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{DIY up-cycled candles}

25 Oct

i love to repurpose things! do you feel the same way?

i know from personal experience that so many items get tossed out and/or thrown away, unnecessarily. i spent a large portion of my career in grocery retail trying to educate people on this subject… but i still don’t know if most people are acutely aware of where our “trash” goes. i feel like our society tends to have this mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” that said, it is known that some of the highest physical peaks in parts of this country are not something like a mountain-top, but actually more like the tip-top of a landfill.

take that in for a moment… isn’t that crazy to consider?!

all of that said, i love to find ways to “up-cycle” items that would normally get thrown away or would end up in a landfill. recycling is a great option, but sometimes i think we tend to forget about the fact that we can also repurpose things. it’s easy to throw a decent glass jar into a recycling bin… but have you ever considered if you can reuse it for something else?

case and point : i have been loving these yummy french yoghurts that i have recently been buying at my local grocery store. i like them for many reasons… yes, they taste great! and that’s a major selling point! but the main reason i like them is because they come in glass jars. i LOVE to support and also repurpose products that choose to use glass… i’m all about minimizing plastic consumption!

i’ll get off my soapbox for now, but i encourage you all to think about what you throw away… and perhaps {re}consider a creative way to reuse some of the items you may normally toss out or recycle.

and now… onto today’s blog. 😉

a friend of mine gifted me some old candles that had been stored for a long time. the wicks were no longer usable, but the candles were in good condition and still had a great scent! so – i decided to take them home and reuse them to make some DIY {repurposed and up-cycled} homemade candles.

as i mentioned, i had been saving these yoghurt containers. i also repurposed some old candle containers.

i used my double-boiler that i scored at a local antique store {YAY!} i purchased the wicks and wick-holders online, and then i simply re-melted the wax and allowed it to cool slightly before pouring. this is not exactly a perfect method. there is a bit of science to candle-making, which i’ve recently discovered. temperature plays a factor, and in this case my DIY at-home method typically created a ‘sink-hole’. however, i also discovered that in my case, this issue was easily rectified with a second pour. plus, i’m not generally aiming for perfection with this project. {wow – can’t even believe i’m saying that!}

so – overall, i think they look awesome and i am proud of myself and the dedication to creation!


have you ever made your own candles and/or repurposed old ones? i would love to receive your feedback!

happy creating!

 

{funky fungi}

6 Oct

speaking of mushrooms and fungi – check out this fantastic wild funky fungi that was recently gifted to me. apparently it’s edible, but it was just a little passed its prime when i got my hands on it. this amazing thing grows wild on a tree in a friend’s backyard. i wish i could remember the name. perhaps she will remind me before i decide to post this blog. a good friend of mine said it looked like a brain – haha. {he’s constantly saying silly things like that}

i love the golden colour! it reminds me of {yummy!} chanterelle mushrooms, but i was informed that this is technically a fungi. so now i’m curious about which is which… how to distinguish the difference, if there is one?! i think it may have something to do with the underside – the gills?! i’m going to do more research, and i welcome any insight from my amazing readers!

so without further ado, here are some artistic fotos i took of this fascinating creation from our incredible earth.

it does kind of look like a brain in this foto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{fantastic fungi – local edition}

30 Sep

y’all – i LOVE mushrooms! i always have. they fascinate me. i recently watched a super cool documentary that i highly recommend you check out – fantastic fungi. in discovering that film, i learned that mushrooms aren’t really a plant and they aren’t really an animal… they are like their own category. understanding that made me love them even more! i wish i could articulate just how amazing mushrooms really are. essentially they have an entire underground system in which they are all interconnected… and in some ways, mushrooms connect all of us, too! it’s just mind-blowing to learn and think about!

the weather has been just gorgeous here in maryland as of late. simply and purely perfectly autumn – warm sun, cool breeze, crisp air… the best! which means i want to get outside as much as possible! and so i went on a beautiful nature walk the other day and i must’ve seen at least 30 different kinds of mushrooms! i was constantly stopping and marveling at them. i snapped some pics with my phone and so i wanted to share what i saw.

i hope you enjoy and i truly encourage you to watch that film. i think i’ll watch it again and again!

