Wilhelm Photography Blog

Mario Bros Halloween 2016

 

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Super Mario Bros Halloween Costumes

Many of you know that I walk in¬†the Halloween parade with my kids each year, and we dress in a group theme. This year, we decided to go as the Super Mario Bros gang. My kids are big fans. I still have an original Nintendo, and we play it together as well as the newer versions. I don’t understand many of the new video games. It seems like they don’t have a point. I mean, if you aren’t saving a princess, you might be wasting your time. ūüėČ

The parts fit each of us well in terms of size. My oldest daughter made a nice tall Luigi in comparison to the short character of Mario. I make our costumes from thrift store finds and craftiness, so I was excited that Mario and Luigi would be easy to put together. I even found their hats at the thrift store which was a big relief! I just had to add some yellow buttons and mustaches- the added bonus was that their costumes were also pretty warm for the chilly parade weather.

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My middle daughter was excited to be the pretty Princess Peach after being the green wrinkly Yoda last year. She already had the light pink dress, so I added puff sleeves and the other details from a dark pink thrift store prom dress. (I really don’t know how to sew, but if I can steal pre-made pieces I can get them attached well enough.)

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So, the difficult costume was mine. As the largest of the group, I was given the task of becoming Bowser the villain of the video game series. Let me tell you…this was hard. I was very lucky to find three yellow pieces at the thrift store that fit me and made the base of this costume.

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Then came huge amounts of felt, duct tape, foam, and just about 60 snow cone cups. I had two hot glue guns running full blast and I burnt all of my fingers but 3. The shell is made from a trashcan lid that is padded and covered. My head was the real sticking point. I tore the head apart four times and thought I’d never pull it off. I started with an old bike helmet an just kept gluing. The lower jaw actually moved with my jaw (I was a bit proud of that.) I thought I did a pretty good job, but I heard one kid call me a rooster and another said, “look mom, I found a pokemon!”

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We decided to see what we would look like if we were inserted into the older versions of the game…

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If you enjoyed our Mario Bros theme this year, be sure to let us know! Shares are a Halloween treat for us so go ahead and SHARE. And if you get some video gaming time…go save the princess!

 

 

For those of you who know me well, you know I dabble a bit in creative writing. This mostly takes back burner to everything else in my life right now, but occasionally I make a little time to pursue this interest. I am part of the West Branch Christian Writers Group, and I am constantly inspired by creative friends I have there. Each Christmas our group hosts a special insert in the Williamsport Sun Gazette Christmas day edition of the newspaper. For two years my fine art photography has been published there, but this year I also managed to contribute to the many great Christmas themed writings found there! Several of my photos were published along with a photo of the detective himself.

I hope you love minute mysteries as much as I do! I will post the answer on New Years Day for those of you who missed the paper! You can comment with your guesses!

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A Detective Tinsel Minute Mystery

The bells on the toes of Detective Tinsel’s pointed shoes jingled as he crunched through the first winter snow that had just fallen in the last hour. Steam rose from the cup of hot cocoa he drank in place of breakfast. He met two other elves in the alley behind the gift wrapping warehouse. Inspector Garland stood beside a fellow elf with tears sparkling down his rosy cheeks.

The Inspector introduced the teary-eyed elf beside him, ‚ÄúThis is Sprinkle. He found the deceased.‚ÄĚ All three stared at the crumpled body of an elf in the middle of the alley. ‚ÄúThe body was discovered beside the dumpster,‚ÄĚ He pointed to an indent in the snow covered ground matching the dead elf‚Äôs size and shape.

‚ÄúI came out just a few minutes ago to empty the garbage,‚ÄĚ said Sprinkle. When I saw him lying in the snow, I pulled him into the middle of the alley to get help. As soon as he was under the street lights, I knew I was too late and called the Inspector.‚ÄĚ

The Inspector interrupted, ‚ÄúTime of death was between Midnight and 1 am. Looks like poison. We are calling it suicide.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWhat makes you think it was suicide?‚ÄĚ asked Detective Tinsel.

