Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air - Day 27

     So I am officially more than just a little behind on my Picture the Holidays project.  I got hit hard by the flu midweek which pretty much stopped me in my tracks.  I am on the mend and ready to get back on track, yea! 
      We finally got snow!  I was thrilled when I woke up to snow yesterday morning but not so happy to have a 12 hour workday so I decided to postpone getting back one track until today (Saturday).  With that being said - after being sick and then working a really long day it was really fun to go out and enjoy this snow as a family this morning.  This was Nugget's first time she actually got to see and play in the snow - last winter she was always snuggled up in her car seat with a cozy cover whenever we were outside. 
     Nugget wasn't really too sure what to think at first - I think she found her snowsuit on the restrictive side.  Dad tried showing her how to make snowballs but her snowsuit made it near impossible for her to try.  I guess little pink Wookiees (I think she resembles a Star Wars Wookiee) aren’t meant to be able to move.
     What I enjoyed most was my little Wookiee making barking sounds.  While we were outside she heard some dogs in the neighbor barking and thought it would be appropriate to bark back to them.  She did this for at least 5 minutes. 

A Breath of Fresh Air - Day 27 Prompt
The whether outside might be frightful (I wouldn't know because I live in Southern California), but even with winter's chill, fresh air is the best medicine. After shopping malls and gathering indoors so much this month, braving the elements, even just to snap a photo can be a perfect change of pace.
Shoot one of Mother Nature's gifts today. Something that boasts of the season and showcases the splendor of the great outdoors.
Note: Give yourself a few minutes to let your spirit wander amidst the elements. Experience with all your senses being outside. Feel and smell the air. Take a deep breath and let your eyes delight in the wonder all around you. You'll know exactly what to shoot if you give yourself a little time to find it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Day After - Day 26

     The day after Christmas is an exciting day in our household - my little Nugget turned 1 year old!  We celebrated by signing to her and then letting her enjoy a birthday cupcake.  This is the first time she really had lots of sugar and she LOVED IT! 
     I had the day off from work so I enjoyed trying to make some special cupcakes for my Nugget's first birthday that I pinned on Pinterest.  I was pretty pleased with my final results - the pink cream cheese frosting with royal icing snowflakes on top of chocolate cake were devine. 
     We didn't have a birthday party for her since I have decided that we will have a party on her half birthdays in June.  That way the weather should be good making travel easy for all her grandparents.   

The Day After - Day 26 Prompt
If you have a mess on your hands today, never fear. There is beauty to be found even on those days! As you go about the big tidy, be aware of the order that rises from the chaos. There is a visual respite there waiting to be discovered.
When you see it, you'll know. Your lens will know what to do.
Note: Sometimes focusing on the tiniest details (like texture or subtle color) can bring your attention to something extraordinary. Try to shoot something that draws your eye into what might normally go unseen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Magic Moment - Day 25

Well, I will be honest, I struggled with today's prompt - it is harder to find those magical moments while you are chasing your one year old and saying no to about 95% of everything she want to touch while celebrating Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa & Great Grandma's house.  Here is a snap shot that I have that sorta summed up the magical part of having a one year old during Christmas. 
This was my Nugget's first Christmas and I know she is too young to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  I am looking forward to when she knows that we are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and it not just a long crazy weekend of missed naps, present openings, and a complete lack of routine.
We still enjoyed going to the Christmas Eve service but I often found myself being distracted by being a human jungle gym during parts of the service.  There was a lady who loudly sang a solo and during the high parts of the song our little Nugget found it necessary to cover both of her ears - slightly humorous to me but also slightly distracting too. 

This Magic Moment - Day 25 Prompt
Chances are today you'll find yourself amongst family or friends celebrating one another and this glorious season. I don't have to remind you to take your camera, that's for sure! But even while you're in documentary mode, try finding something off the beaten path.  Turn your lens toward something that sheds light on the day. A detail, angle, or perspective that tells the story beyond any traditional portrait. Note: Sometimes our favorite shots end up being those images that make us think, contemplate, or even laugh out loud. Enjoy your day and have fun with your camera, whatever you do!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Enchantment - Day 24

Enchantment - Day 24 Prompt
Today’s prompt encouraged me to take a picture from the view point of a child.  We celebrated Christmas with my husband's family the night of the 23rd.   Here is a picture of my little Nugget talking jibberish with her Grandma Christmas Eve morning. Even though she had lots of great new toys to play with she was intrigued with the lights and jingle bells on Grandma's tree while capturing Grandma's attention at the same time.
No matter what your background, your beliefs, your outlook, your age, there's bound to be a level of enchantment to be found. Muse on all the ways you can visually translate some sense of awe and wonder during this time of magic.  Allow yourself to get swept off your feet today and look at the world around you with the eyes of a child! Capture your shot today with wide eyes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Life is Sweet - Day 23

I love sweets so I love this time of year.  It has become a Christmas tradition for me to make homemade carmels.  But this year in addition to making carmels, I started my quest for the best sugar cookie recipe.  A friend of ours mom makes the best cookies that I have ever tasted.  I have hinted that I would like the recipe but never got it.  So I decided each year I would try a different sugar cookie recipe until I find "the one".  This year, the recipe included lemon extract - I thought they were delicous but there weren't "the one" so my quest will continue next year at this time.