{homemade greeting cards by food & foto}

1 Jan

happy new year, friends, family, and readers!

2020 marks the 8th anniversary of foodandfoto.com! thank you for following along on my journey during all this time! it truly means so much to me to have you read, engage, comment, and support! i have loved hosting this blog and of course taking the fotos that go along with it. fotography is and always will be an outlet that offers my creative spirit tremendous amounts of joy!

i have missed you and missed blogging! sometimes time has a way of fooling us to believe that we are too busy to do things that really matter to us. i have been feeling this way over the last few months, and the holidays seem to have a way of exacerbating that feeling. in the spirit of the new year, i have been wanting to reconnect with my love of blogging and so i decided to start fresh today!

as you may already know, i make my own greeting cards which highlight some personal favourite images my eye {and camera} have ever captured. i have done this for years and enjoy it so much! it has been another fun way for me to continue creating, and people tell me they love to receive them as gifts for any occasion. in todays fast-paced world laden with gregarious social media, instant-gratification-induced text messages, perception-deceiving emojis, and the like… i find myself wanting to go back in time. perhaps i ought to use my typewriter to construct meaningful letters and perhaps one of those cool wax stamps with my logo on it, sent “snail-mail” style. my soul has always felt connected to a “simpler” way of life and that is why i still, to this day, send out greeting cards as a means of sending a simple “hello” or “thinking of you” to a loved-one.

don’t get me wrong, i love being able to blog and share things through this platform, but don’t you think there’s something to be said about a different means of correspondence?! for me, i believe it’s the idea of putting time and effort into something meaningful. i love hearing from anyone i care about via email, text, letter, face-to-face contact, smoke signal, or whatever… but i guess what i’m trying to say is i think the greeting card is something that should be appreciated and celebrated and that is why i continue making them. plus, it’s fun for me! ❤

though i am not generally very rigid about such things, as one of my new year’s “resolutions” i wanted to sort of “promote” my greeting cards a little better. i have never really done anything like this outside of selling them at art fairs. so, it is with {my introverted} humility that i ask for your continued support and consider investing in my art by purchasing some.

currently, i am offering my greeting cards as :

3-packs for $12 : mix-n-match {pick your favs} or grab-bag style {let me curate for you!}

most of my collection includes some of my all-time favourite images and there are also some of my famous “door” images in the lot. some of my greeting cards are not yet featured, and if you choose to let me curate the package, you will receive some very special choices.

you can see some of the samples of my greeting cards at this link : greeting cards.

please contact me via email when you are ready to purchase and/or if you have any questions.

thank you so much for your love and support! here’s to the best year yet in 2020!

 

{a little fun at sunset}

15 Jul

where i live, there are many trees that often block the horizon line at sunset. i have been eager to get to a good vantage point in the evening to watch the sun setting.

recently i took a stroll with a friend at a park nearby that overlooks the city. it was a lovely summer evening and the hike to the top was worth it.

we captured a few images while also getting immersed in the beauty of the evening.

i love this picture because it looks like there is a line dividing the sky… do you see it?!

i love jumping shadow pictures.

fun times.

{praying mantis egg case : part 2}

3 May

garden season is finally here! which means my happiness meter just skyrocketed! 🙂

i recently gave my praying mantis egg case an apartment upgrade by relocating it to the community garden. i {safely} tied it to a trellis in my plot.

the praying mantis serves as a wonderful addition to any garden, since they are a beneficial insect. they prey on other insects that may otherwise be harmful to crops and soil.

plus, they are totally fascinating to admire and watch! and i am hoping i am able to witness the case hatch and capture it on film!

i will be checking on it regularly, so stay tuned for more updates!