Sprinkle answered, ‚ÄúEveryone knew he wasn‚Äôt a very jolly worker. He hated gift wrap and really wanted a promotion to toy making. Last night, his boss transferred him to gift tags. We knew he was mad, but I never thought he‚Äôd take his own life!‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúHe didn‚Äôt,‚ÄĚ said Detective Tinsel. ‚ÄúHe was murdered.‚ÄĚ

How did Detective Tinsel know it was murder?

Tune in tomorrow to read the answer.

Interested in learning more about The WBCW Group? You can contact us here: http://www.westbranchchristianwriters.com

or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westbranchchristianwriters/?fref=ts

Merry Christmas!

I didn’t intend to ride the StarWars trend this year, but it happened anyway. If you follow the blog, you know that we did very elaborate costumes from Episode 1 this year for Halloween. You can see them here: StarWars Halloween 2015

I was one week into December and still had zero plans for the Christmas card. That is when my friend’s son Noah showed me that he has last year’s card on the fridge. I looked at the photo of my three kids on the back and panicked. Not only did I not have a plan for the card, but I had been so busy this year that I didn’t take a photo of the kids for the back of the card. The most recent images I had were from Halloween. Between that and my friend’s son talking about how Darth Vader should be on my card, the idea was born.

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The next two weeks, I tried to figure out how to make the tree look like it fell over after being sliced with a lightsaber. I came home one day to find my tree on the ground with balls smashed to smithereens. I was a bit heartbroken, but obviously this meant less photoshop. We bought lightsabers and cleared the evening for our annual photo shoot. I spent the rest of the week repairing ornaments. I was able to fix all the ones with sentimental value, and we all agreed that our star was lame and needed replaced.  I added snow to the back images for that Star Wars classic Christmas effect- hehe

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So, the Death Star made it into my Christmas card… Not going to win any awards for beauty this year!

I hope that makes your Christmas Merry!

Need to see the previous years? Check out our

Christmas Card Traditions Blog

Moth Madness

I have been creating a collection of moth photos, and I am very excited to introduce to you several kinds of large moths in our area.  These tremendous moths, despite their size, are rarely seen due to their nocturnal behaviors. They are much more lovely than you would expect from the porch light sightings where we commonly get a glimpse.

My four moths all come from the order of Lepidoptera but will represent some different families within that large encompassing order. First, lets look at the Saturniidae family. Saturniids include the largest of the moths including giant silk moths like this Polyphemus Moth.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

This moth is easily identified by the eye spots on the wings. So much so that its name was given in reference to the Greek myth of Cyclops Polyphemus.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

It is easy to distinguish between males and females. The above image is of the female with less feathery antenna and below is a male with very pronounced and bushy antenna. They detect the pheromones of the female.

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Males will fly for miles in one night to find a female.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

My next moth is from the same order and family, but it is the only moth with this color pattern. This yellow beauty is the Imperial Moth.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

This is the only moth to be yellow with a tan/lavender or brown/pink pattern on it’s wings.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

The caterpillars of the imperial moths dig underground to form their cocoons so you will not find them hanging on vegetation in your yard.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

This one was missing an antenna when I found it.  I wondered if that would affect his quality of life. However, I found that these moths do not live long as adults. In fact, when they reach the adult phase, their mouth parts are so greatly reduced that they do not feed. They focus on reproduction and live only a week or more.

My next two moths are still in the Lepidoptera order, but come from the Sphingidae family which includes hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms.

This is the Pandorous Sphinx Moth.

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These moths fly at dusk and have an incredible camouflage pattern.

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These adults drink nectar and are sometimes seen in meadows or along forest lines in the evening.

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When adults emerge from the cocoon, they pump their wings to disperse fluid and extend them.

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Although the caterpillars stage is destructive due to its ravenous nature. This guy has been known to devour even poison ivy which is a big plus to most folks.

Wilhelm Photography: Moth Madness

Also in this family is the Big Poplar Sphinx Moth.

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Another guy with one sad looking antenna. I had a hard time researching this one.

