Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photo Shoot, part 1

These are from a photo shoot I did with K. and her friend S. a few weeks ago. I found some time tonight to sit and play around in Photoshop.

I love the brick buildings we found. We wandered around the center of an old mill town and found many great spots to shoot. The girls really got into the artistic side of finding the perfect backdrop for their portraits. And they were willing to pose and be serious and be silly. It was great.

I had to pay them $20 each.

It's amazing what cash will do. Cash is king.
I found a tutorial for a grunge looking effect.

S. looks like she belongs on the front of a young adult paranormal book in this picture. Minus the little Mona Lisa smile of course.
Not sure if I like this one. It was quite a bit darker and I lightened it and gave it a few different color overlays.

Meh. She kind of looks fae-ish in this picture.

I'm going back to work on it some more. I'm just posting it to keep the blog real, people.

You'll be seeing more of S. and K. in the coming days as I find time to post-process.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Craft Co-op

photo from

I love this project. I can't believe I never thought of spray painting pumpkins. I've painted them before, but spray painting? Not so much.

Of course, with my track record for spray painting anything, maybe I should have the Man do this project.

Especially since I want them for Thanksgiving and I want them to look nice, not all drippy looking. 

Do you have that one craft that you simply can't do? No matter what I try, and I've received lots of tips, I just can't do it. With all the tips I've received, you'd think I could spray paint like Michelangelo. You know, if he spray painted.

I guess I'm not Nike material. 

My motto is Just.Can't.Do.It. when it comes to spray painting.

Now spray dripping - I'm  your girl. That, I can do beautifully.

Maybe I should start a craft co-op and gather people together to share their talents - if you were good at knitting, you could knit and if you were good at spray painting, you would spray paint.

Hmm........gotta think about this one some more......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breakfast Treat

Breakfast yesterday was Blueberry Creme Brulee Oatmeal.


No, make that double yum.

It's a blend of a couple recipes I found and adapted to my need for a quick, healthy breakfast in the morning for one. Although sometimes the Man and J. beg me to make them a bowl. I only do this on Saturdays though since the Man is up at o'dark thirty every morning and I am not in any shape to cook anything before 8:00 a.m.

Blueberry Creme Brulee Oatmeal

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup milk, or a little less if you like your oatmeal thicker
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

1/2 to 1 cup blueberries
1 tbs. white sugar
1 tsp. brown sugar

Combine the oatmeal, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high power for three minutes. If you cut the milk quantity, adjust your time down a little.

Stir in blueberries and sprinkle the sugars on top. Place under broiler and broil until sugar browns. Sometimes it forms a slight crust and sometimes it doesn't. Depends on how concentrated the sugar is in a particular location.

Yum. And healthy too. A great way to start the day.
What a crazy, busy week I've had. 

Work, classes, meetings, appointments - I want this merry-go-round to stop for a while, please.

I only got to hang out with Sissy one day this week. Pooh.

But my pocketbook likes it, since we only went shopping that one day instead of our usual two days. Hmmm, I wonder if the Man had anything to do with me working an extra day this week....

This was a good week to limit my exposure to Sissy. She has stink eye, er, I mean pink eye. She's very sad looking with one eye almost swollen shut and all weepy-like. I've had stink pink eye before and it is not pleasant. I do not want to get it again.

So I refused to drive in the same car with her. Or let her in my car.

A girl can't be too careful with something like stink pink eye, even if someone keeps insisting that they are not contagious anymore since they have been using the eyedrops. Nope, a girl can't be too careful. Of course she didn't see it that way and was a might bit put out that I wouldn't even come close to her.

Or touch anything she touched.

Unless I immediately washed my hands. Then I looked all Howard Hughes-ish.  It may have been overkill but I wasn't taking any chances.

So, right now I am stink eye free and hoping it stays that way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Date Night

Date night with the Man tonight. We went to see "Red.". This was my second viewing. I saw it last night with J. and my nieces from the West Coast.

