Sunday, December 20, 2009

HOLIDAY PUNCH - Don't Try This at Home

This is one of my favorite humorous holiday stories.

But first a little background:

My father was 20 in 1929 when the stock market crashed. A lot of people lost their jobs, but some bosses reduced everyone’s hours so they didn’t have to put people out of work. Therefore, when my father was a young man, he still lived with his parents and worked only a few days a week, as did several of his friends. They spent most of the winter at the Community House, which was much like a YMCA. My father became an excellent gymnast. Summers, they played tennis in an empty lot that they had rigged up with a tennis net. My father also excelled on the makeshift tennis court.
Five of the guys remained friends throughout their lives. One lived in the country and had built a picnic shelter and fireplace in his yard, so we had a 4th of July celebration there each year. Strangely, my family always held a New Year’s Eve party. I say “strangely” because my parents were the only ones who never drank or served alcohol, but since it was a family gathering with the possibility of winter road conditions, perhaps that was a good thing.


My mother worked for weeks to plan each New Year's Eve party down to the last detail. She wanted everything to look beautiful and taste terrific. She, my sister and I spent days cleaning, shopping, decorating, creating holiday cookies, and preparing snacks, appetizers, and hot food for the gathering.
The year I was about 11 or 12, my mother had a brilliant idea for the non-alcoholic punch we would serve. She found a recipe for a red punch. The day before the party, she arranged maraschino cherries in the bottom of a large donut-shaped jello mold and added just a little of the mixture she had prepared for an ice ring and froze that, assuring that the cherries would stay at the bottom of the mold and be on the top when it was turned over into the punch bowl. Then she added the rest of the mixture which was lemonade (so as not to dilute the punch) which had been tinted with green food coloring. When it was frozen, it was supposed to look like a green holiday wreath with red berries.

On New Year’s Eve, we scattered bowls of snacks around the living room and set the dining table with all manner of appetizers. We mixed the red punch in a large glass bowl and set it on the table surrounded by glass cups, but waited until a few guests arrived to add the ice ring that did indeed look like a wreath. It was beautiful in the red punch.
We served punch to the first few guests and then sat in the living room for about twenty minutes before the next family arrived. By the time their coats were off and we were ready to serve them punch, the green ice ring had started to melt.
Unfortunately, the green food coloring melting into the red punch created a shade of gray which looked an awful lot like dirty scrub water. My horrified mother wisked the punch bowl into the kitchen. We found some empty jars to store the punch, and because there was no room in the refrigerator, we placed them in an old coal cellar in the basement to stay cold. My mother quickly mixed some new punch and added ordinary ice cubes.

During the next week, every day my frugal father tried to convince us to drink the punch, but ---although there was really nothing wrong with it except the color ---it was just too awful to look at. My father told us to close our eyes. My mother suggested we donate it to the local school for the blind, but eventually, most of it went down the drain.
Anyone would have had to be punch-drunk to inbibe that swill.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This post is in response
to a writing prompt at
Prompt: "What is one of your life mottoes?"
Click on the link to join in or view other responses.

I actually have dozens of life mottoes. After all there are many aspects to one's life, so one needs a motto for just about everything. So instead of limiting myself to just one, I am making a list, in random order, as I think of them.

Stop to enjoy the wild flowers.

You can do ANYthing you want, but you can't do EVERYthing you want.

Cleanliness is next to impossible.

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform." (Mark Twain)

Love is NOT all you need.

Those who disagree with me are stupid or insane ---probably both.

The best way to stay healthy is not to worry about things.

Live and let live.

If you rest, you rust.

Forget what others think. Do your own thing and have fun doing it.

Virtue is its own punishment.

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." (Robert Heinlein's Lazarus Long)

“The thing about religion is that everybody else’s always appears stupid.” (Dave Barry)

There is no free lunch, but the best things in life are free.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." (Mark Twain)

What goes around, comes around.

"The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter." (Mark Twain)

A closed mouth gathers no feet. (I don't follow this one often, but I agree with it.)

Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

"Most married couples, even though they love each other very much in theory, tend to view each other in practice as large teeming flaw colonies, the result being that they get on each other's nerves and regularly erupt into vicious emotional shouting matches over such issues as toaster settings." (Dave Barry)

I have more of these little gems, so consider this post a work-in-progress. I will add more as I think of them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

MY MOTHER - Part 2

In my previous post, I announced the death of my 95 year-old mother. I am not a religious person, but my mother was. She left written instructions for what she wanted included in her memorial service. I did my best to fulfill her requests.

When my father died in 1982, my mother was disappointed in his memorial service. She commented that the minister had acted like he didn't know my father, said nothing personal about him, and could have said the same service for just about anyone.

When I contacted the current minister, I asked for his email address so I could type my mother's requests for the service. In addition, I wrote a brief summary of her life. I was sure he couldn't include all of the information, but suggested he include anything he thought might interest those in attendance. But he used nearly all the information I gave him, sprinkling it throughout the service, making it a very personal tribute to my mother.

Several friends and relatives who could not be in attendance asked me to send a program from the service, so I am posting the program here. Click on any image to enlarge it.

In addition to the hymns in the program, my mother requested the following hymns to be used as preludes and/or postludes:

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Someday the Silver Cord Will Break

Love Divine

Abide With Me

Near to the Heart of God

Out of Ivory Palaces

Beyond the Sunset

These are the notes I sent to the minister about my mother's life:

Born: 3/18/1914 - Mt. Troy (Pittsburgh, PA)

Her mother, Selma Rotzler (of German decent) married Swedish immigrant William Swanson.

Grace was the second of 4 sisters ---and the last surviving one of the four.

Started school at age 5

Her family moved to Lima, Ohio for a while and her father called her his "little Lima bean."

Later returned to Mt. Troy.

Sickly child ---suffered from rheumatic fever, missed a year of school (at about age 10-12.)

Her father worked for American Bridge.

Her mother was the "go-to" neighbor who helped take care of children when a parent was ill, helped deliver babies, took care of people, gave food to beggars.

Grace had to drop out of school in her teens to work (during the Great Depression.)

Worked for the Clark Candy Company on the North Side.

Worked as a seamstress for a company which made one-of-a-kind gowns for "society ladies." She often told stories of women who would arrive at 6:30 pm for their final fittings while 6 or 8 of the girls would hem their gowns by hand, before the clients ran off to the opera.

Met my father Charles Peiffer (from Spring Hill) at a church conference (Evangelical and Reformed Church, which later became the United Church of Christ). On an old photo that Grace had given Charles in May 1936 she wrote on the reverse, "To Mr. Charles Peiffer from the future Mrs. Charles Peiffer." They were married in June 1940, after dating for more than 4 years. She made her own wedding dress and those of her attendants.

When I was a preteeen, she worked part-time for Kaufmann's department store selling baby clothes.

Taught Sunday school

Active in church women's "Circles"

Was a Girl Scout Leader.

Volunteered for Meals on Wheels

Active in the local Book Club

Worked on the committee that catered wedding receptions at the church

Made most of the clothes for her daughters and herself, even made prom dresses for both daughters and the dresses for her oldest daughter's (Linda, deceased) wedding

Liked to make crafts

Was very frugal ---even reupholstered her own furniture rather than buying new

Did the crossword puzzle in the Pittsburgh Press every day for decades.

Was an avid reader. Often walked with her daughters to the Shaler North Hills Library. Especially liked mysteries by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Agatha Christy. Also enjoyed biographies.

She liked to travel. She and Charles took driving trips across the U.S. and also flew to Hawaii and Alaska, visiting 49 states at least once. (They missed North Dakota) Grace and her youngest sister, Jeanne (pronounced Jeanie) also drove across the country when Grace was in her 80's and her sister in her 70's. Grace also visited England and Sweden.

A few close friends called her Mazie ---short for Amazing Grace.

Charles was the church organist (for both Catholic and Protestant services) at the Western State penitentiary and St. John's Lutheran Church on the North Side. Because we could not attend church at the penitentiary, and we had only one car, we joined the Glenshaw Presbyterian Church after we moved from Spring Hill to the Glenshaw area in 1953.

Grace was happy when Charles retired from being an organist, because they were able to attend church together for the first time in about 30 years. Charles died in 1982. Grace's older daughter Linda died in 1988.

Grace had been a member of the Glenshaw church for about 55 years.

