Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Great Outdoors

Yesterday I biked home from one of my mother's helper jobs, and had to keep stopping to take photos along the way. :) The path goes through town, past farms, through the woods, over a bog, through more woods, back into town, and home. It was such a pleasant ride!

When someone asks me what my favorite type of flower is, I usually say wildflowers. Seeing them all in bloom was just amazingly beautiful!

The pine woods are one of my favorite parts just because of that awesome smell. I could sit there for hours listening to the birds, and enjoying the breeze! I was sort of hoping to see some deer, but it was the wrong time of day -- I should go early in the morning sometime!

Now that I've figured out a good way to bring my camera on bike rides, I can't wait to come back in the fall when all the leaves have changed!

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy work."
"Psalm 19:1

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Water Fun


Emily invited the J girls over this afternoon to play in the hose. I went outside to take a few pictures and decided to join them! A few minutes later Betz came out too. We chased each other with buckets of water, played "drip, drip, drip, splash!" (a variation of duck duck goose, but you actually pour water on the players), played soccer of sorts, capture the flag, and just had a bunch of fun! "Drip drip drip splash" got a bit wild, when we took one of the big bins of water and dumped that on someone. Payback came quickly. lol! I think Betz and I decided that you are never too old to play in the hose. :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Portraits of Elisabeth

This afternoon Betz and I took advantage of the beautiful light and weather before a huge thunderstorm, and took a few pictures!

I love how the green and pink contrast each other so well!

(see the dark sky behind her? Just minutes after we came in it was pouring outside!)

So there you have the latest portraits of Elisabeth -- there never does seem to be a shortage of them, does there? :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shutter Speed Experiment!

A couple weeks ago Alison and I did another overnight babysitting job. During the second afternoon a friend came and picked up the oldest four children for co-op, so our job became really easy with just three little boys to watch! We took advantage of the beautiful weather and went outside to play in the backyard. This trampoline will keep the kids busy for such a long time! So much fun. :)

Then while pushing Timmy on the swing I got the idea to try some slower shutter speeds, and then zoom the lens while the shutter was opening and shutting again. This shot was the best from the experiment -- it's extremely hard to focus when doing this, and as you can see usually it the focus landed on the gravel behind Timmy. It was a fun experiment though!

Something for me to keep in mind for next time is so clean up the background a bit -- while I love the splash of color the red slide provides, it is also a bit distracting...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Picnic Time!

Yesterday Emily came to me and asked if I'd go on a picnic with her. The spring weather was too good to pass up, so we mixed up some tuna salad, through some crackers and apples in a basket, grabbed a blanket and headed outside! Okay, so maybe I did also grab the tripod and remote so we could photograph the picnic... :)
Emily was more than willing to be the remote operator since the signal wasn't going through at the right angle from where I was sitting. :) 

I learned the hard way that a red blanket will reflect horrible red color casts up into people's faces, so I switched to B&W to hide that. :)

Then after we ate we repacked the basket, folded up the blanket, and played some frisbee! We've got to get some practice in for family camp in a couple weeks. :) We're still not very good, but much better than we were last year. It's a lot funner to play when you can actually catch the frisbee, which of course is a lot harder to do when trying to take photos at the same time. Good thing I have a zoom lens. :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope that any mothers that may read this post had a wonderful mother's day! I saw this post over at Click It Up A Notch, and decided we needed to get a picture of us four girls with mom. I set up the tripod, got out the remote, and arranged everyone on Mom's bed.
It took a few tries to get a good one, one of the problems being that we were side-lit, so it was easy to slip into someone else's shadow, but we finally got one I was happy with. I'm glad we went to the bother to take this photo -- maybe we should make it a yearly tradition. :) I love you Mom!

Friday, May 10, 2013

California Photos!

A couple weeks ago Mom, Alison, and I got the opportunity to take a trip out to California for a week! We hadn't been there since we moved to MN, so it was such a nice trip! I love that ocean and those palm trees. :) I finally got around to putting a bunch of photos into collages to post.