Life is Sweet - Day 23 Prompt
Ah, the sweet smell of holiday baked goods. Therein lies the blessing and the curse. But today, let's focus on the good stuff; the loving kindness that comes from the baking and the mouth watering satisfaction of the devouring. Shoot a sweet treat today that you long to share and/or savor.
Note: Consider elements like texture and color of your subject for this. You're invited to play with your food today! Your challenge is to capture a shot that's mouth watering.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Are Getting Sleepy - Day 22

I am getting sleepy and it isn't even 8 p.m. yet.  I decided to take a picture of my little Nugget while she was enjoying her nighttime bottle.  I love way I captured her little feet in this picture.  I know I don't have the best focus but I am still learning the ins and outs of my new Christmas gift, the wireless remote shutter release. 
      I originally had a completely different idea for today's prompt.  I planned on having some of my friends over for some relaxing which included soaking our feet while enjoying some wintery beverages such as peppermint hot coco, hot apple cider, or egg nog topped with whipped cream while catching up and hearing about the coming weekend plans.  I was just going to snap a quick picture of my feet soaking while chatting with friends. 
    Plans changed however about an hour before everyone was set to arrive.  My babysitter, who also is my husband, wasn't feeling well.  By not feeling well, I mean displaying symptoms of flu and looking slightly like death.  I didn't want my friends to be exposed to what was going down at my house so I postponed relaxing night.  Instead, Nugget and I played together while dad got some much needed rest.  Even though it wasn't the type of relaxing I first thought I was going to have tonight, I still did get to relax and enjoy the evening with my daughter. 
You Are Getting Sleepy - Day 22 Prompt
It's around this time of year that we really need to rest.
Rest?! Now? I can't rest now...there's so much left to do...
That might be true and in fact, that's exactly why I encourage you to take a break.
I'm giving you permission to shut down today in order to properly reboot. Even if only for 10 minutes at your desk during your lunch break. Or when you put the baby down for her nap, or right in the middle of what you are doing right now even. Because your prompt today is to capture rest, however you can manage it, I'm holding you accountable. Tricky, aren't I?
Note: Images of sweet slumber can ease our trouble minds. Let yourself enjoy the feeling of drifting off to dreamland, if only for a short visit. Sweet dreams.

Attitude Adjustment - Day 21

 I took the day off from work to do a little shopping, clean the house, and get my hair done.  What a great way to change your attitude about all there is to do by having a day off right?? Not exactly - I ended up getting a major headache while I was getting my hair done (which later proceeded to turn into a migraine).  My husband stepped it up and made supper (thanks Dominos Pizza) and help out with the little Nugget. 

Okay, so I think this is one of the hardest Picture the Holiday prompts that I have done.  When I read that I was suppose to show a little of "sassitude" I just thought UGH!  So, I guess, here is a picture of me showing off my sassitude while having a headache gradually getting worse.  Thanks to my wonderful hairdresser, Tena, my hair isn't in its stand ponytail that I wear 99.9% of the time so I was feeling slightly sassy after my hair appointment.  (Please note: I did realize that I was wearing my ponytail holder around my wrist once I took the pictures.  I decided to not to retake the picture - partly due to my headache and partly due to the fact that if my hair isn't in a ponytail that I always have a hair band around my wrist because I know it’s just a matter of time before I will be needing it.)

Sorry for the rather long comment with my picture post today - but I did want mention one last thing -  I did enjoy trying out a Christmas present that I received last weekend while working on this picture prompt.   My parents gave me a wireless remote shutter release, I think I am really going to love having this little gadget.

Attitude Adjustment - Day 21 Prompt
Sometimes all you need is a little nudge to help you readjust your attitude. Today, let's show a side of you that might be last on the list of to-dos. Get silly, sassy, sexy...whatever you need to lighten the mood!
Today you're encouraged to show a little (or a lot) of "sassitude." Get creative and show off your wild side, whatever that looks like to you.
Note: Simple gestures of your body can translate attitude. You can work the same magic with inanimate objects too. Try capturing something (yourself or otherwise) that really speaks to the attitude you want to express today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wrapped with Love - Day 20

Today I took the extra time on these two presents for my little Nugget by adding the white ribbon.  I know it doesn't look like very fancy wrapping but some of my present don't even have bows on them.  Growing up I used to take the time to add lots and lots of curly ribbon to each and every present that I wrapped.  Now I think I have more presents to wrap and less time to deck them out - but still do enjoy the way presents look when I take the extra time to add a little something special to them.

Wrapped with Love - Day 20 Prompt
Whether you've even begun to wrap presents yet is beyond me, but there is nothing more beautiful than the gifts all wrapped up in anticipation of being unwrapped and enjoyed. Today find a gift adorned in its holiday best!  Note: Try focusing on something you might normally overlook for this one. Packages are artwork in and of themselves. Honor that idea and you'll find that what's on the surface sometimes does matter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Make a List (check it twice) - Day 19

So here is my list located on the top of my Monday night to-do pile.  It isn't a creative list but I had plenty of items I needed to get done when I got home from work.  I am taking Wednesday off from work and I keep on randomly thinking of all of these different things I should do.  Since my memory is incredibly horrible I thought I better start jotting down things down. 

