Lisa Hannigan’s “I Don’t Know” video

29 10 2012

A fellow blogger (quilt and sewing artist Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World) shared this very creative video on her latest posting and I love it as much as she does. Be sure to watch it to the end—the tune is catchy and the paper cutwork is amazing!

Franck & Kris

29 10 2012

On Saturday, September 29, I photographed Franck and Kris’ wedding, held at their home on a lovely fall afternoon. The entire event was pretty unique, very laid back and a lot of fun.

Franck and Kris each have two sons who served as attendants. The most memorable moment—Franck’s eldest son piloted a remote control helicopter around and over the guests during the ceremony and it delivered the rings to the bride and groom. He had been practicing all week and Franck told me before the ceremony that he wasn’t sure if Kris would give final approval for this unorthodox delivery of the rings, but at the very last minute she agreed!

The officiant was Kris’ very tall brother, who wore a bright orange suit—I heard that it was custom made and had something to do with celebrity Johnny Knox but I didn’t get the entire story. And finally, the bride wore a bejeweled black evening gown (a first in all the more than 100 weddings I’ve photographed), but it worked beautifully for this event and she is very photogenic as is her handsome husband! Once the music started, the dance floored was filled and stayed that way the entire evening with a very lively bunch of guests. Hats off to Franck and Kris for creating a memorable and very personalized special day for their family and friends!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Craft Studio: Bedazzled beaded bracelet in blue

28 10 2012

Last weekend during my beading birthday bash I created this cuff bracelet for my friend Dawn. I used a blank wire cuff, 24 gauge non-tarnish silver wire, and an assortment of beads in various shades of blue. The star of the show was a piece of inexpensive square glass—the kind you get in bulk bags to fill vases. You can buy the bracelet blanks at Michael’s in a two-pack for $2.99 (you’ll get one of these and another style that I haven’t found a use for yet). I just discovered they’re available in a blackened-silver and a bronze color, too. It’s an extremely easy project and takes an hour or less to complete!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

A few more Ginkgo photos

27 10 2012

Learn more about the beautiful Ginkgo grove at the Blandy Experimental Farm here.

The following narrative is excerpted from the brochure, “A Guide to the Ginkgo Grove,” published by the State Arboretum of Virginia at the University of Virginia’s Historic Blandy Experimental Farm.

The Story of the Blandy Ginkgo Grove
The Blandy ginkgo grove is one of the largest collections of ginkgos outside the tree’s native China. Given their autumnal glory, a visitor might assume that Blandy’s ginkgos were planted solely for their beauty. But this grove is the happy result of a scientific experiment.

Dr. Orland E. White, Blandy Experimental Farm’s first Director, began collecting ginkgo seeds in 1929 from a single “mother tree” on the University of Virginia grounds in Charlottesville. After these seeds germinated, Dr. White’s students planted over 600 ginkgo saplings to determine the sex ratio of this tree. Most plants are both male and female, but like holly, persimmon, and other species, ginkgo is dioecious, meaning a tree is male or female, but not both. Dr. White hypothesized the sex ratio would be 1:1. He did not live long enough to find out if he was right, but of the 301 trees that survived to maturity and for which gender could be determined, 157 were female and 144 were male. Statistically speaking, this does not deviate significantly from 1:1.

A Living Fossil
Ginkgo biloba is often described as a “living fossil.” It is one of the most primitive seed plants found today, and it’s the only surviving representative of its plant family (Ginkgoaceae) and order (Ginkgoales).

The earliest ginkgo leaf fossils date from 270 million years ago. During the Jurassic (200-145 million years ago), the era of dinosaurs, ginkgos were already widespread. And by the Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago), ginkgos grew in what is now Asia, Europe and North America.

Ginkgos disappear from the North American fossil record about 7 million years ago, and from the European record about 4.5 million years later.

Western scientists first learned of the ginkgo in the late 1600s, when living trees were found growing in cultivation near Buddhist temples in China. Thus, the sole remaining member of what was once a dominant plant group remains a link between the present and our geological past.

