From the category archives:

Photo of the Day

While I don’t often regret our decision to opt out of hockey, there is something fundamentally Canadian about hanging out in a damp, chill arena on a Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee watching a practice or a game.

Saturday at the arena

Thanks to my awesome niece, I get to experience it just often enough to enjoy it and remember that it’s only fun for about the first 40 minutes or so. It was a lot of fun cheering her on, though.

hockey girl

Isn’t she awesome? I love that the only girl grandchild turned out to be the hockey player in the family. :)

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Photo of the day: Team Donder

by DaniGirl on November 21, 2014 · 3 comments

in Photo of the Day

I love it when a plan comes together.

This was a half-baked idea that came to fruition thanks to Photoshop, family pride, and a friend who does small-run custom screen printing. Oh yes I did make matching Christmas sweaters for all the cousins. And my brother.

team donder posse

I love how they came out, and the hoodies are wonderfully soft and warm!

Team Donder for the win!


I‘ve been sorting and culling old photos this week. I need to organize them for a couple of annual projects (a calendar for my parents for Christmas, and an annual family photo book) and my hard drive is also more than 80%, almost 90% full. So I’ve had my nose in folder upon folder of the photos I’ve taken since 2014, and none of them makes me more happy and more achy with nostalgia than the ones I took in PEI.

PEI revisited

That’s the view from the Panmure Island lighthouse. Siiiiiiiigh.

Did I tell you we’ve already booked for summer 2015? We decided to book for two weeks on the north part of the island, not far from Greenwich national park. And in a stunningly responsible turn of events, we’ve already saved up more than 2/3 the cost of the cottage rental. Yay us! Amazing what you can do with the proper motivation.

I haven’t entirely given up on the idea of moving to PEI one day. We talk about it all the time, but I don’t see it as being practical any time before all the kids are grown up and (whimper) moved out. I can, however, see us spending incrementally more of each summer there. The idea of the gorgeous red sand, the emerald fields and the blue ocean will do a lot to carry me through the upcoming winter, that’s for sure.

Have you ever fallen cataclysmically in love with a place? Where? What did you do about it?


I‘ve seen a lot of photographers using an edit that darkens the background and makes for warm, rich tones. I had my handsome model pose for a portrait so I could have a play. Here’s the final edit:

Tristan after

Here’s the image straight out of the camera:

Tristan SOOC

I think his face might still be a little too warm/yellow, now that I see it here. It’s a clean edit in raw in Lightroom, although my white balance might be a little too warm, and then a lot of layers in Photoshop – a bit of radial blur, masked off of him, and a couple of levels layers. One layer darkens the midtones in the background, one gives it that reddish golden tint, and I popped the contrast around his eyes a little bit. I need to figure out how to make his freckles pop more!

What do you think? Do you like the clean edit or the more creative edit? I always struggle to find a balance between the two. I love the creative edits, but wonder if people don’t find them too heavy handed. It’s still fun to play!

(Also? Pre-teen – SMILING FOR THE CAMERA!!! #win)


This year represented a pretty significant milestone for us. Like so many parenting milestones, it was begat not of careful thought and extended discourse, but by poor planning, chaotic lives and the lack of any other options.

This is the year I let Tristan carve the pumpkins. Well, two of the pumpkins. I’d cut off the top and gutted them and done a rather half-arsed and pathetic job translating Lucas’s illustration on to one of the pumpkins before running out of time (and perhaps enthusiasm) so Tristan may have been willing to take on the job just so I didn’t do any more damage to other unsuspecting pumpkins who deserved a better fate.

I’d like to tell you that he used one of those blunt and kid-safe pumpkin carving kits. I’d further like to tell you I hovered him, watching carefully how he handled the sharp paring knife.

Nope. I pretty much handed him the knife, warned him he’d have to clean up the mess if he cut off a digit, and went on making dinner and overseeing homework and unloading the dishwasher and keeping Lucas from terrorizing the dog too much and all the other insanity that usually happen between five and eight pm each evening.

To his credit, Tristan did a great job, and all ten of his fingers are still attached. He started small with a tri-force on the smallest pumpkin on the left in the photo below. (A tri-force is “something created by three different goddesses who created all the world and represents power, courage and wisdom.” It’s from the video game Legend of Zelda.) With elevated confidence, he took on a more complex design for the larger pumpkin. It’s the one on the far right.


In case you’re not well-versed in the lore of the Zelda video game, you probably don’t know that’s the pattern on Link’s hylian shield. You should, however, note that the same design appears on the shield in Tristan’s costume (also hand drawn and coloured by Tristan). He’s also carrying a wooden sword we rescued from the garbage (boy after my own heart) in much the same way Arthur drew Excalibur out of the stone, except Arthur’s sword didn’t need a good sanding and a coat of paint.

I’m pretty proud of all three boys for coming up with pretty much all the elements of their own costumes this year. Simon is “the Shadow” and Lucas is Wolverine. Lucas probably had the most help, but when gluing silver-painted popsicle sticks onto gloves is as hard as you have to work on a Halloween costume, it’s a good Halloween indeed.

So maybe this thing about the kids growing up and learning to do things for themselves isn’t so bad after all. And this parenting by benign neglect thing? I should have thought of this YEARS ago! ;)

How was YOUR Halloween?

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A country lane, a sunny morning, yellow and orange maples arching overhead? Lovely. Now torque the holy heck out of it with Photoshop, just for the fun of it!

Autumn spiral

Sometimes it’s fun to play, just for the heck of it!


Photo(s) of the day: Pumpkin pickers

29 October 2014 Ah, me boys

Like yesterday’s post, this photo of the day post is from the weekend. Forgive me, but I think they’re too lovely not to share. And it’s not Halloween yet, so it’s not too late, right? My babies in the pumpkin patch: Eep! When did they get so grown up? Wait, here’s one more. Can you [...]

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Photo of the day: Adorable AND smart!

19 October 2014 Photo of the Day

Oh babies! So! Many! Babies! on the porch lately. I’d ask where they’re all coming from, but with three of my own, I’m pretty sure I’ve got that part figured out. This handsome fellow was so curious and interested in me and my camera, but he was not at all interested in having those fake [...]

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Photo of the day: Handsome fellow fall portraits on the porch

13 October 2014 Mothership Photography

I‘ve had a rush of babies on the porch for portraits this month. Lucky me!! Babies are a lot more work when it comes to portraits: they are terrible at listening to directions, I have to get down on my belly to see them eye to eye, and they have the disconcerting habit of suddenly [...]

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Photo of the day: Sunflowers in a vintage mason jar

11 October 2014 Photo of the Day

I have a new obsession: mason jars. And the only thing better than new mason jars is vintage mason jars. Not really so good for food storage, but really quite fantastic for storing other beautiful things, like say sea glass. And sunflowers. Sunflowers + porch + autumn colours + vintage mason jar = happy.

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