Make a List (check it twice) - Day 19 Prompt
I don't know about you but I'm big on lists. If I don't write it down, chances are I won't remember it! Lists are for to-dos and don't forgets but they can also be for hopes and wishes (especially in the season of giving and receiving).  Today, share your list in one way or another. Focus on the whole or on a tiny yet significant part. Give us a glimpse into what you jot down to help you remember.
Note: Humor me today; as a gesture of self-kindness, write something down somewhere on your list that will help you to keep your perspective. You don't have to shoot it for your prompt unless you want to. The object here is to whisper a sweet nothing to yourself that you will stumble upon later. It will be just what you need.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Recharge - Day 18

What a perfect day for me a take a little time to recharge.  We spent the weekend over in Minnesota celebrating Christmas with my family, all 23 of us.  It was a great time but left me feeling completely exhausted. 
 I originally wanted to do this shot with Nuggets bottle and my cup of peppermint hot chocolate beside each other showing that we both needed recharging BUT by the time I got everything unpacked, the dishes caught up, and the laundry started I knew that Nugget was hungry and in no mood for waiting for me to take some pictures.  So instead, once Nugget went to bed I enjoyed a cup of peppermint hot chocolate while I worked with my pictures that I had taken over the weekend. 
What a perfect end to my day!

Recharge - Day 18 Prompt
Chances are today will find you amidst the hustle and bustle of the crowd. All the more reason why you need to remember to recharge when you need it. A day of pre-holiday madness can really take it out of you.   Today I encourage you to tune in to your needs and when it's time to take break, heed the call. A simple recharge is sometimes all it takes. Take a deep breath, have a seat, relax your shoulders and allow for a little down time. It's called self-love and we all deserve it. Especially this time of year!
Note: This "break" doesn't have to involve food. I just couldn't resist this heart shaped foam! You can take a breather a number of ways so capture how you do it with a photo.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Season of Lights - Day 16

It is indeed the season of lights.  I love being greeted by the glow our of Christmas tree every morning.  I love the way my almost 1 year old daughter looks at the lights with amazement.  Since this is my first Christmas as a dslr owner, I love being creative and the practice I have gotten shooting in manual mode to capture this seaon of lights. 

The Season of Lights - Day 16 Prompt
They call this the season of lights for many reasons and there are ample opportunities to shoot light in it's many shapes and shades. There is nothing more compelling than a literal Bokeh of holiday lights. The first time I captured lights like this, I was as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning! My guess is you'll feel it too.
Note: This one takes lots of practice so be patient and have fun experimenting with focal lengths, points of focus (or lack of), aperture and shutter speeds.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Got Gifts? - Day 15

 Today I designed this tag to attach to a little present that my little Nugget made for each of her Grandparents. 
Okay - I will be honest, I wasn't very excited about my photo prompt today.  I am lacking majorly in editing and computer designed skills so I did the best that I could. (Thanks Picnik!)

I am hoping to print this in a wallet size so that it will look more like a gift tag and just another of my many pictures that I take.  I am hoping to update this post with a picture of the final product attached to their presents.

Okay so I finally got around to actually getting in designed tag attached to my gifts to the grandparents so I thought I would include a picture of the final product.

Got Gifts? - Day 15 Prompt
We've made it to the half way mark of the season already. Time if flying by! Since this is the season of giving, today is the day for putting some of your beautiful photos to good use. We are creating gift tags and/or mini note cards using our photos. That way your tag will be just as special as the gift inside.  The first part of this process is to shoot an image or images that you'd like to use for tags. You can make unique tags for each gift or you can choose one image and use it on all your tags this season. It's up to you!
Note: You don't have to tackle this whole project today if you don't have time. Feel free to shoot tag worthy images and share those with our Facebook Community, that is wonderful! If you do make a tag today, feel free to shoot a photo of the tag to share. We'd love to see your handiwork!

Warm Glow - Day 17

With my Nugget sleeping and the house completely quite I decided to work on my Picture the Holidays photo prompt.   I love the soft light of the flame.  The glow reminds me of Christmas Eve services, specifically when you hold a candle and sing songs - everything about the birth of Christ seems so sweet and peaceful. 
 Now after having a child I have a slightly different scenario that runs through my mind how things actually went down that night in the stable.   Parts of the scenario that runs through my head includes two very tired, nervous soon to be parents, smells and loud sounds of cattle, and a very crisp cold feel to the air.

On a very random side note: I rarely light candles in our house mainly because I am not very cautious and often forget I have them burning.  My husband strongly discourages me from using candles - something about liking the house we live in and not wanting it to burn down.  : )

Warm Glow - Day 17 Prompt
Nothing beats the warm glow of candlelight. There is something so sacred about lighting a candle, especially during the holiday season. I have started using candles in my every day life for a number of reasons. Each time I strike a match and burn a candle I am reminded of the power of intention and how my own attention can make such a difference in my daily life.  Today, capture the glow of a candle to signify what is meaningful in your life. Make a wish, set an intention, pray, meditate and shoot.
Note: You do not have to wait until dark to light up the dark! Candles are for anytime. The photo today was taken one morning, specifically for this prompt. After shooting a number of angles and perspectives I shot straight down into the flame. To my delight, I discoverd a happy face smiling back at me. Do you see it? Talk about an affirmation!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sincerely Yours - Day 14

I love my photo prompt for today.  I sat down with my cup of hot tea and wrote a letter to my Grandma Clarice.  She is one of the few people that I receive hand written letters from. 

