alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips: Blog http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:21:00 GMT Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:21:00 GMT http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u816141534-o94937978-50.jpg alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips: Blog http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog 90 120 Last One??? http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/last-one The joys of RETIREMENT are great!  I have time to do what I want but I really miss the connection with families that I cared for in my previous professional life.  This birth session, due to loss of those connections through work, may well be my last but certainly, as all, very rewarding.

I had the honor of working with a young lady quite a while back: young but very professional, caring and courteous; really a pleasure to interact with and mature for her years.  She married a young man serving our country (and he still does), moved away for a while and was told she would probably never have children.  Well, fortunately, sometimes the experts are wrong! 

This is their third child and I have been with them with each.  As I edited the images, captured during such an intense time, I had difficulty deciding on the theme.  Color, Black and White, muted tones??  The music they chose helped with animation but what finally made my decision easy was remembering a Halloween party where she dressed all in white as an Angel: unusual for that particular holiday but so appropriate for her.  Even though years have passed and her beauty has become more mature: I think motherhood has only enhanced that beauty...

I wish all my birth families can hold on to the wonder of their own most special times forever and cannot express my Thanks for letting me be a very small part of each miracle!

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/last-one Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:21:21 GMT
Rescued! http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/rescued untitled-117untitled-117 untitled-118untitled-118 untitled-119untitled-119 untitled-120untitled-120 Each time we find old quilt tops, Billy and I seem to have the same conversation: how old it looks, what kind of fabrics were used, how it was pieced and the always unanswerable question of who.   Who made it, how old was she (or maybe he), who was it made for and how did such a treasure end up wadded up in a musty corner with old tools, chipped pottery and rusted relics of previous lives.

It is nice to have friends who don't mind listening to tales of where we picked up a particular top and appreciate the questions and suppositions of the most rugged acquisition.  It helps if that person does not mind prowling some of the less than attractive places in search of whatever trash might be our latest treasure.  So when such a friend expressed an interest in a particular top, I promised to quilt it up just for her. 

The perfect time seemed to be during my confinement after knee replacement.  This was a nice project that could be done little by little.  I was surprised how fast it went probably because there was very few areas of deterioration like many old tops and quilts have.  It was obvious that the maker was skilled in hand piecing, especially with such small curved pieces and the colorful arrangement of scraps used.  And you know all those questions about who, where and when?  They just rolled through my mind with every line of stitches, still unanswerable. 

After all was done and this top fused with the batting, backing and binding, I realized that I had "rescued" an amazing top and that unknown but now honored quilter?  Well in some ways, she rescued me by helping me heal while staying focused on her legacy. 

Now, her quilt will have a home where value is placed on objects with a past instead of the new and glittered.  Elizabeth has lived in and cared for a majestic old home with all its beauty and problems for many years.  this quilt, as everything in her home will be used and treasured more by her than whomever the unknown maker originally intended as the recipient. 

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/rescued Sun, 07 Sep 2014 16:31:51 GMT
rags http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/rags untitled-17untitled-17 untitled-18untitled-18 Billy and I love to ramble about in flea markets and antique shops while traveling or in the Winter when outside activities are less than comfortable.  Some of our favorite places are the small out of the way, Mom and Pop junk places and every now and then, we will come across some unique items.  Old quilts, new quilts, quilt blocks and quilt tops are often tossed in boxes or draped as display.  While many are beyond what I would want to use, I have found a few that were easily repaired or just needed washing to bring them back to usable.

When I was waiting for my quilting machine to come, we ran across a little shop just inside the eastern Alabama line, probably less than 2000 square feet of the  ubiquitous metal garage type store with some interesting at a distance metal stuff in the yard.   Not really much of interest inside and we thought it was another bust but on the way out: there it was!  A quilt top so scrappy that I snatched it up and gladly paid $15 just for the old fabrics.  I thought , worst case, it would make a good practice piece for my Sweet Sixteen.  In the car, we noticed a bit of odor, not unusual when something comes out of a hot box full of ancient cast offs.  By the time we got home, I realized my "find" was just a rag.  It was string pieced of hundreds of totally different types, weaves and colors of cotton flour sacks, linen and yeah: double knits!!  I washed it and it raveled even more than it did in that antique shop bin.  So I stuffed it away, thinking I could use it as a real rag or stuffing in the dog beds I seemed to constantly make.