The Silver Apricot
The word “ginkgo” originates from a Chinese word meaning “silver apricot.” When mature the fleshy ginkgo seed—ginkgos don’t form fruits—has roughly the size and appearance of a small apricot. Historians trace the earliest documented use of ginkgo as a food and herbal medicine to 11th century China, and it is still widely used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. It’s important to remember that if eaten raw, gingko’s fleshy seeds are poisonous, and we ask visitors not to collect ginkgo leaves or seeds for this or any other use.

Research shows ginkgo extract has three important actions on the body: it improves blood flow to most tissues and organs; it is an antioxidant which protects against cell damage; and it blocks many of the effects of blood clotting that have been related to a number of disorders. Western medicine has recently focused on Ginkgo biloba to protect against memory loss, but clinical trials have not confirmed this.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Let’s Chip It!

27 10 2012

Thanks to fellow Pinterest-user, Vanessa Lam, I learned about Sherwin-Williams new color-palette-generator at I can see that this new toy is going to be a huge waste of time huge benefit to my design, craft and photography projects. I love collecting color palettes to reference on my Pinterest boards, but now I can create my very own. Here’s my very first palette using a photo I shot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Way too much fun to use!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Corey Frye’s interesting take on the “Bucket List”

27 10 2012

I subscribe to Corey’s blog and thought this post he made this past January was a really great take on the “Bucket List.” We should all heed his advice! Click on the link below:

Ginkgo tree “web”

26 10 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Ginkgo trees

26 10 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Ginkgo grove

26 10 2012

Ginkgo grove at the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum in Boyce, VA. Double click on the image to see a larger view!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

From now until Oct. 31, get your printed copy of our Celebrate Home Magazine at 25% off!

24 10 2012 is having a 25% off sale from now until October 31! Get the printed copy of the fall 2012 issue of Celebrate Home Magazine for $17.55 (reg. $23.40), plus shipping. The print copy is gorgeous, but you can also view it online free by signing up for a free account. Click on the link below to enjoy 25% off the print version!

Some of my favorite fall photos….

23 10 2012

These were taken at Lake Land’Or back in 2008. The shot of the dock with the cloud reflections is one of my all-time favorites of this place!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Reflections of fall

23 10 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The serenity of fall

23 10 2012

Fall comes to Lake Land’Or in Ladysmith, Virginia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Published on!

19 10 2012

My friend and freelance writer, Nancy Dunham, wrote a great recap for about the Kathy Mattea concert we saw at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on September 26. One of my photographs accompanies her recap! I photographed Kathy Mattea with Nancy after the concert (at right).

Check out Nancy’s recap of the concert here and see more of her work on her website here. Thanks for the exposure, Nancy!

Seen & Heard: Tommy Thomas

18 10 2012

Tommy Thomas, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made his Seen & Heard profile debut in the September/October 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. I photographed Tommy during Convention 2012 in Providence, RI. Other members previously profiled were Danielle NicosiaJohn KinstlerJudy Martin, Anne TaylorSam SpritzerJeff BonnellEloise SchwarzGlenice SwensonLaurie Pullins, and Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell.


Vine Grove, KY / born April 15, 1955, Bowling Green, KY

MY HEARING LOSS… I had German measles at age four and developed a high fever. My parents noticed the hearing loss at age five. I was fitted with a body aid and then went to a BTE (behind-the-ear) on my left ear. There was total loss in my right ear. I was implanted with a cochlear implant in my right ear about eight years ago. I still wear a BTE on the left ear.

SAGE ADVICE for SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Join a hearing loss support group for advice; lots can be learned from them.

A FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… On the third date with the woman who would later become my wife, my hearing aid battery died. I said, ‘Excuse me, but I need to change my hearing aid battery.’ She was curious because she had never been around anyone who wore a hearing aid, so she asked, ‘How often do you have to do that?’ I said, ‘well, with you it will be more often—because you talk quite a bit.’ The look on her face was priceless. After we married, and it was time to go back to work after the honeymoon, at 4:20 in the morning she was awakened by a strobe light and a shaking bed. She sat straight up in the bed, startled and thinking there was an earthquake or something. I intentionally had not told her about my alarm clock. She had never considered how a deaf or hard of hearing person awoke in the mornings to go to work.