#farmeraudrey

{praying mantis egg case : part 1}

29 Apr

a good friend of mine recently gifted me with this very unique and beautiful creation from nature.

have you ever seen such a thing?! do you have any idea what it is?!

i suppose the title of this blogpost gives it away 🙂

this is a praying mantis egg case!!!

as many of you may know about me, i am somewhat obsessed with the praying mantis. i had never seen an egg case before, but i was completely thrilled when this showed up in my life! {i think i even cried a little}

and so of course, i had to take some {perhaps too many?!} pictures!

i think the details are just so mesmerizing and are something to behold and appreciate! Continue reading

{stargazer stages}

3 Mar

stargazer lilies are one of my favourite flowers! they are not only stunning to look at, but the scent is simply intoxicating!

i appreciate the intricate details within every flower blossom of the stargazer lily. i love to watch each one go through every stage as it blooms and opens. it makes me think of the phases and stages we as human beings go through in life. it’s like a flower blossoming… our journey may start by feeling closed off to the space around us… unsure of ourselves or “hiding” from the world… then in a divine way, we slowly start to open up and reveal our true inner beauty… and ideally as we grow and blossom, the world accepts and appreciates that beauty and all that we uniquely are, and we are ultimately embraced in all of our glory.

but just like a flower, it doesn’t really matter if anyone notices or appreciates or embraces. the essence of a flowers purpose is to simply be. it is beautiful with or without the recognition it deserves. and if we are lucky enough to be in the presence of such beauty, it serves us well to pause, notice, admire, appreciate, and absorb all that which IS.

and we are given that opportunity every single day.

 

{summer’s final moon}

28 Aug

i just never tire of experiencing the ocean… the sight, the smell, the sound… the feeling, the energy all around!

i also never tire of experiencing the moon… equally as much wonderful energy to behold!

i went down to the shore over the weekend for some {much needed} vitamin sea and to admire and enjoy the ocean and the full moon. by the time i got to the beach, the moon was just coming up over the horizon… and some hazy clouds initially obstructed the view.

still… breathtaking, right?!

it wasn’t long before the moon peeked out of the ombre sky and shared her beauty with us one again, in her final appearance of summer.

i walked around for a good hour or so, gazing in wanderlust as the moon took place high in the sky, illuminating all it touched…

… listening to the crashing waves, my senses engaged with the salty air, my toes wiggling in the soft sand…

feeling humbled and grateful for all that has been before me and all that is around me now. for all that will be, for all that i am, for all that i have, and for all that i have yet to experience.


{old school typewriter}

12 Feb

a friend of mine generously donated this {fully functional} old-school typewriter to me a couple years ago, and it’s mostly just been in storage. lately i’ve really been feeling the desire to use it and express my feelings on paper.

in today’s world of over-stimulation and instant-gratification, it’s kind of funny that i feel the need to put it in “reverse” and go back to classic ways of communication… like letter-writing. sometimes i think i’ll end up writing my memoirs on this typewriter. it seems a little odd {especially in today’s world} to have only ONE copy of something versus saving it to the cloud or a usb drive… but for me, that’s the basis of its appeal. i love the idea of only having one copy of something… seems to make it more romantic or sacred.

i can’t wait to find a place to have this tuned up so i can use it!

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oldschooltypewriter-1

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oldschooltypewriter-4

isn’t it cool?!

{seriously obsessed with spices}

5 Feb

everyone knows i love to cook.

for the most part, i keep it super simple when making meals. and my philosophy is :

quality in = quality out.

in other words – if you start with good ingredients, you generally end with a good meal…

i have only recently begun experimenting with spices in my cooking. i have been collecting spice jars over the last few years, as i was gypsy-ing around the country… and when i settled in a place i feel at home in, i felt super excited to finally display my spice jars.

i received these cool 3-tiered bamboo spice racks as a christmas gift, and i was so eager to get my spice jars out of the cabinet and onto the counter.

it’s the little things, right?!

something about seeing this beautiful rainbow collection of spices just makes me feel so happy inside. and it’s really been fun to experiment with the different aromas/flavours.

of course, in true audrey michelle form, i alphabetized my spices.

here’s what is in my collection :

  • some kind of awesome spice my friend brought me from argentina 
  • all-spice
  • bay leaves
  • celery seed
  • chives
  • cilantro {homegrown and dried}
  • cinnamon
  • comfrey
  • coriander 
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • dill {homegrown and dried}
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • herbs de province 
  • kelp 
  • lemon peel 
  • marjoram 
  • nutmeg
  • old bay seasoning (can’t live without it)
  • onion
  • oregano 
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • pickling spices
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • sesame seed (black)
  • salt (black)
  • tarragon (LOVE THIS STUFF!)
  • turmeric
  • saffron 
  • vanilla 

