Monday, December 30, 2013

PhotoStamps — Creative Christmas Giving

Following the model I used for Christmas PhotoStamps in 2009, this year for many of my Christmas presents I used (in the USA, and its Canadian counterpart) to create real postage stamps — featuring pictures that I knew would be special to each of my loved ones, mostly borrowed from FaceBook. In my 2009 article I used the “3D cube navigator” for presentation, but since this time I only made four stamps, I think I'll just go with the "flat out" approach.

The stamp on the left shows both Jean and Ellis doing their favorite things - horseback riding and sailing. This was an easy one though I did have to adjust (rotate) Ellis because Photo Stamps have to be square in shape. Also easy is making stamps for grand-parents, in this case the stamp I made for my sister Nanci on the right. I won't name the grand child 'cept to say that she's the real cutie we got to know this past summer on vacation in Haliburton.
On the right is the stamp I made for my sweetie and I. It features a wooden statue that Lynnie took a fancy to in Montreal, and a shadow selfie of me in my role as Shaman at a recent New England Legacy Discovery. This year Jillian got engaged to her longtime beau, Mike Nedoroscik. So here they are about to go out zip lining in Costa Rica. The Ring is shown as an inset as is the cake writing from their celebration at The Pig.

I guess it's not something that you can do every year, not to mention that "no one" uses actual postage stamps anymore... but I still think that photo stamps is a good way to put a little creative juice to work and come up with something memorable — especially for people who already have everything you could possibly imagine.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Season of Joy 2013

There are at least three things that I'm involved with as this end-of-Fall before-Christmas season approaches, and though they're not directly related, I'm just going to talk about them all in this post.
The first is when I unwrap the sandwich boards for the Groton Community Christmas Concerts that I keep stored in my shed for most of the year. Then, round about Thanksgiving, I clean them up and rework the dates in preparation for putting them out in early December, around 10 days before the 3 concerts we put on.
The picture on the right — my first published selfie — was my stake in the ground for writing this article, and I used it during the Fall as a place to direct people to when they asked me about the timing of the 3 concerts we give each year in early December.
On the left is the traditional "flyer" that we have for the GCCC every year, citing the names of the songs that we sing in the concerts. And though I don't have many pictures of us singing during the concert itself, I did take this short video clip of our encore, "Down The Bethlehem Rd", as seen from standing on the stage.

The 2nd Fall tradition for me is that I work with my men's team to take part in an annual community service project called "Operation ELF", where ELF stands for "Everybody Loves Families". The part of ELF that I did with my team this year was to go shopping for needy kids, fulfilling what they'd put on their "Wish Lists" as best we could from the fundraising we do. Click here for a picture I painted of this outing.

As per our Unitarian Universalist tradition, near the beginning of each service someone lights the chalice and speaks about whatever aspect of their Putting Faith Into Action that they want to. So in order to promote the GCCC, I signed up to do the Chalice lighting in our UUC service on Dec 15th since that was the first day of the performances. In the full text of my Chalice Lighting I linked the GCCC and ELF together in a salute to "the Joy of Giving thru Community Service" and painted this picture of singing in the GCCC: "I stand up on the stage and see all those community faces… They show up tired and worn out from long days… But as the concert unfolds they begin to relax, and before you know it they are beaming with "The Joy of the Season".

Indeed — The Season of Joy 2013 — Let us all count the ways that we are all truly blessed.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday In Groton

Great service at our UUC in Groton today. I wanted to capture my palm frond after the service so here's my snapshot from right in front of the church - with about 1' of snow still on the ground.
The other thing that happened today was that I finally got rid of the binder twine I'd been using for our "Pammett" sign, and replaced it with chain that looks a lot better and I hope will require less maintenance.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New England Winter At Its Best — Ice Skating On A Frozen Lake

Though it's been really cold in New England for the last 2 weeks or so, today we had a glorious time frolicking on our local lake. Actually, we went out twice. The first time we had no idea we could skate, so we just went to commune with the ice fishermen who told us all about their passion for being out there on days like today, a feeling that we totally shared. We also heard about how they eat whatever they catch (as long as the fish are big enough) unless they catch bass in which case they put them back so as not to offend the Bass Gods. Oh... OK...

And during that walk, our Aussie friends from Down Under took this panorama. This is about a 180° panorama, and is not 'perfect' (because someone allegedly moved at the wrong time). But this is an example of an "easy" panorama because it was produced automagically "with just one sweep, capturing more like video", and I think it's a pretty great example of how far technology has come.

Later on that day, once I discovered that I could dust off my old hand-me-down ice skates, my sweetie and I went back for another couple of hours — gliding across the ice with ease, and warming ourselves on a bonfire that we made alongside the shore. I have some other pictures from the afternoon and will likely post those tomorrow.

Truly, this is New England Winter at its best.