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 This was an unusual find. I had a hard time identifying this one.

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To identify this one, I have contacted an expert in this field, and he has already responded. My guess was close. When I identified this moth, I thought it was Genus: Pachysphinx and Species: Occidentals. This is more likely the Species: Modesta which would be found on the east coast. I am glad to have him correctly identified and excited to have my sighting logged and soon added to http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com!

For those of you who want the full classification to find out more…

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)

Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)

Class Insecta (Insects)

Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)

No Taxon (Moths)

Superfamily Bombycoidea

Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)

Subfamily Smerinthinae

Tribe Smerinthini

Genus Pachysphinx

Species modesta (Modest Sphinx)

 

If you enjoy my Macro work or moths- let me know! 

L is for Ladybug. These are by far my most popular macro subjects. I hope today you enjoy them and learn a bit about them! This is a great one to share with curious kids.

This year, my kids and I found a ton of ladybug larvae while collecting aphids (it is amazing what you find when you search for a garden pests such as plant lice!) Many people do not know that ladybugs go through a complete metamorphosis from egg (which hatches in five days) to adult.  Let me show you what to look for next time you are in your garden.

Lady bug eggs. Tiny. This cluster is on one pine needle so you have to really be looking for them!

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This is a lady bug larva. Although larvae only grow to about one centimeter long, when they hatch they eat like crazy for three weeks. They don’t eat plants so don’t kick them out of your garden; ladybugs chow down on pests like aphids.

Lady Bug Larvae

After getting their fill, they enter into the pupa stage and attach themselves to a leaf or stem for about 5-7 before emerging as ladybug adults.

Becoming Lady

Becoming Lady

They will have their spots within twenty-four hours of emerging, and as they reach maturity their wings often darken from an orange to deep red.

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Lady and Umbrella

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I was just discussing with a friend how this beetle is usually liked and considered cute unlike any other beetles or insects for that matter (with the exception of butterflies.) Funny how some polka dots and the name “lady” have changed our perspective.

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Lady on a Flame

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Ladybugs are definitely a favorite for me to photograph!

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My daughter found this¬†ladybug, “that is really different looking.” She is referring to the unique spots of an Eye-spotted Ladybug which are black with white rings around the spots. ¬†The spots are designed to look like eyes which warn and scare the bugs that might be predators. ¬†She was too pretty not to photograph so I thought I’d share my two favorite shots from the mini session with her.

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By a Thread

I also have a ladybug image in my Enchanted Forest Collection

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Share, Like, Pin!

J is for Jumping Spider #AtoZblogchallenge

I get it. Spiders are creepy. I don’t like them sneaking up on me, but the jumping spider is worth taking a closer look. He’s fuzzy, has big puppy dog eyes, and can hug you with not four, but eight legs! What’s not to like?

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

The jumping spider is easy to distinguish from other spider families. The rectangular head and eye pattern is a dead give away. This one was wet so you can really see his head shape without that crazy hair sticking up.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

I see these guys scuttling across my picnic table all the time. They are diurnal, so they are actively hunting during the day. Don’t let that worry you. You are not on the list. Most spiders have the potential to bite, but the jumping spider tries to avoid you and is not considered a medical threat. Gentle. Remember? Like an eight-legged teddybear. Not convinced?

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

DSC_0466You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

Jumping spiders come in an array of colors. Some have vivid iridescent chelicera which are the green-blue mouthparts you see below.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

I am sure you were thinking “fangs” not ¬†“mouthparts.” ¬†And all though I know it won’t make them more endearing, there are fangs at the base of the chelicera. Jumping spiders don’t make webs. They live up to their name and pounce on their dinner. They rely on the back legs for their super jumps which propel them 10 to 40 times the length of their own body size.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

Just because they don’t spin webs doesn’t mean they don’t have silk producing spinnerets. They use strands of silk to create safety lines when jumping. They also build themselves shelters to lay eggs and survive bad weather. You can see the dragline in the photo below.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday DSC_9580

Still see him as just plain scary? Let’s talk about how he sees you…

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

The jumping spider has four pairs of eyes and the sharpest vision of any creature his size.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

Here they are…

Jumping spider eyes- incredible!