Died peacefully in her sleep: 11/25/2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MY MOTHER: 3/18/1914 - 11/25/2009

My 95 year old mother had been on a waiting list for an assisted living facility for over 14 months. Meanwhile she had in-home help when I couldn't be there.

Her health and dementia had slowly worsened over the past five years, but she seemed to go down hill very swiftly in the last two months. Still, she could dress and feed herself. She took her medications, but someone had to place the correct pills in her daily pill organizer so she would take the right ones. Physically, she was frail, but had very little wrong with her.

Recently, she fell in her home between her day-time and night-time help. We thought she had a stroke because she was not walking and had no recollection of her fall. We took her to the emergency room where it was determined that she did not have a stroke. Although she had only minor physical injuries, they decided to keep her for observation. She was disorientated and very listless, and somewhat dehydrated. She knew she was in the hospital, but did not understand why.

Several days later, she seemed to be doing fairly well ---she was walking short distances with help, feeding herself and alert, although somewhat disoriented. However, her doctor recommended we place her in a nursing home for a month or so after leaving the hospital and we were looking into that.

However, during the early hours of November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving, she died peacefully in her sleep.

My Aunt Jeanne, my mother's youngest sister, died the day before Thanksgiving in 2006. Their grandfather died the day before Thanksgiving in 1946. If I were a superstitious person, I might worry every time that holiday rolled around.

I've been out of touch because of my mother's deteriorating condition, visiting the hospital and taking care of her home and finances. Since her death I have been contacting everyone, arranging a memorial service, taking care of matters (bills, insurance, the will, etc.) helping my niece move into my mother's home, disposing of my mothers' belongings, and dealing with lawyers and probate.

My mother left written instructions that she wanted to be cremated with no viewing, which suited me fine. I have never liked funeral homes and avoid them whenever possible. She requested only a memorial service. Since there was to be no viewing, there was no rush to hold the service. I didn't want to do it over Thanksgiving weekend. The next week, the church was busy with a large meeting and several weddings. Also a good friend of my mother's was having a 100th birthday party that week and I didn't want to put a damper on that, so we scheduled the service for two weeks after her death.

My mother was not well-educated, but she was very smart and well-read. She had many talents. Despite her many excellent qualities, she was not perfect. She had a great sense of humor but also had a dark side that few people saw. Yet, she was a caring person who was involved in a lot of volunteer work. Although she was progressive for her time, she was also a product of her era.

In my next post, I will include a copy of the program from my mother's memorial service and tell you a little about her life.

I previously wrote that I probably would not be blogging after my mother's death until January, but I've been thinking about my mother, so I will probably write some things about my mother and our family. After long months of my mother's decline, I am inspired to affirm life with some creative art and writing, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers,
and Passionate Politics
by Eleanor Herman

Two decades ago while I did graduate work in journalism, I was required to complete a course in journalistic law. It would be a vast understatement to say the text was dry. I frequently dozed off after 15 minutes of reading.
Yet, the boring textbook became fascinating reading when I arrived at the chapters dealing with obscenity. (One particularly amusing legal case was about a state's obscenity law that was so explicit that publishing the text of the law would have broken the law.)
Obscenity has been defined as something that appeals to prurient interests with little or no redeeming social value. I suppose I had prurient interests of which I was formerly unaware.

* * * * * * * * * *

Eleanor Herman's non-fiction book, Sex With the Queen covers roughly 900 years of sexual escapades and adultery by queens and princesses. I had always known that kings had many adulterous liaisons, but I had assumed that queens had little opportunity to be anything but chaste.
Although many ordinary people envied royalty's beautiful attire, rich surroundings and fabulous jewels, the fact is that queens had little freedom and led lonely, boring lives. They lived in foreign countries, far from their native languages and customs, and in most cases never saw family and friends for the rest of their lives. Servants did their work and took care of their children, leaving the queens to do little but embroider all day.
In order to avoid inbreeding and create international liaisons, princes and princesses where betrothed to royalty from other countries, often sight unseen. In some cases, the kings or princes were fat, ugly, uncouth, unfaithful, insane, gay, cold, or even impotent. Frustrated women turned to other men for affection with varying results. Some queens were beheaded, imprisoned, exiled, or sent to convents, and some were tolerated and a few queens even thrived despite their illicit behaviors. Many of the stories are quite funny, like the unfortunate woman who married an impotent king who was so fat that he had his servants roll him through his palace's corridors and insisted that priests say mass in his bedroom but were not allowed to awaken him. Many stories had tragic endings. But whatever the outcomes, the queens' stories made fascinating reading.
The first two chapters of this book give examples of so many kings and queens, some of whom I had never heard of, that my head was spinning. But starting with chapter three, Herman goes into depth about the love affairs of the wives of Henry VIII, Catherine the Great, and many others, up to and including Princess Diana of England who was so desperate for love that her life was vastly more pathetic than I ever imagined.
If your prurient interests may be aroused by the funny, sad, uplifting and tragic tales of historical women who desperately sought love despite potential consequences, I highly recommend this well-researched and very readable book.

