatted with Doug Anderson. During the meal, I never felt weird or tongue tied (maybe that was the wine spritzers). My husband was right there and as always he was chatting away and enjoying himself. His support is really what helps me face my fears. He is truly the partner I was meant to have on this life’s journey.

On Saturday night the rain began. So no campfire and I was worried what that might do for the open house the next day. In the morning we all headed down to the Roundhouse Cafe and enjoyed a meal and fellowship with other farmies and Jon and Maria and some other folks from Blue Star Equiculture a draft horse rescue in Mass. The food was great and it was really cool to spend time in a place that Jon has shared on his blog for many years. The town of Cambridge, NY is very nice and I can see why one would be drawn to this community. I hope to explore the town more when we head back in October for the next Open House.

After we packed our car we headed back to Cambridge to see if the Open House was going to happen and sure enough it was. I was glad bc I was not ready for it to end. The rain held off and it was a great day. There were fewer people and that was nice as we could spend a bit more time chatting with Jon. I was able to buy some more wonderful things from Maria’s shop. I love Maria’s fiber arts and had to have another potholder.  I was taken by the batik work of Carol Law Conklin.  Rachel Barlow’s cartoons on magnets were a hit as was her Hoga necklaces (i bought two)I loved all of the artists showcased – there was so much talent there.

For me the weekend was about many things. Overcoming fear…living in the moment and connecting with people. Meeting all of the farmies was just wonderful and I want them to know that I so appreciate the way they welcomed me. I want to thank each of you by name but if I left anyone out I would feel bad…you know who you are and I send you a cyber hug of thanks and love. I look forward to meeting more farmies on my future trips to the Open Houses. I am not sure I can really ever put into words what the weekend meant to me. I know those that have made the journey for the fist time know the feeling.

Jon and Maria thank you for opening your home for this event. Jon I probably will never be able to really tell you how you have inspired me and made me think about things. Your open writing has helped me (and many others a lot). See I don’t have the proper words so I will just leave it there.

I will see you all in October – I will probably have to fight the anxiety demon some but he won’t win….

On Sunday as I walked down the drive way of Bedlam Farm to my car I began to cry….

These weren’t tears of sadness – they were tears of gratitude. It was the end….but it was also the beginning of something new and special. Making friends is not easy for me…but I feel like I made some new friendships and connections and I think this is just the beginning of more joys to come…

Thanks for reading…


The shower as my muse?

2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration: the lover who was the painter’s muse

Every creative needs a muse right? There was Pablo Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dante had Beatrice, and F. Scott Fitzgerald had Zelda. To be honest I hadn’t thought much about having an actual muse. I guess my muse could be my husband. I like writing and showing him my creation. I show him most of my photography. He certainly is my biggest champion. I have secret crushes on Matt Damon and The Rock ( I know vastly different beings. I never had a type) but they aren’t inspirations just nice to look at. Perhaps a muse for a woman is different than that for a man.

I have things that inspire me – but I’m kind of all over the board with my writing and photography. I consider myself a person who is always trying to figure where I fit in the creative world. Am I a writer? Am I a photographer. Inside those mediums where do I fit? I’m always changing things up. I’ve never had one thing that inspires me. I even just took up crocheting and I don’t need a muse for that I need a guru!

I do give all the credit for my love of writing and photography to God. I often look for him to put writing ideas in my head. Is God my muse? No, I don’t think so. But he gets all the glory and thanks for giving me the desire and some ability.

While I don’t search for a muse or really need one specific muse I do find that I get inspiration and ideas in odd places. One of these is in the shower. I can’t tell you how many ideas have come to me in the shower. Recently an entire book idea popped into my head while bathing. It became so detailed I began wishing I had some way to write it all down. I jumped out of the shower and ran to my phone and got some of it recorded. There have been many other times I wasn’t so smart and I didn’t record my ideas and I completely lost them.

The only explanation for these shower epiphanies is that the shower is one of the few places I can be where I get some actual quiet time to myself. I don’t play the radio -though I do sing on occasion. I really enjoy the peace of the hot water raining down on me so I don’t want outside noise like a radio distracting me(back in my young years I blasted music in the shower as a primer to going out. How times have changed! ) This rare time of peace is probably why my mind works on overtime in the shower or maybe it’s the only time I can listen to that voice inside me that gives me ideas. When I do recall my ideas and write about them they never are quite the same as the one I crafted while washing my hair. Oh well it is going to have to be ok unless I can set up some way to work in the shower. I think there is a Pulitzer prize winning book in there. Hey didn’t Kramer from Seinfeld live in his shower in one episode?!

