Featured on The Daily Compost blog

23 09 2010

Jennifer, author of The Daily Compost, recently asked for permission to use my image of a Neoscana spider to illustrate her recent post— Giant spiders: one more reason I love fall. Go check out her great blog and see. Thanks for the shout out and showcasing my photo, Jennifer!

Craft project: Garden aprons

23 09 2010

When my friend Karen and I go down to her lakehouse, we always feel compelled to bring our sewing machines and make something. In fact, we both agree we can’t really sew anywhere but the lake now. We’re spoiled! We put up my folding table on the screen porch and spread all our fabric around and get going. Her house overlooks the lake, so we can watch egrets and herons landing and taking off, kayakers rowing and fishermen trolling, and giant carp fins circling around like something out of Jaws. No phone calls, no interruptions. Snacks and music always. I ask you how sewing in a kitchen townhouse can possibly compare to sewing on a screen porch overlooking a lake!

We talk about anything and everything and one weekend we began singing while stitching….and ended up creating Sewing—the Musical, sung to the tune of Donna Summer’s No More Tears (Enough is Enough)—and chock full of references to the craft of sewing. Yes, we wrote down the lyrics and yes, we intend to one day perform it off off off off off off Broadway…you know…in our spare time! Just you wait…

When we started sewing at the lake, we started making curtains (no pattern, just winging it!) for the patio doors and shams and coverlets for the twin beds in one room. This year we spent Labor Day down there, sewing machines in tow. I was inspired to copy a cheapie dollar store gardening apron. I made three aprons that afternoon. Karen is using the blue one in her skin care salon. They’re a lot of fun to create (and a quick project, too!) and I might even try selling some on Etsy…you know, in my spare time. Ah, something else to keep me busy in the winter (besides crocheting a gazillion hats that I don’t need) when I can’t be out photographing my beloved flowers.

Taking orders for aprons…anyone?

P.S. The aprons aren’t as short as they appear—my sister asked how long they were because it appears that the angle I shot these at makes them look much shorter than they are. I used a basic gardening/utility apron from the dollar store as a pattern, although I could have made them longer. The pockets are deep enough to fit your hands in with room to spare—and certainly deep enough to accommodate gardening tools!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Re-post: Bee’s knees

23 09 2010

And speaking of my friend SueBee—-I was going down blog memory lane and came across this posting back in September of 2007:

This is one my favorite garden photos. Sue grew one of the Mammoth Russian sunflowers last year and called me over to record it. I would like to claim that I saw this little bee “coming in for a landing,” bee’s knees bent for impact, but that would not be true. I was shooting madly as the afternoon light was fading. It wasn’t until I browsed the images later that I noticed this little guy in flight. I had gotten numerous other shots with the bees already in place, gathering pollen, but this was pure serendipity.

© Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved. Check out my botanical photography portfolio here.



I did a little research (not surprised, are you?) on the origin of “bee’s knees” and found some interesting tidbits:


And, speaking of sunflowers, here are some interesting facts:

—The scientific word for sunflower is Hellianthus, referring to the ability of the sunflower bloom to follow the sun from sunrise until sunset. The word is derived from helios, meaning sun, and anthos, meaning flower.
—Argentina is currently the largest grower of sunflowers.
—The sunflower is grown for the seeds and oil it produces.
Each mature flower yields 40% of its weight as oil.
—The tallest sunflower grown was 25 feet tall and grown in the Netherlands.
—The largest sunflower head was grown in Canada and measured 32.5 inches across its widest point.
—The shortest mature sunflower was just over 2 inches tall and grown in Oregon using a bonsai technique.
—Sunflower stems were used to fill lifejackets before the advent of modern materials. —Low-pollen sunflowers have been developed in recent years which not only helps asthma sufferers, but extend the flower’s life.
—The flower was cultivated by North American Indians for many years as a food crop.
— The sunflower is not one flower, but a cluster of more then 2000 tiny flowers growing together.
— The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas and the national flower of Russia.
— The French word for sunflower is tournesol, or literally “turn with the sun.”
—The sunflower has been around for at least 8,000 years. Archeologists believe that Native American cultivated sunflowers as early as 2300 B.C., well before corn, beans, and squash.
—There are over 2,000 varieties of sunflowers identified to date. Unfortunately, many varieties have not been located and may be extinct.

Re-post: Cabin in the woods

23 09 2010

I’m reposting a collage of photos from one of our favorite road trips with my friend Sue and her mother, Wanda. I think we’re overdue for a trip, SueBee!