 

 

 

 

{homemade soap}

24 Jan

i made soap for christmas gifts last year. it’s so fun to make! the soap block, which i got from michaels, was made with mango and shea butter – super moisturizing! these soaps create a nice, rich lather. they would also be perfect for a bubble bath!

i made a few different kinds :

  • fragrance-free oatmeal 
  • orange cinammon w/ rose petal flakes
  • lavender oatmeal
  • lavender rose 
  • orange peppermint

people go nuts over the soap whenever i give it as a gift. 🙂


have you ever made your own soap?!

 

{twinkles}

24 Dec

happy holidays from me to you! ❤

{the most delicious holiday chocolate!}

18 Dec

i am so grateful for fellow foodie friends who get me! and who send me delicious treats like these decadent holiday-inspired chocolates… that look like logs for a cozy christmas fire! aren’t the beautiful?!

and my goodness they were delicious! 

i’m not certain, but i believe the flavours were :

  • dark chocolate almond
  • dark chocolate w/ sea salt and peppermint filling
  • milk chocolate w/ peanut butter filling

needless to say, they didn’t last too long… 

 

{nyc – through the eye of my camera phone}

17 Jul

i am working on a new volume of “memories in manhattan” and will post one next week… in the meantime, here’s a post about new york to keep the theme going 🙂


i took a trip new york in june… i had been wanting to go back for a visit for quite some time, as it had been about 5 years since i had been there. often times, i think part of me wants to live there again, so i was eager to experience the city once more to see how i felt about being there.

i had a wonderful trip, as i figured i would. the weather was a little ridiculous – as in sweltering hot. but outside of that, it was nice to feel the energy of that amazing city, again. new york has a way of making you feel on top of the world; as if the whole place belongs to you. as an introvert, it’s strange to me that i can be surrounded by people but still feel like i’m in my own little bubble. the “hum” that is always in the background doesn’t feel distracting to me… it’s a strange dichotomy that i have always appreciated.

all that said, i think i realized that i do not wish to live in a place like new york again. i long for a country life – on a farm somewhere, growing food and having lots of animals. of course, that may change – after all, we are human and our desires come and go as we move through life.

it was wonderful to be in new york once more and to walk around and take the subway and just feel the energy… i immediately settled back in to the “way of life” there and even had people asking me for directions – and i knew them! that’s also a good ego boost.

i didn’t pick up my camera too much… i guess because since i lived there for so long, i took so many pictures already and this time i just wanted to kind of experience it in a different way. of course, i did have my camera phone with me – so i captured a lot of snapshots with it.

here is a gallery of fotos from my trip – i hope you enjoy! :

 

until next time…

 

{throwback thursday : manhattan henge}

13 Jul

apparently it’s manhattan henge time… i heard on TV that the big night was last night and tonight it will also be visible.

when i lived in new york, i didn’t think about the fact that you don’t really see sunsets. i guess it didn’t occur to me at the time… but after living in denver and seeing some of the most amazing sunsets ever, i started to realize that i don’t have very many memories of sunsets while i lived in the big city.

anyway, in honour of this twice a year event that happens in new york, i thought i would share these fotos for throwback thursday. i’m super grateful i actually got to experience this… for those of you that may be unfamiliar – only twice a year does the sun line up just perfectly in between the concrete jungle so that it sets right in between the buildings. one can only see this on 34th street, 42nd street, or 57th street… i think i fotographed these images from 34th…

enjoy!


{1500 followers!}

10 Jul

New York City

i am so humbled to have recently welcomed my 1500th{+} follower on this cherished little blog of mine!!

thank you to all of those who have stuck around all this time. and thank you to the newcomers – i want to extend a warm welcome to all of you who chose to hit that ‘follow’ button and come play along as we talk about yummy food and pretty things, whilst taking pictures of it all!