Sincerely Yours - Day 14 Prompt
This is the one time of year where the near lost art of letter writing is revived. And even that might soon vanish with all the options of e-cards and email. As much I love e-everything, nothing can replace a greeting crafted by hand. You are encouraged to slow down a little today and appreciate all the hand written epistles you come across. Whether they are to you, or from you, revel in the delight of letters and cards. Signed, sealed and/or delivered, capture sentiments crafted with love.
Note: If you want to infuse today's shot with a nostalgic feel, concentrate on the absence of color. The less color in the shot, the more antique the result will feel. A vintage-style photograph can be achieved even without post processing if you shoot more monochromatic subjects.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simply Divine - Day 13

Today I took a picture of an angel ornament that my Great Grandma Una made and gave to me when I was pretty young.  It has always been one of my favorites.  I would always make sure to place a Christmas light right next to it so it would shine bright much like the angels did when Christ was born. 

Simply Divine - Day 13 Prompt
No matter what holiday you celebrate, chances are there is something divine about it. There is a reverie this time of year for forces far grander than ourselves. We honor our family, friends, connection, love, light and a source that makes it all possible.  Find a way today to translate the truth for you. Share the divinity in your life, whether it be through an obvious symbol or an overall feeling you carry, work on bringing it to your photography today.
Note: Capturing what's intangible can be challenging. Using the symbols that speak to us of what we cannot see, hear, or touch can help, especially in pictures. But don't be held to just objects. You can think above and beyond the box on this one. Just feel your way.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Whole Lot of Happy - Day 12

Smiling is contagious - even when it is a snowman.  My mom made me this Christmas ornament.  My Grandpa Claire passed away 7 years ago - he always wore flannel shirts.  My mom took some of these shirts and used the flannel to make this snowman.  Every time I see my snowman ornament I think of my Grandpa.

A Whole Lot of Happy - Day 12 Prompt
It's been said that smiling is contagious. I think it's true. Smile and the whole world smiles back at you. Well, maybe not always. As much as I hate to admit it. this time of year can bring out the crabby in people. But, let's not focus on that! Let's let a big ol' grin work it's wonders on us so that in turn we can smile, smile, smile!
Today, wear a smile and search for the people or things that smile back and capture a happy face!
Note: Humor and happiness chase the blues away in any and every season. No matter what kind of smile you find (something literal or more figurative), let it bring out the best in you!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shaping Up - Day 11

Here is my snowman - shaped to be cool, calm, and ready for Christmas with his tree and presents.  I decided to cross his legs, like I do all the time, to give him a relaxed look.  I am in pretty good shape myself when it comes to my Christmas preparations - my present are bought, most of them are wrapped, and my goodies are baked and packaged up.

I know I didn't follow my photo prompt very well today so I decided to "Shape Up" in my own way.  Since I didn't leave my house today I didn't have time see something in a shape that wasn't exactly what it was.  My Nuggets carrots looked like carrots, the laundry everywhere just looked like dirty laundry, the dust bunnies on the floor looked just like dust bunnies, etc.

Shaping Up - Day 11 Prompt
I believe that once you open yourself up to something, that something just keeps coming! Little shifts in how we look at the world around us can reveal a whole new world to us and our lenses. No matter how much I see it happen in my own life, it still delights me. I'm surprised daily at what I find.
When I was shooting this feather in the sand I wasn't aware of it's perfect Christmas Tree shape. But when I uploaded it to my computer, it's all I saw. A tiny and delicate ode to Christmas!
Pay attention today, in your comings and goings to the shape of things. See if what you find reminds you of anything else. Nature works in mysterious ways like that, have you noticed?
Note: Sometimes more than something obvious, there is something you'll find that might only speak to you. Photography is like that. That's why our unique points of view are important. What matters is that our imagery makes us happy. Why create anything unless you yourself love it? When you share your image to the Facebook Community today, be sure to share with us what it is you captured and what it resembles.

Twinkle Twinkle - Day 10

I really like my glittered Falalalala ornament that is on my tree - it twinkles like none other.  To me it also represents Christmas music - one of my favorite parts of the holidays. I tried several different ideas for my Twinkle Twinkle prompt and this was my best result.  I don't feel like it accurately protrays all the sparkle but I did my best.  I have lots of room for improvement on my photography skills. 

Twinkle Twinkle - Day 10 Prompt
Twinkle lights, fantasy, wishing and whimsy; they are all a part of the season. The trick is translating the ambiance we see with our eyes and the glow we feel in our hearts into effective photographic images.  Don't be afraid to let the light in for shots that sparkle! An extra slow shutter speed (way beyond what you can normally hold by hand) can make for amazing photos that shine! Try capturing something today that twinkles!
Note: You already know I believe strongly in the power of experimentation. That goes double when you attempt the illusive shutter drag to capture a shot. The featured photo today was a happy accident (love those) shot at Disneyland. As we were riding Small World I had a great view of the exterior of the ride all lit up in holiday fashion. My flash was off, and my aperture was wide open. I clicked the shot from the ride (while in motion) and I could hear my shutter open and close soooo slowly I knew I wasn't going to get the shot I wanted. Was I wrong! This kind of shot can only happen when the power of magic (and an open mind) are on your side.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's A Sign - Day 9

Before I left the house today for work I noticed "my sign" - Be Merry!  The weekend is just about here and my list of things I need to get done is growing but this little tag can be a reminder to enjoy all that I have to do.