Originally posted 9.22.2008
One of our favorite treats during our recent vacation was a night’s stay at Jim and Anne’s cabin in a park near Mt. Rainier. We headed to the cabin on Friday morning, September 12, stopping along the way for huckleberry ice cream (which is delicious, by the way). Learn more about huckleberry harvesting in the Cascades here. In the first photo, Sue tries out a chair fashioned from snow skis at the ice cream store in Enumclaw. (If you have a hankering for this type of furniture, check out Snow Shack and Snow Source.)

Michael and I kept Sue quite enthralled, if somewhat frightened, with our stories of “when, not if, Rainier (an active volcano) blows…” She was pondering the possibility of it blowing that very night. We told her to relax. At least her best friends and mamma were with her and her last supper was huckleberry ice cream. How bad is that?

Some time ago, Michael and I had seen a documentary on tv hypothesizing the outcome of such an event. I did some further research and found these articles:

Vocanologists keep wary eye on Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier will blow, that’s a given. (How’s that for an opening line?)

Under the Volcano—the danger of living near Mt. Rainier

Hmmm…now that I’ve done this research, I’m rethinking how good that huckleberry ice cream was after all!


Photos, second row: Sue sits on a bed on the enclosed porch. What a view we had in the morning! The cabin was built by Anne’s father and grandfather when her father was a teenager, so it’s over 70 years old. It’s a beautifully rustic cabin with modern conveniences, of course, such as electricity, a detached bathroom and shower, and appliances. I found lots of things to photograph within the cabin itself, such as the blue bottle still life by the living room window (3rd row, right). Fifth row: Wanda climbs the ladder to check out the sleeping alcove in the cupola. Next, I photographed her “hiking” shoes by firelight. Those city girls sure do hike in style, don’t they?

After settling in, Anne and Jim lead us on a hike up to Goat Falls, which runs down the hill past their cabin. Sue had to keep Wanda from her “mushroom tipping” tendencies because she knew I would be coming up behind them, photographing everything along the way. Apparently, Wanda has an aversion to wild mushrooms (not to mention snakes).

Later, Jim and Anne prepared a wonderful dinner. After a great night’s sleep, the next morning Sue and Wanda wanted their photo taken at the outhouse, which, thanks to the modern conveniences, we did not have to use. And yes, Sue is acting—not really utilizing—the facilities in the photograph toward the bottom!

The trip to the cabin, hiking to the falls, and staying overnight in that beautiful cabin was a really nice and unexpected treat, thanks to our wonderful hosts, Anne and Jim!

And in the “how away far was it” category—I am happy to report that this trip was a “one-hat” trip, since I finished a “special order” crocheted black hat as a gift for Anne en route. Learn more about my exclusive “how many hats trip measurement system” here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Design Studio: Postcards

23 09 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Design Studio: Media Kit

23 09 2010

Sample pages from a media kit © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Happy birthday, Dad!

19 09 2010

Happy birthday to the best father a girl could have! Not a single day goes by that I do not count my blessings for having the best parents on earth. I realize this photo of me and you is a teeny, tiny bit dated (at least a decade or so ago), but it was the first one I came across in my archives—don’t I look like such a happy child?

You share a birthday with former president Bill Clinton; SNL comedians Jimmy Fallon and Cheri Oteri; singers Trish Yearwood and Paul Williams; GMA Alum Joan Lunden; actor Jeremy Irons; news commentator Soledad O’Brien; model Twiggy; and close to (my) home—Katie Doughty (wife of Redskins football player Reed Doughty), whom I photographed at Green Spring Gardens here, and in my studio here and here. Happy birthday, Katie!

Best of all, today is “International Talk Like A Pirate Day.” Arrrrrrr…..

Get to know this amazing man through his blog, The King of Texas, where he waxes rhapsodic about his family, revisits his childhood (with amazing recall for details), comments on current events (political, celebrity, media and more), and aims to right grammatical wrongs (one visitor at a time) with his occasional lessons on the subject. Check out his archives for some of his essays. I introduced him to blogging just over a year ago and he has become a prolific poster. He has always loved to write and it shows in his lengthy and detailed essays. I just knew it would be a great creative outlet for him. I realize I’ve created a monster, but I am so proud of my grasshopper! Whether you agree or disagree on any particular posting, he welcomes feedback of any kind (but thrives on kudos in particular), so don’t hesitate to comment—he always responds.