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a farmer and a welder.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… riding horses and going on trail rides

PETS? Morgan, a one-eyed Corgie mix and Trouble (a very appropriately named cat)

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… at age 14, I took a tractor motor completely apart and reassembled it without any manuals or instructions.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… my antique tractor running.

IN MY SPARE TIME… antique tractor rides, antique tractor shows, work in my shop

I MISS… being in my 30s when my body didn’t ache.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT… I am 5’15” tall—do the math.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT… is that I am an exceptional lip reader.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Smarties (the candy).

PLACES I’VE CALLED HOME… nine months in my mother’s womb, Bowling Green, KY; Bardstown, KY; Radcliff, KY and then Vine Grove, KY

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I’ve had only three jobs—(1) farm laborer as a teen; (2) meat cutter for 33 years; and (3) full-time farmer.

MUSIC TO MY EARS… Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, Standing on the Promises, Jesus Loves Me

I AM… honest, dependable and fun.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… first, the hearing aid and second, the cochlear implant

I HAVE A FEAR OF… ferris wheels.


MY FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my tractors, all my tools, and my teddy bear that I’ve had for 53 years and it still looks good

PET PEEVE… school buses—they stop every 20 feet

IF I RULED THE WORLD… everyone is treated equally, no one goes hungry, and no politics

WHAT IS THE KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS DONE FOR YOU? My friend, Charlie, took me out every day to walk after my back surgery to help me get my strength back.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? as Sir Tom—the name I have used in the hearing loss chatroom for years

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… I built my house at age 21 and I’m still living in it.

I like everything in Hearing Loss Magazine, but I wish it came monthly.


Seen & Heard: Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell

18 10 2012

Siblings Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell, both members of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made their Seen & Heard profile debut in the September/October 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, along with Rosemary’s service dog, Janet. I photographed them at Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Rosemary Tuite

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SISTER KATHY BORZELL… Kathy and I have had a support system going with each other because we both have hearing loss. I believe it has made us even closer than we would have been. She has been an incredible support to me and I think she feels the same about my support of her.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SERVICE DOG, JANET… Janet has changed my life. I sleep better knowing she will be there if need be and she is my comfort and strength when I get into a stressful situation due to my hearing loss. She has become a support to both my husband and I as he has a physical disability that she understands.

MY HEARING LOSS… I’m not sure when my hearing loss was first discovered, but it was probably in my late teens. There was severe-to-profound hearing loss in our family; mine was considered mild so I didn’t get hearing aids until I was 40 even though I needed them years before. I wore them religiously once I got them and was implanted with my first cochlear implant in November 2007 and my second in September 2010.

Get with peers, join HLAA and a local HLAA Chapter.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… When I received my first cochlear implant, I was waiting in the audiologist’s office at Mayo Clinic for my second mapping. I thought I was doing so well and could hear most of all the conversations around the waiting room except for two elderly ladies sitting on the other side of my husband, Jim. I leaned to Jim and said, ‘I can’t understand a word those two people are saying.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Rose, maybe because they are speaking Spanish.’ We were both laughing so hard; my audiologist came out to get us and said this has to be about a CI moment. There are been many CI moments that bring a smile to my face.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… When you can’t hear, and you are by yourself in a room full of people, it is so lonely.

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… the incredible people I have met because of my hearing loss, the smile on someone’s face when you give them advice about their own loss that they never knew before, or just the look on their face when they know you truly understand


FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Christmas was my favorite time, I was about three years old; but another favorite memory is sitting on my dad’s lap in the evening and he would sing what I called the ‘Moon Song,’ I don’t remember what the real title was. I can remember the chair we sat in each night outside on
the patio.

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… clothes! I love clothes and my mom made almost all of my clothes when I was young.

