Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Valentinesey Day

Are you getting ready for Valentines Day? Have you been creating wonderful vignettes around your home? Or playing with fabrics and textures to create a one of a kind special something for your special someone? Me too!

Sat down with a few of my favorite Somerset magazines . . .

They are just full of lovely photos . . .

And inspiration . . .

To pour over . . .

That get your mind to thinking . . .

And your creative juices to flowing . . .

Reminding me of projects left unfinished . . .

Recently I've been working on this . . .

Paper mache takes time . . .

What are you going to create today?

My husband asked me what I was going to do today . . . I had to laugh when I told him "homework!"

I'm having trouble posting a link for a button up on my sidebar for a fabulous giveaway to share with you. So I'll tell you about her instead. Miss Gracie's House is having a fabulous, fabulous giveaway!
I'm going to win so you really needn't bother to enter . . .  Go visit her. Get ready to drool! :)

Have a good day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just a Big Sigh . . .

My refuge.
Where I can escape the trials and tribulations of life.
Where I can just be "me". No worries.

It's clean right now . . . won't be for long.

Right now, I'm just kind of contemplating life.
How quickly it can be taken from us.
How . . . in an instant . . . things could change.

How I am very happy to be me.
How I am thrilled with my life - just the way it is.
I really couldn't ask for more.

Sometimes, when something happens to you,
when your life really does flash before your eyes,
you come to appreciate the little things.
Like picking up the phone to find it's your 24 year old son
just calling to say "Love you Mom."
Couldn't have come at a better time . . .
I needed to hear those words.
My "experience" was this morning . . .
but it's just hitting me now, hours later, how things
really could've turned out quite differently.

I'll say this - my cute little red car worked like
the Energizer Bunny today.
It took a HUGE licking, and kept on ticking -
didn't even miss a beat. Thank you Infiniti!

All is well. I'm going to have a glass of wine
(I know it's only Monday but tonight, I deserve one)
and go play in my playroom.

Love you all! Hugs your kids.
And your folks. And your better half.

Two posts - one day. Wow.
What a difference a day can make.


Men! and a giveaway!

First off - the adorable Miss Barb at Bella Vista is having a giveaway! For all us Rooster lovers, this is just too cute! And even though I already won one of her giveaways, she said I get to play again. :)

Scoot on over and enter to win!

Second. Men. Sometimes they just don't get it. You have to honestly wonder why they sometimes do what they do. Course . . . since I started blogging, he's wondering why I do what I do too, so I guess it's a trade off! But still - come with me as I take you on a tour of our master bathroom . . .

Yes! It needs updating but that just isn't in the cards right now.  There is waaaayyyyy too much gold brass in here - but . . . someday! It really is a very, very comfortable room. (Is a bathroom a room?)

Entering from the bedroom - the double doors are the HUGE closet.
What? A picture of in there? Are you out of your mind?
Maybe another day . . .  (hehehe)

Love my pink and shiney phoof.
(Whoops,  new candle! Don't look at the wrap . . . )

Sorry. Had to play with just a few of the shots.
I wish I had different frames to choose from . . .

Well, I was going to accidentally get in one of the shots eventually
with all the mirrors . . . so might as well just get it over with.
Why do we stand so goofy when taking pictures?
Does it make it a better picture? :)

So do you see what's wrong, other than the gold brass?

What is he lining these up for?
So that every morning I get to squish them
and place them here? Just outside the door?

We have this little min-bar in between the master bedroom
and the master bath.
I know it looks funny - but the recycling basket is handy here.
And yes, here in California, everyone recycles . . . everything.

So tell me, why can't he smoosh the bottles himself?

Like I said . . . men! They sometimes just don't get it.

"WHO DAT (dancing a jig) WHO DAT". Who dat goin' to the SUPERBOWL!!!! (Sorry Favre!)
I've never seen anything more beautiful than that funny shaped ball sailing through those goal posts for a measly three points to win the game. OH YEAH! Did you hear me screaming? Jodie did, all the way to Louisiana!

Hey, if it can't be the Chargers, it's gotta be the Saints. :)

Have a good day everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ezines!!!!! A set of on-line classes!

Oh boy! I am so excited!

Bryanna from The Canary's Cupcake clued me in on a set of wonderful new online craft classes! You should see them! Four in all! Cutie-pie named Cassandra at My Artful Adventures is offering them and they look wonderful and fun, sugar coated and YUMMY! I can't wait! Look at all the wonderful crafts we are going to learn! GASP! Just in time for Valentines Day and Easter! I've always wanted to learn how to do this!

Click on the button on my sidebar to sign up yourself! It's $12 and looks DIVINE!

Have a beautiful day!


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Few Camera Facts

OK, so where to begin. Hmmmmm.

I will assume at this point you know how to turn your camera on - how to change the battery and how to change your "card" (where your photos are stored). You know what the viewfinder is and what the LCD monitor is.

I think I will just go with what I didn't know before yesterday - which is slightly embarrassing, but after sitting in class for 3 hours, I found out I was not alone. Not even close!

OK, pull out your camera. Now obviously, every make and model camera is different - so you kind of have to hunt. Have your instruction manual ready.