It has everything: romance, action, comedy, romance. Er, did I say romance again? Well, you can see what I like in a movie.

We left the house a wee bit on the late side. We got to the movie theater at 7:18pm and the movie started at 7:20pm.The line of people waiting for tickets was ridiculous.


Who knew Friday nights was such a big movie night? Er, yeah, now that I think about that, um, Friday night is a pretty big movie night.

But I know a secret trick.

The little ticket kiosks on the side of the lobby.

Nobody ever uses them and you can walk right up, buy your tickets, print them and be in the theater before you can say "ha" to all those poor people waiting in line. Only this time, the little ticket kiosk said something like "This is only for browsing now. You have to go get in line with the rest of humanity and wait your turn."


Now we're going to be late.

Surprisingly, the line moved quickly and within five minutes we had our tickets and were walking into the theater. Half the trailers were over and soon the movie started. Only it wasn't "Red." It was something about someone named Gordon Gekko.

Gordon Gekko? Are we in "Wall Street 2"?

YUP. I can't believe this. I've never gone into the wrong theater before. I lean over to the Man, and whisper, "I think we're in the wrong movie." Only he can't hear me, so he says, "What?" rather loudly.

"I THINK WE'RE IN THE WRONG MOVIE!" I whisper furiously. I am so embarrassed. We get up and slink out of the theater.

Along with lots of other people. Evidently, there's a lot of people that made the same mistake tonight.

Uh, NO. They were showing the WRONG movie.


I'm not losing it.

We go back in the theater and they fix it and we get to see "Red" just like we wanted.

And guess what the movie people did after the movie? Gave us free passes to another movie!

Yay for mistakes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Fun

We had our nieces for the weekend while Sissy and P. were in Chicago celebrating their fifteenth wedding anniversary. These girls like to keep busy. We decided to make homemade candy dots.

And guess what?

They were very easy to make. And the paper didn't peel off when we pulled them off to eat. That was the thing I didn't like about candy dots. A mouthful of paper just to eat a few specks of sugar.

You've got to be desperate to eat candy dots.
Ours ended up looking more like miniature kisses with their pointy little caps.

E. and K. got creative and started making stars, hearts, and snowmen. I wrote out their names.

Those were too cute to eat so they're still sitting on the paper.

Don't worry, we'll get desperate one day and eat 'em.
After making candy dots, we had to start preparing our annual Halloween dinner.

We make up fun names for different kid friendly foods and then everyone gets to pick what they want off the menu. They can pick one of each, or just a few. But they better hope they pick some sort of utensil or they'll be eating with their fingers.

And it's kind of hard to eat eyeball pie with your fingers.
They loved the "if you dare!" part of the menu. E. kept saying "...if you dare!" followed by a "muah-ha-ha". She got into her role as a mad scientist very well.

I was a little scared. Since she took to it so naturally and all.
These tasty little treats were called graveyard gravel.

Think little fudge balls.


But don't make these. Or else you'll end up disliking me and my blog for sharing this recipe with you.

So that was our weekend. Lots of treat making, treat eating, and muah-ha-has.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sharp Dressed Trees

What do you do when a friend calls you to take a walk? You grab your camera.

We walked and gawked for a couple hours at the magnificent fall colors. We went to a spot nearby that I've wanted to shoot for a long time. It's got a one-horse town kind of feel to it. There's a pond, a small waterfall, a (very) old post office building, an abandoned mill, a blacksmith shop and a Congregational church all within feet of each other.

There was some mighty fine reflection going on in the ginormous church windows. My friend was lying on her back, shooting straight up at a fiery orange maple tree while I was off to the side a bit, shooting the windows.

We got a few strange looks. It's a good think neither of us cares about strangers thinking we're strange.
We pulled into a small parking lot near the pond but there was a man sitting there with his dog. Think ZZ Top. I think this guy might have been a band member runaway.