It's A Sign - Day 9
There is nothing more fun than discovering the right word at the right time. It may be meaningful and telling or it could just be something random and entertaining. Signs can warn us, lead us, remind us or even state the obvious. Whatever the case, it's our job to interpret the signs as they pertain to our own lives. What the signs really say is up to us.
Note: Words and phrases are everywhere. We are inundated everyday with messages. Be aware of the words you take in each day. Seek out the affirmations, answers or reminders that are out there looking for you today!

Reflecting on the Season - Day 8

When I was recently visiting a friends house, this decoration caught my eye.  I love how the mirrored inside of the candle holders reflect the words love and hope all around the inside of them. It is important that we remember that celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ should surround us with love and hope all year long.

Reflecting on the Season - Day 8 Prompt
Reflective surfaces can be creative muses in your photography. There is no way of knowing exactly how the reflection will translate. That's what makes it so much fun!  Have you ever looked into a mirror as a means to see things a little differently? Look around and see how unique the world around you can look in reflections. Mirrors, glass, metallic surfaces all offer us opportunities to see and shoot with a unique and often unexpected perspective. Shoot something in a reflective surface today and see what you find. It could be you looking back at you, or it could be some other kind of seasonal magic. It's all in how you look at it.  Note: Mirrors will give you a little more of an expected shot while other surfaces could distort your subject. The more you experiment the more you'll discover! Allow for trial and error time and be patient. The object is to have fun reflecting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Express Yourself - Day 7

Today I took a few moments to be still in the early a.m.  I have been getting up early to walk my holiday mile,  it's been a tradition of mine to walk a mile everyday between Thanksgiving and Christmas with no excuses.  However my "no excuses" clause fell apart yesterday when my heel started hurting so I decided to still get up early to strech, relax and take time for myself.  I always make sure that I enjoy my daughter while I get her ready for daycare.  We always take time to express ourselves by making at least a couple of funny faces in the mirror after we are done brushing our teeth. 
On a picture taking note - I took the time to get my tripod set up hoping that I would be able to capture a picture of our silly face routine.  My grand idea didn't go so hot because everytime I started the self timer, my little Nugget would just stare at the camera while it beebed instead of making funny faces.  So I ended up getting a picture of one of the many morning kisses she gets from me instead.

Express Yourself - Day 7 Prompt
Being (and staying) balanced can often be as easy as checking in with ourselves from time to time. Tuning into our own body and mind is a simple emotional gauging tool we often overlook. Today, take a few moments to be still. Breathe in and out and just allow yourself to be and to feel. (I'll wait) Well? How are you today? What is your body saying? How about your mind? Your heart? Listen to the shouts and the whispers and take it all in and then exhale. Now, get your camera and interpre those feelings.
Note: This can be a self-portrait challenge if you'd like to make it that (as I did in the featured image). Use a self-timer, a mirror or hand hold the camera and point it back at yourself. Or express yourself in a totally different way. It's up to you. They are your feelings after all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Every Little Thing - Day 6

I love getting Christmas cards and every aspect that makes them up - whether it is the details in the pictures, the family update or the festive embellishments.  My small delight today is a miniature stocking hat that decorated a Christmas card I received.  Since I am a crafty girl I had to keep this cute little embellishment.  

  Every Little Thing - Day 6 Prompt
Begin this day with eyes wide open to the tiny wonders that are constantly swirling all around you. Even at the most ordinary time of day, while doing the most mundane tasks, little moments of enchantment will reveal themselves. Find some small delight today.
Note: An overwhelming stack of holiday wrapping felt like a real chore until I found this delicate spiral in the mix. Something small like this is often all it takes to make your day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The View From Here - Day 5 Monday

This is my winter view that I enjoy from where I park my car at work.  The sunrises over the last couple weeks have been nothing short of amazing.  I enjoy them in my rearview mirror as I make a short 5 mile communte to the grain elevator that I work at in a very small town.  At least there is one benefit of the shorter days of winter - I enjoy the sunrises and sunsets as I go to and from work.   I will confess that I might be one of the few in North Dakota that wishes we had snow and that I would have be able to have a picture of a snow covered landscape for my picture today. 

I have one more fun picture that I would like to share that I took at work.  One of the farmers ran into our mailbox so we decided that we wanted to make a special Christmas card just for him.  Here is the picture for the card.  Don't you think it would look really nice if everything would have been covered in snow??   
They View From Here - Day 5 Prompt
Chances are it's chilly outside today. After all, winter is coming. Whether you choose to brave the cold and venture outside today or you gaze just out your window, take a few moments to enjoy the view.
A picturesque landscape, falling snow, the road that stretches out before you, winter foliage; it could be anything. Take stock at what beauty Mother Nature has dished up today. With a deep breath, take it all in, and click.
Note: When we shoot a "view" we tend to shoot wide and go for the quintessential landscape shot. You can't beat that approach for sweeping vistas. But what if your view isn't vast or grand? You can still share what you see effectively by only including select parts of the view in your frame. Your view can be either infinite or a vignette. It's up to you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You Hold The Key - Day 4

Today's picture is supposed to remind myself of my own soul cure so I can have it ready when this Christmas Season gets busy.  Drinking a warm beverage does wonders for me.  I am always cold (this is where my husband would say - it’s true - she uses seat heaters in the car in the summer) and it physically helps me warm up and it also helps me relax.  Some of my favorite hot beverages include coffee, tea, and hot chocolate (which is super delicious with some candy cane melted in and topped with whipped cream). 