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as a reminder, if you don’t already – please follow me on instagram for the most recent updates on all things food&foto related. {you can also find me on facebook and pinterest.}

i appreciate all the love and support i’ve received over these last 6 years of blogging. i look forward to more adventures to come!

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the most sincere appreciation to all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

—–

 

{saturdays in the garden : volume seven}

8 Jul

just a little update on the garden… my posts are not in “real time,” as it were… i’m several weeks behind in keeping up with what’s going on, currently.

for example, most of what you see in the following fotos, has been pulled from my plot. we are straight up in the heat of summer here in NC, and my tomatoes are just about all that remain. i pulled up all my broccoli, because i didn’t get it in the ground soon enough and it never formed a head. i harvested one beautiful cabbage that i’m currently making sauerkraut with. my cilantro is done… as is my dill and basil, but i planted more of both. i pulled my kale and planted arugula in its place. and my cucumbers are on their last limb, but i must’ve harvested around 200 of them this season. i have pickles for days! 😉

july will be focused on tomatoes. then in mid august, i will plant more cabbage and cucumbers and perhaps try again for more peas later in the month or toward september. i really enjoy making {and eating} sauerkraut, so i intend to plant a lot more cabbage for fall.

meanwhile, here are some pics of what late may/june were like in my plot :

so pretty and ALIVE!

still fascinated by pea tendrils… and i made lots of pesto with my basil!

oh kale, yeah!

harvest!

my beautiful cabbage! Continue reading

{my new camera!}

26 Jun

i bought a new camera!

i have to admit, i felt slightly guilty about it at first, but i also don’t treat myself enough. and although this is a “treat,” it is also an investment.

my other camera is about 10 years old at this point. it is still reliable and does the trick, but it is definitely slower and much heavier than this new one. photography is a funny field in that you can invest as much or as little as you want into it. these days, our smart phones have just as many megapixels as some “professional” cameras. however, it is my belief that no amount of equipment or money can truly substitute for a good eye.

i recently read an article that had a quote that resonated with me :

“walker evans once said, ‘people always ask me what kind of camera i use. it’s not the camera, it’s –‘ and he tapped his temple with his index finger.'”

i can’t help but subscribe to walker evans’ approach to photography. it is my belief that no matter what kind of camera or equipment one uses to capture an image – if it is uninspired, that will be evident, and ultimately translate to the viewer. Continue reading

{memories in manhattan – volume 5}

15 May

even though i don’t miss the winters in the northeast, or winter in general for that matter, i did enjoy the variety of weather that seems to roll in and out of new york. particularly, the evening rain. there’s something about a late night drizzle… it seems calming to me.

as i was looking through old fotos of my days living in new york, i came across a fun memory of a time when some visitors came to town and i helped them squeeze in as many “tourist attractions” as possible, since they were only there for two days. it made me feel pretty cool when they asked for suggestions. maybe because it made me realize that i had been in the city long enough to not only know my way around, but to be somewhat of a tour-guide.

one of my favourite places to visit and view the city was the empire state building. being able to experience the city from that perspective is something to behold. i only visited the empire state building twice during my time living in nyc, and both times were memorable and exciting. this particular night was memorable because it was very cold, and very wet. it was one of those kinds of rain that was almost like a mist, making the visibility low and the mood high.

the way way top

when my friends and i decided to go to the top of the empire state building, we didn’t realize that the very very top would be closed off due to wind and the aforementioned low-visibility. my friends didn’t care, and neither did i. by the time we decided to make our way to the destination, we had already been wandering the city for a good hour, sans umbrella… and it didn’t seem to bother any of us. besides, a huge part of the experience was being together – and for me, seeing the excitement on their faces, and living vicariously through their enjoyment. furthermore, the line was much shorter and there were fewer people on the tour… so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

because of the rain, i found myself taking less fotos and spending more time reveling in and soaking up the moment… and doing my best to keep warm!

if i close my eyes, i can whisk myself away to some of those moments, and revisit and remember the experience so richly.

i love his hoodie

i love my hat

did i mention that these friends of mine are like the empire state building… in that, they are very very tall?!{especially standing next to me – haha!}  😉

 

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