HARDEST THING I’VE DONE… let my children make choices that I knew would not be in their best interest

FIRST MEMORY OF REAL EXCITEMENT… Christmas morning. I would get so excited I often got sick on Christmas day from all the excitement.

SOUNDS I LOVE… with my cochlear implants, it’s the sound of everything. I never believed I would hear this well.

IN MY SPARE TIME… I love to play golf or read.


I MISS… Those who have gone before me. I also miss the things that my husband and I did together. He was 13 when he became an amputee and has worn prosthesis for 63 years. We found things to do together; he loved golf, so I learned it. We don’t golf anymore but we go out more to be with people as I can now better communicate with others.

HAPPINESS IS… hearing; being married to a wonderful husband for 46 years, enjoying family and friends

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… really cherish my time alone.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT… If I have one, I really am not aware of it.

CITY, BEACH, COUNTRY OR MOUNTAINS?… Mountains for sure—I feel peace and serenity when I can
see mountains.



I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… Jesus, but if I met Him when he was on this earth, would I have really known Him at that time?

FAVORITE SEASON… Fall, because I love and marvel at the colors each day brings. I love the change of seasons and Asheville has all of them.

I COLLECT… Longaberger baskets.

YOU’VE JUST WON A $1,000 SHOPPING SPREE TO A FAVORITE STORE… I’d go to Chico’s and buy clothes.

FAVORITE COLOR?… Green, all shades.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… babysitter, secretary, homemaker, gift shop sales, volunteer (more volunteer jobs than any paying jobs)

FAVORITE FOODS… pizza, lasagna, mountain trout, lobster tail, chocolate malts

LAST BOOK I READ… A Lucky Irish Lad by Kevin O’Hara

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… a good friend.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… that I was not better than anyone else in God’s eyes.


GET ANYTHING GOOD IN THE MAIL LATELY? A memorial program and pin for someone dear to me whose memorial service I could not attend

THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… This makes me laugh as I have said it so many times—my iPad!

I HAVE A FEAR OF… heights when there are no barriers.

PHRASE I OVERUSE… “It is what it is.”



PET PEEVE… People think you hear everything because you wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.

MY MOTTO... “Let go and let God!”


Hearing Loss Magazine has many articles of interest to people with all levels of hearing loss It keeps going on from me, I share it and know the people I share it with also share it.


Kathy Borzell

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SISTER, ROSEMARY… She’s made my life easier being able to share my hearing loss journey with her. She has always been there for me.

MY HEARING LOSS… I was about 19 when it was noticed that I wasn’t hearing normally. My father and my oldest brother were also hard of hearing so I just figured I had ‘it’ too. Little did I know at that time how much ‘it’ would impact my life!

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Find support through others who have hearing loss. Your hearing loss professional can be wonderful and helpful to you, but there’s nothing more empowering than being in a safe environment of your peers. You’ll be so much better equipped to deal with life in the hearing world!

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I was in my late 20s and at a cocktail party with my husband. I was having a conversation with a gal who was talking about being a “Buddhist.” She told me she had a special room in her house where she practiced. The conversation went on, and I just nodded my head (knowing nothing about Buddhism!) when I finally realized she was telling me she was a flutist. Now that made sense!
We’ve done a lot of laughing at this over the years.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… it impacts every aspect of your life. Until you come to terms with hearing loss, it can eat you up.

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… Silence can be very nice.


FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Christmas—I am the youngest of five children, and my siblings spoiled me so much.


FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… my first car—a Toyota Corolla that was a lemon, but I loved it anyway

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… say goodbye to my late brother

FIRST MEMORY OF REAL EXCITEMENT While I can’t remember a specific time, I’m sure it must have been at Christmas time.

SOUNDS I LOVE… the wind blowing and birds chirping.

IN MY SPARE TIME… I play golf, read, cook, take care of my plants and garden.

I MISS… listening to John Denver without assistive equipment.

HAPPINESS IS… feeling okay with oneself.

IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR A YEAR, WHERE WOULD IT BE? Right here, where I am, in these beautiful mountains

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR…line dancing.


I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… pizza and chocolate.