I was deliberate in the mug that I chose for my morning coffee today.  I received this mug from my Grandma Clarice last year.  I thought the saying on the mug “Wouldn’t life be me worth living and all our dreams come true, if we kept the Christmas Spirit all the whole year through” was fitting for the whole theme of Picture the Holidays. 

Now slightly off the topic I would like to share a photography triumph.  I haven’t owned a dslr camera for that long so this was the first time I tried taking a picture of myself.  I have read tips on blogs on self-portraits but never took the time to actual try it.  So I am happy today to click (or check) taking a self portrait of my photography bucket list. 

You Hold The Key - Day 4 Prompt
We all have at least one magic remedy that no matter what, will give us the perspective that we need. The key is to remember what that is and pull it out when we need it most. Because this month is about enjoying ourselves and not letting the craze out there get the best of us, use today to remind yourself of your own soul cure so you can have it at the ready for whenever you might need it. What helps you to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment? Capture it!
Note: Tools for peace of mind can consist of anything. I know that a walk always helps get me grounded. Or a talk with a trusted friend. Maybe it's reading a few pages of your favorite book or just some cleansing exhales that help you. Creatively capture that thing you need to soothe your soul. Use the image to draw on throughout the month.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All You Need is Love - Day 3

During this Christmas season I want to have love for everything - both the joyous and not so joyous moments.  I decided to go with the obvious of a picture of a heart for my All You Need is Love picture.  I created my heart by using a ring that I got for myself when my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  The birthstone stone for April is a diamond so I chose to get a ring with a small little diamond on a dainty band because the due date of my little baby that I never met was in April.  This ring means lots of different things to me - it is a daily reminder of my little one that I know is in heaven, it is a reminder that God loves me even when I am unable to see His master plan for me, and it is a reminder of the love and encouragement that I received from my husband while I went through my grieving process. 

All You Need is Love - Day 3 Prompt
Love is at the top of the list when it comes to the meaning of the holiday season. Love of family, of friends, of ourselves. Love for the Earth, love of the Devine, love for humanity, love of the ages. They say that love is all you need and in so many ways, they are exactly right!
Today, focus on love. Feel it. Be it. Capture it. Share it.
Note: Hearts are the obvious choice when visually translating love. I don't know about you but obvious or not, I cannot get enough of them! If you choose a heart today for your prompt see if you can find one that might be a little out of the ordinary. Feel free to just let yourself stumble upon on something (hearts are everywhere when you start looking for them) or create a vignette of love to shoot. Either way, let your heart be your guide!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reframing the Season - Day 2

I chose to reframe the season by framing my little Nugget so that I can have a reminder that my frame of mind and focus around this season will influence her memories she will form for years to come.    I love Christmas because it makes me think of so many memories that I have especially with my family.   From the tradiation of singing Christmas songs at both my Great Grandma Theresa's and Grandma and Grandpa Tollefson house, to the reading of the Christ birth before opening presents on Christmas Eve, to participating in Christmas programs at church, to receiving a Christmas oranament from my Grandma Clarice every year, to playing Christmas songs on the paino, I could go on and on.  Christ has always been the center of my holiday celebrations.  I hope this will be true also for my daugther 30 years down the road that she will treasure the true reason for the season while celebrating her own Christmas traditions.

Picture the Holidays - Day 2 Prompt
Beginning December in a calm state of mind might seem easy (now). But, the frenzy of the holiday season can get the best of us and sometimes can come on with very little warning. There will be good days and bad but the gist is to look at this holiday season a little differently. This season we aren't only going to 'hope' to enjoy it (amidst the chaos) we will enjoy it! It only takes a little reframing.

As a symbol of looking at things a little differently, today you'll be using a literal frame for your image. You get to decide what goes in your frame today and how you choose to capture it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holding Onto Gratitude - Day 1

The definition of gratitude is the state of being grateful; thankfulness.  I know especially around Thanksgiving everyone usually does take the time to be thankful but I would say over the last month gratitude is something that I have experience a lot.  What prompted my state of being grateful is a photo assignment that I have been working on for my Rebel Rouser camera group; we are supposed to picture something we are thankful for. I have come to realize over the last month that I have so many things to be thankful for that I am having a hard time narrowing it down one thing. 
But for my Picture the Holidays - Holding onto Gratitude I have decided to use a picture of my daughter and my husband wiping her tears away.   I am thankful for my 11 month old daughter and that she is healthy (maybe not happy all the time but very healthy).   I am grateful that she brings joy into our home.  I am grateful that my husband and I are able to see her grow and learn.  I am thankful that I married my best friend and that he loves me for who I am - quirks and all.  I am thankful that we work together as a team when it comes to raising our daughter and managing our household (and that he is somewhat willing to try and help me take pictures although he doesn't share the same passion for photography as I do).  You may look at this picture and see a very sad girl but I see gratitude - even though my Christmas shoot wasn't going the way I envisioned, I am thankful for my healthy family and that I will always cherish my memories of the first time trying to take Christmas pictures with my daughter.