Thanks for reading…


Entering a photo contest part 3

Yesterday my husband asked me if I wanted to go check to see the results of the photography contest at the Howard County Fair. To be honest I wasn’t feeling great and I also wasn’t sure I was ready to see the results. I really thought I didn’t care if I got a ribbon or not but even though just entering the contest and getting everything together was really a win for me -I am super competitive. So I couldn’t just turn off the hope that I might get a ribbon. So I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go to look.

I realized I was only going to keep wondering so I decided to go look. My daughter, my husband and I drove the 25 minutes to the fairgrounds. We headed straight to the Fine Arts building. I stopped in the front to admire the cakes and the baked goods – yes I was stalling. The cakes were amazing though! My husband was already in back looking at the photos. My first picture we saw was my black and white landscape. No Ribbon but it was cool seeing my photo there. I stalled again looking at all of the other photos in that section and commenting in each one. My husband was already to the next section. When I walked up he pointed to a picture of icicles. There were a lot of icicles in the competition I had entered one but it was in the “other” category. The category we were looking at was “winter landscapes”. That icicle picture got second place. My daughter was trying to say something as we gazed at the icicles. I looked to the left to begin looking at other photos and OH MY GOD! My winter landscape photo was next to the icicles and it got a BLUE RIBBON. 1st place! What?

My mouth stood open, my eyes bugged out and the tears began. I mean a ribbon of any sort would have been great but a blue one? Really? It had to sink in. I took a minute. We took a picture of it. Then we moved on. We looked for my three other pictures and I didn’t get a ribbon for those but I had gotten a first place already anything more may have sent me over the edge!  The ribbon was completely unexpected. I was ecstatic inside. The competition was amazing and I am glad I wasn’t a judge. How do you choose? I don’t know but I’m sure glad they chose mine. We went back to take another picture with me next to it. My husband immediately posted it on Facebook. It’s so nice to have your spouse be so happy and excited for you. He is the king of support. That is the ultimate blessing.

I hadn’t realized how lost I had been until I saw that ribbon. Getting the entries together seemed a large task and lately so many things overwhelm me. I used to be able to entertain for 20 or more people with no problem. Now to consider that seems impossible. So many things I used to do easily have seemed too much to even try now. I try to break things down into pieces to get a project done -and that is what I did with the pictures. I chose them – ordered them- ordered matting supplies – matted them- entered them. Each was a a task and after I did each part it seemed less overwhelming and actually fun.

The photo that won was taken after one of our nasty ice storms last March. We went out to clean up trees and I wasn’t going to be much muscle bc of my shoulder issues so I grabbed the Nikon. I hadn’t been using it much. I remember the shot well bc i had been taking pictures back towards the fields and I walked out into the field to photograph my boys at work. I turned to go back and the sun was setting and the sky and colors were amazing. I stood there looking and then realized I needed to take a picture of it bc it wouldn’t last. I snapped away and was so happy when I came inside to download the photos and saw this amazing light in that shot. It was the shot of the day. Sometimes you get only one -sometimes some- and sometimes none. Since I hadn’t been using the camera much I was very happy with this result. I had no idea that in a few months I would be entering it in the fair as I had forgotten all about my desire that I had gotten last summer when we were visiting the fine arts building. Thankfully it all came back to me just a couple weeks before the entires were due. Since I hadn’t taken too many DSLR photos in the last year it wasn’t hard to settle on that shot. But we almost didn’t enter it! We took it to the fair but it was between that and my dogs eyes. I love that shot. But my husband said to enter the winter landscape -it was his favorite he said. So I entered it -and– it –won —- first place!! I just can’t believe it! I am just so grateful! And happy!

Do I stop now? I got a first place – how can that be topped? Will doing less than first in another contest be a let down? I don’t think so – I hope not because the Great Frederick Fair is coming up. I think I’d like to try to see how I would do in that one. I would not enter my winning one though. I’m going to retire that one to my wall. It reached it’s pinnacle. But I know photographer Anne is back and this is only the beginning for me.

Thanks for reading!


My shot and the icicles we were staring at when we first came to the section!


Some of the entries!


More entries- I LOVE the lambs..my shot is lower down (I didn’t get it in the picture) I never thought to enter a chicken picture- maybe because I have so many I have become numb to them- so maybe I will enter one in another contest the one here got second!