The large front eyes (AME) have the best visual acuity, but due to the distribution of the four sets, he virtually has a 360 degree view of the world! Incredible.

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

As far as spiders go, this is as lovable as it gets- at least for me. I see how they are misunderstood. But let’s view them more like the movie villains of old. Sure they make a good monster movie, but they aren’t really larger than life. They want to be left alone as much as you. Before you squish a jumping spider, take a look at those big round eyes looking up at you! Then just try to catch that bugger- he is fast!

You might actually like this spider… Creature Feature Friday

Even if you hate spiders…if you like me and my art РLIKE, SHARE, AND PIN

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One of my favorite stories is the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. For years, I have wanted to create images based on the beautiful descriptions penned by Irving. This year, I finally was able to capture my two favorite characters in the peek of autumn. Let me quickly introduce you to my two models for this project.  I feel that I need to post a regular portrait of each because both guys were kind enough to let me exaggerate their features or decapitate them all together, and they really are both too dashing to deserve such treatment. I am glad, however, that they were willing to help me bring Ichabod and the Headless Horseman to life. Thanks to both of them! They spent a considerable amount of time working with me on this. I love the characters in this book, and maybe someday I will come back to it and explore more of them.
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For the rest of my blog I will let Washington Irving quotes show you what inspired me with these images…

 

“The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.”

“thus going the rounds of the neighborhood, with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“The school-house stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch tree growing at one end of it.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow-lands, the rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burthened with ruddy fruit,”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“On all sides he beheld vast store of apples; some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated in proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer; and whose spirits rose with eating as some men‚Äôs do with drink. He could not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, and chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be lord of all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendor.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books quite through…

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

 

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“…and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather‚Äôs history of New England Witchcraft, in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow.”

“Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was, to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman, or galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. ”

“But if there was a pleasure in all this, …¬†it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night!”

“How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!”

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“Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered long-settled retreats‚Ķ”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and crest-fallen, pursued his travel homewards, along the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was dismal as himself.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“Over a deep black part of the stream, not far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge; the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. This was one of the favorite haunts of the headless horseman; and the place where he was most frequently encountered.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war; and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

“Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him.”

Sleepy Hollow comes to life in photos

I am probably not finished perfecting any of these, but projects like this never feel perfect enough when I am working on them. This was definitely a tricky ¬†project. I especially wrestled with the edit where I decided to¬†play with a bit of an optical illusion with the trees- I wanted to see my horseman without spacial boundaries. I am not sure that I am comfortable with that, but I didn’t want to wimp out on posting it. Even as I post this, I already see things I want to retry, but its time had come. If you have never read the original work, I encourage it. I read it every fall.

If you love this story too, leave a comment! I hope this added some magic to the end of your autumn.


Untitled-5The plan for me and my kids each Halloween is to enter the town parade as a group. This year it rained on our parade- literally. We had a back-up plan and shared our costumes at a local nursing home instead. Fortunately, I also get to share my costume work with you. So, thanks for joining me and for the your comments and shares so far.

This year, we went for a Star Wars theme. My son and I are characters specifically from Episode 1. Before the Star Wars die hards tell me how awful the prequels are, let me just say that I like the original three best. Let’s face it, they had Harrison Ford. That is all the argument I need. It also means that the next movie will be just fine too. ūüėČ

I knew it was going to be tricky to make costumes this year. I usually put together a homemade combination of thrift store finds and my add-ons. This year had some surprises.