Picture the Holidays - Day 1 PROMPT
With the giving of thanks still fresh in our hearts and minds, let's start off our month from the best place possible: a place of gratitude.
Take a few minutes to focus on all the things you have to be grateful for today and then, choose a perspective in which to capture at least one of those things in a photograph.

Picture the Holidays

So I have signed up for a class called Picture the Holidays.  I will be honest, I was more than hesitant to sign up for this class knowing that I will be getting a daily email that will prompt me to Picture the Holidays.  Between working full time, being a mom, a wife, and getting ready for this time of year I sometimes feel like I don't have enough time.  However, after reading the class creed (see below) I truly hope that I can stop and realize what is truly important and enjoy each and every one of my busy days to its fullest.  I know that I won't be completing my daily prompt each day but I do plan on completing every prompt that I am given.  I am also planning on posting each of my prompts when I do get around to getting them completed. 

I don't like having a post without a picture so I decided to include a picture that I took on Thanksgiving weekend.  It has been a long standing tradition that my family puts up a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Since my mom has a total of 11 helpers (grandkids) the tree was decorated fast this year.  I took this picture because I LOVE how kids always hang a pile of ornaments together AND on the lowest branch possible. 

So here is to December and enjoying the holiday season!

Picture the Holidays - Class Creed
play a little   slow down   be thankful   believe in magic   exercise patience   trust my intuition   honor creative spirit   entertain new perspectives   focus on what matters   receive graciously   open up to love   experience joy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oatmeal + Banana = Face Paste

Okay, so this isn't an official recipe for Face Paste - I am sure there are other tasty food combos that make up a nice paste too - I bet potatoes make a nice base for a face paste too.  (Just a side note:  that is a chunk of banana in Nugget's nose, not a giant boogie.)

This picture pretty much sums up Nugget's first attempt of feeding herself, which she seemed to really enjoy.  I was amazed how well she could handle her spoon and the fact she did manage to spoon food into her mouth (although I guess since EVERYTHING does go into her mouth I am starting to wonder why I was so impressed by this after all). 

My two lessons I learned this day:

1.  Anna is already showing signs of wanting to be independent.  For example, after she sucked all of her oatmeal banana paste off her spoon so we tried helping her scoop up her next bite.  She didn't appreciate our "help" at all.  I wonder what future independent actions she will take that will make me so proud of her and what future independent actions are going to tests my skills as a parent - only time will tell.  : )

2. If you choose the first time you are going to let your child feed themselves, maybe you should choose a time when they aren't overly tired. Anna took an extremely short nap.  She cried the whole time I was trying to clean her up.

Just by looking at my "before" picture you think I would have realized that Nugget was still tired.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photo Editing - Scripts (My best discovery about PSP yet!)

So I know I haven't exactly kept up with my goal of learning one new technique each week but last weekend I learned LOTS while working on editing some pictures that I took for my brother’s family.  (Aren't my nephew and neice too cute?? Okay - I might be a little basis...)

First thing I learned was that Paint Shop Pro scripts are equivalent to Photoshop actions.  Why is this a big deal you might ask?  Well because you can edit a photo a million times faster!! (Okay maybe not a million but I was so thrilled by learning what a script was that I showed my husband, who really has not interest in photo editing but I had to show someone!)

A script is a recorded set of steps for editing photos. Instead of manually adding new layers, filling a layer with color, adjusting the opacity, etc. you just "play" a script and it automatically does it for you.  You may have to click an "ok" here or there but it cuts down on the time it took me to edit photos drastically.

To run a script you will need to go into your toolbars and select to view your Script Toolbar.  On your Script Toolbar you select the script that you would like to run and then you click the play button.  Easy!!

Your program comes with scripts but you can find more online.  I found one online called Chocolate that I downloaded and added to my PSP restricted file, that I used in the above example.  I haven't found lots of PSP scripts online yet but I am not sure if I am searching for them correctly or not.  So far I have been Googling "psp scripts free" and have found a couple that I like.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Ghosties" Halloween Treats

So Anna is going to her first Halloween Party tonight and I decided to make some treats to bring along.  I decided to make some "Ghosties" which are Nutter Butters dipped in white almond bark with two mini chocolate chips used for ghost eyes.  I previously made these when I lived in South Dakota with my good friend and her daughter.  Her daughter called them Ghosties and that name stuck. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bath Time Routine

So like most kids, Nugget LOVES bath time.  Eric and I have stopped saying the word bath if she isn't going to be getting one.  We have a routine that we have been doing awhile with her now.  If she is in the living room we will sign to her and say "Do you want to take a bath Anna?"  She then gets excited and starts crawling with gusto to the bath room.  I tried recording this routine but I am not sure what I did wrong with the sound so I will narrate the video for you. 

Anna starts off sitting - Eric asks "bath?" she starts crawling but get slightly distracted by me videotaping (she gets this ADD from her dad) but then soon remembers that dad said bath.  She starts crawling and then takes a break to see what I am up to until she hears dad turning on the water and then she presumes crawling, this time full steam ahead.  She rounds the corner into the bed room and then gets distracted by her toy ball (again a trait from her dad) but decides to continue on her quest to the tub. 