We had a great flight out there, and I really enjoyed the view of the Rocky Mountains! It's so neat to see the earth from way up in the sky. :)

We got to go to the beach quite a few times while there. Crystal Cove has always been one of my favorites, because of the tide pools. It's so fun to touch and see it all, without it being in an aquarium! You just have to be careful when getting close to photograph it, because a wave might come up right behind you and get you soaked. Don't ask how I know that. :)

We also got to go to the Getty Art Musuem. That place was amazing! Besides all the beautiful old art, the architecture of the building is art in itself! The place took about 13 years to plan and build, and you can really see that it was thought out thoroughly.

Of course we had to go to In-N-Out, not having been there in two years! Ah, I miss that place. I still like it better than Culvers. (shhh... don't tell certain people!)

We also ate at a really good Thai restaurant -- I was a bit nervous about that, but it all tasted great. Maybe that's because we didn't order any exotic foods like fish heads. lol. And we also got to go to a Baskin Robbins! yum! I think the real reason we stopped there was so my grandpa could pick up a new quart for the freezer -- we ate his all up while there. :)

One evening we were able to have dinner on the beach with some of my grandparents' friends. Other than being extremely windy, it was a blast. :) We had a really fun game of Boche Ball -- don't play that very often, so it's always a treat. Ah, I love the beach....

One evening we got to attend Felix Mendelssohn's choir concert, "Elijah." That was sooo cool! It was all scripture, sort of like the Messiah, but it was about the life of Elijah. All the singers did such a good job -- it's really fun to watch them, because some of them get really expressive while singing! :) We sort of held a quick photoshoot before watching the concert -- we had arrived early, it was such a beautiful evening, and I had a camera.... :)

Then on the last night we got to go on a walk down by the beach. It's always so beautiful down there at sunset!

Grammy and Grampy, thank you so much for the wonderful time we had! You truly spoiled us while we were there, and it was just so much fun! I can't wait to do it again someday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Blurb Books

I love my row of photobooks -- I can't wait for it to grow, and grow, and grow! :)
A friend asked me about my photo books that I make each year, and I told her I'd take some pictures for her. Yes, that was a few months ago, but I certainly didn't tell her when I'd take the pictures. :) So far I have four books -- two year books, and two for special events that happened. For the thinner black books I ordered from Shutterfly. You can read more about those in this post. I really like the quality of their books, but when you're putting together an 150+ page book, it's a lot cheaper to go with Blurb. Both of my year books cost around $75, compared to Shutterfly, where after 20 pages or so, it's a dollar per extra page.

With Blurb I downloaded their program called Booksmart, enabling me to work on the photobooks offline, and then upload them when I was ready. Using this program was so easy to figure out, and I love how customizable everything is. You can edit any of the pre-made layouts, or completely make your own.

They have a few different paper options -- for my first book I went with the cheapest, but then decided I'd upgrade for the second one. I'm glad I did, because the cheapest was really thin. I haven't decided if I think I need the highest quality one this year -- it sure does make the price jump! I'm making my books 8x10 inches, but Blurb offers a few different sizes: 7x7, 8x10, 11x13, and a 12x12. It would be fun to get bigger books, but they also make the price go up quite a bit...

 I can't wait to have a whole row of "Year in Photos" books on the shelf! I hope you enjoyed this view of what I do with my photos each year!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Camera Bag Insert

I have wanted to make a camera bag insert for quite a while now, but finally got around to it with travels motivating me. :) My camera bag has worked awesomely, but I'm running out of room in the side pockets for extra junk.    I had been wanting to be able to put my camera in a bag along with my journal, water, wallet, and whatever else I felt like dragging along with me that day. :)

I found a few different tutorials for camera bag inserts online, but mostly followed this one. I called a local upholstery shop and bought some foam to make the insert with. Then after mom did all the math and pattern making, I sewed it up. :) What would I do without mom? Since each piece of foam wasn't really securely attached in here, I did some hand stitching in the corners, and edges, just to keep them from moving around and reforming itself. I'm planning on making on more piece just to cover the top of the camera, so it's a big more protected in my bag. Most of the tutorials I've found have different sections in the inserts, but since I only have one lens, this works out perfectly for me.