We were a bit hesitant about getting out so we drove up the road a bit to a horse farm I found a couple years ago.

If I didn't know better, I 'd think I was in Kentucky.

Except we don't have any blue grass. Or bourbon distilleries.

Is that where they make bourbon, in a distillery?
Totally fell in love with this white fence.

I need a white fence somewhere in my yard. Oh, I can't wait to tell the Man that one.

Then he's going to give me strange looks.
But isn't that a gorgeous fence?

It was so pretty against the colors of the trees surrounding it, I wanted to hug it.
And here's the view going the other way. Don't you just love the lines of the shadows on the grass?

Really. This fence is just about perfect.
And here it is from the ground view.

Good thing we were on a back country road and there wasn't a whole lot of traffic going by.

But I don't really care. I wanted that shot and decided to stop, drop, and shoot.
After shooting the fence for a while, we meandered our way back to the pond and one-horse town and found that Mr. ZZ Top and his dog had moved along.

All of 500 feet.

Except we didn't know this until we saw him resting on top of a picnic table as we walked along the edge of the pond.

At first we thought it was a pile of clothes somebody left there. But then the pile moved.

That's all it took. We were outta there.

Good thing we snapped a bunch of shots before we started walking along water's edge.
Last shot of the day came from a local cemetery. My friend is shooting a wedding in early November and she was scouting out locations for some formal pictures. She found a simple stone chapel in the cemetery and wanted to show it to me.

If you didn't know you were in a cemetery, you'd think the chapel was in Europe.

When you walk a bit, you come to this maple tree.

We just stopped and stared.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An attitude of gratitude

Things I'm tired of seeing:
  • Political ads
  • Christmas commercials and it's only October
  • The back of my teens' heads as I'm talking to them
  • Piles of laundry
  • Empty boxes in kitchen cabinets
  • Gas prices going up
But all that is stinkin' thinkin'.

What I need is an attitude of gratitude. I saw that somewhere a few days ago.

An attitude of gratitude. I like it.

And it made me think of other words that could be formed: saditude, maditude, gladitude, and Miz Booshay's baditude.

Then there's fatitude, which is what you have after you've eaten a bag of Halloween candy.

So, here's my revised attitude list:
  • Political ads - I'm grateful to live in a country where we have a choice in our leadership.
  • Christmas commercials and it's only October - I'm grateful to have a television to watch the commercials. And a house to put the TV in.
  • The back of my teens' heads as I'm talking to them - I'm grateful God blessed me with children since they really belong to Him. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
  • Piles of laundry - yup, I'm grateful for this. It means we have clothing on our backs. Well, actually it means we have clothing in piles on the basement floor - it's not actually on our backs.
  • Empty boxes in kitchen cabinets - I'm grateful we have jobs to buy food and nourish our bodies. Even if it is chocolate sometimes.
  • Gas prices going up - I'm grateful I have a car to drive. And so does the Man. And so does J. But not K. She doesn't have her license yet.
So that's my revised list. What do you think? Corny? Maybe.

But I want to have an attitude of gratitude and that's what I came up with.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Candy Tricks

Halloween should be discontinued.

I am tired of fighting the battle to ignore all the yummy looking bags of candy bombarding us in the stores. I am tired of being tempted by new kinds of treats, packaged in cutesy wrappers, waiting for me to take them home.

I am tired of buying just one bag for the zero, nada, zip Halloween-ers we get, then promptly coming home and eating it. Because this might be the year we actually get some little tykes at our door and have to have something to give them.


Now I have to go out and buy another bag, or two bags this time, just to be safe.

I learned my lesson.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cinnamon Pecans

I'm going to give you the recipe for the equivalent of food gold. Sissy started making these a few years ago and now I make them, too.

Because our families eat so many of them, we need more than one person making them.

These are the tastiest little nuggets you'll ever eat. And you won't be able to stop.