Other books by Eleanor Herman:
Mistress of the Vatican, also an excellent read, about Olimpia, the woman ---way ahead of her time ---who ran the Vatican while her indecisive brother-in-law was pope during the mid 1600s
Sex With Kings, which will be the next book I will read by this author

Friday, November 6, 2009

WEEKLY COCKTAIL - Friday Flash 55

This post is in response to
The idea is to write a story in exactly 55 words.
Click on the yellow link above to join the fun or read others’ stories.

He grilled salmon.
She cooked beans.
He set the table.
She prepared a salad.
He poured the vodka.
She mixed tomato juice, Worchestershire, lemon and tobasco.
They clinked glasses and sipped their Saturday-night Bloody Mary.
While she drank the juice mixture, he consumed the shot of vodka.
It was the secret to their happy marriage.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I got this meme from Jenners at Find Your Next book Here, who got it from As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves, who got if from someone else.

What To Do: Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Please note that since I used only books I read this year (I keep a list) not all of these answers are absolutely true and some are a "stretch" as an answer to the question. But it was fun to do, so try it yourself and leave a comment with a link to your answers.

Describe yourself: The Partly Cloudy Patriot (Sarah Vowell) non-fiction

How do you feel: Cause for Alarm (Erica Spinder)

Describe where you currently live: Point Blank (Catherine Coulter)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? The White House Connection (Jack Higgens)

Your favorite form of transportation: Gone Tomorrow (Lee Child)

Your best friend is: Mistress of the Vatican (Eleanor Herman) non-fiction

You and your friends are: The Wordy Shipmates (Sarah Vowell) non-fiction

What’s the weather like: Dark of the Moon (John Sandford)

You fear: Shadow of Power (Steve Martini)

What is the best advice you have to give: The Whole Truth (David Baldacci)

Thought for the day: Damage Control (J.A. Jance)

How I would like to die: Sudden Mischief (Robert Parker)

My soul’s present condition: Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) non-fiction

I have read fewer books this year than probably any year in a decade (only 24, so far.) I blame it on spending most of my time blogging.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


This short story is in response to
Click on the above link to join in or read other entries.

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word mega-challenge.

Mega challenge:
family, cheese cake, 20 years ago, refrigerator, laugh and the world laughs with you, bath brush, zombies, African violets, butterflies, holding hands, monsters in the closet, roughly, bowling, menu, Pennsylvania
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

If I stood in a bowling lane and kept rolling balls at the ten pins in the lane in front of me, I would eventually knock them all down, and it probably wouldn’t take me very long to do it. If, however, I were in lane 1, and moved to lane 3, then back to 2 and on to 5 in the bowling alley, it would take me forever to complete my task in the first lane.
That is how the artistic, right-brained mind works.
I can’t start a task and, like a zombie, walk unconsciously through it to its end. No, not me. I jump from task to task. I may complete a task, but it takes forever, sort of like driving from Illinois to Texas, but getting sidetracked through Pennsylvania and Oregon along the way.
I’ve been this way since I was a child. It drove my left-brained family crazy. It took me all day to complete my chores and my room always looked like I had purposely thrown everything I owned into the air just to see where it landed.
Twenty years ago, I thought that as I got older, my organizational skills would improve. Instead they have worsened, so I have decided to accept my incompetence and find the humor in it. As they say, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.”

