Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pretty Petals

"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
                                         --William Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kitchen Gadgets

So, what did I photograph throughout the winter while not venturing out into the bitter cold?  This image helps answer that question.  Perhaps you ask why I would open a drawer and start taking pictures of forgotten kitchen gadgets -- the answer is simple:  Why not?!  Plus, an added benefit was clearing out those items I have not used in the last ten years.  Anyway, enjoy a look at these glamorous measuring spoons as they shimmer for a moment in the spotlight.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Citrus Trees

In Iowa we are accustomed to apple orchards bearing abundant fruit but in Florida this is the norm with oranges, lemons and so on.  Of course, the guy in the bottom left photo is a statue but I was thinking how nicely that tree is pruned so that he remains at a perfect height in order to easily reach the produce...with our apple trees getting to some of the best fruit is always a challenge! 

Friday, April 25, 2014


"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;
they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors,
and the most patient of teachers."
                             --Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gardens Come to Life

Since Earth Day in these parts was pleasant enough to be outside, I spent some of that day photographing landscapes that are full of early spring bloomers, including "Lenten Roses," pussy willows, "Pasque Flowers" and more.  The colors are gorgeous and, after such a long winter, refreshing.  What's blooming in your garden?

Lenten Rose

Pasque Flower "Little One"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rotary Phone

"When the past calls, let it go to voicemail.
It has nothing new to say."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Yes, Easter is now in the rear-view mirror but I simply thought this was too cute ( and super easy ) not to share.  And, maybe it will inspire you to do something similar for May Day, a birthday gift, Mother's Day or an end-of-the-year gift for a teacher (that your child could probably make...with a little help from you.)


For years I have been admiring the pretty pattern on the inside of this sturdy tea box, but, instead of tossing it in the recycling bin, I finally saved it and did something creative for Easter.  Basically, with a glue tape runner, I rebuilt the box using the existing folds and flaps but in the opposite direction. Since I wanted to use this as a basket, I cut off the top flap; however, if you plan to use it as a gift box, that flap remains intact and there is no need for a handle.  Next I punched a hole in two sides and braided three pipe cleaners to create the handle.  


Next I embellished the sides with scrap paper and stickers that I already had.  Feel free to add whatever you'd like or just leave it as -- your choice!


Once finished decorating the basket/gift box, fill it with whatever you had in mind and be sure to take a picture so you can remember how cute yet easy this project is!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Lilies

The Lilly
--by William Blake
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn:
The humble Sheep, a threatening horn:
While the Lilly white, shall in Love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Prickly: A Lenten Reflection

On the Christian calendar today is Good Friday -- a somber occasion that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ.  In addition, Catholics are asked to fast and abstain from eating meat.  Hence, the photos of spines on a cactus -- a stinging, prickly reminder of the Lenten season and those self-imposed practices that we may have undertaken during the past 40 days. 
For example, again this year, I decided NOT to buy any clothes and/or accessories...not an easy task for someone who likes to shop.  However, I must admit that in denying myself that pleasure I forced myself to truly appreciate the great apparel already in my closet, the neat pieces of jewelry just waiting to be worn and the MANY beautiful scarves stacked in the armoire!  Although I always hate the idea of giving up this shopping privilege, doing so helps me shift my focus from wanting more to being grateful for ALL the blessings that I ALREADY have.  And so, despite feeling a little prickly at first, this exercise is actually a gift to myself that is disguised as something "to give up" for Lent.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Bunny Prepares

As Easter draws near, this photo demonstrates how "The Bunny" prepares to make all those deliveries.  As the short checklist states, safety is important -- just think of all the dogs, cats and other hungry creatures roaming in the dark-- along with a bit of humor.  Sure hope NONE of those special chocolate chips end up in your basket!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time for Tea

"The Muse's friend, Tea, does our fancy aid;
Repress those vapors which the head invade;
And keeps that palace of the soul serene..."
                             --Edmund Waller, "Of Tea"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Take a Walk

Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
"Ride," Pleasure said.
"Walk," Joy replied.
                                                    --W.H. Davies

Monday, April 14, 2014

DIY: Easter Bunny Basket

This is a simple project and a fun way to change the look of a traditional Easter basket.  Use a small brown paper bag, scissors, a few scraps of paper and a marker to create this unique receptacle for candy and all sorts of goodies that 'the bunny' may bring.  Just last week I made these three bunny baskets for early Easter gifts and all ages enjoyed being on the receiving end.  Give it a try!  To see the specific instructions, click on the following link:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mixed Messages

Couldn't resist taking a picture of this scene that tempts passersby with a question about bacon and a just-out-of-the-oven pan of baked poultry yet also reminds them that, since it is a Friday during Lent, they must abstain from eating meat.  After taking it all in and noting the mixed messages, my husband and I enjoyed a good laugh and thought you may enjoy some humor as well.... And, by the way, today is a Friday during Lent.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Art @ Your Library

Tinted Trunks by Stephanie Funke
The current art exhibit at the Carnegie-Stout Library in downtown Dubuque, Iowa, includes my photography as well as handmade glass creations by Barb McKinlay.  Make plans to see these beautiful pieces as the exhibit runs through the last week of May.  Enjoy a glimpse of what awaits you at the library.

Strawberry Sunset by Stephanie Funke

Iowa Skyscraper and A Way of Life by Stephanie Funke

Frosty Morn by Stephanie Funke

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Birthday Wish

Happy birthday!

This is a special birthday greeting for my mother.  And, even though I am sure she won't like how she looks in the photo, this is to let her know that I am thinking of her and appreciate how much she supports my photography endeavors.  Many happy returns, Mom.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Great Vistas

These photos were taken from the observatory atop the John Hancock Center in Chicago.  This structure is located toward the north end of the Magnificent Mile on the city's renown Michigan Avenue.  Therefore, while looking at these images, be sure to notice Lake Michigan flanked by Lake Shore Drive as well as the former Sears Tower in the far upper left corner of the second scene.  Enjoy the views.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Body Art

Currently tattoos are extremely popular and frequently seen everywhere -- on folks in our own communities to the TV screen where athletes, actors, musicians and more have inked anything from symbols to verses to murals on their bodies.  What about you?  Is your bit of body art hidden or quite obvious?  Or, would you never dream of having such a thing? 

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Cold One

Have any weekend plans that involve this cold beverage?  Regardless, I hope you have some time to re-charge your batteries and do whatever you'd like.  As I have announced in two previous posts, including yesterday, this evening is the opening reception for my collection of photos titled Iowa:  Outside My Door -- come if you can!

Anyway, back to this image.  On a foggy morning last winter while in a local park trying to get some cool shots of the heavy mist and shrouded landscape, I walked by a water fountain that was covered in snow and this discarded beer can.  The bright, royal blue caught my eye, so I stopped and snapped a few shots -- another one of those unexpected photo opportunities that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. 

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Way of Life

A Way of Life by Stephanie Funke

This particular image, A Way of Life, is one of about twenty of my photos included in an exhibit that opens tomorrow evening at the Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Public Library.  To see some great pictures of our state and have a look at beautiful glass creations by artist Barb McKinlay, plan to attend the opening reception, Friday, April 4, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., 360 West 11 Street, downtown Dubuque, Iowa.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vote for # 4

This photo, All Hands On Deck, is featured as a finalist in the April/May edition of  Our Iowa magazine's "Iowa People" photo contest.  Specifically, it is on page 61.  And yes, if you are a subscriber, I am asking for your vote.  To do so, send an email to, include "Vote Iowa People" as the subject and "I vote for # 4" in the body of the email.  Or, feel free to send your vote to:  Focus on Iowa Photo Contest, Iowa People Category, Our Iowa, 1606 Golden Aspen Drive, Suite 109, Ames, IA 50010.  Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's April

"Men are April when they woo,
December when they wed.
Maids are May when they are maids,
but the sky changes when they are wives."