You can eat them plain, or serve them over ice cream, or in a salad, if you're feeling particularly virtuous. Chop them up and stir them into brownies, or sprinkle them on top of the brownies. Whatever floats your boat when it comes to brownies and nuts. Or eat them plain.

Wait, did I say that already?

You can tell how I like to have them.
Cinnamon Pecans

2 egg whites
1 lb. pecans
3/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir in pecans. Stir in cinnamon and sugar.
Spread pecans on cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for an hour, stirring every 15 mins.

Or, if you're like me and you keep your pecans in the freezer, bake at 200 degrees for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Pull out the pan, stir them and realize they're not dry yet, rather they're still drippy wet. Say a questionable word or two, look at them again as if that will dry them out, and then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Only this time, crank the heat up to 350 degrees and watch those babies cook. Stir after the 15 minutes, taste test them and if needed, cook another 15 mins.

It's probably better to either defrost your pecans to room temperature, or use room temperature pecans to start with. Way too much moisture in frozen pecans.

If you bring them anywhere, bring the recipe with you.

You're going to need it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So I'm not sure how, but a funny thing happened on my way home tonight. I decided to sign up for voice lessons.

I've always wanted to learn how to sing. I mean, how to sing well.

I sing, but it's not pretty.

One time, I was driving down the road, singing along with Andrea Bocelli's Con Te Partiro - which is NOT an easy song to sing, I might add, especially since a chunk of it is in Italian and I have no idea how to speak Italian.

Anyway, I'm driving down the road, singing my little heart out, and I come to a stop sign. Totally forgetting that my windows are WIDE OPEN, I am belting out Italian with everything I've got. And it's not much.

I look over to my right, and standing on the side of the road are two waste disposal men, watching me.

Not smiling, not cheering, not clapping. Just watching.

Er, awkward.

The windows go up and I drive off, humiliated yet thankful that they don't know me.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm standing in church, joyously singing a praise song and the young man in front of me turns around very slowly to watch me.

Not smiling, not cheering, not clapping. Just watching.

Er, awkward, again.

Maybe I don't sing as good as I think I sound. Time for voice lessons. I have to stop humiliating myself.

I'll keep you posted.

*Wowee. This is my 200th post.

Since I haven't reached my first blog anniversary yet, I'm fairly happy with that number. That means I've blogged just about every other day. Thanks for reading my blog. You guys are great.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Composition and Lighting Workshop

Went to a photo workshop last night on composition and lighting. It was rather interesting, since the instructor is a fairly successful professional photographer.

Wouldn't that be a sweet gig?

He talked about all the composition rules we already know about:

Making a tic-tac-toe board and placing your subject in one of the power points, where the lines intersect.
Dividing your picture into thirds and keeping the horizon on one of those. Where you place the horizon line determines what you're emphasizing.
Add something to demonstrate scale.
Lines provide a path from one element to another. They direct you through an image.
And less is more. The less you have, the stronger your image.

This is the one I think that I use a lot. Less is more.
Isolating one subject and trying to find the story.
Sometimes I'm successful.

I want to know more about these two. How old are they? How long have they been together? Where are they going?

Of course, I know all those answers, silly. But I'm pretending I'm a stranger looking at the photo.
Sometimes not so successful. I like the lines in this picture - it just got blown way out.

But the most important thing I heard all night was to shoot what I like. If I like it, chances are someone else will to.

That's what I try to do with my pictures. Shoot for myself. This photo may be way too busy, but I love the laughter on my friends' faces. This shot shouts "FUN!"

A photo may be technically good, but if it doesn't speak to me, throw it in a drawer. I'm not framing it.
*Just remembered another tip....sounds obvious when he said it but I thought it was worth remembering. Make sure your subject is looking into the frame, not out of it. This keeps the eye moving into the picture and not shooting off an edge. I guess I just did this without thinking about it since I got K.'s shoulders pointed into the frame.

Whew. I did something right.