Time passes and I did clean out some of those rag bag collections in the interest of not being featured an the HOARDERS show.  And there it was...I ironed and patched and folded the edges of the totally crooked mismatched squares, put it on backing and cotton batting and set it up on the quilter,  There was not a straight line or complete seam in the whole piece.  I remembered advice from my longarm quilter regarding how hard it is to quilt some poorly pieced tops and then I went to work.

675,000 stitches later, with the binding applied, I really thought "What a complete waste of time"! I did not buy anything to finish the quilt but used leftover batting and backing.  Even the binding was a remnant so I realized my experience with the worst ever top was valuable.  I stuffed it in the washer and then dried it on hot and heavy duty.  When the dryer buzzed, Billy took it out and I heard a big WOW!  The miracle of closely stitched thread in all cotton washed, dried and shrunken turned my pile of scrap into a crinkled rainbow of warmth and comfort.  Everytime this process happens, I am surprised and then remember why I am a quilter!

 

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) quilt rescued top http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/rags Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:32:05 GMT
Biscuits http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/biscuits I don't always eat biscuits but when I do, I make them totally from scratch.  No, these are not my Grandma's biscuits but I think they are really much better.  Or maybe I  now attach more importance to really good biscuits: there are several famous biscuit places and many are really good, some totally suck.  For instance, Cracker Barrel serves a lot of good food but their biscuits are the worst and as close to NWTC as anything gets. (For those who do not understand NWTC means Not Worth the Calories.)  And as good as Hardee's are, the location closest to us has evidently recently had a biscuit maker change: even worse than Cracker Barrel.  So I decided to really work on making the best biscuits ever, right at home.  And due to popular request, I am going to teach YOU how to make almost foolproof biscuits.  With some practice, you will be making biscuits at home too.

INGREDIENTS

Substitute at your own risk.  I have tried several different brands and list the ones I think make a difference.  For us, we do not often eat biscuits but when we do, only the best are WTC.  Measure precisely (except for flour).

Butter, yes REAL butter.  Lands of Lakes Sweet Cream Butter or my favorite real Amish butter direct from the farm.

   1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup  or 1 stick and 1/2 stick

Buttermilk, Whole, any brand   Do not attempt to use sweet milk.

  1 cup

Large eggs, two

Sugar, real white granulated sugar

   1 tablespoon

Flour: Martha White Hot Rize Self Rising Flour

   2 cups plus more as needed.

 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

 

Use a glass 2 cup measure.  Melt one stick of butter in the microwave just to the point where there is a little solid left. DO NOT totally melt or cook your butter.  You want semisolid butter.

Pour buttermilk into the measuring cup with the butter until you have 1 and 1/2 cups totally volume.  Stir gently with a fork and immediately place the cup with the fork in the freezer.

Measure 2 cups of flour, eggs and sugar in the mixing bowl.  Gently stir together to incorporate well.

Get your biscuit pan ready.  I use a 9 x 13 metal pan lined with aluminum foil.  Put the remainder of the butter in your pan and place in the hot oven.

The butter and buttermilk should be semisolid again at this point.  Remove from the freezer and stir gently to make small globules of butter interspersed in the buttermilk.  Gently incorporate the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.

At this time, your pan should be ready with the other butter melted.  Remove from the oven and place on a hot pad or towel on the counter near your work are.