Let me take you through a simple task. Last Sunday, I decided I absolutely had to read the Wordzzles from Saturday and comment on them. After lunch I headed to my computer, determined that I would not be distracted.
The night before, I had placed some papers on my keyboard to remind me to fill them in. On Monday I had an appointment with a new doctor who had sent me forms about my medical history. I didn’t want to forget them, so I decided to do that first. I already had documents on my computer with medical-history lists, so I opened those to see if they were up-to-date. Two medications had changed, so I headed upstairs to find the bottles to spell the names correctly and find the dosages.
As I passed the refrigerator, I thought I better see what we had for dinner that night. I found leftover pork chops. I grabbed a plastic bowl and headed to the garden to pick what remained of our pole beans.
I returned to my computer to check out the Wordzzles. But, oops, I hadn’t gotten the information from the medicine bottles. On the way, I picked up something that belonged in the closet in the dressing room. But there were monsters in the closet that suckered me into searching for a pair of slacks I couldn’t find. I eventually gave up and headed toward my medications.
In the bathroom, I felt a cold wind coming in the window, so decided to close it, but it had rained for several days, so it was swollen. I looked around for a tool. I figured the bathbrush wouldn’t help, so I found a rubber mallet in a kitchen drawer to bang it shut.
While in the bathroom, I decide to use the facilities, I grabbed a magazine. I browsed articles on butterflies and houseplants. I decided that African violets were too much work, so I chose to forget about any exotic plant life for the house.
Returning to the computer, I realized I had left the post-it note with the names and dosages of my medications in the bathroom. After retrieving it, I revised and printed the information for my doctor. Then I filled out the forms by hand, writing “see attached” when it asked about medical and surgical history and medications.
After placing those with my purse, I was ready for Wordzzle. But then my husband came in to ask if I could help him in the garage. Before retiring, he ran an automotive computer diagnostic service there, so it is not just a garage, it is a G-A-R-A-G-E.
We’ve been havng some car troubles. He was moving some of his other projects out of the way to make room to work on a vehicle. He wanted to store an old car engine in the second-story storage area, so he needed to pull the chain to raise it, while I steadied the 500 pound motor his hoist was holding. Hands down, that hoist is one of the most useful items in his G-A-R-A-G-E.
My husband asked if I had received an email response about an online order that hadn’t arrived. So I checked my email, deleting 37 pieces of junk mail, filing 12 messages to read later, and answering five messages from friends. While I was at it, I decided I might as well check my other two email accounts. I found two messages from friends in Brazil, so I used to help me write responses and translate them because my Portuguese is rusty.
Then I realized that I had paid for my mother’s Meals On Wheels up through the week that just ended. So I wrote a check and walked to the post office (a block away) so it would go out on Monday.
As soon as I arrived back at the house, my famished husband came in from the G-A-R-A-G-E and asked what was on the menu for dinner. He rinsed the beans and placed them into the top of a steamer and threw the cooked chops into the microwave while I sliced cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad. Lacking something wonderfully obscene like cheesecake, we would have fruit and yogurt for dessert.
We ate dinner while watching a so-so Jimmy Stewart screwball comedy (You Gotta Stay Happy) stopping it once to clean up the kitchen. After the movie, my husband had a few more tasks for me in the G-A-R-A-G-E, including removing rust from tools with a wire brush and polishing some of them with silver polish. (He is a little obsessive about his G-A-R-A-G-E tools.)
After my husband went to bed, I logged into my blog. I found several comments I needed to moderate, some from Friday Flash 55, which reminded me I needed to read and comment on some of those.
Roughly twelve hours after I had first turned on my computer, I clicked on the link to Raven’s blog and pulled up someone’s Wordzzle. Before I read two sentences, I remembered I had promised an organization I belong to that I would set up a blog for them by Monday. At 6 am Monday morning, I went to bed. I might get five hours of sleep before I had to get up for my doctor’s appointment.
The rest of the week was pretty much a repeat of Sunday, so I still haven’t read all of the Wordzzles from last week. (Sorry.) As you can see, I am organizationally impaired and suffer boggled-mind syndrome.