FAVORITE SEASON… Fall—it’s just so gorgeous here and, oh, football season!


FIVE FAVORITE SONGS… Looking for Space by John Denver, Carolina on My Mind by James Taylor, Kathy’s Song by Simon & Garfunkel, Up on the Roof by James Taylor and No One in the World by Anita Baker

MY KIDS HAVE TAUGHT ME… that I’ve done a better job of being a mother than I give myself credit for.


I HAVE A FEAR OF… driving over bridges.

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… shopping online.

PHRASE I OVERUSE… can’t repeat it here


MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my engagement ring, my home, my dog

FAVORITE QUOTE… “Bless the beasts and the children—they have no voice, they have no choice.”

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Donald Trump—while working at The Bowery Savings Bank in Manhattan

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to grow old gracefully.

PET PEEVE… Sitting in a noisy restaurant or bar or airport where there is a TV but no captioning. Then again, the rest of the crowd is as clueless as I am.

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS… a caring person who tried to make a difference.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Raising my kids—they’re good people

Celebrate Home Magazine interviews Lucile Prache, watercolor artist

14 10 2012

Last month I interviewed Parisian artist Lucile Prache for our inaugural issue of Celebrate Home Magazine, which Barbara Kelley and I launched just two weeks ago. I found Lucile’s illustrations on and had her store bookmarked because I love her sketchy, whimsical illustration style. I contacted her and she agreed to be interviewed for our magazine. Click on the link below to download the magazine to see more of Lucile’s lovely artwork.

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Lucile’s Kitchen

When did you first discover your creative talents?
I have been drawing since my early childhood and found it quite natural to express myself in this way as I grew in a family with an artistic mood. I was very shy and I guess it was helpful to draw instead of talk.

Did you go to school for art?
Yes, I studied at the ESAG art school (also known as Penninghen) in Saint Germain des Prés in Paris and graduated—a long time ago.

Did you inherit your artistic talents from your parents?
Yes, I surely did. My father is an architect and my mother has always been making pottery (both are part of the flower power generation!).

When did you know that you wanted to be an artist (illustrator)?
I didn’t really feel like a fine artist because at art school we learned to be illustrators. Plus, I had been working for magazines, the fashion industry, and in advertising for such long time, I didn’t feel like a fine artist.

I still do these types of projects, but I love painting for my Etsy world-wide customers. Having a large audience is important for me—I don’t think “real” artists need that. Knowing that someone in Japan and someone in New York is looking at my artwork at the same time just makes my day!

How long have you been working as a freelance artist and illustrator?
I have been a freelancer for almost 25 years.

I love the fresh, loose, sketchy style of your illustrations. Did the evolution of this style come easily to you?
Thank you so much! I think I have always sketched in this style because I love travel journals (specifically Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat art). I have been very interested in Chinese calligraphy and started to learn with a Chinese teacher. He always told his French students that they never would become Chinese even after 100 years, but this could be helpful for our very Western style; I believe this is true—my work has become looser and fresher since I began studying Chinese calligraphy.

How would you describe your illustration/painting style?
I want my paintings to look carefree and happy. I have been studying ballet since my childhood, and I believe that my illustrations are just like dance pieces—everything appears to be easy. Dancers are always smiling on stage, but there is a lot of work behind the stage.

Your illustrations are unique and full of energy. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from real life—typography on labels, dirty papers on the sidewalk (yes, I am a Parisian!), kitsch postcards of Brooklyn, a vibrant green top on a girl in the street, vintage books of English china, figs at the market—almost any image can inspire me!

What mediums do you work in other than watercolor? Do you have a favorite brand of watercolor paint? Favorite brushes and paper?
I work a lot on my Cintiq Wacom pen tablet with Photoshop when I get jobs for fashion, magazines and advertising clients. When painting with watercolor, I love Windsor and Newton because of their amazing fresh colors. I am painting with Chinese brushes on French BFK Rives paper.

I decided to leave my Wacom tablet and my computer for a while and went back to colored pencils, gouache and watercolor again. I missed the “real taste” of different papers and pigments. The printing process means CMYK colors. Original paintings allow gold, silver, fluo paintings and this just makes my day!