I use a large piece of foil or parchment paper on the counter for easy clean up.  Put about a half cup of flour on the foil and turn the flour mixture into the flour.  Add a little flour on top and gently flatten the mixture, turn and flatten again.  DO NOT KNEAD like bread dough.  If you knead you will make your biscuits  hard.  The object is to flatten and turn, adding flour until you can handle a biscuit sized piece at the point where it almost falls apart when you pick it up.  When you think you have reached this point, flatten to about 1 inch thick and use your favorite cutter.  Mine is a glass that has a 2 and 3/4  inch rim.  You could also use the pinch method to shape your biscuits, just remember to not handle them too much.  Put each biscuit in the pan and don't throw away those little edges that are not perfect biscuits: they are really good bite sized morsels of biscuit that everyone will want!  I then put about a thin quarter sized pat of butter on top and proceed to bake. 

If your oven is really hot, you might want to drop the temp to 400 degrees after 10 minutes.  At 425, my biscuits are done to my preference in 32 minutes.  You have to decide what you want but if you stick a fork into the side of a biscuit, you should be able to lift up and see that the center is fluffy and done before you take them out.  I always butter what I want straight out of the oven.  Yeah, butter again!  You see why I don't make biscuits everyday???

Keep in mind that you may not have perfect biscuits the first time but with just a little practice and attention to detail, you will succeed!

 

To see pictures of a biscuit baking session, go to www.alabamababy.com>Photography>Galleries>Celebrations>Events>Biscuits. http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/p537753330

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) Scotia's Biscuits http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/biscuits Tue, 24 Dec 2013 19:30:13 GMT
Applecore http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/applecore  

Always, as long as I can remember, I have needed something in my hands.  Not just  a toy or a memento or even a stone  as other children commonly hold but something to make, to draw, to sew, to knit: to shape into something other than the original components.   And I loved to involve others in my projects.  Usually the others were unwilling, uninterested or just disappointed that often the results did not reflect the vision of the project.

So when my friend and employee asked to learn to quilt, I wholeheartedly embraced the lessons.  Shirley Garrigan was a sweet soul, but could be a tigress when necessary and was a simple woman who had overcome disappointments far larger than any possible poor outcome of our spontaneous quilting bee.  She was the perfect victim for a frustrated crafty teacher like me and we spent several hours just planning and looking at quilting books.  Finally she chose a design to use paper piecing and accommodate parts of our mutual vast collection of scraps and other failed sewing projects.  Shirley, being the most frugal person I can recall, decided that we were not going to buy anything to make this quilt.  I copied and cut the pattern pieces and we cut hundreds of fabric pieces and set to work.  During our lunch time and any other time when we had to business in our office, we stitched and chatted about our children, our men, our dreams and everything that we wished had been different in our lives.  It seemed that each scrap was a reminder of something and as we sewed these memories together, I had no idea that time was really flying for Shirley.  We started our pieces in 1996 and by her death at the end of 1998; we had made a coverlet sized top with several unpieced remnants.

As time passed, I added those remnants to the top and recalled many of our conversations but not nearly enough of the details.  I wish that I had recorded those conversations, especially since there were so many things I could tell her daughter if I had known how important they would be.  What I do remember most about Shirley is her loving spirit, her unexpectedly salty humor and her total acceptance of my teaching while she was the one actually teaching me.  She often expressed that she wanted so much for her children, particularly her young daughter April. She also worried for her sons, the biological and the stepson with no difference in her love for them both.

Several years ago, I dragged out the pieces and added a border and prepared the top for quilting.  I put it back in the closet and forgot about it.  Recently, while attempting to learn order, I pulled all my many quilt tops out and made arrangements to have them long-arm quilted.  So just in time for April to graduate with honors from the Auburn Nurse Practitioner program, I was able to give her a piece of the time her mother and I stitched our musings into a hodgepodge of cotton.

I would like to think my beloved friend would be pleased with the quilt.  I know she would be totally thrilled with her beautiful, intelligent and educated daughter.   April sweetly said this quilt was the best present ever but I disagree.   Shirley gave me the best presents ever: her love and her daughter.