…and more entries… there were a lot!


Um yea- my husband wanted this shot! 🙂

On entering a photo contest….

I decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to enter my photography into one of our county fairs (we have many counties around here -ergo the name -4 county little league, or four county this or that). My favorite county fair is the Howard County Fair. It’s not too big and it’s not small. They have great rides but not too much. They have fun local bands and a neat petting barn. I love that fair.

Last year we walked through the Fine Arts building and I looked at all of the photography that had been entered. I loved all of the shots and wondered how they decided on the winners of each category. I left feeling like I might want to try to enter a few pictures the next year -but then I sort of forgot about it.

The fall brought  me health challenges and photography wasn’t in my thoughts as much. I am always taking pictures but I wasn’t taking them with my new Nikon, I was mostly using my iphone. I would look at the shiny red Nikon and that’s all I would do- just look. I don’t know what the matter was. Well I have become ambivalent about many things and for some reason photography was one of them. I know that recovering from my cancer treatments has taken longer than expected but I think this is more mental than physical. I am overwhelmed and just the thought of taking shots and having to plug the camera into my computer was tiring for me. I know weird right? I’m a former software engineer! I love all things techie!

This problem of ambivalence still plagues me but I see it has lifted some relating to certain things. I’ve painted furniture, we are going to move my other teen boy downstairs into the basement to live with his brother and I’m all excited to get it done, and two weeks ago I got excited about photography.

Two weeks ago I was looking through some of my older photos taken with my older Canon and some taken with my oldest Canon – now long gone. I hadn’t looked at these shots for a while so I was looking at them as if for the first time. I realized they weren’t bad. As I looked at the images I realized that I am an ok photographer. So maybe I should enter some of my photos into the Howard County Fair. If it weren’t for the fact that I had been looking up local fairs coming up in our area that same week as I had been looking at my old photos i may have not had the thought. But when I saw Howard County Fair pop up on my google search I remembered the thought I had taken with me last summer when I left that Fine Arts building.

Thankfully I did pick up my Nikon over the last year a few times. ( all photos must have been taken since the fair last summer.) So I began to go through what I had. I didn’t have much time to crop and do much in photoshop elements but I found a number I liked. I ordered a bunch from Shutterfly and was expecting them last week. Guess what? -they were a no show. I found out that they were sent to my old address in my town and then returned to the forwarding center ( gotta love my town and the personal help you get when you call the post office inquiring about them-they even said they’d call if the came back through. ) The address issue was my fault and I needed a new plan and fast. So I sent some to our local CVS where they only do glossy prints. Then I ordered more from Shutterfly bc they do matte finishes and I had them sent two day. They have to be matted and taken to the fairgrounds by this Friday. I also ordered mats and backs and tape from Amazon and they just arrived as I have been writing this blog post. So I’m in this for a few bucks at this point.

I don’t know why but I am more excited than nervous. I am also so happy that I have some spirit coming back and my ambivalence is leaving even more. I feel a spark inside that I hadn’t felt very much in a while. When it flickered every now and then I just wanted it to stay on. It might be a while but I think it will.

I never wanted to lose the spark and I never thought I would become ambivalent and lethargic about so many things. I have always been a go go person. But I have been left with a less frantic version of myself- and as I wrote in my cancer blog this week- some of the changes that have occurred have been very good ones for me and my family. But the ambivalence bother me. Is it depression? Well maybe- but mild at best. Its more like having feet in quicksand. I have felt like maybe I am in a redefining point of my life. So maybe some of the ambivalence will be a catalyst for making some needed changes in my life. My nature isn’t to be wishy washy – it has always been to make a choice and get the job done. I could take on many things at once–now I find that overwhelming and often times pointless. Maybe this is the point – maybe we hit walls like this in our lives because it is time to make changes. Maybe as we make those changes some of the spark begins to return- maybe for old things and maybe for new things–(I have fallen in love with baseball- but that is for another post).  All I can say is I am so glad that I got a spark again with photography. I feel alive when I think of this project of choosing and matting and entering them – and then hoping maybe a judge likes what he sees. It is fun – it is challenging….

Funny thing is that I expect to ribbon in a category (I am allowed to enter five). It’s not cockiness at all. Though I’m not sure what it is because I know I’m up against steep competition but I just feel good about it. And honestly if I don’t win a thing it won’t crush me either. I already won this one because my feet came out of the quicksand for a time and I felt alive – and that is what is most important.

Thanks for reading.