Welcome to Life, Inspired — The Weekend Review. This is the weekly column where I take a step back from the recipes so you can have a wider look at what’s been inspiring me, moving me, or just catching my fancy out there in the life beyond my kitchen.
My Morning Walks
Although the landscape is stark as late autumn dances with winter — snow one day, mild gloominess the next, then brilliant sunshine that belies the temperature — it has a certain beauty as these photos show. I love the message of beautiful perseverance as the last few autumn leaves cling valiantly to their branches.
Publicity & Photography
When I started blogging, photography was a mere afterthought. My primary motivation was to write, and I chose food as my subject because, well, I think you can tell why. A few of my early posts didn’t even have photographs, and my skills were sadly lacking in many respects. I set about to learn and improve, and today I’m finding that photography and photo editing are among my most rewarding creative outlets. In September I opened an Instagram account and I’m absolutely loving it. The account is tied to the blog, so there are a lot of food photos there, along with more personal shots that you don’t see here. In particular, I’m drawn to nature photography and interesting sights that I happen across when out and about. I’m participating in the Food Bloggers of Canada Instagram #FBCphotoaday challenge this month, and on Friday they shared my submission on the theme #skate on their account. Not being a skater (for obvious reasons if you read last week’s Life, Inspired column), I wasn’t sure what I would do for this challenge, but on my way to the market on Thursday I saw the outdoor skating rink at the Covent Garden Market glistening in the soft afternoon sunshine and knew I had found my subject. I’m very happy with how this photo turned out and how it has the quality of a sketch. It was taken with my iPhone 4S and edited with Snapseed. The version on Instagram was modified further with their editing tools.
I love participating in the National Post’s Gastropost missions. As an early Gastroposter, I’m notified about upcoming missions in advance. This week, they used my cranberry pecan coffee cake to help announce the Season’s Sweetings mission. I love the clever names they come up with, and I’m especially partial to a good pun!
An aside: this cake holds a special place in my heart, as it’s a variation on the coffee cake that was my Dad’s favourite. I often made it when my parents came to visit. With my parents love was rarely spoken, but this is how I showed it for Dad.
Yesterday I hosted a family baby shower at my home. It was a wonderful event, full of love and happiness. There will be more about that in a later post, but I wanted to share with you today the ‘cake’ that I made to celebrate the Mamma-to-be who happens to collect elephants. Yes, it’s a diaper cake! It’s made from 84 newborn-sized disposable diapers and festooned with books, rubber duckies, little socks washcloths and other things for baby. And of course it’s topped with an adorable little elephant, which is also a soft and cuddly rattle.
Around the Web
Just keeping this section brief, as I’m heading out soon for a family holiday gathering. Since I spent so much time getting ready for the baby shower this week, I didn’t noodle around on the web too much, but I did come across this post on how to arrange a bread basket on the Canadian blog Family Bites. Here’s how to present your bread artfully:
Sherri, of the British blog A View From My Summerhouse, is a talented writer and just one of the kind and generous spirits I’ve met out in the interwebs. She’s provided me guidance and support on my writing journey, and her writing and photography always inspires. This week, the post below touched a chord with me, as I too was appalled at the Black Friday mayhem, but mostly because her story of the interview proved once again that there is a lot of goodness in this world.
Finally, check out the “ultimate healthy vibrant kitchen essential tools list” that my friend Jo-Ann is featuring on her blog, 9 Cup Challenge. There’s a giveaway too! Jo-Ann’s blog is filled with healthy goodness; do look around while you’re there.
Last week I posted an updated recipe for roasted red pepper and tomato soup, with tips on how to serve it stylishly for holiday parties, as well as the strawberry chocolate cupcakes with strawberry buttercream that I made for Littler Miss’s third birthday party. Do check them out if you missed them!
Love following you on Instagram!!!
Thank you, Clanmother! I enjoy your photos there too. It’s a great community.
Beautiful pictures and love following your instagram…..
Thanks so much, Suzanne!
What a beautiful photograph Marlene! I haven’t got into Instagram…yet! I keep meaning to look into it, as you know I do love taking photos and would love to get more into special effects. I was both surprised and thrilled to see you linked to me here, thank you so much and also for such lovely, kind words, so kind of you! You are one busy woman Marlene, and yet you find the time to make such wonderful creations. Love the elephant ‘cake’, looking forward to reading more about the shower. And I was moved by your share about your coffee cake and your dad…very touching. Have a great week and keep warm 🙂
Oh, do take the Instagram plunge, Sherri. I resisted for a long time because I just didn’t want another social media channel to administer, but I’m quite enjoying it. You have so many beautiful photographs to share!
It was a pleasure to refer my readers to your blog 😊
Thanks so much Marlene, I will give it a go as soon as I can, it does sound like something I would enjoy a lot! Hope your Christmas plans are going well…not long now 🙂
Christmas seemed like so far off, until I realized it’s next week! Good thing I’m keeping it simple this year 😊
I have noticed the improvement in your photography, Mar, since I first “found” you. I think we all improve as we get experience but one can tell you’ve spent time educating yourself — and your posts are the better for it.
Thanks so much, John. It’s nice to hear that my efforts are bearing fruit. I’m no photographer and my camera is a ‘point and shoot,’ but as they say, the best camera is the one you have.
That cake is fantastic! As is the picture of the rink you posted. I would love to hear the steps in snapseed you used to get that finish! Outstanding! I love snapseed but I have never had a shot turn out like that from the app!
Thanks so much, Redawna. I’ll go back and double check what I did to get those effects, and then let you know! As I said in the post, I love how it turned out almost looking like a sketch.