The insert works perfectly in my new 31 Bag that I got for half price -- It's so handy to know two ladies who are always having 31 parties -- one of them being a consultant. :) This bag has come in so handy -- I can thrown in all my piano books and taken it to lessons, or put the camera insert in with my journal and a bunch of other stuff and take it around town like a purse. The bag also works when you have just a few items in it, and doesn't look extremely empty.

I discovered that the insert also fits nicely in a purse that I picked up at a garage sale this summer. I had originally gotten it to turn into a camera bag, but had never gotten around to it! The insert fits perfectly in it with just enough room to fit my wallet on the end. It also has a ton of extra pockets, making this the perfect camera bag if I'm not bringing a whole bunch of stuff with me.

I love the ease of switching between the bags whenever I want, and of course I can always go back to my old camera bag if needed!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

E&E Portraits

A couple weeks ago I was watching a CreativeLIVE class and got inspired to take photos of my sisters during the lunch break. :) Just wanted to share my favorites of Betz and Em:

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 15, 2013

30 Miles in 30 Days

Yes, I actually bring my camera along sometimes. It does get heavy, but it's part of documenting our life! :)

For the month of April a friend and I are both doing the 30 Miles in 30 Days -- basically it's just how it sounds -- walk 30 miles in 30 days. :) It isn't much of a challenge, only having to walk one mile a day, but we both thought the exercise would be good, so we're doing it "together". She lives in ND, so we're just keeping each other updated through emails. Even though we can't walk together, it sure is nice to have someone doing it with me! The good part is that we both have siblings that we can drag along with us are willing to come with us. :)

I've used Free Map Tools to map out a few different mile routes in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood seems to be built with lots of mile loops. It's funny how one mile can seem shorter than a different mile though. :) One problem with doing this in April is the weather changes -- in the top photo the snow is basically all gone, even though it was a little chilly. Then for day's walk the yards are all covered again. I've found that I can keep warm enough with ear warmers, gloves, and a sweater or fleece. A few times we've just resorted to running/jogging so we don't freeze. :)

I've had so much fun with this, that I think I'll probably keep it up next month! Or maybe I'll start biking again, but the goal will have to be bigger than 30 miles. :) What is your favorite way to exercise?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to make a Piano Notebook

When I started teaching piano lessons, I made each of my students one of these notebooks so I could write their assignments in it each week. I suppose I could've just left them as plain composition books, but what is the fun in that? The initials on the pianos have also kept them from getting mixed-up, as well as personalizing it a bit more. Here's a quick "how-to" so you can make your own!
For my sheet music I took it out of an old piano book we had, because I knew I had the same song in a different book, but you could definitely just print out some sheet music off the computer. First measure your composition book so you know what size to cut the paper. I cut mine so that I still had the black binding showing. Also, watch where on the music you cut the paper -- I didn't want all the extra space at the top, so I actually cut from the middle of the paper.

Then comes my favorite part -- covering the notebook in mod podge. :) That has got to be one of the world's best crafting supplies! Use your brush to paint it on generously, and try your best to make it evenly distributed on the cover.

Then lay down your paper, and use the side of your ruler to flatten out any air bubbles. This can be tricky, as the more you mess with it, the worse it seems to get. Thankfully my piano students didn't notice the few air bubbles. :) Once you've got it placed correctly, let the mod podge dry, and then add a coat to the top of the paper. One coat would probably be fine, but I let that coat dry and added a second.

The piano is actually a font I found for free online. I opened a word document and made the font size 200 something really large so it would fill the page. :) I then printed and cutted it out, and then mod podged it to the center of the notebook.
And there you have the finished product! I hope this was easy enough to follow! Now I need to make another one for my own piano lessons! :)

Linking up to Thrifty Thursday -- a few days late. :)