Do you create still life set-ups of fruits and vegetables from which to reference? What is a typical work day like?
Sometimes I stumble upon beautiful fruits or vegetables at the market and paint them before cooking them. Most of the time I reference photos or browse online for inspiration when I don’t have time to go to Chinatown and purchase Asian food for a still life set-up.

Do you do any computer illustration?
Yes, I do. It is exciting to use several devices. I work in Corel Painter, Illustrator and Photoshop on an old Mac Pro. These software programs allow me to paste labels, type and photographs into my illustrations.

What do you like most about being an illustrator?
Illustrators have freedom—this is what I like most; but we know that we sometimes have to pay a huge price to keep this freedom.

Has illustration as a profession changed over the years?
It has. Computers and the Internet changed everything. I started my career before the Internet, and I remember I had to go to Marie Claire magazine and deliver my orders in person. It was quite fun because I could talk with the art director and the redaction team. We knew each other quite well. I loved to walk in Paris from my studio to my clients, but it was time-consuming, too.

We are now networking and it is completely different, but I really enjoy the friends I’ve met around the world because of Etsy. I am meeting them sometimes in Paris, or more recently in New York, and I love this!

How long have you been selling on Etsy? Has it been a good way to get your work out to buyers?
I started selling on Etsy more than two years ago and it completely changed my life! It is always very exciting to add new paintings, communicate on Facebook and blog about the process. I am absolutely thrilled to get many buyers from all around the world—mainly from the United States. It is a delight to keep in touch with so many open-minded, cool and positive people.

Do you pursue other creative endeavors?
I like screenprinting and can’t wait to work on new designs but I need time and energy—and not to be too hungry because my screenprinting studio is my kitchen.

You are surrounded by amazing museums, which must be an inspiration to you. Tell me a little bit about life in Paris and your family. Did your children inherit your talent for art?
My children are geeks and creative ones! Please come to Paris and see how we live. After spending two weeks in New York City, Paris seems to me like a small village of farmers, But I definitely love Paris—I get inspiration from the street equally as from the museums. I plan to go and see the Gerard Richter exhibition in le Centre Pompidou tomorrow. I always forget how I can be stunned by painting in a peaceful place like a museum. I am in love with my city, but I am always dreaming of elsewhere…and I swear I will try to improve my bad English. But luckily, the language of images is international.

I noticed on your blog that you also are an avid gardener. How does gardening influence your love of illustrating food?
My garden is located on a wet and sunny island, so I only see my garden four to six weeks a year and it doesn’t take much care. I wish I had a vegetable garden and could watch it grow but it is impossible for a Parisian work addict. Too bad, because it would be very inspiring. I paint fruits, vegetables, cakes because of their beauty, but also because I enjoy cooking.

What are your influences? What artists inspire you?
I was first influenced by rock music and pop art artists such as Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Rauschenberg, French artist Hervé Télémaque, Tadanori Yokoo, Joan Mitchell—I love them all.

What are you working on now?
I just finished a collaboration with a French publisher on a cookbook about Italian food. It is a very exciting project.

I will be working for a fashion agency in late October, but currently I want to add new prints and paintings in my Etsy shop. I would love to publish my own recipe book and make it available for Christmas, but I am sure I won’t have time this year.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I would be a (bad) dancer.

Any advice for aspiring illustrators?
Keep your eyes wide open unless you are asleep.

Describe yourself in three words.
Still always curious

No interview would be complete without this requisite question—You’re stranded on a deserted island. What five things must you have?
Five cards of Raoul Dufy flowers, then find a way to make tools and do mineral painting—let’s get to work!

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of Celebrate Home Magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

Celebrate Home Magazine now available on!

10 10 2012

Celebrate Home Magazine is now available for viewing on! You’ll love the page-turnable interface and downloads are FREE. You can even control the zoom in and out features! Check it out here:

Help us get those numbers up by downloading your free copy now. Every click helps us grow the magazine, ensuring more issues for you to read in the future. Help us spread the word!