The above is 90% true. I had to fudge a few magazine articles to fit in butterflies and African violets, but I did read two articles in the bathroom that day. We hoisted some big-ass piece of machinery in the G-A-R-A-G-E but I didn’t know what it was called and my husband was already in bed while I wrote this, so I made it into a car engine since we have hoisted several into the storage area on earlier occasions. But the details don’t matter. The pattern is what is important.
The above describes the motif of my life. It sometimes brings me wonderful and unexpected surprises, but it also frustrates me, and those around me, to no end.


That being said, I am going to take a hiatus from Wordzzle for a few weeks. I have some projects I have been postponing including some digital photo retouching and freelance art work. I will try to get back to last week's Wordzzles that I missed to add comments. I’ve neglected laundry, mail, bills, my husband and the cat.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Friday, October 2, 2009

RUST BELT - Friday Flash 55

This post is in response to
The idea is to write a story in exactly 55 words.
Click on the yellow link above to join the fun or read others’ stories.

His VW seemed to be held together with wires and duct tape. Large patches of rust covered the hood and driver’s door. Rust had eaten several holes all they way through the metal.

But Max was sixteen and it was his first car, so to him it was as good as a shiny new Porsche.

My first car was a $300 used Corvair ---you know the one Ralph Nader decided was unsafe at any speed. I needed it to get to my student-teaching assignment each day. There was a hole in the back-seat floor, so passengers could watch the asphalt zip by. On Mother's Day 1967, on my way back to college, I was rear-ended at a stop sign which forced my car into the one ahead of it, totaling the car. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

I purchased my next car in August of 1969 after I returned home from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps. It was a spanking new Volkswagon Beetle which my new husband totalled in 1971.

Luckily my run of bad luck with cars ended then.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Thursday, October 1, 2009


(Click on images for larger views.)

Now you can purchase matted prints of CJ's original art work and pay by PayPal.

Each print is hand-signed by the artist and matted to fit a standard-sized frame (in the U.S.) so it will fit an inexpensive frame from a discount store or one you have custom-made.

Shipping is free to anywhere in the U.S. If you want it shipped elsewhere, please send an email message for additional shipping costs:

You must have a valid email address and a PayPal account.

NOTE: Colors may vary somewhat from what you see here due to our scanner and your monitor settings.

Purchase procedures:

1. Choose the print you want.

2. Send an email to to reserve the print. Please do not email us unless you fully intend to make a purchase.

Each item is unique. There is only one available, with that exact image and matt color combination. In order to avoid two people purchasing the same item, you must reserve the item by sending an email with "Print Purchase" in the subject line and the Title and Item Number of the image you want in the message. In the unlikely case of duplicate requests, the first email received will be able to purchase that item.

3. Once we receive your request, we will respond to tell you that the item has been reserved for you. (If you do not hear from us immediately, please be patient. Occasionally, we must be away from our computer for up to 5 days at a time, but very rarely.) We will add a SOLD sign to the item on this post.

4. MAKE PAYMENT: Come back to this post within 5 days. Based on the size of the print, use the pull-down box at the bottom of this post to choose the purchase price. Then click on BUY NOW. If payments are not received within 5 days, the SOLD sign will be removed and the item will again be available to others.

5. Once payment has been received, your print will be mailed within 7 days.
Shipping is free within the United States.

6. Questions???
1) Questions of a general - add a comment to this post.
2) Specific questions about your order - send an email to

(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Matt Sizes

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"The Makeover"
(©2001, C.J. Peiffer)

Digital Photo Retouching
Payments accepted through PayPal
cropping - resizing
lighten, darken or add contrast
color correction or brighten colors
remove blemishes, flaws, stray hairs, spots, lint - even skin tone
add spots of color to black and white photos
change from color to black and white
change from color or black and white to sepia
tint a black and white image with cheek or lip color
change to a monochromatic image (shades of blue, for example)
remove glare from eyeglasses - enhance smile
correct "red eye" - open closed eyes
soften wrinkles, lines, dark circles - lighten or darken hair
change or remove background
change a photo into a pen and ink drawing, a work of pop-art, or other artistic image
in a group photo, replace a face with one from a different photo
if one person is missing from a group photo, it may be possible to add him/her from a different photo
touch up, repair tears, discoloring, or missing pieces of antique photos


(such as those taken by a professional photo studio unless they are at least 75 years old.)
We do not accept professional-looking photographs.