The original video shows Anna crawling up to the tub in the bathroom but for whatever reason the whole "bath time routine" was too large of a file to send via Eric's phone so I guess this is what I get.  Oh well.

I really enjoy seeing how excited Anna gets for her bath - I hope she maintains this excitement for years to come!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Customized Storage - My Mod Podge Project

So the whole reason why I decided to try and make my own Mod Podge was because I found this super cute idea on Pinterest where they Mod Podged paper on to plastic drawers.  I like this idea because it would hide the junk I have in my drawers and add a little color into my craft closet.  I had found some oversized paper during my recent adventure to Chicago which made this project easy to do since standard 12x12 paper is just a little bit too small for the size of drawers I was working with.  I haven't tried it yet but I am sure a really cute wrapping paper would also work prefect for this project.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Photography - White Balance

So I recently joined a photography group called Rebel Rousers.  I am very excited about the group and even more excited to learn more about photography.  I just start shooting in manual mode so I have so much to learn!  Actually I have so much to learn that I simply feel overwhelmed by everything I don't know. 

I got to pick a topic to present on for October's meeting and I decided to choose something that I didn't understand - white balance.  I found it very helpful to concentrate on a single topic.  I check out several websites and this is what I presented to the Rebel Rousers group. 

Why I choose white balance? Since our days are getting shorter and colder we will be doing a lot of indoor shooting over the next couple of months – I want to take better indoor pictures in all kinds of light.  I wanted to learn how to adjust my white balance so I can capture the colors in my pictures as accurately as possible.

What is white balance?  Ever notice when you take your pictures that they have a funny color to them like orange, blue, or yellow? Here are some from my collection:
Here is picture of Anna in her bed room. Normally I let in all the natural light that I can before I take a picture but I wanted to capture her first morning waking up with a bad hairdo.  Since it was nice and early in the morning – there was no natural light to be let in.  Notice how this picture has a funny tint to it.
Here is also one from my nephew’s birthday party – notice how everything seems to be orange.  His birthday party theme was orange but I wasn’t thrilled when this picture turned out orange.
You can fix these “tints” or “casts” in an editing program if you shoot in raw format but you can take some steps while taking your pictures so you will have one less thing to edit. But before I get to that – I am going to try and explain why pictures look like this.
In a nutshell – different sources of light have different “color” or temperature to them and our cameras cannot always determine what type of light temperature we are shooting in.  For example fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to your pictures where as tungsten lightening (regular light bulbs) adds a yellowish color to your pictures.  Each type of light gives off a different temperature thus the different color of tints.

The lower the Kelvin temperature the warmer the light.
The higher the Kelvin temperature the cooler the light
When shooting in a cool light (bluish) you need to tell the camera to warm things up
When shooting in a warm light (yellowish) need to tell the camera to cool things down

What "color" or temperatures are different light sources?

Light Source            Avg. Temp (in Kelvin)
Noon Daylight        5000K
Cloudy                    6000K
Shade                     7000K
Tungsten Lighting   2700K-33000  
Fluorescent              4000K 
How to adjust white balance? From what I have found there are two ways to adjust your white balance, use the preset white balance setting on your camera OR do a manual white balance adjustment

Preset White Balance Settings  

             Auto – 90% camera will get the correct white balance on this setting

Tungsten - is for shooting indoors, especially under warmer (yellowish) tungsten lighting (such as bulb lighting). It generally cools down the colors in photos.

Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ or bluish light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.

Cloudythis setting generally warms things up a touch

Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little

Manual White Balance Adjustment

            Press WB button on back of camera and select Custom White Balance

Take a white sheet of paper in the lighting that you will be shooting in, fill the frame of your camera with the paper and take a picture. HINT: Hold the paper angled so that it is reflecting the light you are shooting in.

Press your Menu button, go to the shooting page second menu and select Custom White Balance, the picture you just took should appear.  Select Set, then OK, and Select one last time.


Here are my examples of my adventures in white balance:

Incandescent Lighting

Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my Tide picture.

 I am really impressed with the final result using the custom white balance setting.

Fluorescent Lighting


Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my work picture. 

At first when I tried doing this white balance shoot my customer picture was turning out green.  I think it was because I had laid my paper against my pen holder and took the shot.  So I then took the white balance shot again holding the paper and then it worked out great.


Overcast Day

Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my cloudy picture. 
It was really windy when I took the picture and that is why I don’t think my custom shot was reading correctly.  So with the inability to hold my white sheet of paper with both hand and still take a picture, I just gave up.

Cloudy / Sunny Day PM
I think I prefer how the cloudy white balance setting - sun was constantly coming out and going behind the clouds this afternoon. 
 Sunny Day Early Afternoon
I think that any of these four setting for white balance give okay results for my "Chicago" picture.  I do however find myself prefering the warmth that shows on the shade setting.

Sunny Day Late Afternoon
In this example I would have to say that the auto white balance would be the least favorite of the four shots.  Daylight definately gives me the most true colors but again I love the warmth with the shade setting.

Shade Early Afternoon

Shade Late Afternoon

For both of my shade samples I am pretty happy with the auto white balance setting but I do feel like I get a better picture when the white balance is set to shade. 

Challenge Time:
My challenge to you is to take the time to try multiple white balance settings in all the different types of light you take pictures in. Take the same picture multiple times with only changing your white balance setting and then compare them and then decide which setting your prefer for different light sources.