Carousel horses

7 10 2012

I’m revisiting my Polaroid transfers made from some 35mm slide images I shot of the old carousel in San Antonio in Brackenridge Park. My dad told me the carousel was dismantled and sold years ago, so I went in search of information about the exact details and where it was moved. I found an article by Marian L. Martinello, a retired professor from UTSA College of Education and Human Development in San Antonio. Her article, “Inquiry as Detective Work: The Case of the Carousel,” describes this beautiful carousel in great detail and gives a bit of the background on its origin, so I thought it would be a perfect accompaniment to my Polaroid transfer photos. You can read it by clicking this link: Inquiry as Detective Work: The Case of the Carousel. I’ve contacted her to ask her if she knows what happened to the carousel and if she responds, I will share the results in a future post.

I sold enlargements of the carousel horses, along with some scenic transfer images, to Polaroid to hang in a gallery in their headquarters years ago (well before the company met its demise). I was contacted by someone involved in acquiring Polaroid-related images after he had seen my transfers on a website. My dad generously matted and framed all the pieces that were shipped to Polaroid. It wasn’t a huge windfall (I think I was paid about $700 or so for eight framed pieces, shipping included), but I was so honored to be part of the exhibit. Wonder what became of the images after the company shut down?

Want to learn more about the Polaroid transfer process? Click here to read a posting I wrote in October 2007, complete with links to various sites that offer tutorials and tips on creating transfers.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Breaking a few photographic rules…

6 10 2012

I was inspired by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson’s essay titled, “Let There Be Light,” where he discusses breaking photographic rules, in this case the one about overexposing highlights in a photograph. In breaking the “read the histogram to correct the blown-out highlights” rule, he captures an image that is ethereal and far more evocative than he would have created had he just followed the rules.

My photo of a gull ready to take flight breaks some other rules that I traditionally follow when photographing. I photographed this bird for several minutes before I got this shot and I considered it a throwaway when I viewed it on my screen. Later, I reconsidered saving it. The image has at least two things that immediately put it into the “not up to par” category: 1) you can’t see much of the bird’s head (just a tiny portion of the top of his head)—so much for focusing on the eyes to make them tack sharp, which is a top rule in bird photography, and 2) the motion isn’t stopped with a higher shutter speed, so the wings are extremely blurry. In the “plus category,” what’s good about this image is the composition (nice, off-center positioning gives it a dynamic that I must admit was not planned at the time), and the anticipation and tension of lift-off with the wings blurred in mid-air next to the tack sharp wood grain in the dock pylon. The gull is grounded yet I’ve serendipitously captured a split second before it will no longer be. It’s graphic with lots of negative space and there is ample contrast.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The Lady of the Lake in Celebrate Home Magazine

3 10 2012

In mid-July I photographed a beautiful log home on the shores of Lake Anna in Virginia. I haven’t done a lot of architectural-type photography, so I knew this would be a challenge. Heeding the advice of my long-time photography mentor, Brian Loflin, I put my camera on a tripod and used really slow shutter speeds to utilize just the ambient light available in each room. I added the human element by having homeowner Marion move through the frame, creating a blur of activity. She serves as a kind of apparition, reinforcing the mythic role of “the lady of the lake.”

You can read Barbara Kelley’s feature about the Fonti family’s beautiful log home by clicking the link below to download a pdf designed for two-page spread viewing (best viewing, especially for her feature).

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single-page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Melanie Poirier: Dish Towel Diva

2 10 2012

Thanks to Melanie Poirier for writing a feature in our inaugural issue of Celebrate Home Magazine! With more than 500 dish towels (and counting!), this avid collector shares her love of this common kitchen object.

Melanie and I spent an entire afternoon setting up her extensive dish towel collection on her back deck for me to photograph for the issue. I came up with the idea of crafting shapes from her towels to reflect the seasons they represent. Her largest collection was of autumn-inspired dish towels, so we crafted a giant quilt.