Shirley Garrigan died from Marfan Syndrome.  For more information see www.marfan.org

For information about the APPLECORE design, BING has great images and instructions if you search for applecore quilts.

For  long arm quilting by Joyce Davis, contact me at scotiaphillips@msn.com.2013-4

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/applecore Sat, 11 May 2013 02:09:03 GMT
Overalls http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/overalls untitled-1 In my Family, our babies come home from the hospital in overalls.  Since my first nephew Lucas was born in February of 1983, followed by my first son Jordan and four more brother cousins in the next five years, this specific pair of overalls has been worn.  After the last, the overalls were stored carefully in waiting for the next generation. 

So when my great nephew Grayson was born (wait a minute: why is my brother’s GRANDson  not my GRANDnephew?? But that is a different conversation.) in December of 2011, the overalls were removed from their storage place in preparation for his first car ride to his new home.  When we learned we would again be gifted with another boy, the overalls were passed to Jonathan James.

But now, we have a new life coming in this new batch of babies, the overalls required the addition of pink trim:  we are having a girl baby!  Of course, all babies are most precious, even those stinkin’ boys, but this girl baby is long awaited.

Moira will be the first girl in just shy of 57 years when she arrives sometime in July of 2013.  We are certainly no more in love with her than all our wonderful boys but the pink rick rack on the overalls?  Well just imagine that is only the start of a whole new kind of wardrobe,  toys  and accessories for this boy rich/girl poor family!

And just in case the next baby reverts back to our usual, I can easily remove that pink stuff…

 

ADDENDUM:  Moira got here on July 10, 2013, an auspicious as it is also the birthday of her Great Grandmother Myra Davis Edwards and her Grand Aunt Wanda Davis Hoffman.  I seems these overall swallow her but we have continued the tradition.  Can't wait to see who the next baby will be!

 

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/5/overalls Sat, 04 May 2013 11:23:00 GMT
Tribute to Baby http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/tribute-to-baby Everyone knows their Dog is absolutely the best ever and I have been fortunate to have many wonderful dogs.  But of all, Baby must have been the greatest: loving, gentle and ferocious all together.  From the very earliest age whn Jakey picked her, the runt of a purebred litter, without the characteristics to make her a registrable Lab, we knew she was special.  Her seal-slick coat and tiny nose that burrowed into his shoulder as we drove home just cemented that bond.  All through her long life, she constantly showered everyone she loved with devotion.  She was a staunch defender when she believed her humans were at risk.  As a photographer, she was my challenge since she always appeared to be in the spotlight: just because she loved children and they loved her. 

This series with Josie and Aaron was totally unscripted: I shoot constantly and hope to capture the emotion of the moment.  With these three, it was just there from the first shot.  A curious two-year old and her handsome 10 year old brother were the perfect foil for the aging grayed lady.

I hope her influence for the last six months on Woof and Zena gives them some small measure of her spirit. If so, I will again be that most fortunate human: one totally loved by Dogs.

Josie and BabyJosie loves Baby

 

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/tribute-to-baby Wed, 22 Feb 2012 11:23:28 GMT
Hello! http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/hello- I am very excited about Zenfolio now having a BLOG for my photography integrated with my website!  My previous attempst at blogging have been cumbersome and tedious and really did not accomplish anything.  For me, the whole purpose of a blog is to let you know a little about my photography: what I have done, what I am planning to do and what I hope the future will bring.  Of course, a picture is worth more than a thousand words but sometime a thousand words (or much less) just brings more information and background to photos.  When I see other photographers' work I want to know who, what, when, where and how.  Maybe you don't want to know that about my photography so if you don't, just go somewhere else on this enourmous unlimited resource known as the world wide web!

So, for me, I am looking forward to happy blogging and I will keep you informed as I go. 

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scotiaphillips@msn.com (alabamababy photography Scotia Davis Phillips) http://alabamababy.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/hello- Fri, 17 Feb 2012 16:46:02 GMT