Here is something I had accidentally changed and couldn't figure out what the heck I did!  I had turned the "diopter" dial. On my camera this is the little dial located directly to the right and above the viewfinder.

What does a "diopter" do you ask? Well, do you need reading glasses? This little dodad will allow for that. You can adjust it so you can see through the viewfinder clearly. Play with it. See what it does. It is marked "minus" to "plus". If your view through the view finder has been blurry, this might be the answer! it was for me.

The best thing I learned, was how to change lenses. YUP! I had no idea how and my husband always did it and made it such a mystery  . . . his excuse? "You never asked!" OK, I'll give him that one.

I will always refer to the picture below my text unless otherwise stated.

First thing! Make sure your camera is OFF!
Now - see the white square dot to the right of the arrow?
OK, see the button immediately to the right of it?
You press that "lense release button" and twist the lens to get it off.

I held the camera pointed away,
pressed the lens release button with my left hand
and twisted my right wrist down
with my right hand fingers placed here on the lens.
(hard to take a picture when I needed both hands
to show you how to twist it.)
Thumb here . . .

Index finger here on the other side of the white dot -
tighten your hold and twist.

I was afraid I was going to break something, but it ended up being
easier than I thought.

To put new lens on - or replace the existing lens -
Find that white square dot again,
and see the other dot shown with the right arrow?
That is the one on your "lense mount".
Match them up and twist back together,
the opposite way that you twisted it off.
You will hear it click.

Yes, it's that flippin easy. Who knew?

WARNING! DUST IS YOUR ENEMY.  Always hold the exposed end of your lens down. And never leave your camera without a lens on it. These inside parts will need to be cleaned professionally if you get them dirty. And always keep your lens cap on when not in use.

OK, onward.

Look at the top of your camera. Now remember, yours might be different from mine - but I'll do the best I can.
Let's talk about the mysterious "Mode Dial"

For now let's focus on the "pictures" underneath the green square.
What do they all mean? Well, when you have the dial turned to any one of these
pictures, you are in Basic Auto Mode.
And the camera is communicating with you.
It asks "what subject matter are you going to take a picture of?"
And then it suggests which "picture" to use and
automatically adjust the camera for that type of shot.
You should have a similar page in your manual to the
one I scanned from my manual below.
It's kind of self explanatory.

If you choose the green square - it's fully automatic - just point and shoot and it will decide which is best for the what you see in the viewfinder.
When you have one of these other modes selected, again, just point and shoot and the camera will do the rest.
BUT! You may not like it. So how do you change it?

Well, you must first understand that every picture is composed by three things.

     ISO -  Light sensitivity
     Aperture or "F" stop - referred to as both so get used to both phrases -  this is the size of your lens                      opening.
     Shutter Speed - exactly what it says, it controls how quickly your shutter opens and closes to take the picture.
Here is the chart we have on the board in the classroom.

Now what I am about to share is the very, very basics of understanding of shooting a "manual" picture. Something that is not shot in the green square or the pictures below it on your  Mode Dial.  But I think it will release some of the qualms we have about all those buttons!

First you need to understand a little bit about photography to understand your camera.
I will use phrases and terms that you probably have all heard or even seen the buttons on your camera - but have no idea what they mean or what they are for.

Your ISO is your light sensitivity.
In shooting a picture totally manually, this is the first thing you select. Then you base the rest of the picture off of it. This is usually chosen by "where is the picture going to be taken?"
Inside? Outside? Is it dark out? Are you in the deep shade, and the subject is in the sun? Choose your ISO based on where the subject is - not where the camera is.
The lower the number - the more natural light available.
The lower the number - usually a better image - less "noise" (or otherwise known as "grain")

Example - bright sunny day outside and you're taking pictures of flowers. Your ISO could be 50 to 200.
Moving inside with lots of windows and lots of light? 400 is a safe ISO. It is a good all around choice if you are unsure what to select. Once you get to darker subjects you must let in more light. 800? 1600? Notice the numbers double? With each number you are doubling the amount of light let in. A normal camera like mine without any other lens, can only take a picture using a maximum ISO of 1600. A stronger lens will give you a higher ISO.

Aperture or "F" Stop - the size of the lens opening in the camera. Refer to the chart often until you understand! This also refers to the "depth of field". This one is kinda tricky.

There is a shallow depth of field - or easier for me to understand this was - what is in focus looking from near to far.  Example - picture a couple standing in front of a church. The couple is in total focus. But the church behind them is just a wash and blur of color. This is the "shallow depth of field".

"Deep depth of field" would be say an overall picture of the mountains.

The bigger the aperture - (remember the aperture is the size of the opening and that would be the smallest number! remember that, it's kinda bass akwards!)  again - a bigger aperture would be selected to take an image with a shallow depth of field. A portrait.

A smaller aperture  - (NOTE! this would be the larger numbers) would be used to take the deep depth of field . A landscape.

So the way I remember this is - the smaller the "number" the "bigger" the entire picture. You have to think about it . . . do you see what I mean?

* You kind of have to wrap your mind around this one - and find a logical way for you to understand it. Google it and see if someone else can explain it better.