I asked her if by chance did she had a cherry picker handy, but alas, she did not. Michael set up her Little Giant ladder system and I soon found myself suspended awkwardly over our “quilt” to get the shots! (Lovely Melanie is pictured at left, photographed after our dish towel photo session and I’m below, suspended on the Little Giant)

You can read all about Melanie’s dish towel obsession by clicking the link below to download a pdf designed for two-page spread viewing (best viewing, especially for her feature).

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single-page printing

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages 

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

Below: My favorite assemblage is the flower I crafted from her spring-based dish towel collection.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Napkin Blings

2 10 2012

Thanks to my friend, Karen Byer-Storch, for her help creating this crafty project for our inaugural issue of Celebrate Home Magazine.

Want the easy step-by-step instructions? Click on either of the links below the photo to download a pdf file of the entire magazine. I’ve included two different pdfs—one is a two-page spread view (best viewed online) and the other is a single-page view (better for printing off single pages). The “Napkin Blings” tutorial is on page 86.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.

And that’s the way we roll…

2 10 2012

Below is Barbara’s friend Lucille’s “Pumpkin Roll” recipe. I can attest to its yumminess, having consumed some before, during and after the photo shoot. P.S. Did you know that cats love cream cheese too?

Want the recipe? Click on either of the links below the photo to download a pdf file of the entire magazine. I’ve included two different pdfs—one is a two-page spread view (best viewed online) and the other is a single-page view (better for printing off the recipes on one page). Bon appétit!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.


Soup’s on!

2 10 2012

Since mid-July, I’ve been designing and photographing for Celebrate Home Magazine, which I just launched tonight with my publishing partner, Barbara Kelley. I’ll be sharing lots of photos from those shoots over the next few days. I’ve discovered that I really like photographing food and am learning something new with each shoot! Another plus is I finally get to use all of my dishes, linens and serving ware. I knew there was a reason for my obsessive collecting of these items! Below is Barbara’s “Autumn Corn Chowder” recipe, served in the cute little “cracker moat” bowls I got for a buck each at a thrift store in San Antonio this past January. Thanks to Barbara’s friend, Melanie, for traipsing around town to find tiny crackers for us to use!

Want the recipe? Click on either of the links below the photo to download a pdf file of the entire magazine. I’ve included two different pdfs—one is a two-page spread view (best viewed online) and the other is a single-page view (better for printing off the recipes on one page). Bon appétit!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.


A labor of love: Celebrate Home Magazine is born!

2 10 2012

The Fall 2012 Celebrate Home Magazine debuts today on the first day of October with the mantra of “making the ordinary extraordinary.”

Published quarterly, Celebrate Home Magazine focuses on family, food, entertaining, gardening, art, crafts, hobbies, personal expression, hospitality, pets, decorating, communities and neighborhoods.

The time has come for a magazine like this—highlighting ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No matter your budget, your skills or the size of your space, we’ll enthusiastically share experiences of those who nurture the space they call home. Let us inspire you!

I’ve teamed up with the talented and renowned Barbara Kelley, whose editorial expertise has graced Hearing Loss Magazine for more than 20 years. She brings her passion for hospitality and her publishing experience to this brand new publication! We are both passionate about all things home and welcome you to open the door and come on in. We also welcome you to be contributors. This magazine is for you and about you.

Click the link below to download a two-page spread pdf of the magazine:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Spreads

Click the link below to download a pdf designed for single page printing:

CelebrateHomeMagFall2012 Pages

Want to order a print copy of Celebrate Home Magazine? Click here, then sign up for a free account. You can download the FREE pdf or purchase a print copy on this link.



Would you like to be a contributing author or photographer? Please e-mail writing and/or photography samples and links to websites with your work to

Do you have an original recipe you’d like to share? Please e-mail your recipes to

We can come to you! Are you having a party or special event at your home or an activity that relates to the subject of home? Contact us to discuss your idea. If it fits the editorial scope of Celebrate Home Magazine, we may photograph your event and write the story.

Do you have a product or service? If you would like to advertise your product, service, or your city/town/region, contact

Check it out and celebrate home with us!