Pro Artz does not accept any nude or pornographic images nor "suggestive" images of minors.
Pro Artz respects your privacy, however we may be obliged to release private information if you send photos that depict illegal activity, including (but not limited to) child pornography, terrorism, hate crimes, abuse, violence, or drug usage.

****** By placing an order, you are certifying that you own the copyright or have the permission of the copyright holder to modify the photo(s) you send. ******


To take advantage of the Pro Artz digital photo retouching services, follow these steps:

1. Use the comment section of this post to write a comment.
    It should begin with "DO NOT POST" ---I monitor all comments and will not post it for others to see.
    Include your name and email address and tell me what you would like done to your photo.
    I will reply via email. You will then have my email address.

2. Scan your photo(s) or send a digital file from your camera
300 ppi (pixels per inch) preferred
3. Attach photo(s) to an email message with "Photo Retouch" in the subject line. Send it the email from which I sent you a message.
maximum attachment size per email 25 mb (you may send any number of photos as long as the total does not exceed 25 mb in one message)
if you are sending several photos, you may have to send them in separate email messages if the total exceeds the 25 mb limit
NOTE: your own email server may have a smaller mb limit for sending/receiving attachments. If your limit is smaller than the size of your attachment, choose one of these options:
1) Best choice: go to to set up a gmail account (it takes only a few minutes) that will allow attachments up to 25 mb
2) Another option: reduce the dimensions of the photo and/or reduce the dpi to 200
4. In your email message, explain, in detail, what you want to have done to the photo.

5. Pro Artz will reply to your email with an estimate of the cost of services based on the time it may take to complete the job.
Standard pricing:
$12 minimum for up to 30 minutes
$3 for each additional 15 minutes
(Currently our pricing goes to 2 hours and 45 minutes; if you have a large order or very difficult problem, we can add another pricing button for higher costs.)
If the cost will run over the estimate by more than $3, we will email you for approval. We usually estimate a little high in case we run into unforeseen problems. The final bill may be less than the estimate and never more than $3.00 more unless we have contacted you.
Because everything is done by email, there are no shipping charges and services can be provided to anyone in the world who has a valid email address and a PayPal account.

Save by sending more than one photo at a time.
We found no other photo retouching service which will reduce prices in this way.
Example: If you send two photos a month apart, and it takes 1 hour to retouch each, the cost will total $36 for two 1-hour jobs. If you send both with the same order or on the same day, we will charge you for one 2-hour job which will be a total of $30.
         If you have very simple jobs, for example five photos that simply need a few tweaks, send them on the same day.  Instead of charging a minimum of $12 for one photo for up to 30 minutes, it is possible it will take only 30 minutes to complete all five.
6. You will have 15 days to agree to accept our estimate.
If you do not accept the estimate, we will delete your photo scan(s) after 15 days. Keep a copy for yourself in case you want to resubmit it later.

7. Unless we inform you otherwise, you should expect your photo to be retouched within 10 days of your acceptance of the estimate, usually much faster. Ask about additional costs for rush orders.

8. When the retouching is complete, we will attach the retouched photo(s) to an email. Each retouched photo will have a Pro Artz "watermark" on it until payment is received.
If you are satisfied, go to step #9.
If not, reply to the email with additional requests to improve the photo.

9. PAYMENT - Once you are satisfied with the retouched photo, come back to this post to make your payment by clicking on the pulldown box at the bottom of this post and choosing the appropriate payment amount. Then click BUY NOW.
Once the payment is received, we will email the retouched photo(s) without the Pro Artz watermark. Unlike some other companies, we do not retain the copyright on the retouched image. The emailed file will be yours and you may print as many copies as you wish. You may give copies of the file to friends or relatives, too.
      If you wish to have more work done on it, it is your responsibility to save the file (preferably in at least 2 places, for example, on your hard drive, and on a DVD and/or on a flash drive.)

1) If the question is of a general nature, leave a comment for everyone to see.
2) If the question is specific to a particular photographic problem or a specific order, leave a comment that begins with "DO NOT PUBLISH." 
Please be advised that it may take several days to get back to you because occasionally, we are away from our computer for a few days at a time. Once a year, usually (but not always) in August or September we are on vacation for 2-4 weeks and although we may have internet access, we prefer not to be tied to our computers while on vacation.
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)

Digital Photo Retouching