Shutter Speed 

It is  exactly what it says it is. how quickly your shutter works. Now those numbers on the graph - those numbers for the shutter speed are FRACTIONS! 1000 is referring to 1/1000 of one second.
You would use a fast shutter speed to take an action shot. You would use a slower shutter speed for portraits and still objects.

Now this is where the photographer can get creative with their photos. Have you ever seen a photo of  a waterfall and the water is all fuzzy and neat looking? that was taken with a slow shutter speed.  If you use a trip pod for the shots, you can use a lower ISO and this will reduce the "noise" or "grain" and produce a much nicer picture.

Too much? Come on - you can keep up. Just a few more things for today.

So now lets look at our cameras and take away some of the mystery of those buttons. Back to the Mode Dial. This time let's focus on the top selections. Ohhhhhhhh .  . .scary!

Again - the green square is fully automatic. Point and shoot.

A-DEP we did not cover - sorry - no clue.

P - Program.  This is a fancy automatic. It gives you a starting point but allows you to change something if you want to.

TV - Shutter priority. This is a time value. You set your shutter speed and the camera will automatically set the "F" stop (aperture).

AV - Aperture Priority.  Another time value. You set the "F" stop (aperture) and the camera will automatically set the shutter speed for you.

M - Manual. Here you are - total manual mode - you set it ALL.

OK, so far - this is very, very basic.  But hopefully it has taken a little of the mystery out of your camera.

What is so cool is . . . you can snap hundreds of shots and if you don't like them DELETE them. That's what is so cool about digital photography. It doesn't cost you anything to "play".  Not like film did!

If you want -  print out a copy of that chart. I'm going to and slip it in my camera case just for my piece of mind and my lousy memory.

Now grab your camera - sit down somewhere and just start shooting. Play!

And tomorrow - I'll explain how to change those settings on your cameras. We will de-mystify more of those buttons!!!! YAY!

Hope this helps even just one person to understand their camera just a little bit better. Let me know!

Have a great Friday night! Happy WEEKEND!!!

GO SAINTS!!!! :)


With no further ado . . .

the winner of my "It's a pink thing" giveaway is . . .

(Wow, does he look excited or what?)

"I'll tell them! Number THREE!"

Bryanna! From The Canary's Cupcake! Oh YAY!
She is just the sweetest thing and has been on such a journey the
past few months. This is great! Congratulations Bryanna!!!
I already have your address so
I'll get it in the mail to you!!!
Big hugs!

When I get home from work today, if I have time, I will post my photography class yesterday! I learned SO MUCH!!!!! It was awesome!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today is the last day!!!

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway! I will announce the winner tomorrow morning before I leave for work! Remember I am Pacific Time.

Go to my Friday Jan. 15th post and leave me a comment to enter!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Awaiting the storms . . .

Thought I'd post just a few pictures of our storms . . . 

This was Monday afternoon. Pouring buckets.
The water comes up the drive and across the sidewalk 
and extends out to the middle of the street. We are at the
end of the street and the water flows our way.
There is storm drain at the very end.

And of course it was trash day . . . but I know how
swift the water starts running - been there - done that - 
so brought my cans in as soon as they were emptied 
in the morning.
My neighbors? Not so smart . . . 

Here they come! There were 13 in all by the end of this downpour.

So then it started to get a little bit hairy . . . 
this is outside our living room window where one of
the backyard drains is. It just couldn't keep up . . . 
let alone drain out of the curb and into the street.

Out the french door from our dining room . . . 

This part was kinda scary too!

That waterfall was coming straight off the roof.
The gutters just couldn't keep up with the load.
It got bigger and bigger and that's when I called Mark!
But there was nothing he could from 20 miles away . . .

And I survived. And the water drained. And all is well.

Then yesterday - I went in to work, and then Jeanne and I went down to the photo lab to print our one picture we had to print for homework this week. While we were there - (no windows, it seems like the middle of the night and it was only 1 in the afternoon), apparently all hell broke lose! And we were oblivious! Water spouts, a tornado (YES! a tornado - we really do get them here, even if they are only small ones, it's still an F1 tornado!) wild winds, hail and crazy rain. For the exact 2 hours that we were submersed in the photo lab.
On my drive home, I passed several construction crews dragging downed trees out of the streets. "hmmmmm?" I thought to myself. Blue sky overhead, no rain it was GORGEOUS out! "Wonder what that was all about?"

In fact it was so pretty - I was celebrating that I had my camera in the trunk of my car because I came across this beautiful, end to end, full rainbow. And one of the ends was settled down nicely in my little community. I had to stop and take a picture. As did the lady behind me who pulled over in front of me. It was just too pretty to pass up . . . 

And when I got to my house . . . I started dinner and then noticed out front . . . 

The clouds were just flying across the sky.

Then I looked up and noticed the moon . . . 

And took just one more shot for the day.

And that has been our last two days. 4" of rain on Mon. 2" of rain yesterday - in TWO HOURS! Now we'll see what today brings - this one is supposed to be the very worst. I'll keep you posted!

By the way - two days left to enter my giveaway! Two posts down . . .