I was Queen Amaidala

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I was actually going to cheat and buy my costume this year. I ordered from Amazon, but there was a mix-up and when it came it was a child’s medium. Reordering would have been a waste since when I saw the costume it was just a thin cheap dress with cuffs at the sleeves and one decorative sash. I knew I’d never be happy with that. I found a red bride’s maid dress at the thrift store for $4.99 and I went to work chopping away anything I could save from the kid costume. The rest was made from large pieces of red felt (left over from last year’s hook costume) and more hot glue than has ever been worn before (I am not much for sewing.)¬†

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But really, let’s talk about the hair. I almost gave up on this costume twice. My first attempt at the hairpiece for this costume is in the trash. Long story short there is a styrofoam wreath form broken in half with a pool noodle that has been scored and cut into about fifteen pieces duct taped around it. I then spray painted the entire thing black and started cutting apart cheap black wigs and carefully wrapping and gluing the hair tracts around my noodle form. All in all, three wigs died in the making of this. Compared to that, the make-up was easy. It is just the ¬†“mime who got lazy with the lip stick” look.

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I chose the Queen because I knew my son was a naturally convincing young Anakin Skywalker. It wasn’t hard to get him suited up as a pod racer.

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This was another thrift store and spray paint project, but it went together easily.

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He wanted me to make a pod-racer, but I told him the force wasn’t with me on that one.

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What would Star Wars be with out Yoda?

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I am pretty proud of my pretty little girl for being a aged green guy this year. Sure he is a master of the Force, but that it not the most convincing argument for a girl who like princess dress-ups.

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Getting to have a lightsaber helped convince her. And once she saw the finished look she was totally onboard.

~When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not~

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Next we have this kid. Actually, this is not a kid. We went back and forth between who would be R2-D2. I couldn’t imagine pulling off a costume that would be easy to move in let alone comfortable. So, we built this guy and put him on wheels so he could be a companion for C-3PO.

He is rough looking, but again this is just a trash can covered in duct tape, spray paint and more duct tape. His light does work though!

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I think I am most proud of my C-3PO costume.

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Except for the $5 mask, this is all thrift store finds and random things like lids, buttons, and string all spray painted.

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Her teeth showing through make me giggle every time.

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That is our Star Wars adventure! Thanks for joining us since our parade was rained out. If you liked this, please share it! And may the force be with you!

H is for Hands

This year, I was with my family on a trip to the mountains. We drove into a little town that was having a fair and took a walk. To my surprise I found a home with these amazing hand sculptures. As soon as I saw them, I started planning my return to photograph them. The crazy thing is that in getting permission I learned the person living there had put the concrete sculpture in, but later abandoned the home. That is all the back story I was able to get. I will let you interpret these pieces on your own. It is more fun that way!

Ruler

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Mist

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Caught

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Bewitchment

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If this inspires you or you want to share your interpretation, you can comment or share!

My blog is Pinterest friendly too!

Watch for extra Halloween themed posts this week!

October is a great month. I love the autumn colors. Halloween opens the door for some very great dress-up opportunities, and this fall I am taking advantage of as many as I can!

I hope you are fan of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin special that comes on each year. I am always frustrated for the Peanuts gang. It seems things rarely work out for them. But they are still favorite characters from my childhood. This year, I did a few “Great Pumpkin” inspired photos. I hope you enjoy my Linus and Charlie Brown themed favorites.
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Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

Great Pumpkin Photo Shoot

 

Charlie Brown trick-or-treats in his unsuccessful ghost costume.

 

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Every time I watch this holiday special, I am still hopeful the Great Pumpkin will bring Linus candy, and that people will stop picking Charlie Brown to give rocks to. Seriously, a rock? Every time? Depressing.

I have included some of the movies best quotes.

Linus: “I’ve learned there are three things you don’t discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”

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Linus: “On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises from his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys to all the children.”

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Lucy: “A person should choose a costume that contrasts her own personality.”

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Charlie Brown: “I got a rock.”

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Linus: ” He’ll come here because I have the most sincere pumpkin patch and he respects sincerity…He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy.¬†Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

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Charlie Brown: “Well, don’t take it too hard, Linus. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life, too.”

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“Good Grief” actually kind of sums up the Peanuts gang.

I hope you enjoyed a few “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” inspired photos.

Come back next Friday for another Autumn/Halloween blog!

Please Pin and Share your favorites!