Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer Giveaway!!

I am very excited to share this beautiful book with you today, called The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer, by Katie Evens.

I love books and can never have enough. Especially a book I can learn from. Last year for Mother's Day Rob and I decided it was time for me to move up from my point and shoot camera, to a DSLR, so we went out and purchased a new Nikon D3000. A great introductory camera. Recently, I decided to take my camera off Auto and switch to Manual. That was a very exciting move for me.

With the help from The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer, I am working on moving past just snapping a picture, and taking time to frame, taking lighting into consideration, and am actually starting to notice the difference between good and not so good lighting. I can also play with the adjustments of ISO, white balance, aperture, f-stop, and have an idea of how they work.

My next move is to purchase a prime lens. At the moment I have the lens my camera came with, which is fine, but I really want to experiment with bokeh. Also, I am in love with photos where the subject is in focus but the back ground is blurry. With my current lens, that just isn't possible. My aperture is always fully open, but there isn't much blur, if any at all. This is another way the book has helped me. Where do I even start with lenses?

I am also braving photo editing. Not a lot, because I still find it confusing, but at least I'm making some small attempts. We have Photoshop, and there are so many tools, and I don't know how to use any of them. Most of my photo editing is done with Rob, because he is more familiar with the program than I am. There are some great tips for adjusting the colours, saturation, cropping etc in the book as well. I'm just not completely there yet. Just working on figuring out my camera and how to take a picture is my focus at the moment. I hope to graduate to photo editing in the near future:)

Here is a peak at the table of contents so you have an idea of what else you can expect to learn from this book.

Today I am very excited to be able to giveaway a copy of this beautiful and helpful book to one lucky winner.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Rob and I don't celebrate Valentines day (I may be going to a book club meeting tonight). At least we don't celebrate in a commercial way. I was so upset because last night Rob made a painting for me for Valentines, and we specifically said we weren't going to get/make anything for one another this year. Now the pressure is on!!

Here is my favourite character that Rob has come up with. Hermy the Albino Polar Bear:
This is going in my sewing room to make me smile.

Here are the two littles in their Valentines day shirts.

Jude likes to make faces, while Jas smiles handsomely:)

I didn't have a shirt size big enough for Jai, so I made him breakfast in bed. Usually he is up well before anyone else, but today he stayed in bed until 9 am. So that gave me time to exercise and make the heart shaped pancakes for him. The littles had some too.

Gluten free heart shaped pancakes with peanut butter, jam, strawberries and bananas. The recipe is from Elana's Pantry. I had to adjust it a bit because I only had 3/4 C of almond flour. I added some coconut flour and an extra egg. I also skipped the sweetener, because I can't have any sugar, including fruit. My pancakes I dressed with plain yogurt. They are super filling and super delicious!

I am going to attempt making Valentines cupcakes from Elanas Cupcake book. They are chocolate cupcakes, filled with raspberry jam, topped with chocolate ganache, whipped cream, chocolate chips and raspberries or in our case strawberries. I of course will not be able to indulge in these delicious cupcakes, but I'm making them for my sweetheart. He is such a great husband and amazing dad. He deserves a treat. I'll let you know how they turn out:)

I hope you are all enjoying your day, and sharing the love that today signifies.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Chicken/Duck/Cat sitting

We are chicken/duck/cat sitting for our friend's while they are vacationing in Mexico. I was super excited, because I would eventually like to get some chickens of our own. I have to say I like the ducks better, but they are super messy, and require A LOT of water. So I will start small, and go with the chickens. Our plan is to get them in the summer.

Here is a picture of the ducks. I am letting them out of their house:
They get so excited when they hear us arrive, that they make a racket, quaking loudly. When I open their door they come flying out and then do their circle around the little outdoor hut. 

I love how their little tail feather waddle when they walk.

This is the mess they leave everyday. I clean out their water and food dishes.

Then I collect the eggs from their cozy little nest. Seriously, am I weird, or is this not the cutest ever. This is their first nest.

Then they moved it over to this corner, and now they are back in the first nest again. I'm not sure what that's about. 

Here they are at one of their water buckets. These start out clean, and by the end of the day they are a muddy mess.

The chickens. These ones flew into the coop when I was trying to clean it out. Silly chickens.

Here are the other two looking for food. 

We are loving this daily routine. Our friends have a huge backyard and the kids are having a blast playing while I do the chores. Especially now that the sun is out.

Here is some backyard fun:

Trampolines are awesome! 

With three active boys in the house, sometimes the energy can get out of control, and they start treating our house like a gymnasium. I totally want a trampoline, so we don't always have to leave the house to burn off their energy.

I love this picture!

 and this one too! 

Trying out some flips.

They also have a rope swing! 


So much fun!

One day we will have a super fun yard too. It's not as big as our friend's yard, but we will work with what we have. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Two successful screens

I have been totally intimidated by the photo emulsion process for making silk screens, but the results of photo emulsion are so much better. There is so much more detail that can be put into the screen with photo emulsion. So I finally went for it.

I used this tutorial from Lil Blue Boo, and it worked! I was totally freaked out by the exposure part of the process because the emulsion wasn't changing colour, so I had to base it on time, which was tricky. The first screen I made was exposed to the light on a cloudy snowy day, in the late afternoon (I think it was around 3pm), so I left it for 6-7 minutes. Here is what the first screen looks like.

It's a little sloppy. The emulsion went on really thick and uneven for some reason, and when I checked on it in the morning to find out if it was dry, the emulsion had dripped onto the counter. So there was definitely way too much emulsion. It works though. The Love In Everything doesn't work, but I'm okay with that.

Here is what the print looks like:

I made these Valentines shirts for my Etsy shop. They are bamboo and organic cotton. Super soft and luxurious.

The second screen turned out much better:

The emulsion went on smooth and even. This screen was exposed to light around noon on a partly cloudy day. Again, the emulsion didn't change colour, at least not noticeably, so I exposed the screen for 4-5 minutes. When rinsing both screens I needed to use a pretty forceful spray. We have an attachment for making water balloons, and that worked like a charm for rinsing the emulsion off. This screen was made for a custom shirt order. Here's what it looked like:

Okay, so these aren't the greatest pictures, but you get the idea.

So if you are thinking of trying out photo emulsion, but have been too intimidated, I say go for it! If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Also, thank you to Lil Blue Boo for another amazing tutorial. She makes the best tutorials, that I don't even attempt making any. There isn't anything I can offer that she hasn't already made a stellar tutorial for.

On a side note, if you are new to Lil Blue Boo, I would suggest following her blog. Not only does she make amazing tutorials, adorable children's clothing, but she is also a huge inspiration. Ashley has cancer that started from a molar pregnancy, and she has been undergoing intense chemotherapy treatments. All while running a business, being a mother, and coming up with amazing craftiness to share with all of us, and she does it all with a smile on her face, and the most positive outlook on life. Her motto being to Choos Joy. She even has some Choose Joy bracelets to remind us all that we have a choice in life to Choose Joy.

Here's a picture of our Choose Joy bracelets.

Ashley is truly inspiring. You can read more in her Cancer Chronicles, and you can watch the video of her having her head shaved. A rite of passage. I will warn you that watching this video will make you ball your eyes out, so have a box of tissues close by.

One thing Ashley doesn't discuss is her mounting medical bills. Some of her friends have organized an auction to help raise money to assist with Ashley's bills. The auction will be February 27-29. It sounds like there will be some amazing items to bid on, so if you are looking to do some shopping, as well as helping out an amazing, generous women, then mark this date on your calendar. I know I am.

That's all for now. Hope you all have a great day!
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